Clash of Hexennacht:Volume3 Chapter 14
Chapter 14: What is Important
I will show you
That it is not a lie
Before I scatter
Like counting numbers
Their approach did not use a simple course.
Kagami had instructed Horinouchi to not fight the air current but to use high-speed mobility.
…That is contradictory!
Horinouchi felt it was like being told to slowly hurry, but there was a reason to do that.
“If she is using her senses to manage this airspace, then the visible flowers and invisible air are all moving according to her will.”
“If we take any noticeable actions, the flowers will sense it, approach, and surround us. They are just like leaves fallen into a stream. If we are a rocky area, they will unexpectedly approach and surround us.”
That reminded Horinouchi of something.
“When Aunt Lisbeth fought Fleur yesterday evening, the flower ash circled behind her spatial cut, didn’t it?”
“Right. Her flowers are not simply blowing in the wind. The environment gives them motion as ‘wind’.”
Then what were they to do?
“We will be able to see the environmental current if we pursue the flowers with our own current. The flowers cannot approach or surround something riding the same current. And if we are riding that current, we only have to let it lightly carry us onward. …Can you discern our path?”
She sent their visual information and the data from their Devices’ senses to the Horinouchi family. By the time she had made a half rotation along with Kagami, a program containing course information had been sent to her spell circle.
…We can do this!
The air current swept everything upwards. Riding that would take them even higher than Fleur’s combined Device, but that only meant they had to charge at her from above.
“The only other thing to worry about is…”
“That sweeping attack of course, but also the flowers that Fleur automatically sends at us plus the blasts and shockwaves of the detonations that occur within the air currents.”
“That’s a lot to watch out for.”
She was calm enough to make wry comments.
This was their opponent’s environment, but they were still putting together a counterattack plan.
Horinouchi rode the air current, accelerated to surpass it, and clapped her hands.
“Kagami, I’m going to send you some power!”
Mary heard a familiar sound from the spell circle displaying the battlefield.
It was a high-pitched sound mixed in with the repeated explosions and impacts that were reminiscent of a thunderstorm.
“A shrine bell…”
Those bells were rung when praying at a Shinto shrine. And if they were sounding…
“Has Miss Horinouchi started using a barrier spell!?”
Fleur realized her opponents were not being incorporated into her environment.
The flowers should have been growing on their Magino Devices by now, but they were not and the ringing of a bell shook the air instead.
“That is a barrier, Fleur. She is using a Shinto purification spell.”
“No fair, mama! I worked so hard on this!”
The enemy also began using their secondary cannons while circling rapidly through the spiraling flowers. They were not attacking her. They were piercing the surrounding flowers and air currents to intentionally trigger detonations.
Of course, Fleur’s flower air currents were constantly being created, but by reading the path near them and triggering explosions in advance, they could create safe areas. So Fleur actively sent flowers in to limit the enemies’ locations. And…
“Open the petals!”
The petals on the bottom of the giant 3 km flower also opened.
It was not quite double, but the expansion of flowers was further pressurized. If the enemy was going to ignore her environment…
“Can you survive if I blow up everything except for mama and me!?”
She spread her arms and then lifted them up.
The environment was already being constructed. So…
“Bring the front line of flowers to full bloom and lift them up!”
…Is she detonating the entire area!?
Kagami saw the area below fill with the color of explosions.
She knew what Fleur had begun.
After confirming that the environment was replete with flowers, she had prepared enough to fill in the gaps and…
“She is detonating everything horizontally from bottom to top!”
There were already a great many flowers scattered in the air, so there would be no dodging this. Kagami and Horinouchi’s equipment was touching and riding them.
By starting a horizontal detonation from below, Fleur could leave the rest to a chain reaction that quickly filled the entire environment with explosions all the way to the top.
The best way to avoid it would be to escape the environment.
But carelessly moving outside the current would trigger explosions around them before the larger scale one arrived from below. The two of them were already riding the environment’s current to approach their enemy.
The only possible shelter was…
“Right next to the enemy! Kagami!”
The chain reaction would be set to not damage Fleur herself. So…
“So we must read the route through the environment and charge on in!”
