Clash of Hexennacht:Volume1 Chapter 9
Chapter 9: There is Power in Heaven and Earth
Nothing is better than having plenty of energy
Depending on the situation
Horinouchi’s eyes pursued the battle that had just begun.
Both the Form and Device of Hunter’s Normal Frame were meant for close-range combat. Horinouchi had heard the girl fell into the witch classification of Karate-style, and her white jacket and belt confirmed that. However, her movements were more of a Peek-a-Boo style with one leg placed forward and she closed in on her opponent with tremendous speed.
…Not many witches can fight on the surface.
Normally, witches used their flight abilities such as flying on a broom.
But Hunter was different. She could likely fly if she had to, but her standard tactics kept her on the ground.
Kagami on the other hand had yet to summon even her Normal Frame. She sharpened a defense spell to an acute angle and intercepted Hunter with shield bash attacks.
She was only reacting and Horinouchi knew why.
…Hunter’s attacks are so fast.
Her blows linked together and never stopped. She pushed and pushed and pushed.
If Kagami fell back, Hunter would push further forward without ever stopping. This was only possible thanks to the acceleration spells opened on various parts of her body, but there was another reason.
“A stability spell near the soles of her feet!”
Horinouchi saw it below the girl’s feet.
Whenever she dashed or threw a punch, a spell circle would appear where her feet touched the ground.
“Lady Mitsuru! What is that!?”
“When she presses down on her feet, the force is sent into the ground regardless of the angle and she receives the feedback!”
To move was to kick off the ground with the bottoms of one’s feet.
The relationship between one’s feet and the ground was surprisingly important in combat.
For example, when attacking, if one’s feet were on the ground, they could use that to endure the reactionary force.
To strike the enemy was to push one’s weapon into them and that would naturally produce a reactionary force. If the enemy was tough enough, they would actually push back.
If one placed their feet down and held their ground, they could not be pushed back.
Simply put, planting one’s feet on the ground and pressing down allowed them to throw all of their strength and their weapon into their opponent and it prevented that opponent from pushing them back. This stability spell transferred any reactionary force into the ground.
“That lets her maintain her forward momentum even as she strikes and is struck!”
This was something that did not work when one’s feet were off the ground or in midair. Just like for a bullet, they could not press their feet down and they would be knocked back if their opponent’s defenses were stronger than them.
That was why high-speed clashes were the foundation for midair combat or projectiles.
The presence or absence of the ground below one’s feet made a great difference.
If it was there, they could send all of their attack power into their opponent. That allowed them to wield less overall strength and they could make more compact combination attacks because they did not have to rely on speed.
Without it there, they could not send all of their attack power into their opponent. That meant they had to increase the overall strength they wielded and attacks tended to grow longer and more sweeping because they had to rely on speed.
Hunter was the former type, but Horinouchi and Kagami were the latter type.
No, Kagami’s technique allowed her to rearrange her style to an extent, so she could adapt to the situation if needed. However, her standard tactics were based off of the witch who had taught her how things were done in “this world”.
…And that was me.
Horinouchi felt a little blue over indirectly tripping someone else up.
However, she sensed some danger in the combination of attacks and speed sounding from the coastal park.
“Lady Mitsuru, below Hunter’s feet!”
“I see it. She’s started to float a little.”
“Nicely detected, Lady Mitsuru!”
Koutarou is very good at raising people’s spirits.
But this was not the time for that. As Hunter picked up speed, she began to fly like a witch.
Her method was simple. She placed some distance between the stability spell below her feet and the corresponding stability spell on the ground.
That meant she was “borrowing” the ground as a foothold even while in midair.
Why would she do that?
…Because of the relationship between the direction of her feet on the ground and the reactionary force.
People’s attacks were generally oriented horizontally, so the reactionary force would of course come back in the opposite horizontal direction.
However, they could only resist it with the ground vertically below their feet.
That created a problem. A redirection process was needed to point that horizontal force down into the ground.
They had to redirect the coming reactionary force down toward their feet.
That took a lot of doing and created wasted movement and a time lag.
That was why most witches did not fight on the surface. When doing so, they needed to be on the ground yet that ground would not receive the reactionary forces like they wanted.
Hunter, however, had solved that problem.
Even with a gap between her feet and the corresponding ground, she linked them with her stability spell.
When she stepped on the midair spell circle, it would act just like the one on the ground. She was “borrowing” the ground while in midair.
So no matter where in the sky she was, she could brace herself against the ground from any angle. And she was currently beginning to fly more and more.
Without waiting to redirect the reactionary force into the ground below, she stepped out into the empty air.
