City Series:Volume4a Chapter 10
Chapter 10: Composition of Battle (List of Characters Special Moves)
A shopping district known as Europe Town existed near the Shinsaibashi district of Osaka.
Several dozen shops were densely packed in between two short roads. It was primarily made up of boutiques and cafes, so it acted as a contrast to the northern business district. The stores were filled with people and bright colors.
Two people stood on the second floor of a certain brick building there.
One was a boy in a suit and the other was a girl in rough personal clothes.
They were Ikemaru Takahiro and Aoi Hijiri.
The two of them were inside a lingerie shop.
Colorful underwear was displayed half-disorderly and half-orderly under the white lights of the store that was larger than it looked from the outside.
Since it was only early afternoon, the store was relatively empty and most of the customers were women, but there was also an older couple.
When she saw that couple, Aoi gently elbowed Ikemaru in the side.
“That middle-aged couple has got to be cheating.”
“Why do you say that?”
“They’re using separate wallets. …So what do you think about this color?”
“I think it would look great on you.”
“Then what about this color?”
“I think it would look great on you.”
“Then what about this risqué one?”
“It would not suit you in the slightest.”
“You have some pretty solid preferences, Takahiro.”
“I prefer to keep some of it left to the imagination.”
“Yeah, but I’m not sure I can live up to your imagination…”
Aoi looked to Takahiro’s suit.
A manila envelope was poking out from below the scarf she had made.
“Will that idiot Hisahide really be okay with those documents…and those Discord Bombs you bought?”
“We are in trouble if he isn’t. Hacking into the government office only revealed the one sewage line running by near Ixolde and we only have the three Discord Bombs.”
“So we have to know where to set the Discord Bombs? We’re really relying on others a lot on this expedition.”
“I would prefer to obtain a lot more information. Preparing the charms is not easy either.”
“You put a lot of effort into this. That’s an information broker for you.”
“I prefer to be called a businessman.”
Aoi smiled bitterly.
“It’s true you might not be an information broker after all. You haven’t been able to figure out where Seigi is.”
“It hasn’t been easy.”
“Hisahide’s upset. After all, Seigi was the first person to agree that he would become the king.”
Aoi lightly tapped the underwear-wearing mannequin standing next to her.
With a small sound, the plastic body shook a little.
“The king, hm?”
“Personally, my top priority is your issue, not making him the king.”
“We’re having trouble finding that too, aren’t we?”
“Not even the Live laboratory I hacked into said anything about cherry blossoms blooming in the winter.”
Takahiro looked to his own right hand.
He wore a black leather glove and the gaze behind his glasses was cold.
“Don’t worry about it. Even the power of your kotodama can’t create data that wasn’t in the databank to begin with.”
“Even without the data, I could still alter the Lives of the cherry blossoms like when I created the Dog God.”
“Altering the Lives of organic objects takes a lot out of you, right? Seigi told me.”
“Besides, I doubt the cherry blossoms my mom and that man saw blooming in the winter had anything to do with Lives. Maybe you could call it an unusual phenomenon that occurs under the right conditions. That’s what I think it was.”
“In that case, we won’t find anything written about it at the sightseeing spots.”
“Iba isn’t going to tell us, so we need to be patient. Maybe look through some of Osaka’s historical records. …And if we can help Hisahide rejoin the east and west, finding the cherry blossoms will be a lot easier.”
“You sure are positive.”
“Being negative is pretty attractive too. Like Seigi used to be. I was jealous that she could tremble like that. Don’t you agree, Takahiro?”
“Being able to tremble in your indecisiveness is the ultimate luxury.”
“I used to be like that. Until that man died and I learned the true reason the Shinkage Style was created.”
She sighed and fell silent.
Meanwhile, Ikemaru removed his right glove.
As soon as he lightly shook his white hand, a single copper coin appeared between his index and middle finger.
He placed the dull brown coin in his palm and showed it to Aoi.
As soon as he spoke that quiet word, the coin split open with a sound much like breaking ice.
It did not just break in half. The surface peeled away like a skin, split apart, and extended outwards and upwards. It almost looked like a blossoming flower bud.
