Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume14 Chapter 5
Chapter 5: To the Indecisive Person
A large hole had opened up in the sky. Light filtered into the city before Leerin's eyes. It burst through the air shield, through the monster's body to wave away the clouds and reveal the moon. Leerin didn't know this was made by Barmelin's attack. She also didn't know the danger that the Heaven's Blade successors faced afterwards. The battle had taken a sudden turn for the worst.
She heard Alsheyra's light call and saw her eyebrows knotted, but she didn't understand the true meaning behind it. The butterfly shaped flake exuding the faint light of Psychokinesis had fallen next to the feet, lying on the floor like a dead bug. She didn't understand it.
The moon was pulling at Leerin's right eye because it couldn't take the eye from her.
"Ah, ahhhh........" she moaned. But even Alsheyra and the doll-like Saya didn't seem to notice her moans. They didn't turn to her.
Leerin watched the moon in silence.
She saw the moon and the image that the moon saw. The images in her left eye differed from the one in her right. Her visions overlapped because of different images and this made her head hurt. She covered her left eye with her hand and that made the image in her right eye clearer.
This was what the moon saw. The scenery from above Grendan. A monster with many heads was swallowing Grendan into its stomach. The face of the enemy that covered the entire city.
This monster was shaking its long neck as its ten heads roared at her. Lightning fell and hit the monster.
But it wasn't hurt. It kept roaring.
Leerin felt blood loss at the scenery of hatred aimed at her. Her eyes felt shaky. Suddenly, this scenery disappeared into darkness.
When she realized it, the hole in Grendan's sky had closed up once more. The flake was still lifeless beside Alsheyra and Alsheyra's eyes were tightly closed, as if she was enduring something.
Something important had happened, sinking Grendan into a new crisis.
But Leerin understood something. She knew what she wanted to see.
(One more time.)
She begged and watched the sky.
What had turned strange?
Layfon had to put all of his concentration into the fight but even he felt the delicate change in the air. The original tension suffusing the entire city was gone. But this didn't mean the battle had ended because creatures kept raining down in the airspace Layfon was in. The large river that counter-attacked those live-bullets had not stopped.
But something was shaken. A spider's net wouldn't be destroyed even attacked by a furious wind, but the tension of a net being finished had relaxed. The indestructible spider's net was slowly losing its shape.
This was an event that was unbelievable for a battlefield in Grendan. Such an intense change in the air of Grendan had never happened no matter how harsh the battle was, not to mention that all the Heaven's Blade successors were fighting.
Still, just what was happening?
What was it? Where was it happening?
Derek was striking at him with his katana.
Layfon blocked the attack, his external Kei eliminating the live-bullets around him in the process. This scenery had happened countless times already. He couldn't count the number now.
Should he tell father of this change? This consideration ended when he noticed his father's expression as the two blades clashed.
Father had already noticed it.
But he still prioritized Layfon's fight.
Nothing would change his decision. This stubbornness began with Derek and was passed down to Leerin and Layfon. The other siblings must be the same too. So Layfon gave up trying to persuade him. Besides, Layfon felt empty for not knowing what he wanted to be in the future. He could only go with the flow and he wasn't comfortable with that.
It was normal that he felt Nina was very bright for him. Her path was different from his but she had something that he had lost. She wouldn't let go no matter what.
Layfon might have hated her for losing everything if she had taken a wrong step, but he didn't, and he was grateful for that.
The blades kept dancing. External Kei became flashes of light to adorn the sky. The live-bullets also became decorated flowers though their entire bodies were disintegrating. However, both Derek and Layfon ignored them.
Layfon thought this beauty was the most fragile as it turned complete.
The blades hit. Layfon felt the Kei in himself. He felt it too when he fought Savaris and Lintence. Or maybe he was challenging his own limits, the limit of his technique and mental strength, as well as the limit of his Kei. When he fought Savaris it was the limit of the Dites; when he fought Lintence he had to surpass a limit, a limit he could control, the limit of collapse.
And now, he was just challenging his own limits.
Nostalgia filled him being able to fight without reservation. Even though what he held now was only half a Heaven's Blade, it had been his partner for five years. It had been absorbing his Kei and so it felt like a beast was howling in joy at returning to its owner. And similarly, the other half of Wolfstein was joyous at having found a new partner in Derek.
The live-bullets serving as their platforms were destroyed as they jumped from one place to another. The two of them continued to challenge their limits, pouring Kei into their limbs. Layfon didn't need to think anymore. He had endured many fights since small. His body had learned the best Kei skills and techniques after tasting failures, and he used them all automatically.
Layfon had time to think of other things because the actions were too automatic.
And so he also took note of the changes around him, felt the end of the fight even though he didn't know the result would be like. And then he thought something that was even less relevant.
What would he do after surpassing his father?
He had decided to see Leerin. The battle was becoming more chaotic. He didn't know what had happened but he could judge from the air that he might be able to see Leerin more easily than before.
And after meeting her?
He should have already made up his mind. He would listen to her true intention. Did she not need him anymore? Or did she do that for his sake? He wanted to confirm everything. He would save her if he could. He was moving because he had decided, but he was still confused.
He was confused whether his decision was right.
Why did he ask himself this question.......... The answer was simple.
He didn't make a noise. Even if he did, the sound of metal clashing would have drowned it out.
(I'm still scared of losing.)
This battle was nearing its end though he couldn't clearly see how it would turn out. He felt it ending though and the feeling he had pressed down in his heart because of the pressure before him was floating free.
He knew things wouldn't necessarily happen the way he wanted no matter how prepared he was. He knew the pain he felt wouldn't change no matter how he swore that he would endure her scolds.
He knew he could endure physical pain but not the pain in his heart. He couldn't deny that his tactless thoughts were making him feel down even though he was in a fight with his father. A fight that no one must interfere.
Felli felt the change in the air inside the shelter.
"Something has happened," she said.
Psychokinesis couldn't be transmitted to the outside. The flake following Nina had lost its power after bursting through the monster and leaving Grendan. Felli wanted to follow Layfon but the speed of the battle was too fast, so fast that even she couldn't catch up. Besides, the rain of creatures and the Kei that was destroying them were also affecting her flake.
Felli couldn't even gather all of the information inside the city and that didn't sit well with her. She was now located at the entrance of a shelter. Inside was a wider space. Felli didn't have the courage to stay there even though the city's citizens and City Police only made a "why are you here" expression at the Dite in her hand. She knew they wouldn't do anything to her, but as an outsider, she wanted to avoid their gaze as much as possible, and so she chose to stay here.
She couldn't only try to grasp hold of the situation since she couldn't catch up with Layfon. She did this and wasn't happy as she realized the battle was taking a worse turn. The Heaven's Blades were still fighting in a way that turned her knowledge of Military Artists upside down. No one would be left alive if these people fought like this in Zuellni. But none of the Heaven's Blade successors or normal Military Artists had died for now.
A delicate crack had appeared in this unusual situation, in this unusual attack and perfect defensive formation. The Heaven's Blades were still fighting strong but a delicate change had occurred. Felli couldn't tell the real reason behind it, but the situation was clear to her. The Heaven's Blades were still perfectly fighting on their own in their assigned locations, but judging from the entire battle formation, cracks were appearing in the conjunctions of assigned areas. One could calculate that.
The number of live-bullets slipping through the Heaven's Blade successors was increasing.
As if the original 100% had become 98%. Even a mere 2% couldn't be ignored, judging from the enormous number of enemies attacking them. The Heaven's Blades made up the first line of defense, and as such, the burden on the second line of defense had increased.
Also, the swaying of the heart of the second line was clearer than that of the first line. It was slowly losing its accuracy in clearing up the live-bullets. This all happened after the Heaven's Blades executed an attack that differed from before. The defensive formation was weakening. This was very clear.
"What is happening, or that........."
Felli didn't want to turn her thought into words. She pressed it down in her heart.
What would happen if this was what she thought it was? She couldn't make a prediction as she wasn't familiar with Grendan, but the shelter she was in was in Grendan. No one would know the next turn of event........ she shook her head. But what to do next.......
"......... As I thought....... I see."
She hadn't noticed the three coming near because she was deep in thought. She continued to gather information as she turned around.
Standing before her were a boy and two girls. All three of them looked younger than her. Two of them seemed to be of similar age while one was younger. Felli had taken these three to the shelter after Layfon saved them. They should already be in the middle area of the shelter.
Toby made an awkward expression at being found out.
"Ok, this isn't the time for that, let's return."
Rainetta, the girl who was of the same age as him, pulled at his sleeve.
Felli didn't know what to do so she only watched her silently.
"Uh, are you from Zuellni?"
"Ah, yes," Felli answered Anri speculatively, not knowing what would happen, but it was certain that her confusion wasn't shown on her face.
Anri smiled at her with her child-like innocent smile, and then tossed her a bomb.
"Are you Layfon-Nii's girlfriend?"
"Because Toby-Nii said it's not possible for Leerin-Nee to win with such a beautiful person next to him."
"Hey! Don't push that onto me!"
"To- but you did say it."
"Um.... I was only saying."
"So is that true?"
Felli couldn't think of an answer in the face of the girl's naive question.
"So it's true!?" Anri's expression turned complicated. Expectation and discomfort showed on her face, but the feelings of the other two weren't so obvious. Toby was full of expectation and discomfort was heavier on Rainetta's face.
But, no, that wasn't it. Felli wasn't confirming Anri's question with a "well". She was only using it for the rest of her answer.
"Well, how is Layfon-Nii? As a boyfriend? Have you dated? Kissed?"
Felli felt she must resolve this misunderstanding. That was how she felt, but she couldn't say anything in front of the expectant Anri.
So what happened next was like a savior to her.
(Sorry for interrupting when you're so happy.)
The sudden voice made them all turn their gazes to it. A butterfly-shaped flake. She remembered it.
"Ah, Delbone-sama," Anri said.
(Hello, little girl.)
"Hello to you too."
(I'm sorry for interrupting your happy moment. I've something to say to this Nee-san. Could you lend her to me first?)
(Such a good answer.)
Anri smiled at Delbone's praise and returned to Toby's side.
(If possible, I wish to turn this conversation voiceless.)
Felli replied immediately.
Psychokinesists could converse without making a noise. Their words would directly appear in one's head.
(Because there isn't much time left, so I'll say this directly.........)
(Is this related to you disappearing from the battlefield......)
