Arifureta - Chapter 165
At the Ruined City
’’It looks like a city at the end of the century right from the movie...’’
’’Yeah really. I've seen this kind of scene at Bio -zard or something...’’
Suzu and Ryutaro whispered those kinds of things while making crunching sounds with their steps. They ran their gaze at the surrounding alertly, but bewilderment was running on their face.
’’Wait, Ryutaro. Stop that already. What are you going to do if zombie really comes out here.’’
Shizuku replied with a repulsed face. And then, with her expression looked similarly bewildered, she ran her gaze at the surrounding. The scenery of a devastated city was spreading in the eyes of Shizuku and others.
When they came out from the rich colored space, they arrived at a modern city that looked nearly similar with earth with its maintained street and high-rise buildings crowding together. However, just like what Suzu and Ryutaro said, it was as though several hundred, or maybe even several thousand years had passed, everywhere they looked there were only decaying ruins.
There were buildings that looked like they could crumble anytime, there were also buildings that were barely standing by leaning on the neighboring building. All the spot that seemed to have glass attached had been smashed thoroughly, with the remains scattered everywhere. On the ground, there was rough and hard material like asphalt blanketing the ground, but there were countless cracks and undulations and also caved-in spots.
From how the faintly remaining words on the signboard scattered everywhere on the building wall or ground weren't earth letter, and how they couldn't find any traffic light at all on the street, furthermore from how the material of the building wasn't reinforced concrete, they could barely grasped that this wasn't a city of earth.
’’Perhaps, in the past this city was crushed and then it was brought here whole. Something like taking a memento of what he crushed seemed like something that shitty bastard would do. There is also the trace of construction technique using magic that is completely impossible for the current earth applied here, it's like someone that thoroughly built a complicated card tower before smashing it.’’
’’...There art a limit even for having a bad taste.’’
’’This is the worst...’’
Even on earth, there was a lot of romance stories about ancient cities that didn't remain in literature, cities that were excelling in technology even more advanced than the modern time or the like. Even this world might be a country that developed using magic in place of science until near the level of the modern earth.
And then, what was built up by those people was unmistakably trampled down by that Ehito Rujue while laughing. The figure of Ehito Rujue laughing loudly floated in their mind, turning their face into fierce loathing.
Although the city was devastated that it looked tragic just from looking, the townscape that looked similar to the modern city of earth made Hajime and others be somewhat nostalgic, they also felt that they were shown what would happen if Ehito was let free in the earth, causing them to tense their mind even further.
Before long, by the time they passed who knows how many intersections following the compass, a clock tower that looked just like London's Big Ben entered their sight from between the gaps of buildings. It appeared that clock tower was the entrance to go to the next area.
Hajime stored the compass in his breast pocket while taking the path that was heading toward the clock tower through a huge intersection.
But, right after that, his eyes quietly narrowed and his foot that was about to step forward returned back. Looking at his dangerous gaze, even the members other than Shia guessed that there was enemy and readied themselves. Only Shia seemed to be the one who had determined the location of the enemy, her gaze fixed for a moment on a part of the surrounding buildings before moving to another location continuously. There seemed to be something ahead of her gaze.
’’Hajime-san. We are surrounded, what are we going to do?’’
Shia was tapping Vire Doryukken on her shoulder while asking.
Toward that, Hajime's answer was...
’’Hm? Of course, if there is a prey that enters the cage, then pulverizing it all together with the cage is common sense right? Everyone, prepare to jump.’’
’’ ’’ ’’Eh?’’ ’’ ’’
In front of Shizuku, Suzu, and Ryutaro who raised befuddled voice from being taken aback again, Hajime took out large type weapon from 'Treasure Warehouse II'. It had a huge cross shape, at one of its side there were three protruding objects that looked like a wing attached.
――New Rocket &Missile Launcher Agni Orkan
There were two of them. The figure of Hajime holding two three-meter crosses attached with wings in both arms had the impressiveness as though he was clad with a reinforced exoskeleton.
’’Now then. First of all, it's troublesome so let's blow up all of these thoroughly.’’
