City Series:Volume4b Chapter 1
Chapter 1: Team Battle (Team Battle Rules)
The attack occurred suddenly.
The schoolyard was large enough for two baseball fields and the defensive formation of the Student Council’s guard unit was knocked to the ground by an instantaneous lightning strike.
The Chancellor’s Officers field work unit rushed out of the guard station and immediately joined the battle.
Luckily, the alarm from the sewer had reached the Osaka Chancellor’s Officers guard station.
Before the attack began, the VIPs in Ixolde’s hall for the celebration of Ixolde’s activation were moved to the spare party site prepared outside.
But that was the only piece of luck.
By the time Saki Seiji, 1st Special Duty Officer of the Osaka Chancellor’s Officers, ran out of Ixolde and onto the surface, he saw only a few members of the field work unit still moving and…
“Yamashita Taeko! This was you!?”
A girl with a false left arm turned back toward him in the center of the schoolyard.
She shook her ponytail and calmly smiled his way.
“Oh? Ya’ve come out?”
As she walked toward Saki, several collapsed members of the field work unit were visible at her feet.
Saki lowered his sunglasses to look directly at Taeko.
“…Did you betray us!?”
“Betray ya? Nagoya always chooses whichever side’s winnin’.”
–Saki – Spear/Gym/Draw Tech – Multi-Take – Left and Right Spear Throw – Hit!
He threw two spears.
“Like that’ll work, moron!”
–Taeko – Boxing/Dodge Tech – Counter-Multi-Take – Intercept – Hit!
With two light metallic sounds, the Dragon Emperor grabbed and crushed the flying spears.
She swept the metal fragments aside and looked to Saki.
By then, he had already stuck his headphone in his ear.
–Saki – Pressure High/Gym/Draw Tech – Multi-Take – Singularity Shot – Hit!
- –Saki – Pressure High/Gym/Draw Tech – Multi-Take – Singularity Shot – Hit!
- –Saki – Pressure High/Gym/Draw Tech – Multi-Take – Singularity Shot – Hit!
- –Saki – Pressure High/Gym/Draw Tech – Multi-Take – Singularity Shot – Hit!
Saki made four throwing actions.
The four spears stabbed into the ground surrounding Taeko.
Each one was wrapped in ether, making it look like a glowing serpent.
He kept his eyes on that ether light and recited his Words.
Heaven, please answer the longing found in the sky of my final moments
- Simply let the white snow fall on the heavy darkness as you raise your cry
“Cry into the darkness!”
–Saki – Pressure High/Intimidation Tech – Multi-Take – Crush Explosion – Hit!
The spears exploded with a black light.
It was a mass of gravity with an Octave exceeding 600,000. The solidified gravity roared on all four sides of Taeko, instantly absorbed the fragments of the spears, and rapidly expanded.
Gusts of wind blew in toward the masses of gravity and the light grew distorted as the space around the explosive quartet glowed.
Taeko was swallowed up by the black explosions surrounding her on four sides.
The four gravity explosions each attempted to obliterate the person in between them.
“Dragon Emperor, take this up to Sixth Activation!”
A voice sounded louder than the overwhelmingly massive gravity and a single sound exploded this time.
It was a dragon’s roar.
It started as a “gi” or a “ga” and rose into a deep cry.
The dragon’s powerful roar easily shook the surrounding Lives.
The four masses of gravity were blown away.
The breaking of the gravity sounded a lot like the shattering of glass.
In no time, the light and wind carried the four solid sounds across the schoolyard.
The light and air that the masses of gravity had been absorbing were freed all at once.
“A dragon’s voice can surpass mass!?” shouted Saki.
Unscathed, Taeko stood up after using the Dragon Emperor as a shield.
“Yeah, and it works as an attack too. It’s been a while since I’ve brought it up to the Sixth, though.”
“I can see why you’re known as the Drachen Königin. Although I thought you’d have to take it up to the Ninth.”
“Ya want to see the Dragon Emperor’s Final Activation? There’d be nothin’ but ashes left around here.”
Taeko did not smile as she said that.
When she did smile, Saki began to move on reflex.
–Saki – Sense Tech – Auto-Take – Detect Killer Intent – Hit!
He looked up when he noticed a powerful and heavy presence in the sky above.
It all happened in an instant.
Light fell from the heavens.
The clear night sky was split apart and a single beam of light dropped toward where they stood.
