-SLASHDØG- Volume 1 Chapter 4

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Chapter 4: Silver Haired/Youth[edit]

Part 1[edit]

When Tobio left the multi-tenant building, as Samejima was mounting his motorcycle, Natsume had detained him and had begun quarreling.

“Just a minute, where are you going!?”

“I’m just going back alright. I’m about to collapse from exhaustion after all that’s happened today.”

“I wonder, are you truly going back? So you’re not going to do something like stopping on the way and start fighting again on your own and such, if you’ll pardon my asking?”

“Ah, yeah yeah. Although, if the affair’s mastermind should become known to me, I will be drawn in by that.”

“Do you think taking such dangerous actions single handedly is reliable? Were you not listening to what the ‘Governor General’ said? And yet, you’re going to attack such awful people? It’s no good unless the three of us cooperate!”

Samejima placed the white cat that had been sitting on the fuel tank into the bosom of his shirt.

“This guy will succeed somehow or other.”

The white cat, only the head of which could be seen from within the shirt, purred “Nyah.”

Having gone beyond rage directed at the self-assured Samejima, Natsume was now wearing a disgusted expression.

“……Strictly speaking, I wonder if your extremely proactive behavior is due to something other than you just acting as you see fit……”

Having been aware of the condition of his buddy Maeda, it seems that Samejima had been operating independently for the sake of pursuing those who were the masterminds behind this affair. For the sake of that, he had been causing havoc on his own, thus gaining the notice of the ‘Utsusemi Agency’, all for the goal of successfully luring out one of their agents. As is befitting such selfish behavior, while investigating the present condition of his buddy, in his rage against those people he had deceived the rest of them. In relation to such behavior, Tobio was not unable to understand what emotions he was harboring. Having acquired such great power himself, in spite of only vaguely understanding the complete circumstances of the enemy, in order to quickly acertain Sae’s present condition, he was uncertain whether or not he might have also acted alone. For Tobio, it did not seem likely that Samejima’s behavior was due to indifference.

Natsume turned to Tobio.

“Ikuse-kun, help me stop this Yankee.”

Raising a protest of “I’m supposed to stop him!?” in his mind, he spoke in such a way so as not to damage the mood of the juvenile delinquent in front of them.

Tobio thought back calmly, recalling that as they were leaving the room in the multi-tenant building Natsume had been discussing that with him while whispering.

“By stopping him, you mean that Minagawa-san’s has something to convey don’t you?”

Indeed, Natsume had said that she had received information from the ‘Governor General’.

“Oh right”, Natsume recalled as she began searching through her bag.

Natsume took a several printed pages out from a clear file that was holding it, she called Tobio over to Samejima's bike so she could show it to both Tobio and Samejima.

The printed pages she produced had row by row listings of full names and addresses of people. Looking carefully, the names and addresses listed were familiar.

“This is a listing of the students who were declared to have been killed in the accident.”

“This is also from the ‘Governor General’?”

To Tobio’s question, Natsume answered “Yeah.” Flipping through the pages, Natsume showed a particular page.

“So, this is the problem. Look here. The members of the bereaved families, they changed residences. Moreover, they all did so at almost the same time. Can you believe that? The bereaved families of the 233 students, all of them moved elsewhere around the exact same time.”

For certain, that was far too unnatural. Something like over 200 families changing residences altogether was abnormal.

……Right, Sae’s parents had moved without contacting him. Sae’s parents been looking after Tobio since he was young. In the case they were to move, they should have at least said something.

At the aforementioned joint funeral service, regarding Sae’s parents and the other bereaved families likewise, they had all been placed under hypnosis creating an uncomfortable feeling that resulted from them only pretending to look grief-stricken.

It seems these changes in the bereaved families were linked. ——That is to say,

“……It was influenced by the ‘Utsusemi Agency’?”

Natsume nodded at Tobio’s words.

“Yeah, there’s no doubt. Moreover, it’s suspicious how the destination for all of the moves is unknown. Although they’ve gone to such trouble for this information, the destinations of the bereaved families cannot be determined. Such a thing as over 200 families disappearing altogether, it’s an excessively impossible story. Generally if that’s the case, it would soon become a controversial scandal. No, it should already be a scandal. And yet, it isn’t.”

“……The influence of the group called Five Principle Clans from underside of this country is vast. That the Utsusemi Agency could gather up all those people involved……. If those people are involved in this…….”

The power to be able to transfer all of the bereaved families to some place. It was certain that this was the great power of the underside that was at work.

“If we pursue this, it’s possible we might come to understand some of the unknowns regarding the matter of the ‘Utsusemi Agency’ and the Five Principal Clans.”

Natsume declared in a strong tone. Her expression was serious.

