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Gakusen Toshi Asterisk - Volume 8 - Chapter 6


Chapter 6 - <Lyre-Poros>

A somewhat sad evening sky. A nostalgic townscape. The cawing of crows audible far away.
She immediately understood that this was a dream.
It was a memory of a distant past.
’’Oh, what's the matter, Saya-chan?’’
Haruka, who hung a shopping bag, gently called out to Saya who sat down holding her knees in the veranda.
’’......I had a quarrel with Ayato.’’
Haruka threw a fleeting glance to the building behind.
The sound of Ayato training could be heard from the Amagiri Bright Dragon Style's dojo. In fact, the numbers of times which Ayato and Saya fight could be counted, and each time Ayato secluded himself in the dojo.
’’I see;looks like he isn't in a good mood as well, huh. His center of gravity seems off.’’
As she grasped it by just hearing sounds, Haruka put her hand to her waist. Her face was not that a big sister, but an instructor's.
But she immediately returned to her gentle smile again;she turned to Saya and said.
’’So, what's the cause?’’
’’......It's about the fact that I'm moving. He asked me why I didn't say anything.’’
’’Ah, that, huh.’’
Haruka nodded as she understood.
Haruka apparently knew the circumstances.
’’I didn't tell him because I thought that it'd better if it was Saya-chan who told him after all, but well looks like he found it out himself, huh.’’
’’What didn't you say anything?’’
Saya looked daunted at Haruka's straightforward question, but she honestly answered though somewhat averting her gaze.
’’I thought...... if I told Ayato, he'd definitely mind it.’’
’’Well, yes...... that's how he is after all.’’
’’I don't like that, so I wanted us to spend our time like usual as much as possible.’’
It was just for that reason, and yet Saya did not understand why Ayato was so angry.
’’I see. Saya-chan is kind as usual, eh. Yes, good child, good child.’’
When Haruka said so, she suddenly pulled Saya and tightly embraced her.
’’......Haru-nee, I can't breathe.’’
’’Oops, sorry. ──But you know, Saya-chan. I understand your feelings, but I think that it was impossible from the start.’’
When Saya asked with puzzled face, Haruka gently stroked Saya's head while telling her.
’’After all, even if Ayato were to act as usual, it wouldn't be the same for Saya-chan, right? By saying nothing about moving and enduring it alone, did you think that you could play with Ayato as usual?’’
Saya shook her head.
’’Impossible, right? In this world, there are a lot of things that one should endure and also things that one shouldn't;but at least if the other party were to be someone like Ayato, I think that it'd better to tell him honestly. Of course, I don't say that it'll definitely turn out well after that. But, you wouldn't end up regretting it.’’
’’......I don't really understand.’’
When Saya said so with a sullen face, Haruka smiled wryly as she was troubled.
’’Hahaha, that's also true. Then, let's have you to reconcile for now. Even you, Saya-chan, you don't want to move while having a quarrel with Ayato as is, right?’’
Since that was certainly true, she strongly nodded.
’’Yup, it's good to be honest. Then I'll give to such Saya-chan a sure-kill item for reconciling with him.’’
’’......Thank you, Haru-nee.’’
When Saya bowed her head, she took two lollipops, which Haruka took out from within the shopping bag, and hurriedly ran towards the dojo.

’’──Saya, come on, wake up. The captain has come.’’
When he woke Saya by shaking her shoulders, his childhood friend who was very bad at waking up, sluggishly looked around while rubbing her eyes.
’’......Where is this place?’’
’’It's the Star Guards' headquarters.’’
’’Star Guards......?’’
Saya did not move an inch as if frozen for a while, but she clapped her hands as she recalled the sequence of events before long.
’’Ah, that's right.’’
The Star Hunter Guard's headquarters were located almost at the central part of the administration area, next to Rikka government office.
The outward appearance was a building without redeeming features, but people, who had confidence in their own abilities, would feel the severe atmosphere drifting around it.
After all, the guard members had to deal with Asterisk's students. One would not be fit for unless he or she possessed a suitable skill. In fact among the Star Hunter Guards, there were a lot of members originally students;and stalwarts, who had their names entered as <Page One>.
In one room of these Star Guards' headquarters ── it was a plain room with only business-like chaises and desk ── Ayato and Saya were waiting for Helga Lindvall.
