-SLASHDØG- Chapter 6
Ice Princess/Four Fiends
Having passed through the unusual fusumu that had appeared at Toujou Sae’s house, Tobio and Lavinia had been invited to the building serving as headquarters for the Utsusemi Agency.
As soon as they set foot there, they were surrounded by a crowd of fellow classmates who had been turned into Utsusemi. ……Visually confirming their numbers, it could be estimated that there were scores of them at least. With amount that Tobio and company had defeated so far, and guessing at the number that had previously surrounded Sae’s house, in all likelihood, it was possible to assume that all of the remaining people who had been made into Utsusemi were here. Of course, since it was possible to revive the monsters like was done with Sasaki previously there was seemingly no end to them…….
The figures of adults wearing business suits were frequently seen. ……The mood in the eyes and enveloping the bodies of the agency members was visible to them. They were doing things like binding tokens to their hands, or otherwise carrying something like talismans. ……It seems like there were a variety of means for releasing supernatural power.
The blood lust of the multitudes of Utsusemi and agency members turned towards them.
In this situation, Himejima Hanezu, who was beside Sae, wore a disgusting smirk on his face and stated the following.
“——Welcome to the Utsusemi Agency headquarters, no, hidden base.”
With nothing more than this, they were driven to rage by such an invitation.
Regarding Tobio and Lavinia, their hands were then placed into handcuffs and restrained. That which is typically called handcuffs, they are equivalent to blocks of iron with holes in them. These handcuffs though had magical sequences written on them. ……Likely because of that, as soon as his hands were cuffed, irresistible chills ran down his entire body. Simultaneously, the throbbing sense from Jin he’d been feeling since before——the spiritual link seemingly weakened.
……As for the aforementioned Jin, he was then placed into a cage behind Tobio and company. That cage was placed on top of a luggage carrier that was being pushed by a male agency member. The cage had the same pattern written on it as the handcuffs. Just as Tobio was abiding by his current handcuffed state, Jin was also not resisting, and was just calmly sitting inside the cage. However, those deep crimson eyes displayed a brilliance containing dangerous raw hostility. It was apparent through this aspect that he would flare up at merely a single word from Tobio.
Passing through multiple gates requiring authorization, the place the two people and one animal were lead——was a vast chamber.
It was a strange scene with countless of what appeared to be cultivation tanks lined up——. The cultivation tanks were connected to capsules laid out horizontally. Throughout this room there were cultivation tanks and capsules visible everywhere.
Himejima Hanezu spoke as they progressed down a prepared path between the cultivation tanks.
“Take a proper look at this.”
Urging him like this, he directed Tobio’s gaze towards a cultivation tank. Thereupon, within the green liquid——he noticed a human being in there. It appeared to be the same for the other tanks, with middle-aged men and women, or otherwise young ones had been placed within them side by side.
Himejima Hanezu added one more thing for Tobio, for whom words had failed.
“Those in here, they are the relatives of the boys and girls who were turned into Utsusemi.”
Tobio became speechless at this shocking truth. So these were the parents and siblings of his classmates who disappeared under the pretense of moving? In reality, they’d been brought here and placed inside these things…….
Himejima Hanezu spoke to Tobio.
“You were already aware with how the experimental bodies’——the Ryoukuu High School students’ families all changed residence I believe? They are all currently here."
……As expected, all of his classmates’ relatives were here. In that case, Sae’s parents should be here——. As Tobio was looking around Himejima Hanezu continued explaining.
“Anyway, for the sake of the ongoing examination into the utilization of Utsusemi, manifesting the artificial Sacred Gear can cause irregularities in the experimental body’s mind and body. In order to compensate for that, someone of close genetic relation——blood relatives were necessary. For those that become exhausted by utilizing the Utsusemi the bodies of the parents, or possibly the siblings, are used to supplement the recovery. Periodically the experimental body will have to spend a day in these capsules in order to preserve their ability. ……It seems the technique is not yet perfected.”
For their classmates, the act of manipulating those artificial independent avatar type Sacred Gears——those monsters, produced such a demerit? And the relatives were assembled to compensate for that…….
They carried this secretive large scale experiment, all for the sake of the Four Fiends Project——to steal the abilities of Natsume and Samejima, and make use of them to triumph over those people from the Clans…….
……So it would appear that this is the purpose of the Utsusemi Agency. However, regarding those who are cooperating with them, is the true purpose of the traitor in the Governor General’s organization and one Lavinia is pursuing something else?——Tobio thought. That black lion he had seen at Sae’s house, it was clear that though it resembled the Utsusemi, it was a different kind of existence.
In other words, the experiment that was being performed here, it appeared that, for each of the 233, they were the result of intersecting goals. ……This was the origin of the dreadful research for the Four Fiends project that was being carried out here. The Governor General and Lavinia were trying to prevent this. Speaking of which, Lavinia was looking around the chamber in annoyance. Everything displayed here appeared unpleasant.
Tobio and Lavinia were then urged on, and they entered an elevator. The elevator descended. As they steadily descended, “Where in the world are we descending to?” Tobio was compelled to ask as the elevator came to a stop.
They advanced together with the agency members who were leading them, and came to wait in front of a pair of large double doors. There was a solemn sound as the chief opened it.
The interior——was a huge empty room. The chamber——one could call it a vast room. There was nothing except lighting, and no more than white walls and floor throughout.
The agency members positioned Tobio and Lavinia in the center of the room and placed the cage containing Jin beside them.
The other agency members remained on standby along the walls, as Himejima Hanezu spoke while confronting the two people and one animal.
“This room is one hundred meters below ground. It’s solid enough to serve as a nuclear bomb shelter. There’s not even the smallest chance of collapse due to impact.”
He then took something like a flat remote control from his breast pocket, and pushed a single button. Thereupon, Jin’s cage was released. The black puppy leapt from inside. The instant Jin was released he ceased his quiet surveillance, and raising a low growl, threatened Himejima Hanezu.
He continued while smiling with his lips.
“That is to say, even if there were some kind of disturbance in here, it wouldn’t particularly affect the research facility up above.”
Himejima Hanezu produced an iron rod from his sleeve. Swinging it horizontally, the part that was stored away extended revealing a shakujou.
“Now then, Ikuse Tobio. For just a bit, why don’t you amuse me in here?”