The small coin produced thin flower petals.
After a mere five seconds, a red copper flower had formed in his palm.
It resembled a cherry blossom and Aoi commented on it.
“A Tune Bust transformation… That was your Word Master power, wasn’t it?”
“I can read all Lives and freely change the Live structure of anything I speak to while touching it with my skin. …It is a useful power.”
“Didn’t you used to call it an unpleasant power?”
“Not to worry. I now have someone who can reject my power.”
“Then is this flower for the one person in the world you know will be fine touching it with her bare hands?”
Aoi smiled, narrowed her eyes, and tilted her head.
“Are you trying to cheer me up because I fell silent like that?”
“Do you not want this flower?”
“It only cost ten yen, didn’t it?”
“Only I can make one.”
“Then I’ll take it.”
When she accepted, Ikemaru placed the metal flower in the breast pocket of her blouson. And…
“Sorry, Takahiro. I have been kind of gloomy lately.”
“Didn’t you just say being negative is attractive?”
“I got that line from my mom.”
“But it’s true.”
“Then…why did you save Seigi? You were the one that saved her from her negativity even though creating that Dog God put you in the hospital for three days.”
“I will answer that…when the time is right.”
It was a vague response, but Aoi thought about it and nodded.
She then looked away from him.
“Oh?” she said after looking out the window.
“What is it?” he asked.
“This is convenient. There’s the person we were thinking about speaking with at the hotel.”
The two of them looked down to the road where a tall girl walked along the sidewalk.
Her ponytail and giant false left arm made her quite recognizable.
It was Nagoya Chancellor Yamashita Taeko.
“She must be on the way to Prefectural #2. Probably to wait for Ixolde’s activation.”
“If we’re going to stop her, now would be the time,” agreed Aoi. “If what our master said is true, then Nagoya won’t side with us unless we get her on our side.”
“Then let’s stop her before she meets up with the Kansai group. It will probably mean a fight, but first…”
Ikemaru gave Aoi a serious look.
“You need to buy a bra and put it on. You will probably have difficulty fighting without the proper support.”
Aoi forcefully elbowed him in the side.
Taeko walked through the streets of Osaka.
Walking from the hotel in front of Osaka Station to Prefectural #2 on the southern edge of the Chuo Ward took about half an hour, but it took closer to two hours when leisurely window shopping along the way.
She was taking some detours and looking around the southern streets near Nanba Station.
“Ixolde’s activation isn’t until seven anyway.”
The watch on her right arm said it was only 2:35. Not even ten minutes had passed since she had parted ways with Saki at Osaka Station.
She had spent the time looking around a few boutiques and a sporting goods store that doubled as a weapons store.
Osaka was home to more corporations than Nagoya and it had plenty of nice weapons.
The cold war that had triggered the split between east and west had created plenty of suspicion which in turn had led to the development of weapons and a system to provide them cheaply to students. As the number of purchasers had grown, the level of weaponry and prosthetics had also grown and the mass production abilities of multinational corporations supported the dissemination of those advancements.
But while some weapons and prosthetics had continued to advance and were now treated just like sporting goods, there were some cruder old-fashioned designs that still focused on destructive power.
The Eighth Dragon Emperor that took the place of Taeko’s left arm was one of those.
It was a special false arm created at the Mountain that had a global registration license plate attached.
She touched the Dragon Emperor and faced forward.
She saw the show window of a boutique much like the others in this southern area.
Beyond the large pane of glass, four mannequins were wearing the same suit in different colors.
She silently touched the Dragon Emperor with her right hand.
—Taeko – Sight Tech – Auto-Take – Visually Detect – Hit.
She looked into the store beyond the mannequins.
She saw some girls in white and green sailor uniforms.
They seemed to be third years who had already finished their closing ceremony. A group of five held a somewhat mature aura around them as they calmly and patiently perused the lipstick section.
When Taeko noticed herself watching them, she looked away.
When she turned her eyes from the boutique, she turned to the left.
She then started walking.
Following the road from this shopping district would take her to Prefectural #2 in about ten minutes.
She walked a few steps.
—Taeko – Sight Tech – Auto-Take – Spot – Hit.
