The Unexplored Summon Blood Sign:Volume8 Opening2
Opening X-02: Window-Shattering Youth
“Olivia? Why are you backing away so quickly? Hey!”
“Onii-chan, you wouldn’t understand since you’re a freak who only has standards when it comes to cereal!”
(Opening X-02 Open 08/03 17:05)
Now let us move back in time a bit to see why Shiroyama Kyousuke was tired.
It was past 5 in the Northern Australian city of Iron Range.
A middle-aged man named Leonardo Pounds was soaked in sweat despite the office’s nice air-conditioning. He gasped for breath as he knocked over a thick bookcase. The safe on the wall behind it used a dial. Everything tended to be digital in modern times, but that man knew from experience that you could only trust the products of craftsmen when it really mattered. He turned the old-fashioned dial, opened the thick door, and pulled out a duralumin case. It was essentially the same as a disaster bag for earthquakes. However, he had prepared it for manmade disasters on the level of wars, so it contained a fake passport, a list of foreign bank accounts, cash in multiple currencies for bribing policemen in a pinch, a notebook full of secret contact points that would connect him to people who dealt in less-than-legal goods and services, a ring of keys for hideouts around the world, a cellphone and laptop modified to be untraceable, an assortment of white powders he could not admit to owning, a plastic handgun and cartridges that would slip past a metal detector, etc., etc. The fact that Leonardo had all this prepared should tell you what kind of disaster he was prepping for and what kind of world he lived in.
Anyone who assumed he was with one of Illegal’s criminal organizations was someone with a kind and honest heart.
He was actually part of a new organization that belonged to Government, the world police.
That might be understandable if you had done some thorough research into the state of monasteries in the middle ages. But that leads only to regret, so it is not recommended.
Instead of a phone, the middle-aged man shouted into a radio that was reinforced with encryption.
“Kevin!! Gather a few sets of disposable summoners and get them out there to slow the enemy down. I’m going to release the final lock, activate the gas, and escape. I need time, not money, so buy me that time even if it means spending some lives!!”
The framed symbol of their cult tilted and fell to the floor with the sound of shattering glass, but the middle-aged man paid it no heed. That was no more than some scribblings made by an advertising agency’s designer to include a few colors, shapes, and symbols that would capture the human heart.
Leonardo had no religious faith whatsoever.
He had come to understand the simple fact that a flea market could be used to create a religion.
What people wanted or no longer wanted revealed their individual desires and anxieties. It was like a guidebook to what someone would have to whisper to them to make them think it was a miracle.
He had led them to believe in god.
He had led them to hand over all of their possessions.
He had led them to continue following his teachings even if he died.
(I would have had heaven on earth if I’d managed to cross the final line and taught them I could save the world if I had sex with all the young women, so why the hell did it have to fall apart now!?)
…In truth, Leonardo himself was not as charismatic as he claimed. It might have been amusing if this had been a planned collapse. But frequent appearances of the White Queen (even if normal people could not retain any proper memories or awareness of her) had gathered anxiety and popularity as two sides of the same coin. And when word arrived that the Queen had been killed, something had exploded. It had crossed a line.
The entire office…no, the entire headquarters shook violently. The middle-aged man’s shoulder slammed into the wall and he endured the pain as he threw open the door with the duralumin case still in his arms.
Outside the door was a complex labyrinth made of sturdy steel.
He heard pounding footsteps as the obedient summoners and vessels made their way outside.
As evidenced by how he naturally held his breath, Leonardo did not want to be found by his own elites any more than by the enemy. He had no intention of staying here. He would let those hard workers form the suicide squad while he made a quick escape. There were some young women in the cult with breasts and butts he so badly wanted to claim as his own, but he unfortunately had to abandon them here.
Since he had used the form of a religion instead of a corporation or a bloodline, he could never show any weakness. No matter how attractive those breasts and butts were, if he took them with him during this desperate situation, they could awaken from their dream at any time. And he would really prefer to not have them stab him. Luckily, he had proven that his methodology worked. He had memorized the process. If he swallowed his tears here, said goodbye to those breasts and butts, and escaped to a new life, he could rebuild a community from scratch and gain peace of mind.
(I can’t have any damage from my past when I do that. I need to blow it all up and leave no trace behind. I’m getting a fresh start, so it has to truly be from nothing. I don’t want any debt. If I don’t start a new self from scratch, I’ll just be tripping myself up.)
