The Unexplored Summon Blood Sign:Volume4 Opening2
Opening X-02: Another Infiltration Mission
“But your target seems to be Illegal bodyguards.”
“All three major powers are the same. They’re all connected to the Deltaston family if you dig deep enough.”
(“Past” Opening X-02 Open 06/01 02:00)
Another Infiltration Mission
Two days earlier.
The flat green earth continued to the horizon. Countless manmade lights swept away the late night darkness. What should have been a pastoral grassy field was filled with enormous structures. Military contractors, pharmaceutical companies, and countless other corporations and groups had flashy outdoor booths set up as well as giant indoor displays that resembled circus tents. There were also lodging facilities and the rest of the infrastructure to support the lives of the thousands on the staff and the guests who numbered ten times that. There were legends of an entire city being built to film a single Hollywood movie back before CG had hit its prime, but this was on an equally large scale. This was D.R.O.K., a temporary city built just for a ten day event.
It was currently two in the morning.
Laser art and fireworks colored the night sky and the guiding voices of staff members never ceased. And of course, the many people watching it all were an indispensable part of the whole.
Men, women, boys, and girls filled the entire area.
The crowds were as dense as a subway platform during rush hour and, shockingly, every last one of them was a summoner or vessel involved in the Summoning Ceremony.
One pair whispered just behind the great commotion.
“(Over here, Kyousuke-kun! I’ll leave the exact method to you.)”
“(Sure. Let’s get this over with quickly. This is different from the normal setup. Everyone around us is a summoner or vessel, so we can’t assume people will forget about us as soon as they look away.)”
One was Shiroyama Kyousuke, a black-haired boy wearing a red hoodie and sports brand track pants while holding a Repliglass Blood-Sign.
He was being guided by a young woman in her early twenties. She had glossy black hair, but a blue shine was hidden in the black. A soft and fluffy scrunchie held that hair in a ponytail which had enough volume to reach her waist. The sexy woman wore a deep navy blue suit with a tight skirt.
Her most unique feature was probably the intentional tears in the sides of her skirt and the purposeful rips in her stockings.
She also wore a brand-name shoulder bag over her shoulder and, for some reason, wore a whistle on a thin chain around her neck. She wore stilettos, but she moved swiftly through the dark night without making even the slightest noise.
She was Kyousuke’s vessel.
Her name was Himekawa Mika and she originally belonged to Illegal.
All vessels shared a certain trait. They wore some kind of restraints that bound their heart and prevented evil and vengeful spirits from taking over their body when not summoning something. In her case, it was the whistle hanging at her neck. The thin chain had a few small decorations attached in addition to the whistle.
One medieval punishment was known as a “sin necklace”.
As a way of disgracing the criminal, icons of their crimes would be attached to a necklace that they were forced to wear. A fist indicated violence, a glass indicated drunken violence, a palm indicated theft, a card indicated gambling-induced debt, and so on. This would naturally gather attention and make them a target of negative rumors, so it made their social life a challenge. A modern version might be attaching a GPS transmitter to a sex criminal’s ankle so that anyone could see their location at all times.
In Himekawa Mika’s case, the icons were a mug, a pair of lips, and a twelve-sided die.
Wearing a torn skirt and stockings in public was another form of public shaming. All of it had likely been carefully fine-tuned to match the vessel’s psychology.
They were running right behind a brightly lit outdoor stage. Countless eyes were focused on that symbol of the extraordinary, but the darkness just outside that light was a complete blind spot.
The people out front only saw the sales pitch being made through lip service and a microphone performance.
“Today we will be introducing projection summon bombing. Unlike the existing Blood-Sign system, the summoner and vessel need not actually visit the scene. Plus, there is no need to fear losing control of an unruly Material and you are guaranteed to achieve the same stable results every single time. We promise you all it will be a perfectly safe and one-sided game that does not even require a hit & away strategy! Just watch our demonstration!!”
The microphone picked up the announcer snapping his fingers.
A moment later, the night vanished.
