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Date A Live - Volume 3 - Chapter 5

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Chapter 5: Imitation Nightmare[edit]

’’Reine.’’

In the bridge of <Fraxinus>, Kotori called for Reine who was seated slightly closer to the commander's seat.

However, she did not give a reply. Kotori curiously peeped at Reine's side and then tilted her head.

The monitor beside Reine was showing Mana's face for some reason, furthermore the image was zoomed in. Reine made a complicated face as she stared at the image.

’’Reine? Is there something wrong with Mana?’’

’’......!’’

At that moment, Reine seemed to finally realize Kotori's existence;Reine looked at Kotori with her eyes that had dark eyebags.

’’......Kotori huh. ......Nn, there's something.’’

Saying that, she manipulated the controls with experienced hands. After which, the image zoomed out, and Mana's face shrank away from the screen.

’’......Aside from that, how's Shin?’’

’’Nn He's just a little uneasy, but he should be alright after talking with Tohka.’’

’’......Is that so?’’

Reine slightly nodded, suddenly raising her head.

’’......Aaah, that's right. The analyzing job that you had asked for has already been completed.’’

To Reine's words, Kotori's eyebrows twitched.

A few days ago, she had passed Mana's hair and saliva samples, obtained a few days prior, to Reine to conduct a DNA test.

’’Then......what's the result?’’

’’......Nn, Mana, is without a doubt Shidou's blood-related sister.’’

’’ Is, is that so......’’

Kotori forcefully swallowed, stroking her chest with her hand.

Although it wasn't unexpected......But, she still felt uneasy.

’’Real......sister, huh. Then why would that girl be with the AST......’’

’’......You're wrong.’’

As though she was trying to interrupt Kotori, Reine sounded out.

’’......I did some investigations on my own, it seems that that is not the case at all.’’

’’What do you mean?’’

’’......She's not a self-defense member at all, but a transferred member from DEM Industries.’’

’’ D•E•M Industries......?’’[3D 1]

A corporation based in England that is one of the largest in the world Aside from <Ratatoskr>'s matrix, it is the only known industry that is able to manufacture Realizer Units. Including the Self Defense Forces, the Realizer units currently equipped by the world's military and police forces, can be said to be all made by D•E•M.

This is because, due to their enthusiasm in hunting down the spirits, they are considered economical rivals with <Ratatoskr>that Kotori belongs to.

Of course, they also have magicians who are able to use the CR-Units However, it was said that their handling experience exceeds those of special forces of different countries by a long shot.

’’Hold on for a second. That makes it even more confusing. Shidou's sister, why is she a magician of D•E•M?’’

’’......I'm not too certain about that. However......’’

Reine suddenly stopped talking, grounding her teeth and clenching her fist as though she was furious.

Kotori frowned in surprise. Even though they had worked together for a long time This was the first time she had seen Reine like this.

’’What exactly is going on?’’

’’......Take a look at this.’’

Saying that, Reine moved the controls once more, the screen showed Mana's face as well as detailed numerical values.

’’......This is ’’

’’Aaah, her whole body had been engineered by magic. That should be the origin of her abnormal strength. However, there's a huge price to pay for that. I'm afraid, she won't be able to live any longer than 10 years.’’

’’ What, that's ’’

Originally, the Realizer units developed by D•E•M Industries are not perfect. Due to the processing level of the calculus nuclear core being unable to keep up, they had no choice but to compensate for that using the human brain.

To increase the brain wavelengths, it is a must to implant the brain with tiny devices. Origami and the rest of the AST are the same, there should be some protrusion like a horn in the midst of their hair.

However Mana's body has already far surpassed that kind of degree.

That is......to say that her body has become similar to that of a spirit.

’’......I'm not sure what kind of thought process she possessed while she underwent this kind of procedure. But......I think it's best that we don't tell Shin......for now.’’

Reine said with added intonation. Kotori swallowed hard, biting her lip.

The next morning, Shidou walked into the classroom and saw that Kurumi already sat on her chair.

An obvious abnormality. Although he had already experienced it once, it was still as discomforting as expected. A girl that was supposed to have died, attending school with an expression as though nothing had happened.

Recognizing Shidou's face, Kurumi revealed a peaceful smile, making a bow.

’’Ara, Shidou-san. Good day to you.’’

That appearance was nothing like yesterday's.

If he were to say that just yesterday, inside an alley, this girl had both her legs and stomach pierced through as well as having been decapitated, Shidou would most certainly be suspected of being mentally unsound.

’’......Go, good morning.’’

However, he shouldn't be surprised by this. This was a situation that he had already expected. Shidou silently gave a greeting in reply.

’’I was very happy yesterday. You have to ask me out again next time’’

’’Is that......so. Happy, huh.’’

’’Nn, extremely.’’

Kurumi once again smiled. Was she talking about her date with Shidou, or talking about that incident in the alley. Shidou was unable to discern which one.

Kurumi probably noticed what Shidou was contemplating about, she continued while maintaining her cute smile.

’’But, I was a little surprised there.’’

’’......? About what?’’

Shidou asked in reply, Kurumi narrowed her eyes in response.

’’I thought that Shidou-san would be applying for a leave of absence from school today.’’

Instantly, he was speechless. However he recovered quickly, opening his mouth to reply.

’’Then I'm......really sorry about that. Would it have been better if I had not come to school?’’

’’No, Shidou-san came to school like a good boy, I'm really glad.’’

Kurumi said with an innocent smile on her face.

Shidou patted his chest as though he was trying to control the skip in his heart, walking right up to Kurumi.

’’ Kurumi.’’

’’? What is it?’’

’’I have decided to save you.’’

’’......? Save?’’

In the instant Shidou finished speaking. Kurumi's expressions suddenly lost all its warmth.

’’......You really said something strange, Shidou-san.’’

’’That's enough, this kind of stuff. I won't, let you kill humans anymore. I won't, let Mana kill you anymore. This is my, conclusion that I have reached yesterday.’’

’’Please don't force your values onto others alright? I hate that kind of wishful thinking.’’

’’Is that so. That's a pity. But I'm really sorry, I have already decided. I will save you. You, will be saved by me. No matter what, definitely.’’

Shidou ended his proclamation, Kurumi frowned hard.

Several moments later, she made an expression as though she was thinking about something, after which she spoke.

’’ Then, whether what you say is true or false, let's put it to the test.’’

’’Ah......?’’

’’Today after class, please come to the rooftop.’’

Kurumi left behind such a line, moving her line of sight away from Shidou.

Kurumi who was standing on the rooftop of Raizen High School, made light footsteps accompanied by a smile.

It was a fine day without any sign of clouds in the sky. The strong rays of the summer sun bore down on Kurumi's body, casting a pitch-black shadow onto the ground.

The time was roughly 9:10am. As the first lesson had already begun, the melody echoing throughout the school had faded out. In its place, a splatter of instrumental sounds came from the music room and sounds of balls bouncing about in the gymnasium. Kurumi started to step along with the rhythm as though she were dancing. As though she were tracing a circle on the ground, continually turning around and around.

’’It would be great, if I could still enjoy school life with Shidou-san a bit longer ’’

If one were to look at the scene from above the sky, they could probably detect that something was amiss.

The area where Kurumi had stepped on, turned dark.

Yes it was as though the shadow made by Kurumi during her movements had never left the spot at all.

’’It's almost, time.’’

And then, *Ka!* Her heels clacked at the floor.

Following that, the circle of darkness at the centre of the rooftop slowly started to expand its surface area.

Swallowing the entire rooftop;reaching out to the outer wall of the school building, eroding the school hall, not long after it covered an entire city area with the school as its core.

’’ Kihihi, hihihihihihihihi.’’

Her lips twisting into a crescent, she let out a laugh.

’’Aaah, aaah, Shidou-san, Shidou-san. My dear Shidou-san. Even like this, do you still intend to save me? Do you still intend to help me?’’

