High School DxD:Volume DX3 Extra Life.1
Extra Life.1 Cross×Crisis
Inside the training room under the Hyoudou residence, two blades crossed against one another. Wearing training gloves, two people were colliding with each other as if they were dancing. Sometimes, they were slashing from top to bottom, others from bottom to top. From time to time, they were jabbing at each other. They were avoiding each other’s attacks by a hair’s breadth, and powerful attacks narrowly missed their cheeks. Although their attacks were nullified by each other, both of them smiled.
“You’re not bad!”
“That’s what I should be saying!”
I, Shidou Irina, was currently having A practice match against my friend and old comrade Xenovia. This was not our normal routine, but for some reason, we were having one anyway. I had trouble sleeping tonight, so I came over here to the training room and met Xenovia, who was here before me. So in the end, we ended up having this practice match. Xenovia swung her sword and continued.
“We practiced with practice swords back then too!”
“What!? When do you mean!?”
Now that I thought about it, both Xenovia and I sure did have many fights like this. So I didn’t know which period she was talking about. Xenovia then said while having a strength competition by locking her sword against mine.
“I’m talking about the first time we did this.”
–Kuu! I then remembered back to that event.
It was three years ago. Back then, when I was fourteen, after being blessed with a Holy Sword as a wielder, for our Lord and for the Church, I gave my all as a Sword of our God. The sword that I had received after being blessed was one of the seven pieces of Excalibur, the Holy Sword of Mimicry, Excalibur Mimic. That was a very honourable and glorious moment. So not only me and my parents, but also people around me were celebrating the fact that I was chosen to receive the Holy Sword. At that time, the Church had six out of seven swords, with the Vatican, the Protestant Church and the Orthodox Church all having two swords each. Therefore, there were only two Protestant Excalibur wielders. Saying it like that, I probably was quite underserving of the fact that I became one of the wielders of such a sword.
[You have become a Holy Sword user following your father’s footsteps.]
I’d also heard that many times. That’s right. My dad was also one of the Church members, and was a Holy Sword user who had been on many missions before. After moving overseas, thanks to my dad’s influence, I’d gone through rigorous training in order to become a warrior myself. So when I was chosen to be one, I was so happy. After inheriting the [Property of Light] at the Blessing Ceremony, I became a person who used Excalibur and fought enemies of the Church. When I was about to get used to working as a warrior, I was summoned to the Vatican. When I was moving toward the chapel inside the Vatican, I had a fateful meeting. I was waiting inside a church when a middle-aged male executive appeared next to me and said this.
“Warrior Irina. The reason we have summoned you here is because we’ve got a request for you.”
When I looked at him with doubt, the executive continued.
“We wish that you pair up with a certain warrior.”
Depending on the mission, teaming up with a person from a different faction wasn’t that rare. Normally, warriors from the same faction preferred to make up the combo or team, but depending on the details of the mission, there were lot of cases where teaming up with a different faction was necessary. At that time, it was the first time I had been combo-ed with a Catholic warrior. I heard that there could be friction between different factions. In order to avoid that, I was introduced to the Vatican warrior cautiously. The person that was brought in by the executive was...a long-haired Bishoujo. She seemed to be of similar age as me, but her eyes and the aura around her were razor sharp. Just with a glance, I could feel that she was someone who could be hard to get along with. She had an atmosphere around her that suggested strangers couldn’t approach her easily. The executive introduced her to me and said this.
“Warrior Irina. This person is Warrior Xenovia, who, like you, became an Excalibur user at a young age...”
–Kuu. As soon as I heard her name, I realised her identity. I’d heard a rumour that there was an Excalibur user who, like me, became the wielder of the Holy Sword at a young age. She was called [Demon of Destruction], [Decapitating Princess] or [Violence permitted by God]. Warrior Xenovia... The person that I was introduced to was a girl who was known as the Embodiment of Destruction. As soon as I realised who I was being introduced to, I was filled with nervousness. I’d heard nothing but bad rumours about her. Like how a person who got combo-ed with her got slashed by her, or how they got nearly destroyed just over a simple argument, or like how they were nearly erased from this world along with a Devil... Thanks to all the bad rumours I’d heard about her, as soon as I identified who this girl in front of me was, I trembled. This sharp-eyed girl silently stared at me, and then opened her mouth while raising something toward me...
