City Series:Volume4a Chapter 5
Chapter 5: The Battle Begins (Vs. Com. Instructions)
Coastal lights illuminated Osaka Bay in the dark winter night and that bay was visible to the right of a train traveling south.
The limited express train cut through the nighttime sea breeze.
The third car from the front contained only two people.
One was a one-eyed student, Osaka Chancellor Nanba Souichirou.
The other was an elderly man in a suit.
They were both silent and motionless.
Nanba Souichirou crossed his false arms and stared out the window while the elderly man stared at the boy.
A roar cut in through the sounds of the train itself. An airplane was flying low in the sky above Osaka.
It was passing over the train on its way to Kansai International Airpor.t
Its great mass produced a great noise that made its presence known within the train.
The jumbo jet’s lights glided through the sky at what seemed like arm’s reach outside the window.
The roar grew more distant and the sounds of the train returned.
The two people’s silence continued until the elderly man finally spoke to Souichirou.
“The Sakai Branch dojo is up next…but aren’t you tired?”
“This is my duty. After what happened two years ago, that is.”
“Iwai, surely you too haven’t forgotten who it was that fought most valiantly against that ogre created from the failed test activation of Ixolde.”
“It was gratitude for that and my possession of Kusanagi that led your Houzenji family to support my Modified Purple Electricity Style, wasn’t it?”
He smiled bitterly.
“But someone else might have been able to defeat it more effectively.”
“You are the only one that can slay an ogre as you are a descendent of the Watanabe clan, Japan’s only ogre-busters. Isn’t that why Kusanagi has been passed down by your family ever since the Great Mistake two hundred years ago?”
Souichirou interrupted the old man’s admonishing tone.
“You certainly are talkative.”
Souichirou turned away from the window and calmly crossed his legs, creating the mechanical sounds of prosthetics.
“A certain girl has been called the Killing Holder ever since that time.”
“You mean the Koto Guardian?”
“She can control the Suzaku Ver. 40… Shouldn’t you have asked her to do this instead?”
The man did not reply and silence fell.
Souichirou faced the window once more and he heard another airplane pass by overhead.
“Enough small talk. Tell me why you took the train with me.”
“…Why? What do you mean by that?”
“You are Iwai Sanzou, head butler of the Houzenji family. You support the wealthy Houzenji Group and you control the greatest intelligence network in the Osaka region. Are you asking me to believe you appeared before me for no real reason?”
The elderly butler named Iwai Sanzou twisted his lips a little at that. He formed a slight smile and looked to Souichirou again.
“There is something I wish to tell you and you alone.”
“I see your attempts to make people feel indebted to you are as blatant as ever.”
“Now,” said Iwai while ignoring that comment. “It is about Nagoya.”
“Nagoya? I met with Nagoya’s Chancellor yesterday, but I didn’t hear anything.”
“Of course not. The communications network of Nagoya’s Chancellor’s Officers has been completely wiped out. Without anyone to transport the information, Nagoya’s Chancellor has no way of knowing the details.”
“Hm? Are you saying something happened in Nagoya?”
“Nagoya’s Chancellor’s Officers have been destroyed.”
Souichirou immediately asked another question.
“You haven’t told anyone else about this, have you?”
His expression changed a little as he asked.
It grew tense.
Souichirou’s gaze landed on a certain shadow on the coastal road running parallel with the railroad track.
The golden yellow streetlights revealed the shadow to be a youth on a motorcycle.
They were riding alongside the train with the winter night wind blowing their white blouson behind him.
The full-face black helmet expressionlessly reflected the streetlights.
“Who could that be? I am impressed they can match our speed when it is this cold out.”
Iwai Sanzou commented from behind and Souichirou responded by taking action.
Without speaking a word, he stood up and drew the sword at his waist.
“That is an enemy.”
As soon as Souichirou said that, the person outside the window moved.
The rider pulled something like a rod out of the motorcycle frame and swung it.
The golden yellow streetlights reflected brightly off of the rod as it grew longer.
It was a metal hexagonal rod.
“Stand back, Iwai!”
As soon as Souichirou gave a shout, light appeared outside the window.
Intense light resided in the rider’s hexagonal rod.
That rod instantly became a bullet of light with a diameter of about three meters.
“Are they firing a Lightning High Rhythm projectile?”
“Not many people can control light on such a large scale.”
“Quiet. Move back through the cars and have all the passengers evacuate to the rearmost one.”
Iwai Sanzou nodded in agreement and immediately took off running.