The turbine that provided thrust was exposed on the surface, but the engine room that contained the key to blowing it up was deep inside. And it was not set up for remote control. His own demands were getting in his way. And since he was a terrible person, he clicked his tongue like it was someone else’s fault. He slid past the thick metal door and into the engine room that was full of thick pipes and machines that looked like metal guts. He removed a panel that used four different types of screws, none of which were a normal Phillips head or flat head, inserted the analog key, and typed in a 16-digit code.
After seeing the green light turn red, he removed the key with a satisfied look.
Unlike in a movie or drama, there was no obvious digital countdown. For one thing, no one but Leonardo needed to know about the countdown. The believers who had stayed behind because of their faith in him could continue doing their duty without a doubt in their mind until it all blew up around them.
When the time came, a flammable gas made by vaporizing fuel would spray from all of the sprinklers and all trace of every person and thing here would be erased in one giant fireworks show. Instead of setting up small explosives all around the structure, the plan was to turn the entire space into a giant bomb. Thus, it was impossible for anything to survive.
“Kevin, I’ve finished! I’m on my way to the heliport, so get the engine warmed up so we can leave right away!!”
Another rumbling and tremor shook the world.
He staggered but managed to regain his balance, left the engine room, avoided the pounding footsteps of his allies, and ran up a narrow metal stairway.
He tackled open the metal door leading outside.
He found the clear blue sky and sunshine of Australia. A vortex of heat pushed in at him. Even if the Southern Hemisphere’s seasons were opposite of the Northern Hemisphere, this harbor city was closer to the equator than Hawaii or Guam. But the middle-aged man did not see the rooftop of a high-rise building in front of him. This was an extraordinarily large aircushion ship that measured more than 200m long. A large balloon was opened below and the power of air was used to keep the giant ship moving across land or sea. The heliport on the deck was Leonardo Pounds’s goal.
He gasped for breath, but also looked away from his obvious goal. He could not help but look.
Hell on earth lay before him.
He saw the magic king of Norse mythology whose name begins with an O and who offered up one eye at a spring.
He saw the trident king of Greek mythology whose name begins with a P and who rules the sea.
He saw the light king of Celtic mythology whose name begins with an L and who excels at using projectiles.
He saw the black king of Slavic mythology whose name begins with a C and who rules over death and the underworld.
Outside the aircushion ship, several beings had appeared on the concrete of the 2nd dock in Iron Range’s commerce area. They were all Divine-class and they were Materials who held dreadful power at the center of their respective mythologies. Viewed from a different perspective, they could be seen as a treasure trove of material on what Leonardo should make people think of when he used his tricks.
But that was not the center of the hell he saw.
They were cut down, crushed, broken, or suppressed.
The Blood-Sign Summoning Ceremony had changed everything.
He knew that, but how many people would believe that a single individual could do all this?
Unexplored-class. Cost: 20. Sound Range: Low.
The “Red-Eyed” Lady who Sees Through All Sin and Calamity (f a – a o – a b – e i – f j – c i b – b – d u – a – e i f).
She looked a lot like a female Oni of Eastern folklore. Her long, beautiful hair and the two horns protruding from her forehead gave her an oriental charm. She wore a red kimono and innerwear resembling a one-piece swimsuit. Countless gears of varying sizes fit together behind her and they guided her hair to different parts of the world like a loom. The middle-aged man placed his sexual desire at top priority when making any decision, but the divinity inside her left even him hesitant to make her a target of lust. Not only could she prophesy all things to always make an accurate attack, but if she merely opened her closed eyes, it was said she would forcibly determine the target’s fate. Even the gods of legend would fail to see their fate and be swallowed up before they could dodge. Faced with one of the Unexplored-class Materials known as the Three, even gods of death and war could not make use of their powers.
“There he is…”
But it was not even the Red Lady that made the middle-aged man gulp when he saw them.
He was looking at the boy who stood by her side.
That veteran summoner was calm and composed as he controlled one of the Three.
“I had a feeling you would show up, Queen Executioner!!”
Even at such a great distance, he could tell something the instant their eyes met: the owner of those rusty eyes was a true berserker. He would show no mercy whatsoever. He was not just a wild beast or a faceless unmanned weapon. He felt like an incarnation of ruthlessness itself.