Saki, Taeko, and the other people around them all looked up.
Their faces were all illuminated by the light from heaven.
The sound of the splitting atmosphere sounded like paper tearing.
Just as someone raised their voice in what sounded like a scream, the light was stopped above their heads.
It had been stopped by a staff shaped like a tuning fork that was thrown into the air.
The device’s long striking end and bottom end were made from triangular parts and it was known as Housei
It was the giant staff of the Koto Guardian.
It rotated in midair and fell with the light from heaven contained within itself.
As the light extending from heaven grew thinner and ultimately vanished, the light within the staff wriggled fiercely along the surface like a snake.
It was ether light.
Housei rotated toward the ground now that it was full of power from one of Suzaku Ver. 40’s ether rounds.
Someone standing at the main gate to Osaka Prefectural #2 caught the large staff that fell from the sky.
“Koto Chancellor…Yuuki Yuuki!”
Taeko raised her voice when she saw the red individual standing there.
Yuuki wore a red blazer modeled after the Suzaku and she held Housei at her waist without saying a word.
–Saki – Sight Tech – Auto-Take – Spot – Hit!
Yuuki already had a headphone in her ear.
“So the Killing Holder is here!”
Before Taeko could finish her shout, Yuuki suddenly fired a scythe of ultra-high pressure water from Housei.
The blade made from a thin film of water instantly grew to about five meters and it easily sliced across the schoolyard and toward Taeko who was surrounded by other people.
A few screams rose in harmony and the battle resumed.
The city’s siren only now went off.
The city’s siren could be heard in the distance through the Osaka Hilton’s window.
Shoui looked around the room as he listened to it.
He was inside a bedroom with three other people.
Takada sat on the bed in front of him, Aoi stood by the wall, and Ikemaru stood in front of the door.
A few minutes had passed since Iba had left the room to begin a diversion in the city and the others had gathered in this one room.
Shoui stood by the window and listened to the siren.
“I can’t believe this.”
When the Dog God spoke for him, Ikemaru glanced his way and then close his eyes again.
He was definitely keeping an eye on Shoui to make sure he did not leave the room.
Because she knew that, Aoi looked no one in the eye and smiled a little.
“Well, we just have to stay put a while longer. Everything will be settled before long.”
“Are you sure?” asked Shoui through the Dog God. “An ether round dropped from the sky earlier…”
“Don’t worry. It’s fine. Prefectural #2 is being attacked from underground and above ground simultaneously. Nakamura is underground and…he can tame Ixolde with the charm Takahiro made. That should more or less end it.”
“Can he really steal the strongest Rhythm like that?”
“Takahiro’s kotodama will transform Ixolde itself and bring it to our side. You saw those bikes flying like birds, didn’t you? …This is more than that. It will be a complete transformation.”
“It’s a lot like Tuning. Right, Takahiro?”
Ikemaru looked unsure how to answer Takada’s question.
But after a while, he corrected his expression and silently nodded.
Aoi gave an exasperated sigh at his behavior.
“More importantly…Hizaka-kun, was it? There’s a more personal matter I would like to ask you about.”
“What is it?”
“I know this is sudden, but do you know of any cherry trees that bloom in winter?”
“That bloom in winter?”
“I can’t tell you why, but I’m searching for those. Supposedly whoever sees those cherry trees will invite in bad luck as a jinx. For example…causing the Kinki Riot or leading to my birth.”
“Why are you looking for them? If the jinx is true, won’t it only bring bad luck?”
It was Ikemaru and not Aoi who answered Shoui’s question.
“She has her reasons.”
“I see.” Shoui crossed his arms and wrinkled his brow. “I think Saki-san said something about that, but it didn’t sound like he knew much about it.”
“Do you have any idea where I might find information on it?”
“Old Lady Senga might know something, but…sorry. I don’t know anything.”
He gave a quick bow and looked back again.
He found a view from twenty stories up.
And a shadow suddenly appeared in front of his eyes.
It was a window washing robot. Its boxy one meter body had a cleaning brush installed and it moved down past Shoui’s eyes as it cleaned the window.
Shoui relaxed and sighed as it slowly passed by.
With the increased transparency of the fresh cleaning, he could see the area in front of Osaka Station below. People were moving around like normal despite the sound of the siren.
“I can’t believe this,” said his Dog God once more.
“What can’t you believe?” asked Takada behind him.
He answered without looking back.
