Reima clashed into the gate with a lot of force, as he hit it while facing directly towards it, his ribs broke and collapse inwards.
"That hurts... wasn't the Hero form supposed to be invincible...‽"
Certainly, normally it would make him nearly invincible. However, Tyrving is a common Nordic Magical Heritage. Its defensive ability was rather low, but it had a high regenerative ability instead. It healed all the wounds. Proving that, Reima's sank-in chest was soon fixed with a loud noise.
He cried as his chest was being regenerated. For Reima who hates pain, this Magical Heritage wasn't a good match.
Takeru moved with heavy footsteps towards the screaming Reima.
"What happened. Your wounds have healed, this battle has yet to start."
"Come on, stand up."
As the demon incarnate was looming upon him, Reima started to fall back in fear.
No matter how he looked at him, Takeru was furious. That appearance of him holding a sword made him wonder if Takeru was really a human. Unlike Takeru who learned swordsmanship since he was young, Reima had no idea how to use a sword, he never held a sword in his hands before.
Someone like that standing up to Takeru, was a silly notion.
"Fuck, fuck... fuckfuckfuck! F-fine! I'll show you how special I am!"
Reima stood up unsteadily as his waist was trembling.
Takeru didn't laugh at that display of guts. Although Reima's personality was the worst, he re-evaluated him after seeing his guts. He was impressed by the fact that even a man like him had his pride. Were he to cry for help, he would've half-killed Reima in an instant, but seeing this Takeru revised his idea.
Holding back would've been the worst insult for his opponent.
Therefore, in order to honor Reima's fighting spirit——Takeru once again plunged towards him at full strength.
Maybe his mettle was conveyed, as Reima lowered his waist poising.
After holding his sword in a stance similar to that of holding a baseball bat, Reima started to run. Rather than meeting the enemy head-on, Takeru stepped forward and plunged towards Reima's eye.
When it comes to reach, Takeru had an advantage, moreover Reima was full of openings.
There was a 100% chance Takeru's stab would reach him.
That's how it should've been.
A sound of blades clashing rang out, surprising Takeru. A miserably-looking swing of Reima's has firmly caught Takeru's sword.
He didn't go easy on Reima anyhow. And yet, his sword was stopped. Reima was also surprised. His terrified expression that seemed like he was about to cry changed into a joyous one after seeing the result of that strike.
"E-eha-ehahahahaha! Did'ya see that! How special I am!"
That blow was evenly matched, or rather, Reima had the upper hand.
Takeru started to see a difference as they started to exchange blows. The strength he uses isn't extraordinary and his posture was very awkward, just what is this strength?
"What is it Kusanagi! Where's your spirit from before! Weren't you acting so cool just a moment ago? Is this how far your swordsmanship goes?! It looks like a skill even an amateur like me can use!"
As his swordsmanship was insulted, anger erupted within Takeru, but he didn't pull out yet.
What's up with this strength...!
Sensing danger, Takeru tried to fix his posture and dodge.
However, the moment his blade retracted, his shoulder was slash with an incredible speed.
"HYAHAHAHAHAHA! Feels good! Next——let's goo!"
He aimed at the fallen Takeru and released another strike from a natural posture.
At a speed he couldn't keep up with, Reima's thrust approached.
He tried to avoid triggering Soumatou, but at that moment Reima's thrust increased its speed even further.
The thrust hit Takeru's flank and gouged out the high-concentration magical armor, cutting through the skin.
"What ya doing dazing off there, next one, nextt!"
Reima showered him with continuous random strikes.
It was truly messed up. An attack resembling that of a kid waving a wooden stick.
However, all of those attacks deflected Takeru's sword and hit his body.
After beating him during multiple exchanges, he approached Reima's collarbone.
Even so, no matter how many times he attempted that, Takeru's strikes were taken down by Reima.
"With this you must've understood it Kusanagi! I'm excellent at doing anything, I dominate at everything! I'm going to reign over everything! The destiny of a scum like you ends right here!"
No matter how he tried to prevent it, no matter how he tried to avoid it, it was all in vain.
Before he noticed, Takeru's body had a number of small wounds on it.
He was overwhelmingly outmatched. It was an absolute crisis.
After being hit by so many attacks, he should no longer be able to stand up.
However it was just the opposite, in the middle of Reima's attack Takeru had regain composure.
With a cool head, he continued to attack Reima.
He noticed something and called out to Lapis.
She guessed what Takeru thought and responded flatly.
《"The identity of enemy's Magical Heritage discovered. Its name is Tyrving."》
《"Haven't heard of it before, western swords aren't my specialty... but ain't that quite a sharp sword?"》
《"Yes. Just like Dáinsleif, it's a cursed sword from northern Europe. It's intrinsic performance——"》
《"Is to always hit the enemy with its attacks... right?"》
Takeru said it before Lapis could answer.
《"Yes. Apart from the Hero form benefits, its performance allows it to hit any target that's in the line of sight. No matter how far the distance from the target is or what obstacles are in between, the attacks will always hit. It's an S-ranked Magical Heritage. Only by considering it's intrinsic performance, one could say it's capability is beyond that of Dáinsleif's."》
《"Certainly, it's an amazing sword."》
《"Although I do not want to admit it, but there aren't many swords that are more excellent than this one. It's a very outstanding sword."》
《"Yeah, but that's all there is."》
With disappointment, Takeru looked into Reima's eyes.