A blinding flash of light burst near the horizon. That should have been at least five kilometers away, but a powerful gust of wind swept across them and Kyousuke had to tackle the tight skirt woman to the ground. Scorching pain stabbed into his skin. Just like after sunbathing, his back was covered with a slight pain that made him think thousands of thin needles were pricking him.
“Ghh!! Wh-what…what was that!?”
“Shh. We expected something like this, didn’t we?”
Kyousuke silenced the words that left Himekawa’s voice almost on reflex.
If they had seen it from the sky, they might have understood. A dome-shaped explosion had covered a diameter of precisely 2000 meters. And it was unnatural for an explosion on that scale to not trigger any secondary atmospheric changes such as a mushroom cloud. Most importantly, the light had not been a blinding pure white; it had been the purple of glow-in-the-dark paint.
(That must have been the Unexplored-class Lady of Purple Lightning. They used a traditional magic circle, but they intentionally omitted the central vessel. The exposed power directly fills the outside world as a light so bright you can’t even see the Unexplored-class in question. If they were trying to weaponize it by creating a territory of death, then I guess they succeeded. Or maybe I should say they’ve made the gods obsolete.)
“How about that!? The laser range-finding fired from a stealth bomber instantly calculated out the contours of the terrain, projection mapping was used to optically project the largescale magic circle on the three-dimensional surface without the slightest flaw, and the Unexplored-class was positioned in the center of that region. There are countless legends that represent divine power as light that annihilates any who see it who are inexperienced or have broken a taboo. We have removed the cover known as a vessel and successfully drawn out that pure, piercing power. This is the strategy of a new age. We in Government will end everything before any summoner can even throw an Incense Grenade!! After all, the explosion of power is not just an instantaneous thing! It will continue indefinitely until an exorcism circle is added on! We set it at 2000 meters here in the interest of safety, but if we liked, we could increase the scale tenfold or project it from a satellite rather than a bomber!!”
The purple light enveloped everything a second and third time.
A few times in the past, the White Queen had appeared without a vessel, but this phenomenon had not been seen. There was a simple reason for that.
There had either been other safeties in place or the Queen herself had kept her power under control so that she could see Kyousuke.
The sight blew away the darkness of the night, but it actually separated the scene into the two extremes of light and shadow. As long as someone stayed in the shadow, the crowds would not notice them. Kyousuke and Himekawa moved from shadow to shadow in the gaps between explosions.
This frightening insanity completely ignored the existing Blood-Sign system.
But the commotion was not confined to the one location.
The hosts of the other booths were holding their own microphones and trying to outdo each other.
“Our Attach Saint Project does not send the Material itself into the vessel but instead injects it inside the Repliglass equipped by the summoner. Now, only Divine-class weapons can be summoned, but this allows you to borrow the power of the gods while thoroughly eliminating the will of the gods.”
“Previous Incense Grenades have primarily been based on their compatibility with the summoner, but how about this? Why not change your viewpoint and adjust the incense ingredients for compatibility with the Material you wish to summon!? Doing so can make it easier to contact Divine-classes from a set mythology or Unexplored-classes associated with a specific color, but it also makes it more difficult to contact anything else. While your opponent is confused, we predict you can unilaterally shift the battle in your favor.”
“Our Holy Key Women are extremely high precision vessels while also almost entirely eliminating the risk of natural possessions by vengeful and evil spirits. Pay careful attention to her back near the shoulder blades. If you insert the authorization key in the keyhole there…”
None of them feared the gods.
It was a trade show for products that arrogantly made tools of the paranormal.
“D.R.O.K… The Divine Right of Kings, hm?”
Every last one of the products was awful.
The Blood-Sign system was a complex system including an Artificial Sacred Ground, Petals, White Thorns, Spots, and more, but all of it had meaning. At this point, it would be meaningless to explain just how risky it was to take shortcuts.
And not even Government, Illegal, and Freedom could develop enough alternative Summoning Ceremony systems to fill these hundreds of booths. There was a reason for all of it.
