Inside the darkness, Takeru continued to keep his eyes closed.
His intention to wake up and intention wanting everything to end clashed against each other, then he recalled what on earth was he there for.
In the end, just what did he come to do in there?
He wanted his little sister to live. No matter how painful it was, he wanted her to grasp happiness some day. He believed that even if Kiseki's existence is a sin, in her very self there was no sin.
Despite knowing it was just his ego, Takeru swore to make it happen.
He related himself with people, learned about them and even though he managed to grow, just the conclusion itself hasn't changed.
However, his ego could only remain as it was. Not knowing that Kiseki was placed in circumstances worse than death, the reason he blurted out things about protecting her was nothing else but that ego of his.
Five years prior, he was the main culprit, unable to do anything. At that time, he neither protected her nor killed her, if he didn't choose to run away, everything might have turned out different.
"Even now, it is not too late."
A voice rang out and he looked up.
Before he realized, the location has changed.
A devastated land had spread. Surely, it was not his world but a different one. In the sky floated a broken moon in three pieces. Far in the distance, something like a palace could be seen, but the palace too has been miserably decayed and the debris from its collapse floated in the air.
In this world that should have been beautiful, the time has stopped at the moment of destruction.
This world has ended a long time ago.
Takeru stood in the world that has ended and found the only existence that had colors other than himself.
In a location a slight distance away, alone, stood the azure-colored girl.
"...if you wish for it, I will grant you power."
Expressionlessly, the girl spoke to Takeru.
She softly snuggled up to his side and put a hand on Takeru's chest.
"I will only fulfill your wish. There is no need for you to reject me."
The azure girl said something deeply meaningful.
Mysteriously, Takeru understood the meaning of these words.
The girl stretched out her hands to Takeru's cheeks and wrapped it with both of them.
Seeking to comfort his heart, he knelt down on the ground powerlessly.
Looking up at him from below, the girl stared at Takeru and stroked his cheek.
"I am your beloved sword. You are my beloved master."
"I will offer you everything. I will offer you all of my original power."
"That's why, in consideration of that——"
"——Please give me your everything."
The girl moved her lips, and the questions of the contract had started once again.
—— Question number three. For the sake of your own goal, will you discard yourself? ——
Takeru didn't answer. Because even without an answer, she knew everything.
—— Question number four. For the sake of your goal, will you discard what you hold dear? ——
The girl's marble-like pupils right in front of him began to emit a faint glow.
Those were the same questions she asked once before. However, only the last question was different.
—— The last question.
—— For the sake of your goal, will you discard humans,
—— And seek me?
Takeru closed his mouth. Inside of his head, memories revived and were played all at once.
Encounter with his little sister, separation. Swordsmanship training in order to obtain Soumatou from his mentor. Every day during which he hated Inquisition for confining Kiseki. The suffering his little sister felt every day.
In the end, sound of peaceful laughter, he could see the door of the platoon's room.
Glimpsing into what Takeru desired, the girl closed her eyes in silence.
"...that is your wish, isn't it...?"
The girl's lips overlapped with Takeru's.
At the same time, his world has burst out.
He felt his own existence become ambiguous. Takeru was assaulted by the comfort which tempted him to leave his body to it.
《"—— Soul of the puppet “Kusanagi Takeru” seized.
—— Triggering operative procedure.
—— Injecting magic, starting the soul's erosion.
—— Time required for construction process, unknown.
—— Fusion continues. From this moment onward, Mistilteinn leaves Inquisition's control.
—— 『God Hunter』 start-up."》
《"Wake up——it's time for god-slaying."》
In response to the monotone voice, I, have opened my eyes.
Ouka leaped down from the wall, at the time of landing, she released killing intent.
She raised a cry and swung her arm grandly.
Magical circles emerged at the stakes near her elbow, there was a sound of something charging, and the stakes were dyed in even deeper crimson red color.
As if trying to punch them, she emitted the crimson stakes towards group of variants has flocked with her comrades as their target.
At the moment of release, enormous piles struck the variants invading the ground.
From the rubble and the eroded buildings to the road's wreckage, involving all of it, the released enormous piles penetrated through everything.
