The Pureblood Party's transfer device was installed in an old military underpass.
Since no relief supplies had arrived for a long time, it wasn't populated. Because all the soldiers had participated in the last battle for the territory construction, there were only five soldiers deployed on the lookout near the entrance.
A short soldier wearing a helmet yawned and rotated the wand as if it was a pen. Other soldiers were seriously guarding.
There was a reaction from the transfer device at the very same moment as the guard finished yawning.
Just when they thought it was hit with lightning, a magical circle appeared in the center of transfer device and shone brilliantly.
The dazzle turned into a sphere of light and gradually fixed itself in the center of the apparatus.
Something emerged from the center of the sphere, as if something new had been born from the light, something that seemed like cells built up bodies from the feet and going up. The cells combined like puzzle pieces, and after forming a human, a single boy jumped out from the sphere.
The boy pierced the ground with the sword he has pulled out.
Sweat-drops hung from his bangs and he moaned because of his rapidly beating heart.
He shook his head disoriented, vigilant of the surroundings. After confirming there was no one there, the boy stared at his palm.
He had all his limbs. His heart was beating. After confirming his safety, the boy looked ahead of him.
——In the inner world he was given a method to save Kiseki by Magical Academy and has returned.
In order to do what he ought to do, Takeru came back.
He encountered a world of magic he was unable to even imagine, met numerous people and reunited with his teacher.
On the other side he would be able to spend time peacefully. He didn't have to involve himself with battles and lived normally, forgetting everything.
He didn't do so because he left too many things in the outside world. There was a promise. A person to save. And comrades to fight alongside with.
Abandoning all that and surrendering himself to peace was something Takeru was unable to do.
Kusanagi Takeru has returned.
In order to save everything that was dear to him.
Using the sword he pierced into the ground like a cane, Takeru rose up.
"I'm coming to save you... Kiseki!"
However, when he got on his knees,
" " UWAaaa. " "
The moment he heard a voice from overhead, something suddenly squashed Takeru's body, he was unable to even let out a voice.
"Owww...! Hey Kana-chan... it's not how you said it'll be! Why were we thrown out in the air!"
"Tss, don't tell that to Kana! It's the device's bad for having deviated coordinates, it's not Kana's faultt."
Mari and Kanaria who fell from above quarreled while on top of Takeru's body.
On the back of his head there was Mari's butt and Kanaria's chest was pressed against his back.
Honestly, it wasn't a situation where he could immerse in desires. Because of Mari he hit his nose strongly, and because of Kanaria the symbol of his manhood was crushed.
"...could you... get off please?"
As Takeru said so, feeling like a frog ran over by a car, Mari noticed that she pushed down his head with her butt and jumped away while holding down her skirt. Kanaria too sluggishly got up and fixed her disheveled hair.
He stood up checking if his nose and groin are all right.
"Takeru's a pervert!"
"Isn't that unreasonable no matter how you look at it..."
Takeru complained and rotated looking around.
"If I'm right, there's supposed to be a time lag with a transfer?"
"We felt an instant pass, but half a day should have actually elapsed. It's strangely quiet... I wonder if fight is already over."
Mari said, thinking that the silence in the surroundings is strange, and Kanaria put a hand on the sword on her back.
"Since it's the Pureblood Party's device, this place should be enemy territory. Be cautious."
"But it's pitch black? In fact, since the supplies are the cornerstone for war, there should be strict security. It's weird that there's no one in here."
Mari too pushed the brim of her hat with a finger and started searching for the enemy.
Meanwhile, Takeru alone found a presence.
"No, there are. The five of you there, come out. If you surrender I won't take your lives."
Takeru unsheathed the sword and called out to the soldiers at the entrance.
He was prepared for some resistance, but the five raised both of their hands and started walking towards them.
And as he felt enemy's obedience is suspicious,
"...wow, that, is that Magic Academy's school uniform? Hee〜 it's blue."
Hearing the carefree voice of the soldier in front, he thought something was wrong. The five were wearing Pureblood Party's red military uniform, but he couldn't see their faces hidden behind the helmets.
"I get that you're not resisting. But I'll have to bind you. Don't think bad of me."
"No〜that would be troublesome so please don't. Of course, it will be troublesome for you, is that fine? Kusanagi-kun."
Being called by his name by a soldier he didn't know, Takeru was startled.
The soldier's voice was familiar. He squinted at the small soldier in front. The carefree tone as if playing dumb and small stature, he could also faintly see the red hair stick out from inside the helmet.
"——It's been a while, Kusanagi-kun and Mari-chan. I've been waiting."
It was AntiMagic Academy's student council president, Hoshijiro Nagaru.
"P-president? Why are you in a place like this..."
While Takeru stood surprised, Nagaru threw away the helmet and started to run to him with wide open arms.
"Welcome back dear〜〜〜〜〜! Do you want a meal〜? A bath〜? Or-may-be! Kyahhn☆"
When she jumped into his chest with a smile, Takeru grabbed her head with the palm of his hand. Nagaru said "hobuu", still held by Takeru, she dangled in mid-air.
"...you, what'cha doin'."
"Heyheyy, my head, it'll break off you know? My legs can't reach the floor. They're dangly."
"Why are you here, Student Council President."
Releasing his hand from her head, Takeru asked very calmly. They just barely came back to the outside world, and his head was unable to keep up with the situation.
