Chapter 3 – War Front’s Continual Change
Provisions for soldiers were necessary.
Karin’s body made a single rotation with a twirl and she returned from her Magic Dress to her uniform appearance.
She was not just in her usual uniform appearance, she was shouldering a large rucksack.
Putting it down, she took out a large multi-tiered bento box, water canteen, and a leisure sheet.
“You made even the bento together into the Magic Dress!?”
Miyabi-senpai’s eyes turned round from shock. The surprised face of a beautiful woman was lovely.
Sometimes magic power magnificently ignored the law of the conservation of mass.
“Both senpai are seniors though, I heard that this is a trick that everyone used.”
“Both of us always went on a quest with just the two of us so…we never noticed that kind of idea.”
“This is not really a good thing you know.”
Leme materialized herself beside Kazuki with a slightly bitter face. It seemed that she came to eat bento.
“First there is the definition that [things attached on the body will be disintegrated and converted into Magic Dress], the phenomenon is made to occur in parallel with that principle, but the Diva’s side is also confused when you asked [is it fine for our baggage to be included in that?]. Sooner or later you are going to escalate and ask if it’s possible for a bicycle or a car that make us even more uneasy. It’s not a good feeling for the Magic Dress that is fittingly adorning our own contractor to be made from things like bento. We are unwilling but we give in and allow it if it’s just something to the extent of bento, but don’t you dare make us convert outrageous luggage and treat us like a storage shed.”
Is this a grey zone trick…?
“That is so that Leme is going to eat the bento too.”
After Kazuki spread out the leisure sheet, Leme was the first one to step on it and sat down with a flop.
The multi-tiered box bento was put right in the middle and everyone surrounded it.
The instant the lid was opened, Shinobu-senpai’s expression was colored with shock.
That was because there was a slight surprise prepared inside the box.
There was a brown wild land of meat as far as the eyes could see inside the first box. Hamburgers, meatballs, teriyaki chicken, octopus-shaped wieners, meat rolls filled with asparagus or pot herb, minced meat sandwiched with fried lotus root…
Shinobu-senpai was looking at Kazuki with an expression that seemed to be saying [By any chance this is…], however she immediately averted her eyes restlessly as if saying [No, perhaps it’s just a mere coincidence].
“Shinobu-senpai, I have heard of your favorite foods from Miyabi-senpai. Do you dislike it?”
Even after Kazuki disclosed the secret, Shinobu-senpai continued to be restless.
“I don’t dislike it. But, somehow I cannot calm down… I don’t understand what kind of face I should make.”
“It’s fine to be happy.”
Beside her Miyabi-senpai smiled in amusement.
Of course the boxes under the first one were filled by side dishes other than meat. The second box was filled with vegetables and seafood, while the third box was filled with rice balls.
“Kazuki, this one is going to do [aaan]. This is the duty as a wife… it is not, but as a bosom friend.”
Even while saying that Kazuki still obediently opened his mouth and swallowed the hamburger presented to him.
He had cut up the food into mouthful sizes beforehand in preparation of something like this happening. He was getting used already to this kind of development.
“Hrm, servicing the companion but also ruling the companion… this is the activity between man and woman, it is not, but the activity between bosom friends.”
“Fufufu, well then I’ll do it too. Is it fine like this?”
Miyabi-senpai chuckled coolly and then she presented a lotus root sandwich at him.
“Hayashizaki Kazuki, it’s okay for you to do [aa―n] to me too! Teamwork!!”
In contrast Karin opened her mouth largely with ‘waha―’ while her eyes shined in sparkles.
“What do you want to eat?”
“Fufun, of course the tako-san (AN: Refers to the octopus wiener)!!”
Kazuki reverently presented the tako-san wiener to Karin.
“How tasty―. Kazuki’s handmade meal is always tasty―. If I become a wife, then I can eat this everyday I wonder―”
Karin happily chewed *mogu mogu* her food.
“…What is called friend is someone that does this kind of thing then.”
Shinobu-senpai was looking at that kind of happening from a place that was a step removed from them.
“Kazuki… I don’t understand the environment here so if you don’t lead me I’m going to get troubled.”
Shinobu-senpai sent Kazuki a demanding gaze.
“Is, is that so? Which one does senpai want?”
“All of it is my favorite food.”
That was that. Kazuki picked a teriyaki chicken with his chopsticks and said “aa―n”, whereupon Shinobu-senpai opened her graceful lips wide like a child. Kazuki fed her with a careful manner of hand.
Shinobu-senpai’s face turned bright while chewing, a small heart mark flew.
Being demanded without any reserve, Kazuki presented the next food.
Kazuki held a rice ball reverently with both hands and presented it to the mouth of Shinobu-senpai.
“Shinobu, it’s fine even if you eat by yourself you know…?”
Miyabi-senpai retorted with a wry smile. She gave a tsukkomi. Kazuki thought he was saved.
“Nee-sama too, here.”
But Shinobu-senpai pinched a meatball with her chopstick and held it out to Miyabi-senpai.
“Ara… Fufu, thank you.”
“Kazuki, continue your ‘aa―n’ to me. Come on.”
Shinobu-senpai also disregarded Miyabi-senpai’s pointing out and then she directed an opened mouth at Kazuki.
Kazuki presented meat again to Shinobu-senpai. He was happy that there was a real feeling of his distance with her shrinking down.
But, like this I don’t get to eat then…
“Then Kazuki will be fed on by this one! Here, aaan.”
Kohaku once again directed her chopsticks at Kazuki in the critical timing.
Looking at what was happening, an expression of confusion appeared on Karin’s face.
“Eh…I’m feeding Kohaku then…am I…? Somehow I don’t feel really happy huh, doing that.”
While being bewildered Karin went ‘aa―n’ to Kohaku.
“Wait, like this I cannot eat then!”
“Ah, then I’ll do it. But it’s a little hard to fed you like this so how about changing our seating position?”
Miyabi-senpai whose position was a little far from Karin proposed such and raised her body.
The people surrounding the bento box was Miyabi-senpai→Karin→Kohaku→Kazuki→Shinobu-senpai→Miyabi-senpai… They lined up in a circle with that kind of flow.
There was not a single person among the group that fed themselves and they continued to do [aa―n] at each other like a rotary press.
“Karin, you started to lag behind. Gulp down your food faster.”
“You are the one that is too fast―! Feel my groove more and get in the rhythm!”
Kohaku and Karin began to argue with each other.
“If we are going to match our rhythm, I wonder if it’s better to raise a matching yell?”
When Miyabi-senpai proposed so, Kohaku went “That’s it” while clapping her hands.
Having her proposal accepted, Miyabi-senpai made a happy grin.
“Soiya (AN: A cheering shout Japanese people raised)! “Aa―n!” “Soiya! “Aa―n!”, all of them raised a voice like the people that was pounding mocha or shouldering the portable shrine in a festival in the end. …He already didn’t understand what in the world was the purpose of this.
“This is teamwork…”
Shinobu-senpai murmured to herself.
“Something like this is the first time for me… to feel this kind of uncommon intimate group feeling…”
Miyabi-senpai whispered happily.
“No, senpai is magnificently misunderstanding something here.”
Kazuki pointed out while being half amazed.
“By the way, about this gate.”
After finishing eating in that way until the very end, Kazuki began to talk.
If they passed through this gate, they would plunge into the Level 2 area.
In their original arrangement first they were going to liberate the whole Level 1 area before continuing to Level 2.
But now that they had discovered the gate, was it okay to just leave it alone. Such doubt was welling up inside Kazuki’s chest.
“As long as we are resolved for the danger, it might be better for even only us to go first into Level 2.”
If there was something there, he would protect his companions without fail. By using Zekorbeni skillfully…
Miyabi-senpai asked. Kohaku and Karin too leaned their body forward in wonder.
“If Yamato and other enemy countries can break through the first gate and infiltrate, then they might also be able to do the same with the second and the third gate and break through here. If the enemies appear right from the front through Level 1 then we might be able to discover and deal with them, but…”
“…While we are slowly wandering around Level 1 for who knows how long, we might not be able to notice that the other side has already infiltrated Level 2 or 3 ahead of us.”
Miyabi-senpai understood the roundabout talk and Kazuki nodded briskly to that.
