Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume18 Chapter7
Chapter 7: A Wonderful Enemy Who is Both a Princess and a Queen. Curtana_Original.
Kamijou entered London along with some members of the Anglican Church.
However, this time they did not just travel straight through the city. To head to Buckingham Palace quickly, they split up and rode in over 20 large trucks.
Since they had entered London, they hadn’t come across any kind of inspection point, but that only made the situation seem even weirder to Kamijou. The knights were not even using the police or the military anymore. Itsuwa and the other Amakusas had been preparing spells to break through those inspection points, so they frowned.
“I suppose the lack of inspection points means they have gathered all their fighting force around Buckingham Palace,” said Kanzaki expressing her fears, but they stuck to their plan because they weren’t going to come up with a solution. They just had to hope they didn’t lose many people before making it to the main force.
As he sat in the open back of the truck, the cold autumn wind stung Kamijou’s cheek.
Due to the knights’ control, there were no other people or vehicles moving along the large London road. This allowed the truck Kamijou was on to completely ignore the speed limit. People must have tried to run off in a hurry during the suppression of the city because abandoned cars remained in the middle of the road. The truck occasionally drove erratically to avoid them causing Kamijou’s body to shake back and forth.
Kamijou glanced over at the faces of the Anglicans on the truck with him.
It seemed they did not especially care who held the political power. As long as the British people could live their normal lives, it didn’t matter who controlled the country. However, any leader that created a new order that openly allowed the military to publicly slaughter people was not something the church was going to allow. That was why their determination to confront Carissa did not waver.
They were holding out a hand of salvation to a lost lamb.
In that way, the church’s goal was quite clear.
“One last check,” said Kanzaki from within the same truck. “Our goal is to reach Buckingham Palace as quickly as possible in order to stop the leader of this coup d’etat, Carissa. I propose that destroying Curtana Original is the quickest method to that end.”
“…With the loss of Knight Leader and the second princess losing control of Curtana, the knights’ confidence in her ability will be shaken, right?”
It wasn’t quite coming into focus for Kamijou.
However, Third Princess Villian nodded while sitting elegantly nearby.
“Curtana Original is the symbol of their coup d’etat. If it is destroyed before their eyes, the knights’ hearts will break as well. My sister receives her monstrous power from Curtana. Without the sword, she will return to being a normal person.”
“Think of them like terrorists planning to change the country with a nuclear missile,” said Kanzaki giving an extremely dangerous allegory. “If they lose the nuclear missile at the center of their plan, would any of them really try to continue with that plan?”
“Well, I suppose not, but…” said Kamijou hesitantly.
Then Index spoke up from the side.
“The coup d’etat will end along with Curtana. But that is much easier said than done. Within the All-English Continent, the head of state who possesses Curtana Original can wield power as the leader of the angels, Michael, that is well above the human level.”
“It’s true that destroying that blade with a frontal attack may be difficult even with all of the remaining resistance forces gathered together.” There was a real weight to Kanzaki’s words because she was the person who had once fought the angel named Misha Kreutzev. “But if we’re going to be facing a non-standard enemy, we should rely on non-standard people.”
“I-I knew we were gonna end up here.” Kamijou winced as she looked over at him. “It may be true that my right hand can completely destroy any object that uses magic like Curtana, but, Kanzaki, Carissa might be stronger than both you and Acqua right now. If she’s zipping around that fast, I won’t be able to touch her.”
“Yes, we know that. Normally, I would not ask a normal high school student to take part in a fight against someone above Saint level.” Kanzaki nodded. “We will use you as a highly powerful but slow moving mobile cannon. If Carissa attacks by playing around with us using her speed, the Amakusas and myself will use our speed to somehow force her in your direction.”
The remaining Anglican forces included the Amakusas, the former Agnese Forces, and independent magicians such as Sherry. However, when it came to a matter of speed, the Amakusas who were focused around a Saint would be their best bet.
The battle would be decided by how successful the cooperation was between the Amakusas with their specialty in speed and the other members who would either be firing long distance attacks or using support magic.
“You do not need to think too hard about this,” said Kanzaki to Kamijou who had fallen silent. “Please just survive to the end. This is the greatest role you have ever been given.”
It was a role he shared with all the others.
If they lacked any one of them, it would all be over.
Kamijou Touma lowered his gaze to his own right hand as he asked a question.
“…But will this really be okay? We’re traveling with over 500 people here. It worries me that we haven’t seen a single sign of the knights yet. If Carissa notices us…”
“Oh, I’m sure she has noticed us. A large scale battle is going to begin before we make it to Buckingham Palace,” smoothly responded Kanzaki.
Kamijou’s expression turned to one of shock as she continued.
“But even if she has detected us, it won’t be a problem as long as she cannot carry out a concrete counterattack.”
Kamijou frowned and Kanzaki for some reason made a gesture as if she were sticking her index finger in one of her ears.
“It is about to begin. It would be best if you plugged your ears.”
The Sky Fortress Coven Compass had moved to a point in the Atlantic Ocean a bit northwest of Islay so that it was just outside the national boundaries of the United Kingdom.
By leaving the country, the fierce attacks by the knights being powered by Curtana and the All-English Continent had temporarily stopped.
Smoke was rising from various points on the giant disk-shaped fortress and the spiritual item in command of attitude control had been damaged, causing the entire fortress to tilt. Even so, Coven Compass still managed to ignore the laws of physics and float through the air. Its main engine was still functioning.
The black late-night sea had what looked like an island made of steel floating in it.
It was a sea fortress prepared by the knights, but it was half sunk because, unlike Coven Compass, its sailing ability had been destroyed. Essentially, the Anglican witches had gotten in a good return blow.
The witches protected Coven Compass as smoke rose from it and glared at the knights who were attempting to bring it down.
A few of the knights had left the national boundary and returned to their normal power. The witches took them out from their brooms. Looking down at the dark ocean surface, a number of losers could be seen waiting for rescue with their strobe light-like emergency signals flashing.
Outside the national boundary, the witches were stronger. Within, the knights were stronger.
The two forces fought while being separated by an invisible line that had been drawn on a map by humans.
One of the witches, Smartvery, kept an eye on a long distance spell that was intermittently firing as she focused on her communications spiritual item.
She could hear the voice of the operator through it.
“…Beginning preparations for a large-scale flash bombardment in the direction of Buckingham palace. The witches in certain areas should avoid the attack and pay close attention to make sure they do not lose control of their brooms due to the violent currents of air created by the preparation and firing of the large scale spell.”
Upon hearing the businesslike voice, Smartvery whistled.
“That’s a straight shot of over 500 kilometers… That’s 1.5 times the supposed maximum range. And this is a direct attack, so the magic power can’t be guided at relay points.” Smartvery’s voice sounded carefree. “And to top it all off, it has to pass by the ruins on the Isle of Man which could provide some interference. Well, I’m sure those hardheaded people are well aware of all that.”
A fellow witch spoke up over a different communications line.
“Personally, I can’t believe we got permission to fire on Buckingham Palace.”
“It seems the third princess used her position as a member of the royal family to push right through all the pain-in-the-ass formalities. It’s times like this when you can only be thankful for these incredibly influential people.”
“…Well, you could also describe the second princess that started this whole coup d’etat in the first place an ‘incredibly influential person’.”
“I suppose they are quite similar in that regard, but they’ve shifted in completely opposite directions.”
At that point, the witches’ conversation was cut off.
Static-like noise came over the connection and Smartvery’s broom shook. She frantically brought it back under control and she heard her companion’s surprised voice over the spiritual item.
“Kssh…Is it starting…!?”
A light brighter than anything found in the natural world wiped away the darkness over the Atlantic Ocean.
A pure white sphere appeared at a point about 20 meters above the center of the top side of the disk-shaped sky fortress. The powerful energy that had been created by the large scale temple caused the air in the area to expand. This created a change in the air pressure which brought forth violent storm-like winds. Coven Compass was activating its other trump card.
The bottom side functioned as an aircraft carrier for the witches and the top side was a cannon.
The large-scale flash cannon took up half of the giant fortress’s power and it was being aimed at the capital of the United Kingdom.
“Kssh…Do you think…the knights will…Ksshhh…try to interfere…with the firing…?”
“They might try to a bit, but I wonder if any idiotic heroes will appear who try to throw themselves in the way of the blast? If they had the courage to do that, I would have thought they would have just crossed the national boundary and attacked together.”
When Knight Leader had still been with them, they may have done so.
When Elizard ruled over them, some would have been glad to do so.
(…It seems this is the limitations of violence, new Queen Carissa.)
As she watched the non-moving knights, Smartvery gave a slightly scornful smile.
She heard the voice of the operator in her ear.
“…Commencing fire. We will destroy Buckingham Palace!!”
A loud explosive noise shattered all the windows of the nearby buildings.
A pillar of light with a diameter of over 5 meters shot through the London night sky directly above the quickly moving truck.
Even though he was plugging both his ears, the shockwave seemed to completely flip over his sense of balance and it shook him to the depths of his brain. The giant truck slid sideways unnaturally either because the explosion had surprised Itsuwa as she drove it or because the truck itself had been physically shaken.
The attack did not end with that one blast.
A second and a third blast were fired in the direction of Buckingham Palace with an interval of a few seconds between them.
Despite her being right in front of him, Kamijou yelled in Kanzaki’s direction so as not to lose to the explosive noise.
“When you said her detecting us wouldn’t be a problem if she couldn’t counterattack, is this what you were talking about!?”
“Yes. If Carissa’s side is busy defending against these blasts, we have a chance to reach the battlefield. Support from a long distance bombardment is one of the basics of a land battle,” said Kanzaki with a calm expression despite the explosive noise.
Then a blast attacked Buckingham Palace from a different angle. The blast was more like a thin and sharp piece of pitch black darkness slicing through the night sky. However, there were a lot of them. A barrage of somewhere from 100 to 200 of them arced through the sky and into the palace area.
“Is there more than one fortress!?”
“That was from Selkie Aquarium at the bottom of the ocean near Dover. From what I heard, of the one’s still functioning after the knights’ fierce attacks, only Selkie 1, 2, 4, and 5 were available for this attack because it seems 3 and 8 are tied up battling the knights and the Royal Navy.”
It seemed Selkie Aquarium was a submarine-type mother ship for the magicians that carried out underwater activities as if they were mermaids or something. It was usually kept waiting there so it could quickly respond if any definite movements were made on the border between England and France, but it was currently helping with the bombardment.
(Well, I’m glad they’re helping us with this huge attack, but…)
“…If we enter Buckingham Palace while this is going on, won’t we be killed?”
“You need to bear in mind that even a large scale bombardment like this is not enough to defeat Carissa. That is just how formidable the enemy we are about to clash swords with is.”
“Fucking monsters,” Kamijou spat out without thinking.
He knew it was quite reckless for an amateur like him to head into a battlefield with just a fist against someone who could withstand concentrated fire from attacks that were similar to a battleship’s main guns.
“But if you fire like crazy like this, won’t you damage the surrounding areas?”
“The area around Buckingham Palace is a giant park, so stray shots shouldn’t be an issue,” responded Index using the information she recalled using her perfect memory.
Kanzaki showed her agreement with Index’s opinion and then continued speaking.
“Also, Carissa and the knights likely led the population to specific places that make them easier to control. The people will have been gathered in hotels, theaters, movie theaters, churches, and other places around the city. Even if a house is accidentally destroyed, it is unlikely anyone will be inside. …However, we still need to be careful,” she said as she seemed to be imagining such an unexpected tragedy.
However, it seemed there was a good chance Buckingham Palace would be destroyed. Kamijou didn’t know how much the building itself and the art within were worth, but he was pretty sure there were mountains of national treasures inside.
Thinking about that, he glanced over at Third Princess Villian.
“…I do not mind,” she said in a steady voice. “With all the people around the country sharing the pain, we of the royal family cannot be so selfish as to hope to make it out unscathed. …If it will end the disturbance that has overcome this country, I say we blow that palace to smithereens.”
To Kamijou, something seemed off between Villian’s words and her expression.
He had only just met her, so he couldn’t be sure, but he had a feeling something about her had changed since he had seen her cowering timidly in Buckingham Palace.
