Chapter 6 - Walking Side by Side

"Mari! Is it this way?!"

Takeru asked Mari while running through the Grey City.

TMG_v07_0217Kanaria ran right beside him, and Mari was carried by Takeru in a princess carry.

Since there was a possibility of being found out by the enemy if they flew through the sky, reluctantly he held her in his arms like this. Mari laughed blissfully and didn't pay attention whether they're going left or right, she immersed herself in clinging to Takeru's chest.

"Ehe, ehehe... I expected to take a step ahead in the Magic Academy and get in the lead, but my share of an entire month I believed in was stolen by a little girl... to think I would be able to feel something this wonderful after coming backk ehehehehehehe, this is happinesss."

Kanaria who was running beside pinched Mari's nose with her fingers strongly.

"Borbble! Bat 'ou doong...!"

"Don't go deredere here. Think of the circumstances. Is your guidance really okay?"

While asking Mari who pressed onto her nose with tears in her eyes, Kanaria asked the same thing to Takeru with her gaze. Mari pouted and raised an objection.

"Hmmm... fifth laboratory right? It's this way, believe me, I know this place."

"Last time we came here you got lost, so you have no credibility though..."

As Takeru said so anxiously, Mari got easily dismayed.

"I-it's allll rightt! Last time I got lost since it was an underpass okay? If we go straight here we'll see it sooonn."

Because of Mari's confidence which couldn't be trusted, he's gotten even more anxious.

After hearing of the 35th platoon's current situation from Nagaru, Takeru grew impatient.

If the enemy is Ootori's foe... if possible I want to be beside her. I said we'll walk together... I can't let her fight alone.

They spent a moderately long time together and the ice around her heart has finally melted. He promised to shoulder half of her burden, and walk alongside her.

He has to be there when Ouka exacts her revenge.

While Takeru got increasingly more frustrated, Kanaria sent a sidelong glance at him.

"I don't really get it, but what will we do if we survive? Who will we join?"

"Hey! It's not time to think about that, right?!"

"Didn't ask Mari!"

Kanaria retorted to Mari again.

Takeru answered her question while looking ahead.

 

"After picking up our comrades, we will rejoin Student Council President. The dissidents seem to have a hideout, we'll head there."

"Those guys, how big are they?"

"I don't know too well but... dissidents from various organizations seem to gather there. From Valhalla, Ethics Committee, Inquisition. We intend to decide on what do we do after we hear everything from President."

"So, no plan, is it... well, as long as Kana gets to meet with Suginami Ikaruga, it's fine."

Facing sideways, Kanaria cast down her gaze because of the complex feeling she had. He persuaded her that she should speak with Ikaruga, and took her together with them to the outside world. He wanted to grant her that wish no matter what.

But before that, there was one thing he had to confirm first.

"You two, there's something I want to tell you."

In response to his meek voice, the two stared at Takeru.

"From now onward, we will definitely be surrounded by enemies. There's a mountain of things we have to do. And most of them... are my problems."

" "............" "

"In order to save Kiseki, I think that a battle with Inquisition's side will be inevitable. In other words,"

Takeru stopped his legs and said.

"——The entire world will turn into our enemies."

With a resolved expression Takeru continued.

"I'm glad that you came to help me, even though I believe in you, if there was a situation where we might lose our lives... give priority to yourself."

" "............" "

"You have your own goals. Don't die, fulfill them no matter what. Whether you act cowardly or cruel, survive no matter what."

After saying that, he focused on running again.

Kanaria and Mari stared at Takeru's face and spat out a sigh.

"Kana didn't say she'll save you. She has no such intention. However, while I don't get it, there's one thing I want to say."

"I know what you're trying to say. For you Takeru, it's something quite decent. But can I say one thing from myself?"

While Takeru stared at the two puzzled, they spoke in unison.

" "Same to you." "

Good grief, really.

 

***

 

In front of the fifth laboratory's entrance, there was an open area. For convenience, the buildings were levelled and anti-magic material was mined from it.

Usagi left the cargo of the Jeep in an open area and listened to the report from her comrades.

《"Alley in the south-southwest... enemies confirmed. Three Einherjars are heading over."》

《"They're coming from the old road in the southeast too... five of them here. They should be visible in a minute."》

"...roger that."

Usagi calmly received the report from the two Spriggans who were scouting.

She took down a large amount of ammunition from the Jeep and loaded the magazines into the gun Ikaruga has developed.

Now that she took a look at the gun's surface, she saw the name 『Rabbit Fang』 engraved on its surface.

《"Usagi, I'll explain once again... that gun of yours won't work properly without my support. I'm still alive, but I don't know what will happen in a minute... if you become unable to use the gun, run away."》

Ikaruga advised Usagi through the gun.

"Understood... by the way, can it really fire both normal bullets and processed anti-magic bullets?"

As Usagi asked, Ikaruga chuckled.

《"It can. No matter what material is it, Nanomachines can remake it into a different substance. Whether its iron, lead or gold, it can be convert it into mithril or weiss crystal bullets."》

"It's so abrupt I can't believe it... but if you say so, it must be true."

《"Since it's an artificial Magical Heritage it doesn't need gunpowder, if it runs out of magical power it can shoot bullets with it. However, because of that the thermal runaway's heat will go wild so be careful."》

An artificial Magical Heritage with Nanomachines embedded inside... just listening to that made her head hurt. Were Inquisition to learn of it, they would be immediately sent to prison.

Moreover... there were those bullets shining with rainbow and gray colors stored in a separate case.

When Usagi heard their description, she was horrified.

The rainbow bullet aside, she didn't want to use the gray bullet if possible. The reason she arranged the two Spriggans on the roof was in case she has to use this bullet.

《"They'll appear to you soon! Finish them while we restrain them!"》

As soon as she heard the report, tension ran through Usagi. She took a small breath and it stopped.

She expanded the bi-pod on the ground, aimed the barrel and looked through the scope.

In the middle of the main street. Where two roads merged, appeared eight Einherjar machines.

《"Can you tell what's the enemy armor's material?"》

"It's made from adamantium."

《"Understood. Material conversion, dalium."》

In response to Ikaruga's words of power, the gun vibrated faintly. At this very moment, the normal ammunition probably has been mutated into dalium that's effective against adamantium.

It wasn't time to shoot yet. She'll wait until they come to 300 meters distance and sink it all at once.

Five seconds.

Usagi started the countdown and waited for the enemy.

Four, three, two, one————now!

At the same time as Usagi's countdown ended, machine-gun bullets from the rooftop of buildings on both sides showered the Einherjars. When the enemy stopped hovering in the air and tried to aim its gun, Usagi started shooting.

She aimed the center of the sight at the unmoving enemy and squeezed the trigger.

Instantly, a bullet has been fired with a roar akin to a thunder.

The bullet flew in a straight line and hit the Einherjars right shoulder, piercing it.

The gun's aim was off, but Usagi didn't care about that.

《"Sorry, I still haven't finished the firing adjustment."》

"It's no problem."

Saying so shortly, Usagi started rapid fire towards the eight machines.

Out of eight shots, four bullets hit. She sank down five out of eight machines, and blew away legs of one more.

Two millimeters below the center.

She adjusted the gun's reticle, read the wind speed and calculated the trajectory.

——There it is.

The enemy aimed a railgun towards her.

A magical bullet passed by her, hit and destroyed the wall. The debris was blown away, and even as Usagi seemed like she'd be buried under it, she didn't close her eyes and continued to focus.