Ether light scattered as the karate girl moved forward.
Her steps were solid.
Even when she made an attack from a normally impossible angle, she was always “standing on the ground”, so it was entirely possible.
As a result, she pushed forward, ran into the air as if up a wall, circled around, and focused on the attacks she could only make while in midair.
It could all be summed up with a single adjective.
The rotational speed of her attacks was far greater than those of the average close-range combat witch.
Even Horinouchi had to admit that, so it had to be a truly unknown threat to Kagami. Horinouchi partially felt it was her own fault that Kagami was stuck on the defensive, so…
“How is Suzaku doing?”
While watching the battle, she opened her magic circle to the side. She checked on the Suzaku’s condition after the previous day’s battle and found the red servant sleeping in a futon. It was completely sprawled out even though its tail feathers caught on the blanket and its eyes were wide open.
…Is this thing really a bird?
Something always made her question that fact and it seemed to have shown up right away this time.
Regardless, if it was asleep, then it had yet to recover from the battle.
Kagami must have noticed what she was doing because the girl asked a question while continuing to defend.
“Horinouchi, can you summon that thing?”
Horinouchi started to say no, but Hunter cut in first.
“Will she summon it? Of course not. If I defeat you, she’ll get her #4 spot back!”
“Th-that is not what I-…”
“No,” said Kagami. “That is the reality of this world, isn’t it?”
She wanted to say no, but she knew better than anyone who it was that had come out on top during the previous day’s battle.
She had not been looking up at the moon, but…
As Hunter attacked, Kagami swung both hands.
…Is she summoning her Normal Frame!?
Horinouchi wanted to ask how she could do it while undergoing that bombardment, but she was already seeing the answer.
She saw ether light.
As Hunter moved, the magic circle of her stability spell shattered and scattered into the air, but…
“Can I take that, Hunter? I have already made a reservation.”
The light immediately gathered around Kagami.
“Lady Mitsuru! That is-…”
Horinouchi replied at Koutarou’s urging.
“I can see it myself!”
“Head Butler, she just ignored you.”
“Well done, Lady Mitsuru! You need to focus on the battle more than commentary right now, don’t you!?”
“Having a positive outlook is fine, but she did just ignore you, Head Butler.”
“Someone! Someone please! My subordinates won’t stop shoving reality in my face!!”
Hunter gave a light whistle at her opponent’s technique.
…Just as I’d heard!
This girl could directly grab ether.
Ether was the element that made up all things and magic and spells were the techniques to use it as one pleased. However, this opponent made ether her own without using any spells based on the theory of magic.
She simply created whatever she imagined.
“Are you a god or something, Kagami Kagami?”
“No, I am a normal, powerless person.”
As she spoke, engines were created around her. It showed not even a hint of stopping and came to be with no ceremony. It was based on the Japanese style and the ether it used came from the fragments of Hunter’s broken magic circle.
“Are you a garbage collector!?”
“I am recycling it. You should call me ecological, representative of America, the great nation of consumption.”
The light fit together, and…
Her strength rushed in as a counterattack and it matched Hunter’s strikes in one aspect.
This opponent did not have a spell to secure her footing. Knowing that, she had sent out her greatest attack as soon as she summoned the Frame.
It was a large white and blue sword and a similarly-colored dragon servant could be seen in the magic circle.
“This is my justice. I suppose I will name it Dikaiosyne. Hunter, you can call my servant partner Dikaio.”
Hunter managed to avoid the thrust.
She created a foothold in front of herself, kicked forward in midair, and jumped upwards.
However, Kagami was already on the move. She sank down while keeping the tip of the blade in place to raise the sword vertically.
The pommel touched the stone pavement in the park and the tip of the blade was pointed up towards Hunter.
“Now, we can finally greet each other. Nice to meet you.”
The sword opened up and fired a blast of light from below as soon as soon as it reached cannon form.
Koutarou saw Kagami’s attack.
She fired a close-range cannon blast straight up from Dikaoi-whatever.
It scored a direct hit. Even with her incomplete Normal Frame, air blasts from her cannon had wiped out his unit and it was powerful enough to hold its own against Horinouchi.
“She deflected it!?”
Hunter had raised the bunker shield attached to her left arm and deflected Kagami’s attack from head on.
But she was still knocked up into the air and she smashed her own footing spell. She let the hit launch her through the sky in order to distance herself from Kagami. It was mostly vertical distance.
However, she was not retreating. She made a half vertical rotation in midair, created some footing towards the heavens, and swung down her bunker shield as if to hit Kagami below.
“American-style downward air!”
While rapidly descending, she fired an ether spear from the bunker shield.
