Magika No Kenshi To Shoukan Maou:Volume 14 Chapter 2
Chapter 2 – The Last Conquer Target
「The morning sun is giving its blessing to us huh. Fufufu, you are looking radiant!」
「Just what disgusting thing are you saying there……」
Kazuki who was standing with his back to the sun was indeed looking radiant from where Ikousai was standing. Kazuki walked forward from between the Japan Knight Order members and confronted Ikousai.
Facing someone who was longing this fervently to fight him, his feelings had gone past being exasperated and turned into embarrassment.
「……I promised to fight you but, can’t we eliminate Loki first before doing this?」
「I cannot trust Britain’s Knight Order. Doing what you said is like giving the Japan-Britain alliance a pretext to crush us one by one. Having Loki and his bunch holding back Britain’s Knight Order brings more assurance from where I’m standing.」
But the one who profited the most from that move was Loki.
Perhaps she received suggestion from Loki.
「But in any case, you talked about a one on one fight, didn’t you? Then you wouldn’t mind even if my comrades crush the bunch of 『batteries』 that you brought along right?」
The authority of China’s King <The Power of Heaven’s Decree> increased in strength the more the user’s rule spread, it plundered the <face>──so to speak the personality of the people under the user’s rule, and turned them into a part of the user.
That was to say that all the Red Nopperabou were currently a part of Ikousai. They moved following Ikousai’s will, and by offering their life to Ikousai they could even restore Ikousai’s magic power.
All the Red Nopperabou were directly connected by the network called the Power of Heaven’s Decree as 『battle terminals』 that could be remotely controlled, they were also 『batteries』 that could be used as disposable pawns for the King’s recovery.
Going one-on-one against the current Ikousai was the same like telling Kazuki to fight alone against Ikousai + all of China’s Knight Order’s survivors depending on one’s viewpoint. Although Kazuki also had the Power of Harmony, but it was impossible to treat this as a one-on-one fight.
『How are you planning to have a one-on-one fight like this?』 It was an extremely natural question for Kazuki to ask.
「Right now they are all me……. I obtained this power, this is my power. In that case even if I use all of them to defeat you I can still say that I have vindicated my honor through a one-on-one fight……」
Kazuki made a thoroughly apathetic face at Ikousai’s petty remark. It was unbearable that he was made to go along with this kind of illogical fight and having her self-centered sophism pushed on him on top of that.
The images of Hrotsvit and Beatrix descended down lightly from the sky.
『Beatrix, who is that petty woman? It looks like she had hijacked the power of China Mythology.』
『She is a warrior of Japan, the self-styled rival of Kazuki, if I remember correctly she is called Eisbein……』 (TN: Eisbein’s reading here is Aisubain)
That was German’s salted pork meat, this one was Aisu Ikousai.
『What she was saying just now cannot even be taken as pretending to be a warrior don’t you think? Someone like her is just a robber.』
『That’s so I guess……I feel like completely disillusioned with Japan’s samurai……』
The uncouth women of Norse Mythology were whispering to each other. Compared to their way of life as a race of battle people, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to even call the likes of the swordsman in present day Japan as cosplay warriors.
Ikousai’s cheeks reddened slightly and she coughed.
「……I can still say that……but……as I thought a match between sword and sword is the worthy way to settle everything between us! I won’t do anything boorish like making the Nopperabou attack you! I also won’t do anything distasteful like using their life to recover! In exchange you too don’t borrow the power of the ghost bunches over there! Also while we are fighting, you can freely tell your comrades to attack the Nopperabou! Do you accept!?」
In other words, Japan’s Knight Order could carry out the mission to annihilate the Nopperabou in the background while Kazuki and Ikousai were having a one-on-one fight. With that Ikousai’s Nopperabou and also Kazuki’s Power of Harmony would be restricted.
Kazuki could agree if it was like that.
A match of sword and sword……surely his improvised and immature two swords style wouldn’t work in such a fight. Kazuki stored Joyeux back into its scabbard and grasped Ame no Murakumo with both hands.
In front of him Ikousai also made a faint smile and took a stance with her beloved katana in hand.
The string of tension was stretched taut between the two.
At the same time the Nopperabou group also began chanting attack magic towards Kazuki’s comrades simultaneously. The swordsmen of Japan’s Knight Order assaulted them in response with their swords, while the Magika Stigmas started chanting.
‘It’s going well.’
Loki felt that the situation was moving just as he planned. He was able to raise his chances of victory to the maximum, this was the best situation.
……Regardless of that, his chest felt smoldering with gloominess when he glanced at the fight between Kazuki and Ikousai. He wondered why he felt like that. The feeling felt like jealousy.
Arthur and her group before him were adversaries that couldn’t make him heated up.
They weren’t opponents he could let his guard down against. However…….
Loki’s Einherjar and Britain’s Knight Order faced each other at slight distance away from the battleground of Kazuki and co.
The two sides here had no tie with each other and there was also no words to exchange.
Both sides were making a horizontal formation that spread to the side at first.
「Loki, how will we fight this time politoka.」
Chaos Diva of Aztec Mythology, Tezcatlipoca asked Loki.
He had a large build and loved to fight, but strangely he was a Diva who was docile and obedient.
「You don’t need to ask, we ain’t got any strategy this time. Most of my subordinates are the illegal magicians who got screws loose in their heads, that’s why I cannot prepare any special scheme. We’ll form a line with the illegal magicians while keeping you guys the materialized Divas as a reserve force. I’ll move you guys, the reserve force, appropriately depending on the other side’s movement. There ain’t any other way than that.」
The majority of Loki’s force were deranged people who were unable to comprehend complicated orders.
Because of that he could only keep the materialized Divas who were powerful strategic units as a reserve force.
The number of his pawns that could loyally and quickly carry out his orders was overwhelmingly few.
A schemer like Loki of all people was unable to carry out a plan from his side without joining forces with others. He had to focus himself on counter strategies that responded to the other side. That was the dilemma that he was holding.
「Then how do you think Britain’s Knight Order will move politoca?」
「Britain’s Knight Order’s strength is the cavalry tactic by the knights of the round table. They will attack with mixed troop of infantry and cavalry. The way a mixed troop will fight is……first, the infantry will stop the enemy’s attack from the front, and then the cavalry will quickly circle from the side and launch flanking attacks. It’s the traditional strategy from the time of the ancient great king Alexander, 『Hammer and Anvil』.」
A unit in fixed position would hold back the enemy, while a mobile unit would strike like a hammer from the side. That was how the name came to be, it was a famous tactic that was continuously used until the era reached the twentieth century.
Tezcatlipoca nodded repeatedly like an obedient student.
However beside him, the chaos Diva of Hindu Mythology, Kali was yelling 「I don’t get ittt, it doesn’t matter at all, so let me fight quicklyyyy!」 while dancing.
「In response to that, you guys the reserve force got to constantly lookout for the cavalry. If I send you guys to hit the cavalry the moment they rush out from their formation to launch a flanking attack, we can hit their flank instead and annihilate them.」
「Lookout……politoca」 Tezcatlipoca’s shoulders dropped regrettably.
Beside him Queen Maeve of Celtic Mythology was ranting and raving saying 「Who cares of lookout or anything, let us fight already hereee!!」. ‘They’re noisy’, Loki thought and scowled.
「Britain’s Knight Order also has an option to pretend for a flanking attack while actually trying to break through the center suddenly. Seeing through whether it would be flanking attack or penetration through the center will decide the battle. ……That’s if they’re going by the book.」
The enemy general was Arthur Basilleus. No matter what she wasn’t Kazuki……such thinking whirled inside Loki’s chest. He wasn’t underestimating her by any means but, she wasn’t the type to use any clever plan.
Without any doubt Loki was the superior one if it was about improvising a strategy on the fly.
「In other words you are telling us to be patient until you give the instruction. That’s all right?」
Queen Maeve spoke while biting her lower lip. Her voice was moist and deep.
「……Now then, we ain’t got any more time to keep prattling, they’re coming yeah.」
The horizontal formation of Britain’s Knight Order started moving as though it was the silent spark that started the battle.
The deranged bunch at the frontline of Loki’s Einherjar also matched their breathing in their own way and began preparing their group magic.
The formation of Britain’s Knight Order accelerated with a dust cloud rising behind them as though to cut apart the lingering tension.
Loki gulped in surprise.
Britain Knight Order’s flat horizontal formation smoothly transformed into a completely different formation.
From Loki’s viewpoint, the enemy’s soldier was gathering to the left wing while advancing. The opposite right wing was thinning in number while decelerating, the horizontal formation turned into an unbalanced diagonal line.
