Clash of Hexennacht:Volume4 Chapter 6
Chapter 6: Parting and Meeting
The silence of someone close to you
Feels more distant than the greeting of a stranger
The girl stopped moving.
Nothing stopped her. She simply lost all strength when she saw who stood before her.
She was unsure if that word was a question, an expression of anger, or a warning to herself.
A familiar face stood in the entrance space at the top of the short stairway to the family restaurant’s entrance.
Her hair was white now. That stood out a lot, but this was no stranger.
It was her sister.
It was Kagami Kagami.
The girl had once reached a hand out to her after noticing her fighting the shrine maiden witch who now stood next to her. The girl had prepared for Hexennacht while doing her very best to ignore her sister, but…
…She’s here too.
That kind of made the girl happy, but did that mean she was too soft?
After all, she knew what her sister was trying to do to her here.
Her sister had become a character in the worlds the girl had created.
And the girl had destroyed many of those worlds.
The residents of those worlds would never be able to accept that. The characters lost everything. The girl had done that time and again and her sister had been on the receiving end time and again. So…
She would be scolded, accused, and stopped.
Her sister would probably use the same method she did or the methods of this world.
From the characters’ viewpoints, killing her would be justified. She had done more than enough to deserve it. But…
After descending into this world, she had started to think that her sister might not be her enemy.
After speaking with the character named Fleur, she had realized it all came down to your point of view.
That was why she had wanted to do some thinking in a location from her memories.
So her sister’s presence here led to another thought:
…Was she thinking the same thing I was?
But that was not the case.
“Those are Shihouin Academy’s top Rankers.”
Amaze’s words seemed to wake her up.
Shihouin Academy was holding a witch ranking competition in order to defeat the Black Witch.
The people around her sister were those Rankers. The shrine maiden she had seen her sister fighting was also there. In that case…
Those words escaped her lips.
“Shouko, calm down,” said Amaze.
She was calm. She understood exactly what this situation meant.
Her sister was meeting with friends to prepare to defeat the girl.
And she had brought other people to this location from their memories.
This was unavoidable. She had done enough to deserve it, so it was unavoidable.
“I don’t have to go along with that, do I?”
She did not think her sister was right. Nor did she think this was unavoidable.
If she was not controlled by her sister, she could say this:
“How could you…!?”
It doesn’t matter if no one else sees it the same way. My enemy doesn’t have to be anyone else’s enemy. So…
That familiar voice pierced her chest.
No, she thought as her movements came to a stop. And then her sister said more as if to drive the point home.
“Don’t decide this on your own!”
Kagami saw a certain movement.
Her sister looked her in the eye.
The light coming from behind Kagami reflected off the tears in her sister’s eyes.
“You’re late. And yet you keep getting ahead of me and doing everything better than me.”
…This is not good.
Kagami quickly moved forward. She had to run over to her sister and say something to her. But…
“You wouldn’t understand. So…”
The next thing she knew, a power had hit her.
A black blade pierced the center of her chest.
It looked a lot like Dikaiosyne, but it was black and thin.
It was too complex to have been constructed in an instant. It had suddenly appeared and Kagami’s own momentum had propelled her body into it.
So this is a power of creation greater than my own, she rationally analyzed while her sister’s form changed before her eyes.
“The Black Witch…!?” exclaimed Horinouchi
That was exactly who stood there now.
It was likely a Magino Frame. Kagami’s sister wore a black Queen-style Form.
“Stay out of this fight, Kagami.”
With that, her sister casually pulled the sword from Kagami’s chest.
The alarm sounded. And it had jumped straight to Level 5. That alert authorized any final decision.
Despite the suddenness of the sound and the many spell circles that appeared in quick succession, Lisbeth reacted immediately.
This was not her first time experiencing this. She had remembered this and constantly prepared herself for it times, so she opened a spell circle like she was making a counterattack.
“The Black Witch has appeared! All hands, once you confirm her location, you may fire at will!”
As soon as she barked that order, black light welled up from the northwest horizon.
The ether detection spell circle by her hands displayed a great mass of ether in the Shinagawa region. She did not even need to confirm what it was. She activated a control override on the airborne Magino Devices waiting on standby. She used the ether detection spell in place of a targeting spell, and…
Light raced above the ocean and through the sky.
A cage of gunblade Devices surrounded Shihouin Academy in the sky. The 21 that formed the western curve quickly fired on a single spot.
They were all fired in emergency mode, so they did not perform any recoil reduction.
Unable to eliminate the momentum of their attack, the blades slid, rotated, and dropped down through the sky above Shihouin Academy. But the 21 shots they fired flew accurately toward the coast of the mainland.