Hajime who fixed himself in place with Agni-Orkan at both his sides was showing a demonic grin while pulling the triggers without hesitation. The inside of the surrounding buildings became noisy, but it was already too late.
*pshuu pshuu pshuu* With such sound the small metal plate on the surface of the wings slide, inside it, there were countless pencil missiles loaded up, those missiles flew out all at once.
Their number had already surpassed three hundred. The swarm of pencil missiles was trailing orange fire line while slipping smoothly through the door and window of the ruined buildings as though understanding that the enemies were there.
Furthermore, *bashuuuuu* with that kind of gentle sound, sixty large missiles were scattered from the six muzzles at the tip of the cross to the center of the ruined city, all within a few seconds, they scattered to all directions in order to trample their respective target.
Right after that, gruesome explosion sound and tremendous shockwave - flame explosion trampled the center of the ruined city.
*gogogo* Along with such roar, the group of ruined buildings who were only barely standing even in the best of times began to crumble all at once.
’’Wai-, thi, this is bad. Everything, is falling toward here!’’
’’That's why, I told you to jump.’’
’’Don't say that so calmly, you one man army!’’
The silhouettes lurking in the ruined buildings who barely survived the fierce attack of the pencil missiles tried to jump out from the windows in order to escape the collapsing ruins even while they had lost some limbs. Hajime who courteously sent them back(blown them inside) with the additional bombing of Agni-Orkan that was completely merciless got a tsukkomi from Shizuku while she invoked the 'Air Force' in her boots and leaped to the air.
The fragments of crumbling buildings rained down from above like a heavy rain, Suzu and Ryutaro also jumped away in panic amidst the sky that was rapidly getting cramped due to the group of the tilting buildings.
And then, they somehow avoided being swallowed by the crumbling buildings and landed on the rooftop of a derelict building in slight distance away.
’’...You see, Suzu once saw the news on television. It was the image of an air raid in a conflict area. Suzu wonder if that feel like this.’’
’’Fighting is something fruitless huh. ...No one will ever imagine of blowing up the whole city huh. This is already unrelated with technique or experience huuh.’’
’’Both of you, don't get far-away look like that...I understand your feelings too.’’
Dust rose up grandly. Looking at the ruined city that was instantly turned into a scene like a conflict area made Suzu and Ryutaro have a far-away look. Shizuku patted their shoulder while thinking inside her heart ’’Just what is strength?’’. It was at that timing, *gacha* such sound that was like the symbol of ominous itself resounded.
Shizuku turned her face to that sound with creaking motion like a gear without oil, over there the figure of Hajime readying Agni-Orkan that he had finished reloading was...
’’ ’’ ’’You are going to attack again!?’’ ’’ ’’
’’If you are going to do something then do it until not even a piece of meat remain. This is the culture of Japan that is even got placed on the Kojiki.’’ (TN: Kojiki = Record of Ancient Matters (Japan's oldest historical record))
There is no such bloodthirsty culture! Suzu and others were going to make such tsukkomi, but the triggers were pulled faster than they could open their mouth. The swarm of large and small missiles danced on the sky once more. Rain of death was pouring down at the intersection where the wreckage of destroyed buildings was scattered.
’’There is nothing to do isn't it?’’
’’Goshujin-sama too, he looked calm but it looks like his frustration hath piled up considerably. It can't be helped. How about we watch over him warmly until our turn comes up.’’
Amidst the flame explosion and the dust, Shia and Tio were sending gentle gaze at Hajime who was laughing loudly ’’HAA―HA-HA-HA’’ (TN: Imagine the laugh of Laharl from Disgaea) while continuously gifting lethal wounds at possibly hundreds of enemies lurking in the ruined city. Looking at those two, Shizuku who was plugging her ears with her fingers from the thunderous roar let out a sigh from the many difficulties in her future wondering if she really had to reach the level of the two.
’’Why did I fall in love with this kind of person I wonder?’’ Just when she was thinking of something that was actually similar to what Shia once thought, suddenly Hajime turned back and aimed Agni-Orkan's muzzles at his allies.
And then, in front of the startled Shizuku and others, Hajime pulled the triggers with not even a speck of hesitation just as expected. Looking at the missile swarm that immediately flew out, Suzu went ’’Hii!’’ with a pathetic shriek.
