Takeru was literally sent flying by Mari and landed on the roof of a floating building.
He almost slammed into the ground on the roof, but an invisible cushion magic wrapped his body and absorbed the impact.
However, the momentum wasn't fully suppressed and he crashed into the fence while rotating.
"〜〜〜〜Tell me something before you do it...!"
Raising his body from the recessed fence, he confirmed his location.
Apparently, he was on top of a flying department store, children playing with toys and ice cream-eating student couples looked at Takeru with surprised expressions.
"Hello... d-don't mind me〜...!"
He apologized readily, and checked the damage on his body. Just by moving his legs and arms a severe pain ran through his body, if he ignored it he was still able to move his body.
From the pouch at his waist he took out first aid supporters and wrapped them around his legs and arms.
When he looked around after performing first aid, he saw something like a gate in the fence.
It was a magical tube was used for moving between buildings or to descend to the ground.
Takeru dragged his aching body to it, and jumped inside the tube.
Similarly to sliding, he slipped through the boggy magic tube.
While watching the cityscape through the translucent tube, Takeru sharpened his spirit.
It was in order to feel and find Lapis' whereabouts.
《"Lapis! Can you hear me?!"》
When he tried calling her, he received no reply but he was able to roughly feel her localization.
"...in the south-west direction... quite far away...!"
Takeru solidified his will, passed the filter which had a lukewarm texture, and landed on the next building. At the same time as he landed he started running towards next tube and then dived into it.
It was overwhelmingly faster than running. The moments he wasn't exhausting himself he was recovering.
Running from one tube to another, he aimed for the target point.
From here onward it's West Side... I need to brace myself.
He put his hand on the sword while sliding, and closed his mouth tightly.
He raised his alertness, it was at that time.
Right next to the tube Takeru slipped into, something was sent flying and approaching him.
It was Pureblood party members flying on the catalysts. They wanted to avoid fighting in the East Side which would make them stand out, and waited until Takeru came to the West Side.
There were two of them. Only two, but there was nothing Takeru could do to them while they were in the air.
The enemy were already aiming their wands at the tube.
"Can't be helped!"
Takeru pulled out the sword and of all things he cut up the tube.
It was the safety equipment at work probably, but Takeru stopped along with the effect propelling his slide.
While the torn-up tube started self-repairing itself, Takeru had already jumped outside.
Although there was no scaffold in the distance he could jump to, fortunately the enemy's position was right beside him.
He successfully managed to catch on the enemy's flight catalyst at the last moment.
The enemy's balance was lost, he started going round and round while falling quickly.
Takeru straddled the falling catalyst, grabbed the enemy's head and pressed his blade against the enemy's body.
"Rebuild our posture and shoot the other flight catalyst! If you don't...!"
"Don't look down on me, rather than shoot my brethren I——"
During the fall, Takeru slowly sank the blade into the enemy's shoulder.
Because of the incredible pain, the enemy screamed.
"I-I got it! I'll do as you say!"
The enemy got cold feet, and starting the flight catalyst's jet he rebuilt their posture.
And then he fired magic bullets towards another person straddling a catalyst.
The flight catalyst of the other enemy started releasing smoke, and continued to drop down to far away lands.
Takeru sharply narrowed his eyes and put the blade against the enemy's neck.
"It ain't over yet... continue flying towards that Eliza woman's mansion."
While terrified, the enemy responded with a trembling voice.
At the same time as she circled in the air, Mari released a storm of light bullets from several hundred small magical circles.
The light bullets flew with a momentum akin to that of a Gatling gun flying straight, attacking Eliza who was sitting on the throne.
Eliza activated countering magic.
Generated black wings wrapped around her as if protecting her. When the light bullets approached with a loud sound and touched the wings, they were parried away.
Before the wings could spread out, Mari dived right in front of Eliza.
A huge 20 meter long blade composed of rainbow-colored particles closed onto Eliza.
However, Eliza deployed a new magic with a cool expression on her face.
Darkness appeared on Eliza's nails, it was pitch black and enormous.
The light and darkness clashed, and a huge blast roared from the contact point of two opposing forces.
"Stupid girl, remember one thing. Aurora magic... it's certainly powerful, but in the end, it's light-type magic. Its weakness is darkness property right? Aren't you being too naïve thinking you can defeat me with brute force?"
Eliza gracefully fanned herself with the western fan she held in one hand, and like a teacher she pointed out Mari's weak point.
"Aurora" property had a highly versatile magic, but it has strong and weak points. It is weak against "Blood", "Gloom", "Rotting", and "Poison" which are properties created from darkness, therefore even the aurora magic that specializes in destructive power, upon collision its power is significantly decreased by about half.
Of course, the aurora property was weak against the darkness property too but...
That magic power density is no joke...! The operative procedure was also devised to be resistant against light properties...!
Looking at the claws that clashed with the light blade, Mari analyzed the quality of Eliza as a witch.
Both 《Daidalos》 and 《Hades Claw》 required a considerable amount of magic power and a complex operative procedure. For sorcerers using the original darkness property, it would require three people to build the operative procedure and supplement a necessary amount of magical power. And yet she did it alone, coming up with that in just a moment was no easy task and required skill.
『Aurora』's attack with highest destructive power, the 《Aurora Gate》 would be able to break through it, but there was no opportunity to build up such a large spell.
"Ancient Wizards tend to do that don't they, over-relying on the strength of their properties and exposing their weak points. The magic road where you rely on your talent will only make you end up second rate. If you put enough effort in your light magic, you would be able to use darkness magic too... but you have neglected that effort haven't you."
"...I know that already!"
"Speaking of witches, being young is just disadvantages you know? In order to master my "All Talents", I have spent many years to cover all magic properties... unlike a brat like you who's only sharp!"
Eliza brandished the fan she held in her hand.
A countless number of new magical circles were deployed, and magic was triggered in Mari's direction.
"I wonder, can a witch of your level block this?"
Along with the mockery, magic was released. Pillars of various-colored light appeared.
Nh——It's not a simple Cannon! It's darkness-type, but they are all of different properties!
Mari dispelled her light blade, flew backwards and expanded protective magic.
A protective magical wall was a simple magic. In order to protect herself from each respective attribute she build various operative procedures for resistance, building many layers of the wall.
The laser has repeatedly hit the wall, one by one reliably breaking it down.
The magical laser didn't stop. Mari continued to build new protective walls repeatedly building up the procedures but——when a new attack was released from an unexpected direction, her response was too late.
It was different from darkness-type property. It gave off a dazzling white light.
All of Mari's protective walls shattered, and the cannon hit her in the left shoulder.
Mari's body was violently blown to the side, and she barely managed to rebuild her posture.
But when she immediately raised her face groaning in pain, Eliza was already right beside her and put her hands on her neck.
"I've told you right? My property is "All Talents". It matters not whether it's light, darkness, fire, or water. There's no good or bad points in it. I can use any magic other than that of the ancient properties, I don't need to build up complex operative procedures to deal with conflicting magic properties."
"You have my praise for instantly using body strengthening magic to reduce the damage but... you aren't a second-rate but a third-rate after all. Like this, I can't have much expectations of you in the future... how unfortunate, even though we finally have a valuable "Aurora" property..."
"It's my education policy to pluck out bad buds early, farewell girlie."
Eliza's 《Hades Claw》 curved turning into sickles. Although Mari was suffering in pain and unable to breathe as she was strangled, when she saw the nails swung up, a smile appeared on her face.
"You too...rely on...properties..."
"Hmph, all bark no bite, are you?"
"I'm unlike you——I'll rely on it with pride!"
Mari mustered all of her power, and rebuilt 《Aurora Blade》 on her right hand.
Eliza made a bored expression and immediately expanded protective wall of darkness.
Easily blocking the sword of light.
"That's why I've told you, Aurora magic won't——"
"I wonder about that! Property reversal! ——《Eclipse Blade》!"
Immediately after Mari laughed fearlessly, Eliza was horrified.
The light blade Mari gripped changed its base color from rainbow to jet black.
"Eclipse... you said?! Impossible, "Moon" ancient property?! Why do you possess magic that only exists in concept?!"
In front of upset Eliza, cracks appeared on the protective wall of darkness property.
"Magic is constantly evolving...! If you think I haven't been attending to AntiMagic Academy's magic research then you were wrong! "Aurora" isn't a property as simple as you think it is!!"
"...no way... impossible...!"
"Both "Sun" and "Moon"——I have knocked them down from the seat of ancient properties!"
Ancient properties were called as such because they were impossible to recreate with any other properties.
However, if it's possible to use one of them by applying other properties, that property will be removed from the category of ancient properties.