“You can already tell thanks to the Dog God, can’t you?”
“There are some things I can’t accept unless you actually say them.”
Yuuki’s face appeared in Shoui’s mind. He pictured her as she was now: known as the Killing Holder and acting accordingly.
But he also knew who she had been in the past.
“I really can’t believe this. What does it all mean?”
“You can’t believe she has two sides to her? The past and the present. The seen and the unseen. And can you not believe that the Killing Holder can be the Killing Holder now that she has lost her doubt?”
“I’m not worrying about anything as cool as that.”
When he turned around while scratching his head, he found Takada standing right there.
Surprise showed on his face as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
Before he could resist, she placed her lips on his with her eyes closed.
“Ah,” said Aoi, but Shoui’s vision was blocked by Takada’s face.
Ikemaru sighed on the far end of the room and the girl finally moved away.
Shoui was unsure what to say as Takada took several steps back and sat on the bed with her eyes still closed. The bedsprings creaked quietly and softly and the sound gently overlapped with the background noise of the siren for a few seconds.
Then she opened her eyes and looked up at Shoui.
She lowered her eyebrows and gave a small smile.
“You’re a liar.”
“Are you scared? Scared you might reject that girl?”
Shoui could not answer.
But Takada said more.
Taromaru recited some words with her voice.
A white flower blooms in the darkness
An empty party begins in the fire
A memory of death floats in nothingness
- A king resents him
- A queen smiles at him
- A sage resigns himself
- Fall into indecisiveness while looking to another’s path
- Choose your own path and hesitate
- The true path lies in the past
The prophecy had changed somewhat from those he had heard before.
Taromaru explained why.
“Possibility is on the move around you, Shoui-san.”
“Unlike with Hisahide-san, I doubt my prophecy will become your Words, Shoui-san. I believe you lost your Words somewhere.”
Shoui repeated that under his breath.
Without actually speaking, the Dog God on his shoulder moved its mouth to match the muttering in his heart.
Takada raised her lowered eyebrows and smiled a little as she watched the boy and the animal.
“But please do not forget my prophecy. Without your own feelings, it would likely have become your Words.”
Aoi and Ikemaru looked Shoui’s way when they heard that.
Aoi pulled the parts to her hexagonal rod from behind her waist and instantly connected them.
Shoui frowned at her action.
“Why pull out your weapon?”
“To keep you from leaving here. Based on what Seigi just said, it sounds like your destiny is closely related to what we’re doing here. And…”
“In that case, we cannot allow you to do anything that would lead the king to resent you.”
Ikemaru pulled out a few coins and squeezed them in his hand.
“At 7:10, Nakamura will defeat Osaka’s Chancellor and board a bullet train for Nagoya at New Osaka Station. We will begin a diversion at the same time. We must hurry and synchronize our timing to make sure that we do not get in his way and that inspection points are set up around the city.”
Aoi nodded in agreement.
“If anyone is going to do anything unnecessary, we might have to silence them.”
When Shoui heard her mischievous tone of voice, he scratched his head and turned toward the city once more. And he surreptitiously placed a hand on his forehead.
The scar below the bandanna ached.
“I can’t believe this.”
He spoke those words by proxy yet again and looked down at the city.
–Shoui – Sight Tech – Auto-Take – Spot – Hit.
Then he noticed something odd about the city.
The flow of people on the road in front of the Osaka Hilton had been disturbed.
The people would normally walk by the hotel, but most of the people visible below were slowly making their way inside the hotel.
And all of them had one thing in common.
They were all boys Shoui’s age wearing casual clothing.
“It can’t be…”
Ikemaru replied to the Dog God’s words behind Shoui.
“So they’re here. …The special forces of Osaka’s Chancellor’s Officers are here to suppress us.”
Shoui looked back over his shoulder at the other three.
Takada looked up at him somewhat worriedly.
Aoi’s eyebrows gave her a belligerent look that was the polar opposite of Takada’s expression.
Ikemaru kept his eyes closed and toyed with the coins in his hand.
Shoui asked them all a question.
“Do you think Tokyo’s Chancellor will face Koto’s Chancellor?”
“Osaka’s Chancellor comes first. After that, it depends how long he has until the bullet train leaves. It’s possible he’ll have to head for New Osaka Station without tying up all the loose ends.” Aoi took a breath. “But if she pursues him, I think he’ll kill her.”
A serious look filled her face.