Nagaru made a displeased look while rubbing her neck.
"Come on, you're so meannn. I have been waiting for you for a looong time you know?"
"Waiting you say... this place, isn't it managed by Pureblood Party? Rather, why are you wearing their uniforms."
He asked a frank question. There's no way she had changed job and became a Pureblood Party member has she, but since she invited Takeru into the dissidents, that wasn't impossible.
It isn't. He didn't think it is.
"...it isn't, is it?"
"Ahh〜 actually I thought of fighting Inquisition as part of Pureblood Party〜"
As Nagaru laughed embarrassed, Takeru pulled out his sword and put it against her neck.
"Yes, it was a joke. I'm sorry for spouting crap."
"Men who can't get jokes aren't popularr... in fact, I have received a report that you'll be returning. That's why I sneaked in among the Pureblood Party, and waited for you here."
"? Why does student council president know such a thing..."
Nagaru went "fufun" and puffed her chest proudly.
"Your Master, Orochi-kun has been cooperating with us a little bit. Well, no matter what we tried he wouldn't become our ally completely, but he went out of his way to tell us that he's giving you back."
"Master and Student Council President were acquaintances...?"
In that case, that man let Takeru do as he pleased despite knowing everything.
Without doubt, he also knew that the one he promised was Nagaru. He must have judged that it is all right to entrust his disciple to her.
"I've heard more or less what happened on the other side."
"...is that so."
"Yup. You did well to come back... you did your best to come back and keep your promise right? Thanks."
Nagaru conveyed her thanks to him straightforwardly and smiled radiantly. He thought that she's a scheming person and even if it's a mistake, he thought her smile was cute.
Then he felt danger, and was pushed from the side by Mari. Then Mari glared at Nagaru.
"Even though I'm listening to you, not everything falls into its place... sneaking in among the Pureblood Party should be impossible normally. You, did you do something behind the scenes?"
Nagaru smiled wryly.
"Ahh〜 in fact, I'm wanted by the Inquisition. After it was exposed to be the one to help Kusanagi-kun and Ouka-chan escape, I couldn't afford let myself be caught, and Pureblood Party that's hostile to the Inquisition was the best place to hide"
"That's not really an answer..."
Although Mari stared at Nagaru intensely, soon after she looked towards the four behind her she was curious about for a while already. Who are they? When she tried to relay that to Nagaru with her gaze, the four people in the back removed their helmets and revealed their faces.
"We are Valhalla's Pureblood Party members, Europe Shelter West Side's eight squad's soldiers."
The man who looked like the captain said so with a serious look.
Since they named themselves members of Pureblood Party, there was no way not to be vigilant.
Takeru and Kanaria clenched their swords.
"Ahh wait waait! They are my collaborators!"
"There's no way the Pureblood Party would collaborate with you...! They assaulted us on the other side you know?!"
As Mari yelled, Nagaru went in front of Takeru and others who let out a menacing feel, flapping her hands.
"Not all of those people have the same ideas. I've been in touch with them for a while now, but now they have gotten along with the Pureblood Party's operation and came over."
Nagaru seemed to have obtained their cooperation, and had them shelter her from the Inquisition.
Getting into the position of transfer device's guard was difficult, she said exaggeratedly while raising both of her hands.
Both Takeru and Mari were very doubtful of it. Kanaria was more vigilant than the two and it wouldn't be weird if she unsheathed the sword any time.
Realizing that the three were vigilant, the Captain corrected his posture and stood in front of Takeru.
"I think it's natural not to believe it. After all, both of us were enemies until now."
"...yeah. You have reasons to support the Inquisition's dissidents. Does that mean that people from the inside world are changing their thinking to that of East Side?"
As Takeru mentioned that sharply, the Captain quietly closed his eyes.
"Don't misunderstand. It's not like we're quitting the Pureblood Party. We can't agree with East Side's thinking. Purebloods are the ones who should control the inside world and make sure the society flourishes."
"Then you're the same as Pureblood Party on the inside, you hate us and people of mixed blood..."
"It's not like we hate them. It's just that their history isn't as refined as that of ours. The history accumulates in the blood and is handed down. Magic can be said to be the same. It's obvious that purebloods are better than mixed ones. It is natural that the talented ones move the world."
It was annoying how he looked down at them, no pride could be felt from him either.
He just stated the facts, that's what his tone of voice suggested.
A shadow appeared on the Captain's face and he continued.
"...however, West Side has stepped on the wrong road. Our, Pureblood Party's principle is not to eliminate humans who don't have magic power or mixed breeds, hurt them or drive them out. That's an evil philosophy that should be cast away. Protecting empties and leading the way as purebloods is their pride, the current West Side has forgotten that. This invasion is just a show of power... it has to be stopped as soon as possible."
"...so that's why you help dissidents?"
"The ones to stop this war shouldn't be the inside, but the outside people. We are cooperating with Hoshijiro-dono because our interests are aligned, but with our pride as purebloods on the line we promise not to interfere with you."
The Captain said so while staring straight at Takeru.
Although Takeru was unable to agree with a concept completely alien to him, it wasn't distorted enough for him to deny it completely. Although he didn't know this man's upbringing, he felt that he was similar to himself. The soldiers in the back also seemed to feel strong solidarity with that.
They did their best to change the current situation.