It was a formation that didn’t distribute the troops equally but extremely concentrated the troops to one side. It decreased the charging speed of the side with thin number and delayed the contact with the enemy.
The side with concentrated troops would pulverize the side of enemy formation with lightning fast attacks, and from there the troops would form encirclement as though to swallow the enemy. That was Loxe Phalanx.
However this was a clever scheme, a gambling tactic.
This was not an army of the ancient time in a war between armies of several thousands, several tens of thousands, so the time that could be bought by the charge of the side with thin number would not amount to much based on the scale of the army. It would be less than a few minutes, no, it wouldn’t even be a minute. If the side with the concentrated number of troops didn’t make the enemy formation collapse within that little time, it would be the weak side that got smashed instead.
Or perhaps the formation of both sides would mutually collapse and brought about a chaotic free for all fight.
But the side that came out gambling and the side that was gambled against weren’t under equal situations. The side that was roped up into the gamble couldn’t hold back. Chaos arose between Loki’s Einherjar, without hesitation Britain’s Knight Order’s left wing resolutely charged ahead.
So Arthur also had this kind of resoluteness!
If it was seen from the other side, this also meant that Britain’s Knight Order had absolute confidence in this charge.
So to speak the cavalry charge of the elite knights of the round table was here already! It wasn’t a flanking attack or a break through the center after confirming a tear in enemy formation, but dealing out their strongest attack right from the beginning!
──Loki was surprised, but the materialized Divas weren’t shaken at all.
That was because this situation matched their desire exactly.
No matter how impossible something was, it could be easily accepted if it was something that they were looking for.
A collision without any petty trick using their strongest force. That moment had come.
「Loki! This ain’t the time to talk about cautiousness or wait-and-see! It’s killing time!!」
Kali raised such voice of delight.
「Fufufu! Being in something like reserve force at the last dance of Ragnarok, even the opponent doesn’t wish for that! A good woman has to answer this kind of passionate invitation!!」
Queen Maeve also raised a joyful voice while writhing.
「Aooon! I want daddy to watch me woof! I’m going to raise hell woof!」
Loki’s child Fenrir also got excited like a cur that caught sight of a bone.
「Loki……looks like your prediction just now missed politoca! I’m going to rampage politoca!!」
Even Tezcatlipoca who was comparatively gentle yelled without hiding his desire for destruction.
And then they weren’t mistaken. The opponent’s strongest attack had to be dealt with quickly. Even if the attack couldn’t be repelled, they just needed to hold it back. If they could do that then the weakest right wing of the enemy would be crushed and they would be able to destroy the opponent. Tactically speaking that was the correct move.
──Was that really true? Amidst the deranged bunch and the chaos Divas who hungered for slaughter, it was only Loki who was calm in the truest meaning.
This wasn’t the way Arthur fought. Loki instinctively rethought back. In that case whose tactic was this?
Kazuki……no, it wasn’t limited to just Kazuki……perhaps this was the work of that woman called Akane, she couldn’t be underestimated.
……That woman called Shouko was also supposed to be a greatly experienced commander from her guerilla fight against China.
……This wasn’t Arthur’s work, but a tactic of Japan’s Knight Order.
Japan’s Knight Order’s members were mixing inside Britain’s Knight Order!
And then the strong point of Japan’s Knight Order was the telepathy using a network of bonds that was centered at Kazuki!
There was one answer that could be derived from there──after determining the movement of their side’s reserve force, the enemy would transform their formation even further!! A coordinating force that could do that was mixed in between the enemy force!!
This was a trap!!!
He could still make it in time! Loki yelled in exultation inside his heart. He saw it through!!
‘This time it’s my win!!’
「Wait, Kali! Maeve! Fenrir! Tezcatlipoca! This is a trap!!」
But, they didn’t stop.
「Hyahahahahahahah! Die die die die die DIE!!」 Kali laughed madly.
「Ooohhohho! It-is-slaugh-terrr! Let’s Dance!!」 Maeve laughed madly.
「……GUGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!」 Fenrir howled ferociously.
「I am Yohualli Ehetcatl(Night Wind) who bring death! Tezcatlipoca, is here!!」 Tezcatlipoca also surrendered himself to his impulses.
They all ignored Loki’s words.
It wasn’t that they didn’t hear him. He lost their trust. They prioritized their destructive impulse rather than their trust to Loki.
At the previous battle, Loki made them to be patient, but in the end he was defeated in tactic.
At the same time Loki made light of their destructive impulses.
For a moment he didn’t comprehend at all why they ignored his command.
‘These guys, are they idiots?’, Loki thought in bafflement.
Even though he had finally saw through the enemy’s trap.
Why were they this hot-blooded? Why didn’t they try to ascertain the situation calmly?
……That wasn’t it. It wasn’t them who were strange. It was him who was strange.
He was a chaos Diva, and yet without him realizing it he had lost that kind of primitive destructive impulse. That was why he didn’t notice their frustration.
He failed in grasping the human nature……no, in grasping god nature. His intuition being out of sync with the intuition of his fellow comrades caused disorder in the command.
He wondered since when this gap between him and them came to be.
If there was a difference between him and them, then there was only one. He had been spending an overwhelmingly long time in this world since he accomplished materialization compared to them. ……’Could it be’, Loki thought.
‘Could it be, my personality, my sense of value completely turned like a human without even me noticing?’
That was a terrifying feeling. Rather than these comrades of his whose eyes were bloodshot while raging for destruction, the existence of Kazuki or Akane felt closer to him, he could feel that they were existences that he could like and sympathize with.
‘What the hell am I!?’
Putting aside the shock inside Loki’s heart, the battlefield was going through upheaval like a charging avalanche.
The materialized Divas who were acting as the reserve force were jumping into the frontline while shouting.
It was exactly at that time when Britain’s Knight Order’s Loxe Phalanx transformed like an undulating dragon.
The troops that were concentrated on the left wing decelerated while moving to the right wing simultaneously. The formation returned back to the original symmetrical horizontal formation. At the same time the cavalry unit rushed out from the side of the formation.
Flanking attack──Hammer and Anvil!! The enemy pretended to scheme and went off the book, then when the enemy confirmed that their side was lured by that they returned to act by the book again!
It wasn’t a gamble from the enemy at all!!
With terrifying speed, the knights of the round table circled towards the flank of the horizontal formation of Loki’s group. This kind of coordination should be impossible without the existence of telepathy.
It was impossible for anyone to be able to react against this. The reserve force let their blood rush to their heads and charged ahead. The illegal magicians matched their breathing in their own way as deranged people and activated the group magic against the enemy before them. It was impossible to even hope to recover their formation.
He was played.
In front of the despairing Loki, the charge that was the best even among the magic advanced countries gouged the soft flank──.
Kazuki who was able to forego chanting due to Zekorbeni was able to reliably launch preemptive attacks. In this duel against Ikousai, that was an advantage that couldn’t be overlooked.
Kazuki first used his power of bond with Hikaru-senpai and poured magic power into Zekorbeni.
He forewent the chanting for Baal’s high level magic and instantaneously invoked it.
「Know this roar of sacred flame as god’s fury! The roar of the heaven reside wholly in this hand, bring down the iron hammer that break the world! One blow to destroy the world! Yagrush!」
Among all the magic that Kazuki could instantaneously invoke without forcing himself, the one with the highest might was 『Imitation Flare』 without doubt. However if it was Ikousai she surely could predict a laser attack from condensed sun explosion and easily dodge it. Therefore Kazuki grasped the huge hammer of the sky god and swung it towards Ikousai who was still in distance.
Right before that, Ikousai’s lips warped into a grin. Rather than seeing it as a composed grin, it was a grin that recognized Kazuki’s move as 『Certainly I cannot do anything against that』.
Thunder clouds spread above Ikousai’s head and a rain of lightning poured down.
Inside the lightning that dyed everything white, Ikousai’s shadow was locked up.
Ikousai’s defensive magic power shined. It resulted in definite damage.
Kazuki gradually tightened the range of the pouring rain of lightning and focused its might.
At the same time he kneaded up his magic power once more and poured it further into Zekorbeni.
「O immortal bird who repeat life and death! Liberate the last flame in your moment of death, become the sun above the ground……Imitation Flare!!」
The avatar of a bird of fire emerged in front of Kazuki. The energy of life and death of a phoenix was condensed into a straight laser beam and it was fired.
It pierced straight into Ikousai who was locked inside the cage of lightning.
The two magic didn’t disturb each other at all, they moved in harmony and tried to demolish Ikousai.