’’Nn......?’’

In the first lesson, during the lecture on World History, Shidou suddenly looked at the window.

It somehow feels like the surroundings have become darker, he still thought that it was due to the clouds in the sky.

However, it could be seen from the window that the sky was clear. Not a cloud or a shadow to be seen.

’’......Don't tell me.’’

Quickly turning towards Kurumi's direction. Since she said something disturbing ten minutes ago, she could have......

However, Kurumi did not make any strange movements, listening to class with a serious face.

’’Am I worrying too much......’’

Lightly sighing, he returned to his original posture.

No matter what, the moment school ends is the crux. Shidou breathed deeply as though trying to encourage himself.

Turning the rusted handle and pushing the door with her hands. The decrepit door instantly shed some paint fragments, giving out a piercing cry.

’’......Tch’’

Kotori frowned as she lightly clicked her tongue, arriving at the rooftop of the building.

Kotori is currently visiting one of the abandoned buildings located at the south of Tenguu city.

It's not that she had a penchant for exploring ruins. Coming to such a secluded location had its reasons.

At this time,

’’ Welcome, Kotori-san.’’

The girl who had already been waiting on the rooftop Mana, called out to Kotori.

That's right. When Kotori woke up this morning, on the window of Kotori's room, was a paper with a certain time and location as well as Mana's name written on it.

Kotori did not attempt to hide her displeasure, making a ’’Hmph’’ sound.

’’......Really now. What's with this kind of place. If you wanted to ask me out, you should have at least prepared some delicious tea and cake.’’

’’I apologize. However, I believe that it is in our best interests that we avoid crowded areas.’’

’’......Hmph. Then, what exactly is the matter?’’

’’I just, wanted to talk with you, that's all.’’

With that, Mana took out something from her pocket, throwing it in Kotori's direction.

’’This is......’’

Kotori frowned. What Mana had thrown over, was a highly sensitive mini earphone that <Ratatoskr>used. That's right. It was the one that Shidou had lost yesterday.

’’ The <Ratatoskr>organization.’’

’’......’’

In reaction to Mana's words, Kotori's eyebrows twitched.

’’I've heard about the rumors. It is an organization that does not rely on military power to exterminate spirits, but one that makes use of conversation to persuade them. When I first heard of this I thought it was just an urban rumor.’’

Mana shot a sharp glare towards Kotori.

’’ Don't tell me, you and Nii-sama are......’’

Kotori kept the earpiece in her pocket, slightly moving the stick of the Chupa Chups.

’’......That explains it, that message yesterday was your doing.’’

That's right, before determining that Shidou had lost his earpiece, <Ratatoskr>had once received a strange message. It was indeed Shidou's voice, after determining Kotori's name and the current situation, the connection was suddenly cut off, and nothing else was heard since then.

Kotori clicked her tongue at a volume inaudible to Mana. She was too careless. Through the answer from that time, Mana had already confirmed the existence of the organization known as <Ratatoskr>.

Mana lightly shrugged her shoulders.

’’After all it's not that difficult to change your voice using the personal territory.’’

’’......Is that so?’’

Kotori scratched her hair, narrowing her eyes.

’’So what is your aim? You specially called me out here, you must want something from me right?’’

Mana's gaze did not move as she spoke.

’’ I, do not intend to report this.’’

’’......Hmm?’’

’’In return. Please let Nii-sama back out from <Ratatoskr>, immediately.’’

Mana's words made Kotori frown hard.

’’What do you mean?’’

’’It's nothing much. Kotori-san, why must you let Nii-sama do such a dangerous thing. Let's not talk about realizer units for now, he doesn't even have a proper weapon on him and you let him confront spirits, isn't this too much?’’

’’You already said that he's supposed to persuade the other party, and you expect him to point a gun at them while rambling away? What difference is that from a serial rapist? Don't tell me you're a masochist?’’

As Kotori brushed off Mana's statement, Mana's gaze increased in intensity and her tone became sterner.

’’Please don't joke around. Are you even concerned for Nii-sama? At that time, if I wasn't there, Nii-sama could have already been killed by <Nightmare>.’’

’’.............’’

There was no reason to divulge any more information. Kotori did not say a word.

However Mana seemed to have misunderstood Kotori's reaction and, grinding her teeth, she continued.

’’ Kotori-san. No, Itsuka Kotori. It's sad. You are disqualified from being Nii-sama's sister. You are not worthy for Nii-sama to be placed in your care.’’

’’......’’

Kotori's face twitched, after that she raised the stick of her Chupa Chups.

’’Heeh~ Then, what does being disqualified as a sister mean?’’

’’I will have no choice but to bring Nii-sama back.’’

Mana's words caused Kotori's expressions to twist.

’’What a joke. Do you want to leave Shidou in the care of an evil industry such as DEM?’’

Kotori shrugged her shoulders, Mana relaxed her arms and her shoulders shook in surprise.

’’......Why do you know about this?’’

’’That's because I have an excellent friend. If you are talking about handling information, we're about even.’’

Kotori fearlessly said, Mana heaved out a sigh.

’’ Well, since it's already known then there's no further need to hide it anymore. That's correct. I am originally not a member of the Self-Defense Force. However, due to the allocation of DEM Industries', there was a need to be placed in such an occupation.’’

However as she said that, her gaze swiftly sharpened.

’’But, DEM being an evil corporation, I can't pretend that I didn't hear that. They took me in who had amnesia and gave me a reason to live. I am very grateful towards them.’’

’’......Seriously? Looks like you're not crazy huh.’’

’’How rude. What exactly are you trying to imply?’’

Kotori sensed amiability in Mana's words. Don't tell me she

’’You, don't tell me, you don't know......? About your body?’’

’’My body......? What are you talking about?’’

Mana tilted her head in confusion. Kotori trembled as she gulped.

’’......What's with that...’’

Although it wasn't out of her expectations.....But what if Reine's worries became true? Kotori frowned as she made her way towards Mana, grabbing her shoulders.

’’You, what are you trying to do?’’

’’......Let's not talk about this for now. You're the one that should leave that DEM, <Ratatoskr>will take responsibility for your well-being. So ’’

’’Haa......? What are you saying all of a sudden......’’

At this, just as Mana was about to question Kotori while frowning, Kotori and Mana's handphones sounded at almost the same time.

Revealing an impatient expression Kotori answered the call.

’’ It's me. What is it?’’

’’Com, commander! Raizen High School has an extremely strong spirit wavelength reading!’’

’’What is going on......?’’

Kotori took a peek at Mana. It seems from the look on her face, she too had received a similar report.

Shidou took in a deep breath, slowly breathing out.

The air in his lungs had been completely exchanged, a feeling as though his body had rebooted could be felt.

’’......Excellent.’’

The time was 4:30pm. Sounds of students preparing to go to club activities started to spread.

In the end, except for that one time today, there was totally no opportunity to talk to Kurumi at all. After the last homeroom ended, Kurumi did not even look towards Shidou's direction as she immediately stepped out of the classroom.

’’......Are you alright, Shin?’’

At this moment, from the communicator in his right ear, a voice that sounded extremely sleepy called out. It was Reine.

’’Yeah, I'm unexpectedly......calm.’’

’’......That's good. However, please be careful.’’

’’ Yes.’’

The same time Shidou swallowed hard, he noticed something odd.

’’Reine-san? Now that you said it, how come I don't hear Kotori's voice......’’

’’......Aaah, Kotori had to leave to do some things outside.’’

’’No, if she has something to do outside, why must she choose to do it at such an important time? ’’

’’......Kotori understands this as well. However, after much deliberation, she judged that the chances of success would be raised. ......If a distraction happens to interrupt us mid-way it could be troublesome.’’

’’Haa......? Di, did something come up?’’

’’......Please focus on Kurumi for now. She is an opponent that you cannot overcome if you are distracted.’’

’’......, Ri, right.’’