"Yess, so for now we are cooperating with each other〜, handshake handshake〜"
Forcibly making Takeru and the Captain have a handshake, then laughed in a silly way. Her attitude and tone were carefree, but for having a connection with Orochi and the Pureblood Party she was extremely abnormal.
"For now let's leave the difficult talk and talk about the future for other time. First, we need to stop this invasion. We can't let Pureblood Party to build a territory in the outside world, that would make Inquisition an excuse to retaliate with full force. If it comes to that, we won't be able to avoid sacrifices among the general public. We need to prevent the war from spreading."
It was already too late for invasion from the other side, but they have to forget the sorrow after losing them.
Saying so, Nagaru continued.
"There's one more thing. For Kusanagi-kun this should be the priority."
"Listen calmly to what I'm going to say now."
Having a bad premonition, Takeru's face strongly cramped up.
Nagaru told him what he wanted to know the most.
"Your comrades are on this battlefield. Everyone——Ouka-chan is in danger. I'll explain everything to you, hurry and go save them."
The bad news have surpassed Takeru's imagination.
Traces of a tragedy have spread out in front of her, it was more than enough to deprive Ouka and the others of hope.
They escaped from the subway, and after they came back to the company's camp Ouka was astounded.
Smoke was rising from all over the place, and the smell of roasted meat has spread.
In the middle of debris of the armory, there was a mountain of corpses stacked up. Flames were rising from the mountain of corpses and blood was boiling in it, dyeing the ground black.
Seeing their comrades burn in eerie aquamarine-colored flame, strength left the knees of the two Spriggans.
Usagi shouted Ikaruga's name and ran to the 35th platoon's tent.
Ouka could only see her off, stunned.
"Tch... they sent all the Einherjar machines... Nero, can you analyze the magic property from that flame?"
Kyouya said so while looking around the camp.
《"You can tell just by looking. This magic power's enormous destructive effectiveness comes from the "Dragon" property."》
"So a Mechanical Dragon did it... I don't like it."
While spitting curses Kyouya looked sideways at Ouka.
Ouka drooped down with an extremely pale face.
"............it's my fault."
She could only blame herself.
When the communication with Ikaruga was interrupted, she should have went back assuming an emergency. Because there was a high chance of a trap, she should have called for ceasing the operation. It could have had a different result...
Forgetting herself in revenge and getting distracted seeing the enemy right in front of her has led to the worst result.
While calling her comrades the most important thing, she made the worst choice.
This devastation was something she had invited in.
"...it's not really your fault. Don't burden yourself with responsibility for no reason. You saw that right? The enemy killed their own allies with a poisonous gas. Those guys were used as bait, and enemy was aiming for the camp all along."
《"That's right. We were led to a trap, on top of Master being a fool you too joined him in being foolish, that's all〜. You'll profit from that as long as you're alive〜."》
"Shut up you shitty gun."
Even the words of Kyouya who showed his concern didn't reach Ouka.
"............back then...if I only came back..."
"Judging by the devastation, the enemy aimed mainly for this place which is in the middle of the Grey City. Even if me and you were here, it's doubtful we'd be able to repel them."
With a lower tone of voice Kyouya made a guess.
But Ouka didn't stop to blame herself.
"...what a moody woman... if they killed ours, we kill theirs, that's all. I intend to do so."
《"That's right. Mast〜eer, it's revenge?! Let's clear up the company's chagrin! Let's beat them all up〜!"》
Ignoring Nero, Kyouya stared at Ouka who was drooping down.
《"Can it be Master, that the time you lost your comrades has overlapped for you with her now? Noo noo nooo we don't need that! Nero doesn't need that!"》
"You're annoying... shut up."
Kyouya couldn't find any words he could say to Ouka. Just as Nero said, he overlapped himself from back then with her.
Eventually, Ouka started walking towards the platoon's tent with a wobbly gait.
The Small Fry Platoon's tent was also desolated like everything else.
The luggage was thrown out and burned along with the tent. Ikaruga was nowhere to be seen.
While desperately bearing the urge to cry, Usagi searched for Ikaruga.
"Suginamii! If you're alive then please respondd!"
Not even considering the possibility of enemies being close, Usagi cried out.
There was no answer. The bodies and wreckage burned and the only thing that could be heard was sound of sparks.
She wiped the tears, and with a face covered in soot she scavenged among the rubble.
What she found were only bodies and a firearm distorted by heat.
The droplets flowing down her cheeks couldn't be stopped. Usagi fell on her knees and cried.
That's when... she heard a faint sound similar to that of an alarm. She thought she misheard for a moment, but she certainly heard that from the 35th platoon's tent wreckage.
Usagi put her hand into the burnt wood and scooped out ash.
She immediately found the source of the sound. It was a large rectangular box covered with anti-magic coating. It was a weapon case Ikaruga had brought. Usagi knew that the contents of the box was a new weapon Ikaruga hurriedly completed overnight.
Opening her eyes widely, she tried to open the box in a hurry.
Maybe because it was in the flames, but the box was very hot. She retracted her hand with a watery eyes.
When she did,
【"Saionji Usagi's DNA recognition complete——Hello my master."】
The box let out a mechanical voice and suddenly opened.
What vigorously appeared from inside the box was a single sniper rifle. Completely different from the semi-automatic rifle and the anti-materiel rifles Usagi has used until now, it had a futuristic form. It's shape was somehow similar to that of the railguns Einherjars were using.
