——Two minutes before 《Catastrophe》 was discharged.
"——Ootori! Do it!"
Takeru avoided the enemy's attack and slid between the Dragoon's feet, and shouted to Ouka immediately after.
Ouka leaped into the air, and fired two shots from Vlad.
At the same time as Takeru who rushed after rebuilding his posture, Ouka started running after she landed.
"Vlad! Wallachia's power is too low!"
《"Wallachia is a specialized physical stake it overwhelmingly lacks power. It is a special stake for penetrating magic, don't put too much confidence into it."》
"Bastard... at this rate...!"
《"If thou wishest of more power from me, sign the contr——"》
《"Obstinate. Truly obstinate."》
Continuing the usual familiar exchange, Ouka chased after Takeru.
Ouka's body strengthening was minimal, so catching up with Takeru's speed was very difficult. Still, she had to reduce the burden on Takeru as much as possible.
Currently, their greatest fighting force is Takeru. If Mistilteinn's magic is exhausted, their assault will be much harder.
It was the same for Ouka and Vlad, because she didn't make a contract with Vlad, the amount of magic provided was even lower than Mistilteinn's.
"Lapis! How much magic power have you left?!"
《"Currently it's still alright, I will reach the activity limit in ten minutes. Please refrain from changing the sword's shape as much as possible, it's a small amount, but it does consume magic."》
"Understood! Stay as zanbatou from now onwards!"
He prepared the zanbatou as he ran and trampled over the Dragoon's that kept surging.
Even when he got hit by bullets, he continued to run unconcerned.
Damn, there's too many of them!
He cursed and stopped his feet as not to commit a suicide, an army of Dragoons formed a barricade in the front.
To force his way through, he has to change the sword's shape to a huge zweihander and hit them all at once.
Reluctantly, Takeru tried to pull the trigger.
A sniper support came from afar.
It was Usagi sniping, the majority of Dragoons fell down to the ground after being shot in the head.
"You saved me, Usagi."
《"You move too fast!"》
"Sorry, I don't have time to stop, I believe in your aim."
《"...uguu, that line, its unfair."》
"Ammo? How much do you have left?"
Takeru asked Usagi while running.
On the outer wall which had artillery installed on the rails, Usagi was checking the remaining bullets left in her gun case.
Two magazines were left. Now that she completed loading, there were only twenty shots left.
Ahead of Takeru as he moved, there were still around a hundred Dragoons.
Although the Inquisition's Dragoons in the rear were making good progress, it wasn't nearly enough to catch up to Takeru.
She was afraid of not having enough ammunition.
While readjusting her heart, she peeked through the scope and pulled the trigger after aiming towards a Dragoon that tracked Takeru.
Not a single shot can miss. Since she used a special anti-Dragoon rifle taking one down with a single shot was possible, however, for that she needed to head shot the Dragoon. The probably of a head shot was about 50%. She had confidence to do it at this distance, but the situation was the worst for Usagi who was weak to pressure.
The eye-patch on her left eye was worrying as well, her hands trembled.
Being unable to use one eye was a considerable disadvantage for a sniper. When an amateur looks
through the scope, he closes his other eye instead, but professionals never close their eyes. Those who leave their eyes open and are able to adjust their reticles obtain immeasurable amount of information from the other eye.
In a situation like this, the field of view is narrowed and searching capability is reduced.
Usagi feeling a presence behind her looked away from the scope.
When she looked behind, she suddenly saw a Dragoon on the rail used for the artillery that landed remotely five meters away from her.
Normally she would have noticed it approaching. But because she was focused on helping Takeru and Ouka, she missed it.
《"I've got you, you shitty sniper! It sure must be fun to shoot people from a long distance!"》
Because many comrades of his were slain, blood rushed to the pilot's head, and he aimed his gun at Usagi.
What to do? What should I do?
Thoughts continued to rotate in Usagi's head again and again.
No matter how much she thought, she couldn't find a solution.
No time to circle around, no space, no speed.
In the first place, it's not time to think about something like that!
That's why she——
"Don't look down——on sniperssssssssssssss!!"
Usagi hugged her gun and started to run at the Dragoon.
Instead of circling around, she ran at straight line.
The Dragoon opened rapid fire with his assault rifle.
Fortunately the bullets passed by the side of her head by a small margin.
Usagi rushed in tears. It was nearly desperation. A suicide attack of a fool.
However, even though it was confusing, it wasn't a completely thoughtless action.