As soon as Kagami raised her voice, it arrived.
A sweeping attack flew their way from the 6 spell circles on the top of the giant flower.
Fleur saw the emitted beam of light pass directly above the two Magino Devices.
She had meant to hit them, but they had started descending.
…They’re coming, aren’t they!?
They had been circling somewhat upwards as they rode the current, but now they were forcibly accelerating down toward her.
They were matching their course to the environment while also making their way inwards.
They had said they would stop her, so they were on their way to do so.
If they had been all talk, they would have been swept away. But if they were charging toward her…
As soon as she yelled up at them, a shockwave ran through the entire space the beam had passed through.
Lightning scattered, the air could be heard splitting apart, and the two Magino Devices were struck from above.
The blue and vermilion sword and bow shook violently, but Fleur did not stop there.
She pointed down with both hands and drew a connecting circle.
With that, a ring of new explosives blossomed around the giant flower Device.
It would provide a counterattack from below as the enemy was knocked down by the shockwave from above.
Once that knocked them off balance, the all-encompassing horizontal explosions would rise up and destroy them!
Then the ring of explosives reached the vermilion and blue Devices.
Kagami decided the biggest threat was letting the explosives hit the center of their Devices from below.
In this situation, they could withstand the weight and impact of the shockwave bearing down on them from above, but that would cause the front and back to lower. An upwards hit on the center could easily break the Device in half.
They needed to ascend at full power. Then the counterattack explosions would not hit them from below and they could reduce the damage from the following all-encompassing blast by putting more distance between them and it. So…
“Ascend at full speed!”
Dikaiosyne and Akerindou were both tail heavy, so the back was lowering and the front was rising as the garland of explosives blossomed.
…We avoided a direct hit!
Immediately, the garland blast arrived from below.
The 500-meter Magino Devices’ front ends hopped up like they had been hit by an uppercut. And…
…Here it comes!
The rising vertical detonation approached from directly below.
The bottom of her vision grew white.
The wind caused by the explosive blast grabbed at them and enveloped them.
Fleur saw the cascade of light rise before her eyes.
It covered everything she could see in every direction. The explosion of light seemed to have had the shape of her flower cut out of it as it blew upwards from below.
It was beautiful. It had gone well.
“Mama! Wasn’t that amazing!?”
The explosive cascade covered everything within 50 kilometers.
She had never seen anything like this either, but she still bragged about it.
“And this isn’t all.”
That was right. A new current of flowers was already fluttering up from below.
And the sky came into view. The wall of explosions rose toward the heavens, reached its peak, and vanished.
There was the sky. As the flowers on the outer edge whirled around, the final explosions reverberated as a great noise.
They echoed through the air.
A laugh escaped. She was glad. After all…
“We won, mama.”
Nothing remained. The power she had made with her mama had kept her at Rank 1. This had ended it.
She was not afraid of Hexennacht. And yet…
“Why aren’t you smiling, mama?”
A rumbling raced through the northern sky. Mary listened to it from the Spell Division building’s rooftop and saw a distant pillar of light rising toward the heavens.
…What is that?
She recalled a similar spell being used in her world.
But it had been used to destroy the minions of the “god” along with the city they occupied and it had taken several thousand spell users to cast. Even if this world was richer and had further developed its spell-related techniques, it was unbelievable that an individual could pull off something like that.
How would I fight something like that? she wondered as she saw some movement.
It was Lisbeth. She was walking down an academy path. She was headed through the courtyard for the mausoleum.
Footsteps sounded at the bottom of the night.
Lisbeth hurried along the cold floor of a quiet underground corridor.
She was so intent on taking the shortest route that her shoulder bumped into the inside wall at a curve.
She groaned in her haste, but she did not care.
The spell circle next to her face was receiving updates on the Ranker Battle from U.A.H. witches.
Her pace quickly took her to the end of the corridor.
She ignored the “keep out” sign and held up her card key.
“So you only have to hold it up to the reader…”
That part alone she handled calmly and then she stepped in through the opened door.
I would really prefer not to visit this place over and over, thought Lisbeth.