Other than that there were magazines with bullets inside, and three bullets with transparent tips shining in rainbow-colored light. Furthermore, there was a single bullet with a same transparent shell, emitting a gray light.
Usagi touched the bullets in silence and grabbed the gun's body.
Suddenly, something like electric current ran through her body.
《"——, ——gi, ———Usagi, can you hear me?"》
After feeling a slight pain, she could hear Ikaruga's voice echo in her head.
She opened her eyes wide in surprise.
"Suginami?! Are you all right?!"
《"That's great... you found it properly haven't you. As expected of my beloved Usagi-chan."》
"W-where are you hiding? Not just the voice, show yourself as well."
Glad that Ikaruga was alive, Usagi returned to her threatening tone of voice.
《"I can't really do that... this voice is made from the electric signal I send to your head through this gun I made. Inside of this gun, there are the "Nanomachines". Well, you can think of it as of a part of me."》
Usagi looked at the gun she was holding and unconsciously was taken aback.
"N-no way... your real body hasn't died has it?!"
《"...why would you think that? It's all right, I'm alive. Currently, I'm captured by the enemy along with the Spriggans."》
《"Probably, this is the Alchemist's fifth laboratory. The way the walls are made is familiar. How ironic... to be taken here once again."》
Because of the feelings she had for her old home, Ikaruga's voice became very low. The fifth laboratory. Once before the 35th platoon had fought there to prevent the restoration of elves.
"We'll come to save you immediately!"
《"Of course you'll come, but before that let me explain the situation to you. The enemy intends to destroy as much of the Inquisition in the vicinity and erect a barrier. Probably it's one that's too powerful to be destroyed from outside and can only be taken down by destroying the device from inside. Unless we destroy it before activation, we can't expect any reinforcements from the Inquisition's side."》
"Roger that. I shall relay that to Ootori."
As Usagi said so, Ikaruga spat out a small sigh.
《"Tell Ootori... that I'm sorry for not being able to fight together with her."》
"? You were there fighting together, acting as her support haven't you."
《"............I won't tell you since it's embarrassing."》
It was unexpected to hear the word 'embarrassing' from Ikaruga's mouth, but Usagi somehow felt like she was being left out.
《"Hurry up if possible. It seems like the enemy isn't going to make any use of us, so after questioning is over they'll finish us. I've heard a comrade's screams a moment ago."》
The situation was serious, but Usagi has gotten grasp on faint hope and no longer cried. If there's hope, even a faint one, Saionji Usagi becomes strong.
"Please don't worry! We'll definitely come and save you!"
《"I'll teach you how to use this gun. Well, if my voice explaining right now is interrupted that means I was either killed or made their plaything, you can think whatever."》
"Don't say things that sound like a bad omen!!"
After shouting at Ikaruga in response to her black joke, she was taught how to use the gun.
And then, Usagi learned the gun's performance was outrageous and far beyond her imagination.
After walking into the 35th platoon's tent, Ouka stumbled on something. When she raised her body and looked under her feet, she saw a charred corpse of a comrade laying there.
She raised her dirty face and looked around, feeling the stench of death in the hot air.
It was a scene full of death. Feeling like she was blown away to hell while still alive was suffocating.
Saying an apology with a trembling voice, Ouka writhed on the ground as if she was in agony.
She didn't think that the fact that someone lost their lives because of her was this painful.
Knowing that she shouldn't have given priority to revenge, she could only hate herself. Ouka earnestly apologized, that's the only thing she could do now.
If she didn't do so, her heart wouldn't hold out.
"............who are you apologizing to?"
When she looked up weakly, she saw Usagi look down on her with an angry expression.
Unable to withstand Usagi's gaze, Ouka turned away.
"It's not your fault that this happened. We still haven't done what we should have. Even if we noticed the trap back then and returned to camp, it was already too late."
"...but, I acted based on my own feelings. When you were suffering... and our comrades were killed... I... lost myself in revenge."
"It can't be helped."
"No such thing... what I have sworn to you turned into a lie. I used my power in a wrong way... I shouldn't have used it for revenge, but for the sake of my comrades...!"
As Ouka continued to blame herself, Usagi's gaze turned cold.
She turned her ears deaf to Ouka's voice, and felt angry at Ouka for brooding over it all alone.
"...temporarily, lets say that it's your fault that everything has turned out like this. So... all you're going to do is sit there and blame yourself?"
Ouka was unable to answer to her question immediately.
Even as Ouka attempted to cheer herself up, her body didn't listen. It was because her object of hate, was herself.
Suddenly, Usagi grasped Ouka's collar and spoke right into her face.
Despite having tears in her eyes, Usagi stared powerfully at Ouka.
"Even if you're strong in battle, is your heart weaker than mine...? It's not, right? You should be much stronger than me! You withstood the despair that felt like it'll crush your mind, and stood up while clenching your teeth haven't you!"
"Surely, you don't have any resistance to failure and regret. So what if you failed once, so what if you regret doing something once. You should be able to stand up time after time again!"
Usagi could say that because she failed countless times.
She was aware that she was a burden to the platoon. She was able to properly do her job nowadays, but before she was a no-good sniper who shot her allies by mistake. Even now she wasn't being praised. When she first came to this battlefield, she couldn't stop trembling seeing death right in front of her.
