Magika Vol 6 Ch 2 – Enemy Territory Infiltration(Sneak Mission)

Chapter 2 – Enemy Territory Infiltration(Sneak Mission)


 

Part 1

 

“Cramped! Cramped cramped the distance is too cloo―se-! I really dislike you! Despite so, how can your face stay calm even when going through this! You brute!”

 

Kazuha-senpai who was like that had the positivity level of 82. There was not even a single skull mark that denoted the decrease of positivity level. Even her abusive remarks couldn’t be felt as anything other than one type of communication to him.

 

“Senpai, you only say that in your mouth but you don’t hate me don’t you? Also senpai had promised to accompany me in a date hadn’t you?”

 

“Don’t treat an infiltration mission as a date you―!”

 

Right at that time, a slightly large wave lifted up the neck of the ship highly.

 

The neck of the ship rode through the wave undulation and then it was half falling with a jerk.

 

Kazuha-senpai was “UWAA!” surprised and her shoulder approached near Kazuki.

 

An endless ocean. The small boat looked like an untrustworthy leaf floating on the sea.

 

“It’s okay, senpai. When push comes to shove…”

 

“When push comes to shove…?” Kazuha-senpai who was shrinking her body looked at him imploringly.

 

“When push comes to shove, please stabilize the movement of the boat with Psychokinesis Kazuha-senpai.”

 

“You are relying on me! I looked like an idiot for thinking that you are a little dependable heree―!!”

 

“Of course I’m also doing my best in the boat driving. But well, inside the bay, the waves are killed by the peninsula and island making the water quite calm so it’s okay. Though the morning seems early.”

 

Kazuki peered through the binoculars that was hanging in his neck while reinforcing his eyesight using magic power.

 

“…Rather, what’s scarier are human’s eyes, this is an infiltration mission after all.”

 

“That risk of discovery, the story is that Yamato doesn’t perform the coast security satisfactorily anyway right? If it’s just a citizen’s boat then it’s going to be overlooked even if it’s discovered, isn’t it?”

 

“Because the government cut the electric supply to west Japan, the emotion of west Japan’s citizen has become the worst. Something like a suspicious boat they have never seen might be reported right away to Yamato.”

 

“Is, is that so…this is the enemy’s territory after all…. Even though this is Mie prefecture…”

 

That odd way of speaking unintentionally made Kazuki float an ironic smile. Kazuha-senpai talked even further.

 

“…When I studied the administrative divisions of Japan in elementary school, among the few that I couldn’t remember no matter what was Mie prefecture you know? I wonder if I incurred a divine punishment…”

 

“For some reason I always jumbled up Aichi prefecture and Wakayama prefecture, I couldn’t make the distinction between them.”

 

“Fufufu, in that case you really like orange.” (AN: In Aichi and Wakayama prefectures, they have specialty oranges of their own.)

 

Kazuha-senpai didn’t only insult him with abusive remarks, unexpectedly when he made stupid talk with her, she was someone who would respond in a good mood. Finally she relaxed her stiff shoulder and showed a smiling face.

 

Looking at Kazuha-senpai’s face from the side where her hair was fluttering from the opposing wind, Kazuki was charmed for a while.

 

And then Kazuha-senpai naturally leaned her shoulder and thigh unreservedly on Kazuki’s body. She became relaxed and from her mouth “~♪” a humming sound was starting to leak out.

 

“Hey, until how long we are going to keep like this?”

 

“Generally it might be around one hour.”

 

“Whaa―tt, it’s unexpectedly short. So it’s not a considerable boat trip then?”

 

“Is it disappointing?” Kazuki asked Kazuha-senpai whose face was full of disappointment.

 

Kazuha-senpai suddenly went ‘hah’ and made a face of realization, “I, it’s not disappointing at all, who in the world will want time spent together with you! I want this to end quicklyy―!” She leaned her body forward in fluster.

 

“The boat will shake so please don’t struggle here I said.”

 

While Kazuki met an unexpected difficulty in operating the flap, he embraced Kazuha-senpai with his left hand.

 

When her waist was embraced by Kazuki’s arm, a heart mark flew from Kazuha-senpai with a plop.

 

“Perhaps by any chance senpai want to be like this and intentionally made a ruckus?”

 

“Tha, that’s not true! This lady killer!”

 

―The enjoyable time passed in the blink of an eye. And then,

 

“…This is problematic.” Kazuki murmured while peeking through his binoculars.

 

“There really are that many people?”

 

Finally they reached the distance where they could clearly see the opposite shore, but unexpectedly there were people in the shoreline of Toba where they planned to disembark.

 

“There are a lot of fishing ships, breeding farm of oyster or seaweed, female divers…something is visible.”

 

“There are also female divers? Your eyes are absurdly good huh.”

 

In any case the visibility was exceedingly good on top of the sea, there was no hiding place.

 

They must go through a route where they wouldn’t enter anybody’s line of sight and make their landing.

 

“Let’s make a detour slightly and search for a coastline where there are no people’s presence.”

 

Kazuki steered the boat going side-by-side with the land.

 

“Ah. Oi, Hayashizaki, seagulls are coming here!”

 

Like a children, Kazuha-senpai shook the shoulder of Kazuki who didn’t peel his eyes off from the binoculars.

 

“Seagulls…? They might be used to human from the pleasure cruise for sightseeing that scattered feed to them.”

 

“So they want some feed, yosh!”

 

It seemed Kazuha-senpai brought some snacks inside her waist-bag. She took out a rice cracker. She stood up on top of the unsteadily shaking boat while guarding her balance, “Here-!” and threw the pieces of broken rice cracker to the sky. The seagulls took a nose dive with good momentum and caught the cracker with its beak.

 

“Amazing! Come on look Hayashizaki, these guys come along! They are amazingly smart!! Ahaha-”

 

“Geez, what is senpai making merry for…”

 

Separating his eyes from the binoculars, he looked up at Kazuha-senpai who was standing beside him―Kazuki watched the girl’s radiant smile in fascination. He involuntarily lost the next word he was going to say. The fringe of Kazuha-senpai’s short casual Japanese clothes was turned up lightly from the strong wind, although she didn’t notice it because she was too engrossed at the seagulls and making merry.

 

(Well, it’s fine), Kazuki returned to his binoculars while his face was slightly reddening.

 

In her place, he was going to pay attention seriously at their surrounding.

 

―When he was looking at the far away, *GATAN!* the boat shook, then he heard Kazuha-senpai’s scream.

 

“Waaaaaaaaa, Hayashizaki, strange birds are! They scattered the seagulls and come charging here―!?”

 

Kazuki took off his eyes from the binoculars and looked up to the sky―tension ran through his spine.

 

Large flock of birds blocked the blue sky, “GEE―! GEE―!” they were revolving around the boat while raising ominous chirps. It had protruding eyes that looked as if the eyeball were almost falling out, their beaks were curving windingly like old tree stumps. They were ominous birds from what Kazuki could see.

 

Of course they were not a natural animal―Demon Beast.

 

“Damn! …This spot is a Haunted Ground!”

 

Kazuki suddenly realized and looked down at the sea’s surface. The sea color ten-odd meters around them became a darkish color as if a stain was gathered in one spot of the ocean. Because Kazuki only watched the far away land and Kazuha-senpai only looked at the seagulls, they didn’t notice at all that they had stepped into a Haunted Ground.

 

Haunted Ground only broke out in a place where there were humans―if it was a course where pleasure ship and fishing ship often came, then surely it was possible for Haunted Ground to be born on top of a sea. A spot where seagulls that were used to humans formed a group. It was suitable to be called a dominion of human rather than nature.

 

However Yamato’s provisional government, weren’t they dealing with the Haunted Ground properly?

 

Like this the people that worked on the sea would be in danger!

 

“O the will of whirling heaven god…gather in my hand, grant me the authority of judgement! O radiance of the royal divine gift, become a dazzling brilliant drawn bow! Lightning Line.”

 

Kazuki’s both hands hosted lightning. He drew the lightning to the limit and launched on, two streaks of lightning. This magic of Hikaru-senpai, even though each of its shot was inferior in power compared to Mio’s Barrett, it could be used to shoot repeatedly.

 

One, two body of the demon birds were shot down and sank into the black water surface. With that as the start, the demon birds that were circling around to assess their prey directed their beaks at the boat and took a nose dive.

 

“I’m doing a good fight, welcoming a good death, and wish to participate in even more battle of heaven! The divine protection of blood color in my eye! Berserk!!”

 

Beatrix’s level 1 magic that could be invoked in short chanting tie. Light flew down from between the gap of the cloud in the sky, it became power and resided inside Kazuki. His eyes were dyed deep crimson, his reflexes and physical strength were amplified.

 

Kazuki missed nothing of the demon birds’ beaks, he caught the beak of the bird that came the foremost barehanded. He swung the demon bird that he caught with all his strength, directing it to the second approaching demon bird’s beak and used it as a shield. Fresh blood scattered, he threw away the demon bird that bore a fatal wound from its fellow bird’s beak to the sea.

 

The third flying bird that approached him was caught by his left hand this time, and then once more he used it as a shield against the fourth bird.

 

He caught the birds with his two hands and used them as shields before throwing them away…he struggled hard empty-handedly.

 

Looking at that scene from the side, Kazuha-senpai who was late in her battle preparation chanted her spell in panic.

 

“O peerless master, make another showing from beyond the dream! Along with the flame of transmutation, liberate the memory that is sealed inside the silver mirror right here!! Kenki Tensei!!”

 

Spheres of fire burst out around Kazuha-senpai. From there the phantom of famous swordsmen that left behind their names in history were summoned―the phantom swordsmen that were created from the spheres of fire landed on the water surface just like that―they were drowning while kicking and struggling. While unfortunate, there was no space for summoning on top of the cramped boat.

 

The mute phantom swordsman were,

 

{What are you doing suddenly summoning us here gozaru-} {Uwaa~, you are making fun of us~}

 

…They were sinking into the black sea with that kind of feeling.

 

“Uwaa―! You guys are useless―!”

 

Kazuha-senpai was completely cornered into the depths of mayhem, she screamed while gripping the edge of the boat.

 

“Senpai, the magic that you chose to chant was mistaken there!”

 

That miss was surely because the tactic of first summoning the phantom swordsmen and then using them to buy time for her to chant higher magic had already completely became a habit.

 

“I am the shaman of sword…rock cleaved, root torn, sin severed, that spirit sword of crushing evil right now in this hand! Draw sword, Futsu no Mitama!!”

 

While Kazuki was grappling with the devil birds, he managed to chant that spell in some way or other.

 

Flames welled out inside Kazuki’s hand where a holy ancient sword was created.

 

If he held a sword, then the fight was his. The nose diving demon birds were cut down one after another.

 

{Ooh, splendid! This is just like Tsubame Gaeshi (AN: Swallow Reversal, Sasaki Kojiro’s secret technique)!}

 

Futsunushi no Kami’s phantom appeared and said so in cheers.

 

“Waa―! Kazuki! This time strange wriggling things from the sea are―!?”

 

When his attention was preoccupied with the sky, Kazuha-senpai’s scream reverberated once again. This time it was not from the sky but from the sea―countless tentacles were extending out and entangled the limbs of Kazuha-senpai.

 

“Wh, why is this thing not even sparing a glance at Hayashizaki, but only coming at me!?”

 

“Senpai, tentacles is this kind of Demon Beast! Before this when it attacked Mio it was also like this.”

 

“What kind of Demon Beast this is, doing something―! Uwa, stop it, don’t get inside the clothes!!”

 

The tentacles that were attached with suction pads on it pinned down the side of the boat while invading inside. Both of Kazuha-senpai’s arms and legs were captured. It forcefully opened up the four limbs and tried to creep in through the collar and hem stimulatingly.

 

The boat raised a cracking sound!

 

But the tentacles doing whatever it wanted to Kazuha-senpai was only for an instant.

 

Sensing the situation, Kazuki immediately ran his sword. First he cut down the tentacles that were going to invade into Kazuha-senpai’s clothes, then next he cut down the tentacles that were binding Kazuha-senpai’s arms and legs.

 

Kazuha-senpai that became free leaped vigorously to Kazuki and hugged him, making the boat shook violently.

 

But no matter how many tentacles he cut down, the main body of the Demon Beast was squirming inside the black sea. Katana wouldn’t reach. Using Barrett would be useless because it would disappear from the sea water. Facing the sea and firing lightning arrow would also endanger themselves. Then….

 

“O singing voice of mermaid, manifest the freezing thought. Sadness into ice flower, loneliness into light snowfall, cover the world with freezing vacuum…White Album!”

 

Kazuki chose Koyuki’s level 5 magic―a large scale magic that froze the designated space in its entirety. The monster inside the sea was frozen together with its surrounding sea water. And then most likely its breath was stopped just like that.

 

The dusky sea that was undergoing Haunted Ground transformation quickly became clear blue color.

 

Haunted Ground was spreading due to the existence of Demon Beast. By defeating the Demon Beast, the original scenery would be recovered.

 

“Ah, how tiresome~. Sorry, I’m just completely holding you back…”

 

Kazuha-senpai was weakly exhausted on top of the boat, she released a deep sigh.

 

“Senpai…this is still not the time to be relaxed yet.”

 

When the tentacles were clamping at Kazuha-senpai, Kazuki heard an awful voice of something cracking.

 

Cracks were entering the boat that was made from wood. Under both their feet, sea water was entering little by little.

 

“It’s flooding!?”

 

If the ship was broken in this place, the operation would be a failure. They wouldn’t be able to land inconspicuously.

 

“…Should we go back for a moment, using [Blazing Wings] back to Irago Cape?”

 

“Even though the opposing shore is just right there already…! It’s my fault…!”

 

Kazuha-senpai stared at the opposing shore mortifyingly. Even while she was doing that, the small boat kept sinking.

 

“That’s right! Let’s swim until the farther shore!”

 

“There are a lot of fishing ships. If we go across swimming while still wearing clothes, we will completely look like suspicious people, senpai.”

 

“Then let’s go by diving!” Kazuha-senpai faced the sea and pulled Kazuki’s arm.

 

“How are we going to maintain our breath!?”

 

“It’s okay, leave it to me! …I’ll relinquish my dishonor from before!!”

 

Kazuha-senpai forcibly kept pulling *gui gui* Kazuki’s arm, she was trying to make the both of them leap into the sea together. (If she really has some idea), Kazuki hardened his determination.

 

“We are going! One two-!!”

 

Water was splashing along with a yell, the two dove into the sea.

 

…What in the world is Kazuha-senpai planning?

 

When he opened his eyes inside the sea that had high rate of transparency, Kazuki saw a miraculous sight.

 

Bubbles that repelled blue lights were pouring down from the surface into the water to the location of Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai.

 

The bubble that was as big as a person’s head followed about around Kazuki’s face and then it entered inside his mouth.

 

…It’s air. Kazuha-senpai was pulling air into the water using Psychokinesis.

 

…Amazing. Once again, he felt that Kazuha-senpai’s talent in magic was not ordinary.

 

Kazuha-senpai grinned broadly inside the water and pointed at the direction of the land. Kazuki nodded at that.

 

If oxygen was supplied like this, then it was a distance that could be traversed sufficiently.

 

Utilizing magic and diving with one’s own body―this was his first experience, in a transparent blue world.

 

Changing from seagulls, this time it was fishes, they coiled about around Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai’s surrounding.


 

 

Part 2

 

“Puhaa―! I wondered for a second what’s going to happen to us there!”

 

Raising from the sea, Kazuha-senpai stood up on the beach unsteadily while taking a deep breath. But,

 

“Before we take a breather! Let’s move to a more hidden spot!”

 

This area was not a beach that had been developed for swimming place, there was no presence of human in the surrounding. But at any rate, the unobstructed view in the beach was too good. The afternoon sun was shining down on them. Kazuki held Kazuha-senpai’s hand tightly and ran away into the natural forest that grew thickly near the beach.

 

“Don, don’t suddenly hold my hand like this―!”

 

“Somehow there is this thrill that make the heart beat fast right?”

 

After escaping into the darkness of the forest, finally they could take a breather.

 

The two let out a wry chuckle while looking at each other’s face―Kazuki spontaneously caught his breath.

 

It was pink color―if he was asked what was pink, it was Kazuha-senpai’s underwear color.

 

Senpai’s remodeled Japanese clothing was wet and became see-through, making a faint pink color emerge through it.

 

Going after the swimsuit, it was a lovely underwear that made him feel the gap. That senpai was wearing this kind of underwear, that fact itself was cute. By any chance perhaps she put in a considerable fighting spirit into choosing that underwear.

 

Moreover because of her run-in with those tentacles and further with the swimming, her collar and hem was slovenly disordered.

 

Kazuki’s clothes too was also similarly drenched wet, it was clinging onto the skin heavily. Kazuha-senpai saw Kazuki’s state, then she noticed that herself was also in the same state, making her face boil red.

 

magika_no_kenshi_to_shoukan_maou_vol-06_056

 

“U, u, u, uWAA―!? Don’t look, don’t look this wayy―!!”

 

“So, sorry senpai! This is an act of god!!”

 

“I understand this is act of god or whatnot! I’m not particularly angry so just look behind―!!”

 

Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai turned back at the same time, making their backs meet.

 

“Senpai, let’s dry the clothes and our body with magic.”

 

Kazuki suggested. If they used Psychokinesis to get rid of the water and salt and then produced high temperature with Pyrokinesis, they could dry their clothes far quicker compared to letting it dry naturally.

 

“…I got it. Then I’m going to take off my clothes. Absolutely don’t look back.”

 

Kazuha-senpai answered like such for the sake of getting through this quickly.

 

Dryness was a process where the water particles escape to the air. Rather than letting the clothes dry while still wearing it, taking off the clothes and drying it off piece by piece would increase the surface area that came in contact with the air, making the drying-off several times faster.

 

…I wonder if this means that she trust me.

