Clash of Hexennacht:Volume2 Chapter 6
Chapter 6: Accept the Blame
I’m mad, I’m mad, I’m mad
Even though it’s not a habit of mine
After reaching the coast, Hunter quickly prepared to construct her Normal Device for defense while visually confirming what had just happened.
Ten kilometers was not far for a Magino Frame.
After all, they were five hundred meters long.
From a human perspective, it was like having a shootout from a distance of about twenty meters.
At that mid-range they could not reach each other and they could flee if need be. That was why they used their secondary cannons to hold each other in place and then fired their main cannon. But…
“Don’t fire your main cannon right off the bat!”
Even for the Magino Device, the main cannon ate up a lot of power. It would prevent any acceleration needed immediately afterwards. After all, a Magino Device main cannon was meant to be used against the Black Witch. It was meant as a preemptive strike as she descended from the moon, so all the focus was on attack power.
Most Ranker battles were ended with the main cannon, but they could not fight with that alone. Most of the time, it would be avoided or, if the opponent had the resolve, defended against. But…
Hunter saw something strange.
Kagami had fired her main cannon, a deafening noise had thundered out, and the clouds had been blasted away behind the great sword. And yet…
There was nothing between Mary and Kagami’s Magino Devices. There was no light, no sound, no power, and not even any shell fragments. Also…
Something else was not right: their positions.
There had been a distance of ten kilometers between them before, but now…
“Why are they right in front of each other!?”
Hunter saw the two Magino Devices approaching.
That was odd.
Before Kagami had fired, there had been a distance of ten kilometers between them. Yet now…
“They’re within five kilometers!”
It would not have been that strange if Mary had been the one to move, but a closer look showed it was Kagami’s position that had changed.
…What is this?
After imagining what had to have happened, she gasped.
She waved toward the fighter flying through the air and pointed toward Kagami.
“Be careful! ‘That’ isn’t it!”
Kagami took action before Hunter’s voice reached her.
…The shell was consumed!?
She had thought her opponent’s power was a cutting power, but…
“Indeed it is not ‘that’, Hunter-kun!”
At some point, Mary’s Magino Device had moved much closer. No…
…I’ve moved closer too!?
She could only assume the distance had been manipulated with.
That raised the question of “how”, but in that case…
“I see. So it is normally used for this.”
Kagami swung her Normal Device Dikaiosyne and pointed it toward her opponent.
“Fire all secondary cannons!”
Kagami laid Dikaiosyne down in the sky in front of her while it was in floating mode. The Normal Device was synchronized with the Magino Device and it controlled the firing of the various secondary cannons.
Several firing spell circles opened. The timing of the shots was set by the touch of her fingers. She similarly controlled the trajectory with the movement of her arm and then linked the Device’s movements to her gaze.
Cannon fire burst from the Device as if she were playing a keyboard and directing an orchestra.
Currently, Dikaiosyne did not have that many secondary cannons, but they made up for that with their excellent precision guidance and tracking ability. That was likely thanks to it being based on the technology found in Horinouchi’s Akerindou.
Even the secondary cannons were quite powerful and fast.
She used a wide section of the sky. The volley of guided and tracking shots gathered together into what amounted to a single shot.
The barrage of power told her opponent to aim for the gaps in time, gaps in position, and blind spots if she could.
If she was a witch, perhaps it would be an incantation that struck back.
With that word, she swung both arms, spun her Device around, and fired, fired, fired, fired until the entire atmosphere shook. She released as much power as she could and it flew forcefully through the sky. But…
“It did not reach her!?”
It vanished suddenly near Mary’s Magino Device.
There was no noise and there were no fragments.
Every last shot and strike made from every angle imaginable was gone. They were not stopped and they did not scatter. They simply vanished vainly into thin air.
What was this? This opponent had a cutting power and secondary cannons, so what was this defense?
…Is there an invisible shield there!?
As Koutarou traveled to the north coast of Tokyo Bay, he viewed the battlefield from the side.
Kagami was to the east and Mary to the west and they had both begun firing their secondary cannons.
They were five kilometers apart, which was nearly close-range for Magino Devices.