Himejima Hanezu said this while pointing the tip of the shakujou at Tobio.
“——Do set that ‘Dog’ on me.”
Simultaneously the handcuffs restraining his hands released and dropped to the floor. At that moment, overwhelming power spread from Tobio’s body——. Releasing Tobio’s supernatural ability and Jin’s power, he realized their awareness had synchronized.
Just in case, for the sake of confirmation, Tobio glanced around the room. ……There was no cover, so as far as causing the ‘Blade from the Shadows’ to spring forth, the conditions of this place were poor. As far as that was concerned, it should be sufficient for them to appear from the shadow at his opponent’s feet……it seemed he had predicted such a move. However, with the exception of that deadly offensive technique there was nothing else he could do as of the present.
Lavinia drew close, speaking in a whisper.
“……Since it’s come to this, I will assist you somehow or another. However, I am guessing from the behavior of the opponent that he desires to investigate Toby’s true abilities. But if I were to lend Toby a hand here——”
While speaking, Lavinia glanced over at Sae.
“……Since that might instigate her to become serious, for now I will merely watch attentively.”
Driven by doubt over how she would remove the handcuffs, if it was a magician, he realized that the solution must be that she would use Buddhist magic against the Buddhist magic that was presently been binding her, or so he arbitrarily interpreted it. Rather than this, he was gladdened by her concern for Sae.
Based on what Lavinia said, it appeared an all-out battle against them here would see them fighting against Sae. Considering that the other party’s methods were beyond incomprehensible, reckless aggression would lead to a dreadful reality beyond expectations.
Since the handcuffs binding Lavinia had yet to release and drop off, Tobio called out to his partner.
Simultaneously with his name being called, from the puppy’s forehead a katana——a protuberance exactly like a Japanese sword sprouted. During his three days of intensive training, Tobio had named the protuberance that appears from Jin’s body ‘Blade’.
Facing Jin from whose head that blade had grown, Tobio issued his command.
Together with this cry Jin transformed into a high speed bullet and advanced towards Himejima Hanezu. As for the opponent, the shakujou he was holding in his hand gave off a pale light, repelling Jin’s attack. That shakujou he was holding took the lethal attack from Jin’s blade, did so without breaking, and wasn’t jostled either so it clearly was something whose strength had been supernaturally enhanced.
With his body having been freed Jin was able to engage in high speed combat, but the opponent was no ordinary fighter. Regardless of Jin’s movement, whether the blows from the forehead blade, launching pursuit with the blades from the back, or even stabbing from a blind spot using a blade from the tail, all of them were parried by the shakujou.
……As expected, ordinary attacks are of no concern to him. In that case——.
Hearing Tobio’s command Jin’s red eyes shone ominously. At that instant, out of the shadows at Himejima Hanezu’s feet, a distorted gigantic Blade appeared. ——It was the ‘Blade from the Shadows’. From his special training over the past three days, although there was a limit on frequency of usage and a restriction on the point of appearance, it became possible to use this technique to some extent.
He had given it a name for the time being. ——Night Haken. 
Regarding this name, Vali who had been observing his special training from nearby,
“It’s a valuable skill. Enough that it deserves a name does it not? In that case……a blade that springs from the shadows, the form of a distorted hook……”
For a short while, he pondered it until speaking——.
“——The hook of dark night, Night Haken is what it should be called, you agree?”
And thus it was named. Making an embarrassed face, the troublesome and hard to please youth made this personal suggestion, and it had been accepted. From the beginning, occasionally issuing instructions to Jin verbally was advantageous in some situations, so having something like a name was essential.
He attacked Himejima Hanezu from underfoot with Night Haken, but as though he had completely predicted it he leapt high into the air, and evaded the extending Blade. While evading, he swung the shakujou horizontally and shattered the blade that had grown from the shadow!
……With the power residing in that shakujou, even smashing Night Haken is easy? For Tobio, this information, as far as his combination with Jin was concerned, was quite severe. That is to say, unless he can reliably stab that guy’s body, there’s no way to bring him down.
……However, Tobio did not yet possess the complete resolve to kill someone. He had slaughtered Utsusemi monsters. But, even if they possessed supernatural power, he was not prepared to murder an actual person.
Even so Tobio was commanding Jin. For the sake of bringing a swift end to absurd affair. For the sake of rescuing Sae——.
Once again a blade was born from beneath Himejima Hanezu’s feet, but he jumped back and released single strike with the shakujou, easily breaking it. Without giving up he fired off Night Haken over and over, but those were also dodged, all broken without landing a direct hit.
Suddenly, Himejima Hanezu tied a token to one hand, and the shakujou began glowing much brighter.
With that condition, together with his yell he swung the shakujou horizontally. Thereupon, from the shakujou a pale bullet of light flew straight at Tobio. The instant it was about to score a direct hit, from the shadow at Tobio’s feet a blade sprung up, and taking the shape of a shield was struck by the bullet of light. This was a defensive technique he’d acquired during his three days of intensive training. The danger with Sacred Gears such as Jin, this was a plan to overcome the case where Tobio who is the master was attacked personally——as a defensive technique, a broad blade would be projected from the shadow at Tobio’s feet to serve as a shield.
——But, together with a sharp cracking sound the Night Haken that was a shield was smashed by the bullet of light. The power of the bullet of light, it smashed through the blade without stopping, and Tobio’s body was blown away by the resulting shock.
His entire body having been equally struck by the force of the blow, Tobio was thrown onto his back on the floor. Due to the aftershock of the light bullet, as well as the damage from being thrown to the floor——pain spread throughout his entire body.
Writhing in pain to the point of being short of breath……he aimlessly rolled along the floor, before he was struck by the follow up attack that was pursuing him. Tobio earnestly tried to resist losing consciousness, and started to rise to his feet.
……Due to the pain from the impact, his entire body wasn’t obeying him. His hands had been shaking since before, the trembling in his legs hasn’t stopped, however, nevertheless, he directed his gaze at his opponent as he faced Himejima Hanezu.
Regarding his opponent——right as he perceived his glaring eyes, he abruptly smiled.
“……As expected, it’s like this huh? This ‘Dog’, as of yet, hasn’t tasted the blood of man has it?”
He continued while pointing the tip of the shakujou at Jin.