Felli felt her smile of praise through Delbone's Psychokinesis.
(Just a small failure. It made a huge impact on my body. I probably only have two to three minutes left. My heart has stopped but I can keep my consciousness.)
Felli couldn't imagine what it was like to be so relaxed at facing death.
(......... Then, what do you want with me in this hour?)
She regulated her feeling and continued speaking. She mustn't lose time because of her own shaky heart and doubts, as there wasn't much time left for Delbone.
(I hope you can finish my unfinished duty. I've prepared the compensation too. There's some information in the flake before you. That's your compensation.)
(My battle experience till now. I've turned it into data. I won't tell you the way to read it though the data is about to finish moving to this new location. If you could read the information, it wouldn't be hard for you to learn of the thing in it.)
(That kind of thing.)
(Please, can you help?)
(Do you think I can do this on my own?)
(Perhaps you're far better than all Psychokinesists in Grendan just by your ability. But your experience is lacking and so to fill out for your inexperience, there's one more person........)
Delbone's flake had also appeared next to that person.
Elsmau, who was in a sickroom the same shelter as Delone had also sensed the flake in the ceiling through her own Psychokinesis.
(It seems I can't give you enough time to consider.)
Delbone's regret could be felt through her data.
(Then, as I thought........)
Elsmau was the same as Felli, gathering information through her Psychokinesis. She couldn't not do anything probably because she had been through many battles while she was with the Salinvan Guidance Mercenary Gang.
(Her Majesty has to personally give you the Heaven's Blade, but I can reset the Kei fingerprint immediately. I've already set it for you after I die. If it's you, you should be able to activate the Heaven's Blade from a distance using the Light Dite.)
(I'm sorry. There's no time for confusion. The new you under the bandages has inherited the name of the third daughter's husband, Fora. You're already Grendan's Psychokinesist, and from this moment on, you've become a successor, the next Heaven's Blade successor.)
Fermaus' expression was helpless underneath the bandages. She had finished the operation before moving to this shelter, the operation of skin transplant. One would feel tragic just by looking at her even though her body managed to survive in the exposure of pollutants. She had removed the skin that could endure the death-causing pollutants and changed into new skin.
A Heaven's Blade successor had existed who once had changed his brain and Kei vein. That Heaven's Blade stood in battle on the day his brain died. Grendan's medical skill development had sustained him, and so it wasn't difficult for this skill to make the skin transplant possible.
But Elsmau couldn't leave the sickbed yet.
(........... My level of Psychokinesis isn't at grandmother's level.)
(You don't have to be like me. You know your own strength and limits. All you need is do it the way you think is best. And I've prepared the ability in order to solve this situation. She will fill up your weaknesses and you too are to fill up her weaknesses.)
A figure appeared in Fermaus' mind when Delbone said "her". The Psychokinesist that she met in Zuellni. She knew she was in Grendan. Perhaps Delbone was conversing with her now. Fermaus admired her grandmother for being so capable even though she was about to die.
She couldn't return to the Mercenary Gang anymore. The Fermaus in the Mercenary Gang had died. Then let her accept her new life.
(Then from this moment on, I'm Elsmau Quantis Fora. I'll inherit everything from you.)
(Then I'm leaving everything to you, Elsmau Quantis Fora.)
Delbone seemed to pronounce the name with gritted teeth.
Felli accepted the request at the same time.
(You've saved us. Then.......)
Felli touched her own flake to Delbone's under Delbone's instruction. The flake must be transmitting the information, but it was shocking quick. It only took a split second to finish.
Felli felt something different in her head. Perhaps it was Delbone's information. She could tell where the information was just by concentrating, and the doubt in her vanished during the process.
(Then I'm leaving it to you.)
Some other noise was mixed in with the words in Felli's head.
Because the conversation was voiceless, Felli felt Delbone's concentration was now on something behind her.
Standing in a distance behind Felli were the three boy and girls. Anri waved when she saw Felli look at them.
(I've been watching this city for a long time. In it are happiness, sadness, anger, amusement, confusion, argument, joy, blessing, fortune, misfortune, failure and strength. Things that exist and don't exist no matter where it is. Even this city is just a normal city. There are people living in it.)
Even a little girl like Anri would greet Delbone enthusiastically after seeing her flake. This meant Delbone had been constantly protecting the city through Psychokinesis.
(No matter how you decide to live, it'll never change that you are you. But whether you can see the value of being yourself is up to you.)
(I've lived a very good life.)
When Felli turned around, the butterfly-shaped flake lost its radiance to fall into Felli's hand.
She ran as she looked at the monster's figure. She watched Grendan being swallowed and heard the voice of the gigantic monster with man heads. She saw the thin haze drifting beside her, heard the monster's howl at the moon, saw the lightning that fell like decoration on the monster's body.
"A guy you can't joke around with," Sharnid swallowed at the scenery. He didn't know what to say.
Nina was the same.
But she couldn't stand here and space out because she came back to Zuellni by leaving behind Layfon and Felli. She must protect Zuellni from this monster before Zuellni could move again.
But the monster hadn't attacked Zuellni till now.
"Anyway, I can't let down my guard......"
But she couldn't see they were safe. Either way, it was the truth that they were in a crisis and Zuellni couldn't move.
She must confirm the situation with the Student President.
And so she had been running and she moved her gaze away from the monster. The Student President should be in the shelter, or Nina probably thought that Zuellni's Psychokinesists would find her if she kept running.
This expectation soon became reality.
(Nina, it's good you're safe.)
It was Vance's voice.
"Military Arts Head? Where are you?"
The Psychokinesist controlling the flake replied instead and told her the location. She would see it once she went passed the bridge.
(We'll leave the details till you get here.)
Nina nodded put her concentration back on running.
Once could still see some of the sunlight even though a thin layer of dark cloud covered Zuellni's sky. The gray sky looked peaceful. Next to Nina was the city's leg that was destroyed in the fight against the aged phase filth monster. The city's self-repair system was doing its work, but the progress had only made it up several levels. The vine-like things stretching out from where the leg broke off must function like a human being's nerves. It hurt just to look at it.
Nina's chest hurt.
Zuellni was a terrible state but she herself went chasing after the unknown.
"I mustn't allow any more harm to Zuellni," she said to herself and felt more strength in her legs.
Vance was at a location much further away from the outer edge. The buildings destroyed by the giants hadn't been repaired yet. Vance and the others were hiding behind the skeletons of the buildings, using them as the last defensive line.
"We've tried to understand the situation on the other side," Vance immediately answered her question. "Our flakes had tried infiltrating but had failed. We haven't found any areas for infiltration. That monster is covering the entire city, not leaving any cracks."
Vance's words carried a sense of abandonment. But this couldn't be helped. Those giants who attacked the city were already outside one's knowledge base. This time the event was even more incredible. On the other hand, it was commendable that he didn't give up his command but was calmly arranging the defense of the city and giving out commands. And it was commendable for those Military Artists who didn't run away but chose to stay behind to protect this place.
"Gorneo and the others have returned, but that became like that after they returned, so no one knows the situation in Grendan."
"Gorneo and the others were in Grendan?"
She didn't know about that, but Grendan was Gorneo's home city, so he must have his own reason for entering Grendan.
"Uh, those two have exhausted much of their strength. You were there too. How's the situation?"
Nina told him what she knew. Vance and the other Military Artists didn't look good at the beginning of her narrative. Their expressions turned worse as her narrative progressed.
"....... It seems it isn't a situation we can do anything with....." Vance pressed his forehead with a hand as if to relax his headache.
"But we can't do nothing."
"I know, but if what's happening in Grendan happens here, we've no strategy against it."
Nina didn't have any good strategies too. All she had was the strong resolve to protect Zuellni. She would keep on fighting even if she was the only person left. But this resolve wasn't a good strategy.
"All we can do now is pray the people of Grendan can defeat this monster."
Zuellni had no future if they couldn't defeat it. Everyone understood this ending. And Nina knew she shouldn't say anything reckless when they had no strategies, but she wouldn't lose out in air.
This was simple. She had been holding tightly to this simple thing. She didn't feel regret for the effort she put into becoming stronger, but she somehow felt that a part of her had gone lazy if she kept holding onto this simple thinking.
But there was no change to what she should be doing.
She would obey her will and keep on fighting no matter how desperate the situation was.
No matter how strong she had become, what she could do now was about the same as the time when the larvae attacked the city. They might have won the battle without Layfon at the cost of many sacrifices, but they won without any casualties because Layfon was here. Could Nina become the Layfon back then?
She asked herself. What would the power of the Haikizoku do to that monster?
And what was Layfon doing now?
They had lost contact with him after Layfon left for the orphanage. Felli hadn't told them anything. Nina didn't think he would die, but then she had just seen his defeated self. And right now, she couldn't contact Felli.
So she must protect Zuellni. She must protect it so Layfon and Felli could return to it.
They let Nina go after she told them the information she had. Even if they were to hold a strategic meeting, all Nina's information did was tell them how appalling this monster was.
Nina sat on the debris and watched Grendan. What good way was there to defeat this monster? But she couldn't come up with a conclusion. She was only losing her time.
What appeared in her heart was her desire and worry to save Layfon and Felli and about Leerin. She had to save her if Leerin didn't return to Grendan out of her own free will. But she didn't feel she had the right to do this. Leerin was her friend, but she came to Zuellni for Layfon, and so Layfon should be the one saving her. Either way, she herself........ Nina couldn't do it. In that case, she should prioritized protecting Zuellni.
This was all she could do even if the event unfolding before her was related to the survival of this world.
She held tightly to the flake in her hand and looked at the monster.
The voice from the flake jolted her awake. This wasn't Vance's voice.
The owner of the voice was Karian.
"..... I'm sorry. Felli...."
(I've heard the gist of it from Vance. Never mind that. Excuse me, can you come down to the Mechanical Department immediately?)
She thought Karian would be more worried about Felli, but then she remembered that he wasn't one to take of his personal things first in a crisis. Besides, she was keen on his reason behind his request.
"Did anything happen?"
It was Nina's first time to hear the voice of an Electronic Fairy when she had a dream in Grendan. Zuellni's voice. Did anything happen to her?
(Just head over first.)
The flake left after that.
Nina was thinking of leaving too, but now she really had to leave. Sharnid was with Dalshena and Naruki who were waiting for their injuries to heal. Nina greeted them and then left by herself.