Reima continued to attack, full of himself. Again and again and again.
"Cry, scream and admit it! That I'm the strongest!"
Again and again and again and again.
"Ha-hahaha! You're too scared to even let your voice out! How about you say something!"
Again and again and again and again and again and again and again.
"Ha-ha... ha?! Eh... this is weird... hey...?"
That moment, Reima tried to land countless strikes on Takeru.
"Why won't you fallllllllll!"
Reima screamed, and got scared of Takeru who was in front of him.
Takeru abandoned his defense, he lowered his hands and just continued to move his body slightly right before the attack hit him.
After looking carefully, the damage dealt to him was low... no, it would be better described as scratches.
Seeing Reima act all flustered with this odd situation, Takeru spoke.
"It's a really sharp sword. It allows you to hit anything within your line of sight... I think those who fight with a sword are a perfect prey for it."
"Damn! Damn it!!"
"But that's all. Your sword's performance allows you only to hit the enemy. Although it seems to grant you near-divine protection until it hits, but it only persists until you hit the enemy. That means that after you hit, all that left is the user's ability."
As he said that, Takeru received Reima's slash.
At the same time he's was hit, he twisted his body and attacked. Up until this moment, he twisted his body the moment the attack was about to hit and used that strength to parry.
This time not with a blade, but he received the flow with his body. It was a technique a skilled swordsman could use.
Although he initially used Soumatou to parry, this time he parried it with his normal eyesight.
Certainly, Reima's attack was fast and strong.
But that was all. After it hit, dealing with its power was a child's play.
The user's ability didn't keep up with the sword's performance.
《"Lapis, dull the blade."》
《"Yeah, I want it so that my sword won't cut him."》
The blade was dulled, the nodachi Takeru was using was now similar to a wooden sword.
Immediately after parrying Reima's attack——Takeru caught Tyrving's blade with his hand.
The continued attacks ceased.
"I understand it very well, Tenmyouji Reima."
"You've shown me your mettle. That's enough."
He closed his eyes and said it quietly. But despite what was said, when Reima tried to pull the sword out of Takeru's grasp, it wouldn't budge.
As Reima tried to pull out the sword in a hurry, Takeru's eyes turned red like eyes of a demon.
"Next——is my turn."
That moment, at a speed Reima couldn't even capture the pommel of Takeru's sword was stuck into his face.
A blow with the strength of an artillery strike smashed Reima's nose and made his face cave-in.
Reima staggered backward and attempted to scream, but no sound came out.
Immediately after that,
"Kusanagi True Light style——Wolf's Blade."
Takeru lowered his body to the limit, and from below, he drew his sword right under the enemy's chin. A blow similar to the bite of a wolf that aims for its prey's throat, it broke Reima's jaw with a loud sound and forcibly launched him into the air.
Reima's body slammed into the church's ceiling and began to slowly fall onto the floor.
Before Reima could fall onto the floor, Takeru positioned himself below where his back would be and released a strike from the sheath.
Reima spit blood after being hit in the back. His body was slightly lifted again, and he was pounded from above instead of below this time.
With a rumbling sound, Reima's body slammed into the ground and crushed the wooden floor.
Takeru thrust his sword into the floor in a rapid succession, raising Reima's body from the ground with it.
He grabbed Reima's neck who was about to fall down along with the debris by using his left hand, he had accelerated with Soumatou to catch him before he was blown away.
The moment he grasped him, a loud sound came from Reima's neck, no problem. A human who turned into Hero form wouldn't die just because his neckbone was broken. It regenerated soon enough.
While still holding his neck, Takeru pulled his sword back. He moved Reima's body so that he could see his face in front of him.
"Tenmyouji Reima... how about you say that again."
The pair of eyes on the crushed face continued to shed tears and look at Takeru pleading for forgiveness.
At the same time, Reima's solar plexus was pierced with the sword's tip.
After hearing a scream, Takeru retracted the tip and pulled the sword back.
"So, who does Usagi belong to?"
"Whose belonging is she?"
"Gi...ve.. to you... her... she's yours..."
With a roar, he pierced Reima.
"She's not an object!——She is my comrade!"
Takeru pulled his shoulder to the limit, and a sound of bones creaking filled the air.
"Kusanagi True Light style——Hornet's Blade."
And he released a storm of thrusts.
Its intensity was akin to that of a Gatling gun, a huge amount of holes was opened up in Reima's armor and body. Rather than ten or twenty of them, he had about a hundred of holes drilled in his body.
Kusanagi True Light style was originally an anti-personnel style derived from Kusanagi Double-Edged style. Compared to Double-Edged style which was created for dealing with non-human beings, its hits and hit rate were exceptionally fast, but it's power was greatly inferior. Moreover, Takeru ignored the key points that could potentially lead to an enemy's instant death. In the first place, Takeru wasn't doing it out of kindness, the reason he had his sword dulled was not because of that.
It's because he promised Usagi.
He promised her to thoroughly beat this man up.