But, naturally the missiles weren't aiming at the allies, the missiles drew irregular trajectory while evading Suzu and others beautifully and flew behind them.
And then, flame explosions were scattered one after another at abandoned building around five hundred meters away from them. It was truly an air strike.
Just what in the world is he attacking there? Suzu and others were thinking that while trickling with cold sweat from the attacking method that was bad for their heart. Right after that, pure white light pierced the sky from that ruined building.
’’That's, don't tell me-’’
’’Na, Nagumo-! Stop it! Didn't you say that you gonna leave Kouki to us!’’
Suzu and Ryutaro turned back at Hajime while yelling. Yes, the pillar of light rising to the sky was undoubtedly Kouki's magic power. Most likely Kouki released his magic power to defend against the sudden air strike. Hajime supposedly promised to leave Kouki and Eri to Shizuku and others, so the two of them directed flustered look at Hajime.
’’That's why I attacked them. Those two looked like they were going to run away after all. I made the explosion to surround them without any direct hit so it's fine. In the end, it was just to hold them in place.’’
Hajime declared ’’hold them in place’’ while looking at the scene of high-rise buildings collapsing like a joke at the surrounding. He only looked like a guy screwing around saying ’’I hit them with the back of my blade’’ while directing the sharp blade at the enemy.
However, in actuality Kouki's magic power kept piercing the sky from inside the flame without any sign of weakening at all, so certainly Hajime didn't hit them directly. Even when they understood that, as expected the cramping of Suzu and Ryutaro's expression didn't stop.
’’It appeared they were heading at that clock tower to escape. As expected, we can go to another space from there. I don't know why they are in this kind of place but...well, you guys can talk with them to your heart's content.’’
Suzu and Ryutaro nodded, at the same time, Hajime leaped toward the clock tower in one breath. Following after he were Shia and others. Their movement that applied 'Air Force' and 'Ground Shrinker' made the distance of five hundred meters into zero instantly.
Kouki and Eri who had no place to escape surrounded by shockwave and flame from four directions also didn't show any sign of moving from the rooftop of their ruined building, perhaps they had guessed they would be targeted with missile swarm once more if they tried to run.
Hajime and others landed on that ruined building.
’’Aaaaa, we got discovered. Even though we expressly hid in one of Ehito's space collection, why did you all came here of all placeee. Even though this place is the farthest place from the divine Gate spatiallyy’’
’’Eri. Either way, I have to liberate everyone from Nagumo. If the other side comes by themselves to us, then this is actually a godsend instead, right?’’
Kouki and Eri clung tightly to each other like a pair of lovers while exchanging a talk that strangely didn't mesh with each other.
It appeared that from the bottom of her heart Eri didn't want to get involved with Hajime and others, but it seemed that Kouki's thinking that he had to rescue his comrades who he was convinced were brainwashed by Hajime didn't vanish, so Kouki's action was contradicting Eri who wanted to run away. Kouki's eyes also looked cloudy, so they guessed that he had been brainwashed by 'Bind Soul' to the degree that he couldn't feel the contradiction as a contradiction.
The gaze of Kouki who like always was equipped with a painfully bright holy sword and holy armor captured Hajime. Hatred, jealousy, rage――his gaze was muddy with such negative emotions boiling up.
And then, there was Eri who was rubbing her cheek on Kouki's shoulder while letting out a coaxing voice that sounded sticky sweet, it was unclear whether it was subconsciously or consciously, but her attitude looked exactly like how her mother once was. Her outfit was clothes that had the chest and back part largely opened, the bottom also had deep slit inserted, the color of the clothes was pure white that matched Kouki. As though she was implicitly asserting that the one who was Kouki's heroine was exactly her.
’’Nagumo. You too are my classmate more or less. Originally you are someone that I have to save no matter what but...what you had done is too much. You killed your classmate, and you even brainwashed them...I, even if I have to dirty this hand, I will defeat you. And then, I swear I will save everyone from your filthy hand!’’
’’Yaaahnn. Kouki-kun, you are so coool~’’
Kouki sent a smile at Eri who was clinging to him with intoxicated expression before readying his holy sword.