“Today, it’s only after we started the operation for real that I first noticed this, but… I cannot sense everyone’s magic power while fighting except for just a faint presence. Right now, even if there is a battle happening inside Level 2 or 3, I don’t think we will be able to make any distinction of that magic power with the magic power emitted from the fight of our comrades. In such case the most frightening things are invaders that slipped among our magic power into Level 2 or 3 and plundered that area ahead of us…”
All present kept their silence. Courage was necessary to reject Kazuki’s theory as impossible.
The second gate was installed with a Stigmata confirmation device.
If their own Stigmata was confirmed by the device then they would be able to pass through without any problem.
The Stigmata confirmation device was connected with the Knight Order’s headquarter using a circuit and originally it had the structure to send the data of the confirmed Stigmata to the headquarter, but this terminal was a stand-alone type.
“For this gate to have the Stigmata Confirmation device, this wall and gate seems to be quite new.”
Kazuki opened the gate while making such deduction.
The wall was also sturdily built with adamantite. The Knight Order didn’t just leave this wall unregulated and in order to not let the Haunted Ground expand more than this, it was made to be able to be maintained for a long period of time.
With Kazuki in the lead, the ancient heavy gate of adamantite was opening while creaking *giiiiiiiii*.
―Akane-senpai said before that [Thanks to the wall the expansion of the Haunted Ground can be held in check, however only in that part alone the magic power are accumulating in inward direction and so the moment you pass through the wall it has been confirmed that the magic power’s density will spring up drastically]. Her words were resurrected inside his head.
“…Certainly, it’s so thick here.”
The instant they passed the wall, they felt a thickness of magic power that seemed to pierce their skin. The scenery was also changing. The denseness and thickness of the trees in the surrounding increased, their colors surpassed a mere poisonous tint and blackened like an ink. The sky was blocked by black leafs and even though it was afternoon currently, passed the wall was completely dark like the inside of a room with its electricity turned off. The ground under their feet was changing into a gently sloping hill road.
Kazuki felt his consciousness becoming distant. In panic he retained his consciousness using Trance. The Haunted Ground’s dense magic power was coming to reap the consciousness of the invader.
Coming until this far, it should be called as a miasma rather than a magic power.
The member that wasn’t really good in Trance―Kohaku groaned “Unuu-“.
“…O naiyoukou (AN: A type of energy or chi or ki, something like that) polished and burning from the core of navel, drive away the ominous and incite the cool and clear rainbow into the soul! Kikan Choukou(Spirit Weight Long Rainbow)!”
Suddenly Karin casted some kind of magic.
Thereupon an intense heat was born inside Kazuki’s stomach at once and rushed about through his whole body like a blood stream. That heat immediately penetrated his mind and cleared away the miasma.
It seemed the magic just now was cast altogether at all members. Kohaku who was weakening was also feeling refreshed from the heat.
“Just now was…?”
“A mind stimulating magic that drives away maliciousness… that’s what Tamamo no Mae said.”
Indeed, it was a magic that could recover the mind altogether from a light mind attack type.
Perhaps Karin would be an indispensable member for them to search Level 2 even deeper.
“This place is not only thick in magic power.”
“…Some kind of magic is overwriting the space itself…”
Kazuki’s complexion changed, hearing those words.
When he sharpened his senses, Kazuki was able to sense the same thing.
A magic that affected the space―someone had already come here!?
From the path ahead, a rustling sound of someone pushing their way through the trees approaching near them could be heard.
“Oi… that’s not a Demon Beast.”
Kohaku that directed her sight at the path ahead leaked out a groaning voice.
What appeared from the dark path was a small boy.
The boy was naked without wearing a single clothes and his skin was blue as if no blood was flowing inside.
There were no eyeballs in his head and in its place were only black cavities.
Just from looking at that appearance they were immediately reminded of something. A dead person.
The deceased boy grinned widely the moment he saw Kazuki.
“…Mother said, to not play with you or Mio or Kaya.”
“They are the kids of the institution Mother said. You mustn’t get close to those children who are not raised in decency she said.”
The inside of his heart became discomposed all at once.
Those were words that he had some memories of hearing, somewhere, in his remote past by someone.
The boy kicked the ground after saying just those sentences and leaped forward with a force as if he was flying.
…Fast! It was as if the magic power of the Haunted Ground had seeped into the flesh that had lost its life and acted like Enchant Aura!
The boy came in with a head-butt towards Kazuki, who was bending forward. Kazuki drew out his sword in an Iai and met the attack.
The katana blocked the head-butt. He could feel a heavy and severe feedback in his hand. Kazuki didn’t block right from the front but parried it to the side diagonally. Having his charge parried, the boy staggered.
“Crush to death, <Taroudachi>! Battou Kaikon―Ashura Ryoudan!!”
From the side, Kohaku enlarged her beloved Sacred Treasures and flattened down the boy with one attack. The boy crumpled down and he was buried into the ground with his four limbs twisted around like a frog.
Even so the pitch black eye socket didn’t see Kohaku but kept staring at Kazuki.
“…You got carried away just because you are strong in a fight…”
The boy spitted out cursing word that was dripping with unresolved regret at Kazuki.
“Not you, but Mio and Kaya, they are the one that is going to be made crying then… there is going to be no more place to belong or anywhere to escape for you…”
Those were also words he had a memory of hearing before in the past.
It was the words from the opponent he had beaten after a brawl…. The boy’s whole body liquefied muddily into a pitch black liquid and seeped into the ground of the Haunted Ground.
“What in the world was that boy just now…”
Kohaku murmured while looking down at the melting boy.
A whispering voice could be heard suddenly, Kazuki and the others raised their face.
From the gap between the pitch dark trees, the faces of several girls came out one after another even further.
The girl that stood in the lead focused at Kohaku directly and talked.
“That child, I heard that she want to become a swordsman and trained her body, not to be a magician.”
The other girls laughed in snickers.
“Let’s call her gorilla.”
“Gorilla.” “Gorilla.” “Come on stop it, the gorilla will get violent and come swinging at us you know.”
“Actually the person herself hate something worthless like a sword isn’t she?” “But it’s because she has to succeed the sword art that has continued for generations she said.”
“It’s a gorilla lineage after all so it cannot be helped.” “Uhho uhho! See me swinging my sword uhho!”
Kohaku’s face blushed bright red in a flash, she gripped her enlarged katana tightly.
“Wait Kohaku, if you rush in carelessly you are going to get surrounded!”
Kazuki just barely took hold of Kohaku’s shoulder.
“How dare you, in front of Kazuki… calling me gorilla or whatever…”
Kohaku’s voice was trembling in fury and sadness.
It was the voice and expression of a human whose old wound was gouged open.
For Kazuki too, he couldn’t think of those slanders as other people’s problem. The experience of receiving slander without any cause that looked down on swordsman as useless, even Kazuki had felt it before.
“You must not get bothered by that kind of unreasonable words.”
Kazuki said that to Kohaku who was seemed to be made to have a flashback of her past, in the time around her middle school days.
“Besides instead of a gorilla, Kohaku is completely a beauty.”
Kohaku made an expression as if returning to the reality and turned back to look at Kazuki.
“Are you perhaps saying that because you are properly looking at this one as a woman…”
“That’s just obvious right?”
“Ha? Isn’t the gorilla just getting carried away from getting pampered by a man thooouuugh?”
―The girls’ expressions had turned into exactly like the face of [ogress of hell] towards Kohaku who was facing Kazuki with blushing cheeks. And then as one they kicked the ground and charged at Kohaku’s direction.
Karin raised a scream. Karin was looking at a different direction.
When Kazuki turned his sight…right there the figure of Hayashi Shizuka’s dead body was standing.
“You dregs… you dregs you dregs you dregs, you dregs of a puppet!”
Shizuka’s face distorted into a look of fury.
“How dare you kicked and stepped on this me…!”
Karin faltered back for a moment, but she soon glared back resolutely.
“I screamed unconsciously just now, but… I’m not scared of you anymore! You are just a fake-!”
Shizuka and Karin faced each other and they kicked the ground simultaneously.
Fist and fist, leg and leg, their respective techniques blended with each other just like once before.
A voice came at Kazuki’s direction. Led by the voice, Kazuki directed his sight at the voice’s direction.
The sounds of the others’ fight were vanishing towards the far off distance.
Kazuki had his eyes stolen by that dead body.
The dead body of an adult female was standing between the black trees.
It was a female he had a recollection of seeing before.
The appearances of that female… exists in the memory of his remote past, in the time where he was still a baby that wasn’t aware of anything around him.
The scene where Kazuki was abandoned in front of the gate of the orphanage when he was still a baby.
