"So, they been sighted at Kan'etsu?"
In the parking lot area, Magnolia who came to search for the 35th Test Platoon held cocoa in one hand and a mobile phone against her ear.
The person she spoke with was her subordinate from EXE who was in charge of the checkpoint on the Kan'etsu express road.
《"Yes. It's the same one as the one sighted at old Fukushima."》
"And the checkpoints on the civilian roads?"
《"We have set them at various locations, but as expected we're understaffed. We're in the middle of a war so... lack of manpower can't be helped. Also, the info from EXE's search unit hasn't come yet. We can hardly move because of snow."》
"Well, it can't be helped. Mass produced "Guillotine" isn't really suited for searching as it is now."
Magnolia said with a shrug.
《"...um, by the way vice captain, do you know why is that bunch heading north?"》
《"The north is strongly scarred by the previous war, and there's Sanctuary scattered all over it. Therefore, there are many Inquisition's facilities in there, going south would be best course of action for them..."》
"Hey, you. Since when did I allow you ask me questions?"
When she suddenly increased pressure in her voice, the EXE member on the other side gasped.
"The only reason you were enlisted as EXE, was 'cause we needed contractors for "Guillotine". Little shits like you with no ability shouldn' get full of themselves. I hate opportunistic bastards like you."
《"...m-my apolog—— "》
Before the subordinate could finish his apologies, Magnolia ended the call.
She threw the mobile into the car.
"Ahh dammit. Maybe I promised too much without thinkin' of it, for a job like this a guy like Kurogane is better... this ain't a job for me."
While Magnolia's legs trembled strongly, she slurped the cocoa.
That's when, a single woman with a wobbly gait and a big person with a stature of a giant came from the direction of the parking.
The woman's hair was incredibly long, and her face was completely hidden by her bangs. She held soft-serve ice cream in both her hands.
"...Mag-san... as you said... sweets... I bought some..."
Standing on the snow was a woman, speaking in a voice subdued and quiet enough to melt away.
The giant stood in silence beside her.
Magnolia placed the cocoa on top of the car and stared towards the woman while rubbing her body.
"Yer late——hey why is it purple sweet potato cream!"
"...soft cream...is sweet...cold... delicious...moreover, regional...fufu, fufufufufu."
"Consider the damn season! Also, that ain't somethin' to laugh about!"
No matter how much she retorted, the woman forced soft cream on Magnolia. Reluctantly receiving it, Magnolia started devouring the soft cream while trembling.
"...damn, what an unlucky day. Gou, you eatin' up before we get into action too?"
The giant stared at Magnolia.
He didn't say a single word nor did he even nod, but Magnolia who had known him for a long time took it as a 'yes'.
Those two, were EXE members just like Magnolia.
The woman who looked like a ghost was Ootori Kagerou. The giant didn't have a last name, and was called "Gou".
"...by the way... those children... did you find them...?"
"Mm nope. All those guys are useless. Well, still, there are checkpoints on the better developed roads and they ain't goin' to move fast on minor roads."
After Magnolia said that while eating, for some reason Kagerou has started to tremble.
"Tha...t's...t-then...children position...is still...unknown?"
"Well, still, 's fine. We'll know soon eno——"
"What to do——what to do what to do what to do what to do what to do what to do what to do what to do...!"
Kagerou suddenly got upset and with both hands, she covered her face hidden behind long bangs.
Noticing the anomaly in Kagerou, Magnolia made a tired expression.
"That's no good...at this rate...Sougetsu-sama w-will hate me...we need to hurry and find the children...i-if we don't tear them apart...I'll be scolded...!"
"...our mission is to capture them not tear them apart though."
"E-even though I t-thought t-t-this time, Sougetsu-sama will praise me..."Kagerou you are a good wife" and y-yet...at this rate...!"
"I said it's fine! What's up with your forced ideas! Depression?! Are you depressed?!"
Kagerou chewed on her nails behind her bangs. Blood flowed from her fingertips and dyed her hands red. Seeing Kagerou's insane action, Magnolia spat out a sigh.
"...ahhh fine, I get it I get it. I wanted to suppress erosion as much as possible but... let's ask Little Sister."
While saying so, Magnolia removed the top of EXE uniform and exposed her chest.