After seeing the old man pass through the door to the next car back, Souichirou returned his attention to the window.
“Should I hurry?”
The rider had just raised the giant mass of light atop the motorcycle.
The ether being transformed into light and flames by a Rhythm had become a single entity.
The three meters of light had become the same as a wrecking ball filled with intense heat. If it hit the train, the train could derail.
“They’re at that level…and still unnamed?”
As he muttered those words, the light suddenly flew toward him.
With a calm voice of surprise, he stopped, turned away from the approaching light, and walked toward the next car up.
He took one, two, then three steps.
He also sang the Word used to emit his Kusanagi Rhythm.
It was only that short sound.
Kusanagi was a Wind Rhythm. Unlike the currently popular Over Rhythms, Wind Rhythms had their foundation in the primitive music of ancient times. No MD was needed to activate them and only the bare minimum was needed to be said in order to break through everything.
He swung the sword at his waist.
—Souichirou – Kusanagi/Sword Tech – Multi-Take – Train Car Slice – Hit!
The outside light filled the window and cast Souichirou’s shadow on the opposite wall.
Even so, he silently continued walking and took his ninth step.
—Souichirou – Kusanagi/Sword Tech – Multi-Take – Train Car Slice – Hit!
While taking his tenth step, his sword moved twice.
The blade calmly drew a large circle in front of him.
It was the gentle motion of flowing water and no strength could be sensed behind it.
The seats, walls, and floor did not intrude the blade’s movement.
It pierced through them all.
A moment later, the light collided with the train car.
Light struck metal.
The sound of a hammer on stone rang out again and again.
The train car shook and the shock-resistant glass shattered when it could not withstand the bending of the metal walls.
Souichirou was the only one inside the shaking train car and he remained motionless after sheathing his sword.
A roar sounded out.
The dry sound resembled splitting stone and it coincided with the bullet of light exploding from its collision.
Souichirou was brightly illuminated inside the car and his sword guard eyepatch glowed dully.
At the same time, he took action.
He gently lifted his vertical scabbard to eye level.
He then struck the plastic floor with the tip of the scabbard.
The sound of the powerful strike joined the countless metallic screams surrounding him.
A change occurred after that.
The car was sliced into three pieces.
The two gentle slashes made while walking had cut this space free.
That block had received all of the impacts and noise and thus took on the fate meant for the entire train. Just like removing a single piece of sliced bread from the loaf, the block was knocked to the left and away from the rest of the train car.
Sparks scattered from the floor because the metal pieces were still biting into each other and creating a lot of friction.
More sparks flew and all of the movement and noise came to a brief stop.
A moment later, the ball of light and hexagonal rod exploded outside the window.
After a solid sound, the movement resumed.
One step ahead of Souichirou, the floor contained between two straight cracks was lifted up.
As that piece toppled over, the floor disappeared upwards.
The seats and floor collapsed to the left before Souichirou’s eyes.
As soon as the floor reached shoulder height, he used his right false arm to strike the bottom of the floor.
With an intense sound, sparks flew from the metal seam and a red circle was drawn around the cut.
That settled it all.
No more sparks formed.
The train car had been completely cut apart. The car separated into three sections with an ensemble of roaring sounds.
The giant piece of metal bent and spun as it fell from the elevated track.
—Souichirou – Sight Tech –Take – Confirm Landing Location – Hit!
They were passing by an elementary school schoolyard.
After confirming that the cut-away car fell there, he faced forward again.
He stood in the front of the train car and the back of it followed after a short gap. Both had completely escaped the impact of the attack.
He heard emergency alarms coming from the unharmed cars.
The door to the next car back opened and Iwai Sanzou stepped out.
He took a few steps into the trisected car and looked around.
“Splendid! Well done, Souichirou-sama!”
“I am sick of hearing your praise.”
With that blunt response, Souichirou looked outside from the edge of the car.
The train had stopped accelerating in order to come to a natural stop, but it had not stopped yet. The ocean and coastal road rushed by in his vision.
“Did they get away, Souichirou-sama?”
—Souichirou – Hear Tech – Take – Track – Hit!
“No, I can still hear the engine.”
—Souichirou – Steel Tech – Take – Activate Reinforced Internals – Hit.
“Who exactly…are they?”
—Souichirou – Steel Tech – Take – Activate Reinforced Muscle Integrity – Hit.
“They are an enemy.”
—Souichirou – Steel Tech – Take – Activate False Arms ALR-C31 – Hit.