“I have realized something,” said Villian as she accepted the boy’s gaze and checked various parts of the bowgun in her hands.
The bowgun was not an unrefined one made of metal. Instead, it seemed to be custom made for the royal family and was made of the polished amber-colored wood that was used in bar counters. The scope attached to it seemed like an antique and Kamijou would have believed it if someone had told him it had been used by da Vinci.
“Those servants and cooks who cannot use magic stood to fight despite their fear just so I could escape. And that mercenary fought a group of knights to protect me.”
The bowgun was over a meter long and it looked like it would be difficult to pull back the string with her slender feminine arms. However, a slide similar to that on a pump-action shotgun was installed on the bottom of the bowgun possibly for that very reason. Gears and pulleys were probably used to make the string easy to pull.
“If I can protect them by fleeing, I am willing to hide anywhere. However, if their plight will not change if I do that, then I have no choice left but to fight.”
Over her green dress, Villian was wearing the kind of quiver belts ancient hunters had worn and she returned Kamijou’s gaze with a strong but reserved gaze of her own.
“What about you? You have no duty to risk your life for England and you have managed to rescue your friend who got wrapped up in all this. No one would blame you if you escaped to a safe area with her, so why are you still heading to possible death?”
“…I don’t have any major reason,” Kamijou said while looking up at the pure white flashes cutting through the night sky above. “If I can avoid it, I’d rather not go anywhere dangerous. If it’s something I can just abandon, I’d go ahead and abandon it. If everyone wrapped up in this coup d’etat were the enemy characters in a shooting game that existed solely to be shot, then I’d have already abandoned all this and been trying to find a way back to Academy City.”
Unlike Villian, he had nothing he needed to prepare.
His preparations would be complete the instant he clenched his right fist.
“But they aren’t.” Villian might not have been able to hear Kamijou’s words due to the continuing explosions, but he continued regardless. “That kind of convenient person doesn’t exist. Everyone carries something important enough to die for and they are running around so as not to lose it. So how am I supposed to abandon this? This isn’t an issue of duty or important-sounding reasons. If you want to stand up and fight, I say you should stand up and fight.”
Villian stared at Kamijou for a bit.
Finally, she spoke.
“No matter the principles or thoughts you have within yourself, you listen to the voices of everyone at each place you go and do everything you can to go with the best option for that situation…”
“You are…yet a different kind of mercenary from William.”
Kamijou was about to ask “William?”, but something happened before he could.
The sound of the air being repeatedly sliced resounded above their heads.
However, Kamijou’s initial thought was wrong.
It was white.
A large object without color like an unfinished plastic model was there. The large fan-shaped object was floating by rotating at high speed.
It had a radius of 50 meters and the angle of the fan was about 90 degrees.
Kamijou recognized the color of the ridiculously huge construction.
“That’s the wreckage created when Curtana Original slices through all dimensions…!!”
Immediately after his yell, the giant rotating fan that had been maintaining its horizontal position suddenly tilted down diagonally. The spiraling object immediately lost its ability to float and fell much like a crashing helicopter.
Its fall seemed to be aimed directly at the truck Kamijou and the others were on.
It was like a giant rotating blade that could cut straight through lumber.
“Dammit. Is this why there were no inspection points!?”
“…Ksshh…Hold on everyone…!!” said Itsuwa’s voice from the radio stuck on the back of the truck.
Immediately afterwards, the large truck changed lanes in a reckless manner that swung the back wildly all in order to avoid the giant 100 diameter rotating blade attacking from the sky. The rotating blade sank 20 meters into the ground digging up and scattering not just the asphalt but the constructions for the subway station under the ground as well.
They had just barely managed to avoid a direct hit.
However, a shock hit the large truck from the side.
The impact with the ground had altered the trajectory of the giant rotating blade causing it to hit the side of a building, hop up from the ground, and unsteadily writhe around. This random changing of the rotating blade’s axis had caused one corner to strike the side of the truck.
It was side blow.
With that one strike, the 10-ton truck was knocked from the road, over the sidewalk, and into the side of a building.
The severe shock running across his body caused Kamijou to yell out.
He hadn’t been thrown from the back of the truck, but the truck itself had been bent almost into a V-shape. The truck simply wasn’t going to run anymore.
That was when more bad news came.
Kamijou heard that helicopter rotor-like noise again.
And this time it wasn’t just one.
His body stiffened and he fearfully looked up to see 4 or 5 of those spinning fan-shaped blades that exceeded 100 meters flying through the air like frisbees.
“Oh, fuck!! Run!!”
Kamijou’s yell had been rather pointless because the various Anglican members on the back of the truck had already jumped down to the broken road and were running as far away as they could. Kamijou forced his hurting body along, grabbed Index’s hand as she hadn’t left yet, and jumped down from the truck.
That was when the closely flying rotating blades struck. The rotating blades had looked like they were trying to repel each other in midair which made them fall to the ground in random but hard to avoid trajectories.
He hadn’t been able to let out a yell that time.
The multiple blades tore into the asphalt and mercilessly destroyed building walls. Just when Kamijou realized Index’s hand had slipped from his grip, his body was thrown into the air. He had managed to avoid being directly hit, but his body had been lifted up along with the torn up asphalt.
He didn’t even have time to brace for the impact.
When he struck the hard ground, Kamijou thought his breathing was going to stop.
“Index…? Kanzaki…Itsuwa!! Dammit, where is everyone!?”
The shock of the impact had blown dust up into the air preventing Kamijou from seeing anything. He coughed as he attempted to call his comrades’ names.
Only the explosive noises returned his calls.
Those noises belonged to the rotating blades floating through the night sky at a set speed and to the giant beams of light attacking from afar.
In that hopeless situation, Kamijou heard a frail voice.
The voice was familiar.
Kamijou tried to run over, but he came to a dead end. No, more accurately, he came to the entrance to a back alley that was blocked by a crumbled building wall. Itsuwa’s voice was coming from the gaps in the wreckage.
“Can you go after Lady Villian? Just after we all split up, I saw her heading off towards Buckingham Palace on her own.”
Kamijou looked around, but he saw no sign of Villian. Had she really gone on ahead on her own?
Kamijou looked in the direction of Buckingham Palace, but he then looked back towards Itsuwa seeming to have realized something. Itsuwa was on the other side of the wall, so she must have heard some small noise or simply noticed the gap between his words.
“Ah ha ha. Don’t worry. I’m not buried alive or anything. We’ll be heading along the alleyways on a different route to Buckingham Palace. It looks like it would be difficult to meet up with you right away, so let’s regroup at the palace.”
“But…are you all right? Are you really all right!?”
“Everyone split up and is taking their own route to the palace. …Anyway, you need to get going. Staying in one place will just get you hit.”
Kamijou then heard the sound of someone running off into the distance on the other side of the rubble. It seemed Itsuwa really was heading for Buckingham Palace by heading along the alleyway.
(Where’s everyone else…!?)
Kamijou looked around the area.
He saw a few figures running ahead along the main road. He saw someone, Kanzaki, jumping from rooftop to rooftop. She was holding Index and yelled something at him, but he couldn’t hear what it was.
Just seeing that familiar face was enough to relieve Kamijou momentarily, but then something else made him stiffen again. A nearby broken piece of concrete must have at least scraped against Villian because it had a scrap of green cloth caught on it. The piece of cloth had been torn off violently and it seemed to be an ominous metaphor. Kamijou frantically shook his head to rid himself of the baseless presentiment.
According to Itsuwa, Villian had gone on ahead alone.
He had no choice but to run to Buckingham Palace.
He was pretty sure it was only 2 kilometers away.
However, those 2000 meters had become a hellish path of hardships.
He heard a loud dull noise.
He looked up and saw a sphere with a diameter of over 20 meters falling. The sphere was a blank colorless white. It landed about 100 meters ahead of him as if to block his path and sank an unnatural amount into the ground. It had probably sunk far enough down to crush the subway line down below.
However, the sphere still floated back up as if it had bounced.
It crushed a vehicle that had been abandoned on the road which exploded, struck the side of a building, and rolled in the opposite direction. Its random movements seemed almost like the movements of a living being as it headed in Kamijou’s direction.
Kamijou immediately pressed himself up against the wall of one of the buildings along the sidewalk.
The giant 20 meter sphere plowed that way on a straight course that would smash Kamijou onto the ground like a roller.
However, Kamijou avoided an instant death.
When a sphere was put inside a square box that’s sides were the same length as the sphere’s diameter, gaps would exist in the corners. By pressing up against the building, Kamijou had entered one of those gaps.
However, the destruction did not end there.
The giant sphere sank into the wall above Kamijou’s head causing it to collapse. Kamijou ran forward as quickly as he could to avoid being caught in the large amount of collapsing rubble. He heard what sounded like a tremor of the earth and dust chased after him as if it were trying to attack his back.
He had no time to rest.
More fan-like rotating blades attacked.
Perhaps due to their center of gravity, giant pillars seemed to stand unnaturally after falling over destroying the road.
A great number of buildings were destroyed which blocked Kamijou’s path.
(Each individual construction isn’t all that complex…)
As he ran recklessly forward, Kamijou gritted his teeth.
(But their size is just too much! These things really are like a bombardment from a battleship!!)
Even after going all out and avoiding one or two of them, he could not relax. As long as the “bombardment” continued, Kamijou and the others that had split up would continue to be in danger.
It was possible the lack of knights within London and the confinement of the people elsewhere had been in preparation for this kind of attack.
Kamijou cut through a gap between piles of rubble, ran through a curtain of dust, jumped over a crack through which he could see the collapsed subway tunnel, and simply ran across London.
Itsuwa had said Villian had gone on ahead, but he didn’t see anyone no matter how far he ran. He started to wonder if she had really made it through that harsh battlefield.
Finally, the Buckingham Palace grounds came into view.
Perhaps due to the magic bombardments from Coven Compass and Selkie Aquarium, the large fence around the park had been twisted apart and partially blown away and the short green lawn looked as if it had been torn up by a giant missing a shot with a giant golf club because the black soil had been torn up creating a crater.
Cutting between a gap in the remains of the destroyed fence, Kamijou unhesitatingly headed into the palace grounds.
As soon as he did, a chill ran down his spine.
For no reason, his legs seemed like they would stop moving.
It was past 3 in the morning, but the palace showed up brightly in the darkness due to the decorative lights washing over it. Due to the bombardment from afar, about a third of the right side of the palace had turned to rubble leaving the luxurious interior visible from where Kamijou was. The almost unreal splendor of the building prevented the scene from appearing too tragic. It looked like a giant dollhouse with its roof and wall removed.
Yet, for Kamijou Touma, the half-destroyed palace was not the pivotal point of the scene.
He was looking at the garden at the front of the palace.
A great number of mysterious large white objects had been created as a side effect of Curtana Original slicing through every dimension. Due to those objects slicing into the ground and falling over, the lawn and asphalt had been torn to pieces.
Two women stood amid all of it.
One was Third Princess Villian.
She looked like a princess from a picture book with her blonde hair, white skin, and green dress with a spread out skirt. She held a rather large bowgun in her hands, but a shotgun-like slide had been attached to the bottom so that even that delicate woman could pull back the string.
The other was Second Princess Carissa.
She wore a red dress with leather covering it in various places. In her hand, she held a sword with no tip or blade. Perhaps due to the method she used to defend against the bombardment, she had black soil and mud covering her cheeks. However, it did not look shameful in the slightest. The mud mixed in with her own sweat added to her dreadfulness.
The two of them were arguing over something. Or more accurately, Villian was snapping at Carissa, while Carissa lightly deflected her words.
Villian held the bowgun in her hands, but she had not pulled back the string yet and she wasn’t even holding it up at the ready. She held it like someone holding a trophy at an award ceremony instead of as a weapon she intended to use.
On the other hand, Carissa held her sword so that it hung down loosely, but there was no trembling in her hand. Her muscles were prepared and it looked as if she could jump forward to attack that very instant.
Perhaps their physical stances represented their ideological stances.
At any rate, Villian was pushing the conversation forward and neglecting her weapon while Carissa was roughly going on with the conversation while focusing everything on her weapon.
It was clear what would happen.