In the vicinity of the bulge that was her breast was a painfully-looking scar. It was as if she was tortured. Not only the chest, her entire body was in that state.
In that scar in the center of her chest, there was something like a dark red tumor.
The tumor had a cut in the middle. That tumor-like thing had a human eyelid attached to it. Behind it, lurked a single eyeball.
Magnolia placed her nails on the tumor and scratched it lightly.
"...now, Hyakki Yakou, tell me where is your beloved Onii-chan."
When she spoke words of power, blood flowed from the scratched portion of the tumor.
At the same time, the firmly closed eyelid on the tumor slowly opened.
Seeing the scenery, the eye with red pupil shook as if frightened.
The eyeball has turned bloodshot all at once and shed tears of blood.
Magnolia fell to her knees on the snow and vomited in pain. The tumor on her chest has begun to spread throughout her body using blood vessels, as if eroding her.
Feeling as if her body was broken like a wooden stick, Magnolia screamed.
As she closed her eyes to withstand the pain, a portion of her body rose up and her bones have protruded. The bone that appeared in a place it wasn't supposed to was——a horn.
Red, a red horn reminiscent of a demon's.
"...good girl...! Okay, it's okay. Any more ain't na good...! Now then, cute, cute little sister——w-where's yer Onii-chan?"
Grasping snow with her hands, Magnolia instructed something that was implanted in her.
Momentarily, Magnolia's vision was dyed red and flew somewhere.
Her vision has sprinted. The sight she shouldn't be able to see has began to flow into her at high speed.
It was like point of view of a swallow that flew almost grazing the ground. The vision that flew was not light and colors, Magnolia knew that it's heat and smell.
The vision passed private houses while crawling on the ground and moved towards a deserted road.
And, it headed to a single room in a hostel. It sensed body temperature and smell of eight people inside of the room.
Among them, the moment she saw a single boy——suddenly the tumor started to erode Magnolia's body, releasing tentacles and violently toss about.
"Khh——Contact the first laboratory! Make Suginami Suzaku immediately raise the dream's potency!"
Listening to orders Magnolia cried out, Kagerou operated her mobile phone with amazing speed and connected to Alchemist's first laboratory.
Immediately after Kagerou relayed the instructions, the tumors activity that was eroding Magnolia's body ceased. As she exhaled, Magnolia's body turned back to normal.
"...haa...haa... ha-haha, the moment she found her brother's smell... she started lusting."
"...and...did you find their location...?"
"Hey, worry about me a little... well, I did."
Standing up, Magnolia fixed up the buttons on her chest and spat out a sigh.
'They were using a minor road after all. That bunch, they're all carefree staying in a hostel. To discover the dissidents home base I thought of letting them free for a while..."
She instructed two of her comrades to get in the car and then sat down in the back seat.
In the driver's seat was Gou and Kagerou sat down in the passenger's seat in front.
"Haa, even so... that's some outrageous little sister there... Kiseki-chan was it? That love-hate whirlpool for her brother is too much."
Entrusting her body weight to the seat, Magnolia dropped her line of sight at the red tumor on her chest and laughed mockingly.
"Rather than sibling love it's obviously... kuhaa! Disgusting, really! Those demon creatures sure have no restraints for incest!"
Magnolia laughed genuinely having fun.
There were no signs of the snow ceasing to fall, the visibility was horrible.
Even so, Magnolia saw the path they had to follow.
Through the heretical power that dwelled inside of her——
North of old Shizuoka, in the past beside Fuji mountain Japan has boasted about was a crowded city full of tourist attractions, but it no longer existed.
The place was close to Sanctuary and people were forbidden to live in this area.
There were ruins lined up just like in the Grey City of old Tokyo's southern part, but what was different, is the fact that unlike the Grey City, all houses were actually covered in ash.
Currently Fuji had been destroyed from the middle upwards to the summit and it didn't have even a third of the altitude it used to. After being outnumbered in the Witch Hunt War, with Kinki and Tokai regions being occupied by enemy, Inquisition caused the volcano's eruption as their last resort. Because of this operation volcanic ash fell on the neighboring prefectures, using the confusion Inquisition recaptured Fukui and Nagoya. It's been said that volcanic ash continued to fall until the war has ended.