“You said that before…”
—Souichirou – Steel Tech – Take – Activate False Legs LLR-C39 – Hit.
“Is any other description needed?”
—Souichirou – Steel Tech – Take – Cut Prosthetic Limiters – Hit.
“You’re still as obsessed with combat as you were two years ago, aren’t you?”
—Souichirou – Steel Tech – Take – Install Gym Tech Booster – Hit.
“That is because I gained this body. Thanks to my two battles with the ogre and thanks to your support.”
—Souichirou – Steel Tech – Take – Install Sight Tech Booster – Hit.
“Are you going to pursue them? …What about getting to Sakai?”
—Souichirou – Mind Tech – Take – Control – Hit.
“I might be late, but I will be there.”
With that, Souichirou jumped from the train car.
—Souichirou – Gym Tech – Take – Attitude Control – Hit.
He landed on the elevated track’s fence and began running.
He ran alongside the train for a bit, but he quickly passed it.
He was fast.
—Souichirou – Savate/Gym Tech – Multi-Take – Great Leap – Hit.
He leaped toward the crescent moon floating in the sky.
He jumped high enough to look down on the city of Osaka.
The moon was out.
It could be seen in the night sky even from the shopping district near Osaka Station.
But in a shopping district at nearly seven in the evening, very few people were taking the time to leisurely look up at the moon.
Nagoya Chancellor Yamashita Taeko was one such leisurely person.
She stood in front of the Osaka Hilton hotel that gave a view of both Osaka Station and Hankyu Umeda Station from south of the former station. She was staring into the night sky while sitting on a sidewalk fire hydrant.
During this moon viewing, she tilted her head with a cellphone in her right hand.
“The emergency line won’t get through? And the Student Council’s number is too busy to get in, so the answering machine kicks in. …What happened?”
She set the phone to wait for a call and put it in her pocket.
After a sigh, she fixed both her eyes and mind on the moon.
She was tall.
Even while sitting, she kept about the same height as the people walking along the sidewalk.
Her ponytail only accentuated her height.
But even so, the three claws of the Dragon Emperor false arm touched the sidewalk as it hung from her left shoulder.
It was a massive prosthetic.
A green combat-use license plate was attached to the shoulder like an armor panel.
The artificial muscles and framework made it an embodiment of offensive functionality.
She touched the Dragon Emperor’s armor with her right hand.
“It’s been a year since I met Shoui and got this at the Mountain. I still haven’t used its final stage, though.”
She stood up and used her flesh-and-blood right hand to stroke the dragon relief on the Dragon Emperor’s shoulder.
She stroked it like petting a cat’s back and the shoulder transformed somewhat.
The armor split open and bluish-white light escaped the gap.
“Hey. don’t get carried away just cause it’s yer monthly moonlight bath.”
The Dragon Emperor emitted steam from the exhaust pipe at the top of the upper arm.
It was a living motion.
A slight sound came from the shoulder armor that was swollen out into a single horn at the top. She had not done a thing, but it began opening and closing its armor panels for some self maintenance.
It almost looked like something lurked within the armor.
Taeko narrowed her eyes as she watched the Dragon Emperor.
—Taeko – Mind Tech – Auto-Take – Detect Killer Intent – Hit!
A stabbing presence suddenly reached her.
After that presence, she heard loud voices.
They were screams.
The people walking along the road all produced the screams of victims.
The killer intent and the attacker were elsewhere.
—Taeko – Hear Tech – Take – Sound Classification – Hit!
Taeko picked through the overlapping screams to listen only to the sound that mattered.
It was the rumbling of an engine.
The vehicle was clearly out of control instead of driving normally along.
It came from the center of the main road to her right.
—Taeko – Steel Tech – Take – Dragon Emperor #1 Activation – Hit!
“Dragon Emperor! Take it up to #3!”
With that shout, Taeko turned around and saw her enemy.
A white sports car was drifting sideways around the roundabout in front of the station.
—Taeko – Sight Tech – Take – Spot – Hit.
The car was empty.
There was no driver beyond the windshield.
“Is it being radio controlled!?”
She turned her right shoulder forward and held the Dragon Emperor at the ready.
“Didn’t ya know a Steel Master has no blind spots or limits?”
Meanwhile, the sports car drove straight toward her.
The white car bounced over the curb and onto the sidewalk.
It was less than thirty meters away, so it would arrive in two seconds at sixty kph.
With the sound of tires on the sidewalk, it shot straight toward her.
A bus stop was knocked from the sidewalk.
