Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume1 Chapter5
Chapter 5: Even If He Does Not Become a Hero. Knight(s).
Kuroyoru Umidori was standing on the roof of the apartment.
If she used her ability, her movement wouldn’t be affected even if there were no roads. Though she couldn’t fly straight like a plane, it was convenient enough if she was just moving from one roof of a building to another.
She was heading towards her workplace.
The underlings of the Freshmen had tracked down Hamazura and Fremea, and had confirmed that they were hidden inside the abandoned building.
She only stopped midway through because she realized that the phone in her hand was ringing.
With only the hood of her white coat hanging on her head, Kuroyoru Umidori grabbed the phone. She placed the inflatable dolphin doll beside her feet and stepped on it, making squishy sounds.
“Yes, that’s right. Bring over the ‘hidden treasure’ from where Silver Cross is. It’s the critical moment now. That guy is already useless. It’s a waste of money to save that treasure. It’s time for them to show their stuff.”
The one on the other side of the phone was someone working under Silver Cross. The person was in charge of activating the powered suit.
“Under automatic control, the movements will become abnormally simple, it’s extremely easy for the enemy to see through.”
“It’s all right if the enemy does not have enough firepower to pierce armor. We can rely on numbers here…besides, if we don’t use that thing, the treasure will rust.”
“With science continuing to advance, this is the perfect specimen for a basic standard in cutting-edge technology. This is facing us Freshmen. If you understand that, hurry up and send it in. As for Silver Cross, no need to care about what he likes, just send it.”
“But that model is…”
“I see, that’s the only one without a completely automated AI, right? Is that a unique attribute of a powered suit? It feels like a computer driver that inputs specified algorithm into a human brain to increase the capability.” Kuroyoru thought for a while. “Well, can’t be helped.”
“So are we not firing the Five Over?”
“On the contrary. Stuff the dead Silver Cross inside Five Over. That can act as the algorithm code, we just need a neural code.”
Such cold words.
As if it wanted to crush all rhetoric.
“Then, let’s confirm it. Most of the powered suits are automated. With Silver Cross inside, Five Over will be activated through the pre-installed procedure…since it doesn’t have a consciousness. And under automatic control, the movements of that thing will be extremely simple. Also, we can’t execute the minor adjustments and complex battle operations. In other words…”
“So you can’t guarantee whether Fremea Seivelun will remain alive?” Kuroyoru snorted. “No problem, it’s all right to kill her. The higher ups have already assumed that Hamazura Shiage has some sort of contact with Accelerator, and that there’s a power formed. That brat's mission is complete. Even if we kill her, I won’t be required to bear responsibility…hurry up and settle it so that we can deal with ‘them’.”
She hung up the phone and reached for a chocolate bar from the pocket inside of her coat. It was the kind advertised to be able to replace a breakfast.
(And, so, now, we managed to go all this way for Hamazura and Fremea. The main point is still Accelerator, huh?)
She ate the little chocolate chip snack that was mixed with honey and whipped cream.
(Though that guy’s reflection can resist a nuke’s attack, the principle behind it is just a simple operation of vectors. There was this example of someone in the past that used this attribute to pull his attack back right before the punch connected, and used reflection to attack Accelerator directly…and right now, through the Dark May Project, I can do a bit of that thinking process. In other words, I got the timing in my mind.)
With that thought, Kuroyoru inadvertently looked up.
“Really…this is too sweet. This is already way past the amount of sugar the brain needs for daily activities. Isn’t this making a fool of a health brand?”
As she said that, she deliberately amplified her voice, obviously trying to let someone hear it.
“We seemed to be brushing past each other nowadays. How about trying this? I mean, whether it’s eating or waiting for someone, it’s troubling when no one appears when you need them, isn’t it?”
Smirking, Kuroyoru turned her head around.
Hearing her words, Kinuhata wordlessly walked forward.
She was not holding anything in her small two hands, but for her, the most reliable things in a battle were her bare hands. Those slender wrists contained power capable of lifting a car.
“Really, to meet a troublesome person just as I was super looking for Hamazura. I suppose you super understand why I came here.”
“The timing’s not too good, but I’m grateful that you’re able to come here. This explains that complicated network of yours. It’s good to be able to get this ‘Item’ that you, Mugino, and company formed, since you’re related to Accelerator and Hamazura Shiage. We got a famous ‘large group’, and as the higher ups have specially ordered, it’s about time to exterminate.”
“You can super do whatever you want, I—”
Kuroyoru’s voice of contempt overpowered whatever Kinuhata had to say.