The hall she had visited the night before was simply dark. The light of the glowing plants had almost entirely vanished, so she had to rely on the lights illuminating the central coffin and other important points.
The flower dragon near the coffin approached when it saw her. It likely wanted to know why things had gone so dark.
…Is Cerisier approaching her end?
She had tricked herself into thinking the woman was alive because they would occasionally contact and converse with each other. Since that woman would sometimes talk about Mitsuyo, it had felt like reminiscing between two survivors.
But that was inaccurate.
She had been meeting and speaking with regrets that had yet to fall asleep.
Once those were gone, none of it would remain anywhere.
She had been strict but kind.
“She knew her soul would fill this world and protect so very much.”
This world. Some ancient witches had proposed the theory that the ether-based ley lines were a torrent of “power” that included the souls of the people, of nature, and even of the stars.
Shinto included the idea that the dead would protect the local people as earthly spirits.
Looking at it that way, it was obvious why Mitsuyo had sealed away her regrets and left. She had known she would protect the next generation and she had guided her heir without mistaking that girl’s nature.
But what about the others?
When Lisbeth had discovered Cerisier’s regret playing with her daughter at the Shihouin mansion like nothing had happened, she had been hesitant, but she had accepted it.
She should have scolded the woman. She should have told her to accept her slumber and to let her soul disappear.
Why had she not done so?
Lisbeth kneeled next to the coffin.
“You can hear me, can’t you!? What are we doing!?”
She remembered what Cerisier’s regret had said when they had been reunited.
“There’s still more I have to do to protect my daughter and this world.”
To help her with the “and this world” part, they had built Shihouin Academy and decided to protect and raise the next generation of witches there.
But what about her daughter?
“Are you really ‘protecting’ Fleur right now? …Your daughter is continuing to wield that power because she doesn’t want to leave you and because she wants you to praise her!”
Fleur might lose her mother at some point. So to rid her daughter of that fear, Cerisier had told her daughter something.
…“If you’re a good girl, we can be together forever.”
Cerisier had to understand the truth.
She had to understand what it truly meant to “be together”.
“Mitsuyo understood that.”
Even if your mother had left you and was gone, you would sometimes notice something.
You would find in yourself the power, skills, and ways of thinking that you had inherited from your mother.
That was part of a parent’s “divine protection”.
That meaning seemed to have gotten through to Mitsuyo’s daughter, Mitsuru. Her knowledge of Shinto would help there, but last night she had lacked her previous grudge over losing her mother.
She had learned to smile even at the small things.
Was that due to her interaction with the Kagami girl who claimed to have come from another world? Or had she gained that through the previous Ranker Battles?
Lisbeth did not know.
But children would grow even without their parents. On the other hand, what they had been taught would never go away. And yet…
“Your child doesn’t realize that she is alone right now!”
She yelled down at the coffin.
“Is that really the child you wanted!?”
Fleur saw her mother lightly bite her lip.
…What is it?
“Are you in pain? Did something upset you? Tell me, mama. It doesn’t matter if something bad happened. I mean, we can do all this when we work together. And…”
“If I’m doing something wrong, I’ll be even more of a good girl. I’ll always, always do everything you tell me to. So…”
She trailed off there.
Suddenly, the Magino Device below her feet shook vertically. And…
The shaking continued a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time. Countless warning spell circles appeared atop the Device and around her.
Most of them appeared along the edge of one of the Devices forming the great flower.
And as those red warnings appeared, something happened to the hoe surrounded by them.
With a metallic shattering sound, sparks, and ether light fragments, the hoe-shaped Device hopped straight upwards.
It had been struck. A collision of pure power had knocked a portion of the flower out of place. And…
…A cannon blast!?
It was fired straight up from below. The hoe blade’s three leaves were pierced and deflected by the blast of light.
When the Device was broken by the ether light, the shockwave and power reinforcement divine protections caused it to scatter from above. The Giant Device came apart with a sound like dozens of glass panes shattering, and Fleur saw her enemy.
A blue sword and a vermilion bow appeared alongside her.
…They did it!
Hunter saw two Magino Devices beyond the newly-created explosive air currents.