“Huh? …Shoui! What are ya doin’!?”
Her voice immediately reached the boy as he walked down the road, so he stopped and turned back.
There was a girl next to him.
—Taeko – Person Tech – Take – Identify Person – Hit.
Taeko did not recognize the girl.
She tilted her head and stopped in front of Shoui.
“What are ya doin’ in a place like this?”
“Hm? Well, just a little bit of socialization.”
Taeko noticed something odd about his answer.
His mouth was not moving, yet she heard his voice.
She frowned and peered at his face.
“Wh-why are you staring at me like that?”
“When did you learn ventrilo-…?”
Before she could say “quism”, a mouse-like creature poked its head out from his collar.
The animal opened its mouth and spoke in his voice.
“Oh, sorry. …I guess I didn’t mention it, but I’m stuck like this for a while.”
“You can tell this guy’s talking for me, right?”
“Wait a second.”
Taeko reached her right hand out toward the creature.
When it saw her approaching hand, it gave a cry of warning that sounded like tearing silk.
It bared surprisingly sharp fangs as it did so.
She pulled her hand back and the girl next to Shoui spoke without moving her lips either.
“You can’t do that. He doesn’t like people who aren’t indecisive.”
“Indecisive? What’s this creature and who’s this girl, Shoui?”
Taeko looked to the girl who wore a stole.
The innocent-looking girl had an identical creature on her shoulder.
Shoui scratched his head and the creature at his collar spoke.
“I can’t believe this. How am I supposed to explain it?”
“I don’t understand any of this, Shoui.”
“I’m still not used to it myself, to be honest. Anyway, my throat was crushed.”
“Yes. See these bandages? I took a kick to the neck.”
“Oh, I thought ya’d slit yer throat or somethin’, but I guess not.”
“You say some scary things sometimes.”
Shoui smiled bitterly and used his thumb to point at the creature poking its head out from his collar.
“She’s letting me borrow this guy. He’s a Dog God and he reads and speaks people’s thoughts.”
“…That’s pretty weird.”
“Agreed. …But anyway, I’m showing her around the city as a way of repaying her.”
“I see,” said Taeko with a slight nod.
She had avoided the main question at hand, so she ignored the creatures sitting on the two of them and looked to the girl.
“Miss, don’t ya have school?” she asked.
“No. I came to this city on a trip.”
Taeko scratched her head at the answer.
She looked to Shoui and gave an exasperated sigh.
“Ya do know Shoui’s busy right now, don’t ya?”
“Yes, I read his kotodama.”
“I read it mouth-to-mouth.”
When she heard that, Taeko punched Shoui with the Dragon Emperor’s fist.
He was knocked flat onto the brick sidewalk, but he quickly hopped back up.
“~! Wh-what was that for!?”
—Taeko – Mind Tech – Take – Emit Killer Intent – Hit.
“Ya spent so much time worryin’ over the Killin’ Holder and now ya’ve forgotten all about her and are kissin’ some other girl?”
“It wasn’t really a ki-…ow, ow, ow, ow, ow! P-please, not the gut!”
“Shut up, ya moron.”
“Wait! Um, Takada-san! Please say something!”
“Oh, right. Um… It was kind of embarrassing.”
“That isn’t helping!”
“I see. Then it’s time ya died, Shoui.”
Takada placed a hand on Taeko’s arm that was grabbing Shoui’s collar.
During a pause, Taeko looked down at Takada in silence.
Her gaze was sharp, but Takada received it without fear.
“What is it?” quietly asked Taeko.
“I know perfectly well that there is a girl who needs to be by Shoui-san’s side.”
“You know that too, right?”
Her confident tone settled everything.
Taeko finally let go of Shoui’s collar while also shoving him away.
“Ahh,” he sighed. “That was scary.”
“Ya really are a moron.”
“If ya don’t restrain her properly, I’ll kill her!”
Taeko looked to Shoui and saw his expression change at the word “kill”.
It shifted from peaceful to tense.
His body did not move in the slightest, but an aura filled with power left it.
The Dog God put that aura to words.
“Don’t do that.”