’’Did you finally wake up? First of all, sorry for having made you wait for a long time. I was unexpectedly delayed while listening about team Rusalka.’’
Helga, who carried things appearing to be documents, said so and sat in front of Ayato and Saya.
’’Ah, no......’’
Outside of the window was the night darkness. On the other side of lined up buildings, the dazzling street lights of the commercial area illuminated the night sky, which made it contrastive to the area around here which has already fallen silent.
’’About your personal fight in the Redevelopment Area, it was settled by you two only having being rolled up in it. There'd be no problem in particular regarding that.’’
’’That's good to hear.’’
Though they thought that it would probably be fine, they felt relieved when being told as such formally. For the time being, it did not seem like they would cause trouble for the other team members.
’’......And what about them?’’
’’Regarding Team Rusalka and Team Hellion, a sanction of some sort will probably be handed down;but well it won't be that severe for them as well.’’
While answering Saya's question as such, Helga's tone seemed somewhat dissatisfied.
All Sanctions related to the <Festa>was the sphere of action of the Steering Committee. The Star Hunter Guards only supervised them and naturally they had no discretion of being able to interfere with the sanctions. Helga probably had a say on that point.
As she guessed such thought of Ayato, Helga loosened her mouth.
’’Of course as for me, I think that it's necessary for a matter like this one ── especially, for a dangerous team like Hellion to face a severe punishment. But, I myself cannot afford to deviate from this city's rules. In the first place, the system itself of mercenary students is......’’
Speaking up to there, she slowly shook her head.
’’No, this was a digression. Let's return to the main issue. You've probably noticed already, but that place, where you lost your way, was the stage of the <Eclipse>.’’
’’......It's as I thought, huh.’’
Although he vaguely thought so when he went down to that place to rescue Saya. Ayato no longer doubted it after being told by the person who destroyed <Eclipse>.
After all, when he contacted the Star Hunter Guards, Helga showed up herself along with a few members, and one person among used a search ability to grasp Saya and Miluše's position in an instant. As soon as they found the two girls, they were immediately taken to the surface and were moved, almost forcibly, to the Star Hunter Guards' headquarters. It was not a situation where they could ponder calmly.
’’First, about that place, it is located at the ballast area's bottom, the lowest level in this Asterisk ── in other words, underwater.’’
’’The ballast area's......?’’
Saya, who lost her way there, opened her eyes wide as she also seemed surprised.
But thinking about it, there was probably no better suitable hiding place than that. Ayato himself had also set foot in the ballast area (though it was not as if he wished it), but the area was almost impossible to find.
’’There are three kinds of entries. The entry for the audience, the entry for the organizer and the entry for participants connected directly to the battle field. The six routes for the participants are all in the underground block and all of them are camouflaged. As you girls saw it.’’
’’......But there was someone who opened that hidden door before us. Otherwise, I shouldn't have noticed, too.’’
’’About that......’’
As Helga exhaled as she was troubled, she slightly broke her sculpture-like dignified seated posture.
’’Well, it's probably no use hiding it now. Those who did it were the Le Wolfe's mercenary students...... those one of Team Hellion.’’
’’Those guys did?’’
Saya frowned in displeasure.
’’After I questioned them regarding the matter of the private fight, they recognized it without pretension. They said that they went to see that place and went back.’’
’’......They went to see it? Why?’’
’’Their boss, the HRMS representative, Riberio Pareto, was someone who once won the <Lindvolus>;but at the same time ── he was a selected participant of the <Eclipse>. This proof was obtained from a testimony from a spectator at that time. The spectator also recognized that he was a student, he proved to be a problem for me, too.’’
Perhaps because she remembered those days, Helga's tone was somewhat bitter.
’’It isn't his style to use tricks or trickery, but he's strangely charismatic and it felt like those guys of Hellion were completely devoted to him, too. Perhaps for those guys it might be something like a pilgrimage.’’
’’But...... how did those guys get out of there?’’
According to Saya's story, the door automatically closed when they got off the elevator and it did not seem to come back afterwards.
’’The elevator for participants is a one-way ticket principle. One can't go back unless he wins the match...... But, selected participants like Riberio seemed to be able to freely use a special ID card. I guess that they've probably used it.’’
’’Can I ask one question as well?’’