Leonardo Pounds lost what calm he had previously felt.
He ran across the aircushion ship’s deck and threw aside the duralumin case that was weighing him down. That was his valuable social lifeline for after he escaped, but his instincts were screaming that this was not the time to worry about what happened after he escaped. It was all for naught if he was killed before he escaped.
“Pant, pant, pant!!”
(Dammit. What was all that nonsense about the White Queen being the strongest of the strongest? It’s all meaningless if she gets herself killed. I have to redo everything and build up the symbols from the ground up. Dammit, dammit, dammit. What am I supposed to do? It’s all fading away. My life of debauchery is fading away. What do I do now? And I had finally completed the ultimate method of safely abducting women. Oh, it’s no use. I can’t think. I just want to have sex so bad!!)
Luckily, that frighteningly effective summoner had yet to board the aircushion ship. The vanguard was obediently fighting on the harbor where it was docked. Artificial Sacred Grounds were powerful, but they also anchored the summoner and vessel in place. It was all over if that boy made it here, but Leonardo could still escape.
He was almost to the helicopter that was waiting with the main rotor turning.
He made it in time.
Perhaps because he was freed from so much tension, the dam in his head broke even though he had not sniffed anything yet today. After taking a step into divine territory while sober, psychedelic colors danced wildly in his brain.
(Yes, this is my chance. The White Queen has lost, but I can use this. I can say the new strongest of the strongest will reside in any woman who has sex with me. Yes, that’s it!! This will work. I’m still winning. Hardship only makes you stronger. Once I get the details worked out, I can start spreading these new teachings. And I can make up for being forced to wait by having sex, sex, sex, and more sex!! Ah, it just hit me. I can hire a famous songwriter and make a sex festival dance. Yahoo, yahoo, sex, sex! Ah ha ha! God, I’m so hard just thinking about it! I’m still the best and I’m still unbeatable!!!!!)
The middle-aged man rushed toward the helicopter and naturally made for the rear door for passengers. He was having trouble breathing but managed to raise his voice.
“Sorry about the wait, Kevin! The great Leonardo is here! I’ll praise you for holding back and not going off early. I’ll never call you a quick shot again. Okay, now get flying!! It’s time for that sweet release after holding back for so, so, so long! We can redo this together. To start with, let’s set our sights on a pool crammed full of naked women. Like the world’s most wonderful rush-hour train car! Screw this up and its back to Chicago’s back alleys for the both of us! You don’t want to go back to dressing up like a woman to lure people in for me to threaten with a gun, do you!? Then get working!!”
But there was no response.
Does he want some kind of reward? wondered the middle-aged man with a frown, but that was not the case.
With a horribly sticky sound, the lump of flesh sitting in the pilot’s seat crumpled to the side.
What in the world had happened? The convulsing figure’s face was so badly covered in red and black that it was unclear where the eyes, nose, or mouth were.
Leonardo did not even feel the proper sense of danger.
He was simply confused.
(Who did this to Kevin? Him? The Queen Executioner? No, he still wasn’t on the ship last I saw him. He couldn’t have gotten here so soon. An ambush? No, this is bad. These depressions look a lot like a Blood-Sign tip. Was he jabbed with that flat tip? This is bad, bad, bad!! This isn’t even about the Summoning Ceremony anymore!!!)
More than the clear threat approaching him, he wanted to avoid breathing the same air as that disturbing mass of flesh and blood. Leonardo Pounds had used flea markets to design a cult, but it was an extremely primitive sense of disgust that bound his soul right now.
And that was why he misjudged the threat.
Just as he reached for the door to leave the helicopter, something broke through the helicopter’s even-thicker glass like it was thin paper.
An object with flat tip mercilessly approached his face: a Blood-Sign. The fact that it would not kill him instantly like a spear actually made it an even more ruthless attack, but did the middle-aged man even manage to see it before it hit?
The first attack crushed the bridge of his nose.
He rolled the other way as if torn from the door he had grabbed at, he hit his back, and then the second attack arrived. He shook his head in protest, so his right cheekbone was broken from a blow powerful enough to knock him out the other door where his girth fell onto the heliport.