Although he was concerned about Reine's words, it was also true that he did not have the spare time to think about other matters. Kurumi should already be waiting on the rooftop by now. Shidou started to walk towards the staircase

’’......Wha!?’’

The next moment Shidou frowned at the uncomfortable feeling he felt around him.

Shidou was not sure of the actual reason himself. However he noticed that the instant the surroundings darkened, his body was assaulted by fatigue and weakness for no reason at all.

It was as though the air had thickened in viscosity, heavily wrapping itself around his limbs.

’’Thi, this, is......’’

Shidou, in the situation where he was about to kneel onto the floor, managed to hang on, maintaining his posture.

The students around him let out a pained groan, collapsing on the spot. If he were to put it into words, it was truly an abnormal scene.

’’Hey......, hey, are you alright!?’’

Shidou hastily ran up and shook the shoulder of a female student who had collapsed. However she had probably lost consciousness as there was no reaction at all.

’’Reine san, this is......!?’’

’’Using the school as the reference point, we've determined that there's a strong spirit wavelength. This reaction it's unmistakable, it's Kurumi's doing. A boundary field......Looks like it is the kind that would cause all humans who enter it to weaken.’’

’’Wh, why must she do such a......’’

’’About that, it should be faster if you ask the perpetrator herself.’’

Reine said. It was as she had stated. Shidou swallowed hard, standing up. It felt as though it would be hard to move around, but it wasn't to the extent that he would collapse.

’’Aare, now that I think of it, why am I......’’

’’......Don't forget, Shin. You have the spirit powers of Tohka and Yoshino sealed inside your body. It could be instinctual, but your body as of now can be said to have the protection of the spirits.’’

’’Spirit power......’’

After mumbling, Shidou suddenly widened his eyes.

Opening the door that he had just walked out from, he shouted loudly.

’’Tohka!’’

That's right, Tohka should still be inside the classroom. Although he did mention that he needed to leave early for something, there was no response since he left.

There were around ten students still inside the classroom, everyone was either lying unconscious on the ground or on the table. However, amongst them.

’’Ooh, shidou......’’

Tohka lightly pressed her head as she responded to Shidou. Although the majority of her powers were sealed, she was still a spirit. She was more resistant to spirit power compared to humans.

’’Are you alright, Tohka!’’

’’Nn....... But, my body feels so heavy......What is going on, this......’’

Using a feverish voice she painfully moaned, weakly shaking her head.

’’......Shin.’’

Reine's voice called out from the other end of the earpiece. Even if he didn't go into detail, she would have probably understood what exactly is going on.

’’Tohka, stay here and rest. I'll do something about this......!’’

’’shi, dou......?’’

’’It's okay. I will resolve this.’’

Shidou lightly caressed Tohka's head, walking out to the hallway with his determination set.

Shaking off the thick air and climbing up the stairs. Shidou forced his abnormally fatigued limbs, finally arriving at the door to the rooftop.

The door, was not locked.

No To put it more accurately, below the door handle, there was a hole similar to a bullet path. The lock had lost its function.

It was definitely Kurumi's doing. Shidou took a deep breath before opening the door.

’’Gu......’’

Eyebrows tightly knitting together. Even though he had reached the rooftop, the sticky air still did not improve at all. No, it almost felt as though the weakness that assaulted his body was intensified.

Looking left and right. He was surrounded by fencing, an unpleasant space.

And in the centre.

’’ Welcome. I've been waiting for you, Shidou-san.’’

Kurumi raised the hem of her astral dress, slightly lowering her body and bowed.

’’......’’

When Origami felt the abnormality, she was walking down a corridor on the east building of the school.

As though in the blink of an eye, it felt as though the entire world had changed. It was almost as if her vitality had been sucked from her body and absorbed by the air, an unexplainable sense of weakness attacked her. In reality, the surrounding students have already collapsed one after another.

’’Guh ’’

If this continues she would be prone to losing consciousness. After Origami came to that conclusion, she took out a device from her pocket and placed it on her palm, using her finger to make contact with the touchscreen and said.

’’Voice recognition•AST•Tobiichi Origami’’

Instantly, her fingerprints and voice patterns were matched. *Beep Beep*, after this electronic sound, the device started to expand.

’’Basic Realizer Unit Activation acknowledged.’’

Origami said, using the device to lightly make contact with the transmitter point on her head.

Instantly, Origami's surroundings became her personal territory that wrapped around her body and the weakness that tortured her whole body lessened.

However at the same time, a headache akin to that of an explosion going off in her brain assaulted Origami.

Gritting her teeth while enduring, Origami opened her mouth and said.

’’Combat wiring suit Engaged.’’

After that, faint light was emitted from within the personal territory in the next instant, the Raizen High School uniform that Origami was wearing transformed into the standard combat wiring suit of the AST.

’’......, ......’’

The moment the headache was almost gone In an instant, Origami knelt on the floor on one knee.

This was an emergency device that immediately allows for the expansion of the wiring suit commonly worn in the base. Even though she had obtained permission to have this device just in case, but she still felt uncomfortable.

This miniature device contains the basis realizer unit. Meaning to say, it was theoretically possible to expand her personal territory. After that from within the personal territory, instantly changing clothes is not a difficult task.

However, although it was only for just an instant, she had expanded her personal territory without using the splicing device. At that point in time the burden on her brain had increased, it was indescribable. ......Well, someone with Mana's capability would probably be able to take care of this as though it were nothing.

’’............’’

Origami readjusted her breathing, expanding her personal territory to the usual size of three metres.

Spirits and the AST are considered to be restricted topics. However this is considered to be an exception. Moreover, she has nothing to worry about if everyone around her had already lost consciousness.

She wasn't sure what happened to the school. But it was easy to deduce, that this definitely had something to do with Tokisaki Kurumi.

’’......’’

Giving a mental order, she centralized her gravity. Origami stomped on the ground, dashing through the corridor at an amazing speed.

At the same time, the transmitter equipped onto her headgear transmitted Ryoko's voice. ’’ Origami!? If you had opened the line, it means that you have used the emergency suit? Currently in your school's vicinity, we've detected a strong spirit wavelength! What's your status!?’’

’’A bounded field. It'll be dangerous if this keeps up. Requesting reinforcements ’’

At that moment, Origami's words were cut off.

’’......’’

The reason was simple. In Origami's way, stood a girl as though she was made out of shadows.

She was not wearing a high school uniform but a Gothic dress composed of crimson and black.

’’Ufufu, Origami-san. Why are you in such a hurry?’’

She placed her hand beside her mouth and snickered.

’’Tokisaki Kurumi......’’

Origami's gaze sharpened and her hand positioned itself near her hip, gripping the handle of her light blade.

’’Wh, what is going on, Origami!?’’

’’ Made contact with a spirit. Engaging in combat.

’’......What!? That's too dangerous, hurry up and leave ’’

She'll get distracted. Origami gave a mental order, disconnecting the communication.

Kurumi let out a satisfied smile, saying.

’’Fufu, I do not wish to be interrupted this time. So I can't let you move on any further.’’

’’......?’’

Origami did not understand Kurumi's words, slightly frowning.

However, that was only for an instant. There was no need to listen to the spirit's nonsensical words on the battlefield.

Origami tightly held the handle of her blade of light <No Pain>.

’’shi, dou......shidou!!’’

Tohka called out Shidou's name when he had just left the classroom.

However Shidou did not have any intention of returning. Tohka dragged her heavy feet and started to move forwards.

’’shidou......’’

In her head, the words that Shidou had left behind refused to leave.

It's okay. I will, resolve this.

Extremely reliable and comforting words. Shidou only said it once and it had completely blown away the loneliness and unease existing within Tohka's heart.

However, at the same time, another cause for unease surfaced.

That is because when Shidou said that line, it was like two months ago when he extended his hand to Tohka and a month ago when he walked towards Yoshino's bounded field, the feeling was the same.