Just like in the past it was made possible to use "Tower" property by applying "Fire" and "Earth"... just like it's possible to use "Sky" property by applying "Water"...
Mari was able to use "Sun" and "Moon" by applying "Aurora" property alone.
After Eliza's darkness protective wall was broken, she expanded a light protective barrier. "Moon" property was darkness-type. It should have been weak against a protective wall of light with resistance operative procedures on it.
She acted thinking so——however.
Immediately after Mari crushed the protective wall of darkness, her sword transformed into sword of light with "Sun" property.
Eliza's face turned pale, and she released her hands from Mari's neck to concentrate on building the protective walls. She tried to place a protective wall of darkness in rapid succession but——
She couldn't keep up. Mari's sword of light changed properties in a flash.
It was an absurd speed of building up operative procedures. Moon, Sun, Aurora. Eliza didn't know any other witch who was capable of rotating magic of different characteristic like that other than herself.
Multiple layers of protective wall broken at incredible speed in front of her.
"I won't kill you...! But I'll have you taste pain until you feel like dying!"
Mari's outcry echoed.
Determining that she would lose at this rate, Eliza abandoned a fair magical match.
Of all things she decided to take the action of a scum.
She outstretched her fan in the direction of a place far away, and expanded a purplish-red magical circle.
The place she was aiming at was East Side's floating building.
Mari knew that the building she aimed for was the East Side's student dormitory.
"?! No way, you...!"
To Mari's horror, Eliza grinned.
"Think of this too, as of study about war."
After saying so, Eliza shot 《Quietus》 magic at the student dormitory.
The bullet of distorted light flew towards the dormitory at high speed.
Mari immediately interrupted the battle and followed the light bullet.
Pouring all magic she had into wheels on her legs, she flew quicker than wind.
Flying at speed an eye can't catch up to, Mari was succeeded in overtaking the light bullet.
She opened her arms widely, and expanded huge magic to protect the student dormitory.
Raising magic to maximum output, she activated a magic decreasing the bullet's speed.
After the 《Quietus》 light bullet entered the magic's range, its speed has decreased and it slowly moved towards dormitory. Determining that 《Quietus》 power and range was too big to block, she moved under the bullet and hoarded all the power she had available in her right hand.
She didn't need any tricks if it's only changing the trajectory.
Mari filled her hand with rainbow glitter and punched the bullet with her fist.
Magic power exploded, and the light bullet's trajectory was moved higher.
The speed-decreasing effect of 《Aurora Field》 was dispelled, and the light bullet rose up to the sky.
And the moment it touched the barrier preventing Sanctuary from invading in, it caused a tremendous explosion.
Damage... there was none. The buildings caught up in the explosion were also unscathed.
Unable to feel relieved, Mari turned around to where she left Eliza behind.
However, Eliza was no longer there.
"Grr... she ran away...!"
Bitterly clenching her teeth, Mari chased after Eliza. In this fierce battle her magic power was consumed intensely.
"It's no time to collapse...! Wait for me, Takeru!"
Mari focused herself and resumed her flight.
In order to protect Takeru who promised to take her back with him, she rushed to the West Side.
Thanks to the captured flight catalyst and the enemy sorcerer, Takeru was able to take the shortest route and head towards Eliza's mansion.
The far West Side had less signs of life in it. There were fewer floating buildings, and noticeable things like luxurious houses were standing out instead.
They had strangely old-fashioned medieval designs. AntiMagic Academy's buildings were built mimicking the aesthetics sense of witch-hunting's birthplace, but these were sticking out even more. Although it wasn't a bad thing to love old art, this sight made it evident that West Side was structured on basis of ancestry and pedigree.
"An exclusive residential area huh... so this is the den of West Side's executives?"
While listening to the answer of his captive, he look around for Lapis' whereabouts. Then, he raised a voice after noticing something.
"That's wrong direction! You——"
He turned towards the captive again and shoved the sword's edge towards him. That moment,
The head of the captive who was steering the flight catalyst was pierced by a magic bullet.
He was being aimed at from somewhere.
Even if he knew from where he was shot, he couldn't do anything about it. He couldn't defend himself either and was shoot through the leg and flank.
The flight catalyst lost its magic supply, and was falling. Although there was a safety magic embedded in flight catalysts, the one-seater only ensured safety of the driver.
When the flight catalyst crash-landed on the ground, Takeru's body hit the ground and received the damage from the impact.
He rolled away from the debris, and his body finally stopped moving.
His body was all beat up. Right arm broken, legs useless. Some of his internal organs were ruptured. Takeru clenched his teeth, and using the sword like a cane he tried to stand up.
Takeru's head was full of noise, but he was able to faintly perceive a rustling sound.
Around Takeru who did an emergency landing, appeared executives who came from the residences, they were the Pureblood Party members. On the street and in the trees shades, he could see their figures in the window's, holding snipe-type wands.
"...prepare to fire!"
A superior-like person raised his voice.
It was a desperate situation. As he was losing consciousness, Takeru only could seek help.
Ouka, Usagi, Ikaruga, Mari. Even the Student Council President and captain Kurogane were fine.
Anyone, anyone would be fine.
Right now, I can't afford to stop here.
With an anguished expression, Takeru called her name.
He was reminded of his own helplessness when he has only his body. Just how much he was relying on Lapis... and just how much he needed her. He was unable to put it in words. It was because of this despair that he realized that in full.
I need you.
Takeru stood up, he stood up in order to pick up his only partner.
In order to meet her, to become partners again.
Just seeking help won't work. Just relying on others, won't work.
Move. Move move move move.
I promised not to give up on anything any more. I decided to become strong.
I resolved myself to protect Kiseki, my comrades... and my partner!
I can't——be stopped in a place like this!
Takeru pulled out his sword. The only thing he was proud of, his only strength.
"No matter the obstacle in front of me... I will cut the way open...!!"
He stood up.
In order to boast of his strength. In order to stood proudly in front of those who are important to him.
He heard the sound of enemy charging their magic. The death's invitation mercilessly surrounded Takeru.
The day was nearing its end already, and the sky was dyed in colors of twilight.
He noticed a shadow standing on the roof of a house full of enemies, and looked towards it. He could feel an intense gaze from it.
That guy, looked different from the other Pureblood Party members.
It was a black man. He looked insolent, or maybe exaggerated, his figure standing there with arms open made it seem as if he rebelled against everything.
The hero always comes late, that's what people say.
The hero will definitely appear whenever there's a pinch, that's what people say.
But there was no way something that convenient would happen.
Reality is different. Reality is always ruthless.
Whether it's coming late, or coming whenever there's a predicament,
What certain at that time——was "Despair".
"You are invariably hot-headed and stubborn.
Seeing you alive, makes me from the bottom of my heart happy, joyful,
and makes me sick, Kusanagi Takeru."
Takeru didn't forget. There was no way he could forget.
That voice, that appearance, that plight.
Standing with its back to the setting sun, that despair!
Takeru's body forgot fatigue and pain, and was invigorated by anger.
He robbed Mari of her family, wiped out the 15th platoon... the root of all evil that took everything from Kyouya and Yoshimizu.
Necromancer Haunted. Takeru's unforgivable nemesis.
"Ohoho, whenever I see you, there are wounds all over your body. It's very fun to watch, but aren't you tired of that yet? Or maybe you like that kind of thing? Ah, are you a maso? Noo, I hate maso's! I have hate for the same kind and it's disgusting!"
"Bastard...! Why are you here...!"
"I am I am I am here〜. After all, Mari-san came here too right? Since you took her away from me several months ago, how many days do you think I have spent crying into my pillow. Ever since then I have been longing for this day where we who are like Orihime and Hikoboshi will cross our paths again."
"I will never let you take Mari!"
"What are you saying now, looking like this. You have no Mistilteinn, no comrades, moreover, you are surrounded by enemies. What can a human like you do?"
While exaggeratedly looking up at the sky, Haunted provoked Takeru.
It was frustrating but he couldn't refute. Although he didn't give up yet, the chances of him winning were equal to none.
Nevertheless, in front of an existence overwhelmingly more dangerous then the army of sorcerers, Takeru poised his sword.
The Pureblood party member who was wary of Takeru called out to Haunted who stood on the roof.
"Haunted-dono, we are grateful for your assistance. However, this is a mission entrusted to us by Eliza-sama, please do not meddle!"
Haunted laughed off the speech, and looked displeased at the sorcerer.
"...assist you? I had no such intention so don't worry."
"Is that so! Then, please your eyes with the sight of this filthy empty getting elminat——"
"——No, the ones eliminated will be you guys?"