And——

"——......!!"

She held her breath and shot accurately. All the bullets she fired directly hit the enemy's head.

Usagi lowered her gaze and checked the gun. She wasn't blown back, but the recoil was quite powerful, making it seem as if her shoulders would get blown off. She was surprised that the recoil when firing with magical power was this small.

There was nothing to criticize about its power. This rifle was capable of destroying a Magical Dragoon with a single blow. The capability allowing it to convert processed anti-magic bullets made it a supreme article for snipers.

"While a bit stubborn, it's a good gun."

《"Of course it is, I made it for you."》

"But, it's regrettable that the gun's recoil is so strong, and the gunshot is loud..."

Because of that, enemies will gather around her. As expected, from the roads on the both sides of main street, new enemies emerged immediately.

《"When enemies gather together, use the auroral bullets."》

As she was told, she loaded the bullets directly and aimed into the enemy's center. The bullet was clad with rainbow-colored light and hit the enemy's chest."

The moment Einherjar was about to fall down on its back, aurora-colored magic exploded from inside of its armor.

The explosion hit the four other machines, a single blow has slain three Einherjars at once.

"As expected of Nikaido's magic."

Auroral Bullet. As the name suggested, it was Mari's magic absorbed into a magic absorbent material and made an instant charm. Before Mari left AntiMagic Academy together with Takeru, she cooperated with Ikaruga to develop a new weapon.

The auroral bullet that was already powerful by itself had been further strengthened by being fired from a gun. Since the two Spriggans were doing a good job, her first attack was able to hit the enemy directly.

However,  the enemies weren't fools. Hearing the sounds of battle, more and more of them has gathered.

They cast protective magic and ignored the two Spriggans. The three machines launched an attack on Usagi.

《"Use the grenade launcher gadget."》

As told by Ikaruga, Usagi mounted the grenade launcher below the barrel and loaded it.

The grenade itself was a smoke grenade, but Nanomachines in the gun began to remake its structure.

And when the enemy moved closer to the distance of 50 meters, Usagi fired grenades at buildings on the both sides of them.

Soon enough, a sparkling red-brown smoke diffused.

Despite the smoke wrapping around them, the Einherjars continued to rush at her.

Next, Usagi fired dalium bullets from a short distance. Although there should be a protective magic stretched in front of the Einherjars, her bullets hit the target. The contents of the grenade were changed into high quality hihiirokane that had an anti-magical effect and neutralized enemy's magic by spraying the magic-decaying dust.

Usagi continued to successfully defend the laboratory's entrance.

Great! At this rate——!

I'll somehow manage to hold out until Ootori returns. Just when she thought so.

《"——It's a dragon!! Usagi-chan, run awayy!!"》

The Spriggan's yell roared through the intercom, and the building he was on was crushed like a toy.

Seeing her comrade's life taken in an instant, Usagi was at loss for words.

What appeared from the other side of the collapsed building was a three-headed huge Mechanical Dragon.

Although it didn't have many heads, its figure was similar to that of a mythological Hydra.

It was no time to falter. The Hydra crawled with its mechanical body in her direction.

With a trembling hand Usagi loaded the remaining auroral bullets and fired all of them at it.

It wasn't enough to take down the enormous body. There was nowhere near enough bullets to defeat the Hydra.

《"Use the anti-matter bullet!"》

"...b-but... I'll hit an ally!!"

There was one Spriggan still remaining on the building nearby.

If she used that bullet here, he would definitely disappear along with the neighboring buildings.

Deciding in her mind that she can't afford to shoot it, Usagi tried to fight back with normal bullets, but suddenly an explosion has happened on the back of Hydra's head.

The Hydra's attention was directed behind it.

《"Usagi-chan... shoot it."》

Behind the Hydra, there was a figure of a Spriggan who came out from the building and threw away the cylinder of a disposable rocket launcher.

Continuing, he started to shoot at the Hydra with a machine gun in order to garner its attention.

《"Shoot! If we don't stop them here, everything will be for naught!"》

Usagi hesitated seeing the Spriggan run out of bullets and fight back with a handgun next.

Not only the Hydra, but also newly arrived Einherjars have headed for the Spriggan.

《"It's a request from a comrade!"》

Hearing those words, Usagi raised a face with a bitter expression on it.

She quickly removed the bullet shining with gray from the backpack and loaded it.

Put her finger on the trigger, and,

"...nh, roger!"

Shedding tears, she aimed at the back of the Hydra that has turned blurry and squeezed the trigger.

The bullet hit right before the dragon breath was unleashed.

At the same time as it landed, the scenery in front of Usagi was swallowed by light.

It was a muddy stream of light of annihilation. Usagi was blown away by the impact immediately after that.

It was the magic Ikaruga used during elf restoration experiment prevention when she fused with elven cells, 《Catastrophe》. Ikaruga saved some of the elven cells and after turning herself into one with Nanomachines, she created a tiny amount of antimatter and embedded it inside of the bullet in vacuum.

Because of the impact Usagi was blown into a wall and almost lost consciousness.

"...gh...not yet.. I can't fall asleep...!"

Mustering all her strength, Usagi stood up by using the gun like a cane.

The buildings caught up in the explosion have turned into rubble. The hit enemies were not there. Ikaruga's 《Catastrophe》 could erase any armor or material.

——However, the enemy reinforcements did not stop coming. Two wyvern-type Mechanical Dragons have surged from the other side of the rubble and captured Usagi in their sights with their cold mechanical pupils.

"...I don't have any more auroral or antimatter bullets! Enemy's armor is made from orichalcum! Please convert the matter!"

《"............"》

"Suginami... what happened?!"

《"Sorry, Usagi. It seems like this is it for me."》

Hearing Ikaruga's tense voice, Usagi's heart started to beat rapidly.

《"...right now, the enemy is in front of me, smiling."》

Ikaruga was calm, she was aloof in any situation.

Usagi was always bad at dealing with Ikaruga who gave off such a feeling.

《"Make sure you survive. At least until you can properly tell Kusanagi you love hi——"》

The voice was interrupted and the gun in Usagi's hands stopped vibrating.

"Suginami...? Suginami!"

Even as she called, there was no response. All there was, was the cold gun.

She was overwhelmed by the desperate situation.

"...nhh... I won't...lose!"

However, Usagi loaded the magazine and squeezed the gun.

She was entrusted with this by the two Spriggans, she couldn't afford to give up. Ouka will definitely save Ikaruga before she's killed. What she herself should do, was to defend the entrance.

As long as there are bullets remaining. As long as she has this gun.

As long as she's still alive——she will never abandon the will to fight. She definitely won't die until Takeru comes back.

"I will protect my comrades!"

Usagi clenched her teeth and resumed rapid fire.

The processed mithril bullets couldn't even scratch the Mechanical Dragon. Usagi knew that already. And yet, she couldn't move from this location. The dragon opened its mouth and took off after spreading its wings. While looking at Usagi from the sky, a breath shone in its mouth.

And——

 

"Kusanagi Double-Edged style——Yamata no Orochi!"

 

——An azure-colored shadow cut the Wyvern in half starting from its brain.

 

"《Aurora Cannon》!"

 

——A bullet of rainbow-colored light hit the side of the other Wyvern that was also about to unleash its breath. Its body shook and it released the breath in a different direction.

 

"Kusanagi Double-Edged style——Mantis Slope!"