“I’m sorry, but I’m having fun talking to myself. Honestly, you don’t have any privilege to speak up, you know? Privilege. You don’t understand this simple word, do you?”
“Freshmen…” Kinuhata inadvertently muttered. “Are you that happy to join a new group?”
“I said it before already; I don’t expect to talk to you. Well, that’s about it. I’m not really happy or anything, just that I’m back to where I was before. This is where I should exist. So, I want to destroy, I want to kill.”
Kuroyoru wasn’t agitated at all.
There was nothing to hold her back.
“Though I say this, the adjustments that the higher up made seemed to be forced by the situation. Why would ‘they’ take action? Oh yeah, what I'm talking about doesn’t refer to Hamazura Shiage or Accelerator and company. ‘They’ are a threat from outside…in other words, they’re people with different laws from us, so we can’t control them. For this, we reorganized ourselves. However, it’s unlikely for Kinuhata-chan to understand this when she didn’t get called up.”
“…A lousy student who had terrible grades still has the unwarranted problem of exaggerating what never happened.”
“Huh? Are you talking about the Dark May Project?”
Laughing and deriding it, Kuroyoru kicked the inflatable doll.
It was unknown what caused the dolphin to stick onto the back of her white coat.
“I’m an individual closest to the element of attack. Well, since my power was so great that it overflowed, I ended up killing those researchers and caused the project to go bankrupt. To the dogs that want to stay in good condition, those were inferior students, isn’t that right, honor student Kinuhata-chan?”
Suddenly, her tone changed.
With it, an explosion occurred.
Kuroyoru extended her arms out, and Bomber Lances three meters long each shot out from her hands.
When she saw that, Kinuhata slowly closed and opened her eyes.
“…A super weak bastard who can only shoot from her palms, do you think that you can beat me?”
Her tone had also changed.
It was as if Kuroyoru had dragged her hidden, violent side out.
There was no such gorgeous physical phenomenon as with Kuroyoru, but the nitrogen around Kinuhata did form a wall. Her Offense Armor would be able to defend 360 degrees around her, even against rifle bullets.
They had one thing in common.
The Dark May Project.
It was a project that increased an esper’s ability by implanting a portion of the calculation processes possessed by the strongest Level 5 in Academy City.
In a certain sense, the project which trampled on an individual's personality had given these two girls power.
However, though their powers were of a similar kind, they were different.
They formed an idealized version of the #1’s calculation ability. The spiritual nature of "where to cut and where to implant" caused the details of the abilities to be different.
One was aggression.
The other was protection.
They were both Level 4s that manipulated the nitrogen in the air, and there was a clear difference between Kuroyoru Umidori and Kinuhata Saiai.
But was that all?
Or were they already thinking of different things as they licked their wounds, right before their mindsets changed?
These two that had managed to survive through the nightmarish experiment didn’t intend to talk to each other and look for a way to avoid violence.
They just needed to beat the one in front of them.
Each one was an obstacle to the other's goal.
A roaring sound exploded.
This was caused by the compressed nitrogen colliding with each other as Kinuhata and Kuroyoru had a frontal clash.
However, when it came to offense, Kuroyoru had the advantage.
The right hand and the left hand; the Bomber Lances that shot out from both sides passed through the gap in Kinuhata’s wrist and stabbed her chest and abdomen.
The thoroughly directed attack had enough force to pierce through a tank.
But having been hit by the direct attack, Kinuhata just took a deep breath, and smiled.
“…I’m super skilled in defense.”
The Bomber Lances were deflected aside.
They had been deflected by the blocks of nitrogen surrounding Kinuhata’s fists.
After that, it was a torrent of hits.
Lances on one side, fists on the other. Looking at it like that, it was obvious that Kuroyoru had the advantage. Though Kinuhata’s power was strong, she could only cover about several centimeters around her fists. In contrast, Kuroyoru’s lances were three meters long. If Kinuhata’s fists could be described to rival a close-ranged Gatling gun, then Kuroyoru’s lances were like miniature cruise missiles. The biggest output of the attack wasn’t the piercing ability, but the explosion as it aimed to turn the landscape into a mountain of rubble. However, since she was only in the development phase, it was very hard for Kuroyoru to control it even though she specialized in attack.
Putting down the fists that could crush a car into scrap metal, Kinuhata snorted.