This person was… the woman from that time.
This person, abandoned me!!
Kazuki’s heart shook fiercely. The woman in his memory was hazy, but the dead body in front of his eyes clearly represented the appearance of that person. ‘Was she making this kind of face’, Kazuki’s heart was covered with deep emotion.
“Kazuki, you have become big. You are trying really hard, and you have become strong.”
Slowly that woman was walking, nearing Kazuki.
“…It’s fine to not keep persevering yourself anymore. Don’t force yourself anymore, its fine for you to sleep. I will protect you after all. Because I’m far stronger than even you.”
A smooth and soft voice like a silk. He felt like it resembled Kaguya-senpai’s voice in some respect.
That woman reached out her hands to embrace Kazuki.
Kazuki breathed in deeply. He concentrated magic power silently inside his head. He cooled down his consciousness as far as he could. And then from the depth of his stomach, he pushed out his voice.
“Be quiet, you imposter…! Of all things to do…!”
Filling his katana with all the might of his magic power, Kazuki drew out the Iai slash that he had tempered thoroughly in the Hayashizaki household.
The female’s head was blown away as if a strong wind was blowing from above.
The female that had lost its head fell into her knees powerlessly and collapsed to the ground, it turned into a pitch black liquid and seeped into the ground. Kazuki breathed out while looking over that situation.
This was one kind of mind attack magic. Kazuki calmed down his heart using the Trance that he had tempered from his special training with Miyabi-senpai, and grasped the situation in front of his eyes.
“First there is a magic that produced dead bodies…and then it seems a magic was attached to produce dead bodies that would stimulate people’s trauma.”
After making such analysis, Kazuki began the chant of [Futsu no Mitama]. The sword of evil severing should be effective to attack the dead bodies.
When he looked around his surrounding once more, Kazuki and the others were still within several steps away from the gate they had passed.
From left and right, from the front, from the direction of 180° in front of them dead bodies were gathering near in a cluster.
“Who is a gorilla! Kazuki has given his understanding of this one’s heart that loves the sword-! He even said to this one that this one is a beauty, so this one is now unrivaled!!”
Kohaku was not agitated anymore already from having her sword training that she had poured her soul into getting made fun of. She mowed down the dead bodies with that sword art.
Karin was surrounded by even more dead bodies. All the dead bodies were wearing Hayashi Shizuka’s face.
“Nee-san is multiplying!?”
It was undoubtedly a nightmarish sight.
“Puppet” “Puppet” “Puppet” like that, the countless Shizuka were disparaging Karin.
“…Nee-san right now is the one that has completely become a puppet!”
Karin declared out an irrefutable sentence while knocking down the Shizuka crowd one by one in order.
The girl’s heart that had already rode past Shizuka’s death had no gap that could be taken advantage of already since the start.
“I’m going to level up from defeating a hundred Nee-san here!”
Karin was running off her mouth as if she was playing an action game together with Kazuki and Lotte while fighting the dead bodies. …Those two were fine.
“Look there, there is an elf.”
“Uwa, the ears are really pointed, what a monster.”
“That is like how an animal became a Demon Beast, don’t you think?”
Miyabi-senpai and Shinobu-senpai were receiving unjustified abuse from the dead bodies. They were surrounded by the dead bodies of young men that sported a foul expression. This too was a memory from their elementary or middle school days it seemed.
Miyabi-senpai was looking down. Tears were gathering in Shinobu-senpai’s eyes and her face was becoming pale.
The dead bodies were slowly approaching the two sisters who didn’t move at all.
“Shinobu-senpai, you must not yield against something fake like this! …Futsu no Mitama!”
Kazuki cut into the space between Shinobu-senpai and the dead bodies and cut down the youths’ dead bodies with one attack.
The blade of evil severing cut both the power of deceiving and the magic power that moved the dead body.
Like a child, Shinobu-senpai grasped tightly the end of the back of the uniform of Kazuki who was standing in the way of the dead bodies. It was hard to fight like that. But he accepted it.
“No matter what kind of unreasonable thing that happens. Even so, from now on, I too will fight together with senpai. So it’s okay.”
“Re, really…? You are not going to lie, not going to be gone…?”
Shinobu-senpai questioned Kazuki with a trembling voice. It was a tone like that of a child toward her parent.
A voice that made the person hearing it to think that they absolutely must not betray her hope.
“Really, for forever.”
“…You are going to be my friend forever?”
“To the extent that I want to become more than senpai’s friend.”
Shinobu-senpai hugged Kazuki’s back tightly.
It was hard to fight like this. …But he was happy with this difficulty to fight. A heart mark also came flying.
Suddenly a blade of light came flying from the back while drawing an arc, bisecting all the dead bodies into half altogether.
Miyabi-senpai was not looking down from getting scared, she was chanting her spell.
“…It’s okay, Shinobu. Until now you are the one who keeps protecting me. From now on, I’ll be the one that protects you.”
While saying so, Miyabi-senpai embraced Shinobu-senpai from behind.
Shinobu-senpai leaked out her voice toward the sensation of her big sister from behind while hugging at Kazuki. Being wrapped by warmth from behind and front, surely she couldn’t feel anything like loneliness at all anymore.
The posture of Kazuki and Shinobu-senpai and Miyabi-senpai turned into something like a make-believe train.
It made it difficult to ask them to release him.
Kazuki called out to them “Let’s go, senpai!”, and just like that he faced the dead bodies and swung his sword while still in the posture of make-believe train.
“Warm… this is teamwork…”
Shinobu-senpai who was clinging at Kazuki’s back murmured.
‘That’s not it’, he thought.
“Kazuki… if it’s hard to walk then perhaps we need to yell ‘one, two, three’ I wonder?”
Don’t need it.
“…Hayashizaki Kazuki and his group finally arrived at Level 2.”
Hel who was following behind Ikousai who was silently defeating the Demon Beasts while advancing talked.
“They are faster than I thought. …Are they blowing through Level 1 and have come to look at the situation here?”
Ikousai clicked her tongue. She was told by Loki to avoid an encounter with Hayashizaki Kazuki at all cost.
They still couldn’t find even a single Sacred Treasure.
“Err, my magic is…”
“They are defeating the dead bodies in a really good pace. I don’t feel any considerable effect from your magic in blocking their way.”
Nyarlako hung her head down dejectedly.
At that time a lighnting descended down before Ikousai’s eyes. Silently a huge light landed in front of Ikousai. It made her think whether it would pierce the ground, but the light then turned into the form of Ilyailiya in her pure white Magic Dress appearance.
This magician turned her body into light and displayed her form like a lightning.
“Question. Have you found the Sacred Treasures, o King of this country?”
Ilyailiya called Ikousai who was the contractor of Susanoo as the King of this country.
As if such fact was only natural because Ilyailiya herself was assisting her in her endeavor.
“In my side, I have found two things that seemed to look like it.”
Ikousai could only stare blankly hearing those hard to believe words.
When she looked carefully, there was a mirror in Ilyailiya’s right hand and a number of red magatama connected through a string in her left hand. The mirror in the right hand was suddenly thrown at Ikousai’s direction.
Ikousai received it even while in confusion.
“I’ll entrust one in your care.”
“Because everything will be for naught if you meet an untimely death in this Haunted Ground. That thing can become your strength right? It also should be useful for fighting the Demon Beasts.”
Ilyailiya was worrying whether Ikousai would be taking some delay because of the likes of Demon Beast.
Understanding what Ilyailiya meant, blood rushed to Ikousai’s head in fury.
“Having said that entrusting both of these to you altogether is also worrying. Because if both Sacred Treasures are stolen then there will be nothing more you can do. To breakup the risk I will carry one. Though this is not something that I can use.”
Ilyailiya coiled the magatama that was tied together with a string ―the <Yasakani no Magatama> onto her left hand that it was wrapped fixedly there and then she turned her back to Ikousai.
“I am thinking of searching the surrounding a little bit more. Because the last one still hasn’t been found.”
“It seems that Hayashizaki Kazuki finally arrived in this area.”
Ikousai presented the information as if boasting that by no means she didn’t acquire anything in this place.
Ilyailiya looked back expressionlessly as if she didn’t have much interest of it.
“I earnestly ask you to not do anything like challenging Hayashizaki Kazuki to battle. O King of this country.”
Ikousai grinded her teeth hearing those words. She felt even more fury to the woman in front of her eyes.
This woman too… is looking down on me…!
After that a fury toward herself boiled up inside.