 

Furthermore, a blue-haired shadow dropped from far in the sky, crushing the Wyvern's head.

The Mechanical Dragon exploded, scattering Dragon property magical power in the surroundings. Seeing two Mechanical Dragons destroyed in an instant, Usagi was in daze.

Was she dreaming?

In the flames and smoke, she certainly saw that figure.

"...n-no way... can't be...?"

Usagi left the gun on the ground and started to walk wobbly, scattering tears all around. Her pace gradually increased and before long, she started running.

"——nn...you're late! You are late!!"

TMG_v07_0232Ahead, in the place she ran to, he was there. The one they didn't know whether he's alive or not, they lost contact with and left to some distant place.

Sheathing the azure-colored sword, the boy proudly walked towards Usagi, and she——

"It seems like I made it in time. Are you okay, Usa——woahh?!"

She jumped nearly five meters distance and threw her arms around his body.

Takeru momentarily released Witch Hunt form and firmly held her.

"Wa... U-Usagi?"

He was puzzled as he pat Usagi's head that was buried in his chest.

With a bright red face and tears in her eyes, Usagi pressed her cheeks against Takeru.

"...welcome back.... Kusanagiii..."

She congratulated Takeru on his return with voice full of relief.

Despite the confusion he smiled softly and slowly stroked Usagi's head.

"...I'm back. Sorry to make you wait."

Takeru too felt that tears were about to appear in his eyes, but desperately withstood it.

When the two embraced each other, a woman wearing a hat has come up from the side and hugged him in the same way Usagi did.

"I'm back〜. Takeru〜."

Seeing Mari who was with him the entire time hug him for no reason, Takeru was agape.

"...eh."

"...what?!"

"No, why are you..."

"Ehh! This is where you pat me in the same way right?!"

Go on! Because Mari requested it, he patted her despite feeling doubtful. She laughed contentedly, said "well done!" and stretched her flat chest.

Takeru made a 'what's with her' expression.

Usagi separated from Takeru and looked at Mari while wiping tears off.

"You as well Nikaido, it's great that you came back safely... really."

After Takeru, Usagi hugged Mari next. While Mari was slightly surprised, she returned the hug with a smile.

"Yupp, I'm back Usagi-chan. I promised."

Usagi didn't reject Mari who started rubbing her cheeks on her and smiled at ease.

While the three people happily reunited beside her, Kanaria stared at them intensely.

"...what's this, Takeru's harem?"

"D-don't say such things! It's just we're glad to reunite with our comrades!"

"I don't really care, but I think it's not time for that."

While Kanaria said so rudely while looking to the side, Usagi stared at her and tilted her head puzzled.

"Umm... this person is?"

"Explanations later. For now, I'm ally. That's all you need to know. Takeru, we need to hurry."

Takeru nodded at Kanaria's reminder and placed a hand on Usagi's shoulder.

"I've heard what's the situation from Student Council President. Where's Suginami and Ootori?"

"...Suginami was captured by the enemy. Ootori went to rescue her and destroy the barrier generator, she's inside of the laboratory."

Takeru narrowed his eyes for just a moment and calmly listened to Usagi's explanation.

"Lapis."

When he called the name of his partner, Lapis appeared right beside him.

"I want you to find Ootori's and Suginami's position."

"I have already found it. Suginami-sama along with many other prisoners is in the basement of fifth laboratory's central tower. Ootori-sama seems to be currently entering the underground."

"As expected of you. It's a great help."

"One more thing. Enemy reinforcements are approaching from behind. All of the enemies who fought the surprise attack of Inquisition's remnants are aiming for fifth laboratory... their target seems to have changed to us. Enemy seems to have learned our objective. Majority of them was cleaned up by Kurogane Hayato-sama, but quite a few still remain."

Hearing Lapis' report, Usagi hung her head down.

Surely, enemy has pulled out information from Ikaruga. Noticing that Usagi was almost being crushed by anxiety, Takeru placed a hand on her head.

"It's all right. I'll definitely save her."

"...Kusanagi."

"Don't worry. Mari, Kanaria, sorry but..."

When Takeru called them, the two were already turned around.

"I know I know. We're to stall them here right? Hurry up and go, then come back with those two."

"Nn. We're defending here right? Mari, don't hold me back."

"I don't want to be told that by useless elf."

"U-useless?! Did you say useless?! Why useless?!"

While quarreling, Mari expanded magical circles and Kanaria unsheathed Lævateinn.

After confirming that, Takeru turned to Usagi once again.

"Usagi, assist those two. I leave this place to you."

A little bit reluctant, she lightly bit her lower lips and nodded strongly in response to Takeru's request.

"I leave those two to you."

"Yeah. Leave it to me."

Takeru said so and directed his body towards the fifth laboratory. He raised his arm in front of him and closed his eyes.

"Let's trample them... Lapis."

"Yes, Host."

Slowly exhaling, Takeru spun words of power.

"Summis desiderantes affectibus——"

Raising a signal for the battle to start.

"——Malleus Maleficarum!"

Seeing the back clad in azure-colored armor, Usagi once again returned to her own battle.

 

***

 

Fifth Laboratory's underground facility was something made for investigating durability of fantastical organisms.

It looked like an arena and scratches as well as blood could be seen on the walls.

In the center of the site was placed a giant crystal. Since black like ink characters flowed on its surface, it could be recognized as a product of magic at a glance.

"〜♪"

Beside the crystal that let out a heavy bass sound was a woman humming a song and flailing her legs like a child. She sat on a chair and with a book opened on top of her knees she read it happily. The book's title was "Canary's house".

"...a wonderful story. This Kanaria bird went to heaven happy, right?"

The woman closed the book and stroked it with affection.

"I love happy endings... people do need to die while laughing after all. You guys think so too, right?"

With a smile, she——Laugh Maker looked around.

On the ground around her, there was a lot of blood and entrails. Remnants of humans lied there as if messily preyed on by an animal. Without doubt, those humans have killed and eaten each other.

Not only Inquisitors, but also many Pureblood Party members were mixed in among them.

Most of them were Laugh Maker's, Mimulus Wallenstein's subordinates.

Everyone died with a big, uniform, distorted smile.

"Dying while laughing... is happiness right?"

Even as she spoke to them benevolently, the dead didn't open their mouths.

——The bizarre murderer Laugh Maker did it solely out of good intentions. After her body and mind were destroyed by "Red Butterfly's Insect Cage", she was implanted a single lesson.

『"No matter how difficult it is you need to laugh. Otherwise you won't go to heaven."』

The trainers gently reminded her as a child, then beat her up.

『"No matter how cruelly you're treated, only laughing people will be praised by God. Dying while laughing is the greatest happiness for humans."』

While saying so, the trainer taught her the ways to kill people.

The Insect Cage's teachers understood her magical property and the thinking of a child.

"Radiance" property was good at reinforcement magic and unsuited to killing people directly.

However, if reinforcement magic went to the extreme, it could kill people. But when she displayed some potential on the verge of dying, they nurtured her to become a killer. As not to make her catch on that killing people is something negative, they planted a positive impression in her by using the word 'laugh', and trained her while giving her a perception that she isn't doing anything bad.

What resulted from that was a psychotic killer not even Insect Cage knew what to do with.

Although she has been told not to kill people unless requested, after Insect Cage disappeared and no longer controlled her, there was no one to stop her charity work. That's why Valhalla sealed her memory in order to take advantage of her unique abilities and brought her up once again among the Pureblood Party.