No one had noticed when the massacre of the Pureblood Party had began. From under the sorcerer's feet black thorns stabbed upwards. The thorns penetrated the sorcerer's bodies and pierced their brains.
Then the thorns have broke out through the mouth and eyes, blooming into flowers of variant.
"...Captain? What happ——?! UWAAAaAaaaa!"
One of the subordinates noticed his superior's ghastly death and started fleeing.
Seeing that, everyone in the surroundings started running and scattered away like little spiders.
Haunted didn't let them escape. The despair's chosen one spread death without discrimination.
A black swamp appeared under a house, and a huge thorn appeared from inside.
The hell of escaping Pureblood Party members began. A scream has covered by another scream, and the residential area was covered with cries of agony. Not a single person escaped, not a single person was left alive, everyone was preyed upon. After swallowing everyone, 《Belladonna Garden》 manifested as a single huge flower.
Haunted went on the flower variant's back, and slowly gliding from the roof he landed on the ground. Then, he slowly walked towards Takeru, swaying.
"...you.... your own comrades...!"
"Comrades? Me and them? You're being rude. Don't lump me with that discriminating bunch. I love all human races with or without magic, without any prejudice. Praise humanity. Humanity is wonderful! That's my belief!"
Takeru thrust his sword at Haunted who approached him from the front. The tip of the sword had definitely pierced through the heart at the center of his body. Haunted didn't even pull out the sword, as if it was natural, he moved forward with his heart still pierced by the sword.
"You can't kill me, nope. This is no good at all!"
"Ghh, what's your goal?! Was there a need to attack them?!"
"Ohhh?! There was a need! A great need!'
Takeru pulled out his sword, and the moment he tried to slice Haunted from his head to chest, Haunted extended his arms and wound them around Takeru's neck.
"Yeees, now don't move〜. Even if I look like this I'm really good at playing doctor, I know a lot about human body. Raise your hand if it hurts, okaay—?!"
Heat was released from the hands gripping his neck, an abnormal change occurred inside of Takeru's body.
It was some kind of magic. Takeru struggled trying to escape, but Haunted's arms were stone hard and wouldn't let him go.
However, despite having his neck strangled and raised up, Takeru felt the pain in his body disappear. The wounds done by the sniper bullets also disappeared without trace. When he realized what was being done to him, Takeru's mind was filled with suspicion and anger.
"What's the meaning of this...?!"
"I have recovered you! You were unable to move like that right?"
Haunted released his hands and Takeru fell to the ground pulled by gravity.
After being able to breathe again, he took a deep breath and once again mercilessly cut Haunted.
It was a direct slash straight from the top of his head.
Haunted's body was split in two from his head to his chest.
However, when Haunted hit his head with both his hands, the torn apart body let out a wet sounds and was returned to its original form. Although the bones were a bit slower, they fused after a mere few seconds.
It was appropriate to call him undead.
"Ahh〜. There's a mountain of things I want to tell you, Kusanagi Takeru, but let's leave the questions and answers for later. First we have to silence the outsiders, don't you think so?"
Takeru, who glared at Haunted looked around only momentarily. The Pureblood Party had surrounded them and was in close proximity.
Surprisingly, around a hundred people gathered. Manifesting an attitude saying they definitely won't escape, they foolishly approached in a flock.
"Haunted you bastard! You betrayed us!"
"Betrayed? What foolishness are you saying... the ones to betray were you purebloods right? The Senate's decision regarding Mistilteinn and Kusanagi Takeru's treatment is pending, and they were entrusted to the East Side. The ones who broke the pledge are you guys."
"Don't mess around! There's no way someone as loyal to Eliza-sama as you would listen to Senate's bullshit!"
"Wow, the latter guys made such naïvely accurate analysis I feel like giving him a candy and the former ones had such a completely idiotic retarded delusions! Listen everyone! I only sacrifice myself for my own beliefs! Based on my own desires! Even if I feel a thrill whenever I'm injured I pass on being a flunkie of some cowgirl!"
When Haunted emphasized on his thoughts, the enemy's vigilance further strengthened.
Everyone had "madman" on their lips, describing him.
"Ahha! Seems like you didn't understand〜how incredibly regretful."
Not looking regretful in the least, Haunted pulled out the sword "Dáinsleif" from his waist with a laughter and poised it.
Inevitably, Takeru and Haunted stood back-to-back.
Impossible alliance. Impossible ally. Impossible and improbable, the despair and the demon have joined forces.
——No such thing.
The moment their joint struggle started, the next moment they turned around and their swords collided.
"——I'd rather fucking die than stand back to back with you!"
"——Nice! That's precisely why you are my enemy, Kusanagi Takeru...!"
Seeing an opportunity when the two exchanged blows, the sorcerers begun their attack.
Takeru and Haunted parried their swords, and started their respective battles.
Riding on the momentum after being parried, Takeru plunged into the enemy army. Vigilant of Haunted and impatient, almost all of the enemies left their houses and crowded densely on the center of the road.
Like that, they were unable to maximize the effect of ranged magic attacks. They couldn't shoot magic bullets because of the possibility of hitting their allies.
Takeru entered under the enemies, and steadily but consistently slaughtered them.
With the momentum after being parried, spinning round and round like a ballerina Haunted rammed into the enemy army. Ignoring magic bullets aiming for him, he cut up enemies as he pleased.
Even as his body was pierced, or subjected to restraining magic he wasn't bothered. He brushed them off like mosquito bites.
It was as if two tigers were shoot into a flock of fawns.
One of the sorcerers stepped back frightened.
"Ma...Magical Knights, forward! Destroy the targets!"
Against the two beasts trampling over them, the Pureblood Party instructed to bring out what could be said to be their trump card.
Takeru and Haunted who were rampaging around could hear the sound of metal rubbing against each other.
When the sorcerers hurriedly retreated to the back, armor-wearing knights have appeared have appeared from behind them. They weren't Dragoons, those were thin power suits. In their hands there were swords of light created with magical power.
The Alchemist's latest suits in combination with sorcerers knowledgeable about swordsmanship.
There were a dozen of them. They had a stupidly-looking mannerism and made a formation, raising the swords in front of their chests.
In front of the new threat, Takeru and Haunted——started laughing.
"No way a sword——"
"——Is going to work on me is there!"
Takeru jumped forward by using Soumatou, and closing distance momentarily he cut down two magical swordsmen at once. Haunted created a swamp under the feet of knight in front, and ignoring the armor pierced through him with a thorn.
The two's rampage didn't stop. There was nothing the enemy was able to do against Takeru's speed and Haunted's immortality.
Exploding debris, resounding screams, in the gaps between magic the two performed a mad sword dance.
They cut down everyone who stood in their way, and at the end——they clashed squarely once again.
Overlapping their swords, each of them glared at his sworn enemy.
Heaps of corpses surrounded them. No one was alive and breathing other than those two.
"Bastard, what are trying to do...! Cut this out and answer me!"
"The reason is simple...! This is not where you should die, that's all!"
"Don't fuck around...! There is no reason for you to keep me alive, there is no reason for you not to kill me!"
As Takeru raged, Haunted laughed evilly.
"I remember it... that wonderful struggle, that wonderful defeat!"
"I remember it too! That shitty massacre from back then! That bitter victory!"
In response to Takeru's adamant attitude, Haunted's face loomed forward.
"I reject you with everything I have. Your shallow claims, your shallow salvation, your shallow mask. All of that shallow goodness disgusts me. Through my long long life whenever I saw self-satisfied people like you, all that of those filthy bugs and their shallow beliefs have despaired in front of despair. They all cried calling for help!"
"But you were different! Despite being shallow you stood up never giving up and broke me! You also confronted other threats than me, even in front of Kusanagi Kiseki's fate you never gave up!"
Haunted relayed his passion to Takeru with an ecstatic expression.
"I've seen it all, your struggle! Kusanagi Orochi and Kurogane Hayato walk the path of compromise, you alone choose the pipe dream to save everything! To think a powerful existence like you still existed in this world! It's so thick! It will be my delight to crush such thick salvation! You are my enemy——『Hope』!"
After mercilessly pushing away Takeru's sword, Haunted looked into into his face with madness in his eyes.
"That's why I will neevvverrrrrrrr allow you to drop dead in some place I don't know of or become my ally!! I will not acknowledge the rematch with you unless it's in appropriate place, appropriate time and after you regain appropriate power!"
"I'll say it frankly, without that you aren't complete! Right now you are a small fry who can't be my opponent! Reclaim Mistilteinn, only then we will face each other in a match!"