And yet, Usagi stood up. It didn't end up with her on her knees. With a harsh expression, she scolded Ouka.
"I understand your feelings. Were I alone, I wouldn't have risen again. Kusanagi and Suginami, Nikaido... and you, if not for you being there I would have surely been on my knees. It's all thanks to you that I'm here now."
Usagi assaulted Ouka with feelings of gratitude.
She released the clothes from her grasp and gently wrapped Ouka's cheeks with both of her hands.
"Ootori... please, stop cowering there all alone. There's no Kusanagi nor Nikaido in here... but I am. I don't think I'm too reliable, but even I don't want to be protected all the time."
Saying 'I'm here', Usagi pushed Ouka's back.
"Suginami is still alive. She's been caught by the enemy and is together with other Spriggans. We need to hurry and save her. Please decide on the next course of action."
"Did you forget? Right now, you are our captain!"
Hearing those words, Ouka felt a weight in the center of her chest.
It was enough for her to regain sanity.
Takeru's face appeared in her mind. She vowed to protect the platoon until he comes back.
Is she, who betrayed them qualified to protect anything?
No, it's because she betrayed them once already that she has to protect them. Suginami is alive. The Inquisitors too are still alive.
No matter how painful it is, how many times she fails, she needs to save them.
I need to stand up. I need to decide this. I need to act.
That's what a captain is.
Cleanse this stigma. This is the time to return the favor.
"...it's as...this girl says...Ootori-kun."
Suddenly, a voice came from the debris.
When Ouka and Usagi looked towards the source, they saw the commander stand there with a serious injury in the abdomen.
The two rushed towards him and supporting him, they sat him down on the rubble.
"You shouldn't feel responsible... it's all... my responsibility for not being suspicious of the orders from above."
"Please don't speak... I'll stop the bleeding...!"
Ouka placed a hand on the wound and reached towards the medical kit with the other, but commander grasped her hand.
And he slowly shook his head.
"It's too late for me. Use it on the survivors. Rather than that... there's something I need to relay to you."
Forcing his trembling body, the Commander placed a hand on Ouka's shoulder.
And stared at her as if he looked at his own daughter.
"...in the past, together with your father... I have acted together with Mineshiro Kazuma. I participated in the destruction of Insect Cage as a Spriggan."
Father. Mineshiro Kazuma. The Commander said the same thing Laugh Maker did.
"Vlad... was my father really Red Glare? What Laugh Maker said wasn't a lie?"
Facing down, she asked Vlad.
《"............classified information. I cannot say."》
Ouka judged Vlad's mood. She didn't know why the information about Red Glare was classified, but one thing was certain, Ootori Sougetsu was trying to hide something.
"...it's true that Inquisition is trying to hide information about that person. Probably, he touched something he shouldn't have. Don't believe Inquisition... Ootori Sougetsu wants you all to..."
Breathing painfully, the Commander said so.
Ouka recalled her father's gentle face. Although he was a clumsy person who's bad at talking, there was dignity of someone who went through carnage many times. Ouka loved his big, gentle hands. She couldn't imagine the figure of her father with such gentle hands being an Inquisition's officer.
"There's no time... there's something I'd like to ask... could you save my subordinates who were taken captive because of me...?"
Summoning the last of his strength, the Commander grasped Ouka's hand. What was passed through his hand was a compelling wish.
Ouka gripped him in return and raised her face.
"I will collect equipment, establish contact with our comrades from the other lines of defense and invade enemy territory, we'll definitely save our comrades."
"...sorry. Making you fight is a betrayal towards Mineshiro-san... please forgive my shamelessness."
Just like Ouka did, the company's commander muttered an apology.
The company commander stopped gripping Ouka's hand and fell to the ground.
"The Relic Eater you possess... Vlad's strength wasn't... displayed yet..."
While light was disappearing from his pupils, he conveyed the last thing to her.
"Use our...blood...don't waste the feelings...of our comrades who...died he...re..."
Letting out his final breath, the man said his wish as he fell asleep.
Ouka looked at his appearance as he slept and stood up.
She saluted him as an Inquisitor, lowered her arm and looked up at the sky.
"Vlad, father... was Mineshiro Kazuma a strong man?"
《"I know not thy father. However, Red Glare was not a man thou thinkst he was."》
《"He was an incredibly weak man. Concerned with trivial things, regretful, and he collapsed time after time again. Time after time, he said 'I don't want to do this any more'."》
She couldn't imagine the figure of her father holding a crimson gun.
A gun didn't fit that gentle father of hers.
《"However, Ouka. Nobility is not something to express through strength. Nobility is something that changes weakness into strength."》
Vlad heavily, strongly, evaluated Red Glare.
《"Therefore——I do not know of his nobility."》
When she heard that, just for a moment,
Just for a moment——her father's back, holding guns in both hands came to her mind.
Ouka has seen a back like that before. Having no merits to him other than his sword, laughed at and told it's outdated, the back of a man who desperately fought for his comrades, for his little sister.
No matter how many times he was broken he rose up, a big back that led his comrades to fight.
Ouka burned the back of the two who saved her into her heart.
"Vlad... if you drink blood, will your power increase?"
《"While there is a limit with the contractor's blood, the original power will be released if external blood is provided."》
After saying only what's necessary, Vlad went silent.
Ouka closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Until now she thought that taking the blood of others and turning it into power is evil, she thought that it's sinful.