“It’s not just Samejima-kun, but I as well, I acted on my own because I couldn’t forgive those who had screwed with the lives of our fellow students. ……We are in possession of independent avatar type Sacred Gears such as the ‘Four Fiends’……assuming that, isn't it the case that from the very start that was the reason they've been pursuing us, all for the sake of triumphing over those Family guys? ……There are people who've died. Although it’s unforgivable how they’ve abused our kidnapped classmates, there were unrelated people who embarked on that ship who have died. …… Something as us being the cause of it ……that's not at all the case. ……Whether our classmates, or the numerous sailors, I don’t feel guilty…...rather, I only desire to get revenge for their sake.”

……Natsume’s tone was full of bitterness, her eyes were strongly dyed with grief.

He understood Natsume’s declaration. The sinking incident of the luxury liner, from the beginning the cause was the actions of the ‘Utsusemi Agency who were targeting the ‘Four Fiends’ that dwell within Natsume and Samejima. Whether their fellow students, the ship’s crew, it was all surely due to the ideology of the ‘Utsusemi Agency’.

Natsume suddenly spoke apologetically to Tobio.

“……Sorry, Ikuse-kun. Ikuse-kun’s childhood friend Toujou-san is a victim because of us. Even though a Sacred Gear also dwells within Ikuse-kun, it’s apparently different from the ‘Four Fiends’……”

……That’s right, there was that way of thinking of it Tobio realized. Since becoming involved in this incident, having become involved just yesterday, or even since he had been informed of the complete truth just a short while ago, upon hearing Natsume’s apology, for the first time Tobio realized that truthfully both he and Sae were part of the victims.

——The Sacred Gear he possessed was something entirely different from the ‘Four Fiends’.

Since he doesn’t have the power those guys are seeking, he’s unrelated? ……No, saying that is too much. There’s no way, seeing as Tobio’s roots——his grandmother belonging to the ‘Himejima’, it’s similar to him being involved. Since that’s how it was, this wasn’t just someone else’s problem.

Tobio shook his head in dismissal of Natsume’s remark.

“……It’s highly unlikely that I’m truly unrelated to this……moreover I was once rescued by Minagawa-san.”

Right, yesterday, when Sasaki had suddenly attacked Natsume had saved Tobio. From that Tobio had perceived that she has good intentions. In that case, it was better that he thank her.

“Thank you very much for what you did at that dangerous place yesterday. I want to once again express my gratitude. Moreover I have an important duty to rescue Sae as well. Isn’t it more effective if we act as a united front?”

It was the opposite of what Tobio had just heard.

“E-eeh, naturally.”

Tobio made an announcement before she who had responded as such.

“Well then, let’s fight together until the end. Although it’s unknown how long it will take, I suppose it should be at least until we rescue our classmates. All of those who attended Ryoukuu likewise.”

Tobio was expressing his honest feelings.

They had faced many perils. It was only natural. Should a single mistake have been made, there was no doubt——death would have followed. That monster’s tentacle would have sliced his throat and he would have died.

Since up till now they required the ‘Four Fiends’, it seemed things wouldn’t go as far as them being killed. But, those guys were aware that he was not one of the ‘Four Fiends’. ……From here on out the risk of death would swell. Anyhow, considering it was those guys it would be the same for him even if he wasn’t part of the group. Apart from his connection to the ‘Himejima’, wouldn’t Natsume and Samejima be of greater worth than himself? ……The answer was ‘I don’t know’. While it appeared that his own power was irregular, as for whether they would consider it valuable or not, that was not presently clear. It seems it would be batter to consider that it was still a highly risky situation.

However, for the sake rescuing Sae there was another person fighting who needed to be taken into account outside of Natsume and Samejima; it was wise judgement to have built a united front with Lavinia for the fight ahead. More than anything else about their fellowship from the past two days, it seemed likely that neither Natsume nor Samejima has any obvious hidden motives outside of rescuing their comrades. And while he had not yet grasped all the various facets of Lavinia and couldn’t read her emotions from her expressions, her actions towards them did not seem to harbor and ill will. Indeed, it was unbelievable.

……There were many things to consider. They had gotten involved in something big, understanding that they stood in a dangerous position. But, they were all prepared to rescue the students of Ryoukuu, their classmates. That being the case, wasn't that sufficient motive for them to fight together? Indeed, Tobio believed this to be the case.

Regarding the Natsume in question, upon hearing Tobio’s brief comment, her eyes were moistening.

“……Ikuse-kun, you’re a kindhearted person.”

He was a kindhearted person? That was something that wasn’t too clear to him. However, she was a nice person.  In light of Sae being kidnapped, all those unrelated people being killed, all the evil intent scattered by those people’s selfishness, this was what Tobio felt.

