After leaving the hostel, The Small Fry Platoon headed north once again.
The snow continued to fall without change. If anything, it's been worse then a day before. Of all times possible, it seemed to be the the highest amount of snow falling over the last ten years.
The wall of snow built up on both sides of the road was nearly three-meters tall.
After stopping the car at the branching, Ouka glared at the map along with Takeru who was in the passenger's seat.
On the route they have planned to use, there was a traffic sign warning it was blockaded by snow.
"This is bad... the route we had in reserve is closed to traffic too."
"With this much snow we have no choice... it might be longer but..."
Ouka looked towards Nagaru who was devouring sweets in the back seat.
"What do we do? It's far, but shall we take a detour?"
At Ouka's proposal, Nagaru went a deep "hmm" thinking of it.
"No, let's give up on detouring〜. As expected the scary pursuers should be on us soon, we don't have time for such leisure."
"...so we shouldn't have stayed in the hostel after all?"
"Boo〜, everyone recovered their strength and we were able to relax so it's fine〜."
Nagaru shook her body and puffed up her cheeks as she stared at Ouka.
"Then, the highway after all... there might be checkpoints, so it's quite dangerous."
"You're right. But even for Inquisition it's impossible to place checkpoints on all the roads, there should be many holes in the highway."
"...that does sound unlikely."
"Ah, Suginami-chan, I have a small request for you, is it fine?"
Unexpectedly, Nagaru called Ikaruga.
Ikaruga who was messing around with Usagi's boobs looked towards Nagaru with a blank look.
30 minutes later, the car carrying the Small Fry Platoon has been safely riding on the highway.
They could proceed smoothly on a maintained road, where only a thin layer of snow was lying. The difference between that and an ordinary road was obvious.
"...I haven't found any checkpoints so far. It's all right for the next 10 kilometers."
Ikaruga exchanged her seat with Takeru's, and from the passenger seat she reported to Ouka.
On her head was installed a helmet-type interface.
Inside, on the interface's screen, the road was projected up to 10 kilometers ahead. The video was being taken from the sky. Using the sentry bot that was previously supporting Usagi on the battlefield, Ikaruga carried out reconnaissance on the road.
Ouka who was driving was relieved, and put a hand on her chest.
"As expected of you, Suginami. You're much more reliable than car navigation or President."
"Fuee〜, I'm clearly being treated like an idiot〜."
Ignoring Nagaru who was munching on sweets in the seat behind, Ouka followed Ikaruga's instructions.
"At this rate we'll arrive at the destination in an hour. Everyone, prepare protection against cold and climbing equipment."
"Wait... something's strange."
At Ikaruga's disturbing words, Ouka raised her eyebrows and asked.
"What is it?"
"It might be because of snow, but I can't see any car on the road other than ours. Even though we have entered highway five minutes ago, I didn't see a single one. It's strange that there isn't even a single snow plow either..."
When Ikaruga anxiously placed ah and on her chin, Ouka narrowed her eyes sharply.
Nagaru who was in the back seat has rose up as well and unexpectedly leaned towards the driver's seat.
"Sorry, can you lend me a map for a moment?"
Ouka took out the map from the dashboard and passed it to Nagaru.
After spreading the map on her knees, Nagaru removed a magic pen from her breast pocket and opened it with her mouth, then hurriedly drew the route on the map towards their destination.
Mari who was sitting next to her was amazed by the speed Nagaru drew on the map to the point of laughter, and she stared both at the map and Nagaru alternating between them. Unusually serious, Nagaru fully focused on the work.
"...what are you doing?"
"Mm... I'm checking the route we have taken up until now."
Hee〜, Mari muttered while looking at the increasing number of points on the map.
Although at first she was dazed, after starting to understand what Nagaru is worried about, her expression has stretched out.
"So that's it〜..."
Nagaru put away the pen and spread out the map as to let everyone see.
Ouka and Ikaruga glanced at the map.
The points on the map were clearly...
"——We were led onto the highway. Probably, enemy has anticipated us. It's a trap."
"I-if they anticipated us, does that mean our destination has been found out?!"
Usagi raised her hand to her mouth and paled.
"That's hard to believe. I don't think enemy knows where our home base is, and they shouldn't be able to pin point us to the level of closing the roads we take, most likely we were followed."
"Followed... so that we lead them to dissidents base?"
Mari guessed, and Nagaru nodded in agreement.