Yet another purple flash highlighted a giant silhouette.
“Pandemonium,” groaned the woman with a bluish-black ponytail. “It sure is big.”
The giant trade show was built in the northern land, but its structure was incredibly clear. The booths, stages, lodging facilities, and everything else were arranged in a ring with a diameter of ten kilometers and the largest structure of all sat in the very center. At first glance, its silhouette may have been reminiscent of the giant rock in Australia known as Ayers Rock, but it was far too sinister-looking.
Not counting a city’s largescale management infrastructure, it was the world’s largest standalone piece of Repliglass.
The pitch black center was shaped like a gigantic coffin and a total of ten thick propulsion tentacles extended from the bottom like oil pipelines.
Altogether, it was shaped like a giant squid lying on its side.
It was known as Pandemonium, but it was not just a building. It was said to be a mobile fortress that could move autonomously across both land and water. Incidentally, the Lady of Purple Lightning explosions had been occurring outside the ring.
And at the same time…
“No one can develop non-Blood-Sign methods that easily. I had heard before arriving that Pandemonium is a giant Box, but I didn’t think it would distort things to this extent…”
That was something Kyousuke had seen during the recent Anthill incident involving Girl’s Backdoor and Biondetta Shiroyama. It was a personal summoning device that Government had used for the Red Lady, one of the Three of the Unexplored-class.
But this one was much larger.
The scale was far greater and it was more generic.
“Yes, I hear more than 90% of the new systems being displayed here at D.R.O.K. are being supported with a link to Pandemonium. And Pandemonium itself is the biggest product of all, built as a joint project between Government, Illegal, and Freedom.”
It was very strange if one thought about it.
Those three major powers were in constant conflict, so why would they gather their secrets together to create a single trump card? The risk of leaked information was far too great and then they could start fighting over who would use the completed trump card.
But unnatural things always came with an unnatural benefit.
(Basically, that’s a supercomputer that can perform any calculations and the booths are all terminals. It can do everything from searching for recipes to calculating missile trajectories, so everyone has their own use for it and their possibilities expand endlessly.)
Kyousuke and Himekawa steadily approached their destination while circling behind the booths and studios.
On the way, he stopped behind cover and pulled out his smartphone. The VIP was likely making his microphone performance in front of the stage, but that was not the main dish. Kyousuke pictured the men in black waiting just below the brightly lit stage.
“Okay, I’ve opened an illicit port on the bodyguards’ devices. Now we can spy on them all we want. It’s all thanks to the key picker I bought from Lu-san.”
“But your target seems to be Illegal bodyguards.”
“All three major powers are the same. They’re all connected to the Deltaston family if you dig deep enough.”
They made one last movement and peered into the darkness from behind the booth.
“Now, that’s step one toward infiltrating Pandemonium.”
They were only allowed in the ten kilometer ring and they could not approach Pandemonium in the center. If they did set foot on the grassy field between, they would be caught by the invisible net of microwave anti-personnel radars and infrared searchlights. Summoners and vessels vanished from all cameras and sensors when they were using an Incense Grenade, but the five kilometer distance was hardly fair. It was not an impossible distance to cover, but it would take quite a bit of creativity.
And at the moment, that did not matter.
Kyousuke and Himekawa had different plans.
(Booth #00D51. Good.)
With a short breath, the young male employee taking a break out back was knocked out by Kyousuke. Kyousuke was willing to use anything at his disposal. And at the moment, the thing flying through the air was gathering the most attention. He reached for the spare equipment the unconscious man was holding.
The man’s armband showed which booth he worked at.
And keeping backup equipment on hand was standard practice in case something malfunctioned.
“This should work. I’ll be borrowing this.”
It looked like a bazooka, but it did not fire a projectile.
But in a way, the end result was even greater than an anti-tank weapon.
Kyousuke was willing to grab equipment on the scene if he could use it. He rested it on his shoulder with practiced ease, peered through the finder, and accurately stared at the target five kilometers away.