After being hit by the last furious thrust, Reima crashed in a way that resembled being crucified.
Without any strength, he slid off and collapsed on the floor. Reima tried to catch his breath while shedding tears.
If it wasn't for the Hero form's improved regeneration ability, he would've been dead a long time ago.
Reima's awareness wasn't clear yet, he gripped his sword. But he didn't do it because he was willing to fight.
It was because he knew that if he doesn't hold onto it, he'll die. Since it was clear now that begging Takeru to spare his life was pointless, he had no choice but to hold on to it. No matter how he apologizes, Takeru won't forgive him. He was just a miserable lump of meat that could only fight back. If he lets go of his sword and the Hero form were to be dissolved, he wouldn't be able to withstand a single blow.
I don't want to die. I don't want to die. I don't want to die before I'm acknowledged by someone.
With tenacity, Reima continued to hold his sword.
Therefore, Tyrving granted him that wish. The mute treasured sword was said to grant three wishes according to the legend.
First, to recognize Reima as his owner. Second, to turn the user's body into that of a Hero.
And the third——allowing him to avoid death in the current situation.
That was Tyrving's intrinsic magic, 《Destiny's Enchantment》.
It was an ultimate wish-granting magic. Beneath where Reima was lying like a wet rag, a golden magical circle appeared.
Reima was encouraged by the intimidation that flowed from the sword and was forced to recover.
"I don't care any longer... if I am to come back to life... there's no need for it to end here! I'll sacrifice anything! So acknowledge my fate, Tyrving!"
The golden magic was invoked and raged along the sword's blade.
His desire to live has taken shape, it was a pure craving.
In front of that superb distortion, Takeru braced himself and rekindled his fighting spirit.
After her reply, an azure magical circle appeared below his feet.
Takeru sheathed his sword, bent his knees twisted his body to one side sinking his waist.
He accumulated force in that form, preparing the the sword-drawing technique. Takeru put strength into his right hand; squeezing the handle, ready to draw his sword. His left hand rather than holding the sheath, just the left thumb was holding the sword's guard. As the right hand accumulated force, the left acted like a clasp.
The right hand and left thumb of his caused a rattling noise, accumulating repulsive force.
Although it was irregular, his posture was well-honed. Reima who stood against him had a distorted shape that embodied his tenacity.
A moment after the two displayed their ways, the two clashed.
"As if I'd——let myself dieeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"
"Kusanagi Double-Edged style——Heavenly Evil Spirit!!"
With a flash. Their strikes turned into light and clashed head-on.
As magical power exploded, the church was blown in all directions leaving only it's frame.
Reima was the dominant one. Tyrving's intrinsic performance was exerted and Takeru's blow was being gradually pushed away. Due to the effect of 《Destiny's Enchantment》, its power was further doubled.
Takeru pulled his sword's edge towards his left shoulder, his sword's guard approached him.
Although he repelled it for a moment, he was unable to deny Tyrving's ability to lead fate.
As Reima screamed like mad, the golden magic further bestowed mythical power upon him.
The sword granting the magic called destiny, Tyrving.
That legend was unquestionably real, it was just like the stories said.
The one that resisted the sword, was one that boasted having the strongest performance——
——Was the magical sword that swallowed the so-called destiny magic.
Whether it's fate or God's will, it didn't matter.
As long as it's magic, it must be constructed according to the laws of magic.
It was swallowed——in its entirety.
"That's... i-it should be power to decide fate... and yet, why...?!"
Reima watched as the golden magic was being drawn into Takeru's sword and raised a pathetic voice. Although the effect that allowed him to hit the target wasn't lost, the fate allowing him to avoid death has been devoured and exhausted.
Takeru moved his sword's handle forward, and Mistilteinn's blade that was rubbing against Tyrving's slipped. Naturally, Tyrving's tip that was aimed at Takeru's heart had thrust in.
However, that was all. It hit, but Tyrving was flicked off by the armor. A strike from Reima who has lost his will to fight was unable to even scratch the armor.
The light disappeared, silence came.
Reima trembled and looked at Takeru in front of him who poised his sword high into the air.
"P-plea...se... save m——"
As Reima begged for help, Takeru quietly shook his head.
After raising his nodachi very high up, its shape changed to that of a huge great sword. As the absorbed magic power inverted, the blade started to shine and it was raised exaggeratedly high.
He held out one feet, and just swung down the sword straight down in front of him.
"Kusanagi Double-Edged style——Baboon Menace!"
After hearing a demonic roar, Reima's heart was stricken with fear and he was engulfed by light.
On the destroyed church's site, stood Takeru swinging down his sword.
The crushing blow clad in enchantment's power vanished without a trace.
And so has Reima's heart.
With drool flowing from his mouth, Reima stood up while showing the whites of his eyes. The blade Takeru swung down cut through Reima's hair and stopped right before making contact with his scalp.
Originally, Baboon Menace worked as a feint used against fantastical organisms. The big show started by poising the sword up high, as well as releasing killing intent to horrify the enemy.
It seemed like in Reima's case, it wasn't to help Takeru find an opportunity to strike. Reima's spirit collapsed, and he lifelessly slid onto the ground.
After witnessing Reima collapsing, Takeru silently sheathed the sword.