They were below the giant shattering flower. They were lined up in a vertical orientation to hide below the petals.
She did not even need to ask when they had done that.
“When they were knocked down before, the counterattack from below turned their front end skyward.”
“They used the recoil?” asked the Head Butler over a spell circle.
“Instead of resisting the upwards force of the counterattack, they let their Devices point upwards and then fired their main cannons. If they don’t reduce the recoil, that provides a short dash backwards. …And that must have brought them just below the giant Device.”
Below the flower was a safe zone, so they had fled there.
Hunter was impressed they had survived, but both Devices already had several pillars of ether smoke rising from them.
If they had not repaired the Devices even with Kagami there, they must not have had any time to spare. But…
“Don’t waste this chance!”
Horinouchi had fired.
She had used a multi-stage armored shell. She had done exactly what they had planned at their meeting.
…That destroyed one of them at least!
That said, there was another problem they had to face. Akerindou and Dikaiosyne were currently positioned almost entirely vertically. In both cases, the entire Device acted as the barrel, so they would have to tilt the Device to aim left or right unless they were using guided shells.
But even right next to Fleur’s 2-kilometer-tall Device, the pocket created by the destroyed piece was narrow.
She considered using a guided shell, but it would be meaningless if she could not destroy the target. Besides, if the shell ricocheted up into the sky, it would give Fleur and the Headmaster quite a shock.
“Heh heh. That might not be a bad idea.”
“Head Butler! Lady Mitsuru just laughed fearlessly!”
“Is this what you call having enough confidence to scoff even at the Headmaster’s daughter!?”
“No Device can survive a close-range hit from Lady Mitsuru’s cannon!”
“Are you maids inventing aspects of Lady Mitsuru’s personality and reputation now!?”
Fleur used a spell circle to check on the damage to her Devices.
She had lost 1 of the 6 and her opponents were hiding in the pocket created by the damage. It was true Zephyr could not send the environment flowers to that location. To avoid self-destruction, the flowers were set to not reach any space that was supposed to be inside it.
Her opponents must have understood that. The sound of cannon fire echoed within Zephyr’s walls.
They had apparently taken aim at the Device on the right side of the opened pocket. After a sound of impact, the pocket-side leaf of its 3 was destroyed.
…They’re so mean!
“Why are they trying to stop us? They don’t stand a chance against us!”
To protest, Fleur started up the device control spell circle and removed the lock. Then she moved the secondary cannons that stuck up from the Devices like towers. They were 200 meters tall. The total of 5 secondary cannons could open the muzzles on their surface and fire 64 beams of light each.
They were meant for close-range combat and for Devices that stuck to hers like these were doing.
After releasing them in order starting from the top, she used the Device’s sight devices to view the two Devices in the pocket.
…Oh. They’re actually pretty damaged.
Then there was nothing to worry about. Those two could not stop her and her mama.
But she would not let this Device be plucked by anyone other than her and her mama. So…
“I’ll beat them down!”
The secondary cannons pointed in the correct direction launched a total of 152 guided beams toward the targets.
Horinouchi did not hesitate.
She fired three 3-arrow defense shells toward the massive downpour of light raining on them from above.
“I’m counting on you!”
She used the recoil of the shots to circle below Dikaiosyne like it was an umbrella.
Immediately afterwards, the 3-arrow expansions were pierced through with an explosive sound far above.
The remnants of the 3-arrows and the beams of light slammed into the Magino Device acting as an umbrella.
Sound sprayed out, tremors raced out, and Horinouchi could feel the hits to Dikaiosyne even as far away as she was. Dikaiosyne took a total of 82 hits. 70% of the upper armor was stripped away, 37% of the primary frame was damaged, and the aftereffects were still hitting it.
But below that rumbling, the Suzaku cried out.
What was that? Chivalry? she wondered, but Kagami was not here to provide a tsukkomi.
Of course she was not. After all…
She had already told her she was counting on her.
Her appearance and action were instantaneous.
Fleur had just set the secondary cannons to their automatic barrage setting when someone appeared right before her.
A blue and white figure stood on the Device.
It was a Holy Knight. She held a large sword and was running toward Fleur.