When Usagi approached the Dragoon like that, keeping the momentum she slid lowering her posture. It was the same movement she saw Takeru do earlier.
Usagi slid diving below Dragoon's crotch, and came out behind,
And rose up not losing the flow, and made a quick turn. She held back the rifle that was nearly blown away by the force of her slide while raising her fighting spirit with a shout.
Fired up, she vigorously set up the rifle she was pressing to herself, aiming it forward.
The rifle's muzzle aimed from behind at the new model——
And immediately after——*zudon*
She stabbed the muzzle forcefully into its head and pulled the trigger.
With that, the Dragoon went completely silent.
Finally, the silence came.
Unable to bear it, she wanted to drop on her knees and start crying.
But, she calmed herself, and stiffened her legs.
Her comrades were fighting below. There was no time to slack off like that.
Usagi knew that she was the one who held back the platoon the most. She was always being a bother.
As not to be left behind, she had to do her best. Usagi raised her spirits and loaded bullets.
At the same time.
Suddenly, rumbling sounded under her feet.
"...what is this?"
She hurried to the opposite edge of the outer wall in a hurry, and looked around the entire facility.
The top floor of the tower emitted light.
《"Kusanagi! Please look at the top floor of the tower!!"》
Hearing the transmission from Usagi, Takeru withdrew his sword.
The entire facility was rumbling and shaking.
It wasn't an earthquake. Rather than that, it was something more powerful.
Just like Usagi told him to, Takeru looked at the top floor of the tower.
That moment——along with a dazzling light the tower burst open.
The blast hit Takeru on the others who were on the ground with slight delay.
In the middle of the blast, Takeru called Ikaruga's name.
In addition to the top floor, the explosion destroyed about half of the tower as well. It happened instantaneously.
The experimental site was blown off without a trace, only debris remained.
And, Ikaruga was,
Ikaruga landed on middle of the barely standing tower while maintaining a firm defensive magic barrier.
She was embracing Isuka's body with both of her hands.
Ikaruga put Isuka down on the debris, and was gently stroking her cold cheek.
Isuka was barely breathing, her body was as hard as a stone, it started to crack and turn into sand.
"Just wait, I'll use the "Nanomachines" soo... guh——"*cough*"
She vomited blood.
Also, Ikaruga's body which was turned into elf's, was about to go back to original any moment.
The cells on her chest were cracking, turning to ashes and carried away by the wind.
The mutation, couldn't last even a minute longer.
The "Nanomachines" developed by Ikaruga weren't perfect. Even though she remade her body based on the cells of a captured species, the cells themselves were already dead. Even though Ikaruga forcibly assimilated and activated them, it was natural they wouldn't last for long.
Incomplete "Nanomachines" were made under assumption that they will be used for decomposition and reconstruction of inorganic materials, adapting it to living organisms was done in the last minute.
Also, because a margin of errors occur during the process of reconstructing the body, the burden on the flesh and internal organs is tremendous.
"...impossible, give up."
Isuka opened her eyes and declared that while losing her breath.
"...that "Nanomachines" are... incomplete."
"But if I input your genetic information...!"
"Then... your body will collapse."
It was just as Isuka said. Ikaruga's body would break down without the『Nanomachines』 at the moment.
If she tried to apply it to someone else, death awaited her.
Isuka didn't want that.
"...you can't... die yet."
"Why are you acting like a good guy now! You have no reason not to take advantage of me, but I do have a reason to be taken advantage of by you!"
"...wrong. That's not it... it's not you... that's... no good."
Isuka stretched her hand to Ikaruga.
Ikaruga noticed she reached for her ears, and moved her head right next to her mouth.
She confessed that, and as if she was released from pain, her expression changed to a relaxed one.
"...aah...it no longer...hurts."
Ikaruga resolved herself, and held Isuka's hand.
Isuka could no longer see, and her thoughts were unsteady. Ikaruga clasped her hands, passing her warmth onto her.
"All this time...I was...lonely..."
And, Ikaruga heard her last words.
Isuka's hand Ikaruga was holding crumbled.
The body that was embraced, turned into shining sand and was carried away by wind.
And, the last thing remaining was a red lab coat... and a small picture book.
Ikaruga picked up the picture book, and quietly hugged it.
"...yeah, together. We will be always, just like we've been until now... together."
Ikaruga didn't shed any tears.
Not shedding any tears, and as if reaching Isuka who disappeared, she continued to put her feelings in the picture book.