Shidou will definitely save everyone. However, if there was a need for him to sacrifice himself, Shidou would not hesitate to do so.

The one who saved Tohka was such a man.

’’Uwa......’’

At that moment, Tohka had lost her balance, falling down onto the floor, bringing the tables and chairs with her.

’’Gu Nu......’’

In order to stand up once more, she exerted strength into her feet.

This won't do, this won't do at all. Now is not the time to be lazing around here.

Even if it's for just a second, she must hurry up and rush to Shidou's side.

’’shidou......shidou......shidou......!!’’

Suddenly, the instant she shouted, Tohka's head had a sensation as though it was being stimulated.

’’Wh, what......?’’

Saying that Tohka remembered this feeling.

Last month. When Yoshino materialized her Angel and shot a beam of light at Shidou.

If this continues, Shidou will die. The instant she thought so, she vigorously shook her head and her astral dress and Angel materialized.

’’......This is......!’’

Tohka looked down at her own appearance. That's right, although it was not perfect, but Tohka's body was the same as that previous time, materializing an astral dress from a membrane of light.

Her body had also been instantly revitalized to an unimaginable state. If that's the case

Tohka forcefully jumped up, landing firmly on both feet.

’’Alright......Let's go!’’

Clenching her fist, she walked out of the classroom.

’’shidou! Where did you go, shidou ’’

Even if she shouted, she did not hear a reply.

If that was the case, she would have to search each room individually. Tohka ran out to the corridor.

However, in that instant.

’’ !?’’

Tohka held her breath, retreating hastily.

The reason was simple. At the front of the corridor, something resembling a bullet traced a black path heading straight for Tohka.

’’Wha......Who!’’

Tohka called out, in front of the corridor that was covered by shadows, slow footsteps sounded out.

Soon after, the creator of that sound appeared.

’’......, You are ’’

’’Ufufu, how do you do, Tohka-san. May I ask that you accompany me for a while?’’

The girl that wore a formal dress with a gun in hand Tokisaki Kurumi raised the corners of her mouth as she spoke.

’’Kurumi......You, what are you doing!? Why, are you setting up this bounded field......!?’’

On the rooftop of Raizen High School, Shidou spread his two arms out wide as he questioned Kurumi.

Kurumi seemed to be enjoying Shidou's reaction as her smile widened.

’’Ufufu, it's great isn't it? This is my <City of Devouring Time>. It's a bounded field that will plunder the [time] of those who step on my shadow.’’

’’Plunder......time?’’

After Shidou's surprised words, Kurumi smirked as she slowly moved closer.

Following that, she elegantly moved her hair. Revealing the left eye that was normally hidden.

’’Wha......’’

Looking at that, Shidou frowned.

There was an obvious peculiarity. An inorganic gold, and numbers and clock hands.

That's right Kurumi's eye was just like that of a clock.

However, the strange thing was, the hands of that clock were moving in a counter-clockwise direction.

’’That is ’’

’’Fufu, this is my [time]. Life In other words you can say that this is my lifespan.’’

Saying that, Kurumi spun around once.

’’My Angel, although it has a wonderful power......But in return, the price to use it is alarming. Every time I use its power, a large amount of my [time] is consumed. Therefore I have to, from time to time, replenish it from the outside.’’

’’Wha......’’

Kurumi's words made Shidou shiver.

If what she said was true, then those people who had collapsed within Kurumi's bounded field are currently having their remaining life absorbed by Kurumi.

Kurumi looked at Shidou's expression and for reasons unknown, showed a face containing traces of loneliness.

However that was quickly replaced by a cold smile. She used her fingertip to raise Shidou's chin.

’’The relationship between spirits and humans, is just this you know. Everyone, unfortunately, exists solely to become my food. There are no differences.’’

She raised an eyebrow and as though challenging Shidou, she continued to speak.

’’Aaah But. Shidou-san. Only you are special. You are someone special.’’

’’......Me, you say?’’

’’Nn. Nn. You are the best. The only reason why I have come to this place is, to become one with you.’’

’’What......?’’

Shidou frowned hard.

’’To become one......What exactly do you mean?’’

’’It means exactly what I just said. It doesn't mean that I am going to kill you or anything. That won't have any meaning at all. I, want to eat•you•up.’’

The word [eat] she used, was it literally or just a metaphor he had no idea, but Shidou's stomach felt as though something cold was spreading.

However, he cannot start feeling scared now. Shidou clenched his fist and said.

’’If, I'm the one you want, then you just target me! Why are you doing this !’’

Shidou yelled. Kurumi seemed to be pleased as she continued.

’’Ufufu, it was about time that I replenished my [time] Also.’’

Kurumi suddenly used a sharp gaze to look through Shidou.

’’ Before I eat you, can you please take back that declaration you made this morning?’’

’’This morning......?’’

’’Nn. To save me, and the other ridiculous comments that you made.’’

’’......’’

Under the frigid stare of Kurumi, Shidou involuntarily gulped.

’’ Hey, Shidou-san, you're scared right, I'm saying this kind of reason and yet committing this kind of act? Pulling unnecessary people into this, I should be very repulsive to you right? Being saved and the like, I do not have that kind of qualification, do you understand now?’’

Kurumi exaggeratedly waved her arms like an actress as she continued.

’’Therefore, please take back that sentence. Furthermore, promise me to never say such words again. If you do so, I will remove this bounded field you know? From the very start, my target was only Shidou-san.’’

’’Wha......’’

Shidou widened his eyes. That condition was certainly a simple one. It was simple enough to cause one to be suspicious as to whether Kurumi was intending to trick Shidou.

’’......Kurumi is being serious here.’’

Probably sensing the hesitation within Shidou, Reine's words sounded out from the communicator.

’’......From her mental state, there is no trace of deceit. Shin, if you were to agree to this condition, Kurumi will most likely remove the bounded field.’’

The same time Reine said that, Kurumi moved her body while revealing a smile that would send shivers down the spine.

’’Kihihi, hihi. Well, it would be better if I remove it earlier. It may be too late if the removal were to be a second too slow you know?’’

’’......’’

Shidou and Kurumi exchanged eye contact.

For Shidou to take back his previous words. Just that. There was no difficulty in doing that at all.

On the contrary, if he does not do so, the countless lives within the bounded field may be placed in danger.

There was no room to choose from. Shidou, with his determination set, opened his mouth and said.

’’......Release, the bounded field.’’

Kurumi let out a sigh. She seemed to be relieved.

’’Well then, please say it. That you will never declare to save me again.’’

Shidou swallowed hard and continued to speak.

’’About that......I can't do it.’’

’’Haa ?’’

The instant Shidou said that, Kurumi widened her mouth in an expression of utmost surprise. A hilarious expression. At the very least, Shidou had never seen Kurumi make such an expression till now.

’’......Ara, ara, ara?’’

However, Kurumi's face swiftly had an air of displeasure replacing her former expression.

’’Did you not hear me? If you take back those words you had said before, I will take down this bounded field you know?’’

’’......, Take that, down. Right now!’’

’’Then......’’

’’But, never! I will never take back those words!’’

Shidou yelled as he shook his head.

That's because, even if he did take those words back, there would be no change.

If he did that, Shidou would never be able to extend his hand towards Kurumi again.

’’ I dislike people who do not listen to others......!’’

Kurumi shouted out, *Ton Ton*, lightly stepping back a few steps, distancing herself from Shidou.

And then, her right hand was forcefully thrust above her head.

Using her right hand as the centre, the air, *Piri Piri*, started to tremble.

Instantly.

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

A piercing sound echoed throughout the entire town.

’’ , Spacequake alarm......!?’’

Shidou's face was painted with fear as he groaned. This was a sound that he had heard to the point of irritation, it was the alarm that informs everyone about the sudden calamity that would devour the world Spacequakes.

For an instant, Shidou had thought that another spirit had materialized in the city.

Spacequakes occur when spirits appear in this world due to the distortion of space.