That place wasn't that far for the feet of a Military Artist. Nina arrived at it and entered the Mechanical Department. There were students there fixing up the place. The heat inside was much hotter than better.
Karian walked out of the restroom that the cleaners of the Mechanical Department used as a changing room. Sweat beaded in Karian's face. The same silvery hair that Felli had was stuck on his face. He must have spent his time watching the students repair the place.
His expression looked worse than his face.
"Student President. Are you ok?"
It seemed he would collapse any moment. This heat, plus he wasn't a person of physical strength. Usually he was very busy, and then one crisis happened after another. His mental and physical strength must be close to the limit.
"You should rest a bit."
"No. Everything will be fine if we can overcome this crisis. I can't collapse at this time."
"Compared to me, there's something you've to worry about"
Nina didn't know why he called her over, but since she was here, that reason must be extraordinary.
"Did anything happen to Zuellni?"
"She returned to the Mechanical Department after conversing with me."
Conversing with Zuellni?
"Go. You'll understand."
Karian's face was pale. Was his paleness not related to his exhaustion? But what did he hear from Zuellni?
Nina slowly entered the central area with a big bundle of doubts. She had entered this area before when Melnisc caused Zuellni to go on a rampage. Though she only knew of the existence of the Wolf Faces from Dixerio, or one could say she contacted the strange changes of this world when she leapt through cities, but it all happened after she entered the central area.
The three children chosen by the cruel fate.
That was what Schneibel said. As the mother, the prototype, she would call all other Electronic Fairies "children", then she must be referring to Electronic Fairies. And the ones who were with her at that time were Grendan, Melnisc and Zuellni.
Was Zuellni burdened with a cruel fate too? Wasn't she an Electronic Fairy of an Academy City, a city that nurtured the young? No. Things weren't that simple. Nelphilia held the same appearance as Saya, the original of Electronic Fairies. The beautiful girl who seemed to call forth disaster. She was in Zuellni before. Perhaps everything was related to that.
Nina's feet halted. She had arrived at her destination.
There was a huge gem before her, a gem that hadn't undergone any processing. Connected to it were large machineries and tubes. This was where the Electronic Fairy lived. The soul of the Regios.
Zuellni existed in this gem of unknown color.
Nina felt nostalgia when she saw her. Though she was more familiar with this Zuellni, she had yet to adapt to this sudden change.
But this only took a split second. Nina immediately noticed and understood the reason behind the change.
The Electronic Fairy smiling in the gem wasn't the grown form that appeared after contacting with Falnir. This was the form of a little girl that Nina first knew.
Zuellni smiled in the gem and didn't reply. She had never communicated with words, just like the many times when she met Nina, and so Nina shouldn't be feeling any nostalgia even though Zuellni wasn't saying anything.
But Nina had heard of her voice. She heard of Zuellni's voice when she was in Lance Shelled city.
And Karian had also had some special contact with Zuellni. And so why wasn't she answering?
(My owner. Zuellni is very weak right now. Please don't force her.)
Melnisc answered instead.
No, this couldn't be helped. The city's leg was broken. It couldn't even move. Perhaps Nina had made a wrong conclusion. Zuellni was the city's consciousness. A consciousness without a body. The city itself was the Electronic Fairy's body, and the Electronic Fairy was like the soul of a human being. Though it wasn't sure whether humans had souls, the city did have it, and that was the Electronic Fairy.
The body was busy repairing the leg, and so Zuellni must be pouring the Regios' strength into the damaged area. So it was understandable that she had weakened.
(That isn't the only reason, Master.)
Melnisc's meaning clearly put her in the wrong.
"So what happened?"
(Did that girl in dark clothes not tell you? There's no place to retreat to.)
(This is what she meant. An equivalent price is needed to overcome a difficulty. This is what you have to have, and so you were called.)
(Merciful Electronic Fairy. You have accepted me who went insane because of madness, who almost stepped on the dangerous path of self-destruction. This is what your existence is like. As long as you live, my spirit remains self-sacrificing. You accept those who are confused no matter what will happen. You give guidance to those who don't know their future. This is what your existence is like, and so the Academy City is more suitable for you than any other cities.)
Zuellni smiled, giving off a faint light. But was she commending him? If you looked at this from another angle? He was calling her stupid for sacrificing herself.
"So just what is going on?" Nina howled. "Why is Zuellni this weak?"
Because the city had come across this situation? Or was there another reason? Why did Zuellni turn back into a girl?
Zuellni's expression turned heavy. She didn't say anything.
(The power obtained from Falnir, Falnir had anticipated the intense battle afterwards and so deliberately transferred it to Zuellni so Zuellni could be reborn.)
Melnisc's voice echoed in place of Zuellni's.
(But Zuellni didn't do it. She gave the power to the one who wanted to walk her own path. Zuellni paid her own price in order to help that person move forward.)
Nina was speechless. The person who wanted to walk her own path. The price. The girl in the color of black had no path to retreat to.
Nina couldn't still not understand. She wasn't this clumsy.
But she wished she was a bit clumsier at this point because it would lessen her feeling of guilt, because the guilt in her chest was about to shatter her chest.
But she had to accept this pain. If she didn't do this, she would have lost to Dixerio in that fight and had her memory taken. She would have become a person not understanding anything. She would have only suffered for feeling impotent.
But regardless, she still felt painful for her own impotence now.
"Was this all because of me?"
There were two Dites in her weapon harness. They had been destroyed some time during the battle but for some reason they had been repaired. The reborn Dites were enough to endure the Haikizoku's power.
Zuellni had used Falnir's power to make these two iron whips for her.
It didn't matter to her even if she were to sink into danger.
"Was it because of me that this situation......"
Zuellni couldn't move because of her, and thousands of students were to face the crisis of death.
"This....... Isn't what an Electronic Fairy should do."
Nina couldn't stop her shoulders from shaking with anger and sadness. The Electronic Fairy had chosen to resolve one person's crisis rather than save thousands of people. This was unforgivable.
"Will things be solved if I return this power?"
(That is not possible. A power that has been materialized cannot return to its original form.)
"Is there no way out?"
(Haven’t you been warned?)
Everything was too late. Too late to begin anew. Zuellni was in a dilemma. The monster was concentrating on Grendan now but it would turn its destructive power to Zuellni after Grendan fell.
Nina herself had caused Zuellni's current crisis.
(........This is from Zuellni.)
Nina was afraid of Melnisc's words.
Zuellni maintained her smile in the gem, but Nina didn't dare look directly at the figure. She blamed herself, but she hadn't thought of suicide. She stood between life and death at that time. If she had lost her memory she would have forgotten all that she had walked through. The person she was living as now would have vanished, and this was the same as death in a certain way.
Nina didn't want to commit suicide.
(Have you found it? That was what she said.)
No. No. Not like that.
Nina wasn't viewed as someone involved at that time in the dream of Grendan. She had no authority to decide anything. She was just caught in the mess by Dixerio, possessed by Melnisc and arrived at that place by following the flow. She had no authority to decide anything. Sheniebel was only considering Melnisc's feeling and hadn't asked Nina anything.
As if Nina was just a tool.
And she was angry about that.
Her own feeling was ignored in the battle against Dixerio. Nina couldn't comprehend his theory, and he wanted to unreasonably take away her memories.
Nina only felt infuriated. She only felt infuriated towards Sheniebel and Dixerio. In anger, she had chosen to walk her current path and refused to forget her past self. And she had allowed Zuellni to come to danger for the sake of her own anger.
"Have you found it?"
Have you found the path you should take?
This was Zuellni's question.
"That kind of thing........"
She couldn't understand.
She was angry when she was in Grendan, as if the tools for drawing could only draw in black in her heart. She got caught in the mystery of this world but she wasn't allowed to do anything about it. Everything made her feel very angry. She felt she had to do something no matter what.
But her anger was reduced after she met up with Layfon and the others and had a discussion with them. Not that she wasn't angry but that anger had become more tolerable.
And right now, the effect of that anger was spread out before her.
She didn't understand what she had to do now.
"Only...... Only a little. I've decided."
She was full of regret. She felt like vomiting for unknowingly carrying such a heavy burden.
Even so, she had to keep moving forward. She would not give up the burden and escape her responsibility.
"I'll protect you. I'll take away your discomfort no matter what happens, no matter what we encounter and no matter what the battle is like."
She didn't know if Zuellni was satisfied with her answer but she had decided. She would have returned to Zuellni when she knew of Zuellni's act even if she had stayed in Grendan. If she was in Grendan, she would have regretted more. She didn't understand the purpose of her existence. It was better if the mystery of the world remained far away. Nina couldn't give up what existed before her eyes.
She had nothing else to do even if the future direction turned out differently.
Zuellni was smiling.
Though she didn't know if this smile was acknowledging, Nina felt her burden had lightened.
What could she do for Zuellni? She must act after thinking on it. She must act no matter whether the action was the right one.
(Captain, can you hear me?)
She heard Felli's voice again when she returned to the outer edge once more.
Time turned back to just a while ago. Just a little while before Delbone contacted Felli.
The Heaven's Blade successors were in chaos.
"Hey, what's going on?"
"What's the strategy? Has she found the enemy's weak point?"
"Hey hey, old woman, this isn't the time to joke."
"What's the situation? Hurry up with the report!"
Voices filled with frustration swept through the outer edge area, but this voice failed to reach the other's ears. The flakes beside them remained silent and helpless on the ground.
The Psychokinesists were still here. They also heard the Heaven's Blade successors' voice but they couldn't believe their senses. Delbone was dead. No, in Delbone flowed the same blood as theirs. Delbone was like a grandmother to them. She was their idol. For such a person to suddenly die, they couldn't calmly accept it, handle it and analyze it. Either way there were too many Psychokinesists who were blood related kin of Delbone's. They were shocked at having lost their pillar of spirit and strength. This feeling was overlapped with sadness for having lost the person they loved, and this was attacking the Psychokinesists.
The Heaven's Blade successors were confused for having lost the information. They could only protect their assigned area with the strength that they were so proud of. But the holes in the boundaries between these areas were increasing and this meant the number of enemies that could move around freely in the city was also rising.
They were the strongest Military Artists in this world.
But their real substance was a soldier's.
They had been assigned to the battlefield and had been fighting according to the situation itself, but they didn't have the ability to grasp hold of the directions of every soldier and command them accordingly.