“Then ya’d better hurry up and restrain her! The only reason I didn’t kill her was because ya were there for her. Ya haven’t forgotten that, have ya?”
He said nothing, but the creature at his collar did.
“I haven’t forgotten, but… Wait, don’t say that, you idiot!”
“I don’t mind. Ya haven’t forgotten, but what?”
The girl stood in front of Shoui and looked up at Taeko.
“Don’t use Taromaru to force people to speak their thoughts! It isn’t natural!”
“Isn’t havin’ everythin’ out in the open for the best?”
“No. No matter what you might say, Shoui-san’s indecision belongs to him. No matter what might happen, no one but him can make up his mind for him.”
The girl spoke in a strong, clear tone, so Taeko looked down at her.
But the girl once more accepted her gaze and did not fall back.
She wrinkled her brow and a look of seriousness rather than anger filled her innocent face.
—Taeko – Mind Tech – Take – Decode Expression – Hit.
Taeko closed her eyes and sighed toward the ground.
“It’s no use.”
“No matter how much ya worry over it, this guy will never leave that girl’s side.”
“That’s why I want to see what he does,” said the girl.
The seriousness on her face was replaced by a slight smile.
Her expressions seemed to change a lot and Taeko also smiled.
“All the girls by his side are too clever for their own good.”
“So are you, aren’t you?”
Taeko turned to Shoui.
“Am I by yer side?”
“You’re definitely close enough to grab my collar.”
“That’s fine then.”
—Taeko – Box Tech – Take – Backhand Blow – Hit!
Unable to react to the sudden attack by the Dragon Emperor, Shoui flipped once and collapsed to the ground.
“Owww! Wh-what was that for!?”
“It’s yer punishment for messing with people’s emotions. Complain and ya’ll get another one.”
“You two seem to get along well.”
“How!?” / “How!?”
Their slight difference in intonation allowed their voices to harmonize perfectly.
Takada smiled a little and she giggled without using the Dog God.
Shoui and Taeko exchanged a glance when they saw it.
A moment later…
—Shoui – Mind Tech – Auto-Take – Detect Killer Intent – Hit.
—Taeko – Mind Tech – Take – Detect Killer Intent – Hit.
“Hm? What is it, you two?”
—Shoui – Hear Tech – Take – Measure Distance – Hit.
“I wish I could say it’s nothing, but it isn’t. Boss, know anyone who might have a grudge against you?”
—Taeko – Hear Tech – Take – Measure Distance – Hit.
“Well, when ya’ve lived for eighteen years, ya tend to make five hundred or so enemies.”
“That’s too many enemies.”
—Taeko – Hear Tech – Take – Determine Number of Enemies – Hit.
“Don’t be stupid. We need to get goin’ as soon as I turn around. Prepare yerself.”
—Taeko – Steel Tech – Take – Dragon Emperor 1st Activation – Hit.
—Shoui – Hear Tech – Take – Determine Number of Enemies – Hit.
“Oh, c’mon. You mean we aren’t running away?”
“Fleein’ in the face of the enemy is punishable by a fatal beatin’.”
“Why is everyone around me so hot-blooded?”
“Um, you mean me too?”
“No, no. You’re the nonconformist on this one, Takada-san.”
—Taeko – Mind Tech – Auto-Take – Detect Presence – Hit.
“Here they come!” shouted Taeko as she turned around.
Shoui kept Takada behind him and turned a bit to the side.
They both saw the same thing.
“A burning bullet!?”
Two balls of fire the size of a human head flew straight toward them like meteors.
—Shoui – Break High/Boxing/Dodge Tech – Multi-Take – Knock Down – Hit!
—Taeko – Lightning High/Boxing/Dodge Tech – Multi-Take – Knock Down – Hit!
Two bursting sounds rang out in quick succession.
A moment later, screams finally erupted from the road, but it was so sudden that the people could only express their surprise. They did not have time to take cover or anything like that.
Taeko clicked her tongue, pulled a flare from her pocket, and fired it into the sky.
A blue ball of light rose into the sky in order to inform the local guard station of the danger.
At the same time…
“Boss!? Look at the ground!”