"W-why were we found? We didn't contact anyone a single time, and didn't use any electronic equipment."
"I don't know how did they do it. I can think of several possibilities, but we can no longer head for our destination. For the time being we need to do something about enemy. We'll get off the highway at once and——"
"——No, it seems too late for that."
Ouka said interrupting Nagaru as she looked into the rear-view mirror.
Everyone looked towards the back at once.
It was a straight road without any curves.
Far in the distance, there were three small points.
"——Inquisition's military vehicles!"
Takeru opened the window and leaned outside.
It's been only a few seconds since they noticed they are being chased, but the vehicles have already closed onto them to the point where they can be seen.
"...everyone prepare to fight! Ouka, can you shake them off somehow?!"
As instructed to by Takeru, Ouka stepped on the accelerator.
The engine growled and they have rapidly accelerated. Because there were chains wrapped around the tires, the car started violently vibrating.
"Takeru, can you see enemy vehicle's models?"
"Eh-umm... b-blue Jeep? I-I can tell it's a four-wheeler!"
"Be more specific!"
"S-sorry, I'm not familiar with cars..."
"——TeRX-2000, made by Alchemist corp. It's strong on curves, so it's better to escape straight.
Ikaruga who has been monitoring the situation through the sentry bot on the sky has mentioned the vehicle model instead of Takeru.
"As for horsepower, we're evenly matched. This car too is an improved, latest military model that's been disguised, it's quick despite the frame. It has bulletproof glasses too."
For some reason, Nagaru puffed her chest up proudly.
Ikaruga quietly assessed the situation and instructed Ouka.
"We're better in the snow. For now, go at full speed, I'll tell you when to curve."
Following Ikaruga's instructions, Ouka pressed on the accelerator more strongly.
Because of the G's from the acceleration, Mari and Usagi screamed.
"Gyaa! The car chase on the snow should stay in mangaa!"
"I-I-I'm w-weak to roller-coasteerss!"
As the two hugged each other while looking like they are about to cry, Ouka gradually raised the speed.
When she checked the mirror, she saw the vehicles which were closing the distance, move further again.
"There's a curve 300 meters in front. We'll manage."
"At this rate we'll pull out, then get out of the highway all at once. We'll have to hide the car and consider moving on foot...nn?!"
It was about the immediate future. When Ouka thought of a plan, but the vehicle visible in the rearview mirror didn't waste a single moment.
A magical circle and blue particles seemed to have come out from the vehicle.
Moment after——the car has demonstrated an abnormal acceleration.
Ouka was familiar with that magical circle and acceleration.
She raised a voice in shock.
《Highway Fairy》. A charm that the Small Fry Platoon has previously confiscated from criminals. They never thought Inquisition would use them like this.
"Ngh, Inquisitors shouldn't embezzle damn Magical Heritagessssssssss!"
A moment before they reached the curve, Ouka pressed on the brakes and turned to the right while screaming angrily.
It was the worst case, the road was covered with ice.
" " "Gyaaaaaaaaa!" " "
While Takeru's, Mari's and Usagi's scream resounded inside, Small Fry Platoon's car slipped grandly.
It seemed like it will start rotating, but it continued to drew an arc right onto the guardrail.
However, Ouka changed gear and stepped on the break, and through ingenious steering wheel's operation, she finished the curve on the brink of collision.
Immediately after rebuilding balance, the car ran at full throttle once again.
Ikaruga instinctively raised the helmet's visor and whistled.
"Wheeew, what's up with that driving technique! Right now, I feel like embracing you! I'll give you my virginity!"
"Even if you say that twice, it's impossible! Come on Suginami, concentrate on the Sentry Bot!"
"J-just now the car's movement were like that of a skaters..."
"Upgh... I feel like barfing..."
"M-my dead grandfather i-is smiling to me..."
Falling from the seats with the seat belts still on, almost everyone's face cramped in pain.
The road was going straight again. However, the enemy's approaching car was affected by 《Highway Fairy》 and it entered the curve at perfect angle.
"At this rate...!"
Ouka started showing impatience as she stepped on the accelerator.
That's when, Nagaru started laughing in the rear seat.
"Fu fu fu, no worries. I have a secret plan as well."
Acting arrogantly, Nagaru pulled out a piece of paper from her breast pocket.
"——I have this! Three《Highway Fairy》instant charms I have snatched from Inquisition!"