Ilyailiya transformed into light and left that place with lightning speed.
“…We are going to defeat Hayashizaki Kazuki right now.”
Ikousai murmured to herself.
Nyarlako leaked out a hitched voice.
“…Why? That’s different, from the order…”
Hel pointed out with a hoarse voice. Hearing the word ‘order’, Ikousai got even more irritated.
“Order you say? Who is the one that is ordering me around! No matter Kaya or Loki, I don’t have any intention to get ordered around by them!”
“Our objective is the Sacred Treasures…there is no reason to fight Hayashizaki Kazuki here…”
“What do you mean there is no reason? Don’t say such idiotic thing! Even more important than collecting the Sacred Treasures, it will be far faster and certain if we defeat Hayashizaki Kazuki right here! I can do that!”
“We are Loki’s troops…. If you are not moving according to Loki’s plan, then right now we won’t cooperate anymore than this with you in this place…”
“You think I will allow such willfulness. You bastard and also Loki are people of Yamato. All of you entered under my command for this operation. If you are not going to obey me… then no one is going to protest even if I lined up the heads of you three bastards in this place.”
Hearing Ikousai’s words, killing intent wordlessly filled Midgardsormr’s eyes.
Nyarlako was timidly taking a peek at everyone’s faces in turn.
“Hayashizaki Kazuki has left behind his other comrades and has come to this area right under our nose with a few number of troops, such chance has fallen into our lap. Our side can one-sidedly grasp the whereabouts of those guys, so we can even slip amidst the confusion of their battle with the death bodies and launch a surprise attack.”
“…Our camp has obtained two of the Sacred Treasures already, so there is no need to force ourselves…”
“But of course. But in critical time we can even escape with Midgardsmormr’s ability, as long as they don’t freeze the ground like in the previous battle. We are going to fight while holding the initiative. An escape route is also readily available. Such a good chance must not be wasted. If you bastards still have some intelligence remaining to think for yourself, then surely you can understand.”
Ikousai who was arguing for argument’s sake became self-aware that the reason she was saying right now was just a minor reason.
If she went back like this with two out of three Sacred Treasures in her possession, surely she could win with that in the decisive battle. She was supposed to win.
But like that the achievement of collecting the Sacred Treasures belonged to Loki and Ilyailiya.
If she could… she wanted to win against Hayashizaki Kazuki without the cooperation of Loki and Ilyailiya, who didn’t believe in her strength.
Right now was the last chance where she could do that, she noticed that along with the fury she felt to Ilyailiya.
“Hel. Gather the dead bodies all at once in those guys’ location and make the timing for the sake of an ambush. And then hold back Hayashizaki Kazuki’s four companions with all of you. I won’t let you say you can’t do that.”
How should she fight?
Kaguya who had resolved herself instantly worked her brain.
Rather than herself, the one who held the battle’s initiative right now was [the strongest close combat warrior] Beatrix.
Right now there were also swordsmen in Kaguya’s group, but… surely they wouldn’t even be an opponent for Beatrix. Then, preferably…!
“I’m doing a good battle, welcoming a good death, I’m a person that wish for participation in even more battle of heaven! The divine protection of blood color in my eyes! Berserk!!”
Without even allowing Kaguya time to consider for long, Beatrix’s eyes were colored like blood. Her dynamic vision and physical ability were magnified, it was the specialty magic of Beatrix who turned into a berserker.
And then Beatrix rushed at Kaguya with full speed.
Beatrix withdrew a large sword from her waist and slashed it with all her strength. Against the sudden development and the step-in with terrific speed, the swordsmen in Kaguya’s side couldn’t even react to protect Kaguya.
Like that was fine.
…She lured the enemy until just barely. And then,
“O desire lurking inside the sea of heart, pass through the deeply sinful flesh and reach out that hand! O embodiment of violation, entangle following the desire! Desire Tentacles!”
Magic power shone from Kaguya’s body and that magic power fell down into the ground.
Beatrix’s blade was swinging down at Kaguya―in that instant, countless tentacles burst forth from the ground and entangled Kaguya, raising her up high in the air.
“Nuu-!?” Beatrix who raised a surprised voice had her blade cutting empty air. Beatrix’s nerve reflex was excellent but she couldn’t go as far as predicting magic.
The swung down blade bisected the tentacles from its roots.
But right before the tentacles were cut down they threw Kaguya far away with a *pon*.
Kaguya landed with a lot of distance opened between her and Beatrix.
Beatrix wasted no time to pursue in order to close the distance.
“I’ll pin down this girl(Beatrix)!”
“I’ll bring down this girl(Otonashi Kaguya)!”
Both of their voices overlapped without any arrangement beforehand. Kaguya felt a sense of responsibility, because Beatrix as a warrior that revered the Norse Mythology wished for a personal duel against the strongest enemy from her instinct.
Kaguya casted the same magic again and this time she made the tentacles wait in standby below the ground.
Beatrix rushed madly ahead without paying it any attention and once more swung down the Norse’s large sword with her strong arm once more.
Kaguya resolved herself and accepted that one diagonal slash. Without even taking a single step to evade, she was just springing forth Psychokinesis that ran counter against the slash―Resist, and then.
“I curse thy without even any hesitation of getting wounded myself… shared pain is my joy! Cry and shout toward the mirror reflection! Suicide Black!”
Kaguya emitted out magic power vigorously and then transformed it into a jet black mist that entwined her body.
Beatrix immediately realized the dreadful meaning of attacking Otonashi Kaguya, the Magika Stigma who possessed the alias of Nightmare Bringer.
Unknown violent pain that she couldn’t even imagine.
The sensation of her flesh cut open from her shoulder until her waist, of the blade sinking down while cutting open and crushing the flesh and bones.
[Suicide Black]―The pain that was supposed to be produced from the opponent’s attack was reflected back just like that to the opponent, it was that kind of magic.
Beatrix shouted. But it was not a screaming voice.
Smile floated into Beatrix’s mouth, a tone of delight was mixed into her voice.
“Is that so…my attack is, this kind of thing huh…!”
Seeing that reaction, a cold shudder froze Kaguya’s spine.
“O divine protection of militarist, double the Megin whirling in my body! With the will of god that spur me toward infinite battle, in this body! Meginjord!!”
A belt of light whirled on Beatrix’s body, doubling her physical ability.
Beatrix reversed her blade with her attack power further heightened and without any hesitation Beatrix launched a second attack at Kaguya.
“GUUUUUU! …Fufufu! FUHAA―HA-HA-HA!!”
While repeating yelling and laughing explosively, Beatrix kept swinging down her sword on Kaguya more and more.
She should be receiving pain of someone that had welcomed death twice or thrice already.
Along with Beatrix’s yell and laugh, Kaguya’s magic power was also getting rapidly smashed and scattered apart. What was protecting Kaguya’s body was only the Resist that was produced by Kaguya herself.
[Suicide Black] was only returning illusionary pain and didn’t possess any defensive effect whatsoever.
It was not a defensive magic, it was nothing more than a magic to make the enemy hesitated to attack.
But it was impossible to blow any cowardice into this warrior and make her do things like hesitate to attack.
And then even a single attack of this formidable enemy was really heavy when endured by something like Resist.
“I see, certainly the pain increased after a reinforcement magic was chanted! As expected from the magic of our god Thor!! That Divine Protection, I can feel it myself with my body here!!”
Unbelievable. This person… was trembling from joy!!
“O Thor the god of Asgard! Enjoy my blade dance and resound the roar! The thunder of heaven reside in this sword, already even the exchange of fighting is not allowed, send to oblivion!! Fjorgyn Megin!!”
Beatrix held her sword aloft high to the sky and lighting fell on that silver blade. Lighting element was enchanted on Beatrix’s large sword.
This berserker was going to heighten her own attack power.
She was not satisfied with just the pain of having her body slashed, she also wanted to taste the agony of electrification with her own body!
Kaguya faltered. Electric shock was an infinitesimal phenomenon that was produced from electron’s motion.
It was a difficult phenomenon that was hard to imagine for human. Namely it was hard to generate electricity with general magic, therefore it was hard to offset it with Resist.
But Kaguya couldn’t predict Beatrix’s attack like Kazuki.
If she couldn’t predict the attack then all of Beatrix’s attack was impossible to avoid with its god speed.
The single attack that hosted electricity cut apart Kaguya who was covered in black mist.
Kaguya tasted a sensation of her mind shaved off with grinding sounds while standing upright.
Beatrix yelled while laughing.