Ayato tried asking about a doubt he held all along since listening to Helga.
’’The <Eclipse>is no longer, right? In that case, why is such a place still remaining and why is the elevator still operational?’’
Then, frustration blurred on Helga's face.
Not to say that Helga was expressionless, but she rarely broke out of her calm demeanor. Helga continued her words unusually emotionally.
’’I think that I told you before, but it's the present situation that the investigation related to Danilo could not be advanced due to the Integrated Enterprise Foundation's pressure. The <Eclipse>is a prime example;an order under the guise of a request of absolutely not laying a hand on that hall came. We can't take out even an evidence from there even now.’’
The moment when she heard it, one could see that the body of Saya, who was sitting next to Ayato, slightly stiffened.
’’──What is it?’’
As Helga noticed it, she turned sharp eyes to Saya.
’’......It's nothing.’’
But as Saya said so while feigning ignorance, she averted her eyes to gloss it over.
Though Helga stared at the face of such Saya for a while with eyes as if seeing through her, she took a small breath before long and returned to the talk.
’’......Hmm, well whatever. By the way, a protective field for trespass prevention was installed into the elevator connected to that hall, but it seems to have been broken by Team Hellion, too.’’
’’Certainly, there was no such thing when we entered.’’
Team Hellion's ability was certified. Even a protective wall of Ardi class would probably not have stopped them.
’’Now then, that's all I can say. Any other questions?’’
’’No, it's all right.’’
’’......Me, too.’’
As Ayato and Saya answered so, Helga lightly nodded and stood up.
’’I'm sorry to have taken your time while you're in the middle of a <Festa>, but this is also my job. Please, don't think badly of it.’’
Being urged by Helga, who said so, they left the room.
’’Ah, that's right. I can have someone send you to your academy if you want, but......’’
’’It's not necessary.’’
Before Ayato answered, Saya flatly said.
And then, as she bowed to Helga, she took Ayato's hand and began to walk.
’’H-Hold on, Saya......?’’
’’It's fine, so just come.’’
He advanced through the dull passage while being pulled by Saya, who walked rapidly as is. On the way, when he turned to look back, Helga was seeing them off with a wry smile.
’’Phew...... We're pretty far now, it should be fine.’’
After coming out of the Star Hunter Guards' headquarters and walking through the street at night for a while, Saya who advance in front said so and stopped.
Although called administration area, there were few building still lighted with light;but there were almost no one who went out at this time.
Nevertheless, after carefully examining the state of the surrounding, Saya turned to Ayato.
’’Ayato, look at this.’’
When she took out the thing, which she wrapped up in a handkerchief, from her inside pocket, he handed it over to Ayato.
’’This is?’’
Light [1]. But the moment he touched it, Ayato felt a shock as if an electric current ran throughout his body.
He slowly opened the handkerchief.
And, he unintentionally held his breath.
’’I found it at that place.’’
Saya's words could be heard somehow distantly.
It, whose lens were broken, frame bent and had lost its practicality, was yet without doubt the glasses that Ayato's big sister ── Amagiri Haruka wore.
’’I thought that it'd be bad if it was found by the captain. Because she said that we mustn't take out anything.’’
’’Ah, so that's why......’’
But from the look of it, Helga might have possibly noticed something.
Even so.
’’......Thank you, Saya.’’
’’Yes, it's not a big deal.’’
To the words of thanks of Ayato, Saya said so bashfully.

──<Gryps>fourth round.
The stance [2] of the young man with pigtail caused a small crater on the stage and his lunged palm stroke attacked Ayato.
Although he barely dodged that attack, moreover, a braid-haired girl with a small stature lunged her elbow while stepping in as she bent down from the right. Ayato tried to check it as he mowed down <Ser-Versta>with one hand, but he was one step late.
He endured the shock by concentrating prana on his abdomen and conversely took her arm and flung the girl away.
It was one of the Amagiri Bright Dragon Style Grappling Techniques, but because the young man with pigtail threw a fist pursuing the attack without pause, it was obscured and thus the girl rotated in the air and lightly landed. She immediately resumed shortening the distance and unleashed a coordinated attack with the young man with pigtail.
One of the usual countermeasure toward <Ser-Versta>was to strike at the bad points in maneuverability, but these two people always kept a distance as if almost closely clinging to Ayato and continued their attacks with minimal movements. Of course, such a feat was impossible with half-hearted skill.