While collapsed and curled up, he reached for his own face and trembled in his heart when he found it had been horribly misshapen. His chin had been shifted to the side so that his top teeth and bottom teeth no longer fit together. Was he lucky or unlucky that there was no mirror here? His mind returned to the image of Kevin’s red and black face as he convulsed in the pilot’s chair. The attacker – the Queen Executioner – showed no mercy. He would “process” Leonardo as if preparing to cook him.
The middle-aged man’s entire body shook when he heard some footsteps that should not have been here.
Something was circling around toward him.
(A-are you kidding me…?)
There was something there. There was definitely something there. Leonardo had poured his all into studying the Blood-Sign method for the inappropriate purposes of using that paranormal system to satisfy his own desires, but he could not explain how this threat had arrived at the heliport.
(Did he release the Artificial Sacred Ground that pins the summoner and vessel to the ground like a powerful anchor? But that would mean giving up his Unexplored-class and finding himself surrounded by Divine-classes without his protective circle. Did he ignore all of that and make it here!?)
The threat was well past anything he could calculate by this point.
He felt the pure terror of facing a formless ghost, like a young child fearfully peering into the darkness.
“Ah, abh. Abfhh…”
He knew nothing about them, but they knew everything about him.
They really were a ghost.
The bloody middle-aged man was certain they knew he had planned to take advantage of the White Queen’s defeat to start a new cult and that he would try to prey on all the young women he wanted when he did so.
He heard something slowly swishing through the air.
It was the sound of someone casually spinning a long, long Repliglass stick.
Just for now, that boy’s Blood-Sign was not a divine-yet-blasphemous ceremonial tool. It was no more than a ruthless tool for processing a human body by primitively crushing the flesh and smashing the bones. There was no room for otherworldly beings to intervene.
The middle-aged man lay on the heliport in a daze. Simply in a daze.
He moved his trembling head to look up at the ghost whose back was to the sun. And that berserker with rusted eyes spoke.
“I went to the trouble of defeating the strongest, so don’t go around twisting everything yourselves now…”
He was Freedom Award 903, Alice (with) Rabbit.
And his icy voice seemed to reject the entire path he had built up to this point.
“…Keep it up and I’ll kill you, you goddamn cultist.”
The Queen Executioner produced a new form of art.
The heliport looked like an entire can of toxic paint had been dumped on it to form a red crescent moon. At one end, a middle-aged man convulsed with his face against the deck and his butt sticking up, but the rusty-eyed boy in a red and black hoodie and track suit pants did not even glance in his direction.
Half of the world’s conflict was related to the White Queen and Shiroyama Kyousuke had helped cause that. He wanted to resolve what problems he could, but they just kept growing more and more twisted.
He knew the feeling was unreasonable, but it was starting to piss him off.
Some small footsteps approached that annoyed grim reaper who rested a Blood-Sign on his shoulder.
It was Olivia Highland.
That girl had entered into a contract as Kyousuke’s vessel.
She wore something like a metal bag carried by a thick chain draped diagonally across her body. It was actually a giant padlock that psychologically bound her as a vessel. It jangled as she clung to the blood-splattered boy without hesitation.
“I’m kind of tired,” she said.
“It seems a self-destruct device was activated, so we should get away from the ship. I have no problem with the cult’s mobile base blowing up, so there’s no real reason to deactivate it.”
“Aren’t there still people onboard?”
“Don’t worry. If we tie up their battered leader and drag him behind a car, they’ll follow.”
“Hmm,” said Olivia like she did not really care.
She may have had no interest in the fate of some strange old man.
“More importantly, we’re in Australia, so let’s get something to eat, Onii-chan!”
Since this bloody scene did nothing to dampen her hunger, you could say Olivia was a true vessel.
“That’s fine, but are there any famous Australian dishes? Like something you can only eat here?”
“Hm? Beef maybe???”
“That’s an ingredient, not a dish.”
Even now, bursting sounds were ringing out in the distance.
With Olivia still clinging to his waist, Kyousuke swung his Blood-Sign like a baseball bat to hit the bolts and nuts he scooped up from the floor. Before the summoners and vessels in the harbor could plot a comeback, he “sniped” them one after another to knock them unconscious.
While continuing to unilaterally hit them with his 1000 fungoes from hell, Kyousuke held his smartphone in his other hand and viewed a blog by a housewife who used a form of English distinct from that of England or America.