“Toby is a nice person.”

It was Lavinia’s voice. Looking over his shoulder, there was the figure of the blond haired magical girl emerging from the multi-tenant building. She alone had remained behind in the room of the multi-tenant building in discussion with the ‘Governor General’.

Lavinia gathered the black puppy at Tobio’s feet, Jin, into her arms. Since Jin peacefully entrusted his body to her, it could likewise be said that Lavinia appeared to not possess so much as one iota of evil intention.

“……Hahahahah!”

Samejima was raising such laughter in amusement.

“Oi.”

Samejima called out. Looking at him, he was showing a pleasant smile. Groping through his pocket, he took out his mobile phone. He turned the screen towards Tobio.

“——It’s my number. Register it speedily.”

At the abrupt proposal, Tobio, just as he took out his own mobile phone, was flabbergasted.

“Aah!”

Tobio quickly operated the buttons to register Samejima’s number. Thereupon, Saemjima’s mobile rang.

“There, that’s my number.”

Tobio announced as much and Samejima acknowledged. Tobio abruptly inquired.

“But, why’re giving me your number all of a sudden?”

To Tobio’s query, Samejima kept on showing that smile as he said.

“Just a likable fool. Ikuse, you are the biggest fool. ——Well then, I’m going back now. Once there, if anything should come up I’ll contact you.”

Samejima, with the white cat placed in his bosom, donned his full-face helmet.

“Ah! In spite of this we haven’t yet discussed this matter.”

From elsewhere Natsume raised a critical voice, as Samejima revved the accelerator. There was a fierce exhaust sound.

“I'll hear you out after I’ve had a rest at the condominium. Well till then, Ikuse.”

Samejima thrust his index finger at Tobio.

“——Three days. For starters, spend three days of intensive training with that mutt. Seeing as the mastermind has been revealed, it seems those guys’ll be putting in some strenuous effort. In that case, it seems that making use of your mutt’s shadow sword that I saw will be indispensable. In three day, I intend to have it face Byakusa. Oi, Birdbrain.”

“What!”

Being displeased with the nickname Birdbrain, Natsume didn’t care about what Samejima had to say.

“Introduce Ikuse to Vali. He might be a shitty cheeky brat, but when it comes to Sacred Gears, well, it seems that he passes.”

Saying that much, Samejima opened the accelerator to full and speedily departed.

“Ouu! From top to bottom he’s always just doing things his way!”

Natsume stomped her feet, too late as the delinquent was already out of sight and could not hear her complaint.

……Intensive training, huh. While looking at Jin who was being held by Lavinia, Tobio felt that it would be indispensable.

——I’m unable to make use of Jin’s ability unless it’s a life threatening situation.

……Very soon they would be resuming the search for Sae’s location, but as Samejima had said henceforth the peril would not be equivalent to yesterday and today but rather they could expect it to be to an even greater degree.

Tobio resolved himself, that in three days he would face him with Jin.

Part 2[edit]

The morning of the next day——.

Tobio was on the rooftop of the condominium. Jin was beside him. Empty steel cans were placed on top of a beer bottle case.

He noticed that someone had abruptly come up to the rooftop. ——It was Natsume.

“You were also here. Good morning!! ——Uh, what are you doing?”

After a casual morning greeting, Natsume inquired about the empty cans Tobio had set up.

“Good morning. This? I was trying a little something just now.”

“?”

Giving a sidelong glance at Natsume who displayed a questioning expression, Tobio spoke to Jin who was beside him.

“Jin, go!”

Hearing Tobio’s command, a katana-like protuberance appeared on Jin’s forehead. Next Tobio pointed at on the empty cans.

“Slash.”

Together with that cry, the black puppy transformed in a flash and rushed forwards. And then, the empty steel can was cut diagonally in two. The empty can that was diagonally cut in half dropped down with a particularly dry sound.

“Ooh, amazing.”

Natsume was applauding with clapping her hands.

“There's more. Next.”

Tobio issued his next instruction for Jin to return stand by his feet. Tobio then threw several empty cans high into the air.

“Juump!”

Receiving that command, a pair of double-edged swords, whose appearance was like those carried by western knights, appeared from Jin’s back like wings.

“Slash!”

In accordance with Tobio’s instruction, Jin began leaping with tremendous vigor. One by one he was chopping up the empty steel can spinning through the air.

While also using the single-edged sword that had appeared on Jin's forehead, the last of the empty cans was pierced by the blade.

Tobio exhaled with a seemingly satisfied expression, and said to Jin, “That’s fine now.” Hearing that, Jin turned his body back from being a sword.

“Ooh!!”