’’Know that World Dragon isn't only <divine Revelations>'s disciples!’’
The girl unyieldingly shouted so.
Team Taotie was composed of representatives selected from a division school other than <divine Revelations>'s sects and, although there was no <Page One>, all the members were warriors within the ranking of #20.
Although, Ayato has already seen through the movements. The fact that he has been cornered to the defensive fight so far was because Team Taotie's leader, the young man with shihaku eyes' [3] ability was very troublesome.
’’Fuhahahaha! That's right! And World Dragon's <Dante>s aren't necessarily Taoists, you know?!’’
At that moment, Ayato felt bloodlust behind him and promptly jumped aside.
Immediately after, a beast's maw appeared as if it was mowing down from the empty space and clenched its sharp fangs with intense force like a bear trap. That jaw immediately faded and disappeared, but because it appeared just like that without showing any sign, Ayato was not able to concentrate on the two people before his eyes. It was difficult to sense this sort of ability even his state of ’’cognition’’.
The girl and the young man with pigtail immediately pursued Ayato who landed, and a huge mouth opened again at the feet of Ayato, who tried to intercept them. Sharp fangs ambushed him earlier than he tried to evade, and the girl and the young man did not break their chain of attacks too.
The young man with shihaku eyes did not seek versatility like a Taoist and probably just polished only the special characteristic of his ability. Anyway, the activation of his ability was fast.
The jaw consecutively attacked Ayato who lost his balance and rolled on the ground as he escaped.
’’We can! We can do it! First, we'll bring down <Murakumo>like this and then...... What!?’’
As the young man with four eyes broke off mid-sentence, he opened his already big eyes even more widely.
’’......All right, it's a good time, I guess.’’
Ayato jumped up while smiling slightly.
The young man with four eyes restrained Julis and Saya with his ability until a while ago, and moreover, he was also moving by himself to the backing of the two vanguards that were holding back Kirin and Claudia. In fact, although for a short time, the ability of the young man, who accomplished all of this, could not be doubted.
However, probably because he judged that they seemed to be able to bring down Ayato ── Though Ayato allured it to be so ── though only slightly, he concentrated his attack too much to Ayato.
As a result──
’’──I got you!’’
At that opportunity, Kirin and Claudia respectively defeated the opponent before his eyes and cut off their school badges.
From the start, the two girls were overwhelming superior to the two World Dragon's vanguards in their abilities in one-on-one combat. Precisely because they only devoted themselves to restrain their opponents without seeking victory, and because there was the backup of the young man with four eyes, the two vanguards were able to barely hold back the two girls.
’’Ayato, go!’’
Julis's Rectoluz attacked the girl and the young man, who nevertheless did not loosen their attacks to Ayato even one bit, and tore them off from Ayato.
’’Kuh......! Curse you, <Glühen Rose>......!’’
The girl gritted her teeth in vexation, but the three-dimensional attack of Rectoluz operated by Julis was fierce, so she had no choice but to parry it.
’’Thank you, Julis!’’
As Ayato took the opportunity and ran, he instantly shortened the distance to the young man with four eyes.
’’Tsk! Not yet!’’
However, four eyes thrust both his hands in front and a huge jaw appeared as if obstructing Ayato's path ── but.
The light bullet of Helnekrom shot by Saya blew it off.
The young man with four eyes still did not give up. Though the size was smaller than the one of earlier, seven jaws simultaneously bared their fangs around Ayato.
’’Amagiri Bright Dragon Style Sword Intermediate Technique ── ’’Night Crest Defilement (Blade)’’’’
Ayato grasped <Ser-Versta>with both hands and slashed it while twisting his body as he ran through.
He cut the seven jaws and the school badge of the young man with bulging eyes all at once.
’’End of the match! Winner, Team Enfield!’’
At the mechanical voice which reverberated on the stage, Ayato revealed a smile of relief.

’’Phew...... as expected, the participants' levels are in another dimension in the main battle, huh.’’
Ayato, who went back to the waiting room after the end of the match and the winner interview, tiredly sunk his body in the sofa.
Comparing only combat ability simply, there were not many teams who were better than Ayato and company;but it would have been foolish to underestimate the other teams in <Gryps>.
