Clash of Hexennacht:Volume2 Chapter 11
Chapter 11: Rushing Thoughts
Only those you have caught up to
Are in front of you
The battle shifted to the mountain range.
Mary had been the one to move out ahead and choose the location. Horinouchi pursued her while muting the Suzaku as it gave a war cry of acceleration on her shoulder.
“She’s surprisingly fast.”
“She was the candidate chosen to be the next generation ace for the magic system of an entire world. After the training she underwent in the Spell Division, I do not see how she could be inferior to us. But…”
“She holds her arms forward like this when she flies because I taught her it was the polite thing to do.”
“You aren’t even doing that right now!!”
As soon as she said it, she wondered if that was the response Kagami wanted, but…
A warning suddenly appeared on her spell circle. The Suzaku was hopping around and creating spell circles in several different directions.
“The scythe is firing on us!”
Kagami saw Horinouchi immediately begin a counterattack.
Even Mary’s scythe was a spell that used ether. Due to the annihilation element, the attacks were invisible, but they could still be picked up using ether detection. But…
…That is quite a high level of annihilation!
Both the ether creating it and the remnants left after it was fired caused annihilation.
Thus this was a job for their spells and servants, not their own senses. As ether beings, servants could visually perceive ether information.
The Suzaku was moonwalking and performing swaybacks on Horinouchi’s shoulder to visually represent the path of the annihilation, so what is it really a bird? Regardless, Dikaio was trembling on Kagami’s shoulder as it detected the lines of annihilation.
That detection was Horinouchi’s spell.
Shinto was a system of purification and barrier spells, so it made clear distinctions between outsiders and insiders. That was normally limited to one’s field of vision, but she had put together a servant version of a spell for detecting “outsider” spells.
Such a spell would normally pick up all the spirits in the air and on the surface, so the spell was performing some level of selection. But…
“I am surprised even I can use your spell, Horinouchi.”
“Major systems like Shinto sell and distribute spells for the general public, you know? Those sometimes use local gods and my family has been the main creator of those spells during the recovery. Currently, the Spell Division and other places are systemizing the various branches of daily necessity spells.”
“Does that mean you would be able to use my spells?”
“Yes, I just have to present your spell as an ‘offering’.”
Kagami sent her a few.”
“Wh-what is this all of a sudden!?”
“Defense spells. I am worried about your thin armor.”
They moved apart to avoid the annihilation and then they moved back together to avoid the next wave of annihilation.
“You can send me spells if you want, but I still have to worry about my Phlogiston Heart’s heat. I can’t just use them back to back. Overusing spells will only reduce their power. With your craft power, you can’t just use a bunch of spells at once, right? It’s the same.”
“We really did make an annoying world here.”
The Suzaku gave a muted screech from Horinouchi’s shoulder. The spell circle made it clear what had happened, but…
“The annihilation is growing in power!”
Horinouchi realized the triple beams of scythe-fire had raced by and were scraping back through the sky.
The tip she had avoided was not thick at all, but it was over thirty meters tall. And after racing about four kilometers behind her, it scraped back through the sky.
It moved back quickly. It was far faster than her own flight speed, but that may have been because it was a wave of annihilation.
It was just like how waves accelerated right at the shore.
But even if she avoided that, the leftover remnants of annihilation did not vanish. Touching them would cause damage, so they were like a trap. And…
After the Suzaku’s warning, the triple shot fired a total of twelve beams.
And as more were added…
As the sky passed twilight and approached the bluish black of night, it seemed to be “filled”.
A moment later, several dozen scythes reached her as rapid-fire shots.
The vast sky above the Chichibu Mountains in central Kantou was sliced apart vertically and horizontally.
Horinouchi focused on evasion.
She was not watching to see what would happen. One wrong move and she would run into this annihilation trap, but circling too far around would give Mary free time.
Moving in close was the best option for both offense and defense here. So…
She unmuted the Suzaku to help it get excited.