They had an extraordinary power, although it's range had only a total of hundred meters, with only a single attack the damage was spread around as if it has undergone bombing.
The main magical weapon《Count's Fang》 was something that specialized in penetration power and destruction. It was possible to add a magic-penetrating characteristic of Vlad to it, moreover, absorption of living being's blood and converting it into magical power was possible. It was something that excelled both in might and capability.
However, just after shooting it once the recoil has blown Ouka's body was backwards a considerable distance and hit the rubble. Originally, Vlad's stakes already had a strong recoil which could crush her arms if not for the body strengthening.
《"Be careful. My fangs have strong recoil and long reload times. 'tis fine to use the gun form."》
As she was told that, she spread her arms and the stakes sticking to her arms turned into particles, the particles reconstructed itself in Ouka's arms in the form of guns.
She lowered her waist and kicked off the ground strongly. Witch Hunter Form's strength and Vlad's FM Booster send Ouka soaring far in the sky.
By spraying out magic from gaps in the Vlad's armor, Ouka stopped in mid-air.
She poised her gun towards the variants on the ground.
A bombardment of stakes has begun.
It was akin to a meteor shower crashing down. The infesting variants were sent bursting with the impact point as the center, and they sprinkled pieces of meat around.
She kept shooting single-mindedly. If she kills all of it, Takeru won't have to kill Kiseki, and her comrades could be rescued as well.
"There's no reason to hesitate...!"
Ouka continued the bombing without rest. Her Witch Hunt form's arm was hot, even as pain ran through it, she roared not bothered by it.
《"——There are signs of enemy above the ground. Multiple objects are approaching."》
《"No, a part of the heretic."》
Looking in their direction, she noticed a number of varying red objects approaching from the ground by flapping their wings.
After looking closely, it seemed like they were parts of the variant released by Kiseki. Mouths and noses were clinging nonsensically to the spherical bodies, moreover, they were growing nonsensically-shaped wings.
The group of objects approached, surrounding Ouka and opened their distorted mouths.
『"The person who took Onii-chan away."』
『"The person who wants to steal Onii-chan."』
『"Make her disappear."』
『"Don't take him away."』
『"Don't touch Onii-chan!"』
『"Onii-chan is mine! The only one who stay beside Onii-chan is Kiseki!"』
Using Kiseki's voice, the variants showered Ouka with jeers from their multiple mouths.
Ouka saw Kiseki crouch in the distance.
"STO-OOPpp! Kiseki didn't think that...! Don't... grant ittt...!"
Probably regaining her sanity, Kiseki tried to hold down the power.
『"That he will die together with Kiseki."』
『"So don't get in our way."』
『"You're not needed here."』
『"Onii-chan doesn't need you."』
The variant ignored Kiseki's attempts to suppress it and exposed her real feelings she was keeping to herself.
Furthermore, it obscured Kiseki's figure, wrapping around her and whirling.
Ouka succumbed to the feelings tightening her chest.
It was clear to her that there was no sin in Kiseki. She has been cornered by the hatred and jealousy deep in her heart. If she wishes for it even a little bit, the variant's power makes her desire come true. Listening to her wishes was fine, but human beings don't live only on desires.
It forcibly granted her wishes, a heretical power that violated hearts of people, it was incredibly wicked and sinful.
"I won't let you pollute my friend's family——any more than this!"
Ouka didn't hate Kiseki, she hated the heresy residing inside of her.
Despite Kiseki's struggle, the variant pounced on Ouka. While swaying from side to side at high speed, it plunged onto her while raising a scream.
Although she intercepted them with the guns, there were too many.
《"Disregard interception and disengage! Thou hast ability to fly!"》
"How do I do it?!"
《"Envision it, as thy do that I shalt make it true!"》
As instructed, Ouka envisioned herself flying through the sky.
That moment, starting with the center, the cloak on her back had spread towards the back like wings.
Furthermore, Vlad increased the amount of magic used as propulsion. Ouka's body flew through the sky freely.
The speed of her flight was quite high, she thought that she'd be able to shake off the pursuers, but right behind her there were winged variants catching up and trying to intercept her.
She inverted her body and started shooting as she continued to fly.
As soon as they were hit, the variants' bodies scattered around like ash, dissolving in the air.