“Understood. If you have any further requests, we should be able to deceive them. Ready when you are.”
“Targeting confirmed. Guidance started.”
A moment later, the Lady of Purple Lightning explosion fired by the bomber completely enveloped Pandemonium in the center.
The explosion of exposed power brought a prickling and scorching pain to his skin even several kilometers away. Kyousuke clenched his teeth, sent an exorcism request, and then tossed aside the bazooka-like device.
Whoever was in charge of the booth was likely sweating bullets at the moment.
But Kyousuke and Himekawa did not care.
False guidance from a third party had enveloped Pandemonium in a dome of light. Of course, it was not built so poorly that it would melt from only this.
Then again, that was the real problem here.
Kyousuke glanced down at his smartphone.
“Good, good. The shocked VIPS are making an emergency evacuation. The bodyguards are all transmitting the evacuation manuals they normally never distribute. This should give us every last route within D.R.O.K. And of course, that includes the internal routes and evacuation routes for Pandemonium.”
What was most important when it came to infiltrating a secure facility?
Was it a special drill that could break through any wall? Was it an almighty ID card that allowed one to pretend to be anyone else? Was it a ninja hood that turned one’s body invisible?
It was none of those.
The real answer was intelligence. It was the diagrams on the location one needed to infiltrate.
“This gives us a starting point. This trouble should put them on high alert, but we can’t help that. You need a foothold if we’re going to climb a sheer cliff.”
After downloading all the necessary information, the boy stared at Pandemonium’s giant silhouette that remained unchanged even after the purple light cleared away.
“The next step is prying open the thick doors.”
The core of the fortress came to mind.
He was reminded of just what carried out the calculations.
“It’s finally time to save the 353 vessels being used as cogs inside that giant machine.”
Those were the cursed words that had been spoken to Alice (with) Rabbit this time.
“That completes our current objective. And this confusion should assist our withdrawal. We need to bring back these diagrams and analyze them for a way inside, so we need to-…”
Kyousuke held his finger to his lips to silence the woman and then pointed in a different direction.
The sudden “friendly fire” had triggered localized chaos here and there and the some of the crowds were falling over in their panic, but there was also a different sort of commotion.
It was near a bright booth a few hundred meters away.
They could not hear exactly what the angry voices were saying, but one of the bodyguard smartphones he had used to steal the evacuation manuals was there. He peeked into the flow of data, linked to the microphone and camera, and listened in on the conversation.
“Read the manual, you fool! That isn’t how you use a Holy Key Woman!! Dammit, they’re supposed to be airdropped into the enemy formation and then activated!!”
“Eh? Eh? Wahh!?”
“You panicked from the friendly fire and then turned the key!? Now a Divine-class is going to appear in the middle of this crowd!!”
“We have to do some-…ohhhh!?”
A light much more sinister than the manmade ones filled one section of the trade show.
Something whirled around near the booth in question.
There was no Artificial Sacred Ground, no Petals, and no Spots. But the power of the gods of legend had been concentrated and given form. It had been summoned with a system other than the Blood-Sign system. And of course, it had skipped some steps using the power of the gigantic Box known as Pandemonium.
Kyousuke clicked his tongue.
If the friendly fire had triggered a panic that led to this, a portion of the responsibility fell on his shoulders.
“That’s Mika-san, you damn kid. You’re going to go save them, aren’t you?”
“We’re using the chaos to escape, right? Then we can show off a little without anyone noticing.”
The two of them ran through the darkness. All the while, a disconcerting vibration spread irregularly. They could see the change from where they were. “It” looked a lot like a surfer. A beautiful blonde woman with ribbons around her body had a black mass below her feet like a big wave. That mass was actually a collection of thousands if not tens of thousands of snakes. Kyousuke groaned as he combined that with the information on his smartphone.