She lightly placed her hexagonal rod against the floor.
“The only things Nakamura lacks are the decisive attack power of a Rhythm and the experience of having killed someone. So if he has the Flame High and the Koto Guardian pursues him…”
“The odds are good he will eliminate this country’s only Killing Holder.”
Shoui said nothing, crossed his arms, and leaned toward the window.
He glanced outside and saw Takada reflected on the image of the city’s night. She looked worriedly up at him from the bed and the clock on the room’s wall was visible above her head.
The white clock on the warm colored wall said it was 7:09.
In another minute, the special forces of the Osaka Chancellor’s Officers would make their move below and the diversion Ikemaru had mentioned would begin.
Shoui had only a minute left to make the one decision he was allowed.
And when he looked out the window again, he heard a roar and saw light fall to earth from the western sky.
It was one of Suzaku Ver. 40’s ether rounds.
A single charge from one of those contained enough energy to destroy Private Showa’s schoolyard and this was a second charge.
As he watched that light, Shoui repeated what Takada had said.
“A liar, huh?”
As soon as he did, he gave a large nod.
“Time to go!!”
With that shout, he forcefully turned toward Ikemaru and the others.
–Shoui – Savate Tech – Take – Run – Hit.
He reached full speed on the very first step.
And as he ran forward, Aoi swung her hexagonal rod like a baseball bat.
“I like that sort of thing…but it’s not enough!”
–Shoui – Boxing Tech – Take – Carry – Hit!
- –Shoui – Savate/Gym/Dodge Tech – Counter-Multi-Take – Shield Dodge – Hit!
Shoui snatched up Takada as she sat on the bed.
Her Dog God cried out for her and a look of shock appeared on Aoi’s face.
With that, Aoi frantically diverted her swing upwards so as not to hit Takada.
Shoui ducked below Aoi’s attack and the hexagonal rod grazed his hair.
The door outside was right in front of him now.
Ikemaru Takahiro moved in response to Aoi’s cry.
He stood next to the door, so he removed his right glove and squeezed the coins in his hand.
By that time, Shoui had already raised a leg to kick down the door as he ran.
But Ikemaru calmly moved in front of Shoui and threw the coins forward.
“Become shooting stars.”
As soon as he said that, flares burst from behind the coins and they rocketed toward Shoui.
The coins ignored Takada’s presence as they become meteors meant to strike their opponent.
The speed and force they were given by brief words was equal to that of a clump of ore burning up in the atmosphere.
Shoui charged straight toward the group of flaming bullets.
An explosion followed.
Shoui was blown away with Takada still in his arms.
He had kicked one of Ikemaru’s shooting stars with the bottom of the foot raised to kick down the door.
He used that to jump backwards.
The shootings stars were even more powerful than he had expected. The others moved out ahead of him, broke through the bedroom window, and flew outside.
Several spider web cracks ran through the window.
Aoi raised her voice in concern just as Shoui crashed back-first into the cracked window.
The window bent outwards with a sound like spilling sand.
But that did not last long.
The window was not strong enough to stop him.
The shattering of the glass sounded like water thrown to the floor.
Shoui and Takada were thrown outside along with the spray of solid water.
This was the twentieth floor, so they were approximately eighty meters up and the winds between the buildings were strong.
Shoui realized he was in the air.
“I’m gonna fall!?”
He could see the night above him.
The city was below his downturned back.
“I can’t believe this!”
He gave a shout and Takada’s slender arms held onto him.
How weak those tensed arms felt brought him back to his senses.
He made up his mind with no more surprise or hesitation.
As proof, he powerfully swung his legs as he floated in midair.
–Shoui – Savate/Gym Tech – Multi-Take – Attitude Control – Hit!
He kicked off the window frame with his toe tips and used that to change his position in midair.
He turned his face downwards so he was facing the ground and perpendicular to the building wall.
He started to fall.
Even so, he kicked at the building wall.
He kicked himself downward.
He chose to fall.
He turned his back on the night sky and kicked powerfully off the wall.
He had to escape from here.
He kicked off the wall again and again to forcibly run down the wall.
After only the third step, he had run down two stories.
He was moving quickly.
He was roused from the overflowing tension by the chilly sensation from one of Takada’s fingers as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
It was the ring she wore.
He did not know the meaning of that ring.
But something else mattered more.
“What can I use as footing…? That!?”