“Ikuse Tobio, regarding the sharpness of your——that ‘Dog’s attack, it is precisely that you lack the resolution. In other words, that attack was docile.”
As though seeing through Tobio’s emotions, Himejima Hanezu stated this.
“……You who is the master presently carry hesitation towards murdering a human being, correct? That lack of preparedness is transmitting caution to the black ‘Dog’ that is your Sacred Gear seemingly causing its attack to become blunt.”
He had gained an understanding of their behavior. Indeed, it was as he had said, Tobio——was hesitating with his attacks so as not to kill his human opponent. Regarding this, with the connection of mind and body between them strengthening day by day it was impossible for this to have not been transmitted to Jin.
Presently, it seemed that Himejima Hanezu’s skill as a supernatural power user was superior to his own. However, the case of Jin releasing murderous intent towards him from his blade……until now such simple motivation had been lacking. At least in regards to that shakujou, it should normally be capable of slicing it cleanly in two.
With each of them growing stronger day by day, Tobio thought to himself in relief, he had been uneasy. Supposing, if he were unable to control Jin’s attack, it would reach a situation where his opponent——a human being would be killed……. It was okay if an Utsusemi monster was his opponent, it was fine if that clay doll was his opponent, but——. To be able to pull that off against a person, against a being with human form, could he, could Jin, kill them? Would killing them be okay?
——Regarding himself, he merely wanted to rescue Sae and his classmates.
This alone was his determination to fight. For that he seemed ready for any number of Utsusemi opponents. It was the same for his comrades. For this Jin had also steadily attained power. However, if the opponent was a person…….
If he were to become a murderer in the future, Tobio having arrived at this thought——.
‘Is it okay if I make Jin a murderer?’
It was at this point——.
Having arrived at this final moment, Ikuse Tobio——ceased to be gentle.
Tobio bit his lip, shedding tears of regret. ……Having arrived at this point, having penetrated his enemy’s secret base, even with Sae right before his eyes……until ‘that’ final moment he had been lacking in resolution.
To the side Lavinia, perceiving Tobio’s true intentions, bowed her head.
With a look of pity Himejima Hanezu spoke to Tobio.
“……Now, we must first give you a taste of human blood, or ought it be the ominous Jin instead?”
Letting such words slip from his mouth, Himejima Hanezu approached Tobio. ——It was at that moment.
Immediately following a solemn sound, the door to this space opened a second time.
Passing through it, there was an elderly foreign woman wearing a violet robe. Her appearance suggested that she was in the latter half of her sixties, while the sharp glint in her eye and her upright posture seemed youthful. The figure of an elderly woman——her appearance was like that of a magician as though out of a fantasy tale.
Arriving from behind her was a foreign girl in gothic style attire who seemed to be her attendant. Unlike the elderly woman, she was smiling broadly and her behavior gave off a light atmosphere. However, her clothes were also purple.
The elderly woman spoke.
“Chief engineer-dono, wouldn’t you say that you’ve had enough fun already?”
Himejima Hanezu, lowering the shakujou, spoke while letting out a sigh.
“This witch-dono. For her to arrive here”
The elderly woman, with a smooth stride, quickly strode towards Tobio.
“Since I also wanted to see this. ——The alleged ‘Dog’.”
——she said, turning towards Jin, greatly interested.
……Tobio, from the side, abruptly sensed an instant increase in pressure. It was natural. Having attentively watched the fight between himself and Himejima Hanezu——Lavinia was directing previously unseen hostility at the elderly woman who had been called ‘witch’.
……Indeed, ‘witch’. With the appearance of an elderly woman……. In all likelihood, this woman was the one Lavinia was pursuing.
Noticing Lavinia’s stinging look, the elderly woman gazed at her and laughed.
“——Oh my, certainly, this child is the assassin from ‘Grau Zauberer’.”
The elderly woman stood before Lavinia’s eyes, her eyes narrowed, and spoke with a pleased expression.
“It’s been awhile, ‘Ice Princess’ Lavinia.”
Lavinia spoke in annoyance.
“……’Purple Flame’ Augusta, you were the collaborator? I see, it is only natural I would be the one sent after such a ‘Great Magician’ such as you.”
“There are also such remarks that has been made of you. It’s just like that stylish Mephisto. Sending the ‘Ice’ to pursue the ‘Flame’……”
The pair each glared at each other. It could clearly be said that in the atmosphere between the two of them, a pale light was being issued that seemed to cover their entire bodies. Lavinia’s blue light and elderly woman’s violet light wound around their respective bodies.
The agency members present——even Himejima Hanezu merely furrowed their eyebrows at their confrontation.
However, the one who destroyed this atmosphere was that person. While slowly revolving on the spot, the one who interrupted the elderly woman and Lavinia was the girl wearing gothic style clothing. The one who had accompanied the elderly woman. That girl, alternatively comparing Lavinia and the elderly woman in amusement, inquired of the elderly woman.
“Oshi-sama, Oshi-sama, who is that child? She’s completely adorable *kyun kyun*♪”
The woman let out a sigh of amazement at the girl’s speech and conduct.
“……Good grief, you don’t read the atmosphere child. This young miss, she’s with the aforementioned fair-haired chairman Pheles.”
Hearing that, the girl clapped her hands together with delight.
“Wow♪ That’s amazing. That there was such a bishoujou-san♪”
The elderly woman announced while turning towards the girl.
“This girl is my disciple. Her name is Walburga.”
“Nice to meet you♪”
The girl who had been introduced as Walburga innocently waved at Lavinia.
Among everyone present there with a troubled response, Lavinia merely hid her face, such was the impact of the tone in which she had spoken.
“……If confirmation with you is possible, then this is already enough.”
Steadily, steadily, a cold wave spread throughout the room. Beginning as only a slight chill, the temperature in the room was clearly declining little by little. There was even white breath being exhaled. Everyone was closely observing the source of this drop in atmospheric temperature.
Indeed, from Lavinia’s body, a penetratingly cold chill was being released——.
Tobio abruptly recalled that time in the department store. Natsume and Lavinia, over the previous communication had definitely conversed about this.
——If it has become like this, I will just “freeze” them then.
——Th-that’s to be done as a last resort. This whole place might become frozen over I would think. This! Demise Girl!
……Was this what they were talking about?