When she heard the confusion in Shoui’s voice, Taeko kept her attention on their surroundings while looking to the ground.
The identity of the burning bullet lay on the brick path after she had knocked it down.
It was a ten yen coin so hot it was smoking.
Shoui’s voice answered her puzzlement.
“I don’t know how, but those weren’t bullets that were emitting flames and flying through the air. They were coins.”
“What does that mean?”
“Who knows. How about we ask the people who did this?”
—Taeko – Sight Tech – Take – Detect Enemy – Hit!
She readily found who she was looking for.
As the people hid inside the nearby stores and side roads, two people walked out onto the sidewalk in front of Taeko’s group.
They were about a five second run away. One was a tall, slender boy in a suit and the other was a girl in a blouson and with a hexagonal rod in hand.
They looked to Taeko and Shoui without smiling but without any hostility either.
“I guess I can figure out who ya are by fightin’ ya,” said Taeko.
As soon as she stepped forward, someone cried out from behind her.
It was Takada.
The enemy gave an obvious reaction to her voice.
“Seigi!?” asked the girl.
The boy next to her frowned a bit as he looked beyond Taeko and Shoui.
The battle was beginning with a truly strange composition.
The battle began with both sides working to protect a single girl.
The siren known as the Fourth Alarm rang and two boy-girl pairs began moving at the center of the quickly emptying shopping district.
A single girl watched them.
Shoui was worried about her.
“I can’t believe this.”
He saw Takada holding Taromaru in her arms, but Taromaru’s size had changed.
Instead of mouse-sized, he was now the size of a puppy.
Sensing her fear, he had grown to confront the situation she was facing. Shoui now understood what had happened at that scene when he had first met her.
The fleeing students had been attacked by the grown Taromaru.
He had a feeling he understood her fear.
“Is she afraid that her own fear will hurt others?”
He saw her desperately petting Taromaru’s head to calm him.
But Taromaru kept his fangs bared and produced a low growling from deep in his throat.
The Dog God was no longer reading her thoughts.
The fear of this battle that resided deep in her heart was more powerful than her thoughts.
She was both trying to calm Taromaru and to calm her own emotions. Without speaking a word, she was trying to calm her own fear of hurting others.
Shoui recalled the past.
Yuuki had once said something to him when visiting his room.
“ ‘Protect me from myself’, hm?”
He muttered that while facing forward.
Taeko and the enemy were glaring at each other from a distance.
The enemy had named themselves and Taeko had responded in kind.
The enemies were Tokyo’s Vice Chancellor and Special Duty Officer.
The night before, Shoui had met and lost to a boy claiming to be Tokyo’s Chancellor.
That meant the main force of Tokyo’s Chancellor’s Officers was in Osaka.
Shoui did not know what was going on, but he could tell Takada knew them and that she was afraid of this battle.
He walked forward and the two from Tokyo reacted.
They had been entirely focused on Taeko, but now they began to focus on Shoui too.
—Taeko – Mind Tech – Take – Detect Presence – Hit.
As soon as Shoui arrived alongside Taeko, she took off running.
She ran forward.
She had won the initiative.
Her Dragon Emperor gave a roar.
With that roar to summon the Lightning High, lightning enveloped her metal arm.
The enemy moved back, but Taeko did not care.
She continued forward with the Dragon Emperor at the ready.
“Yer still in range!”
As a Steel Master, she was an all-rounder who could make long-distance attacks too.
The Dragon Emperor gave its thunderous roar and her attack range spread.
—Taeko – Shot Tech – Take – Prepare to Fire – Hit.
- —Taeko – Lightning High/Steel/Shot Tech – Multi-Take – Electro Cannon – Hit!
She held forward the Dragon Emperor arm and the lightning wrapping around it was instantly fired forward.
The electric attack was wide enough to fill the road and flew toward her opponents more like a pillar than a net.
The wide-range attack of white light raced through the air, but…
“Leave it to me.”
With a refreshing voice, Aoi Hijiri stepped forward with her hexagonal rod in hand.
She stood in front of Ikemaru and raised the rod with awfully slow movements.
She raised her head and looked to Taeko through the electric attack.