"Choosing the greatest battleground as the location, those two have an unexpectedly bad taste."
Wearing a thick coat made of fur, Sougetsu looked at the blown apart Fuji and muttered.
"Seeing this scenery makes me sorrowful... it's wasted... beyond salvation... barren..."
He scooped the ash under his feet with his hand, it flowed, exposed to wind.
The ash was carried away and fluttered in the wind.
"...it's terrible, really."
"——You are the one who made this scenery."
Hearing firm footsteps on the ash, Sougetsu faced towards the voice.
A woman white as snow and a blind man in kimono like a ghost stood there.
It was Mother Goose and Orochi. There was no one else in there other than them. Even without soldiers as escort, the Valhalla's executives came unconcerned.
"It'd be troubling if you misunderstood. If you didn't set elves on us, we wouldn't have to resort to using such means."
"Sophistry. Having dark elves enter the battlefield wasn't planned ever since the start. We just wanted to protect her. You are the one who made her go out of control."
"The one who wanted to protect her is just you, Gungnir. Even without me inciting her, one of your top bunch would have used elves."
Mother Goose and Sougetsu stared at each other, and assaulted each other with their claims. However, the one who pulled away first was Sougetsu.
"Just jooking. There's no point putting up a façade in front of you. That's right. I'm the one who led this world to the brink of ruin."
He spread his arms and spat out, glaring like a devil.
Neither Mother nor Orochi were upset.
Their fight with Sougetsu wasn't something that started just now.
After several hundred years it still continued.
"So? I admire you for making a incarnation of destruction like me come here for peace talks... but I don't think there's any meaning in that. If you really wanted to convince me, you wouldn't have called me to a ruined place like this would you?"
Sougetsu laughed under the gray sky.
Opening his mouth like a cat, happily, merrily, he laughed.
Mother only moved her lips, answering Sougetsu's question.
"Calling it peace talk was misleading wasn't it. Peace negotiations might be correct instead."
"Oh, nuance changed slightly."
"In the first place, we didn't find any meaning in this war. Or rather, we're not interested in it. Humans and witches, the war between two of the same race won't change anything, it's obvious that nothing will be born out of that. The existence we are warring against is only one... it's you."
Slowly raising her fingertip as Sougetsu, Mother said indifferently.
"It's not war between humanity and witches. It's the war between us and you. There is no need to involve the residents of this world."
"...so it's that? Stop fueling this war, let's settle this quickly by killing each other here? Oh-hoh, so my provocation from when we spoke through the phone, was actually on the mark, wasn't it."
I'm beat, Sougetsu laughed mockingly.
Next to Mother who calmly relayed that, Orochi put a hand on his sword.
Mother stopped Orochi who released murderous intent and once again faced towards Sougetsu.
"For now, that's how it is. For the time being our side's internal affairs have calmed down. Currently, the inner world's "Pureblood Party" that has arbitrarily launched an invasion is raising funds for a full-fledged invasion of the outside. Once this war has fully flared up, there will be no pulling back any more. It's only a matter of time until the witches full force invades your territory."
"Ain't that fine. Bring it on. Isn't it wonderful. That is why this world is so nice."
As if blessing the conflict between human beings, Sougetsu affirmed the war.
On the opposite side, Mother denied it. There is no need for humans to fight with humans, she thought.
The war should be limited to inhuman heretics.
"...from here on it will be negotiations. If you accept the duel here, we will stop the military's invasion of the inner side."
"A duel... that sounds manly doesn't it, is it one of Orochi-kun's hobbies? Let me ask, how do you intend to stop it?"
"Of course forcefully."
Mother said it in an indifferent, perfectly clear tone of voice.
Happily, Sougetsu opened his eyes wide.
"That's hilarious... while you boast of loving this world, you would use force against your brethren if they're in your way. That's right... that is your true nature, and our true nature too."
"Yes. Whether it's me from the past or me from the present, I do not mind a minimal amount of sacrifices. My host is similar in this aspect."
"Hahahaha! You've been tainted by this inorganic woman quite a bit... completely different from Kusanagi-kun."
Orochi listened to Sougetsu's harsh voice with eyes open.
In response to Sougetsu's words, what dwelled in his eyes wasn't anger, but affirmation.