Like from bee's from a poked beehive, one after another the flying objects chased after Ouka.
《"Consider the amount of magic remaining. Thou hast already lost large amount of blood by using intrinsic magic. Converting any more of it into magic power is not advisable. Do something with the amount of magic power that is remaining."》
It was unreasonable. However, it was the first time Vlad has shown care for Ouka's body.
She didn't feel bad, nor she felt great but Ouka determined that it were accurate instructions.
Dealing with such a vast number of enemies was inefficient. Eventually, her magical power will deplete.
Ouka has devised the means of processing them altogether.
She changed the trajectory of her flight and headed directly above. She confirmed that the variants were chasing her, and steadily headed into the sky. When she entered the cloud her visibility worsened, but sun appeared in front of her soon enough.
After rising high enough to feel the moon right beside her, Ouka turned off the booster all at once. She drew an arch and started diving, the variants also started chasing her dutifully.
Once again, she started the booster's propulsion and increased the rate at which she fell.
When she reached an altitude of 1,000 meters, she turned her gun into particles and fused it with her arm once again.
The stakes slid to her elbow and started giving off a deep, red shine.
Altitude 500 meters, 300, 200, 100.
The moment she descended below 100 meters, she fired 《Count's Fang》 from her right hand.
The huge stakes were emitted, the sea of variants' center was the impact point. Like a missile, the stake exploded the moment it reached the sea of variants. Because of the explosion's impact, the sea has been blown off into the ground.
Ouka reversed the booster propulsion, decelerating.
On the verge of falling to the ground Ouka rebuilt her body's posture and avoided the impact.
A mere moment after, the variant spheres from behind her which couldn't kill the momentum have crashed into one spot making a loud, fleshy and wet noise. The variants that couldn't retain their original form liquefied and began to fuse again.
Ouka, after landing on the ground, sliding, drew her left arm to the side, not killing its momentum after fall.
The moment all spheres trailing her have crashed down, she released three crimson stakes.
A roar resounded throughout the city. The stake has erased the fusion of variant spheres not leaving a trace.
Ouka seemed as if she was about to drop on her knees any time, she clenched her teeth.
"Are EXE's reinforcements here yet...?!"
《"Other Dullahans seem to be under similar circumstances. However, Kurogane Hayato is heading this way. If that guy comes, the situation should visibly lighten up."》
"...Vlad, how long has passed since the battle started?"
《"Less than three minutes."》
"...we're going back. Our comrades will be in danger soon."
Ouka expanded her wing-like cloak and headed to the sky.
She intended to return to where her comrades were but,
In the direction she was traveling to, the air in there was completely filled with variant spheres.
The spheres laughed and giggled with Kiseki's voice. She dropped her line of sight, but the sea of variants that should have been erased was completely covering the ground.
She shivered seeing the rate of erosion being much faster than she expected it to be.
Although she wasn't all that confident when it came to her power, it was way beyond her expectations.
At this rate, far from destroying them all, her comrades will——
"Ngh, you're in the wayy——!!"
Enraged, Ouka rushed at the army of spheres.
While Ouka was struggling, Mari created a barrier, she repeatedly recreated it every time it was broken. About a half of the wall created by Ikaruga has been broken.
Every time Mari ran an operative procedure in her head she felt pain, she recalled the words Ouka said when she went to destroy the variants.
"...as if I'd lose."
Although it was silly little rivalry, it was enough for her raise her fighting spirit.
Mari laughed fearlessly and wiped the blood coming from her nose with her sleeve.
"...it's cause I've been asked to do this...by that stubborn woman...!"
While listening to Mari's monologue, Ikaruga and Usagi were taking actions of their own.
Usagi who ran out of bullets has removed a knife from her waist and by affixing it to the rifle with a winding belt, she made a bayonet.
"I will struggle until the very end. 'Giving up' doesn't exist in Saionji Usagi's dictionary."
Laughing firmly Usagi readied the bayonet.
Ikaruga picked up scattered empty shell casings in silence and put them in her mouth while touching the ground. It didn't have an effect to an extent of a Weiss Crystal, but she reinforced the damaged wall.