“That isn’t enough power! Prepare a second blast!”
Two motions followed that shout from the witch commanding the west end of the cage.
The first was the gunblades surrounding Shihouin Academy’s eastern side entering sniper mode.
There were 37 of them. From their vertical orientation, they rotated 270 degrees, sending their blade tip slicing through the wind before pointing to the west of Tokyo Bay. Targeting spells opened as their ether-gathering engine system fully opened to increase the density of the blast. Then a high-pitched roar sounded while several strengthening spells appeared in the cannon’s internal acceleration system to increase the power. But…
“The enemy is appearing!!”
The range-finding witch making observations for the sniper shots announced the second motion.
Black light swirled around at one point to the west of Tokyo Bay. The 21 shots of light approached it, and…
“That’s a direct hit!”
That shout reached them all just as light exploded on the coast of the mainland.
It was a hit. They were all convinced of that when something unexpected happened.
It was not a hit.
“You did it, didn’t you!?”
Lisbeth could see the 21 cannon lines fired from high in the night sky, but she did not bother following them as she spoke.
At first glance, it looked like they had been hit back, but that was not the case.
“Did you make it so they didn’t hit!?”
She understood what had happened more than how.
The cannon blasts had definitely been on course for a direct hit. They did not know what was there, but the attacks had been set to track that ether output. It should have been an automatic bull’s eye.
There were 2 possible reasons why they did not hit.
1: They had been dodged.
2: They had been blocked.
But they were up against the Black Witch here. There was a 3rd option that she alone could choose. In other words…
“3: They simply ‘didn’t hit’.”
That witch held the same power that had created this world. She could rewrite the laws around her as she saw fit, so she could make an attack “not hit”. Or from their perspective…
…Our attack power wasn’t enough to match the Black Witch’s imagination!
Simply put, she could grasp and rewrite anything within her imagination. Imagination formed the foundation of creation. And the only ones who could surpass the Black Witch’s imagination were the top Rankers in Shinagawa and their Magino Devices which had had their sniping power increased to the limit. But…
Exactly what she had received a report on existed there now.
Since the concentrated cannon fire had not hit, something stood up from the storm of black ether light.
She had never seen it before, but she knew what it was. Of course she did. Just the other day, her memories had been overwritten with the proper information, resurrecting the knowledge within her.
She knew what was standing up from Shinagawa. She remembered it.
“The Geo Frame!?”
No. The other day, she had seen a white and vermilion Geo Frame. That had been the holy knight standing over 3km tall which Horinouchi and Kagami had created.
That was not what she saw now.
It was a black queen. It stood over 3km tall and it wielded a skinny sword much like Dikaiosyne.
“Did the Black Witch summon her own Geo Frame!?”
Oh, no, thought Lisbeth, feeling like she had screwed up.
This was not a feeling that this was bad, dangerous, or frightening.
She was worried that the great form standing before her eyes would lead to every single negative result imaginable. With Hexennacht approaching, they had been pouring all of their strength into defeating the Black Witch, but…
…What if it wasn’t enough?
She had thought they could win if they tried. She had decided that meant they needed to try. So she had chosen what they needed to do, saw the Ranker battles through to their proper end, and improved their equipment and techniques. Everyone else had been working in their own way to wipe clean their previous failure.
But what if the Black Witch was the same?
The Geo Frame was the lost technique that they had finally regained after doing what they needed to. The Black Witch had hidden it from them and kept them from seeing it.
It was not that she had never considered the possibility of the Black Witch using it.
She had considered every possibility. But…
…She’s using it here!?
The Black Witch should have been sealed within the moon.
Why was she here?
It made no sense.
But she was here. She should not have been, but she was. Which meant…
…She must have had some way.
That was not so strange.
It only meant she had used some unknown method to overturn their assumptions and betray their expectations.
It was not that they had failed to give it enough thought.
They had thought about it wrong. And that was why Lisbeth thought “oh, no”. Also…
Now that Lisbeth could see the Black Witch standing up, she made her next move. The alert was already at Level 5, so she could do anything she had to.
One of her witch subordinates’ voices rang out. The wind from the Magino Devices finally arrived at Shihouin Academy and blew through in multiple layers.
That witch wind of late October rustled the dried leaves of the trees.
“A 2nd powerful reading has appeared in Shinagawa!”
Lisbeth could see it. The massive vortex of light was white this time. Unlike with the Black Witch, this power expanded in a first and second phase.
“Is that Horinouchi and Kagami’s Geo Frame!?”
Horinouchi thought she should stop Kagami.