The white, cloudy eyes gouged out by the sword of his beloved older sister Mikoto seemed to have been staring at the past, rather than at the scenery.
"...certainly, Takeru is different from me. Unlike me, he doesn't give up and discard things of low-priority and chooses to save things that are beyond what he can hold with his arms at once. My great self is... I, am proud of him."
Orochi closed his eyes and the murderous intent overflowed.
It seemed like Orochi pulled out his sword, but instead he made a gesture as if he threw something to the ground.
It was like a gesture of a samurai prepared for death challenging someone to a duel, challenging them by discarding the sword's sheath.
"If it's him and Mistilteinn, he'll be able to pull off what I couldn't. Even if he takes God Hunter form, he won't become your puppet."
"Can it be, that the one who made him and Lapis deepen the bond was you?"
Not even nodding, Orochi silently confronted Sougetsu.
Sougetsu remained silent for a while, but before long, he covered his face with a hand and started laughing
"Orochi-kun, that's a fatal miscalculation. Your speculation will backfire completely. If you take your purpose into the account, the ideal relationship between Twilight Type and its master for them would be a similar to that of yours and Gungnir's, one of matching interests. Rather than a sword, if that thing deepens its bond with him as a person——it'll have an opposite effect."
"I am aware of it."
"Thanks to you, Kusanagi-kun ended up becoming an existence closer to a God Hunter than anyone else. You didn't show him the way, but fully aware you have driven him into a dead end, haven't you?"
When Sougetsu asked, Orochi snorted then laughed.
"Retard. Even if his destination is a dead end, it's a tradition of Kusanagi to break through and open a way. I was unable to do it, but he can. Is it bad for me to count on his potential?"
The way the corner of his mouth raised up, was similar to Sougetsu's wicked smile.
Sougetsu narrowed his eyes and stared at Orochi as if he was an ant struggling at his feet.
"It's not bad... but, you sure grew up into a horrible adult. It feels like I'm looking into the mirror."
"Don't lump me together with you, bastard. Even if I'm evil, there is love inside of me."
"Is there any love in guiding someone towards destroying the world? So you don't mind if the fate of confronting him as an enemy comes?"
"Ha, that's still trillion times better than have it go as you want it. A showdown with my own disciple, ain't that dramatic, that's more of a blessing than I deserve as his master."
"Speaking seriously, unlike Mother I couldn't care less about the world's fate. I've told you bastard what's my purpose, haven't I."
As Orochi confessed that, Mother furrowed her eyebrows just a little.
Sougetsu raised a loud, dull laughter and glared from behind his hand that was covering his face, his eyes narrowed and made up a crescent shape.
"Let's get back to the topic... about the peace negotiations, we respectfully refuse. I'm not as skilled in fighting as you guys are, so I'm not going to do such a barbaric thing."
"The ones who have acted first in this case are witches. Pureblood Party is an organization that's authorized in the inner world, and there is a potential of entire West Side joining Pureblood Party. And it's those guys that have been dabbling in terrorism on this side, as well as attacked us. It might be anachronistic, but it's the same as an act of aggression from another country."
"The war can no longer be stopped. Humanity is already aware of witches country existence. Isn't it unreasonable to stop it now? If something's taken from us, we retake it. If a stone is thrown at us, we throw back the stone. That's the logic of this world. That's the logic of humans."
He released the hand from his face and spread out his arms to the sides.
"Please... don't get in the way of my hobbies."
Mother's face that was always calm and indifferent, had genuinely distorted.
It was clouded with justifiable hatred and anger.
"You... are you saying war is a hobby for you?"
"Indeed. War is my hobby. And destruction is my raison d'etre."
That moment, negotiations have completely broke down.
On the contrary, it was obvious from the beginning it would go this way.
Still, the reason they have performed peace negotiations was Mother's courtesy for this world.
If they were able to erase Sougetsu, war, the conflict between witches and humans, they would be able to write off everything.
"...understood. Then, let's start it right now. Our war. I will kill you and change the world."
"It would be fine if you did that right from the beginning."
In the middle of tense atmosphere, Orochi took a step forward.
He raised a single hand forward and clenched it into a fist. Opening his cloudy eyes widely, Orochi spat out a deep breath.