Haunted blown away Takeru's sword with all his strength.
Unable to ride on that flow, Takeru was blown away and crashed into the wall of a house.
Even as he collapsed, he kept glaring at Haunted.
Haunted turned his back towards him, and with a smile as great as possible he raised his left arm up.
"Tell Mari-san that I'm sorry and can't meet her. After all, she will surely come here."
"Now then——let's meet again on the battlefield, Kusanagi Takeru."
A bubbling black swamp appeared under his feet, and Haunted's body slowly sank into it.
Takeru was unable to stop him.
Or rather than being unable to, he didn't even try.
Right now I have no power to fight with that guy, he realized the obvious.
His sword pierced the bricks on the ground and he roared into the sky. It was a humiliating declaration of war. He had his wounds healed, ended up being saved, and mocked that he's incomplete.
The only thing Takeru had, his pride was hurt.
Even though he knew that already, he was pointed that out exaggeratedly.
Takeru was full of hatred. He hated the man called Haunted. Just like Haunted wouldn't forgive Takeru's existence, Takeru could not allow that man to exist any longer.
"Definitely...! I'll definitely cut you down one day...!"
In order to settle the score with his sworn enemy, Takeru engraved the pain and conviction in his demon eyes.
The sun was sinking and the sky was dyed with azure.
Lapis is waiting. I need to hurry.
Takeru switched his attention immediately and ran into Eliza's mansion.
Eliza's residence was in an underground space where West Side's pureblood faction was meeting.
Lapis was in there. She was suspended, trapped inside of a semi-transparent cube-shaped space.
It was exactly the same thing that was used by AntiMagic Academy's tower with Magical Heritages, something manufactured by Alchemist company. Even Sacred Treasures were unable to get out of this barrier without a contractor.
Lapis opened her eyes and from inside, she moved her gaze towards the purplish-red woman sitting on the throne.
"Hey... I wonder if Magical Heritages see dreams?"
Suddenly, Eliza asked her a question. Lapis once again, slowly closed her eyes.
"I do not know how it is for other Magical Heritages, but at least I myself do see them. They are not fantasies or desires, only memory of the past."
"Can it be for a clear reason like memory maintenance?"
"No, it's probably a way of reflecting upon the memory that have left a deep impression on me in the past. 'Memories' is a correct expression."
Hearing that, Eliza burst into laughter.
"Wait wait, an inorganic matter like you receiving 'deep impressions'? 'Memories'? You sure are saying strange things... your hearts, your minds are artificial right?"
"The principle of souls dwelling inside of matter has not been clarified yet, but principles of soul dwelling inside of humans are also unknown. Your brains and our magical circuits are only information processing apparatus. It is the soul that's responsible for giving us a will. In both case, there is no difference when it comes to the soul."
"Don't make me laugh. I never admit that inorganic souls and our souls are the same."
"That does seem like purebloods, your thinking is dominated by stereotypes. I also thought the same until just recently, I won't deny that."
Small convulsions have ran through Eliza's cheek, she stood up and folded the western fan.
"You see, I think that objects should stay objects. After all, it's something created by humans, it should be used without any complaints right? No one wants for souls to dwell in objects."
"...that's wrong. I know of at least two people who wished for that. Those two, have wanted me as I am."
"You as you are? An incredibly weird Magical Heritage... no, I wonder if I should call you 『Sacred Treasure』?"
Eliza approached the cube and placed a hand on the wall in front with abandon.
"Whether it's a gods toy or a humans toy, it's all the same. You aren't supposed to have your own will. Seeing your own toy talk is disgusting, is it not."
"...are you scared? Scared that us Magical Heritages will rebel against you, that's what you think don't you? It's shallow thinking from third-rate SF novel."
Hearing that, Eliza's face distorted.
She took out a silver knife from the cloth wrapped in the valley of her chest and pierced the cube.
"Hey, do you know what's this? Spirit silver, a knife made out of material that can deal damage to the soul... once you are pierced with this, I wonder what's going to happen?"
"It's fine if we try and see, but I'm going to give you a chance."
Eliza scraped off the outer shell of the cube with the knife's blade and sent a sidelong glance at Lapis.
"Become my thing. If you contract with me, I'll forgive your soul's existence."
"However, you are not allowed to speak a single word. You will just respond to my requests without talking back. All you will do is fulfill my wishes."
Eliza's request was in parallel with the attitude Lapis had previously. She desired an instrument that only fulfilled her wishes. There was no need for the contractor's will or feelings. All she had to do is to fulfill the requests.
As an object. As a sword. As a Magical Heritage. As a Sacred Treasure.
That's the correct way... until just recently, Lapis thought like that.
"............then, what is your wish?"
"That's obvious isn't it, make witches the only race left in this world. With support of your God Hunting form, it would be possible to destroy the world in just a few days right? After all, it's power that can even kill gods...!"
With sparkle in her eyes, she stroked the outer shell as if she was stroking Lapis cheek.
"God Hunting form is not something a human soul can withstand. By using me you will only destroy yourself. You are unable to handle me."
"Ara! You, despite sticking to your contractor's soul, I wonder why can't you feel anything as you look at me!"
Eliza slowly hid her face with the fan she held in her hand.
When a sound similar to that of air freezing resounded, Eliza's hair has casually danced against the forces of gravity. She vigorously folded her fan once again revealing her face.
There was a change in Eliza's appearance.
Her pupils and whites had inverted colors. Peeking from behind her lips were sharp fangs. She was paler than before and her skin was eerily cracked up. That appearance was undeniably——
"I, am not a human. A vampire... a descendant of the race that was destroyed in the previous Witch Hunt War."
"Unlike your beloved master, my body too is that of a demon from the past. My magic power quality and quantity is also finest. Don't you think I'm the best contractor for you, who produces a small amount?"
"How about it? Become my thing. Your desire is to fulfill your contractor's wishes right? Grant me my wishes... that's the only thing that gives your existence any value."
While damaging the outer shell with a knife, Eliza proceeded with her negotiations and intimidation.
Of course, Lapis wasn't agitated in the slightest and just cast a cold gaze at Eliza.
"My apologies, but since I do have the right to choose, I refuse."
"...right...to choose, you said? I wonder what are you dissatisfied with."
"By using human representation I will make it easy to understand. Firstly, your soul is not that of a vampire. You are not a true apostle, but a degraded copy that became a vampire after being born. Even if you can fool people of the West Side, you cannot fool my analysis."
"Secondly, even if you are an outstanding witch, and even if your soul would be that of a real vampire, the difference between my Host's worth and yours is like heaven and earth."
"Thirdly, I genuinely hate you for insulting my Host. Basically, your existence is not to my tastes. An old hag with thick make-up even on her pitifully small soul is far, far away from being to my taste. I'd rather die than snuggle up to your soul which has a putrid smell wafting from it like a rotten egg covered in vomit and left inside sewers."
"For the above reasons, I refuse to be bound by a contract with you. I used a vulgar representation to fit the level of your minuscule soul, but I am honestly uncertain if I have conveyed it well enough. I expect an age-appropriate response from an old woman like you."
After declaring, Lapis closed her eyes.
She was expressionless and blunt, however in her eyes dwelled a firm will.
"My Host——is Kusanagi Takeru-sama only. If I am to be used by anyone other than that person, then I choose death."
In response to Lapis clear statement, unnoticed, Eliza erased her expressions.
"I see... I get it. Then."
She abruptly swung the spirit silver knife and pierced the cube.
The moment her hair turned disheveled, new cracks appeared on Eliza's cheeks.
"I don't need you any longer. In the first place, I've been told by Senate's purebloods to destroy you... I'm fine either way."
Her facial expressions and behavior was cold, but Eliza's anger was like a bottomless pit.
On top of having been pointed out that she isn't pure-blooded despite being in the pureblood faction, she was denied by an inorganic existence. There was no way she wouldn't be furious.
A Magical Heritage without a contractor is powerless. And without Takeru Lapis cannot confront the threats, without Lapis Takeru could only use a simple sword.
Lapis herself didn't know why have the gods created weapons to kill their own kind. She didn't know why weren't they able to exhibit power on their own and required a contract with the user.
However, Lapis didn't think it was bothersome.
She herself... was happy to exist like this.
Because that person is there, she exists. Because that person desires it, she exists. Although that definition remained unchanged, something warm was dwelling inside of Lapis' chest.
For the first time since this distorted occurrence of being born happened, she felt happy.
Therefore, Lapis didn't give up. In order to take Takeru's hand once again, she didn't give up.
She gazed forward. In the direction her beloved Host was in. Putting her feelings in, she continued to call him. Saying 'I'm here'.