The reason Eliza dropped her on the battlefield, was to get rid of her.

Laugh Maker was a weapon even West Side couldn't control.

She wanted people to die while laughing. She wanted to give the suffering a death while laughing, she wanted to give it to everyone. Because she acted on such pure desire and killed anyone she could, for Valhalla she was an even more troublesome existence than Haunted.

"When this fight is over, I think of going over there like you all. If I laugh while tasting the despair... I'm sure I'll be able to go to heaven. I should be able to go to a place where there's nothing painful, right?"

When she realized she had tears in one of her eyes, Laugh Maker did her best to laugh.

"Crying is no good... I finally found the existence that will grant me death... if I laugh then, I'll surely go to heaven."

With hope her eyes regained shine. Tears vanished and a glitter dwelled inside.

"...a little more patience, come on... soon, that girl will do it."

Spreading both of her hands, she looked towards the ceiling to welcome her hope.

Among the dead bodies and sea of blood, immediately after she reached out towards her salvation.

——The girl she has been longing for has come.

 

***

 

Ouka entered the basement, and after learning there was a cavity below her feet she pulverized the floor with a fang.

She jumped to the experimental grounds like a meteorite. Even though she was guessing why was there this many corpses in this place, Ouka raised her face and captured her enemy in sight.

Her hateful enemy was sitting on the chair and smiled.

"I've been waiting, Ouka."

An unwavering smile was there.

Ouka stood up and started to walk towards her slowly.

The second confrontation. Although the hatred that disturbed her mind didn't change, Ouka asked without hesitation.

"...where are the prisoners."

"They're here. Below your feet."

"The number of bodies doesn't match. Where are they."

She ignored Laugh Maker's provocation and while glaring sharply she requested the information she wanted.

Laugh Maker stared at Ouka who was letting out murderous intent and slowly raised her waist from the chair.

"Forcing yourself is no good. Your hatred is making my skin crawl even now. I know you want revenge."

"............"

"But why aren't you laughing? Why are you not smiling while killing your hateful enemy? You're happy right? Meeting me."

"............"

"You see, I was to be used and disposed off after this operation. So you see? Since it'll come anyway, I thought of letting myself get killed by you. That's why, you need to laugh and kill me okay? Come on, laugh?"

Welcoming her with open arms, Laugh Maker moved closer to Ouka.

In front of Ouka, at a distance where she could feel her breathing there was a nauseating smile. She wanted to kill her immediately. She wanted to tear her apart, she wanted to make her suffer more than her dead family has.

She didn't do so because her objective was saving her comrades, and she felt a certain discomfort.

"I want to ask something. Something I don't know."

"Whaat is it?"

"——You, are you really Laugh Maker?"

Having her existence being suspected, Laugh Maker blinked many times.

"Did you forget the face of your enemy?"

"No. You are the hateful enemy who killed my family."

"Then, what does that question mean?"

"What I'm asking, is not whether you're my enemy. I'm asking if you are the bizarre murderer called Laugh Maker that I've heard of."

Unable to understand it, Laugh Maker tilted her head puzzled.

Ouka continued indifferently.

"The Laugh Maker I knew, was just a madman."

"I'm not mad or anything. I just want all people to die while smiling. If they die with a smile they'll go to heaven. I want everyone to learn that."

Although her motivation for killing people was crazy, Ouka confirmed one thing.

She confronted a bizarre murderer who committed heinous crimes, and confirmed that she was experienced in murder.

"That's right. Right now you aren't insane. A madman with an objective definitely wouldn't desire her own death."

For just an instant, Laugh Maker's cheek convulsed. Ouka didn't miss that momentary change.

"You said that your objective is to kill people as they laugh right? Then why do you wish to die? Why do you provoke me to kill you? There's still many poor lambs struggling, suffering and despairing. Don't you think it's strange for a madman to die first without saving them?"

Ouka poked a hole in Laugh Maker.

Although she was originally a madman, something had happened and changed her, gouging a wound in her. Ouka pressed a letter she held in her hand to Laugh maker. Pushed back by Ouka slightly she took a step back and opened the letter.

"It's a certain person's testament one of my comrades recovered. Judging from the content of this suicide note, he was the person who sealed your memories and re-educated you to become a proper human from a clean state. Am I right?"

"............"

"...and, despairing because of the fact he was unable to eliminate Laugh Maker's darkness, he committed suicide while looking at his beloved adoptive daughter."

When she dropped her gaze at the characters, Ouka added salt to her wound.

"However, his good intentions weren't in vain. Because in fact, he was successful in teaching you proper morals and the meaning of happiness."

Laugh Maker raised her face and looked at Ouka expressionlessly.

While still glaring at Laugh Maker, Ouka pointed a finger at her.

"The reason you wish to die, is because you can't stand memories of you as Laugh Maker. If that's the case, then that's different from being insane. They aren't memories an ordinary human can stand. Sadness, suffering, guilt, regret... right now you're feeling these emotions. That's why you desire death."

"............"

"You are no longer the Laugh Maker from back then. You are a pitiful sinner called Mimulus Wallenstein who used to be Laugh Maker."

Ouka's lips arced and she looked down on Laugh Maker——on Mimulus.

 

"Stop pretending to be a madman. I'm losing my motivation to kill you."

 

With these words she was chased to the cliff's edge, a shadow appeared on Mimulus' face as she hung her head.

The suicide note she held in hand was crushed loudly. Mimulus' shoulders trembled, and her lips let out a sob-like voice.

However, even though there were only remnants of it, it didn't change the fact that she was Laugh Maker.

The corners of her mouth distorted and she laughed loudly.

"Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Stupid girl... what are you saying? I'm Laugh Maker. If you don't want to kill me then I'll live as you wish. I'll send you to heaven smiling! As you say, that's my mission!"

She moved backwards away from Ouka and summoned red butterfly wings.

The moment Ouka felt a tremor below her feet, the testing grounds shutter walls opened vigorously.

What appeared were Magical Dragoons. There were ten of them.

And an ominous magical power overflowed from all their bodies.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooo!

The loud spine-chilling roar was too organic to be mechanical. Blood vessels emerged on the armor's surface and pulsated. The artificial muscles bulged out abnormally and desperately tried to escape the armor.

It was the proof they were reinforced with "Radiance" magical property's magic.

Although they were nameless Einherjars, after being reinforced they were a serious threat.

《"The strengthening magic "Charge Glitter" huh... destroy the magic's nucleus and the outer shell."》

Baring her fangs, Ouka manifested pile bunkers on both of her arms.

With the same timing, four Einherjars attacked from all directions at speed one hardly keep up with with their eyes.

That speed was comparable to that of Kusanagi Takeru's Soumatou.

After looking away from them just for an instant, she saw the enemy approached her from the front.

《"Don't falter. Currently thou art the king of fantastical organisms, a vampire true ancestor."》

That's right. Just as Vlad said, currently not only Ouka's body but also her brain was not human.

The Dragon was also called the king of fantastical organisms the same as vampires, but that was because it wasn't just their threat evaluated, but also their fertility.

However, normal apostles and true ancestors were on a completely different level.

Before the Witch Hunt War, they were called a race wishing for humanity's destruction and drinking human blood——the existences called Einherjars had flocked to vampires like moths to a flame.

Ouka parried the two machines with railblades with the piles on her elbow.

While both of her hands were busy one more machine swung the sword at her, but Ouka has blown it away with just a kick.

