Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume22 Chapter5

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Chapter 5: Choice of Worlds[edit]

Before the red light reached Grendan.

Her great-grandfather's corpse had disappeared from the ground.

Probably because he had transcended life for a long time, her great-grandfather's corpse disappeared into the wind like sand.

It was a way of disappearing that made one feel that he had never lived on this world.

But an unexpected question emerged in Nina's mind as she watched all of this blankly.

"......How should I explain this to father?"

Her great-grandfather had died. His corpse wasn't even there, so what could she use as proof to explain to her father?

Nina who pondered this noticed the two Dites that had dropped there.

They were her great-grandfather's things.

These were the only things she could bring back.

But, just this would probably be enough. In the first place, it was impossible to use roaming buses to transport a corpse. In that case, burying the corpse there and bringing his possessions back was the proper treatment.

The process when one died outside the city was always like this.

He wouldn't be able to sleep on the ground of his hometown.

"Ugh......"

An obvious thing made Nina feel a headache, and her body naturally trembled.

Feelings of regret and helplessness spilled forth, but she couldn't control it.

"Ugh, uhh......"

She moaned.

Her great-grandfather, Gildred Antalk.

Extremely long-lived.

Starting from when Nina was born, he had always, always...... From very long ago he had always had the determination to face the world's crisis, preparing for this, and always waiting.

That was her great-grandfather.

Always protecting Nina, always protecting the Antalk family, always protecting the Senou City.

That kind of person had now died here.

Before the world's crisis that he had always waited for, he had fallen.

He had lost to Lævateinn.

After entrusting everything to Nina, he had departed.

"S, someone like me......"

The tears that fell on the dry earth were absorbed, shriveled, and disappeared.

When Nina noticed, she had already been covered by a warm light.

On her right side was an Electronic Fairy with an appearance that looked like an arrogant youngster.

Behind her was an Electronic Fairy with an appearance that seemed only a few years different from Nina.

On her left side was an Electronic Fairy with an appearance that looked like a very calm beauty.

And in front of her was......

"You are......"

Nina raised her head.

In front of her was an Electronic Fairy with the appearance of a young girl who sat on a giant flower.

The name of the young girl on the flower was Armadune.

The youngster on her right was Dischale.

The adolescent behind her was Tentorium.

The beauty on her right was Falysodam.

They were all Electronic Fairies who had fought shoulder-to-shoulder with her late great-grandfather.

As well as the Electronic Fairies that Nina would succeed.

Different from the Haikizoku Melnisc inside Nina's body, these four were Electronic Fairies who had decided from the start that their existence would be converted completely to be fighting strength of Military Artists.

"......Is it alright even if it's me?"

Nina's cheeks were wet with tears, as she gazed at Armadune while asking. This was because Nina felt that she should be something like a captain to these four Electronic Fairies.

"I'm a very pitiful person, not someone great like great-grandfather."

Someone who, upon encountering a setback, would hope for someone to stand up and pull her up, a weak person who couldn't even stand up again on her own.

She had been like that as well when she had been in Schneibel.

She would lose at the important time.

She had originally believed that she would change if she trained outside of the city, but her hard work in Zuellni hadn't produced any admirable fruit.

Even so, her great-grandfather had died after entrusting everything to Nina.

It was impossible for her to have confidence.

"......I only always thought that there were some things that had to be done."

After she had learned of Vati Len's true form, she had worked hard to become strong. She also thought that her hard work had succeeded, and at the least, she had become stronger as a Military Artist.

Then, what about her mind?

Had her mind become strong?

Did she have the necessary strength of mind to succeed her great-grandfather's will?

Had she become someone who could be a companion of these four Electronic Fairies?

Did Nina have a strong enough heart to devote her everything to fight against the world's crisis?

She didn't have that kind of confidence.

"I always wanted to become strong. But...... I have no confidence."

"......Then become stronger."

A voice suddenly came from in front of her.

It was Armadune's voice.

"Become strong and succeed everything, right here and right now."

The girl on the flower whose face had slight traces of baby fat looked at Nina with an extremely firm expression.

"We hope that you can have a strong heart of iron like Gildred."

"A heart of iron......?"

Her great-grandfather had also said similar things.

"We will prepare strength for you. What you need is the iron heart that can focus this strength."

The meaning was to combine strength and willpower together.

"In order to wield the full strength, techniques and a robust heart are necessary. We hope that you can also possess these."

Armadune repeated similar words.

Her gaze didn't move from Nina one bit.

Only watching the teary-eyed Nina with a firm expression.

Looking around her, the other Electronic Fairies also showed similar expressions.

Yes.

Nina wasn't the only one feeling grief for her great-grandfather's death.

The Electronic Fairies were also extremely grieved.

Thinking carefully, they had been with her great-grandfather much longer than Nina, and their relationship with her great-grandfather should have been much more intimate.

Then their sadness wasn't something that Nina's could match up to.

But even so, the Electronic Fairies still endured their tears.

Thinking of this, Nina felt that her heart was shaken. The eyes of the Electronic Fairies staring at her made her feel as if Gildred were there looking at her.

Let him see it again, the kind of courage you had when you opposed your great-grandfather the last time you met.

She felt as if she had been told this.

"......I'm truly too pathetic."

Nina was the only one not moving forward.

"Right now isn't the time to do those things. Battle has already begun, the battlefield that my great-grandfather was always waiting for."

And now, her great-grandfather was dead.

"I'm the only one still here. And I have already sworn to witness everything that was happening right now, and do everything that I could."

After coming to Zuellni, she had been pulled into various things. Then, she had experienced that battle in Grendan, learned of the crisis that the world was going to face, and had made the determination to step in.

Nina stood up.

She stood here, looking at the Electronic Fairies.

"I don't have confidence in whether or not I can correctly succeed great-grandfather's legacy."

Nina continued speaking, facing the Electronic Fairies and accepting their gazes from the front.

She wove her fundamental thoughts into her words.

"But, I also wished to witness the meaning of this battlefield. I also wished from the bottom of my heart that I would be able to be related with this battlefield."

She didn't have the confidence that she would be able to complete what she had been entrusted. Because right now she didn't even know whether or not she would be able to fulfill her own desires.

But, because of this......

"I don't want to turn back on myself. And there are things that I want to protect. So......"

So......

Before the words she spoke afterwards, Nina took in a big breath. As if bearing a heavy fate not long after she had been born.

Beginning from the moment when Nina finished saying everything, she would no longer be able to escape, she understood this.

In other words, right now when she hadn't yet said everything, she still had the opportunity to take it all back.

(Idiot.)

She had thought of something extremely stupid.

Even if she thought this, even if she knew that this was an extremely shameful thought, that option wasn't so simple to neglect.

The battlefield that was being fought now was directly connected to the fate of the entire world. The enemy wanted the world's life, and if they lost, everyone would die.

There was no longer anywhere to escape to.

If she wanted to continue living there was only battle.

If she wanted to continue living.

In other words, right here, there was another thing she could choose.

That was choosing death.

The choice of not fighting and simply dying directly.

If she thought of the endless terror she would confront in battle, thinking of the emotional burden she had borne several times in the jaws between life and death, thinking about the terror of it all, perhaps dying in an instant would be more relaxing.

That kind of thought appeared in Nina's heart.

No, that thought had actually always been there.

She had been born into this world as a Military Artist who had to fight, and then had been brought up, had been educated, and in that process, those kinds of thoughts had slowly been born.

She had always cast aside that cowardly thought, and had never truly faced it.

If she died then she wouldn't need to fight.

She wouldn't have to brandish her weapons and fight.

She would be liberated.

Things would become relaxed.

Ahh......

Though it was a thought that she had always cast aside, that kind of thought was greatly enticing.

(I'm truly a coward.)

She thought this again.

Not to say that the sense of justice in her heart had washed away everything, but rather, if the thing in her heart that she believed was a sense of justice was slightly weaker, then she wouldn't possibly be standing here in this moment, and she also understood this.

Her true self was a weak and cowardly person, a pitiful being.

So before she was caught by her terror she had to run with her full strength, and shake it off.

After becoming conscious of the fact that simply dying would let everything become relaxed, she was even more tempted to escape from her terror.

She had made it to today in an unconscious state.

(If it's like this, then this time I can escape.)

The sweet temptation of that option which had come into her heart continuously drew closer to Nina who had become conscious of it.

But it was a sweetness mixed in with rancidity.

She couldn't choose that option; she couldn't make that kind of decision.

