Feeling stinging cold on her body, Ouka woke up.
Her entire view was dyed in pure white. She barely managed to breathe in, but it seemed like cold and powdery snow would enter her lungs.
She was completely buried under the snow, unable to tell which way was up and which was down. Ouka did her best as not to panic and first confirmed what of her body could move.
Both legs, right arm, left arm... her left hand, was grasping something.
Judging by the feel of it, that would be someone else's hand.
Ouka put a little bit of snow into her mouth, after it dissolved into water because of her body temperature, she opened her mouth again.
Water dripped downwards from her lips.
That result meant she was lying face down.
She turned her body upwards and started moving her body to gradually push the snow aside. Expanding the space little by little, she crawled up through the snow.
A while after that, she has passed through the entirety of snow and saw the sky.
Making sure her body doesn't sink in, Ouka carefully moved out of the snow.
She breathed in oxygen into her lungs, without any time to feel relieved she started to dig in the snow.
After digging about two meters deep, she found the person whose hand she was grasping just a while ago.
A hat and a muffler. It was Mari.
Ouka dragged Mari's body out from under the snow and slapped her awake.
"Nikaido, hey! Wake up, Nikaido!"
No matter how many times she hit her, there was no reaction.
Ouka moved her ear right next to Mari's mouth and then directly pressed it against her chest. Although Mari's heart was beating, she wasn't breathing.
Without any hesitation, Ouka pinched Mari's nose and overlapped her lips with hers.
She injected oxygen into Mari's lungs, moved her mouth away and inhaled once again. After repeating it three times, Mari has finally came back to life.
The moment she made an eye contact with Ouka, Mari coughed.
Seeing Mari coughing, Ouka stroked her own chest in relief.
Mari turned blue and faced down , she puts her hands and knees on the snow.
"...are you okay? Any injuries?"
"It hurts so much to make you cry?! Is there a fracture——"
While Ouka was worried about her body, large tears trickled down from Mari's eyes.
"By berstt giss azzz (My first kiss was)〜〜〜〜〜!"
Her first words after revival were way too strange.
"Damn you, it's not time for that now!!"
"Uehhh〜〜〜〜nn! Why was it Ootori Ouka of all people〜〜〜〜! Even though it was my firsttt〜〜〜! And I already decided to give it to Takeruu〜〜〜〜〜!"
Mari wept for real.
Ouka blushed faintly and pointed at Mari in a hurry.
"O-obviously it doesn't count! It's lifesaving! It doesn't count, no way!"
"Uu, uu, *sniff*... doesn't count? Reallyy? Really for reall?"
"O-of course, if not for that even I would be asham——"
As Ouka's and Mari's silly debate on the first kiss continued, there was a firm sound of someone stepping on the snow in their immediate vicinity.
In the middle of piercing cold and falling snow, a figure barely lifting its legs from the ground has walked towards them.
Black hair with hints of blue, armor of the same color. The person who exuded an aura which could be called gruesome, aimed the muzzle of a short gun with a big muzzle which made it look similar to a trumpet at them.
And her special characteristic, her long, long bangs.
Neither her eyes nor mouth could be seen, hidden behind the bangs.
"...oh...I'm glad...you survived...Ouka-san..."
Being called by her name, Ouka went "Ughh", genuinely disgusted.
"...i-if you died with just that...mom...wouldn't be able to face Dad again... I'm really, really g-glad you're alive..."
Although she almost missed it, Mari started to alternate between looking at Ouka and the woman's face.
"Mom she says... m-mom?! Your mother?!!"
"You're wrong! No, that's how it is for the time being but... s-she's my adoptive mother."
"Eh... so she's Chairman's wife?! This thing?!"
Raising a bewildered cry, Mari pointed at the woman.
Still continuing her "ufufu" laughter, the woman bowed, lifting the edge of her skirt.
"Ootori...Kagerou is my name...Sougetsu-sama's wife! And so... p-pleased to make your acquaintance."
She accented the word 'wife' very strongly. The honorifics she used gave them a really bad feeling, moreover, she continued to laugh eerily making her seem like a ghost from a horror movie.
Although there was tension in the air, Mari whispered to Ouka.
"...is she seriously that handsome scumbag's wife? It feels as if she crawled out from a well..."
"From what I've heard, at first she was Chairman's stalker. She was so insistent he finally signed the marriage registration form, feeling it too much a hassle to refuse or something... I-I don't get it myself."
Seeing an extremely difficult expression on Ouka's face, Mari decided not to pursue it any further.
Kagerou froze while still bowing and only tilted her head by 90° and stared at Ouka. Her bangs shook, and round eyeballs akin to a black crystal peeked from behind the bangs.