“Want a banana? Banana’s a good snack. It becomes energy as soon as you eat it.”
While taking a banana from her, I made a dumbfounded expression. After looking at me and Xenovia, the executive nodded his head.
“Hmm, I’m sorry to suggest such a thing at people who’ve just met, but we wish that you guys fight each other with your weapons. There’s nothing better than to fight to understand each other.”
After being escorted to the training hall, Xenovia and I started our fight with training swords.
This girl attacked me from the front. It was bold, but since she attacked me while identifying my movement, if all I did was to dodge her, I would eventually be taken by her attack. Xenovia back then had the same energetic and exciting sword style. Even a single hit would cause huge damage to me. Even though her opponent was a girl her age, Xenovia didn’t stop her barrage of attacks.
From her attacks without any hesitation, and from the look of her responding to my movements at once, I could chillingly feel that she had got her skill through countless amounts of real combat. It was a stark difference compared to me, who built my skill through training, but even after a few battles, still made textbook decisions. She was different to the core. While I kept dodging her attacks, I found a opening spot on her side.
I slashed my sword horizontally toward her side. However, even before my attack hit her, Xenovia grabbed my sword with her free hand. As soon as I was disarmed, her jab came toward my chest.
Just before that attack hit me, I twisted my body to avoid the attack. And in turn, I grabbed onto her sword.
While holding onto each other’s weapons, we glared at each other from a short distance. Would the opponent send a kick toward me, or should I send a kick toward her, or should I headbutt her...? While we were predicting what the other was thinking of, the voice of the executive that was watching this fight rang across the training hall.
Hearing that, we relaxed and let go of each other’s swords. While panting, she smiled at me for the first time and requested a hand shake.
“This is the first time finding a person my age that can fight me equally. I’m so happy.”
I still remembered her bright smile. She was longing for a girl who had skills equal to hers. That was the first encounter between me and Xenovia...
“Listen well, Irina. You must destroy any evil spirit that doesn’t listen well.”
While saying that, Xenovia slung her weapon, the Holy Sword of Destruction, Excalibur Destruction, on her shoulder.
A few days after the introduction, Xenovia and I got our first mission as a combo. We went to fulfil a mission to exorcise a huge amount of evil spirits who were squatting in the countryside in an abandoned house. Normally, they would be ones that ordinary Exorcists would have trouble with, but for two Holy Sword wielders, it was a piece of cake. One thing that I learned about her ever since being in combo with her was that, unlike her cool demeanour and endless knowledge in Devils and Evil Spirits, her fighting style was really bold and energetic. Without holding back, she used the power of Excalibur Destruction wholly. Before meeting her in person, all I had heard was terrifying stories of her, so I thought she would have a demeaning look and would be a rude girl, but never would I have thought she would be some girl of similar age as me. Not only that, but she was cute. So much so that it wouldn’t be surprising if boys our age fell for her. Because of the aura she had around her, she’d be popular among girls as well.
Covering her sword in cloth, Xenovia fiddled with her hair.
When I asked her–
“This hair is getting in the way.”
–she complained about her hair. She was saying that her long hair was getting in the way of the fighting. Among those who fought on the front lines, there were girls who preferred short hair style. If your hair was too long, there were chances of the enemy grabbing on to them, or being used as a medium for enchantment and so on. There were few negatives about it.
“Then you can just tie them together like I do.”
Just like her, my hair was quite long. Back when I was living in Japan, I liked playing together with this guy outside, so I kept it short. But when my body hit puberty, I started to keep them longer. So right now, I was keeping it in twin ponytails. When Xenovia looked at my hair, she sighed.
“...If I could tie them well like you can, I would, but I’m not really good at that kind of things. Besides, even if I tied my hair like yours, it wouldn’t look good on me.”
‘Then you can keep it as one ponytail?’
...That was what I was going to say, but I’d only just met her recently, so I didn’t know what might piss her off. So I decided to keep my mouth shut. Back then, I was more worried about this combat suit that revealed quite a lot of skin. Even if they said it was because it was easier to move around during battle, I was repulsed at this tight skin body suit. I mean, it was obvious, right? I was attending Junior High School. As I was hitting puberty, I was embarrassed of things that revealed my skin a lot. Meanwhile, this girl of similar age as me, forget about being indifferent, she seemed like she didn’t care whatsoever. Xenovia stretched, and then, after praying toward Heaven, she said this.