The sky connecting them was filled with the beams of light from the cannons, but also countless defense spell shields, solid sounds, and scattering lights.
However, one portion of the exchange was entirely one-sided.
Mary had not activated any defense spells.
“Is she doing this undefended!?”
Desiring a battle with no defenses was a common tactic for masochistic or self-harming witches. The more they were injured, the more they could convert that into power and send it back at their opponent.
But the maid in the passenger seat muttered something.
“You can’t see it, can you?”
“It really is invisible.”
He had no idea what she meant, but he continued watching the exchange of attack and defense in the sky.
Kagami seemed to have the advantage as she performed both attack and defense while Mary appeared to be focused entirely on attack. But…
“Koutarou! Mary’s Magino Device has not been hit at all!”
“Well observed, milady!”
He looked over to the maid in the passenger seat, gave a nasal laugh of triumph, and returned to his duties. She sent an email to the Head Maid in a spell circle, but he decided not to worry about it for the time being. And…
…If what Lady Mitsuru said is true…
He saw it with his telescopic spell.
The two Magino Devices were once more circling Tokyo Bay clockwise in order to take up positions against each other. The black multi-scythe one was not defending in the slightest, but…
“It isn’t…reaching her?”
Kagami’s secondary cannons were vanishing before they reached the black scythes.
No sound, light, or fragments remained. It was like a giant eraser was passing over them there.
“You can’t see it, can you?” said the maid in the passenger seat. “I fully sealed that away. And I was an Armor-style witch known as the Vulcan Powder Keg. It could erase and consume any barrage and even the distance between you and your opponent.”
Kagami realized her secondary cannons meant nothing against this opponent.
…What is this?
Every last shot would vanish before it reached her opponent.
She also recalled the very first shot, when she had fired Dikaiosyne’s main cannon.
“Was that the same as this!?”
The main cannon blast had been erased just like the secondary ones.
It was all being done by some invisible defensive power held by Mary’s Magino Device.
A transmission arrived from Horinouchi.
“Here she comes!”
Sure enough, the black scythes were accelerating her way.
She was approaching.
That Magino Device had an absolute defense and a cutting power that could slice an artificial island in two, and now it was flying straight toward her.
Is this all? thought Mary.
This opponent had defeated the Rank 4 and Rank 3 and she was a Holy Knight, so Mary had wondered how much she could do.
“But she can’t do a thing against my power!”
Then this is over, she thought while accelerating Magino Device Ira.
There was nothing to fear. Her opponent’s attacks could not reach her. If she charged straight in, it would work out somehow or another. So…
“Let’s go, Macabre!”
The grim reaper servant nodded on her shoulder.
Macabre swung its scythe forward and Ira moved.
The executioner’s Magino Device was an outdated close-range model, but it could handle anyone when combined with Mary’s power. So…
“Prepare to sink, Kagami Kagami!”
She stared directly at her opponent and only had to move straight in.
She could not miss and her opponent had no way of hitting her, so she only had to go for it.
But a moment later, her telescopic spell showed Kagami doing something.
Kagami’s Normal Device was floating out in front of her.
She was using that to control the secondary cannons and the Device, but unexpectedly…
Kagami’s right leg kicked the Normal Device toward Mary.
That Normal was controlling the Magino, so…
The Holy Knight’s sword began an immediate charge. It flew in a straight line counterattack toward Mary.
“Oh, that idiot!”
When the maid in the passenger seat spoke up, Koutarou had to respond.
“Lady Kagami would not make a mistake!”
“Um, so you aren’t going to deny the ‘idiot’ part?”
It was true he had thought much the same thing. But…
“Lady Kagami is not an idiot. …She is something else!”
The maid nodded, so he decided to leave it at that. Still, it was obvious what Kagami was doing.
…Is she testing it out!?
Her secondary cannons and main cannon had been erased.
“Are you seeing what happens with the entire Magino Device, Kagami!?” asked Horinouchi inside the spell circle.
“You have such a discerning eye, milady!”
Koutarou’s shout was followed by a collision in the sky.
The two giant structures had approached on what amounted to a head-on collision course.
“Did it hit!?”
After hearing Koutarou’s shout from her spell circle, Horinouchi saw the answer as she used her Normal Frame to fly eastward along the northern end of Tokyo Bay.