Delbone was the most suitable to command judging from her ability and so she had been doing this job. The Heaven's Blades couldn't complete their mission now that they had lost her. Cracks had appeared in their coordination after losing Delbone. The cracks were even larger than what Felli was sensing. The live-bullets pierced through these cracks and accurately appeared in front of the Military Artists.
The live-bullets that had successfully entered the city were like the one that appeared at the orphanage. They were like bugs that opened their legs and unfolded their wings. Something that looked like an egg grew on the soft looking part of the body, and another creature crawled out of the egg that was then split out. Every live-bullet carried around 20 to 30 of these things. This meant ten live-bullets in the city would create around an army of 200 skeletons.
One hundred live-bullets were two thousand.
One thousand live-bullets were twenty thousand.
Though an individual skeleton didn't mean a lot to Grendan's Military Artists, the increasing number of live-bullets that slipped through the Heaven's Blades' defense would eventually gather up when the city's assaulting speed slowed down.
The army of skeletons led by the huge bugs, those that the Military Artists had failed to destroy continued to increase in number and at last formed a huge organization numbering more than one thousand. They began to ignore the attacks of the Military Artists as they headed straight for their goal.
The center of the city.
Their goal was Grendan's palace.
And the Heaven's Blade successors didn't know this was happening behind their backs. Only Barmelin and Tigris, the two who were shooting down the live-bullets from inside the city, had noticed the changes.
"This is getting troublesome."
Tigris had a difficult expression on his face. The army of skeletons was forming small groups in their progress under the standing point of the tall building that Tigris was on. If groups were also forming in other places then the number of enemies wouldn't be just one thousand but over ten thousand. Though the Military Artists were battling the newly formed groups, the situation would still be very bad if the number was over ten thousand. There wouldn't be any ways to stop them if they cared nothing for their fallen comrades.
"It seems they plan to defeat the Queen, such a bold move."
Of course, Tigris wasn't worried about the Queen's safety. It was not possible for the Queen to die, but she would get distracted when trying to defeat this group of monsters. Right now, she was concentrating on using the smallest and most accurate amount of Kei to destroy the huge monster. It was very difficult for her to control her huge amount of Kei. The Heaven's Blades were the same. The lowest bar for the Heaven's Blade successors was that they couldn't fully exhibit their large amount of Kei without their Heaven's Blades. And the Queen's Kei far surpassed theirs.
The city would sustain a fatal injury if she casually attacked with her full strength.
"But the other side would win if we can't defend comfortably."
This was true.
The Heaven's Blade successors and the Queen were all very strong, so strong that they could laugh at the Military Artists of any city.
But this didn't mean they weren't human.
Their bodies would be exposed to the pollutants if this city was destroyed. They would die once they inhaled a certain amount of pollutants in the sky. If the army of skeletons managed to interrupt the Queen's concentration and she then attacked recklessly and ended up destroying the city too. The Heaven's Blade successors that were fighting in this dilemma on the defense line had no time to resolve this crisis.
No. Maybe they could.
But this was a very dangerous bet. The Heaven's Blade successors could give up defending and instead, used an attack that far surpassed this monster's regeneration ability to completely annihilate it. But it wasn't possible to estimate the amount of time needed for this strategy to work.
And the city would sustain the greatest harm in the time of the Heaven's Blades giving up their defense.
To kill or be killed. Should they risk it? Even the Heaven's Blades were hesitating, not to mention the ordinary citizens of the city.
But the person who had reached her limit had appeared beside Tigris.
"AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Barmelin howled. "So annoying. Super annoying! Go die. Die in pieces!"
"Idiot. Don't do something stupid!"
But it was too late. Barmelin tossed away the cannons in her hands, took up her Heaven's Blade Swattice and shot out a pillar of light. One shot after another. Each shot punched a hole in the monster that was covering Grendan and allowed the people in the city to glimpse the outside.
Tigris forced himself again to protect the area she had abandoned. Layfon's fight was destroying quite a number of live-bullets in the sky but that was only one part of many places. It wasn't complete.
External Kei variation – Meandering Haze. Scattered Luster.
Tigris' arrows instantly smothered Grendan's sky.
This was the action he took alone to protect his and Barmelin's areas. Either way, his move only worked for a few minutes. Barmelin, who had gone on a rampage, continued to shoot pillars of light at the monster during this time. Numerous holes opened in the monster's body and sealed up again, but other new holes then appeared. This scenario repeated itself again and again. But this was the same as doubling Tigris' burden, and this burden wasn't lifting. Tigris had confidence he could keep up with it, but he wasn't so sure now that his burden was increasing.
Was it the burden on his spirit?
No. His body.
Perhaps this was the first fatal weakness in the coordination of the Heaven's Blade successors. This weakness appeared because they had lost Delbone, their commander.
The defensive formation was losing shape. Barmelin lacked self-control in her attack. Tigris' body was reaching its limit because of his old age.
The limit came after shooting a few more shots. Intense pain came from the Kei vein around his back, and it was running through his organs because of a chain reaction. The elder vomited blood.
"Quick. Stop. We can't destroy the balance of the defense."
It already took most of his strength to say those words. In the next moment, he pushed Barmelin away, sending her flying.
The defensive line collapsed above them. The live-bullets fell to attack the two of them. Tigris had no more strength left to avoid them.
"Old man!" Barmelin said as she restored her cannons to stop the live-bullets' invasion.
The buildings around them were destroyed in the split second that the rain of bullets fell. Barmelin was moving as she tried to find a new standing point, shooting continuously with the cannons and defending.
"Old man!" she said as she moved.
But Tigris had not climbed out of the debris no matter how many times she called.
The other Heaven's Blade successors couldn't have not noticed this change. But they didn't do anything. All they could do now was increase their area of protection even if just by a little. None of them wanted to scold Barmelin. They might have done the same thing as her.
"Damn. Does this mean two down?" Ruimei howled in anger. The other Heaven's Blades too. Delbone's mission had failed and death would come.
And Tigris had faced death just then. He had confidence to hold out for a few more days if he was only shouldering his own burden, but the live-bullets slipping through the creaks were becoming a number that the Military Artists behind him failed to handle. This was already happening.
"We can only do this now."
Reverse stopped the impatient Cauntia.
"This isn't the time to bet with such a risk."
"But we'll all be eliminated if this continues. We'll all die."
Reverse gritted his teeth under the mask at his lover's sigh.
"Be patient. You must be patient! We can only be patient now! Psychokinesists! How much longer are you going to space out! You must act now that Delbone-sama is not here!" Kalvan shouted.
"Ah, really....... This is bad." Troyatte's lips twisted because of his teasing smile. The balls of light that burnt the sky continued to expand.
"Psychokinesists! Hurry and report!" Sadness coloured Kanaris' dance.
"..............." Lintence lit a cigarette in silence. "I see, so this is hell," he said in a low voice as he breathed out thin, green smoke. The cigarette turned into pieces after he held it tightly in his palm. Lintence took a step forward.
(Ah, you people are so noisy.)
A faint voice filled with disapproval echoed throughout Grendan.
He noticed it. The flake that had fallen helplessly on the ground and was blown far away by his attack now exuded a faint light and returned to his side.
Delbone's flake had taken back its light.
But the voice coming from it was not Delbone's,.
"Who are you?" Ruimei asked.
The other Heaven's Blades heard this question too. The network supported by Psychokinesis had returned. He had never heard of this voice from the Psychokinesists that he knew. There wasn't a clue in his brain of the owner of this voice.
This voice sounded young. It wouldn't be strange that the voice belonged to a young person, but then it wasn't strange for him to take note of person with strength that could overtake another's flake.
(Is it important who I am? Compared to that, what's with this tragic scene when you're all a group of adults? Can't you shut up and do what you should be doing?)
The voice coming through the flake was faint but it had clearly hit the faces of the Heaven's Blades.
"You........." Ruimei said with gritted teeth.
(Sorry. Please excuse us.)
The voice after that was also faint but it was clearly filled with worry. It wasn't that girl before, but a voice of a more mature woman.
(I'm Elsmau Fora, a person who has inherited Delbone-sama's Heaven's Blade, Quantis. The official procedure hasn't been completed, so please treat this as a brief ceremony in the special circumstance that is the war.)
There was a need to provide necessary information in this situation though everyone else was a bit flustered.
(First allow me to report to you the current situation. There are around ten thousand and five hundred enemies that have infiltrated Grendan and they are heading straight for the palace. The defensive line has been spread out but it's only a matter of time before it collapses. And the death of Heaven's Blade successors Delbone-sama and Tigris-sama has also been confirmed.)
Two Heaven's Blade successors had died.
Silence fell to them after this notice.
(The battle resumes.)
The girl's voice once again shattered the silence.
(Heaven's Blade successors are to continue to maintain this situation. Break through one point and investigate the monster's weakness.)
"Who will open the hole?" Cauntia asked.
"It's already hard enough to maintain this situation. The number of enemies will increase in the city if we show any more weaknesses."
(Another person has already been selected to replace your lack of strength.)
"What did you say!?"
(As I said, you only need to do what you have to with your most effort. You are not children anymore. Don't complain and just follow orders.)
"Don't you get ahead of yourself.........." Ruimei howled but a voice drowned him out. It was laughter.
"Ahhahahahaha! Great. No. Incredible. Ahhahaha! You're right. We're shamed."
The laughter came from Troyatte.
Troyatte ignored Ruimei's reproached and continued to laugh.
"As she said, old man. We're all adults. How long are we to fiddle around for? If you're feeling like a child being scolded, then show her that you're the adult."
"You're right. Let's believe in that person," Reverse said.
Ruimei nodded reluctantly.
Everyone else also followed Reverse's suggestion.
"Hey, don't take all the good things yourself."
"Uh? Ah, sorry."
"My Reverse is a real good man compared to you. Of course!" Cauntia said happily.
"So noisy," Barmelin said.
That voice had been faint from start to finish, and that was how it was left to the adults.
She sighed deeply in the shelter.
It was Felli.
(They're the Military Artists with the highest status in Grendan. You should have respected them more.)
(I'd give them however much you want if that can change the current situation.)
Felli answered Elsmau's complaint coldheartedly. She was surprised that Elsmau was Delbone's successor and the Psychokinesists, Fermaus, of the Salinvan Mercenary Guidance Gang. She was also surprised that she was female. Felli never thought this would happen.
Felli's experience was rich as a Psychokinesist. Elsmau's Psychokinesis interfered with her and rendered her helpless when Haia captured her. Felli had never stomached that part down.