She gave a slight smile just as the lightning struck her.
A great roar burst out, but the result was not at all what Taeko had expected.
The white light fired by the Dragon Emperor scattered in every direction like a shattered plate.
The explosion of light slammed noisily into the shops on either side of the road.
The shopping district shattered from the heat and impact.
After a series of explosions and a chorus of solid impacts, only Aoi remained standing.
She was unscathed.
Aoi spoke without answering Taeko’s question.
“Like that would work, you idiot. …If this is all you’ve got, I don’t see how you can claim Nagoya won’t surrender.”
“Don’t panic. We’ll take our time finishing you off. …Once you go down, Nagoya is ours.”
Shoui ignored Aoi’s mocking comment and looked behind the girl.
The man who had been standing there was gone.
—Shoui – Sight Tech – Take – Detect Enemy – Hit!
He saw Ikemaru Takahiro walking up the sidewalk.
Several bicycles were lined up there.
As he walked along, he traced his bare hand along those bicycles.
“Peck at your prey, you birds.”
The group of bicycles flew up into the sky as if something had kicked at them.
It happened suddenly.
With a harmony of light metallic sounds, the bicycles flew along a gentle slope no matter which way they were pointed and no matter how they were oriented.
They filled the sky just like a flock of birds.
They then dropped down toward Shoui and Taeko.
Taeko raised her voice and a hemisphere of lightning was released from the exhaust port on the Dragon Emperor’s shoulder.
—Shoui – Dodge/Savate Tech – Multi-Take – Leaping Dodge – Hit!
Just as he escaped the range of the lightning, the wheeled birds crashed down into the lightning light.
With a scorching smell, their metal and plastic melted and scattered.
“Th-that was close!”
“Just stay quiet and get outta the way! The next one’s comin’!”
He looked up to see Aoi raising her hexagonal rod.
Those two had incredible coordination, so they did not give Shoui and Taeko a chance to act.
There was a distance of over ten steps between Aoi and Taeko, so this attack would presumably fill that gap.
—Shoui – Mind Tech – Auto-Take – Detect Killer Intent – Hit!
For some reason, Shoui recognized the aura emitted by that pose.
“But I’ve never met her before.”
Confused, he raised his defenses and glanced behind him.
Takada was no longer holding Taromaru in her arms.
The light brown Dog God had grown to the size of a large dog and now stood on the ground.
Takada said nothing as she embraced his neck and desperately tried to hold him back. Without that, he almost certainly would have rushed in to join the battle.
The slightest opening could settle everything here, so who would her fear attack?
The question sent a shudder down his spine, but no one could answer it.
Meanwhile, Aoi made her move.
She attached Words to the hexagonal rod simply by swinging it down in front of her.
Shoui understood everything when he heard what Taeko said.
Two days before, that shockwave attack had stopped the confrontation between him and Saki in the schoolyard.
Aoi’s attack contained the same presence and killer intent as that.
If the equation was the same, the answer would also be the same.
She swung the rod down until it hit the ground and shattered the asphalt.
The shock broke the rod’s central bolt, but the Rhythm activated.
First, it created a wind.
“!?” The air shook and a shimmering of heat pierced through Taeko and Shoui.
“It can’t be…!”
Before Taeko could take evasive action, the air cutting across the road exploded.
A powerful tearing raced by.
The chorus of tearing sounds sounded like an echo.
The tearing wind and shockwave slammed into the ground and scattered.
—Taeko – Savate/Gym/Steel/Dodge Tech – Multi-Take – Great Dodge – …Hit!
Taeko avoided the power rushing toward her.
Shoui tried to do the same, but something stopped him: a beast’s roar.
Taromaru was unable to bear the killer intent of Kusanagi that Aoi was emitting.
—Shoui – Mind Tech – Take – Detect Killer Intent – Hit.
The killer intent growing behind him grew all the larger in response to the attack approaching from the front.
He heard Takada’s voiceless scream within the din, so he did not dodge.
The Dis-Worder released the most powerful Rhythm he could use: the Break High.
—Shoui – Gym/Savate Tech – Multi-Take – Fix Stance – Hit!