Kamijou couldn’t tell what they were talking about from where he was, but he didn’t have time to find out.
Kamijou ran as fast as he could and jumped towards Villian’s back to cover her.
Immediately afterwards, Carissa moved Curtana Original unhesitatingly.
With a tremendous noise, every dimension in the space Villian had just been was severed.
A white belt-like object that was over 100 meters long was created. A few seconds later, that three dimensional object that was the cross section of the severed dimensions that could manifest in the three dimensional world fell to the ground with a thud.
Villian looked completely surprised at the sudden occurrence while Kamijou stood up from lying on top of her and glared at their powerful enemy.
She was the second princess of England.
She was the leader of the coup d’etat and the one who held the most talent in military matters of the three sisters.
And by using Curtana Original and the All-English Continent, she wielded the power of the leader of the angels.
Carissa responded to Kamijou’s yell with a calm expression.
“Congratulations. That was a commendably nice play. That’s the kind of example my weak minded knights need to see. I really can’t take my sister’s benevolence lightly. It continues to manifest itself in unexpected ways.”
The countless lights that were intended to illuminate the exterior of the luxurious palace were bathing the second princess in light. She stood within that light as if it were made for her.
Kamijou Touma could not remove his eyes from her.
That was not due to her beauty. It was due to the fact that he didn’t know what would happen if he lowered his guard even slightly.
Even an amateur like him could sense that.
“By the way, where are the others? Are the rest of your troops buried under rubble?”
Kamijou’s expression stiffened, but he shook that terrible image from his mind.
They were fine. They would surely be there soon. He had no choice but to act with that thought in mind. Turning Carissa’s attention his way would bring an end to her “bombardment” and make their journey less dangerous.
However, as if to wipe that optimistic hope from Kamijou’s mind, a villainous smile spread across Carissa’s face as she rested Curtana Original on her shoulder.
“If so, the church will have betrayed my expectations as well. I’ll end up looking like an idiot for having made so many preparations.”
“Preparations…?” Villian muttered as if a very bad feeling had gushed up within her chest and leaked out of her mouth.
Immediately afterwards, an incredibly huge object passed by over their heads.
The object had a similar form to a hang glider.
However, it was huge. It was almost 80 meters across making the giant object around the same size as the large passenger plane Sky Bus 365. After passing over their heads once, it flew in a giant arc turning its nose back towards them.
“Don’t look so shocked. Did you think Coven Compass and Selkie Aquarium were the only types of mobile fortresses? Surely you knew that we control most of the major facilities within the United Kingdom. We have an almost limitless number of spiritual items at our disposal. And especially the ones the knights directly use for battle. I doubt you’re going to be bored.”
Carissa started laughing, but a few more roars and explosions cut through the air drowning her out. Almost 20 of those 80 meter hang glider-like “fortresses” circled around in the air above Buckingham Palace. The silver metal parts reinforcing them at important points looked like armor.
The second princess spoke while looking up at the fortresses that were dyed the same red as her dress.
“Allow me to introduce you to the mobile siege fortresses known as Griffin Sky.”
Having no idea what kind of attacks they could send his way, Kamijou looked up in shock at the mobile fortresses with only Carissa’s voice getting through to him.
“They are used to attack strongholds on the surface, so they cannot fly as high as the Sky Bus 365 and they are not as flexible or practical as Coven Compass because they are unmanned spiritual items, but they are the country’s best at linked attacks. They are stupid but obedient which makes them the perfect military tools.”
(These are all like that…?)
Kamijou stared speechless up at that scene that exceeded the scale of a personal battle.
(There are 20 mobile fortresses like Coven Compass here…!?)
His gaze moved from the night sky back to the scene directly in front of him.
On top of those fortresses, Carissa had overwhelming power with Curtana Original and a force of knights had to be waiting somewhere.
Even if he did manage to destroy the sword with his right fist, would he and Villian really be able to fight in that situation?
Kamijou recalled the spiritual item known as Robin Hood that had been used to snipe the New Light magician Lessar. He looked towards the surrounding darkness and raised his guard even further.
However, Carissa said something he did not expect.
“There are no hidden troops. I just gave a bit of a live broadcast.”
“With Knight Leader’s defeat and Curtana Original being sent out of control, the knights have started to doubt whether I am fit to be the head of state. You all may have been saved due to coincidence after coincidence, but I will admit that you used some excellent psychological warfare.”
Carissa had been spinning Curtana Original around, but she now brought it back to rest on her shoulder.
“As such, it was necessary that I brought the knights’ battle spirit back together. Although, I ended up using a rather crude method.”
A live broadcast. A crude method.
Kamijou had a bad feeling about what that meant and looked over. The sword with no blade or tip that was Curtana Original had a few drops of a dark red liquid on it.
“You don’t mean you…”
“Oh, I just gave a bit of a punishment. It led to the level of security around Buckingham Palace falling, but that’s still better than having the knights as a whole fall and consequently losing control of the country. Also, as the head of state I can use the power of the leader of the angels. I really don’t need any guards.”
“Did you kill them!? Those were your comrades!!” Kamijou yelled still in a state of utter shock.
Perhaps because she was picturing the event, Villian’s shoulders started to tremble.
“Don’t worry about that. If I simply killed them, it would leave too much to the imagination. In order to give the best performance with the least expenditure, I had to make things a little more fun.”
A fate worse than death.
He could not properly imagine the meaning behind those words, so Kamijou just gritted his teeth.
“The knights followed you this far because they trusted you in their own way. What’s wrong with your brain for you to view the loss of the comrades that fought alongside you like that as an ‘expenditure’!?”
A strained sound could be heard.
It was the sound of Kamijou Touma tightly clenching his right hand without him even knowing.
“Tell me,” responded Carissa without a single change to her expression. “Why do you think they are given such a high position and paid so much out of the taxes we collect? It is because they work themselves to the bone during national emergencies in order to rescue the country from its crises. That is the desire of any knight.”
“They carried that duty out. They prevented the cowards who were prepared to flee from betraying me.”
Carissa slowly raised Curtana Original up from her shoulder.
She then spoke in a tone that sounded like she was speaking to a difficult child.
“However, they are really nothing more than a collection of chickens who refuse to head to their possible deaths. I just had to smooth things over a bit and create another situation where they can be certain that the coup d’etat will succeed!!” proclaimed Second Princess Carissa with a legendary sword in hand and the numerous giant fortresses flying through the ether and the half-destroyed palace to her back.
That signaled the beginning of the battle.
If they could defeat Second Princess Carissa, the coup d’etat would be over.
Kamijou Touma was once again convinced of that.
With Knight Leader gone, the knights were unsure whether they should continue with the coup d’etat or end it. The main thing keeping them on the side of the coup d’etat was Carissa’s “punishment”. That meant that it would all fall apart if Carissa lost her power and thus lost her hold over them.
Compared to defeating each and every group of knights across the United Kingdom, simply defeating the overall boss seemed much easier.
Kamijou forced himself to think along that positive line of thinking in an attempt to lessen his body’s tension.
“You will die.”
When he heard that voice directly behind him, the sound of the wind being sliced accompanied it.
She hadn’t just circled around behind him in that instant.
Curtana Original was already moving horizontally for Kamijou’s neck.
He didn’t have time to turn around. Kamijou dropped his waist down and just barely managed to avoid the strike. Or at least he thought he had. He felt a hot pain near his ear. Seeing what happened, Villian let out a short scream.
Then Kamijou heard an odd noise.
Following the trajectory of the horizontally swung sword, an unnaturally blank object appeared. It was the wreckage created as a side effect of severing dimensions. It naturally started to fall straight down towards Kamijou with a weight greater than a mass of steel the same size.
Kamijou rolled out of the way of the falling object. An unpleasant vibration reached Kamijou’s gut.
“Too slow, pig. That’s just going to get you sliced to pieces.”
With a roar, she swung Curtana Original.
The vertical swing from top to bottom created a giant dimensional slicing attack stretching in a straight line 20 meters from Curtana.
It was a route that would separate the top half of Kamijou’s body from the bottom half.
He immediately held out his right hand.
With what sounded like a whip, the created slicing attack disappeared partway.
Kamijou jumped back up to his feet and ran towards Carissa.
If he could get just one hit in with his clenched fist, Curtana Original would be destroyed.
However, the second princess swung the sword before he could.
With the end of the sword pointing up, she moved it from right to left in a similar motion to opening a window. A shutter-like white wall of wreckage was created stopping Kamijou’s fist.
A dull pain ran across his fist as if he had punched a steel wall.
He frowned as his hand throbbed slightly.
(It didn’t work this time!? Dammit, I can’t figure out what the conditions for negating it are!!)
A chill ran down his spine. After all, his opponent attacked with a strike that could slice through all dimensions that could be represented with whole numbers. If he misread the situation, he wouldn’t just lose his right arm. His entire body would be sliced in two.
However, he didn’t have time to worry too much about that.
He didn’t have time to slowly put together a strategy.
“Heh,” breathed Carissa.
At the same time, an explosive sound resounded.
The white wall separating the two of them had been kicked straight up into the air by the second princess.
Carissa did not lower her leg.
Her second kick mercilessly struck Kamijou’s gut. The attack was more like a machine gun than human martial arts.
With a thunderous noise, Kamijou’s body easily flew a few meters before hitting the ground and bouncing a few times.
He couldn’t suppress the urge to vomit and a surprisingly red mass came out.
While Kamijou writhed on the ground, Carissa smiled while spinning her sword around like a baton causing thin pieces of dimensional wreckage to fall to the ground. Villian finally started bringing her bowgun up, but the situation was changing so quickly she didn’t seem able to aim properly.
(Gh…Dammit…Cough…I just can’t keep up with her speed…!!)
Kamijou could tell he had completely lost strength from the very core of his body, but he still tried to stand up. He didn’t notice, but his fingertips were trembling unnaturally.
“Oh, come on. What’s wrong? And I was going easy on you.”
Carissa’s expression did not change.
It was as if she were saying that he could not change the situation if he couldn’t even stand up.
“It seems there are side effects to carelessly putting a large amount of Telesma in your body. I’ll have to eventually put together a spell to remove that restraint.”
(She’s going easy on me…?)
Kamijou looked over at her as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
Seeing that, Carissa swung Curtana Original over to point in a certain direction with its tip-less end.
“It’s dangerous to just sit there, you know?”
In that instant, Kamijou did not realize what it was that was approaching him.
It was one of the Griffin Skies flying above. There was no change in the red 80 meter wide hang glider itself, but there was a change in the giant shadow created by the moonlight. Its form changed as if it were rotating. It took on the form and weight of a knights’ lance, turned deep red, and floated just off the ground.
It seemed the fortress in the sky and the red lance on the ground were moving in unison.
In that state, the Griffin Sky flew across the sky above Buckingham Palace.
Of course, the linked 20 meter lance cut across just above the ground with tremendous speed.
And what did this do?
Kamijou Touma received a direct blow, doubled over, and flew into the air.
The pain assaulting his upper body was so great that his sense of pain failed and he merely went numb. The boy flew over 15 meters before landing and rolling along the ground.
Afterwards, the numbness left and the pain returned.
Kamijou writhed around on the ground from the intense pain, but he saw a different lance approaching from a different direction causing him to frantically roll out of the way. He was gritting his teeth, but a red liquid still flowed from his mouth.
However, Carissa looked dissatisfied despite being the one causing all the damage.
“Tch. I guess that’s the spiritual item’s automatic decision making. Those things are meant to destroy a fortress wall, so that strike should have torn your body in two. I guess the unmanned spiritual item’s decision to use the least amount of force necessary to destroy something based on its automatic calculations can backfire.”
After saying that, a sadistic grin spread across her face.
“Heh heh…Ha ha ha!! But you won’t be saved by anymore ridiculous glitches! I’ll manually set all of them to anti-Windsor Castle levels. That way I’ll have offensive spiritual items that will blow a human body to smithereens with just a light touch!!”
An intense chill ran down Kamijou’s back at Carissa’s words.
She had been going easy on him.
Now that the sky fortresses’ limiters had been released, his body would be turned to mincemeat if he received the same attack again.
(Dammit. Even with just Carissa, I can’t find a way to defeat her!)