My and mama’s Device are going to win. And that’s how I can make mama happy. It’s how I can be a good girl.
“Why are you interfering!?”
The flower witch fell back.
She took a step back while raising her hoe Device, but it was too late.
And so she swung her body like usual. With that movement, anyone would lose sight of her and be unable to keep up. So…
Aware she had entered a safe zone, laughter escaped her lips.
When her opponent charged in, unable to see her, she would circle around behind the girl. And then she only had to get an attack in with her hoe and hit her with the flowers.
That had been a close one, but…
…Mama, I did it!
Her mama would be coming to help her too, but she could handle this much on her own.
Her mama was always doing something with her: fighting, creating her Device, or growing the flowers. They were always together. They were together everywhere.
Only a bad girl would just let her mama help her out.
A good girl would listen to what her mama said and do her part. She was a good girl who did not cause her mama any trouble. So just like her mama, she could do something together with her. Thus…
“I’m not a bad girl, mama.”
With that, she circled around. She circled behind the Holy Knight to get in her attack.
Except she could not.
Her opponent was not in front of her. The girl was not where she should have been. Almost like…
“People are not fallen leaves, Fleur. Once we see it a few times and focus on it, we can copy even the most complex and intricate movements.”
A shiver ran down Fleur’s spine when she heard that voice behind her.
…It can’t be…
“I was a bit of a late bloomer for a cherry blossom. But it is autumn, so no one will complain if the flowers have withered.”
When she looked back, she saw the Holy Knight approaching to swing an attack down from above.
She could think of no other word, but a different word escaped her mouth.
Lisbeth shouted in the underground hall.
The last remaining glowing plants lost their light as falling flower petals.
The witch from Europe placed her hands on the coffin and raised her voice.
“Is this the end…!?”
Kagami stopped moving.
She had come here intending to hit the girl. But…
…Horinouchi was right.
She had said she would handle anything that Kagami was hesitant about. But…
It was not Fleur standing before her.
It was the dress-wearing Headmaster.
She had faded enough to see the night and the cloud of flowers through her.
The Dikaiosyne that Kagami held was stopped at the woman’s left shoulder.
It had not hit her. Kagami had stopped it there.
When she remembered the coffin and glowing plants she had seen underground the night before, she had been unable to go through with the attack.
As she faced the woman who had shoved her daughter aside and spread her arms, she breathed in and spoke.
Kagami did not bother with any clichéd thoughts about this being how a true parent should act.
For the first time, the woman had simply protected her daughter. Instead of helping her dodge or defend, she had simply moved to protect.
“I thank you.”
Kagami appreciated that a resident of a world she had helped create had made that decision. And…
The Headmaster began to disappear.
Ether light scattered from her feet, hands, and sides.
She had reached her limit. The light scattered from the same locations that had been missing inside the coffin the night before.
The Headmaster looked Kagami’s way and her lips moved. She was probably trying to speak, but she no longer had enough strength to produce an audible voice. She was no more than video footage now, but she still spoke.
“I leave this to you too.”
There was no point in asking what. Kagami had been left with many things in the past.
So she nodded and the Headmaster looked behind her.
The girl there was weak in the knees and she simply reached her hands out.
Fleur tried to keep her mother here.
She tried to hold her in her arms and to keep it all from leaking out.
But she could not.
Her arms swung through empty air and her hands passed through the pieces of her mother that scattered into the sky.
She stretched her hands out toward the scattering light and tried to gather it all together, but it was no use. Everything strayed from what she intended and it all vanished.
Her arms only found herself to hold as she shook her head over and over.
As she yelled, her mother vanished with a smile.
Her mother had smiled, but she was nowhere to be found now. Fleur looked left, right, forward, back, up, and everywhere her spell circle would show her, but she could not find her mother anywhere. She looked around and around, refusing to accept what had happened.
She shouted. She raised her voice toward the sky.
“Why…!? You promised…!”
Several lights appeared around her. She could no longer control the Magino Device, so the power was running out of control. But that did not matter.
She simply raised her right hand and 3 main cannon spell circles opened at once.
She could do that. She could do that and more.