"——Ohohoho, how fierce. It's the first time in 150 years that I see such large scale destruction."
A creepy man's voice sounded from above.
When she looked up with a hollow face, there was a black sphere floating in the air.
On the surface of the sphere that looked like a magic barrier, white magical circles were floating.
Ikaruga saw this barrier before.
It was what the enemy used during mock battle tournament.
The sphere slowly came down and settled in front of Ikaruga, then disappeared.
From within, came out a man who had an appearance of a priest.
The necromancer, Haunted.
"...even though you ate that explosion...!"
Ikaruga said surprised, and realized she was cornered.
Haunted, "nfufu", laughed creepily and tilted his head slightly.
"Certainly, you are part of 35th Test Platoon right?"
"Ooh——truly wonderful! I'm impressed! You're a role model for a mad scientist!"
He lightly clapped his hands.
"I also am a bit of an alchemist myself, but now I've seen it! It wouldn't be any weird to become part of written history by completing 『Nanomachines』 using science!"
"It's not scientific... I've borrowed the power of a Magical Heritage."
"Oh! Then even more so! Rather than a researcher, you did it as an alchemist! You could be called a result Alchemist created!"
Ikaruga frowned protesting against Haunted's declaration.
Alchemist's result. Ikaruga and Isuka, who were Suginami's were called like that ever since they were young.
Ikaruga hated being called like that from the bottom of her heart.
Suginami Ikaruga is not anyone's result. Her achievements are her own.
"...ahh, you're really wonderful. I like you. Oh, of course Mari-san is the first okay? I won't give up on Mari-san being my legal wife."
While being so embarrassed he didn't listen, he approached Ikaruga. She couldn't move because the burden on her body was too large.
Without "Nanomachines" Ikaruga had no combat capability and was just a researcher.
Resistance was meaningless. She could only leave it like that, and wait for her death.
"Ikaruga-san, won't you come with me?"
Haunted stretched his neck and proposed.
"In other words, won't you join Valhalla? With your talent, our strength would increase two, or threefold."
"Isuka-san is... with all due respect, obsolete. I have already been taught the method of restoring elves and making Magical Dragoons, I absorbed a lot of other information as well."
"How about it? It's not that bad of a proposal, is it?"
With a refreshing smile, Haunted tempted her to become his comrade.
Ikaruga shook her head in disgust, and glared at Haunted.
"——Don't look down on me, you shitty bastard."
She pulled out a gun from her sleeve, and showered Haunted's face which was stretched in her direction. In response to shower of bullets hitting his face, Haunted leaned back as his body was losing its shape.
However, with a moist sound he reverted to upright posture soon after, and faced Ikaruga again with a smile, and a face full of holes.
"Aha, so it's no good after all. It's unfortunate, but it can't be helped."
A black swamp appeared under Haunted's feet.
And his body started to sink into the swamp.
"My wounds still haven't healed, and I was prohibited from fighting. That's why I have left a pilot in this place as a souvenir."
"This is Isuka-san's achievement. If possible, please do enjoy it."
Leaving those words behind, Haunted's figure disappeared in the darkness.
However, the black swamp had yet to disappear.
The hole in the debris has began to spread.
Ikaruga felt something ominous, and then suddenly,
From the swamp, a beast's roar resounded.
Ikaruga rose up, and hurried backwards.
She felt an unusual presence inside the swamp.
A magical organism? Or maybe a Hero like the one that hit the school?
But, Ikaruga's speculations were all wrong.
In the next moment, huge claws flew out from inside of the swamp.
It was a foreleg that reminded one of a bird.
However, it wasn't organic. If anything, it was mechanical, like part of a Dragoon, covered with clear blue metal.
The two front legs emerged, and after hooking itself at the edge of the swamp, it's main body came out.
Ikaruga was horrified, at the sight of the body that crawled out.
That object accurately represented——
——A mechanical Dragon.
Just like a mythological Dragon yet mechanical, a crafted and distorted figure.
Ikaruga intuitively understood.
That it was something similar to the Hero that hit the school.
The body of a Hero at that time was also made by using Dragoon technology. It was probably the same for this one. A specially made Dragoon, an imitation that had a Dragon's soul inside.
There was a magic that summoned Heroes from the past, referred to as 『Hero Summoning』, but there also other high level summoning magic.
Myths, summoning fantastical organisms that brought destruction upon humanity.
It was never used during the Witch Hunt War, a forbidden magic.
The embodiment of fairy tales was right in front of her.