"The winner was already super decided in the first moment where you couldn't kill me. My defense is 360 degrees and it activates automatically without me having to want it to. No matter how much you try, you can't pierce through my armor. No matter what the method or angle is, you won't even hurt my super soft eyeballs...the method of using a large amount of nitrogen to pierce through a target like wet paper can work if it were ordinary steel, but it's super weak when it goes up against my armor, since it's also made of nitrogen." Kinuhata paused. "Even though you are super focused on offense, your defense is lacking. All the power is gathered around your two hands. Your flesh-and-blood body will super get crushed if I land a direct hit. The super question of who has the advantage doesn't exist...I'll show you how super big of a difference there is with my fists."
Kinuhata knew. She did not need to stop.
Even if she got attacked from all directions through different means, she was safe even if she didn't take action, since no hit would be fatal.
Kinuhata Saiai would not stop until she crushed the enemy in front of her.
"Hihahaha, you haven't changed at all, Kinuhata-chan."
"Do you have something super different?"
While waving her hands, Kuroyoru however revealed a mocking expression, even though her hands were the only ones strengthened.
"I've changed, I've changed, I've changed, Kinuhata-chan. Actually, I'm more surprised that you're still at this level. You should have changed, there were so many chances for you to do so, so why haven't you changed at all? Why can't you step out of the basic of basics that espers need to use their ability to fight?"
"Do you think that the secret of an esper is the ability? And figuring out their ability allows you to figure out their attack patterns and weaknesses? Do you really think that understanding that will allow you to control the battle? That is outdated. Let me repeat this, Kinuhata-chan. If you had the heart, you could change any time you want. Just like me."
Immediately, Kinuhata became alert, wary that Kuroyoru had another weapon other than her ability...for example, a handgun or a bomb.
In a certain sense, that was correct, and in another sense, it was wrong.
Suddenly, a change happened.
The inflatable plastic dolphin doll that was stuck on her white coat exploded.
A large number of hands extend out from within.
The hands climbed up Kuroyoru's body, still attached to the upper right side of her body.
Though they were hands, they were as small as a baby's. In a certain sense, they were things that didn't have any balance. But the arms were about a meter in length. The feeling was like polyethylene or a petroleum based product, and these hard and sturdy objects could actually move without ball joints, or that was the feeling that they gave. Skin that was colored like a human, glossy, hard and shiny like a man-made item. These contradicting terms completely collapsed.
The numerous hands with curved tube-like things attached to them seemed to follow Kuroyoru’s will as the palms were aimed at Kinuhata.
Of course, it couldn’t be something learned in biology.
And then at the same time, Kinuhata remembered.
Kuroyoru Umidori was an esper who could fire Bomber Lances from her palms.
A strong impactful explosion rang.
A large number of Bomber Lances were produced, and they all gathered at one spot. The transparent spears had great devastating power, and they sent Kinuhata, who was guarding herself with both arms, flying backwards several meters.
Kinuhata looked at the cuffs of her damaged sweater.
Although it was only slightly, her Offense Armor had been pierced.
“Artificial arms…powered suit…no, this super is not like it. This is…!?”
“A cyborg that goes past a certain level isn’t much different from a powered suit, Kinuhata-chan. The reverse is true as well.”
The numerous slender arms on Kuroyoru’s body were moving about.
They were not complete tubes; there seemed to be several short bones attached, giving people a sick feeling of it being forcefully moved with all those fractures.
“You’re sort of right when you mention that, but right now, they still haven’t found a way to use processed metals to create humans, and they still need to use something organic. It’ll be even more quaint if they use bacteria and other microorganisms to make the detailed parts. It’ll be as scary as making bread without yeast.”
“A man-made…enhanced, super esper… machine…!?”
“The latest model was just updated, you know. The cyborg itself was being researched as usual by the Kiharas, but this is even a step forward from that."
Her mocking tone was present with her words.
Even if it was established, this technology normally didn’t have a reason to appear.
It was so twisted that the highly corrupted higher ups would hide it for fear of social unrest.
“However, is this really something worth being shocked over? It was already hinted at a long time ago. Like that brain-crippled Accelerator using an external network to help him calculate, Musujime Awaki using a low frequency therapy apparatus to stabilize her mind…there’s no need to stick to just the human body. The technology of transferring power from an external machine to a human body was already established. For me, it’s the opposite. I’m not using an external power, just outputting my power to something artificial.”
Kuroyoru Umidori was an esper who could fire Bomber Lances from her hands.
A human had only two hands, so she could only produce two lances.
Then, it was just a matter of increasing the number of hands.
When she increased the number by ten or twenty and gathered all of them at a single spot, the damage would drastically increase.
A noisy atmosphere surrounded Kinuhata.
This wasn’t created from a machine, but the "presence" that a human had.