A cleaning robot was slowly descending the windows.
He landed straight on top of its boxy white body.
–Shoui – Gym Tech – Take – Land – Hit!!
With an intense noise, parts of the cleaning machine burst off and the roof broke.
The wire it dangled from loudly snapped.
But Shoui had jumped again before the machine could completely break.
His eyes were searching for a means of survival.
–Shoui – Sight Tech – Auto-Take – Spot – Hit!
He found it.
It was a window frame.
–Shoui – Gym/Savate Tech – Multi-Take – Jump Control – Hit!
He kicked sideways off of the slight protrusion of the window frame.
He nearly lost control.
–Shoui – Gym Tech – Take – Attitude Control – Hit!
But he maintained control.
He continued to race.
He seemed to fly downwards.
The way he ran side to side from window to window was a lot like a skier in a speed race.
But the speed of his fall was gradually converted into horizontal movement speed.
He was moving quickly.
After the current window frame, he looked to the next target object he needed to stay alive.
A flag stuck out toward the road at the fifth floor.
He used that as a stepping stone to further reduce the momentum of his fall.
“Here we go!”
He spoke to Takada who he held to his side.
She responded by gathering strength in the arms around his neck.
He made the jump.
Everyone in Osaka Prefectural #2’s schoolyard came to a halt when around a dozen students in lab coats ran out from Ixolde’s emergency passageway at one corner of the schoolyard.
These were the students who had been controlling Ixolde.
If they had fled, then Ixolde was done for.
Everyone in the schoolyard came to a stop and looked at the lab coat group.
A moment later, destruction arrived at the center of the schoolyard.
The first sound was an intensely solid one similar to splitting stone.
As if in response, Ixolde’s equipment delivery hatch in the center of the schoolyard erupted up toward the heavens.
The deafening noise was a simple yet gigantic physical blow.
With the same force as the noise, the two panels of the fifty meter hatch flew through the night sky like sheets of plastic thrown into the wind for fun.
After reaching about three hundred meters up, the two steel panels began to fall.
The fifty meter panels fell from a height of three hundred meters.
It was like a giant’s guillotine.
No one could react to the massive cutting.
Two sounds of breaking minerals followed.
The first was one of the steel panels slicing Prefectural #2’s western school building in two and stabbing into the ground.
The second was the other steel panel crushing the tall concrete wall surrounding the schoolyard.
No one said a word.
But not even one of them was looking where the steel panels had fallen.
They were all focused on the large hole opened in the schoolyard.
Fire burned in the depths of that hole and a warm light flickered like a wave as it left the hole.
It was a gentle dance of light.
And that night-illuminating dance revealed two silhouettes facing each other on the edge of the hole.
One wore a student combat coat and held a sword downwards.
The other was unarmed.
A deep sound of destruction continued playing in the background as the unarmed one laughed.
“Nice. I love things like this.”
The one with the sword, Nanba Souichirou, asked a question that rang through the darkness.
“What is it you want?”
“To defeat you.”
“Do you like fighting?”
“No, that’s not it. I like to win. I like to stand at the top.”
Nakamura sounded cheerful as he pulled something from his pocket.
It was a headphone.
He placed it in his ear.
“So Saki’s information was correct,” said Souichirou. “You’re going to use the Flame High.”
“Yeah, that’s right. My sister did too. The thing about Harmonists is we can’t use normal Rhythms or Wind Rhythms. We just can’t seem to get the hang of it. …But that inexperience with sound can come in handy.”
“It allows you to grow accustomed to the Flame High’s ridiculous speed and Octave?”
“Correct! Without any unnecessary knowledge, we can accept even the most powerful weapons!”
He began a cheerful recitation.
A red flower blooms in the darkness
An empty party begins in strength
Human memories dance within nothingness
- A soldier saves the king
- A woman becomes the queen
- A sage reminisces
- Run down another’s path without looking
- Choose your own path and sprint
- The true path lies in the future
It took a beat before his full power could activate.
But it did so in short order.
The red blaze resembled all of those things yet was none of them.
The flickering flames resided at the ends of his arms.
This was the Flame High’s fire.
The fire gave a scorching roar.
It cried out as it bent its body atop his hands like living creatures.
He held it up in front of his eyes.
“Thanks for making my sister’s Rhythm. I had no other memento of her.”
He took a fighting pose.
He gently held his burning fists at his waist and pulled one leg back a little.