Kamijou coughed up more blood, clenched his fist, and glared at her.
(Not to mention, that 20 of those fortress destroying spiritual items are flying around up there. How am I supposed to find a way to win this!?)
That was when an intense pillar of light from the distant Coven Compass flew towards Carissa. Only one strike flew through the air, but that one strike held enough destructive power to shatter every window in London.
However, Carissa did not even bother looking at it.
She merely held her arm out to the side and spun Curtana Original around once like a baton.
Every dimension was severed along the path of the sword. It created a disk with a radius of about 20 meters. The dimensional wreckage in the form of a cross section bored deep into the ground creating a giant disk-shaped shield.
The large-scale flash spell struck it.
A loud explosion rang out, but the shield was not destroyed. The pillar of light scattered in all directions as it was not able to continue on its original path. Large trees within the garden were torn from the ground, streetlights were twisted, and the asphalt was torn up. The multiple Griffin Skies temporarily raised their altitude to avoid the effects of the blast.
That was all.
Second Princess Carissa herself was completely unharmed.
Kamijou stared on in shock.
(Even with a bombardment like that, you can’t even scratch her. Is the head of state holding Curtana really that much of a monster…?)
“Does this really shock you that much?” Carissa said cutting off his thoughts.
With a snap of her wrist, she spun Curtana Original around again.
“What human can kill the leader of the angels?”
The second princess thrust the end of Curtana Original into the disk-shaped shield.
Perhaps it was the result of slicing the dimensions located at the wreckage created from dimensions being sliced, but the sword sunk into the shield like a fork stabbed into a giant potato. Carissa then swung Curtana Original horizontally.
The giant disk-shaped shield with a radius of 20 meters moved with the sword.
Kamijou instinctively held his hands up to protect his face, but it was a meaningless action.
Carissa was almost forcing Curtana Original along because the disk-shaped shield was half buried in the ground. The ground crumbled all at once like it was being dug up with a giant piece of machinery. The black soil, the concrete, the asphalt, the trees, the underground water pipes, and the underground gas pipes all became a single mass. It all moved in Kamijou’s direction like a landslide or like a tsunami.
He could not evade it.
Kamijou Touma’s body was simply blown away by the overwhelmingly giant mass.
He was easily knocked back 10 meters by the front edge of the great amount of earth and sand. Then the earth and sand bit at Kamijou’s lower half like the jaws of a living being. He yelled out at the tremendous pressure and saw out of the corner of his eye that Curtana Original had been pulled from the disk-shaped shield. The giant construction flew through the air, struck Buckingham Palace, and further damaged the already crumbling building.
Kamijou’s legs had been buried up to the thighs and he forcibly pulled them out. There was a terrible hot feeling in his right thigh. He looked down and saw a broken piece of a tree branch about as thick as a ball-point pen sticking into it.
Villian ran over to him yelling something, but the pain made him dizzy, so he couldn’t tell what she was saying. Villian nervously hesitated not sure how to treat him.
Kamijou bit down on his sleeve to make sure he didn’t bite his tongue.
Then he grabbed the branch stuck in his leg, checked how it felt with his trembling fingers, and then pulled it out all at once.
He did not utter an audible scream.
A significant amount of blood flowed out and Kamijou gritted his teeth so hard he thought they would break.
“Weren’t you being a bit too naïve?” Carissa looked calmly over at Kamijou as he tried to suppress the pain. “You may have a mysterious power in your hand, but it is completely absurd to think that a flesh-and-blood human can even touch the leader of the angels. How do you think you can win this? Even the very first condition you need to meet to do this simply can’t happen.”
The difference in their strengths was so great that he could not even touch her.
As long as she remained in the United Kingdom, she could wield the power of Michael.
Second Princess Carissa was most likely even more powerful than Acqua of the Back. The exact theories and techniques behind them may have been different, but the strange objects created from the severing of dimensions reminded Kamijou of Misha Kreutzev’s water wings.
“Thinking that you can win if you fight is not your mistake.”
Carissa lowered the end of Curtana Original once more.
The sound of gas escaping from the black soil that had been destroyed in the previous attack could be heard.
“Your mistake lies in thinking that this is on a level where you can survive by hiding behind a shield or running away. This is what the leader of the angels, what the head of state, is.”
No mercy to those who opposed her.
Punishment from heaven was a one-sided rain of destruction. The only option remaining to the people was to earnestly prostrate themselves before her in an attempt to quell her anger.
The scale had reached an area that seemed as if it were from a legend.
Before Kamijou stood a woman who had created a legend of her own.
And she was…
“I’m the head of state, you fool.”
For an instant, Carissa showed an expression of displeasure and then she lightly tapped the end of Curtana Original onto the already destroyed asphalt.
Immediately afterwards, the sound of gas leaking out stopped.
The sound of the flammable gas leaking from the broken underground gas pipes stopped.
Immediately after that, the night scenery behind Second Princess Carissa turned into a crimson explosion.
The explosion itself did not reach Kamijou. However, the shockwave flew past Carissa and mercilessly struck the boy.
Kamijou’s breathing stopped like he had run into a wall and his feet left the ground. Villian flew up into the air next to him.
They remained in the air for a second and a half.
Despite Carissa being closer to the blast than Kamijou, she showed no sign of pain. She smiled at her floating targets and kicked the ground sending herself forward as if the explosion were a convenient tailwind.
Yes, the explosion of flames spreading across the entire area had not been an attack for Carissa.
It had been nothing more than a means of reinforcing her movement.
With Carissa’s light footstep, came an explosive noise more terrible than the gas explosion.
Crushing the ground underfoot, she flew forwards. It seemed more like she was stabbing through space than just moving forward. After finally landing, Kamijou stumbled a bit and tried to regain his balance. As he did, he was almost completely defenseless.
He immediately brought up his right hand, but it was of no use.
Carissa did not just use her strength. She paid attention to Kamijou’s movements and twisted Curtana Original in a diagonal trajectory aiming for his neck through a gap in his defenses.
Every dimension along the path of the sword was sliced.
The belt-shaped cross section object appeared following the sword.
Kamijou thought in his head while he watched the path of that blade that could easily slice right through a scientific nuclear shelter or a magical cathedral.
Curtana Original was not the only threat.
Carissa was the person who had almost perfectly carried out a coup d’etat in a powerful nation like the United Kingdom.
The second princess excelled at military matters and she probably had some knowledge of martial arts.
That simple word reached Kamijou’s brain.
Immediately afterwards, a dull noise shook his brain.
Kamijou Touma’s vision grew hazy.
His feet left the ground and he lost all sense of gravity.
His breathing stopped.
At the feeling of the clothes on his back being forcefully grabbed, Kamijou returned to his senses.
After a bit of distance, he saw the place he had been standing in just before. Curtana Original had merely sliced through thin air and the second princess clicked her tongue at that result.
That had been something Kamijou Touma simply could not have pulled off on his own.
“…It looks like I finally found a good way to pay you back a bit,” said a clear female voice.
At the same time, the feeling of something grabbing his back disappeared and he was lowered gently to the ground. Looking over, he saw that Villian had been recovered along with him. The third princess looked up at the person who had rescued her with a blank look on her face.
Kamijou turned around.
Standing there was…
“It is not just me. The others will be here soon,” Kanzaki said smoothly as she took her eyes off of Kamijou just once. “Index, please carry out a magical analysis. It is possible you will not have the spells related to Curtana in your 103,000 grimoires due to pressure from the royal family, but you can reanalyze it with the magical knowledge you do have, correct?”
“So you want to steal control of it or seal its powers? Understood.”
Index had arrived as well because she had been travelling with Kanzaki after the large truck had been destroyed. Kamijou looked at her with a dumbfounded look on his face and she responded with a snort.
One of the world’s fewer than 20 Saints and the grimoire library that possessed the knowledge of grimoires from all across the world.
Despite being faced with two people who held great value for the magic side, Carissa did not look at all worried.
“Do you really think some rank and file soldiers who couldn’t even arrive to the battle on time can take a leading part?”
“We were held up due to a certain ignorant princess causing a mess in the city. I had to prevent a few theaters from being crushed with civilians still inside.”
She had stopped the 100 meter objects with her flesh-and-blood body.
Kanzaki calmly stated this frightening fact and reached for the hilt of her sword.
“…And I do not intend to resolve this all on my own. I have comrades I can trust to watch my back.”
The Saint Kanzaki Kaori and Second Princess Carissa.
A scorching tension ran between the two women.
No concrete physical phenomenon was going to act as a trigger.
Their thoughts would trigger the beginning of the fight.
Kanzaki moved first.
She started to draw her sword…and then used 7 wires instead.
Holding Curtana Original, Carissa’s response to the wires simultaneously attacking from different angles was…
“If you hold back against an enemy like me…you will die.”
A tremendous noise rang out.
The next thing Kamijou knew, Kanzaki and Carissa had their blades locked together at extremely close quarters. Carissa had merely rushed in and swung her sword, but Kamijou hadn’t been able to see even that simple action.
“So you can fight on the level of this dimension-severing attack? With two attacks that can slice through anything, some inconsistencies or contradictions may be created between the two laws.”
“…Your movements are different from before. It seems you too will get tripped up if you hold back.”
Those words had been intended to protect Kamijou, but the boy himself knew in his heart it wasn’t true.
His instincts told him that the princess who excelled at military matters may regulate herself, but she did not “hold back”.
“At any rate, this thing can be quite difficult to use. You need to ensure that unnecessary side effects and openings are not created while paying the price required by the situation to get the desired result. The ability to make strategies that prevent unneeded expenditure, reductions, or shortness of breath is a needed skill.”
The two repelled each other’s weapon and then swung their own blade again.
Their bodies blurred.
From there, they entered a series of attacks and defenses where Kamijou had a hard time determining where exactly they were. Continuous explosive noises as if from a machine gun continued as sparkling objects flew between the two women. Around Kanzaki were broken wires and around Carissa were the fangs of wreckage that appeared with each strike.
The situation was not one Kamijou could directly help with, but Imagine Breaker was still an irregular threat to Curtana Original.
(Then the only thing I can do is…!!)
Kamijou made up his mind and ran in a route around their battle. He was attempting to move outside of Carissa’s vision. Even if that was actually impossible, he was making sure Carissa had to keep an eye on him.
“Heh. How brave of you,” Carissa said to him having realized what he was trying to do and while continuing to cross swords with Kanzaki at high speed. “But it will just get you killed.”
An explosive noise rang out as one of the pieces of dimensional wreckage that had naturally been created in her fight, one with a pointed end, was knocked back towards Kamijou with her heel.
It was much like a lance thrown by a powerful soldier.
Kamijou frantically twisted his body, but an injury raced along his cheek. It was more like a scrape from falling on some rocks on the beach than a cut from a blade.
Seeing that, Kanzaki ignored her own danger and yelled out.
“Don’t worry about me! Push forward!!” yelled Kamijou to keep Kanzaki from switching over to a strategy that would prevent others from being caught up in the fight.
That was when the reinforcements arrived.
The Amakusa Church showed up armed with swords, spears, axes, hammers, bows, and staffs. Tatemiya Saiji with his Flamberge and Itsuwa with her Friuli Spear stood at the center of them.
The former Agnese Forces showed up with Agnese armed with her Lotus Wand, Lucia armed with her giant wheel, Angelene armed with her numerous gold coin bags, and the other nuns armed with various other spiritual items.
Orsola Aquinas, Sherry Cromwell with her golem, and others were also gathered. It didn’t look like much of anyone was missing from the original group that had entered London.
Having arrived late, they first looked on in shock at the way Kanzaki and Carissa were fighting and then held their ground beginning to assist. Some aimed between the two fighting women's battle to hit Carissa with long distance attacks and others started in for close quarters combat as a group to lower Kanzaki’s burden.
Carissa clicked her tongue.
“Ah, you’re really going to make me take on unnecessary costs, aren’t you? I suppose I should have left a few knights to deal with people like you.”
Even so, the second princess was not defeated.
While continuing to exchange blows with Kanzaki, Carissa used even the flow of created dimensional wreckage as part of her strategy. She created objects that had sharp ends like giant fangs or ribs and sent them flying in all directions. They blocked attacks rushing in at tremendous speed from different directions, acted as walls to stop people from rushing in, and acted as projectiles to counterattack with.