The blown away Einherjar hit the two behind it and all of them crashed into the wall behind.

Five machines were approaching from behind. Not only Ouka's sense of smell, but all five senses were beyond that of humans, on top of knowing how to stop the enemy attacks she already knew what to do next.

She deflected railblades of the two machines and turned around in quick succession to the five machines she thrust the pile bunkers forward and released the piles.

——*gongg!* The huge piles slid down from her upper arms and were launched with a distorted sound, broke through two Einherjars and obliterated them.

"——Haa!"

Ouka swung the remaining piles protruding from her upper arm like a sword and blown away the bodies of three machines.

《"Good grief, thou hasn't even penetrated the magic."》

Vlad's appalled voice sounded in her head.

Even though it was as he said, Ouka didn't care.

She ensured the destruction of the two machines.

"The captives should be nearby, I can't afford to use wide-ranged magic."

《"As you say. Crush them with fangs."》

"That's my intention."

《"But beware, once blood runs out the Vampire form will be released. You have 10 minutes left."》

"Yeah——let's end this quickly!"

She finished listening to Vlad's advice and readied the pile bunker, then started an intensive assault on the Einherjars by the wall. Ouka outstretched her wings and flew, kicked off the ceiling and descended. Swinging her arm while going down like a meteor, she unleashed the 《Count's Fang》.

But the Einherjars didn't remain silent.

While letting out a shudder-inducing roar, they shoot magical bullets from the rubble.

Their power was comparable to that of Vlad's fangs. However, that only mattered if it hit.

"!!"

Ouka twisted her body and changed trajectory in the air.

At the same time as she passed by the magical bullets, Ouka crushed two enemies with fangs.

The magical bullet hit the ceiling and exploded, showering the testing grounds with debris. It would be bad to prolong the battle for too long. Einherjars will bury this place under ground.

Ouka turned her body and soared in the sky again, taking aim at the enemy below.

The remaining six machines were all aiming their railguns at her.

——I'll stop them!

Momentarily she returned the pile bunkers into gun form and began rapid fire with Wallachia's specialized physical attack.

In gun form, the stake's attack speed raises up to five times. Ouka's attacks struck the railguns of all six machines and succeeded on bursting the magic that was charging the gun.

While the blast swayed her hair, Ouka squinted looking at the testing grounds wrapped in smoke.

When Ouka opened her eyes widely, she saw six machines let out smoke from their jets in unison and jump.

They didn't have weapons, they entered close combat swinging their mechanical arms.

Ouka immediately changed the guns into pile bunkers and fought back.

Although she destroyed one with a fang, three machines attacked he from behind.

"《Bloody Enchant》...!"

She focused magical power on her feet, and with the magical enchant she delivered a roundhouse kick. Although it had a narrow range because it's magic for close combat, Ouka's legs were tinged with something like a sharp laser and the cut Einherjars in half.

Two left!

Doing a half turn using the roundhouse kicks momentum, Ouka spread her wings to try dealing with the remaining enemies.

When she ejected magical power and soared up to the ceiling, lured in with Ouka's movement was a single machine that stretched its left hand and grabbed her leg from underneath.

She attempted to crush the enemy's head with a heel kick, but the aim was slightly off and she hit its shoulder. Although she cut through its body, she didn't finish it off.

The enemy grasped Ouka's leg and pulled her in with tremendous strength, then attempted to perform a nelson hold with its right arm. Ouka and the Einherjar fell, losing balance. They crashed into the ground while still facing up.

"Khh...!"

The Einherjar didn't release her even after the fall and held Ouka's body as she struggled. The reinforced artificial muscles let out a sound of tearing and Einherjar roared with laughter-like voice.

Wary of Einherjar's movement, Ouka jumped up to the ceiling.

When she stopped the propulsion by the ceiling, Einherjar expanded a huge magical circle.

Seeing the pattern on magical circle, she understood what was it trying to do.

A magic concentrating all the magic possessed in one's body and inducing an explosion.

《Burst》

The enemy performed a suicide bombing, it was trying to collapse the tower on the testing grounds.

"...I won't... let yoooouuuuuu!!"

Ouka accelerated blood flow throughout her body, her blue eyes were dyed deep red.

Cracks appeared on the armor Einherjar was clad in. The cracks spread instantly, and Ouka torn apart both the artificial muscles and the metal skeleton.

She slammed a fang into the Einherjar that had an arm crushed and immediately leaped to ceiling, spreading her wings wide.

Ouka released the mechanisms on both arms and expanded a huge pile bunker on her right arm.

And she thrust the pile into the enemy who attempted to perform suicide bombing.

"《Nosferatu》!"

The stake pierced through the Einherjar's body and its body was blown to pieces, turning into debris it poured down near Laugh Maker.

"............"

Sitting on a wooden chair, Laugh Maker watched Ouka's battle.

Not paying attention to the falling debris of Einherjar, she continued to stare at Ouka.

Gallantly spreading crimson wings, Ouka landed in front of Laugh Maker.

And, she aimed the gun at Laugh Maker's forehead.

"There's no point trying anything. You won't be able to beat the current me with just reinforcement magic's assistance."

What Ouka said was correct. No matter how abnormal the reinforcement magic's performance is, in the end it's just support. It's not suitable for combat, let alone facing Ouka who's an organism on a different level now.

Mass-produced Magical Dragoons weren't a match for her.

"True... you're strong. I admit."

"............"

"So? What will you do? Kill me?"

Questioned, Ouka closed her eyes, clenched her teeth and calmed her heart. It was her goal for many years, taking revenge on her foe.

She asked herself if there's any meaning in giving it up and leaving this woman alive.

"..................no."

Ouka discarded her emotions and choose the way which would allow her to save her comrades and take revenge at the same time.

"Release the captives and surrender. I won't kill you. There's no worth in killing you."

"............"

"I can't call killing someone who wants to die "revenge". I'll have you imprisoned in the forbidden area's deepest prison, I'll make it so you'll be barely alive."

Laugh Maker giggled at Ouka's decision.

It was as if she was a child laughing at a toy.

"I see... so in the end you can't be honest with your feelings can you. You should honestly kill me and laugh, what a waste."

She raised her face slowly and looked at Ouka with empty eyes.

"I'll remind you then, about your wound."

The grimace too distorted to be called a smile was just like the Laugh Maker's from the past——Ouka hadn't noticed the surprise attack.

A sharp pain ran through her waist and she lost her voice. When she looked behind over the shoulder, stunned, she saw a girl wearing a white coat in there. The black-haired girl's eyes were vacant, holding a silver knife in her hand she pierced it deeply into Ouka... it was Suginami Ikaruga who should have been her comrade.

"Sugi...nami...?"

Ikaruga turned her pale face towards Ouka.

And,

 

"           Laugh           "

 

At the same time, Laugh Maker ordered Ikaruga to the worst thing.

While her face was convulsing, Ikaruga smiled to Ouka.

The knife was withdrawn and blood spilled from the cut.

Strength left Ouka's entire body and she fell on the floor.

《"Spirit silver...!"》

As Vlad raised a distorted eerie voice, Laugh Maker grinned and laughed.

"Indeed, the natural enemy of vampires. Your comrade is amazing. No matter what material it is, she can convert it into a different material, what an unbelievable ability"

Laugh Maker stood up from the chair and came up to Ouka who was on her knees.

She wrapped both of her hands around Ouka's cheeks and expanded red butterfly wings on her back.