 

That Kazuha-senpai was, currently, becoming naked right behind himself.

 

Of course Kazuki didn’t have any intention to betray that trust. Absolutely none.

 

While determining his heart that he absolutely wouldn’t look behind, he himself removed the belt of his hakama and took off his remodeled Japanese clothes. Spreading out the taken-off clothes with his hands, he concentrated at his magic.

 

“Wa, WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!?”

 

However after only tens of seconds, Kazuha-senpai raised a scream.

 

“Kazuha-senpai!?”

 

Kazuki immediately turned his back. This couldn’t be helped.

 

This couldn’t be helped but, Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai too was still in their underwear appearance.

 

Their eyes met in a glance, shame flashed in Kazuha-senpai’s expression.

 

But on the contrary she didn’t continue that line of progress.

 

Kazuha-senpai screamed “Demon Beast!” and pointed to the direction forward.

 

Demon Beast she said? …This forest was real nature, it was by no means a Haunted Ground.

 

Even though this place was not supposed to be a Haunted Ground―there was a single crow in the direction that senpai pointed at.

 

It was just a normal bird in a single glance, but thick magic power was compressed inside that small body, warping the surrounding atmosphere slightly. And then above all, it had three legs.

 

Kazuki embraced Kazuha-senpai’s shoulder near him and changed their places. He stood in front to cover for her.

 

The three-legged crow was staring at Kazuki with eyes that was like black gem.

 

“…There is no need to be alert. I hold no hostility.”

 

“”The Demon Beast is talking!?”” Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai were taken aback in shock.

 

The situation where a crow was talking was bizarre but…the subject that he talked about was also strange.

 

The Demon Beast that materialized in this world because of Cancer(Malignant Alternate Boundary) was absolutely the enemy of the human race.

 

It was completely the instinct, the meaning of their existence, that Demon Beasts attack only humans.

 

…No need to be alert? Those were words that overturned the concept of Demon Beast right from its root.

 

“What is called Demon Beast is something that is established in Mythology as the enemy of human race…”

 

The three-legged crow opened its beak and spun human language.

 

“…I am different. I am something established to be the guide of the monarch <Yatagarasu>. O King of Solomon, the Japanase Mythology welcomes you. Please head to Ise Imperial Shrine just like that somehow.”

 

Welcomes? …Even though we came here to defeat Amaterasu.

 

If he assumed that this was not a Diva or a Demon Beast, then what in the world is this crow?

 

The crow that introduced itself as Yatagarasu informed just that and then it spread its black wings with a flap and flew away.

 

The instant it flew to the sky, that figure melted into the air and disappeared.

 

The left behind Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai were bewildered and stood stock still.

 

“…Kazuki, just now, what do you think is going on?”

 

Kazuha-senpai asked with voice mixed with confusion.

 

[Welcome]. Did it has the meaning exactly like the what word imply, or….

 

Yatagarasu―it was an existence that was made to be Amaterasu’s messenger in Japanese Mythology.

 

Both of them unintentionally faced each other. And then, they remembered once more that both of them were still in their underwear appearance.

 

“Waa!? I forgot, don’t look this way!!”

 

“I’m sorry, it’s an act of god!”

 

Both of them sprang up in startle and turned their back to each other again.

 

“…What’s with you, act of god, act of god. You keep saying that.”

 

While they resumed drying their clothes, Kazuha-senpai talked with a hint of complaint and then, *bump*, she threw her own back to Kazuki’s back. Kazuha-senpai’s back hair that fluttered behind tickled Kazuki’s nape.

 

Perhaps there ought to be some more words that he should say. Not an excuse that he said because he was afraid to be scolded. Because Kazuha-senpai was a much softer person than what her surface attitude hinted.

 

“Kazuha-senpai’s risqué appearance, really made my heart beat fast.”

 

“What are you saying, idiot!”

 

“The pink underwear was cute.”

 

“Aren’t you just thinking too simply that a girl will be happy as long as she got praised!?”

 

“It’s fine right, I said that was an act of god.”

 

“You are a pervert!” *BUMP! BUMP!* the hits to his back were strengthened.

 

But he had the hunch that senpai at this kind of time was not angry but rather she was enjoying herself.

 

“…Really, I’m finished already here.”

 

Behind Kazuki, there was the presence of Kazuha-senpai wearing her clothes in rustle.

 

“Eh, already!? That’s fast!”

 

“Hmph, that’s because you are saying stupid things. Idii―ot idii―ot. Magic good for nothing.”

 

Rotating with a twirl, Kazuha-senpai who had finished changing her clothes circled around to Kazuki’s front.

 

“Senpai…I’m, still in emergency here.”

 

Kazuki was taken aback being stared at right from the front.

 

“It’s doesn’t really matter right, you are man after all.”

 

What kind of reason was that? Kazuha-senpai bent her knees at that spot and squatted down, then her line of sight was creeping all over Kazuki’s body intently *jii―*.

 

“…Fuun, just as expected it’s a body with the feel of a boy. …Fuun.”

 

He didn’t really get embarrassed getting stared at but…for some reason he couldn’t concentrate on the magic.

 

 

 

When they walked from the coast to the city of Toba, the town that prospered from sightseeing and fishing industry was changed into quite a place from being put under the state of [times of war].

 

“First let’s settle down a little and talk about what we are going to do from now on.”

 

Saying that, Kazuki pointed at the eatery in the street corner. In Toba, there were a few eateries lining up. This eatery was called <Ama (AN: Female diver who collects shells, seaweed, etc.) hut> where people could eat fresh maritime products that were just picked by the diver.

 

“Now that you mentioned it, certainly my stomach is empty.”

 

Kazuha-senpai was also in agreement. …Today they were having a fairly rushed schedule until now. After Kazuki explained the outline of the operation yesterday they departed from Nagoya at the early morning the very next day, arriving at Irago Cape. There they sailed off after finishing the boat operation training, and then they landed at the town of Toba in Mie Prefecture right at this point of time, the time had already approaching midday. Everything were events that were happening throughout this morning.

 

They were in the middle of an important operation, be that as it may, it was hard to go against their sense of hunger.

 

If they didn’t have a meal here, they didn’t know what would happen from now on after this.

 

Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai sat side-by-side at the counter, then they ordered the shellfish combination platter that was the specialty here with the traveling expenses they received from Akane-senpai. At the opposite side of the counter, the auntie there lined up the shellfishes on the earthen charcoal brazier and started grilling.

 

With a voice so small that could only be heard by Kazuha-senpai, Kazuki confirmed the thing that he was concerned at the foremost.

 

“Regarding that <Yatagarasu> from before, does Futsunushi no Kami say anything at all?”

 

“I too asked inside my head what is that about but…”

 

A Telepathy directed at Astrum, it was that kind of thing.

 

“…That guy, he doesn’t give any reply and is ignoring me.”

 

So it was No Comment. Despite making frivolous talk like commenting someone’s sword skill as Tsubame Gaeshi or what else.

 

That crow called Yatagarasu, according to the myth it was the messenger of Amaterasu.

 

“What in the world does it mean with [Welcome]? Even though we are coming here for Japanese Mythology’s chief god…Amaterasu’s defeat. In the first place, isn’t Amaterasu supposed to lose her sanity from becoming a Wild God?”

 

There was something strange that he felt from Futsunushi no Kami’s story that was supposed to be the operation’s premise.

 

During the operation where they were infiltrating enemy territory that required caution, it was a terrifying matter for a doubt to rise to the surface towards the premise of the operation in the first place.

 

When Kazuki exposed Futsunushi no Kami’s insincerity, Kazuha-senpai made a sad face.

 

“Bu, but Futsunushi no Kami is…”

 

“Of course it’s not like I’m thinking that Futsunushi no Kami is Yamato’s spy or something like that.”

 

When Kazuki said so, Kazuha-senpai released a breath in relief.

 

“If Futsunushi no Kami and Yatagarasu are trying to set a trap for us, there is no need at all to make that kind of greeting to us.”

 

Of course he was doubtful whether he really could accept that [Welcome] Yatagarasu said at face value, but wasn’t what Yatagarasu meant to declare at that time was that [this is not a trap].

 

“…I feel some doubt that this operation can proceed just as planned, but for the time being there is nothing we can do except go to Ise Imperial Shrine to see what’s happening there.”

 

What awaited them at that place, was it really [a battle against Amaterasu] or…. If by some chance that was not what going to happen, then for what kind of reason did Futsunushi no Kami call Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai here.

 

…If he was called to the enemy territory here because of some ill will though, then that was the worst situation.

 

“Here, our specialty the large manilla clam! You two are whispering secretly there, but this is not delicious when it’s not freshly baked. Chuck the food to your mouth quickly and eat up!! (AN: The auntie is speaking with some kind of local dialect here. [Should be Mie dialect; they are in Mie, after all])”

 

The auntie presented the large plate piled up with clams from across the counter.

 

The moment they saw it, Kazuha-senpai went “Wha, this is different with the clam that I know!?” and raised her voice. What they saw was something excessively large to be called clam, its size was almost as big as a palm of a child. Adding to its plump body, soup was pooling in plenty on its shell, the nice aroma of salt rising up.

 

Next the auntie handed over a big serving of rice. Kazuha-senpai immediately ate a mouthful of the clam, after that she gulped down the rice heartily, “Delicious-!” her expression brightened.

 

The auntie laughed in a good mood seeing at that scene.

 

“I’m still grilling lot and lot here! There is turban scallop, or this yesso scallop!”

 

Kazuki looked around inside the shop once more. It was a snug eatery, but its walls were decorated with autographs of celebrities that even Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai knew. There was even the picture of the auntie in a wet suit as a diver hung on the wall. …Inside that mundane atmosphere, it made them feel a peace of mind somehow.

 

It appears that even when this place changed from Japan into Yamato, the life of the normal people didn’t change at all.

 

“…Kazuha-senpai, your [Delicious!] just now is not good. You don’t look like a local.”

 

Kazuki lowered his voice and whispered on her ears. “Ah, I see!” Kazuha-senpai pressed her own mouth.

 

“Senpai, let’s make our setting as a bacouple that doesn’t read the atmosphere even in this kind of emergency and still come to sightseeing.”

 

Kazuha-senpai went “Eeeehh!?” and lost her presence of mind.

 

“I have heard that it’s difficult to get exposed in infiltration mission when the spies act like a couple.”

 

While Kazuki was whispering, he embraced Kazuha-senpai’s waist and brought her closer to him.

 

Kazuha-senpai twitched for a moment in hesitation, but perhaps she immediately judged in her reasoning that such method could work, she meekly reclined on Kazuki’s shoulder.

 

“…But, I don’t understand what should we do to act as a couple you know.”

 

Her cheeks was slightly colored and she whispered weakly.

 

“I think it’s fine if we use Mio’s words as reference.”

 

“…I see. It’s that kind of feeling…”

 

Mio who could make someone understand in one mention was really Mio. Kazuha-senpai nodded slightly. And then she was nuzzling herself on top of Kazuki’s shoulder like a small animal. “…Kazu-kun, aa―n.” Like so, she whispered with a sweet voice while presenting a large clam with a chopstick. Kazuki received a shock in his chest. …Kazu-kun, she said?

 

What in the world was this throbbing inside his chest? [This is gap moe desu, Kazuki-oniisan!!] He had the feeling that Lotte’s voice was reverberating inside his head.

 

After Kazuki accepted that clam with his mouth and ate it, this time he returned the favor to Kazuha-senpai.

 

“Kazuha, aa―n.” Like that the two of them turned in their seat while flirting and fed each other with clams.

 

“…Thi, this is too embarrassing…”

 

“But Kazuha right now, is awfully cute. I’m having a throbbing I have never felt until now.”

 

“Sto, stop it you idiot! Geez…stupid Kazu-kun…”

 

This person, wasn’t she get too carried away with the mood?

 

“Ooaa~! You two suddenly become really intimate! You know this clam, when fellow lovers eat this there is this legend that you will be able to marry your companion perfectly, eat a lot!!”

 

The auntie in the counter lined up a lot of grilled clams one after another in front of Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai.

 

Somehow it’s just like what they aimed for, it seemed they could finish this without looking suspicious.

 

“…I’m doing this, only for the sake of the mission so…”

 

Kazuha-senpai whispered subduedly.

 

“Then I will fully enjoy this situation while it lasts. Her Kazuha, aa―n.”

 

Kazuki embraced her waist even stronger and gave the newly arriving clam to senpai with ‘aa―n’. Kazuha-senpai too helplessly cuddled her body closer and obediently chewed the food.

 

“…However I never thought it would become something this outrageous.”

 

―A voice from behind.

 

Even while flirting with Kazuha-senpai, Kazuki didn’t miss that voice of the local customer.

 

When he took a glance behind, there were two male customers around their thirties sitting in the back table seat.

 

“Those brats are thinking that it’s interesting, but to say such thing like a war with Japan. They are thinking such an unbelievable idea. Saying things like the Solomon 72 Pillar is trying to take over the country, though I think there might be some truth in that.” (AN: These locals also talk with really heavy accent.)

 

“But those guys in the new government of Yamato became too eager in war with that Japan. They are completely apathetic with the life of we the common people, it’s really vexing ze. Even when a Haunted Ground appears they just leave it alone, when it’s still Japan such thing is unthinkable.”

 

“The Haunted Ground has spread until the sea around here huh, recently. When we are going fishing we have to be careful not to carelessly step into that area. …Even though this sea of Ise is Amaterasu-sama’s important kitchen don’t you agree?”

 

“This is because they just leave alone the Ise Imperial Shrine as that stupidly huge Haunted Ground in the first place. With such atrocious accursed things going on…are we really tying a contract with the Divas of Japanese Mythology here?”

 

“Who knows, no matter which shrine, all of it became under construction or something that we cannot even pray to god. Really this situation really stinks. When push comes to shove us the men of sea might just use the ships to make off from here!”

 

“…Kazu-kun, you heard?”

 

Kazuha-senpai whispered into his ears while continuing their act as a couple.

 

There was some part of him that became mushy in his chest when ‘Kazu-kun’ was whispered on his ear, but this was not the time to think about such thing.

 

…They said that, Ise Imperial Shrine had become a stupidly huge Haunted Ground?

 

 

Anyway, for the time being they had no other choice except to go to Ise Imperial Shrine and see it with their own eyes.

 

Hardening his heart like that, the moment they exited the store Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai put themselves on guard.

 

Because right before the store, Yatagarasu was perching on the ground and was waiting for Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai.

 

Yatagarasu silently directed its beak to the direction of the west, and then it flapped its wings and went flying heading to the west.

 

It didn’t say anything, but its intention was obvious.

 

There was a distance around 10 kilometers from this harbor of Toba to the Ise Imperial Shrine in the west.


 

 

Part 3

 

The rail transport was in operation, but the electric train of Sangū (AN: This is the word they used in Japan that mean visit to the Ise Imperial Shrine.) line couldn’t travel to the nearest station to Ise Imperial Shrine.

 

The train didn’t operate except until <Futamiura> a few stations before that nearest station to the Ise Imperial Shrine.

 

There was a poster pasted inside the station premise that said [Evacuation counsel information of the present].

 

It was a situation where there was an evacuation recommendation for the area around Ise Imperial Shrine.

 

“…Surely it’s because Ise Imperial Shrine has become a Haunted Ground, it is expanding little by little that causes the train to be unable to come near there.”

 

Kazuki too nodded his agreement of Kazuha-senpai’s deduction.

 

With no other way they first went to the station called Futamiura. From there they began to walk to Ise Imperial Shrine.

 

Futamiura was supposed to be an area where an evacuation recommendation still hasn’t come out yet, but maybe because there were a lot of people that began to evacuate out of their own initiative, the street that the two walked in front of the station was deserted. While walking Kazuki took out a map from his waist bag. This bag was water proof, so the map inside it was not wet.

 

“Futamiura is here, so the distance until Ise Imperial Shrine is…eh? There are two Ise Imperial Shrine in the map though.”

 

Hearing Kazuki’s confused voice, Kazuha-senpai who was walking beside him brought her face near and peeked inside the map.

 

“Aah, that one.” Like that she pointed at two points on the map. “These are the outer shrine and inner shrine of Ise. You didn’t know this and you accepted this mission? There are two Ise Imperial Shrine.”

 

The outer shrine and the inner shrine was separated with distance around 5 kilos and they are respectively located in different places.

 

…Although if there were two different sets it was better if it was nearer.

 

“It’s fine, Amaterasu-Oomikami (AN: Oomikami means god. It’s a more honorable way to mention god in Japan) is located in the inner shrine, so I think it’s fine to ignore the outer shrine this time. But when people are visiting normally, it’s a manner to go from the outer shrine you know. At the outer shrine, there is this goddess called <Toyouke no Oomikami> that is taking care of Amaterasu.”

 

I see, so it’s a god of maid then. Rather he would want to go to that shrine personally.

 

“There is around 8 kilos until there.” While saying such thing Kazuki took Kazuha-senpai’s hand.

 

“…What are you doing, this hand of yours.”

 

“Although the presence of people here is only a few, we who are intentionally walking to the direction of the dangerous Ise Imperial Shrine are suspicious when looked from the side. That’s why let’s act like a couple again!”

 

“Act, acting like couple again!? Are you thinking that as long as we act like a couple that everything will turn out okay!?”

 

“I’m not thinking like that, but I’m thinking that as long as there is some kind of excuse then I want to act like a couple.”

 

“You are too honest there! Idiot!!”

 

“But it’s also certain that a couple won’t get suspected. A couple that is going to a place where there are no people’s eye around…bacouple that wants to show the girl a good place and intentionally go to a dangerous place…it has a power of persuasion in double meaning! Come here, Kazuha.”

 

“Uu―, certainly that is so. …I get it okay, Kazu-kun.”

 

Kazuha-senpai gently hugged Kazuki’s arm and she reclined her body on his shoulder.

 

That Kazuha-senpai (just an act though) was fawning on him honestly.