But she had no one to show it off to anymore. However, she did have someone to beat down with it. So…
“I’ll be a good girl! I’ll show you I can, so come back, mama!!”
She used the 3 main cannons to sweep an attack around the top of the Zephyr for a combined total of 1080 degrees.
Fleur’s Magino Device was collapsing. The armor peeled away like falling flower petals and transformed into fragments of light.
But Horinouchi saw two movements from below the half-destroyed Dikaiosyne.
The first was the scattering armor turning into flowers.
The second was main cannon beams cutting across the sky while scattering roses. Three beams of white roses raced out and pursued the Holy Knight who had jumped down from the Device.
Kagami had avoided a direct hit, but there were also aftereffects. Her Form’s armor and the sword she had used as a shield had shattered.
Dikaiosyne could not move, so Horinouchi slid Akerindou out.
She ran to the edge to catch up. To make it in time. She stretched out her hand, but Akerindou had no hand to grab with. She and Kagami needed it, so neither of them would let her throw it away.
The battle was not yet over. With that in mind, she reached out with her nearly bare right hand.
She grabbed Kagami and pulled her in.
Akerindou descended to better catch the falling girl.
When she looked back toward that voice, she saw the Suzaku clearing its throat.
“Um, was that…?”
“Horinouchi! Its owner must not question it!”
Kagami seemed to be doing well. The next thing Horinouchi knew, she was holding that girl who she could only sigh at.
“I said to leave it to me if you were going to hesitate.”
“I did not hesitate. I simply saw a certain decision.”
Kagami smiled bitterly, then breathed in and looked overhead.
“We have to stop her. But…”
All of the stripped away armor was turning into flowers. And what would that lead to?
“Does she intend to destroy everything even as she loses control!?”
Hunter viewed the scene through a light-amplified telescopic spell.
The wild cloud of flowers was splitting apart and gaps were forming.
But not because it was weakening. The force with which the flowers were being ejected had grown beyond anything seen previously. They had been floating as a cloud before, but now they swirled as a violent storm.
Triple main cannon shots were continually racing out and detonating the clouds they hit. They were sometimes fired toward the Pacific and detonated the ocean along a somewhat twisted arc.
And the fleet began to move.
“All ships, approach to 50 km off Japan’s east coast! …We must move below the angle of fire!”
The deck rocked below Hunter’s feet as the acceleration lifted the bow and pulled down the stern.
…We’re all gonna die together here.
Hunter had something to do, so she contacted the command center with a communication spell.
“Captain! And Lieutenant! If we get closer, we can get more detailed data, right!? Send that to the Horinouchi family! And to the Rank 3 at Shihouin Academy!”
Mary understood what she had to do.
…I need to read the currents of these storm clouds!
She could freely control invisible annihilation scythes, so she could easily read currents of power. Of course, those currents grew complex with as many layers to the power as seen here. But…
“My teacher easily read and emulated the way that girl moves.”
She had suddenly done it in the middle of battle, so she was a monster. Mary was normal compared to that, but…
She was skilled at reading multiple layers. Her training allowed her to draw it all out as actual skill. Her teacher had seen that inside her. So…
“I need to send them this information!”
Horinouchi received simulation data of the surrounding clouds courtesy of Koutarou. She had the Suzaku eat it while she focused on firing.
But the collapsing armor was getting in the way. Even when she fired, the armor would self-destruct like sand and the force of the blow would not get through. And the chips of destroyed armor panels became flowers and rained down on them.
Explosions fell like a waterfall and tore into Akerindou.
Kagami was next to her.
“Dikaio, can you pull yourself back up?”
The dragon child shook its head at that. Defending against the previous hits had to have taken nerves of steel, but that servant was a sturdy child despite its appearance.
…Letting her go was the right decision.
But even as they fired and detonated the flowers to secure a safe zone…
…How long is this going to continue!?
As she asked that, Horinouchi heard a voice in the sky.
It was Fleur. The girl was crying alone atop her collapsing Magino Device.
“Mama! Where are you!? Where did you go!? Weren’t we supposed to be together forever!? Mama! I’ll be a good girl and I won’t do anything else you need to scold me for, so come back, Mama!”