But magic power was unleashed from the gap of the lightning.
「……O fences within fences of Izumo standing on Yagumo, conceive the eight trigrams, become the dragon that guard the mandate of heaven……」
A cloud was overflowing out billowingly from inside the fierce light of lightning and laser.
Cloud──Ikousai’s contracted Diva <Susanoo> had defensive magic called 『Izumo Yaegaki』.
The power of China was mixed into it to strengthen it, and then it was activated.
For her to be able to finish her spell while getting hit by attack magic that powerful must be because of the blessing of the excessive defensive magic power residing inside the dragon of heaven’s decree.
「Hakke Unkoubaku!」 (TN: Eight Trigrams Cloud Light Veil)
A shining cloud completely covered the space and swallowed the lightning and light beam while enlarging, forming the shape of a dragon.
The dragon promptly devoured all lighting and the laser beam before coiling above Ikousai’s head.
「……We won’t be able to cross swords without first hardening the defense.」
Ikousai leaked out a relieved voice as though she had obtained a moment’s rest.
The cloud dragon that Ikousai summoned was floating in wait above Ikousai to protect her even after neutralizing that much attack magic──.
Perhaps that dragon possessed a property that swallowed natural phenomenon…….
「O the forging of artisan who scatter the flower of night craft, fill the fabric of heaven with the tip of sword! Tenkuu Battou Renge Hou!」
Flame was bursting up around Kazuki, that flame forged countless Sacred Treasures. They flew toward Ikousai and the cloud dragon like missiles from all directions following Kazuki’s magic power manipulation.
It was an attack by means of weapons, not natural phenomenon.
「Howl! Civilization grants human destruction! The roar of wisdom scorch, and break thy body, bury that dignity under the rubble!! Mitrailleuse!」
Kazuki further created a huge gatling gun on his left arm, equipped it, and fired it wildly.
Steel weapons that flew like missiles, and then bullets of a gatling gun, as expected the cloud dragon couldn’t swallow them and its body that was made from a shining cloud was shaved off.
But the essential target, Ikousai foresighted the trajectory of the projectile weapons and she dodged with swaying movement while approaching him. Although Ikousai couldn’t go as far as defending against the rain of gatling gun bullets, but it didn’t have that much power. Ikousai closed the distance in the blink of an eye,
「O eight dragons of China, dwell inside the unruly hand of Susanoo! Totsuka Orochi no Shinkatou!」
The katana in Ikousai’s grasp was transforming into an ominous shape. Kazuki had known of it from before, it was a demonic sword that caused wind of flame to burst with terrific might each time the sword was swung.
「……Lightning descend on mine body and I obtain the godspeed of lightning will……awaken the sleeping lion! Ride Lightning!」
In response, Kazuki invoked the reinforcement magic that accelerated his whole body. Kazuki moved forward to meet the enemy and Ame no Murakumo clashed against Shinkatou in Ikousai’s hand.
If the sword was stopped before it could be swung, the wind of flame wouldn’t blow──Instant Positioning was the greatest countermeasure against it.
「You can’t chant any acceleration magic!」
Even though their skill in sword art rivaled each other, if he excelled in speed then he could toy with her.
Kazuki brushed aside Shinkatou and instantly circled to her back and slashed.
She reversed her blade and tried to slash back while turning around, but she was beaten to the punch and Kazuki’s katana collided with her sword, she was held back. She couldn’t swing the sword to the end. Like that no slashing wind of flame was created.
「It won’t be a fight if I don’t chant reinforcement magic too huh……」
Ikousai still showed a composed smile contrary to her words.
Ikousai began to knead her magic power. Kazuki who succeeded in taking the initiative was making his superior position rock solid while he had to stop her chanting no matter what.
If he allowed her to invoke reinforcement magic, then the magic she would invoke should be a reinforcement magic with terrifying might too.
Kazuki poured his power of bond with Hikaru-senpai into Zekorbeni again.
「O flow of atmosphere, converge into this body, and become the storm that rejects the hated enemy! The eye of the typhoon is mine throne! Storm Fort!」
Kazuki invoked Baal’s magic and covered his body with storm armor.
The vortex of wind that moved following Kazuki’s will obstructed the enemy’s movement by blowing in opposing direction while supporting his own movement by blowing in the same direction.
Ikousai’s movements dulled while Kazuki’s accelerated further. Kazuki repelled Ikousai’s Shinkatou once more and circled to her back. He swung an attack with even more leeway than before.
An impact was resounded at the most important pillar of the magic power that Ikousai kneaded in her chanting. If an attack was unleashed with careful aim so that an impact would be resulted from the enemy’s Resist that resounded until that key pillar, it was possible to destroy the chanting at once. It was a divine technique that demanded perfect movement and timing.
It was a difficult technique, but Kazuki succeeded. Ikousai’s chanting was crushed under that attack.
「……Just now what!?」 Ikousai raised a shocked voice.
Ikousai who chanted defensive magic even while getting hit by fierce lightning and laser before this, this time she wasn’t even allowed to carry out any resistance or opposition before her chanting was forcefully interrupted.
「I see……it’s the strange technique that you also used at the end of the previous duel! So that technique destroyed the chanting!」
Ikousai turned around and tried to swing her sword, but Kazuki shut that out with his sword.
It was an offense and defense that was exactly the same like before.
He circled to her back again with his superior speed.
When she began chanting again, he would strike her with Shin’iki no matter how many times.
But, at that time something unforeseen happened──Ikousai’s left arm swelled up many times larger and she circled around with a speed that didn’t lose against Kazuki.
「Secret Technique, Ajirogi(Wickerwork Tree)!」
[*GASHI!*] ……With a terrifying strength, the index finger and middle finger of Ikousai’s left hand caught the blade of the katana that Kazuki swung down.
This kind of stupidly strong power was impossible for human flesh.
「Fufufu, don’t forget that I can do partial possession with Susanoo!」
Ikousai’s left arm became Susanoo’s left arm! Power, speed, it didn’t lose in any aspect against Kazuki who was using reinforcement magic. No, far from that, Ame no Murakumo that was held between the two fingers couldn’t move as though it was constricted by a vise…….
Ajirogi, it was a legendary ninjutsu to catch a sword between two naked fingers. But, to actually make it possible in reality showed just how terrifying Susanoo’s power was.
Kazuki didn’t actually forget. But actually what was stranger was──how she was able to block a blade that was swung down from behind her so accurately with two fingers. It was like an acrobat.
Kazuki was only reinforced in speed while his strength stayed the same. That was why he was vigilant, that it would be bad if he got caught.
……However he didn’t even expect something like this acrobatic two-fingered blade catching.
「This is because you tried to repeat the same attack over and over-!」
Ikousai turned around with her left hand still clutching Ame no Murakumo. Her right hand was finally able to swing Shinkatou!
Kazuki couldn’t dodge without letting go of Ame no Murakumo!
No other way. He also had Joyeux. The instant Kazuki thought that,
『Wait! That reasoning is strange!!』
A voice resounded inside Kazuki’s head.
It wasn’t telepathy from his comrades. At the same time Ame no Murakumo in his grasp was tinged with heat and vibrated *jiiiin*. This was the voice of Ame no Murakumo.
『A swordsman letting go of his sword while he is still unable to master it is out of the question! Right now is exactly the time for you to seek my strength, the time of liberation!!』
He felt sparks scattering at the back of his mind. And then Kazuki yelled.
「Avoid capture and slice the sky, <Ame no Murakumo>! Battou Kaikon──Un’eiken(Cloud Shadow Sword)!!」
The blade of Ame no Murakumo that was clutched by Ikousai’s two fingers became pure white cloud as though it evaporated. When Kazuki swung Ame no Murakumo that turned into just a handle, the cloud flowed and escaped Ikousai’s hold. At the same time every single particle of the cloud retained the property of blade and hacked apart Ikousai’s left hand.
And then the blade returned to its original shape. Ikousai’s eyes opened wide in surprise.
「But, it’s too late!!」
Ikousai paid it no mind and continued swinging Shinkatou.
The Yasakani no Magatama wrapped on Kazuki’s left wrist shined while coming apart.
「Open the boundary, <Yasakani no Magatama>! Kaisho Kaikon──Kamiwatari no Mon(Gate of God Crossing)!」
Yasakani no Magatama enlarged while floating midair.
The inner part of the string became pitch black space and sucked in Kazuki.
Kazuki flowed inside the pitch black tunnel of another world as though he had turned into liquid.
And then the next instant he flew out behind Ikousai. Ikousai swung Shinkatou at empty air where there was no one. The intense stormy flame vanished without burning anything.