As Team Enfield was one of the favorites, Ayato and company thoroughly worked out countermeasures no matter which team they faced.
’’This time, we've put too much burden on Ayato, I guess. As expected World Dragon's students ── they can't be taken lightly when it comes to close-range combats.’’
’’Well, at worst even if I lose, it'll be fine if it results in giving advantage to the team.’’
Team Battles were as such.
’’Besides, in case that we can do nothing about it, it can't be helped;but we'd be troubled if you were hurt. Even in case that you were to lose, please lose by school badge damage if possible.’’
Though Claudia said so jokingly, her words were actually reasonable.
After all, even if the team were to win, it'd be a big problem if Ayato was not able to participate in the next match because he got injured. The Steering Committee disliked easy wins, in the <Gryps>which was a team battle, up to two people of a team not taking part was accepted. However, it was undeniable that the team would be greatly disadvantaged.
’’Still, well aren't we in a relatively better block?’’
’’Y-You're right...... At least, it looks like we won't confront Team Lancelot until the finals.’’
Kirin agreed to Julis' words.
By the drawing up held up yesterday, the 32 teams which won and advanced to the main battles were once again apportioned in a new tournament table. Fortunately, Team Enfield of Ayato was in a different block from Garrardsworth's Team Lancelot that was the first on the list of the favorites.
’’......Those crazy guys are also in that block.’’
Those guys, whom Saya spoke of, were Team Hellion that had rampaged before Ayato's and her eyes the other day. Considering those mercenary students' abilities and brutality, they could certainly say that they did not want to clash with them if at all possible.
’’The team we should watch out in our block will be, as far as I can tell from the preliminaries, is Team Yellow Dragon. That <Hagun Star>is unfathomable.’’
’’Should I say as expected of <divine Revelations>'s best disciple’’
Claudia did not seem to have any objection to it. In fact, Ayato also agreed.
One might say that the overwhelming combat ability that <Hagun Star>showed in the second round far exceeded Ayato and company's imagination.
(I can't read through with only that, but that person's close quarter combat ability is probably superior to Kirin-chan's and mine......)
As he probably made a grim face before he himself was aware of it, Kirin anxiously called out to him.
’’......No, it's nothing. More importantly, isn't it time already for the next match to begin?’’
Ayato said so and opened the room's space window as to change the topic.
Though he would have to think about some strategy regarding the <Hagun Star>, he decided to concentrate on what was before his eyes first.
’’Oh, it's already that time, huh.’’
The gazes of all the members present in the room gathered at the space window.
St. Garrardsworth Academy's black uniforms were appearing exactly at that time.
『Appearing from the eastern gate is the team that is a part of the Silver Wings Knights Squadron, which St. Garrardsworth Academy is proud of, and also the last <Gryps'>runner-up! Although I say that, well, the members have been replaced, but...... leaving that aside! It's the entrance of Team Tristan led by the <Shining Sword (Claíomh Solais)>Elliot Forster!』
Cheers across the terminal screen and hype shaking the actual hall resounded two-fold.
『And, and! From the western gate, a best 8 from the last tournament! The greatly popular girls rock band that Queen Veil Girl's Academy is proud of! It's the entrance of Team Rusalka!』
Even for this team, cheers, which did not lose to Team Tristan's, arose. On the terminal screen, Miluše and company responded to it by waving their hands as if it was their live hall. It was completely opposite to Team Tristan's members who advanced solemnly.
’’Now then everyone, who do you guys think will win?’’
Claudia abruptly threw such a question with her usual smile.
’’......I say it'll be Team Tristan.’’
The first one to answer was Julis.
’’Though I'll say it like this, their basic fighting strength is too different. Rusalka's coordination is certainly amazing. However, among their members, at best Miluše is the only one who can keep up with Elliot Forster as opponent.’’
’’I think so, too. Honestly, I don't think they will be able to deal with Forster-san's sword skill......’’
As the two said, Elliot Forster that they saw during the preliminaries improved his skill remarkably compared to last year.
No, it was not only his sword skill. His physical ability itself should have improved quite a lot, too.
On the other hand, not that big a change was seen to Rusalka's members compared to last tournament videos. Of course, since they were in a growth period, their basic specs would rise and there was something to look out in their coordination of each member compared to last time;but it was unlikely for them to defeat Team Tristan with that alone.