After the force of the blast subsided, Takeru who was blown away, dragged his body out from under the rubble and communicated with his comrades through the intercom immediately.
"Usagi, Ootori! You alright?!"
"...I'm alright. It would've been dangerous if not for the body strengthening, but I'm not injured."
Ouka raised her body from the nearby rubble and replied directly.
《"N-no damage here either... just now, what was that."》
It seemed like Usagi was safe as well.
After ensuring their safety, Takeru looked up at the tower.
About a half of the tower disappeared.
Probably, probably she was blown away in previous explosion. It was the first time in his life witnessing such a large explosion.
With a chagrin, Takeru grind his teeth.
They didn't make it in time. They couldn't rescue her. He didn't know what happened, but Ikaruga should have been in that place. After that explosion... she no longer...
That's when, a distorted roar resounded from the tower.
《"Host, be cautious. I feel an ominous magic power... that's."》
Lapis stopped for a moment.
It was an unbelievable conclusion.
From the top of the tower, starting from the claws, a gigantic figure blew the debris away. It roared, but it was different from a beast's roar, it was an inorganic screech.
It had a huge, 30 meters long body, and was howling in the direction of the sky. Whether friend or foes, those who heard that roar lost even the will to run.
They were just stunned at the appearance of the Mechanical Dragon.
However, Takeru saw it.
When the debris was blown away as the Dragon came out.
Inside of it, he saw a white cloth mixed in, he couldn't miss it.
"——Lapis! Concentrate strengthening on the legs! I'll leap there!"
Takeru lowered his waist and put all his strength in his legs, it wasn't the time to worry about the consumption of magic.
Takeru put everything in, and jumped towards the debris that was falling from the tower.
As the Dragon rushed out, Ikaruga's body was thrown into the air.
While she was falling down pulled by gravity, she reflected on herself.
She wasn't being harsh on herself, but the fact that she was a huge sinner was undeniable.
If she was asked whether she ever felt guilty, she would respond NO.
She didn't forget about the life she led to just achieve her objectives. That she toyed with life, she didn't think of that life as bad.
She lived her life without regret after leaving Kanaria and Isuka behind.
That's why she moved in order to prevent the experiment on the restoration of the elves.
Ikaruga leaked the location of the Lost Matrix by herself and entered the experimental site by pretending to sell it to Alchemist.
There were some irregulars, but from there, this was the result.
Even though the Lost Matrix was gotten rid off before, the experiment would have succeeded if the technology progressed further. So she wanted to at least slow the development of the technology by destroying the laboratory.
That's the reason she developed the "Nanomachines", it was to destroy it by using antimatter.
But, she lost too much...
...everything... until the end I did as I pleased.
When Takeru decided to change himself to become a better person, she couldn't forgive it, that's what she secretly thought.
Although she finally found a good place with much effort, she was left behind. She still remembers when she was in such mood.
So it was as not to be left behind by Takeru. In the end, it was behavior born from that selfish thought.
If this was to happen I should have done it with him after all... I wonder if its divine punishment.
With a thought that was unlike a researchers, Ikaruga involuntarily made a bitter smile.
Really, it was a fitting end for her.
Ikaruga closed her eyes, and quietly waited for the end to come.
That moment, suddenly, she gently rose up against the force of gravity.
On her legs and her back, she felt a faint reaction.
When she opened her eyes, she saw strong arms wrapped around her body.
She raised her face and looked at the person who held her.
"——Geez, don't worry me so much you dumbass."
It was Takeru.
He looked at her with a genuinely relieved face.
"I thought it was already over when I saw that explosion, I'm happy that you're safe."
Ikaruga who was looking at Takeru dumbfounded turned to look below.
This idiot, he jumped up when he saw her falling down.
Ikaruga sighed and smiled bitterly, leaving everything to him.
She pressed her head against his chest and laughed.
"Chasing after me into a place like this... just how soft are you."
"It's not just me. The platoon, all its members are here."
"So, the softy platoon, the platoon that doesn't mind its business."
Ikaruga spoke ironically at a time like this, causing Takeru to look down at her dissatisfied.
"You're the one at fault for trying to shoulder everything by yourself. Doing things that don't suit you... you didn't want to involve your comrades right?"
"That's right. I told you, I wanted to resolve everything by myself."
She faced the other way and crossed her arms.
"Well... that's why I failed."
Deep inside her eyes there was sadness, Takeru made a deep sigh and said.
"It's fine to cry out..."