However, what Vlad said was that he sought noble blood.
Everyone who has died in this place were noble ones who fought until the very end. Wouldn't letting this precious blood go to waste... be a sin?
"As if I'd let that happen."
Opening her eyes widely, she stretched one hand forward.
"Suck it dry. Don't waste a single drop."
All of the regret of the ones who sleep in this land, their dying wish, Ouka has decided to inherit.
The moment Vlad received its master's request, a huge magical circle appeared under her feet.
It was too large to grasp with one's eyes, and covered the company's camp.
And all of the blood that has spilled in the location has flowed to where Ouka was.
The lifeblood of her comrades spiraled and wrapped around her body.
《"The blood, is a proof of a the owner's being alive... it's the proof of the owner's history. Thy shalt now inherit all of that."》
"...just like I have inherited you, a gun of my father."
《"Indeed. However, beware——noble blood is heavy."》
Immediately after Vlad gave her an advice, a powerful pain struck Ouka and froze her body. Blood of other people has invaded her body. She was writhing, feeling as if her body was forcefully remade.
It was memories. The road dead ones have walked dwelled inside of the blood, and has ingrained itself in Ouka.
"I see, certainly this is... heavy...!"
She distorted her face in anguish, clenched her teeth.
"Nh, I'll carry it...! If I'm crushed in this place, everything will go to waste!"
《"Truly so. As long as thou shalt bear it, they shalt be near thee. Vanquish them all! Together with the noble blood!"》
A large amount of blood was assimilated into Ouka's body and covered her as an armor.
The pain reached its peak, and the power has come into her grasp. That very moment, all memories of the dead ones flowed inside of Ouka's head.
All of them, have had loved ones.
They had families. They had lovers. They had friends. They had comrades they trust.
The time of happiness of each, feelings, have flowed inside of Ouka.
The memories passed through her in a flash, and Vlad's strengthening was completed.
Inside of Ouka, the blood of her comrades concentrated and became power she was familiar with.
She felt something uncomfortable inside of her mouth. When she checked it with tongue, she found that part of her teeth were pointed and sharp.
Her vision has sharpened, and she was able to confirm the blood flow and cardiac movement of others just by looking at them.
It had a different shape from a Witch Hunt form, what wrapped Ouka's body was a thin armour that wasn't neither flesh nor a mineral. The cloak on the back has completely turned into wings, and she looked like a devil.
Even though she did look like a devil, there was no evil in it, nobility dwelled within.
The crimson wings made of blood shone nobly, even in the night.
By converting the blood of others into magical power an enormous power is obtained, and the heretical magic transformed the contractor's body. The effect literally turned the contractor into a vampire.
《"Thou currently hast power equal to that of a vampire true ancestor. There is no need to hold back with magical power and your flesh is different from a human's. The power of noble blood... wield it as you please."》
She felt no disgust despite being turned into a heretical existence.
If anything, it felt pleasant. This power was the strength of all her comrades who died in here. Ouka grasped all she has absorbed and crossed both hands in front of her.
"Let's vanquish them, Saionji. We're rescuing our comrades!"
At the same time as Usagi responded, Ouka vigorously spread her arms.
Magical power was ejected from the Pile Bunkers on her elbows and from her crimson wings.
Her sunset-colored hair shook from the aftermath and shone tinged with magical power's light.
Ouka's appearance was truly——fitting to be described as Calamity.
"Until we reach the fifth laboratory Kirigaya and I will lead the way! Spriggans and Usagi are to follow us from behind!"
She spread the crimson wings and followed the road to the fifth laboratory flying at low altitude.
Ouka confirmed that Kyouya ran by her side and paid attention to the jeep that has followed her from behind.
After assuming Vampire form, Ouka contacted Hayato through radio. There were several troops that continued to resist, and many people who were remnants from different troops joined together.
On top of having no time to gather forces, they couldn't converge and thus everyone moved to the laboratory on their own.
A communication from Hayato came, and she focused on listening to it.
《"Enemy has Einherjars and Mechanical Dragons. Avoid fighting them if you can. It's a waste of time."》
《"You're closest to fifth laboratory. The enemy hasn't realized we're out to destroy the barrier system. Defense should be rather lax. Ensure we have an entrance when you arrive and wait for my arrival."》
"...I apologize captain Kurogane, but it would be better to fight even if a moment earlier. Can we rush in first?"
As Ouka advised him, Hayato fell silent.
Whenever she spoke her own opinion to him, she was always tensed up. The feeling she had back when she was EXE seemed to have been revived.
《"...do you think you can do it?"》
Hayato asked sharply.
Break through the enemies and destroy the barrier generator. Moreover, they have to rescue the prisoners.
However, Ouka answered with confidence.
"We can. The current us can do it."
《"Got it. Then I'll shave off as many of the enemy forces as possible and head over there. You proceed ahead."》
Although she was unable to read his emotions, it was unusual for Hayato to accept proposals of others.
Hearing the short words of concern, Ouka's motivation reached it peak. Kurogane Hayato was a captain for a long time. He gave others a strict, cold impression and it was unusual for him to think of his subordinates.
He was neither a cold nor a warm person, but he didn't lie to his comrades and treated them equal.
That was why his words motivated his subordinates.
After Ouka answered strongly, the communication was cut off.
She turned around the corner at breakneck speed and checked the enemy figures ahead.