"No matter how long you wait, your master won't appear you know...? It's about time my subordinates bury him. What a shame, inorganic one."
In response to Eliza's words, Lapis shook her head.
"My Host is already here."
Eliza laughed off what Lapis said.
"Don't touch my sword...!"
It was a hoarse and distorted voice.
With unwavering conviction and tenacity, it was a voice of someone who struggled.
Eliza turned around vigorously, and clearly saw that figure in front of her eyes. A boy who was heavily bleeding. A boy no different from an insect.
However, the light dwelling in his eyes spoke of the strong person that won't give up on anything.
Mistilteinn's contractor, Kusanagi Takeru.
One that carried a demon soul in human body, a mixed breed Eliza hated the most.
The man similar to an insect she thought would disappear in a place she doesn't know of, stood in front of her. She opened her eyes widely and dumbfounded she turned her body towards Takeru.
"...ara... oh no... a cockroach has made it this far... I have to kill it... and disinfect the place."
Takeru spat out a clot of blood from his mouth and wiped his mouth with a dirty sleeve.
"Try it if you can... cockroaches are tenacious."
"What are my subordinates doing... there are insects in my mansion............ I need to call some people... it's filthy."
"Sorry, but I've made them all sleep. The only one remaining is you, Granny."
He returned the sword to the sheath and glared at Eliza.
"Oh no... it's itchy... insects are here.... it itches."
Eliza's appearance changed.
The chapped skin on her face spread, and she started to scrape the cracks with her long nails. After the make-up broke off, Eliza's face collapsed.
What peeped out from below the crumbled parts, was a rotten purple meat.
Apostle vampires were immortal, but without a true ancestor their flesh wouldn't stop rotting away. No matter how one delayed it with magic or technology, there was a limit to stopping it. In the modern times it was possible to embed only the cells in their body to increase its physical ability and make it semi-immortal, but it was impossible to perform that on an apostle who was already an undead.
Moreover, being a vampire also brought on negative effects.
"Itches...! Itches itches itchessssss!"
While scratching her face with, Eliza turned her black pupils towards Takeru.
"It's your fault...! It's because you insects... it's because there are humans in this world... I...! ——I always have to taste this kind of blood-sucking urges!"
"So you're a vampire huh. Then you can't live unless you drink human blood right? Witch's blood has magic power mixed in so it's no good... so what are you going to do after you destroy humans?"
"In the modern you can make any quantity of human blood! That's why there's no need for humans in flesh! If there's no humans I will be able to remain immortal without having to taste this kind of impulse! If there's no humans——I'll be able to remain beautiful forever!"
Eliza continued to scratch her skin while repeating "itches" countless times.
Looking at her condescending, Takeru shook his head and sighed.
"How stupid... in the end, your beauty is just paper-mâché. No matter how much you delay it with magic, what's underneath is still your real face right. If you destroy things in order to protect such a thing, I won't tolerate it."
"Shut up, shut up shut up shut up!"
"Rather then covered in that heavy make-up, that rotten appearance of yours looks more beautiful to me."
Takeru unexpectedly said the same thing as Haunted. Eliza who scratched herself while repeating "itches" finally exploded with anger.
She shook her fan, and magical particles released a loud sound.
"What do you know! What do you know about my eternal suffering! As if you would understand my grief!"
"As if I knew. I don't care about you. Even if my soul is that of a demon, I have my pride as a human called Kusanagi Takeru. I'm absolutely unable to sympathize with someone can only delay and hide herself!"
After denying and discarding Eliza's desires, Takeru turned towards Lapis. A little bit uneasy, she was staring at Takeru. That anxiety of hers has reached his heart.
That's why, with eyes full of confidence he relayed his feelings to her.
He strongly outstretched his right hand and called his greatest partner. Lapis opened her eyes wide, and responded along with releasing a hot breath.
The bond between the two of them connected once again. Tougher than anything else, and more precious than anything bond.
The sealing cube that covered Lapis shattered instantly like glass.
"——The latest sealing device?! This easily?!"
While Eliza was astonished, Lapis reached out to Takeru.
After their hands overlapped, Takeru pulled her to himself and hugged the slender azure-colored girl to his chest.
"I made you wait."
"No, there is no problem. I thought that you will definitely come."
Lapis looked up at Takeru expressionlessly as usual.
At her usual attitude, he laughed happily.
After which, he glared at Eliza.
"...I have never really liked this chant... but it's perfect for the current situation."
"I think so too."
"Let's subjugate her then——partner."
Lapis' body turned into azure particles which floated around Takeru.
When Takeru raised his hand in front, an azure-colored magical circle appeared under his feet.
"Summis desiderantes affectibus——"
Along with the familiar words of power, his battle has begun.
The scattered particles turned into an armor which wrapped around Takeru's body.
This feeling of his body being reborn from head to toe was very nostalgic.
He shook his right hand strongly to the side, and squeezed his fist.
What his fist was gripping, was his beloved familiar sword, the god-slaying Mistilteinn.
Witch Hunter form, complete.
《"Now——let's begin the witch hunt."》
Takeru held a sword and ran towards Eliza.
"Mere human and Magical Heritage... you dare to confront me, the king of immortality! Very well, I'll have you realize why people call me Almighty!"
"Don't get full of yourself you fake!"
He moved the sword to the side and rushed.
Eliza in front of him shook the fan with abandon.
In response to her move, pillars of flame appeared from the empty floor and approached Takeru.
As told to by Lapis, Takeru leaped up high in order to escape from the pillars.
However, the pillars of flame swelled like dragon's tail and were swung towards Takeru in the sky.
When he was barely licked, Takeru twisted his body in the air and swung his sword.
If it's Mistilteinn that has an outstanding anti-magic effect, cutting through flame of this degree was something easy. Takeru raised the sword up high,
"Double-Edged Style——Mantis Slope!"
Rotating forward, along with his fall he released a powerful blow.
Eliza looked at Takeru's moved with a bored expression and laughed. And then, allowing her nails that extended long to cross with his sword, receiving the entirety of Takeru's blow.
"Don't loooookkkkk——downn on vampiressssssssssssssssss?!"
Along with a cry she released her claws and blew Takeru away.
She had tremendous strength. Takeru slid on the ground absorbing the shock, and poised his sword again.
《"Those nails... a Magical Heritage. It seems to have an effect of returning the attacks impact back at attacker to a certain extent. Host's attack has been rendered powerless the moment it touched the nails."》
"Moreover, she moves pretty well..."
《"Even rotten, she's still a vampire. Although her bodily strength isn't as great as Witch Hunter form's, it surpasses human's by far."》
Hearing Lapis' analysis, he strengthened his vigilance in close combat.
In the middle of underground cavity, Eliza with her face full of cracks mocked Takeru.
"I mean, you know... all that grandstanding, and all you can is cut? I'm a witch you know? Do you understand?"
Eliza smiled leisurely, bent her hips and stroked the floor with her western fan.
"Cockroaches that enter people's houses need to be kicked out as soon as possible right——you two, have you forgotten you entered the tiger's den?"
Showing a glimpse of fangs from her mouth, Eliza's eyes were dyed black.
Chills ran down Takeru's spine, and it happened immediately after. Even though the underground space shook, it wasn't like an unexpected monster has appeared. The walls and floors of the dome-shaped underground space suddenly lit up.
It wasn't a simple light, but a magical circle.
Filling walls and floors completely——a countless number of magical circles.
"...hey...hey hey hey..."
Takeru displayed impatience, and Lapis too muttered it was beyond her expectations.
《"Each of the magical circle hold a different property... so this is 『All Talents』 ancient property..."》
Before Lapis could speak, Eliza laughed loudly.
"Even if you noticed there's nothing you can do right?!"
One moment she raised her foot with a gesture of a queen, and then suddenly hit the floor with her heel.
The magical circles filling the walls released light to their maximum.
"Lapis! 《Twilight Enchantment!》
With an immediate judgment he issued an order, triggering Mistilteinn's intrinsic magic.
Immediately after the barrage started.
Every wall, floor, ceiling. From the magical circles carved in there, Fire, Water, Ice, Thunder, Earth, Wind, Darkness, Light, Holy, Unholy, Cut, Thrust, Strike.
Magic of multiple properties assaulted Takeru.
Takeru fully expanded the Soumatou and began intercepting it as if dancing.
The magic was a basic magical attack 《Bullet》. Magic power was simply collected at one point and released at high speed. However, the magical bullets Eliza released came from all directions and their density was several times greater than normal.
Moreover, each of them had a different property and dealt additional damage the moment it landed.