"That's nothing to be proud of!!"
Ouka immediately retorted, but Nagaru ignored it and raised her arm with the charm towards the ceiling.
And, she swung down with all her strength onto the floor with the charm.
Momentarily, a blue magical circle was deployed, 《Highway Fairy》 magic was deployed.
Everyone fell silent.
Nagaru blinked repeatedly and pulled off the charm that was sticking to the floor. After picking it up, she fluttered with it in the air and smiled wryly, scratching her cheek with a finger.
"Sorry〜, this car is made with anti-magical material so it won't receive the magic〜."
While they had a short comical exchange, the cars have closed onto them from both sides.
Ouka tried to shake them off somehow, but because of the sustained 《Highway Fairy》's effect it was impossible. Everyone in the rear seat picked up guns and prepared for combat.
"Lapis, you ready?"
" " "You're useless!" " "
Preparing for the fight as well, Takeru asked Lapis who sat on top of his knees.
"You and me can jump into enemy's car and stall them. We should be able to do that much in Witch Hunter form."
He once again called out to Lapis who was staying silent. Lapis slightly shook her head in response.
"I don't recommend it."
"?! Why? It's an emergency you know?!"
"I am unable to disclose a detailed explanation. It's an error."
Takeru didn't think that she would say 'error' even at a time like this.
It seemed like she was upset by something again,
"I'm really... sorry."
But since she apologized, Takeru started thinking there must have been a different reason.
However, right now they didn't have time to think about that. Their car was already sandwiched between Inquisition's, and there was a car behind them cutting off their escape route.
Ouka glared at the window of the vehicle on their right side. Although it was smoked and enemy wasn't visible, the glass slowly has been lowered and——a handgun has peeked out.
A gunshot rang out. The bullet bit into the glass aiming directly for her forehead.
"Overpressure ammunition...! Even bulletproof glass won't hold out for long!"
After Ouka shouted, Kanaria who was silent up until now opened the skylight on the top.
"...Kana will go."
Holding guns with strangely long magazines, Kanaria climbed up to the car's roof. Ikaruga tried to stop her, but Takeru placed a hand on her shoulder. Takeru strongly pat her shoulder to relay that only Kanaria is capable of doing it now
"Kanaria, I leave it to you."
"Also, try not to kill them as much as possible."
Kanaria grimaced and glared at Takeru from the gap in the skylight.
Takeru returned her glare straight, Kanaria immediately turned around and clicked her tongue.
"You're too soft Takeru——《Víðópnir》
Lævateinn she was carrying on her back has sparkled for a moment, and a fairy-like wings have appeared behind Kanaria.
Immediately after, Kanaria kicked off the roof with abandon.
The car Small Fry Platoon was riding has dented in.
At the same time as she jumped, Kanaria flapped the wings on her back and plunged forward.
Along with a buzz like that of an insect, Kanaria moved in front of the cars.
However, after 20 meters, she has inverted her body towards the cars.
And then she jumped onto the vehicle on the right of the one Takeru and the others were.
She outstretched the sub-machine guns she was holding forward and squeezed the triggers.
A rapid-fire with overpressure bullets hit the enemy's car head-on. Enemy vehicle's windshield has been filled with white cracks.
In addition to that, Kanaria rammed into the windshield in a flying-kick manner.
Kanaria's body passed through the glass and she entered the car.
The car on their right has shook strongly. Surely, Kanaria has been rampaging inside.
After a few seconds, the car started spinning. On the verge of it hitting the wall, Kanaria opened the door and jumped outside again.
She looked like a fairy holding a gun.
Using similar modus operandi, Kanaria overturned the car in the back.
However, when she tried to jump out of the fallen car, the skylight of the vehicle on their left has opened and an Inquisitor with a rocket launcher has appeared.
She'll be late. If the rocket hits the car as it is, Kanaria will get caught up in the explosion. The moment Takeru thought so,
Mari exposed her upper body through the skylight and triggered magic.
The car running right beside them on the left has decelerated as if it entered water and after losing balance it fell over and started to roll.
The space inside of the light has weight applied on it which further increased the impact car has taken. Since the magic was activated to match the position and speed of the car, the people inside wouldn't have realized disturbance if not for tracking Kanaria's actions.
Mari stretched herself out of the window, grabbed Kanaria's hands who flew over and dragged her inside of the car.