As Kamijou frantically evaded those attacks, he was reminded of a game of otedama.
Carissa had two hands, but only one weapon. Even so, she managed to respond to attacks and actions from hundreds of enemies at the same time. The back alley street fight strategy of using a large group to create a wave of people that completely washed away an individual didn’t even work on her.
And then the Griffin Skies returned to the fight. Moving along with the red fortresses in the sky, the 20 meter lances started moving along the ground again. One of them plowed into the Golem Ellis that Sherry Cromwell controlled blowing it away. Having received that powerful strike, the mass of stone came to pieces in midair and rained down on the heads of the former Agnese Forces.
Seeing Agnese and Lucia franticly attempt to evade, Kanzaki clicked her tongue.
She turned towards her fellow Amakusa members and spoke.
“Split into a Carissa team and a Griffin team! Those mobile fortresses are at an altitude between 20 and 50 meters…That’s high enough for Peter’s Anti-Flight spell to work. Ushibuka, Kouyagi, Nomozaki! Can you three put together a spell to bring them down!?”
“We can, but they have a giant shield protecting them. I don’t know if we can get through that!!”
Despite saying that, Ushibuka and the others quickly started to take action.
With the Golem Ellis destroyed, the Griffin Sky turned around again and moved in for the Amakusas, but it suddenly lost its balance. The giant lance rushing along the surface struck the black soil and created a tsunami of dirt and sand. The spiritual item held more destructive force than its mass or speed indicated it should have.
However, it was not brought down.
The unsteady Griffin Sky regained its balance and continued its attack run on the Amakusas.
“No, that was enough!!” Kanzaki said, cutting Ushibuka off as she used her Saint’s strength to rush forward. Her target was the giant lance that had lost speed from contacting the ground. Kanzaki grabbed the lance with both hands from the side where it did not have its explosive destructive power as a spiritual item. She spun her body by twisting her hips to spin it around.
The giant lance and the Griffin Sky were linked using its shadow.
By grabbing the lance and swinging it around like that, Kanzaki caused the Griffin Sky above to rotate around like it was caught in a tornado.
It was possible that the magical connection to the lance could be severed in case the lance got caught on a solid fortress, but it was no use. Kanzaki was not simply spinning the Griffin Sky around with her strength. She was also using high level magic to obstruct any kind of emergency cancel while at the same time using her physical strength as a Saint.
As Kanzaki swung around the Griffin Sky, 4 of the same types of mobile fortresses got caught in it and formed a single mass. To finish off her attack, Kanzaki changed the angle of the giant “axis” she was swinging around to a straight line down.
It was like she was wielding an incredibly giant morning star.
And of course, her target was Second Princess Carissa and Curtana Original.
There was an incredibly loud noise, but it had not been caused by the impact of the numerous Griffin Skies.
It was the sound of Carissa stabbing Curtana Original upwards slicing the morning star apart with a single strike.
“Dammit!! That was a hammer made up of 5 mobile fortresses!” yelled the old Isahaya in defense of Kanzaki.
Meanwhile, Itsuwa spoke loudly to encourage the others while wielding her Friuli Spear.
“B-but now we know that they can be brought down! Let’s continue breaking into groups and increase our attacks on the Griffin Skies. The more of them we can take out, the more people can focus on Carissa which should increase our chances of victory!!”
They nodded, split into two groups with no discussion on who went where, and then headed off to their respective foes.
After having temporarily left the battle line to her comrades, Kanzaki controlled her breathing to recover some of her lost stamina and then lightly jumped over in Kamijou’s direction.
“I hate to say it, but it looks like I really am going to have to rely on your right hand. Can you negate Carissa’s dimensional slicing attack itself?” Kanzaki continued to jump around deflecting the white objects as she spoke to Kamijou in a low voice. “It is a powerful slicing attack that also creates projectiles. Negating even one strike would greatly shake the strategy she has built up and it might create an opening I could exploit.”
“I’ll try, but I can’t guarantee anything.” Kamijou clenched his right fist. “I just can’t grasp the rules behind it. Before you got here, I tried a couple of times and it worked sometimes and didn’t work sometimes.”
Then one of the red Griffin Skies was shot down by a barrage of pitch black darkness from the distant Selkie Aquarium. With the passenger plane-sized object falling in their direction, Kanzaki grabbed Kamijou and jumped 200 meters away.
“In China, there is a legend of three different swords. For the strongest among them, it gives no feeling of having killed someone upon killing them and the person killed does not even realize it and continues living. …Well, it is really just a metaphor used for ideological teaching, but it seems Curtana can truly accomplish that metaphor.”
“Basically, the cutting strike is simply too sharp, so there is a bit of a lag before any signs of the object being sliced show up. The cross section wreckage does not appear in the three dimensional world until 1.25 seconds after the dimensions are sliced.”
“…You made that analysis during that high speed battle?” Kamijou said in complete shock.
“I had to,” Kanzaki simply responded. “The only magical phenomenon is the ability to sever dimensions. The dimensional wreckage is nothing more than a natural phenomenon brought about by the magic. It is like the relationship between magical fire and the ash the fire creates. Your right hand can negate the strike itself, but it can do nothing about the wreckage created afterwards.”
“If you attack the area Curtana passes through within 1.25 seconds after the attack, you can negate the strike and prevent the dimensional wreckage from appearing.”
A time accurate past the decimal like that was not something a mere high school student could have a real feel for.
“So it’s a cross-counter where I’m completely screwed if I fuck it up…”
“I am not telling you to go in and finish this. I am merely asking you to reach out if Carissa attempts to create a gigantic object with large scale and long distance slice and it is within your reach.”
“Understood. So I just wait for a good opportunity.”
Kanzaki tapped his shoulder as a sign of trust before she gathered strength in her abdomen to jump back into the fray around Carissa.
However, the situation did not wait around.
With a tremendous noise, a giant flower opened up with the second princess at its center. The flower was made up of deadly sharp white flower petals woven together. The projectiles shot in all directions and blew the primarily Amakusa close quarters fighters a great distance away.
“Itsuwa!! Tatemiya!?” Kamijou yelled, but Carissa opened her mouth to speak before they could respond.
“Oh, are you neglecting to guard your comrades so you can discuss strategy? It’s like you’re asking me to kill them.”
As she finished speaking, the second princess jumped.
She must have been borrowing Telesma from Curtana because she jumped 10 meters straight up. Holding up her sword in midair, she aimed for her “target” during her descent. Kanzaki immediately took action.
Kamijou Touma’s right hand held an important role in destroying Curtana Original.
That was why she immediately assumed that Carissa was intending to kill him.
“No! It isn’t me!!”
As Kamijou tried to push Kanzaki out of the way, Carissa swung Curtana in midair. A blank white board was created in midair and the second princess forcefully kicked it.
Her trajectory changed at an acute angle.
Her course changed from one towards Kamijou Touma to one towards Third Princess Villian who was staring in complete surprise.
Villian immediately tried to bring her bowgun up, but it was too late.
With a loud impact, Carissa landed near the third princess and dragged her sister off the ground with one hand. By the time Villian raised her head, the end of Curtana Original was already pressed against her throat. That sword had no tip or blade, but it still held the ability to slice through all whole number dimensions.
“You can’t even use any proper magic. Why are you here? Did you succumb to some strange sense of justice? Or were you just afraid of the main fighting force leaving you behind and alone?”
Villian must have gotten some advice from the Anglicans because her bowgun had a number of tricks to it. However, those tricks were nothing but trash to Carissa who held England’s greatest spiritual item, Curtana Original. It drew red, blue, yellow, and green lines with magic of the four elements and their distribution could form various types of magic, but that level of magic would have no more effect than a child’s love fortune.
“Were you just overcome with ecstasy when you helped send my Curtana Original out of control by activating your own magic for the first time down there in the subway? …So you get innocently excited over a single lucky shot? Well, that is the limit of what you can do, little miss princess.”
Carissa sneered down at her sister while practically straddling her.
But her expression suddenly froze.
“…So this is it. This is the terrible thing William and the innocent servants and cooks were faced with in order to allow me to escape.”
The third princess glared straight back at her older sister.
She glared back to express her intention to win.
“Then it is about time that I stood up to fight. As a princess of this nation, I need to become the kind of person that creates a roof that can protect everyone from this kind of fear!!”
As she yelled, Villian ignored the sword at her throat and prepared her bowgun.
Staring up at Carissa, she unhesitatingly pulled the trigger as if to say she was prepared to die to take out her sister.
She fired a special arrow that had an arrowhead on the tip that functioned as a spiritual item.
For the first time, Carissa’s expression changed.
All she had done was move her head to the side.
However, that had been enough for her to evade the arrow that her little sister had put her all into.
Even though the bowgun had been altered to make it easier to use for Villian’s slender feminine arms, it would still take at least 5 seconds to load a new arrow.
In that time, Carissa could easily have Curtana Original sever every dimension along with Villian’s head.
“It is time for you to sleep, dreamer,” Carissa said in a dreadfully expressionless face the likes of which she had not shown before.
The arrow Carissa had evaded causing it to continue to fly up into the night sky struck the large scale flash spell from Coven Compass.
The arrow Villian had been using had magical effects built in. Carissa had assumed they were the type that would widen a wound, but a change occurred in the large scale flash spell once the arrow hit it.
The pure white light turned into a mass of water weighing a few dozen tons and surged ominously in the night sky. The giant mass might have seemed like a whip had it not been more than the size of a radio tower. As its end bent, it got wrapped around one of the red Griffin Skies and headed for Carissa.
(A combination attack!?)
Villian herself did not have the power or knowledge to use magic properly. However, that changed when she could use the massive amount of magic power being sent by Coven Compass. Instead of preparing a huge piece of magic that created a large explosion, Villian just had to use a small piece of magic she could activate herself to trigger that explosion.
And the Anglican Church had Index Librorum Prohibitorum and the 103,000 grimoires she had stored.
With the advice of multiple magicians, she could put together different magical symbols in the arrowhead to make that phenomenon possible.
“Dammit!! A petty trick!?”
Carissa rolled out of the way to avoid the mass of water. Villian forced her faintly trembling hands to pull back the shotgun-like slide and load another arrow.
“Sister, did you know that I am said to excel in benevolence the same way you are said to excel in military matters?”
“You’re trying to justify relying on others? It pisses me off that I’m sisters with someone like you!!”
Something invisible was emitted around Carissa.
Not backing down, Villian calmly aimed the bowgun into the night sky above Carissa’s head. The fired arrow once again struck Coven Compass’s attack, but Carissa paid it no heed and ran straight for Villian.
Upon striking the giant pillar of light, the arrow turned to a large number of golf ball-sized spheres that rained down on Carissa. But Carissa borrowed Curtana’s power to exceed the human level of movement. She made quick zigzags to evade the downpour while continuing to get closer to Villian.
“This is the limit of what relying on others can get you!!”
Carissa swung Curtana Original at Villian who now truly had nothing left at her disposal.
The timing gave her no chance to evade or defend.
All that was left was for the third princess’s head to fall to the ground, but…
“Yes, this is the peak of what relying on others can get me, sister.”
A tremendous noise rang out.
It was the sound of a great number of footsteps. Villian’s body disappeared from in front of Carissa and was replaced by Tatemiya, Itsuwa, the other Amakusas, and the other close quarters combat fighters.
Their speed was clearly different from before.
That vanguard was clearly 3 or 4 times faster than before and Carissa gritted her teeth as she swung Curtana Original to create some dimensional wreckage to deal with them.
(So that downpour of spheres wasn’t an attack! It was a boost for physical abilities!!)
As she fought at high speed, Carissa stared at Villian who now stood a distance away.
Having been lowered to the ground by Kanzaki, the third princess spoke with a confidence she never had before.
“That is why I told you I am the princess that excels at benevolence.”
“Hah! Do you truly intend to win with such shallow thinking!?”
Carissa fell back and gave a large swing of Curtana Original. The spell that boosted the vanguard’s physical abilities using Coven Compass’s power had buried into the ground like bullets, so she created a giant 100 meter piece of dimensional wreckage that dug up the ground itself. She then destroyed every single one of the hundreds of cores that were supporting the magic.