But this time she had to put aside her anger, surprise and regret. She should concentrate everything on the crisis before her.
(But do you think your strategy would work?)
(We'd only encounter the same result if we did it the same way as that person did.)
Delbone had successfully connected Felli and Elsmau before her death. This meant together, the two of them held the power that equated Delbone's, or close enough to Delbone's.
(Or do you have the confidence in this situation to finish what that person wants to do but hasn't finished?)
Elsmau fell silent. Even Felli didn't have that confidence.
But they had no other choice. They must increase the accuracy of the Queen's strike. What Elsmau was concerned with was the person that Felli said was to open the hole.
(That's what you're looking for. Why not trust that a little bit?)
(True. I can only trust now.)
(Anyway, the flakes on the outside have already conveyed the message because of the rampage earlier on. This means we can still see the situation outside even if the hole is to close up again.)
(That's only if the opponent's weak spot hasn't changed.)
(Uh, either way we're racing against time.)
They had finished confirming their strategy. Elsmau had been working as an informant for the Mercenary Gang alone, and Felli had few chances to work with other Psychokinesists. Both of them lacked experience in teamwork and so they were unable to cover up the tension they felt.
The sudden voice made Felli's shoulders shake. The short shout contained pressure that one couldn't ignore.
That voice belonged to Lintence.
(What is it?)
"Let that girl speak."
He heartlessly chased out Elsmau. Felli calmed down a little before answering him.
"Ask that guy just how long does he plan to keep playing for."
Felli couldn't answer. Perhaps this man already knew she wasn't a citizen of Grendan. That must be it. So she must speak with "the guy" that Lintence mentioned.
She felt that to be the biggest difficulty in this battle.
The situation continued to change. The feeling of collapse was obvious in the air. Chaos exploded in a split second in the river of live-bullets beneath his feet, and this made the collapse in the air turn more severe.
"Father!" Layfon called. He knew he had to fight in front of his father's mental preparation, but he felt that they shouldn't keep fighting in this situation.
"Not only Leerin is in this city! But also Toby and the other siblings!"
"I've already said so. If you want to do something, then open the path ahead with your katana!"
But father's words didn't change.
Layfon felt that he must do something now. He couldn't let this situation go on anymore.
He saw the butterfly-shaped flake as he jumped in the gaps between live-bullets.
He was shocked to hear this familiar voice, but he immediately caught the flake and stuffed it in his pocket.
"Felli, what is it? This flake is.......?"
(Delbone-sama is dead.)
The shock from the words caused an opening in his fight.
Derek would never let this opening go. He closed the distance between the two in a split second. Two weapons clashed again. Layfon's head could have been flying in the air had his time of shock lasted longer. He shivered at Derek's murderous intent.
(Let me tell you the current situation.)
But Felli kept speaking in this situation, as if she didn't care. She never gave him the chance to protest. He could only listen in silence, and Derek was also forced to listen to her report.
Delbone's death. This last line of defense had collapsed. The enemies had infiltrated the city and were heading for the palace. Felli's voice was faint but it contained unusual energy.
(And what are you two doing in this situation? Layfon, is your purpose to fight this old man here? And you. Just what are you doing when your own city is in this situation?)
The strength pressing down on the two katana showed no signs of weakening, but both fighters couldn't suppress the bitterness showing on their faces.
(I can tell from the conversation between you two that you're the head of the orphanage that Layfon was raised in.)
(But can you totally not consider your son's feelings just because you want to realize your daughter's wish?)
Derek kept silent as Layfon maintained his pose, keeping up the pressure on the blade and waiting for his reply or Felli's next question.
(........ I understand.)
Layfon didn't expect her to retreat like that. He was still putting pressure on the blade and Derek's strength remained strong on the katana. Layfon wouldn't reduce the pressure due to his own sense of shock.
(Then please hurry and make your decision. Otherwise everything would be too late. Not only might everyone in Grendan die, but Zuellni might also be destroyed.)
The live-bullets the two stood on were hit by Kei and became pieces as Felli spoke. This naturally ended the dilemma of the fight and Layfon leapt away.
He could tell she was trying to persuade Derek, but why did she suddenly back off? It would have been great had she been able to persuade him.
But she had seen through him.
(That's not possible.)
She curtly refused him.
(I already knew it isn't possible. I only talked to him to confirm it.)
Felli didn't seem to plan to unravel his confusion.
(There isn't much time left. The longer time you use, the heavier burden it'll be for the captain. Please don't forget this.)
"Just what's going on?"
She was once again talking about something he didn't understand. But....... To make the captain's burden heavier? He didn't understand, but he knew from the current situation that he couldn't keep wasting time like this. He was only clear about this part.
(Next is a message from Lintence. "Just how long does he plan to keep playing for". That was what he said.)
Lintence's words gave him a bigger impact. It was impossible for him not to notice this fight. So did he understand everything?
(Get it? You're allowed the time for the next strike. Don't lose any more time than that........ and, the opponent seems to be preparing to end this in the next move.)
Layfon understood this. Derek was also leaping between live-bullets and keeping a distance from him, maintaining the same altitude as him. And he clearly sensed the huge whirl-like Kei concentrating around Derek. Perhaps Layfon already knew what he was planning.
Both sides wanted to win in the next move. They didn't have to think about their next move. They just needed to decide everything by clashing with all their might.
Psychokinesis was reading Layfon's expression. Felli's voice spread out like a drop of ink falling into clear water.
(That person wants to see.)
(He wants to see a son in you.)
Derek's Kei showed he was prepared. Layfon could feel the flow of that Kei in this battlefield was the existence of perfection. It was an art made for the elegant and intense final stroke of the pen.
(He wants to see how much you've grown and what your level of determination is.)
Derek's Kei painted the surrounding sky like wings grown with feathers. It was gathered to the Heaven's Blade in his hand, caused by the Kei vein that ran through his body and into the weapon. This was originally a very normal act for Military Artists, but it looked so very bright from Derek's strong determination. It was beautiful enough to shock one's heart.
(Your determination, the real you, that's what that person wants to see.......)
Layfon couldn't move his gaze away from Derek. He raised his own Kei as he listened.
Psyharden technique – Water Mirror.
(Are you going to just show that person your dishonest side.......?)
Derek appeared before his eyes.
(I hate this you.)
Kei technique was released.
At the same time.
Psyharden technique – Flame Cut.
The techniques of the two clashed.
Equipment geared for outside city use wrapped around her entire body as she stood.
Nina was on the outside, on the outside of Zuellni, on the outside of Grendan, and landed on top of the monster. She had planned to do this even without Felli's contact. This was reckless but she knew she had nothing else to do but this.
(I hope Captain can attack the monster from the outside.)
Nina was thankful for Felli's timely request, but she hadn't explained the strategy. It seemed the contact was limited. The flake had lost its strength after her contact and once more fell useless in Nina's hand. It seemed Felli wouldn't have a chance to talk to the Student President and Vance. And so Nina had prepared everything herself, sneaked into the equipment room and got ready for outside city fight. Nina accomplished this easier as all other Military Artists had to be on the ready for anything.
But she didn't want people to think she had lost it, resulting in Vance making a mistake for grasping hold of the wrong information and the Military Artists attacking the monster much earlier than needed. This wasn't what Nina wanted to see. That monster was concentrating on attacking Grendan and hadn't done anything to Zuellni, but it wouldn't ignore it long once it was attacked from this side.
So Nina had told what she planned to Sharnid and asked him to convey that message to Vance.
She didn't relay the message herself because she didn't want Vance to stop her. So she had only told Sharnid the necessary information and had then come here.
She knew what she was about to do was without a strategy.
All Heaven's Blade successors were fighting, but the situation was still in a dilemma. The addition of Nina probably wouldn't make any changes. But nothing would be solved if nothing was done.
(Please attack the monster with all of your strength, but please don't be reckless. If you were dead and Zuellni was damaged, either way, we will feel sad and regret.)
Felli had explained it clearly. She had been like that from the beginning, but her words were even colder than before. Perhaps she felt she really had to explain that point clearer.
Not one inch of space on the monster's stomach that was revealed in the flow of the air was smooth. The tips of Nina's shoes just barely fit into the monster's body as she stood. She held the iron whips. The weapon that only belonged to her, given to her by Zuellni. Perhaps there weren't any other weapons better suited to her than this pair of iron whips.
She would never let humiliation come to the iron whips in battle.
(I will become your sharp sword, the intense flame to annihilate the enemy.)
The Haikizoku answered her call.
(No matter when and where, this has already become an unchangeable truth.)
Nina let Kei run through her body as she listened to Melnisc's answer. She locked her target on one of the ten heads on the stomach.
Combined Internal and External Kei variant – Raijin.
The catastrophic head that was lifted high watched Nina, but by then her world was already smothered in the smoke of high speed as she rushed for it.
The feeling of hitting the monster came to her hand as the monster's wailing pierced the sky. The crack caused by her attack should be smaller than the time when she first opened a hole in the monster's body. The monster's pain should also be less because Nina had used less power in this attack. Of course, the problem might not be on her attack. Perhaps the monster's head was harder than its body.
All the heads glared at her angrily because an important part of the body was hit. The other nine heads turned around to watch her. Nina felt pressure on her entire body.
Would the monster open its fangs to attack?
Feeling a sense of distasteful prediction, Nina jumped and left her spot.
Lightning assaulted the space beneath her feet in the next moment. All the heads howled at the sky. At the same time, another lightning strike fell from the dark clouds. It didn't fall on Nina but the huge pillar of lightning hit the monster's body and began spreading out.
"Is the cloud also part of this guy!"
Numbness ran through her body even though she had dodged the attack. She gritted her teeth at the sensation, landed and prepared her next strike.
The monster's body was regenerating, but Nina's attack overcame its regeneration speed and made the wound wider. It didn't look that big of a wound. If one were to compare it to a wound on Nina, it'd be the equivalent of a small wound made by the tip of a foot.
But she was certain it hurt.
It wasn't a fatal wound though. Either way, this level of a wound was nothing to a monster with unbelievable regenerative power.
She jumped to avoid another lightning strike.
"This is endless."
Was it not working to simply attack the monster's head? Nina pondered again.
Perhaps Felli wanted her to confuse the enemy. The monster had turned all of its attention to her. Perhaps this was what Felli had wanted.
A huge body mass.