At Ouka's instruction, Kyouya and the Jeep stopped.
Usagi's head peeked out from the Jeep's passenger seat and she checked the enemy figures ahead.
"Ten soldiers, five Einherjars... a single wyvern-type Mechanical Dragon. That's bad isn't it."
"I want to avoid pointless battles. We'll circle around them."
When Ouka proposed that, Kyouya moved in front.
"If we circle around we'll lose 10 minutes... I'll do it. You guys go ahead."
At this surprising proposal, Usagi opened her eyes wide in shock.
Ouka hesitated for a moment. She didn't want to leave Kyouya's strength in this place.
"I won't listen to your orders. They're my prey."
He put Nero on his shoulder and glared at the enemy.
"You can tell just by lookin'... they're the bunch that assaulted our company. They're leisurely returning to base."
"Unlike you I won't lose myself in revenge and crush those guys. They're our comrades' vengeance."
His glaring eyes had almost no reason left inside.
As if she saw herself until now, Ouka's heart ached.
"Hurry up and go. There ain't no time."
Ouka called out to Kyouya's back who headed towards the enemy.
"...Kirigaya, do you remember my proposal?"
"That was no lie. If you wish for it, we will help you with all we have to save Yoshimizu. If you remain under the Chairman you definitely won't save her... that man will never act in order to save someone."
Kyouya stopped his feet and spat out a sigh.
"...I know that already. But I don't know any way other than this to help her survive. I will fight, that's the only way left for me... even if that means turning into his pawn."
Unbroken, he spat out words stating as things are.
"Will you let yourself be used until the end?! If there's no way, you just have to find one!"
"Come with us! There has to be another way for you!"
As Ouka tried to persuade him, Kyouya smiled wryly looking at her from the profile.
"Then, do you think I can fight together with Kusanagi side-by-side? I'll pass on that, he'll pass too. I'll tell you this, I don't have a shred of regret for trying to kill his little sister. Back then, not killing that monster there would be the worst decision... and in particular for that little sister, being killed would definitely be the happy ending."
Kyouya snorted and shook his head.
"That's just whitewashing things. I just wanted to kill her for my revenge on heresy... I'm not going to make it sound noble."
He finished speaking and moved towards the enemy with a heavy gait.
"Go. If you don't want to lose comrades like I did, hurry up and save her."
Ouka didn't think that revenge was the only thing swirling inside him.
But she didn't have time to argue. If they can move straight from this place, they will move to the laboratory through the shortest route. She couldn't find any reason to refuse his offer.
She sent a signal to Usagi and flapped her wings.
Then, she passed by Kyouya's side at high speed.
"——I will distract the enemy, Saionji and the others are to break through after Kirigaya shoots!"
She flew grazing the ground and closed onto the enemy.
The moment Einherjars tried to look towards her, Ouka soared into the sky.
With the enemy's vision directed towards Ouka, the jeep started to run.
"Triple Thread——Slug Shot!"
Kyouya's shotgun deformed into a cannon and shot the enemy troop.
With the momentum of a machine gun, high density magic bullets hit the enemy.
Ouka broke through the gap in the enemy ranks and ensured the shortest route to laboratory.
Kyouya returned the gun from a rotating form to its original, then took a breath with his eyes closed.
When she passed by his side, Ouka said just one thing to him.
——Don't give up.
Splitting the heavens, starry sky has began to give out to the sunrise. He turned his tired eyes to it.
Possibly, there is alternative——
Alternative, that kind of future might exist.
It wouldn't be weird if there was a future where he didn't take Ootori Sougetsu's hand, instead he would look for a method to save Yoshimizu Akira together with Kusanagi Takeru and Ootori Ouka.
He wouldn't fall into the wrong path, and would fight justly to save Akira.
But he already took that hand. What he obtained after contracting Nero for Akira's survival, was an endless life of revenge. Once his revenge disappears, Akira's life will probably exhaust itself.
And if he betrays Ootori Sougetsu, the contract with Nero will be cancelled. After making the choice at the beginning, there was no going back.
There was no other way than shook off everything else.
But, just a little bit.
For just a little bit, the future that was possible has caused pain in his heart.
After the bombardment's smoke cleared up, he confirmed the number of enemies remaining.
There were three Einherjars. Five soldiers and one Mechanical Dragon.
"Perfect. Ain't that quite a nice line-up... right, hey, isn't that so, shitty gun?"
《"Yup yup. But Master, do you think you can function properly without decent healing? Don't come crying to Nero if you get hit by dragon's breath okay?"》
"Shut up, I just have to avoid it all right!"
The corner of his mouth distorted, and Kyouya rammed into the enemy head-on.
Focusing magical power into the cannon that fused into his right hand, he charged, running on the ground.
He avoided the enemy's furious barrage, and like a wolf pouncing on its prey, he jumped at the Mechanical Dragon's throat.
"Blow away heretics!"
The moment the cannon released an attack, the whole area was buried in dark green magic.
The vengeful demon didn't stop. He single-mindedly threaded on his path.
Even if all that was ahead was despair.
Leaving Kyouya, Ouka rushed towards the laboratory.
The sound of fighting and explosions has reverberated from the distance. Thanks to Hayato and Kyouya rampaging, there weren't many enemies attracted to Ouka and the others advancing on the road.
They couldn't afford to miss this opportunity.
"I can see the fifth laboratory!"