(I know.)

She was very clear that she needed a motive to be able to escape.

(I don't want to be thought of as a useless thing.)

By who? By everyone.

By the people she respected, by the people she was hostile to, by the people who were hostile to her, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, people who knew Nina though Nina didn't know them...... She didn't want to let these people think that Nina Antalk was an incredibly useless person.

Then, for the person who had pulled her useless self back up.

For the person who had become her goal.

Because of this, since she had silently fought until now, if she betrayed her words today, then she would be even more burdened with the stigma of one who had run away.

In order to avoid all of this, she at least had to leave behind proof that she had fought.

The option of running away hadn't been in Nina from the beginning.

(So, it's alright.)

She could receive that determination.

She could proceed to the battlefield.

Forget tough like iron, perhaps she only had an extremely weak determination.

But, she was determined that she would definitely not run away.

A determination to fight.

Therefore......

Though it felt very long, all of these thoughts happened in the span of her deep breath.

"So......"

The conclusion came.

The final moment of her choice ended.

"Please lend your strength to me."

She recounted the conclusion that her thinking had guided her to, telling it to the Electronic Fairies.

"We obey, new master."

Nina didn't know whether this was the best answer to them.

But, the battle had already started.

Moreover, there was only Nina in front of them.

The Electronic Fairies had no other choice, and since they had decided to fight, then they could only choose Nina who was before them.

Perhaps they were the most sorrowful ones.

(Because they have no choice other than me who is like this.)

But because of this, she couldn't betray their expectations.

She could only fight.

Strength swelled up in Nina's body.



Nina didn't encounter any problems controlling the strength.

Perhaps this was because she had accepted it from the start.

The other thing different from her great-grandfather was that the light of Kei that overflowed from Nina's body was red.

Why would this be?

It was probably because she was different from her great-grandfather, and the Haikizoku was still inside Nina's body.

"Melnisc, are you alright?"

(There's nothing wrong, master. You're the one who should take care not to become controlled by this power.)

"Understood. Armadune."

After replying to Melnisc, Nina looked forward.

"We need to give up on this city, we no longer have time to move to Grendan."

(Understood. We have already connected to Grendan's En, and we can depart at any time.)

The link she had desired was also already perfectly complete.

Of course, there were other unexpected byproducts.

Nina felt that the sensation she had of Melnisc now was stronger than before she had merged.

One other thing.

Nina felt that the existence of the nameless Electronic Fairy that had merged with Nina before Melnisc was even clearer.

Her young self had originally planned to rescue, but instead had been rescued by that tiny being. The young Electronic Fairy had become a part of Nina's Kei vein.

Right now Nina could feel its presence.

She could feel that child still living inside her.

Nina felt both surprise and joy at this, and this also made her think of her old wounds.

(It's impossible for me to run.)

One of her first experiences that had built her current self was there.

She was there, watching Nina.

Nina couldn't betray that young Electronic Fairy that had allowed herself to continue living.

(Let's go together.)

At the same time she said that, a faint twinge came from her Kei vein.

She felt that this was the reply of that young Electronic Fairy.

"Alright!"

Nina focused her consciousness, and something like a giant, dark hold appeared before her.

This was the entrance to the space that had been named En by the Electronic Fairies.

Nina jumped in.

There were countless lines of light passing back and forth in the darkness. The current Nina could understand that those lines of light were the pieces of information that the Electronic Fairies traded back and forth.

Though the lines of light that passed by made one feel a bit unsafe, right now there was no time to confirm their origin.

Not long after, Nina was sent to the sky of Grendan.

At the same time she flew out of the En, she was baptized by smoke. But the smoke was absorbed into the Kei waves that she had already released, and diffused.

On the other side of the smoke, a city blazing with a sea of fire spread underneath her.

"It's somehow become like this......"

Nina descended while looking at the horrifying city, speechless. The destructive shockwaves the battle produced had the palace as their center, destroying the buildings in its surroundings in almost concentric circles. Fingers of flame extended out, and the fire in the moving city was intensifying.

As if trying to destroy those concentric circles, there were many deep trenches in the city. The ground portion had been turned upside down, and some had disappeared.

Several of the city's legs had broken and fractured.

The scene before her eyes couldn't help but make one think whether this city had already died.

But, it still hadn't died.

There were still people fighting.

There was another place spewing out more smoke than the place she was descending towards.

There was a monster extending out of that place with a terrifying twisted shape.

"What is that thing?'

(Because of the moon's crumbling, things that were originally on that side seem to have come here.)

Armadune said this.

"Moon?"

Nina mumbled, falling towards the ground.

As she fell, she raised her head to look at the sky. In the center of her raised gaze, as if chasing her as she fell, was the crumbling moon.

Pieces of giant mass scattered in space.

(Captain.)

At the same time as the scenery made her widen her eyes, the Psychokinesis flake that drew close to her transmitted a voice that Nina was familiar with.

"Felli!? Why are you here?"

(I wanted to ask you that question, and though what I really want to ask about is your current condition, what's more important is the situation. Do you need an explanation?)

"Please."

Though Nina was very surprised that Felli was here, she had still slightly expected this.

That meant, Layfon should also be here.

Though she definitely hadn't told them the truth, they had still declared that they would definitely follow behind. And as such, he had indeed left Zuellni.

So, though she didn't know the process behind it, Nina felt that it wasn't a particularly strange thing even if he were here.

As for why, it was because Grendan was his hometown.

(Then......)

Felli began explaining.

Lævateinn had suddenly begun attacking Grendan, and the Heaven's Blades successors had gone on the offensive, and then part of Lævateinn had invaded the underground, Layfon and Lintence had pursued. She told all of these things to Nina.

"......Layfon is underground, huh."

(Yes, and because the underground is currently in a peculiar state where Psychokinesis cannot reach, I cannot gather information, so as to how things are......)

"I know."

Layfon was there.

Fighting underground.

This made Nina slightly ease up a bit.

Though Lævateinn had taken all of Zuellni hostage back then, if she could have, Nina had wanted to keep all of this a secret.

That kind of apologetic mood towards them, along with the fact that this had even made them arrive in Grendan before her, those feelings combined together to make Nina's heart unable to calm down for a while.

But, right now wasn't the time to get bent out of shape over those kinds of things.

Before her was an abnormal being.

"In the end, I won't be able to go underground if I don't get rid of these things first."

If she let these kinds of things go, then who knew what would happen to the people hiding in the shelters. Even if she met up with the people underground it would be of no use.

(The Heaven's Blade successors are already extremely fatigued.)

"Understood. Then I'll think of something."

(Eh?)

Nina ignored Felli's doubt, reaching both hands to her weapon belt.

On it were attached four Dites.

Two were the ones she had obtained from Zuellni.

Two were her great-grandfather's.

Nina's hands reached for the Dites she had obtained from Zuellni, restoring them.

In the familiar sensation, an unfamiliar Kei pressure rushed out.

"Come, first true battle."

After saying this, Nina flew towards the twisted monster.

Because of internal Kei and the explosive results of her strengthened legs treading on the ground, Nina was sent to a world of instantaneous speed.

"Ugh!"

A higher-than-expected pressure pushed on Nina's entire body, making her clench her teeth.

Her vision was distorted, and she quickly strengthened her nerves to correct her vision, and other areas were also tuned by use of strengthening Kei and balanced out with internal Kei.

Nina readied the iron whips towards the monster towering in front of her.

Whether the creature hadn't noticed her or whether it was focusing on regenerating its body, it seemed not to have any response.

Of course this could also be carelessness. It believed that its regenerative ability was completely insurmountable before the tiny humans' destructive power.

But, Nina had appeared here to do exactly this.

"Break!"

She shouted.

Release.

Combined Internal and External Kei variant, Raijin.

CSR v22 c2-1.jpg

A blow with almost no hesitation.

This was a strike carrying all of her beliefs.

This was a blow from a human that wouldn't permit the opponent to escape.

This contained all of the strength she had inherited, a blow of Nina who had chosen to advance.

The red light covering Nina drew a red line on the earth, pointing towards the monster.

Exploding.

Smashing.

Bursting.

Flame and roars connected endlessly, and the explosions that occurred on the monster's exterior and the vibrations shooting out and penetrating into the monster's interior endlessly repeated.

Destructive shockwaves also affected the earth.

"Uwah!"

The explosions that were produced under her feet blew Nina into the sky.