However Kurumi's maniacal grin silently denied that possibility.

That's right This spacequake, was caused out of Kurumi's own free will.

The ability to cause such a phenomenon, Shidou had never been informed of that at all.

However the current situation had totally proven this theory true.

’’Kihi, kihihi, kihihihihihihihihihihi, now then, what will you do now? If a spacequake were to occur in such a situation, what would everyone within the bounded field become?’’

’’......!’’

As Kurumi ended her statement, Shidou was speechless.

Normally an alarm would sound when signs of a spacequake were detected, informing all residents living nearby to evacuate to underground shelters to avoid the disaster. However currently, everyone who was caught in Kurumi's bounded field was unconscious, as well as being located at the centre of the spacequake itself. There was no way for them to seek shelter.

However.

All of a sudden......Shidou's mind surfaced a single question.

It seems that she did not notice Shidou's change of expression, Kurumi licked her lips as though she was showing off her victory.

’’ Now then, Shidou-san? What will you do now? Are you afraid of me now? Do you hate me now? Or do you feel both ways about me? The weak are prey! The strong are the predators!’’

’’.............’’

Why. His heart was definitely pounding away, his breathing was in chaos, but Shidou's heart was unbelievably calm.

There was one question.

Why, does Kurumi have to have Shidou take back his previous words?

However, let's leave that aside for now. No matter what was said, words are merely words. Kurumi's goal was to [eat] Shidou, if that was the case then she could have simply ignored him instead.

So why, does she have to be concerned to such a degree?

The predator that she mentioned should be referring to Kurumi herself right. The prey then is most likely Shidou.

’’......Shin.’’

Just at that moment, Reine's voice shook his right eardrum.

’’......Kurumi's mental state has changed. The numbers......it's as if she were afraid of you.’’

’’Eh......?’’

Shidou used a volume inaudible to Kurumi to sound out, his eyebrows slightly raised.

Kurumi she, was afraid of Shidou?

Those words that lacked a shred of reality caused Shidou to sink into confusion for a split second And then, he immediately understood.

’’Aaah Is that, so?’’

Shidou slightly let out a sigh, looking at Kurumi once more.

As someone that causes humans to shiver in fear, a spirit.

However

’’Now then! Shidou-san, what will you do now? If you don't take back those words, there will be a lot of casualties you know!?’’

Kurumi moved her line of sight from Shidou, forcefully holding her right hand that was in the air.

Instantly, *Ji~~* A piercing screech resounded throughout the area.

It was as though the air itself was crying.

’’Gu ’’

There is something that he had to tell Kurumi, an issue that he must let her know of. However compared to that, he has to stop this spacequake first.

Of course under the condition that he must not take back his previous words.

Shidou frantically pondered. Suddenly remembering what Kurumi had said before.

’’......Kurumi.’’

’’What? Fufu, you finally wish to take back what you have said?’’

Kurumi revealed a smile as she spoke. Shidou continued to speak while ignoring her words.

’’You said, that your goal is to eat me......right?’’

’’Nn. That's right. It would be pointless if I were to kill you. You will be able to live on within me. Ufufu, not bad right.’’

’’............’’

With that, Shidou was convinced. He softly spoke to Reine.

’’......Reine-san. If I were to , will I survive?’’

’’......? Aaah, if we're talking about your revival ability, as long as nothing goes awry, you should survive.......But what are you trying to do?’’

’’Just this.’’

Shidou started running, he ran to the edge of the roof and started to climb the tall iron fence.

And then he stood on the ledge, looking towards Kurumi.

Kurumi showed a face of utter confusion at Shidou's actions.

’’......What are you trying to do?’’

’’Stop the spacequake. If not ’’

Shidou pointed to the school courtyard.

’’I will, jump from here and die......!’’

’’Ha......Haa......!?’’

It seems that it was out of her expectations, Kurumi let out a shout.

’’Wh, what did you say you were going to do......? Are you crazy?’’

’’I'm really sorry but I'm being serious here. It seems that I definitely cannot retract what I said in the morning. Also, I must save you.’’

Kurumi seemed displeased as she tilted her head. Shidou did not mind at all as he continued.

’’However, I cannot let you trigger a spacequake. So ’’

’’So you are taking yourself hostage? What a simple way of thinking. Are you a criminal that is being chased!?’’

At Kurumi's words, Shidou lightly smiled. Thinking of the movies and the overseas news where the criminals point the guns at their temples. This was the last of the last, a final crazy act committed by people who had nowhere else to go.

However, since Kurumi's aim was Shidou, then it would not be a meaningless act.

That's right. Kurumi transferred into this school just to get Shidou. Shidou's life had its value as a hostage. This possibility was extremely high.

However Kurumi frowned, ’’Haa.....’’, and lightly sighed.

’’......You think that this level of threat would work on me? Do it if you can!’’

’’......Aaah.’’

Shidou silently muttered that, his body flying out of the fencing.

It was obviously a dizzying height but yet there was no sense of fear at all. It could be because his brain was in an excited state from the endorphins released, causing the fear to be staved off.

’’ !’’

’’......Shin!?’’

The sounds of Reine and Kurumi holding her voice sounded out.

A momentarily floating sensation. Shidou's body was falling towards the ground at an alarming speed.

’’ , ......’’

His consciousness was about to fly away. It felt the same as riding on a roller coaster that was plummeting at a rapid speed. He couldn't breathe, his limbs were numb, he felt as though he couldn't control his bladder anymore.

However, midway through his fall. Shidou's body was supported by someone, suddenly jolting.

’’......Ueh!?’’

Under the sudden impact Shidou let out a stupid sound. Kurumi's upper body appeared from the shadows on the side of the school building, carrying Shidou in what seems to be a princess carry.

’’Oh......oh, Kuru ’’

The instant Shidou wanted to shout out Kurumi's name. Kurumi's whole body emerged from the shadows, and carrying Shidou, she made her way vertically up the school building. Returning to the rooftop, she roughly let Shidou down.

’’Ah ......’’

Shidou let out a large sigh.

’’I thought I was a goner......’’

’’Ah......Of course you would......!’’

Kurumi replied with a loud outburst.

’’I don't believe it! What the hell were you thinking!? What exactly were you thinking!? If I wasn't there you would have really died you know!?’’

’’Ah ......About that, how do you put it......Thank you.’’

’’What do you think your life is!’’

’’No, even if you say that......’’

When Shidou said that, Kurumi's expressions changed and she furiously scratched her head.

’’Aaaaaaaaaaaaah, really! Are you an id iot......!’’

Shidou stood up, asking Kurumi.

’’Kurumi. You, why did you save me?’’

’’......, That's If you were to die, won't I be unable to achieve my goal?’’

’’Really. Well then, I guess I do have value as a hostage after all?’’

’’......’’

Shidou extended his finger and pointed at Kurumi.

’’Now then, please stop the spacequake now! And remove this bounded field as well! If not then I will commit suicide by biting off my tongue!’’

’’Th, that kind of threat ’’

’’Do you think that I'm bluffing?’’

’’Guh......’’

Kurumi instantly showed a regretful expression, snapping her fingers.

Following that, the piercing sound that echoed throughout the area stopped. Along with that, the heavy atmosphere that covered the vicinity had also disappeared.

’’Well Well, it's alright. After all, my original intention was only to have Shidou-san. There's no problem. No problem at all.’’

Kurumi loudly declared as though she were trying to say those words to herself as she widened both arms towards Shidou.

However, Shidou could not just wait there to be eaten.

’’Then will you hear me out one more time?’’

’’Wh, what else do you want......!?’’

Kurumi said as though she were troubled. Shidou, ’’Aaah’’ , nodded his head as he continued to speak.

’’Just one sentence is fine. Kurumi, just once, won't you give me a chance to save you?’’

Kurumi widened her eyes in surprise while lifting up her eyebrows.