"Ouka-san, Mom is very sad... why didn't you listen to Sougetsu-sama...?"
"Sorry, but I didn't think of you or the Chairman as my parents a single ti——"
"You can't make that person angry...watching over troublesome children is...m-mother's role right...? If I leave you be...the one who will be scolded by Sougetsu-sama...w-w-will b-be me you knowww?!"
"...bad girl...! I need to punish you firmly as your mother...!"
She didn't listen to what they were talking about at all, she roused herself thinking of something strange.
"I-in the first place... I've thought it's strange for a long time now... why has Sougetsu-sama a-a-adopt you as his own child... see, I t-think! T-t-that person m-might be a l-l-loliconn!"
"S-surely he has a plan similar to the Tales of Genji... that's right! That's definitely it! Great that I realized it! After all, you're ripe for eating now, and I'll be past expiration date and cast away soon! I won't let you, I definitely won't let you Ouka-san, you intend to take Sougetsu-sama away don't youuu?! You thieving cat!"
As she shook her head hard, something like voltage ran through Kagerou.
She progressed with talking on her own. Her delusions were pure madness. Ouka made a painful expression and Mari, taken aback, hid behind Ouka.
"Yes, after all, Sougetsu-sama is minee. I w-w-won't give him to anyone! The only one dear to and loved by that person is meeEEeeEEeeeEee!"
While doing something similar to heavy metal's head-banging, Kagerou directed the gun's trumpet-like muzzle at Ouka.
Ouka pulled out her favorite guns from the thigh holsters. Unfortunately, Vlad couldn't be used. Anxious about the safety of the other members, she had to avoid fighting seriously here.
With escape as her goal she looked for a chance to do it——
"No way, I'm the weakest of weak against that type of people! I won't stand it physiologically, I'll knock her down with magic all at once!"
——Or so she thought of doing, but Mari acted super fast, expanding a magical circle to cast her magic.
Ouka stopped her in a hurry.
"Wait, Nikaido! That Relic Eater is——!"
Extending her both hands forward, Mari took a stance, accumulated and fired the magical power in an instant.
The Relic Eater Kagerou poised roared.
What was emitted from the muzzle along with the scream, was a 'sound'.
It was a tone that seemed like the wailing of the dead echoing from the bottom of hell.
The sound has come out from the muzzle which spread like a brass instrument and attacked the two. Although it wasn't visible, the impact of the sound was lethal.
The moment they have been exposed to the sound waves, an anomaly has occurred in Mari alone.
Momentarily her face was distorted with pain, the magic she accumulated in her hands and the magical circle below her feet has distorted as if melting.
Immediately after, the hoarded magical power——exploded right in front of her.
Mari and Ouka were blown away. Normally, lethality of magic that wasn't built up fully was extremely low, but in case of Mari magical power's quality and quantity, that wasn't the case.
Ouka received less damage because she jumped away just before the explosion, but it wasn't so for Mari.
Both of her arms suffered severe burns in consequence of her magic's failure.
Unable to stand, she curled up on top of the snow.
Ouka rushed over to her in a hurry and covered both of Mari's hands with snow. A sound as if water was being splashed on hot plate has sizzled and Mari raised a cry of anguish.
"That Relic Eater's magical property is "Disturbing Sound"...! Released right before enemy's magic is used, it causes outbursts of magic. While it's sounding, we can't use magic."
"Ngh, tell me that... earlier...!"
"It's your fault for trying to hit her before I could say anything!!"
Thanks to Ouka stopping her, Mari was able to diffuse magical power right on the brink of explosion, and yet this much damage was dealt. If she were to try releasing magic at full power, at worst, she might have died.
Give realisation of the potency of her own magical power, Mari glared at Kagerou.
Kagerou abruptly stretched her head towards them, tilted her head diagonally and fired the Relic Eater 『Antoinette』.
Every time a tone was emitted, Mari gasped in pain.
The area was filled with waves of anti-magical sounds which could be heard only by witches, inhibited witches ability to build operative procedure and dealt them a tremendous pain through the phantom instrument. Kagerou's Antoinette freely manipulated the sounds in the area.
"I'm Sougetsu-sama's wife! That person's love, hatred, murderous intent, it's all to be aimed at me alone! I-I n-need to kill! If I rip you apart limb from limb, surely Sougetsu-sama will look at me aloneeeee! It will definitely be soOOoOOOO!"
While scratching her neck loudly, Kagerou moved closer to them while aiming Antoinette's muzzle at them. They had no choice but to prepare themselves for the worst.