"...I don't want to be told that you will carry half like you said to others."
"I won't say that. If you say that you don't like it then I won't say it."
"Hmmm. Then I wonder what will you tell me now, Kusanagi."
Ikaruga asked with a serious face.
Takeru exhaled through his nose, and slowly landed on the ground while using magic power for propulsion.
"Rather than carry it alone, carrying it together the two of us——"
He slowly put down Ikaruga on the ground, and told her up close.
"——That way, it'll be more interesting, right?"
They were very silly and selfish words.
Ikaruga stared at Takeru's face for a moment, amazed, and her expression turned affectionate.
"You're the worst."
"I'm aware of it. But it's half true."
"But, well done for someone uninvited."
She praised Takeru which was unusual and staggering she sat down on the rubble.
Just a bit, she was able to go back to her original self.
It wasn't the time to be immersed in sorrow.
Such a Suginami Ikaruga was unneeded right now. Saying that to herself, Ikaruga looked up.
The Mechanical Dragon dug its fingers into the edge of the tower, and vigorously jumped into the air.
It extended the mechanical wings, used a huge magical booster like the one Takeru had in his witch hunter form, and began flying over the facility like a fighter jet.
"Lapis, are you done with the analysis?"
《"The exterior is covered with high density blue crystal. It would be difficult to inflict a wound with ordinary magic and physical attacks. I don't know the name, but from the shape and the amount of magic, it's probably a wyvern class. Although its classified as an inferior dragon species, it is a dragon nevertheless."》
《"Estimated chance of Host winning alone is 0.4%."》
0.4%. Such a low number made him feel dizzy.
Dragons are called the worst fantastical organism, unlike elves its strength came simply from their life force, their performance as organisms was non-standard. They have a large amount of magical power, but most species don't use magic. Or rather don't have enough intelligence to do it.
One of the things that should be noted, is 『Dragon Breath』. Dragon magic attribute is spate out from its mouth unconverted and destroys anything on its path.
There was many of those who were called Dragon Slayers in the past, they've been said to be horsemen that have subdued a monster alone, there were many of those heroes.
Even one of Kusanagi family's ancestors was said to have slaughtered a wicked dragon... but he wasn't sure whether it was true or not.
Just as Takeru thought of how to deal with it, Ikaruga took a deep breath.
"...that Relic Eater is really useless."
"?! H-hey, d-don't annoy her. M-my upper and lower body is——"
"Certainly, it would be different if it had a proper body but... that, is a machine right? And its so big too. Standing up aside, it's unnatural for it to fly in the first place."
Ikaruga was playing with her hair, and after leering at Takeru, she looked at the Dragon flying in the sky.
"The armor made of blue crystal too, is softer when compared to the scales of a dragon. It might be impossible for your Relic Eater that hasn't much magic, but it should be possible for modern weapons."
"Hmm, probably the magic power is generated from a special Magical Heritage that's installed. There is something that looks like a core, right. It's not realistic to pierce the core through its thick armor. But if the armor were to be thinned, logically speaking, the mechanism would be also exposed. That is its weakness."
As if saying 'defeat it', Ikaruga made a wide smile.
Takeru looked at her puzzled, and Ikaruga,
"——Let's beat that Dragon."
She said as if it was perfectly natural.
Sougetsu had almost conquered the entire enemy facility and was looking up at the sky with a cigar in his hand while standing atop of a wrecked Dragoon.
"Oh, a dragon. They pulled out something nostalgic again."
It seemed like he was saying "not bad" as he blew out the smoke.
Around him, there was a large amount of Dragoon wreckage scattered around. Almost all of it was disposed by him alone.
"Awesome, that's the first time I see such a thing."
The boy Dullahan who was sitting on the Dragoon wreckage as well raised a voice of admiration in Sougetsu's direction.
"Same technology as the one used for the Hero Summoning... Legend Summoning should be impossible unless you destroy a country. If possible, I hope I can get a sample."
"As expected this is pretty bad, isn't it, the Twilight Type produces a small amount of magic, right? With an opponent like that, won't its magic power deplete fast?"
"Because of a limiter magic power that isn't converted into spells cannot be absorbed. It's affinity with the dragon attribute is the worst."
Sougetsu grumbled, and the boy looked at him with an excited face.
"Can I get an order to sortie? It's been a while since I was allowed to turn into a witch hunter."
"You can't. We will only intervene if Kusanagi-kun loses. Otherwise there will be no point in putting him in front."