“Well, we finished this without any incident. Irina, you hungry?”
Just like that, the first mission with her had come to a conclusion. As soon as I got back to headquarters, I reported my mission to them. But the guy over there was more interested in the Combo between me and Xenovia more than the Evil Spirits.
“...So, Warrior Irina... What was the mission with Warrior Xenovia like?”
The attitude of the executive back then was surely engraved to my memory even till now.
“Ah... S-So...maybe that she’s got really a energetic style to fighting or something...”
When I replied like that, the executive was confused for a second, and then coughed dryly.
“Warrior Irina. We hope that you two stay close from now on.”
At that time, I didn’t dream that that moment would affect my future...no, my whole life.
After I returned from the mission I reported to my superior, Caesar Villiers-sama (Current Jack of one of Four Seraphs, Uriel-sama), and he said.
“Looks like the Vatican will like this. Probably say something like ‘We’ve finally found someone who can work together with that troublemaker’ or something like that.”
For those people at headquarters, Xenovia was said to be quite the troublesome girl. It was said that there was a high probability of conflict between agents in a combo or team with her, and she would give them a bad impression of her. Since she fought using her unique style of combat skills, it was getting in the way of the majority of agents. Maybe, no most definitely, that bold and loose attack style was the reason why she was being hated. Using my Mimic, I covered her behind or aimed at the enemy by breaking through the front line. The attribute of Mimic, which changed its blade according to wielder’s will, had seen a great success in this mission. But Xenovia was a gifted person who had been selected to be the wielder of a Holy Sword from a young age. So the Church must want to use her as much as possible, so they must have asked me, someone near her age and also a fellow Holy Sword user, to be her partner. My superior Caesar Villiers said this to me.
“There won’t be a problem if they send her on solo missions, but warriors can’t fight like that. There will be a time when they must call a combo or a team. So at that time, what can they do about a troublemaker who needs to be part of a combo or a team? They will need a stopper, right? Irina, you have been chosen as that stopper.”
That’s right; I was selected as her stopper. Thinking about the future, the Church was trying to get Xenovia to get used to teamwork by creating a combo with me. I wonder if that was an honour or humiliation... Probably both. As a believer, fighting for our Lord brought us joy. But since I’d been picked as her partner...it looked like trouble wouldn’t be stopping any time soon.
It was a few months after that incident. This happened after working on a mission with Xenovia. After defeating a Stray Devil who had escaped to a nearby country, we were resting in a hotel nearby. Xenovia was touching her hair again as if they were getting annoying.
“Why are you keeping the long hair after all that complaining?”
“Ah yeah, a person from the same home town as me kept bothering me, saying that I should be more feminine. So I’m keeping the long hair.”
Xenovia said that while sighing. That person she just mentioned would be Sister Griselda whom I met later. That person was strict on her ever since that time. And it looked like Xenovia was running away from her and her lectures all the time.
“...I think you’d look feminine with short hair though...”
With her looks, she’d look stunning even without long hair. Xenovia got an old hairbrush out from her pocket. It was quite simple for someone of her age to carry around. Xenovia spoke while looking at that brush.
“Yeah, I’ve lived a life without knowing anything about ‘beauty’. If I can fight for our Lord, then that’s enough to make me happy.”
“That’s same as me, but since you are a girl, wouldn’t it be nice to just dress up a little?”
“Will that be needed for the mission?”
We were girls. In the future, there might be an infiltration mission using our trait as ‘girls’, since there were things only a girl could do.
“Since we’re both girls, we might be needed for such missions. But during our personal life, wouldn’t it be better to care about things like that?”
When I said that, Xenovia tilted her head.
“...It’s hard, this ‘beauty’ thing.”
It looked like her core values were far away from ‘Beauty’. But at the same time, since she was so cute, it felt like a waste not dressing her up. And that hadn’t changed even now. High School student Xenovia’s figure was plenty beautiful. Then, when I got back to the hotel and was about to lie down on my bed after showering my sweat away, the mission phone rang. It was a call from my superior.