Something had happened high enough in the sky that she had to look up to see it.
Two Magino Frames had collided.
They produced the ringing of a large church bell and the rattling of an iron chain. The former was Kagami’s Dikaio-whatever and the latter was Mary’s Magino Device. It looked like they hit head-on, and…
…Kagami’s Device was eaten into!?
Their angles were odd for a head-on collision. They were skewed diagonally.
And with a roar, the great sword suddenly accelerated forward.
It almost looked like a blade thrusting in and through the opponent.
“Did she break through!?”
A voice reached her from a spell circle next to her face.
It came from Hunter on the east end of Tokyo Bay, southeast of Horinouchi.
The spell circle displayed the scene as Hunter saw it.
Something was visible in the sky.
She could not believe her eyes.
…What does that mean!?
After the collision, the black multi-scythe was unscathed and Kagami’s sword…
“The front armor was stripped away diagonally!?”
The situation made no sense to Hunter either.
She knew Mary had made a counterattack when Kagami’s Dikai-whatever charged toward her.
But in an instant…
She must have sensed something and quickly moved the sword tip away from a direct collision with the scythe.
A moment later, a diagonal section of the blade was torn away from the front center to the starboard side.
It looked like it had been gouged out with a spoon, but something was not right. After all…
“There are no fragments or ether light!?”
What was this?
Hunter gave voice to her thoughts.
The enemy’s attack was not cutting or a projectile.
“This is annihilation!”
“Kagami!” shouted Horinouchi who must have been watching the midair movements from close by. “Get out of there!”
That was right. The collision had failed and Dikaio-whatever had a large chunk torn from it. Kagami needed to move away and recover her position. But even though the great sword’s thrusters were emitting light…
She was not moving or responding, so Horinouchi shouted her name.
…Is Kagami focused on resisting?
Hunter did not know why, but Kagami could not move away. Mary’s Magino Device had torn into her own, but she was still being held there as if she were being strangled.
In that case, thought Hunter. There was only one possibility she could think of.
“Kagami! Do as I say!”
This was her only advice.
“Accelerate toward your opponent!”
When she heard Hunter’s words, Horinouchi looked up into the sky while soaring through the air.
The image showed Kagami’s great sword fidgeting a bit in the sky as more and more of it was torn away at the point of contact.
She then heard a sound.
It was the low ringing of a great bell. It began as one, but then grew to two and three as the light from Dikaio-whatever’s rear thrusters grew.
Once she realized what Kagami was doing, Horinouchi raised her voice.
“Do it, Kagami!”
In that instant, the large sword Magino Device fully opened its rear thrusters.
But that was not all.
The pommel-like shell creation section briefly opened just before the thrusters released their light.
The main cannon had been torn apart along with the armor, but the thrusters were still functioning. So…
“If she fires a blank behind her, it will add to her acceleration!”
Bells rang and the great sword escaped the bonds of the scythe.
As the scythe rapidly swung around, the sword with damaged blade had not lost its will to fight.
They began a rapid rotation to take up the best position against each other and new clouds trailed after them in the sky.
And at the center of that rumbling, words were formed.
They came from a grim reaper.
Mary in her black witch outfit turned back toward Kagami who was also turning back toward her.
“It seems that wasn’t enough.”
She said more from there.
“But this is not enough to satisfy everyone’s grudge.”
Horinouchi tilted her head as she landed on top of an abandoned building in the east.
She could see Tokyo Bay to the west from here. She could also see Hunter on the coast two kilometers to her left.
She looked to the two Magino Devices in the sky, but…
…Even if I start moving now, I can’t catch up with them.
If she was going to do something, it had to be here, so she asked the question on her mind.
It was concerning what Mary had just said.
She opened a communication line to call for Kagami, but then she heard a voice.
It was not Hunter, Koutarou, or the headmaster’s voice. She heard a noise that did not form any actual words. It was simply someone breathing in…
And falling silent.
Had anything ever brought Kagami to silence before?
…What does this mean?
Had Mary’s words meant something to Kagami?
Those words had shocked Kagami.
What did that mean? Her mind raced and reached a certain fact.