The screeching of tires and roar of the wind were louder than the roar of the engine. That was proof that it was picking up momentum with its speed.
The sports car brightened its headlights as it charged straight forward.
People screamed, but Taeko was unfazed.
She had the Dragon Emperor and her enemy was not interested in a simple battle.
The change came suddenly.
The empty white sports car hopped up.
It was a quick movement. Like a cat pouncing on its prey, the car’s tires acted as legs and it jumped high into the air.
It was an impossible action, but it really did happen and the sports car vanished from Taeko’s field of vision.
—Taeko – Sight Tech – Take – Locate Enemy – Hit!
She could no longer see the moon overhead.
The white car was blotting out the sky.
For the first time in her life, Taeko saw a car perform a moonsault.
The mechanical beast intended to crush her.
Based on its angle of rotation, the bottom of the car’s front end would strike her.
If she dodged, it would slam into the hotel, so she had to intercept it.
Her impatience brought a few questions to mind.
Why was she being targeted?
How could the car perform this odd action?
Thoughts about Shoui and Yuuki also raced through her mind.
—Taeko – Mind Tech – Take – Focus on Battle – Hit!
“Dragon Emperor!” she shouted. “Activate Thunder High!”
The Dragon Emperor responded with a full-body roar.
The metal arm’s armor trembled as it roared. The vibration had a set rhythm which easily produced the same music as a Rhythm.
Taeko sang her Words to match the Dragon Emperor’s cry.
She sang the song that summoned lightning.
Nobody takes the middle road
Nothing lives or dies
It all either falls into ruin or survives
Everyone, everyone, everyone
The Dragon Emperor emitted bluish-white electricity from its shoulder, fist, and claws.
Now it only needed to move.
The bottom of the sports car had arrived within arm’s reach, so Taeko did not hesitate to step forward.
In a normal fight, she would have sent a jabbing feint out from her right shoulder, but that flesh-and-blood arm would be of little use against a car.
It all came down to the one attack, so she made her move.
—Taeko – Gym Tech – Take – Step Forward – Super Hit.
- —Taeko – Savate Tech – Take – Leap – Hit.
- —Taeko – Thunder High Rhythm/Box Tech – Multi-Take – Ether Strike – Super Hit!
A series of Tech decisions created a series of movements.
She used her entire body to perform a smash uppercut with the Dragon Emperor and it struck the car’s chassis.
Her anti-shock reflective-armor bodysuit briefly fixed her joints in place to receive the Dragon Emperor’s several tons of recoil.
There was a loud sound of impact, but it did not end there. She knew the car was empty, so she kept her attack going to the end.
While still punching the car from below, she forcibly jumped upwards.
With a roar, the sports car was carried into the night sky.
The Dragon Emperor’s fist stabbed into the engine space and started tearing through the engine as they continued to ascend.
Immediately, the Dragon Emperor emitted lightning in plasma form.
The car let out a scream as the heat caused the glass and decorations to explode.
This was the power of the Thunder High.
The night sky was dyed white.
She yelled in the center of that light while tearing the car’s engine to pieces.
She swung the Dragon Emperor all the way up.
The metal emitted a further scream, the lightning light gathered together, and the car’s bumper was melted apart.
Taeko added a gentle rotation to her uppercut and prepared for her landing.
The sports car’s white paint had been scorched beyond recognition and the force of the blow sent it flying even higher in the opposite direction from Taeko.
Just as she landed, a flower blossomed from the car in the night sky.
A deafening explosion sounded out.
The crimson flames scattered metal components in every direction. The residual effect of the Thunder High caused each one to become plasma and vanish in midair.
Taeko swung up the Dragon Emperor and smiled.
At the same time…
—Taeko – Sight Tech – Auto-Take – Detect – Hit.
A single person moved against the flow of people who were panicking and gathering on the road.
The boy wore an obviously high-quality three-piece suit and had a white scarf around his shoulders.
He alone moved against the crowd, was not panicked, did not look to Taeko through his glasses, and calmly walked to the entrance of the Osaka Hilton.
“What an odd guy…”
Just as she said that, a slight shadow covered the moonlight falling from above.
The source of that shadow landed right in front of her eyes.
Someone holding a sheathed sword landed there.
It happened so quickly that not even Taeko had time to put up her guard.
The sound of his landing had a metallic ring to it.
That was the unique sound of someone with prosthetics.
Taeko recognize the boy who landed in a kneeling position, so she shouted out on reflex.
“Osaka Chancellor…Nanba Souichirou!?”
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