"You're too reckless, are you that durable?"
"A-as expected... that was dangerous was it not, right Kusanagi?"
Takeru dully responded to Usagi, and anxiously stared at Lapis on top of his knees.
Even as he wondered what might be the cause, he couldn't come up with anything. His bond with Lapis should have deepened in Magic Academy, it would be strange if he were to be rejected by his partner now.
Is it jealousy towards the platoon members? ...that's probably not it.
Despite all, Takeru and Lapis were together for a long time, there was hardly any time they weren't together.
She wouldn't reject going into Witch Hunter form because of something like jealousy.
There's some other reason...
"Everyone, sorry for not reading the mood but——it seems like it isn't over yet."
Ouka, the driver, spoke in a heavy tone.
When everyone stared towards the back once again, they could see a new vehicle approach at high speed.
"Oh come on! Inquisition's really persistent! Fine, even at this range I can use my magic——"
"Give up on that. That's different from the bunch from before."
After her proposal was rejected by Ouka, Mari squinted as she stared at approaching car. The car's model was same as the ones from before.
However, there was a human figure on the roof. The figure flapped its coat, standing on the roof without any resistance to the wind.
Seeing a black uniform under the coat, Mari was horrified.
Sweat ran down Ouka's cheek.
"It's EXE. Moreover, it's not the rookies using mass-produced models. She's..."
She squinted, focusing herself.
"EXE's vice captain."
Clutching the handle strongly, Ouka stepped on the accelerator.
"——Bingo. I'm a genius after all〜."
Making a daunting pose on top of the car, Magnolia laughed in front of the target.
Gou sat in the driver's seat and Kagerou was sitting in the passenger seat beside.
"...Mag-san...why...did you think the children would... go to old Aomori?"
"It's just many years of experience and intuition. Their destination——is probably old Hokkaido."
Ruins of old Hokkaido. During the late Witch Hunt War, Hokkaido had almost vanished, annihilated by Dark Elves' magic.
Even so, not the entirety of its land was lost.
The entire area was swallowed by the Sanctuary, but a several islands still existed.
"That bunch is a hybrid organization that has gathered dissidents of various organizations. Magic and AntiMagic have teamed up, it wouldn't be surprising if they had transfer magic and barrier equipment Valhalla can use. Their activities have intensified after Hojishiro appeared, but it's an organization that's existed for a long time already."
"...then...they've been hiding in Hokkaido's Sanctuary...have they..."
"Well, we can hear the truth from the bunch after we catch them. Chasing the bunch in this damn cold... my body has dulled, I'll take them on for a lil'."
When Magnolia extended her hands, bright red magic appeared under her feet and particles of magical power have overflowed.
And, the particles have concentrated in the vicinity of Magnolia's hands, shaping two handguns.
Two small, scarlet-colored revolvers.
On the surface of the guns 《The Malleus Maleficarum III “Bloody Mary”》 was carved in.
Magnolia performed a gunspin and poised with the Relic Eater "Bloody Mary".
She licked her lips with her tongue and aimed the muzzle of the gun she held in her right hand at the sky.
And she squeezed the trigger five times in total.
Although five gunshots have sounded, nothing was fired from the muzzle. Instead, red lightning has appeared from the cylinder.
Smoke raised from the gun's muzzle, Magnolia slowly lowered it and this time aimed at the gun in front.
"Now, the game of tag has barely started."
——Magnolia pulled the trigger, firing six rounds of live ammunition.
"!!——It's coming! Everyone hold onnnn!"
Ouka shouted and turned the handle with abandon.
At the same time, from the vehicle in the rear something of reddish-brown color was unleashed.
A spine-chilling roar. It was as if an enormous dragon opened its mouth.
The Dragon plunged straight, aiming at their car.
Ouka avoided the dragon without wings, shaped like a snake with her brilliant driving skills.
Seeing the dragon built with magical power pass beside, Takeru and Kanaria were amazed.
If that thing were to hit them, even their car made from anti-magical materials would have been erased.
Even Ikaruga, who was the only one keeping her composure in the car has grimaced, raising the helmet's visor.
"That thing can't be fired so rapidly can it. After we pass through the hairpin curve ahead, there's an exit from the highway 500 meters further. We should——"
"——No, avoiding that is impossible, it's not over yet!"
Ha? Everyone made the same expression.
Immediately after a disturbing sound hung over, front the front——once again, a roar resounded.