Unable to rely on Mari's magic, Ouka was the only one who could do it.
She moved in front of Mari as if to protect her and pulled the triggers of her handguns.
Cold air wrapped around her body, Ikaruga felt her body slowly die. That gentle death was incredibly sweet, like a pleasant slumber.
She could no longer think, just focused on sleeping.
In middle of her slumber, a thought of a girl wearing a red lab coat passed through her head. In her childhood, a discussion on science in the middle of the night between the two of them, the whispers passed through her head.
Back when she knew nothing. Back when they didn't know whether they were happy or not.
In the flat every day life, she was the only existence that could speak with Ikaruga as equals.
She realized that person could be called her best friend... after she left to the outside world.
Ikaruga sank in the middle of the cruel memories. Regret that she didn't stay beside her, and the comfort of those times took away Ikaruga's will to resist death.
There was someone who grasped her hand in middle of that.
A small outstretched hand dragged Ikaruga out from under the snow.
With the surroundings suddenly turning bright, Ikaruga raised her heavy eyelids.
When she opened her eyes, she saw a face of a girl looking down on her.
Blue hair and small pointed ears. Grumpy expression.
As she called out her name with a weak voice, Kanaria looked away from Ikaruga.
Ikaruga tried to raised her upper body, but immediately lied back down feeling pain run through her ribs.
"How brittle. Made unable to move with just this, weak."
"...why did you...?"
As Ikaruga asked, Kanaria made a sullen expression.
"...I didn't really choose to save you. I just pulled on a hand sticking out of the snow. It turned out to be you. I drew the short stick. I wouldn't have helped you if I knew."
Acting coldly, Kanaria wouldn't look her into eyes.
Seeing her like that, Ikaruga made a thin smile.
Although she said that only a hand was visible, Ikaruga's hand was completely buried in the snow. Surely, when Ikaruga muttered Isuka's name, she heard the voice and hurriedly dug her out from the snow.
"...Thanks. You saved me."
"Shut upp. I told you I didn't intend to save you."
"Even so, thank you."
As straight as she could, Ikaruga relayed her feelings to Kanaria.
Possibly weak against words of gratitude like this, Kanaria's face turned bright red.
She hurriedly stood up and turned around on her heel.
"〜〜〜〜! Fine already!"
Smiling bitterly as Kanaria forcefully trudged through the snow, Ikaruga forced her aching body and somehow managed to stand up.
And, when she was about to chase after Kanaria's small back,
Suddenly, Kanaria bumped into something and stopped in her tracks. Rubbing her forehead with a hand, Kanaria looked up overhead.
In front of her there was a giant, looking like a mountain.
At the same time as Kanaria was horrified, the giant swung its right fist. Intending to fight back with a sword, she put her fingers on Lævateinn, that moment.
Someone grabbed Kanaria's collar.
Pulled rearwards, she fell on her back. With their positions swapped around, Kanaria saw Ikaruga move in front.
The giant's fist was swung down, and the moment it hit Kanaria witnessed Ikaruga's body fold into a く shape.
Ikaruga was blown away and bounced on top of the snow then stopped moving, like a broken doll.
With eyes wide open, she stared at unmoving Ikaruga.
Meanwhile, the giant tried to swing his fist once again.
Kanaria triggered Soumatou, forcefully grasped Lævateinn's handle and pulled the sword out all at once.
She slashed the giant with a sword draw, blowing him away.
Without bothering to check whether she defeated him or not, stumbling, Kanaria ran towards where Ikaruga was.
She got on her knees beside fallen Ikaruga and after a moment of hesitation she rubbed Ikaruga's body.
When she arrived to her side, Ikaruga barely managed to open her eyes to look at Kanaria.
"...are you... okay...?"
Ikaruga stretched out her trembling hand, trying to touch Kanaria's cheek.
She smiled thinly with a pale complexion, as if she was genuinely relieved...
"That's...great... you're okay..."
However, she exhausted her strength right before she could touch Kanaria's skin, Ikaruga's hand fell on the snow powerlessly.
The white breath disturbing the falling snow has stopped and Ikaruga didn't even twitch.
Kanaria froze, like a stone statue she wouldn't move at all.
Once again, she heard the giant's thundering footsteps.
The gray giant she previously blown away has come back intact.
He stood behind Kanaria and once again swung his fist.
Kanaria didn't move. In the pool of blood, she continued to stare at Ikaruga's figure.
The fist has cut through the wind right beside her head.
——Kanaria's fingers which were about to touch Ikaruga accelerated with Soumatou and grabbed Lævateinn's handle in an instant.
She pulled it out and turned around at the same time, delivering a single slash to the giant.