If she hadn't spread out Kongoukei at the same time, she probably would have suffered severe injuries from the Kei technique she had used.

"......Dangerous."

(Are you alright?)

"I'm alright!"

(It seemed like you just self-destructed, are you truly alright?)

"I, I'm fine! I'm just not too used to it!"

(Then it's okay.)

Felli's voice from the other side of the Psychokinesis flake was very cold. Nina's cheeks even became hot from trying to deceive her.

(If only the city's surface portion is harmed, it can still endure, because the city of Grendan is constructed particularly solidly. Please think more clearly when you use your strength.)

Felli ignored Nina's mixed feelings, continuing to talk.

She seemed not to feel any particular surprise at the changes to Nina's body.

"Felli......"

(......As long as you don't destroy the city, go ahead and fight. We can only follow you.)

The latter half that seemed as if it had deliberately been included made Nina's chest feel a bit tight.

Though the situation had been rather extraordinary, she had still kept a secret from Felli and the others.

The seventeenth platoon members should have borne the burden together, but Nina hadn't said a word to them.

Right now Felli's words were stinging her for that.

But, she didn't feel pained.

A warm sensation came from the wounds from the stings.

"Sorry."

(You and Layfon, what helpless people.)

"......Eh?"

(At this kind of time, you shouldn't apologize, but rather give thanks.)

"......Ah, that's true, thank you."

(Then, continue destroying the enemy. The battle still continues.)

"I know. Then, I'm going."

After receiving the destruction of such a giant explosion, the twisted monster seemed as if it hadn't weakened.

"It's truly extraordinary...... but, I won't let you destroy anything more."

This city's miserable condition was all because Lævateinn was here doing something.

It wasn't very clear whether the monster in front of her was the same as Lævateinn or not, but at the least they were companions.

Then, it was an ordinary thought if she believed that they could do the same things.

"Let me destroy you!"

She roared, and Nina once again flew towards the monster.

She readied her iron whips in order to release Raijin.

She blindly, honestly, and straightforwardly ran towards her target in a line, not even looking to the side. She knew that this was the only thing she could do, so she charged.

It was complete faith in the one she had obtained these teachings from.

This was Raijin.

This was a fool's strike.

If she turned her head, terrors might be waiting there, but to Nina who knew all of this, this choice was a choice better than all of the others.

A charge and then destruction.

This was the embodiment of Nina's iron will.

But......

(Nina, Nina......)

Nina who was advancing rapidly heard someone calling.

In this kind of situation it couldn't be Felli talking, Psychokinesis power couldn't do this.

Then who was it?

No, she actually didn't need to think at all.

"Schneibel."

(Yes, Nina, wait a bit.)

It was communication through En.

Communication that didn't use sound to convey information could realize a conversation even during the current high-speed movement.

(If you use your full strength here we will be very troubled. Please hold back some of your power.)

"That's too relaxed......"

(This isn't the only thing that has fallen from the moon, and more accurately this is more of something like a leftover.)

"What did you say......?"

(The people you know who can reach the end are about to land here. Those are the enemies you should truly fight.)

Nina didn't know what Schneibel was saying.

"I don't know what's going to happen either. You're right."

Who knew what this battlefield would become. Everyone's fates would be concentrated on this battlefield, and in the end one of the sides would be left.

For the ending that this world should have, Nina fought now.

"You said before that you didn't know, so why do you understand now!?"

(Because the moon has shattered.)

Schneibel was very calm towards Nina's intense questioning.

(I can see myself the things being released from the moon. That is the result of a battle.)

"What?"

The result of a battle.

That phrase made Nina have an extremely nasty premonition for a moment, and a chill went up her spine.

(Your strength should be exerted again when those things fall. Right now please think only of becoming more familiar with that strength, and control yourself to keep from wasting too much energy.)

"But, considering that-!"

(You need not worry, the things being released from the moon aren't only evil things.)

Facing the anxious Nina, Schneibel said this to pacify her.

(That thing should be said to be the final trump card of the people of Grendan.)

Trump card?

Wasn't that Leerin?

Falling from the moon?

(You understand.)

After those words, Schneibel's presence gradually faded.

"Damn!"

The conversation stopped.

But, her charge still continued.

Her consciousness returned before her, and her slightly blurred vision once again became clear.

She had already gotten close to the monster, and grasping iron whips in her hands, Kei elevated and ready to explode outwards, she could no longer stop.

The charge was the same. Other than swing the iron whips at the target, there was no longer anything she could do to stop the charge right now, and she couldn't even stop her feet.

It was this kind of a foolish strike.

She had to try to control something that she could only release, that was Schneibel's meaning.

Her heart felt that it was a bit difficult to give up on the Kei bursting forth and flooding into the sky.

The sensation she felt from her iron whips hitting the target was also a half-satisfactory feeling.

The explosions appeared continuously like before.

But, their might was greatly inferior to the ones before.

(There's minor damage to the aboveground portion. Can you control it?)

Felli was only making a dull status report.

But this made Nina feel as if she were being sarcastic, and she tightened her lips.

Unexpectedly, she wasn't supposed to waste too much energy......

"Really!"

But even so, she had to fight.

Other Heavens' Blade successors also began moving.

Nina coordinated with them, and once again readied her iron whips.

On the moon, underground...... Really, what was happening?

Nina's consciousness was as if attracted by two gravitational fields, paying attention above her head and below her feet.



A red streak flew out horizontally.

It went through Leerin's gaze.

She knew what this was.

It was blood.

The spraying blood quickly turned into a mist because of the vibrations of the battle. It became a residue that brought a metallic aroma to the nose.

In a place a bit distant from Leerin, Alsheyra stopped moving.

Only her back could be seen from here, but Leerin could still understand that the flesh near her right shoulder had been cut and dyed red.

Leerin had been continuously watching the entirety of the battle.

The Queen had been wounded because she hadn't been able to completely avoid Lævateinn's strike.

But, this wasn't only because she hadn't been able to completely avoid it.

It was because the Queen had been trying to surpass Lævateinn's speed of fighting.

In other words, it wasn't because she hadn't evaded, but because she couldn't evade. That was the true reason.

"......This is troublesome."

She didn't moan from the pain at all. Rather, Alsheyra used the light attitude she always had to speak.

"Uh."

Layfon's voice came from above, and his external Kei descended from the sky.

Lævateinn who had originally been trying to take advantage of the opportunity and draw closer to the Queen once again retreated and pulled back the distance, and Lintence who had predicted this movement used the steel threads to attack.

But, nothing had any result.

Never mind the external Kei that Layfon had compressed and released, even Lintence's steel threads that had predicted the opponent's next step and released an attack were avoided.

Her methods of evasion before had always been momentarily separating and recombining the area where she was going to be attacked, letting the attack seem to pass through her body. But now she no longer needed to use these methods.

She predicted the chokepoint of the steel thread attack and avoided it.

What was going on?

The conclusion was very clear.

"Could it be that in such a short time she already surpassed us?"

Though this was Alsheyra talking to herself, it was the truth.

Lævateinn was becoming stronger.

"That kind of thing......"

Layfon murmured after he landed.

In such a short time, Lævateinn's fighting power had increased.

In the current situation they could only think.

"......Though we have no idea how she did it."

Lintence also spoke.

"But it's certain that a price was paid for it. Her movements are different from before."

"Yes. It feels that she's avoiding all of our attacks. She's already stopped using that method of letting the attack pass through her."

"Has she given up on her regenerative ability and raised her movement ability?"

"It might be that."

"In that case, we just need to hit her to possibly get rid of her."

"Yes, but that's only after we hit her."

"Hm."

Layfon and Lintence talked as they moved at high speed, and then once again rushed at Lævateinn.

The two of them had already accumulated a degree of fatigue, but hadn't gotten anything that could be called an injury. They dodged the attacks of Lævateinn who was far faster than them as they carried out their counterattacks.

But even so, the Queen who was even stronger than the two of them seemed as if her movements were a bit hindered.

Why would there be this big of a difference?

Was it because of the difference in battle experience?

Leerin had heard that because Alsheyra was too strong, she had almost never gotten the opportunity to enter the battlefield. In that case, her battle experience was certainly far from the Heaven's Blades successors who constantly fought, that was for sure.

But, what about Leerin?

If battle experience had such an effect on the battlefield, what about Leerin?

If Leerin also entered the battlefield, would she fight even worse than Layfon and Lintence?

"That kind of thing......"

She hoped she could say it wouldn't happen.