It was an upright stance focused on kicks.
He carved a speedy Tempo into the knee of his forward leg.
“Now, it’s time I showed you what I can do with the Flame High.”
He spoke the words that would begin this decisive battle.
“Welcome to the White Noise!”
A single movement acted as a starting point for all the motion to follow.
But it did not come from either of them.
It came from the crater to their side. Down in that burning abyss, Ixolde took an important action.
It created a giant explosion.
Scorching sounds rang long and heavy with the force of a surging waterfall.
A red flare surrounding a yellow core rose from the crater and toward the night sky.
A rumbling much like a tremor or shockwave ran through the earth and air.
It sounded like cracks were running through space itself.
But that was not all.
Actual cracks were running through the earth.
The double helix Babel Gun rooted three hundred meters belowground was attempting to die. And everyone moving above it was caught in the middle.
The earth roared once more. The end of a machine that had taken a decade to build was signaled by a great shockwave and rumbling.
The schoolyard instantly collapsed.
The ground became a giant rock jigsaw puzzle as it sank down into the subterranean flames to join Ixolde.
The screams of those in the schoolyard joined the tones of destruction.
Voices, destruction, and heat.
Those three sounds complexly intertwined as two boys moved.
The first to move was Tokyo Chancellor Nakamura Hisahide.
He ran smoothly forward in his red mountain hoodie.
He charged toward his opponent on the tilting and crumbling ground.
Meanwhile, Osaka Chancellor Nanba Souichirou lightly swung his sword.
–Souichirou – Kusanagi/Sword Tech – Multi-Take – Impact Sword – Hit!
His sword had been made into a divine item and it easily amplified the Kusanagi Rhythm he used.
That monotone Live became a blade and raced through the air.
Hisahide was a mere three meters away as he charged forward.
Dodging the slicing shockwave would be impossible at that range.
But Hisahide did not even try to dodge.
He made a kick.
He turned his back a little for a high-speed roundhouse kick that launched fire.
The flames raced through the sky along the path of his toes and collided with Kusanagi’s shockwave.
After a beat, a large flower of flame blossomed in the air.
Kusanagi’s shockwave was burning.
The monotone “ah” had lost to the Flame High’s high-speed Tempo and ignited.
The shockwave that had split sound and crushed an ogre became a flower in the dark night.
“Now it’s my turn to attack.”
With those words, Hisahide took the initiative.
He was less than three meters away now.
At that distance, a Critical Forcer could arrive in range just by shifting their center of gravity.
Hisahide first stuck his left leg forward and turned it into a rightward kick with a snap of his knee.
Souichirou was right-handed, so a kick from his left side was hard to avoid.
The kick was surrounded by flames that would burn through anything.
But Souichirou did not dodge his enemy’s attack.
–Souichirou – Sword/Box Tech – Multi-Take – Switch to Left Hand – Hit!
- –Souichirou – Kusanagi/Sword/Dodge Tech – Multi-Take – Kusanagi Interception – Hit!
Without taking a step back, Souichirou held the sword in his left hand rather than both hands.
He did not hesitate to swing it to the left and send a shockwave toward the Flame High’s kick.
The sword wind released with his voice collided with the Flame High and instantly burned.
The slicing wind was eliminated.
And similarly, the flames guided by Hisahide’s kick were canceled out and vanished.
The Flame High’s fire was gone.
That created a brief opening.
Hisahide quickly tried to pull back his raised leg.
But Souichirou did not overlook this opportunity.
–Souichirou – Sword/Box Tech – Multi-Take – Switch to Both Hands – Hit!
- –Souichirou – Kusanagi/Sword/Savate/Dodge Tech – Multi-Take – Kusanagi Diagonal Slash – Hit!
He took a deep step forward and swung a powerful blow from the hip.
The silver arc became a slicing wave.
Hisahide was surrounded by a shimmering as if from heat.
The air immediately exploded along the path of that shimmering.
Solid sounds overlapped, but this did not end it.
Hisahide stood outside the path of slicing air.
This was the power of a Harmonist.
He could place himself outside of the flow of Lives created by Rhythms or Techs.
“Damn! That was a…”
He never managed to say “close one”.
Souichirou was already taking his next action.
After swinging his sword diagonally upwards, Souichirou stood tall.
And he took another step forward.
–Souichirou – Kusanagi/Sword/Gym/Savate Tech – Multi-Take – Thrust – Hit!