He filled his entire body with strength and held his fist forward.
He did not know if he could break Kusanagi, but if he failed, Takada’s fear would explode.
“Shoui!?” shouted Taeko.
But it was too late.
—Shoui – Break High/Boxing/Dodge Tech – Multi-Take – Intercept – Hit!
His aim was true and his fist contacted the great power.
A moment later…
“What are you doing!?”
A deep voice gave a shout and the power of Kusanagi vanished before Shoui’s eyes.
There was nothing there.
Shoui looked forward as his Break High fist thrust out into empty air.
His vision tried to answer his question.
The boy named Ikemaru stood in the distance.
The girl named Aoi stood in front of him with her hexagonal rod still held against the ground.
At the midpoint between Aoi and Shoui, Taeko had fallen onto her butt and was looking toward Shoui.
The ground had been torn up almost all the way to him.
However, someone stood right in front of him.
A short man dressed like a Buddhist monk faced away from him.
The air around the man was still vibrating, but Kusanagi’s power was gone.
The mass of power that had raced along the street while destroying it had utterly vanished in front of Shoui, just like when Aoi had deflected Taeko’s electric attack.
The Fourth Alarm was still sounding and had begun to rule the surrounding atmosphere.
Shoui gasped for breath and heard the man in front of him speaking.
“Enough meaningless fighting. I managed to deflect Kusanagi, but what would have happened if I had not been here?”
The man took a step toward Aoi’s quiet voice.
Then he looked around the area and looked Shoui straight in the eye.
“That was a reckless decision,” he said. “But it was also a brave one.”
Shoui could not reply.
He did not know what had happened, so his body still contained extreme tension.
But the man paid him no more heed and looked to Aoi and Ikemaru instead.
“A moment ago, Nagoya’s Student Council announced their unconditional surrender to Tokyo.”
“Nagoya Chancellor. No matter what you might say, Nagoya now belongs to Tokyo.”
“Don’t be ridiculous! Got any proof of that!?”
“If you do not believe me, would you prefer to keep fighting?”
When Aoi heard the man’s arrogant words, she quickly raised her hexagonal rod again.
Taeko clicked her tongue and looked to Shoui.
“I can’t believe this.”
She looked behind him, so he looked back as well.
The great beast the Dog God had become was no longer there.
He only saw Takada sitting on the road and crying with Taromaru on her shoulder.
Her cries filled his ears more than the siren of the Fourth Alarm.
“I can’t believe this,” said Shoui as well.
At the same time, he heard a metallic sound.
He turned toward it and saw Taeko standing up and wiping the dust from her coat.
“After talkin’ with Saki Seiji earlier, I had a feelin’ this would happen.”
She shrugged and looked to the Buddhist monk.
“Are ya sayin’ this is the only way for Nagoya to survive?”
“At the very least, your hometown has decided so.”
“Then it can’t be helped.”
She sighed and walked over to Shoui. Aoi kept her weapon at the ready, but…
“I won’t do anythin’,” said Taeko as she came to a stop in front of Shoui.
Her expression contained both exasperation and exhaustion.
“I can’t believe this, Shoui. …Are ya tremblin’?”
“Y-yes. I did try to do something pretty reckless.”
“Hm. That’s convenient.”
“Eh? Wh-what’s convenient?”
“Well, I ended up sidin’ with Osaka because ya were here.”
“Is that so?”
“And now Nagoya has gone over to Tokyo’s side.”
“Yes, so it seems.”
“That gives me contradictory feelings. Do I keep havin’ fun with ya or do I protect Nagoya?”
“Yes, I understand how you must feel.”
—Taeko – Boxing/Steel Tech – Multi-Take – Strike – Hit!
Without giving him a chance to dodge, the Dragon Emperor’s fist punched Shoui.
Even through his bandanna, a hit to the back of the head was effective.
“Okay. I’ll be joinin’ you along with this guy.”
The Dog God expressed Shoui’s thoughts in response to Taeko’s selfish words.
“I’m passing out again?”
That was exactly what happened.
But in so doing, Nagoya had fully surrendered to Tokyo.
The power balance of Japan’s students was greatly changing.
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