Actually, thoughts of how to move in battle had already become images and surfaced in Leerin's mind. While watching Alsheyra and the others fight, she could think of how she should act in that kind of situation.

But, was that enough?

Perhaps the things Leerin thought of were only theory after all?

If things truly became like that, then why had Leerin stayed here?

For what reason had she come here?

No, Leerin was very clear.

She was very clear that Layfon and Lintence couldn't win against Lævateinn.

If this kind of battle continued they wouldn't win.

Given the reality that they couldn't come up with a killing strike, Lævateinn would in the end surpass these two in technique.

In other words, the two would die.

In order to guard against this, the Queen was here, and Leerin was also here.

She was only here in order to fight with Lævateinn.

But, hadn't the Queen been the first one of the two to fall into trouble?

The strength contained in the Queen's body was particularly similar to the strength in Leerin's body, and that meant that the Queen was the person other than Leerin who was most suited to fight against Lævateinn.

But, the Queen had been the first of the three to be entangled by the shadow of death.

Didn't that overturn everything that Leerin had thought about reality?

Leerin couldn't win either?

Didn't that mean that the fate resting on Leerin's shoulders would in the end lead to her defeat.

"That kind of thing!"

Unconsciously, something similar to rage spilled forth.

No, she could fight.

Crushing her heart's weakness, letting the pain she felt become alertness, she returned to her confidence.

"I can do it!"

She told the others loudly.

No, that was the truth.

To ask why......

She could clearly see Lævateinn's movements.

She was confident that she could stop Lævateinn's attacks.

She trusted that she could be faster than Lævateinn in terms of speed.

If I go fight, I can win.

That was the only thing she could trust.

That was the only thing that was a fact in this world full of things she didn't know.

That was the truth for her who stood in this world filled with anxiety.

"This is something that no one other than I can do."

Even if Layfon had come, even if he fought, this wouldn't change.

So, in this kind of place and time......

"Leerin!"

At the same time as Leerin tried to step forward.

What stopped her was a word from Alsheyra.

"Your promise."

Alsheyra looked at the surprised Leerin, wearing a smile.

"Your Majesty......"

It was a gentle rebuke with a smile.

"You haven't forgotten, right?"

After saying this, the Queen moved.

The bleeding had already been stopped.

All that was left was the residue that lingered in Leerin's nose.

The promise.

The scent of blood and that phrase made Leerin's boiling thoughts calm back down.

That promise was one she had made with the Queen when they went underground together.

"There's something I want to ask of you."

Alsheyra had spoken with her ordinary leisurely tone.

"What?"

What would it be?

At this kind of time, what would the Queen speak to her about?

"If we fight, will you let me go first?"

"Eh?"

"Leerin can watch from the side."

"W, What's going on?"

"Nn~"

Seeing Leerin who had become panicked because of her unexpected words, Alsheyra scratched the back of her neck while playing with her hair and continuing to speak.

"How should I say it, although it's a bit rude to Leerin......"

"Nn......"

"From the start, I thought of doing it alone."

"Eh?"

"Because I never would have thought that Leerin would become like this. Ah, though I didn't know that things would have become like this during my lifetime."

"............"

"Either way though, I also thought of that."

"Yes."

"What I would do if that kind of thing happened while I was alive."

"......Nn."

"At that time, I thought of doing it alone. It wasn't important whether the Heaven's Blades were gathered or not, and even if they were gathered they might not be as strong as I."

"..................Nn."

"I was always, always awaiting the time that I had been thinking of, to go fight alone."

"............Nn."

"So, suddenly having to fight as two, telling me to battle cooperatively with someone, I completely never had that kind of thought in my mind at all, and never believed that things could be completed smoothly."

"..........."

"So...... can you let me fight alone first? If alone isn't enough then I'll ask for your help."

"............Will you really ask?"

"Of course, I don't want to die either~"

After saying this, Alsheyra smiled.

She had always smiled.

"If that still isn't enough, then I'll think of a way to grab her, and then you can finish off the both of us."

"I don't want that."

She hated those words.

"I don't like it either."

Alsheyra still smiled.

But, that definitely wasn't a smile from her heart.

Her eyes definitely didn't smile.

If things truly developed into that kind of situation, Alsheyra would do it.

Though she had always seemed like a troublesome person, she would only truly do it because she was like that.

Because if she weren't leisurely, her heart wouldn't be able to endure it.

So, she took a carefree attitude to everything.

Everything.

Even her own life and fate.

Making one feel that she felt everything was meaningless and would throw everything out in order to carry out the burden of Alsheyra's bloodline.

Maybe she could only do this to obtain freedom.

Because she had met Leerin who was in a similar position, she now understood this.

So, Leerin actually thought of refusing.

"Alright? Promise me~"

Saying this, Alsheyra raised her pinky and extended it.

She wanted to use a little kid's method of promising.

Though she couldn't say that she hated it.

It seemed like she had always wanted to do this, as if she had dedicated her entirety since she had been born as Alsheyra Almonise, and so Leerin replied.

Truthfully, she wanted to ask to fight together with her.

But she couldn't say it.

The unmoving Leerin thought this.

The battle still continued.

Alsheyra clashed with Lævateinn from the front, and Layfon and Lintence guarded her from the sides.

Circumstances had become like this very naturally.

But, Alsheyra wasn’t in control of that situation, and more accurately it should be said that Layfon and Lintence had brought it about.

Though the chaotic energy spread all over the battlefield was mostly all released by the Queen and Lævateinn, the ones who tried to control the flow of battle were indeed Layfon and Lintence......

It looked like that from a distance.

Was that okay?

Hadn't Alsheyra said that she wanted to fight alone?

What did that promise mean now?

"Because, Layfon and the others don't know about that promise......"

Yes, Layfon and Lintence couldn't have known about that promise. Because that promise was a promise between Alsheyra and Leerin, Layfon and others definitely wouldn't know.

But, was this okay?

Leerin stood there, and if only Leerin complied with the promise, would Alsheyra be satisfied?

Would she be able to keep the promise between them?

"Um......"

That kind of thing...... wasn't possible.

Then what should she do? Destroy the promise with Alsheyra? Would she enter the battle?

"If I enter......"

She understood.

Leerin knew what she could do.

She could fight like a Military Artist.

She could fight better than a Military Artist.

Even being better was enough.

Because existing inside Leerin's body was the factor of the man Airen who was known as the original Military Artist.

A being known as an abnormality in the world of Lævateinn and the others.

A being that could fight on even terms with Lævateinn.

No, a being that could defeat her.

"If it's me!"

Leerin shouted.

She shouted, and this time she truly wanted to advance.

Her hand was filled with Kei, and the Kei was incredibly compressed to about the size of her pinky, and then let out.

Its trajectory was straight.

It passed by Alsheyra's side, heading for Lævateinn's body.

Seeing through the extraordinarily high-speed battle, reading the opponent's next actions, and then releasing a Kei bullet with these foundations.

Leerin believed that it would hit, in line with her thinking.

But, that was wrong.

"Ugh!"

Lævateinn's figure wavered like a mirage, and disappeared.

An afterimage?

"Oh no......"

She had been too focused and overlooked her movement.

"Where is she......"

Above.

The question and answer appeared at almost the same moment.

But because of that 'almost', there was still a gap.

That short gap would become a deadly gap in an extraordinarily high speed battle.

When she had adjusted her line of sight, Lævateinn's almost expressionless face was already too close.

It seemed like an incarnation of death.

What about Alsheyra? Because the shockwaves from the Kei bullet Leerin released had affected her posture, her movement had been impeded.

What about Lintence? Though there were steel threads there, because Lævateinn had created vibrations when she moved, his speed of engagement had been slowed.

What about Layfon? He was in a relatively far location. Though it was only relatively far.

"......Ah."

Lævateinn's expression was already in front of her.

But, things hadn't ended.

There were still things she could do.

Leerin's right eye.

Her eyepatch naturally fell off. Exposing her pupil to the chaotic air underground gave it a slightly numb feeling.

But, it was enough.

There were still things she could do.

She moved.

Leerin could feel the pressure in her right eye.

In the next moment, changes were produced in her vision.

In order to protect the girl that had always been sleeping, her vision became thorns thrusting towards the aggressor.

The poison on the thorns would make one fall into an eternal slumber.

Luring one into the world of dreams.

Letting one be assimilated into the world of Airen.

It meant sending something back to the moon.

Those thoughts that her thinking couldn't even catch up to flashed through her mind, but they produced effects.