The Kusanagi-wielding Strike Forcer used every Tech available to him to make a high speed thrust.
The sword became a silver line wrapped in shimmering.
Its target was Hisahide’s throat.
That was where one uttered their Words.
Or that should have been the target.
Suddenly, a great tremor ran through the ground.
The earth shook.
The section of ground Hisahide and Souichirou stood on tilted to the right thanks to the underground explosion.
The speed of the thrust was somewhat dulled.
But the attack did not stop.
Everything apart in surprise and the thrust veered off course.
The sword reached Hisahide’s right hand.
It easily pierced straight through that right palm which was wrapped in some flames.
The Flame High in Hisahide’s hand and the Kusanagi in Souichirou’s sword fully counteracted each other.
The flames seemed to envelope the blade before bursting and vanishing.
Kusanagi’s power was annihilated.
Momentum simply carried the blade through Hisahide’s hand and shallowly into his right chest.
But that was all.
Souichirou’s attack was over.
The two exchanged a glance while connected by three points: the swords, the palm, and the chest.
Flames burned around them on the tilting ground and the crumbling earth provided background noise as Hisahide spoke.
“It’s too bad. If that had been a slash, you would’ve sliced me in two. I didn’t expect you to go for thrusts and attacks from below. You were just unlucky there.”
With that said, the Flame High boy clenched his pierced right hand to grab the blade.
As soon as he spoke that one word, flames burst from Hisahide’s hand.
The sword piercing his hand instantly set on fire and exploded.
The Lives creating the sword had lost to the Flame High’s Lives.
The Tempo of the flames burned through all other Lives.
That intense burning attack was not satisfied with just the metal of the sword.
–Souichirou – Mind/Dodge Tech – Multi-Auto-Take – Emergency Dodge – Miss!
Souichirou removed both hands from the burning sword’s hilt.
But he was too slow.
The flames had already reached his right arm.
Souichirou’s right false arm immediately burst into flames like it was kindling straw.
–Souichirou – Savate/Steel Tech – Multi-Take – Cut Away – Hit!
The electronic word circuits reacted faster than his reflexes and released the right arm at the shoulder.
After the bolt locks were blown away and the arm came free, it turned to a blowing flame and Ashed before it reached the ground.
As soon as the right arm burned away, the ground they stood on sunk down.
As it did, flames burst from the cracks in the ground as scarlet jets of gas.
The secondary destruction had begun belowground.
“The center of Osaka is going to collapse from the backdraft,” said Hisahide as he licked up the blood coming from his right palm. “Let’s settle this before the Flame High ends.”
Souichirou had lost his right arm and his sword had been burned, so he had no more weapons.
Meanwhile, Hisahide walked forward.
He walked toward Souichirou.
“Aren’t you going to run away?”
“Attack is the only word in the Modified Purple Electricity Style’s vocabulary.”
“That’s the opposite of Aoi’s Shinkage Style.”
Hisahide lightly swung his hand as he spoke.
Flames trailed behind his hand.
–Souichirou – Sight Tech – Take – Spot – Hit!
“Tokyo Chancellor, this battle will be a long one.”
When he heard Souichirou’s voice, Hisahide stopped moving.
The one-eyed warrior who had lost his right arm continued to speak.
“Now that the Flame High has awoken, both the resentful voices of those devoured by the ogre two years ago and a great power are at work to keep this battle from ending too easily.”
“…What are you talking about?”
“I am not the only one that protests Osaka!”
With those words, Souichirou jumped.
–Souichirou – Gym/Savate Tech – Multi-Take – Great Leap – Hit.
He used the power of his false legs to jump too high for Hisahide to reach.
When he looked down, he saw the crumbling schoolyard of Prefectural #2 and a sea of flames.
None of his fellow students were there any longer.
Saki had likely ordered them to evacuate.
Only three people remained at the scene of destruction: Tokyo Chancellor Nakamura Hisahide, Nagoya Chancellor Yamashita Taeko, and…
As soon as Souichirou shouted that Urban Name, Koto Chancellor Yuuki Yuuki looked up into the night sky from one end of the schoolyard.
For the first time in thirteen years, Suzaku Ver. 40’s Word Particle Cannon was fired toward Osaka. Its light was visible as far away as Divine Punishment City – Yokohama.
That was the coup de grâce against Ixolde and the signal that the next stage of the battle was beginning.
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