 

…The day where he would get used to this gap still hasn’t come for the present time.

 

“Just as I thought, you really have a solid body…”

 

While lightly nuzzling herself on Kazuki, Kazuha-senpai vacantly leaked out such words.

 

{What an unexpected journey of pilgrimage huh?} Inside Kazuki, Leme was making fun of him.

 

 

 

While they were walking, they grasped the transformation that happened clearly. A line of Haunted Ground was generated right there.

 

From around over the Isuzu River, the road was transforming little by little.

 

The texture of the road that was made from black asphalt was changed into something that felt clinging onto their shoe sole like dripping mud. The residence home along the road grew dull in color into grayish color and looked worn out. Its external appearance looked dirty like abandoned buildings. Even the Isuzu River that was said to be holy became a completely pure black stream. The sky was also shrouded with dark clouds all of a sudden, making a gloomy weather.

 

It appears that what the people said that Ise Imperial Shrine had turned into a Haunted Ground was true. With Ise Imperial Shrine as the center, even its surrounding was swallowed and the Haunted Ground kept spreading.

 

Kazuki pictured the map that he saw before in his head. It was about 5 kilos from here to the Ise Imperial Shrine. That meant that the scale of this Haunted Ground was about 5 kilos in radius.

 

“How awful…did Yamato really not set out to exterminate the Demon Beasts?”

 

Kazuha-senpai pulled a wry face looking at the street that was completely transformed.

 

And then she separated her body from Kazuki. Kazuki too didn’t feel any reluctance from the separation.

 

The existence of Demon Beast most likely also meant that there would be battle.

 

Cancer―pure magic power that spilled out from Astrum into this world, it then transformed into Demon Beast.

 

If this Demon Beast isn’t exterminated quickly, it would call even more Cancer and increase the number of Demon Beasts. When Demon Beast multiplication like this was allowed, its surrounding space would be polluted by thick magic power and become completely distorted. A land of Demon Beast where humans couldn’t live, in that case it had finished transforming into a Haunted Ground.

 

To defend against the expansion of Haunted Ground, exterminating the materialized Demon Beast speedily was also one of the most important jobs of the Knight Order. It seemed that Yamato’s provisional government shirked its duty to do that.

 

Like this the area of Ise would be encroached completely.

 

―But saying it in reverse this meant that they didn’t need to fear Yamato’s soldiers in this Haunted Ground. They didn’t defeat any Demon Beast in the Haunted Ground and yet they posted a large number of soldiers inside the Haunted Ground, such action was not skillful at all.

 

As expected Yamato’s government didn’t hear anything at all from the Wild Gods about the importance of Ise Imperial Shrine.

 

Although the Wild Gods became part of their battle strength, their failure in taking close communication with the Wild Gods exposed a fatal gap in their armor.

 

“But Hayashizaki, isn’t this strange? For the Ise Imperial Shrine to become the Haunted Ground so accurately…I think it’s just too contrived somehow.”

 

…Certainly. However if this happening was not just a coincidence…then that meant the government of Yamato intentionally changed the Ise Imperial Shrine into a Haunted Ground. How? For what reason?

 

With its change into a Haunted Ground, maybe it was for the replacement of its defense squad. Possibly Amaterasu’s change into Wild God and Ise Imperial Shrine’s transformation into a Haunted Ground had some kind of connection.

 

They surely wouldn’t understand anything if they didn’t advance forward.

 

Kazuha-senpai patted around her own waist. Guessing the meaning of that action, Kazuki reflexively laughed. Kazuha-senpai returned a wry smile on that reaction.

 

“…When there is no katana on our hips, as expected people like us cannot calm down.”

 

“We can use Summoning Magic so it’s fine senpai.”

 

For a long time Kazuki had relied on his pride of his skill in sword technique. However before he knew it, he had already thought of his fight using Summoning Magic with similar pride.

 

It was not like sword skill had become something trivial for him. How he was able to handle sword skill just like Kanae, and how he could chant the same Summoning Magic just like everyone in the Witch’s Mansion, he was equally proud on both.

 

“Fufufuu. Actually, I’m not only practicing sword skill but also doing special training for Summoning Magic recently! Now I’m able to use magic until level 6 you see!”

 

Kazuha-senpai said that as if naturally sympathizing with Kazuki’s inner thought.

 

Kazuha-senpai was born with an excellent talent in magic, but she yearned for swordsman instead of Magika Stigma since she was a child. She was a rare person that didn’t make an effective use of that talent at all.

 

She made a contract with Futsunushi no Kami that was worshipped in her own household even before Solomon 72 Pillar could discover her talent, but she didn’t do any training for Summoning Magic at all, nevertheless she could handle her magic until level 5.

 

If that kind of person seriously set out to train her magic seriously…. For her to become able to use magic until level 6 already, Kazuki who was also a magic swordsman like her couldn’t be careless lest he gets left behind.

 

Kazuha-senpai spun a spell in preparation for battle and performed Access.

 

“…My crimson hand is red hot grasping the ore. Ridge in the sky, blade in the earth, combining in a flash become namely a sole sword. Thy inscription is <Futsunushi no Kami>! O god of steel and fire, show that forging!”

 

The god of sword and blacksmith, Futsunushi no Kami granted a burning flame to Kazuha-senpai. The flame was spreading on senpai’s clothing, its Prima Material disintegrated transforming the shape into a totally different battle costume―Magic Dress.

 

“For a long time, I only fuss over sword, but when I see Hayashizaki I want to become stronger and stronger doing both sword and magic together. After all you and I are the same magic swordsman!”

 

Kazuha-senpai’s expression shined brightly.

 

“Senpai, when you talk about strength you are really lively.”

 

“Is that so? …That’s right huh. I was born in a household that worship god of sword. My father is also a swordsman…but swordsman is weak compared to Summoning Magic and the surrounding is also looking at them in contempt…I too became obstinate and became a swordsman but for a long time I had no talent at all and made fun of…honestly it was really miserable.”

 

Thinking back once more, it was something like a miracle that she was raised with such a straightforward personality like this after she went through a twisted path for half her life. The nature of Kazuha-senpai herself was strong, surely she was fine because of how bright a person she was.

 

“…I think that’s why the feeling of wanting to become even stronger than others is instilled into me. The feeling of always wanting to become stronger and stronger doesn’t vanish. Though somehow it’s an unbecoming boorishness for a woman. …Hahaha.”

 

Kazuha-senpai floated a bitter smile awkwardly.

 

“That’s not true at all. The lively Kazuha-senpai at that time is even more charming than usual. …All the more because normally Kazuha-senpai is not honest at all to me.”

 

“Hmph, don’t say such cheeky thing even though you are just my junior!”

 

When Kazuki talked as if he was poking fun at Kazuha-senpai, she scolded him overbearingly,

 

“…But when I’m together with you, I have a feeling that I can become stronger without any limit…”

 

Whisperingly, she said so in addition. A heart mark that signed the increase of positivity level came flying from her chest.

 

She was being shy for some reason. The both of them walked side by side silently for a while.

 

“―Now that I remember senpai, the waist bag was also disintegrated and became the Magic Dress wasn’t it?”

 

When Magika Stigma performed Access, things that were attached to the body were dispersed into Prima Material by the reality distortion called magic power, and then it was reconstructed as Magic Dress with the contracted Diva’s divine response as support.

 

Did the waist bag also get swallowed by that distortion?

 

“Ah, that’s true! Like this I cannot eat the cracker that I brought as snack!!”

 

Kazuha-senpai who realized her lost waist bag after being told patted her own waist with some slaps and raised a sad voice.

 

 

 

While paying sufficient attention to their surrounding, Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai advanced through the road of the Haunted Ground.

 

―After a few minutes of walking, Kazuki went “Please wait” and held Kazuha-senpai back.

 

“Please reinforce senpai’s eyesight with magic power and look far ahead. There is something.”

 

Ahead in the road of the Haunted Ground that continued straight forward, his reinforced eyesight caught a bizarre human shadow.

 

Even though Kazuha-senpai nervously *gulp* swallowed her saliva, she gathered magic power in her eyes…then her face was dyed with a color of bewilderment. The thing that Kazuki saw was also clearly visible for her.

 

“…Ee―err, what is it, that thing?”

 

“It’s a warrior isn’t it?” Kazuki answered.

 

“…That’s surely a warrior huh, that thing there. …But that answer doesn’t resolve any question at all.”

 

What was standing in the path far ahead, was a suspicious man in armor and helmet.

 

Several pieces of steel plate pasted together and built into one, it was a large armor that looked bulky and heavy.

 

Its face was covered with helmet and face cover. Only the glint of its eye could be peeked from the outside.

 

It was an armored warrior that looked like as if it flew out right from the Sengoku (AN: Warring States period (of Japanese history, approx. 1467-1568 CE)) period, walking heavily in roaming on the road that had been transformed into Haunted Ground.

 

Don’t tell me that it was Yamato’s defensive squad? Even though this was inside a Haunted Ground? Wouldn’t they get attacked by the Demon Beast?

 

…No, is that actually human? He couldn’t feel any human-like will from the armored warrior that was roaming the street. Rather, its atmosphere was more beastly closer with a Demon Beast that wandered restlessly.

 

“It looks like an opponent that we cannot pass by acting like a couple. Let’s go through another road.”

 

All along the path they could use to reach their destination of Ise Imperial Shrine was not only one. Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai turned back through the street and turned into the bend across. They advanced through a different street.

 

―Even ahead of that street was also loitered with armored warrior, making them come into a halt.

 

For some reason the armored warrior was not alone, looked like there were a lot of them wandering around. There were increasingly several of them.

 

…Is there no other way than defeating them? When Kazuki began to incline on bulldozing his way through inside his heart,

 

“Hayashizaki. How about we climb the building and go from rooftop to rooftop? I have the feeling that those guys don’t look anywhere except straight ahead.”

 

Kazuha-senpai pointed at the roof of the building beside them and said that.

 

That was actually the house of the citizen before this place was transformed into Haunted Ground, but now it had lost its color and became grayish. It was weathering and looked worn-out, exposing its concrete frame and became an abandoned building.

 

…Certainly that armored warrior didn’t seem to be really that vigilant until that far. If they advance through the roof of the buildings it didn’t seem like the warrior would intentionally direct its eyes their way.

 

“But they will notice our footsteps right? Somehow it looks like they have a sharp bestial sense.”

 

“Then it’s fine if we don’t make any voice don’t you agree? It’s that easy.”

 

While talking, Kazuha-senpai put her hand on the outer wall of the building that looked abandoned, then she climbed to the roof in one go with physical strength that had been reinforced with magic power. The moment she landed on the roof, the landing sound was&mdash;not there.

 

As if an unseen cushion covered both the feet of Kazuha-senpai.

 

And then she beckoned Kazuki with her hand.

 

Kazuki too similarly climbed the outer wall and landed on the roof. The sound was not there as expected. Kazuki had the sensation that his underfoot was enveloped by some kind of magic power. He directed a surprised pair of eyes to Kazuha-senpai.

 

“…By any chance did senpai erase the sound using magic power?”

 

“This is not really something to be surprised about right? Something like sound is just a vibration in the air, so isn’t it just a simple field of Psychokinesis?”

 

Kazuha-senpai said it nonchalantly but Kazuki couldn’t help but became tongue-tied.

 

Certainly sound manipulation&mdash;didn’t need much energy even though it vibrated the air in minute detail.

 

But the magic power control for it was something really difficult because it was hard to image something like that. Sensing the unseen sound wave, it was still easier to simply magnify it, but to do a stunt like beautifully offsetting the sound wave was not supposed to be something so simple.

 

…She might be a prodigy. This person might be above anybody else in the Witch’s Mansion in the field that didn’t have any connection with Summoning Magic.

 

Of course Summoning Magic was the one that was useful in battle, but general magic that was effective in detailed practical use undoubtedly shone bright in special missions like this infiltration operation.

 

“I’m also erasing your footstep, so let’s pass through the armored warriors just like this using the rooftop.”

 

With a little pride, Kazuha-senpai was soundlessly hopping around *pyon pyon* in the rooftop.

 

So that they became hard to see from the ground, the two of them took a low posture with their waist dropped and leaped from rooftop to rooftop just like the great thief of the Edo period.

 

After they passed an increasingly fair number of armored warriors from on top of the roof, their gait became even more careful. Suddenly Kazuha-senpai pointed at something a little far ahead.

 

There was a blue light generated ahead of where she was pointing, *PAN!* and then a little sound as if air was bursting out could be heard.

 

The armored warrior reacted to that and turned away. It walked heavily to the direction of the sound.

 

…If she could erase sound, then producing sound was also something possible.

 

Kazuha-senpai grinned broadly while looking at Kazuki. Kazuki too returned a smile and jest around with light feeling.

 

“Senpai…how many pranks have you done until now with that ability? I have a feeling that small trick can be completely misused.”

 

“I, I never did anything like a prank! After all…I don’t have any friends that I can prank or boast to…”

 

He was just teasing lightly, but Kazuha-senpai hung her head down heavily.

 

“Senpai…if you are fine with me then please prank me as much as you want.”

 

“No, I don’t need that kind of appeal! I’m not that bored that I’m going to prank someone like you!”

 

While they were doing that exchange with small voices, even more armored warriors were walking heavily from ahead of the street, making Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai be taken aback. It seemed that there really is a great number of these armored warriors.

 

They still must not descend down from the rooftop.

 

They steadily flew through the roof of the lining up low buildings in the residential area that had been transformed into Haunted Ground and advanced.

 

Thereupon on their path, a tall [seven floor multi-tenant building] that stuck out compared to its surrounding stood on their way.

 

Probably it was originally filled with various shops that became tenant there. On the side of the tall and narrow abandoned building, several sticking out billboards that were written with something unreadable because of the pitch black filth on them could be seen.

 

“Ha, Hayashizaki…are we going to climb this too?” Kazuha-senpai looked up at the building and flinched back.

 

…That’s right, if it was Enchant Aura then he was the more skilled one. As if opposing Kazuha-senpai who was so haughty since a while ago, Kazuki went “Fuffuffu” and chuckled.

 

“Well then, please leave it to me this time. I’ll leave the footsteps to senpai.”

 

After declaring so, he forcefully lifted up Kazuha-senpai who was in the posture of standing upright.

 

Kazuha-senpai who was settled into Kazuki’s arms struggled around with a bright red face.

 

“Wait a second! You don’t need to lift me with princess-carry like this right, you can just carry me on your back!”

 

“This is not just a mere princess-carry. This is Hayashizaki-style Last Secret Art [Wedding・Love Lift]!”

 

Kazuki was turning round and round like a merry-go-round while carrying Kazuha-senpai in his arms.

 

“Last Secret Art!? So Hayashizaki-style is just a joke school of sword art like that!? Why are you revolving!?”

 

“Kanae was the one that authorized this as the Last Secret Art though. There is no meaning at all in the revolving. Here we go!”

 

Kazuki faced the multi-tenant building while still carrying Kazuha-senpai and jumped.

 

Stepping his foot on the billboard that was sticking out from the wall, he made the second jump by using it as a foothold.

 

Using the billboard as foothold like a stair, he kept jumping from one billboard to the next. Kazuha-senpai was offsetting all the sounds from Kazuki’s action. Matching their breaths splendidly, they managed to finished their leaps completely soundless.

 

Only the distance from the last billboard to the rooftop was slightly taller than the previous jumps.

 

“Berserk!”

 

Kazuki immediately chanted a level 1 reinforcement magic that he could quickly invoke. The reflexes reinforcement was trivial in this case, his aim was the physical strength reinforcement even just for a little.

 

With that boosting, Kazuki was able to splendidly land on top of the roof of the abandoned building soundlessly.

 

He could see the surrounding Haunted Ground with one sweep of the eye from the top of the building. There was a conspicuously darkened forest and building in the center of the Haunted Ground. That was surely the Ise Imperial Shrine there.

 

“Perhaps both of us are a combination duo that is suited to infiltration missions, aren’t we?”

 

“Do, don’t just keep grinning happily, let me down quickly-!”

 

Even while a small heart mark flew from Kazuha-senpai, she said that from her mouth and struggled around.

 

Kazuki obediently lowered Kazuha-senpai down.

 

“..Eh? You are simply letting me down like that?”

 

Kazuha-senpai made an unsatisfied face. Kazuki made a stiff face and faced Kazuha-senpai.

 

“Senpai…we are seen.”

 

…It seemed this mission wouldn’t be that simple.

 

Kazuki whose eyesight was further reinforced with [Berserk] sensed the small movement amidst the scenery.

 

“Eh…we are seen you said, here is the tenth floor’s rooftop you know?”

 

Kazuha-senpai whispered dumbfoundedly.

 

―At that moment, that human shadow moved out. A human shadow so small like a speck dust that was not visible from the rooftop where Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai were standing was moving out with terrific speed. It was heading to this direction.

 

Kazuki was just a moment late in his decision to escape&mdash;it was caused by the height of the ten-floor building that originally wouldn’t let a human jump down to the ground safely that made his instinct hesitate.

 

The small human shadow that began to move leaped from the street to the rooftop, making all the surrounding buildings as foothold with superhuman nimbleness―with no time to even say ‘ah’, it jumped from rooftop to rooftop to the roof where Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai were.

 

Under the sky of the Haunted Ground that was filled with dark clouds, on the rooftop of a narrow building, Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai confronted that.

 

Following the armored warrior, this one was a figure with bizarre external appearance.

 

The image that floated inside his head with one glance was―[specter lemur].

 

A small build that was slender like a monkey, however only both its eyes were big like a monster. Its eyeball was even bigger than a clenched fist―was this really human?

 

With its body clad in pure black costume, only that huge eyeball was exposed from the hood it wore.

 

A completely ninja-like figure. So that was it, there was not only armored warrior here.

 

At the same time Kazuki recalled once more that this place was a Haunted Ground.

 

Was this guy human, or Demon Beast, he couldn’t make a distinction which one was it.