Cheerfully watching as Lavinia released cold air, the elderly woman——Augusta enquired of Himejima Hanezu.
“……Chief engineer-dono, I have just one question for you……how many binding techniques did you use on that girl?”
“……We applied spell equations that have been passed down by each of the Five Principal Clans respectively……”
Saying only that much, Himejima Hanezu understandingly groaned.
“……Indeed, was that not enough?”
“Yeah, it was insufficient. Unless it was ten times that amount, it wouldn’t bind this young miss.”
A dry metallic sound echoed throughout the vast space——. The handcuffs restraining Lavinia’s hands had developed a crack. More cracks appeared after the first, and were spreading——.
“——That is roughly it.”
It shattered with fragments scattered all over the floor. Lavinia’s blue eyes——were dark, the color having become like that of the ocean depths.
With her wrists now having been freed, Lavinia let out a white breath. And then, from those tiny lips, a curse that did not appear to be of the living world was leaked out.
<<——From eternal sleep, awaken. And thus, the fools shall sleep for eternity——>>
The cold air——congregated. Alongside Lavinia, a vortex of frozen air was being gathered. There, similar to ice, something was taking form. The ice appeared to be made up of hands, feet, a torso, and a head placed on top.
“——This is my honorable puppet.”
What was born beside Lavinia, it was a princess made of ice——. About three meters tall, it had the form of a woman wearing a dress. However, those looks were not those of a human. With neither mouth nor nose, the left half had six eyes, while protruding from the right half something similar to a wild rose was growing. It had four arms, all of which were thin. However, in contrast with those thin arms the hands were large.
This is……a Sacred Gear, isn’t it? Tobio was unable to judge, but he could at least say that rather than magic, it seemed likely that this was the embodiment of Lavinia’s will.
Seeing that strange princess of ice figure, the elderly woman Augusta let of a sigh of admiration.
“……One of the thirteen, Absolute Demise. To think, that someone like this girl would be endowed with the incarnation said to overthrow even God……”
Augusta’s gaze turned to Tobio.
“……Could it be said that they are attracted to each other?”
“It certainly might be possible.”
To Lavinia’s remark, Augusta let out a laugh while mumbling.
“Interesting. Truly interesting. Azazel and Mephisto already have a hand in this as well.”
From behind the old woman who was laughing there abruptly appeared a winding pillar of violet flames. The firepower and heat steadily rising, it became something that rivaled the cold that had been enveloping the room.
<<——The anointed one was fastened to the cursed cross. By the high priest of the purple flames, the sacrifice is enflamed>>
The old woman, just like Lavinia, released her power by reciting a curse.
The purple flames changed for to in the same way as Lavinia’s ice phenomenon. A huge crucifix formed for just a moment behind her, and a giant of fresh flames was produced beside the old woman. In the blazing giant's heroic hand was raised a cross made of the same flames. It had a splendid figure, its size seemingly reaching four meters in height.
Lavinia and Augusta were each standing beside what could be called their respective alter egos which were squaring off against each other.
……A princess of ice, a blazing giant shouldering a crucifix, could these be independent avatar types? If they are, not just compared to the Utsusemi that have been attacking until now, their nature is also completely difference to our own Sacred Gears. They also seem different compared to the black lion Sae was employing. While those all resembled living creatures, this colossal energy, it seems to be something similar to energy that had been fashioned into human form.
Tobio, gulping, could only attentively watch the humanoids of ice and fire that were before him.
Augusta showed a daring smile.
“My giant made of purple flames or your Ice Princess, to melt, or perhaps to freeze, which shall be the outcome of this match?”
The elderly woman signaled to Himejima Hanezu.
“Chief engineer-dono, don’t you think it would be a good idea if you left this place? As it would seem, this young miss’s objective is me. I cannot bring myself to involve your side with our side’s affairs.”
Augusta pointed upwards with her finger.
“——Isn’t there something up above that you need to take care of?”
Hearing this one line, Himejima Hanezu looked over at the agency members. Considering their feelings he quickly unsealed the doorway, and let them out of the room.
Himejima Hanezu, who was also accompanied by Sae, said one thing to the elderly woman.
“……I will moderately rely on you.”
Doing as he was told, he left that place.
——He was taking Sae.
Tobio, his body heavily damaged, in spite of his shaking knees, somehow was able to stand up. Linking up with Jin, he once again observed Lavinia and Augusta.
Lavinia and Augusta, each accompanied by the princess of ice and the giant of flames respectively, were drawing trails of light in the air that repeatedly formed magic squares, from which supernatural fireballs were being released alongside lighting strikes! It would seem that this was what was known as ‘Magic’.
During his three days of intensive training, Tobio had been informed about magic from Lavinia; magic had been achieved by great technique users from ancient times; whether miracles brought forth by ‘Gods’, demonic power of ‘Devils, or else original theories on supernatural phenomenon, they were all things that could be reproduced through formulas. All phenomenon have fixed laws, which can be measured, calculated, and their manifestation derived through ‘magic’. That magic square, it was something that could solve the calculations for the sake of releasing unusual power. They were each using their own formulas to reproduce supernatural phenomenon.
Fire, wind, water, ice, lightning……with every type of phenomenon being fired from the magic circles of those two, one person, a young girl was cheerfully watching——Walburga.
“Wow♪ Oshi-sama, you’re in high spirits! Well then, should I observe this as well?”
She then took a broom out of a magic square, floated in the air at a low elevation, and lounged there.
The princess of ice, swinging her arms horizontally, caused pillars of ice to successively appear from the floor. The blazing giant, heartily swinging the crucifix in a sweeping motion, completely mowed down those pillars of ice.
While their magician companions were having a magical battle on the side, the ice princess and the blazing giant were engaged in a severe fight.
With the supernatural phenomenon being performed by the pair of magicians already surpassing Tobio’s imagination, in regard to what manner he ought to attack, he was completely tired of such thoughts. Speaking honestly, it was clear that charging in carelessly would have him either turned into an ice sculpture, or reduced to cinders.
Lavinia said as much to Tobio.
“Toby, leave this place to me and go help that girl. From the start, finding and destroying those witches was my duty. After finding them here, I must return to my original task.”
Lavinia smiled sweetly.