"Even a low-grade material like mithril isn't something that should be wasted. It's just like our platoon, I love it."
The three lined up intending to fight until the very end, without giving up.
They didn't escape and have come back to save Takeru and Ouka, they didn't have a speck of regret. If they instead fled as Takeru has ordered them to, it was then that they would have been regretting.
All of them felt that the place they belong to called 'platoon' was more important than anything else.
They were all folks beyond help who had an inseparable relationship, but if they were to die together, it might be satisfactory.
All three had the same thought, and lighting a flame in their hearts, they displayed the very last of their resistance.
——Unexpectedly, a metallic sound rang out behind them.
All three turned around. Hoping for Takeru to open his eyes, they looked back at him.
However, what Mari has seen was——
"Make in time——make it in timeee!!"
Ouka destroyed the last sphere, and hurried towards the place her comrades were by maximizing the amount of magic power used by the booster.
The crystal wall has almost collapsed, the expanded barrier was also gone. The red meat all around flocked inside.
The variants crept onto the walls and continued to penetrate it.
Ouka's outstretched hand grasped the sky in vain.
——In that instant.
Suddenly, the wall that covered her comrades was blown away by a tremendous shockwave.
The impact engulfed the variants surrounding it and as if purifying them, has made them perish.
"——!! What... was that!"
Ouka who was flying in the sky fueled by the blast continued to look at the ground zero from which impact came, in order to understand what happened.
A cloud of dust rose up, it danced and scattered away from the highway.
Before the thing in the center appeared, a flame spread out in the area with a loud sound.
In an instant, the smoke cleared up.
What appeared, was Mari, Usagi, Ikaruga... and an armored knight wearing an irregularly-colored flame.
She wondered if it was Takeru, but couldn't determine it for sure.
Although she has seen the appearance of Takeru's Witch Hunter Form before, it was clearly different from before.
The armor not only covered his body, there was also a helmet on his head.
That wasn't all. The shape was different from before, it was more distorted, it has changed into a more ominous shape.
It was as if——as if a devil has come out of the myths.
Despite being puzzled, Ouka landed in front of the armored knight.
As if being protected by the armored knight holding a sword, there were three of her comrades behind him. All three were looking at Takeru unable to hide their surprise seeing this appearance of his for the first time.
Ouka too, was the same.
"...Kusanagi? Is that you?"
She asked fearfully.
The armored knight turned his amber-colored eyes embedded into the helmet towards her.
《"...yeah. It's still, me."》
Certainly, it was Takeru's voice. It was a mechanical and flat, beastly and harsh distorted voice, but she could tell it was Takeru's voice.
There were many things she wanted to ask, relieved for the time being, Ouka smiled.
"That's great... that you're safe."
She ran up to him lightly and tried to convey her feelings to him.
If you and I, and those comrade of ours join forces it'll we'll be able to destroy this overflowing variant. Don't give up, we'll definitely save your little sister.
To convey what should be conveyed, she tried to put a hand on Takeru's shoulder.
However, before Ouka could put a hand on his shoulder, he put his on her shoulder. Ouka was off guard. That's because she believed in Takeru who was in front of her.
The moment she was hit by the flame, was the very same the armored knight touched her.
Unable to even raise a scream, Ouka was enveloped by flames.
There was no heat. However, she felt her body armor momentarily degrade.
The flames Takeru's entire body was clad with, scorched her armor piece by piece with a terrifying momentum, preying upon it.
A moment later.
Ouka's armor crumbled, and Witch Hunter Form was forcibly released. Inside of her head she heard Vlad's scream of agony which reached her. The broken off pieces of magical armor were all sucked into Takeru's armor and disappeared.
She plunged forward and fell over.
Her body was gently embraced by the armored knight and supported.
Ouka put a hand on Takeru's chest armor.
Takeru, more strongly hugged her body.
There was no hostility, only kindness. The flame from before too, from the moment it wrapped around her she knew it didn't intend to attack her. Ouka felt all of magic provided to her by Vlad being lost to Takeru. In fact, even Ouka's life force was sucked to an extent of making sure she doesn't die.
She didn't know why would Takeru do such a thing.
He faced towards the astonished three in the back.