(It’s over, Villian. Once I stop them, I will chop you to pieces in a public execution!!)
Carissa then swung Curtana Original with all her might by swinging her whole body around.
However, the dimensions were not sliced.
There was no resistance as if it had just slipped out and Carissa frowned.
The cause had been a boy named Kamijou Touma.
That boy had already been asked by Kanzaki Kaori to swing his fist up when Carissa attempted to make a large scale, long distance slice into the dimensions.
With what sounded like the snap of a whip, the partially sliced dimensions returned to normal.
As if in unison with that “misfire”, Third Princess Villian fired her bowgun into the night sky once more.
(Is it coming…!?)
Carissa instinctively held Curtana Original up above her head to defend against a large combination attack with Coven Compass.
But the third princess’s benevolence did not end there.
Next, some words rang out.
“B A O C D!! (Distort the trajectory. Alter it to head down!!)”
Those words belonged to the girl who had accurately memorized 103,000 grimoires. She was using a method of interception called Spell Intercept that was meant to interfere with another’s magic.
However, she did not use it on Carissa’s Curtana Original.
The girl, Index, had not yet fully analyzed the spell controlling Curtana.
In her hand was a communications spiritual item connected to Coven Compass.
In other words, she had altered the supposedly straight trajectory of the large scale flash spell.
For the first time, Second Princess Carissa’s expression turned to one of surprise instead of one of anger.
The giant pillar of light fired by Coven Compass bent at a right angle as if to avoid the arrow fired by Villian’s bowgun. Its trajectory changed to one heading straight down from the sky, pierced through the Griffin Skies in the way, and headed straight for Carissa through an opening in Curtana Original’s defenses.
There was an explosion.
The explosion was so great that it knocked away even the magicians spread out around Carissa.
Kamijou Touma’s sense of hearing was blown away.
A great amount of dust flew up into the night sky. A crater with a radius of greater than 20 meters had formed around the area where the large scale flash spell had struck. The Amakusas and the other close quarters fighters stood back up coughing.
Kamijou started to wonder if they had overdone it.
He started to worry about the enemy, but then he learned just how wrong he had been to do so.
“…I have to admit, that was effective.”
A chill ran down Kamijou’s spine.
The atmosphere of relief that had spread around the area vanished in an instant.
The mountain of dust was blown away from a whirlwind in the center. Standing there was Second Princess Carissa holding Curtana Original. Her red leather-covered dress had mud covering it and it was ripped in places. Some parts of her skin seemed to be oozing some red liquid, but she was still doing quite well and Curtana was not broken.
Kamijou realized his legs were trembling slightly.
He was reminded of the seemingly eternal fights in RPGs with monsters that had massive amounts of HP.
(She can take a direct hit from an attack of that level? I don’t know the specifics, but that barrage is meant to attack fortresses. Ignoring the application and overall battle ability, that attack might have had more raw destructive power than one of Kanzaki’s attacks. She took a direct hit from that and got nothing more than a few scratches!?)
“…It really looks like we can’t do anything about her without first destroying Curtana Original,” Kanzaki muttered with a bitter expression.
With an enemy that couldn’t be defeated even with that attack, Kamijou seriously wondered how he was supposed to get close enough to her to use his right hand.
Meanwhile, Carissa rested her sword on her shoulder and looked around the night sky.
There had originally been around 20 Griffin Skies, but the long distance attacks from Coven Compass and Selkie Aquarium in addition to the attacks from the Anglicans on the ground had almost completely wiped them out. Only one was still barely managing to fly with its damage, but it lost its balance and crashed as Carissa watched.
“It looks like this is the limit of unmanned weapons. No, it was because I used them for interception when they are designed to attack fortresses. There may not be a real problem with their specs.”
“At any rate, you’re the only one left now. If we push forward now…”
“What? Do you think you leveled up by defeating some lower level enemies or something? You apparently don’t have a very high estimation of the head of state wielding Curtana Original.”
Carissa moved her gaze back from the night sky and looked over at Kamijou with the sword still on her shoulder. She reached her other hand for the open cleavage of her dress and pulled out a small radio.
“And I never said anything about those being the only ‘lower level enemies’ at my disposal.”
Kamijou focused on Carissa’s radio thinking she was going to call in yet a different type of mobile fortress.
However, that was not what she was doing.
First of all, why was she using a normal radio instead of a magical spiritual item?
At any rate, Carissa spoke into the radio.
“Calling the destroyer Wimbledon that is currently patrolling in the Strait of Dover. Prepare one of the cruise missiles loaded with a bunker cluster warhead. Set the detonation depth of the warhead for minus 5 meters and aim the missiles for Buckingham Palace…Fire immediately.”
The first person to stiffen at those words was of course Kamijou Touma of the science side.
“A-a bunker cluster!?”
“Oh, you’re familiar with them? They are special warheads developed to destroy military shelters. They scatter around 200 smaller bombs in the air, so I would have been taking out my own forces if I had fired this while the Griffin Skies were still here.”
As Carissa held Curtana Original in one hand and the radio connected to the destroyer in her left, her most villainous smile yet spread across her face.
“I was planning on firing this after creating a bit more of a sense of danger that brought my mother here, but the Griffin Skies were defeated ahead of schedule. I have no choice but to move the schedule up a bit.”
“Shit!! That warhead will blow away an area with a radius of 3 kilometers in every direction!! Buckingham Palace isn’t going to be the only place hit. One shot will be enough to do serious damage to London!!”
“You can shout all you want, but a cruise missile is quite fast. With the Concorde and the Eurofighter, France and other EU countries have been demanding quite a bit of money for development, but that has strengthened this country’s supersonic technology. I believe the obsession with the shape of the cruise missile’s stowable wings have brought them to the level of being at or near Mach 5 at low altitude. It won’t even take one minute to travel the 100 kilometers.”
Three kilometers in sixty seconds. That wasn’t a distance human legs could take someone. That may be different for a Saint like Kanzaki, but most of the Anglicans there would not make it in time.
“I won’t let you do that,” said Kanzaki Kaori cutting off Kamijou’s thoughts.
She checked over the wires in her hand.
“I will set up a defense barrier in the air to intercept them. A range of 3 kilometers in every direction and about 200 smaller explosives spreading out…That is not an impossible scale to deal with!!”
“It’s true that you may be able to deal with a bunker cluster using magic.”
Carissa smiled. She was surely only standing there because she was confident she could escape the blast unscathed using Curtana Original’s power.
She pointed up into the night sky with the hand holding the radio.
There was an artificial point of light there that was clearly not a star.
“But you don’t have time for that kind of preparation.”
Kanzaki strung the seven wires up into the night sky as if the repel Carissa’s words. The wires formed a three dimensional magic circle and bluish white light ran across them creating a thick wall covering up an entire city block.
That was the special magic of a Saint that was an order of magnitude greater than normal magic.
“You’re defenseless. As I expected.”
“…!? Kanzaki!!” Kamijou yelled out, but Carissa was faster as she swung Curtana Original while licking her lips.
The tremendous noise of the severing of dimensions was heard as everything turned to rubble. Kanzaki barely managed to avoid the 100 meter cross section, but that delayed her from preparing her defensive spell. The thick wall that was supposed to be covering the night sky was torn apart in a straight line.
The cruise missile continued to approach.
Kanzaki started to construct the defensive spell again, but she did not make it in time.
At about 4000 meters in the air, the tube shaped missile split into four pieces. With the outer shell removed, the 200 explosives inside appeared and spread out into the sky. They rained down like spears because they used the energy from their high altitude fall to penetrate into shelters buried deep in the ground.
Carissa had said the detonation depth was set at negative five meters.
Because she wanted to blow away Kamijou and the others who were on the surface, she had set it to explode above ground.
Kamijou thought he heard someone yelling “run”.
However, he could not move and merely stared dumbfounded in Carissa’s direction.
She was his enemy.
England’s second princess spread her arms wide as if to accept the light’s blessing. As she looked up at the 200 points of light in the night sky with satisfaction, Carissa noticed Kamijou’s gaze. She returned his gaze and put on a new expression that could not at all be described as a smile.
She then said something, but Kamijou could not tell what it was.
Immediately afterwards, the bunker cluster attacked Buckingham Palace.
There was no sound.
Kamijou’s eyes could see nothing but pure white.
All he could sense was that his body was being thrown somewhere. The great number of explosives did not explode in the air or on the surface. They first dug down into the ground and then exploded back up from under the ground.
He lost consciousness at least for a moment.
He groaned a bit, moved his fingers, and then finally realized that he was still alive.
He could tell he was coughing, but he couldn’t hear it. He tried to turn his head, but his body would not do what he told it to. Even so, he managed to awkwardly move his mud-covered arms and legs in order to slowly stand up. It was the first time he had felt that surprised that he possessed all his limbs.
He looked around.
Surprisingly, the fire and destruction had not spread into the city of London. It may have been due to the defensive barrier Kanzaki had put up partway through. Most of the 200 explosives had been detonated early in the sky. The ones that had come down on top of Kamijou and the others had fallen through a gap in the barrier that had been sliced open by Curtana Original. The destruction caused by the ones that had made it through had been weakened by the defensive spells cast by the magicians.
Kamijou ignored his own dirt covered head and looked around in shock.
No response came.
The boy’s voice echoed in the silence.
Dirt had been torn up, buildings had collapsed, and his own footing was shaky. Standing in the middle of a burnt field, Kamijou somehow managed to move his trembling lips.
“Sherry, Agnese! Oriana!! Dammit…Orsola, Lucia, Angelene! Tatemiya, Villian!! Fuck. Someone…anyone, please answer!!”
A few moans came in response, but no clear voices did.
Mostly everyone had collapsed. Some people may have been buried. That scene caused more intense damage to Kamijou’s heart than the shockwave did to his body. He could not even hazard a guess at how many levels of trump cards their opponent had. Kamijou’s heart simply couldn’t keep up.
A single figure stood in the center of it all seeming to transcend the scene.
It was Second Princess Carissa.
The woman in the red dress resting Curtana Original on her shoulder spoke.
“Now then. Do you still have any hope left?”
She smiled and brought the radio closer to her mouth with her other hand.
She spoke mercilessly and purposefully letting him hear.
“Destroyer Wimbledon, prepare to fire another bunker cluster.”
First Princess Rimea had removed her trademarked monocle. In its place, she was peering through an antique telescope that looked like it was something used by a sea captain during the Age of Exploration.
(…Oh, dear. And this country’s magicians should have known just how fearsome an existence the head of state with Curtana Original is. I suppose the Anglican remnants are on the verge of destruction upon being given a clear view of what that existence is.)
Rimea was hiding on top of a building in London. As she watched the distant battlefield, a smile appeared on her lips.
A voice reached her ears from a communications spiritual item.
She had avoided using it up to that point, but she had determined that Carissa was too focused on the area near Buckingham Palace to detect the origin of the magic power.
“Hey, miss. Our youths have done a sweep of Edinburgh and it seems everything is just as you predicted.”
The voice belonged to a kind older man. He used none of the usual concern of one speaking with a member of the royal family, but that actually made Rimea’s smile widen. After all, he did not even know she was a princess and she preferred these kinds of people that did not try to use her for her position.
“So, I can assume that that is the ‘grave’?”
“The scale is a little smaller, but your level of accuracy is quite something. This is clearly suitable to be the grave of the king of an entire culture. If you stuffed Khufu’s pyramid into a single room, you would probably end up with something like this. I’ll send you the data.” With those last words, a black dot that looked like ink appeared on the parchment lying next to Rimea. Starting from that dot, diagrams and cursive letters started appearing as if an invisible quill were writing on the parchment.
Rimea put back on her monocle and looked over the numbers before nodding in satisfaction.
“I see… Now we’ve more or less grasped the aim of the coup d’etat’s leader,” she muttered as she moved her gaze from the parchment. “It’s true that this makes it reasonable to not kill them.”
“…Hey, miss. Where did you get all this dangerous information? I know you claim to be a member of an old magician family that controls Stonehenge, but…”
“Hee hee hee. If you want to reveal the secrets of a beauty, you should get to know her a little better first.”