She had not done anything wrong, so why had her mother gone away?
“Was I not a good girl? Then I’ll be one! I will! I really will!”
Her mother had often told her she was a good girl and that she would get stronger.
And yet her mother had gone away.
“It was you two! It was you two that made mama go away!”
Her Magino Device’s sight devices showed her the opponents hiding in the broken parts of Zephyr.
“Give back mama!”
She controlled her Magino Device. She had power. Her mother had wanted her to be powerful. So she used that power as if grabbing the giant Device in her hand and moving it.
If she pulled it hard to the west, the enemy could not follow.
She slid the 3 km wide Device through the sky.
And she saw it. In the swirling blizzard of flowers in the eastern sky, a small bow-shaped Device floated while facing the moon. It could not keep up with her and simply aimed toward heaven.
If she destroyed that, it was over. And once it was over, it would be Hexennacht, just like she had promised with her mama.
Her mama would keep her promise, so the rest was simple. She would use the main cannon spell circle opened overhead to make a main cannon attack.
“Wait for me, mama! I’ll be there soon! I’ll keep my promise! So…!”
She fired the main cannon at full power.
This was not a sweeping attack. It was a straight line.
Horinouchi sensed danger.
…I was too slow to respond!
No matter what happened, she had never imagined a 3 km wide Magino Device could move so suddenly.
Akerindou was exposed to their opponent while pointing straight up. In that position, it would be nearly impossible to dodge left or right. And since it was focused on firing, the thrusters were set to maintain its position, meaning it could not immediately ascend.
That left only one option.
“Kagami! I’ll endure this with multiple layers of 3-arrow barriers! But…”
Kagami’s Dikaiosyne had been almost entirely destroyed, but it was slowly falling toward the surface. So Horinouchi was going to tell her to evacuate onto that.
But a strength stopped her.
Kagami powerfully grabbed her shoulder and pulled her close.
Triple main cannon blasts were arriving from beyond Akerindou and the light was approaching head-on, but Kagami raised her eyebrows in a smile and squeezed Horinouchi’s shoulder.
“It all comes down to this.”
“Horinouchi. …What form do you imagine could defeat and admonish that opponent?”
Just as Horinouchi wondered what this girl was talking about, the rose main cannon struck Akerindou.
“A hard hit!?”
Hunter saw a massive ether explosion inside the battlefield’s air currents.
Those were clearly the fragments of a Magino Device’s destruction. And that led to only one conclusion:
“Did they lose!?”
Dikaiosyne had sunk down out of view. It had already been destroyed. And now Akerindou and its excellent attack power had been destroyed. So…
She shook when she heard the second-in-command, Song Café, suddenly shout her name.
And then warning spell circles appeared all across the deck and the other ships.
Hunter quickly looked around and saw all of the ships advancing in alert mode. That meant there was something considered dangerous at their destination. But even if Fleur’s out-of-control Device was clearly dangerous, they already had all the data on it. So…
“Hunter! Look carefully out ahead! Our control system has detected something large enough to trigger an alert!”
“We don’t know! We can’t identify it at all! It’s a new model! And-…”
It appeared before Song Café could finish speaking.
The ether explosion smoke of Akerindou’s destruction had created a glowing cumulonimbus cloud and two wings stretched toward the night sky from within it.
The wings broke through the clouds and reached a height of more than 5 kilometers in the sky.
Dumbfounded, Hunter gasped as she ignored the surrounding sounds of waves, of the accelerating fleet, and of the wind.
…What is that?
Everyone else on the deck was equally speechless as it tore through the cloud to move forward.
A shrine bell and a church bell could be heard ringing together as vermillion armor and a vermilion cloak came into view.
The helmet worn deep over the eyes was decorated with wings. The weapon it held was the familiar shape of Dikaiosyne except with a vermilion color and an even greater size.
“A Holy Knight-type…?”
No, it had wings and it had a skirt and sleeves that the clouds trailed from.
It was over 3 kilometers tall. It looked like a divine idol and its name was given in a transmission from the Horinouchi family.