《"Mari, Usagi, Suginami... I leave Ootori to you."》
The three who had anxious expressions on their faces heard his distorted but kind voice and approached him confused.
"...Takeru, you... that appearance."
Mari looked from Takeru to Ouka's body judging it and then looked at Takeru with a worried expression.
《"...there's no time for explanations. While I'm still myself, you guys take Ootori and leave this place."》
"...but...what are you going to do..."
《"If it's a way out, I can make one."》
"That's not what I meant...!"
Takeru stood up, moved away from Mari and the others and took a thrusting stance.
A wind had blown, and variant's movement stopped abruptly.
A number of eyeballs sticking to the variant has rotated and their line of sight was directed towards Takeru.
An azure magical circle appeared under Takeru.
However, the magical circle that had a simple coloring at first has immediately undergone a coloring change. A golden color and the color of night sky, it was what could be described as light of twilight.
The light diffused, converged on the blade and released a glow.
Mari felt a wave of unknown magic power and moved back.
She didn't know why did she do that. Maybe it was a witch's intuition. Maybe a biological instinct.
Seeing the distorted light the sword was clad in, she couldn't help but be terrified.
《"Kusanagi Double-Edged style——Unicorn's Destructive Lance."》
Takeru quietly muttered the technique's name and released a thrust.
The moment the godspeed thrust was unleashed, the blade grew. It continued to extend, it's length grew endlessly.
Variants approaching from afar were pierced and screamed.
Thrusts weren't techniques that would be normally used for wiping enemies in wide range. The thrust delivered a strong impact, but as far as damage went, it didn't deal much damage considering the enemy were variants.
However, the thrust Takeru released shined with the light of demise, and the same-colored flame swept down from the blade. A number of cries has rang out, and the variants were burned down by the flame surrounding the extended blade.
After that, the only thing remaining was a wavering, twilight-colored flame.
Takeru retracted the thrust and towards Mari and the others.
Between the comrades and Takeru there were burning twilight flames, creating a boundary line.
He stared at each of his comrades one after another, engraving their faces in his mind, and slowly turned around on the heel.
Then, he slowly started walking towards where his little sister was.
Mari and Usagi, feeling unspeakable anxiety and prompted by it, tried to call out and stop him.
However, the one who called out first, was Ouka.
Leaving Mari's arms, Ouka whipped her fading consciousness and reached out.
"...you need to carry the same burden together with me...!"
"I beg you...no matter the reason...don't kill your family with your own hands...!!'
"Even if that's....for her own sake...!"
Putting all her feelings behind it, Ouka reached out.
Takeru stopped his feet and looked up at the sky.
His inorganic, mechanical amber-like pupils reflected the moon.
《"...I, am not going to kill her only for her own sake..."》
He moved only his neck, turning back.
The amber pupils reflected the comrades.
Ouka understood. She understood the motive that pushed Takeru to kill Kiseki. Above all... his priority... rather than to fulfilling his little sister's wish,
——It were his comrades' lives.
He, in order to protect his comrades from Kiseki's power, intended to kill her.
Ouka's vision became hazy in Mari's arms, although she continued to reach out, soon enough she lost her consciousness.
Takeru started walking, heading to his little sister.
"Takeru! You can't go! I... I don't get it, but you can't!"
"You are our captain! I won't forgive you for abandoning that position!"
His comrades shouted, trying to stop him.
Only Ikaruga turned away and remained silent. But the left hand that grasped her right arm bit its nails into it and trembled as she tried to hold down her emotions.
Takeru shook everything off, and headed forward.
《"I'm sorry... everyone."》
He cleaved horizontally with his sword and the flames howled.
Heading for the variant covering the world, clad in flames, he marched forward.
Takeru's figure was concealed by the flame, and before long it could no longer be seen by his comrades.
The mass of variant eroded buildings and formed distorted objects.
As if building a castle. Created with flesh, a castle weaved with demon power.
As he proceeded, a sound of intense weapon blows reached his ear.
The helmet girl used a sword and a machine gun to fight the tentacles pouncing at her. She probably did her best, as the ground around the girl wasn't eroded by the variants.
Single-mindedly she continued to kill them until this moment.
As the girl breathed roughly, she noticed Takeru's presence.