After that remark, Rimea severed the connection.
She then changed where the spiritual item was directed and activated it again.
Thanks to her reliable comrades who did not know who she really was, she now had all the necessary pieces.
Afterwards, she simply had to take an action most befitting of the princess said to represent intellect.
At that time, all of the knights in charge of guarding the Second Princess at Buckingham Palace were collapsed. They had been “punished” in order to bring the knights back together after doubts started forming about Carissa’s control of Curtana Original.
It was true that they had started to be disheartened at her lack of control over the blade.
However, that thinking had been naïve.
Even if she had lost control once, Carissa’s overwhelming power with Curtana Original had simply been too much for the young knights to do anything about.
A presence moved amid them.
One of the suits of armor lying around like pieces of junk slowly rose up.
He wondered where he was.
He was not within Buckingham Palace where their blood had been shed. He seemed to be inside a large building. From a distance, he could see intermittent flashes and could hear explosions. There was a time lag between the flashes and the explosions like between lightning and thunder.
The young knight moved his hurting head around as if he were looking for something. What had awoken him from unconsciousness was a female voice coming from a communications spiritual item.
“Listen. This is First Princess Rimea of the royal family.”
Normally, receiving a transmission like that would have required a certain obligatory vigilance, but his head was so hazy due to the pain that the he couldn’t recall the proper process. Instead, he simply listened to the voice silently.
“Due to a report from one of my spies in Edinburgh, I now know the true aim of Carissa’s coup d’etat. Most likely, she has not informed you in the knights of this, but this is the true goal hidden in my sister’s heart.”
The young knight slowly looked around.
It seemed he was the only one alive amid the pile of bodies.
He wondered why.
The reason he had survived after having his muscles, bones, organs, and nerves injured by the now tyrannical Carissa was a mystery, but so was whoever that took him unconscious from Buckingham Palace.
However, he did not think too deeply about it.
Whatever the reason, it did not change the fact that he was merely a sacrificial pawn even after giving his all and risking his life for Second Princess Carissa’s revolution. He no longer even felt the natural anger at being betrayed. The young knight almost collapsed again overtaken by an overwhelming lethargy.
“As the representative that rules over this country’s military, she feels more responsibility than anyone over the threat the Roman-Russian alliance poses to the United Kingdom. The country’s military strength has been robbed using the treaty banning cluster bombs and other types of weapons and the Eurotunnel bombing provoked the nation itself. Carissa came to the following conclusion.”
The young knight who was about to collapse heard a different noise.
He wasn’t alone.
He heard the sound of scraping metal and turned around. He saw a fellow knight trying to stand up despite his hazy mind.
“She concluded that England would lose its value and dignity as a nation as things were going. Just for being British, other countries would look down on people and an era of persecution would begin. So Carissa decided that she had no choice but to maintain the country’s value and dignity via military force so the British people would not be destroyed by the era of change that war would bring.”
At first, they were not listening carefully to Rimea’s words.
The intense pain running across their entire body was too much for that and they had just been subjected to Carissa’s tyranny. Any kind of words that seemed to defend her sounded like deception to them.
“At the same time, Carissa was worried. Due to her talent in military matters, she understood better than anyone the double-sided fear that Curtana’s strength brought. If the head of state did not have Curtana, if the monarchy that had been so absolute were not there, would she have a chance to listen to the voices of the people and adjust the direction the country was headed in before the war with the Roman Catholic Church became that bad?”
However, the young knights realized something bit by bit.
Their muscles, bones, organs, and nerves had supposedly been damaged. Carissa had supposedly carried that out as a punishment. She had given them such horrible pain that it would bind all who watched it with fear. For that reason, their bodies had supposedly been injured to the very core.
So why had they been able to rise up so easily?
They hadn’t fallen back down due to broken bones and they did not have any after effects that would stick with them for the rest of their lives. It was almost as if someone had aimed for but purposefully missed all the vital points of a human.
And why had there been no deaths after such brutality?
“At the same time that Carissa became determined to use Curtana Original as a trump card against France and the Roman Catholic Church, she also planned on completely sealing that ultimate weapon once the fighting was over. …She wanted to create a system where someone could stop a leader that was leading the country down the wrong path. To do that, simply utterly destroying Curtana was not enough.”
Rimea’s voice continued on in the otherwise silent room.
“Even if she killed every member of the royal family and destroyed both Curtana Original and Second, it would be possible for a new royal bloodline to appear after 100 or 1000 years. The ruins of the destroyed blades could be analyzed to develop a Curtana Third or a new spiritual item that we cannot even imagine now. …After all, Curtana Original was thought to have been lost to history, but Carissa managed to acquire it after such a long time. While that helped Carissa gain the power she needed, it also pained her greatly.”
The young knights could not answer their own questions, so they merely listened.
“The queen and the knights’ ruling structure constructed from Curtana and the All-English Continent has ‘reserve power’ built in. Even when the Original was lost, their rule continued because they had purposefully left behind the ability to make a Second. For example, the Original had the clue for the analysis needed to create a Second prepared within it and forethought had gone into making sure the structure of the All-English Continent would not be thrown into chaos when the Second was activated once the Original was lost. …Carissa wanted to ensure that not just the currently existing Original and Second were sealed, but that the possibility of creating yet another Curtana at a later point was sealed as well.”
One of the young knights looked out the window.
He saw Carissa’s back as she fought within the grounds of the destroyed palace.
He was a few kilometers away, but he had a search spell cast on him for sniping, so that did not matter. He could see the unfolding battle at Buckingham Palace as if it were right in front of him.
Carissa seemed to reign supreme in the center of a storm as she used Curtana Original’s power to her heart’s content and even called in a cruise missile loaded with a bunker cluster warhead. However, she looked somehow sad to the young knight.
“Carissa’s aim is to kill every member of the royal family that can use Curtana and mess with the currently existing Original and Second in order to destroy the clue for making a Third within them. That way, she could completely prevent a monarch from appearing later who uses Curtana to send the country in the wrong direction. Buckingham Palace’s destruction is not just due to the Anglican attack. Carissa has crushed the possibility of a Curtana Third being created by utterly destroying the coded documents and paintings that cannot be decoded by current magicians but are thought to have been analyzed to create Curtana Second. …Once the war with France and the Roman Catholic Church is over, Carissa will destroy and seal Curtana Original and Second and then take the remains deep within her ‘grave’ for the rest of her life.”
Someone slowly stood up.
He was mysteriously able to stand up.
He was not able to do so simply due to the power of the knights alone. Carissa had made sure he would be able to from the beginning. She had made sure the knights who helped her with the coup d’etat would be able to survive. The second princess had become a tyrant all on her own and taken even the responsibility the knights should have had to bear onto her own shoulders.
The young knight thought to himself that he wanted to fight for her. But he also knew that doing so would be the same as following Carissa’s orders and letting the coup d’etat succeed.
“My conclusion is that Carissa has two goals. Her first is to protect England by becoming an overwhelming tyrant in order to eliminate France and the Roman Catholic Church even if it makes her a blot on the country’s history. Her second is to seal the powerful but terrible weapon that is Curtana and eliminate the incompetent monarchy to ensure that the people are never oppressed by a runaway state. …And even if various factors lead to a new monarchy being formed, it would be weak enough that it would have to listen to the voices of the people preventing it from making the wrong decisions. To carry this out, Carissa intends to make sure the tyrannical crime of wielding the inhuman weapon of Curtana to slaughter all the countries enemies, both external and internal, is carried on her shoulders alone.”
If only Carissa could remain the type of person that could not kill the subordinates who doubted her.
She could not be allowed to stray from her path any further.
Surely there was a way to overcome the crisis caused by the Roman Catholic Church without using Curtana Original’s power.
Yes, if only the queen and three princesses, Carissa included, could join forces.
Standing atop the building, Knight Leader listened to First Princess Rimea’s words.
“I cannot force you to take action. You have families, friends, and lovers that you must protect as well as the country. I will not deny you the option to flee if you want to make sure they do not have to mourn for you.”
Knight Leader silently shut his eyes.
Rimea brought her long talk to a close.
“But if any of you pity my sister Carissa, if any of you knights wish to save her not as the second princess but as a mere woman, then will you take up your swords now? She is most likely a woman who can be saved by just that. This is not about the amount of power you can wield. She will be saved just by knowing that there are people truly willing to fight for her.”
For a bit, there was nothing but silence.
Most likely, that same silence hung over the entirety of the United Kingdom.
They contemplated what Rimea had said and came to a single conclusion.
Each of them freely came to their conclusion as a knight, as a man, as a human.
(It seems I don’t even need to send out an order.)
Knight Leader silently nodded and pulled a sword out of nowhere.
He had lost the power from Curtana and the All-English Continent, so it was simply a silver longsword that could not even change its color to red. However, the naked steel looked stronger than it ever had before.
(Words are not needed because what we must do is clear.)
That knight’s sword was once more being used for its proper purpose.
The head of the knights who held it jumped at high speed from building to building.
First Princess Rimea smiled thinly.
Knight Leader had been standing behind her until just a bit ago, but she had not turned around even once.
She did not trust anyone who knew that she was the first princess.
But that was not why she had not turned around. Rimea was not the type to show her back to one she did not trust.
(Carissa started this coup d’etat thinking of the people, but has changed so much in carrying it out. Villian has grown so much by seeing the suffering of the people caused by the coup d’etat.)
Rimea thought as she looked through the telescope once again to check on the battle.
(I wonder if I too have grown “stronger” from all this.)
Without wiping the mud from her hair, Villian stared dimly at the back of a certain boy as she lay on the ground. The bunker cluster bomb had just about wiped out the remaining Anglican forces, but that boy continued to oppose Carissa.
Villian was practically on the verge of death like most of the Anglicans when a transmission from her eldest sister Rimea reached her ears.
Had that boy heard the transmission, too? He may have heard the same transmission being broadcast from a spiritual item that had fallen amidst the rubble in the battlefield, but he might not have.
Either way, he did not waver.
The Anglicans wavered upon learning of Carissa’s true aim, but he alone did not.
“What will you do now? The second bunker cluster has been fired! And unlike last time, the magicians don’t have any power to spare in order to put up a defensive barrier!!”
“!! Dammit. I’m not giving up!!”
“Ha ha ha!! Do you think I’ll send a self-destruct signal to the missile in order to save my life if you destroy Curtana Original? This isn’t a nuclear missile we’re talking about. That warhead doesn’t have a self-destruct!!”
“This isn’t over yet!! Selkie Aquarium can send a barrage to take it out!!”
“I suppose that is somewhat realistic… But if they could do that, they would have done so on the previous shot. That might work with a piece of junk from France that lost a good bit of its adaptability because of their stubborn insistence to develop it and produce it in their own country, but this cruise missile will not be so easily shot down!!”
Unlike William Orwell, he was a mercenary without complete principles or ideologies. It was true that he could not always choose the correct option. He had been fooled by Carissa and the knights and had been unable to prevent the coup d’etat from happening.
But that did not stop that boy.
Even if he had made a mistake, he would not give up. No matter how bad the situation became, he would try to find the best strategy to turn the situation around.
That was why this boy did not waver at the current situation.
He may smile and invite in the situation, but he would not hesitate from shock.
Who was more noble, the one who made sure he was right from the beginning or the one who made sure everyone was smiling in the end?
“Look, here it is! The bunker cluster is here!”
Carissa, the tyrant whose inner thoughts had been revealed by Rimea, spread her arms wide looking up at the night sky.
At one point in the dark sky, the point of light that was the missile appeared.
“It’s over for you, you ignorant fools!! This is the power of the military!!”
Betting on a slim chance, the boy looked around the area trying to find a communications spiritual item that connected to either Coven Compass or Selkie Aquarium. However, the mountain of rubble that the palace grounds had become made finding one difficult and his lack of magical knowledge meant he might not have been able to spot one had it been right next to him.
As he searched, the cruise missile approached Buckingham Palace.
If something didn’t change, it would scatter the 200 smaller explosives and an area of the city with a radius of 3 kilometers around the palace would truly be blown away.
A new voice reached Villian’s ears from a distance.