 

“My Lord…My Lord…I found it…Stigmata…Found it…”

 

The ninja with build like a monkey leaked out a muffled voice from its mouth that was covered with hood. It was a faint small voice that was not audible except for Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai that were in that place. However―

 

{…Both of your eyes are my eyes…. Is that so, so those guys had come. If they had stepped their foot on this ground, they cannot escape already!}

 

From above the pitch black clouds that filled the sky of the Haunted Ground, a voice was reverberating. The words could be differentiated, but it was a muffled voice that he couldn’t make the distinction whether the speaker was male or female.

 

That was a spell being spun.

 

{Here a thick cloud rise, put up the barrier that confine all calamity. …My <Yaegaki> (AN: Fences within fences) of tranquility right here. …Izumo Yaegaki・Dankai Bakufu(Severed World Cascade)!!}

 

A magic was invoked―the black cloud that fully covered the sky began to flow fiercely.

 

The clouds spread thinly in the blink of eye, and then it languidly dropped down to the ground at the direction of the sky’s edge. A dome. The cloud in the sky covered the Haunted Ground in the shape of hemisphere, shutting them in from the outside world.

 

…They couldn’t escape? A cold sensation ran through Kazuki’s spine. That meant the failure of their infiltration. On top of being discovered by the enemy, their escape path was blocked.

 

“My Lord…Stigmata…My Lord…Stigmata, Kill! Stigmata Kill!”

 

The monkey-like ninja leaked out a voice like he was talking in delirium.

 

{So the King of Solomon 72 Pillar has come to this ground…this war is over if that guy is killed. Sounds good, if he can be killed then I don’t mind if you kill him to your heart’s content!}

 

The voice from the sky gave his acknowledgement. Thereupon the monkey ninja raised an unthinkable loud voice from beyond its hood.

 

“…nnn, nGIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!”

 

Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai’s ears naturally shone with defensive magic power to protect their eardrums. It was a voice so loud to that degree. There was no doubt that it likely reverberated through the Haunted Ground. Kazuki sensed that innumerable gazes were simultaneously directed to this direction from the ground. This guy called his comrades!

 

“Senpai, it’s bad if we stay here! Let’s escape!!”

 

Kazuki finally threw his instinct to the wind and moved in action. He carried Kazuha-senpai once more and leaped with all his strength to the ground. “Kazuki!?” Kazuha-senpai raised a confused scream.

 

The building’s rooftop―from the height of more than 30 meters―to the ground.

 

*DAA―NN!* Kazuki landed on the ground while raising a grand sound this time. The sole of Kazuki’s feet, his knees, all were shining with blue defensive magic power and vanished the impact of the landing.

 

Kazuki took the hand of Kazuha-senpai and he dashed with speed that Kazuha-senpai could barely follow.

 

He repeated the path that they followed until this point in one go.

 

“Let’s conceal ourselves and give them the slip!”

 

The armored warriors on the ground were all heading here simultaneously and gave chase.

 

However Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai’s running foot exceeded the heavy armored warriors. They widened the distance from the pursuers in the blink of an eye. The majority of the armored warriors would surely lose sight of Kazuki’s figure immediately if he ran away like this.

 

“NGIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!”

 

But that ninja that looked completely like a monkey also jumped down and came chasing Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai. It kicked the wall of the surrounding building and accelerated itself and rapidly shrunk its distance with Kazuki.

 

A pure black bow and arrow was set up in the hand of that ninja unnoticed.

 

*SHUU* An arrow was fired cutting through the air. The aim was, Kazuha-senpai.

 

As if she had foresighted the trajectory of the arrow, senpai’s body quickly evaded the arrow.

 

Kazuki was surprised for just an instant looking at that splendid body movement, but he immediately returned his awareness to the ninja.

 

“Barrett!”

 

Kazuki returned fire to the ninja with a fire arrow. The ninja was blown back while shining with defensive magic power.

 

…Yosh, they are going to hide themselves just like this!

 

{I already said that you cannot escape! I’m not going to let you ignore my words you’ll see!!}

 

From above the head of Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai who ran with all their might, a voice and spell were coming down.

 

{…Izumo Yaegaki・Kumoito Shibari(Wind Thread Binding)!!}

 

From the dome-shaped cloud that covered the sky, two strings of [string of cloud] were slithering down. Its tips chased the escaping Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai and twined itself around their body at once.

 

The cloud strings twined around Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai, but there was nothing happening to them like restriction in their movement or the like. But the cloud strings kept elongating lengthily no matter how far they went, tying Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai with the sky.

 

This is a mark! Kazuki comprehended that string’s aim. ―If this string of cloud was followed from the sky, then no matter where Kazuki was inside this Haunted ground his location would be constantly known.

 

“Futsu no Mitama!!”

 

Kazuha-senpai immediately chanted her spell and created Futsunushi no Kami’s divine sword. The evil crushing sword that severed various magic effect like curse or seal. That sword was directed to the string of cloud and swept sideways.

 

But―it was not cut. The blade didn’t return any feedback to the hand holding it and passed through the cloud string completely.

 

“This is…a magic power that’s more superior than even Futsu no Mitama!” Kazuha-senpai raised her voice.

 

“What is the meaning of this, Futsunushi no Kami!”

 

Kazuki yelled while running with all his power.

 

“Even though there shouldn’t be any mistake on our part in the infiltration until here, that guy called Yatagarasu sensed our presence! If by any chance someone acquired the knowledge of our movement, that must be because someone blabbed their mouth! Moreover this magic called [Izumo Yaegaki]…this is the magic of Japanese Mythology!!”

 

Kazuki couldn’t think of any other explanation for this situation other than that the Japanese Mythology had screwed with him.

 

“Futsunushi no Kami! You are betraying me and Hayashizaki, and led us to a trap!?”

 

Beside Kazuha-senpai that raised a sorrowful voice―the avatar of the god of sword emerged out.

 

There was no mistake that Futsunushi no Kami was the one that created this situation.

 

{Wrong…that Yatagarasu is not an enemy. I led you two to this place…not for a trap. This is not a trap but a request. In this ground, I wish for you to save Japanese Mythology. The magic from before, is <Susanoo> of Izumo …one of Japanese Mythology’s two great chief god, Susanoo’s magic.}

 

“Two great chief god!? The chief god is not just Amaterasu, but there are two of them!?”

 

Kazuki raised a shocked voice after listening to the unexpected truth. Kazuki immediately thought that he was tricked by Futsunushi no Kami. …However, now that he thought back Futsunushi no Kami never said anything about defeating Amaterasu, only that he had to defeat the chief god. But…to save Japanese Mythology?

 

{…Defeat Susanoo, rescue the sealed Amaterasu and save Japanese Mythology, that is my request.}

 

If I save Amaterasu just like you say, will the Wild Gods recover their sanity!?”

 

Futsunushi no Kami was once more giving them information in small amounts intentionally and making them fall into confusion. Even if he didn’t spout lies, that was just one type of swindling. Just as he thought it was fine to say that he was deceived.

 

This is surely not a trap, he believed that.

 

However, the most important point was if he manage to achieve what Futsunushi no Kami asked then [would Yamato’s Wild Gods return to their sanity?]. If that was possible, then he didn’t mind whatever course he had to go through.

 

“NGIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!! STIGMATAAAAAAAAA!!”

 

Strange voice reverberated shrilly from their back. This was not the place for talking. An arrow was also fired subsequently at them.

 

“Berserk!”

 

Kazuki reinforced his dynamic vision once again and brushed off the flying arrow at him barehanded.

 

“Hayashizaki! If we can just turn this guy back then I think we won’t need to worry of getting discovered. Let’s fight!”

 

Kazuha-senpai halted, then she turned back and faced the enemy.

 

“That’s right isn’t it, let’s fight momentarily.” Kazuki too thought of the same thing.

 

They had already returned back to the place near the edge of the Haunted Ground. The hanging down cloud that looked like curtains had visibly looked near. He wanted to confirm by touching the curtain of cloud whether they really couldn’t escape from here, but if they fought with their back facing this curtain of cloud then they didn’t need to worry about being attacked from behind for the time being.

 

“…Moreover these guys don’t look like they can use Summoning Magic.”

 

The enemy was an unknown, but just with that fact the extent of the enemy’s threat was considerably lowered.

 

From straight ahead of the street, a crowd of armored warriors were rushing here. The one that was leading them was that monkey-like ninja who was much faster compared to the others. Even while running, it headed to Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai and set up its bow and arrow again.

 

“Barrett!” Kazuki attacked before it could fired its arrow.

 

The monkey ninja was blown back to the crowd of the armored warriors. That became the signal of the fight’s beginning.

 

“Sti, STIGMATAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!”

 

The instant Kazuki used Summoning Magic, the armored warriors shrieked with volume that shook the earth.

 

“…Are these guys holding a grudge against Stigmata!?”

 

The yelling armored warriors raised their large war sword overhead at the right side of their face like Jigen-style’s <Stance of Dragonfly> and approached Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai. It was a stance that made it easier to immediately swing down the sword that betted everything in a single stroke.

 

The armored warriors that entered battle preparation accelerated with light emitted from all over their body. That rush―was a speed outside of human realm. It surpassed the limit of normal swordsman.

 

That monkey ninja was like that too, but it was as if their physical ability was using reinforcement magic. It made them suspicious of a connection with Diva here.

 

Kazuki and also Kazuha-senpai were without their katana, they were completely unarmed.

 

“Senpai, watch out!” Kazuki came out to the front to cover for Kazuha-senpai.

 

The first armored warrior that came approaching with unstoppable downward slash was quickly dodged by Kazuki. The downward slash of the second armored warrior that came almost at the same time with the first couldn’t be evaded this time, he caught the blade between both his hands.

 

Catching the naked blade of a real sword―if it was with the reinforcement of [Berserk] to his reflexes and physical strength, such technique was possible.

 

However inside Kazuki’s palms, the long sword that was pinned between them was forcing its way through *gugugu* and approaching near Kazuki.

 

“O divine protection of military man, double the Megin that whirl inside my body! The purpose of god that spur me to the infinite battle, to this body! …Meginjord!”

 

Kazuki further chanted the level 2 reinforcement magic of the Norse Mythology’s <Thor>.

 

The Summoning Magic of this Diva called Thor…for its level 1 and level 2 to be both reinforcement magic was a terrifyingly extreme configuration, but…in regards for swordsman this Diva had a very much great user-friendliness.

 

A belt of light descended down from the sky and coiled itself around Kazuki’s body. That belt of light amplified the muscle volume of Kazuki’s whole body. With his amplified power, Kazuki stole the long sword that he pinned down between his palms.

 

Fixing his grip of the stolen sword, he slashed back to the armored warrior in reverse.

 

The armored warrior was blown away by the backlash of its defensive magic power, *DOSUN!* it fell down with a heavy sound.

 

It was thick―Kazuki secretly shivered. That defensive magic power had more than five times the thickness of a normal person.

 

“STIGMATAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!”

 

The third and fourth armored warriors that possessed extraordinary power and toughness approached Kazuki even nearer. The downswing that they launched was more like a berserker rather than a swordsman.

 

“O wind of Tatara, summon the scorching heat of steel to my forging! Take the hammer of well-tempered in hand to here, pound away the soul’s disgrace!”

 

Kazuha-senpai that was covered by Kazuki finished the chanting of her spell at the back.

 

“…Ameno Hidzukuri no Kazatsuchi(Wind Hammer of Heaven Plume Fire Make)!”

 

While getting the shine of her magic power worked up, Kazuha-senpai thrust her right hand forward.

 

From that hand, *DON!!* as if an invisible cannon was fired, a number of the approaching armored warriors were blown away altogether. At the same time the armored warriors were enveloped with flame explosion.

 

A composite attack of shockwave and flame that was produced from the palm. It was Futsunushi no Kami’s level 4 magic.

 

“Kazuha-senpai, thank you very much! …Barrett!!”

 

From the gap that was created from the blown away armored warriors, a ninja with bow and arrow set up leaped out and came approaching. Kazuki vigilantly sensed it an instant earlier and launched a flame bullet.

 

The armored warriors that were blown away by Kazuha-senpai stood up and took the stance that looked like a dragonfly once more.

 

“Kazuha-senpai, I’m coming out to the front so please cover me from the rear!”

 

Kazuki called out while he took a stance with the stolen long sword vigilantly.

 

“Covering from the back you say? …That’s wrong Hayashizaki, I am a magic swordsman just like you!! …I became the shrine maiden of sword. Rock cleaved, root torn, sin severed, that spirit sword of crushing evil right now in this hand!! Draw sword, Futsu no Mitama!!”

 

Futsunushi no Kami’s level 3 magic. Flame burst out from Kazuha-senpai’s own palm and created a divine sword that possessed the power to tear apart magic power.

 

Kazuki was surprised inside his heart―after she chanted the level 4 magic before, the time she took to finish chanting this level 3 magic was frightfully fast. It was a chanting speed that approached Koyuki.

 

And then Kazuha-senpai overtook Kazuki and slashed at the armored warrior’s direction.

 

The people that once knew Kazuha-senpai would laugh at that action as foolhardiness, but if it was the current senpai then it was not foolhardiness. Kazuha-senpai first cut down one enemy, next she dodged the downswing coming from the side with paper-thin difference and slashed the second enemy in a counterattack, and then she leaped back quickly to dodge the third enemy’s downswing.

 

Kazuki doubted his eyes looking at her light and easy body movement that didn’t back down for even a step facing enemies with numerical superiority.

 

Kazuha-senpai who splendidly conducted herself in this narrow street was constantly moving an instant faster than the enemy.

 

It was not as precise as Kazuki or Kanae, but she was sensing the opponent’s magic power and making Foresight of their movement.

 

Not only her chanting ability, her sword skill had also make a terrific improvement.

 

Once she had self-confidence planted inside here, she was someone that could splendidly achieve a fast growth like this.

 

…He was having the wrong impression. Kazuha-senpai was not something like an object of protection.

 

She was a partner that fought with him shoulder-to-shoulder.

 

“Kazuha-senpai, then please I’ll leave the right side to you.”

 

Kazuki dashed to the left next to Kazuha-senpai and assaulted the armored warrior with his sword.

 

“Fufufu, leave it to me!”

 

Kazuha-senpai *don* bumped her left shoulder to Kazuki’s right shoulder and smiled reliably.

 

 

 

…She didn’t make any conduct that held him back like when they were on the sea. Absolutely none at all.

 

After Kazuha bumped her shoulder and felt her partner(Kazuki)’s existence, she leaped into the crowd of the armored warriors. Naked blade flashed many times over, but she slipped away through all of it and return slashing when she passed them through.

 

If it’s Hayashizaki then he will surely fight like this―while she gripped her sword, such imagination was naturally floating in her mind all the time. Kazuha was always desperately attempting to Trace that movement inside her mind.

 

This thought that she felt was surely a yearning without doubt.

 

That was why her own swordsmanship came to resemble Hayashizaki’s closely day by day.

 

Hayashizaki-style’s Foresight―its fundamental truth was a perception from thoroughly doing intensification of Extra Sense.

 

For those Hayashizaki siblings to acquire perception power until that level, surely they ought to have spent long months and years honing their body. But she was above those two in magic talent, there was no reason that she couldn’t do the same thing like those two.

 

Perceive―the opponent’s every single move. Those preliminary signs from their breath, muscle tension, and then their state of mind.

 

Moving like this, moving like this, coming like that.

 

Kazuha moved with her red and white Magic Dress fluttering around, she evaded the enemy’s attacks as if dancing a Kagura (AN: Ancient Shinto music and dancing).

 

And then strike back at the opening in their important point. Realize that image into reality just like that, a definitive response.

 

―But, for making a crowd this large as her opponent, Kazuha’s Foresight was still incomplete.

 

An arrow was flying from outside her image.

 

Kazuha suddenly realized. That monkey-like ninja’s, bow and arrow…!

 

The instant she resolved herself to get hit, a hand reached out in front of Kazuha’s eyes suddenly, warding off the approaching arrow.

 

“Barrett!”

 

Then next a flame bullet was fired from that palm. It was not because of fast chanting, but a smooth action that was as if it had seen through everything. The way of fighting of the man that held the alias of Cyclops.

 

The ninja’s body was struck once more by the flame bullet and it was blown away to the other side of the armored warriors crowd.

 

“Thank you, Hayashizaki!” Words of gratitude naturally flowed out from her mouth.

 

While that guy was facing off against innumerable armored warriors, he was simultaneously paying attention to this side too.

 

…He is really kind when he is fighting. A fight, more than anything else, was the place that made her feel his kindness for real. The time of fighting was also the only place where she could become honest with regards to him.

 

That’s why match the breathing with each other―and help each other.

 

“Scattering the flower of night craft o the tempering of artisan, reach the weave of the sky with the tip of your sword! The role of sword is for the sake of victory…Under my command, become thunder cloud and pour down! Tenkū Battou Renge Hou!”

 

While fighting, Kazuha invoked her magic at the same time.

 

Flames burst out in Kazuha’s surrounding. That flame of transmutation made countless Sacred Treasures emerge in Kazuha’s surroundings. Swords with various shapes from all ages and countries―with Kazuha’s magic power manipulation all of those could be fired to every direction and angle like missiles.

 

“…GO-!” Together with the command, the countless swords rained incessantly on the armored warriors.

 

At the same time those Sacred Treasures pierced the enemies, flame and ice, lighting and the like, each of the swords exhibited various different power of elements. Kazuha also directed those attacks at Kazuki’s direction.

 

“Thank you very much, senpai!”

 

Kazuha’s chest leaped when she heard those returning words of gratitude.

 

This feeling of unity in this cooperation battle made her head feel pure white inside with intoxication.

 

Just as I thought, I like fighting with him.

 

No…perhaps I, like him already….

 

It seemed Hayashizaki could perceive the change in positivity level. By some chance even in the middle of this battle right now, perhaps this change that happened inside her had been conveyed to him already.