When she looked in the direction Usagi was pointing, she saw the central tower that was destroyed during the elf restoration experiment battle.
"Is Suginami still safe?"
"Yes... but a witch is forcing out information during interrogation. If Suginami's turn comes, our surprise attack will be exposed."
Witch... without a doubt it was Laugh Maker.
If it's her magic, it would be easy to make them speak.
Ouka injected magical power into the wings and accelerated, the Jeep ran down the street at full throttle.
She didn't know how many enemies were in there, but all they could do now was to rush in. Leaving the convoluted alleys, they turned right onto the main street. As they went straight through the industrial area's street, they could see the entrance to laboratory ahead of them. The partially-collapsed outer wall was a remnant from their previous visit. Although it was supposed to be closed for investigation by Inquisition. It had been occupied when the enemy invaded.
The devastated landscape made it even more gray than the Grey City.
Sitting in the center of it——there was a single humongous dragon.
"A Mechanical Dragon... a large-type!"
The thirty-meter large body looked huge even from the position Ouka and the others were in.
After they'd gotten closer, it looked like a small hill.
Although it's figure was like that of a snake, its body was as thick as that of a whale.
《"That form, a wyrm huh... it doesn't have wings but it's nasty. Not only it can use its breath, but also magic."》
There were records of dragons that understood human speech and were capable of using magic. They attack with breath and assist themselves with magic, moreover the dragon scales are difficult to destroy even using modern weapons.
However, it's body was that of a machine. It had no dragon scales.
《"Hah, we're doing it, Master."》
"Of course. If the enemy's defense is just magic, then he's no opponent for us."
There was only one protective magic dragon could use.
It was a magic possible to cast with the "Dragon" magical power property, magic unavailable to humans. It built pseudo-dragon scales. It was dragon magic which formed a barrier by deploying it as to cover a wide range.
However, even if it's strength was comparable to that of dragon scales, it didn't change the fact that it was magic.
As long as she entered the operative procedure in her head, no matter how strong the magic is, Vlad can penetrate it.
"There's no time to stop——we're passing by all at once!"
Ouka focused and expanded the pile bunker on her right arm, and a huge magical circle appeared behind her.
Rather than make multiple operative procedures, by the huge magical circle she created multiple small magical circles with the same patterns.
Continuing with the same speed, Ouka rushed in.
When she realized the Mechanical Dragon looked up, it opened the huge mouth opening.
Going straight. Ouka flapped the wings strongly, accompanied by a red lightning bolt.
At the same time as she waved her arm, all of her magical circles were released.
When the magical circle shone exceptionally bright, the space distorted above the Mechanical Dragon.
What showed up along with a tremor was a rain and erection of sharply pointed stakes. They easily broke through the Mechanical Dragon's protective magic and its skewered body was fixed in one spot.
Furthermore, a countless number of stakes were released from the expanded small magical circles, striking the Mechanical Dragon.
Faced with inevitable attacks from all directions. Especially with its huge body, it received all of them.
Ouka tried to approach the bosom of its skewered body.
However, the Mechanical Dragon released a dragon's breath without cancelling the King's Area.
She unleashed a crimson stake straight towards the released dragon's breath.
Magical power collided with magical power. There was no even confrontation, the 《Count's Fang》 she released with all she passed unhindered through the wave of dragon property and stabbed into the wyrm's mouth.
《"Taste my fang!"》
At the same time as Vlad roared, Ouka rammed into the dragon's mouth.
Ouka broke through the dragon's mouth——moving outside.
A tremendous explosion roared, and the dragon's movements stopped. The Dragon magical property that clung to her body was blown away with the flapping of her wings, and Ouka landed on the ground.
The dragon that had its head penetrated shook, not letting out a voice and laid down after gazing at the heavens just once.
Even after subjugating the dragon, they didn't have time to rest. The Jeep that was driving behind stopped at the laboratory's entrance. Two Spriggans and Usagi have jumped out of it in a hurry.
"We shall protect this place! Ootori, destroy the barrier equipment and rescue the prisoners!"
While holding her new gun, Usagi entrusted her hopes to Ouka.
"I will be all right. As long as I have the gun Suginami made, I should be able to hold out even if enemies flock from all around!"
Staring at the figure of Usagi who turned away, Ouka nodded.
"...I leave it to you. If anything happens, contact me immediately."
"Yess, have luck in battle, Ootori!"
"The other two, please back Saionji up!"
As she said that, the two Spriggans struck the armor on their chest with fists.
"Leave it to us. It's the life you have saved... we'll return the favor with the same life."
"Getting to protect such a cute young lady, I must have exhausted my Spriggan luck. I leave our comrades to you!"
She nodded in response to their encouragement, and glared at the path she was ought to take.
The objective was destruction the barrier generator and rescue of the prisoners. It wasn't subjugation of the enemy.
This time... I won't lose my way!
The gratitude for having comrades watch her back, and the joy of having people to protect.
She was no longer just a demon who lived for revenge.
No matter how hateful the opponent is, she won't be swayed.
Breathing life into her soul, Ouka plunged into her own battlefield.
Ancient Field (エンシエントフイールド) - It's written as (王者の領域) meaning "Victor's Area" .
Vladislavus Dracula (ヴラデイスラウス・ドラキユリア) - Written as (血界の覇者) which means "Surpreme Blood Ruler".