A great regenerative power.
Even Heaven's Blade successors could only defend in front of this thing. Nina herself was also experiencing this point with her body.
Then she must find a way to kill this monster. This monster's weak point........ If this existed on this monster's body then she had to find it. This was what she had to do now.
The monster would counter-attack with lightning when one of its heads was hit. This really was a powerful counter-attack. She would die if she got hit, but it was very simple to read its attack. The counter-attack wasn't always aimed at her. Sometimes it didn't even land close to her. The lightning would spread across the monster's whole body. The attack wasn't anything to it.
Nina changed her target and ran up the monster's long neck. She almost got thrown off the neck a number of times before she reached its head, but she finally made it to her destination. She swung the iron whips down at the eye that was larger than her own body. As expected, the scale in this place wasn't as hard. Nina released her Kei, using all of her strength. No matter how many heads the monster had, this attack would give it quite some damage as long as it was a living thing.
But the end result was unexpected. The monster's reaction was very intense. Nina was thrown off the head because of it. But when she adjusted her pose in the air, the monster was already regenerating.
Was it not the head then?
Nina's aim wasn't to defeat the monster. If she had insisted on defeating it, the battle would never end.
She landed, dodged the lightning strike and ran for the next head.
Someone saw it happen.
"She's doing something interesting."
The person who had retreated to Zuellni earlier than anyone else, Dixerio, was happily watching Nina's every movement.
"Ara, do you want to help her?" Nelphilia looked at him with a surprised expression. "You were wanting to defeat her yourself not so long ago."
"Weren't you the one who made me abandon that idea?"
"Is that so?" she was joking, passing off his complaint with a smile.
Fascinated attraction still lived in Nelphilia's eyes even though they were mere slits when she was smiling. Dixerio moved his gaze away and watched the monster and Nina's battle again.
"Seems to be chasing away a bee. The size is about right."
"Ala, the poison from the bee is incredible though."
Dixerio held the huge metal whip on his shoulder.
"Are you really going? Aren't you thinking of heading there yourself?"
"It's not like my style to wait for the timing to come. Besides, I'm already here."
"Then go. I'll head there alone even if you are defeated."
Nelphilia took back her smile. The more she spent her time here, the weaker she became. The place that Saya told Leerin was a place that could realize all dreams. It was on the other side of this world, the place where the moon adorned the sky. It was hard to clearly see the hole in the sky because of the thick cloud cover. No, the hole was closed, that was why both Dixerio and her were still here.
"I'll leave you here and go if the hole opens up."
"Never mind. I think I'll head there on my own."
A mask appeared in Dixerio's hand. The mask of the Haikizoku, Velzenheim, had turned from blue to red after taking away the power of the fire god from Shante. It had greedily absorbed the power of the Wolf Faces and the existence of the fire god that was superior to them. Velzenheim now had the color that matched the title "The flame of the hungry wolf."
Dixerio put on the mask.
Power ran through him in a flash. The whirlwind created by the two negative powers of curse and revenge filled his body and spilled out of him.
Becoming a hideous flame.
Feeling the negative emotion writhing up his neck, Dixerio leapt. The pollutants could not invade his body as the intense flame was absorbing the pollutants and turning them into its own source of fuel. The flame became bigger once Dixerio left Zuellni's air shield.
"........... It can burn this well in air so thin, then it must burn even brighter on the other side," Nelphilia smiled with a finger on her lips as she watched him. "Ignasis. Perhaps you'll be burnt to ashes by the flame you created."
She lifted her head. On the other side of her gaze was the moon that was blocked by the heavy cloud cover. A smile that one would find tragic appeared on her face as she pondered the appearance of the moon.
Nina found out that something had happened. It happened after she attacked the third head. Her moves failed to defeat the monster, but she knew the monster was in pain from her blows. The more effective her attack was the closer she hit to the head. Of course, the eye was one of the attack points. It was easy to destroy the eye, but the regenerative speed of the eye was also faster than anywhere else. She doubted whether this eye held the same function as a human's eye. Compared to this, the monster felt more pain from a blow that caused internal injuries. It seemed this monster's weak point was in a deeper area inside its body where Nina's attack couldn't reach. And so the monster hated injuries to its insides more than to its surface.
Then......... It happened while Nina was pondering.
A ball of gigantic flame appeared in the sky.
The flame that suddenly appeared from Zuellni gave one of the monster's heads a powerful assault. The monster's skin was peeled away. The scales bounced back. Even Nina could hear the noise from the attack from far away. The noise that sounded like lightning pierced the monster's head. The head fell back and toppled listlessly on the monster's abdomen.
"What was that?"
Nina's surprised voice filled her own helmet. If what she was feeling was the remnants of Kei, then this Kei was too savage. Its quality felt different from the wild Kei of the Heaven's Blade successors. Both types of Kei seemed similar but they were different.
The flame continued to expand as if it was to swallow its surroundings. Nina could only describe it as horror.
And this was especially true when she saw the wave riding the flame, or the person that was rampaging inside the flame. Nina shivered.
But was this really him? She didn't feel that this was the Dixerio Maskane that she knew. He was more like the carefree Sharnid when she first met him. She found out he loved talking to himself when she met him the second time a few days ago.
The man wielding a huge metal whip, bringing with him the constantly changing flame stood before her, and she found it hard to link him with the Dixerio she knew. The Heaven's Blade successors turned around the definition of a normal Military Artist, but Dixerio was turning around the knowledge of what constituted a living being.
What was this ball of flame?
Nina didn't know. The City Police knew of Shante's special body. Some Alchemists knew too, but Nina had no idea.
No one in Zuellni knew that Shante was the fire god and that her body was made to be a weapon by the Wolf Faces. Zuellni herself was filled with secrets. No one knew that Zuellni was involved with the fate of this world.
The other being before her had taken Nina's attention. She stood spaced out, rooted on the spot.
The remnants of lightning attacked her. The lightning running across the monster's body captured her feet and she was thrown back to fall onto the monster's round abdomen. Nina continued to slide down as there was no handhold for her.
She pierced the monster's body with her iron whips and used that point to jump up and stood again. The lightning shock coursing through her body had cleared her head.
".........How could I be looked after like that!"
Whatever kind of person Dixerio was, it was clear that he was helping her interfere with the monster. Then what she had to do now was the same as before. It wasn't possible to want everything as she wanted. If she wanted to continue to investigate the mystery of this world, then she would have to leave Zuellni once more.
"Right now, what I have to do is what I can do."
This was all that Nina wanted for now.
She gripped the iron whips and ran off again.
The surroundings of the palace had become a battlefield.
The sound of fighting and the footsteps of the monsters could be heard from the tallest tower in Grendan. Leerin's body kept shivering. She placed her hand on her chest and looked down out the window. Alsheyra and Saya were like statues, frozen on the spot. The queen's eyes were tightly closed but the girl of moonlight had her eyes wide opened.
Alsheyra was concentrating on the decisive timing that could arrive at any moment. As for Saya, Leerin didn't know what she was doing. Perhaps she was protecting Grendan.
With the monster that was covering the entire city, Durindana, perhaps Saya's power explained why this huge mass had yet to crush the city itself. It must be Saya's power to appoint an area that prevented anyone from entering. But Durindana was very strong. Even Saya could only prevent the huge body from entering. She could not stop the numerous live-bullets from invading the city.
The sound of chaotic but orderly footsteps was closing in on the palace, and the sound of the footsteps had slowed down somewhere. The Military Artists in the city were good at fighting, but they still couldn't completely stop the monsters from moving forward. They could only delay them.
Leerin hugged her body, sighing. She understood a little now. The atmosphere of despair was invading her bit by bit. The instinctive desire to live was stirring in her heart, about to explode at any moment.
The meaning behind the number of twelve Heaven's Blade successors. The function of the right eye. The existence of the Queen.
Everything was linked, but Leerin didn't know the answer that lay behind that linkage. She could probably guess the answer, but there was nothing but the feeling of sadness.
The rib. Heaven's Blades were the rib of Airen. The Airen that was the moon and guardian of this world. The Airen that Saya loved. A part of the strong bones that made up a man's shell, the sharp and dangerous bone that revealed danger to humanity.
The Queen, the power Airen possessed. Dispersed across the world because of Rigzario. The Queen was the final form of that power, gathered once more.
And this was the right eye that Airen desired. This power was born from his will so to protect this world, to allow the princess to sleep eternally, the magical eye that could weave the wall of thorns. Airen's flesh that excluded his will. His everything was here. Then everything was gathered here because of the owner's will.
It was natural to gather here to protect Saya.
The Queen's birth on this earth, the gathering of the Heaven's Blade successors, Leerin standing here at this moment, everything was because of Airen's will.
She shook her head and chased away the thought surfacing in her mind. There was no fate here. He was only caught in this play. The stirrings left from her thoughts pained her. She boldly looked out the window of the tower and chased away those stirrings.
She looked at the sky through the window. She couldn't see that figure when Barmelin was in a rampage. But next time and the next time. Perhaps she could see that figure. That figure may appear before her after the monster's abdomen was pierced and the clouds were chased away.
She understood everything already.
And that was the time when she was to exercise her power.
The skeletons were closing in on the palace and in comparison, Grendan's Military Artists bravely fought on. They possessed above average fighting strength as individuals, but they could also fight together as a group. Tens of Military Artists released external Kei at the same time. They timed their moves so that the storm created by the Kei turned upward to create chaos in the enemies, destroying them. Still, this level of damage was very tiny for the whole of the skeletal enemies.
"No matter what, don't let them enter the palace!"
The commanding Military Artist howled at the skeletal soldiers climbing up the palace's wall and the rooftops of normal residential houses and heading straight for the palace.
But the skeletons did not stop moving. They ignored the wounds the Military Artists inflicted upon them and kept moving forward. Meanwhile, more live-bullets had landed as they slipped through the Heaven's Blades and so the skeleton's reinforcements were increasing constantly, and the number of reinforcements far surpassed the number being destroyed. All Military Artists spread out in Grendan had come to the palace after judging that the skeletons' aim was not the city's underground shelters.
But they still couldn't block them off.
Worry filled everyone.
And his voice rang out crisp and loud amidst them.
".......... Really, to leave this scene for me at such a playful time. My job isn't to wipe your ass. Really."
The sigh came from the front entrance of the palace. His long hair was bounded. His arms were filled with muscles because of his training. Silver plates shone.