Countless small spheres appeared.

They looked like glass balls.

But, they were harder than glass, and clearer than glass.

Like eyes.

No, they were eyes.

Imprinted with a ring of thorns, Leerin's right eye.

In other words, these were Airen's eyes.

Countless eyes appeared, and then fell.

No, they were repelled.

"What......"

Her confidence in victory also dissipated at the same time.

Receiving the poison of her vision, Lævateinn should have become tiny particles. Though she who possessed limitless regenerative ability could block it, the current Lævateinn couldn't use all her strength to do that.

Things should have been that way.

As if she had rushed through the spheres that were sent scattering around, Lævateinn appeared.

"Why!?"

Leerin shouted.

But, there was no reply.

Time slowed as if it were cut into small pieces as Lævateinn drew closer.

The expressionless her seemed like a messenger of death telling them of their demise.

Her thinking was overcome by doubt and became murmurs. There was a sound of metal being cut.

New thinking was brought out by that extraordinary sound.

The deathly scenery had been completely wiped clean by a slash filled with thick Kei.

Leerin was very clear what this was.

A portion of Lævateinn's figure had disappeared.

The penetrating light cut through the place where Lævateinn had been earlier, piercing into the earth, and then cutting into it, opening up a hole. She feared that this would pierce all the way through the outer ground of the city and then explode.

The light of an explosion came from the hole, and then abruptly disappeared. Several regenerated metal beams had blocked this place from the outside world.

Then, Leerin's vision was shaken once again and turned to a distant place.

The figures of Alsheyra and Lævateinn who had begun fighting again at some unknown time moved farther and farther away.

Steel threads moved as if wanting to create a wall between Lævateinn and Leerin.

What about Layfon?

He was there.

"............Eh?"

For some reason, he was running with his arms around Leerin.

He was carrying Leerin.

The scene became farther and farther, and Alsheyra's figure became smaller and smaller, and the originally petite Saya seemed even tinier.

Was she being sent somewhere away from the battlefield?

"No!'

Back to herself, Leerin shouted loudly.

"No! Let me go back!'

"Not right now!"

Layfon replied.

"Calm down! You're just forcing yourself!"

"But!"

It could indeed be that, and she could indeed have broken the promise with Alsheyra. Her sudden attack might indeed have failed.

Her right eye's power might also have been avoided by Lævateinn.

"But, this is something only I can do!"

"Maybe that's true!"

Layfon's shout drowned out Leerin's.

"But you're only forcing yourself!"

"Eh?"

"Though I don't know what you're thinking, the enemy has already completely seen through your actions."

Layfon's feet stopped, and the two of them were already in a place quite far from the battlefield.

"She only moved after she knew about your attack."

"How could that......"

Leerin wanted to deny Layfon's words.

But, she had truly almost been killed.

Leerin's external Kei bullet had been avoided, and her right eye's poison had been resisted.

"That kind of thing......"

Then what should she do?

The fact that her attacks were of no use threw Leerin into disarray.

She didn't know what to do.

"But, but...... we can defeat her with this."

She had thought so.

"I have some related memories that naturally flowed into my brain about fighting with her like that. Though it didn't determine a winner, we'll definitely be able to defeat her that way, I only attacked with that confidence."

Those were memories belonging to Airen.

Memories belonging to him that had entered her mind through her right eye.

Though it was only a fragmented memory, he had also fought that way.

"......Though there's still a bit that's unclear."

Hearing Leerin's words, Layfon's face sank. He was looking for the words he should say. But he seemed unable to find the suitable words to comfort Leerin, and became anxious like ants on a hot plate.

But he still took a step forward.

This was because of that hand that had slapped him on the shoulder. [1]

That sensation made him calm down slightly.

"Leerin, that, that person in the past? If he also fought like that..."

"Nn."

"Remember how he had to deal with her in the end."

"Nn......"

Leerin couldn't say anything.

It was indeed as Layfon said, but Leerin's determined confidence was unrelated.

"But......"

"But the opponent also avoids and defends, so maybe if we hit her there will definitely be results."

"......Layfon?"

"Her Majesty also seems to be being stubborn for some reason."

"Stubborn...... But-"

"Leerin?"

"But! We're fighting! We're only who we are for this day...... Her Majesty and I!"

"............"

"Compared to me, Her Majesty has always thought that way since long ago! Resolving everything by only relying on herself, always thinking of facing everything alone!"

She had been born and raised in order to combat the crisis facing the world, always having that expected of her......

But she wasn't complete.

Leerin had inherited Airen's right eye.

"We were originally born into this world to finish everything, so let us finish everything!"

Who had she screamed out for, was it a scream expressing Alsheyra's feelings in her place? Was it Leerin's own thoughts? Even if she continued to think she understood less and less.

"Leerin......"

Layfon was confused.

Leerin exhaled, moving her gaze away from his body.

"......As expected, it would have been better if Layfon hadn't come."

She didn't want Layfon to see her like this.

"Because it's too embarrassing."

Being pressed hard by the enemy, losing her strength, and always saying strange things.

"What's embarrassing, it's fine."

After Leerin deliberately looked away from Layfon, he said this.

"Layfon?"

"As long as you're safe, even if it's embarrassing, anything's alright."

Layfon continued speaking.

"Actually I'm the one who's embarrassed. I was always confused, troubled, and nothing went smoothly.. After I was defeated here, I originally thought of starting over in Zuellni, but that didn't go smoothly either......"

"That's not......"

"But, even so I can't give up. There should be things even I can do. There will also be things I want to do."

"Layfon."

"There are things that even I can protect!"

"Layfon!"

"There's no reason anywhere that I cannot protect my family!"

CSR v22 c2-2.jpg

"!"

When the two of them had said goodbye, Layfon had said similar words.

At that time, Layfon had also given others the same feeling.

Now was the same.

But, was it truly good to give off that feeling?

She would become anxious.

"But......"

"There's no buts."

Though she didn't know what to say, the word leaking out was only the beginning of doubts, but Layfon had already stopped it.

"I know Leerin is having a hard time. But right now we're not just betting our own lives. It's the life of all of Grendan, the lives of everyone at the orphanage.

"Nn."

"If we can work together with everyone, things will definitely go smoother. Leerin."

"............"

What Layfon spoke about was completely correct, but she couldn't quickly respond.

But, what was going on?

That anxious feeling that sprang forth was sandwiched between other feelings.

What...... was that feeling?

It shouldn't be anxiety.

It wasn't anxiety, and though it was a strange feeling, Leerin felt it.

"Leerin......?"

"Nn, sorry. I understand......"

She still didn't really understand what the feeling truly was.

But, there would be a day when she would definitely understand it.

Moreover, that day wasn't far.

"......Do you have any thoughts?"

"For the moment."

"Ah, in that case......"

She would trust him this time, Leerin thought.

Leerin felt that time was of the essence.

She had to look carefully at the feeling on the other side of the anxiety.

Because time was of the essence.

If she kept waiting for the true nature of that feeling to appear, then perhaps......

Layfon returned to battle.

Leerin watched his back slowly move away, but couldn't focus well.

Her right eye was hot, and her vision was filled with blood. What her right eye wanted to show her wasn't reality, but something else.

The blood in her vision endlessly increased, and there was something on the other side of that red color.

Black, deep, side...... it seemed like it was a space vaster than could be imagined.

"What...... is this?"

Leerin murmured.

But because of it, her voice didn't reach her own ears. Her eardrums couldn't even pick up the sound of battle anymore.

The soundless space continuously spread out. Just looking at the size of the space that she could see through the film of blood made her feel chills up her spine.

Maybe...... she thought.

Right now, was she connected to the moon?

Was this the world on the moon?

In that case, what a cold, lonely world it was.

Just as Leerin thought of these things.

"It's not that bad. As long as you're here, time basically doesn't have any meaning."

She heard that kind of response.

"Ah, right, you only saw this through me. Nn......? Then wouldn't it be strange for you not to be able to see the scenes that I see? How is it. What should I say, how are your initial thoughts on seeing this space?"

"Who, who are you......?"

Leerin reflexively asked back.

But, she was already clear on the answer.

"Nn, your voice reaches over, it seems very smooth. But it seems slightly late. Though it's a decision I made, it won't certainly be carried out so smoothly. Ah, that's also the final method of that person. We can talk about the causes later."

"Th......that......"

"Ah, sorry. But we don't have time now to talk leisurely. Hurry up and finish the urgent matters, and you can relax later."