“Yes, Irina speaking.”
When I spoke, an urgent voice tore into my ear drums.
[I realised that you guys have just finished your mission, but there’s something that we wish you to do.]
That was basically a call to ask us for another mission. It wasn’t rare for us to receive another mission on location.
[There was an incident in Country ‘I’. ‘T’ city that we monitored was ambushed by a Vampire, who turned the people into Undead.]
Vampires... It was a being that us, the Church, regarded as one of our archenemies. Like Devils, they were beings who lived in the darkness, but unlike Devils, who made contracts and received their reward from humans, Vampires exploited humans. No, it wasn’t an exaggeration to say they attacked humans and sucked their blood out. In the past, there were Vampires whose influence reached the central power of their motherland. Normally, they would settle at places with a lack of human interaction while maintaining their culture, but from time to time, those who wanted to spread their influence in human settlements would appear. This was probably the scenario.
Not only that, they said this incident involved Undead. When humans with low tolerance against Vampires got bitten, they became a living corpse...an Undead. The Undead then attacked living humans and would eat them alive, and then the bitten person became an Undead themselves and repeated the cycle. If this happened in a densely populated area, the number of Undead would multiply exponentially. ...They were turning people into Undead... I dreaded to think how many people turned into Undead... To resolve this situation, either Exorcists had to deal with these Undead, or the origin of the Undead, the Vampire, had to be killed.
[Three agents who had been deployed to resolve this situation have all martyred.]
I lost my words there. For three agents from the Church to be killed off, this had to be a High-level Vampire, one of the Pure-Blooded ones. Vampires belonged to the more advanced species among the Evil Beings. For one of those to be a Pure-Blood...the enemy wouldn’t be easy to defeat.
[The only agents near that village who are A class or above are only you two. Won’t you please handle this situation? The target who has been attacked by the agents is already taking offensive stance... The location must be filled with villagers who have been turned into Undead by now.]
Closing my eyes, I gathered my breath and replied ‘Yes’. While looking at me, Xenovia was already packing her stuff.
“Irina, what’s our mission now?”
I told her the information that I’d received just now.
“Well, let’s go and see what we can do. It’s important to kill the Vampire before the damage gets out of control.”
She accepted the mission just like that. I nodded my head in reply.
“Xenovia and I will take care of things there. However, who is this Vampire that we’ll be targeting?”
When I asked my superior, he replied back with an even more concerned voice.
[...It looks like it’s a Vampire from the House of Manthar. From what we have gathered, it looks like that Vampire entered that village after being exiled by his faction.]
Manthar... I’d heard of that name before. They were one of the clans who belonged to one of the two Vampire Factions, the Tepes Faction. As I expected, it looked like our opponent was a Pure-Blooded Vampire. This was the first time getting such an important mission like this after becoming an Excalibur user... This was the first S-class mission that we’d received after becoming a combo. ...For fourteen-year-old girls, wouldn’t this be bit too much? No, as people who had been chosen as Excalibur users, it was a mission that we had to carry out. Xenovia and I were young, but we weren’t going to decline our mission. After finishing our preparations, we headed out.
The place we headed for was the countryside of a certain country. It was a quiet place far away from any major city and filled with wheat farms. Although many villagers had been evacuated thanks to the Church, we also heard that many people had been sacrificed already. This happened right after we entered the village. I felt an uncomfortable gaze all over my body. Not only that, a thick fog filled the entire village instantly. I couldn’t see anything in front of me. This village under the dark had turned into a totally unnatural ground. ...I had trained to be aware of my surroundings only with presences around me, and since I had trained to be able to move around in complete darkness, if this was a normal mission, it wouldn’t have been a problem. But this was a totally different case... Thick, humid and dense fog dulled my senses. Most likely, the Vampire was the one who created this fog, since controlling fog was their specialty. For them, this was their version of a barrier and a sensing ability. Basically, as soon as we stepped into this land, our presence was known to the enemy. So there was no need to hide from them. This fog was also acting as a barrier against their weakness, sunlight. It was already evening, but it was still being used to block the sun. On top of that...the smell of corpses was everywhere. The smell of rotting bodies hit my nose sharply. While blocking my nose with my robe, I walked forward with Xenovia. ...Xenovia next to me was acting as if nothing was happening. She didn’t even block her nose. She must be used to this smell. That showed how many hells she must have endured. Xenovia then suddenly narrowed her eyes while staring at the fog in front of her.