"But..." he added that, and pressed a cigar into the Dragoon.
"Certainly it will turn out bad at this rate. If he is defeated in a proper fight I'll have to give up, but I won't agree with something like being defeated because he ran out of magic."
What to do, Sougetsu thought with a hand on his jaw.
"——You seem troubled, shall I lend a hand?"
On top of another wreckage, there was one more shadow.
Sougetsu faced towards the source of the voice, and after being astonished for a moment, he grinned.
The giant was flying around freely in the sky, a dragon which is the strongest of all fantastical organisms, flapping its mechanical wings it easily caught up with flying Dragoon's movements.
《"Uwaa, don't come! Don't come don't come——"》
Along with a bitter scream, the Mechanical Dragon chewed the Dragoon in its mighty jaws.
《"Shit——wasn't this guy an ally?!"》
Another Dragoon let out a voice as it fled towards the outer wall to escape from the facility.
But the king of land and sky didn't miss it.
From its opened mouth, it spewed a muddy, navy blue stream.
A beam-like dragon breath swallowed the Dragoon.
The machine that was swallowed by magic power disappeared not even leaving dust behind.
《"As if I'd fight with such a thing! Screw the money! Run away!"》
《"This is the Spriggan Dragoon unit! We request support as soon as possible!"》
《"N-no good... there's no way we can win."》
《"Requesting support——hey, you bastards don't run away! Desertion in front of the enemy is a firing squad sentence!"》
The mercenaries who were on the ground, and Inquisition as well, seeing the devastation going on in the sky they scattered and fled.
Dragon aimed at the ground, and twin spears made of crystal shined.
It showed a beautiful turn in mid-air, and dived towards the ground.
Heading towards the wimps on the ground, the Dragon landed on the ground on its huge hind legs and roared.
And like that, it trod over countless Dragoons with ease.
Next it headed towards the humanoid forms that scattered like small spiders, and once again it opened its jaws.
Swallowed by navy blue wave of destruction, everything was dissolved, buildings included.
As if ridiculing the swallowed life, the King roared.
But at that moment.
Five stakes struck Dragon's open mouth
After being entering the mouth, the stakes shattered without inflicting a wound on it. The Dragon turned its awareness at the opponent that attacked it from surprise.
There, was a girl with sunset coloured hair moving straight towards the Dragon, Ouka.
Ouka was approaching the Dragon at high speed, and shouted into the intercom.
Immediately after, the Dragon felt a presence behind him and vigorously swiped with its tail.
Buildings were broken and scattered like sand, turning into debris.
A voice came from the sky.
The moment the Dragon moved his neck towards it, a blade struck the crystal eye.
The blade was repelled by the crystal.
The Dragon tried to capture the azure knight that aimed for its eyes with one of its forelegs.
But the azure knight avoided it by a hairsbreadth.
Takeru, almost grazed by the dragon's foreleg landed on the ground.
"Don't stop! Keep moving!"
Ouka and Takeru moved freely around the Dragon. Moving from the ground, and leaping using buildings for their footing, and continuing to move without stopping.
The Dragon pursued the two, and they dodged by a small margin.
Takeru continued to avoid in a nick of time.
——This better be enough, Suginami!
He prayed in his head that Ikaruga's strategy would work.
The strategy Ikaruga proposed.
In it, Takeru and Ouka's role was to buy time, that's all.
Usagi who was sniping from the fifth laboratory's outer wall, was currently running along the rail made for the artillery, heading north.
In order to increase her speed, she left her heavy gun. Currently she was empty handed.
《"Usagi, you there yet?"》
"Don't talk nonsense! How wide do you think this is?!'
While breathing deeply, Usagi continued to run with all she had.
Usagi wasn't the smartest, but she had good reflexes. Apparently her absurd strength allowed her to run fast as well.
"Is it... really there...?! I can't see it at all!"
《"It should be. When I came here, I saw it from the car."》
"The 'should be' part is troubling!"
With a tearful look, she caught her breath.
Her legs hurt. Her arms hurt. Her lungs hurt. Because the hook of her bra came off, her breasts shook and started to hurt.
Usagi's breasts shook as she headed north. Just when she wanted to complain about being at her limit.
She found a massive object attached to the outer wall.
"...is this... it?"
It was a huge battery. It was much larger than howitzers installed on the rails, and it looked more futuristic.
This was an anti-ballistic rail cannon developed by Alchemist. It was a a frightening weapon that fired bullets at speed ten times greater than speed of sound.