“O the god Thor! See clearly of my valor that doesn’t yield no matter in any kind of suffering!”
The Einherjar’s steel precept and the warrior’s instinctive masochism were changing the agony into pleasure.
To be a user of electricity on top of being a masochist…this was the worst compatibility with her!
“O shapeless and mute shadow, become the fish that swim inside the darkness that is pregnant with obstructive thoughts! The origin of nightmare, vicissitudes of materialism, answer to the terror and hope and bite…! Deep Specter!”
Kaguya endured the intense impact from her smashed magic power while chanting and she cast her magic.
From the shadow behind Beatrix whose head was full with pain, something attacked.
The blackness of the shadow abruptly swelled out while getting up from below, it changed into a monster with sharp fangs lining up in a row inside its widely opened mouth. That big mouth was biting at Beatrix as if enveloping her from right above.
Beatrix whose concentration was stolen from pain got hit by that surprise attack completely. Getting eaten by a monster starting from her face, Beatrix swung her arm in an attempt to stab her blade into the monster.
But at that time the tentacles that were waiting deep inside the earth bit and tore the earth to stretch out as if waiting for exactly that timing, entangling themselves at Beatrix who was trying to swing her blade.
Even in the case that she didn’t yield to the pain, her consciousness was undoubtedly disordered right now.
If Kaguya could by time from that disorder of the mind, that was enough.
“You think you can seal my movement with just this much-!”
Beatrix raised a thundering roar while filling her limbs with power, then she tore apart the tentacles.
Then once again, she stabbed her large sword into the monster that had swallowed her from her chest up and wouldn’t release her.
The shadow monster was stabbed with the blade and it reflexively leaped back from Beatrix. The shadow monster tried to separate its distance from Beatrix and escaped. Beatrix mowed down the tentacles in her surrounding, and after that she drew near to stab a finishing blow to the monster―her awareness slipped away from Kaguya.
It was a narrow-mindedness that was unlike a veteran warrior.
…It was enough as long as her consciousness was disordered.
Kaguya sneaked closer to the back of the berserker without fearing the close-quarter range.
“Five star shining at the interstice between life and death, pillaged by the whim of the god of death that keeps turning, turn into a mute and miserable clay doll! …Near Death Roulette!!”
Kaguya raised the scythe that destroyed a sense with each attack.
Until now Kaguya hadn’t shaved Beatrix’s magic power satisfactorily. But even so there was no problem. This scythe destroyed one of the five senses one by one with each strike, and then it would sever the magic power circuit between the brain and the flesh with its sixth strike.
When Beatrix stabbed the finishing blow to the shadow monster, with a ‘hah’ look of realization she noticed and looked behind her.
“Let’s go to the direction of the Einherjar group.”
Shouko decided while directing her senses of sight all over the Grand Haunted Ground using the <Onmyou Taikokuzu>.
“Why? Ain’t the commotion at Level 2 has higher importance?”
Silirat asked while clinging behind the squatting Shouko who was concentrating her mind.
“To go to Level 2 we have to follow Hayashizaki Kazuki’s path and pass through the gate, that will take too much time. Demon Beast is also gonna come out during the walk there.”
“Wonder if I can’t just busted up the wall―”
“We ain’t gonna know for sure ‘til we test it. It’s better to not do anything we ain’t gonna know unless we try it.”
Silirat show a sign of wanting to test her own strength but Shouko talked dryly toward that.
“Rather than that…what do you think Hayashizaki Kazuki fears the most? For his comrade to get done in, in a place he knows nothing of yeah. We can buy the most gratitude from him if we save his comrade from that you know.”
“I seee―, ain’t any mistake about that―! Well then… as expected Kou-jie (AN: Kou from Shoukou, and jie from jiejie which means older sister in Chinese) cannot move right now huh?”
When Shouko cut off the magic power supply toward the Onmyou Taikyokuzu, she fell onto her butt right in that place with a thud.
“No― good, it’s no good. If you ask whether this Sacred Treasure is convenient, it’s really convenient but its magic power consumption is just the worst―. There ain’t anymore magic power left to even raise a single chopstick-!”
“Ca―n’t be he―lped huhh. Well… it’s gonna be enough with just the second rank of Ryouzanpaku here, this Silirat Denkaosen-sama! I’m offff!”
Silirat stood straight.
“Idiot. Don’t face them three to one but join forces with Hayashizaki Kazuki’s comrades and battle together. The opponent too is the Einherjar you know.”
While waving her hand lazily towards Shouko’s instruction, Silirat followed along the route of the Einherjar’s infiltration.
“Kazuki”, Shinobu-senpai who was still clinging on Kazuki’s back opened her mouth.
Further behind her Miyabi-senpai was clinging at her and even now they were still looking like a make-believe train.
“Is something the matter?”
Kazuki asked back while cutting down the approaching already dead bodies.
“I have been thinking this for a while but by any chance…Kazuki…is this difficult for you to fight?”
Kazuki became unable to say anything.
“…I’m sorry. I have noticed, but I wanted to stay like this and don’t want to separate.”
From behind Kazuki, the presence of Shinobu-senpai getting really dejected was conveyed to him.
“It’s okay senpai, because the feeling of happiness being like this is far bigger compared to the difficulty of fighting.”
“…Really? You are not just being considerate…?”
“It’s true. Because of the dead body just now that mimicked someone I knew, I too had become to feel lonely.”
“Then just for a little more, I’ll stay like this.”
A heart mark came flying from behind. It was hard for him to swing around both his arms like this, but the dead bodies were already unable to display the power of their curse due to Futsu no Mitama’s power and they were reduced into a mere puppet.
But―now that he thought again, this place is a Haunted Ground.
It was something obvious, but the enemies were not only the dead bodies but also the Demon Beasts.
Getting attracted by the sounds of Kazuki and the others’ fighting, there was things that came flying from the sky from far away, like crows that crowded around rotten trash.
What appeared from the darkness of Level 2’s forest were ominous devils.
Wings growing rough and bony like bat’s, large eyeballs―[Big Eye] raised a gaze filled with magic power at him.
It was a mind attack magic. Kazuki concentrated his mind and endured and severed the gaze itself with Futsu no Mitama.
A muscular devil with similar wings growing on its back and a goat face―a number of [Great Demons] too were forming a crowd and came flying. Against the demon who possessed strength far surpassing humans and brandishing a trident, Kohaku and Karin bore the full brunt of their attacks and protected Miyabi-senpai and Shinobu-senpai.
The dead bodies also still remained. The dead bodies were also entering into the mix and it became a melee.
Someone that could display their strength in a melee, existed inside Kazuki’s comrades.
“Kazuki… I’ll properly fight with real teamwork! …Thy wings bestowed by Belphegor, o <Ice Pillar of Flame>! Grasp the hell’s air superiority, hand down the explosion of contradiction without letting any to escape! Burning Icicle!”
Shinobu-senpai separated herself from Kazuki’s back nimbly and created Marchosias’ phantom body. Shinobu-senpai and Miyabi-senpai straddled the wolf that grew wings made of red crystal and dashed to the sky.
Raising to even higher sky then the flying Big Eyes and Great Demons, they scattered around red crystals from there. The red crystals that emitted bomb blast laced with heat and chill at the same time exploded one after another. The demons and the dead bodies was smashed apart everywhere from that destructive power.
“Senpai, thank you very much!”
“I’m doing my best. Look more. Praise me.”
“Shinobu-senpai is strong! You are so cool!”
When Kazuki sent his cheering, Shinobu-senpai made a peace sign at Kazuki with a delighted face.
It felt heartening coming from the senpai who had become conscious of teamwork.
…But there was still an anxious feeling that irritated his heart remaining.
In this Level 2, there was someone that created this situation.
It was the person that chanted the magic for the dead bodies. Someone was infiltrating this place.
If they are not quickly discovered, the Sacred Treasures inside the Haunted Ground might be stolen and it would be a game over.
Kazuki felt impatience inside his heart. But the Demon Beasts and dead bodies were standing in the way of the impatient Kazuki.
…Rather, wouldn’t the intruder come this way to their location instead…?
Such desire floated inside Kazuki’s mind for a fleeting instant, then it was right at that moment.
“…O toxin that resides inside the anguish, rot life in general…Plague Pain(Wind of Plague)!”
From the other side slipping between the dead bodies and the Demon Beasts, Kazuki felt a magic power being generated.
Magic that scattered poison around―Kazuki sensed that from the wavelength of the magic power.