In the first place speaking of team's coordination, Garrardsworth's Team Tristan, which originally prided itself on it, excelled in that area.
’’In addition, there's that <Witch of the Holy Thorn (Persefore)>. She has quite a troublesome ability.’’
’’Yes...... I think it's a natural team battle-oriented ability.’’
There was no objection on that opinion, either.
It seemed to be an ability of a quite rare type, but if they were to fight against them, even Ayato and company would suffer in dealing with it.
’’What about you, Ayato?’’
Considering all the aforementioned conditions, there was no factor denying Team Tristan's victory.
And yet, Ayato was not to reply immediately for some reason.
He probably thought of something.
’’──I think it'll be Rusalka.’’
It was Saya who said so in place of Ayato who was unable to answer.
’’Hou. For what reason do you think so?’’
When Julis asked as she was interested, Saya expressionlessly shook her head.
’’There's no reason. It's intuition.’’
’’......I see.’’
Though Julis shrugged her shoulders with a slightly amazed expression, she did not rebuke it.
Then, Claudia clapped her hands as though to say time-out.
’’Oh, looks like it'll soon begin. Well then everyone;please pay a close look at it. After all ── the winner of this match will be our next opponent.’’

As soon as the match started, Elliot Forster took the lead and rushed out.
Even without being told anything, the two knights followed as if chasing him.
Garrardsworth's team had no battle formation. It functioned coordinately in all situations, and took the most appropriate action necessary and supported individual charge by group's judgment. The team that was born from that contradiction obtained the ability to become one through strict discipline and continuous training.
Elliot easily repelled the countless light bullets that Mahulena shot from her space projection keyboard type ogre lux with his sword.
’’Please, do not think that you can stop me with just this much......!’’
Elliot has lived a year of humiliation from the previous <Phoenix>carved in his heart.
It might even be said that the current Elliot was born thanks to that humiliation.
『But, as expected your sword is ── still light.』
Elliot honestly accepted those words that Amagiri Ayato muttered with his defeat...... and crunched them into pieces.
(I decline a heavy sword. In that case, I shall hone my sword lighter and quicker......!)
’’That's as far as you can go!’’
’’......I won't let you do.’’
Tuulia and Päivi stood as to block Elliot's way.
But Elliot only eased up his speed slightly;then the two knights behind Elliot got past him, crossed swords with those two girls and thus created an opening.
Words were unnecessary for Garrardsworth's coordination. After all, Elliot wish was synonymous with the team.
’’......Even if you didn't come, I've intended to come to you.’’
’’I am not so tactless as to let allow a women to initiate the dance.’’
Miluše set up her guitar type ogre lux <Lyre Poros-Calliope>, and responding to it, Elliot also took a stance with his one-handed sword type lux.
Both team fellow leaders;in other words, the one who won this match would win the match itself.
’’Now, let's go!’’
The one who made the first move was Miluše.
But, that was fine. Originally, Elliot excelled at Go no Sen[4], and a one-kill strike as counter was his trump card.
Elliot's sword point flickered like heat haze and went through to Miluše's school badge a moment faster than her slash from an overhead position──
Just before it, Elliot promptly turned his body around.
Immediately after, a high-pitched guitar's sound echoed;waves-like vibration shoo the air and crushed the ground into a fan form.
’’Oops, that was quite dangerous...... so, this is vibration crush, huh.’’
’’Gunuh, you dodge it! But, I'm not done yet!’’
Though Miluše attempted a pursuit while distorting her face in vexation, Elliot's sword flash glittered as he countered.
Although Miluše defended barely defended against it, Elliot turned his wrist and continued by lunging a circular slash at an overwhelming speed. Miluše somehow endured that fierce attack with a light blade unfolded in a sword type.
In fact, she endured it more than what Elliot imagined. Though Queen Veil Girl's Academy was said to be the weakest of the six academies, she was still rank #3 even if she was rotten. It looked like she could not be quickly defeated in a direct assault.
Be that as it may, Elliot was already half-convinced of their victory.
This was because he felt that Noelle's preparations were ready.
’’Uwah! I-It's no good......!’’
Perhaps because Miluše also noticed one beat later, she greatly jumped back as to escape and joined with Mahulena at the rear.
Elliot did not deliberately chase her.