The dragon was coming from the road ahead, after doing a U-turn.
"It's coming back! It has automatic tracking!"
Once again, Ouka turned the handle to the side. She avoided the dragon's rush for the second time.
However, this time the Dragon grazed their car and blew away the trunk door.
A scream echoed inside of the car.
Propelled by the impact, the car rotated. Although it was severely scratched by the guardrail, Ouka somehow rebuilt their posture.
"Any more than this is impossible...! The car won't hold out!"
The car started to malfunction and vibrate violently.
"I-I'll try to do something with my protective magic...!"
Mari started to weave protection magic and expanding it.
However, Nagaru who was looking at the map placed a hand on her shoulder.
"Mari-chan, not protective magic, use that flabby magic from before."
"《Aurora Field》? It won't be able block enemy's attack."
Leaving Mari confused, Nagaru held Usagi's hand next.
"Usagi-chan, you have a gun that doesn't need footing and doesn't have any recoil right? From the skylight, I want you to shoot it squarely ahead of us when I tell you to."
"? W-why do such thing."
"It's fine, please〜."
Even as she raised both of her hands and pleaded, Nagaru's eyes weren't laughing.
Just as she was told to, Usagi pulled out the launcher and extended it outside of the skylight.
This time Nagaru moved to the driver's seat and whispered into Ouka's ear.
"Ouka-chan continue straight, full throttle. Do not turn on the curves, cut straight ahead."
To the point it was unimaginable after seeing her carefree attitude, Nagaru's tone has turned imposing.
Ouka had a lot of questions, but she didn't have the leisure for that at the moment.
The proof of that was.
"It's coming back... it's raising up this time, it's coming from the sky! Predicting its path is an out this time!"
After listening to Takeru's report, who extended his head from the window, Ouka clenched her teeth.
"〜〜〜Ah screw this! Fuck traffic rules!"
"That's good〜! Go go go!"
As if to cheer on her from behind, Nagaru hit the seat.
Ouka stepped on the accelerator to the maximum and changed the gear to next one.
It was the nitro boost they left for when its needed the most.
The engine spew flames and a strong G force was applied to the car. While withstanding wind pressure and the G's, Usagi continued to aim the recoilless rifle from the skylight.
The turn could be seen. At this rate they absolutely couldn't turn, in the first place, this car didn't intend to turn.
In the middle of a situation akin to a chicken race, Nagaru yelled.
"——Now! Shoot the wall!"
As she was told to, Usagi faced the front and fired with the gun straight ahead.
The trajectory slightly deviated, but the grenade landed on the wall and blew away the guardrail.
After she finished shooting, Takeru grabbed her and dragged her back into the car.
"OKAYY! Plunge into it as you are!"
The Dragon approached from the sky.
The car was accelerating, but the Dragon was faster.
The distance from the Dragon was 10 meters, 5 meters, 3 meters
The Dragon composed of magical power opened its mouth.
" " " " " "UWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" " " " " "
Everyone other than Ikaruga and Lapis cried out in a same manner, and immediately after.
The car rushed right through the explosion.
And——pierced right through.
After destroying the wall with recoilless gun, they slipped outside. The Dragon had barely missed its mark, and at the same time as it brushed by the ceiling of the car it ran out of magical power.
"Yess, we avoid——ed?!"
Ouka let out a voice of delight and surprise at the same time.
The car that has jumped out of the highway started to dive like a jet coaster.
The gravity inside of the car disappeared.
They were falling.
The screams resounded again. Takeru embraced Usagi and Lapis, withstood a feeling as if his heart was rising up and braced himself to the shock.
After falling off the cliff, the car was going headlong into the forest that was buried under snow.
It seemed like they would hit the ground head-on but,
In response to Nagaru's instruction, Mari invoked the magic.
《Aurora Field》. It grants mass to magical particles of Aurora property within the range, reducing speed and impact.
Understanding Nagaru's intentions, Mari deployed the magic at the landing point.
——*gakun*! A shock assaulted the car.
On the verge of crashing, the car slowed under the influence of 《Aurora Field》 and made an emergency landing on top of the snow.
In the crowded car, Takeru ensured everyone's safety.
"Usagi, Lapis, are you okay?"
In response to his concerned voice, Lapis nodded in silence.
On the other hand, Usagi was trembling strongly and raised her face full of tears.