The fist and the sword collided and a shockwave blew the powder snow in the air.
Moreover, flames swept down from Lævateinn, instantly dissolving and extinguishing the snow around them.
Embodying fury itself, Kanaria roared.
Takeru regained consciousness and opened his eyes at the same time, he promptly got up.
He remembered they were caught up in an avalanche, but he couldn't recall what happened afterwards.
Looking around in the vicinity covered in snow, he saw an azure-colored girl stand alone in the middle of the white scenery.
Staring at Lapis' figure a small distance away, Takeru was slightly relieved.
"Did you dig me out? Thanks... are you all right?"
"...I'm a Magical Heritage. I won't be destroyed with just an avalanche."
Her tone of voice was bland and dry as ever, but it was now more spiritless than ever.
Really, what on earth has happened.
Ever since they escaped from Inquisition, she's been like this the entire time.
It wasn't an emotional rejection like one that happened in the Magic Academy.
Was she... afraid of something? Connected with Lapis' soul, Takeru could faintly feel something like fear from her.
Let's ask for the reason this time.
Thinking so, he attempted to stand up, that's when he heard a voice come from the snow behind him.
"...Kusanagi-kuun? ...I can't see anything〜...it's you right, Kusanagi-kun〜?"
"President is it you?!"
"Yup〜, sorry but I can't breathe so could you dig me out〜... if you save me I'll give you a kiss or two〜 ehe〜."
Seeing Nagaru acted like she usually did even in a situation like this, Takeru dug her out in a hurry.
She was buried deep, but as she appeared from under the snow she sucked in breath loudly and smiled.
"Snow is so heavy〜, it was painful but I might get hooked on to the feeling of being pressed on〜."
"...please don't make such troublesome confessions. I'll pull you out now."
"Ahh, wait wait! Actually, my legs are sandwiched between fallen trees〜. If you pull now, my legs will be torn off."
Torn off? From what she said, the situation was dire enough for him to suspect his hearing.
Takeru gave up on pulling her out and dug in the snow until he uncovered Nagaru's feet.
A huge fallen tree was pressing on Nagaru's legs. Her thin legs were completely crushed and turned purple.
"...! I'll save you right away!"
"Ah〜there's no need to rush, It's perfectly fine〜. It's so cold it doesn't hurt〜."
He tried to create space between the fallen tree and her legs but it didn't go well. The snow was too brittle and the fallen tree sank in as he dug.
"You don't have to make that face〜. Nmm〜 you're so kind〜 aren't you〜♪."
Nagaru laughed, but this situation was no good at all. After the snow's pressure disappeared, blood started to flow out. The artery wasn't cut, but there was a serious injury.
"You must be worried about Ouka-chan and the others right... it seems like it'll take time, it's fine to ignore me and look for everybody. In case this is it for me, if you reach the home base's destination, you'll understand how to access it, all the people in the dissident faction will lend you their strength."
She said so while squinting, but Takeru clenched his teeth and continued to work.
"Don't screw with me... you're our only hope...! You promised to help us...! I won't let you die in a place like this...!"
"The one whom I entrusted my hopes with isn't the dissidents——it's you!"
Nagaru stopped laughing and stared at Takeru's face intently.
"The one who told me to be spoiled was you, President!"
Feeling half-desperate he blurted out something embarrassing, but Nagaru smiled happily.
That expression made it seem as if she found purpose in life, she laughed lovely towards Takeru.
"...I can't win against such a spoiled child〜."
He smiled back seeing her usual slovenly expression.
Thanks to the snow being squeezed and turning hard, he was able to make space between the fallen tree and her feet.
With that, he could recover her from under the snow. Takeru grasped Nagaru's hand in a hurry and tried to pull her out.
"——Yes, that's as far as you go."
Takeru gasped hearing a sound of someone putting a finger on a gun's trigger.
After he slowly stood up and turned around, he saw Magnolia stand there aiming the muzzle at him.
"Perfect timing even if I say so myself eh. That was a real good farce there. Unconsciously I felt like waitin' there until ya end. There' no way I'll be waitin' though."
After letting out a bored yawn, Magnolia spat out a sigh seeing Takeru stand in front of Nagaru to protect her.
"Umm, could ya move away? They'll be angry if I kill ya. It's all fine as long as ya come back to school with us... I'll put down that racoon behind ya."
"Immediate answer eh. For real, could ya reconsider? I mean, it's damn cold. I'm tired of the game of tag. I wanna go back asap."
"If you want to go back, do it on your own... I won't let you bunch kill her and I don't have any intention of coming with you either."