To his coordination with Jin Natsume applauded even more so. She then asked with apparent great interest.

“Somehow, since I saw it yesterday, has Jin-chan’s sword gotten sharper?”

“Uhuh. As a matter of fact, I’ve been training him since coming back yesterday. From the DVDs that are stored in the condominium’s communal room, I selected period dramas and movies about knights and such to show to Jin.”

Yesterday, after the fierce battle at the department store and receiving the explanation from the ‘Governor General’ in the multi-building, having returned to the condominium, Tobio had watched DVDs that were stored in the condominium’s communal room. In there, all sorts of movie varieties were provided, from various cultures and genres.

From there he had chosen period dramas and movies set in medieval Europe and watched them together with Jin. It had been his intuition, that by watching videos featuring swordsmen and samurai would improve the sharpness of the protrusions that grow from Jin, but he hadn’t expected it to produce this much of a difference.

The actors in the TV programs, they would engage in casual swordfights. He had been watching the screen intently along with the important Jin. While it was unclear whether or not he understood it, he fixed his gaze upon the period dramas without once looking away.

As far as the dog's imagination was concerned, Tobio wasn’t particularly concerned with the sudden acts of violence. Still, this black puppy was obedient. It was as though he completely understood his true motives. Without voraciously devouring the bait, he still ate it entirely. Speaking of not taking too much effort, this dog was called a Sacred Gear that embodies supernatural power. It wasn’t a real dog.

‘Divine punishment!’

During the program, they would rush into the climactic sword fighting scene just like that. It was the best part of the drama.

KIN! KIN! it went, as sword clashed with sword a metallic sound was heard. While watching the stylish sword fighting scene, Tobio would whisper and mutter.

“……You can grow such a sword, which can also be stylish.”

He had said that in a somewhat jocular manner, yet in the next moment——from the puppy’s forehead a blade-like protuberance appeared in the likeness of the sword’s appearance. At this moment what had grown was inorganic. The previous protuberance had been organic like the thorn of a rose.

Tobio’s heart skipped a beat at this sudden occurrence, as the puppy had grown a sword from its forehead with an appearance similar to that the actor had been wielding in the TV program. Thus, the protuberance now resembled a Japanese sword——.

It was not strange therefore that the blade was extremely sharp, as it now resembled a sword.

——Did it respond to what I said?

Nothing else seemed likely given the circumstances.

For the sake of confirming this, Tobio spoke while facing the black puppy.

“A little bit sharper Jin……”

In response to those words, the sword extending from the puppy’s forehead became slightly thinner, increasing in sharpness.

With a sudden inspiration, Tobio ordered the puppy, “Watch the swords in the TV program, thereby making your sword even more accurate.” Thereupon, as the black puppy intently watched the TV program, the sword on its forehead was repeatedly amended.

The forehead sword became thin, long, freely adjusting its shape while wriggling. Soon after observing this bizarre phenomenon, Tobio understood.

This puppy, having understood what he had said, has altered its blade——.

During this time, Tobio intently observed at the puppy’s transformations.

And then, after having watched however many movies, the condition of Jin, when compared to the earlier protuberance that was merely feasible——what he had now grown had the appearance of a double-edged sword.

In a period time of only four hours, the black puppy had successfully evolved——.

For the sake of testing out this peculiar blade of Jin’s,Tobio had spent the entire time since the evening practicing with the new sword. After explaining all of this to Natsume, Tobio continued.

“After that although I tried out several different ways of cutting, thinking it over I never actually settled upon specific instructions.”

Hearing Tobio's statement, Natsume surveyed the surrounding rooftop. After that, she had nothing to say.

On the rooftop, there were numerous empty cans and wooden planks scattered about. Of those, nearly all of them had been chopped up by Jin.

While placing all the chopped up planks and empty cans into a garbage bag Tobio spoke.

“I gathered all of this stuff from the trash collection area near this condominium and made use of it.”

“……All of last night, you were practicing continuously?”

Natsume inquired while swallowing saliva.

“Yeah, since yesterday its attacks were ineffective against those mud humanoids that man called Doumon used, even if it’s only a little I especially would like come up with some kind of countermeasure.”

Tobio believed however that it was still lacking with only this amount. Presently, the strength of the sword as well as its hardness had not changed. It had managed to manifest something similar to a western style double-edged sword, which when compared with the popular single-edged katana was more resilient but in terms of cutting power was weaker. Accordingly, the opportunity to make use of the double edged sword was in combination with a charge, when it would have the power to be drive through the target all at once.

For displaying a variety of swords, there were still several varieties available. However, for what is possible in just one night it was considerable. It was possible due to Jin’s unusual gift of learning.

“Good grief, apart from prior to my acquiring the Sacred Gear I hadn’t been defeated.”