"K-Ku-Kusanagii... I- I'm... I am..."
"Seems like you're all right..."
"I-I'm not awright at all...euu...I p-peed myself...a little."
For the time being he put aside the confession Usagi made while hyperventilating and checked the status of the other members.
Nagaru seemed to have slipped off from the seat belt and her head rammed into the crotch of Ouka who was sitting in the driver's seat. Since Kanaria didn't have a seat belt from the beginning, her face was stuck in Ikaruga's chest. Ouka and Ikaruga had their faces buried in airbags and didn't move.
It was an outrageous situation, but surprisingly everyone was intact.
Takeru suddenly exhaled, and slipped from his seat in disarray.
"Ouchch... I hurt my hip a little〜."
After they dragged out Nagaru through the window as she spoke things an old woman would, Small Fry Platoon successfully left the car.
They have survived for the time being, but the situation still wasn't turned around.
It was only a matter of time until the pursuers caught up to them.
Fortunately, the snowing weakened, and it wasn't a situation where walking through it would be hard. They were wearing coats, but that was their only consolation.
"...although their protection against cold was blown away, Saionji's rifle and Vlad seem to be fine."
Usagi received the rifle from Ouka and hung its belt on her shoulder. Since she couldn't bring the recoilless rifle she held, it had to be left behind on top of the snow.
Nagaru pulled out the map from the car and raised her eyebrows.
"There's still quite distance on feet〜, but there's no other choice but to walk. Mari-chan, is there any chance of you making a barrier against wind and cold?"
"Leave it to me. It's a piece of cake."
"All right let's hurry. It's okay, it's okay〜, if cold doesn't get to us it'll be easy〜♪."
Carrying a rucksack too big for her body, laughing brightly, Nagaru started walking in the front.
Mari and Usagi, Kanaria and Ikaruga followed her while complaining.
At this carefree mood, everyone involuntarily spilled a smile.
"She's someone with no tension... but for some reason, she feels reliable."
"Yeah, many of the people who have a higher standing in this country are weirdos, but she truly is like that."
Ouka floated a wry smile as well, staring at Nagaru's back.
"Compared to that... I'm completely useless..."
After leaving driving, navigation and combat to his comrades, Takeru slumped in disappointment.
Ouka sighed and hit his back strongly.
"You've fought a lot until now. Just this time leave it to us. Worry do not, you're a splendid weirdo who won't lose to President."
"T-thanks... hey wait, is that your follow-up?"
"We all have become this brazen thanks to you. Puff up your chest with pride."
"...I don't know if I'm being praised or scolded here..."
She released the hand from his shoulder and started walking.
"It's all right. Everyone's with you. No worries."
After hearing Ouka's words, Takeru nodded.
They have surely gained experience on the battle field that allowed them to break through anything now. It was unthinkable for Ouka to act so with such a leisure in the past.
Takeru stared at the back of each member who were walking in front.
Compared to their original formation, it seemed like everyone's back became larger. They have surpassed carnage beyond what an ordinary test platoon could have.
It wasn't that they wanted to become like this. If there was peace, it definitely wouldn't have turned out like this. But, as the captain, he was proud that their back have stretched.
...everyone has become strong.
Takeru chased after everyone's backs. This time, as not to be left behind. In order to protect them as he always did.
"——Aww〜, no matter how you look at it, you're being too carefree〜. You stay at hostel, you tryin' to move on foot〜. Ain't ya lackin' a sense of crisis?"
They could hear a voice from above.
The moment everyone in the location raised their faces, three shadows fell in front.
Three surprise attackers. It could be seen at a glance that they were EXE members.
Their Relic Eaters had executed Witch Hunter forms and their bodies were wrapped in armor.
Everyone braced themselves, entering combat readiness.
So they were EXE members after all...!
Even in the extreme cold, cold sweat ran down Takeru's back.
There were three opponents. A small boy wearing a scarlet armor. A gray giant reminiscent of rock. A gloomy woman reminiscent of a bluish black shadow.
All of them were in Witch Hunter form.
On the platoon's side, in addition to Lapis' refusal to enter Witch Hunter form for an unknown reason, they couldn't use Ouka's Vlad. Usagi who was a sniper couldn't shoot satisfactory with a heavy snow pouring down.
The only ones who could put up a decent fight was Kanaria and Mari.
The situation is the worst.
While looking at Lapis who was silent right beside him, Takeru thought of what to do.