 

Normally that was an extremely embarrassing matter but…right now she was happy that her feeling was conveyed. She wanted him to know more about this feeling that she could be honest about in the middle of this battle, that was what she completely felt from herself.

 

What in the world are you thinking when you are being surrounded by all these grim armored warriors, me.

 

Kazuha’s whole body was spontaneously filled with strength from embarrassment. She directed that shame to the armored warriors and let fly a slash with all her strength to vent out her feeling.


 

 

Part 4

 

Kazuki too felt his heart become excited from this battle where they formed a duo.

 

But that feeling was sinking gloomily little by little. He became fed up before long.

 

Of course it was not because he held any dissatisfaction between the two of them. The problem was&mdash;the enemy.

 

He cut and cut and felt the thick defensive magic power where the enemy kept standing back up, this crowd of armored warrior. While he kept cutting down the armored warriors no matter how many time, “This is bad” he couldn’t clear away such anxiety inside him.

 

There was still some allowance in his stamina and magic power. However even now the armored warriors that were scattered all over the Haunted Ground ought to be converging in their location here following the mark of the cloud string that was hanging down from the sky.

 

The situation had become something he couldn’t laugh about. …What’s going on with this enemy’s toughness?

 

In the first place, what in the world are these enemies? Were they human or Demon Beast, he couldn’t even make that distinction.

 

“STIGMATAAAAAAA!!” The armored warriors raised a shriek filled with resentment and came assaulting.

 

Their number and toughness became a dreadful pressure, they kept surging forward.

 

At that time in spite of the dome of cloud that isolated the Haunted Ground, above Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai’s head something was traversing fast―it was a single crow, perching on top of the electricity pole at the side of the street.

 

Yatagarasu―a polished bright copper disk was caught between its beaks.

 

Yatagarasu raised a high-pitched voice from the edge of its beak. That was a spell.

 

“…O exalted light illuminating the seven seas and all nations! Gather in my lord’s idol, emit the light that purify the impurity…Yata no Kagami (AN: Yata no Kagami (the eight-span mirror; one of the Imperial Regalia))・Youka Issen(Sun Flower Flash)!”

 

The disk appended in the beak&mdash;the <bronze mirror> released a powerful light.

 

He reflexively closed his eyelids, but even so it was light so abundant it felt like his retina was burned with whiteness.

 

Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai who had their eyes closed were supposed to become defenseless, but there was no attack coming at all during that interval.

 

When they opened their eyes, there were a lot of young people in casual clothes collapsed unconsciously in front of Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai’s eyes.

 

There were no armored warriors&mdash;no, he couldn’t think of any explanation other than that the light that Yatagarasu emitted made the armored warriors become like this. The fainted young people had fallen into symptoms that looked like magic intoxication.

 

Kazuki looked around his surrounding and what he saw made his eyes open even wider. The surrounding area was recovering back from a Haunted Ground into a normal street corner. The original scenery of Ise city’s street was returning there.

 

“The light just now is…offensive magic? It shaved off that thick defensive magic power with one attack? All that number of enemies!?”

 

“…No, that magic just now is purge magic. It has a power that can purify even stronger evil than what Futsunushi no Kami’s level 3 magic [Futsu no Mitama] can do. It’s the only power I in this form can use.”

 

The bronze mirror that was held between the beaks had also vanished. Most likely it was a Sacred Treasure created from magic power.

 

Yatagarasu pointed at the fainted young people with its beak.

 

“These young people had Wild Gods reside in their body and they acted violently because of that magic power. But because the light from before got rid of [the connections with the Wild Gods] that were embed within their mind, they are now returned to their original human appearance.”

 

The contents of the armored warriors&mdash;everyone of the fainted young people were between their teens until twenties. Many were female but a few male were mixed. They were people of the generation that were most strong in magic power.

 

“…So we were saved by you.”

 

Kazuki stared at Yatagarasu while still maintaining his vigilance. Even while being vigilant―he had to obtain information regarding this mysterious situation from this guy.

 

All the armored warriors in this Haunted Ground weren’t supposed to be completely annihilated just with this, but the surrounding was strangely filled with silence.

 

“Even if you said that I saved you two, these people could return to their original appearance only because the both of you had inflicted damage to them. As long as their defensive magic power was still considerably thick, even that light won’t be able to reach until the depth of the curse. To defeat them efficiently, there is a need for us to cooperate.”

 

Yatagarasu lightly flapped its wings and perched on top of Kazuki’s shoulder. It was an action that was appealing to him that they were comrades.

 

“…Were these people transformed into Demon Beast?”

 

Kazuki asked while looking around his surrounding. The scenery where the buildings looked abandoned with the loss of its color and its weathered condition had returned into a really normal street of stores and houses. However it only applied to Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai’s surrounding, the far away―the direction of the Haunted Ground’s center was still looking like an extensive Haunted Ground.

 

The Haunted Ground could only return to the condition of natural world when the Demon Beasts that resided inside it had been subjugated.

 

Such phenomenon that was similar with that Haunted Ground recovery had happened here when they defeated these armored warriors.

 

“No, these guys are something falsely similar with Demon Beast. They are―<God’s reliant>. Hosting the power of unruly god inside their body and yet they failed on controlling that power, a failure of a shrine maiden.”

 

“Failure? Don’t tell me…Yamato’s government is creating shrine maidens with human experiment?”

 

An imagination that made a dread ran through him emerged to the forefront inside Kazuki’s head.

 

―Naiarlatoteph. A hateful name came to mind.

 

“When the government of Yamato instigated the Divas of Japanese Mythology that went wild to be added as their allies, they gathered humans that excelled in magic power and make them bind a contract with the Wild Gods. It is impossible to communicate with those Wild Gods that had lost their reasoning, so what all of them got was Drive(Possession Contract).”

 

In the middle of the explanation, Kazuki took a glance at Kazuha-senpai. Even though she was a similar Shrine Maiden, Kazuha-senpai didn’t experience Drive for the sake of binding a contract and borrowed the power of Futsunushi no Kami.

 

Possession contract with an unknown Diva was a dangerous act forbidden by Japan’s law.

 

“The government of Yamato conducted [a group possession contract assembly by human initiative] so to speak. People who did well can control the power of the Wild God that possessed them to a certain degree and become a <Drive Shrine Maiden>. The humans that failed lost their reasoning and became God’s reliant. ―In other words the failure.”

 

“What a thing to do…”

 

So the Yamato’s government produced their battle strength in a short time like that.

 

Even in the success case just being in a possession contract was dangerous already, if failed―they would became like this armored warrior.

 

“That was an unreasonable way of doing things. The Wild God side doesn’t even choose the human and the human is forced into doing something unreasonable. Moreover to push something like a Wild God inside the heart…they were going to be completely ruined.”

 

A Diva with ill will would try to take over the human’s flesh body by means of Drive.

 

Then what would happen if a Diva who had lost their senses and ran wild was made to reside in human’s flesh body.

 

Even if the Diva didn’t do any body stealing, wouldn’t the human got abused like toy by that overwhelming power? So that was the meaning to be a God’s reliant.

 

“If you look around you it’s just as you understand, God’s reliant emit the same type of miasma like a Demon Beast and transform the surrounding into a Haunted Ground. Wild God belong under the same category with Demon Beast―an <absolute enemy of the human race>.”

 

An absolute enemy of the human race―it was still in the middle of being researched, but for Demon Beast, other than [attacking human] and [expanding the Haunted Ground in the place where human live], it was said that they didn’t show any other instinctual action at all.

 

It seemed that there was never any confirmed sight of Demon Beast eating or sleeping.

 

The expression of an absolute enemy of the human race was something he could surely agree with. But―

 

“Is it fine to jumble the existence of Wild God and Demon Beast together? They are raging and rampaging around but, though imperfect they are still gods right?”

 

“Different with many other Mythologies, demarcation of <Good God・Evil God> or existence called <Demon> doesn’t exist in Japanese Mythologies. [Enemy] in Japanese Mythology is none other than the disaster caused by the god that acted unruly. Japanese Mythology doesn’t worship the dual nature of good and evil, but the two face of nature’s blessing and calamity.”

 

Wild God was not evil. However once angered, they would bare their fangs as the human race’s greatest enemy.

 

Violent natural phenomenon destroyed the world of human and encroached.

 

“…Among the people of Yamato’s government, there is the existence of someone that can skillfully manipulate being that can possibly be good or evil don’t you agree?”

 

Loki―the trickster of the Norse Mythology.

 

“Yamato government made Ise Imperial Shrine as the place for the ceremony that create Shrine Maiden. It seems they possess the know-how of a method that is interlaced with science to make a human host a Diva.”

 

Naiarlatoteph―the data from the experiment that that guy made Headmaster Otonashi do. The politicians of Yamato might make use of that. All of it was something possible if it was them.

 

“They carried out the ceremony to produce Shrine Maiden here many times over, those who failed and became uncontrollable God’s reliant were abandoned and left behind. Like that the Ise Imperial Shrine was completely transformed into a Haunted Ground.”

 

Yatagarasu sadly hung its head down.

 

“…I now understood how Ise Imperial Shrine became a Haunted Ground.”

 

For the sake of obtaining battle strength called Shrine Maiden, these young people became the compensation. To watch out for the arrival of Kazuki and the others at Ise Imperial Shrine, for defense against that happening…these armored warriors were not for that purpose.

 

He felt relieved that this infiltration operation was not detected right from the start but…just that was not sufficient to explain the present situation.

 

“Then what is the objective of you and Futsunushi no Kami?”

 

This guy was probably being connected with Futsunushi no Kami. If not for Futsunushi no Kami’s notification about Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai’s visit, then there was no way Yatagarasu could show its appearance with timing this good.

 

However he knew well that it wasn’t an enemy.

 

“You all called us out here, what do you want us to do? Can we properly achieve the objective of our coming here by doing the thing you want from us? Just so you know, we have no intention of only being used.”

 

In response to Kazuki’s question, Futsunushi no Kami’s avatar appeared beside Yatagarasu.

 

{…We want you to rescue Amaterasu.}

 

Futsunushi no Kami said such thing.

 

“If Amaterasu recovers her power and gives birth to Japanese Mythology’s <True King(Basileus)>, all the Diva will surely return to their senses from their Wild God state and obey the true King altogether. For that sake…I want the other chief god Susanoo to be defeated.}

 

“I never heard about this two chief god in Japanese Mythology before.”

 

Futsunushi no Kami had explained that [all the Wild God will return to their sanity if the chief god of Japanese Mythology is defeated] and led Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai to this land. Indeed, certainly there was no lie that was said there.

 

Just that for such complex circumstance to lie around in between was rushing off everything.

 

Kazuki exposed a dissatisfaction in his expression and pressed his question to Futsunushi no Kami.

 

“Give us a proper explanation now. About all this circumstance of Japanese Mythology.”

 

 

 

“Japanese Mythology is a mythology that is made up of two powers of Yin and Yang.”

 

Like that, Yatagarasu got the ball rolling for the explanation.

 

“Therefore there are also two chief gods. The one that symbolized the Yang is Amaterasu, the one that symbolized the Yin is Susanoo. Once, Japan was divided into two of Amaterasu’s Wakoku and Susanoo’s Izumo. These two chief gods raised their own respective king as their mouthpiece and got embroiled in a destiny of conflict. Amaterasu and Susanoo, <Wakoku King> and <Izumo King>, the victor will become the true chief god and king of Japan. [Unification in the conflict’s afterwards], that is what have been established in the mythology.”

 

Yatagarasu gave such explanation about the Japanese Mythology.

 

“So you are going to get me involved in the confrontation between Amaterasu and Susanoo. …And then that Susanoo, right now he is forming an alliance with Yamato government, so that’s the situation.”

 

When Kazuki confirmed, Yatagarasu gave a brief nod.

 

{What caused this situation was Susanoo. Susanoo joined hands with Yamato government and made the other Japanese Divas become Wild God from the instigation of shrine’s defilement.}

 

Futsunushi no Kami made a grimacing expression.

 

The wiles of Yamato government to make the Divas of Japanese Mythology into Wild God and manipulate them was with the cooperation of Susanoo.

 

“Why did Susanoo ally himself with Yamato?”

 

“Susanoo was thinking that [Japanese Mythology is weak, therefore I have to borrow other Mythology’s power], that’s how it seems. There he was approached by Loki.”

 

Kazuki opened his eyes wide in shock.

 

“Japanese Mythology is weak?”

 

{Right, I wonder if it can even be categorized as puny class.} Saying that, Futsunushi no Kami nodded.

 

“Japanese Mythology doesn’t really demand strong faith from the people of Japan. Even their will of opposition against other Mythology is sparse. As long as they have companion for festival and making ruckus and playing around with, then everything is fine. Their [will for power] are weak.”

 

Kazuki reflexively looked at Kazuha-senpai.

 

Kazuha-senpai was a Shrine Maiden that made a contract with Futsunushi no Kami, but the relationship between the two was exactly like a friend.

 

“We are like that but in the present time where [the era of Mythology has been revived], if we keep like this then [other Mythology will swallow us], Susanoo is harboring a sense of impending crisis like that. Right now he is buttering up Loki, but most likely he is planning to catch Loki off guard slyly in the end.”

 

Kazuki frowned his eyebrows hearing Yatagarasu words. Planning to catch Loki off guard?

 

Exactly because it was Loki, he was a Diva that could easily catch Susanoo off guard instead while joining hands with him.

 

Susanoo and Loki…on the surface they were joining hands together, but their relation was one where both of them kept looking for an opening in each other’s guard.

 

“The Diva that reign as the chief god of the Mythology not only bestow their characteristic magic to their contractor, but a power that should be called [King’s Authority] is also granted together with being recognized as a King. You too should have something like that.”

 

Yatagarasu said. Kazuki stared at the Stigmata on his own left hand.

 

Kazuki was able to use Lemegeton’s characteristic magic, <Goetia(72 Solomon=Pillar Omnimagic)>.

 

The more he deepened his bond, the greater his power of bond became.

 

Apart from that, there was also the power to visualize the change of girls’ positivity level and their location. This was what called as [King’s Authority].

 

It seemed there was still room for this power to strengthen even more together with Leme’s growth.

 

“Amaterasu and Susanoo, the Wakoku King and the Izumo King, they won’t be able to obtain their true power if they haven’t achieve victory over the opposing camp and become the true chief god and King. If the situation stays like this then the [King’s Authority] of the Japanese Mythology is impossible to use. Susanoo’s camp is being rash in their desire to defeat Amaterasu’s camp quickly. But Amaterasu has zero motivation for that. She didn’t enthrone her contractor as the King of Wakoku in the least and just kept playing with her contractor. Binding contract and recognizing someone as King are two separate matter.”

 

Kazuki was having a contract with Leme, but he still hadn’t been fully recognized as Solomon King yet.

 

This was the same thing with that.

 

“Why didn’t Amaterasu make her contractor to be King? That’s because she understood that the instant the King of Wakoku is born, the fight with Susanoo’s camp will begin. Amaterasu dislikes conflict. Her contractor too is also not someone suited for fighting. However [Even though Japanese Mythology is weak even in the best of time, also being unable to use the true power like this is intolerable], like that the Susanoo’s camp was getting even more irked.”

 

Despite the preordained destiny of opposition between the two, but it seemed there was a difference in the degree of enthusiasm in each of them.

 

“The angry Susanoo defeated the contractor of Amaterasu that still hadn’t become the Wakoku King yet prematurely. Furthermore he also recommended at the Yamato government to leave the God’s reliant that were created from the failed ceremony of possessed Shrine Maiden unregulated just like that in the Ise Imperial Shrine, and made the Ise Imperial Shrine into a Haunted Ground. Amaterasu obtained her power from both her contractor and Ise Imperial Shrine, that’s how she is preserving her divinity. But losing both of them simultaneously, her power weakened and she was sealed completely inside the <Gate of Celestial Rock Cave>. There is a danger of extinction for her if it keeps like this. Even the happy-go-lucky Amaterasu thought [Just as expected it’s going to be bad if it keep like this] and she sent a messenger to the other side of the seal―that messenger is this me, Yatagarasu.”

 

{Yatagarasu has the privilege to come and goes as it pleases from the <Territory> of Japanese Mythology’s Divas. And then he made a contact with Diva that hasn’t become a Wild God that is me.}

 

How Futsunushi no Kami didn’t become a Wild God…was surely thanks to his Shrine Maiden that was Kazuha-senpai who secretly moved Futsunushi no Kami’s altar to an abandoned club room in the Knight Academy.

 

“Hayashizaki Kazuki, I heard about you from Futsunushi no Kami. I want to ask you for a favor to rescue Amaterasu. To defeat Susanoo and become the person that control the Japanese Mythology, that is the favor that I want to ask. If it’s you, then you can defeat the Izumo King that Susanoo raised right?”

 

“WAITT――――TT! JUST WAITT――――TT!!”

 

At that time together with a shout, Leme materialized beside Kazuki.

 

Since this operation began, there was someone that maintained silence and acted like this matter about Japanese Mythology was of no concern for her. That was Leme.

 

“Wait right there, Leme just stayed quiet and listened but Kazuki has already contracted with Leme just so you know! Is Japanese Mythology intending to snatch Kazuki from Leme!?”

 

{I too understand about that. We are not planning to do that so it’s fine to feel relieved.}

 

Futsunushi no Kami said so in order to sooth Leme.

 

“Just like what I said before, Amaterasu too already has her own contractor. What we want is to enthrone that girl as Wakoku King formally, on top of that we want to present her to the King of Solomon.”

 

“Mu…oh hoh? Present you say?” Leme’s expression changed and her eyes brightened.

 

“The King of Japanese Mythology will be affiliated to Hayashizaki Kazuki as <Subordinate King>, the Solomon King that is you will be accompanied by our King, becoming an existence of higher rank than even the King―we want to ask you to become the <Emperor>. In exchange for that we ask all of you to become our substitute in fighting Susanoo and Loki.”