The man's fist moved in an instant and hit the sky.
External Kei variant – Full power. Stab.
The released Kei bullet pierced through the skeletal group and ran in a straight line, forcefully splitting the enemies into two rows. The Military Artists cheered at the figure of the man who stepped into the enemy area in a relaxed manner.
Savaris kept moving, ignoring the cheers. The skeletal army continued to move forward despite his attack. Savaris only headed forward and left the leftovers to the other Military Artists.
Blood seeped into the bandages wrapping his neck.
Lintence had sewn up the injury on his neck that Layfon made. Savaris had then received treatment in the hospital and his wound had been filled, but the vein that was cut hadn't been fully healed. One Full Power Stab was enough to open the wound again.
"This is the price of experiencing fun," he said to himself as he touched his wound.
"It seems I must act more wildly like Lintence-san," he said, shook away the blood on his hand and released a Kei move again.
External Kei variant – Absolute. Full Power. Stab.
Blood gushed like water from a fountain from his neck.
But the attack from the Kei was spreading from one skeleton to another. The skeletons fell like dominos.
"Well, let's do as much as I can."
Relaxed, he walked deeply into the army of skeletons, his upper body tainted with his own blood.
The sound of howling caused the sky to rumble.
The remnants from the clash of Kei rode the howls of the two and continued to spread, piercing the sky and shaking the monster's skin.
Psyharden technique – Flame Cut.
The result wasn't as simple as before, now released from two Heaven's Blades. Both persons' Kei bore fangs that attempted to swallow the other. The light of Kei blocked their vision. Layfon couldn't even see Derek who was in front of him.
All he felt was the pressure coming from the Heaven's Blade.
The feeling carried to his hands meant everything. Picked up by his foster father, raised up by him, his own traitorous act, the reconciliation, and the current fight. This may be a destined fate for both fighters. To survive by the blade. To fight on this world gone mad because of pollutants, and make oneself stronger. Perhaps this was written in one's fate.
With force, Layfon shattered the thought "this can't be helped" that flashed through his mind. Even if this was a destined fight between strong fighters, there must be an end. Lintence's words that Felli conveyed "Stop playing around" pressed down on him.
Not that he hadn't used his full power.
But he didn't want to kill his opponent. But right now, his adopted father also held the same amount of Kei and the Heaven's Blade. The result of victory was his opponent's death. This was the only road that Layfon foresaw. He was afraid that this would become reality, and this would mean he had really cut off his past. He would never forgive himself for that.
If he thought that the reason of this fight was Leerin's will, then he felt he might have got something wrong. He had already decided to see her and ask her about her true feelings. He had already made this mental preparation before he fought his adopted father. Even so, fear and uncertainty filled his heart. Determination was the preparation he made to tolerate the coming pain. It would not lessen the pain. He had already known this deeply when his siblings looked at him with hatred. Then wouldn't it have been better if he chose to run away? Somewhere inside his heart was mocking him. But he couldn't do it. He wanted to confirm for himself Leerin's decision. His heart felt like this for some reason. At the same time, a premonition flashed through him. Not only Leerin and Derek, but also his link with Toby and the other siblings would disappear if he accepted Derek's words. This was what he felt.
The feeling of flowing water in his hand made him afraid.
Kei continued to rise.
He continued to increase his Kei and poured it into the Heaven's Blade, ignoring the term "limit". The two Kei exploded in the middle point of the two Heaven's Blades. The two Kei were glued together like a solid ball flying in a narrow space. Each leap would cause one to lose his balance. The pressure of Kei assaulted him, but tolerating the pain, he raised his Kei to press down on that pressure.
He could bear the intense pain on his flesh, but the pain in his heart was frightening. These feelings must be contradictory. He didn't understand. All he felt was fear. He would rather cut clean than be tied in these feelings, just like the time when he arrived at Zuellni. Why. Why didn't he want to lose what he had taken back with much effort?
His eyes were white hot, but even if the tears were to flow, it would only be shattered instantly by his Kei. He had no other way to express his feelings than his howls.
To Derek. To his foster father. To his own father. To his own family.
Why did it turn out like this? He couldn't ask that question.
"Don't cry, stupid son."
He seemed to hear that from Derek.
One instant. Just one instant. He felt he saw Derek's smile in that gaze blocked by the flashes of light.
Perhaps this was just a hallucination. An indescribable feeling filled his mind. His eyes hurt because of the light. Perhaps everything was just his own imagination and wishful thinking.
Red dispersed in the world of white smoke. The color recovered in the next instant. Derek's body, standing on the other side of the Heaven's Blade, gushed red.
Gushing out from his Kei.
Layfon understood in an instant. The nervous system and the veins covering Derek's entire body could not sustain the sudden surge of Kei. The network ripped and from the rupture gushed the power that pained Derek.
Time seemed to slow. The Heaven's Blade in Derek's hands slowly lost power.
Layfon ordered his own body. It was enough. The victor had been decided. His action wasn't necessary anymore. Stop. Stop. Stop!
But apparently he couldn't control his own body anymore. What controlled the movement of the blade in this situation was neither his body nor muscles, but the Kei embodied in the blade, exploding, controlling the blade at its own will and totally disregarding Layfon's wish.
The blade pressed down on Derek's Heaven's Blade and was about to enter father's body according to the path depicted in Layfon's mind. The tip of the blade would enter the flesh and travel from the left of the abdomen up to the right shoulder. It would soundlessly draw across Derek's body. Layfon seemed to be able to foresee the future of a few seconds later in his mind.
Despair filled him.
But a miracle happened before it all became reality.
The two Heaven's Blades, weaved together, lost their shape. They became one and the blade in Layfon's hands became one Heaven's Blade. Only ripples were left of the Kei technique that had lost its blade.
Blood gushed from Derek's body as Layfon's father fell.
Live-bullets headed for the unconscious Derek. Layfon used the recoil of his Kei to descend speedily. He caught Derek and passed through Barmelin's river of bullets and landed on the roof of a nearby building.
"Father!" he called, but there was no reaction.
(He must have fainted because of blood loss. He isn't in immediate danger. The ambulance will arrive in 3 minutes.)
Layfon was at a loss as he listened to Felli's words. He watched his foster father. He couldn't have failed to see the wound on the left hand side of Derek's abdomen. He caused that injury, or one could say he caused it when he was thinking of killing his foster father.
(Layfon. Though this isn't the time to say it, there's something I have to ask you to do.)
(All Heaven's Blade successors are on the defense. The captain is fighting on the outside so you're the only person available.)
"........ What do you want me to do?"
(Open up a hole in the monster's body and keep it open for some time.)
He lay Derek down and jumped out.
Did he have to do that? Did he have to do that in order to see Leerin and confirm her thoughts? To defeat Derek with his katana. Did he have to do that?
What had happened to Leerin?
He had to confirm it.
The pain in his heart felt like his skin was being peeled off. Blood was gushing from him without ceasing. Did he have to do that for the present step he was taking? Did he have to tolerate that pain so that he could stand before her?
Did Leerin have the same level of preparation? Was what was happening now require her to have this level of preparation?
The monster covering the entire city. Was it because of it? Whether it was about that event or this.
"All because of you!"
Layfon passed through the river of bullets again and restored the Heaven's Blade. The appearance of Wolfstein was the same as he had remembered. Layfon felt nothing but hatred for the feeling of it in his hands. The result of the battle became like this because of Wolfstein.
He held it backhandedly with a pose ready to throw something. Fury turned into Kei and was poured into the Heaven's Blade. Disappear together with this monster!
The color of Kei enveloped his entire body and became a circle of light. Fury changed the color of Kei into scalding red.
External Kei variant – Rumbling Sword.
Fury was thrown out along with Kei. The Heaven's Blade became a light bullet of red that stabbed into the monster's skin. The entirety of Grendan shook from the shaking of the explosion. The remnants of the Kei technique destroyed all surrounding live-bullets.
The hole made by force was revealed after the smoke cleared.
The gigantic moon gazed down at Layfon on the other side of the hole.
The colossal abdomen covering Grendan was shaking, and even faster than the shaking, the monster was regenerating.
Layfon took out the Adamantium Dite from his weapon harness as he fell. He inserted the special Dite into the slot in the Adamantium Dite, and the changes he expected took place.
Thousands of Steel Threads appeared from the handle he was holding, and they began to shred down the cells regenerating from the wound. Kei flowed to the ground and started to burn up the monster's flesh. Layfon wasn't thinking of controlling the amount of Kei anymore. The insane Kei was cutting apart the monster, burning it and swallowing it. Layfon wasn't thinking of control because of his fury. The Steel Threads had turned red and hot even though the Adamantium Dite had a greater capacity than the Sapphire Dite. The Steel Threads released by the Layfon in the sky had turned bright red.
He felt the sense of danger immediately. Layfon poured forth the last spurt of Kei and tossed away the weapon.
The last explosion burnt away the flesh that was sealing off the hole. He speedily took out the Sapphire Dite, restored it and released the Steel Threads again.
But the kei he poured into the Dite was a lot less than before. Felli didn't say how long he had to keep the hole open. No, it was better that he hadn't asked. If she had said one minute, he might have relaxed in the last ten seconds. Besides, he felt that he couldn't calm his fury if he didn't let it out now.
But the capacity of the Sapphire Dite that allowed it to counter the regenerative power of the monster was much lower. Layfon was causing injuries in the monster's body rather than keeping the hole open. The hole was not big enough for the regenerative power to wane. The effort of the Sapphire Dite was useless.
In that case............
Only one Dite was left in the weapon harness, the Shim Adamantium Dite. He reached for it and passed through the hole with the steel threads to attack the monster from the other side of the air shield. There was no other way. He wasn't scared of the pollutants burning his body. The only feeling filling him now was fury.
But a change happened faster than his determination.
Leerin saw the moon.
The moon saw Leerin.
The moon appeared in her gaze again as she thought. She looked at it with her head lifted. On it was Nina and the figure of the mysterious man, weaved with fire, and the ten heads that were fighting them.
Through the Haikizoku, Nina was fighting the monster with the mysterious man. They were able to distract their enemy, but their combined attacks did nothing to unearth the monster's weakness. Nano Celluloid. The extremely tiny existence was hiding somewhere. It wasn't because Nina and the mysterious man did not possess enough power. It was because the scale of the enemy was too large.
This was the time for Leerin to do what she had to do.