The human named Kagami Kagami was not from this world.
Just as she cried out in order to clear away her anxiety, a great noise filled the sky.
The executioner’s chain had finished turning around and it had gained a sudden burst of speed.
…That was fast!
The scythe seemed to leap at its opponent.
“Fight back, Kagami!”
Horinouchi saw it.
Kagami’s Magino Device fired its secondary cannons while turning back toward the black multi-scythe.
But every one of those attacks was erased. The precision guided shots that had been so useful in the battle against Hunter were wholly annihilated before they reached the black scythe.
Someone spoke from the sky.
It was Mary. She moved straight in toward Kagami as she uttered a certain line.
It concerned Kagami’s background and it was just what Horinouchi had feared.
“Did you never think there might already be a transfer student from another world?”
Kagami ordered Dikaiosyne to move back as it turned around.
…The power has dropped after that last shot.
The main cannon had been torn into. It was being repaired, but she did not know if those repairs would finish in time. She was more concerned about the ether spilling from there than the ability to fire. So to buy as much time as possible, she responded to her opponent as she made her retreating turn.
“Another world? You mean…?”
“Yes.” Mary was clearly gaining ground. “My home, known as the Layered Circles World, was much like this planet. There was an army there that fought a god in order to stop a concrete phenomenon known as the Curtain of Destruction.”
Hunter hit the side of her head after hearing Mary’s explanation.
“S-some of the European witches have backgrounds like that,” argued Horinouchi.
But an army that fights a god?
“U-um, that would put us in the category of crazy too!”
But the voice in the sky laughed. She almost seemed to crawl toward Kagami, but she also accelerated to fill the gap.
“But partway through the conclusion, someone with incredible magical power appeared and was eventually promoted to the rank of brigadier general.”
She spoke a name.
“Kagami Kagami, it was you. Although surnames in my home world can only be two syllables long, so you went by Kaga Mikagami instead.”
“There you have it.”
The headmaster held a pot with a single flower in it, but she set it down on the reception table.
“You were not an unprecedented case, Miss Kagami. That is why your acceptance went so smoothly. It was all thanks to the excellent student who set a valuable precedent.”
Before, she had praised the flower in that pot.
“It seems flowers that scatter ether light much like this one grew in her homeland.”
“All of those must have been destroyed by the ‘god’ who was another form of the Black Witch.”
That explains some things, realized Kagami.
She had seen the destruction of several worlds on the way here.
The one this girl going by Mary had mentioned had been the world before this one.
“That was a circular world divided into layers to create a single giant World Pillar.”
They had a shared image in their memories.
“Then you must be…”
The girl in black answered with her head lowered. She would be in range for a second clash before long.
“I am Reese, warrior of the May clan. Do you remember me? No, I suppose you wouldn’t.”
“The fantasy-ness…just keeps growing…”
“Y-you’re pretty weird yourself, Hunter!”
“Milady! You have them both beat!”
She had named herself.
She had kept this hidden for a long while and she had never expected to reveal it to this girl of all people.
“No, you wouldn’t remember. After all…” She paused for a moment. “After all, just before our world was destroyed, you fled without even trying to fight!”
Mary looked to Kagami. The great sword looked almost within arm’s reach now and the girl was holding her right palm out toward her.
“Please tell me! What happened…with the destruction of that world!?”
…You’re asking that now?
Anger accompanied that question in her mind.
But her heart was the polar opposite.
It was cold.
This was wonderful.
She had expected Kagami to shout in anger and provide an explosion of emotion.
Before summer break, when the Rank 4 had fallen to the north of Tokyo Bay and when the battle with the Rank 3 had been relayed to the school early in the morning, a certain thought had come to Mary.
…She must be here to become a target of my grudge.
This was anger. That emotion gathered up all of one’s resentment, misery, and frustration and then thrust them outward.
If she had a target for that, wouldn’t she be able to get rid of her own anger?
But that was not the case.
She could feel a tremor filling her entire body. She could tell her body temperature was dropping. She could not hold her eyes steady. This was not heatstroke. She had gotten plenty of water. But she kept thinking about so many unnecessary things.
…I want to distract myself from who I am now, don’t I?