Exhaling with disgust Natsume smiled bitterly.

Tobio believing that it would advantageous to strengthen his coordination with Natsume’s Griffon,

“That’s right, hey Minagawa-san. For coordinating with Griffon——“

In that way he took the opportunity to make a suggestion.

“——What’s this, that I’d come to hear such speech, is that the way things are?”

Suddenly the voice of a third person resounded on the rooftop.

Looking around for the source of the voice, he only saw silhouette of a person’s back standing in the open door to the rooftop nearby.

——In an instant, with good looking features like those of a young girl, he saw that it was a young silver haired boy.

Even though it was summer there was a scarf wrapped around his neck, yet nevertheless was wearing shorts down below, being dressed is a manner that was completely mismatched. On his right shoulder, there was a lovely white dragon (?) plush toy placed there. In contrast to his mature way of speaking, he was short, his voice was also sweet, and he seemingly appeared to be nothing more than someone in the later years of elementary school…….

This boy was strange. However, he was a child wrapped in a mysterious atmosphere. Perhaps, it would seem he was one of the residents of this condominium.

Tobio asked while feeling puzzled.

“……You are?”

However, as he watched Natsume’s figure was vigorously and briskly was approaching the boy.

“Just a minute! Aren’t you always being told that you shouldn’t say such things out of the blue? You give off such a bad impression upon first meeting someone, VALI!”

Natsume drew closer to the boy who only made a ‘humph’ sound with his nose.

“Humph, I don’t remember such a thing. When it comes to making first impression the other party’s aura is essential. Him over there and you as well Minagawa Natsume are below average at best.”

The boy made such an appraisal with half-closed eyes. ……Perhaps, the so called cheeky brat Natsume and Samejima had spoken of was…….

As Tobio thought that, Natsume introduced the boy.

“This child is Vali. See, he’s the cheeky brat in this condominium just like I was saying, don’t you agree? That’s this child.”

Aah, as expected, this was that child, wasn’t it? It was for certain, whether it was his cynicism or his rebelliousness, Tobio thought this child aroused the image of what one would call a rather cheeky brat.

The silver haired youth——Vali, boldly enquired while looking up at Tobio.

“〈Dog〉-owner-kun, will you not fight with me?”

From the sweet voice came such an unimaginably belligerent tone, one could sense fighting spirit. In spite of having such a small body something incomparably ominous was being potently spread from his body.

Natsume flicked Vali’s forehead with her finger.

“That’s enough, Vali! Since after this you’ll be members fighting together to defeat that group manipulating the Utsusemi, wouldn’t you agree that you should stop such quarrelsome things? This isn’t like that time you had the big fight with Samejima-kun!”

While holding his hand to his flicked forehead, Vali gave a fearless smile.

“I'm saying something here. Am I not speaking? In the case that we are going to join hands together, being aware of that person’s true power is a natural right. At any rate, for someone to be a weak impediment has proven to be intolerable. Well, Samejima Kouki had managed to more or less gain a passing mark.”

……Samejima, together with this boy, had already battled? Understanding this much, he suddenly became interested.

—— Introduce Ikuse to Vali. He might be a shitty cheeky brat, but when it comes to Sacred Gears, well, it seems that he passes.

The words Samejima had spoken yesterday crossed his mind.

Jin also turned his gaze upon Vali, motionlessly staring at him. His eyes gleamed red as he sought to discern the entirety of the boy’s power.

“……Understood. While I don’t understand in what way this is satisfying to you……it’s a good time to test out mine and my partner’s fighting style.”

Tobio had accepted Vali’s challenge.

It was unknown what kind of power this boy called Vali possessed, but Tobio had spent the entire night without once reaching his goal of achieving that one thing.

That was——the aforementioned ‘blade from the shadows’.

During that fight in the department store, Tobio’s desire had reached a peak and Jin had manifested that blade from the shadows, yet in spite of the voluntary training since last evening there was no indication of it appearing. Tobio had issued the order to Jin, focusing on that in his mind yet the puppy didn’t respond to it. Tobio had focused the entirety of his thought upon it, so it should have been transmitted to Jin.

Put simply, it was that Jin was not able to fulfil the conditions necessary to use that by himself, such was what Tobio in his bewilderment somehow or another sensed in his mind.

By fighting with this silver haired youth, perhaps he would be fortunate enough to catch some clue as to what the conditions were. Tobio purposefully accepted Vali’s hostility for the sake of acquiring the blade from the shadows.

From here on they would be competing with the organization known as the ‘Utsusemi Agency’, so that power would be absolutely necessary. It’ll be no different when it comes to rescuing Sae.

Within the next three days, his desire was to by all means become at least partially proficient in that power——.