’’......Are you still going to say that? Stop that already. It's troubling. I, whether it's killing people, or being killed, love them both! There's no reason for me to hear your babbling!’’

Kurumi shouted as if trying to reject Shidou. That voice, was not like the previous one that had a bottomless sense of fear On the contrary, it was like she was scared of something.

Reine's previous words once again resounded in his head.

That's right......Kurumi she, must be afraid. That's because till now not even a single person extended a helping hand to her, that's why she must be in fear of this unknown gesture.

’’Kurumi, you......have you ever experienced......a life where you don't have to kill or be targeted?’’

Shidou silently said that, Kurumi's shoulders gave a tiny jolt.

’’......That is......’’

’’Then, you have no idea. Then how can you be so sure that you prefer a life where you have to kill and be killed? Maybe you would like this kind of peaceful life.’’

’’But, that kind of thing ’’

’’It's possible! If it's me!’’

Shidou loudly shouted, Kurumi seemed to be intimidated by his presence as she held her breath.

’’It's true that I cannot tolerate what you have done. It won't be enough to atone even if you used your entire lifetime! However......! You must have mistaken something, Kurumi! I have a reason that I must save you.....!’’

’’ ’’

Kurumi took a few steps backwards. Shidou on the other hand took a step forward.

’’I, I......I ’’

Kurumi looked around in a panic, calling out.

’’Shidou-san, I......can I really...... ’’

At this moment the instant Kurumi wanted to say something.

’’ You can't. How can you be fooled by those words?’’

From nowhere, such a voice sounded out.

Shidou frowned in surprise. That voice was

’’Hyi......!?’’

At that point, as though trying to disrupt Shidou's thinking, Kurumi who was standing in front of him, suddenly made a strange sound with her throat.

’’Kurumi......?’’

Shidou looked towards her and was stunned.

’’Eii, Aa, aah......’’

Kurumi widened her eyes as though they were about to pop out from their sockets, letting out painful groans.

Looking down. At Kurumi's chest, a single crimson hand extended out.

’’Eh......’’

Seeing this, Shidou finally realized the situation.

Not knowing when, someone had appeared behind Kurumi and stabbed through Kurumi from the back.

’’I, ah.’’

’’Alright, I know. That's why ’’

The hand was withdrawn from Kurumi's chest. Instantly, Kurumi's astral dress dissolved into the air and her white skin bared itself.

’’ Really now, hurry up and rest.’’

’’......Hyigu.’’

Leaving behind a weak death cry, Kurumi fell down like a mannequin.

And then, her body twitched for a moment after that, she no longer moved.

’’Wh......’’

Shidou did not move a muscle. The sudden situation had rendered thinking impossible.

That's because, the one standing behind Kurumi.

’’Ara ara, what's the matter, Shidou-san? You don't look too good.’’

was Tokisaki Kurumi herself.

’’Kuru, mi......? Haa? Why......’’

Shidou looked at Kurumi who was engaged in a conversation with him till just now and Kurumi who had appeared before him.

That, was undoubtedly Kurumi.

Hair as black as the shadows, jade-white skin the glowing clock for a left eye, it was the same as the Kurumi before her.

Only that her expression held no trace of confusion, unlike the previous Kurumi who had collapsed onto the ground. There was only a coquettish smile.

’’Really now, this kid is really troubling.’’

Kurumi lightly waved her hand that was stained in fresh blood.

Following that, countless hands appeared from the shadows, pulling Kurumi into the darkness.

’’That was humiliating. However, The•me•of•this•time,could possibly be too naive.’’

’’Wha ’’

’’Aaah, but then. Just now, Shidou-san's words were really great.’’

Kurumi twisted her body while smiling as though she were playing a prank.

Shidou speechlessly stood there in a daze.

He totally could not understand.

Just now, in Shidou's eyes, two Kurumis existed.

Kurumi•had•killed•Kurumi. The•first•Kurumi, was•consumed•by•the•shadows.

’’What, ......’’

Shidou let out a sound in a daze, Kurumi seemed to be amused as she started to laugh.

’’Now, then. Let's hurry up and start, shall we?’’

As Kurumi said that, two hands grew from below Shidou's legs, tightly grabbing onto him.

’’Uwah......!?’’

’’Your power......I'll be helping myself, Shidou-san.’’

Saying that, Kurumi walked closer to Shidou, stretching out her right hand.

After that, in that instant she was using that cool hand to gently touch Shidou's face.

’’Gi......’’

Kurumi let out such a sound.

Glimpsing for an instant, a white shadow had descended from the sky, the right hand that Kurumi had used to touch Shidou had been sliced off, spinning a few times in the air before falling to the ground.

’’ Ara...Ara’’

Kurumi frowned as she bore the pain, somersaulting backwards as she retreated.

After a moment, Shidou finally realized that there was one more person other than Kurumi and himself.

’’Mana!’’

’’Yes. You've got yourself into another troublesome situation I see.’’

Wearing the wiring suit, Mana, whose two hands had massive blades of light equipped, glanced at Shidou's direction and said so.

However Mana quickly readied her light blades, shooting a sharp glance towards Kurumi.

’’You still haven't learned have you, <Nightmare>.’’

’’’’ Ku, hihi, hihi. Just like before, you're really something. To be able to cut through my Elohim<divine Astral Dress•Third>. [3D 2]

’’Hmph. I'm sorry to say. That kind of Astral Dress is meaningless in front of me. So you better ’’

At this moment, just as Mana wanted to continue, Kurumi exaggeratedly spread out both arms, turning on the spot.

’’However it is......Only I, who you cannot kill.’’

As Kurumi said that, *Ka Ka Ka*, she stepped onto the ground with both feet as though following a rhthym.

’’Now, now, come out Zafkiel<Emperor of Time>’’[3D 3]

Instantly, behind Kurumi, a massive clock slowly materialized.

It was multiple times taller than Kurumi, a huge clock face. And the hands in the middle were represented with an ancient handgun and rifle of intricate designs.

’’......,This is an Angel!?’’

Shidou couldn't help but voice out.

Angel. [Miracles taken form]. A weapon with absolute power that spirits can be proud of.

’’Ufufu......’’

Kurumi laughed, removing the gun from the massive clock face that represented the hour hand.

And then,

’’Zafkiel<Emperor of Time> Dalet[The Fourth Bullet].’’[3D 4]

As Kurumi muttered, the Roman numeral [IV] engraved on the clock, slowly oozing out something resembling a shadow in an instant, it was absorbed into the muzzle of the handgun in Kurumi's hand.

Shidou narrowed his eyes at this sight.

He had noticed, that the instant the shadow flowed out from the clock, the clock hands in Kurumi's left eye was moving clockwise at an alarming speed.

However this question was quickly driven out of his head.

’’Wh......’’

Mana's surprised voice entered Shidou's ears. It was impossible to determine Mana's expressions from this position, but it should be similar to the expression that Shidou was having right now.

Kurumi placed the muzzle of the handgun in her left hand under her chin.

’’What do you plan to ’’

Mana was in the middle of her words, Kurumi gave a faint smile, pressing the trigger without hesitation.

Don! Such a sound echoed in the surroundings, Kurumi's head gave a jolt. No matter how you looked at it, this could be nothing else but suicide.

However. In that instant Shidou and Mana immediately corrected their way of thinking.

’’Haa......?’’

It felt as though he had made a stupid expression on his face.

However if one were to witness this scene, anyone would probably do the same thing.

That was because, in that instant when Kurumi shot herself, Kurumi's right hand, which had fallen to the ground, floated in the air as though it were a rewinding of a movie reel flying towards Kurumi.

And then once the right hand made contact with Kurumi's right arm, it beautifully joined, recovering as though nothing had happened. Even the long glove on her arm was perfectly restored.

’’Ufufu, what a good kid, Zafkiel<Emperor of Time>.’’

’’......It's the first time I've seen this trick, that. No wonder, it's a wonderful healing ability you have there.’’