While saying that, she took the cloth off form her sword.
Low and ominous noises were heard, and then a groan was heard over the fog. And the thing that showed over the fog was...turned villagers. Blood was coming out from every part of their bodies, and flesh was also missing from several parts of their bodies. And while dragging their intestines that were spewing out from their torn torso, they headed toward the living people. These people had already met their end of life as human beings. All they were now was beings hungry for living beings’ flesh, and in order to satiate such thirst and hunger, they would wonder around forever. Without hesitation, Xenovia slashed the nearest Undead into two pieces. The villager who had been slashed in half quickly turned into ash. The holy power of Excalibur had the ultimate effect on dark beings. Excalibur was like the worst enemy against these beings. Looking at the walking corpses coming at me, I prepared myself.
“...I need to cut them down.”
...But while holding onto my sword, I still had doubt in my heart.
The reason was simple. I’d been on many missions, but I had never slain other humans...or Undead for that matter. If it was Evil Spirits or Stray Devils who had given pain and suffering to other people, then I had slain many of them. But for the enemy to be human, or a being that used to be human...this was the first time.
“You’ve never slain other humans?”
Xenovia said that after looking at me, who was still hesitant. Hearing that, I realised that she had experience in this.
I’d never killed a human...but since I was living as a warrior, then there would come a time where I would have to do so. As soon as you were appointed as one, you would need to be prepared for that time. Even then...at that time, I was hesitant and scared of slaying humans. The end of my sword shook as my hands trembled. Xenovia, who was eyeing me from the side of her eyes while slaying Undead villagers, took a step forward.
“Is that so? Then, you can watch my back. I’ll kill these!”
Without hesitation, Xenovia swung her sword towards the Undead. People who had become the Undead instantly got destroyed and turned into ash. ...Meanwhile, all I could do was kick or push the Undead. ...I was so pathetic. I was shocked at my own lack of resolve. Here I thought I gave everything up for the Lord, but it looked like I hadn’t become a true warrior yet. In contrast, the girl next to me who was fighting bravely was… She was the true Sword of the Lord. She was the true warrior of the Church. But at that same instance, I felt fear. Fear of Xenovia. To me, that girl, who had no hesitation whatsoever at slaying what used to be human...didn’t look like a human to me at that time.
After slaying the villagers who had turned into the Undead for a while, we reached the village’s government centre that we’d already heard from the mission brief. According to the information squad from the Church, they had noticed extra strong dark aura emitting from there. The Vampire had to be in that building.
Slaying the Undead, Xenovia made a path for us. Breaking the glass door of the Hall building, we quickly blocked the door with chairs and tables. This was to make sure the Undead wouldn’t coming in anymore. After blocking everything, we searched the building. ...The light didn’t come on after switching it on. It looked like electricity was cut. Then, this happened when we reached the second floor. Someone’s voice boomed inside the building.
[Hmm, dogs of the Church, huh...? Looks like those idiots sent the Holy Swords over, but for those wielders to be these brats...]
With that voice, we detected a dark aura. Every pore of our body froze, and then cold sweat came out. We realised just with that sensation that our enemy was incredibly strong.
“You’ll regret it if you go easy on us thinking we’re just brats.”
I bluffed toward the invisible enemy.
“Be willing and accept your fate, Vampire.”
Xenovia next to me was calm. Unlike me, who was just bluffing, she just said that naturally. Just then, mocking laughter was heard.
[Kekeke... Looks like it wasn’t enough to be exiled from my country. To hear those kind of things from brats with Holy Swords...]
Then, fog accumulated into one place and created the form of a man. A man in an attire that looked similar to ones worn by noble men from the Middle Ages appeared. He even wore a cape. Our opponent had a neat appearance. No, it wouldn’t be weird to call him beautiful. He had such doll-like features. We didn’t feel any life inside of him. Just like a dead person, his face was all white, and dark aura was spread all over his body. That man stared at us with his scarlet eyes.
“Being dogs from the Church, you guys must be virgins? Looks like tonight’s feast will be made from virgin blood and flesh.”