A surprise attack. But a method to deal with that easily came into his head because this was a magic that was similar with Mibu-senpai’s chanted [Apocalypse Venom].
Kazuki wasted no time in chanting the magic that would deal with the poison magic.
But the surprise attack didn’t stop until just that.
That was also the same magic that Nyarlathotep once chanted. Consequently Kazuki swung Futsu no Mitama even faster than his thought and cut down the sound waves of the mind attack itself.
Thanks to that he could cast his magic.
“O stream of atmosphere, converge in this body, become the storm that reject the hated person! The eye of the typhoon is exactly my throne! Storm Fort!”
Kazuki brought forth a fierce tornado in the surrounding of himself and his comrades.
The wind containing toxin that was chanted by someone was scattered apart to another direction due to the tornado that Kazuki broke out. All the more the Demon Beasts that was the Big Eyes and Great Demons were falling down noisily before vanishing. From the tragic appearances of the Demon Beasts, he knew how powerful the toxic magic was.
He guessed that the opponents was aiming for a surprise attack with a powerful poison magic while sealing their magic chanting.
Thank heavens, he could quickly disable all that ambushes.
And then at the same time, this was a good news for Kazuki.
Someone was coming to ambush them―this was just what he had hoped! He would absolutely not let them escape from this place and defeat them right here!!
He even thought “Stupid idiot” toward the enemy’s action. No matter how he thought about it, showing their own appearance was a poor move.
Kazuki’s quick interception that confined the surprise attack instead became a surprise attack for the enemies themselves.
This is not the time to hesitate!!
Kazuki drew to himself Prometheus’s consciousness through his bond with Lotte into the pendant-type Magic Dress on his chest. His bond with Lotte that had reached 150 became a new possible power for him.
Kazuki’s four limbs were wrapped with streamlined silvery Magic Dress.
And then he instantaneously casted Prometheus’s magic.
“Wings soaring in heaven, glaring eyes, invading world-destroying conflagration―manifest the authority of god right here, I advance deeper and deeper as the agent of civilization! Deep Striker!!”
A huge thruster unit was equipped onto Kazuki’s body before he accelerated to the front in one go. The Futsu no Mitama that was protruded forward blew away all the lining up dead bodies and devils―
He pierced the person that was hiding ahead of him.
“GUGAA…!” the one who leaked out such voice was a pale-skinned woman wearing a black robe.
Kazuki had seen before this how Loki’s troops in Ise Imperial Shrine were covering their body with this robe.
This was the magician where <Hel> was residing in her body.
Beside her, a girl, whose body was wrapped in black punk fashion, was directing both her hands at Kazuki.
He remembered seeing this girl before―she was the girl called Nyarlako that was introduced to him by Kaya!
Right now that girl was facing Kazuki in exactly a posture that was right before activating her magic.
“Answer my voice from the chaotic space sector…Meteor Zone(Dark Star Space)!!”
A small black whirl was created within the girl’s two palm, from there countless small meteors were shot like a shotgun.
This time too he made his judgment instantly.
“O guardian of human race, the wisdom for the sake of opposing the will of tyrannical god right here… Custom Liberion!”
Kazuki instantly casted Prometheus’s level 6 magic, he replaced his armament to that.
From [Deep Striker] that specialized in straight line movement―to [Custom Liberion] that specialized in short interval repeated movement in all directions.
Kazuki read through the meteors trajectories and slipped through the gaps between meteor and meteor in high speed zigzag.
While running away from enemy attacks, he confirmed the enemy’s figures.
Nyarlako. Hel. A reptile-faced woman who wore the same black robe―there was no doubt that this woman is the magician that is possessed by Midgardsormr. And then… Aisu Ikousai!
The woman whose body was wrapped in lustrous Japanese clothes was among the group!
Kazuki directed the large-type gatling gun that was installed on Custom Liberion and fired wildly. Hel, Nyarlako, and Midgardsromr, these three helplessly had their magic power shaved off in grinding sounds.
But Ikousai was the only one that quickly evaded from the line of fire.
“All of you hold back the other bunches!!”
Ikousai called out to her comrades while casting her magic.
“…What is offered here is a dance of scattering flowers like a storm! Calling the storm o honored god, dancing under the heaven, please grant thy breath on my back! Fuujin Kenbu!!”
Ikousai’s contracted Diva <Susanoo> blew out a storm on Ikousai’s body and that wind accelerated Ikousai’s movement.
Ikousai put her body out of the harm way from the gatling with light movements as if riding the wind.
“Kazuki, the dead bodies and the Demon Beasts has all been cleared…!”
Shinobu-senpai who was mounting Marchosias scattered apart many red crystals onto Ikousai from the sky. But Ikousai predicted the falling points of those crystals and evaded nimbly.
Kazuki knew very well how hard it was to land an attack on Ikousai.
Kazuki casted the tornado magic once more. This magic didn’t only protect the body using tornado. With that tornado controlled by Kazuki’s will―he granted a complicated movement to the red crystals that were freefalling. The bomb blasts of heat and chill were also pursuing Ikousai freely due to the wind.
Shinobu-senpai murmured to herself with a heated voice. A heart mark flew at him.
Ikousai desperately ran away from the crystals but Kazuki chased her with [Custom Liberion].
Nyarlako fired countless meteors at Marchosias that continued its bombing from the sky.
“O power of the earth, bite at the prey that possesses will and life…Iwark Bite(Rock Snake Bite)!!”
Midgardsormr hit her hand on the ground and countless rocks were flying up from there. The flying rocks transformed into a series of rock forming a snake that then attacked Marchosias.
Even though the phantom body of Marchosias barely evaded the meteors, its balance was broken from the motion and it was assaulted right at that timing by the rock snake that leaped at it in a straight line. The snake entwined Marchosias after ramming its body and bit with its rock fang. The phantom body of Marchosias raised a roar while vanishing.
The Ryuutaki sisters that were riding Marchosias’s phantom body fell down.
“O warden of the soul…form that authority in my hand, Grim Reaper(Life Reaping)!”
Hel created a huge scythe in her hand and leaped at the falling point of Ryuutaki sisters in waiting.
The magicians of Yamato displayed an unimaginable teamwork.
“This one won’t let you! …Crush to death, <Taroudachi>! Battou Kaikon―Ashura Ryoudan!!”
In order to prevent Hel, Kohaku leaped forward. Enlarging her beloved Sacred Treasures, she struck Hel’s scythe with all her strength. It turned into a sword-locking contest between a scythe and a sword.
When Kohaku called out, Karin rushed between the gaps of the huge Sacred Treasures and leaped into the bosom of Hel like a gale. She stepped on the earth forcefully to leap and then rammed her shoulder with all her strength in a collision.
“Tetsuzankou(Iron Mountain Push)!”
Karin’s small statured body was exactly like a bullet of a cannon. Hel was blown away for a few meters backward.
Shinobu-senpai who safely landed on the ground said her gratitude with “Thank you” to the two.
“We are comrades so it’s only natural.”
When Kohaku said so, Shinobu-senpai opened her eyes wide and her cheeks tinted red.
And then she approached near Kohaku and kissed her cheek lightly. Kohaku’s eyes turned round from that.
“Wh, what are you doing!?”
And so on, the two made a clamor at each other right in the middle of a battlefield.
“Then me too.” Miyabi-senpai too kissed Kohaku’s cheek.
“Eei, this one felt a little embarrassed somehow!”
Kohaku tore off herself from the twin sisters that were nuzzling themselves at her.
Nyarlako who was the enemy was looking at that spectacle with envious and somewhat greedy eyes for some reason.
“Anyway Kazuki, leave this guys to us and bring down the enemy’s general!”
With Kohaku’s words giving a push at his back, Kazuki concentrated his senses at Ikousai without any reservation.
“Ikousai! So you dislike settling this through something like a treasure hunting and purposefully coming here huh!?”
“…That’s not the only reason!”
Ikousai talked back with an expression as if chewing a bitter bug.
At that time Kazuki noticed that Ikousai’s left hand was holding something that looked like a mirror.
Because of that Ikousai was right now holding her sword with just one hand.
Perhaps she had an experience in two-swords style from the beginning, he couldn’t feel any awkwardness in her stance.
Was that a new Sacred Treasure again? Just like the time at Isonokami Shrine.
No, don’t tell me…
Kazuki thought that now he had to defeat Ikousai in this place without fail with even more urgency.