Teleportation──the power of the Sacred Treasure that Ikousai once used against Kazuki could be used by him too!
Kazuki immediately swung down Ame no Murakumo at Ikousai’s back.
However, Ikousai rolled forward in panic and evaded that.
It must be because it was a power she once used herself, that was why she wasn’t shaken.
Nevertheless, she reacted as though she had eyes on her back.
……No. He recalled the time when Ikousai used this power on him. It gave off no magic power that could act as advance warning and the user could attack without the enemy detecting from where it would appear. Evading such attack should be next to impossible.
Before this too, Ikousai caught an attack from behind using two fingers accurately as though she had eyes on her back…….
Kazuki suddenly realized something and he looked around at the surrounding.
Nearby where Kazuki and Ikousai was fighting, Japan’s Knight Order and the Red Nopperabou were fighting. The promise was that no one would interfere at the duel at all. However, several of the Red Nopperabou were pointing their eerie face this way even while fighting a magic battle.
Their face didn’t have eyes and nose──however, they should be able to see.
「So you noticed.」 Ikousai looked his way and grinned.
This woman shared the senses of all the Red Nopperabou and she was able to process those senses’ information.
He was desperately trying to circle to her blind spot since a while ago but……she had no blind spot! Eyes from completely different angle were constantly observing their duel!
Even when he teleported behind her, it was almost no different then appearing right in front of her.
Despite whatever she said, Ikousai was making use of Red Nopperabou for this duel.
This woman looked like she was a proud person, but she strangely had a petty side to her…….
And then the exchange of offense and defense just now gave Ikousai time to finish her chanting.
「O rebel god of China! Stack up your soul with Susanoo and dwell within mine body……Shiyuu Kourin(Shiyuu Descend)!!」 (TN: Shiyuu is a war god of China)
The figure of an ominous evil god emerged behind Ikousai. It held countless weapons with countless hands, a bull-headed evil god──that avatar overlapped with Ikousai and vanished.
「……Fufufu, Shiyuu is a rebellious god who attempted to steal the seat of king from the kings of China Mythology, that is to say he is the China Mythology version of Susanoo! He is the evil god who is said to give birth to every weapon and arms in this world. This magic that acts in concert with Susanoo’s power and came into being is truly worthy for me to defeat you!」
「You speak about worthiness and whatever, but the point is you are playing the villain role aren’t you? You third wheel, don’t show villain appeal so happily like that.」
「Fufufu, everything will be fine if I just win!!」
This kind of pettiness, lack of obsession with her pride, and lack of pickiness were the terrifying side of Ikousai. Kazuki thought inside his heart. ‘Someday I’ll lose against her……’ There was a part of him that pictured such future vividly.
Her strength, tenacity and pointless positivity were mixing inside her without any contradiction.
If it was in a match done between their daily life, then even if he lost against her he would honestly praise her that she was strong and that would be the end of it, but it was because she was intruding into a fated battle where he mustn’t lose with this kind of mood that he was troubled from the bottom of his heart.
Ikousai’s right hand was holding Shinkatou, while her left hand smoothly pulled out a short sword hanging on her waist. Two sword style. She had the thinking that holding her sword with one hand was enough if it was with her reinforced strength.
Kazuki matched her and his hand reached at Joyeux. But he hesitated right away.
He would lose the delicateness in his technique if he went two sword style…….
「Here I come!」
Even without her speaking Kazuki would understand her timing if he sensed the flow of the magic power. Kazuki also stepped forward to intercept her. He had to clash his sword and stop her before she fully swung Shinkatou.
Blade and blade collided.
With a jerk Kazuki felt the pressure. His hand became numb. Even though he used both hands, but he couldn’t manage Ikousai who was using one hand.
He was shaken off along with his sword!
The deadly flame rampaged before his eyes. At that instant──,
Kazuki recalled his conversation with his master when he was a child.
「Instant Positioning that parries every kind of strength with technique is the true essence, the innermost level of martial arts. However just parrying strength is insufficient, that is how the world is currently. Do you understand, Kanae, Kazuki?」
──In the dojo of the Hayashizaki family, their father made the two of them sit in front of him before speaking. He was also the master of the two.
Kanae answered. 「Yes-! Not just strength, we also have to manage magic to win!!」
「Correct. For that I dreamed of several techniques.」
Their father nodded and he spoke of his ideas that would change the life of Kazuki and Kanae after that.
「First is a sword that pierces magic power……I name it 『Kasane(Pile)』. The defensive magic power that protects human’s body is a 『flow』. If a sword is swung at that flow, a wound will remain on it for an instant. If an accurate slash is piled on that wound with godspeed……the sword will pierce the flow.」
「So you’re saying that even those disgusting Magika Stigmas can be one hit killed then, Otou-sama!!」
「The second is a sword that disturbs chanting……I cannot think of a name for it, so Kanae, you can think about it in the future. Chanting can be disrupted when a strong impact of smashed magic is inflicted on a magician who is in the middle of chanting. However even without dealing an impact that is that strong……if an impact is inflicted with pinpoint accuracy at the most important part within the spell chanting within the vital timing, even a weak impact can crash the magic phenomenon right away even with a weak impact……」
Later on it was called 『Shin’iki(Divine Region)』.
「Even Magika Stigma is just a scarecrow if they aren’t able to chant then, Otou-sama!!」
「And then the last, the third one……a sword that parried away magic……I’ll name it 『Midashi(Disturb)』. A pure magic power is a power to reject and interfere with all kinds of phenomenon. Interfere……that is to say that is dynamic. Magic power that is managed precisely should be able to be interpreted dynamically. Similar with how strength can be parried with strength, parrying magic with magic should also be possible with dynamic principle.」
Kazuki’s childish heart was surprised and his eyes opened wide.
「However magic that is in the domain of mind is far harder to handle then strength that is in the domain of body. Even the normal Instant Positioning is difficult, so it’s not hard to imagine that applying Instant Positioning on magic will be most difficult. ……But, if it can actually be done, then every kind of magic can be turned powerless. ……Although for the current me, it’s only a dream anyway……」
「……Why are you so obsessed to win against Summoning Magic using sword art until that much?」
The childish Kazuki asked a genuine question. Kanae who still wasn’t emotionally attached to Kazuki at that time glared angrily at Kazuki. However, his father smiled while he answered his question gently.
「That’s because I want to surpass the strength of god with the strength of humanity. I want to believe in humanity’s infinite possibility. Kazuki, if by any chance there is an existence that should be called as the absolute god in this world, don’t you want to try to defeat such being with the utmost limit of human effort?」
──There was nothing but that to resolve his current situation.
Magic power that rejected flame. Interference.
If it was only annihilating phenomenon using the exact opposite element, then it wasn’t any different with Resist.
It wasn’t annihilation by clashing against the attack right from the front.
It was interference. Flame was approaching through a vector that pointed his way. The power of rejection called magic power should be able to affect purely only this vector.
If he could just do interference and affect, he would be able to parry the vector to a direction that was harmless to him using the minimum strength, exactly the same as the Instant Positioning of sword art…….
Right now, Kazuki made Ame no Murakumo in his hand to spout out flame and contacted it with Shinkatou. He concentrated magic power on the point of contact──and controlled it with meticulous concentration…….
The two swords came into contact with each other, but it wasn’t parrying the sword using sword.
Kazuki twisted the vector.
The flame spouting out from Shinkatou was parried to the direction of that twist.
Success. Kazuki’s heart was filled with a sense of fulfillment. Hayashizaki-style Dream Sword the Third──Midashi.
The slicing wind of flame passed right beside Kazuki with only a paper width difference.
Ikousai leaked out a shocked voice.
Kazuki poured magic power into Zekorbeni and counterattacked.
This time it was a situation where it was impossible for Ikousai to dodge!!
「Just now, was it like this!?」
Kazuki fired a laser of sun explosion. Ikousai predicted the trajectory of the laser, then she put the short sword in her left hand on the laser’s trajectory, and twisted.
The laser was parried to another direction!
──It wasn’t something to be surprised about!
Ikousai was observing Kazuki’s movement from all directions through the Nopperabou!
If she could just see through the principle of what Kazuki accomplished……the skill of the two in sword art was mostly equal……it was illogical that Ikousai wouldn’t be able to do the same thing!!
Perhaps she was also able to do even Shin’iki.
「Next time for sure I’m not going to give you even the leeway to parry with two-handed sword you know!?」
Ikousai reversed the blade of the parried away Shinkatou and swung it once more.