It was a pile bunker.
Hunter thought to herself as she dropped down and attacked.
She had seen it after being knocked upwards.
She had also seen it on top of her Magino Device earlier.
Around Tokyo Bay, the city of Tokyo was seriously damaged.
Its height had been worn down and giant holes had been torn down to the crust in places.
She knew what that was. She saw it far too much when she flew into the air for training.
It was mostly damage from Hexennacht ten years prior.
There would have been a few from before that too, but they had been overwritten by the more recent ones. The most damage had occurred ten years ago.
Tokyo was of course not the only place so badly damaged. The destruction had occurred on a global scale and everything had ground to a halt for mankind.
It had taken at least five years for the damaged areas to recover. The sooner people had begun working at a solution, the sooner the area had recovered. Countless places around the world were still in the process of recovering.
The Tokyo area had been one of the earliest to recover. That was why Hunter had transferred to Shihouin Academy to train as a witch and why she had assumed she could focus on the Ranker battles there, but…
There was destruction everywhere.
The decade-old scars were healing, but that was only because they had abandoned the places they decided were hopeless.
Mankind had marked their place and closed themselves inside a cage, so…
Hunter did not use her words.
She used her attitude and actions.
She was an American.
That nation had the world’s most powerful military and was proud of its position as the world police.
The ether spear was fired from the acceleration pathway. Kagami had the ground directly below her, so there was nowhere for the damage to escape. That meant a direct hit would lead to a single conclusion.
Hunter watched her attack land.
She saw Kagami.
The girl held her sword directly below, but the sword was no longer in its cannon form. It had closed into attack form and Kagami was not using it to defend.
She heard her speak.
“Earlier, you suddenly brought your Magino Frame down on me without even introducing yourself. That is a very interesting kind of handheld Magino, but I have a question and an answer. First…”
“Question 1: With a Normal Frame, is it possible to summon a Magino Frame without superheating your Phlogiston Heart?”
“Answer 1: It is.”
“A witch always carries a Phlogiston Heart. Summoning the Frame may alter its accumulation amount and rate, but it is always there. That is why Horinouchi’s servant maintains its exhaustion even when she is not using her Frame. That proves that the Phlogiston Heart is jointly managed with the servant. In other words…”
“Are you saying you kept receiving my attacks earlier to speed up the superheating of your Phlogiston Heart!?”
“Would it be showing off if I said yes?”
Kagami kicked up her sword.
The rising blade struck Hunter’s pile bunker. The blade shattered, but…
“My charge is now complete.”
With those words, the entire sword exploded and became a cloud of ether light.
Horinouchi looked past the expanding ether light and exploding stone pavement. A massive object was appearing within the scattering wreckage and light.
Its construction was accompanied by the ringing of a large bell.
“That’s Kagami’s Dika-whatever!”
“That would be Dikaiosyne, Lady Mitsuru!”
“I would expect no less of you, Koutarou!”
I should write that down. Not Dukaiosyne or Dekaiosyne, but Dikaiosyne.
She typed it into a magic circle and the search told her it meant “justice” in Greek.
She wondered why Kagami would go through that kind of trouble, but that seemed to be the kind of person Kagami was.
However, that was not the only thing to worry about at the moment.
Another Magino Device was appearing right in front of Dikaiosyne.
This was Hunter’s Magino Device and its form solidified along with the deafening sound of a large engine.
It had heavy armor and a multi-acceleration cannon in the center. Also…
…That’s a four blessing model!
The acceleration reactor frame was not just held on either the left and right or the top and bottom. Instead, it was held from all four sides. Each individual acceleration unit was made smaller, so its initial speed would not be as great as a two blessing model like Horinouchi’s Akerindou. However, the speed of the shells would not drop by much and would be more stable. That meant one thing…
…It’s meant for sniping!
Akerindou also primarily used projectiles, but it used spells and such to give the shells homing ability and stable acceleration.
On the other hand, Hunter’s Magino Device itself would provide the stability and would use less after-the-fact spells to provide homing ability or anything like that.
But if it was more of a sniping weapon…
“You mustn’t move away from her, Kagami!”
Hunter swung both arms while having her Magino Device rapidly ascend.
She named what she rode.
“This is the Hedgehog, my Magino Device.”
She contacted someone from above the rear central radome.
“US Anti-Witch Combat Division of North American Aerospace Defense Command, please respond.”
“This is U.A.H.F. Representative Hunter, your Magino Device’s deployment calculations have already reached eighty percent. We are receiving the proper feedback.”
It had been a while since she had replied with “Thanks!” in English. Then the deployment calculations for the Hedgehog did indeed scroll across the spell circles opened in front of her hands.