When he flatly refused, feelings of frustration and annoyance appeared on Magnolia's face and she scratched her head with one hand.
Takeru put a hand on Lapis shoulder who was beside him, a step behind.
"...Lapis... lend me your strength now...!"
"If we're beaten here, everything will be ruined...! Please, partner...!"
"I don't know what are you scared about, but I'll be all right...!"
Hearing Takeru plead to her, Lapis faced downwards.
After seeing Lapis make a small nod, Takeru glared at Magnolia.
Magnolia stared coldly at Takeru.
"Ahh damn, what a pain. Looks like there ain't no choice but to tear off his limbs first."
Takeru triggered Soumatou and pulled out a spare knife from his waist.
At the same time, Magnolia released a magical bullet.
"Summis desiderantes affectibus——!"
Swinging the anti-magical knife along with the chant, Takeru blocked the bullet.
After one, two bullets, the blade broke.
As the pieces scattered, Magnolia shot the third bullet.
A scarlet-colored magical bullet approached from the front.
Just before he was hit, Takeru's body was encased in particles.
A high-pitched metallic sound rang out.
The magical bullet was hit by azure-colored blade and blown away to the side.
Swinging the Mistilteinn he held in his hand sideways, clad in azure-colored knightly armor Takeru confronted Magnolia.
"So you wanna go at it after all huh. And here my body is already cold after bein' hit by that avalanche."
The two in witch hunter forms glared at each other.
Takeru pointed his sword at Magnolia, a flame dwelled in his pupils.
"Kusanagi Double-Edged style initiate, Kusanagi Takeru——if you don't intend to pull away, I'll cut you up with all I have!"
Magnolia shrugged and aimed the dual-wielded guns tiredly.
However, her eyes alone were shining like that of a hungry wolf.
"Inquisition's Zeroth Extermination Riot Police's vice captain, Magnolia Scarlet. It can't be helped so this once, as your senior, I'll take you on."
"——Cut the crap!"
Takeru thrust into Magnolia's bosom for the first move victory.
It was a bad idea to prolong the fight if one had guns as their opponent.
He closed the distance all at once and slashed using all his bodily strength!
When Takeru nearly reached Magnolia, he swung the sword in order to cut off her arm.
"I see——I see!!"
However, Magnolia lightly twisted her body and avoided the blow Takeru put everything in.
After the slash was avoided, the sword continued to travel in the same direction with a surplus momentum.
He definitely triggered Soumatou. A normal human being, even reinforced with witch hunter form wouldn't have been able to catch up to his movement.
Riding on the momentum of avoidance, Magnolia fired from the gun in her right hand.
A total of five rounds. Scarlet-colored magical bullets closed onto Takeru.
These bullets ain't that fast! This much is nothing!
He cut all of it.
Reading the trajectory, if his sword rides the flow it'll easily——
——Contrary to Takeru's prediction, the magical bullets stopped right in front of him.
Once again, Takeru's sword cut the air.
In the slow-motion world, he saw the corners of Magnolia's mouth distort.
Momentarily, the magical bullets suspended in the air assaulted Takeru's body all at once.
Five impacts blew Takeru away.
The bullets haven't disappeared even after hitting and caused Takeru's body to dance in the air like a pinball.
The magical bullets were like fairies playing with a human, overrunning Takeru.
He was being overrun until the magical power of the bullets was exhausted.
By the time he fell on top of the snow, Takeru's body in witch hunter form was all beat up.
"You're quite brittle despite all that big talk ain't you. But I get it now, I've heard about it but this is the brain processing speed acceleration eh. I see I see, certainly, that's cheating."
Using the sword as a walking stick Takeru stood up.
Another one after Haunted and Elizabeth. Humans who can catch up with Soumatou's movements... thinking of possibilities, there would be accelerating processing speed by magic or someone who has mastered technique to counter variants like the Double-Edged style.
"Ahh, let me say this, I'm not a superman like you and I'm not using magic okay?"
"It's true. It's all thanks to my intuition and experience... is what I want to say, but that's not it either. Those movements aren't something that can be dealt with so easily. Unfortunately, this strength is something I borrowed."
Magnolia raised her hands with a shrug.
Borrowed. Magnolia definitely said that.
He thought its one of the benefits from Magical Heritage but... suddenly, Magnolia put a hand on her chest.
"See, Alchemist said they want a test subject〜, it was interesting so I went as a candidate. They want to make it practical, I wonder if that makes me a prototype..."
She forcefully peeled off the armor on her chest.
Unable to understand that action, Takeru felt a discomfort.
"...what are you talking about."