The Vampire made a creepy smile on his face. He then turned part of his body into a spider and attacked us! Xenovia and I tried to attack the spider with our swords, but as soon as we lifted our arms, the spider spewed out its web! We dashed backward and avoided the black spider web. But I tripped over something that was on the hallway. I lost my balance and had to kneel down on one knee. Spider web covered the building’s entire corridor. As soon as it touched the floor, everything melted around it. It looked like the web would dissolve anything it touched. ...There was no way we could survive after getting hit by that.
“HAHAHAHAHA! LET ME ENJOY THIS FIGHT, DOGS OF THE CHURCH!”
Shouting that, the Vampire disappeared into the hallway.
Xenovia reached her hand towards me, but...
I dodged her hand. It was because of the fear I felt from her moments ago. Noticing my reaction, Xenovia retracted her hand. I stood up without saying anything else. In an instant, there was awkward atmosphere between us two, but we didn’t have the luxury to just wait around here all day. We then chased after the disappeared Vampire.
“Stop right there!”
We slashed the spiders that came at us in half and chased after the Vampire. From the corner of the hallway, not only spiders, but giant centipedes and bats also appeared. Vampires could either breed insects and bats, or they could change part of their bodies into them. Every animal or plant they handled had a grotesque form, and their natural instinct was fundamentally different from normal beings. So we could destroy them easily with our Holy Swords, but...countless number of monsters came out all over the place! Xenovia destroyed many monsters with one sweep of her Excalibur Destruction, while I changed my Excalibur Mimic into a thin whip and swung it around everywhere. The Excalibur that had turned into a whip killed many monsters in one go. The place that we reached after running through the second floor hallway was...a double door entrance. It was most likely a place where they had meetings or huge events. There was a wide interior that had a podium at the front, and benches were neatly arranged in a row. A few bluish flames appeared at the podium, and then the Vampire man appeared. He had this irritating smile on his face.
“You guys aren’t that bad, dogs of the Church. So, you guys are true wielders of Holy Swords at such a young age, huh?”
That man flung his cape and called a countless number of his monsters over.
...Protracted tactics, huh. It looked like the opponent was trying to call all of his monsters until we got tired and could no longer fight. Well, in all fairness, we were holding the most dangerous weapon against Vampires. There existed no vampire that did not fear Holy Swords. So, in order to take us out without touching these swords, he brought many of his minions here. Also, the Vampire would be better at such a tactic compared to us too. ...If we didn’t hit that Vampire at least once soon, we wouldn’t be able to last long. Just then when I was about to discuss with Xenovia on how we should tackle this... She had her eyes wide open and was looking behind us... Was there something behind my back?
She suddenly pulled my hand. She was pulling my hand away from the source of presence by the time I finally noticed it. The spot that I was at just a second ago was covered in spider web and the floor was melted down. Even without me noticing it, our back was compromised... If I had stayed there for a second longer, there wouldn’t even be a piece of bone left of me. Xenovia slashed the spider in half, and then pulled me to the back of the bench to hide. Hiding our presence as much as possible, we hid our bodies. Xenovia was looking around from the back of the bench. Then, I had to ask her.
“...Why did you save me there?”
I rejected her hand just before. In short, I rejected Xenovia. But Xenovia saved the life of such a partner. Xenovia said in an unassuming tone.
“Hmm? That’s not of much importance right now. Right now, we need to think how we can kill that thing. Irina, you too...”
While repressing all the emotions with all my might, I replied to her.
“I...thought you were scary! That people who slay human who have turned into Undead are scary. That you aren’t human like I am! But why did you save me...? You noticed what I was thinking from my actions, right? If so, why did you save me in the first place!?”
She must have been shocked, she must have felt sorrow, and she must have thought she couldn’t forgive me. I...hated myself. I hated myself for avoiding her. I couldn’t forgive myself. Even when I thought her as my partner, I avoided her. She didn’t have to save me back there. She could have easily left me to die, but why did she go out and save me? Her eyes were wide open and she was clearly shocked... And then, she scratched her cheeks and acted awkwardly.
After a long silence, she replied.
“...You are the only person near my age...that talked to me. So I was happy...”