…This is reckless!
The other girl was summoning her holy knight Magino Frame. She had fallen to her knees, her shoulders rose and fell, and she coughed a dark red substance onto the chest stage forming the Geo Frame’s control floor.
That substance was blood.
Horinouchi did have healing spells. But because Ranker Battles were generally 1-on-1, she had not learned many healing spells for use on others. Besides, Kagami had healing spells of her own.
“I am fine, Horinouchi.”
Kagami stood up, lifting her hips first. A spell circle appeared on her back and in front of her chest. That stopped the bleeding for now, but she was far from “fine”. However…
What mattered most now? Kagami called her name to point that out and Horinouchi realized they had no time.
So she stepped up next to Kagami.
“Let’s do this!”
Hearing that, Kagami’s looked at her in surprise. But soon…
“Well done, Horinouchi!”
Horinouchi was not going to agree with that. She had only made the obvious decision. They were “buddies” in order to defeat the Black Witch, but…
…Is the battle beginning now!?
She had wanted to learn more about the Black Witch.
And when the Black Witch had seen them, she had looked to Kagami and Horinouchi and then cried.
But at the very least, Kagami and her sister had had a falling out. Something had happened with the sister. This only increased Horinouchi’s desire to learn what that was, but reality demanded she act now.
They had to get through this here and now. So she took Kagami’s hand and had the Geo Frame prepare for battle.
Just as they sent an attack forward, Hunter’s voice and a multi-layer blow arrived from overhead.
Several beams of light fell from the heavens above the Geo Frame’s head.
The 21 initial shots fired from Shihouin Academy had been deflected by the Black Witch, but now…
…They curved back around!?
Lisbeth saw the 21 lights descend upon their curved paths.
It reminded her of something.
Something much like this had happened 10 years ago.
After simply blocking Mitsuyo’s attacks, the Black Witch had suddenly bent the attack in a way that broke all the rules.
That had been the turning point in the battle. But…
A shield opened directly below the 21 descending shots.
The 500m shield was Hunter’s Hedgehog.
17 shots scored direct hits. The other 4 passed down through it and hit the Geo Frame, but they only hit the armor on the outside of the shoulders or legs.
The half-destroyed Hedgehog wobbled unsteadily in the sky, but the Geo Frame below was nearly unharmed. And so Lisbeth raised her voice.
“Up above you!!”
Mary realized she had been late to react.
She knew their enemy was there, but she was still on the ground, and…
…Brigadier General! Miss Horinouchi!
Since they had arrived in Shinagawa, hadn’t they wanted to learn more about the Black Witch? And hadn’t they not wanted the Black Witch to end up the way they had?
Mary felt it was not her place since her world had been destroyed and she had tried to annihilate Kagami, but she could not help but feel a certain concern for the two who faced their enemy now.
…Are you sure this is what you want!?
That was not a question she should be asking now that it was all in motion.
And those two would have already overcome this thought.
Now was the time for action. After all…
“The Black Witch…!”
She was up above. The 21 shots she had twisted around had destroyed Hunter. And from further above…
…What are those?
Even from the surface, Mary noticed them.
Giant, round silhouettes were visible through the explosion of light. There were two of them and they were both more than 200m long.
“It’s the Black Witch’s reinforcements! It’s her minions!”
When she heard Lisbeth’s voice, Mary reflexively drew Ira from empty air.
…Make it in time!
Hunter’s Hedgehog had been destroyed. The Rank 3 had evacuated into the air and she gave a clear nod after seeing Mary on the surface.
She was not saying “you handle this”. She was saying “do it”. So Mary unleased her power.
She could see the enemy.
One was a dragon that seemed to be created by connecting spheres together.
The other was a giant with a headless body, a single eye, and short arms and legs. They both looked like scribbled drawings, but…
Mary split them apart along with the half-destroyed Hedgehog.
The giant Magino Device was torn into three and the attack continued past it.
Immediately afterwards, the two minions were split by her annihilation spell and turned to light.
That was right. There were holes from giant explosions across Japan and the rest of the world. What had caused those?
“Do these minions explode!?”
She briefly thought that defeating them had been a mistake, but that was not it. They were meant to move along the surface and explode when they were damaged or some other condition was met.
An explosion on the surface would cause massive damage.
Destroying them in the sky was the correct thing to do. But…
The explosion erupted in the sky, the shockwave shattered the surrounding glass on the surface, and it shook the roofs of the buildings. It felt like a light earthquake, but…
…The ley line facilities will adjust for it!
The ley line stabilizers installed primarily at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples would absorb that damage through the ley lines. A few of the stabilizers would likely blow, but that was what they were for. So there was no need to hold back.