"I am Herjann. I am Uzr. I am Alfozr. I am Vizurr and therefore——"
When he raised his fist towards the heavens, Mother's body who stood next to him turned into white particles.
At the same time a giant magical circle expanded under his feet. Particles wrapped around Orochi's body and shone to their limit.
Orochi's unseeing pupils firmly stared at Sougetsu's figure, but before long were wrapped in the particles.
"——I become avatar of furious Odin."
The light dispersed and appearance of Orochi who became a variant has appeared.
The armor reminiscent of the finest silver no one could reach, concealed by a black mantle it was shining. Orochi's head too, was fully covered by armor, every part of his skin was covered with it.
This appearance was very similar to Takeru's in Mistilteinn's 《God-Hunter form》.
In the hand that was raised towards the heavens was a dazzlingly bright, large sword.
That sword was truly, the Sacred Treasure "Gungnir".
Used for the unifying the world of Norse mythology, a weapon that embodied the god's majesty.
"A sword huh... although it does seem incomplete, you're sure handling it well with a human body. Unlike Mistilteinn and Lævateinn, this one should have been more expensive though."
"...even if you have a soul of a demon, it should require three times that right? And even if you managed to handle it, you shouldn't be able to demonstrate even 10% of the original."
"So what. For me, as long as it doesn't break me, I'm fine with it. To kill you bastard——a single time is enough."
When Orochi set up his sword, Sougetsu snapped with his fingers.
At the same time, space around them distorted and dozens of figures releasing particles of magical power appeared. People wearing clunky iron-colored armors on their bodies. In their hands they had guns shaped like a sword and in the center of their barrels concentrated distorted light of magical power.
Mass-produced Relic Eaters "Guillotine".
There were fifty of them. Everyone expanded armor plates akin to wings and hovered in the air.
Artificially manufactured Magical Heritages... sensing the oddity of magical power enclosed inside of them, Mother gasped.
《"...this magical power... you, it can't be...!"》
"You guessed well. That's right, the power source these Relic Eaters are using are witches we have caught up until now. Ecological isn't it? Each Relic Eater is powered by fifty people, and it has cranial nerves of ten people connected directly for generating operative procedures. In other words, it's a flesh-and-blood, living Relic Eater."
《"............!! You——do you hate this world that much?!"》
The moment Mother got furious, fifty members of EXE attacked Orochi at the same time.
Rather than in close combat, they were shooting from long distance. While flying in the air they expanded magical circles and released concentrated magic in unison.
Jet black small spheres were fired and closed onto Orochi.
《"Concentration of magic is abnormal! Evade!"》
Just as instructed to by Mother, Orochi kicked off the ground and avoided.
The light spheres didn't hit him, fifty of them have landed on the ground.
However, their destructive power was beyond Orochi and Mother's imagination.
Behind Orochi, a tremendous amount of energy came from the point it has landed.
When he triggered Soumatou and guarded himself over the shoulder, the jet-black magical power had already surged.
Avoidance was impossible.
Orochi's body was swallowed in jet-black magic in an instant.
Magical power exploded. Fifty rounds of light spheres have resulted in tremendous destruction.
This magic was one that gathered various magical power's properties and created "Chaos" property magic power, then activated a dedicated operative procedure. It was magic Elizabeth who held the "Almighty" property was specialized in.
In the radius of 50 meters from where Orochi stood before, everything disappeared in an instant.
While Sougetsu had his comrades who were equipped with Guillotine expand protective barriers, he stared at Orochi as he was being swallowed by the magic.
In exchange for not being having any intrinsic performance, Guillotine could use magic of the witches that were their power source. Simply put, each of them had the power of fifty witches.
"...I leave the rest to you. If I stay here any longer, I'll get caught up in this."
"Yes sir. However, with that destructive power it's probably been settled already."
One of the men who were expanding protective magic beside Sougetsu spoke, as he turned on his heel and started walking away.
Sougetsu glanced sideways at the face of his subordinates and spoke expressionlessly.
"...there's no way those two would kick the bucket with just this much."
While 《Quietus》 aftermath has surrounded them, the subordinates have looked in the back of it with shocked expressions.
There, they saw something unbelievable.