This wasn’t the time to say something like doing two sword style caused his precision to drop. He couldn’t win if he was unable to parry Shinkatou using either of his swords in two sword style!! If he was unable to do the technique just now even with just his left hand……he would lose!!
There was no way he could lose! Kazuki’s left hand immediately let go of the handle and pulled out Joyeux and struck at Shinkatou. He was pushed back by the momentum. Flame overflowed wildly out from Shinkatou……!
Kazuki twisted Joyeux with just his left hand. The flame was parried once more.
That was something that even he was surprised at.
Surely even the him from several minutes ago wouldn’t even be able to shake the attack.
「……Now you’ve done it!!」
Ikousai raised her voice. It was a voice of admiration from her heart. He knew that.
Kazuki too praised so from his heart.
By confronting a terrifying enemy who possessed a personality that was really similar with him, he was able to reach the technique that was impossible for him until now. And when he did that, this enemy immediately copied him.
A growth that was stimulated by the opponent, and the opponent also chased after that growth right away.
A strange feeling of happiness welled up despite how out of place such feeling was.
She was an annoyance who intruded uninvited into this Ragnarok meaninglessly, he also had such a thought but……this battle was exactly a battle to thoroughly probe a human’s possibility.
Right now, the existence called Ikousai right before him was without a doubt a meaningful enemy for him.
Kanae was fighting nopperabou while glancing at the duel between Kazuki and Ikousai. Her breath almost stopped witnessing it.
「Maxing……stimulating each other to make each other’s max stat mutually grow rapidly! Until the not yet known domain!!」
The other knights also noticed the fight of the two and they were shaken. They couldn’t help but feel shaken towards that fight that was of a different nature. It was a battle that was filled with the significance of a different nature, even more than all the other fights against fellow Kings until now.
「They are neutralizing each other’s power of magic, and turning it into a pure match of sword art!」
「……Is such a thing possible!?」
「If that is possible……our(Magika Stigma) meaning of existence will be……!」
「Thank you very much for following my suggestion.」
Akane who had no more strength left to fight spoke to Arthur.
「We are the ones who should thank you. I trust Kazuki from my heart. And the one that was introduced by that Kazuki as a great strategist who has filled her head with every tactic from all ages and countries is you. I can only say that it’s truly a honor to be able to borrow the strength of someone like you.」
It was truly a gentlemanly reply. Arthur replied back with such words.
「As expected that is really over exaggerating me……」
Right now in front of Arthur and Akane, Loki’s Einherjar was literally toyed around by Akane’s tactics.
The cavalry unit completely circled around and launched a flanking attack at the enemy army’s side.
A tactical victory had been wrenched once again when it was Loki who was the opponent.
「……You who has learned the tactics from all ages and countries are truly the crystallization of mankind’s history, a legacy of mankind. Your knowledge surpasses the legendary schemer Loki……there must be nothing more painful than this for him.」
Arthur muttered. Akane doubted her ears when she heard that, she looked up staringly at the expression of Arthur above her horse. Those weren’t words that a believer of god should say.
The cavalry unit of Britain’s Knight Order made the Sacred Treasure spears in their hands to shine radiantly at the same time and launched a charge.
The illegal magicians of Loki’s Einherjar were mowed down by the thrust of 『Spears of Light』. The illegal magicians who were facing to the front and chanting their spells in unison were helpless against it.
The formation was collapsing like dominoes.
In response to that, the infantry attack from the front was increasing in pressure. The infantry was gradually spreading to the side and unfolding to surround the enemy. It was so that they could let fly attack magic from all directions.
If there was something that could be done in this kind of situation, it was……,
「People who were helplessly defeated and died by the invader, resurrect right here! Tepeyollotl(Death Smoke’s Throat Biting Beast)!!」
Pitch black smoke burst out from the ground in front of the cavalry unit.
The pitch black smoke transformed into jaguars with smoldering specks and lean built. They then attacked the throat of the knights. Although the jaguars vanished when they were pierced by spears, the knights were felled from their horse one after another. It was the magic of Tezcatlipoca from the Aztec Mythology.
「Hihihi! You guys are underestimating us! ……Mine servants! Kill and kill to the end until the sun climb and descend and dedicate all the blood to me! Tantra Thaggi(Slaughter Dogma)!!」
Several dozen corpses whose whole body were dyed yellow rose up from the ground in front of the cavalry. The adherents of the large scale massacring organization <Thaggi> that once existed in India were summoned from the realm of the dead. In order to offer even a single drop more of blood to the goddess Kali, they strangled their victim using yellow cloth that was wrapped on the neck. The knights of Britain met unexpected difficulty to deal with the corpses that acted exactly like in history. It was the magic of Kali from the Hindu Mythology.
「Hoo~ho ho ho! Come from the dream! My pink fairy army! Titanian Dreadnaught(Heavy Tank of Midsummer Night)!!」
To protect the illegal magicians who were being routed, a gigantic mass was created──it was a distasteful pink tank that was fully loaded with countless fairies.
The symbol of tyrannical rule that would trample everything in order to grant all the desire of the tyrant blew away the knights. It was the magic of Queen Maeve of Celtic Mythology.
Tezcatlipoca, Kali and Queen Maeve ignored Loki’s command and rushed to the frontline, but they were able to react immediately to the surprise attack was also simply because they boasted overwhelming fighting strength even by themselves.
However they already lost the initiative. Their side had suffered defeat tactically.
However if they wanted to do something about it somehow……the only choice was to overturn the unfavorable situation with their personal fighting ability.
Challenging a group with individuals was reckless. However they were materialized Divas that were a match for a thousand.
It couldn’t be forgotten──that they were exactly the very symbols that were worshipped as gods by their believers.
「……I forgot huh.」
Loki who was overwhelmed with a sense of defeat on his own saw their figure and he murmured in a small voice.
He got too familiar with the world of humans, got fixated with Kazuki, and played around with schemes too much……he forgot that he was a god and a demon.
He was too small-minded. He couldn’t help but forgot that he was an existence with power that ought to overpower the humans.
Fenrir dashed to Loki’s side with teary eyes.
「Aoooon! As expected daddy was right woof! I’m sorry woof!」
Loki held Laevateinn with his right hand and he stroke Fenrir’s head with his left hand.
「……I don’t mind. No more playing with schemes. ……We are Divas! Even without toying with something like a plan, we can crush the likes of humans who are only borrowing strength right from the front!! We are going there too!!」
Fenrir happily howled 「Aoooon!」 at his father’s words.
「What are you looking for that you have intruded into this battlefield!?」
With a feeling that he absolutely mustn’t lose no matter what in his heart, Kazuki swung his sword at Ikousai.
He swung his sword while asking once more about the meaning of their fight.
‘You a meaningful enemy who stands in my way, why are you here!?’
「I don’t have any objective! Continuing to fight, aiming to be the strongest is the meaning of my life! I’m prioritizing my own life rather than the world, there is nothing bad about that!」
Kazuki was taken aback against those words.
The world and oneself──in the end which one was the heavier? Rather, didn’t the two have equal worth?
If someone denied their own life, then there wouldn’t even be any meaning in accepting the world.
Kazuki was unable to say that Ikousai’s words were wrong.
A life that was simply pursuing being the strongest!
There was no one who could decide that such way of living was mistaken.
However, for Kazuki who continued to fight until now, always pursuing strength for the sake of people other than himself, it was a thinking that was his exact opposite.
In other words──Ikousai was betting her whole life in order to deny everything that Kazuki treasured in his life until now.
Both sides didn’t think that the other was mistaken.
However, because their way of living was the exact opposite of each other, they could only live as themselves by winning and denying the opponent. This was that kind of fight.
This wasn’t something with relative importance that could be compared to a fight where the world was at stake……!
Kazuki yelled while swinging his sword.
「Then if I win, I’ll have you accept everything that I treasure!」
「What do you mean by that!?」
「That’s……eating delicious food, having fun going out to play……in other words, a date!!」
The sudden astounding words caused Ikousai to raise a hysteric voice.
But if Kazuki’s important things were summarized into a word, it was something like that.
Kazuki restated what he said with even more straightness.
「If I win, give up fighting and become my woman!!」
Become my woman, my woman, my woman──those words echoed inside Ikousai’s head. Ikousai’s cheeks were going red in a flash.
「Wha, wha-wha-wha-wha-wha-wha-wha-what stupid thing are you saying!? Fight seriously!!」
The two continued to cross swords even while spouting out hysterical words. They were sealing all the magic phenomenon of each other while exchanging extremely precise sword skills.