She looked up, but the Geo Frame was not moving.
Earlier, she was fairly certain the Geo Frame had raised its giant sword and swung it forward.
But the giant, vermilion and white female knight had frozen in its attack pose.
It did not move.
No, it was moving.
The movement came from the Geo Frame’s giant sword which was extended forward from Mary’s perspective.
The extra-large vermilion and white Dikaiosyne exploded.
What had happened?
Mary saw a long black blade jutting out from the vermilion and white Geo Frame’s back.
The Black Witch’s sword had pierced straight through Dikaiosyne.
…It’s the same…!?
Lisbeth once more saw the same thing happen as 10 years ago.
It had been the same back then.
Mitsuyo had managed to defend against her own attack when the Black Witch had ignored the world’s laws and bent it. She had used an attack from her Geo Frame’s bow to counteract it.
And that was when the Black Witch had called in her “reinforcements”.
It had been more like the minions suddenly appeared than were summoned and none had appeared inside the barrier. Mitsuyo had made a preemptive attack on them because she had predicted what damage they would cause.
Sensing future danger was not a bad thing.
But imagining something else on the battlefield had created an opening.
The Black Witch had taken full advantage of that.
At the time, the Black Witch had not had anything rivalling the Geo Frame and her sword had pierced Mitsuyo’s Geo Frame.
It was the same now.
It would not have been so bad if only the cannon fire had fallen from overhead.
But the Black Witch’s minions had appeared out of nowhere. Mary had dealt with them, but thinking about what to do about the subsequent explosions and thinking about 10 years ago had created an opening.
Lisbeth was honestly impressed that the Geo Frame had managed to get in an attack.
…But I guess their attack couldn’t reach her thanks to that opening!
Reality stood before her eyes.
The Black Witch’s giant Frame had used its Device to pierce both the Geo Frame’s sword and the Geo Frame itself.
If the Black Witch had used only its Device sword as a weapon, things would have ended differently. A sword alone would have lost to the weight and momentum and it would have been the Black Witch who was defeated.
But that was not what had happened.
The black queen, which was equivalent to a Geo Frame, had “adjusted” to match the opening in her enemy’s attack.
As a counterattack, she had taken a quick half step back and thrust her sword toward the Geo Frame’s blade. The half step back had moved her entire body like a wave traveling up from below.
The rough attack had been stopped by the blade thrown with her full body behind it and the Queen-style Frame had crouched down to move in from below.
From there, the long blade had simply pierced through the giant Dikaiosyne and reached the Geo Frame itself.
They had been outdone.
Explosive pressure reached them from overhead. The light was split and two shockwaves burst.
An incredible amount of ether light scattered in every direction.
All that remained was the enemy. The queenly silhouette remained while Kagami and Horinouchi’s Geo Frame was destroyed.
Horinouchi cried out within the explosive blast and light.
She had no idea what she had shouted. But by the time their Geo Frame had been pierced and Dikaiosyne had burst and shattered, Kagami had collapsed forward.
When Horinouchi supported her, she felt something with her right hand, which was bared to draw her bowstring.
It was a somewhat sticky liquid that carried Kagami’s body heat.
It was blood.
“That would be goodbye. …Now stay out of this fight, Kagami,” said a voice. “This is my Satanic Frame. It’s only a makeshift creation, but it came in handy.”
As the light scattered, the chest stage on which they stood also shattered and fell.
The black Queen-style Frame was visible in front of them.
…The Satanic Frame!?
The Black Witch must have created it to compete against the Geo Frame.
But her words belatedly rang within Horinouchi’s ears.
…Stay out of this fight…?
She questioned that as everything shattered and fell. She held Kagami in her arms, but the girl only felt like a warm weight.
Every healing spell she had activated automatically. Would the healing spells meant for her affect Kagami if she held her close like this?
Her eyes looked to the black Satanic Frame visible in the sky beyond the light.
“Listen up, my creations. …We will settle this tomorrow.”
That meant moving Hexennacht up by a day. And more importantly…
With a wound this bad, there was no way Kagami would be able to fight by the next day. Despite that, the Black Witch flew through the sky.
Light scattered, a black wind whipped up, and she vanished into the moonlight in the blink of an eye.
Horinouchi could only look up and feel the resilience of the person in her arms.
Even if she did everything she was supposed to, she was still worried.
The stage was shattering and falling, but she replaced even her fall control spells with healing spells.
It did not matter who. She wanted help from anyone other than herself.
“Someone please help her!!”
|Back to Chapter 5||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 7|