She understood that. She was trying to justify her anger by saying it was righteous. And she wanted to accept the mistaken idea that she only had to expel the ugly parts of herself.
She suddenly realized her expression was twisted.
“So you’re from that world.”
…No, not “that” world.
“That was our world.”
She had seen what had become of her home. But that was not all.
“They left everything with me and then disappeared! I looked up to you and learned how to pool my magic power from you, so I was left with all the world’s magic power and then everything except for me disappeared!”
Mary allowed herself this as she spoke.
She aimed at the great sword and at Kagami.
She fired her main cannon while charging forward.
Kagami’s mind went blank for a brief moment.
No, it was true that the world her sister had created had been destroyed. And just as Mary had said, she had escaped that world before it happened. But…
There was something she had to say.
…Is it too late!?
The rear scythe portion of Mary’s Magino Device spread out.
She could not see it, but something was definitely being fired.
What was she supposed to do about this invisible attack?
If she simply dodged, she would be back where she started. But Mary clearly had the advantage and moving in close would only get her captured like before.
Then what do I do? she wondered until someone answered her.
A spell circle appeared in front of her. It was Horinouchi.
She held her Normal Device. She was not firing it, but the line of fire was displayed on the spell circle.
…So that is it!
Kagami nodded and gave motion to everything.
She set a destination for Dikaiosyne’s turning while repairing the Magino Device.
“Charge to the point Manko showed me, Dikaiosyne!”
Hunter sensed it.
During the summer afternoon, a large chunk of the sky vanished.
It seemed to have been gouged away, but that may have been an illusion. However…
“Kagami! Regain control!”
The great sword was moving in response to the scythe’s attack.
The entire thing had slid to the side, avoiding the “gouging” and remaining unharmed.
…It didn’t hit!
That was thanks to Horinouchi.
She had most likely determined the direction of Mary’s attack. But how had she done that?
“How did you do that, milady!?”
“Even if we don’t know the path of the main cannon, it isn’t that hard to predict if you know where Kagami is and can read the orientation and slight movements of the Magino Frame. After all, it has to hit to be effective. Then I just had to determine Kagami’s exact position to send a spell circle that told her what direction the main cannon would fire in. The real problem was Kagami’s position, but…”
From the surface, she could not see Kagami on top of the Magino Device.
However, there was still a way of finding it.
Two fighters had passed by the airspace while coming almost too close to the battle.
“Representative Hunter! Did the three-point range-finding using us and the satellite come in handy!?”
It had come in way too handy. She used a telescopic spell to take a bunch of photos of Horinouchi and sent them over. Horinouchi was on top of a building, so this would give them some low angle shots they would never normally get.
“Wh-what are you doing!? Hey, stop that!”
…You’ve gotta pay for that help somehow. Is that what you call an offering? Well, it doesn’t really matter.
This was her chance.
Kagami made several movements in a row.
The two F-23s flying above Tokyo Bay saw her Magino Frame fire its main cannon as it passed by on their right.
“Did she finish repairing it!?”
“No, she’s forcing this!”
Ether light was leaking from halfway down the main cannon and light burst from the starboard side where such a large chunk had been torn away.
She fired, but that destroyed the main cannon. She could not fire it a second time.
Plus, the two Magino Devices were passing each other by, so this shot would not score a direct hit. However…
“So that’s what she’s after!”
Kagami’s main cannon shell flew as if to scrape along the port side of Mary’s Magino Device.
In an instant, the light was annihilated at its destination.
This was the black scythe Device’s defense.
Kagami had dodged her opponent’s annihilation main cannon and had her own main cannon devoured by her opponent’s defenses.
The enemy’s attack and defense had been canceled out. And if they had been neutralized…
“Go, Rank 3!”
The Holy Knight’s great sword scraped the unharmed port side of its blade against the grim reaper’s scythe as if locking blades together.
They were both moving forward, so ether light sparks scattered from the long point of contact as they passed by. And…
“You’re kidding right?”
The observer pilot saw the scene while turning away from Tokyo Bay.
As the five hundred meter blades locked together, the Holy Knight and the Executioner ran toward each other.
“The witches themselves are starting a swordfight!!”
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