Regarding the conditions for invoking that power, whether it was violent rage, or else perhaps terror, or…….

The boy, Vali, stood before Tobio and Jin. Watching them Vali raised some pleasant gossip.

“Isn’t it nice? It’s clad in such a nice aura. Although it seems you still can’t see it, there’s a pleasant hue of fighting spirit coming from its body.”

……Although he said that, Tobio didn’t see anything of the sort. That ability, was it that he was able to see things that couldn’t be seen? Extremely incomprehensible, from such a small build he couldn’t sense the slightest opening.

From the side Natsume spoke.

“……Be careful. Samejima-kun was thoroughly injured by this child. After all, according to what Lavinia said, he’s that ‘Governor General’s’ golden child. ——He’s strong.”

……Samejima couldn’t do a thing then? It had become clear during the battle at the department store, his handling of his Sacred Gear——the white cat, was to the point of completely disregarding the average Utsusemi. At the very least, the he was seemingly more skilled than Natsume at present. This caused a gap to appear in his confidence.

Yet that Samejima hadn’t won. Was he in the same class as Doumon? Or perhaps even higher……. Shuddering due to the younger companion, Tobio commanded Jin without a second thought.

“Attention! Jin!”

The black puppy, having received the order, grew a blade-like protuberance from its forehead, and rushed straight ahead at high speed. Before Jin who had turned into a black bullet, the boy——didn’t so much as budge. He didn’t show any behavior of trying to avoid it.

Even if he was that strong, one would think that, considering the sharpness of the grown katana, Jin’s attack from the front would result in receiving fatal injuries. Whether he ought to stop or whether he ought to continue, Tobio was racking his brains, but before he could make a decision Jin leapt at Vali!

It was a hit! No, just on the verge of being hit, using only the slightest movements——Vali avoided Jin’s attack by just twisting his body to the side! There was no wasted movement! Yet Jin, who had just been avoided, immediately corrected his trajectory and gave pursuit! However, Vali was evading with ease!

Jin moved rapidly through Vali’s surrounding, and after making numerous faints, pressed forward all at once, diagonally slashing with the katana on his forehead! This was something out of the special training from the previous evening! Jin had been chiefly trained to commence attacking in a straightforward manner! ——But, nevertheless Vali avoided it by jumping to the side.

However, Jin didn’t fail to notice. Understanding that he was avoiding entirely by moving sideways, at this point he immediately turned towards Vali’s landing spot, instantly giving chase! Even though Tobio was amazed by that reaction speed, the attack which landed a precise hit on that location ended in futility.

——In front of Vali, Jin’s attack had been stopped due to him being held by the scruff of his neck.

Only just short of being struck, a direct hit had been avoided. Jin had been completely suppressed by being having the back of his neck grabbed.

Vali, while holding Jin’s neck, suddenly leaked out

“……With this, it has become clear.”

Muttering no more than that, he released Jin who lightly jumped back. The youth then motioned with his finger as though provoking him. Receiving that, Jin rushed forward——.

“——!”

Before Tobio’s eyes, something unexpected occurred. The youth, all of a sudden, vanished. Although he’d been following him with his eyes up until just now, in the instant that he had blinked the silver haired youth had disappeared! Astonished Tobio looked around…….

“——!?”

……Tobio noticed a presence behind him. Timidly looking back, the youth was standing there pointing his palm at him. In his hand——a suspicious silver radiance was formed. ……From that radiance potent danger could be felt. Transmitted through the air, his body felt and an aggressive tingling sensation.

As his hand was glowing, Vali spoke.

“Regarding independent avatar type Sacred Gears, they are beasts that serve as alter egos that are caused to act in accordance with the intentions of the possessor. The greatest merit is that you can establish distance from your companion that is dealing out attacks, wouldn’t you agree? By issuing instructions from a safe location without taking unnecessary damage you can defeat your opponent. But, the demerit——no, the weakness is easy to understand.”

In an instant, his body receives a strong impact as he was attacked by a sense of being blown away. With a pain in his abdomen, he was sent off with a floating sensation…….

“GUWA!”

Having been launched backwards, crashing to the floor of the rooftop, Tobio raised a scream. He then rolled along for some time, finally ending up at the corner of the rooftop.

……What was fired from the silver haired youth’s palm……had that been a Sacred Gear ability? Or else was it something that seems similar to Lavinia’s magic? In any case, it was certain that, with the impact created from his hand, taking that head on had completely blown him away.

Vali slowly approached while speaking.

“In the case where the main body of the independent avatar type is weak they can be frequently overwhelmed. You just have to close the distance.”