“My bad but this time I’ll go full power right from the start… You made me use the power of Solomon! Thunder descend down on my body granting me lighting thought and god speed… wake up the sleeping lion! Ride Lightning!”
He cast Baal’s reinforcement magic that amplified and accelerated the electric signal that rushed about through his whole body.
Not to mention his physical ability, his mental activity was also accelerated making his magic power get amplified too. It also accelerated the function of [Custom Liberion] that maneuvered using magic power as fuel.
His bond with Lotte that now resided inside Zekorbeni became a potential that widened Kazuki’s width of tactics even further. When it became like this then Kazuki too already couldn’t be said as inferior in speed against Ikousai.
“Thy fury is the happiness of the war Shrine Maiden. Answer the kagura of soul invitation and spring forth the storm of outcry, part the cloud and please descend here… spirits and demons in this body! Chouryoku Shourai(Super Strength Invitation)!!”
Ikousai too layered more reinforcement magic on her body in concert with Kazuki. The super strength of Susanoo entered her four limbs and increased her power.
The battle between the two had already became something like what was promised and sword exchanges in supernatural speed began.
The tendency was immediately leaning on one side.
“Kuh…you became faster than before!?”
Ikousai leaked out voice of confusion toward Kazuki who was slipping from blind spot to blind spot.
The angular-shaped armors of [Custom Liberion] that was attached on Kazuki’s four limbs were provided with flexible thruster units everywhere on it. Different from [Deep Striker], it was possible to freely accelerate, sudden brake, and change direction with it.
Moreover that movement was not from running on the ground but a free three dimensional maneuver in the air.
Even further both of the armors on the legs were provided with sharp blades, it became possible to even launch a slash with both legs.
It was already a completely different thing from a sword art that was controlled using a human’s flesh body. Amidst the super acceleration that made it like the time was compressed, Kazuki was pursuing a completely new form of sword art.
Acceleration, variegated movement, Kazuki’s slashes which were types that had never been seen before easily cornered Ikousai.
“You change until this much with just the power of the King!? So I’m still lacking this! Susanoo’s power is <Usurpation>…if I don’t steal from someone then…!”
Ikousai barely evaded, deflected, and parried Kazuki’s attack by predicting ahead.
She could defend, but the difference in speed stole all of Ikousai’s chance to counterattack.
But even from Kazuki there was a scheme to penetrate the defense and deal a blow to Ikousai.
Ikousai back-stepped as if saying that she couldn’t bear with it. That action was born not from the thought that she could escape from Kazuki who surpassed her in speed, but from a psychological reflexive action.
It was an action born from impatience, a simple action that originally mustn’t be taken as a swordsman, yet she was forced to take.
Kazuki once more instantly casted a magic with the power of Zekorbeni and replaced his armament.
This armament was exceedingly better in straight-line acceleration.
Kazuki accelerated in one go and caught up to the back-stepping Ikousai.
That magic which was instantly casted using Zekorbeni displayed no omen that could be predicted beforehand.
A sudden acceleration without any previous sign. Ikousai was unable to react against this sudden approach. Kazuki thought that he himself too would not be able to react if the same thing was done to him. Putting aside warriors like Beatrix that moved using nerve reflexes, it was impossible to avoid this for a predicting swordsman. Because it was so for himself, that was why this option flashed inside his head.
Not being allowed to react at all, Ikousai was pierced with a speed of lightning.
Ikousai’s body was blown away from the recoil of the smashed magic like being hit in a traffic accident.
If she got hit with one more attack, she wouldn’t be able to escape anymore after that.
Kazuki pursued Ikousai even faster than how she was blown away and added even more one, two, and three strikes. Ikousai’s body was sent flying like a pinball continuously.
Right here he was going to stab the finishing blow. Kazuki rushed ahead with that intention.
“…Su, Susanoo’s blessing o the <spouse of Ina(Inadzuma)> (AN: 稲妻 means “lightning”; while the kanji mean “rice plant” and “wife”, it’s most likely just ateji (phonetic writing in kanji, where the characters retain only the reading, not the meaning, like with 馬鹿, “idiot”, where the kanji mean “horse” and “deer”).), display the crushing power that cover the earth with wild violence…Heitei Banrai(Subjugation Heavy Thunder)!!”
But while receiving Kazuki’s consecutive attack, Ikousai was chanting a spell in order to change the flow of battle.
The high level magic of Susanoo, the person that calls the storm and also the person that subjugates the country.
All of a sudden dark clouds were hanging over the head of Kazuki who was trying to continue his attack.
Clouds that were fully filled with electric charge were colliding with each other and rain of lightning were falling down chaotically from the impact.
It was impossible to avoid even with Foresight, a large scale destruction magic.
“This hand reach out to the height of Babel, right now this hand grasp the lightning of god! In accordance with my life, o thunder, whirl following my will! Collider Field!”
Kazuki wasted no time in creating a gauntlet and spread out a barrier of electricity from there.
Seeing through the attack’s element from the magic power’s surge and from there picking out the most optimum defensive magic was Kazuki’s prided tactic.
But the roaring of the lightning rain continued without stopping even when all of the gauntlet’s energy had been released, granting grave damage on Kazuki’s defensive magic power and [Deep Striker].
Ikousai finally came out in a counterattack. While the lighting was still shining, she brandished the blade that glinted silver and pierced the thruster unit. With that one attack [Deep Striker] lost its function and dispersed into light.
Having stolen Kazuki’s mobility, Ikousai floated a smile on her lips.
But Kazuki immediately poured his magic power back into Zekorbenin and once again equipped back a mobile armor on his body.
“…It’s not just a mere part exchange before this!?”
Ikousai’s smile was erased from shock.
Even though she had thought that she had finally broken the equipment… like that her expression was colored in despair.
“You concentrated you magic power into that pendant! …No, something is possessing that pendant!? You mean the ability of the King of Solomon… is instant chanting just like the possessed magicians!!”
Finally the thunderclouds were clearing up.
In their surrounding trees were scorched and the land turned into a wasteland, Kazuki was confronting Ikousai with an unobstructed view.
“It’s no big deal just because the trick got exposed!”
Accelerating the Custom Liberion, Kazuki once more pushed Ikousai into a one-sided defensive battle.
Now that he thought about it again, this was the first time he fought Ikousai using Zekorbeni.
He could win. If he could use this power skillfully, they were not equal in strength.
But it couldn’t be said that he had it easy. A large amount of his magic power was sucked into Zekorbeni and his consciousness became hazy. Regardless of the control training he had done, he was forced to feel the severe sensation as if his brain tissue got sucked each time he used the power of the pendant.
Deep Striker, Custom Liberion, Deep Striker―and so on, using all of those consecutively cost him an unusual consumption of magic power.
If Ikousai noticed Kazuki’s exhaustion and brought the fight into a protracted battle, the situation would surely get turned around, with Kazuki put into a predicament. By no means could he let his exhaustion to color his expression.
He had to overwhelm Ikousai with a cool and composed expression as if he still had energy to spare.
When Kazuki patched up a relaxed smile on his face… impatience clearly appeared on Ikousai’s face.
“Shit-! Fast! Are you saying… that I’m no match for you in this situation…!”
Kazuki cast even more magic.
“O bird of paradise where the light of the heaven reside in that body, burn to ash the sin on the surface following my accusation! Israel Judgment!!”
Kazuki chanted Phoenix’s magic normally while Prometheus was residing inside Zekorbeni.
Dazzling light converged on Kazuki’s back, that light became a huge heat ray and shot at Ikousai.
Similar with Ikousai’s magic where Kazuki couldn’t do anything to evade, this too was an attack where there was no way for her to evade. Despair colored Ikousai’s expression.
But in a drastic change, Ikousai made a face that prepared herself for the worst.
And then she suddenly thrust forward the mirror that she held in her hand and had never used at all until now. It was an old-fashioned bronze mirror.
“Illuminate all creation, <Yata no Kagami>! Fuukyou (AN: Seal Mirror) Kaikon―Mikagami no Tate(Water Mirror Shield)!!”
The dark bluish, dull bronze mirror absorbed Ikousai’s magic power and recovered its shine, at the same time it grew big and turned into a shield. The touted mirror shield reflected the heat ray Kazuki fired on its mirror surface.
When the heat ray was reflected on the mirror, all of the heat ray was absorbed into the mirror shield.
Kazuki’s eyes opened wide. A defensive ability that made a level 6 attack magic completely powerless…!
Just as he thought… that was one of the Three Sacred Treasures!