"...you... the owner of the other twilight-type...!"
The girl spoke Takeru's name and took up a huge red two-handed sword.
After a moment, Takeru slowly aimed the tip of his sword at the girl. Rather than showing willingness to fight, he was only responding to the opponent's movement. At the moment, no curiosity welled inside him as to why did the girl knew his name.
Breathing roughly, the girl raised the sword up.
"Orochi... the promise, I can't keep it. This guy has awakened too...! I need to stop him...!"
Reacting to the girl's hostility, red flames swept down from the two-handed sword she was holding. Opposite of the distorted flame released by Takeru, a red flame which looked as if it embodied anger has spread.
The two confronted each other. When the urgency and the heat in the location has reached its peak, the girl jumped up high.
It was more than ten meters above. A leap impossible for a human being to achieve, after rising up to the limit the girl rotated her body forward.
Takeru who didn't move nor adjust his sword showed a reaction.
His self-consciousness disappeared for a moment as he caught the sight of the girl in the sky.
That stance. That movement. ——That was.
"Kusanagi Double-Edged style——Mantis Slope!"
The girl rotated while in free-fall adding to the blow she released.
No matter how he looked at it, it was Double-Edged style. Takeru who used Mantis Slope multiple times himself was surprise being attacked with it. He didn't know why has this attacker has known the Double-Edged style, but he could easily tell that was the case since he knew those techniques.
Takeru lowered his sword, and taking advantage of it he swung the sword above all at once.
At the same time as the sound of explosion roared, both of their flames have destroyed the surroundings.
A shockwave was generated from the point of contact, and the highway has finally completely collapsed.
He and the girl fell down towards the location Kiseki had fallen.
Even as they fell, the two's battle continued. Red wings appeared on the girl's back and she approached Takeru who was falling among the rubble. In nine cases out of ten he wouldn't win against an enemy in aerial combat against someone who had an ability to fly.
However, currently Takeru had no difficulties flying.
Spreading out his own flames, he flapped them as if they were wings.
The girl clicked her tongue and attacked Takeru.
Takeru triggered Soumatou. The sword strikes released at tremendous speed occasionally broke the falling debris, they intersected and released impacts.
After the amount of strikes released exceeded 10's, they finally landed on the ground.
At the same time as they landed, both of them kicked off the debris and leaped at each other.
《"Kusanagi Double-Edged style——"》
With himself as the center, he rotated grandly adding centrifugal force to his sword.
The rotation turned their flames into a tornado.
And after the momentum reached its peak, he sank his total body weight low, striking the enemy with his sword.
《"——One-Eyed Storm God!"》
Once again an explosion roared. Twilight and red flames mingled, swallowed everything and destroyed it.
Their swords intersected, and they started loudly pushing against one another.
Whereas awakened Takeru was intact, the flesh-and-blood girl's body suit started to melt in the flame's heat.
The light ran through the full-face helmet and shattered it. When the cracked helmet turned to cinders, from inside appeared spectacular blue hair. When he looked closely, from behind the beautiful blue hair extended ears that were clearly longer than that of humans.
The girl sharply narrowed her eyes, and while raising a roar she put all the strength she had into the sword.
In silence, Takeru pushed that strength back.
The difference in their skill was obvious. Double-Edged style was never a style that relied on brute strength. It was devised in order to confront an opponent who was mightier than the user, it was swordsmanship allowing maximizing the output and granted advanced hit rate.
While maintaining his dying self-awareness. Takeru judged how competent the other party was. Concluding, that she was immature.
《"I don't know who you are."》
《"Why are you using Double-Edged style - I don't know, and I'm not interested."》
From his armor-covered mouth, Takeru released an indifferent voice.
《"There's not much time left for me... I'll have you retire."》
He declared, and at that moment.
The inorganic pupils embedded in Takeru's helmet suddenly were dyed bright red.
The armor near his mouth opened mechanically, and he bared long beastly fangs.
He let out a roar akin to a lament.
The tremendous roar incited fear in the girl, and was enough to fill her with dread.
The girl who still had very young facial features let out a short shriek.
That fear created a tremendous opportunity. Takeru supported the sword with one hand, made a fist with his left hand and retracted it.