Mana unhappily stated, Kurumi snickered as she shook her head.

’’Kihihi, hihi, that's incorrect. I've merely•rewound•my•time.’’

’’......What?’’

Mana raised an eyebrow.

However Kurumi only fearlessly smiled, not replying, raising her right hand high.

Using that hand to retrieve the minute hand on the clock face of Zafkiel<Emperor of Time>behind her the rifle.

’’Aaah, aaah. Mana-san, Mana-san. Just for today, please let me defeat you.’’

Saying that, in front of the clock face that was now void of hands, she readied both guns.

As though, she were displaying time itself.

’’Now, then. Let's start. I'll let you see my Angel's power.’’

’’ Hmph, very well. I'll kill you off like I always do.’’

At Mana's words, Kurumi started laughing as if Mana had said something ridiculous.

’’Kihi, hihi, hihihihihihihihi, you still~~don't understand? You are definitely unable to kill me.’’

’’It's alright. If I can't beat you I will keep beating you down, if I can't kill you I will kill you until you die, to keep hunting you down, that is my mission and my purpose for existing.’’

’’Hihihihihi, aaah, that's right. You should be like this. Fufufu, fufu, ufu, ufu, excellent, I can't take it anymore. Well then, what would it be? Decapitation? A stab through my chest? Or dismemberment?’’

’’Hmph, I only know of one monster that is able to survive through all that. Let's try pulverising you to powder, till not a single fragment remains.’’

’’! Heeh? Now that would be a new experience. Very good. Excellent.’’

’’You're still as crazy as always.’’

’’Hihihi, if that's the case, then I guess we're about even? You're not even batting an eyebrow now. I still remember the first time you killed me, you were still so cute back then.’’

’’Keep your mouth shut. Or rather, would you want your mouth and throat to fly as well?’’

’’Ufufu, fufu. Are you able to do so?’’

Saying that, Kurumi raised the handgun in her left hand.

’’Zafkiel<Emperor of Time> Aleph[The First Bullet].’’[3D 5]

Just like before, the shadow that the Roman numeral [I] on the clock face oozed out, was absorbed into the handgun in Kurumi's hand. After which she once again proceeded to hold the muzzle to her chin and pressed the trigger.

Instantly.

’’Gu......!?’’

Kurumi's figure suddenly disappeared. And at the same time, Mana was sent flying.

’’Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Can't•you•see•me•?’’

’’Tch ’’

Mana changed directions in mid-air, advancing towards Kurumi as though she had stepped on air.

However, Kurumi's body had disappeared once more like fog, appearing behind Mana in the next instant, delivering a heel kick to her back.

’’Kuh......!’’

However at the same time Mana showed a sharp glare, Kurumi's movements suddenly became sluggish. It seems like she had used her personal territory to capture Kurumi.

Mana seemed as though she wanted to split Kurumi's midsection into two as she swung her blades of light horizontally. However Kurumi evaded with millimeters to spare, somersaulting onto the watertank.

’’Fufu, you're amazing! You're still able to counterattack even though I •accelerated•time!’’

’’Hmph......Even though it's an interesting ability, but it can be said to have the worst compatibility against me who has the personal territory you know? If I am able to sense you, I will definitely be able to capture your movements.’’

’’Aaah, aaah, that's so. Then ’’

Kurumi turned towards Mana at a speed that was impossible to discern with the human eye once more.

’’Zafkiel<Emperor of Time> Zayin[The Seventh Bullet]!!’’[3D 6]

Almost simultaneously, the shadow that emerged from the [VII] Roman numeral of the clock face was sucked into Kurumi's rifle. After which she aimed the muzzle towards Mana and fired.

’’It's useless Didn't I tell you......!’’

A bullet of that caliber is useless against Mana who is equipped with her personal territory. However

’’Eh......?’’

Shidou let out a dazed sound.

Mana's body, which was currently in the middle of flight, had totally stopped.

’’Mana......!’’

Despite Shidou's cries, Mana did not move. There was no response at all. It was as though Mana's time had been stopped for just that moment.

’’Haa, haa.’’

Kurumi laughed, firing countless bullets towards Mana's body.

The guns in Kurumi's hands were both ancient single-action guns. However, each time a shot was fired, shadows would emerge from Kurumi's feet, entering the muzzle of the guns in the place of bullets.

After countless seconds, Kurumi landed onto the ground. At the same time,

’’Ga ah......!?’’

Mana, who had countless bullets fired at her, fell to the ground bloodied.

’’Kihihihihihihihihi, ara ara, what's the matter?’’

’’Wha Just now, that was......’’

’’Mana!’’

Shidou cried out, running to Mana's side and kneeling on one knee.

’’Nii-sama, it's dangerous. Hurry up and leave......’’

’’Idiot, what are you saying!’’

At this moment, the sound of a door opening could be heard from behind Shidou.

’’shidou!’’

’’ Shidou.’’

New people called out Shidou's name, appearing on the rooftop.

’’Tohka Origami......!?’’

Turning around, he called out their names.

Although he wanted to know why the two of them were still able to move about in the bounded field, that thought soon disappeared after looking at their appearances. Tohka was wearing her Astral Dress while Origami on the other hand was wearing her wiring suit.

’’Are you alright, shidou!’’

’’Are you hurt?’’

The two of them asked at the same time, after which they glared at each other in displeasure before turning back to look at Shidou.

However, very swiftly, the two soon noticed Kurumi at the front as well as Mana who was kneeling on the ground while drenched in blood. The two of them moved in front of Shidou, each readying their swords against Kurumi.

’’Master Sergeant Tobiichi......Tohka-san. The two of you are alright. However......Tohka-san. What is with your appearance......’’

Mana gasped in pain while Tohka let out a surprised sound.

’’Shidou's sister number 2. I could say the same to you, why are you dressed like that? It looks just like the AST ’’

Mana and Tohka exchanged looks of surprise, however Kurumi's laughter soon broke off their conversation.

’’Ara, ara, ara. Is everyone here now?’’

As Kurumi said that, Tohka and Origami both spoke at the same time.

’’Kurumi......you suddenly ran off, so you were in this kind of place!’’

’’Your movements are hard to understand. What exactly are you planning?’’

’’Eh......?’’

Shidou frowned. Just what are the two of them talking about.

’’She, escaped......?’’

Shidou asked, Tohka moved her sight away from Kurumi and at the same time she nodded her head ’’Nn.’’.

’’Kurumi was blocking my way......However after that explosion, she disappeared.’’

However Origami contradicted Tohka's statement.

’’That's strange. Tokisaki Kurumi was in a battle with me.’’

’’What?’’

Tohka instantly showed a face of utter shock but she quickly shook her head, looking at Kurumi once more.

’’......It's sad, Kurumi. Since you had decided to harm Shidou, I can't forgive you for that.’’

’’I concur.’’

Origami too looked at Kurumi once again.

Kurumi seemed pleased as she spun around once.

’’Ufufu, huhu, aaah, how scary. I'm so scared. You people want to use your advantage in numbers, against someone as weak as myself.’’

Her face however did not show a hint of fear as she smirked.

’’However, I'm going at it for real today. Well, isn't that so? [We].’’

’’Haa ’’

Because of that strange phrase Shidou frowned. However, in the next instant.

’’What......?’’

Shidou, Tohka, Origami, and Mana, the four's voices overlapped with each other.

However that was to be expected.

Kurumi's shadows that have spread itself on the rooftop.

In the middle of that, countless white arms appeared at the same time.

And, that's not all. Till now, those pale white arms that had only been showing their elbows, slowly but surely, revealed their whole appearances above the ground.

’’What......th, this kind of......!!’’

His voice was involuntarily squeezed out from his throat.

However that was to be expected. That's because, those white hands

All, belong to [Kurumi].

Till the point where she was about to crowd out the vast rooftop, with numbers too large to count.

The Kurumis who were wearing their Astral Dress climbed out from the shadows.