《"Is this fine?"》
Lapis asked him whether it was fine not to kill him.
"I haven't promised Usagi to kill this guy, I don't think there's any worth in killing him."
He looked down on Reima and said so coldly.
"Above all... I don't want you to be stained with the blood of a guy like that."
As he said so casually, he felt like the sword housed in its sheath rattled.
He looked at the sword by his waist, at Lapis.
"Did something happen?"
"...it might have been my imagination, but aren't you trembling?"
《"No such thing. What are you saying Host, I do not understand."》
"I-is that so..."
Sorry, involuntarily he apologized.
As Takeru stood above Reima, after hitting the ground Tyrving slipped away from Reima's hand.
"Looks like we can't leave it here like that. Lapis, please make a sheath for it."
As he took Tyrving which emitted dim light, and made a request to Lapis.
"What is it? Hurry up, we need to join Usagi and the others."
《"...are you going to form a contract with Tyrving?"》
Flatly. Emotionless. However, there was some pressure in Lapis' voice and figure of speech.
《"I shall not stop you, but if you want to change your contract for one with Magical Heritage, you will have to discard your contract with me. At the same time, you will be targeted by Inquisition. Are you fine with that?"》
"N-no, I had no such intention. I just want to recover it. If it's a sheath made by you, it can suppress magical power leakage thus making it less likely for it to be stolen by someone right?"
《"Although there are parts inferior to mine's, its intrinsic performance is better than mine. However, do not forget there's a "Curse" that comes with it. After you use its magic to grant you three wishes——"》
"I won't use it, I won't! The only sword I'm going to use is you!"
After Takeru desperately denied it, Lapis' accelerating voice suddenly stopped.
《"Is that so. That's fine then."》
Again, she responded with a flat voice. But unlike earlier, this time it didn't make him feel intimidated.
He made a hard to describe expression and hurried to where Mari was breaking down the operative procedure.
By kicking off the ground, as he jumped from one school building to other, he glanced at his favorite sword that he held in his hands.
What's that... for a while now, she continues to look at me with suspicion.
For some reason, Takeru felt like a husband who's being suspected for cheating.
On top of a rooftop lashed by cold wind, Mari continued to struggle against a single Magical Heritage. She was unable to warm her hands up even though they hurt, and was proceeding with operative procedure destruction in a hurry.
...just a little bit more and I'll catch up with the automatic procedure...!
Tracing the route up until the point where the magic is activated would put a tremendous strain on a witch even if it was a regular spell. When it came to such a large-scaled and unique magic, it was a strain on the mind beyond imagination.
"After I'm done with this, Ootori Ouka will have to acknowledge me for sure...!"
While aspiring to get such a trivial reward, Mari continued to endure the penance.
Five minutes were left until the magic activates. She would barely make it.
"——Okay. That's enough."
The moment she opened her eyes after suddenly hearing a voice, an impact hit Mari's shoulder.
With a scream, she nearly fell on the floor.
Mari barely managed to hold out. She gritted her feet and concentrated on her work by using all of her brain's power. Although she understood what happened to her, she gave priority to working on the operative procedure.
Her shoulder was strangely hot, but she didn't feel any pain.
She had been shot by Mephisto who came to the rooftop once again.
"I missed ehh. Then, one more."
After speaking with an innocent tone, Mephisto tried to fire another bullet.
On the rooftop of school building, Mephisto saw a knight clad in azure armor appear right in front of her. The knight leaped in and raised his sword. He landed in with his back facing Mari, turned off the booster and made a protective stance.
"Tch... another Relic Eater!"
Mephisto released rapid fire at Takeru, but none of the bullets reached him, they were cut down by his sword. With his sword poised, Takeru stood in front of Mephisto.
"It's over, Mephisto... I'll have you return Ootori!"
Despite the fact she stood in front of Takeru in Witch Hunter form, Mephisto kept her cool. On the contrary, she smiled feeling as if she had a margin to spare.
"Leave Ootori's body! If you don't, I'll have to take your life!"
Takeru indicated that there's room for negotiation, but Mephisto couldn't stand it and laughed it off.
"AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You won't take my life? Life you say?! There's no such thing as life for me! I'm just a ghost that's haunting this girl. Can you kill a soul? Even if your Relic Eater absorbs magic, it cannot kill a soul?"
"You bastard...! If you're not coming out then...!"
"Try it! Let's fight! But it won't be me fighting——it's this girl!"
After yelling out that declaration, Mephisto moved his hands forward.
"Summis desiderantes affectibus——"
He recognized the listed out words and was horrified.
Mephisto made a distorted laughter with Ouka's face.
That moment, emerging from a crimson magic circle on the ground, something that seemed like a black coffin appeared.
The coffin broke and two huge pistols appeared from inside.
Mephisto grasped them with both of her hands and aimed them at Takeru.
"Impossible——she can use the Relic Eater?!"
《"The one performing a contract with Relic Eater isn't the flesh but the soul."》
"That's why I ask, why?!"
Puzzled, Takeru asked Lapis, but was answered by Mephisto instead.