《"Can you see a cockpit or something like that? Sit there, just pull the trigger after aligning it with your reticle. Then snipe."》
"...uuu...there's so many switches, I don't understand."
《"You don't need to touch them. You will destroy the portion on its spine where the engine for floating is located. That should be the place where the anti-magic material would be thin."》
《"If you can destroy it, it'll be our win. He won't be able to move, crushed by his own weight."》
Usagi peeked through the scope as she was told, and grasped the control stick.
Just by tilting it, the gun barrel moved precisely.
Indeed, it wasn't much different from sniper rifles.
《"The firing rate goes up to five. After that it needs a few seconds to cool down."》
The ammo limit increased Usagi's tension.
She hated her complex. Unlike Takeru, Ikaruga and Ouka, her complex affected her specially.
It was like that with everything. Studying, exercise, anything, it were all ruined because of her fright.
But she would never allow her comrades to lose their lives because of this complex. That's why Usagi put a finger on the trigger.
If she misses it'll be over. But if she doesn't shoot, it will end before it even started.
That's the sniper.
That's why——Usagi fired.
After she squeezed the trigger to its limit, an artillery shell was fired with a tremendous sound of a bombardment.
The first round——didn't hit.
Because of the terrifying impact, Usagi moved her face away from the scope in shock.
《"Load the second shell fast! It's over if it notices your position!"》
Usagi pulled the bolt in a hurry. The gun reacted and the shell was loaded automatically.
Her trembling increased.
Because of excessive breathing, her vision shook.
The second round——didn't hit.
The third round——didn't hit.
《"It's all right. Calm down, you can do it."》
Even Ikaruga's words no longer reached Usagi. She was in the worst state.
Her body wasn't in perfect condition because one of her eyes wasn't working. She using a weapon she didn't know before, a rail cannon. It was a situation where she couldn't miss.
The worst. It was the worst condition.
Because she used only one eye her field of vision was blurred. Her aim was blurred as well because of that.
And above all, Usagi's heart shook.
The fourth round——didn't hit.
Tears gathered in her eye, and something blocked her throat.
Yeah, I am a bad girl after all. Someone help me. Help me grandfather.
The face of her grandfather who taught her how to snipe appeared in her head.
But, that's when she saw Takeru's figure through the scope.
He danced continuing to avoid the attacks, he avoided the incoming kick from the Dragon's hind legs, and the Dragon's tail approached him.
Seeing an attack that was about grind Takeru into the ground, Usagi completely stopped breathing.
She opened her eye wide, and completely stopped thinking.
Leaving out unnecessary thoughts, in front of her comrade being in danger, at the very last moment she aimed and shot at the machine.
While exhaling air, she squeezed the trigger.
Although Takeru responded to the tail swipe approaching, he was still stuck in the air after avoiding the claw attack.
I'm done for!
Just when he thought that,
Together with a tremendous impact, the Dragon's huge body shook vigorously.
The tail's momentum stopped, and the huge figure staggered.
"——You did it... Usagi, you did it!"
After confirming their victory, Takeru smiled.
However, the Dragon stood firmly on its legs, withstanding Usagi's snipe.
The victory they were so confident of, has spilled out of their hands.
《"...it seems like a single hit isn't enough... the float engine wasn't destroyed."》
With a voice full of regret, Ikaruga said into the intercom.
Horrified, Takeru grind his teeth.
The Dragon opened its mouth while staggering.
A big one was coming.
In front of the Dragon's mouth, was Ouka.
Takeru lowered his waist without hesitation.
At the same time as he jumped, the sword changed shape into a kusarigama.
He wielded the chain to hook up to the Dragon's neck,
Continuing with that momentum, Takeru clung to the Dragon's spine.
And the sword's shape returned to zanbatou.
Single-mindedly he stabbed the sword into the spine.
A high-pitched metallic sound came, but the spine wasn't damaged by that even in the location that was previously hit by rail cannon. To damage the internal mechanism, another hit was needed.
Even so, Takeru continued to attack again and again not giving up.
Suddenly, he felt the power was leaving him, the armor that covered his body started to break down.
He was going back to his original flesh and blood.
《"Magic has been exhausted. It's the activity limit."》
When told these words, Takeru felt despair.
———I can't protect her?
———My comrade, one who is precious to me.
———Will I lose it again?
His thought went blank. In the world that seemed like it stopped because of Soumatou, he burned Ouka's figure into his eyes.