For the sake of protecting his master, Jin leapt at Vali’s flank……the youth again evaded without a care. No matter how many times he bravely leapt at him, not one of them ever struck Vali.

Vali came right up in front of Tobio, crouched down and spoke with a fearless smile.

“The same thing happened when Samejima Kouki had attempted to do the same against me. As a result, he established his style of fighting together with his other self.”

……Is that so, so Samejima’s placing the cat on his shoulder, changing it into a lance that winds around his arm, that’s was what he referring to?

By using a weapons for the sake of protecting himself, his style is one that can make use of the cat for both attack and defense simultaneously——. Indeed, Samejima had learned from his battle with this youth. Regarding Samejima, what he had said about having a bad experience with this youth, in this case it was now possible to properly understand what he meant.

——That is to say, bearing in mind the merits and demerits of independent avatar types, he did as much.

……Even understanding this point, there was no indication that he’d to able to counterattack this youth.

It appears that, regarding this small build young boy, that he was a companion of much higher rank than himself. There was absolutely nothing he could do. That was definitely for sure even given Samejima’s present condition.

Natsume as well had covered her face with an “Achah”[1]. Her reaction was as if to say, “As before, it’s become like this huh.”

——But, his present feelings were the opposite of the youth’s, who was directing his gaze to the side with a pleasant expression on his face.

“……Indeed, but, it seems that’s enough messing around.”

Tobio followed his gaze——there, generating something black from his whole body, was Jin. His red eyes were displaying a highly dangerous gleam, letting out a low growl that could be seen as a threat against Vali. It was obvious, Jin was full of fury.

DOKUN.

……Suddenly there was a pulsing throb. Tobio noticed that his own body was exuding something black as well. ……This was the same phenomenon that happened during the battle in the department store. Looking around, the distorted blades had sprung up covering the entire rooftop. ——It was the blade from the shadows.

What was the switch that invoked it? Jin’s fury? His master himself being in danger? Or perhaps both? Tobio was as yet unable to guess however, bathed in the indescribable pressure springing forth from Jin, Vali merely floated a delighted smile.

“Excellent. This is a fragment of its true nature, huh. Things like the forehead blade are more like a bonus wouldn’t you agree? Come, strike!”

Spreading both hands, Vali took on a posture to meet his opponent! From the shadow at his feet, a huge blade was thrust up! Vali immediately jumped back avoiding a direct hit! However, blades repeatedly sprang forth from the shadows formed wherever he landed! Vali evaded even so while enraptured using Taisaba[2]!

With the exception of the directed attacks against Vali the rooftop was completely covered by blades that were continuously sprouting. In such a situation, the entirety of the rooftop had been completely filled with sharp protruding objects. While the silver haired youth was contented with the developing scene of the blades attacking from the shadows, Tobio decided to shout out while the situation had yet to develop beyond recovery.

“JIN! STOP!”

Hearing his master’s order, Jin, who had been on the verge of springing upon Vali, immediately halted his movements.

Jin restored the forehead sword, still simmering as he met his master halfway. Seeing that, Vali pouted at that moment, sighing with boredom.

……It was clear that it had been a great battle.

To start with, it was necessary to have a technique to protect himself who was the master. In order to declare this fact, the youth himself had directly approached his adversary to end it. Ikuse Tobio, who had been an ordinary high school student, did not possess outstanding physical abilities.

……The ability released that time in the department store gave rise to temporarily improved physical abilities, but presently they were not present. Even though the blade from the shadows had become usable, that did not necessarily mean he himself would obtain limitless strength.

Thus, the blade from the shadows——. In regard to that, it’s possible that that ability becomes expressible when the consciousness of both himself the master and Jin were simultaneously stimulated. For example, when Tobio was attacked by Vali——the master being at risk, with the master having received an attack——together with Jin’s fury, when these two things coincided not too long ago, was that was lead to witnessing the invocation?

While rising on the spot, Tobio held Jin in his arms. Within his arms the black puppy was wagging its tail. ……As of yet the complete nature of that ability had yet to be seen, a disappointment for himself who was the master, having exposed both himself and Jin to danger.

……Furthermore, it was absolutely necessary to comprehend that ability. Regarding the battle with Vali, there were numerous things to learn.

Having recovered his mood, Vali inquired.

“You, your name is?”

“It’s Ikuse Tobio.”

With Tobio having stated his name, Vali extended his hand while brimming with self-confidence and stated.

“Fuu, I’m Vali. While I’m of the bloodline of the Maou[3] Lucifer I’m also a legendary dragon——the one who bears the one and only Vanishing Dragon[4].”

………….

…………………….

……M-Maou? Lucifer? D-dragon? The one……and only?