"It was quite hard ya know? The moment I give her a chance she erodes my body and the moment she catches your smell she either cries or gets horny. I wonder what kind of expression will she make once she sees your face? Let's try it."
Magnolia moved her hand away from her chest and showed off her skin to Takeru.
Judging by the color there was an old wound in there making him want to look away, but seeing what was in the center, Takeru felt a buzz inside of his chest.
The crucial was the single word Magnolia said.
"——Look, it's your beloved Onii-chan〜."
He felt a chill in his spine.
In the center of Magnolia's chest, there, was something akin to a dark red tumor.
It was familiar to him. Takeru saw it twice in the past.
First time was on the day he lost his father and mother.
The second time was recently, a month and a half ago.
There was no way he could forget it. That cursed yet dear existence.
When Magnolia said "Onii-chan", the eyelids lodged inside of the tumor gradually opened.
Behind them, there was a horribly clear, red eye.
Takeru shivered, feeling sadness, fear and despair.
The opened red eye stared at Takeru's figure——and laughed gently.
——He felt Kiseki's voice echo in his head, even though it shouldn't be possible.
The eye variant once again closed its eyelid sleepily.
"Chairman was looking for a way to control yer lil' sis, it was finally found after movin' her to Alchemist."
"When they attempted to put her to sleep in an Iron Maiden she would go berserk like usual, but with REM sleep state is maintained, lil' sis body was undergoing a variety of changes. Alchemist is inserting an artificial video in her dreams by using electrical signal and her body... in short, they were able to stabilize Hyakki Yakou."
"By using dreams, controlling her artificially has become possible. After reaching that point, the company folks wanted to try so many things〜. Like I said earlier, as an experimental subject I had the Hyakki Yakou's cell transplanted into a part of my body is what it means."
While watching Takeru's reactions, Magnolia spoke joyfully.
"Thanks to that my body's been strengthened to the level of witch hunter form〜. The brain's processing speed improved too, see? And with just some cells? Naw, really, the demon's body is amazin', it's super painful but moving this well is really fun!"
"Oh, by the way, do you want to know what kind of a dream is Kiseki-chan havin' now? Seriously! This is some stuff that makes me embarrassed just by lookin'! The only characters innit is Onii-chan and the little sister! In a world there's no one else in they're goin' on dates, eatin' together, kissinn' and... uhihihi, even Onii-chan would be taken aback if he heard that one〜! Maybe it's better not to say it〜! No, let's say it! In that girl's dream she and Onii-chan are——"
Takeru burst into anger, his eyes were dyed bright red as he rushed at Magnolia.
His speed was at Soumatou's limit.
The attack reaching speed of sound has assaulted Magnolia.
"Uhyahyahyahya! I said it won't work!"
Magnolia laughed loudly and parried Takeru's attack with the gun's barrel.
Once again, the Relic Eater released magical bullets.
The bullets orbited Takeru faster than his maximum speed was and assaulted him.
"My Bloody Mary's magical bullets are manipulated with my will! Admittedly, it ain't too convenient to use, but thanks to the demon cells I can manipulate them at high speed!"
Takeru's body was exposed to the magical bullets.
It was as if he was being hit by a machine gun. The impact came from all directions and the armor on his body was being apart away.
Furthermore, the moment the magical bullets exhausted their magical power, Magnolia closed the distance between them and thrust the gun's muzzle under his chin.
She squeezed the trigger, hit directly by a magical bullet under his chin, Takeru's head twitched upwards.
Although the power wasn't all that big since it was suppressed, it was strong enough to completely crush his jaw.
Like a boxer hit by an uppercut, Takeru bent backwards. But thinking he would fall over if that continued——he sunk his head downwards and rebuilt his posture, and his neck was grasped by Magnolia.
"Ghh! He... seriously... despite being damn brittle you're unexpectedly tough...!"
"Tear off that immediately! That's part of Kiseki! Give her back! That's not something you...!"
"Uhahahahaha! What's this guy sayin' now! This is a part of the curse affecting your lil' sis' ain't it? Since I took over part of that, rather than hating me you should be grateful eh?"
"——As if, foooooooool! If left alone it would continue to grow endlessly, there's no way takin' two of those would make it easier on that brat! Uhyahyahyahyahya!"
In response to Magnolia's provocation, Takeru's anger burst forth again.
Pulling back his arm, he attempted to thrust with his sword.
However, Magnolia's power, speed and defense was higher, she released the constraint and fled kicking him in the belly.
Blown through the snow, Takeru was about to hit a large tree painted white.
On the bring of the clash, he triggered a technique.
"——Ghost Light Firefly!"
Placing his legs on the tree, he jumped off from it using the recoil's momentum.