If it continues for long, Witch Hunting form won't hold out.
It was impossible for Takeru to block them all. The magic bullets which touched the blade were absorbed, but other bullets fired at the same time could not.
The immeasurable amount of bullets has tore through Takeru's armor.
"You sure are doing your best〜, I could watch this forever."
Eliza made a throne appear, sat down on it and fanned herself while looking from above.
She was full of gaps in her defense, but Takeru couldn't afford to do something like attacking.
《"Host, Twilight Enchantment can be sustained only for a minute longer."》
"I know...! Once it expires just block them! Continue as you are now!"
After a short exchange, Takeru continued the mad dance.
Eliza was leisurely watching it at first,
But seeing Takeru continue to block the magical bullets, she frowned.
"...that...cockroach and inorganic...!"
She stood up from her throne and bit her nails.
When she looked closely, she saw that Takeru's armor had the scraped off areas repaired. Absorbing the magic, a part of the absorbed amount was used for repairing the armor. Thanks to that, there was no damage to Takeru himself.
Moreover, Takeru's movement accelerated when he was using an enchantment.
There was no backlash from the magic bullets when the absorption effect was activated, but the impact was applied to the sword when it was blocking the attacks. Takeru took advantage of that impact's flow and accelerated even faster than by using Soumatou's assistance. Faster than eyes could chase after him, he only left behind after-images which made him look like he had clones.
It continued for a long time, and finally the barrage has ceased to come.
The aftermath of the sword dance turned into wind and stroked dissatisfied Eliza's cheek.
Takeru stood intact with a shining blade in his hands.
《"Roger. Enchantment reversal, flexible material release."》
Along with Lapis' instruction, the blade shined even further.
The azure particles went on rampage.
After absorption, magic power was transformed into the "Twilight" property and raged like a tornado.
Closing the distance all at once, Takeru changed the sword into a giant greatsword and swung it down at Eliza's head who sat on the throne.
Eliza didn't move. She looked at Takeru's movements bored.
The moment the blade clad in magical power almost reached her,
Sitting on the throne and resting her cheek on her hands, Eliza spoke the magic name.
An enormous magical circle appeared in the air. The magic that appeared between Takeru and Eliza released a shine akin to that of a mirror.
Protective magic——I'll cut through it as is!
Takeru did not bother with it and swung down his sword. Magic swept down colliding with the emerged mirror.
However, the one swallowed by the wave of magic——was Takeru.
The "Twilight" magic power which hit the mirror had directly assaulted his body.
The slash lost its momentum after being repelled by the mirror and Takeru's body collapsed on the floor after being burned by azure-colored flames. With a clunky metallic sound, Takeru rolled on the ground.
《"That's...my magic power...was repelled backwards...?"》
Lapis' voice full of consternation echoed in his head.
Takeru didn't let go of the sword, but he was unable to move until he catches a breath.
"Good grief, what a let down... I wondered what kind of property the famous 『Twilight』 is, but to think all it can do is absorb magic..."
Eliza rose up from the throne and moved up to where Takeru was.
And tramped over his head with her heel.
"Just attacking by releasing previously absorbed magic... it's such a crude technique. You see, magic we are using is evolving just like scientific technology. Right now, just by using my "Almighty" property I'm able to reflect magic. It might not be as effective against an opponent who uses a complex operative procedure, but reflecting a wave of magic going in one direction is simple."
Eliza pressed her heel further, gouging out Takeru's cheek.
"I can praise you for the amount of magic power absorbed but... unfortunately, I'm not an ordinary witch. I'm an Ancient Wizard who survived more than a thousand years, the Chairman of West Side. There is no one who has the knowledge and amount of magic power generated close to mine... I'm almighty in every aspect that's why I'm called "Almighty Witch" you know?"
She raised her claws and licked them bewitchingly.
Neither Takeru nor Lapis have underestimated the enemy's ability. They challenged her with all they had.
However, they were undeniably lacking in their recognition. The enemy has survived the Vampire War and Witch Hunt War.
On top of being a vampire apostle, she had an overwhelming magical talent right from the beginning. Observation skill, analytical skill, operative procedure building talent, amount of magic power. Any and all of it reached the level of genius.
"You have that much power...! Then why do you...!"
"To use the power for myself. Using it for justice? That kind of thing makes me sick."
"Wrong...! It's fine to use it for yourself! Just don't involve the world for your own convenience!"
Noticing that Takeru gripped the sword, Eliza took out a spirit silver knife and stabbed it into his shoulder.
A tremendous pain struck Takeru and Lapis. It wasn't pain of flesh, but pain of soul. They gasped in hard to describe pain when their very existence was hurt.
"Hmph, it seems quite effective but... you're not an undead so it's hard to kill your soul. But well, I'll enjoy it for a bit."
Then Eliza pierced Takeru's body over and over again.
She avoided the vital points, tearing and scraping away his soul.
Unable to suppress his screams, Takeru's yells resounded in the underground space.
After piercing him many times, Eliza got tired of it and threw away the spirit silver knife.
With a metallic sound, the knife slipped on the floor towards the entrance.
Lapis feeble voice echoed in his head, but Takeru wasn't even able to answer.
"It's about time to finish this... it's filthy blood, but I can't hold it in for any longer... mm. I'll make a special case out of you and have your blood for dinner."
Eliza got down on her knees and moved her mouth with fangs bared to Takeru's neck.
The tips of the fangs touched his skin. It seemed like she would suck out the blood out of him any moment but,
Next moment——Eliza heard a sound of something cutting through the air. It was too late to avoid, a sharp knife has pierced Eliza's left arm. It was the spirit silver knife she has just thrown away.
Spirit silver was a natural enemy for vampires. A simple silver would only cause them only a few burns, a spirit silver was capable of turning them into ashes in just a few moments.
Eliza's left arm bulged out and collapsed like sand with a sparkle. The spirit silver knife lost its support and has dropped down with a high-pitched sound right in front of Takeru's eyes.
Eliza herself was rolling around screaming.
The one who threw the spirit silver knife at her was... standing in the entrance to the large space, Kanaria.
Takeru summoned up his strength and raised his upper body.
Steam was raising from Kanaria's body, and her entire body was swollen and bright red. She must have escaped from Eliza's magical torture device and come here on her own.
She looked sorrowfully at Takeru.
Reaching her limit, she fell forward. Hearing her apology Takeru made an anguished expression, and once again his pupils flashed with red.
"...Lapis, you can still go on, right."
Although noise was running through her voice, he heard her clearly.
Takeru's body was full of holes, but fortunately his consciousness was clear.
"What do you think we should do to defeat that woman?"
《"............currently, there is no way for us to win. In order to reuse the Twilight Enchantment, two more minutes are required. Even if we brought it to close combat, with the currently remaining magic and host's capability we should be able to withstand about five minutes."》
When he heard Lapis analysis of the current situation, he saw screaming Eliza stand up with only one arm.
While staggering, Eliza covered her crack-covered face with the palm of her hand glaring at Takeru and Kanaria.
"I won't forrrrrrgiiivvvveee youuuuu! I'll make you disappear now! This is the first time I have been so insulted! I'll erase you with all my strength...!"
As Eliza used her fangs to bit onto her own arm, an enormous magical circle appeared.
"《Colourful FogElemental Breath》"
The magic that was invoked along with the name, was literally a colorful fog. Different colored magic particle grains appeared and filled a large amount of space with fog.
Takeru had a really bad feeling about it.
His hunch was right on spot. When he came in contact with the fog's particles, he was being corroded by it at a fast pace.
"I already know that you can only absorb what your blade touches! That's why I made it so you can't touch it! It's a magic that uses an operative procedure for each particle! Even if you absorb one, you can't make all of the particles disappear! There's nothing you can do!"
Raising a strained laughter Eliza danced round and round in the fog of particles.
Takeru could survive a bit longer if he doesn't breathe, but Kanaria was in danger.
Immediately after magic was invoked she started violently vomiting blood despite being unconscious.
The fog's effect was stronger than he imagined. At this rate, Kanaria's life was in danger.
《"Lapis, there should still be a way."》
Takeru moved the conversation to thoughts and asked Lapis.
《"...I don't recommend it. Host does not desire to fuse with me."》
《"Yeah, I think us being connected is good enough... but, it should be possible. To defeat her without fusing... right?"》
《"Really, you are a person who speaks about things with no basis. Please refrain from making theories based on your guts."》
《"I am aware of it."》
《"...theoretically it's possible. Although our fusion has been suspended, but the early stages of our fusion are already complete... if it's an incomplete God Hunting form it might work."》
《"So we can do it."》
《"Ten seconds. If it's any longer, once again our soul fusion, my erosion will resume. Before ten seconds pass please cancel it."》
《"How do I cancel it?"》
《"Just take your finger off the trigger."》
《"Ten seconds then. Enough."》
Takeru resolved himself and stood up.