「I’m saying that because I’m seriously fighting from the bottom of my heart!! We are fighting with our way of life on the line here! I, I absolutely won’t allow you to deny what’s important to me without a second thought when you actually haven’t even experienced it!」
「Wait a second, don’t decide by your own that someone doesn’t have 『that kind of experience』!!」
「Do you have it!?」
Ikousai swung her sword silently.
It was the furthest level of sword fighting where both sides parried each other’s everything with Instant Positioning using two sword style.
Kazuki worked out the skill because he was pressed with necessity of facing the strongest rival, while Ikousai ripped it off using countless eyes and her talent.
As the result, the two of them found it meaningless to chant magic spells at all and became pure swordsman.
They simply continued to swing their swords and simply respected the budding something in each other.
Every single move required so much concentration that made them felt like their soul was shaved off.
If there was a spectator that watched their exchange from the side, they would think that the two of them were repeating simple actions of clashing their swords to the other’s sword alternately.
However for the two in question, it felt like every single move used up all their energy and willpower, they even felt like they were aging and losing weight each time they swung their sword.
In the middle of such offense and defense of the extreme limit, what decided the match was nothing else but tenacity as expected.
While they were both facing each other with respect──there was a feeling of satisfaction 『As I thought Kazuki is strong』 inside Ikousai’s heart.
Inside the head of such Ikousai, ‘become my woman’──those words continued to echo even now.
『Learning such thing that I have never known until now in my life from Kazuki is also not……』
Ikousai who had walked through her life as a single sword until now was slightly wavering. That was undoubtedly her inexperience. Even she couldn’t say that she had no interest at all towards such things.
On the other hand Kazuki shouldered 『I mustn’t lose no matter what』 as a King.
Although Ikousai usurped the power of China’s Mythology, her mental nature wasn’t that of a King.
Kazuki’s mentality was that of a King. His soul was an indomitable one that shouldered many things.
At that time when their magic power was about to run out, sword and sword clashed, and Ikousai’s body staggered powerlessly, that was exactly their difference.
Kazuki put all his strength and his sword flashed toward the staggering Ikousai.
Ikousai was sent flying hard, and she finally lost strength from both her knees. She fell on her butt and looked up at Kazuki.
Both of them didn’t have even a shred of magic power left.
In her upward gaze, there was acceptance of this result from the pure clash between swords.
「……You can give me a date that makes me lovestruck, right?」
Ikousai asked with a groan.
Kazuki felt somewhat uneasy inside his heart. He didn’t have the image of a date that would make Ikousai happy. But,
He had to make her happy. He had to show Ikousai that a date was more enjoyable than a fight. He couldn’t call it a true victory if he couldn’t do that──.
At the same time, Japan’s Knight Order finished exterminating and neutralizing the Red Nopperabou group.
The battle between Britain’s Knight Order and Loki’s Einherjar was gradually turning equal between both sides.
The situation was still equal despite the success of the flanking attack and the success of the encirclement was truly the proof of how terrifying materialized Divas were, including Loki.
Loki was crossing swords with Arthur desperately. Excalibur and Laevateinn clashed at each other roaringly. But soldiers were defeated one after another beside Loki who was fighting hard.
「DIE DIE DIE DIEEE!! I’M ALSO DYING HERE!! HIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHI……!!」
Kali was fighting several dozen knights while laughing madly, she drove all her opponent into magic intoxication while she finally collapsed. Her materialized body was terminated into Astrum dust…….
「Ho……hohohoho! You trashes amused me!! Let’s meet again in the underworld!」
Queen Maeve was fighting several dozen knights while laughing madly, she drove all her opponent into magic intoxication while she finally collapsed. Her materialized body was terminated into Astrum dust…….
「FU, FUHAHAHAHA! O my invaded motherland! Don’t forget……my strength and my pride and my obstinacy!」
Tezcatlipoca crushed several dozen knights with his hands and drove them to magic intoxication. He laughed madly while he finally collapsed. His materialized body was terminated into Astrum dust…….
「Aoooon! Daddy! I don’t want to disappear woof! Daddy, create the world of chaos……」
Fenrir opened his large jaw that could even reach the sky and crushed the knights with his bite, he drove the knights into magic intoxication with flame bursting out from his eyes and nose like tears while he finally collapsed. His materialized body was terminated into Astrum dust…….
These four actually caused the majority of Britain’s Knight Order, more than fifty people to fall into a state unfit to fight. However, even then it couldn’t overturn Loki’s tactical defeat.
The illegal magicians also couldn’t hold out and they were defeated one after another.
It was at the middle of that. Arthur and Loki sensed the situation at the neighboring battlefield.
「Ikousai!! So you got fucking defeated!!」
That was──Kazuki and Japan’s Knight Order rushed in to reinforce their allied country. The fight here wasn’t a duel, so Kazuki mercilessly arrived to make the fight into a two-on-one.
「This is the end, Loki. You cannot even get defeated by Kazuki, you were defeated by Yagumo Akane(human).」
Arthur was also breathing hard with her shoulder’s heaving in exhaustion while she informed Loki with Excalibur in thrusting stance.
Loki couldn’t even resist and his movements stopped.
Britain’s Knight Order also sheathed their swords. Kazuki rushed there and he surrounded Loki together with Arthur. There were only about several of Loki’s comrades that remained.
The match was decided. Kazuki didn’t even need to get involved personally.
「Loki……what is the chaos that you are aiming at?」
Kazuki once again asked Loki like what he did when confronting Ikousai.
Kazuki wondered just what in the world this enemy called Loki who stood in the way of two generations of mother and son was. He wondered what kind of meaning this existence had for him.
Hel’s avatar emerged in that place.
With Ikousai’s defeat, she slipped out from inside Ikousai.
『Just what is it that papa wants to do!? If you only want to win the Ragnarok, there should be other ways than this right!? Papa……is strange as a Diva!! I don’t get it at all what it is you are obsessed with!!』
Loki abruptly smiled bitterly from getting showered with critics by his daughter.
Loki thought──after all Divas were born from illusion, they accomplished their role following people’s mythology. The Divas of order tried to make mankind worship the Mythology they belonged to, but he wondered what meaning there was in that.
When he noticed Loki tried to reject that.
In addition Kaya’s avatar emerged beside Loki.
Loki was standing between Hel and Kaya, he felt like he was crushed between them.
『Why can’t we, win against Onii-chan I wonder……』
Loki sighed deeply and he answered with a flood of emotions in his voice.
「For me chaos is……the complicated minds of humans. Suffering expressions and shocked expressions……seeing those is bliss for me. That’s why I tried to cause chaos in the world.」
Kazuki shook his head.
「You didn’t think that just anyone is fine for that. You are fixated with me and Kaa-san.」
「……That might be so.」
「You lose like this because you were fixated with me rather than with victory.」
Kazuki derived out a conclusion of his own and said it towards Loki.
「In other words……you are that. You are helplessly in love with me that your only objective is to trouble me, an abnormal pervert. Your chaos, it’s that kind of fetish of yours.」
Loki made an expression that was filled with nihility.
「That’s ri……no, wa, wait a second!」
「Just because you want me to pay attention to you, you keep becoming a bother……」
Kazuki sighed. His attitude possessed composure and dignity as a harem king.
『Papa……you are the worst……that’s too gross……』
Hel sent a gaze of contempt at Loki.
『But……I can understand. I deeply understand……』
Kaya shivered hearing the word pervert.
「Wait a second! You’re just prattling as you damn pleased there!! No matter how popular you are, don’t think on your own that you are liked by everyone no matter who! That’s just being excessively self-conscious!!」
There was no way that it was excessive self-consciousness. There was no doubt that Loki was conscious of Kazuki above all else.
「When everything is over I’ll pay you attention as much as you want. You and I are friends.」
「Friends, you say……」
Loki weakly fell on his butt on the spot.
The moment he heard that word, a feeling that he was fine with that welled up inside.
Although it was inside mythology──because Loki was half god and half giant, he was shunned and looked down on. Even so he desperately contributed to Odin and the others, the gods of Asgard.
Loki had the conceit that he was the one who contributed to Asgard gods more than anyone among Norse Mythology.
He also thought of Thor as his close friend.
However he was betrayed. That was why he began Ragnarok. That was his existence.
He wanted friends. He wanted bonds. When he became an existence that surpassed his role, he admired Kazuki the first thing he did.
Loki had run into the essence of his existence as a materialized Diva.
「……What the hell are you saying. You are human, and I’m a Diva……」
「Leme and I will erase such hedge.」
All strength drained away from Loki’s body and he collapsed spread-eagled on the spot.