“It got blocked… you bastard’s attack! It got completely blocked just now!!”
Ikousai too let out a voice that seemed to say that this was the first time she knew about the power of the Sacred Treasure that she just used.
Kazuki pushed down his agitation. He must not lose his composed expression.
He wasted no time to close the distance and swung Futsu no Mitama.
Ikousai’s posture was disarrayed but the mirror shield that her hand kept putting up reflected Kazuki’s arm.
Thereupon the mirror shield moved with a forceful speed and blocked Kazuki’s slash.
With uninterrupted movement Kazuki swung the blade on his leg at Ikousai. But the movement of that leg was also reflected on the mirror. The mirror shield once again moved with a forceful speed and blocked the blade.
Rather than calling that mirror’s movement as Ikousai’s will and decision, it was as if the mirror had its own will. The shield drew in attack, possibly the attack was sticking to the shield and got blocked.
This was… a shield that blocked every attack that was reflected on the mirror…!?
Suddenly Ikousai howled.
“Susanoo, hand me more power! No matter what kind of method I have to use, right here…!”
At the same time with her howl, a dense magic power was whirling at Ikousai’s right arm. The magic power that increased in thickness twisted reality, twisted Ikousai’s arm. Ikousai’s fair-skinned and captivating thin arm that stuck out from the sleeve of her glamorous kimono, swelled up with her bone and muscle expanding, turning into a manly arm that shined with black luster.
It was Susanoo’s arm.
“Ikousai… you are going to hand over your own body to the Diva!?”
Kazuki felt a strange impatience. The opponent that he recognized as a rival was… in the process of throwing away her own body!
“I’m not handing it over! I’m not going to throw away the fact that I am me!!”
That was what Kazuki once warned Ikousai about.
“…Susanoo! What you give me is just a right arm, that’s all!! I won’t allow anyone to look down at me… as myself!!”
Kazuki circled to Ikousai’s blind spot while she was yelling and stabbed Futsu no Mitama.
The stab that was like the sting of a bee was repelled away automatically by [Mikagami no Tate].
There was a need to circle at Ikousai’s right side―the range where it was not reflected on the mirror in her left hand.
But naturally Ikousai had saw through that Kazuki would move to that side.
“Polishing the heaven’s steel of iron sand o Totsuka no Tsurugi…release the flash that gouge the storm! This is the Orochi no Aramasa…the descend of tearing limbs from limbs, Ame no Habakiri!!”
The deep black right arm of Susanoo cause forth a swirl of magic power like a windstorm, it converged into Ikousai’s hand and became a single sword.
It was a mysterious sword with its edge of the blade forking into eight. That sword produced eight line of slashes with one swing.
In order to drive away Kazuki that was circling outside the range of the mirror, Ikousai mowed that sword horizontally in a large movement.
Kazuki too saw through that trajectory and made an abrupt turn to right overhead with Custom Liberion.
Ikousai’s blade was cutting empty air―or so he thought.
But the slash that was produced with Susanoo’s strong arm didn’t end as just a normal slash and created a violent sword wave. Eight line of windstorm―rather than calling it a slash it was already a large scale attack magic.
Kazuki was planning to evade, yet getting struck by the aftermath of the windstorm, he was blown away.
If he got hit by that attack directly, the damage from that wouldn’t compare with anything he got until now.
“…The offense power and defense power… I’m surpassing you bastard in both now.”
With her right arm turned into a demon’s arm and her left arm holding the mirror shield, Ikousai glared at Kazuki.
But Ikousai’s expression warped into anguish.
“This is not a fight between swordsman anymore already… Even if you bastard increase your power of King Solomon, I’ll show you that I will surpass that with my own way… You and I are equal. That’s why I will win in the end, in the number of the Three Sacred Treasures… And then your power will be… gu-!”
From Ikousai’s yelling mouth, blood was spilling out in globs. Her white skin and the glamorous kimono were dirtied in reddish black. Ikousai had only her right arm possessed by Susanoo and was trying to hold back even further invasion into her body just by willpower alone. But her struggle against Susanoo distorted and destroyed her body from the inside. Her spine spasmed and Ikousai who was transformed into half-demon continued to spit out blood.
“…This is the limit already.”
A hoarse, woman’s voice―Hel’s voice.
Two people in black robe and Nyarlako were rushing in escape towards Kazuki and Ikousai’s battlefield that had turned into a wasteland. Behind them, Kohaku and the others were chasing them.
Has the other side’s battle also ended up in a draw? …No, compared to the black robes, Kohaku and others’ exhaustion was more intense. In other words they were not the one that were at their limit but they had judged that Ikousai had reached her limit.
Ikousai that was spitting out blood raised her face fiercely and glared at the woman named Hel.
“You bastard… you are still looking down at this me huh…? I am…!”
“…Getting possessed by the power of a Diva as one wants and then using that power freely is not something that simple. Still, we and Loki will lend you our power… If you are going to fight in that way, then time is necessary.”
“Kuh. …Remember this, Hayashizaki Kazuki! I will be the one that wins in the end! Even if I have to sell my soul to the devil!!”
“You are going to sell your soul to the devil!?”
The appearance of Ikousai whose right arm had been transformed into Susanoo’s possession was undoubtedly like someone that had sold her soul to the devil. But to go even further than this―the fearless smile of Loki came to mind in Kazuki’s head.
This girl just now was talking in a way that seemed sure of herself that she could gather the Three Sacred Treasures in a greater number than him. That matter made Kazuki feel even more uncanny rather than the matter about Susanoo’s arm.
Loki was leading her by the hand… Ikousai was being degraded into Loki’s pawn.
“We are drawing back, Midgardsormr! I’m taking home the Sacred Treasure!!”
Ikousai directed the mirror shield at Kazuki while running to the direction of her comrades.
Midgardsormr transformed her body from her human form into a gigantic snake in the blink of an eye.
“…You won’t get away!”
Kazuki started to chant [Moves in the Field] to freeze the ground.
If the ground was frozen then Midgardsormr’s escape magic that assimilated herself with the ground to escape would be unusable.
But in order to interfere with Kazuki’s chant, Nyarlako fired the sound wave of madness.
Kazuki swung Futsu no Mitama and tried to cut away the interference sound wave itself.
Nyarlako went “Now that I remember, he can do that!” and made a face that seemed to want to cry.
At that time something was flying at Kazuki from the sky and broke off Futsu no Mitama from the base.
Kazuki failed to bisect the sound wave and received the interference sound wave directly, making it felt like his head was going to split. The magic that he was preparing was dispersed. What was that just now…!?
Something was flying here in high speed and broke Futsu no Mitama.
Something small from the sky flying here… a small meteor?
Kazuki looked up above his head. Right there the silver queen was calmly looking down at Kazuki and the others―no, she was looking down at Ikousai and her group.
Kazuki felt the temperature of his body grow cold all at once.
She talked with a sharpness of a silver knife.
“Explain yourself, I should have warned you already not to fight with Hayashizaki Kazuki. Then why are you exchanging blow with him right now and furthermore you got cornered like that?”
Even earlier than hearing the answer to her question, Ilyailiya sensed Ikousai and her group’s preparation to escape.
“…No, an answer is unnecessary. Just escape like that. I will support your endeavor.”
Although she said that, Ikousai’s escape was already at the stage where any assistance was unnecessary.
Midgardsormr that had turned into a gigantic snake swallowed whole her comrades and leaped into the ground from the head. *zuru zuru zuru!* That long tail of hers was assimilating into the ground and her body was absorbed inside.
But Kazuki didn’t give a damn to their escape with his attention stolen by Ilyailiya.
No, his soul was stolen by the several red magatama that was connected by a long string on Ilyailiya’s wrist.
That was… that too was one of the Three Sacred Treasures.
The mirror shield that Ikousai used and also the magatama that was coiling around Ilyailiya’s wrist.
These guys somehow infiltrated until the depth of the Grand Haunted Ground and had already discovered two of the Three Sacred Treasures.
…Loki was leading their hands. There was no doubt that he was the one that created this situation.
Ikousai got away.
Kazuki didn’t remove his sight from Ilyailiya and called to his comrades.
A King that had already reached completion.
…She was an opponent that had taught him once already the difference between their status.
While a heavy pressure that was like a pure black liquid was enveloping the bottom of his guts, he spitted out words of heavy determination.
“We are going to defeat Russia’s Queen, Ilyailiya right here. We absolutely must not let her get away from here.”