Pulverizing the large tree, Takeru's body flew over to Magnolia in straight line.
Five magical bullets were fired from the gun's muzzle.
Although the scarlet bullets surrounded Takeru, he read their flow and cut them all down while rotating.
"You can get even faster?! T-this ain't good."
Magnolia displayed impatience.
Riding on the flow, Takeru approached Magnolia without killing the momentum.
At the same time he moved his right foot forward and sheathed his sword.
He clenched the sheath and handle in an instant, and a repulsive force was generated on the fingers holding the collar.
"Double-Edged style——Heavenly Evil Spirit!!"
A super-speed drawing technique was released.
It was impossible to avoid. No matter if the opponent had demon's cells embedded, even if they could catch up with Soumatou's speed, this attack was fastest among techniques Takeru had and unavoidable.
The sword approached the neck of stunned Magnolia.
Her expression distorted, faced with impending death.
The moment the blade was about to behead her, Magnolia showed him her tongue sloppily.
It was too late to be on guard.
He was hit by a sensation as if a switch was pressed in the space itself.
The blade didn't stop. Moving straight, it cut Magnolia's throat.
Still maintaining posture he used when he swung the sword, Takeru opened his eyes widely.
Something happened. But, he didn't know what.
His wide-opened eyes stared at Magnolia.
And there was——
——Magnolia whose head should have been cut off was intact, and showed him her tongue.
Takeru did a cross-cut with the sword, slashing Magnolia through the brain from above.
Without a doubt, this time the blade cut Magnolia in half.
He raised his head with confidence.
——She was intact.
Magnolia laughed as if looking down on him.
Faced with impossible situation, Takeru's lips trembled.
Using Ghost Light Firefly he released continuous attacks, chopping Magnolia up.
But no matter how much he cut her, he dealt no damage to her.
Even though there was a resistance, there was a feeling of something being cut.
And yet——she wouldn't go down.
"It's pointless no matter how much you cut me. Mary's intrinsic magic 《Turn Over》. This magic reverses any destruction and recovery the user undergoes. No matter how much ya cut me up, the wounds just heal and ya deal no damage."
"This too, is really inconvenient to use. But it has an overwhelming effect on people who can't use recovery magic and can only cut people up〜."
While continuously receiving Takeru's attacks, Magnolia set up the guns in both her hands.
The destruction and recovery are reversed. All the attacks turn into recovery, all recovery turns into destruction.
If that was true, Takeru had no way around it.
"It's seriously tiring to suppress the power. Sorry 'bout this——but I'll crush your limbs for real."
Magical bullets were emitted from Bloody Mary.
Rather than a scarlet sphere, what was emitted were small, snake-like dragons.
The bullet bit on Takeru's limbs and the teeth made of magical power gnawed on him.
Takeru made a painful cry.
Lapis who has been silent up until now called out to Takeru with a bitter voice.
Although he'd like to tell her not to worry, he couldn't. There were only bones left on his legs and his hands were torn off completely.
"It's pointless to try recoverin'. If I put a serious amount of magic... those magical dragon bullets will persist for two minutes."
"Come on already, don't make me waste time〜. Just stay here quietly〜. I'll go and clean up your leader there."
Passing by Takeru whose limbs were beyond recovery, Magnolia walked up to Nagaru who couldn't move stuck under a fallen tree.
Nagaru turned her exhausted face towards Magnolia.
Magnolia directed the gun's muzzle at Nagaru, coldly looking down on her.
"...I wonder why are ya laughing on the death's doorstep. Is there something wrong with yer head?"
How enviable, Magnolia muttered ironically.
Nagaru still laughed. She looked at Magnolia and laughed.
"There's that too〜... but the reason I'm laughing now is something else."
"Naww, haha... this is a bit surprising〜. I didn't think that you would be a girl〜."
A girl. The moment she said so, Magnolia's eyes shook.
Nagaru continued not bothered.
"Why is she dressing like a man〜, how mysterious〜... looking at the scars on your breasts, one would think something happened to you in the past〜 I thought..."
"If you want to... how about you tell me about it? Possibly, I might be able to save you... why do you hate the world so much... could you tell me?"
Hearing unexpected words, Magnolia turned expressionless.
Saving Magnolia, an enemy. To Nagaru who loved saving people, Magnolia must have looked delicious.
Magnolia pressed a muzzle against Nagaru's forehead and raised her by grasping her collar.
Nagaru's crushed legs let out a sound of being torn off.
"Don't get ahead of yourself, you damn raccoon! I don't need sympathy of a defective garbage like you!"
Baring her emotions, Magnolia put her finger on the trigger.