‘If that hedge is erased, my story will still continue……. Different from the story like the Mythology that is already finished…….’
「Just do whatever you want. Call me pervert as much as you want. It’s my loss.」
If Loki was a girl, surely a heart mark symbol would fly towards Solomon’s ring.
And then Kazuki faced Arthur this time.
It didn’t matter that they were allied, it didn’t matter how much they acknowledged each other and even cultivated a friendship between them, the two of them understood from the start that there could only be one victor.
At the end, it would be a fight between them.
The morning sun ascended even brighter and it vainly illuminated the wasteland of Atlantis that was burned down by Ragnarok.
Kazuki stood up feebly like a dead wood. He used up his magic power in his fight against Ikousai, and he was also at his limit physically.
As for King Arthur, although the majority of Britain’s Knight Order was devastated by the materialized Divas despite the tactical victory, but the person herself who boasted peerless strength was still standing with strength to spare.
In pure battle strength, Britain’s Knight Order also had nearly double the number remaining.
「I understand which one between us is worthy to win.」
Arthur spoke with a penetrating voice.
「That we have spare strength remaining like this is because you lent us your comrades and tactic. Furthermore you sent Yumeno-kun and Ryuutaki-kun among your reinforcements just now. They are users of mind magic. You were considerate to us that Loki might still have users of mind magic in his camp right? To be given this much consideration……I have no qualification to be the last victor at all.」
Her words seemed to want to say that she was apologetic with how the advantage was on her side.
It was a pride that was typical of Arthur.
She wasn’t being modest or anything, she was genuinely accepting the truth right from the front.
Kazuki shook his head wordlessly. Everything he did was based on the design for victory.
「……But there is no way I can surrender the victory here. My homeland is waiting for our triumph. If I do something like that then I don’t have the right to show my face to Gino.」
When he thought back through this intense battle, it was only Robin Hood’s contractor, Gino who came out as casualty from both their camps. That was how heavy her life was.
Japan’s Knight Order too would have been unable to even take a breather without Gino’s power.
The favor that made them able to fight through until this point even with all the exhaustion was heavy.
「That’s why, I want to propose for a one-on-one duel with you.」
In actuality it wasn’t an advantageous or fair proposal for Kazuki.
Certainly Japan’s Knight Order’s exhaustion was far greater than Britain’s Knight Order.
However if Kazuki allotted the magic power equally using the Power of Harmony, at the very least, his side would be able to get the upper hand in numbers. If it was a group battle he could also make use of his strong point that was the power of telepathy.
There were two users of mind magic among Kazuki’s camp…….
In contrast to that, in a one-on-one fight, even if all the magic power of Kazuki’s side was concentrated on him, Arthur’s spare strength was personally still greater than him, and Kazuki was also completely exhausted physically.
However Arthur’s proposal didn’t have such calculation. Arthur was looking straight at Joyeux that Kazuki’s hand was holding. She wanted to settle this last decisive battle in a duel, it was undoubtedly her fixation to chivalry that surpassed any calculation and desire.
That was something that Kazuki who was a swordman could also sympathize with.
Kazuki looked at his comrades. Everyone was directing a gaze that left everything to Kazuki. Kaguya-senpai nodded at him as their representative.
Kazuki nodded at Arthur.
And then he spoke something that he had to say no matter what before the duel.
「If I defeat Arthur, Arthur will die. I know that Arthur is bound by such geass.」
「……So Gino told you!」
Arthur’s expression froze, even so she quickly guessed the culprit.
In order to make Kazuki’s sword to hesitate and dull, Gino informed Kazuki about that without Arthur’s knowledge. At that time she released a poisonous arrow in anticipation of this situation.
「But you don’t need to go easy on me at all. Are you unable to fight seriously because my life will be at risk? Is your resolve as King just at that level!?」
Arthur yelled so in agitation. She called out to Kazuki to fight her seriously.
「No, I have no hesitation.」
Arthur breathed out in relief hearing Kazuki’s answer. There wasn’t any sign of fear towards death in her. She was simply worried that their duel would be dirtied with dishonor.
Kazuki too had thought all this time about how he would face this moment.
He only had one answer. That was why Kazuki had no hesitation.
「Then let’s do this! ……Carnwennan!!」
That was likely the Sacred Treasure creation magic that Arthur could chant the fastest. Arthur grasped the short sword of acceleration in her hand while stepping forward like a hurricane.
Like a dried wood Kazuki powerlessly──met the opponent in total exhaustion.
His muscles were endlessly lacking in energy, his magic power was like a candle that was on the verge of going out.
「Nii-sama!」「Kazuki-!」 Kanae and Ikousai raised their voices.
Those voices weren’t because they were uneasy seeing Kazuki’s frail figure.
Those were voices of fear and surprise.
……Among the crowd of people who watched over the two’s duel, it was only Kanae and Aisu Ikousai, the two master swordsman who detected the 『indescribable dreadfulness』 lurking within Kazuki’s figure.
Arthur sharply swung her short sword like a beast swinging its claw. With swaying movement, Kazuki parried it with Ame no Murakumo.
It was a perfect Instant Positioning──there wasn’t even any sound of sword and sword brushing with each other. There was silence.
Arthur must of felt like her body received an unseen magnetic force that caused her body to half rotate by its own.
Arthur reversed her blade and quickly swung her second slash. This time Kazuki parried that using Joyeux in his left hand. There was exactly the same feedback whether it was from his right hand’s sword or his left hand’s sword.
Arthur’s right hand shined and a golden holy sword was created. It was swung down in no time. A golden rainbow flashed in front of his eyes.
The legendary famous Excalibur. The attack contained a terrifying pressure as though the power of Britain’s King was compressed into a single swing.
Kazuki also parried it like a willow using Ame no Murakumo.
If Kazuki blocked the pressure right from the front even for just a little, Kazuki’s body would be blown away.
However as expected the sound of metal and metal touching each other didn’t ring out at all.
Surprise emerged on Arthur’s expression. She was bewildered at the sensation that felt like she was slashing at clouds while she swung the short sword in her left hand. Kazuki parried it away using Joyeux in exactly the same rhythm.
The slashing that came alternately from left and right was parried using Instant Positioning from left and right alternately. It was a strange sight of two people facing each other while swinging around both their hands as though they were only whipping up the air.
Kazuki’s expression stayed unchanging without even a twitch and he only emitted magic power that was like a candle on the verge of burning out.
「<Blade of Round Table(King of Knight’s Sword Table)>!」
At that time Arthur yelled and she let go of the short sword in her left hand. The thrown away short sword floated in a standby position as though it was fixed in place by an unknown power.
She activated her King’s authority.
A huge great sword was formed in at her left hand that abandoned the short sword. The great sword that spouted out flame from its tip was swung down towards Kazuki.
With a movement that was exactly the same like what he did until now, Kazuki caused Joyeux’s tip to hold faint light of magic power and he parried away the wind of flame. Hayashizaki-style dream sword the third, Midashi.
It was the technique that was first realized in his fight against Ikousai.
However it was also a technique that he secretly hid just in case if he fought Arthur.
It was as though the flame itself was avoiding Kazuki by its own and struck empty air.
Arthur understood that it was 『the magic phenomenon was dealt with Instant Positioning』 and her lips froze.
Her right hand let go of Excalibur and the sword floated midair. It entered standby state midair, placed on an unseen round table together with Carnwennan. In exchange Arthur grasped a huge spear before she took half a step back while swinging that spear with the sound of slicing the air.
The tip of the spear that contained white light of magic power was also parried by Kazuki.
The light laser bent right before it hit Kazuki and it flew away diagonally in another direction.
The great sword was thrown away and it entered standby state midair, then this time a lasso flew away from her left hand. The rope wrapped around Kazuki’s neck in a circle arc and constricted. Kazuki lifted Joyeux in his left hand and softly caressed the flying rope with the minimum motion, dispersing the magic power of the rope and it fell on the ground. The rope was pulled by Arthur’s hand and it returned back.
Arthur instantly replaced the rope with Excalibur that was waiting midair.
She immediately closed the slight distance that was opened between them with a step forward and she swung the holy sword. When Kazuki parried that, Arthur further changed the weapon she held in her left hand with Midhlethan and dealt a flaming slash at Kazuki.
The Scared Treasures her hands were holding were switched one after another without any gap of time from the action of changing weapons in between.
And then the weapons were immediately swung without any preliminary movement in between at all.
Each of these weapons was hiding powerful might in them, and they were attacking in turns like a roulette that couldn’t be predicted.
It was just like twelve knights launching simultaneous attacks.