"You seem to be misunderstanding reinforcement magic. Although it's true that it's support oriented, but if you investigate it properly you'll learn you can do anything with it."

"...ga...u..."

"Reinforcement eliminating sound. Reinforcement eliminating smell. I can even erase someone's presence with strengthening magic. And if you investigate more and more..."

Releasing her hands from Ouka, this time Laugh Maker hugged Ikaruga from behind and smiled.

"With ancient magic 《End Order》... you can freely move someone else's body."

The 《End Order》 was born from the strengthening magic that has evolved starting with an ancient war. The 《Master-Slave》 Mephistopheles attempted to use before was said to be its prototype, but strictly speaking their effects were different. This magic didn't grasp the mind but took control of flesh, and the amount of magic required was very, very small.

The wounded on the battlefield and unable to move were forced to continue the battle by nefarious magic. A 《Radiance》 property holder in the past was a dictator who deprived many humans of freedom by using this magic, the amount of magical power required to build an entire country was very small. Similarly to 《Install》, it's a forbidden magic not recorded for the posterity.

It doesn't exist in the Inquisition's database. It wasn't attraction nor Install, it just purely enforced orders on other's bodies. An atrocious power that deprived people of freedom.

And that was devised by this woman on her own among despair and pain.

"Right now, this girl sees you as her dead sister. With a little bit of reinforcement on the brain, I can change what people see."

"............!!"

"You see, this magic leaves the mind intact. Wonderful right. After all, if the mind is free it's not painful right? There is a meaning to smiling in midst of suffering that way."

Laugh Maker said while looking excitedly at Ikaruga's current state.

"Isu...ka..."

Holding the knife covered in ash, Ikaruga tearfully called the name of the sister she lost.

Rather than see herself stabbing Ouka, she saw Isuka instead.

Seeing her nemesis make her comrades taste the same feelings, murderous intent overflowed inside of Ouka.

A wound in the waist would be an instant death for a normal human being. One of her kidneys has turned into ash. Still, she couldn't help but stand up. She absolutely couldn't forgive the woman in front of her.

"That looks better. Still, it's not over yet?"

The moment Laugh Maker stroked her lips with a gleeful expression, the world Ouka saw changed completely.

The scenery of the testing experimental field that she has seen until now has collapsed like rust flaking off and remade into a new scenery. It turned into an ordinary house. In the living room there was a table, a sofa and a TV, before she noticed Ouka already stood up.

It was the sight she couldn't ever forget.

Two corpses lying on the ground and a carpet stained red with blood.

And——the figure of Laugh Maker embracing her little sister from behind.

"...why...!"

Laugh Maker responded to the dumbfounded Ouka's question.

"My magic has been already applied to you."

It must have been when she was stabbed by Ikaruga and fell to the ground, her cheek was touched then. That's when Laugh Maker had applied 《End Order》.

Right now, Ouka saw Ikaruga as her beloved little sister.

It was like a reproduction of her trauma. The events that were the beginning of all happened in front of her once again. Once again Ouka was at loss for words with the despair unfold in front of her, Laugh Maker floated the exactly same smile as she had back then.

"...stop..."

Realizing what Laugh Maker has thought of, Ouka spat a trembling voice.

"...stop it...!"

"No can do."

Rejecting her request, Laugh Maker laughed as if she was troubled.

And, Ouka's arm with a gun moved contrary to her own will.

The gun was——aiming at Ikaruga who had her little sister's appearance.

"If I do the same thing once again, you will no longer feel like capturing me alive, right?"

"............!"

"When this girl dies, I think you will understand. That allowing Laugh Maker to exist would be a tragedy for any world there is, right?"

Inside of Ouka, feelings from the past revived. It was just like back then. No how she refused it, her body wouldn't listen. No matter how her mind refused it, she couldn't stop herself. She acted accordingly to the instructions the magic has sent. And in the end, Laugh Maker said.

 

"           Laugh           "

 

Her mind seemed to be swallowed by darkness, she fell into despair.

Will I taste that once again? Losing the meaning of life and barely clinging to life as a hammer of revenge. She had a boy who changed her way of life and comrades she could call friends. Just like her family in the past gave her warmth, her comrades have dissolved the ice on her heart.

Will I once again, deprive myself of it with my own hands? I don't want that!

"...uu...AAaaa...!"

Ouka bared her fangs and opposed Laugh Maker's orders. Using the entirety of a vampire's power she stiffened her muscles.

"I won't...lose anything...again...!!"

I definitely won't laugh. I absolutely won't kill. I'll show you, with my entire existence on the line. Wasn't it the same with Mephistopheles? My body is my own. I won't give it to anyone. Living or dying, killing or not, laughing or not laughing, it's all up to me to decide.

"...so you will... oppose me that much huh."

Laugh Maker was surprised at Ouka's resistance. Never before, there was anyone who went against 《End Order》. What moved bodies wasn't mind nor soul, it were the nerves.

And seeing an existence that overturned that fact right in front of her, Laugh Maker couldn't believe it.

Envy appeared in her eyes. If she were to become such a noble person with a powerful heart, would her destiny change?

That's what Laugh Maker's eyes said. Smile disappeared from her face and she squinted looking at the palm of her hand.

"...if you were to be born with magic power dwelling within and I was born after you... I wonder if our positions would be reversed."

"...ghhhh!"

"I admit. It's as you say. I want to die. My memory was sealed and I started from a clean state... and was raised like a normal human. Laugh Maker's and mine personalities aren't separate. When my sealed memory was restored I didn't forget about growing up as Mimulus. Right now, I have a foundation of a normal human being."

Laugh Maker distorted her face towards Ouka, who desperately cut off the flow to her jaw.

Her lips were trembling and the big smile she had until now has vanished.

"That's why I can't stand it. What I have done makes me a simple murderer. I can't live while blaming Insect Cage. I'm scared of closing my eyelids. Every time I do that the hellish every day life and education revives. Reform after all that? Repent after all that? There's no way I can do that. I don't get it myself...! It's true that I feel happiness giving people death while they smile, and it's all true that I believe that they'll go to heaven! But it's also true that I feel it's sinful and wrong! Can you understand my suffering?! Can you understand my absolutely inconsistent feelings that make me act inconsistently?! They cling to me and won't let off! I absolutely can't forgive myself who received education and has memories of Laugh Maker!"

Laugh Maker confessed her feelings while shedding tears like crazy.

"If that time is reproduced once again, there's no way you won't kill me... right? Is that not so? Tell me it is so, please...!"

At wit's end, Laugh Maker shook her head.

She was definitely in a chaotic mental state. Her just self and the murderer self. The two that absolutely can't coexist in one person being there, must be nothing other than hell. The human called Mimulus Wallenstein must have received a proper education and was brought with love to the point where it's unacceptable for her to let her Laugh Maker self live.

However, Ouka didn't turn her ears deaf to her words. She just cut out what she didn't need to hear.

What a load of crap. What do you know of being a victim. A normal human? Don't make me laugh. That's comical. To think something would make me this sick. I know what Insect Cage did to her and that she was educated to become a murderer. I know very well that her mind was destroyed. But even so, that's no reason to forgive her.

She isn't a child, she isn't a madman no longer either.

She was blanked and raised with affection by her father.

Then——why did this woman continue as Laugh Maker?

The reason was so easy to see through it's funny.

While suffering an agony, Ouka lifted the corner of her mouth.