After hearing that, I couldn’t say anything back. Xenovia, who always had a stoic expression, smiled and continued.
“You can hate me. I’m used to being hated. You thought that it’s scary how I killed humans, right? It’s alright. I...only think of this as something I must do as the Lord’s sword.”
“Why...? Why are you going that far...?”
After hearing what I said, Xenovia narrowed her eyes and looked at her sword.
“...The only talent I’ve got is just swinging this thing. I’m useless except for handling the Holy Sword. I’m sorry, Irina. Even though I’m like this...I...”
She then looked at my eyes.
“I thought of you as my first comrade.”
I was at a complete loss for words. She...thought of me as her comrade. That was why she rescued me. Although she was being rejected, she rescued me. She nodded her head, and she ran out there.
“So, I’m so sorry! If nothing else, I’ll...”
...Why was she apologising? The person in the wrong was me, who rejected Xenovia. Back then, the person who should have killed the villagers who had turned into Undead was supposed to be me. The person who stepped into the battlefield without even proper determination was me. The person who regarded being a warrior to be a high achievement, even though she wasn’t able to be resolved, was also me. ...Why were you apologising to me? You’d done nothing wrong...!
After blasting the Vampire’s monsters away, she finally got near to the Vampire himself. But even before the sword hit his body, he turned into fog and disappeared. That fog surrounded Xenovia, and easily dodged her sword. And as soon as she created an opening, the fog materialised into the Vampire behind her. The Vampire grabbed her long hair, and then pinned her so she couldn’t move an inch! This was bad! These Vampires were stronger than normal humans, so it was hard to get out of their grip! Grabbing Xenovia, the Vampire laughed.
“Hahaha! You dogs! You guys thought you could win against a Pure-Blood! Hahahaha! Even if you are Holy Sword users, you guys can’t win against me by force!”
Although she was caught by the Vampire, Xenovia was still defiant.
“… Hmmph, as a Vampire who has been exiled from your country, you boast that you’re a Pure-Blood when you can’t even survive without abusing a simple human village...? Don’t joke around!”
Hearing that, the Vampire’s face was filled with rage.
“...Damn dog, your mouth is will running wild...!”
Baring his fangs, he looked at Xenovia’s neck. At this rate, she was going to get her blood sucked! I...launched myself toward them!
While shouting her name, I changed my Mimic into a whip and slashed towards the Vampire! The Vampire dodged the attack at the last minute, but he lost his balance for a bit and let go of Xenovia. After being freed, she retreated next to me and fixed her posture. She then asked me.
“Why did you help me? I’m...scary, right?”
When she said that in a lonely tone, I forced a smile and shouted at her.
“I am...a warrior and a user of the Holy Sword Excalibur...! You are my comrade...! So I can’t show you my stupid weak side!”
When I made such a pathetic proclamation, she made a dumbfounded expression, but quickly smiled a little.
“...Is that so.”
After having such a conversation, we fixed our attention and faced the Vampire. After charging at him, we split from left and right.
Xenovia swung her Excalibur Destruction towards the Vampire, but the Vampire easily dodged the attack. Just then, as if it had its own will, Excalibur Mimic twisted its body and shot forward to pierce the enemy. At the same time, Xenovia swung her sword horizontally! Finally, the sword scratched the Vampire’s chest! As the power of the sword passed through the wound, smoke appeared from the area. It looked like he had taken some damage, as his expression darkened. But even though he was in pain, he managed a creepy smile.
“...Hmm, as expected, it’s harder than I thought with two enemies... However, your power and skills are still lacking! Lacking, I said!”
And he was correct. Our opponent had already identified our attacks’ range and skills. At this rate, he would try to use his minions from far away and cause another long distance attack.
As I thought before, as soon as we got dragged into protracted warfare, it was all over. There was no way that us humans could beat a Vampire against such tactics. The opponent was someone who had been said to live forever... After hearing his words, Xenovia had a confident smile on her face.
“Really? Then, shall I let you taste that ‘power’ you want?”
Saying that, she held her right hand. And then, she chanted...
“Saint Peter. Saint Basil the Great. Saint Denis. Holy Mother Mary. Please hear my voice.”
The area in front of her then warped around, and something appeared form there. The object that appeared from the area was...a single huge sword.