“This form was left in the records of Lady Mitsuru’s mother. She sublimated her Magino Frame to bring it to an even higher level.”
“Lady Mitsuru’s mother named it the Geo Frame!”
Koutarou saw it on the video footage.
He must have seen this once before, but he had forgotten.
“Thank you very much, milady…”
This had overwritten the erased memories of his first master.
That divine idol resembled both Kagami and Horinouchi.
The trick behind it had to be Dikaiosyne. The Magino Device had collapsed and fallen, but it had not been completely destroyed. And the giant Device’s collapse had produced a massive amount of ether.
Dikaiosyne had stored that and given it to Kagami.
The rest was Horinouchi’s job. A Shinto shrine maiden was defined by her connection to her god. The image she had wished for resembled Kagami’s Holy Knight, but that may have been due to the Halloween party the other day.
“Well done, milady!”
Horinouchi felt like she knew this.
…No, I do know it.
She and Kagami controlled it from a deck-like platform atop the chest.
“The Geo Frame…”
She and Kagami had worked together to create this Device. The dragon child and the Suzaku both produced their own spell circle and both of them displayed the view from the giant divine idol’s eyes.
She realized their Forms had changed as well. They had feathered decorations, a cloak, sleeves, and side skirts, so it seemed a little too Western for a Shinto shrine maiden.
But, she thought.
…This is the “power” I pictured in my mind.
She did not deny that. And there was a large flower in front of them. They would reach it in another 5 seconds. So…
“Let’s do this, Kagami!”
“Yes, Horinouchi. What should we call this?”
She realized her Akerindou had inherited its name, so she had never named a weapon. So…
“I’m not sure, so I’ll leave that to you.”
“Then how about the Hyper Manko!? Attack, Ultra Manko!”
The idol stopped moving.
“Y-you idiot! You just hurt its feelings!”
“No, I believe it is only responding to your own excitement.”
Honestly, she thought as she caught her breath. The idol began moving once more.
The air currents triggered a chain reaction of explosions. Fleur had instructed all of the flowers to detonate in order to destroy them.
Mary saw the spell circle’s footage white out from the large scale ether explosion.
To the north, white light raced high in the sky and shimmering heat covered the surface of the night sky. The air pushed away from the northern battlefield by the explosion had reached her on a large enough scale to distort the environment.
And she could see it with the naked eye now.
She saw it far north of the destroyed buildings on the northern coast of Tokyo Bay.
The goddess idol broke through the light and smoke of the explosion and took a step forward.
It was unharmed.
…Is that the Shinto power of purification?
She was certain that a shrine bell could be heard ringing on the battlefield every time it moved.
And the idol slowly but lightly stepped forward.
Fleur saw an unbelievable power approaching her.
“Mama never told me about that! Don’t you think using that is rude to mama!? Don’t you think it’s unfair!?”
She slammed the flowers against it and fired volleys from her secondary cannons.
But none of it could even scratch the great sword held up as a shield.
“Mama! I’ll keep my promise!”
She cried out and swung both arms forward.
She swung a triple main cannon blast down like a sword raised overhead.
It was settled by a single attack.
The idol raised its great sword overhead and launched a counterattack.
The high speed slash struck the triple rose spears that swung down like a whip from heaven.
“We will stop you!”
Shrine and cathedral bells rang in unison as the blade sliced right through the three lines of roses.
The roses scattered and the light split. The great sword’s blade alone was more than 4 kilometers long.
That vermilion sword split the great flower.
It was split from top to bottom and the idol’s follow through motion brought the blade all the way down to the ground.
The idol turned its back on the great flower that still floated in the sky.
It stood tall and stabbed its sword into the ground.
At that very moment, the two halves of the collapsing flower Device shifted slightly, one half up and one half down.
The self-destruction was instantaneous. Instead of exploding, everything turned to flower petals and scattered into the air.
The air shook with a wave-like sound.
The sound of rustling leaves reverberated through the sky.
Then all of the flowers burst and spread across the sky like one giant blooming flower.
From there, it all became fragments of light that decorated the air.
It had been destroyed.
At some point, the sky had gained a faint light.
The battle was over and dawn was breaking.
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