Then like a knight he raised the sword in front of his chest and pulled the trigger.
【" ——Starke Scheite schichtet mir dort am Rande des Rheins zuhauf .
Hoch und hell lodre die Glut die den edlen Leib des hehrsten Gott verzehrt——"】
Along with the chant Takeru's body was clad in heat, a dreadful fear and relief has assaulted his soul.
Twilight-colored magical circle appeared combining golden color and the color of the night. It released a shine inspiring dread in any living beings.
"A-after all this time...what's this...what is this..."
Eliza noticed Takeru's abnormal change, and with a convulsing smile she stepped back.
In response to the magic Takeru's hair stood up, and he looked at Eliza with red eyes.
"This is what you wanted——the god-slaying power."
Immediately after, the armor on Takeru's body was brought to life, starting from neck to cheek, it continued to erode and cover his entire head.
And when a helmet covered entirety of his head, his inorganic pupils shone with amber color.
《"——Ragnarøkkr Enchant, activate."》
The raised blade shone, and the moment magical circle broke it has started spreading flames.
Flames spread instantly and covered the entire space.
"Mn...? What's happening...?"
Eliza's teeth started chattering when she was enveloped by the distorted flames.
The moment Takeru swung down the sword he was raising up, an anomaly has occurred.
The 《Elemental Breath》 that was drifting in the air disappeared noisily as if evaporating. Each of them were separate spells, but as soon as it touched the flame, it has disappeared in a blink of an eye.
On the other hand, Eliza felt discomfort in her own body. The cell freezing magic that was covering her face completely fell off. Her entire body turned ugly, and went back to the way it should originally be.
"AaaaAAAaAa, AAaAaaAAAAAAA! Why, what is this!"
She wailed and screamed.
God Hunting form... had top-end performance. Not limited to magic, it was devouring all magic in existence even if it was a godly grace. Magic, magic power, alchemy, Magical Heritages and gods themselves. Whether it was inside or outside of the body made no difference.
As long as one touches the flames in which this sword is clad, they will be feasted upon.
That is the power to destroy magic——Ragnarøkkr Enchant.
Controlling the flames, Takeru moved closer to Eliza step by step.
《"Starting from now you won't be able to use magic to another ten seconds."》
《"Ten seconds. If you can hold out for ten seconds, you win."》
Takeru raised his sword. Eliza looked around suspiciously, but when she realized her fate, she stretched out the sharp claws on her right hand.
《"Eight seconds left... let's go."》
"——LOSE TO SUCH BUGSSSSSSSSS!"
With Eliza's scream as a signal, the two clashed.
The claw and blade met, and a shockwave has caused a violent shock in the underground space.
《"Kusanagi Double-Edged style——Ghost Light Firefly!"》
"Claw Arts——Bloody Dance"
An impact accompanied the barrage of their attacks.
Their blades moved at the same speed and were exchanged at the same power.
Eliza's nail Magical Heritage's performance was already lost, eaten by the Ragnarøkkr Enchant.
However, this woman's strength wasn't only magic and Magical Heritage. No matter how distorted she was, her efforts and tremendous tenacity were like that of a dragon.
To acquire this much power, he had an idea just how much she had to suffer and grieve.
He thought she's miserable. Despite having this much power and purity, he though that being this distorted is pitiful. If he hurries up and finishes her it will be her salvation.
But, that wasn't why. There was a different reason for him to fight and to kill. Surely, for her own sake he would never kill her.
It was for his comrades sake, for his little sister sake, in order to protect everything. And above all, for his own sake.
He won't compromise or make excuses. He will no longer make such claims. For his own sake, Takeru will——finish this woman.
"5, 4, 3...MY——WIIIIIInnnnnnnnnnn!"
Riding on each other's flow, they dodged their attacks matching their breathing.
However, the moment Eliza was confident of her victory, unexpectedly a blade pierced through her chest.
She looked at her own left breast.
In it, was struck a spirit silver knife held in Takeru's left hand.
Before activating God Hunting form, he recovered the knife. He remembered the advice his master told him. Although it's nice to ride with the flow, watch out for surprise attacks. That lesson, was used by Takeru in reverse.
While shifting a single attack from the tempo of continuous attacks. What decided it was a small knife.
When he pulled out the knife, Eliza staggered and leaned on Takeru's body.
Takeru took off his finger from the trigger releasing God Hunting form and quietly squinted.
Starting from the chest Eliza's body turned into ashes. And while rotting away, she placed her chin on Takeru's shoulder and stroked his cheek once with her right hand.
On her face, she had a peaceful smile.
"What a shame...even if you...killed me...nothing will, change...West Side is...strong."
"Even if that's the case... I can't let you live."
"Whaat, for a mere human...you are unexpectedly fine man...that resolution...I like it."
"For a reward...I will tell you...a single thing."
Eliza's face was crumbling away and collapsing.
"...all of the...misfortune is connected...by culprit...everything's...origin...is..."
Her head collapsed, her cheeks disappeared, and just before her lips were blown away by the wind, Eliza spoke the name of that person.
Ash flowed, and she disappeared with a glitter.
There was determination in Takeru's narrowed pupils, then he quietly closed his eyes.
Feeling his body being swung up and down, Takeru woke up.
He was carried by someone on their back. Feeling its warmth, he raised his face.
It was Mari. She did her best to carry Takeru by dragging her feet and proceeding forward little by little.
When she noticed that Takeru woke up, she just fell down on her knees and sat down on the floor.
"You woke upp, thank godd!"
"Sorry... I lost consciousness."
"You have amazing muscles so you were super heavy〜. Pat my head〜."
He smiled wryly and stroked the head of exhausted Mari. She went "ehehe〜" and squinted comfortably.
Behind them, Takeru noticed on more person.
Kanaria stood behind the two with an awkward expression.
Mari probably treated her. There were only a few burns left.
With a light smile, he spoke to Kanaria.
"...are you okay?"
"Thanks for coming to save me."
"If not for you, I would have been killed at that rate."
Takeru once again relayed "thank you" to Kanaria.
Kanaria cast down her gaze and shook her head.
"Kana is... a traitor..."
"You came to help me. That's enough."
"You aren't a traitor. Also, I know that at that time, you were trying to stretch your hand out to me."
Takeru said so, and pat Kanaria's head as well. She sniffled loudly and wiped her tears with a sleeve.
"Kana...will not forgive Inquisition and Alchemist. I hate outside. Everyone there are Mama's enemies... that won't change."
"But... she will go outside. There is someone, whom she has to meet."
Seeing Kanaria's determination, Takeru nodded strongly.
When the two of them were in their own world, Mari who was sitting a bit further away clicked her tongue and her mouth distorted.
"Patting bargain sale isn't it... creepy."
"Hmph. Rather than that, Takeru, an urgent report."
When he was shocked by her displeased attitude, Mari swiftly stood up.
While brushing away dust from her butt, she pointed at Takeru with her index finger.
"——I found it, the miniaturized transfer device."
She pushed up the edge of her hat with a finger and winked confidently.
Not far from the large underground space, there was a door.
Even though it was a door, there were no joints or doorknobs. Looking from the front it looked like a simple wall.
"Leave it to me."
When Mari slid her hand along the wall as if stroking it, with a deep heavy sound it has fallen apart decomposing like a puzzle. In the back, there was a dim room.
"...we can go back with this. To where they are."
Takeru was genuinely happy, his face relaxed and tears pooled in his eyes.
Certainly, Magic Academy was a nice place, but similarly to Mari, the place Takeru belonged was that platoon room. He wanted to meet his comrades as soon as possible. Also, he wanted to save Kiseki.
For the time being, Takeru set his foot inside of the room to check on the transfer device.
He intended for Mari and Kanaria transfer first. Since there was something Takeru still had to do, it was impossible for them to go together. Mari might say that she wants to stay together with him, but he'll send her even if he has to do it forcibly.
Takeru had to ask Mother and Orochi about how he can save Kiseki.
Since he might get rejected and restrained, he couldn't involve Mari in it.
However, his worries have suddenly come to an end.
When they entered the room and accustomed their eyes to the darkness——Mother and Orochi were already waiting for them.
"...yo, we thought you'd come."
Orochi spoke as if he already expected them. Although Mari was wary, Takeru stopped her with his hand. Mother was standing there in silence, her eyes closed. And Kanaria faced down.