’’...Hajime. Please go. Leave this place to us.’’
’’Is it fine? Those guys had become something strange you know?’’
Shizuku severely gripped her black katana so hard that it felt like creaking sound could be heard while she was urging Hajime to go ahead. Hajime was scrutinizing the two with the magic eye behind his eye patch while confirming at Shizuku. What he referred at wasn't about Kouki's behavior, he was pointing at the overflowing strength from Kouki that was incomparable with everything until now.
’’I know that. But, it will be fine. Your artifact is together with me. Besides, you have the objective to rescue Yue correct? We are the one who should do something about this absolute moron somehow.’’
’’....Well, I guess.’’
Hajime agreed with Shizuku with a shrug, he gave a glance at Kouki who was sending him intense gaze with eyes lifted up in wonder hearing the way Shizuku called Hajime's name and their talk that was filled with trust. And then Hajime urged Shia and Tio to go ahead with his gaze.
Kouki that guessed that Hajime and others were going to advance by ignoring him released killing intent so thick that was unthinkable coming from the Kouki before. His magic power also further roared and burst up.
’’You want to escape-! You coward-! As I thought, I will defeat the filthy yo――’’
The moment when he lifted his holy sword to let fly a slash, Kouki was blown away by an impact. Eri who was clinging to him was also forcefully separated from Kouki by an explosion of a really small barrier that was deployed near her unnoticed.
At the place where Kouki was standing before, there was the figure of Ryutaro with his fist outstretched unmoving.
’’Kuh, Ryutaro. As I thought, you too are brainwashed by Nagumo...’’
’’What are you saying? Rather it's me who is trying to help you right now yeah? Doing something like sending killing intent at Nagumo...no way I can let my best friend get turned into minced meat like that.’’
’’What are you saying...’’
’’So you ain't getting it huh, the you right now. You got really messed up at the head there. That's why I'm telling you, this awesome best friend is gonna beat you up black and blue until you wake UUUUP!’’
Ryutaro howled. Kouki's state that looked really tragic fanned up his rage. That violent rage was directed at his best friend who didn't want to look at reality, and at his powerless self who couldn't do anything until his friend was turned into something like this.
That violent rage was poured into the fist that was tightly clenched like a rock, Ryutaro leaped toward Kouki.
’’Aaaann, geez-. That's cruel to separate me from Kouki-kun. Is that something that a be-st-fri-end would do? Hey, Suzuu?’’
’’...Because Suzu feels that Suzu is your best friend, that right now, Suzu is here. Suzu won't let Nagumo-kun and others lay their hands on you, so it's fine to not be that scared you know, Eri?’’
’’...Hee, looks like you can talk big right now eeh’’
Eri's expression quietly vanished due to Suzu's calm words and gaze. That was because Suzu's image as a naïve girl and a docile enemy of little importance in her mind was crumbling, Eri could feel a larger presence from her. And also because she who was fully wracking her brain inside her heart due to the unexpected encounter with Hajime was seen through by Suzu.
Suzu floated a smile on her lips from looking at Eri's change. She understood that she had finally become someone that Eri couldn't ignore.
’’Nagumo-kun. Just as Shizushizu said, leave this place to Suzu and others, 'kay?’’
Suzu said while drawing out the twin iron fans dangling on her waist and readied herself.
’’...Don't get half-assed. After all, it will be troublesome if I've got to kill her myself later.’’
’’Yep. Suzu gets it. Suzu will properly settle this, no matter what shape it ended in. Nagumo-kun and others too, be careful okay.’’
Hajime shrugged, then he directed his gaze at Shizuku. Shizuku too, she smiled slightly and nodded.
’’See you later.’’
A light parting. Be that as it may, those words were filled with the resolve to reunite again without fail. Gazes of trust certainly crossed each other there.
This time Hajime turned back for sure. Without looking back, he rushed to the clock tower accompanied by Shia and Tio. ’’Wait-’’ Kouki's yell could be heard toward that back, but Ryutaro's war cry that immediately resounded after that and the thunderous roar that his fist played erased that voice, making it immediately inaudible.