In the middle of "Chaos" magical property sweeping all over and lightning pouring from, shone a pair of blazing eyes.
At same time, a chill ran down their spines.
And the next moment,
"Kusanagi Double-Edged style's instructor, Kusanagi Orochi——on the battlefield."
The aftermath of 《Quietus》 was blown away all at once.
As if hit by the impact of the cloud being dispelled, the subordinates lost their voices.
Standing in the center, Orochi was clad in silver-colored lightning and swung his sword.
Rather than an explosion, it was pressure from the sword. Just now, it wasn't Gungnir's intrinsic magic like that of Mistilteinn's, nor even its intrinsic performance. It functioned simply as a sword.
Orochi blew away 《Quietus》 with just pressure from his sword.
His appearance looked like that of a beast.
The armor covering his face tore open like a beast's. The way he held his sword was nonsensical to anyone who had any knowledge of swordsmanship, it looked like a mad dog that has been given a sword to hold.
That figure nor style, was nothing like that of a divine knight.
It was appropriate to call it avatar of anger and violence——a monster.
EXE members clad in Guillotine once again shot 《Quietus》 in unison.
However, before they could release it, without even giving them time to gasp Orochi approached from the front and slaughtered one of them.
——They couldn't see it. Catch up to it. Block it.
Guillotine that had a several times stronger armor than a Dragoon was cut in two as if it was made from tofu.
Cut in two... that's wrong.
Because of the incredible speed, the moment the person has been slashed and cut in two, they have burst on impact. Although it should have been a slash, the surface of the cut exploding was a bizarre sight.
What made this spectacle into reality, was way too fast.'
A sound of a skull crumbling has rang out.
Orochi grasped the head of the upset EXE member and threw him to the ground. That too, was too fast to follow with one's sight. For those who were in the location, it looked like the soldier who has been flying in the air warped into the ground and its brain's fluids scattered all over.
"R-release a barrage! There's no need to aim! Stay away from him!"
The remaining 48 EXE members begun to rapid fire 《Quietus》. With this much rapid-fire, the ground would collapse beyond what its prototype was capable of.
However, Orochi deflected 《Quietus》 with the edge of his sword directly at the soldiers.
More than half of 《Quietus》 exploded in mid-air, slaughtering them.
Guillotine's magic wasn't slow. It had the magical power of fifty witches and operative procedure capability of ten people, thanks to that it was able to release 《Quietus》 in rapid fire.
Moreover, they used magic increasing the brain's processing speed, making their users reflexes ten times faster than that of ordinary people. And yet——they still couldn't hit Orochi. They even couldn't see him.
It was like a giant stomping on ants.
"You too should go back and join the battle. At this rate they won't hold out even a minute."
"You've finally been entrusted with a Relic Eater, so you need to serve adequately to what you got, okay?"
While smiling, Sougetsu hit the soldier's shoulder and immediately started walking away.
It's a joke right? With expression saying that, the subordinates cramped up.
The battlefield was like hell in a pot. A demon rampaged inside playing around with sinners. Unable to even raise a scream, EXE personnel couldn't help but be eaten by the demon.
We're supposed to dive into that?
The EXE members who were protecting Sougetsu could only stare at the hell in shock.
Taking one step back, one of them tried to run further from the battlefield towards the back.
"——Sorry. I've no grudge against you, but now that it has turned into war, I can't make any more allowances."
A voice came from behind. The culprit who has created this hell was for some reason behind him.
The subordinate couldn't turn around.
He knew that even if he turned around, it was useless.
"I don't know how does it look like, but apparently afterlife has been confirmed to exist. If you've any complaints, I'll hear them there."
"That's why for now——drop dead like a fly."
The soldier closed his eyes. With just a single second he was given, he looked back at his life. Surely, that was Orochi's mercy for him.
Fortunately, he didn't feel any pain.
"All hidden members of EXE are to attack. Dragoons, heavy tanks and assault aircrafts are to attack. Attack helicopters are to start sweep. Have bombers start the bombardment. Even just a little bit, earn some time."
Leisurely, Sougetsu walked away from where Orochi was.
With sounds of bombing in the distance, Sougetsu walked away swinging his arms as if he was wielding a baton, directing the orchestra.
However, soon enough he lost interest and shook his head.