Immediately afterwards, the cruise missile malfunctioned instead of scattering the smaller explosives in every direction. Even when it reached the designated point, the missile’s outer shell did not open, the flame propelling it from the back disappeared, and it fell to a road outside the palace grounds like a wild pitch. The cruise missile had to have weighed quite a bit, but it rolled while bouncing multiple times instead of piercing into the road.
It was an unnatural scene almost as if all of the attack power it had as a weapon had been stripped from it.
As the third princess stared blankly, the sharp sound of the air being sliced reached her ears.
It was the sound of a piece of dimensional wreckage created by Curtana Original.
Carissa had kicked the 3 meter long sharp stake. It came roaring directly towards Villian’s face, but it did not hit her.
Knight Leader had suddenly cut in from the side and punched the 3 meter stake away with his right fist.
With a loud impact, blood shot from between his fingers.
But Knight Leader’s expression did not change.
He merely looked down at his fist.
“…It seems that it truly does not work on Curtana Original or the phenomena derived from its powers.”
“Knight Leader…?” called Villian in a shaking voice, but he did not turn in her direction.
A great number of knights had appeared along with him and he spoke without looking at Villian.
“I will accept my punishment. Once this coup d’etat is over, you may decapitate me if you wish.”
He spoke those words with no hesitation.
For the very first time, Knight Leader spoke of what he had helped start as a coup d’etat instead of a revolution.
“However, at least allow us to make the necessary preparations for our judgement with our own hands. My only wish is that the royal family can join forces once more and properly face France and the Roman Catholic Church.”
As he spoke, Knight Leader readjusted his grip on his sword with his bloody hand.
He was no longer receiving any power from Curtana Original, so it was merely a knight’s longsword that had no special abilities.
“Lady Carissa has managed this much on her own. If she used that power properly and joined forces with the rest of the royal family, you could surely defeat the Roman Catholic Church.”
As she saw Knight Leader clearly heading into a situation he probably would not survive, Villian’s lips seemed to move on their own. As she tried to drag her aching body up, she spoke.
That word was so powerful and sure that no one would have thought the third princess could have spoken it. Knight Leader stopped. Villian already held the power needed to get the head of the knights to turn around.
“Forcing yourself to head to a selfish death would only cause suffering. If you truly want to atone for what you have done, then do something that will make me rejoice. Think for yourself about what you must do. Actions taken of your own will are the ones that have meaning, not actions you are forced to take.”
Knight Leader reflected on what she had said.
He then unhesitatingly stepped in between Kamijou and Carissa who were fighting even then.
“Split into two teams. The first will recover and heal the collapsed Anglicans. The other will commence attacks to directly stop Lady Carissa.”
After Knight Leader gave his brief instructions, the men wearing beaten up armor quickly began to move. They were not simply following orders. Every one of them, from the very top to the very bottom, were acting of their own will.
“…We will win. We cannot allow Lady Carissa to remain alone any longer.”
The head of the knights stood next to Kamijou who was evading the giant white objects and attempting to negate Carissa’s dimensional slices whenever he had a chance.
“I apologize for leaving the fate of my country and the fate of my princesses to all of you.”
Kamijou’s response was concise.
He didn’t even look in Knight Leader’s direction.
“Sure. Now let’s work together to stop her.”
The two of them moved at once.
Kamijou moved to negate the dimensional slices. Knight Leader attacked directly to hold back the movements of Curtana Original.
Knight Leader held a longsword. The blade was about 80 cm long and made for use on horseback. He looked down at his own weapon and started muttering with a bitter expression on his face.
“(…So the lengthening truly has been sealed and I cannot use the pattern magic created from a synthesis of spells from different paths of knighthood around the world. I suppose that should be obvious as the power from Curtana is gone. All I can use are the Spell of Thororm that I created with my own power and the support spell for high speed movement. But the Spell of Thororm does not work on Curtana or any of the phenomena derived from its powers. Without the power from Curtana, I cannot even avoid having my sword fighting ability from being drastically reduced.)”
Knight Leader thought about how much of a disadvantage he was at, but he still smiled slightly.
The smile was slightly smug as if he had regained his true self.
“(…I suppose I can only put out half my speed, but this is perfect for stopping her without killing her!!)”
“I see. First it was Villian and her benevolence and now it is Rimea and her intellect!!” Carissa yelled over the clashing of sword on sword.
Yes, Knight Leader’s longsword repelled Curtana Original. He had accurately struck the side of the sword where it could not create its dimensional slicing field.
“That speech was purposefully given with the perfect timing! For both the knights and the Anglicans it was just after Curtana Original’s power had begun to break their wills! That was why it had such a great effect on them! It was the same as when you drink something sweet after eating something spicy!!”
Carissa’s fierce attacks did not stop.
Her attacks and defenses continued against the monsters that were Knight Leader and the rest of the knights like a game of otedama.
“And to top it all off, that was not sent directed at all the knights! She made it sound like it was, but that message was directed at you personally! As she should have. The true pillar supporting the knights is its leader!! Your personal decision has a major effect on the view of the entire group. Having you change your view is a much more effective and predictable way of having the entire faction move than having each and every one of them choose of their own free will. That was a truly cunning speech befitting of the princess of intellect!!”
“I do not mind.”
Knight Leader’s expression did not collapse as he evaded Carissa’s attacks.
His resolve had already hardened.
“Even if it was an act, it still functions as a driving force for me to save you. Being controlled by Lady Rimea and her intellect can be enjoyable, too!!”
“Is that your pride as the head of the knights? But you cannot use your full power without help from Curtana Original. Or do you think you can keep up with me using some weak power from the Second!?”
“Something as trivial as the presence or lack of power will not cause my resolve to waver!!”
“Tch. What a disturbing man!!” Carissa yelled.
However, the knights’ fighting spirit had recovered. In fact, it was greater than it had been originally. Their attacks felt more intense than they ever had before. Most likely, the collapsed Anglicans had completely recovered mentally if not physically. Their depth as a group was greater than it had been before. And on top of all that, more knights were gathering from other parts of the United Kingdom, so Carissa could tell she could not play around anymore.
(It pisses me off to do this, but I’m not holding back on the cruise missiles anymore!!)
She gave a large swing of Curtana Original as a diversion and then jumped back to put a good bit of distance between her enemies.
Having opened up a bit of time, she rested Curtana Original on her shoulder and watched Kamijou and the knights attempt to lessen the distance between them and her.
“I wanted to save some for an attack on France, but it looks like I have to use up all the bunker clusters here.”
Carissa held a small radio in her hand.
Kamijou looked on in shock and Knight Leader took a challenging step forward.
“My Spell of Thororm cannot seal Curtana Original or the phenomena it creates, but it can turn a bunker cluster’s attack power to zero. Are you still going to waste them?”
“If I remember correctly, your defense spell negates the attack power of a chosen object that you perceive as a weapon,” Carissa said as if she were double checking with a subordinate about his job.
As she did, she brought the radio up to her mouth.
“In that case, I’ll give these instructions: Prepare the cruise missiles loaded with bunker cluster warheads. Prepare the 24 on the Wimbledon at Dover, the 26 from the King Henry VII, the 20 from the Sherwood, the 15 from the Hastings, and the 15 from the Shakespeare. All ships should aim for Buckingham Palace and fire all 80 bunker clusters on my signal. Now then, which one do you think I will hide with an illusion?”
Knight Leader’s body stiffened and a villainous smile appeared on Carissa’s face.
“Of course, I may be bluffing, but it’s all over for you if one gets through. And if I attack with Curtana Original at the same time, I can be doubly sure of my victory. How about I test the essence of a British knight by seeing if you can force back my sword while missing a single missile will spell doom for every single one of you?”
“Tch! We need to stop her!!” Kamijou urged Knight Leader while he rushed towards Carissa clenching his fist.
However, the second princess was faster in pressing the connection button.
Before Kamijou’s fist could reach her, Carissa gave the order of destruction.
“All five destroyers are to fire the cruise missiles…”
Kamijou gritted his teeth, but Carissa looked somehow puzzled.
She then looked up suddenly and jumped back.
In the very next instant, a huge antenna tower used for military transmissions slammed forcefully into the space Carissa had just been standing in.
As he had been heading for Carissa, Kamijou’s body was blown back by an explosive gust of wind. Someone was standing atop the wreckage of the giant antenna that lay in the center of a cloud of sand. The large figure spoke as it looked down on Second Princess Carissa.
“Now you cannot send reckless orders to the British military. They are British citizens. They should not be forced to fire on the capital they should be protecting because of some ruthless dictator.”
“I see. Once again, you bring nothing but trouble!!”
Carissa’s low voice was accompanied by what was likely her most annoyed expression since the coup d’etat began.
The large man jumped down from the antenna tower and stood between Kamijou and Knight Leader.
“It seems I am a bit late. I only have a passing knowledge of science, so it took some time to search out and destroy every military antenna in the area.”
A certain mercenary adjusted his grip on the sword he held that was over 3 meters long.
That mercenary was used to both individual battles and wars between groups and he had finally joined the battle.
As usual, his timing was maddeningly good.
Between the lines 5
In the end, it was just an accumulation of ridiculous things.
There hadn’t been this one special moment. The rails heading for the worst conclusion had been visible here and there for quite some time.
“In accordance with the majority, the aforementioned weapons will be banned from use.”
It hadn’t just been the bunker clusters.
Being controlled by the Roman Catholic Church, the EU council had adopted a treaty that specifically banned the weapons that the United Kingdom had primarily been developing. It had been as if they were saying they weren’t afraid of provoking an old-fashioned nation.
Apparently, it had started when Elizard still controlled the military. At that time, Britain’s nuclear weapons had been banned, but France’s had not. The two countries had been split into two different categories because of the difference in power between their bombs, but Britain had been prevented from later developing nuclear weapons with less power. And to top it all off, England had been required to give all their nuclear weapons to France. Officially, this had been because France would be the sole possessor of nuclear weapons within the EU and they would therefore have the technology needed to safely disassemble them, but the real reason was clear.
The “attacks” had been occurring for a long time.
They had escalated and eventually resulted in the disaster that Carissa had seen.
The EU countries had whispered things in the shadows.
“There is no problem as long as you have the protection of the Roman Catholic Church.”
“If fault is found in England, they can’t stand up to a force of 2 billion people.”
“England is just a relic of a bygone era.”
“Your prosperity ended at the beginning of the 20th century.”
Carissa felt that England’s value as a country was dropping.
Her mother who led the country said that there was no reason to react to such clear provocation.
However, that only led to the surrounding countries taking them lightly and deciding that they could act with impunity regarding England. If the situation had continued, it would have ushered in an age where England would no longer be recognized as a nation and the British people would be ridiculed, would be abused, and would begin to hide that they were British.
That had to be stopped.
The people of England had to retain the ability to live happily.
She had prepared for years. There had been a few different paths she could have taken, but she had naturally chosen one of them from the very beginning. She was a woman who excelled in military matters. She knew nothing other than heading to a mud-covered battlefield with a sword in hand. If she were to succeed, she could not realistically see herself choosing anything other than a coup d’etat.
However, she had done nothing more than prepare.
If certain conditions were not met, she never would have acted on that preparation.
If her mother who led the country was able to restore the country’s dignity via diplomatic means, that wouldn’t have been a problem. If the surrounding countries could have been brought out from under the control of the Roman Catholic Church and had begun to act of their own will, the crisis would have naturally ended.
The Eurotunnel connecting England and France had been bombed.
And at the same time, a plane had been hijacked in order to block the flights to England.
The various checkpoints and borderlines she had strategically set up had all been breached in the worst possible way.
She had determined that she could not wait any longer.
If she did not take that chance, the value of the British people would fall to a position lower than slaves.
In the end, Carissa had taken Curtana Original into her hand.
Despite how much she loathed it, she had grabbed that sword that determined the king.
She had silently decided that she would become a tyrant.
She would become such an overwhelming tyrant that she would leave an indelible blot on history.
She had always been a woman who excelled in military matters and could do nothing but take up a sword and fight. She had only one way to change her country and to change the world.
Carissa had made her decision without telling anyone else.
Once the fight was over, she was prepared to disappear from history along with the two Curtanas. She would head deep down into the grave she had created to sleep eternally without anyone ever knowing what she had done.