 

“I see! So you are going to present the Queen of Japanese Mythology into the harem! If it’s like that then certainly, it’s feasible for Kazuki to rule both Solomon Mythology and Japanese Mythology! The Emperor that rule even the other Mythology by means of harem (AN: Maybe I should capitalize the ‘h’ in harem here)…Solomon Emperor! That’s really not bad!!”

 

{Guwahhahha! If that is realized then it will become Solomon Myriad 72 Pillar!}

 

Leme was really gleeful and accepted the other side’s proposal. Futsunushi no Kami too got carried away with the mood and guffawed&mdash;Kazuki interjected into the conversation in panic.

 

“Hey wait, even if you say that you will present me with an unknown girl I’ve never seen before, it will just make me troubled!”

 

“For the time being if you just meet her first it will be okay after that right, o my King. Most of all to make this infiltration operation succeed, it doesn’t look like there is any other way than this anyway.”

 

Leme who had been completely won over to the other side before he could even say ‘ah’ said such to Kazuki.

 

Certainly, there was a truth in that but….

 

It was a long explanation but, the main point was they wanted him to substitute for Amaterasu and fight Susanoo. If he defeated Susanoo and the true King of Japanese Mythology was born, the Japanese Divas that became Wild God would return to their senses and could be subdued. The objective of this side too could be fulfilled.

 

{Guwahhahha! You can reach the Gate of the Celestial Rock Cave (AN: Ama no Iwato in Japan, I keep wondering whether I should just use this original name because it’s shorter. How troublesome.) where Amaterasu is sealed through the deepest part of Ise Imperial Shrine! For that sake defeat the pitiful children that had transformed completely into God’s reliant and rescue them!!}

 

Pitiful children…if they defeated those God’s reliant with Yatagarasu’s cooperation, they could return to their original human appearance. They have to make this operation a success, for that they also couldn’t leave these God’s reliant alone.

 

“Well then, we are going to meet with Amaterasu…what do we need to do to release Amaterasu from the seal? What kind of seal is the Gate of Celestial Rock Cave?”

 

Kazuki questioned. The guffawing Futsunushi no Kami suddenly had his expression become serious.

 

{That’s…for later. You will understand if you go to the Gate of Celestial Rock Cave.}

 

So he was still planning to give incomplete information.

 

Kazuki directed his doubtful eyes to Futsunushi no Kami. When he was going to say ‘cut it out’ to him, suddenly his hand was gripped tightly from the side. It was Kazuha-senpai.

 

“Hayashizaki, that…don’t get angry about Futsunushi no Kami. Rather than that let’s rescue these people inside the God’s reliant okay.”

 

Kazuha-senpai directed her sorrowful eyes to the people that were losing their consciousness. Even before feeling any distrust to Futsunushi no Kami, it seemed Kazuha-senpai thought about the people that became God’s reliant even more strongly.

 

“…In the ceremony of possessed Shrine Maiden, I think these people surely became candidates by their own choice. Perhaps these people were originally a Knight. And they were resenting the humans that were chosen by Stigmata. That was why they themselves wanted to become stronger…”

 

In the middle of battle, these God’s reliant were raising screams of hatred [STIGMATA!] many times over.

 

Perhaps from envy and yearning toward Stigmata, and with feeling of [we too want to become even stronger], these guys were spurred into an extreme action like this. …Kazuki too felt heavy in his chest looking at them.

 

“Something like that, really feels sad for some reason…”

 

Kazuha-senpai hung her head down despondently.


 

 

Part 5

 

Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai selected the katana that were in good condition from the hips of the fainted people and borrowed them, attaching those on their hips.

 

A lot of time had passed while they were grilling Yatagarasu and Futsunushi no Kami, but there was no attack from the armored warriors that were supposed to still remain in this Haunted Ground.

 

Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai were still tied with the cloud strings from the sky as yet, those strings were a marking of their position.

 

Nevertheless for there was no further attack…,

 

“Most likely the Izumo King that is commanding them had already detected my existence.”

 

Yatagarasu said that.

 

“Knowing that we cannot be defeated with only force, right now they are preparing an ambush in a location where they can use their number advantage with more reliability, that’s what I think.”

 

Kazuki also thought that Yatagarasu’s conjecture was correct.

 

“That [Kumoito Shibari] is Susanoo’s magic that possesses equal power with Amaterasu. With the power of the currently weakened Amaterasu, it cannot be purged even if we use the [Yata no Kagami] from before. As long as that thread becomes the mark, it’s surely impossible to advance while evading ambush.”

 

“Our side has also decided to rescue the people that became the God’s reliant anyway. We have no intention to advance while avoiding them. On the contrary if they are fortifying in one place it will become easier.”

 

Before when they were prioritizing the original strategy, they couldn’t help but leave the Haunted Ground alone, but the situation had changed.

 

“Well then Senpai, let’s be off! …Senpai?”

 

Kazuha-senpai who only had few words from some time before was…having her attention completely stolen by one of the souvenir shop building.

 

With some of the God’s reliant defeated, the original appearance of the Ise town appeared in front of their eyes. With how close they were with Ise Imperial Shrine, souvenir shops intended for tourist were lining up, but…,

 

“…Hayashizaki, this akafuku (AN: A type of mocha colored red), I wonder if it’s edible.”

 

Kazuha-senpai was directing her eyes filled with greed on the packages that were piled up in heaps on the most conspicuous shelve inside the souvenir shop. The famous product of Ise, [Akafuku Mochi]. Of course the inside of the store right now was in a defenseless and unmanned state.

 

“Senpai, stealing is no good. Moreover after the store became a Haunted Ground and then returned back to normal, it is unknown what happened with the flow of time during that period. It might have gone bad already. Besides the time is precious, let’s go.”

 

When he pulled Kazuha-senpai’s hand forcefully, senpai went “Aa~, Hayashizaki~” and raised a quacking voice that sounded like a whine.

 

 

 

When they advanced through the street of Ise town, their surrounding soon changed into the eerie Haunted Ground again. When he compared the area with the map he had seen, it appears that the size of the Haunted Ground had been reduced until around half the previous size. In other words, they had defeated half the number of the God’s reliant in the previous battle.

 

The remaining half was waiting for them ahead….

 

They finally arrived in a similar condition with when they first came here. The asphalt road was muddy and wet, the surrounding buildings were weathered, and the sky lost its color. Trees became a lot more than the buildings in this area. On the rotting trunks and branches that looked like those were going to fall, rust-colored leaves were hanging down.

 

They advanced even further. There was still no ambush or attack from the God’s reliant.

 

A large shrine archway standing in the path forward entered their eyes.

 

<Shinmei Archway> (AN: Shinmei Toori, also means the archway of Amaterasu)―it was an archway with an extremely ancient shape before it even received the influence of Buddhist’s ornament culture.

 

However now that it was currently under the influence of the Haunted Ground, its color was transformed into an ominous jet black color.

 

They had arrived at Ise Imperial Shrine.

 

Ahead of the archway was the Isuzu River and the bridge that crossed that river―<Uji Bridge> was built there.

 

The length of the bridge was 100 meters, its width was just a little around 8 meter.

 

…They are coming here. Kazuki felt that hunch.

 

Here was an open surrounding that was just right for a large group assault. Even on the bridge it had enough width to make the best use of number advantage.

 

As was expected, the instant he stepped his foot on the bridge―war cry was raised from the dark forest ahead of the bridge and a crowd of armored warriors was approaching.

 

At the same time, armored warriors that went around and cut in also came along from behind.

 

On top of the Uji Bridge, it became a pincer attack.

 

“I leave the back to you, Hayashizaki!”

 

Kazuha-senpai immediately stood back-to-back with Kazuki.

 

Yatagarasu flew up to the sky from Kazuki’s shoulder in order to escape.

 

The armored warriors surged ahead with the force of surging waves while taking the stance of the Dragonfly, making the bridge creak worryingly. The bridge was filled with troops that surrounded Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai in the blink of an eye. They slashed away while making opponent of enemies that came from every directions.

 

“Ameno Hidzukuri no Kazatsuchi!”

 

*DON!* Shockwave and flame explosion. Kazuha-senpai blew away the enemies altogether with magic. …Defeat the enemy only using sword skill to preserve their magic power…such thinking was unreasonable.

 

“The light of heaven reside in that body o bird of paradise, comply with my accusation and reduce to ashes the sin above the earth! Israel Judgment!!”

 

Phoenix’s avatar emerged at Kazuki’s back and emitted brightness as if every light in the world were gathered. That light dazzled the eyes, stopping the attack of the armored warriors for a moment. At that interval Kazuki set his aim at an angle that would swallow the most number of enemies, the vast light was changed into a thick laser and fired. The armored warriors in a straight line fell down altogether.

 

“”””STIGMATAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!””””

 

Angry voices that were like earthquake welled up from the armored warriors.

 

“Wawa! Just as I thought these guys really get angry when Summoning Magic is used. Their fierceness is growing rapidly!”

 

“Let’s settle the bout quickly!”

 

“Got it! …Tenkū Battou Renge Hou!!”

 

The countless Sacred Treasures that Kazuha-senpai created flew about freely above the battlefield on top of the bridge. The Sacred Treasures that possessed various elements released flame or lightning, even cold here and there from each of them.

 

“Please take care not to break the bridge okay!” Kazuki raised his voice.

 

“…So that Yata no Kagami can finish off as many armored warriors as possible, please inflict damage to all the enemies evenly!”

 

Yatagarasu said an unreasonable challenge from the sky. …Does it think anyone can do such miraculous thing!?

 

“This is not for the sake of preserving my magic power! The youth that is transformed back by Yata no Kagami will faint in magic intoxication, they are going to get trampled by the armored warriors that flood in next!! If that happen they are going to die for real!!”

 

“Kuh…that certainly can happen!”

 

Even while Kazuki complained, he couldn’t help but consent to Yatagarasu’s request.

 

The curtain of a long offense and defense on top of the bridge was opened.


 

 

Part 6

After blowing away an armored warrior flying far away from the inflicted damage, the new created empty space right there was quickly occupied with a different armored warrior. If the newly arrived armored warrior was a fresh one then it would be assaulted just like that, but if it was one that had been damaged then it would be quickly driven off by sending it flying far away…. The armored warriors that had lost their own will was also quite mechanical in some aspect, the offense and defense completely turned into something like a puzzle game.

 

After a long repetition―Yatagarasu used the completed [Yata no Kagami], where after that the youths of Yamato fainted on top of the Uji bridge in a closely packed formation.

 

The surrounding scenery returned back to the original Ise Imperial Shrine. The Isuzu river shone from the sunlight, the Uji bridge that was built on top of it recovered its beautiful wooden texture. A forest where trees that looked mystical grew in abundance spread out ahead of the bridge, and a road that pushed its way through that forest was extending forward.

 

Heaps of corpses scattered all around on top of the bridge…such image emerged to the surface of the mind, but nobody was dead because the youths only fainted from magic intoxication. There was no strong burden weighing their minds but they only fainted from the state where their connection with the Wild Gods that was like a curse disappeared. It was surely not a dangerous magic intoxication.

 

Kazuha-senpai breathe a sigh of relief. Surely the state inside her head had became more full with the thought of rescuing the people that were turned into God’s reliant rather than the infiltration operation itself.

 

God’s reliant―they held envy and hatred toward Stigmata, because of that they offered themselves to a dangerous ceremony and in the end were completely transformed into an existence that was called as a failure.

 

Before this, their outcry hurt Kazuha-senpai’s heart. Kazuki had the feeling that he understood the reason why.

 

For a long time until now, Kazuha-senpai was looked down by the swordsmen and made fun of.

 

For envy and hatred to be directed at her as a possessor of Stigmata surely made her have a complicated feeling.

 

Kazuki too was once an existence that was looked down in the Magic Division and came this far by relying upon his pride in his sword skill. That was why his mental state felt complicated to have such emotion directed at him by many swordsmen.

 

“Senpai, we were gifted the power of Stigmata and became far stronger than we were just a swordsman, but that’s why it doesn’t mean that we have seen the limit of the strength as a swordsman, that’s what I think.”

 

Standing stock still unintentionally on top of the bridge, Kazuki called out to Kazuha-senpai from the side planning to cheer her up.

 

“…Kohaku is attempting to become a swordsman that won’t lose to Magika Stigma by making a practical use of Sacred Treasure. Kanae too, recently she is trying to discover a new possibility of new technique by putting general magic to practical use even further.”

 

What kind of phenomenon magic power could give birth to was the product of image. Right now there were some aspects from the old sword skill outlook that still restrained both Kazuki and Kanae, but there was a large room of possibility for creating sword skill that had never even been imagined until now by means of new creative originality.

 

“Even the whole body of the Magic Division now is stopping their high and mighty attitude just because they are possessing Stigmata. They are also starting to listen to opinions that ask them to stop looking down on the Sword Division. The Knight Order in the future from now on is supposed to become nearer in equality between swordsman and Magika Stigma. If that happens, then there shouldn’t be anymore swordsmen that will do something stupid like this. …Doing something like throwing one’s selves away, is something that mustn’t be done no matter what.”

 

Right at that moment, the memory of Kaya’s scream when she was eroded by Loki was reviving inside Kazuki’s mind.

 

“If swordsmen and Magika Stigma can look at each other right in the eye, swordsmen should be able to reach that new possibility that can only be achieved by swordsmen.”

 

“…That’s right huh, you are really someone that caused a revolution in the Knight Academy.”

 

“Calling that revolution, that’s not…”

 

“Kohaku too…even I, we are really thankful for what you have done.”

 

Facing each other in the middle of the bridge, Kazuha-senpai softly clasped both of Kazuki’s hands.

 

Holding hand like this might be a skinship that Kazuha-senpai could just barely do with honest feelings. For Kazuki, this warmth transmitted to him was an irreplaceable important emotion.

 

 

 

“Indeed it’s just like what you said. These small fries are feeling jealous without even doing any respectable hard work. Their appearance pawing at the ground while ruining their own body is…extremely unsightly. What is called strength should be something more pure.”

 

 

 

―A singing like voice that sounded really clear suddenly could be heard.

 

From the forest ahead, the master of the voice appeared and halted in front of the bridge.

 

The distance between them was dozens of meters. It was not a distance that could be closed immediately.

 

With a shock, Kazuki separated his body from Kazuha-senpai while calmly ascertaining that character.

 

It was a girl wearing a deep red kimono that looked like a prostitute.

 

A loose collar to the degree that one could peek into her back, a languid style of wearing kimono, making one looked graceful.

 

It was a gorgeous appearance that could never be thought as something for a fight, but a Japanese katana could be identified on her hips. A swordsman.

 

And then at her side were two person, two armored warriors in divine possession were coming along with her. Most likely those two were the last God’s reliant.

 

The girl in kimono sent her glancing gaze to those two and her mouth curved cynically.

 

“Please look at them, this pathetic figure. Having lost their reason they are the very figure of mere beasts. Although they can now fight better compared to when they were just their former worthless swordsmen selves, even then the state of their soul currently really cannot be said as strong. …You two, please give your greeting.”

 

The girl in kimono extended both her hands respectively to the faces of the armored warriors waiting at her left and right.

 

The <face armors> under the helmet that was covering the nose and the mouth that hid the faces of the armored warriors, were taken off by those hands.

 

The faces of the two armored warriors became exposed. Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai reflexively caught their breath.

 

“Takasugi brothers!”

 

What appeared from under the face armors were―the faces of Takasugi brothers.

 

The two that had became a rival candidate of Kazuki in the Chief Student Council President battle election, Takasugi Shūsui and Takasugi Harunari.

 

Advocating the rejection of human rights for Magika Stigma that possessed far too powerful power and that they should be treated as weapons, the two young student activists!

 

So these two seeked power after they were fouled in the battle election and were reduced into God’s reliant here.

 

“”Hayashizakii…Hayashizaki KazukiiIIIII!!””

 

The faces under the face armor were ruled by shuddering madness. Both their eyes and their mouth were opened to the limit and deep creases were engraved in their faces. They were leaking voice of curses while their jaws were convulsing in spasm.

 

“The introduction is over for now…it’s okay to let loose already you guys!”

 

The girl in kimono appearance handed down her command with a sharp voice as if a wild beast tamer lashing her whip.

 

“GO-!!” Simultaneously with the voice, the Takasugi brothers leaped at this direction.

 

They raised their katana overhead straight like a berserker and slashed at Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai with dauntless courage.

 

Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai traversed the bridge in a big leap while meeting the attack in order not to drag the people lying down around them into this fight. “Kazuha-senpai!” “It’s okay, you don’t need to worry about me!” They completely couldn’t make heads or tails of which one was the older brother Shūsui and which one was the little brother Harunari, but Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai picked one opponent each while exchanging voices, *GIN!* *GIN!* sparks of clashing swords were scattered.

 

Kazuki softly redirected the enemy’s simple powerful downswing with <Instant Positioning>.

 

Just like that he sidestepped the enemy’s stance and promptly slashed diagonally below with his returning blade.

 

His opponent was blown away together with the backlash of defensive magic power.

 

During that time, he directed his sight to Kazuha-senpai. Kazuha-senpai couldn’t parry as smoothly as Kazuki and she was brought into a sword-locking contest. If the attack was not quickly parried away with skill, she would have to go against the enemy’s superhuman power directly from the front. Kazuha-senpai leaked out “Kuh” in a painful voice while somehow redirecting her opponent’s heavy blow. Kazuha-senpai’s posture was disarranged.

 

Because her posture was disarranged, she couldn’t move into a counterattack smoothly like what Kazuki did.

 

But if it was Kazuha-senpai who excelled in chanting ability, it was enough just with that.

 

“Ameno Hidzukuri no Kazatsuchi!”

 

Thrusting her one hand forward, from there *DON!* flame explosion and shockwave were produced.

 

―The two Takasugi brothers were repelled altogether from Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai and blown away from the bridge.