When she looked over in shock, the Suzaku averted its gaze and began chirping like a bird.
…W-well, I might have misheard.
“Horinouchi, that thing might very well be a parrot or a red myna.”
“It is the Suzaku! The Suzaku!”
“You evade too!”
Their evasion was based on spells.
The Suzaku and Dikaio could see a lot with their ether-detecting eyes, so they would look around and fire something into the safely empty space they saw.
“Horinouchi, these are guiding torii, aren’t they!?”
They were indeed torii. Kagami’s were blue and Horinouchi’s were red. Three of them were placed at fifty meter intervals. Three more stages of three torii showed the directions beyond that, so their routes were drawn in the sky using a total of twelve each of the red and blue torii.
They followed them.
To surpass the invisible obstacles and avoid the erasing slash that pursued them, the blue and red witches passed through the torii in the sky. Sometimes they raced forward, sometimes they hopped upwards, and sometimes they spun around, dropped down, split to the left and right, or…
Occasionally, the torii behind them would be sliced apart and shattered, but the shrine maiden and holy knight did not care. The torii displayed ahead of them would construct their route and keep them going.
However, the grim reaper up ahead did not allow them to safely avoid her attacks. Since the torii were appearing, she began firing her annihilation at those gates of passage themselves.
But they did not care.
The two witches accelerated and, if the torii was destroyed, they could actually see the slice. That allowed them to read the path of the annihilation spell, so they actually chose to fly in toward it.
The shrine maiden’s armor was worn down and lines like claw marks ran down the holy knight’s sword.
But the two of them continued forward.
“Horinouchi!” shouted the holy knight. “The torii are too close! Put more space between them!”
The fifty meter distance was passed in about a second when they were flying at 80 kph, but the blue witch had a different idea.
“Set it to 120 meters, Horinouchi! Do you think you can keep up?”
The blue and red accelerated.
The black also accelerated, but there was only so much she could do while flying backwards.
So the grim reaper removed some of her weaponry. She slid the triple scythe blades open to reveal more of their internals than before.
Reddish purple ether light scattered from the internal structure as she sliced through the sky as much as possible.
A unit of four F-23s from Atsugi was tracking the three of them along with the surveillance satellite even higher in the sky. They saw it happen from about the same height as the battle.
Western Kantou’s Chichibu Mountains covered central Kantou from the northwest to the southeast.
As they monitored the battle, they could see the mountain range continuing into the distance, but…
From left to right, from north to south, the countless mountain peaks burst.
And that was not all. The mountainsides and mountain ridges wavered for a moment before finally being annihilated and blasting up in an explosion of dust.
The maps on their HUDs all showed the color red fill the mountain range from north to south.
It was already thirty kilometers long. The exchange of destruction spread from there and the leading edge flew through the night sky.
“That was close!” shouted Horinouchi while using almost all of her power on acceleration and control. “But…I see her!”
She was there, across the night sky. The black grim reaper was visible beyond the torii that now had seven stages.
The torii had 120 meters between them now.
And while they accelerated like that, their opponent had increased the range of her cutting.
The sky had been invisibly split and the earth had been rent apart.
They were still at an altitude of five kilometers, yet it had still reached the surface.
…Just how big of a scythe is this!?
No, Horinouchi’s own arrows could reach that level. The problem was how much ether that this annihilation spell had to use up and how wide its effective range was.
This attack was not cannon-fire. It was an ultra-wide area attack spell.
Their opponent’s ability to secure and pool ether clearly surpassed their own. It was possible Horinouchi, Kagami, and Hunter together could not match this girl.
She was still using her Normal Frame, yet her attack range and power likely exceeded the average Magino Frame.
Horinouchi accelerated with the Suzaku in top form.
A moment later, the air was sliced apart and the erasing power pursued her. She surpassed it all, dodged it, and continued forward. And…
“Horinouchi! The arc is larger at a distance. I will head in closer, so you…”
They could see their opponent, so that left…
Mary realized a path to her had been made.