Tobio inclined his neck. Without warning, he was saying things like “Maou”. Moreover, something about a “Dragon”. ……To be repeatedly listing such supernatural phenomenon as part of his personal history, as one would expect with such beyond extraordinary terms like “Maou” and “Dragon”, he couldn’t help but to stymied.

Tobio, in some way or another,

“……A-aah, is that so?”

All he could do was respond as such and smile.

The aforementioned Vali was putting on airs with a posed expression while nodding in accent.

“Fuu, for someone like you who was an ordinary person until just the other day it’s still too early for such talk.”

……And with that that being said, Tobio was simply left in suspense.

Regarding this……wouldn’t it be good to check with the youth’s knowledge? Natsume suddenly approached and whispered in his ear.

(He’s afflicted with the so called “2nd year of junior high school sickness” that’s typical of his age. In any case though, he is serving as our companion.)

Ah, indeed, Tobio thought as he struck his palm in comprehension.

Given that, when he had been a junior high school student himself, he recalled suffering from a similar condition, it was easy to understand the youth’s speech and behavior.

It seemed certain that he was perhaps in possession of a Sacred Gear or could use magical power. Furthermore he was from the bloodline of the Maou, and also was called a legendary dragon.

Possessing such supernatural power at his age, Tobio understood that such symptoms couldn’t be helped.

——And, while looking over at them, Vali began muttering aloud to himself.

“……Right, I understand. This is all for this time. Anything more would amount to nothing.”

With that highly interested observation, noticing their gaze, he spoke with pretension.

“Fuh, the dragon within me and your ‘dog’ are responding to each other.”

“……’The dragon that is within me’……?”

In response to Tobio’s inquiry Vali spoke while pointing his thumb at his chest.

“Didn’t I say it? I carry a legendary dragon within my body. After all I did talk about that guy already.”

……Indeed, he had talked about that huh. That……can’t be helped. It seems that at his age, Tobio had to force himself to comprehend such things.

Natsume spoke while poking him.

(That kind of setting, it’s probable. Completely!)[5]

“……Y-yeah, now, it would be good if we could speak with this dragon.”

While forcing his face into a smile, Tobio replied as such.

“Fufu, isn’t that inexcusably superficial? I am a dragon, right.”

He shouldn’t demolish the youth’s dream settings. Such things are transient. It was acceptable to just observe until he recovered, not because forcibly repudiating it with reality was unreasonable, but rather because it would have a completely negative influence on the youth’s mental growth.

——Then, Lavinia appeared on the rooftop before anyone could realize it. Acquainted with Vali, she stroked his head.

“Good boy good boy, Va-kun.”

Vali shook of her hand.

“D-don’t stroke me! I’m not a child!”

Ooh, now this way of getting mad was appropriate for his age. His tone was more natural. Likewise, his “2nd year of junior high sickness”-like behavior until now seems to have just been him just putting on airs.

In this short time, it seems that he had come to understand a few things about this boy named Vali.

Lavinia spoke.

“It is time for breakfast. Let us all eat. Shark has just woken up.”

——Well, that said it was he himself who would be making breakfast, the implication being that he had consented to repeatedly be in charge of preparing food going forward.

Vali spoke while stroking his chin.

“Oi, Ikuse Tobio. It’ll be rewarding if you accompany me. ——I can give you days-worth of the phosphorus food ‘Welsh Onion Miso Ramen’. It’s special.”

…………How condescending of this young boy to treat someone to cup ramen. Though it was not at all possible to say that, and since it seemed that he had good intentions, he had no intention of denying him.

“A-ah, let’s eat.”

Furthermore it seems that he ought to prepare home cooking for five people…….

“Geez, can you not resist something as great as cup noodles?”

While Natsume was sighing while speaking to Vali, the person himself——

“Whatever enters the stomach is the same. Pouring boiling water into cup noodles only takes three minutes. In regards to situations where one seeks to immediately satisfy their hunger, there is nothing else better suited.”

Merely replied as such. The youth had an apparently quite peculiar life theory. However, as Natsume said cup noodles at his age were unhealthy. It was good that preparing breakfast was his duty Tobio thought to himself.

Natsume, letting out another big sigh, left her shoulders droop.

“In any case, let’s tidy up. Even though there are no residents in this condominium other than us, I feel the condition of this place is much too poor.”

Tobio was especially embarrassed by the disastrous scene of the rooftop. The rooftop had been filled with distorted blades. Well, what would they do about this…….

Sleepily, Jin who was beside him yawned.


Translation Notes[edit]

  1. Expression of annoyed surprise or shock
  2. Martial arts term referring to defensive maneuvers
  3. Devil King
  4. Kanji: White Dragon
  5. I think she’s saying how it seems likely that Vali has “2nd year of junior high school sickness”


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