"How disappointing... Orochi-kun can be called the strongest person in Valhalla, it can't be helped that he became strong since the Witch Hunt War, but I wanted the young ones to try harder. In the old days there was a bunch of strong people who could go against such cheat-level strength without relying on something like weapons."
Recalling the Witch Hunt War, Sougetsu was disappointed in the modern Inquisitors.
In the Witch Hunt War, the human side was vastly inferior in the early days. In front of the witches overwhelming power, the level of Inquisition's firearms was very low as compared to modern, and they were losing territory rapidly.
Still, they stood their ground because there were many geniuses that excelled among them.
Innovative fighter aircrafts Japan had developed and pilots with outrageous maneuvering skills. Commando troops with 200 members that have confronted 2000 sorcerers and prevailed in the lost kingdom. A finish sniper with a gift and his best friend. A genius engineer that had devised and developed the original Dragoon that works well even in the modern times. A man who succeeded in synthesising magical organisms and introduced Chimera troops into battle, the founder of Suginami, Trismegistos.
Thanks to existences like them, humanity managed to hold out until the Akashic Hazard occurred.
The enemy's introduction of dark elves. Lævateinn and Kusanagi Orochi. Mistilteinn and Kusanagi Mikoto. Even despite those existences that had a large impact, human side was able to win because their numbers were vast. Even at that time, there were hundred humans for every witch. And after surviving a world-wide catastrophe, they multiplied like highly-fertile cockroaches.
"It's been 150 years since then... it's no good unless humans fight after all. Spoiled by peace, humanity will be trampled by witches."
Looking up and raising both his hands he shook his head with a "good grief".
"You really are a scumbag from the bottom of your heart aren't you."
——The wind has wailed.
Sougetsu erased his expression and held out his hands in front.
Momentarily, Relic Eater 『Innocentius』materialized. Sougetsu turned and rotated the musket like a baton and received the sword's point that was approaching from the front.
A tremendous metallic sound has rang out and the ground shook with impact.
Sougetsu stared at the face of a man who managed to launch a surprise attack at him.
Brightly shining blond hair. An intense yet frivolous expression, black clothing of a priest. And an irregular sword in a shape of a rapier.
"...if I'm not wrong, you're the person who assaulted the mock battle tournament, right?"
"My name is Haunted. I have been aware of your existence for 150 years, but it is the first time for us to meet directly. No, truly... you are a person I have imagined you to be. The smell of a scumbag oozing from you is causing a disaster in my nose."
As Sougetsu snorted in boredom, Haunted assaulted him with a cold stare.
Neither of the two has laughed like they usually did.
"...I do not know much about you, but why am I so disgusted being told that by you?"
"Isn't it because we're both malicious humans? However, it's not cognate aversion, since I cannot understand your existence."
"Hmmm. I have not a slightest interest in you... do you need something? I'm in a hurry."
While pressing on each other, their lines of sight met.
Sougetsu acted coldly, but Haunted clearly filled his glare with murderous intent.
"I have heard of you from Orochi-san and Mother Goose. I also have participated in the Witch Hunt War 150 years ago, but it can't be helped that I didn't know of an inconspicuous existence like you. Back then, I had no interest in you."
"Oh. I see. I'd like it if you continued not to have interest in me."
"That won't do——at this point in time, you have become an existence that's a hindrance to me."
With a loud sound, Haunted inserted more strength into his sword. Unmoving, Sougetsu received the pressure coming from Haunted unmoving, like a stone statue.
"You love war, don't you."
"I love it too. War is nice. Hope and despair intermingles and I can enjoy both with ease."
While continuing to glare at Sougetsu, Haunted furrowed his eyebrows.
His appearance full of anger was too human to be called that of a madman.
"——However, destruction is not good. There's no meaning in breaking everything. If you're wishing to wipe out both despair and hope, your existence becomes hindrance to me."
"...my arm is about to start hurting... if you're to speak to yourself, can you go somewhere else?"
"I do not expect you to understand. You who cannot understand human emotions, are a truly pathetic sight——a boring existence."
"You who intends to deprive me of paradise, will lose your life here."
Haunted parried Sougetsu's gun and jumping backwards he took distance from him.