The other members of Rusalka gathered near Miluše in a confused state.
Innumerable tentacle-like thorns slowly cornered them while crawling on the ground. Those thorns grew from underfoot of the girl ── Noelle Mesmer, also known as the <Witch of the Holy Thorn (Persefore)>, at Team Tristan's rear, whom pressed her forehead with a staff shape lux and crouched down as if praying. Its range already covered up about half of the stage, and moreover, several thorns entangled with each other and also extended in the upper direction as they formed braces.
It was a rare ability commonly known as area type and although it takes time until activation, she could palce the effected range completely under her control.
Rusalka's members relentlessly attacked the thorns, trying to somehow make a breakthrough, but the thorns' regeneration speed was able to outpace them. Their defeat was literally creeping up on them.
Before long, the thorns locked up the Rusalka members in a corner of the stage like castles recited in a fairy tale.
’’Now then, it'll save me trouble if you accept to surrender now though.’’
Elliot thrust the point of his sword at Rusalka, which was surrounded by thorns in every direction and was now completely trapped like a rat.
’’Fo~ol, we absolutely decline!’’
However, it looked like none of the girls including Miluše intended to surrender.
’’Is that so? That's too bad, but I guess I've got no choice.’’
Elliot set up his sword and gradually shortened the distance.
He had no leisure to struggle in a place like this. The next opponent was finally Team Enfield. It was a perfect opportunity to get Amagiri Ayato back.
Though Miluše and company prepared for the attack while standing back to back, the thorns coiled their feet creating an opening.
’’Wha, w-wait, there!’’
Although they eagerly moved their hands and feet trying to break loose from them somehow, it was not enough to take off the thorns which tightly coiled around them.
And, Elliot and his teammates were not so foolish as to miss this opportunity.
’’Got you......!’’
But at that time.
’’──Damn, it's impossible like this after all.’’
Immediately after Miluše muttered so with her head hung down, along with an earsplitting guitar sound, a storm-like sound and a wave shock blew violently.
Elliot and company were mercilessly blew away without knowing why, and the thorns surrounding Rusalka were all torn off and disappeared.
Barely succeeding in landing, in front of Elliot, who raised his gaze, Rusalka, whose pupils had the brilliance of an eerie azure, set up their musical instrument type ogre luxes in postures like just before they started a musical instrument.
’’Now...... let's we begin the next session.’’

’’T-This is......’’
With her eyes glued to the space window as is, Kirin grunted.
Ayato and Saya, who said that Rusalka would win, were dumbfounded and at a loss for words.
The situation of the match reversed at a stretch.
This was because, since Rusalka blew off the thorns, they began to move as if they were completely different persons;and on the other hand, Team Tristan's state changed completely. Rusalka's movements became sharp and quick whereas Team Tristan's movements became dull and loose. That change was extreme and it was clearly not the effect of fatigue or damage.
Which meant......
’’They strengthen themselves and weakened their opponents, huh......’’
Ayato muttered so to himself.
’’So, it turned like this after all...... Looks like this is <Lyre-Poros>'s true ability, eh.’’
Perhaps because Claudia was the only person who predicted it to some degree, she did not seem surprised.
’’Do you know something, Claudia?’’
Julis asked her in a sharp tone.
’’No, nothing which could serve as countermeasures. Just, I happened to get my hands to only little information regarding those ogre luxes' backbone.’’
’’Backbone, you say?’’
’’<Lyre-Poros>is, like this <Pan-Dora>, an ogre lux made by the hands of Professor Ladislav Bartsheik. So, I thought that their abilities shouldn't be to that degree.’’
Claudia took out the activation body from the holder to her waist as she said so.
’’<Lyre-Poros>was originally one ogre lux. But, because the Ulm mana dite's power was so strong that no one was able to wield it, in the end there was no choice but to divide it into five. By doing so, it was thought that the burden of the wielders will be divided, too, but......’’
After breathing a long sigh as she was troubled, Claudia continued.
’’I guess that in the last tournament, they had probably not been able to skillfully draw out <Lyre-Poros>'s power.’’
While she was talking as such, Team Tristan's members decreased one by one.
Only Elliot Forster struggled until the end, but......
’’──End of the Battle! Winner, Team Rusalka!’’
Before long, the mechanical voice announced the end.


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