“I feel like doing a favor in consideration for the kind-hearted Toby who would not raise a hand against a human being. However, a day will certainly come when, to protect someone important to you, you will be confronted with a scene where you cannot help but to wound someone else. ……When it comes to rescuing her, surely it is that sort of situation, right?”
Lavinia pointed towards the gate.
“Hurry up, you need to go.”
Remaining in this place under Lavinia’s protection……this was clearly not the most effective choice. Since that witch Augusta could also use magic, and since it would mean being near that blazing giant, it was just too powerful, to the point that the situation exceeded reality. For the current Tobio and Jin they cannot possibly face this opponent. To face that old woman as an opponent, it would appear to take something on the level of Lavinia. That was how it was——.
Tobio made a bitter decision. Together with Jin he dashed for the door.
While leaving a deep felt apology, Tobio decided to pursue Himejima Hanezu and Sae. This was the one thing that he himself was presently able to do. This was the most important reason he had come here.
Smiling sweetly, Lavinia resumed the fight. Neither Augusta nor the girl called Walburga chased after Tobio. Since she was gazing at Lavinia in a daze he was lucky that she likely didn’t notice him.
His destination——this facility's upper levels.
——From here, I will unconditionally rescue Sae.
Possessing unshakable will, Tobio advanced together with Jin.
Natsume and Samejima, having escaped from Toujou Sae’s house, and after defeating several Utsusemi, managed to escape from the residential area and arrived at the site of a discontinued factory.
Having hidden themselves under the cover of the factory’s interior, Natsume, for the sake of confirmation, tried calling Tobio by telephone. However, what entered her ear was only a message saying, “Out of signal area~”. The communication magic that had been placed in their ears had died out before anyone had noticed. Either the distance between them and Lavinia was too great, or else——.
Perhaps, those two have been taken somewhere using some kind of transference technique of the enemy was what Natsume conjectured. In the case of Tobio, whose power had been growing up until now, and Lavinia, in the case that she released her full power without considering the circumstances of her surroundings, even including the multitude of Utsusemi swarming over the place, they should be able to cause serious injury even to the enemy leaders. When Natsume and Samejima met Lavinia they immediately witnessed her power——‘Ice Princess’, which could be called nothing other than a masterpiece.
However, that power was so far beyond excessive, forget indoors, to make use of it downtown wouldn’t be simple. This is because it would be almost certain to involve numerous other people.
Be that as it may, as for whether or not that power was manifested at Sae’s house……it would not have been utilized. Because they had been Tobio’s neighbors. Without a doubt, using that power there, not just the opponent, Tobio and Toujou Sae would have been dragged in as well.
Being unable to get in contact with those two, Natsume immediately shook her head. Seeing that Samejima struck the earth with his fist in vexation.
“……Not only was it a trap, but for some of us to break through it while the rest are caught, what kind of mess is this? My own naivety makes me want to puke.”
Samejima, who had been raising his own power in order to overcome the defeat he suffered at the department store, had headed to Toujou Sae’s house this time filled with confidence. But now, with the members separated after the enemy tripped them up so easily——.
However, the same was true of Natsume. Tobio, Samejima who had grown, Lavinia, and Vali were all companions, people who had been providing her with unshakable confidence. In this last investigation, it had been her expectation to have obtained some useful information regarding the enemy attack.
That——had been shattered.
……Nevertheless, Samejima was the kind of person capable of self-reflection and was able to see the bright side of the situation. Returning to his wild appearance, in fact, Samejima was reflecting upon himself. He had also been able to get along with the younger Vali without incident. Bearing this in mind, Samejima’s generosity was vast when compared to other delinquents his age.
“……Either way, once again, we have to decide, whether to go back to that house or to return to the condominium……”
Natsume was thinking over their next course of action.
Sounds were heard from outside the factory. The pair’s nerves were set on edge, devoting themselves to concealing their presence as much as possible.
For a brief moment, they patiently observed……then a single small figure appeared in the entrance to the factory. It was a young girl of about nine or ten with her hair in braids. Having no memory of her Natsume peered at her suspiciously. This factory……that a girl would come to such a place during the day?
In the midst of this suspicious atmosphere, Samejima alone showed an expression of surprise. Samejima stood up, and slowly approached the girl.
“……It can’t be.”
Standing before the girl Samejima dropped his vigilance and asked.
“You, why are you here?”
Was she an acquaintance? As Natsume reluctantly revealed herself, she formally inquired of Samejima.
“It’s Nobu——Maeda’s little sister.”
Maeda Nobushige——Samejima’s close friend. He was the important friend that he desired to rescue. His little sister……she was the girl standing there?
“But, why would you——“
Then, as Samejima was asking that——a blade was thrust into his abdomen! With a particularly thick sound, the blade passed all the way through his back. …………From the girl’s hand, there was a distorted blade. Just like, those tentacles carried by the Utsusemi——.
From the mouth of Samejima who’d been pierced through the abdomen, a large amount of blood was vomited out with a gurgling sound.
Rushing over, Natsume looked at Samejima’s affliction——she perceived that the heart was intact despite the wound. It was a situation where it could not be said that the wound would certainly prove fatal.
Furthermore the figure of someone appeared within the factory——. It was a single young man. Seeing him, Samejima’s eyes widened.
While losing blood, Samejima called out the name of his friend. Indeed, that young man——was Maeda Nobushige. His eyes were hollow, indicating that he was as yet under the influence of brainwashing.
The laugh of a third party echoed through the factory. The new appearance——was a man in the latter half of his twenties wearing a business suit. The man spoke while wearing a gaudy smile.
“Yo, it’s been a couple of days. Samejima Kouki of the ‘Four Fiends’. It’s nice to meet you as well, Minagawa Natsume.”
Natsume had no memory of him, but upon seeing him, despite the fatal wound, Samejima’s face instantly distorted with fury.
This man was Doumon Kazuhisa of the ‘Utsusemi Agency’…….
Seeing Samejima’s present condition, Doumon smiled all the more broadly. He spoke cheerfully.
“Why? For what reason? To be making that kind of face. Why, that Maeda Nobushige should be together with a monster imitating his sister? The reason is simple. ——That girl, she’s an Utsusemi that’s taken on the form of Maeda Nobushige’s younger sister.”