With a troubled smile, Nagaru endured the pain and released strength from her body.
"I see〜, a shame... recently, I've had quite good luck〜... I guess it's the end of it."
"Really a shame! 'Cause I'm gonna blow away this rotten brain of yours!"
Nagaru squinted and let out a sigh.
"Really... it's a shame... but it would be good if it was the last time.
——It would be good if this was the last time I hurt a person directly."
She spoke puzzling words.
As if to say she feels unpleasant, Magnolia put strength into the finger on the trigger.
——It was then, a sound of something piercing through the meat on her abdomen could be heard.
She stopped squeezing the trigger and looked at her abdomen.
In there, piercing through her was an old-fashioned dagger. The handle was held by Nagaru.
She was stabbed. In that instant.
Magnolia laughed it off as something pointless.
"...hahahahaha! You don't know when to give up, racoon! Don't you understand?! Right now the damage and recovery is reversed for m——"
"I know that. That's why I stabbed you——with that Magical Heritage."
Momentarily, a pale aqua light overflowed from Magnolia's abdomen.
The dagger shone.
Magnolia released her hands from Nagaru and touched the dagger stabbed in her.
Soon enough, a pain from a burn ran through her fingertips.
"Yup. The Magical Heritage that was at the inn's hot spring source. Its effect is recovery of the pierced target. I thought it might get handy and negotiated with the properties to borrow it."
Losing the support Nagaru fell on top of the snow and said so while smiling weakly.
Magnolia took a step back staggering.
A fierce pain ran through her belly and light wrapped around her body.
Her appearance made it seem as if she was being burned in flames of a pale aqua colour.
Before her entire body was wrapped in flames, speechless, Magnolia looked at Nagaru's face.
Nagaru smiled regretfully and said.
"Sorry. It's an A-class Magical Heritage so it's effectiveness is tremendous."
Immediately after that apology, Magnolia's body was burned in flames of recovery. Magnolia pulled out the blade from her abdomen in a hurry.
Even with the dagger pulled out, the recovery effect has seeped into her blood and continued to persist.
At the moment, Magnolia suffered hell.
As Magnolia writhed and screamed, Nagaru once again silently apologized to her.
The magical dragon bullets eating his limbs disappeared and Takeru crawled up to Nagaru.
She smiled brightly to him.
"We match now〜. Kusanagi-kun's arms, my legs〜."
"...don't laugh at times like this too. My limbs will be recovered by Lapis, but... President's legs can't be laughed off so easily."
"Nn〜it's real cold in the snow, they'll surely stick back〜."
Takeru was unable to respond to this broken positiveness.
She looked incredibly strong as she laughed despite being so beat-up. Even if it was because of a defect, he thought she was a strong person.
"If not for President... I lost. Thank you very much. I said that I'll protect you, but I was protected instead... I have nothing to say."
"Nn〜fufu〜. You were protected, mm? Spoiled boy〜."
Being told that with a sweet voice, Takeru blushed.
And then, Nagaru pursed her lips with "Nmm〜" and turned towards him.
There was a good mood earlier, but it was all ruined now.
"............um, what's with that."
"Isn't this the part where hero and heroine who have overcome a hardship kiss?"
"It's not a last scene of an action movie... I'm not doing it!"
"I said I won't do it!"
After exchanging a comedic dialogue in the afterglow of the victory, Nagaru and Takeru sighed.
It wasn't over yet. They needed to confirm everyone's safety.
He needs Lapis to recover his limbs and perform a search.
The moment Takeru thought so.
Suddenly, Magnolia's body that was supposed to be unable to move jumped on top of the snow.
A piercing scream caused Takeru and Nagaru to tense up.
Magnolia writhed on top of the snow while scratching her chest.
"...don't move! It's very severe, you'll die if you move! There's no point in fighting any longer, stay there quiet——"
"——Wru-wron'... his, this...! This, the moment I got hit... the eye woke up...!"
She cried with a desperate tone of voice.
The eye, woke up?
What on earth, he was unable to ask.
After all, the change has already begun.
A mass of dark red meat has crawled out from Magnolia's chest.
Like blood vessels it crawled through her body, and extending into the snow it dyed it red.
"Shit, not good... I can't suppress it no longer——g-gyaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
Along with the scream, waves of meat overflowed.
It was exactly the same stuff that swallowed entire section of a city before.
Distorted meat chunks clotted with eyes and mouths.
The wide-opened eyeballs stared at Takeru simultaneously.
Just like back then——she sought her older brother.
Turn Over (ターンオーバー) - It's written as (鏡越しの惨劇) meaning "Tragedy Over the Mirror".