Very well. She wants me to laugh. How about I smile then.

"The possibility of me and you being in reverse is zero... normal human you said...? You're just weak...! You have no courage to repent, hoping for death is what a coward does!"

Even though her body didn't listen to her, making a facial expression she desperately insulted Laugh Maker.

"A decent person would atone for what they have done...! But what about you! You didn't make up nor oppose it, and on orders from above you dirtied your hands with murder haven't you! You have lost to the memories and experiences as Laugh Maker!"

"...uu... shut up... speak no more...!"

"In the end you never left Insect Cage...! If you thought what you have done was bad then you could have surrendered yourself! And yet, what you did was to further your misdeeds while hoping for judgment to come! Instead of stopping to sin after being blanked, you wanted to be judged by me! Just how cowardly are you! You didn't become Laugh Maker nor have you become Mimulus——just a criminal trash!!"

Caught off guard, Laugh Maker became speechless and stepped back.

She covered her face with both hands and hid the face that wouldn't smile.

And,

"——Laugh...! Laugh, laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laughlaughlaughlaughlaaauggghhhhhhhhhhhh!"

From behind her fingers appeared the whites of her eyes, Laugh Maker's butterfly wings trembled and an enormous magical circle shining with white light has appeared.

 

——Bshh...!

 

Suddenly, the scenery Ouka was seeing turned black.

Her vision had turned completely dark. It was as if a TV was shut down, all of her five senses stopped working. Even though her soul struggled, she couldn't muster any strength.

Unable to hear even her own breathing in the darkness, Ouka struggled.

I can't let it end yet. I can't afford to fall. No. No no no no no no no.

I still haven't protected them. I promised everyone to survive until they came back.

Her memories from the past flashed back.

Faces of people important to her appeared in her mind.

Usagi, Ikaruga, Mari, her parents and little sister, and appearance of Takeru stretching his hand to her.

She stretched her hand to the disappearing illusion and cried in the darkness. No voice has come out, the freedom of her body didn't come back and while feeling like her mind too is being perpetrated she called his name.

"Takeru...!"

Even without any senses, she knew that tears are spilling from her eyes.

I want to meet him. Once again, I want to walk beside him.

I want to be together. I don't want to be alone. It's lonely.

Ever since he disappeared, whenever she was awake it was like that. No matter how she steeled herself to protect her comrades, it was like she had a hole in her chest and felt unbearably cold. She didn't think she would be this lonely without him.

"Take...ru...!"

Although she had a habit of putting on an act of being strong, only at times like this she was honest with herself. Pathetic. How inept she was.

In the end. At least in the end she wanted him to be beside her.

That's why, instead of calling for help, she just called his name.

"Take...ru...!"

Because she wanted him beside... she called his name.

"Takeru————!!"

 

"Ouka!"

 

——The boy responded to her wish.

The moment that voice has sounded, Ouka's five senses have returned and she saw the scenery enveloped in twilight flames.

And standing in the center of shattered painful memories, was him.

Gallantly, ferociously, he descended to impale the magical circle on the ground with his sword.

The impact of landing stroked her cheek and shook her hair.

Everything was blown away in an instant. No, everything has been eaten.

Along with Laugh Maker's magic, the unbearably painful trauma has been eaten and exhausted by azure-colored blade.

When the armored knight pulled out the sword pierced into the floor, he aimed the sword's point at Laugh Maker and spoke to Ouka.

"...sorry, there was a delay."

With just that short sentence, Ouka finally realized that what she's seeing isn't a dream.

"Kusanagi...?"

"Yeah. It's me. I promised that I'll be beside you when you have your revenge."

"............"

"I'm glad that I made it."

Takeru smiled towards Ouka.

She felt like something heavy disappeared from her shoulders. Instead, something warm welled up inside of her chest. Feeling such relief, she thought of leaving her body to it and tears came out. After continuing a life of tension on the battlefield, the relief he brought was like a drug.

Her head was numb and she couldn't think normally. It was always like that. This man made everyone wait a long time, and rushed to save his comrades only when there was an emergency.

"...you're...sly."

With cheeks dyed red, she downcast her face that became unsightly because of tears and muttered.

"Why do you always time it perfectly for when others are weak..."

Wiping her tears embarrassed, despite being happy she blamed him.

And when she did, Takeru,

"Of course. When you're weak, I'll rush over from anywhere."

With his back turned to her, he said so earnestly. There was nothing Ouka could say any more. Right now, all she wanted was to leave everything to his back.

"...a comrade? Have you come to kill me as well?"

Laugh Maker who had her magic devoured and exhausted asked Takeru with a tired expression.

Takeru glared at Ouka's enemy with killing intent.

Feeling his killing intent, Laugh Maker's cheeks loosened as she felt ecstatic.

However, contrary to her expectations, Takeru withdrew the sword's point.

"I don't know what are you expecting, but I won't be the one to decide whether you die or not."

Realizing that Laugh Maker was seeking death, Takeru fell back behind Ouka.

Surprised, Ouka looked at his face.

He received her gaze from the front and nodded lightly.

"You decide."

"...Kusanagi."

Feeling pressure in his words, the gun in Ouka's hand trembled for a moment.

At the same time, irritation and rage mixed with each other in Laugh Maker.

"Stop it, that girl has no intention of killing me! If you're not going to kill me, I'll make you kill each other...! After that, I'll have the winner kill me!"

Hiding one of her eyes with one hand, Laugh Maker stroked her lips with the other.

A magical circle has appeared again and the 《End Order》 was executed.

"There's no point."

In response to Takeru's cold voice, twilight-colored flame has filled the testing grounds.

—— 《Ragnarøkkr Enchant》 ——

The forbidden power nullifying, absorbing and consuming all magic of this world.

Laugh Maker's magic was burned and vanished before it could trigger. The magic from inside of the barrier generator was also exhausted and the flames rose up howling.

Predicting the activation of enchant, Vlad released Ouka's Vampire form and had the gun's disappear.

《"Khh... annoying Mistilteinn, if thou usest it then say so beforehand!》

Without any exceptions, this flame was also a natural enemy of Relic Eaters. Vlad was exposed to this flame before January and had suffered considerable damage as majority of his magical power was absorbed.

Among the flames, armor-clad Takeru glared at Laugh Maker with amber-colored eyes.

"For 10 seconds from now on, you can't use magic. Stay quiet until your judgment comes."

Sentenced Laugh Maker shivered in the flames that seemed like they would burn even her soul.

"............"

Ouka pulled out the handgun she was familiar with from the holster at her leg and held its grip strongly.

She hesitated. If she allowed Laugh Maker to survive, what would have become of her family's chagrin? What about the tribute to the dead Spriggans and Pureblood Party members, as well as any other victims of hers? They were robbed of their lives in the most nefarious way. Then, wouldn't be giving their enemy death be the best funeral for them?

If she kills her, she will find self-satisfaction. No, in the first place, is killing Laugh Maker going to satisfy her? Will she be able to live a cheerful life?

Surely, such a future wouldn't come. Even if her wounds are healed, she would feel occasional tingling in her dreams, and she would also harbor half-hearted feelings if she left her alive too.

Then... it's better to...

Ouka pulled back half of her body and tried to aim the muzzle at Laugh Maker with trembling hand. That's when Takeru's hand gently overlapped with hers as if to embrace it.

Snuggling up close to her, he poised the same gun.