Her Magino Device, the Hedgehog, was not hers alone.
It was much like how Horinouchi received backup from the Horinouchi family and from Shinto.
“The American representative receives backup from the US military.”
What did it matter if the other girl could create things with her imagination? Using diligent training, improvement, and cooperation was the American way, so…
Hunter swung both hands and accelerated the Magino Device’s construction. And…
She broke out into song.
On the other end of the transmission, a large underground space was lined with consoles and magic circles. Everyone hurriedly working in front of the monitor light listened to it.
Their representative was singing while speeding up her work.
“That’s our national anthem, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’.”
She sang the second verse.
—On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
—Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
—What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
—As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
—Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
—In full glory reflected now shines on the stream
—’Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
—O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
They all cheered at the witch’s song.
One stood up and shouted into the magic circle showing the witch.
“The calculations are complete! They actually finished a bit ago, but, sorry, I wanted to hear it to the end. …Are you already on the move!?”
The karate girl was moving.
“I’d started by the second measure!”
Hunter had the Hedgehog float. It flew up into the sky, sweeping away the ether light spreading below.
The Hedgehog’s primary technique was its sniper cannon, but its long acceleration pathway strictly required the entire Device to be pointed accurately at her opponent. Those back in the States said that difficulty of use was similar to a handgun, but she did not entirely understand it herself.
She sent that instruction to the Normal Device Hedgehog on her left arm that now acted as the controller. A hedgehog-type servant appeared in a magic circle and nodded.
She would put even more distance between her and her enemy.
“Here I go!”
Once she gave that yell, another yell reached her from the sword whose construction was not yet complete.
“Not so fast!”
It was Kagami, but…
…You haven’t finished constructing yours yet!
From what Hunter could see, Kagami had put together the external armor first in order to avoid Hunter’s attack. That meant the incomplete parts would be the acceleration system and the shell formation area on the back.
It could handle close-range attacks and defense, but it would not be able to pull off long-range attacks or movement.
However, her decision itself was right. Hunter was a sniper. She could still attack with her secondary cannon, but trying to defeat Kagami here would give that girl time to finish the acceleration system and shell formation area while the secondary cannon wore down her armor.
Hunter decided her best option was to fire her secondary cannon and fall back while avoiding the position directly in front of her enemy.
The sword attempted to turn her way, so she fired her secondary cannon to escape. Her output was still weak, so she could not focus much power on that secondary cannon.
Nevertheless, she managed to put some distance between them.
…Time to borrow some acceleration!
After that thought, her opponent began to move.
“I said not so fast, Hunter!”
The sword suddenly shot her way.
The sword’s accelerator should not have been complete, but as soon as Hunter wondered how this was possible, she found her answer. On the back of the sword, she saw light in the acceleration pathway where the shell formation area had yet to be included.
“You reversed the cannon’s acceleration pathway and fired an blast of air!?”
“I have tried firing air a few times already.”
This is ridiculous. Acceleration pathways are generally one-way! No, but this girl can “imagine”. Two-way ones do exist, so it isn’t that strange for her to choose one.
The rest was simple.
The sword blade collided with the Hedgehog’s upper armor.
The malleable composite ether armor was stronger than steel or normal composite armor, but it still bent and sparked. Also, a voice arrived from beyond the roar of impact.
“This is my greeting.”
As Hunter watched, a single part reached completion.
The shell formation area attached itself to the back of Kagami’s sword.
…Did she give up on the acceleration system and focused on that instead!?
She had used her cannon’s acceleration pathway for acceleration because her first priority had been reaching Hunter. It had also allowed her to stop creating the acceleration system and instead pour all of the ether into the shell formation area. That only left one thing.
A cannon blast struck Hunter from point blank range.
The blast tore apart the sky and briefly lit up the darkening heavens.
The shockwave shook the forest, tossed spray across the ocean, and caused the pier to hop up.
Rubble flew toward Horinouchi, but she activated the kind of reflective pseudo-defense spell sold to witches. As a boy, Koutarou excelled at defense, so he could get by on his own will-power.
“She did it!”
Kagami had scored a direct hit from close range and Horinouchi knew firsthand how powerful that Magino Frame’s main cannon was. Akerindou was a wonderful Magino Frame that focused entirely on attack and therefore had little defensive power, but it still took quite a bit of power to break it. Dikaiosyne had already proven it had that power.
As the scattering cloud of ether dust cleared, the result came into view.
Hunter’s Magino Frame floated in midair. Its surface shimmered from the heat of the hit, but it was entirely undamaged.
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