It was a path of blue torii.
She had messed up.
The red torii had briefly moved ahead and she had reacted to that.
She had three scythes in her Normal Frame and she had fired one of those at the red torii.
As soon it shattered, the blue torii appeared on the right.
It was too fast, it was a feint, and it was bait, so she waited.
Then another blue torii appeared on her left.
This was a feint too, but since they blocked her view, she fired her scythes such that they hit both.
A moment later, a torii appeared somewhere.
It appeared between the two shattered blue torii.
It overlapped the previous two and she would have been able to respond if she had displayed their destinations.
Her opponent had shifted from the left or right to the center. That small feint created hesitation.
Should she fire or not?
She briefly hesitated in that instant, but she fired in the end.
Immediately afterwards, she saw something.
There was a blue torii behind the fragments of the red torii she had destroyed earlier.
That was the real one.
The blue torii in the center was a feint. She had been made to destroy the red torii first and tricked into thinking the blue ones were the true threat. And now…
“Are they both going to pass through the overlapped torii!?”
The blue torii had been placed just behind the red one.
The two witches accelerated from there and flew in toward her.
Mary saw Kagami forcibly slip below her annihilation spell scythe.
She finally arrived right up next to Mary.
Her acceleration was perfect. She swung her great sword as if slamming her entire body forward and Mary blocked it with her triple scythe.
The impact added to Mary’s backwards acceleration, and…
“Does this mean things are different from yesterday!?”
“Are you the same as you were in those sparring matches, Reese?”
Kagami swung up her great sword and spoke while Mary controlled her speed, used their relative speed to throw a kick at her opponent, and used the recoil to accelerate.
“I learned how to be rude after arriving here!”
The annihilation scythe returned toward the target of her kick, but her opponent opened up her raised blade.
Kagami fired a blank.
She jumped directly overhead.
Just as Mary thought her opponent had dodged, the annihilation reached the spot the girl had just vacated.
Except it did not.
Just before the annihilation arrived, light shot in directly ahead of it.
The shrine maiden had fired an arrow.
Even the slightest mistake would have sent a swift shot into her partner, but…
…She didn’t even hesitate to fire, did she!?
There was only one explanation as for how she could do that. Mary gulped and swept her scythe so it would hit the flying arrow and the overhead opponent.
The girl overhead immediately reacted.
She swung her body in midair and flew toward Mary as if slaloming. She swung her body to swing her great sword.
“I will not let you escape, Mary!”
Kagami wanted a clash with Mary.
It was a swordfight, but it was at extreme high speed. Rather than competing with footwork, they would fill their midair bodies with acceleration to slam their blades into their opponent.
They both tried to take the most advantageous position, turned back to defend, and yet continued accelerating northward.
To set the stage for victory, Kagami’s blade struck in an attempt to destroy her opponent’s stance and Mary tried to hit her with the annihilation spell.
She began an extreme close-range exchange with that scythe of annihilation.
Needless to say, she also fired when there was a gap in the swordfight.
She instantly sent the blast into the sky behind her.
The annihilation scythe tore into the armor on her arms and knees, but she had no intention of ceasing her charge and barrage.
…Please tell me.
Please tell me everything about that lost world.
Horinouchi’s voice rang out.
“You’re pushing her back!”
She moves from attack to attack so quickly, gasped Mary.
Mary had the greater power and the greater ability, but her opponent was better when it came to technique such as chaining attacks together.
No matter how many lethal attacks she sent out, her opponent would avoid them and approach for a further clash.
When she moved back and launched an attack from there, her opponent would dodge it truly by a hair’s breadth and…
“The other one!”
The shrine maiden fired on her. Mary’s high speed flight kept the shrine maiden from circling around to her blind spot, but it was still dangerous when she was focused on her main opponent.