"Eh?"

At that moment, Leerin's hand moved by itself.

Her right hand was extended forward.

Her fingers opened, as if she were asking for something.

Leerin didn't say anything.

But even so, something appeared in Leerin's hand in the blink of an eye.

"Eh?"

Seeing the thing her hand was grasping, she was surprised.

An expressionless black-clothed girl was watching this thing appear from afar.

Though she was expressionless, she was a bit surprised.

Her expression seemed like she didn't understand why he had done this.

A gun appeared in Leerin's hand.

It was a gun that would feel too large if gripped single-handedly, but it was very easy to hold.

No, to the current Leerin, it wasn't anything strange.

What was strange was, it was obviously the first time she had held this pistol, but for some reason there was a familiar feeling.

"Come, all that's left is to pull the trigger of that thing."

The voice said this.

There were quite a few surprising things. But, if she didn't think about these, the current situation and the previous were similar.

Carrying out an attack using the gaps produced by the three-person battle.

Just like how she had been already defeated before.

"Don't worry, that thing isn't an idiot, it won't let you lose again."

"That......"

"Trust in your companions."

"............"

Hearing the word 'companions', Leerin lost her words.

It was like that.

Layfon had also said he wanted to fight together.

If she only trusted in him, she could pull the trigger.

Leerin focused her mind on the battle before her.



Leerin nodded her head.

Seeing that, Layfon felt that he had already reached the goal for which he had come here.

Of course, that wasn't saying that he had already overcome the crisis before him.

But even so, he couldn't hide the joy in his heart.

Layfon who had once again returned to the battlefield felt his body become lighter.

"Layfon, how's Leerin!?"

"No problems!"

To Alsheyra who asked loudly without any concern, Layfon loudly replied back.

"Then it's okay."

If she had been injured what would have happened?

He feared it just from imagining, but right now he was facing an even stronger enemy with the Queen.

During the period when Layfon hadn't been there, the battle had become back-and-forth.

But even so, the fatigue that could be felt from Lintence's face was even stronger. He hadn't left for very long, but this battlefield really took a heavy toll on the mind.

Layfon and Lintence crossed gazes.

CSR v22 c2-3.jpg

If they used words to converse, then regardless of how quiet their voices were, there was still the possibility of being heard by Lævateinn.

So the important things were completely communicated with their gazes.

In order to lure Lævateinn into a trap.

Though a soundless battle meeting could only confirm the status.

Could they continue?

Leerin's response was a yes.

What about Layfon?

Right now Layfon had the Adamantium Dite in his hand.

Though it had been a last resort, Layfon had lost the Shim Adamantium Dite in order to save Leerin just now. The slash filled with the Kei of Composite Blast had pierced through the wall all the way to the outer portion of the city.

He feared that the Dite had also exploded at that time.

Losing the Dite that he used the most smoothly out of the three Dites - even if it could be called a last resort, had also been a mistake in Layfon's judgment.

But right now he didn't have time to regret.

He could only go on.

Layfon also responded yes.

After that.

The battle continued.

As expected, the Adamantium Dite was still heavy.

There was a difficulty the moment he moved and attacked in the current situation.

If it were only Layfon alone it would be alright, but in order to coordinate with Layfon, Lintence also had to make similar modifications to his movements.

The Sapphire Dite restored to a sword, and the Adamantium Dite restored into steel threads.

If he just changed their use, he could return to his movements from before for the moment.

But......

External-type Kei, Composite Blast variant - Compound Sendan.

Release.

Facing the external Kei heading towards her, Lævateinn who had originally slipped away chose instead to strike it down.

Instead of avoiding the slash flying towards her, she struck it and offset its power.

"Damn."

The Kei that he had added to the slash really was too weak.

But, that trick had been seen through.

The balance of battle had crumbled.

Because of Leerin running away just now, Lintence had expended a lot of power, and Layfon had lost one of his weapons.

The fatigue on Alsheyra's face was also becoming more and more clear.

On the other hand, what would Lævateinn do? It couldn't be seen from her expression. But the dust on her cheeks had become thicker.

It wasn't clear whether or not this could represent the degree to which she had expended her energy.

Right now, when the balance of the battle began crumbling, wasn't a good opportunity for them......

That was Lævateinn's judgment.

To Layfon and the others who had expended their combat power, the current situation was one where they had to maintain and where they were forced to find a way to turn the tables in the blink of an eye.

That was the current situation.

So, if there were action, it would have to start from Lævateinn's side.

And, Lævateinn began acting.

It came.

At the same time she crossed blows with Alsheyra in the front, she avoided Layfon and Lintence's attacks. Layfon and Lintence were acting right now in order to maintain the conditions.

Lævateinn would destroy those conditions.

Lævateinn who caught the Queen's fist used that momentum to jump to the ceiling.

Pursuing the path of her leap, steel threads and external Kei flew over.

Lævateinn turned to avoid those attacks, falling to the ground, and descending in front of Layfon.

She had judged him the easiest to take down among the three.

"Tch!"

Kei continuously flowing out from him, Layfon made preparations to engage.

If he traded blows head-on, Layfon would probably be pummeled in a moment. Layfon focused on parrying her attacks.

In that time, Alsheyra and Lintence also responded to the changes in the battlefield.

Steel threads thrust straight for the place Lævateinn was descending to.

But, after their thrusts were avoided, she stood on top of the steel threads.

She ran on the steel threads and closed in, but it made a gap in her movements to catch Layfon.

Layfon also responded.

Roar Kei.

Since a point attack would be avoided, then use a wide-scale attack.

Though it was a bit hurried, and moreover he couldn't realize destructive power like Savaris. But still, the vibrations released still shot out with Lævateinn as the center and destroyed the surroundings.

But, Lævateinn's figure had already disappeared from there.

The second he had prepared to release his Kei technique she had noticed his attempt and evaded.

Where was she?

Right side.

Not relying on his senses, but rather on the changes produced in the steel threads when she jumped off them, relying on the reflexive judgment his mind made.

But, the speed of Lævateinn's reflexes was also superior to Layfon's.

When he noticed, she was already in front of him.

Layfon swung the blade of the Sapphire Dite upwards to engage Lævateinn.

Lævateinn's fist struck Layfon's attack.

In the battle of strength between the blade and the fist, the blade lost.

The blade of the Sapphire Dite broke down, and the fist pushed aside the pieces as it drew closer to Layfon.

His death drew near.

But, his side had also concealed a deadly trap.

They still had a plan.

Those things appeared in Lævateinn's vision during an opportune moment.

From Layfon's left and right, they appeared, moving as if they wanted to cover Layfon and then attacking Lævateinn.

Steel threads.

Layfon's steel threads.

He had been hiding the Kei of Composite Blast for the current moment.

He had been preparing this trap since long ago.

"Yaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

Accompanying the roar, the speed of Kei rose.

External-type Kei, Composite Blast variant - Sougenkyouku Houraku.

The fist still continued moving forward, closing in on Layfon.

As Lævateinn was gradually covered with steel threads, the fist was also entwined with steel threads.

Would the fist reach Layfon first, or would the steel threads cover it, stopping her movements first.

The balance of life and death seemed as if it would tilt at any time.

The fist covered with steel threads was................................................in front of him................................................

Bang!

"Guah!"

The attack hit his face.

If he were any further forward his collarbone might have been broken apart. Layfon let his body fly out from the momentum.

Layfon flew through the air while forcibly restoring his blurred vision.

He still lived.

And Lævateinn?

The steel threads had succeeded in covering her. If it weren't that way, then Layfon's body would have already been in an unrecognizable condition before he was sent flying.

And moreover he didn't know how long the steel threads could hold for...... Even in this situation, he had no time to rest.

His stockpiled Kei of Composite Blast was poured into the Adamantium Dite one after another.

He quickly released his Kei technique, and explosions chained together continuously, the pressure endlessly increasing.

Everything inside that pressure would be crushed and destroyed. This move was one of the best techniques that Lintence possessed and used.

"Go!"

Layfon shouted out. Then, his back came in contact with the formless wall that Saya had created, and because of the collision he was almost unable to speak.

Of course, Layfon also knew that just this wasn't enough to defeat her.

She was only pummeled in the pressure of the explosions for a moment.

The cocoon of steel threads was torn apart.

Along with the flame that sprayed out, Lævateinn's figure appeared. Her face was completely burned black.

But, she was still fine.

But, there were still no results.