“Divine-class. Sound Range: Middle. Cost: 6. That’s Adam’s first wife. This is a powerful enemy…”
“The Holy Key Women Project is run by Illegal. It performs a Summoning ceremony by unleashing special power with the locking and unlocking action of a complex lock. I believe the system is based on witchcraft. It is an application of a technique that stored the power of wind in the knots of a rope and performed magic by untying those knots.”
“But at its core, it’s the same as the aerial bombardment from that bomber. Unstable summons that omit the Blood-Sign are indiscriminate by nature. You’re apparently meant to unlock it in the middle of enemy territory so the rampaging Divine-class can wreak indiscriminate havoc on them. That makes this a real problem. Who knows how far the damage will spread after summoning something like that in the middle of your own troops. It’s like pulling the pin from a grenade and then carelessly releasing the lever.”
As he read through the data, his access was suddenly denied.
But not because they had noticed him. The device he was hacking into had likely been destroyed. He could only pray its owner was okay.
Luckily, only summoners and vessels were attending D.R.O.K. They would be forming pairs and fighting.
The Blood-Sign system required starting at the Regulation-class, but it could reach up to the Unexplored-class. Horrifyingly enough, that included the White Queen. They would be able to defeat the Holy Key Woman who could not move past the Divine-class.
But that was only if they could build up their Materials. If they tried to fight with the weakest Cost 1 Regulation-classes, they would be swallowed up and instantly killed by the Divine-class big wave. At the scene of the fight, there were probably quite a few summoners and vessels lying on the ground after receiving the shock of seeing their god killed before their eyes. A Level 1 hero could eventually defeat the demon king after earning enough experience points, but challenging the demon king at Level 1 gave them no chance to grow.
“What should we do?” Himekawa Mika made a suggestion as she ran alongside him. “Do you want to use my lock?”
The woman with the navy blue tight skirt turned her back toward Kyousuke. No, that was not quite accurate. She flicked open the skirt’s side hook and slid the skirt down. This revealed the area on the back of her hips just above the tailbone. But there was more than bright skin there. Something unusual could be seen there.
It was golden metal the size of a video disk.
And in the center was the kind of highly specialized keyhole seen on laboratory doors.
This was another oddity powered by Pandemonium.
She was one of the Holy Key Women.
By inserting and turning the key, one could summon a predetermined Divine-class.
Based on what Kyousuke had heard, the vessel’s mental state was instantly tuned by having them recall wings, a tail, or some other organ that humans should not have. That allowed the instant summoning of the Divine-class corresponding to the internal structure of the lock.
But Kyousuke immediately rejected the offer.
“I have some stun and smoke grenades in addition to the normal Incense Grenades. I can buy some time by drawing its attention with those. The best I can hope for is fifty seconds, but I don’t have to worry about another summoner in this case, so that’s more than enough time to hit the Petals into the Spots. I can directly summon an Unexplored-class like that and that will allow me to fight without being killed instantly.”
He gripped his Blood-Sign and stared at the Divine-class woman riding the wave of tens of thousands of snakes.
“Yes. It’s about time I showed them the true Summoning Ceremony.”
- Shiroyama Kyousuke was participating in the D.R.O.K. Summoning Ceremony Trade Show since at least a few days prior.
- Kyousuke has a contract with the Illegal vessel named Himekawa Mika.
- D.R.O.K. is demonstrating several new systems other than the Blood-Sign system, but most of those are apparently borrowing the power of the giant Box known as Pandemonium.
- D.R.O.K. and Pandemonium are supposedly a joint project between the three major powers of Government, Illegal, and Freedom, but Kyousuke also mentioned the term “Deltaston family”.
- Himekawa is part of the Holy Key Women Project, so she has a keyhole just above her tailbone which can summon a specific Divine-class into her body just by inserting and turning a key.
- 353 vessels are trapped inside Pandemonium. This corresponds to the number of quatrains in a certain book of prophecy and the Third Summoning Ceremony was discovered in 1999, but it is unknown if there is a connection.
- Kyousuke and Himekawa acquired diagrams of Pandemonium, giving them a starting point to infiltrate the facility.
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