 

But they were abruptly rising back up again.

 

Kazuha-senpai stood in front of Kazuki in order to cover for him.

 

“Hayashizaki…I’ll face these two guys together just by myself. That’s why you Hayashizaki, deal with that kimono girl there.”

 

“But senpai” Kazuki’s tone of voice was mixed with hesitation.

 

“Perhaps compared to this set of two guys, that girl over there is far stronger. That’s why I’ll leave her to you.”

 

Certainly Kazuki too harbored the same premonition.

 

“I’m far stronger compared to these small fries!! I won’t let you two pass beyond this point!!”

 

While their attention was diverted by Takasugi brothers, the figure of the girl in kimono vanished.

 

…The voice came from above! With her kimono’s fringe fluttering loosely, the girl was soaring high above Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai―it was not a jumping power that could be done somehow or other just with Enchant Aura.

 

The girl landed at a few meters behind Kazuki, with the force of a bouncing rubber ball she drew out her sword while in the stance of turning back.

 

It didn’t mean that Kazuki was taken by surprise. Kazuki too instantly turned his back and drew out his sword in return.

 

Flashes of light collided. Both of their drawn swords bit at each other from directly opposite, scattering apart sparks, and they entered sword-locking contest from there.

 

It was not a contest between strength. Kazuki redirected the opponent’s strength with Instant Positioning and tried to break her posture. The girl was also doing a similar thing at the same time. Their blades were mutually entangling with each other flexibly skill to skill.

 

If he could match the opponent’s vector of power, he could break the deadlock.

 

String of tension was stretched silently inside his brain. In the distance where they could even feel each other’s breath, he focused on nothing but to Foresight the movement of the opponent and control the blade delicately against the other.

 

An even sword-locking contest―at that time Kazuki and the kimono girl were mutually making a surprised expression of [There is an opponent that is my equal]. …I can do this!!

 

Both of them jumped back behind at the same time and took back the distance.

 

The girl held the katana languidly with her right hand, she brushed her disordered kimono’s cuff with her left hand swiftly and fixed her clothes instantly.

 

A natural body posture that really couldn’t be said as a stance at all. But there was no opening. She surely could leap to all kinds of movements in any moment even like that. There was this indication of all in one in her.

 

There was no doubt she had the bearing of a master.

 

“What kind of person are you?”

 

Kazuaki finally questioned the girl that stood in his way with respect toward an exceptional character coloring his words.

 

Behind Kazuki, there was the sign of Kazuha-senpai exchanging blades with Takasugi brothers and roars of Summoning Magic.

 

“I won’t let you interfere in Amaterasu’s sealing. I am one of Kenshitou’s highest upper echelons entrusted with the defense of this land…the thirtieth <Aisu Ikousai> Hidetada.”

 

Kenshitou’s upper echelons…he thought that this Haunted Ground held no protection squad from Yamato, yet…

 

No wait, rather than that, Aisu Ikousai she said?

 

Kazuki felt his mind became white. It was a feeling like being in the presence of a legend.

 

“…You are joking right? Moreover the thirtieth?”

 

“Oh, so you too are doubting the reality? You who are the successor of Hayashizaki-style sword drawing art?”

 

Aisu Ikousai―he was a swordsman of Muromachi period (AN: 1333-1573 CE). No, perhaps he ought to even be called a sword god.

 

From Muromachi period until Sengoku period (AN: 1467-1568 CE), there were countless schools of sword style created in Japan.

 

The most famous in history among them was surely Yagyuu Shinkage-style. With the choosing of Yagyuu Sekishūsai and his child, Munenori to become the instructor of the shogunate family, the house of Tokugawa, Yagyuu became known as the best sword-style in the whole country. It was also fine to even say that they are the best sword-style in the world of swords.

 

When that Yagyuu’s history was perused, there was the master of Yagyuu Sekishūsai, the <sword saint> Kamiizumi Ise no Kami Nobutsuna. And then looking even further at the master of that person was a character that was already in the realm of myth―Aisu Ikousai Hisatada.

 

When Japan’s school of sword style was traced back, every one of them would run into three origins. Those were namely Art of War Three Great Origins―<Nen-style>, <Shinto-style>, and then Aiko Ikousai’s <Kage-style>, those three.

 

Kazuki was…feeling like he was confronting his own honored ancestor.

 

“Hey the successor of Hayashizaki-style. Since when did you think Japan’s sword art was transformed into a sport?”

 

The girl―Aisu Ikousai asked.

 

“Generally it is said that the impetus was Kamiizumi Ise no Kami’s idea to use bamboo sword but…personally I think sword art had already changed into sports in Muromachi period. The uselessness of katana in war that was fought in groups had already became self-evident at that period…sword art was just a mere fashion of samurai. True practical sword art or the like had already gone at that time. The only scene where practical use of sword art could be applied was the one versus one fight that happened behind the other side of history―only in the setting of assassination. That is surely the sword’s true long cherished desire, the thirty generation piling up in the shadow…”

 

That was a completely different history compared to an old style sword school like Kazuki’s Hayashizaki-style. Even though Hayashizaki-style was also an old style sword school that was passed in secret, by no means they erased their own name by their own hands. It was not the case that they attempted to become a legend.

 

The mystical assassination sword art that earnestly erased their name continuously since Muromachi period….

 

“I see…and then an era like the present time came.”

 

“The era of magic…an era where the minority of powerful warriors dictated the battle had come. Now is the time for sword art’s resurrection! This Aisu Ikousai too!! That’s the reason why I formed a partnership with Kenshitou.”

 

Tension filled the languid limbs of Aisu Ikousai to the brim. …It’s coming!

 

“Hayashizaki-style! I was looking forward at having a bout with you-!”

 

*ton*, Kicking the ground lightly, but with acceleration that ran in contrast with that lightness, Aisu Ikousai closed the distance. Kazuki didn’t chant any spell and intercepted only with just the sword.

 

“Secret Sword…Shiraha Kagerou(Naked Blade Heat Haze)!”

 

Ikousai yelled. At that time Kazuki witnessed something hard to believe.

 

Aisu Ikousai’s blade that was approaching Kazuki―bent like a jelly from its base.

 

Kazuki’s katana that was going to block slashed empty air.

 

Ikousai’s katana approached near Kazuki’s neck as if it had transformed into a whip. Kazuki attempted to dodge his body just barely from the blade. At that instant, the blade was not only twisting itself, it lengthened itself flexibly even further.

 

The blade grazed Kazuki’s neck and with a spark blue light of magic power scattered.

 

Ikousai passed the side of Kazuki who got slashed.

 

“…First is one kill.” Ikousai whispered while they passed each other.

 

…Just now was an advanced application of Psychokinesis. The slashed Kazuki instantly understood.

 

Sensing the Prima Material of the blade, then it was influenced powerfully by Psychokinesis and its shape was altered.

 

He could grasp the how but he was amazed that such thing was really possible. It was a technique that was completely beyond his imagination.

 

Kazuki immediately turned back and faced Ikousai.

 

Kazuki moved out without a moment’s delay. Next it was Kazuki’s turn to be the attacker―surely even a flickering blade was just a normal katana when it was reversed to be the defender. There was a necessity to hold the initiative in this fight.

 

Ikousai blocked the single stroke that Kazuki swung down and it became a sword-locking contest once more.

 

This time it was not with technique, Kazuki attempted to push her with power.

 

“Ou” Aisu Ikousai raised her voice. “Because I’m a woman so you think you can win in arm strength?”

 

Kazuki didn’t permit Ikousai to try to parry the blade and pressed her with strength.

 

With the difference in strength between male and female, Kazuki’s blade slowly approached Ikousai’s face.

 

“If it’s like this then, Secret Rite…Aoiro Yasha(Blue Yaksha).”

 

In front of Kazuki’s eyes, strange magic power was whirling inside Ikousai’s flesh.

 

*doku doku* Her body pulsed strongly…Ikousai’s face was turning blue before his eyes.

 

What is currently happening―this is, blood flow manipulation.

 

Human’s flesh body was creating energy with two types of method, that was [utilizing oxygen] and [not utilizing oxygen]. The structure that utilized oxygen was making energy for stamina, but the structure that didn’t utilize oxygen―produced explosive power by decomposing sugar content.

 

The body automatically balanced which of the two structures would be prioritized to use.

 

But this girl controlled the blood flow of her entire body and closed the oxygen supply herself, making use of that to invigorate her creation of the energy that didn’t need oxygen(Muscle Power Release) (AN: This muscle power release, I’m not sure if it’s right. The kanji is too small in my source and I cannot read it clearly. If anyone know the more accurate word, please revise it.) to the maximum. She tilted the balancing scale of her body by her own will.

 

That could be said as an artificial ultimate anaerobic exercise. The girl’s slender arm that was turning pale was influenced with a doping, producing an explosive power that should be impossible from physical balance!

 

…He never thought that someone would reinforce their own physical strength with this kind of approach!

 

The balance of strength tilted from Ikousai’s explosive instantaneous force. Kazuki was outpushed. Ikousai didn’t miss the disarray of Kazuki’s balance and she drove away Kazuki’s katana, breaking the stance of Kazuki’s body.

 

Kazuki suffered a defeat in sword-locking contest for the first time after several years.

 

Ikousai’s slash assaulted Kazuki whose stance was disarrayed. Kazuki forcefully evaded that. He planned to evade but―Ikousai’s blade stretched out like a snake and grazed Kazuki’s neck.

 

“The second kill.” The girl floated a smile in her face.

 

With a stumbling step Kazuki regrouped himself with some distance. Ikousai immediately gave chase and pursued with the ever-changing twisting katana.

 

Just with the katana’s shape twisting, the movement became really hard to read to the degree he never imagined.

 

He was bewitchingly looking at it with his eyes. With such insight…Kazuki Foresight the magic power produced from the blade. If the magic power could be read, the he could Foresight what kind of alteration would happen to the blade next. From there he could calculate the trajectory of the slash.

 

Though it was a complicated calculation that had to be done in an instant….

 

Kazuki breathed out strongly with a huff and concentrated. He Foresight the phantasmagoric stroke of the katana. And then he grasped the logic of the blade and *KiIN!* sparks were scattered. Ikousai went “Hou?” and showed a surprised expression.

 

“For someone to start seeing through Shiraha Kagerou from just one occasion, really.”

 

“In Hayashizaki-style, no same technique will work twice against us.”

 

“Then…Secret Sword, Tenrou Kaidan(Heaven Tower Stair)!”

 

*PAAN!* A terrific voice rang out.

 

At that moment, Aisu Ikousai’s figure disappeared from Kazuki’s sight.

 

*PAAN!*, *PAAN!*, the sounds of something bursting reverberated around Kazuki.

 

Where is she!? ―Even the time allowed to think of that question, was just for an instant.

 

The next instant, Kazuki was slashed diagonally in the back.

 

On the back of Kazuki who was pitching forward staggeringly, a further second slash was carved. “Third kill! Fourth kill!!” Ikousai raised a joyful voice and attacked while pursuing Kazuki.

 

This swordsman of Yamato, this fellow…!

 

While Kazuki received the backlash from the defensive magic power, he rolled forward in order to take distance and escaped from Ikousai’s range. Ikousai didn’t chase too far and made a broad grin in her face from her triumph. She fixed her kimono with one hand.

 

“Secret Rite…Usubeni Hannya(Light Crimson Hannya).”

 

The girl’s pale body was recovering its former complexion. If the blood flow was constrained for too long, then next the stamina would surely disappear from the body.

 

She exploded her instantaneous force with [Aoiro Yasha], and recovered her stamina with [Usubeni Hannya].

 

But, even more than that the technique just now….

 

“Fufufu, it’s four times already. If we crossed swords without this thing called defensive magic power, you had already died four times.”

 

“…Don’t just make up an assumption that’s convenient for yourself as you please, assassin swordsman. What we are doing right now is a fight with defensive magic power aren’t we? Who can agree with that kind of simple win lose condition attached here.”

 

Toward Kazuki who got a little worked up in his rebuttal, ‘ku-ku-ku’, Ikousai chuckled innocently.

 

“This might be a little childish but, at any rate my opponent is the greatest masterpiece of Hayashizaki-style and the famous [Cyclops] after all. It’s really unbearable, this desire of mine to prove that my sword is the strongest with you as the opponent.”

 

The strongest sword….

 

Certainly this fellow’s skill was not ordinary. That kind of conception she used in her technique had never occurred to him at all.

 

Even if he was struck with that kind of idea, he would surely be unable to manage to realize such technique without piling up a mountain of training.

 

This girl in front of his eyes was not a swordsman that just merely inherited an ancient style sword art. Matching the current era and evolving her sword together with it―she was a swordsman that had advanced several steps ahead of the path that Kanae was trying to traverse.

 

In this match as a swordsman, Kazuki honestly realized that he was falling into the inferiority here.

 

[Tenrou Kaidan]…First he had to fathom the true form of that technique….

 

 

 

Kazuha dodged the Takasugi brothers’ violent downswings as if dancing.

 

She returned a compact slash through that opening.

 

A battle between butterfly and boar―it was an easy offense and defense for Kazuha who was in the middle of learning the skill of Foresight.

 

“…Why were you guys trying to become strong with that kind of method?”

 

With the timing of the widening distance as the impetus, Kazuha questioned while taking her stance vigilantly.

 

These guys were following the order of that girl in kimono. In other words they should still have some of their consciousness remaining.

 

“…Kill the Magika Stigma…!”

 

With a look exactly like a beast, the Takasugi brothers’ voices leaked out.

 

“Hayashizaki Kazuki, Hayashizaki Kanae! They insult us that [our skill in sword is not a big deal] and so on…!”

 

Right now the one who stood in front of their eyes was Kazuha, but perhaps they were already unable to recognize that anymore. The two of them vented their hatred in frankness to Kazuha.

 

“Our, revolution ideology was defiled, because of you bastards’ fault!”

 

“The battle election…what we were saying was supposed to be the most correct thought! Despite so, nobody elected us…because we lost in the battle election!! That battle election was just a farce decided only by power!!”

 

“Power, power destroyed our just ideal!! Power is…abominable!!”

 

Certainly there was an aspect in the battle election where the vote easily gathered on the students who made great showings in the tournament.

 

But what would happen to the Magic Division and the Sword Division from now on? The students wouldn’t give their vote just from the result of the tournament without giving a serious consideration on that.

 

They lost in election not because their fighting strength was weak. What was weak of them was…,

 

“What is lacking in you guys, isn’t it the strength to look hard at yourself!?”

 

Takasugi brothers assaulted her recklessly. Yet Kazuha dodged it easily and slashed back in return.

 

The brothers were repelled from the backlash of the defensive magic power and fell into their backside…then they stood back up with faces that looked like as if they were going to cry.

 

“It’s you bastards’ fault, that we failed to get elected…that power, power got away from our hands! Authority got away from our hands!!”

 

“It’s you bastards’ fault that we are like this! That we failed to obtain the power to trample those Magika Stigma under our foot!!”

 

For the third time, they stepped forward like an idiot that only knew how to do just one thing.

 

Kazuha evaded as if she was dancing. Even while she evaded elegantly, Kazuha’s chest felt gloomy.

 

“Authority got away from your hands you said? You want to trample the Magika Stigma under your foot you said? Even though you talked about ideal so haughtily…the inside of you guys is just that sort of thing!!?”

 

Kazuha slashed the two them away with all her might. But the two whose body were poured with the magic power of Wild God would abruptly stand back up no matter how many times they were cut down.

 

“…It’s you bastards’ fault. It’s you bastards’ fault that we became useless…”

 

“…It’s you bastards’ fault, that father branded us as useless…”

 

The deep resentment voices of the brothers overlapped.

 

Father―the one that switched over from being the board chairman of the knight academy to be Yamato’s statesman, they were surely talking about Takasugi Takayoshi.

 

“”Power…, I want strength…!””

 

That lurid spirit overpowered Kazuha. However she soon glared back.

 

…Even I harbored a feeling of inferiority, I was wishing stronger than anyone that I want to become stronger.

 

But I didn’t distort my feeling like this.

 

“That distorted [will to become strong] of you guys…I won’t recognize something like that!!”

 

“GYAAAAAA! Jiraiba(Earth Lightning Blade)!!”

 

One of the Takasugi brothers raised one of his hands high to the sky. At his side an avatar of a Diva that resembled Futsunushi no Kami emerged out. A Diva with an appearance of an ancient sword!

 

Thunder fell to the raised hand, then he took hold of that lightning where it turned into a sword of lightning.

 

“Senbiki Fudouwan(Thousand Pull Immobile Arm)!!”

 

The one other Takasugi brothers was also raising one of his hands high to the sky. An avatar of a giant emerged beside him.

 

The arm raised overhead bulged out several times larger, transforming into an arm of giant that made the gripped long sword look like a toy.

 

{That’s…the power of <Take Mikadzuchi> and <Take Minakata>. If the high level magic of those two are used then it won’t finish with just around that degree but, well, looks like those just now are only level 2 magic.}

 

Futsunushi no Kami conveyed his voice to Kazuha-senpai through telepathy.

 

…If there was consciousness still left inside them even in just a little amount, they could still manage to use even low level Summoning Magic.

 

The Takasugi brothers slashed at Kazuha simultaneously. Kazuha received an electric shock the moment she made contact with the lighting sword, and surely the slash launched using that gigantified arm possessed a power to the degree that she couldn’t block.

 

If it kept like this she wouldn’t be able to defend. If she evaded the attack then there was no doubt that the Uji Bridge she was standing on would be broken in pieces.

 

Therefore Kazuha also chanted her spell. The spell that she had been preparing for quite some time from before.

 

“Watching thousands of lives withering in the path of the sword…o military men obeyed by hundreds of grass, please lend that hand free from obstructive thought to my morals! …Kenki Shihou Ken(Devilish Swordsman Four Directions Sword)!!”