"Vlad was the one who fell before this girl's soul did. Although I've been constantly looping heinous things she did in the past and also her trauma, she's quite stubborn. Just when I was supposed to proceed more brutally, this gun proposed that I use him in exchange for relieving her. I guess he could no longer watch his master being broken, a Magical Heritage that cares about his master!"
With a gesture as if she was to lick the barrel, Mephisto stuck out the strangely-long tongue.
"Hehh, she's crying in such a lovely voice. Mama, Papa; Shizuku, forgive me... oh right right, she's been calling your name too. Kusanagi〜 Kusanagi〜 and so on! Gyahahaha! You're a bit late, Kusanagi-kuuun!"
He grit his teeth strong enough to have his back teeth creak.
Takeru's murderous intent towards Mephisto who destroyed Ouka's heart was at its peak.
"I'll drag you out right this moment and kill you off!"
"I wonder if you can——are you going to kill this giirl〜?"
Mephisto squeezed the trigger of the gun she was holding in the left hand firing a shining stake.
Takeru triggered Soumatou and to protect Mari behind him, he tried to cut down the stake with Lapis' blade.
——However, the moment Lapis touched the stake.
Just when he thought he heard Lapis take a deep breath, the armor he was wearing suddenly shattered.
Suddenly, Takeru's Witch Hunter form was released, he was at loss for words.
《"...nh, it's Vlad's intrinsic performance."》
Loudly laughing, Mephisto aimed the gun she held in her left hand at Takeru.
"Don't you know about this Relic Eater's performance? As long as the operative procedure is known, it can pierce through any kind of magic. The operative procedure of Witch Hunter form... what a shame, it's already in this girl's head."
"Witch Hunter form is something like a replica of Hero form. The magical enhancement system is delicate, so if you make a hole in it, it's going to be released at once."
While saying that, Mephisto fired a bullet from the gun in her right hand.
Although he heard Lapis' breaking voice, Takeru couldn't avoid it. Mari was behind him.
He had no choice other than to use Soumatou and change the trajectory of stake so that it hit his flesh and blood. The stake's power was unimaginable, he was blown away when trying to change its trajectory.
Although he avoided fractures, the muscle fibers in his arm were violently torn apart. Moreover he was blown away and Mari's back has become completely unguarded. Mephisto aimed at Mari immediately.
"I won't let you!!"
Takeru kicked off the floor jumping as strongly as possible to shield Mari once again. The stake was fired, and he tried to block it with his sword. With just his own flesh and blood he couldn't completely block it, and the stake pierced his right shoulder.
Just like that, his meat was gouged out and his bones broken. Blood started to spew like a mountain.
He held out a feet in front, and seemed like he was rooted to the spot as he protected Mari.
"You're doing your best with just your flesh and blood body. But that power... Soumatou right? It should put a terrible burden on your body? I wonder how long will it last."
Looking at Takeru with a mocking smile, Mephisto spun the gun around her finger with a practiced motion.
Since his right shoulder was crushed, Takeru held his sword with just his left hand.
《"I... apologize. I will... rebuild the procedure immediately... and... heal... the wounds."》
Lapis' voice was disconnecting. Vlad's stake could even penetrate operative procedures ran by Magical Heritage. It's the same as the time when it penetrated and neutralized King Arthur's sheath. It was different from the operative procedure breakdown Mari was doing, it's a cheat-level performance that drills holes inside of magic that build up the operative procedure with anti-magical enchantment. If it hits the surface of a Magical Heritage like Lapis, its operative procedure is engraved directly and has an effect similar to hitting the brain directly and stunning the target.
Witch Hunter form is one of the top-level intrinsic magic, it takes a considerable amount of magic as well as complex operative procedures. It's reconstruction is further delayed by stun-effect of the anti-magic stakes.
Even if he was to enter the Witch Hunter form, there was no choice but to avoid touching the stakes with the sword or the same result would have been repeated. Mari behind him also had copious amounts of blood flowing from her shoulder, she would have fallen were she to be hit by anything.
He has to protect her. She's dismantling the Magical Heritage at the risk of her own life.
At least... until Usagi comes, I can't let myself fall! With her here, there's still a chance...!
Takeru grasped his sword's handle with his left hand and clenched his teeth.
I can't allow her to fire any more of them——don't pull back! Buy time by closing the distance!
He kicked off the ground, and rammed into Mephisto while using Soumatou.
At the same time, Mephisto fired a stake. Takeru changed the stake's trajectory with his guts and willpower before he crashed into Mephisto.
The sword and two pistols crashed, their line of sight has met up from up close.
"AHAhahaha! How is it? Exchanging killing blows with someone you vowed to walk together with? It's the first time you fought ever since the death match in the middle school, I remember it〜"
"Don't talk about Ouka's memories, you bitch!"
"Ahha! Although you always call her "Ootori" you called her "Ouka"! Good for her! This girl is really happy about it!"
The shackles on his mind went down, and he got furious. However, it was impossible for him to kill her. Although Mephisto's soul was in control, the body was Ouka's.
Were he to kill Mephisto in this situation, Ouka would also die. Even though he was angry enough to lose his reason, he couldn't forget about it.
While standing against Takeru, Mephisto closed her eyes relaxed.
"...it seems like that girl's coming back. Although she's just a scarecrow, just how did she managed to break through so many of them."