《"Double-Edged style——Monk with Iron Mallet."》
Along with the technique name, the first Takeru retracted was swung at ultra-speed. He struck the sword's edge with all its strength. Normally it wouldn't have added a strong force to it, but this technique combined with Soumatou and heretical power——the superimposing blows allowed him to oppose her power.
Along with a heavy, clunky sound the jostling was come to an end.
With an impact akin to explosion, the girl's body was blown far away.
The girl somehow outstretched her wings and tried to rebuild posture.
But, when she opened her eyes, an azure demon in front of her spread his wings of twilight.
His sword turned enormous and he took stance raising it far above.
The moment a distorted voice spun those words, Takeru unleashed the strongest technique he held which released eight attacks at once.
《"Double-Edged style——Yamata no Orochi!"》
It was a grand technique which could only be used as Soumatou was unleashed to its limit.
It was a technique from fairy tales which unleashed eight slashes at the exact same time.
Just before she was hit, the girl poised her sword, taking a defensive posture.
An eight-headed dragon swung down its sickle-shaped necks on her.
The girl succeeded protecting herself. However, she was unable to block it completely.
Her body, struck with the sword's blow was thrown to the ground at speed of sound. Not stopping at smashing her into ground, the slash made a huge crack in the ground.
The girl's figure disappeared in the crack.
Not feeling emotions after the fight ended, Takeru lowered his sword.
He started walking in order to return to the highway's collapsed wreckage.
Clad in flames, staggering like a spirit, he looked for his little sister's figure.
It was as if his brain was burning, his head was full of noise. He was no longer sure what situation he was in. However, he knew that his own existence was disappearing as if melting and would greet its end soon.
He had to hurry.
While he was still Kusanagi Takeru, he had to fulfill the promise.
He called his little sister's name.
Surrounded by debris and variant's meat, he didn't know where was she. As if wandering, Takeru tread firmly on the ground, scattering flames all around.
A warm wind was blowing with a loud sound.
Along with the flowing wind, waves of variants surged like a flood. All the rubble under his feet has become a part of the demon.
Takeru cut apart the demon waves and aimed for the variant's source.
Eventually, he found Kiseki's figure wrapped in white restraint suit.
He clenched the handle, and the sword shined for the third time.
It was signifying the end, the grant of gentle demise.
When he spoke the magic name, the blade shone even further.
Seeing Takeru's appearance in front of her, Kiseki was enveloped by fear.
Takeru tried to speak to her as her brother.
However, when he attempted to speak out, he noticed he is unable to.
Takeru's body no longer listened to him.
Therefore, he touched Kiseki's cheek.
Kiseki's distorted with fear expression shook.
The warmth, barely perceptible from outside the armor conveyed to her the fact of him being her brother.
She moved her arms behind Takeru and buried her face in his chest.
"Finally... you came, to end it..."
"I believed... that in the end... you will definitely come back to Kiseki..."
Rubbing her cheeks against him, Kiseki quietly shed tears.
"Onii-chan...don't go anywhere...any more...stay with Kiseki."
That was her heartfelt wish.
It was the wish of nearly broken human called Kiseki, her only salvation.
There, were no longer any remnants of Takeru. His hair was of azure-color, his eyes were amber-colored. With skin as hard as steel, the boundary between armor and skin was lost as it fused into his meat.
Clad in twilight flames, while charring his little sister's body,
Takeru hugged Kiseki with all strength he had.
After going this far, it was surely inevitable.
To protect Kiseki, to let her live a normal life... surely, it was just a pipe dream right from the beginning. He knew that this wish of his was too distant.
Even so, he continued to pursue it because he didn't want to admit it. That for Kiseki, dying by Takeru's hand was exactly the same salvation to her, he didn't want to admit it.
Takeru, as a human. As an older brother called Kusanagi Takeru.
He just wanted to grant his little sister happiness.
By granting his little sister happiness... he wanted to make himself happy.
With the remaining sense of self, he sincerely apologized to Ouka.
For not being able to protect the promise he made to her, to walk alongside her. Manipulated her, and while he still maintained consciousness he held his little sister's hand and betrayed her.