External-type Kei variant, Soungenkyouku Maou.

There was still Lintence.

The steel threads he released tried to recapture Lævateinn who had escaped from the crumbling cocoon.

They bound her.

She was once again pulled into the cocoon.

Brought into the hands of the devil in hell.

Lintence's steel threads repaired Layfon's cocoon that Lævateinn had torn, and made it stronger, even stronger.

The light of explosions once again penetrated through the steel threads.

The Kei of Layfon and Lintence had multiplied, and the force of the explosions far surpassed what the two had expected.

"Ugh......"

It wasn't only Layfon who was unable to endure the recoil of the blows.

Lintence's face showed a painful expression.

The light of the explosions passing through the cocoon gradually increased, and finally everything that passed through became pure white.

"Guahhhh......"

Even so, it couldn't defeat her.

There was some resistance trying to tear the cocoon.

No, the cocoon was torn, and that thing appeared.

Lævateinn's hand.

The heat that overflowed from the tear made the faraway Layfon feel as if his skin was being burned.

"How...... Can I let you escape!"

His entire body was tormented by the burning flame.

By the heat he had produced himself. If he stopped raising his Kei, it would probably disappear.

But, Layfon wouldn't stop.

Not only Layfon, but Lintence wouldn't stop either.

They struggled against the oppressing strength of Lævateinn who tried to tear the cocoon.

Layfon listened to the abnormal sounds the Dite made, pouring the Kei of Composite Blast into it while ignoring those complaints, and saw it.

The figure of Alsheyra running towards them.

Her hand grasped a spear, the strange spear that she had cast out in the beginning, the spear housing the energy of an Electronic Fairy.

She thrust out the spear that she held.

The reason she didn't choose to throw it was because she had made the determination to definitely not miss.

"Haaaaah!"

Alsheyra also made a battle cry.

Seeing her figure, Layfon endured the pain of the recoil while he thought that the moment had finally arrived.

He had finally waited enough for this moment.

The moment when everything would end.

The annoying thing called fate.

It was annoying to those who had been chosen as well as those who hadn't, and this battle that was called fateful was finally about to end.

It would end in the next moment.

Right now he definitely couldn't relax his guard.

He definitely couldn't release his steel threads.

With difficulty, Layfon endured the long moment that seemed to want to torment him to death, waiting for Alsheyra's spear to arrive.

Waiting for the moment that she arrived.

Layfon felt that the Queen's speed was abnormally slow, because the intense pain taxed his nerves even faster.

Was this because Layfon had relaxed? Because his persistence hadn't made it to that moment?

No, it wasn't......

The Queen still advanced.

The final moment closed in.

Heat roasted his entire body and blows tried to tear the chains of steel threads.

Because of this, intense pain was produced.

Because of these, Layfon hallucinated.

The final moment would definitely come.

Everyone would definitely be able to see the future that should arrive.

As long as he persisted right now, it was certain.

Alsheyra ran.

She held a spear in her hand, running into the chaotic heat produced by the white flame. She ran straight to the cocoon woven by Layfon and Lintence.

Running towards Lævateinn.

The spear tip brought an earnest desire for the end.

Was this Alsheyra's desire? Or was it a simple reflection of Layfon's weakness?

The spear tip wasn't distorted because of the heat, and instead dispersed the surrounding heat because of its powerful momentum.

A space without heat formed inside the flames, guiding Alsheyra's continued advance.

At that time, an abnormality occurred in the cocoon.

By the side that wanted to resist the future.

The cocoon was torn strongly.

The figure of Lævateinn who appeared from inside was no longer the Lævateinn that Layfon knew.

Perhaps due to a response to the high temperature, a foam-like thing covered her entire body. And this foam-like object continuously dissolved and regenerated due to the high temperature, becoming black and white.

Lævateinn destroyed the cocoon, trying to reach her arm out as if wanting to touch the air.

She wanted to escape.

"I won't let you escape!"

Layfon shouted.

This was a cry to increase his already tormented mind.

An encouragement to himself in a tough situation.

Towards the fear he felt of losing and being liberated.

The cocoon of steel threads changed.

Not only Layfon's, but Lintence's as well.

The pressure inside the cocoon was completely released outwards, producing strong heatwaves.

Layfon ignored the heat, as the Kei pressure that expanded before them dispersed it.

He ignored his scorching skin.

Ignoring the pain, only looking at the target before him.

There was only one thing he could do.

That was to keep Lævateinn from escaping.

The steel threads grabbed Lævateinn's legs. Afterwards, they bound her lower half.

Even if her body were split into pieces she wouldn't necessarily die, so there was a reason to keep her entire body from escaping.

Layfon thought this.

He feared that his thoughts were correct.

Lævateinn tried to do something to deal with the steel threads stopping her from escaping.

She turned the foam-like thing covering her arms into a blade.

It became a blade targeted at herself.

She wanted to abandon her lower half.

She wanted to escape by splitting herself.

But, Lævateinn didn't do that.

Was she hesitating?

Had the heat deprived her of her thinking ability?

Regardless of what it was, the spear point had already arrived.

Alsheyra tread the final step.

Releasing the thrust.

The spear tip that had gathered all of her strength thrust at Lævateinn.

Before she was pierced, her blade swung to parry the spear.

The two made contact.

Clashed.

Locked.

A victor had to be decided here...... Fear emerged in the heart of Layfon who watched all of this......

Another person emerged.

Her name emerged.

Her figure emerged.

She would end everything.

That ending still hadn't been changed, and this was what Layfon wanted to change the most if he could.

That kind of thought was probably only produced in Layfon's uncomfortable heart because he had been excluded by something like fate.

But, right now wasn't a time to mind those things.

Right now wasn't a time to mind the course of events.

If everything wasn't ended here, there would be no future.

"Leerin!"

Layfon called out.

If the battlefield were tilted in one side, then it could produce an opportunity for confrontation.

But right now it wasn't tilted in either direction, and right now was an incredible opportunity.

He didn't know whether his voice reached or not.

Right now he didn't have the energy to turn his vision over. In order to maintain this deadlock, the cocoon of steel threads definitely had to hold.

He didn't even have the strength to shout.

In that short moment, his call and his words mixed with the sound of alternating explosions and light.

Because of the impact from the Queen's spear, Lævateinn had been shown from under the foam-like thing, and inside was her figure which had been completely stained everywhere by dust.

Could it be that Lævateinn didn't have limits?

That kind of fear sprang up in Layfon's heart.

No, impossible.

She had been weakened by the Heaven's Blade successors, and Layfon and Lintence had weakened her a decent amount. Alsheyra as well. She had been continuously depleted inside the anti-regeneration trap that Saya had prepared for years.

She definitely had limits.

Moreover, she was already close to them.

Her limits were almost up.

And as expected, a light brought her to it.

"Ah."

That sound finally leaked out of Lævateinn.

Layfon felt that he had been liberated from that moment, and the flow of time returned to normal.

"Guah!"

The recoil of being released made Layfon fall to his knees right there, and his Dite fell from his hand, the falling Adamantium Dite losing its shape like material that had been scorched black.

Because of the heat and the use of high-intensity Kei, pain wracked his entire body.

But, right now wasn't a time to neglect the situation in front of him because of pain. Right now wasn't a time for his consciousness to be unclear.

Things had finally become like this.

The scene about to arrive was either hope or despair.

He definitely had to witness everything with his own eyes.



She still vaguely remembered the attack that pierced her body.

"Ah."

She leaked out that kind of sound.

That was because the apparatus that controlled her voice had been struck.

She also remembered what kind of strike it was.

But, that kind of strike shouldn't exist here.

No, it couldn't be like that.

In the battle deep underground, perhaps the situation was already in its final developments.

Since she couldn't see or feel the sky from here, perhaps it had already happened recently.

Then, was he here?

Her investigation function ended in a moment. A linear strike from her chest all the way to her back. Three multiple-joint bones were in pieces. Two systems of multifunctional muscle tissue had been torn apart, and control of her lower body had been lost.

Problems arose in her central control core, and nine control functions of her entire body had disappeared.

Her function came close to completely stopping.

In that kind of situation, Lævateinn looked behind her.

He was there, wasn't he?

He......

Over there was a girl.

The wind of the battle blew the girl's skirt, and it wasn't the appearance of someone in battle, nor was it the posture of someone in battle.

It wasn't the face of someone in battle.

But, it was a fighting expression.

A face holding eyes of strong determination.