She probably meant Usagi. She might have noticed her, but at this rate she'll be caught in pincer attack by Usagi at this rate. The chance to win would increase remarkably if that happens.
Although she showed some impatience, Mephisto laughed eerily and grinned.
"Ohh〜 I've come up with something nice〜 ♪. How about we test your friendship right here."
She made a suggestive expression and stuck out her long tongue.
On top of her tongue, there was an instant charm with a magical circle painted on it. One of Mephisto's hands gently touched Takeru's which held the sword.
"Let's see——just how strong is the bond between you guys!"
With these words, he trembled with fear.
This is bad——!
Takeru realized what Mephisto was thinking and tried to put strength in his leg to pull away.
"Nikaido! Are you safe?"
The one who entered the roof was Usagi, where the horrified Takeru waited.
Right after she opened the heavy door with a kick, she was astonished by the situation at hand.
Mari was injured, Takeru had wounds all over his body and Ouka was aiming two guns at him.
Without any hesitation, Usagi aimed the "Belaya Smert" towards Ouka.
"——Saionji?! W-what's going on?! W-wait, don't shoot! Mephisto isn't inside me!"
Suddenly, while shouting that Ouka directed her gun towards Usagi.
Usagi's shoulder trembled, and she alternated looking between Takeru and Ouka.
"I don't get it what is this situation... why am I here?"
"Ootori? Are you really Ootori herself?"
"...I-I guess so. Suddenly I regained my body... and."
Ouka shook her head, she seemed to be confused after suddenly regaining consciousness.
"Then, Mephisto is...?"
Usagi moved her line of sight from Ouka and looked at Takeru.
Takeru had a difficult expression as well, and looked towards Usagi.
She understood what Mephisto did, and bit her lip.
...she's the worst, that witch!
Because of the situation Mephisto arranged, Usagi's heartbeat sped up.
——It was unknown who Mephisto was inside of.
For Usagi who held the decisive factor to beat Mephisto, it was the worst situation possible.
Takeru turned his sword towards Ouka and Ouka aimed her gun at Takeru. Mari was working on breaking down the Magical Heritage's operative procedure but the possibility of her being possessed couldn't be denied.
What to do? What should she do?
"It's Kusanagi... Kusanagi must've protected that woman... then, it's unlikely for her to be inside Nikaido Mari... if it's Kusanagi, he wouldn't let my possessed self get anywhere close to her."
"It's all right... as long as there's a Relic Eater, Kusanagi's soul should be all safe for a while. I've already experienced that, and regained my body safely."
It seemed like Ouka decided that Mephisto is inside Takeru, and she squinted bitterly.
"Saionji... it might be hard for you, but let's capture Kusanagi together... if it's just me, I'm not strong enough to go against him."
Usagi was confused, the gun in her hand was trembling and she didn't know what to do. Takeru didn't say anything and exhaled painfully.
"You... want me to shoot... in a situation like this...?!"
"If you don't shoot, it's all over! Believe me...! Mephisto is right behind Mari right now!"
Both Ouka's tone of voice and the mercilessness was just like her.
If it's Ouka, then she would surely shoot Takeru in order to protect Mari who was dismantling the Magical Heritage. If she was the real thing, and Takeru was the fake that's definitely what she would do.
However, there was a different possibility in her head. What if Ouka lied, and Mephisto is still inside of her? She would put Takeru through tremendous amount of pain and Mephisto could kill Mari using that opportunity. And if she did the opposite, and shot her not believing in her words, Mephisto inside of Takeru could use that chance to kill Mari.
Which one is it? Which choice is correct? How can she save both of them? Her breathing sped up and her body started to tremble lightly.
At a time... like this...!
She couldn't afford to hyperventilate here, Usagi clenched her teeth.
With her determination she released herself from the Saionji's curse as well as overcame her trauma and bit Reima... and now, a new disorder appeared for her.
If she makes a mistake here, not only her comrades but all the citizens in the city will pay for it.
The strongest pressure she has ever felt has struck Usagi. A situation in which she had no choice but to shoot her comrade. Takeru turned his sword towards Ouka, Ouka aimed her gun at Takeru... what should she do? If she doesn't decide, everyone will die. Because of her, everyone will lose their lives.
"Haa... haa...! Fuu...!'
Her breathing turned rough, her vision hazy.
Memories about her comrades flashed through her mind, getting in the way and not allowing her to shoot them.
Don't cry! Don't cry don't cry don't cry! I... only I can resolve this situation! No one else can do it!
While bearing it, not crying and still lost, Usagi aimed——and settled at Ouka.
"Kusanagi right now... is protecting Nikaido's back. You are Mephisto...!"
"..................is that so."
Seeing Ouka act so sadly, Usagi desperately endured despite her muzzle shaking.
"Our relationship wasn't long enough yet... there's no wonder... that you don't believe me. When we first met, I've told you many horrible things... it might be late to say that now, but I'm sorry."
"However, just this once, believe me! If you shoot me here and now, it's all over! The school, the city, our comrades will be beyond help! Are you really fine with that?"
It was a compelling question. Ouka spoke aloud the same question Usagi has been asking herself. Usagi's muzzle further shook.