And then, Hajime, Shia, and Tio followed the guidance of the compass and vanished into the rippling dial of the clock tower toward another space.
’’Araraa, he really went away. Even though it would be better if you weren't obstinate and said 'help meeee' instead. Putting it bluntly, if that monster is not here then there is no problem at all you knooow?’’
While laughing with a broad grin, Eri moved her gaze at Suzu and Shizuku who faced her.
’’I wonder about that. Indeed, I am feeling an abnormal aura from the two of you right now. But, even we are by no means the same like before you know?’’
’’Ahahah, scary scary. I cannot let my guard down against Shizuku especially isn't iiit. Then, how about I call my reassuriiing comrades tooo!’’
Eri snapped her fingers. Right after that, *BOOM* with a thunderous roar the wreckages of the destroyed buildings at the surrounding exploded. From inside the bursting up dust and scattered debris, countless silhouettes leaped and surrounded Suzu and Shizuku.
’’Puppet soldiers...weren't they get crushed by Nagumo-kun...’’
’’Fufufuh, didn't I told you. There is no problem if that monster is not here. You see these guys, their body is specially made, as expected a direct hit from missile is impossible to recover from, but they won't break with something at the level of the building collapsing you knooow’’
Ryutaro was sent flying toward Shizuku and Suzu while raising such loud scream.
Suzu immediately swung her iron fan, deploying a net made from linked light rings and caught Ryutaro.
’’Ouch ouch. Suzu, you saved me there.’’
’’What happened, what about Kouki-kun?’’
’’No good yeah, that guy. He is not getting it at all, about his position, what the hell he is doing right now, everything. Even when I pointed out anything inconsistent, he just settled it as 'brainwash'. It doesn't look like that just one or two punch gonna be enough for him.’’
Ryutaro sighed and scratched his head while reporting. Shizuku moved her gaze toward the surrounding puppet soldiers and Kouki who just landed beside Eri while asking more question.
’’What about his strength?’’
’’No doubt about it, he got something done to him. You see him putting on the light that looks like 'Limit Break' right? He practically became strong like when he used 'Limit Break', but it doesn't look like he is getting tired at all.’’
’’Is that so...well, we already resolved from the beginning that there will be many difficulties anyway.’’
Looking at the three people who confirmed the situation with a small voice, Kouki showed a sad expression and opened his mouth while being wrapped in light.
’’Shizuku, Suzu, Ryutaro. Won't you three surrender? I don't want to fight you guys. You are being brainwashed, and perhaps everything I say only sounds like nonsense for you, but I, want to save everyone. I will free you all from Nagumo's curse!’’
’’Kouki-kun, how saaad. Beetrayed by your childhood friends, even so, you still try to save them heroicallyy’’
’’Eri...it's fine. It doesn't matter about me. As long as everyone is safe then that's it. If I can just defeat the incarnation of evil that Nagumo...’’
’’It's going to be fineee! After all Iii, only Iii, am Kouki-kun's ally okaaay~’’
’’Thank you, Eri. Since the past, I only keep getting supported by you...’’
Eri and Kouki gazed at each other. The emptiness in Kouki's eyes increased while the rift of Eri's warped smile deepened.
’’See? That's not a level where talking can go through right?’’
’’......Haa, indeed, looks like it. If that's the case, to return that idiot to normal, we have to release him from Eri's 'Bind Soul' and...’’
’’On top of that, there is also the need to beat up Kouki-kun until he is half-dead to teach him the reality isn't it. ...For the time being, Suzu will take care of Eri. After all, the destructive strength of Kouki-kun, with the support of Eri's darkness magic is the worst combination.’’
The three of them nodded to each other. Looking at such three, Kouki looked down sadly.
’’As I thought it's no good...got it. Then, first I'll make the three of you powerless even if you will hate me for it later. And then I'll defeat Nagumo and unravel the brainwash!’’
Kouki's mood heated up by himself and he readied his holy sword in overhead stance. Immediately, unusual magic power burst up from his body. A pressure that was even more powerful than 'Supreme Break' scorched the air.
’’Chih, I don't know what that is, but that looks bad-!’’