Positioned beside Maeda Nobushige, there was the girl who appeared to be his younger sister. She was……an Utsusemi!?
“An Utsusemi……with the form of Maeda-kun’s imouto-san? Such a thing is possible!?”
Natsume raised an astonished voice. It was a natural response. Up until now, they had only ever been attacked by variations of existing plants and animals. What had been brought here, unexpectedly, was an Utsusemi that reached the point of possessing a form identical to that of a person, something that was beyond their imaginations.
Seeing Natsume and Samejima’s reactions, Doumon laughed with delight.
“Fufufu, did you believe that such a technique for making monsters that imitate living things was nonexistent? Such ideas would be conceived by ants. ——This is my hobby.”
Feeling displeasure from the depths of her heart, Natsume spat out as much. That which Doumon had undertaken, it was an abhorrent idea. Something like creating Utsusemi imitations of the relatives of their classmates, that was a far too excessive deviation from ethical behavior. No, for such a thing, there was no point at this late hour of doubting whether the people responsible for this event were capable of it.
Doumon snorted through his nose with a *fun*.
“Well, I won’t deny that. ——Now, with that wound it won’t be long for Samejima Kouki. The remains, that corpse cannot be left alone. The demon kept within that Sacred Gear, if the owner dies, it will disappear automatically until it is reborn inside of a new host. That’s what our comrade the ‘Black Angel’ who grappled with the creator of that system was saying. So, if at all possible we must forcibly drag out the Sacred Gear dwelling within his body.”
……In actuality, their vulgarity knew no bounds. They were nothing more than accessories to the Sacred Gears to them. To the end they were not interested in anything aside from the power possessed by Natsume and Samejima. If it was for the sake of acquiring that, whatever the sacrifice, whatever the means, they would do it without batting an eyelid. For them who desired revenge upon the Clans, their eyes and spirit being clouded by it, they had crossed over the final line for which they could still be considered human.
“……I won’t let you.”
Natsume stood in the way becoming a shield for Samejima who was lying on the ground.
……Looking over, Samejima’s cat——Byakusa, was extending its tail to touch its master’s abdomen. Touched by the tail, it proceeded to cover the affected area that had been damaged. ……This, while it was uncertain if it medical treatment or such, it was certain that the independent avatar type was operating in some manner or other on its master. It was unknown what kind of outcome would be produced, but even if it was an unskilled operation, being bound to him it was entirely incapable of fleeing, so the white cat had no choice but to cling to him. In that case, what Natsume was currently capable of——was to avert Doumon’s attention until Byakusa’s action could be completed.
Seeing Natsume’s action, Doumon sighed.
“Either you are ignorant, or you’re just reckless……. I don’t hate things like that though.”
From his pocket, Doumon produced several talismans, which he released into the air as he spoke words of power. Thereupon, the talismans moved autonomously and formed the shape of a pentagram. Swelling from the earth’s surface, a shape was formed.
Before Natsume’s eyes five clay dolls appeared. Doumon was standing beside the clay dolls, smiling fearlessly.
“……Given that I have a fondness for completely demolishing such brave dispositions.”
Doumon swung his hand horizontally, and with that the two front most clay dolls rushed forwards.
“Do it, GRIFFON!”
Receiving Natsume’s instruction, the falcon flying about the factory’s ceiling at high speed, flew at one of the clay dolls.
However, with that attack, the best it was able to do was to shave a small portion off the tenacious clay doll, failing to destroy its gigantic body.
Doumon sneered upon seeing that outcome.
“Weak! Something of that degree, my doll won’t crumble from that!”
Nevertheless Natsume sent instructions to Griffon with her hand. Without saying a word, Natsume had mastered the ability to issue orders to her partner with hand gestures. This wordless approach, it was for the sake of her tactics not being read. Otherwise, it also has the guarantee of working in situations where one cannot speak.
After the falcon displayed numerous feinting maneuvers in the air, it swooped down all at once. After putting on speed, and changing the sturdiness of both wings, it managed to cut through the shoulder of the opponent’s arm.
A direct hit——just as that happened, the clay doll let loose with the arm other than the one that had been targeted and severed! From the all too sudden blow, Griffon was sent flying off to the side after taking the blow from the arm! Griffon, having been blown off into the factory’s interior, plunged into a pile of abandoned scrap material.
Natsume raised a shriek! The clay doll picked up the falcon from the pile of scrap material. Griffon——had become completely limp, causing her to realize how powerful that surprise hit had been.
Seeing the falcon caught in the hand of the clay doll, Doumon raised a loud guffaw.
“Heera, it was caught. In that condition——“
The guy gestured with his finger. Acting in concert the clay doll put force into its hand; the hand holding the falcon…….
Together with Doumon’s words, from the factory interior the echo of a thick sound was heard. From the clay doll’s hand, a large quantity of red blood was gushing out and dripping onto the floor.
Seeing that spectacle, Natsume’s whole body trembled.
At Natsume’s screaming voice Doumon, whose facial expression was like of someone who’d reached the peak of excitement, laughed.
“FUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Both the Sacred Gear you rely upon and the boy who is your partner are in tatters. Come come, what are you going to do next, huh!? Are you going to fight me with your own body!? Whether it’s you or him over there! Isn’t it the case that without the Sacred Gears you’re just ordinary humans?!”
The clay dolls were steadily closing the distance. Having lost the falcon that was her partner, for Natsume frustration, sorrow, fury, all mixed together inside her while her tears flowed, as she continued to stand there guarding her companion Samejima.
Samejima was letting out such a fleeting voice, but she could not proceed as advised. Natsume had decided. To achieve victory for them all——. For all of them, in order to continue living, her mind chose to demolish the present state of affairs. Therefore, Samejima cannot be abandoned. Nor Tobio, nor Lavinia, not even Griffon……not one of them could be abandoned! For everyone who had survived, to aid all of their classmates, to achieve a resolution where they could all be smiling, these were her truest feelings, and this was also what she alone had decided.
……To succumb to this. Or to be killed by this……!!
Even if she was alone, this was not her destiny……!! Her own close friend, as well as her classmates, she would finish rescuing all of them from this absurd situation!
“……I shall not be defeated by the likes of you guys!! Since we, without a single one of us perishing, will safely recover all of our fellow classmates!! I'll defeat you no matter what incomprehensible reason you guys have for forming such a group————!!”