The only ones allowed to speak in this place, were Takeru and Orochi.
"So you're going... even despite all of our persuasion, you really are an idiot aren't you."
"I'm sorry. But I... there's something I need to do over there.'
"I don't think outside is where you belong. You became a contractor of something as dangerous as Twilight-Type... you won't be welcomed anywhere else. You will be used, you will be used up and crushed that's all. Just like Mikoto was."
Hearing Orochi's heavy words, Takeru gripped his fist.
"...even so, over there is where I belong. Even a moment earlier I want to save Kiseki together with my comrades."
"It was Master who told me to protect everything I want to protect, I can't immerse myself in safety here. On the inner side of the world there are people like Master and Mother who hate war, witches and sorcerers who want to live in harmony."
"On the other hand, people outside don't know about the country of witches. If they learn about it, they will probably recognize it as a threat. Then, the war will be inevitable. Everything I want to protect will be lost. Every minute counts, I think."
"No way... you aren't trying to stop the war are you?"
Orochi spoke jokingly. Takeru fell silent and lowered his head, but raised it again soon enough.
"...I don't know if I'm able to that much. However, there are people outside who are trying to change the current state of Inquisition. I don't know how many... and the person on the top isn't all that trustworthy either."
With a wry smile, Takeru recalled the Student Council President's, Hoshijiro Nagaru's careless expression.
"...I promised that person that I will answer whether will I cooperate with them or not. There's also something I borrowed and have to give back to that person. There's still many things I have to do."
Takeru opened his fist and stared at his palm.
"When I left Master for the first time I've said it right. "Change the world", that is."
"Haa, so that's still valid?"
"I think that to save everything, there's no other way than to do so. It's impossible for me alone, my own strength is quite poor... but right now, I have comrades who will fight by my side."
"The place I should fight my battles——is outside."
Orochi listened to it in silence. He didn't laugh, he didn't ridicule, nor was he amazed. He just listened to Takeru's pipe dream-like goal.
Takeru bit his lip and moved to the main issue.
"Um... I have declined your request, and I know that I'm being selfish here. But, no matter what, there's something... I need to learn from Master..."
"P....please. My little sister's... Kiseki's——"
When Takeru spoke up to there, Orochi suddenly threw something to him.
Takeru caught the object in a hurry. It was a device that looked like a test tube. Inside of the liquid there was something like a fetus. And on the surface of the storage device, there was a piece paper tied to it with a rubber band.
"Take it. That's what are you looking for."
As Takeru asked, Orochi folded his arms in front of his chest and replied.
"It's a tool for saving your little sister."
Takeru opened his eyes wide in surprise.
"The fetus inside of the tube is a homunculus. It was made with Kiseki's DNA I took when I was outside. Unlike a clone, homunculus has a brain but no soul dwells in it. Until you turn it into a Magical Heritage, the container won't take a single breath. Originally it was utilized for growing backup parts for transplants."
"...what do I do with it?"
"There's paper rolled around it right? It's an Install magic instant charm Mephisto was using. Use it on Kiseki."
As Takeru stood there stunned, Orochi continued.
"Homunculus is set to undergo a rapid growth the moment it contacts with outside air. If you use the charm on Kiseki, her soul will move from demon body into the homunculus. Like that, she won't have to suffer because of that power any longer."
"However, this is the only charm that's left. Failure is not allowed. After that homunculus will have to undergo maintenance regularly, even if it succeeds it will be difficult for her to live a normal life. As long as Inquisition is governing outside, they will never allow a homunculus to exist."
"In that sense, your determination to change the outside world wasn't really off the mark."
After saying that, Orochi loudly scratched his hair and sighed.
It was because he noticed the change in Takeru. He got a bit angry and clicked his tongue.
"It's too early to cry you bird brain!"
Without any shame Takeru continued to shed tears one after another. It was understandable. Finally... really, finally, he could see hope.
He always thought it's just a pipe dream, having Kiseki spend her days laughing.
And that has suddenly entered his reach.
It was not a dream but reality.
It wasn't only Takeru, Mari who know about his struggle also didn't hide her tears.
Orochi snorted loudly and made a daunting pose in front of Takeru.
Never forgiving any spoiled actions, it was Orochi's usual appearance.
"You little shit, next time I see you stop... I'll cut your fucking head off so prepare yourself."
"If you understand that, go already. We'll deal with the aftermath here... geez, you really lack filial piety, or rather, respect for your master!"
"Yes, I'm sorry...!"
Takeru lowered his head with servility. Not only to Orochi, but he also bowed his head to Mother. When Mother watched the two's exchange, she had a gentle smile on her face.
"I do not wish for you to go to battle... but your feelings for Mistilteinn have been conveyed properly. If you are as you are now, not exploited by that child, you'll be able to use her correctly. It's not something I should say from the position of someone stained in blood but... please, do your best. I expect much of your activities."
As if sending off her own child, Mother joined her hands in front of her chest and prayed for Takeru's safety.
Takeru and Mari said their goodbyes to the two, and got onto the small transfer device.
Kanaria alone did not move from the entrance of the room where she faced down.
Her closed fist was trembling. She desperately tried to weave words with her lips, but regrets and fear prevented her from doing that.
Seeing Kanaria like that Orochi smiled bitterly and threw to her a sword with a belt he was carrying.
She raised her face and caught it.
"Take it... it's your weapon."
"It was already once broken and lost its personality, but it acknowledges you as its master. It's real hard to handle, but that's perfect for you right."
"This is not the place you should be in, Kanaria. Go and see your other mother."
Orochi bluntly brushed her off saying so.
Kanaria's chest was also crushed by joy.
It was the first time he called Kanaria's name. Ever since Isuka left her in Valhalla, Kanaria was trained by Orochi for four years, and he was like a parent for her. He didn't praise her carelessly and stood at the pinnacle of violence, but for her, he was still her reliable father.
Orochi brought Mother with him and passed by Kanaria's side. When they were passing by, he stroked her head twice with his big hand.
Only three people remained in the room. Takeru placed a hand on Mari's shoulder, and braced himself in the transfer device.
In order to conceive resolve for the future battles he was heading to.
"——Let's go back, to the place we belong to."
Carrying hope, they have returned.
Orochi and Mother left the room and walked down the hallway with the red carpet.
Walking in silence beside Orochi, Mother looked into his face.
"Are you really okay with that?"
To her question, Orochi responded with a smile.
"Whether its the inner world or outside world, for him it's all the same. Be used by the Senate, or be used by Sougetsu. That's why I let him choose... not to let go of Mistilteinn too, was the path he choose by himself."
"But you were the one to induce him to do so."
"For us as well it's more convenient if he's outside. He'll be going around clawing around at Inquisition."
"...you are a horrible person."
"It might have been a blast, but we were able to properly prepare an escape route for him. He was also able to taste some safety. Still, I did intend to properly protect him you know? But, he isn't a brat who needs my protection."
As he said that, Orochi had a happy expression, but immediately after it stiffened turning firm.
It was a face of someone who was willing to make sacrifices, someone who would discard what he couldn't save.
"One day we will meet again, I don't know if as enemies or allies. But that's fine. Just like they have things to do... we too, have things we need to do."
"...yes. It's just as you say, Host."
Mother Goose erased her gentle expression, and spoke affirmatively to her master.
Orochi walked briskly facing forward. His appearance was no longer that of a teacher worrying about his bad disciple. It was as if——
"Let's go——my Gungnir."
——As if he was a vengeful demon from hell.
Daidalos (ダイダロス) - It's written as (拒絶の翼) meaning "Wings of Rejection" .
Dies iræ (デイエス・イレ) - Written as (荒れ狂う鎮魂歌) which means "Raging Requiem".
Alice Mirror (アリスミラー) - Written as (合わせ鏡の終着点) which means "Opposite Mirror's Meeting Point".
Elemental Breath (エレメンタルブレス) - Written as (極彩の霧) which means "Colorful Fog".
——Starke Scheite schichtet mir dort am Rande des Rheins zuhauf. Hoch und hell lodre die Glut die den edlen Leib des hehrsten Gott verzehrt—— The Japanese version written in Kanji has the same meaning, the English-translated version is "——Mighty logs I bid you now pile on high by the Rhine's shore. Bright and fierce kindle a fire; let the noblest god's corse in its flames be consumed——". It's a part of Richard Wagner's famous Götterdämmerung, with one small difference where "hero" turned into "god". English translation taken and matched from official translations.
Bloody Dance (ブラツデイダンス) - Written as (血界の舞) which means "Bloody World's Dance".