After soundlessly landing on the ground, Haunted immediately clenched his beloved sword "Dáinsleif" in front of his chest. Raising the blade in front of his eyes he closed his eyes like a knight saying his vows.
On the opposite side Sougetsu lowered Innocentius' hammer and with a seemingly languid movement he aimed at Haunted.
Each of them expanded a magical circle, and the fight was about to begin——it was then.
Something has shook the air.
" "?!" "
With ringing in their ears, momentarily sound disappeared from the world.
Voices, wind, not even their own breathing could be heard.
What is it, Haunted and Sougetsu directed their line of sight towards where Orochi was fighting.
Something was coming.
The two, had an exactly same premonition.
After Orochi has butchered fifty EXE members equipped with Guillotine, he deformed Gungnir's shape into that of a Japanese sword as the reinforcements have appeared.
And while sheathing the sword, he sank his waist low.
《"North-northwest, 500 meters away in a straight line. He seems to be confronting Haunted."》
As Mother said that, the corners of Orochi's mouth distorted inside of the armor.
"That's helpful... I didn't think a day would come where I'm grateful to that pervert."
《"What shall we do?"》
As Mother awaited instructions, Orochi spoke.
"They're within range——trigger your grant. We'll do that."
《"...however, with my grant, your body will——"》
"One second is enough. If it's that much, I'll somehow manage."
"I leave the timing to you. Don't miss it."
Without waiting for Mother to acknowledge it, Orochi gripped the sheath.
"Kusanagi Double-Edged style... Secret Art."
Taking a deep breath, he mustered all strength in his body.
Using Soumatou he increased brain processing speed, raising both reflexes and physical abilities to the limit.
Even as he reached the limits of a human, Orochi didn't release Soumatou.
For him, who had the body of a vampire, there was still more. He could move even faster.
What he imagined was sound. His own existence reaching the speed of sound. Although it would be impossible for a human to stand the speed of sound, with vampire's body it was possible with a very small margin.
However, it was not enough.
What he imagined next——was light.
He dreamed of it single-mindedly. Reaching the area mankind couldn't reach.
He could never reach it, and yet still reached out to it single-mindedly.
Not minding his body breaking. He wanted be to faster and faster.
Orochi's body made a crackling sound and blood flowed from the veins all over his body blowing up. Even after being subjected to Gungnir's strengthening, he still didn't have enough strength to reach it.
I don't care. In front. Ahead. Forward. Forward.
To the dazzling out of reach——to that area.
Reach, reach, reach, reach, reachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreachreach!
Physics collapsed. Particles burst. World, stopped.
The fingertips of Orochi's outstretched hands faintly——touched the light.
He opened his eyes widely in the blindness, and he certainly has seen light he has dreamed of.
In the world in which sound and time disappeared, along with words of power, Orochi took a step forward.
The world has stopped. Time, has stopped.
The target was a Dragoon that loomed right in front of him.
Orochi unsheathed the sword while drawing a circle and slashed with the sword from above to the ground at the Dragoon's head.
And, at the moment blade hit the ground, Orochi cancelled Soumatou.
At that moment——any existence other than Orochi's has been blown into non-existence.
Haunted could clearly see light overflowing.
From the location Orochi was in, a tremendous shock wave was coming towards them.
As expected, even Haunted made a bitter smile.
"Now he's done it, that human nuclear weapon——"
Just before he could finish speaking, Haunted's body was swallowed in a the shockwave and disappeared.
And, Sougetsu too,
"That's why I told you I'm in a hurry."
Was exposed to the shockwave in defenseless state.
——The radius it had was 2 kilometers from the hypo-center.
Everything existing in that location was blown away.
"Kusanagi Double-Edged style's Secret Art——Ama-no-Habakiri."
Devised by Orochi, a method to move the body at speed nearing that of light.
Surpassing limits of Soumatou, surpassing limits of the body, surpassing limits of mass, reaching the ultimate existence.
A blow released from that state, boasted of a destructive power against substance on the level of a nuclear weapon.
Probably, there was no existence that could withstand that blow.
"I am Herjann. I am Uzr. I am All Alfozr. I am Vizurr and therefore——" - The old Norse words in this chant have meanings of Herjann (Army), Ur (Wave), Alfozr (All Creation) and Vizurr (Destruction).