Ryutaro tried to charge once more in order to stop Kouki's technique. But, at that instant, the surrounding puppet soldiers assaulted the three all at once.
’’Ahahahahah, I won't let that you knoow? Don't forget the lovable heroine-chan who is supporting the hero okaaay!’’
Eri was laughing loudly while a western sword that seemed to be artifact appeared unnoticed in her hand. She waved it like a conductor baton. The double-edged blade that had thin red lines on its surface was clad with gray magic power.
’’You only look like an evil female leader you know, Eri. If you aren't self-aware of that, then Suzu will lend you my mirror.’’
Suzu replied like that while elegantly waving her twin iron fans. The fans opened and a gentle wind blew, along with that tender magic power light spread like a sunset.
’’Call the sanctuary right here, 'Holy Severance'.’’
Right after that, a barrier of light enveloping the three deployed. There the attacks of the puppet soldiers that came one after another――every single one of them struck using sword artifact that was clad in magic power. *Gakin* Hard sound resounded, the barrier emitting holy light perfectly blocked the countless sword attack.
’’Swallow, 'Holy Severance - Burst'.’’
The instant the twin iron fans were closed with a snap, the barrier exploded with heinous destructive power. Fierce shockwave and the broken fragments of the barrier blown away the grouped up puppet soldiers altogether.
’’Nice job, Suzu!’’
Ryutaro leaped forward. His sharp eye glint pierced straight at Kouki.
’’Don't let your guard down! 'Holy Severance - World'.’’
Suzu supported by lining up many layers of barrier possessing the radiance of Holy Severance to make triangle tunnel that matched with Ryutaro's path. It had been proven that Suzu's Holy Severance couldn't be broken by the attack power of the puppet soldiers.
Ryutaro rushed fiercely inside the tunnel. The unknown technique that Kouki was going to invoke was so powerful that the air was rumbling. But, if he had Suzu's protection, he could shut Kouki down before the invocation. Ryutaro was convinced of that.
’’You underestimate me too muuch’’
At the same time, one puppet soldier jumped high forward at the same time when they heard that voice tone which rubbed anyone's nerve the wrong way. That puppet soldier aimed his large sword at the barrier tunnel and swung down in one breath.
The sound of destruction reverberated. Of all things, the moment an attack of that puppet soldier hit Suzu's barrier directly, reddish black ripple spread and a violent impact scattered, just like that the barrier was pulverized like a paper scrap.
Ryutaro raised a shocked voice while twisting his body to barely evade the large sword that was swung down on his path, then in a perfect timing another sword attack approached from another puppet soldier.
A horizontal sweeping attack. In addition, a pincer attack that aimed at his neck and his flank. Ryutaro tried to repel away the attacks even while his posture was unstable by using the gauntlets of both his hands.
But, these two puppet soldiers weren't normal. The swung sword flickered like an illusion, the real sword traced a trajectory that was different from the trajectory that Ryutaro focused on and approached him.
While screaming wordlessly, Ryutaro who realized that the defense of his gauntlets wouldn't make it in time, within an instant, he used partial strengthening of Vajra to strengthen only the locations that the sword would hit.
*Gakin* A sound of metals clashing with each other sounded, the two attacks of the puppet soldiers were blocked by Ryutaro's Vajra. But, the third puppet soldiers that appeared unnoticed at the front mercilessly thrust his bright red large spear that was flaming hot toward Ryutaro's heart.
Ryutaro immediately crossed both his arms and resolved to receive the attack. Fierce impact assaulted Ryutaro, but his trusted partner, the gauntlets were somehow not pierced, it was enduring the attack of the spear. If the gauntlets hadn't gone through Hajime's demonic remodeling, perhaps even both his arms would also get pierced through.
But, the true worth of the burning large spear wasn't just to burn the opponent that it touched. In the next moment, it looked undulating, and then instantly a large explosion occurred along with a thunderous boom.
Ryutaro who raised his scream this time was forcefully made to go back through the tunnel, he fell on the ground using ukemi technique and tried to stand right back up immediately. (TN: Ukemi, judo technique that is a way to fall safely.)