“Let’s see. With more than 80% of its territory taken up by a vast desert, Australia is known for its insect dishes that combine aboriginal knowledge with cutting-edge nutritional science.”
“Worms, caterpillars, and ants are favored because they are nonvenomous, have no strong flavor, and reproduce easily. Eating bugs has gathered the attention of the wealthy the world over as a next generation source of protein needed to survive an age of famine brought on by global warming and overpopulation, but roach cakes made from the giant burrowing cockroach (known to be the largest in the world) can be easily made by anyone with a blender and an oven. It is a unique Australian-…Olivia? Why are you backing away so quickly? Hey!”
“Onii-chan, you wouldn’t understand since you’re a freak who only has standards when it comes to cereal!”
While enjoying himself like that, Kyousuke continued sniping the cult’s elites from a distance before they could throw a new Incense Grenade.
Then he saw the top trending online news listed outside of the blog article:
“The Toy Dream Company is supposed to spread hopes and dreams around the world, but have they posted a pro-war video? Has a Silver Resource War between America and the East Europe Axis finally begun? The suspicious Missing Princess, that mobile VFX studio made from a remodeled cruise ship, is scheduled to stop at Toy Dream 35 soon.”
Shiroyama Kyousuke sighed.
There were a few different methods for choosing online advertisements, but this seemed to be based on search rankings. Vertical and horizontal banners were set up to guide you to a dedicated page on a video sharing site.
At this point, one had to question whether the search rankings were even accurate. Without even mentioning DDoS attacks, there were plenty of techniques for sending in a ton of access data to increase a visitor counter or number of viewers.
This was far greater than a small cult.
It was the United States, the world’s greatest superpower.
Even something on that level was distorted, bent, and twisted.
It might not be as direct, but not even defeating the Queen had freed the people of the world. In fact, they were unable to accept that she had lost, so chaos and panic were spreading.
For better or for worse, a powerful force had been drawing the 7 billion people on the planet toward a single point, but now they were beginning to separate once more.
An age of chaos had begun.
This was likely another part of that.
The Toy Dream Company itself was a normal international corporation that did not belong to Government, Illegal, or Freedom, but it had gathered items and documents related to mysteries around the world in search of subjects for their children’s books. It was entirely possible that they had unknowingly come into contact with information related to the White Queen.
So it was also possible that her death or defeat had knocked something out of order.
“Never mind, never mind. I’m not hungry at all! I’m just fine with a burger you could find anywhere in the world!! A-a consistent flavor is just the best, isn’t it!? Isn’t it!?”
“That’s perfect then. We’re going to Japan next.”
“Our target is the world’s largest VFX studio that’s docking at Toy Dream 35 as a ship. I won’t let them guide us toward war by shifting public opinion like a seesaw. Let’s find out just what Toy Dream is up to.”
Olivia’s mouth flapped wordlessly.
And when she saw the seriousness in Kyousuke’s eyes, she just about grew tearful and her throat trembled.
“I don’t want to!! How many countries do you think we’ve visited today alone? I don’t care if it’s in a tent or a car! I just want to get some sleep!!”
“A civilian Repliglass supersonic plane takes two hours, so you can rest on the way there.”
- The White Queen and the Colorless Little Girl tend to gather the most attention, but the rest of the Unexplored-class also boast extraordinary power. The Divine-class can be explained using existing mythologies and religions, so they do not stand a chance.
- The Artificial Sacred Ground remains in place until the battle is over or the 10-minute limit has been reached, so Kyousuke must have swiftly defeated the enemies before his eyes and canceled the Artificial Sacred Ground without using his Chain.
- Shiroyama Kyousuke used an unthinkable path to take a shortcut from the dock to the aircushion boat’s dock. He likely used his Blood-Sign like he was pole vaulting, but the details are unknown.
- The White Queen’s defeat is known around the world. The end of her undefeated legacy has caused all sorts of chaos in both the surface and hidden worlds.
- One side effect of the Queen’s execution is the rise of talk about a Silver Resource War between America and the East Europe Axis.
- The Toy Dream Company specializes in making movies out of children’s books and fairy tales using their own unique interpretations and they spread hopes and dreams around the world, but they have begun showing approval toward the aforementioned war. That should be enough to see how deep the world’s chaos runs.
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