Her tears still falling, Natsume let out a scream from the heart. At that moment, from within herself, a single loud “dokun” sound was produced——.
The pleasantly smiling Doumon——his expression completely changed. Looking over behind Natsume, his eyes widened in astonishment.
Prompted by that gaze, Natsume gave a fleeting glance behind her. Thereupon——there, an electrical phenomenon being released from its whole body——there was the white cat releasing sparks. While releasing a *BACHI*, *BACHI*, sound, electricity was running throughout the body of Byakusa. Moreover, as though acting in concert, the chest of Samejima who was lying down was throbbing grandly enough that a *dokun* *dokun* sound could be heard.
Natsume was showing a quizzical look, but yet another mysterious phenomenon occurred. A strong wind began rolling throughout the inside of the factory. This gradually strengthened, forming a whirlwind enveloping the body of one of the clay dolls. Indeed, surrounding the clay doll that had crushed Griffon, a powerful wind was born.
In front of Natsume who had asked this question, something happened!
From Byakusa and from Griffon, who was in the hand of the clay doll, an intense brilliance was released, immediately bursting! Natsume had covered her eyes from the excessively intense light, and after the light ceased the appearance of the things that she saw left her at a loss for words.
Standing in front of Samejima, there was a huge white beast——. By the clay doll, half of which’s body had been blown away, a four-legged monster was floating in the air——.
Regarding the white beast, in spite having the form of a cat the size it was at least three meters in size, possessing protruding tusks like those of a sabre tooth tiger. Moreover, it had numerous long tails growing from it, all of which included a sharp tip in the shape of a round cone. The whole body was emitting sparks.
As for the huge four-legged beast floating in the air, its size exceeded two meters. There were two pairs of wings on its back, and its head that resembled that of a falcon had horns on it. However, the form of a beast had been matched up with that of a bird, just like the griffon that appears in fantasy productions——the upper half of the body was that of a falcon, and the lower half of the body was that of a monstrous lion. Its whole body was clad in wind.
Byakusa and Griffon transformed into these……? Other than this, no other phenomenon was likely.
Seeing this condition, Doumon became extremely flustered.
“……What, this is……!! These are……the ‘Four Fiends’!? Their original forms!?”
A wind cut through and a *HYU* sound was heard. Passing by Natsume and Samejima, something small moved about at high speeds. Looking about, it was the numerous tails of the white beast, which were continuously moving about the factory’s interior freely, finally swooping down upon a clay doll! The clay doll took a guard stance by crossing both arms, which was easily broken through, as throughout the whole body the white tails——the lances pierced through it! Instantly, releasing a seemingly huge electrical phenomenon, the clay doll was fried from the inside! Its entire body smoking, the clay doll collapsed worn out and powerless.
Seeing that sequence of moves, Doumon shrieked.
“——Toukotsu! Truly, this is Samejima Kouki’s……!!”
Before he could finish speaking, a sudden gust enveloped the inside of the factory! The large winged animal, was flapping its two pairs of wings on the spot! The pile of scrap material was lifted up, and even the factory roof was blown off by its vigor. Other than Natsume anything that was not tied down was also launched up into the sky. As for Samejima, one of the white beast’s tails was wrapped around him fastening him down.
The instant Natsume confirmed Samejima’s safety, a countless number of sharp wave-like things attacked a clay doll. In no more than a second, the clay doll’s entire body was covered with multiple scars as though it had been slashed. Shortly thereafter, the clay doll crumbled into fragments all over the floor.
“This is Kyuuki!!? How unpleasant! That it would even be both at the same time——“
Seeing the body of the transformed Griffon, Doumon was uttering as much, only to then raise a shriek as he became aware of the change in himself.
“GUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!! M-my arm is GAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”
Indeed, from below the elbow, his left arm was gone. Regarding that arm, it had fallen to the ground nearby. In all likelihood, it had been hit by the wind blades Griffon had just released. Because of that, the arm had been cut off.
Doumon crouched down on the spot, writhing in shock due to the pain of losing his arm.
“……These are Griffon and Byakusa-chan’s true forms……?”
Natsume was nothing but astonished at the transformations of her own falcon and Byakusa. Truly, that this falcon and cat, that they would become such large animals……. To borrow Doumon’s words, it was possible that these were the original forms of the ‘Four Fiends’. Simultaneous with them desiring this, they had sensed that as well. They were in a completely different dimension compared to the Utsusemi. Considering that even those clay dolls produced by Doumon——a special ability user, were massacred so easily, that demonstrated how powerful they were.
The transformed Griffon descended downwards towards Natsume’s position. Griffon, who since before had behaved like a spoiled child drew close to Natsume. Seeing that, “Ahh, this child truly is Griffon,” Natsume said with relief. Even if the form had changed, the mind was the same. Naturally, she was able to turn and accept this new appearance.
Surely, Byakusa and Griffon, due to the predicament of their masters, or possibly due to resonating with their complex feeling, had seemingly increased their power in an instant.
“What’s this, you’re still alive? It would have been settled without Azazel getting mad at me.”
Suddenly the voice of a familiar young boy reverberated within the factory. Looking in that direction——a silver haired youth was standing there.
Natsume spoke the youth’s name. The silver haired youth in a muffler and short pants. He, after arriving, waved and spoke to Natsume.
“Yo, Minagawa Natsume. I was late. Given that there were tasks to finish. I’ve come to meet up with you.”
In spite of seeing the circumstances within the factory he was relatively cool, as though he had previous experience with carnage of this level. To have had such experience at his age had an eerie significance……she was grateful for his help as of present. Whether with regards to the wounded Samejima who could not be roused, or because they ought to look into the well-being of Tobio and Lavinia.
——Vali then looked over at Doumon. Doumon was picking up his fallen arm, and then began running towards the entrance. He was planning to escape. Sensing that, Vali stood in his way.
“MOVE! YOU DAMN BRAT!”
Doumon verbally abused the youth. Vali twitched an eyebrow.
“……Move? About that——“
The next moment——glowing wings sprouted from Vali’s back. They were wings of splendid light——. From those light wings, there was an unknown pressure that was seemingly being released, overwhelming every being present. Even for Natsume and the transformed Griffon and Byakusa, it was certain that they as of the present would fall before this. This small built youth, apparently he was an enormous monster.