It was hard to see through such combination, and every single attack possessed lethal might.
Even a single Rhongomyniad was a terrifyingly mighty Sacred Treasure that in America opened up a large hole in <Wakan Tanka> that should be called as the moving fortress of Medicine Wheel.
There was no doubt that this was Arthur’s strongest battle mode where she made full use of her King’s authority. Her last remaining trump card. The many summoned Sacred Treasures were floating in a circle behind Arthur’s back.
However Kazuki parried everything she threw at him.
It didn’t matter whether it was physical attack or magical attack, they were all disturbed, shook off, and erased.
That was all.
「…………Why aren’t you attacking!?」
「You should be able to use mind attack magic too! Are you planning to go easy on me!?」
Kazuki looked completely exhausted like a dried twig, he was simply parrying the fierce attacks while replying back.
Not the slightest killing intent was residing in his eyes.
「Arthur will die if another King defeats Arthur.」
That was Arthur’s geass that Gino told him about.
「That’s why I’ll win without defeating Arthur.」
He parried every weapon with Instant Positioning. He parried every magic phenomenon with Midashi.
If Arthur chanted magic that affected the whole space that he couldn’t parry, he would step forward with Shin’iki and destroy the chanting. Although Arthur was specialized in Sacred Treasure creation and she didn’t use that kind of magic.
With all the techniques of Hayashizaki-style, he would seal all of King Arthur’s moves.
If he couldn’t do that……Kazuki wouldn’t be able to persist in his way of fighting.
He wouldn’t be able to protect Arthur who was already included among those important to him.
There was no leeway for Kazuki. It was Kazuki who made a cornered expression.
There was nothing Kazuki could do except that.
However for a warrior that was a nightmarish declaration that was extremely cruel and scornful.
「I’ll make Arthur recognize defeat……without attacking even once. I’ll win, by snapping Arthur’s heart as a warrior.」
It was the thought he was hiding in his heart from the moment Gino spoke to him.
However, Kazuki had no confidence that he could do it in reality.
But Kazuki faced Ikousai before he fought Arthur──that changed Kazuki.
Against the strongest swordsman that was his equal as his opponent, they stimulated each other, they learned each other’s movement and sword principle while protecting their body from every single unleashed technique and magic. From repeating that tens, hundreds of times, his magic power and physical strength were worn away until the limit while in exchange his technique was polished to the extreme.
That was a time that equaled a training of several decades.
Kazuki obtained such a moment just before his promised duel with Arthur.
Winning without defeating──Ikousai dragged up Kazuki until a domain where he could realize that.
「I’m wielding techniques with intention that might kill you here!!」
Arthur yelled as though she was howling.
Disturbance of consciousness, death, from magic intoxication──those were things that was unavoidable in a fight using magic. Arthur disparaged the shallowness of Kazuki’s resolve.
However, even so something like a certain death that came when one was defeated, the weight of such thing was definitely different. Kazuki had already witnessed Lancelot’s death. He had promised that Lancelot about Arthur.
Kazuki felt heat welling up from Joyeux’s handle. Gematria fluttered.
Kazuki was suddenly made to notice. Kazuki was pressed with need in the middle of his fight against Ikousai, and then he wielded Joyeux with his left hand in a two sword style. And then he displayed precise sword handling that wasn’t inferior compared to when he held one sword with two hands, and he immediately became able to also use <Midashi> with just his left hand even though he only realized the technique using two hands a short time before.
He thought that it was because of his desperation where he couldn’t afford to lose, like someone who exerted desperate strength when trapped in the middle of fire but……this Joyeux, Lancelot who was residing in it might be lending him a hand.
Wielding precise swordsmanship with perfect control even while changing violently blazing emotion into strength……that was the strength Lancelot showed with Joyeux in hand. Gematria was drawing out that trait from Joyeux.
The domain he was currently standing at wasn’t a domain that he reached only because of his own effort and coincidence.
All the people who wished for his victory were pushing him up until the domain where he was standing right now. In that case, as expected, he must not doubt his own path.
──Arthur was single-mindedly attacking fiercely.
Kazuki’s absolute defense was also like dancing on a thin ice. If even the slightest stiffening or hesitation occurred in his body handling or muscle operation, his gears would immediately go out of order and it would allow Arthur’s breakthrough.
With his current magic power amount, if he got swallowed into Arthur’s consecutive attacks then most likely the result would go beyond magic intoxication and end up with instant death. That was how much power that Arthur was wielding.
While understanding that, Arthur didn’t go easy at the slightest. She constantly showered the pressure of death on the teenage youth. That was the only path to victory that she could find.
──However in front of her there wasn’t any ripple in the dance of Kazuki who fluttered his Gematria. There was no emotion like anxiety or hesitation that could be peeked from him, as though he was fighting while being encouraged by the voiceless voice of his comrades.
His exhausted limbs looked like the sacred dance of a shrine maiden that was possessed by a god.
Suddenly, an image lightly floated behind Kazuki.
It was Lemegeton. She wasn’t lending Kazuki strength anymore, she was attentively watching Kazuki fighting with a smile.
Like she was a mother who was watching over her son.
……Like a shrine maiden that was possessed by god, even such metaphor felt outrageous.
This youth was fighting without relying at all on god’s strength anymore.
What was residing in his body was──the very dignity of humanity itself.
And yet no wavering emotion could be seen from him at all. She didn’t feel humanity from him.
He was a monster. It was Arthur instead that felt fear of him.
She was facing something that wasn’t human, yet personified humanity the most…….
She was shouldering a country and challenged the battle with pride as a King. She resolved her heart facing this final battle. And yet it was her whose heart was shaken, why was that she wondered.
She wondered just what in the world was the difference between them.
When she noticed the simple fact, Arthur stopped her countless weapons.
──He was fighting with his own strength.
Those who were defeated by him, everyone similarly thought ‘If it’s him then……’ and became his ally, the reason for this must be that. This Arthur Basilleus was also a human.
When she looked at him, she couldn’t help but be reminded of that…….
「As I thought the one who is worthy for victory……isn’t me.」
Arthur recognized it with a fragile voice. The countless Sacred Treasures also disappeared along with her voice.
……Kazuki stayed wordless while losing all his strength. His knees staggered as though the string of tension was cut off and he fell forward, his face landing softly on Arthur’s chest.
「Oops……. O, oi! Don’t bury your face on my chest!」
Even Kazuki who displayed miraculous blade handling unwaveringly like that was just barely at his limit, even more than Arthur’s imagination.
Arthur breathed a sigh while her arms moved around the collapsing Kazuki in an embrace.
「I have lived all this time as King as much as possible. But because of you, from here on I’m just a woman. ……Fuh. I wonder if I’m also conquered by you?」
Arthur recognized her defeat. Without getting defeated.
Kazuki thought, that she recognized his fight.
Kazuki recalled that when they first met, Arthur showed him their difference of status and conduct as King, and he learned from that.
「Thank you, Arthur.」
Kazuki was completely exhausted and his face was buried on Arthur’s breasts. Arthur’s hand gently scooped his hair and she caressed his head. She looked like a normal big sister, not a King.
And then, there was no more opponents that had to be fought on Atlantis.
From the sky, rainbow colored light descended down beside the exhausted Kazuki.
『……Looks like we are called.』
The images of Clark, Hrotsvit, and the others who watched over the battle were slowly fading. Their presence was becoming distant. Gematria couldn’t sense them anymore.
The light descending from the sky was increasing in density, and before long it became a shining bright stair that possessed substance. A stair to heaven. The Stairway to Heaven.
……Kazuki didn’t know if this was the commendation for him, but Basileus Basileon must be ahead of this.
「The winner, the sole King, come up.」
Basileon’s disgusting voice came from the heaven, exactly as he thought.
Atlantis that was continuously moving in the sky stopped, and it slowly began to descend.
Atlantis was losing power.
It looked like the power of illusion was gathered in one place.
To ahead of this stairway, at the place where Basileon was waiting.
「It seems I’m also losing the power of a King.」
Arthur who was supporting Kazuki’s exhausted body said so and she let go of him. She softly pushed on his back.
「You go ahead.」 Arthur said that as the last one defeated.
Kazuki exerted his last strength.
……The problem was that, what Kazuki wished for, Kazuki’s conclusion, they weren’t something desirable for the administrator of this joke battle.
Kazuki squeezed out his willpower and headed to the last battle.
Every time Kazuki climbed up a step, the step below him vanished──he was separated from the descending Atlantis along with his comrades.
It appeared he would face him alone.
The King of Bonds felt a slight helplessness.
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