She then shouted while holding the sword that was releasing holy aura everywhere.
Both the Vampire and I were in shock.
“...!! D-Durandal!? N-No way! You can use such a thing!?”
No wonder he was so surprised. Durandal... It was one of the legendary swords the Church was keeping right now. Just like Excalibur, it had enormous power. And Xenovia just summoned such a sword! Xenovia said while holding on to such a sword that was emitting aggressive aura.
“I was originally selected as the user of Durandal, and I got Excalibur as a side. Now, I shall let you taste that power I was lacking with this. This thing is much more dangerous and nastier than Excalibur Destruction. Whatever your blood is, it probably will kill you in one go?”
Even while she was saying that, the killing aura from Durandal was destroying the floor, the ceiling, benches, whatever that was near her. A sword that even I, who had been chosen as an Excalibur user, couldn’t go near. She was just holding it there. ...So she was chosen for Durandal. That meant she must have gone through even more hell than I would have. She was...a genius who surpasses myself ten folds. Feeling the wave that Durandal was emitting, the Vampire’s face turned into fear itself.
“T-This brat is...the user of Durandal!? T-This God’s dogggggg!”
The Vampire summoned countless bats and spiders from his body, but, holding onto her Durandal, Xenovia didn’t cower.
“This is my only talent. Look closely.”
The strong aura that emitted from her swing filled the entire room! Bright light filled my sight. After getting hit by its holy presence, The Vampire’s body slowly turned into ash.
“...I-I’ve been... I, who am a Pure-Blood, have been...”
After not being able to accept his defeat, the Vampire sniggered.
“Kekeke... So, the [Blood] of the past has come to present time and chosen that half-breed... Both my own house and the Carmilla Faction... Kekeke, turn to ruin without even realising what has hit them... By...the power of those half-breeds...! Kahahahahahahaha!”
Laughing like a madman, the Vampire dissolved into dust. Those were the final words of the Vampire...
“Ah~, that did happen.”
After we finished our training, we were sitting down on the training room floor and were reminiscing the past.
“That place was blown into pieces thanks to Durandal’s power.”
That’s right. The area around the building was destroyed thanks to the power released by Durandal. She had done something fitting of her nickname [Demon of Desturction]. Back then, Xenovia couldn’t use her Durandal freely like she did now, so the amount of holy power that was released when she used the sword was unbelievable. So unless there was an order from above, she never took Durandal out. In the end, we had defeated the Vampire, but because she released Durandal without any order, she had said she got done in by the superiors. It seemed like she was also lectured in length by Sister Griselda. Xenovia furrowed her eyebrows and told me what had happened back then.
“Well, after that incident, the number of times we were combo-ed increased.”
I said as such. It seemed like that the superiors thought I could suppress Xenovia. In every mission that Xenovia was going, I was chosen as her partner. And that continued until now, and in the end, we became best friends.
“Sister Griselda was seriously mad at me back then.”
While making a bitter smile, she touched the area of her hair where she dyed it green.
Actually, there was a footnote of sort to that story.
A while after that mission, I was shocked at Xenovia’s look after a long time of absence.
I noticed her hair style had changed. She had cut her hair short.
“Remember I was in danger thanks to getting caught by that Vampire? Yeah, I don’t think long hair suits me well.”
Well, her hair was caught back then, but...the more concerning part was her partially dyed hair.
“Ah, I tried partially dying my hair green. What do you think? It’s cool, right?”
It looked like Xenovia tried her best at this fashion thing. When she asked me...
...I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Why did you dye your hair? Not only that, you’ve dyed your hair partially.”
I found her sense of fashion so hilarious, I couldn’t help but laugh loudly even while knowing that it was rude.
“Kuuu! I’ve done this after thinking about it for a long time! Damn, you’re so rude!”
She pouted and displayed her annoyance.
“Don’t be angry! I think it suits you well!”
I said such, but she continued to be angry for quite a while.
“Weather or not it suits me, I’m gonna go with this style! You hear me!”
Chasing after her, I kept apologising saying ‘I’m sorry, so cheer up!’. After that, she showed me various expressions and emotions.
That’s right. she was a girl of my age. She laughed, and she also got angry. Hey, Xenovia. We’ll be best friends forever, right?
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