That thought came to mind, but she did not feel like erasing it.
Yes, this opponent was incredible.
Even in Mary’s home, this girl had gathered comrades, helped them work together, and led them to many a victory over the “god’s” army.
But even so…
As their blades crossed and ether light scattered, she sent out her annihilation and continued her swift backwards movement.
“If you can do all this, why did you flee from our world!?”
Horinouchi heard the two ahead of her exchanging words as they deflected each other’s attacks and continued evading and moving.
At the leading edge of the solid noises, sprays of ether light, splitting of air and earth, and trailing tremors, Mary asked a question.
“Do you remember!? We all trusted you and thought you would save us!”
That was a world Horinouchi did not know.
It was most likely a created world that had existed separate of this one and then vanished.
And this world Mary spoke of…
…It was created by Kagami’s sister, wasn’t it?
In that case, the answer was obvious.
“Yes, I remember.”
Mary sent a kick toward Kagami’s words.
It was blocked by the great sword and a great rumbling rang out as the grim reaper leaped through the sky.
“Then why!? Why did you flee!?”
“Telling you will change nothing!”
That’s true, thought Horinouchi.
Even if Kagami had a reason, Mary would never accept it.
What if Kagami had been “right”?
Mary probably had not thought that far.
The fact that Kagami had fled was everything to her now and she based all her decisions on it.
“Then!” said Mary. “I will surpass you and leave everything of the past in the past!”
“Yes,” replied Kagami as she sent her great sword toward Mary’s shoulder. “That is the spirit!!”
A moment later, Mary held her scythe up to defend. The blade struck it and sparks flew.
…Here it comes!
Horinouchi shouted along with the two out ahead.
“Summon Magino Frame!”
Koutarou watched the footage from the surface sent by the shrines and temples affiliated with the Horinouchi family and the footage from the air and from orbit sent by American U.A.H.F.
The maid in charge of ether detection raised her voice.
“I’m picking up massive ether readings from all three! Their Magino Frames are coming!!”
They could not hear it, but a few of the maids muttered it to themselves.
“Clang, clang, clalang…”
That was the sound of Horinouchi’s Magino Device as it was summoned.
It was the ringing of a large shrine bell. Kagami’s was the ringing of a large church bell.
Mary’s summoning sounded like a clattering chain.
Those sounds would be filling the sky at the moment, and…
“The Magino Frames are in place!!”
The three great forms had appeared in the night sky, but there was something odd about it.
“H-huh?” said the maid checking the monitor and helping report on the situation. “That’s strange.”
The maid in charge of ether detection frantically stood up from her seat and said something else.
“They aren’t there?”
Yes. Even Koutarou doubted his own eyes at this sudden turn of events.
The spell circle acting as the command center’s giant monitor displayed data from American U.A.H.F. and the Horinouchi Group, but the close-up view of the night sky did not show the three Magino Frames.
The sky was empty, which meant…
“Lady Mitsuru is missing!?”
Hunter understood the general idea, but it seemed too insane to have actually happened.
…The three Magino Devices vanished?
Several spell circles were appearing and disappearing around her on the deck. They were all observing and scanning the sky of western Kantou and they were all confirming that Kagami and the others were not there.
But Hunter thought something else had happened, so she raised her hand.
“Mainland group, use the surveillance satellites to search them out.”
“Don’t use the ones moving in orbit. Focus on the ones in geostationary orbit!”
She could explain why right here and now.
She knew what had happened.
“The Rank 2 changed the battlefield! This was the movement spell that uses the pull of her annihilation spell. They’re probably in two different places! Kagami and the Rank 2 will be in one and Horinouchi will be in the other!”
“Found them, Hunter!”
The second-in-command witch shouted from within the ship with the bridge in the background.
The answer was an extremely simple one.
“The opposite poles! They’re in the airspace above the North and South Poles!!”
“The Rank 2 tore into space and sent them halfway around the globe!”
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