That's when Takeru who has been silent finally called out to her.
He raised his face and stared right at Usagi.
"If you're in doubt... then shoot me."
Both Ouka and Usagi were astonished by these words.
"After shooting me, shoot Ootori. If it's your rapid fire, you should be able to do it."
"It's all right. Neither me nor Ootori will die. You will shoot both of us, and save both of us."
"We believe in you, so you too... believe in us."
In Takeru's straight-looking eyes, there was no anxiety nor lies.
Usagi replied strongly.
She isn't going to believe either of them. She won't take any of them as fakes.
At this moment, in front of her both of them were the real thing.
That's why, she has to shoot. It's fine as long as she hits their bones with the spotted bullet. Even if both of them are hurt, both of them are saved. It rules out the 'what if' possibilities.
"If I can save you both by shooting you——I will shoot!"
She no longer hesitated.
After looking at her determined eyes——
——Ouka spat out an insult. What appeared on her face, wasn't fear but disgust.
Mephisto who was residing inside Ouka revealed her real nature.
"Disgusting disgusting, it's damn disgusting! I hate self-sacrifice the most! It's the first time I see someone creepy enough to let himself get shot to make someone believe him! You should've shown me a fierce infighting instead like all other guys did! That's how humans should act!"
With her face twisted in displeasure, Mephisto put a finger on the guns that aimed for both of them.
"Enough! Whatever happens, in this situation I'm going to win!"
Mephisto glanced at Usagi with a grimace on her face.
"You can't kill me can you? And if I survive I'm going to kill you both! Is that fine with you? If not, then lower your weapons right now... even now I can make it so that "Master-Slave" won't affect you."
Just as Mephisto judged it, neither Takeru nor Usagi could kill Ouka. Even if they shot her hand or foot, Mephisto who was being enhanced by Relic Eater could ignore it and pull the trigger.
If that happens, Takeru aside, Usagi would probably die.
Even though she knew that, Usagi didn't lower her muzzle. She wasn't prepared to get shot, because she didn't think her comrade would shoot her.
Takeru was the same, he was holding his sword ready to jump at any time.
"'That so... then as you wish, let's have comrades kill each other!"
Mephisto put strength into the finger holding the trigger.
Usagi held her breath to steady her aim and Takeru triggered Soumatou to sharpen his senses.
Under these circumstances, the first one to move was——
Was Mephisto. But it wasn't an attack. Suddenly, her body staggered.
Both Usagi and Takeru opened their eyes wide at this spectacle.
Mephisto's body was trembling as if paralyzed.
Her arms that aimed the muzzles had convulsions. Ouka's body seemed like it rejected Mephisto's instructions.
That appearance, it was as if Mephisto was being manipulated by something...
No, that's wrong. Two people at the same time denied each other's thoughts.
It was a reverse situation. It was——Ouka trying to take her body back.
"I won't let myself... Ootori... Ouka... to be dirtied any more than this!"
It wasn't said by Mephisto, it was obvious for the two.
Ouka's own voice spun the words. Although only temporarily, she has come back. Ouka had a pained expression, which intermingled with Mephisto's expression. But what was mixed in there, was certainly her own expression.
"I've heard everything...! Your profane thoughts... voices of my comrades, everything! That's why I've returned! That is why I was able to come back!"
"You shouldn't be able to come out! You've been curled up up until now! Even though I've been playing your gruesome past to you...!"
With such a trauma engraved within her, there is no way she could withstand it. Even without devouring her soul, it was already weakened and the initiative was on Mephisto's side.
"In the end, what you showed me was just an illusion... the hell I've tasted, was nowhere near that level...!"
"You've fallen to it once already... what an insolent mouth of yours...!"
"So what, I will get up no matter how many times! There is no way... I'd lose to a witch like you...!"
Mephisto struggled against Ouka's soul and writhed unsteadily.
For Mephisto who took down souls that didn't show any resistance, it was a new experience. It might have been thanks to Vlad's blessing, or maybe her comrades' voice, Ouka didn't know which one it was.
However, currently Mephisto was fully aware of the strength the girl called Ootori Ouka had.
"Saionji! Shoot me!"
While desperately wrestling with Mephisto, Ouka desperately appealed to Usagi.
"If you think of me as a comrade, even if it's just a little bit... shoot!"
"I beg you, shoot me! Saionji!"
After she heard Ouka's roar, Usagi put strength into the finger holding the trigger.
A dry gunshot sounded, and a bullet was released. It flew straight without straying, and pierced Ouka's shoulder. From her shoulder, blood started to flow.
Mephisto couldn't withstand the pain that came as the bullet tore away the flesh and started panting.
Her scream roared, the bullet bit into the shoulder bone and caused her accordingly intense pain.
However, Mephisto was accustomed to this degree of pain. No matter how many bullets pierce her, the strength in her body would remain.
"——Don't get carried awayyyy!!"
Along with a howl, she turned the two handguns she held towards Usagi.
However, before she could hear the sound of her own gun's firing, a sound of dread emanated from her body.
At first it sounded like a sound of a bell, the sound increased and soon after it started to feel like an earthquake that shook her brain.