Ouka shook her head slowly towards him.
At the same time as in Dragon's mouth magic gathered for dragon breath. Yeah. It's the end.
Even though he promised to carry it, his atonement will end like this.
Takeru tried to scream Ouka's name.
《"——You guys! Don't forget about me!"》
The one that cut in, was Mari's voice.
Takeru looked in the direction of where the voice came from, he sharpened his vision, and far on the outer wall.
There, was Mari who expanded a magical circle to the very limit.
《"Takeru! Receive it——my magic!"》
Seeing Mari's face that was full of confidence, he remembered.
When they defeated Haunted during the tournament, and that cooperation.
"Lapis! Intrinsic magic!"
《"Understood——Twilight Enchantment activated."》
An azure magical circle appeared instantly, and the blade shone with azure.
Mari's magic gathered into a giant rock, and rushed at Takeru at furious speed.
Takeru received that enormous amount of magic power with Lapis' blade.
The magical shell was sucked into Lapis' blade in no time, and its shine transferred into the blade.
As the magic power was filled, Takeru's body turned into witch hunter form again.
"Unicorn's Destructive Lance!"
Along with the technique, his entire body shot straight onto the Dragon.
The blade pierced the damaged portion and slid in cutting the internal mechanism.
But it didn't end at that.
It didn't end.
After piercing with the sword, he changed it into a huge zweihander.
The internal mechanism was broken down further causing the Dragon to stagger.
Not yet, it's still not enough.
"Lapis! Use everything, don't leave a single drop!"
《"Understood. Flexible material——full burst."》
A huge amount of magic power swept down from the sword and detonated inside of the Dragon dyeing it with destruction.
Because it was Mari's magic which was said to be the ultimate destruction, it even damaged the Dragon's thick armor.
Even so, the Dragon still stood, and was going to deliver the final blow to Ouka.
Tenacious, they were called the strongest fantastical species.
Dragon slaying...! Ain't that cool! Honestly, it makes my blood boil!
Takeru was a genius at using the heretical swordsmanship style.
It was an opponent worthy of Kusanagi, the ultimate monster. The strategy no longer mattered.
All that was left was an onslaught.
Therefore——he will enjoy the hunt!
Takeru entered the world of swordplay, he grabbed the sword with both of his hands.
He put all his weight, all his strength into the sword.
In the first place, Kusanagi-style wasn't anti-personnel. It was a swordsmanship style made to counter huge fantastical organisms.
Among the techniques, there was one with limited usage.
And that is——
"Kusanagi Double-Edged style———Rain Dragon's Charge!"
With the sword still piercing, he rushed down the back of the Dragon.
A skill used at the root of its neck, usable only on dragons that allowed him to remain on it and not be shaken off. The dragon's short forelegs couldn't reach him, and in this position the tail couldn't reach him as well as he gouged his sword in deeper.
With a large sword cut into it like a shark biting into its prey, he tore it down bit by bit.
And he ran on its back leaving the sword to the momentum.
No one could stop this dash.
Kusanagi-style's magic-severing sword. It stood against magic since ancient times.
Therefore, it was superior.
Even if it went up against the strongest fantastical organism, all of them shall be cut.
Takeru drew an arc like a moon, and kept swinging the huge blade dripping with magic on the spine.
Without killing the momentum, Takeru's body slammed into the ground.
He gasped in pain and rose up to confirm it was done for.
The Dragon, even though the internal devices and pieces of the crystal were scattering in the air, it still stood there.
Takeru murmured as if praying.
"Fall down...fall down...fall down...! Fall down already...!"
His prayer echoed.
At the same time, the Dragon staggered and looked up at the sky.
It roared and aiming for the sky, it fired a dragon's breath.
The distorted navy blue magic penetrated the cloudy sky and became a pillar of light.
Clouds scattered because of the shock wave, and the light of stars appeared from behind them.
The Dragon ran out of magic in its body and staggered while facing up.
His prayer reached it.
The Dragon lost its floating device and couldn't support his body's weight on his own, as a result it fell on its back.
It didn't have any strength left, it was completely immobilized.
It already turned into a corpse.
While dust rose up into the air, in front of the Dragon's corpse there was a single knight.
Takeru swung his sword to the side and exhaled.
And like that, he nearly fell forward.
He looked up as his vision grown hazy.
From a distance, he saw a woman in lab coat running towards him.
Takeru will never forget the expression she had on her face at that time.
There was no way he would forget that worried look on Ikaruga's face.