 

Futsunushi no Kami’s level 6 magic―great number of bluish-white souls drifted and gathered around Kazuha.

 

Those were the souls of the swordsmen that followed the path of the sword to its extremes and perished halfway through.

 

Responding against Futsunushi no Kami’s guidance, those souls appeared under Kazuha. They possessed mass due to magic power and transformed into something that symbolized their tempering&mdash;becoming enormous arms and katana.

 

There was a total of four ghostly arms and katana each with a size that reached Kazuha’s stature, floating around her.

 

“Become my substitute, block them!”

 

The lightning sword born from Take Mikadzuchi’s power was blocked solidly by the two arms surrounding the right side crossing their two katana. The electric shock couldn’t flow to the spot where Kazuha was.

 

The one strike that was gigantified by Take Minakata’s power was blocked solidly by the two arms surrounding the left side crossing their two katana. The three giant arms were locked in a rivalry of strength with grinding sound.

 

In the center of those two spots of power, Kazuha’s own two hands were free.

 

Kazuha directed those two hands at the Takasugi brothers and chanted.

 

“Ameno Hidzukuri no Kazatsuchi!”

 

*DON!* The released shockwave blew away both the Takasugi brothers altogether.

 

The four arms created by Kazuha were controlled remotely in accordance with Kazuha’s will and even now they assaulted the Takasugi brothers who were trying to stand and pressed them on.

 

During that time, Kazuha turned her eyes to the battle between Kazuki and the kimono girl.

 

Kazuki was having much trouble with the girl who introduced herself as Aisu Ikousai….

 

“…What is he doing? Just against techniques of that degree, that guy become cornered like that.”

 

Kazuha reflexively knitted her eyebrows. The Hayashizaki Kazuki that I know isn’t supposed to be that kind of person.


 

 

Part 7

 

“Hayashizaki! What the hell are you doing, just against that kind of fellow!”

 

―Kazuha-senpai threw a scolding voice at Kazuki who was in the middle of a glaring match with Aisu Ikousai.

 

“Those kind of techniques are not really a big deal right!!?”

 

Hearing that, Ikousai looked sullen with her pride wounded.

 

“Now you really said it. I thought that it would be fine to leave the dunce of the Sword Division to those dimwits Takasugi brothers, yet…should I carved the technique of Aisu’s Kage-style on that body of yours too?”

 

“Even if you don’t deliberately carve it into my body, I get it already just from watching here! Like this right!?”

 

Kazuha-senpai dashed to this direction trying to interrupt between Kazuki and Aisu Ikousai.

 

That figure of hers, *PAAN!* went flying together with that sound.

 

“!?” Ikousai’s spine trembled with shock witnessing that.

 

Kazuha-senpai’s body danced high to the sky. From there even more *PAAN!* *PAAN!* sounds rang out and she maneuvered three dimensionally in the air. Kazuha-senpai instantly circled to Ikousai’s back.

 

When Kazuki saw that from his position as a third party observer, he comprehended that trick for the first time.

 

…I see, certainly seeing it from outside is really easy to understand.

 

The sound of *PAAN!* was the sound of kicking with full power the movement energy produced by Psychokinesis. Creating a foothold in the sky with magic and making the body leap through the air under an instant. That speed was several levels faster compared to a normal jump. When the opponent was thinking vaguely that the enemy was above, she had already flew about three dimensionally who knew how many times―and circled into the back.

 

“Learned by imitating, Tenrou Kaidan!”

 

While yelling, Kazuha-senpai swept her katana sideways.

 

As expected from the originator herself, Ikousai was not tricked by that movement and saw through Kazuha-senpai’s position instantly and dodged the blade. But at that time Kazuha-senpai’s blade twisted like jelly. It was just a slight twist compared to Ikousai’s own, but certainly her blade’s shape distorted―Shiraha Kagerou.

 

Kazuha-senpai’s single stroke of katana gouged Ikousai’s neck shallowly, making her defensive magic power shine.

 

“Saying it in your manner from before…it’s one kill with this right?” Kazuha-senpai grinned broadly.

 

Ikousai took some distance with a light leap, her expression transformed from shock into admiration.

 

Just about that much is still incomplete, however, you really can imitate my sword that easily huh. You…won’t you enter Ikousai-style and become my disciple?”

 

“Who would do that, stupid-! I am Hayashizaki-style!!”

 

Hearing Kazuha-senpai made a refusal like that, Kazuki could only stare in amazement.

 

“Eh, is that true?”

 

“What kind of reaction is that! It is like that right!? You are aallways saying that ‘I am the master’ aren’t you!?”

 

“I was saying that half in jest but…if you are my disciple than please become more honest then.”

 

“I’m honest in matters concerning sword right!? What’s with you! Don, don’t tell me you are planning to order me to do something perverted!?”

 

“Now I’m a romance master and I command senpai to do romance training for the whole day.”

 

“No Way even if it’s for romance―!! This hentaii―!”

 

Ikousai was looking at them with cold eyes. “You two, looks like you are really having fun.”

 

“Anyway don’t you dare lose to that fellow. Besides, why are fighting without using Summoning Magic?”

 

Even while saying such things, Kazuha-senpai kept making the gigantic four arms fight the Takasugi brothers. It was a splendid control of Summoning Magic.

 

Right there Kazuki finally noticed how he had fought while sealing his own Summoning Magic.

 

“The strength as swordsman, is not all there is to it of your strength right-!!”

 

…Before, Kazuki relied on the strength of the sword as the foundation of his pride. His genius in sword was recognized and he was adopted into Hayashizaki family, getting praised by his stepfather was the meaning of his existence.

 

…Right now is different. Even now sword was still something important for him, but it was not everything of him. The power he obtained from his bonds, and the important things he protected with it…that was also his own strength.

 

“You are the same like me, a magic swordsman. I don’t want to see you get defeated or the like.”

 

“That’s right isn’t it…I’ll stop already on being too obstinate thinking as a swordsman.”

 

In all honesty…if he used Summoning Magic then he surely could defeat Aisu Ikousai easily.

 

He fought a straight forward match as a swordsman against his better judgment, but he had to defeat this swordsman and reach the inner part of the Ise Imperial Shrine. Reservation or anything like that was unnecessary.

 

“Is that so, so you plan to use Summoning Magic? Hmph. …Then I wonder, should I do that too?”

 

With nonchalant tone Ikousai said that. Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai went ‘Don’t tell me!’ in their minds.

 

No, now that he thought back…the voice from the sky that commanded the God’s reliant―that was surely the contractor of Susanoo, but wasn’t this girl in front of him also ordered around the Takasugi brothers just now?

 

Then this fellow was…Susanoo’s contractor, Izumo King!

 

“You two have the face that says if you are using Summoning Magic then you can win easily, I really can’t stomach that look! Both in sword and even in magic, I am the stronger one!!”

 

Ikousai sheathed the sword in her right hand back to its sheath. Then she folded her arm cuff and abruptly pulled off the bracelet that was worn in her wrist.

 

It was a bracelet that he had remember seeing before―<Limiter>.

 

The fellows of God’s reliant held a grudge against Stigmata. Because of that she surely wore a Limiter and hid her stigmata while taking a joint action with them. She only took the Limiter off when she was giving order as the voice from the sky.

 

“Polished black steel of heaven o Totsuka no Tsurugi…release flash of light that gouge the storm! This is Orochi no Arasama(Snake’s Exact Rough)…the advent of tearing limb from limb, Ame no Habakiri(Sky Feathers Decapitation)!!”

 

The girl didn’t even perform Access and chanted her spell directly.

 

She didn’t even have the blessing of Magic Dress, yet in spite of that she chanted with speed that she seemed familiar with.

 

Magic of Sacred Treasure creation&mdash;light was created inside her hand where it held an atypical sword with its blade divided to eight direction.

 

“It’s fine even if you too make your Stigmata shine! Come, this is the beginning of sword and magic’s second act!”

 

“Wait!”

 

The instant Ikousai was going to kick the ground, a voice halting them reverberated.

 

Yatagarasu who escaped to the sky to avoid the fighting descended down and perched on Kazuki’s shoulder.

 

“I’ll shut my eyes if it is just a sport between fellow swordsmen, but more than this and you should stop your interference! Amaterasu chose this gentleman as the substitute of <Wakoku King>!! You too should have no real intention to keep depending on Loki like what you are currently doing while being unable to plunder Amaterasu’s power!!”

 

“…Hoo, so that NEET god finally intended to raise a King. I thought she was going to continue being sealed like this and vanish, but if she showed some motivation then the story is different. I see, so that’s why the King of Solomon came to this land.”

 

Ikousai docilely vanished the Sacred Treasure held inside her hand.

 

“Susanoo is a rebelling god toward the absolute authoritarian(Amaterasu). Therefore <Izumo King> too is a rebelling King. The [King’s Authority] of such King is to plunder for herself the power of the defeated King, [Power of Usurpation]. …Therefore the starting condition of Izumo King is powerless. The nearest some other King(Basileus) at hand…Amaterasu’s King is someone she has to defeat and to plunder for power…!!”

 

“Simultaneously that’s also something that Amaterasu can say. If Amaterasu’s Wakoku King cannot make the rebel Izumo King submit, she also cannot wield the [King’s Authority] of Japanese Mythology and stays powerless. Consequently both of them are Yin and Yang. They have a destiny of conflict.”

 

“Interesting! Moreover if you hold both the title of Solomon King and Wakoku King then it’s two birds with one stone! This is fine, I’ll allow you to proceed forward for the sake of plundering your power for mine later.”

 

…She could speak like this because Izumo King could steal the power of another King when she defeated them. Just that the only one she could defeat quick and easy even in her powerless state was only Amaterasu who was in the same powerless state like her.

 

If she had that kind of ability then Kazuki could understand her strategy to ally herself with Loki temporarily.

 

Ikousai swept away her disarrayed sleeves with one hand and then turned her back on Kazuki and co.

 

“You the <Cyclops> of Hayashizaki-style, and also the newly appointed proxy of Amaterasu…understand well your destiny with me, I’ll carve it deeply on your body.”

 

An existence with a different quality somewhere compared to all his enemies until now―Aisu Ikousai left those words behind and exited the stage.


 

 

Part 8

 

“If we have arrived until here, it’ll only take a little more until the Imperial Shrine’s sacred main temple.”

 

The Takasugi brothers had also left following Ikousai.

 

Yatagarasu guided Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai in the front, walking briskly with its three legs in short steps.

 

Almost all the scenery around them had recovered from being a Haunted Ground to its original scenery of Ise Imperial Shrine.

 

Inside the Imperial Shrine’s forest that were filled with ancient trees growing in abundance, it made them feel the atmosphere of perpetuity. They continued to walk along the path made of pure white gravel until the deepest part of the shrine. The Isuzu River that flowed beside them had also recovered its transparent stream.

 

A scenery filled with sacred tranquility. This was Japan’s oldest shrine, the true appearance of Ise Imperial Shrine.

 

They were finally going to reach the end of their journey.

 

After they advanced through the gravel path drawing a gentle arc, they hit into a stone stair. Ahead of the stone stair there was a shrine archway. Passing through it, finally they saw [that].

 

An architectural style of ancient times that even made them feel the connection with Takakura-style warehouse from Yayoi period. It was built based from <the only Shinmei Dzukuri> (AN: Shinmei Dzukuri is a unique phrase in Japan. Shinmei here can refer to Amaterasu or god. While Shinmei Dzukuri means building a shrine with architecture style based on that of Ise Imperial Shrine. So the meaning of the phrase in the bracket here is that the building that Kazuki and co are seeing is the originator of all the Ise style shrine in the whole Japan.), yet the feel of the material felt like it was brand new. That was because every twenty years the main building of Ise Imperial Shrine was remodeled and <Shikinen Senguu> (AN: Construction of a new shrine and transfer of the enshrined object from the old to the new, occurring at a regular, preordained time) was performed. Because the only Shinmei Dzukuri was built using ancient construction technique, its endurance’s age was short and it resulted in the necessity of reconstruction periodically no matter what.

 

At the time of its reconstruction, it followed the style and all the ritual from the ancient times strictly and thoroughly. Its appearance from time immemorial was obstinately protected just like how it originally was. This building was not in unchanging condition since the ancient times until the olden days. Yet exactly because of the periodic rebuilding, its unchanging appearance could be preserved for more than a thousand years in the true meaning.

 

Of course with that method it would take far more expense and labor compared to merely preserving the building.

 

This is Ise Imperial Shrine, its sacred main temple.

 

Further ahead of the archway were fences surrounding the shrine―a gate could be seen on the wall.

 

“From here on, normal people are not allowed to enter.” Saying that, Kazuha-senpai hesitated to proceed.

 

“That’s so, but if you two don’t enter then we cannot begin anything.”

 

Yatagarasu entered without care with bobbing steps inside as if this building was its own home.

 

The gate opened automatically by its own.

 

There was an archway again inside the outer fence. The inner wall obstructed the path. There were several layers of closed walls and gates in order to reject visitors coming to the inner sanctuary.

 

With the guidance of Yatagarasu, they passed through several gates.

 

And then the inner sanctuary that even resembled the Takakura-style warehouse in the history textbook appeared in front of their eyes. It had a simple architecture with thatch roof, but its linear shaping made them feel its artificial bearing rather than a respect towards nature.

 

Yatagarasu proceeded forward through the stair that ascended the raised-floor building with bobbing advance and gestured Kazuki to go inside.

 

 

 

One surface of the inside was stained with blood.

 

 

 

Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai were dumbfounded and lost their words. The bloodstain had blackened and permeated into the surface. It was clear just with one glance that a long time had passed since the blood was spilled. The amount of the bloodstain was enough to make them able to imagine that a person had died in that space.

 

“Amaterasu’s contractor was killed here through the hands of Yamato’s government and Susanoo.”

 

“Wait a second, you said things like you are going to present the contractor of Amaterasu to me, but like this what is the meaning of…?”

 

A cold shiver ran through Kazuki’s spine.

 

Don’t tell me…are they going to ask me to conquer a ghost!?

 

“The body of Amaterasu’s contractor had been annihilated, but Amaterasu narrowly managed to save her soul and sealed it inside it Amaterasu’s Territory. On top having no flesh body, if the situation stays like this then her fate will be to naturally vanish together with Amaterasu. That’s why your cooperation…the <power of bond> that you possessed is necessary. If Amaterasu recovers her power and from there she also ties a bond with you and obtain power, the girl will be able to regain her flesh body.”

 

“You are saying that a dead human can be restored to life!?”

 

Was such a thing possible? Kazuki too had once resurrected Mio from the grip of death using Phoenix’s level 10 magic. But such event was supposed to be completely different compared to reviving an existence that didn’t even have her corpse remaining and the only thing left behind of her was the bloodstain that had already dried on the floor.

 

“The girl still hasn’t welcomed a complete death yet. Her soul is preserved through Amaterasu’s power. But the currently weakened Amaterasu simply doesn’t have enough strength. If she can borrow that power by becoming a subordinate to Solomon Mythology…”

 

“Does Amaterasu want to save that contractor so much that she will even go as far as subordinating herself to another Mythology?”

 

Yatagarasu was trotting ahead to the center of the sacred main temple’s floor. Over there was the center of the blood stain’s spread.

 

“Amaterasu deeply loved that [girl]. Therefore she didn’t raise that girl to become Wakoku King and abandoned her battle with Susanoo. Yamato government and Susanoo were furious because of that and killed the girl before pressing Amaterasu to choose a new contractor to become King. But for Amaterasu it was inconceivable to even make a contract with another human. And so Amaterasu abandoned everything and shut herself inside the Gate of the Celestial Rock Cave. …Please follow me.”

 

With a jerk, Yatagarasu kicked the floor of the sacred main temple. Thereupon the floorboard came off and a hole was opened.

 

Yatagarasu then descended down the hole. Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai too followed from behind.

 

When they entered under the floor, many pillars stretching up supported the floor of the sacred main temple from the surface below. In the center of the space surrounding those pillars, there was a pillar that didn’t reach until the floor of the sacred main temple with a height that only reached halfway.

 

It was a pillar that didn’t support anything.

 

In the peak of that halfway pillar, a miniature size sacred main temple was put on it.

 

“<The True August Pillar>…This is the entrance to Amaterasu’s residence, the path leading to the Gate of the Celestial Rock Cave. Amaterasu is ahead through this.”

 

“How do we enter inside through this miniature size thing?”

 

“Of course its destination is <Astrum>. The Gate of the Celestial Rock Cave is a district of Amaterasu’s Territory. Being sealed inside that healing space and isolated from everything else, Amaterasu can just barely hold her ground of having herself vanishing little by little. Supply power to Amaterasu from the outside, if she cannot go out from the Gate of the Celestial Rock Cave then like this she also cannot talk with you. Touch your hand to this True August Pillar and close your eyes, then please unify your consciousness and subconsciousness(Trance). If you do that then it will synchronize with the mind of you two and it can guide you to Astrum.”

 

Kazuki remembered about the contract ceremony after the entrance ceremony. At that time he was guided by Kaguya-senpai and dove into the Diva’s Territory in Astrum. What he was going to do after this was the same thing like that.

 

“Pass through <Yomotsu Hirasaka> (AN: Yomotsu Hirasaka is a hill where it can lead to Yomi (world of the dead) in Japanese Myth.) and head to <the Gate of the Celestial Rock Cave>.”

 

“…Isn’t Yomotsu Hirasaka the place that continue to the world of after death?”

 

Kazuki asked frightfully with ominous presentiment. He came along with them this far believing that their interest matched each other, but he was going to be troubled if he became a dead person just like this.

 

“That’s a misinterpretation of the myth. …Yomotsu Hirasaka is a corridor that linked the world with different worlds. It is the exit and entrance that leads to Takamagahara (AN: The heavens) which is the Territory of Japanese Divas.”

 

Yatagarasu went on “Anyway, please close your eyes.”, like that it prompted Kazuki and Kazuha-senpai to proceed.


 

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