’’Fufu.’’      ’’Ara, ara.’’       ’’Ufufu.’’

’’Ara ara ara.’’      ’’Did I scare you?’’

’’Shidou-san.’’     ’’Now then, what to do?’’      ’’Ahahahaha!’’

’’Kihihihi.’’        ’’Looks delicious.’’

’’Now, then.’’      ’’Shall we play?’’

’’Come now?’’     ’’Fufu.’’       ’’Kihihi.’’

’’Fufufufufufu’’        ’’What's the matter?’’

Countless Kurumis smiled as they spoke.

’’This, is......’’

Mana sounded out. Kurumi who was holding the guns spread her arms out as she tilted her chin high.

’’Ufufu, fufu. How is it? Spectacular isn't it? This is my past. My experiences. They are the me from different time periods you know?’’

’’Wha ’’

’’Ufufu In the end [We] are nothing but clones of myself, mere copies. They don't have the same strength as myself, rest easy.’’

Now then, Kurumi continued to speak.

’’Mana-san, do you understand now? This is the reason why you definitely cannot kill me.’’

Mana held her breath. And at the same time, Tohka, Origami as well as Shidou, did the same thing.

’’It's over, attack.’’

’’......, Don't joke with me......!!’’

The one who cried out was Mana. Using her personal territory to move her injured body up into the air, the equipment changed to release multiple lasers.

The laser beams pierced through some of the Kurumi's bodies around her, falling towards the ground.

However, the surrounding Kurumis that avoided the attack flew into the air, starting their assault on Mana.

’’Hmph......!’’

Mana's equipments started to change, cutting apart the head, arms, and torso of the Kurumis that closed in on her. On the rooftop, Kurumi's [parts] were strewn all over.

However the Kurumi who held two guns in front of Zafkiel<Emperor of Time>had already finished the loading of Zayin[The Seventh Bullet], firing it at Mana Just like before, Mana's body instantly froze in mid-air.

’’Mana ’’

Shidou yelled at the top of his lungs. However, he was helpless.

Tohka and Origami both seemed as though they were protecting Shidou, waving their swords However the difference in numbers were simply too large. They were flanked from left and right the moment the rear was put down and they were immediately subdued on the spot.

With that, Shidou had no more cards left to play. Both arms were caught by Kurumi and he was forced onto the ground.

All of this happened within five minutes.

However, this was to be expected. Tohka was in a state where she could not bring out her full strength Origami too did not bring out her full arsenal.

Mana was the only one that had the ability to compete with an actual spirit, but the instant she was immobilized by the Angel, the victor had already been decided.

’’Tohka Origami......Mana......!!’’

With both arms held down onto the ground, Shidou barely managed to make a sound.

’’Guh......’’

’’ ’’

Nearby, Tohka and Origami, as well as Shidou were being held down, both of them were hurt everywhere, letting out pained breaths.

From Shidou's position, he was unable to ascertain Mana's status. He only knew that she fell from the sky, but was blocked by the numerous Kurumis.

’’Ufufu, fufu.’’

In the midst of that, Kurumi who was holding the guns and calmly smiling started to walk closer towards Shidou.

’’Aaah, aaah, I've waited too long. Finally, I can start tasting Shidou-san.’’

’’St......, stop it Kurumi! Don't get near shidou!’’

’’......, Let go ’’

Despite the struggles of Tohka and Origami, they were unable to escape their bonds.

Kurumi snickered as she walked in front of Shidou, stopping her footsteps.

At this point, Kurumi's eyebrow twitched as though she had just remembered something.

’’Fufu That's right.’’

Saying that, she put the gun in her right hand to her left hand;following that she raised it up high.

Soon after, just like before, another spacequake alarm started to sound out.

’’Wha......, Kurumi, what are you planning to ’’

’’Ufufu, fufu. The same thing as before of course. Everyone hasn't woken up yet Ufufu, they'll definitely die for sure.’’

’’St, stop it......! If you are going to do such a thing, I will bite off my tongue ’’

The instant he said that, the Kurumis that were holding Shidou down, inserted their slender fingers into Shidou's mouth from both sides, pressing down on his lower jaw and tongue.

’’Hugu......!?’’

’’Biting off your tongue......? Let's see how you do that now?’’

Kurumi smiled as she tightly held her right hand. Following that was the same as last time, a piercing sound started to resound from the surroundings.

’’Fufu, hihihi, hihihihihihihi! Now! In order for you to not deceive me anymore, I'll send you into utter despair!’’

’’Stop it !’’

Although he was unable to properly pronounce his words, he was still able to barely make a sound.

Kurumi ignored Shidou's pleas, swinging down her right hand.

Kurumi she smiled. She chuckled, lightly laughing.

’’Ah hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha !’’

In an instant, Raizen High School's surrounding air started to make a terrifying sound the air started to tremble as though it was an earthquake.

However.

’’Ah Haa......?’’

After several seconds, that laughter had ended with a question mark.

Kurumi looked around in surprise.

However that was it. The sky had indeed been split. The piercing sound was still ringing. The air was as though an explosion had gone off as it continued to vibrate.

However that was all there was.

’’.............?’’

Shidou had also noticed the irregularity and frowned.

He had seen the site of spacequakes countless times. It was as though space itself had been eaten out, whatever was there would disappear without a trace.

However the surroundings of Raizen High School and the city were still intact.

’’This is......What is going on......?’’

Kurumi tilted her head in confusion, following that,

’’ Don't you know? Spacequakes, as long as you trigger a spacequake at the same time with the same magnitude, you'll be able to cancel it.’’

It seemed as though it were explaining what was going on. From above their heads, a cool voice sounded out.

’’ Who are you?’’

Kurumi's face twitched, her right hand taking hold of her gun once more as she looked upwards.

Shidou too raised his head and then widened his eyes.

The sky was, red.

That was his first impression.

On top of the roof. Above Shidou and Kurumi's heads, a mass of flames was floating.

And, in the midst of those flames, the figure of a young girl stood.

It seemed like a girl who was cosplaying. Her sleeves floated in the wind, half of her body seemed to be merged with the flames as they flickered. Her waist had a belt of flames, as though it were the celestial dress from the heavenly maidens.

And on her head grew two inorganic horns. That appearance did not look like a princess but that of, an oni.

However, the reason why Shidou's vision was taken up by that girl was not just that.

Dazedly, he opened his mouth.

’’Koto, ri......?’’

That's right, Shidou's sister, <Ratatoskr>'s commander.

The appearance of the girl who was clad in flames looked like Itsuka Kotori no matter how you looked at it.

Kotori slowly descended, looking towards Shidou's direction.

’’ Just for a while, I'll be taking it back, Shidou.’’

’’Eh......?’’

Not understanding Kotori's words, Shidou frowned.

’’......, That, is ’’

At this point, not knowing why, Origami's face showed an expression of fear that Shidou had never seen before.

’’ Burn, Camael<Blazing Annihilating Demon>!’’[3D 7]

Following that, Kotori's mouth said that name.

With that, flames started appearing around her body, forming something similar to a massive club.

After that, the instant Kotori grabbed that club, a vermillion blade was revealed on its side.

That looked just like an absurdly massive, battleaxe.

Shidou was speechless. Kotori lightly waved that huge battleaxe, looking at Kurumi.

’’Now then Let our Datebattle begin.’’

References[edit]

  1. Jump up↑ Acronym for Deus Ex Machina, means 'God from the machine'in Latin. It is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.
  2. Jump up↑ The name of Kurumi's Astral Dress, it means 'God'or 'Gods'in Hebrew.
  3. Jump up↑ The name of Kurumi's Angel, one of the seven archangels.
  4. Jump up↑ The fourth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet.
  5. Jump up↑ The first letter of the Hebrew Alphabet.
  6. Jump up↑ The seventh letter of the Hebrew Alphabet.
  7. Jump up↑ One of the seven archangels, his name means 'One who sees God.'


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