From the bottom of his heart, Takeru apologized to Ouka.
I...will kill Kiseki, and die myself.
If for Kiseki that was salvation, and if he could save his comrades' lives like.
If that's the only way——
Takeru grasped the sword tightly, and touched Kiseki's back with the tip of the sword.
Like that, he will pierce himself as well. If Kiseki desired death from Takeru, the aggregation of demons will also meet its end. Even if not so, the grant of this sword would obliterate any magical existence even if it were to be a God.
There was no need to hesitate.
Resolving himself, he retracted the tip of the sword and squeezed the handle.
——Are you really fine with that?
Suddenly, from the very depths of his soul he heard his own voice.
Along Takeru's cheek, tears have streamed down.
In his noise-ridden head, he saw the platoon room's door.
From the other side of the door, he heard his comrades' voices.
Takeru hesitantly put his hand on the doorknob. Along with gentle light, appearance of his comrades entered his vision.
Usagi was chewing on biscuits and flailing her feet. Ikaruga was reading a book. Mari and Ouka folded their arms in front of their chests and like usual, were at each other's throats.
Just seeing that scenery, tears flowed without stopping.
That was certainly, the place he belonged to.
His important place.
Comrades noticed Takeru, and when they smiled, the illusion faded away.
Takeru fully realized what it means to die.
He fully realized just how large and important that place was for him. He thought there was no need to hesitate any longer when it came to protecting his comrades by dying along with his little sister.
But he was wrong. Takeru has forgotten.
Thinking only about his little sister and his comrades, he didn't think of what he would feel in regards to his own death.
If he dies, he will no longer meet his comrades.
If he dies, he won't return to that place.
Something that simple should have been considered at the very beginning——Takeru had second thoughts.
His mouth has woven a wail.
Inside of his chest, purely selfish thoughts were coursing through.
I——don't want to die yet.
Strength left his grasp on the handle.
Even though he promised... that they will die together, even though he did promise that.
In the very end, eventually, Takeru lost to his ego.
He lost to his feelings yearning for his comrades.
The sword fell from Takeru's hands.
How selfish, what a horrible guy, he scolded himself.
Even though he knew this choice led to the worst result there was,
Of all things to happen, to hesitate over his own life.
I don't want to die.
Simply for that as the reason——will it lead to the same result that happened five years ago?
............I don't want that!
Takeru discarded the sword.
He discarded the sword and held Kiseki even more strongly.
Just like Kiseki has granted memories of her suffering to Takeru, he tried to pour his own emotions into her.
Interweaving with his comrades, a number of emotions.
His growth as a person, and his own wish.
Inside of his head, the remnants of his existence were summoned and screamed.
Don't give up. Don't give up.
What's this, don't give me this shit. It's obvious that such a bad ending is no good.
As if I'd give up.
His comrades, his little sister, his own life.
It's not that I don't choose anything! I choose all of it!
It's fine even if I'm called selfish! I'm fine being selfish!
I won't go anywhere, I will live, and alive I will stay together with Kiseki!
But I——I want to go back to my comrades as well!
I'll take Kiseki and go back together with her!
That is my wish!
That's why no matter what happens to me,
No matter how difficult it is for someone else,
How sad it is,
————Never again, I definitely won't give up!
"Kusanagi Double-Edged style Secret Art————Kusanagi Sword."
Takeru heard a voice at the same moment he resolved himself.
What he saw first, was a flash. Next, approaching from the front was a figure which turned into light.
Before he realized what happened, the light burst in the center of Kiseki.
Right in front of his eyes, Kiseki's body scattered in all directions.
As Takeru was being blown away by impact, he reached out to Kiseki.
Kiseki too, stretched her hand out to him, but her body began to disappear starting from the center.
Leaving only her head behind, Kiseki was swallowed by light.
Takeru's body was blown away and his consciousness fell into the darkness.
Ragnarøkkr Enchant (ラグナロク・エンチヤント) - It's written as (神殺しの付与) meaning "Godslaying Enchantment". So, why Ragnarøkkr and not Ragnarök? Because these two mean two different things, Ragnarök means "Fate of the Gods" while Ragnarøkkr means "Twilight of the Gods" and twilight appears very often in this book.