"?! What?! O-ouch! It hurts it hurts it hurtsssssss! The bone... my head is cracking apart!"
"My brain, it's going to break... such pain, what's thi——gugiaaaaaaah!"
While holding her head with both of her hands, Mephisto rolled on the ground.
An unbearable pain has enveloped her entire body and brain. The bullet Usagi used, was one made by Ikaruga out of specially made material called "high vibration damascan steel". Although it wasn't well known since it wasn't an anti-magic material, it brought tremendous "pain" to human body. It's killing capability was no different from that of a bullet used by military, but it has a property that makes it vibrate when it contacts phosphoric acid inside the human body, after being implanted directly into human bone it starts to vibrate and send pain signals directly to the brain through the nerves.
That pain, was something out of this world.
When struggling against Mephisto, Ouka endured tremendous pain. Compared to the pain she felt in her heart, physical pain was something trivial. She clenched her teeth and endured it.
Mephisto was screaming miserably, she couldn't stand even a second longer of the pain. Along with her screams, she finally pulled out a blue-colored instant charm from her backpack.
The escape-purposed instant charm 《Direct Soul》. A magic that could be called astral projection, the only magic aside from possession that could allow Mephisto to leave a body.
A distorted evil spirit could be seen leaving Ouka's body.
For the sake of this happening, Ikaruga had Usagi embed a bullet made out of Damascus steel into Ouka's body.
Mephisto's spirit body was blurry like a ghost, and it soared into the sky at a high speed while distorting time and space.
——I won't let you get away!
Usagi pulled the bolt, and vigorously ejected an empty casing from inside, it made a loud noise as it hit the ground.
She fixed the bolt handle by pulling it again, pulled out a single bullet from her belt with her left hand and loaded it directly. What she had put in, was a bluish silver bullet.
It was a bullet called 'spirit silver bullet', in addition to being effective against the undead, it was a special bullet that could inflict a wound on a soul. It was more rare than the material called mythril. Before the Witch Hunt War, it had been used in large quantities during a large-scale war with Vampires and was later completely depleted and branded as fantastical material.
Usagi was glad that Ikaruga was able to produce something like that.
With this bullet, and the gun in which her Grandfather's soul dwelled in - the "Belaya Smert", she was able to annihilate that ghost.
Mephisto's soul has already ran away far into the sky.
It was steadily climbing into the sky at a speed that made it hard to follow it with human eyes.
Usagi spat out a deep sigh, and stopped quietly.
Her breathing stopped, the sound of her heartbeat reached her ear. Unexpectedly, she felt very comfortable.
What was left, was to blow away the enemy. There was no need to doubt, it was a great feeling. Her breathing was stable and her heartbeat normal.
Her head was cool, her heart hot. Moreover, it was her favorite gun.
The best condition, best motivation, and the finest weapon was available.
Everything else could be left to the gun, she fired.
That——is all there is!
The trigger was light, her heart throbbed.
The gunfire sounded, and its roar reached the sky.
Far in the sky, a ghost's scream echoed. As if overlapping with the moon in the night sky, the devil who devoured human souls disappeared without being able to return to her body.
Ouka was unable to endure the pain that drove her crazy and was stunned, losing consciousness. Her eyes were still open, but her vision was turning blurry and it felt like she was about to lose consciousness at any moment.
When she saw the stars reflected in her field of view, she realized she was lying on her back.
Although she noticed that, she didn't feel like getting up.
As she looked into the beautiful moon that lit up the sky, she thought dazedly.
It's been a while since I was this tired... and.
Knowing that if she closed her eyelids, she would lose consciousness she tried to do so. However, before she could do that, her body was shaken lightly and she lightly opened her fatigued eyes.
She saw the beautiful starry sky as well as the faces of her happy and noisy comrades.
"Hey, Ootori! Are you okay?! Come on, respond!"
"She's not breathing?! Do a cardiac massage, ah ahh, she needs artificial respiration, ww-w-what do we do Kusanagi?!"
"Don't die in a place like this! I've dismantled the operative procedure! I need to boast about it to you so don't die!"
"Yes yes, shut up and move away. She's breathing. The pulse's all right as well. But just in case, let's call a Seelie. Her heart must've been exhausted after being hit by that bullet."
The Small Fry Platoon assembled in full force and looked worriedly at Ouka. Before anyone noticed, Ikaruga had joined them.
She held a gun in her hand and was on standby, it seems like she's been there in case something went wrong.
They really are a noisy bunch, she thought deep in her heart. But seeing them so worried about her, unexpectedly wasn't a bad feeling. She's been always wanting to be looked at this way.
Ouka made a sincere, bitter smile.
What a cowardly thought... really...
She laughed at her easy-going self, but it wasn't a bad feeling. But being watched over like this, she seemed quite pitiful, so Ouka summoned her fading consciousness and articulated the words.
"...it's all right...I'm alive...don't...worry..."
After saying that, she closed her eyes.
Ouka engraved everyone's relieved faces in her mind and quietly went to sleep.
Destiny Enchantment (デイステイニーズ・エンチヤント) - It's written as (絶対運命) meaning "Absolute Fate" .
Direct Soul (ダイレクトソウル) - Written as (霊体化) which means "Spirit Form".