Since the enemy attacked them with full force, it didn't seem like they were trying to catch them alive.
He wanted to avoid combat, but how do they escape to get away?
As Takeru continued to think, Ouka who took a defensive posture glared at the scarlet boy.
"Magnolia troop... normally you hardly do any work, I never thought you would become our pursuers."
After being spoken to sarcastically, the boy scratched his temple with the gun's muzzle and made a condescending smile towards Ouka.
"Hey hey, don't make it seem like we're good for nothing. We're the part of EXE that works behind the scenes... we're properly workin' ya know? For example, we disposin' of traitors?"
Spinning the small revolvers she held in both hands, Magnolia joked.
"It's Chairman's order, don't think badly of me... well, that's what I'd like to say but I'm fairly fired-up for this. I really can't get around the fact that a mere test platoon is Chairman's favorite."
"...what are your intentions for us..."
"We've orders to kill Kusanagi, Suginami and Nikaido. Well, 't should be fine to bring ya back naked and prostratin'."
Magnolia proposed with a "How about it?".
All the platoon members have taken their arms up in silence.
It was a foolish question. They were prepared to fight right from the beginning.
Magnolia stopped to spin her guns and smiled happily.
"Okaay, your reply's as expected! Kagerou, Gou."
"Listen, I don't mind if you tear a limb or two from the capture targets. I'll forgive it. As you wished——tear them limb from limb."
It was a desperate situation. Ouka moved in front as if to protect everyone and clenched her fist.
"Everyone run away... I'll hold them up——"
The moment Ouka showed a spirit of self-sacrifice.
*slap*, Mari hit Ouka's head.
"That hurt! What are you doing?!"
Ouka raised a voice full of blame, but Mari silently moved in front of her.
Kanaria followed her, unsheathing her sword.
"You all fall back... I'll take them on."
"Run away. You'll be a hindrance."
Mari and Kanaria have confronted Magnolia and the others.
The two's backs were reliable.
However, Takeru couldn't acknowledge it. It wasn't that he didn't trust those two's strength. It was too dangerous to separate in this snow.
And they finally reached this far.
They absolutely couldn't separate.
Usagi, Ikaruga and Ouka seemed to feel the same, and everyone moved in front.
Even if it was suicidal, everyone fighting together was a better choice.
But, that's when.
——Someone fired the recoilless gun straight into the sky.
A grenade soared to the sky pulling a trail of smoke behind it and exploded in the air.
Everyone's gaze was drawn behind all at once.
Lit up by the flames of explosion, holding the recoilless gun was an unexpected person.
"Fuh, it'll be troubling if you forget about me?"
Putting a tabacco-like sweet into her mouth, Hojishiro Nagaru threw the recoilless gun onto the ground.
"Everyone run away——leave this place to me."
It was too unexpected, everyone froze, including the enemy.
When the tense mood was ruined, Ouka grimaced painfully.
"...President... don't go with the flow and participate. No one is expecting anything of you..."
"Ehh, harsh! Onei-san is hurt, she was being serious!"
"We're fine! Commander should get back! If you die all will be for nothing!"
Ignoring Ouka's persuasion, Nagaru rudely moved towards Magnolia and the others.
"It's okay, it's okay. Leave it to me. It's cold so you all should cluster up together in one spot〜♪. Look, there〜. That mountain in front of us, its beautiful with all the snow piled up on it〜. You can leisurely spend your time watching the mountain as I fight〜."
Waving her hand, she spoke something of an unknown meaning.
Mountain, what is she suddenly on about——?
Although everyone made a completely stunned expression, Takeru alone who was familiar with mountains from an early age noticed the sound.
He noticed mainly thanks to Nagaru's words.
Mountain. Snow. Clustering up in one spot.
And——the strange sound he could hear faintly.
Takeru raised a hand preventing Ouka from stopping Nagaru.
"Wait, let's do as she says. Everyone gather in one spot."
"It's fine, hurry up while it's still not exposed..."
After saying so in low voice, Takeru casually gathered everyone in one place.
And, after whispering orders into Mari's and Kanaria's ears, Takeru waited. Nagaru alone has confronted the enemy.
"...what's this farce. Why are you, the one with the least fighting force comin' out in front?"
"Naw〜, look, once in a while I need to show that I can do something as their senior〜. Vice-Captain should know what I'm talking about right〜?"