At that moment, two more puppet soldiers thrust their bastard sword. Not toward Ryutaro, but toward a ground slightly away from him.
Right after that, *bikibikibiki* such sound came out, the place that the swords stabbed instantly froze completely. That freezing instantly stretched toward underneath Ryutaro like a crawling snake, it attacked with perfect timing at the instant where Ryutaro was kneeling from his ukemi.
Due to that, the ground under Ryutaro's legs was frozen and he got restrained, and then four puppets jumped for the final blow. Every single one held a large sword, the swords were similarly flaming red hot like the previous large spear user, if Ryutaro kept getting showered with attacks like this, then at this rate he wouldn't come out unscathed no matter how sturdy he was.
Behind Ryutaro who was cornered into a desperate situation, there was Shizuku who was losing ground against the puppet soldiers who was attacking her until now using impossibly unique abilities. Shizuku saw Ryutaro's distress and tried to go to his help, but due to a puppet soldier that created an improvised binding tool by manipulating the floor of the rooftop, Shizuku was held back in place.
Not only that, similar with Ryutaro, four puppet soldiers also leaped toward Shizuku whose feet was restrained. Two puppets held spear clad in lightning while the other two brandished sword clad in gray sands. It was obvious that it wouldn't end well for her no matter which one she got hit with.
Shizuku showed unease from the unexpected strength of the puppet soldiers while she was about to use her new card.
’’First is the most troublesome Shizuku, yes you. ――'Wicked Wrap'.’’
However, she was hindered by Eri. Black flickering globe suddenly appeared before Shizuku's eyes, the moment it entered her sight Shizuku's body became unable to move at all.
Darkness magic 'Wicked Wrap'――a magic that obstructed the command from the brain to be sent to the body.
With this Shizuku failed to show her card and she exposed a fatal opening. Eri smugly made a sticky grin.
By using 'Bind Soul', Kouki was made to think that even if the three were injured lethally they could be revived later on. And so Kouki who was thinking about 'saving Shizuku and others' didn't feel that hurting the three was evil, and he wielded his strength without any hesitation. There was no need to hold back because later they could be restored back to live.
Of course, there was no way such thing could happen, in the first place Eri wouldn't let such thing happen. She would at least added the three into her puppet soldiers using 'Bind Soul', but she had no plan to properly let them stay alive.
Therefore, she chuckled when she was about to kill the first victim but,
’’Dance down, 'Holy Severance - Sakura'.’’
At that instant, countless shining fragments rushed through the battlefield just like a sakura storm. Small countless radiances danced in the air with rustling sound *zaaaaaa――*. They spiraled with Shizuku and Ryutaro at the center while raising up a whirlwind.
And then the attack of the puppet soldiers was blocked softly by the condensed gathered fragments, dispersing all the impact. Not just that, the flower storm of light swooped down on the puppet soldiers who after attacking were showing lethal opening, like a muddy stream swallowing small fish.
After the flower storm of light passed through, there were the tragic appearances of the puppet soldiers there. Their whole body was mangled, their limbs couldn't maintain their original form. And the most striking thing was how their head had become in pieces as though the head was exploded.
'Holy Severance - Sakura'――this magic was literally making the powerful barrier that was Holy Severance into small fragments like sakura petal, if anything was touched by it then they would be cut, and when an attack came they would become flexible wall like a willow bamboo, it was a barrier that unified offense and defense into one.
When Suzu waved her twin iron fans like a traditional Japanese dancer, the sakura flowers of light moved like a stream matching with her movement.
’’Fuu. Thanks for the save, Suzu.’’
’’Ou, thanks. Rather, what the hell with these puppet soldiers.’’
’’You are welcome. ...Those looks like the characteristic magic that monster has aren't they? Suzu cannot see anything like chanting or magic circle.’’
Shizuku and Ryutaro pulled themselves together using the time that Suzu bought and they gathered beside Suzu. Their eyes narrowed gravely, vigilantly looking around at the puppet soldiers surrounding them.
But, at that time, Kouki's technique was finally completed, the pure white magic power that pierced the sky began to converge on Kouki's back like a video that was rewound. That abnormal magic power was gradually forming a shape with swaying motion.