"Surely, there's no 'correct' here... it was the same for me. No matter which one you choose it'll be painful. But don't lie to your heart. It's not for someone else, but for yourself. Ouka, what do you want to do?"

"...what I want..."

"I leave the aim to you, but——"

While still looking straight at the enemy, Takeru told Ouka.

"I'll pull the trigger."

Feeling warmth of his overlapped hand, tears spilled from her eyes.

Takeru intended to keep his promise to of shouldering half the burden.

Ouka buried her face in his chest slightly and smiled sadly.

TMG_v07_0269And she overlapped her finger with Takeru's finger on the trigger.

"I want to do it together."

"............"

"I don't want half. I want everything together. From now on forever... I want to shoulder anything and everything together."

"............"

"Everything... together with you."

Takeru nodded in response to Ouka's teary expression.

Then the two aimed together——and squeezed the trigger together.


The Glossary

Burst (バースト) - It's written as (散華) meaning "Glorious Death" .

End Order (エンドオーダー) - Written as (強制執行) which means "Enforcement".


18 thoughts on “Chapter 6 - Walking Side by Side

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  1. Jay

    Laugh Maker stared at Ouka who lwas letting out murderous intent and slowly raised her waist from the chair.
    "Ouka who was letting..."

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    I’ve come here from nowhere across the unforgiving sea
    Drifting further and further, it’s all becoming clear to me
    The violent winds are upon us and I can’t sleep
    internal temperatures rising and all the voices won’t recede

    I’ve finally found what I was looking for
    A place where I can be without remorse
    Because I am a stranger who has found an even stranger war I’ve finally found what I was looking for

    Here I come
    La chaleur me dérange
    Mais c’est le grincement du bateau qui m’a réveillée

    I sharpen the knife
    and look down upon the bay
    For all of my life
    A stranger I remain
    A stranger I remain
    A stranger I remainnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

    Reply
  3. Bareus

    There is a possiblity that you've already fixed some of those... took me like ~5h to go through because I had to do other stuff....
    =================================
    Kanaria ran right beside, and Mari was carried by Takeru in princess carry.
    Kanaria ran right beside him, and Mari was carried by Takeru in princess carry.

    ..., but my share of entire month I believed in was stolen by a little girl...
    ..., but my share of an/the entire month I believed in was stolen by a little girl...

    She aimed the centre of the sight at unmoving enemy and squeezed the trigger.
    She aimed the centre of the sight at the unmoving enemy and squeezed the trigger.

    Saying so shortly, Usagi started rapid fire towards the eight machines.
    Saying so shortly, Usagi started a rapid fire towards the eight machines.

    What appeared from the other side of collapsed building was a three-headed huge Mechanical Dragon.
    What appeared from the other side of the collapsed building was a three-headed huge Mechanical Dragon.

    Usagi was blown away by impact immediately after that.
    Usagi was blown away by the impact immediately after that.

    There were no enemies who were hit.
    There were no enemies who were not hit.
    (just speculating here, but it doesn't really make sense when a Antimatter bullet does not annihilate the enemy...)

    "...I don't have any more of auroral or antimatter bullets!
    "...I don't have any more of auroral or antimatter bullets!

    Despite confusion he smiled softly and slowly stroked Usagi's head.
    Despite the confusion he smiled softly and slowly stroked Usagi's head.

    "It's certain person's testament one of my comrades recovered
    "It's a certain person's testament one of my comrades recovered

    The Einherjar didn't release her even after the fall and held struggling Ouka's body.
    The Einherjar didn't release her even after the fall and held Ouka's struggling body.
    (Not sure about this one. Either you mean, the Einherjar is struggling to hold Ouka's body or Ouka is struggling her body to somehow get out... my version is the latter one which should make it clearer)

    She wrapped both of her hands around Ouka's cheeks and expanded red butterfly wings no her back.
    -> I think that "no" is some kind of typo... not sure which word would fit here...

    "...uu... shut up... don't speak no more...!"
    -> uhm... double negation? not sure if it's an proverb or something like that here...

    Reply
  4. vibhav

    Waited a long time for it (well not as long as i have to wait for other novels as u r very fast at translating),just a bit more than other chapters. Nice chapter. finally nikaido mari is true to her feelings and others are also becoming bolder and cuter. FInally ouka also opened up to him.
    Waiting for LM's judgement and Kyoka's decision(though it is already decided that he will stay in Inquisition, whether or not he will cooperate with Hayato with his plan).
    I personally want Ouka to kill her, but most likely the author thinks otherwise and will like make ouka hand her over to hayato. but since in the epilogue its mostly about the next enemy, probably haunted comes and kills LM and then Kyoka goes bersek, this is also a strong possibility.
    From Volume 9's illustration probably the talks b/w mother daughter goes smoothly. though vol 8 illustrations don't show them together.
    I also remember seeing haunted but he seems to appear in later chapters so i might be wrong. can't recognize the new enemy in vol 8's illustrations maybe he appears in the epilogue??
    waiting for the epilogue.,,,,,,,,,, hopefully can finish reading this volume before year end.

    Reply
  5. 99

    i have bad feeling about takeru if he the one who pull the trigger, as far as i know he had unluckiness with shooting even though the aim from ouka. now they decided to pull it together. well i wonder what will happen in the epilogue though.

    Reply
    1. vibhav

      Nice point, completely forgot about his curse with guns. probably the gun kills LM by mistake or vise versa. maybe ikaruga is shot. :P HAhaahaaahaahahahaha

      Reply
  6. Sonoda YukiSonoda Yuki

    >>"Explanations later. For now, I'm ally....
    Either Ally should be capitalized (is her speech really so contracted?) or there should be an "an" there.

    Reply
    1. krytykkrytyk Post author

      She's 4 years old, if I'm not wrong. And yes, she misses out stuff when speaking, in other words, she sometimes speaks like a kid, being very concise. It doesn't happen all the time, but it does stand out sometimes.

      Reply
    1. Triopsate

      I haven't seen Takeru going around calling himself "perfect hidden justice" yet...

      Reply
  7. Sashimi

    My inner fangirl was wailing "Kyaaaa~!" when Ouka said her last lines
    "Everything... together with you."
    o(//∇//)o

    Great thanks for the chapter!
    I expected something like the chapter would end with Ouka getting done in by Laugh Maker using Ikaruga, and Ouka thinking of Takeru while on the verge of death or something. If that was it I would've turned into a madman waiting like hell, good thing it wasn't. (´▽`)

    Reply
  8. Kaiflame

    That speed was comparable to that of Kusanagi Takeru's {[furigana|Soumatou|Magic-Sweeping Sword}}.
    You did something wrong with the html code... I think.

    The wounded on the battlefield and unable to move were forced to continue (bhe) battle by nefarious magic. A 《Radiance》 property holder in the past was a dictator who deprived many humans of freedom by using this magic, the amount of magical power required to build an entire country was very small. Similarly to 《PossessionInstall》, it's a forbidden magic not recorded for the posterity.
    Misspelled the.

    I probably don't need to do this since that other guy will. But whatever.

    Reply
    1. krytykkrytyk Post author

      Thanks, fixed. I use the mediawiki template for the furigana and then convert it to html with notepad (thanks to Simon / Lord-Simon for making up the convert script for me), and if any part is missing (like bracket being a wrong one) it won't work and stays as is.

      Reply
  9. NP-3228

    The end of the chapter where they shoot together is kinda cheesy.

    Thx for the translation. Almost done with volume 7!

    Reply

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