Laughing care-freely, Nagaru stood unmoving about five meters away from Magnolia and rubbed her hands together.
That obsequious attitude must have annoyed Magnolia, who directed her muzzle towards Nagaru.
Nagaru exaggeratedly raised her arms, calming that she's harmless.
"Wait wait, let's calm down for a moment〜. Let's settle it by talking it out〜."
"Talk it out...? We're not as soft as to negotiate with the dissidents' top. We were ordered to kill you."
"Ah〜, it might be so but, if we tried to kill each other here, we would both wipe each other out I think. That's why, we should withdraw for now, there's not much time."
Hearing Nagaru's words, Magnolia started to convulse.
"...withdraw? Even though there's such a clear difference in fighting force, you think you're able to fight equally against us?"
"Fighting might be out of question, but a disaster might be possible〜."
Hearing how Nagaru underestimated them, Magnolia made a ridiculing smile.
However, a blood vessel appeared on her temple.
"Heee... ain't that fine... yer more foolish than I thought, interesting, Hojishiro Nagaru. Try doing it then...!"
"Nn〜 rather——I've already did it."
She shrugged and smiled towards Magnolia.
Magnolia made a puzzled expression, that moment——
From the mountain towering behind her, a thundering has resounded.
Next, was a roar like that of falling rocks, intense rumbling.
Everyone's line of sight was drawn towards the mountain.
After squinting, they saw a white haze crawl on the mountain's surface moving towards them.
Magnolia looked towards Nagaru, her expression cramped up.
"...no way you...!"
"The number one thing you shouldn't do in the mountains, is making loud noises——that's common sense, Boy."
Without a doubt——that was an avalanche.
It was coming at them with a breakneck speed!
Magnolia aimed her gun at Nagaru and squeezed the trigger.
Predicting it beforehand, Takeru invoked Soumatou and moved in front of Nagaru all at once.
At the same time as he unsheathed the sword, he slashed the scarlet magical bullet fired from the muzzle.
The moment he parried the magical bullet, the sword made from adamantium broke and was blown away. Because if the bullet's power he was only able to shift the bullet's trajectory, unable to completely nullify it. It's speed wasn't that big, but the power was ridiculously big.
It was reckless to fight with someone in Witch Hunter form with just his flesh and bone.
Takeru forced all his bodily strength to the limit, grasped Nagaru's collar and jumped towards where his comrades were gathered together.
At the same time as they dived to their original position, Magnolia continued to fire.
All the released magical bullets were deflected by Kanaria.
"...you rat bastard!"
As Magnolia glared at her in rage, Nagaru who was being held by Takeru has stuck out her tongue and pulled her eyelid with a finger.
Nagaru had predicted that an avalanche would occur. After the recoilless gun's grenade hit the wall at high speed, the sound of snow shifting could be heard. The deciding factor was the grenade shot into the sky. An avalanche could occur after just one person raising a loud voice. After two explosions resounding, it was a certainty.
The avalanche immediately reached them.
Momentarily, an aurora-colored barrier has wrapped all their comrades. Magnolia and the others were swallowed by the avalanche.
"Everyone, hold each other and don't let go!"
At the same time as Mari yelled, the avalanche has hit the barrier.
Even if it was snow, the avalanche wasn't soft. The impact at the time of contact was no different from being hit by an iron wall at speeds of 200kmph.
Mari affixed a barrier, protecting the platoon from the avalanche.
The muddy stream of snow flowed outside of the barrier at high speed.
"Absolutely do not leave the barrier! It's easy to be blown away to the outside!"
From the front. In the direction Magnolia and the others were, something has struck along with the avalanche.
——It was the gray giant. Gou.
Riding on the avalanche's flow, the man clad in armor to the top of his head has struck the barrier.
"Ngh, don't look down on my magical power!"
Mari strengthened the barrier using the maximum output of magical power.
However——despite that, the giant's body slipped through the barrier which didn't put up any resistance.
The giant's fist has closed onto the face of startled Mari.
Although Kanaria managed to change the fist's trajectory in the nick of time with Lævateinn, she was unable to suppress the giant body's rush.
The gathered Small Fry Platoon was blown away by the giant body outside of the barrier.
And like that, everyone has been swallowed by the waves of snow.
Víðópnir (ヴイドフニル) - It's written as (世界鳥の羽根) meaning "Wings of the World Bird".