Even Doumon’s whole body was shaking when confronted by the excessive pressure the youth was releasing, to the point he dropped the amputated arm he was carrying.
“Are you talking to me? A lowly human special ability user like you.”
While smiling fearlessly, Vali held out a hand——it was at that moment.
It was Samejima’s voice. Turning towards it, his affliction wrapped in Byakusa’s tail as an emergency treatment, Samejima had stood up. Due to the amount of blood he had lost, he shouldn’t be moving. However, eagerly standing despite the intense trembling in his knees, the delinquent took first one step, then another, as he slowly approached Doumon one step at a time.
“……That guy, he’s mine to beat up.”
Samejima, looking over at Maeda Nobushige who had lost consciousness during the recent battle, clenched his fist after letting out a single breath.
The aforementioned Doumon who was trembling all over from Vali’s pressure, had dropped to the floor unable to move from the spot. Samejima seized Doumon by the nape of his neck and forced him to his feet.
“Hiiiiiiii!! Forgive me pleeeeAaaase!!”
Doumon gave an unsightly scream. Samejima, his face distorted with rage, without stopping——punched him with his clenched fist! Doumon was knocked back hard by that, falling prostrate upon the ground. After releasing that single blow, looking over towards Maeda, Samejima let out a few words.
“…………Nobu, for the moment, I’ll let him off with this one blow.”
Saying no more than that, Samejima lost consciousness and collapsed. Vali caught him skillfully.
Held within the small built youth’s arms Samejima was smiling contently despite suffering from a mortal wound. Seeing Samejima like that Vali laughed pleasantly.
“Heh, he revived to such an extent. How amusing.”
“Vali. Samejima-kun is……?”
Natsume enquired of Samejima’s condition. Vali examined Samejima’s wound, and said.
“The independent avatar type Sacred Gear, it seems it applied lifesaving treatment for the sake of protecting its master. The bleeding has stopped. Well, that’s not to say the lost blood won’t need to be replenished……”
“…………The bleeding has stopped? Even though there’s an open wound in his chest?”
“Yeah, look at his back. The white cat’s tail has plugged it. The ‘Four Fiend’ is mending the body of its master.”
Just as Vali had said, the fatal wound that reached from his front to his back had been plugged by Byakusa’s tail. Indeed, the tail had dissolved and been assimilated into Samejima.
Vali continued speaking.
“Originally, the Sacred Gear was something generated by the body. Thus it’s not surprising that the body of the independent avatar type is compatible with the master.
……The abilities of these children, they were capable of such things……?
Regarding the ability she herself had acquired——Natsume was once again amazed at the yet unknown variations of it.
While supporting Samejima, Vali generated a magic square at his feet. This skillful silver-haired youth had even learned to use magic.
“I am now opening a transference magic square, which will transfer Samejima to the Grigori research institute. If it’s there, I expect he can be saved from this wound.”
Vali was promptly dealing with the aftermath. Indeed, this child was unexpectedly kind.
Samejima and Byakusa who’d transformed into a large beast, followed by the captured Doumon Kazuhisa, were transferred to the institute of the ‘Governor General’s’ organization by Vali. Presumably, the latest classmate transformed into an Utsusemi——Maeda Nobushige, by means of the magic square, had vanished without a trace.
However, the young girl-type Utsusemi he had been employing, after seemingly losing its power it dissolved into syrup. For the sake of investigating this mass of syrup, Vali had filled a small vial with it and transferred it through the magic square.
——Then, Vali spoke to Natsume about the present state of affairs. Upon hearing that Natsume was very much astonished.
“……The Five Principal Clans are moving!?”
Vali nodded to Natsume’s words.
“Yeah, everything regarding the location chosen for the Utsusemi Agency’s hidden facility was leaked to their side. It seems a large number purge agents will be heading there sooner or later.”
“Then, Vali the task you received from the ‘Governor General’, was that to inform the Five Principal Clans of the believed location of their hideout?”
The youth nodded in response to Natsume’s inquiry.
“……Azazel is always like that. He uses me for nothing more than an errand brat. Really, doesn’t he consider how valuable an existence I am……”
Vali slouched while grumbling.
……In that case, while they had been heading to Toujou Sae’s house, Vali had gone and forfeited information about the location that was the foundation of the main culprits.
When that happens, wouldn’t even the Utsusemi Agency become peacefully apologetic? Such might be expected, but with the Five Principal Clans who had been cleaning up after the Utsusemi Agency up until now being aware of the location of their hidden facility, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if they entered and attacked them immediately.
……However, what was incomprehensible, why was this information from the Governor General not passed on to them themselves instead? Additionally, why leak this information to the Five Principal Families at this time? ……With so many incomprehensible aspects, perhaps, the Governor General was testing them? Perhaps thinking it would serve to break the present deadlock, could he have daringly appraised Natsume and company——the power of the Four Fiends and Ikuse Tobio? Or else could he have mobilized them so that the Utsusemi Agency and the turncoat in his organization would be moved to observe them……? Or perhaps it was all of that——?
Vali enquired of Natsume who was thinking.
“Now, I was thinking of heading towards the situation; you as well Minagawa Natsume?”
To Natsume’s inquiry the silver-haired youth spoke with complete joy.
“——That ‘Dog’s’ location. It appears that they were taken to the hideout of the Utsusemi Agency. We will retrieve them before the agents from the Five Principal Families had a chance to reach their stronghold. That’s my new mission. ——Are you coming?”
It was the best invitation one could ask for.
——I will proceed to Ikuse-kun and Lavinia’s location! And then, I will put an end to the Utsusemi Agency!
Natsume, nodding her head, accompanied Vali together with the transformed Griffon.
- Also known as a Khakkhara, a staff used in Buddhism. Also called a bishop’s staff, it has rings on the end.
- This is the English word
- The Kanji here reads Night Hook. Haken is German for hook.
- Shi or Oshi is a way of addressing one’s teacher or mentor.
- Beautiful girl
- Kanji:Indiscriminate Ice Princess
- Kanji: Eternal Ice Princess
- Just to clarify, Nobu is Maeda’s nickname, not his sister’s name. It’s confusing because Nobu can also be a girls name.
- Imouto=younger sister. The original Japanese sounded better.
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