It wasn't him.

But, her hand held his pistol.

His reincarnation.

Perhaps, a replica of him.

A fake.

A girl.

But, his fighting willpower was the genuine object.

But, it wasn't him.

It wasn't a fighter.

But, it was someone fighting.

Truly contradictory.

It broke reality.

But, nothing had broken.

She was still there, with a gaze full of determination.

She had something Lævateinn didn't.

A mechanical imitation.

An organic imitation.

Wasn't that the difference? Were they different there?

Was that the thing that Lævateinn hadn't been able to obtain, but that girl had obtained?

The answer was......

Hurry, answer.

Tell me the answer.

Tell me the answer.

Tell me the answer.

If it could be conveyed.

If it could reach here.

The answer.

The answer.

She wanted more answers.

What she should do.

What she could do to reverse this situation.

In her battle procedure there were no methods regarding avoiding this situation.

Then was there an answer in the battle experience that she still hadn't organized?

She searched.

In order to obtain the answer.

In order to know an even more correct answer.

In order to find a way to break open this situation.

A scene went through her mind.

Or perhaps, if she were a person, it would have been called a light bulb going off.

Since she hadn't organized the battle records, it should be a record from not too long ago.

She had invaded Grendan, and fought with the Heaven's Blade successors who possessed extraordinary fighting power.

What had they done?

Hopeless before Lævateinn's fighting power, how had they dealt with it?

These records.....

Give these records......

When the records were being recreated, they stopped at an image.

It stopped after she had invaded Grendan, in the place of the first serious battle.

It was two Heaven's Blade successors.

They hadn't had the answer in their battle.

But the scene stopped there.

On their hands.

On the image of two Heaven's Blade successors fallen on the ground, with their hands overlapped.

The two hadn't died at the same time.

They hadn't done that before they died.

But, at the end when they met death together, the one who had died first had seemingly replied to the longing of the one who died second, and overlapped their hands.

Pulling them together.

Why?

A new query.

She was searching for the answer.

But, was this a problem.

It was far too......

"Hands......"

If she reached out her hand...... If she could link hands together......

Then, could she be happy?

But, where should she reach her hand to?

Would there be anyone who would hold that hand?

Would anyone pull her hand?

Would anyone's hand overlap with hers?

"So......So......Sa- ma..."

She knew that she wouldn't have that kind of ending.

That sort of ending would no longer appear.

But, even so......

Was there anyone, who could hold that hand......

"Mas..............................ter...................................."

That hand.

Who would.

Things became black.

Her vision and her thinking ability.

The activity of her core was already drawing close to stopping.

Was there anyone.

Was there anyone who would.

Was there anyone who would come............

Anyone....................................



"How truly heartwarming."

The irony in that speech made something inside Layfon's heart tremble.

He felt a feeling like loathing or perhaps rage.

He had started seeing it at some time.

The voice came from a black cat.

"......I think that it's better this way."

Leerin replied with that.

Leerin's hand was holding Lævateinn's.

Though he felt extremely confused at a black cat talking, his fatigue was already near its limits right now, and his wounds were extremely serious.

A pistol was under Leerin's feet, a pistol that felt too large for her to hold.

A bullet from that pistol had defeated Lævateinn.

But, since when had she had that pistol?

She didn't seem to be carrying Dites.

Though he longed for the relaxation brought about by their final victory, right now the most important was still to use internal Kei to treat his wounds. In order to prioritize treatment, he didn't care even if a black cat was speaking or if Leerin had gotten a pistol at some time.

Layfon treated himself while helplessly looking at the strange post-crisis situation in front of him.

"Is that kind of tenderness necessary? Isn't it because of this mechanical doll that you ran into this kind of trouble?"

The black cat spoke.

"Isn't it because of her that you were unable to live like a normal person?"

"......But, she can no longer move. Then shouldn't she be already dead?'

Leerin spoke while holding the hand of Lævateinn who had stopped moving.

Lævateinn no longer moved.

Fallen on the ground, with a large hole opened on her body, motionless. No blood flowed, and though she was dead, she seemed too clean, feeling like it wouldn't be too strange even if she started moving again at some time.

But, Leerin didn't think of destroying her body completely because of this.

Because she had the outer appearance of a human.

Because they had been companions living together in the Academy City in the past.

The hate for her enemy that battle had inflated disappeared along with the end of the battle.

All that was left was only the emptiness brought by the disappearance of those feelings.

The black cat replied to Leerin's question.

"Nn, yes. To express it a bit more poetically, she's dead as a doorknob. If we want to express it more mechanically, then her function has been completely destroyed."

The voice and the cat's movements weren't connected, that kind of contradiction made Layfon feel a bit queasy.

"......Do you hate that person?"

"......I remember saying so before, right?"

"I seem to remember you saying something like letting me see the answer."

"Maybe it was like that."

"Then can you let me see the answer?"

"Didn't I already show it to you? A fake can't be the same as the genuine article."

Because of the queasy feeling produced from the black cat talking, Layfon lowered his head.

He had a sort of extremely odd feeling.

It wasn't only Layfon who felt that.

"If you make the wrong choice, everything will return to zero, I hope you can understand that point again."

"You!"

Leerin got mad and shouted out at the black cat's words.

The next moment.

"It's not only this person who's made the wrong choice, right? Erumi."

A voice that didn't belong to Leerin came from Leerin's mouth.

It was a man's voice.

A low and masculine voice.

Even Leerin who had made that kind of voice covered her mouth and widened her eyes.

"Only knowing the value of something after losing it, that's something that everyone experiences. The question is whether it can be reclaimed after losing it. You know that pain as well, isn't that right?"

"......You really said something amazing."

Was it only the black cat who didn't feel surprised?

No......

"............"

Saya walked over accompanied by the sound of her footsteps.

"Airen...... Aien, is it you?" [2]

"Ah, yes. I'm only borrowing her mouth for a bit, I'll disappear soon."

"Aien......"

"Saya, it's almost there."

"Yes."

"Ah, I have a final thing to tidy up here, so I'll stop here."

The voice said this.

"Airen."

"No one wants to hear your grumbling, Erumi. I don't need to state the reasons, right?"

"............"

The black cat who didn't know what to say went silent.

"Then I take my leave."

"Ah......Eh? Eh?"

After saying this, Leerin made a sound like she was practicing pronunciation with a surprised expression.

It seemed like he had already left.

Layfon watched from the side as if he didn't care. The fate that Leerin had been entangled in seemed far too complicated to Layfon. Lintence and Alsheyra hadn't had any big change in their expressions since just now.

But, it wasn't that he didn't care.

They had said Airen.

Then, that voice was the voice belonging to the origin of all Military Artists.

Also, there was something else he was concerned about.

"......The final thing?"

Could it be that everything hadn't ended yet?

"......Speaking of which, how are those helpers aboveground?"

Alsheyra said this.

That was a good question.

They hadn't had the leisure to think about this during battle, so nothing regarding them had appeared in their minds.

Had they been continuously fighting with the giant?

"Those guys shouldn't be that rule-abiding."

Lintence said this.

If they wanted to fight against an enemy who possessed strong regenerative ability, relying on normal methods couldn't resolve it, and wasn't suited to their styles.

They should have thought of some way to unleash an extraordinarily powerful blow.

But that kind of thing hadn't happened a single time while Layfon and the others were battling, it definitely hadn't.

Then regardless of which side had won, a victor was already decided.

But, the two sides had no reinforcements.

Did that mean they were still fighting?

While he was still thinking about those things, several floating lights flew towards Layfon and the others.

Psychokinesis flakes.

(Your Majesty, I'm glad to see you're safe and sound.)

(We finally got through.)

Two voices overlapped with each other.

One was Elsmau's voice.

The other was Felli's voice.

"Felli, how is the situation aboveground?"

His body hadn't completely recovered, and Layfon let internal Kei run through him while asking.

(They're still fighting on this side.)

"Eh?"

An unexpected response, and not only Layfon, but the others also showed the same expression.

Lævateinn had already been defeated.

Then, shouldn't the copies making trouble aboveground also have fallen?

(It's not the giant from before.)

Felli's correction made Layfon and the others look at each other again.

Afterwards, Felli and Elsmau recounted together.

Recounting the battle aboveground.


Translator's Notes and References[edit]

  1. This may be referring to someone who encouraged him earlier (Sharnid comes to mind). I have forgotten a specific reference.
  2. Not a typo. Saya calls him by a nickname.
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