’’...This is your last chance. Although you all can be revived back to life later on, if possible I don't want to hurt you three.’’
Kouki sent calm voice at Shizuku and others.
Before long, the mass of magic power that Kouki emitted spread out like wings, and then thick and tough tail stretched out, a long neck and head rose, sharp fangs were formed and clanged with each other, brutal claws carved the floor of the building.
Kouki continued his words at Shizuku and others who were looking on in wonder.
’’'Heaven Might - Infinite Change'――this is a technique that makes it possible for Heaven Might that could only be activated as bombardment before to be continuously controlled in its activated state. This dragon, just by existing it carries the destructive power equal of the Heaven Might in full power. In addition, as long as we are in [Holy Precincts], I won't run out of magic power, so trying to buy time is pointless. ...You understand right? The current me is stronger than even Nagumo. All of you absolutely cannot win against me. That's why...surrender.’’
The light dragon that was formed from Heaven Might itself roared. At the same time, a bombardment was fired from its mouth, obliterating a high-rise building one kilometer from their spot in one attack. Indeed, on top of the 'Heaven Might' being released in full power without time limit, Kouki's power didn't seem to weaken at all, so it appeared that he was supplied with inexhaustible magic power.
’’By the waaay, you see, all the puppet-chan at the surrounding, they have magic stone inserted in them, they are a hybrid of monster and human you knooow? With their teamwork and skill unchanged when they were still alive, they now also have the characteristic magic and spec equal to monsteeer. That's riiight, for the time being, I gueeess you can call them 'corpse beast soldier'.’’ (TN: That's too long, in Japanese their name is just 'shijuuhei', but in English it got that long.)
Eri said that. She was implicitly conveying that there was an overwhelming difference in battle strength between them while smiling repulsively. She unfolded her gray wings on her back with a loud flap. With that she conveyed that she herself possessed a strength that resembled an apostle, inviting the three to despair.
Furthermore at the surrounding, it seemed there was corpse beast soldier that could use characteristic magic of healing, even corpse beast soldiers that were carved and blown up by Suzu just now stood back up with their wound healed, other than that there were also reinforcement corpse beast soldiers who seemed to be made to standby for just in case, they were gathering one after another.
Even after excluding the several hundred puppet beast soldiers that were exploded by Agni-Orkan at the beginning, there appeared to be nearly a hundred and fifty battle strength still remaining.
There was Kouki who controlled Heaven Might that carried immense destructive power with complete mastery, furthermore he had no time restriction, his own body was also able to constantly maintained 'Supreme Break' state. And then, there was Eri who was likely to possess a spec that nearly approached an apostle and also mastery of darkness magic, added by her ability that could thoroughly control a group of a hundred and fifty corpse beast soldiers.
Indeed, this situation could be said as hellish. If it was the normal classmates who were here then perhaps they would fall on their knees in despair.
But, the ones who were here were the people who had challenged great labyrinths, who had their weakness thrust before them and made to know their powerlessness. These people had faced themselves and swallowed down their dirty and embarrassing part, taking a step forward.
And then, these people had seen that young man, the one who no matter what kind situation he was in, no matter who he faced, he still wouldn't take even a step back.
That was why,
’’Stronger than even Hajime? That's just too excessive even for a misunderstanding. That man, he is truly 'the world's strongest' you know?’’
’’Yeah, exactly. Besides, aren't you two looking down on Suzu and others too much? Something like this won't even count as 'strength'.’’
’’Infinite change, corpse beast soldier, whatever...hah, all these just ain't enough at all.’’
Only something in this level at best wouldn't even count as a difficult situation.
Kouki's eyebrow twitched in reaction. Eri's expression changed from scorn into something cold.
In contrast, Shizuku took the stance of her sword draw art, Suzu looked like she was dancing with her twin iron fans, and Ryutaro took a karate stance. In their eyes, there was not even a speck of nervousness or despair. There was only calm resolve there, to do what they should do.
’’Somehow, it's really irritatiiing.’’
’’So the brainwashing influence is this deep...it can't be helped. I will wake up all of you.’’
With those words as the signal, the gong of the second round rang.