She watched the moon, what the moon could see – the entire body of the monster.
Her gaze was fast narrowing.
The monster was trying to block off Leerin's gaze to the moon, and that effort wasn't slow. It wanted to close off the hole in an instant. And Leerin saw the figure of Layfon near the hole, as if the steel threads were pulling him around. He was keeping that hole open.
He had opened it and was keeping it open.
Her chest hurt. She didn't want to see him here at all, but he had created this last chance. Leerin must not waste the chance he had created.
She watched the moon, the thing that the moon saw.
The monster was reflected. Leerin concentrated on her right eye and used the power in it. She used the thorns to create the flower garden protecting the princess' slumber, and marked every interference with the mark of the grave.
The power existed for this purpose.
Felli also looked at the monster's figure again. The power of Psychokinesis had spread out because of the hole Layfon opened. Delbone's flakes were once connected and activated.
This was the last big job. There might not be a chance to turn this situation around if they failed. Felli quickly confirmed the situation as she bore the pain in her stomach.
Nina was fighting along with the mysterious man in flame. Felli gave up trying to confirm the monster's body but instead concentrated on its cells that reacted to the two's assault. It felt a waste of time to try to calculate the number of things moving underneath the monster's skin. The movement of each unit was difficult to explain like that of a messy current. Just thinking of separating each unit and finding out the source of each of them was difficult enough.
(It seems this will take quite some time to finish.)
Elsmau said in despair.
But they didn't have that much time. Felli bite her lips as she processed the vast amount of information in high speed. Thinking heated her brain. Her consciousness seemed to have flown away. She could only sustain her own consciousness through the pain in her lips. Her lips split and traces of blood appeared.
The hole continued to shrink. Layfon was nearing his limit.
She must hurry. Hurry. Hurry. Hurry.
But the huge thing kept flowing and changing as if to mock her effort. Only the sense of exhaustion kept increasing. Anxiety filled her chest and made breathing difficult. It was hard enough to just remain standing.
(Are there....... Are there any huge changes happening?)
Elsmau said painfully as if she was drowning.
If there was another way. Perhaps they didn't have to attack their opponent's weak point. It'd have been great if there was another way to defeat it........ All Felli could think of was the combined attack of the Heaven's Blade successors. That couldn't be done right now. It would be a huge gamble to bet on that move.
Was there another way? Though it didn't happen as Felli and Elsmau expected, their anticipation had been met.
The air suddenly shook.
The changes happened as if the air had suddenly lost its weight. Inside the changes embodied a certain will and a painful scream. It forcefully assaulted Felli, Elsmau and the ones fighting the monster, Nina, Dixerio and Layfon.
(What is it?)
Felli's question remained a question to everyone else except Layfon.
Only Layfon felt her taste in the scream in the air. Her painful scream at the sky cut through him.
The changes took place in the hole that Layfon opened.
Bubbles rapidly appeared like the surface of boiling water on the skin of the monster, in the hole that Layfon had opened. Compared to the black skin of the monster, the bubbles were white with something dark inside. Like an eyeball.
It didn't feel substantial. The balls were covering the walls of the hole and preventing the monster from regenerating. Creepy was the word to describe it. And then the number of eyeballs continued to increase.
The monster's cells became eyeballs.
The eyeballs grew to the outside of the hole. Layfon could no longer tell from his bare eyes where the eyeballs would stretch to. But numerous eyeballs were watching him as if they belonged to Leerin. He didn't doubt this intuition for some reason.
Nina saw the changes too. She saw it after hitting one of the monster's heads.
"What..... is that?"
The things spreading out from the monster's abdomen. They were getting closer to her after she landed on the monster's neck, and that was the time when she confirmed the things were eyeballs.
The eyeballs spread up to the head that Nina had hit.
A sudden howl and her mad dash. Nina almost got thrown off the monster's back because of the sudden violent movement of the head. She backed away. The monster had never reacted so strongly no matter how much Nina hammered at it and how long Dixerio's flame heated it. Right now, it was thrashing around like it was trying to sweep away the school of flesh-eating fish on its back. Lighting fell on it in torrents.
But the eyeballs cared naught and kept growing in number.
She barely withstood the pain, using Kongokei to defend. The monster's rampaging had gone beyond what was normal. There was nothing more Nina could do. The words "retreat temporarily" floated in her mind then she began to plan her escape to Zuellni.
All ten heads howled at the sky. The cloud cover dispersed because of the voices and so one could now see the moon behind it. The sun should have been out according to the time. In reality, sunlight filtered into the city after the cloud was chased away, but the moon ignored it all and was still hanging in the sky.
A hole suddenly appeared on the moon. It pierced the formless sky. A hole in black was exuding seven colors. The ten heads' howling increased in volume as if they were praying for something. The remaining dark cloud dispersed in the midst of lightning that were adorning the monster's body.
What did the monster want to trigger? Something that was different from all its past actions. It must be wanting to summon something ominous from the hole that had once appeared in Zuellni's sky.
Nina knew she had to do something. She readied her pose but she couldn't think of anything she could do.
At this time.
"I've been waiting for this moment!"
The voice came from Dixerio.
The flame writhing up the monster's body changed direction because of his voice. It headed straight for the sky and flew into the hole like a beast dashing out after confirming its target.
Something was wanting to come through from the other side of the hole, but Dixerio's flame had already covered it up before Nina could see its face.
Dixerio leapt over her as if he was running on flame. His masked face truly looked like a beast's. And darkness followed closely behind him. The white face floating in the dark smiled at her.
The girl of night whom Nina had seen in Zuellni followed Dixerio to the hole as if she was riding the beast of flame. The two of them entered the flame-enveloped hole, and what Nina saw in the last moment was the flash of light destroying both flame and darkness, Dixerio's metal whips, the fangs of lightning.
There was not a sound. Only a formless attack hit her and then hammered the head as if it was searching for it. The head toppled and fell onto the monster's abdomen.
And then Dixerio and Nelphilia disappeared into the hole together.
The eyeballs continued to grow in number until they covered the monster's entire body.
The lightning raining down constantly was destroying the flakes. The impact that was fatal on Delbone's aged body made Felli kneel.
But she saw it.
(You saw it.)
Elsmau was in pain too.
The continuous growth of eyeballs, this unusual phenomenon, had released the mechanism controlling the internal organs of the monster. The units flowing inside the body dropped in number. What were left flowed to the central area and was then vomited out. Everything was very obvious now.
This was the place.
Elsmau reported the information to the Queen.
Felli then told Layfon and Nina to leave the monster as quickly as possible.
Alsheyra knew the monster's weak point.
"Saya, protect Leerin."
No one knew if she had heard Saya's reply. Alsheyra immediately opened her tightly closed eyelids, and this action alone was enough to make the air shake, and the wall collapsed because of it.
On the corner of her gaze was the screen projected by Delbone's flake. It depicted the monster's weak point in detail. The movements of the dot of light inside this colossal body were complicated, but the dot seemed to be having difficulty moving around, as if it was somehow restricted.
Alsheyra's gaze swept across the screen and then she took one step forward. The floor and the entire palace shook from just one step.
The shaking didn't stop at the boundary of the palace. It had spread throughout the entire Grendan.
Just one step.
She had only taken one step.
Not only Savaris, fighting at the mouth of the palace, felt it. Barmelin defending the city's sky; the Heaven's Blade successors protecting the outer-edge; Layfon who had given up keeping the hole open; and Nina, retreating back to Zuellni on the other side of the air shield. They all felt it.
Everyone believed what was about to come. Everyone believed this attack would turn the situation around.
The wall of the tower collapsed because of Alsheyra's voice. The roof was blown off. Alsheyra's figure appeared in the city, in the battlefield. The city damaged in the battle was spread out before her, but she couldn't see it. She had lifted her head with determination and was watching the sky, watching the culprit that had caused this.
Grendan replied. A beast with four legs and one strand of long fur emerged behind her. The Haikizoku that was moving this entire city in place of Saya, guiding it to an endless fight with filth monster was standing behind her.
She reached out for Grendan. Nothing needed to be said. Grendan knew what she wanted just from her simple movement.
(My sharp teeth will become yours until they shatter.)
Flashes of light enveloped her hand and then gathered into a ball. An explosion without sound and impact turned the light into a piece of gold metal. The Haikizoku's power gathered in her hand and materialized.
It was a lance with two sharp heads.
She replied shortly. Her breathing had heated up. The energy flowing in her had been honing itself and waiting for this moment to be released. The energy in her would flow out for the purpose of destruction with every moment of her body. Her hand, her head, her foot. The air around her twisted because of the heat. The walls and the floor were painted red by it and the palace kept shaking. That heat would have burnt Leerin's entire body, the wind pushing her out of the building and her meeting her death in the fall, if she wasn't protected by Saya.
Alsheyra gripped the lance. The Kei inside her reacted to her action and poured itself into the weapon. The weapon, formed by the body of an Electronic Fairy, surpassed a Heaven's Blade....... It was a weapon that could contain an immense amount of Kei. Nina's iron whips were an example.
The Queen held the lance and leaned back, ready to throw.
The Kei in the lance with two heads made it shine.
Alsheyra threw it.
The lance traced a path of white in Grendan's sky and it made a sudden change of angle when it reached a certain point. It headed straight up. At the movement, cracks spidered out from where Alsheyra was standing and the floor started to collapse. The cracks spread across the tiles and even Leerin and Saya were swept away. Alsheyra's figure also disappeared in the falling debris.
During this time, the lance arced over the sky of the embattled city in unusual silence. It sailed through the air shield and easily pierced the monster's skin. It cut through one of the ten heads and headed straight for its destination.
The silence was shattered in the next moment.
It looked like water was draining into a trench to those looking from inside Grendan. The small hole opened by the lance suddenly became a whirlpool, sucking up the entire body of the monster as the whirlpool became bigger and bigger. The monster was swallowed in a split second and subsequently, the green sky returned. The ten heads had disappeared along with the dark clouds. The moon that had been insisting on its own existence had also slowly disappeared into the azure sky like a hallucination, melting into the firmament.
Neither explosion nor loud noise happened. Everything collapsed and was annihilated in a flash, disappearing into who knew where.
Everything ended in this moment.
Everything had ended. Everyone was at a loss as it all happened too suddenly. Out of all of them, only Layfon paid no attention to it.
(Note to Readers: Wait! There's still the Epilogue. Click Next ↓)