“My body can have as many as it wants. These things that are 'me' aren’t just limited to these ones.”
Something happened on the four corners of the roof of the building.
Something crawled out from there. They were all the same "arms" that were attached to Kuroyoru's body. It was like a giant waterfall of slow moving snakes. There were hundreds, if not thousands of them. All those machines attached to Kuroyoru Umidori’s single "body", and had the capability of firing Bomber Lances.
“The arms hidden inside the dolphin are remote controls…They attach to my body and work like an antenna. These slaves are normally controlled by specific programs, but now, they follow the signal given by the master, and thus becomes my body. I suppose I don’t need to explain what a slave is, right?” Kuroyoru seemed like she was unable to hold back her laughter. “Now, what will you do next, Kinuhata-chan?”
“Your defense is based on Accelerator’s reflection, and my offense is based on Accelerator’s vector control. The lance’s range is only three meters, but after overlapping with each other, I can create a larger, longer and more powerful lance that’s so powerful that the destruction is unimaginable, do you know that?”
No matter whether they had any chance of winning, the situation of a battle was everchanging.
Kuroyoru Umidori didn’t wait.
And Kinuhata Saiai didn’t have time to think.
Several thousand shots were fired at the same time, causing the landscape of the roof to change drastically.
Kinuhata wanted to settle this with a punch, but she didn’t have any space to move forward.
The lances that were able to cleave the entire rooftop sent Kinuhata’s little body flying away.
The sound of impact could be heard.
Kinuhata’s body slammed into a water tank on a building several hundred meters away, and the large amount of water replaced the storm as it scattered all over the place.
Kuroyoru peered at the damaged water tank.
“Cheh. For some reason, my vision’s getting rather bad…time to ‘change’ it. Well, I can’t really tell, but with just this, she should be barely breathing.”
A large number of arms followed, and Kuroyoru stood on the edge of the roof in order to get over to the next building.
“Kinuhata-chan. I’m going to kill everyone related to Accelerator and Hamazura. Do you think that there’ll be any disruptions?”
There was no emotion toward Kinuhata in her tone.
She was basically just talking to herself.
Just to satisfy herself.
“It’s true that I can’t surpass a Level 5 like Mugino, but that will change when I use these ‘tools’. A martial arts champion can’t possibly beat a fighter jet.”
Silver Cross Alpha's powered suit.
The cyborg Kuroyoru Umidori.
Though the concept behind the application of power was different, they both had essentially reached the same level. Thus, when they combined, the pros and cons were all "linked" with each other.
“And, so, then, let’s continue on like this. It was supposed to be Silver Cross’ collection taking care of Hamazura, and I was supposed to take care of Accelerator.”
Despite all that, even though she lost one part, she would not change.
Just like the way she had swept Kinuhata Saiai aside.
That was why she was a villain.
She would not hesitate, just for the sake of earning the trust of the higher ups.
“How troublesome. Let’s kill off Hamazura before tuning Accelerator up, shall we?”
In a certain sense, she was harder to handle than Silver Cross.
In a certain sense, this monster that had Academy City flair all over her stepped onto the conquering path.
Hamazura stepped out from the staff entrance of the underground subway and onto the surface. It was District 19. It seemed like he had unknowingly come there all the way from District 3 as he was being pursued by Silver Cross.
District 19 was a district that failed in development. The large number of buildings arranged side by side were all desolate, the doors of many shops were all boarded up. But on the other hand, technology that couldn’t be seen in the market today was being re-researched here, like the vacuum pipes and steam engine. It had nothing to do with the latest technology at all…the source of this thinking was that ever since the district had become isolated, it was rumored that this place was a research facility for old technology.
Hamazura, Hanzou and Fremea were hiding inside a building in this district that had been provided by Kuruwa.
It had originally been a supermarket. It had a large number of shafts and elevators. The products had been removed, and the dust-covered shelves were still around.
Hanzou said sternly, “There are too many exits…it’s impossible to block them all.”
“We escaped to this place because there are more options to choose from.”
Wearing a mini-yukata, Kuruwa retorted.
“Compared to that, if we stay here, what’s the chance of us winning? The basics of defending is to stall for time. It’s rare to use this to method to get out of this. If we stall, what are the chances of us making it?”
“…Accelerator.” Hamazura squeezed out that word. “We can’t do anything, so if it’s that monster, any powered suit will be swept aside no matter how strong they are. This is the reason for us to stall. We can ensure that Fremea’s alive. Though I don’t know where that guy is, he’ll come rushing over once we contact him. Forget about us, that guy has enough reason to save Fremea.”
“Hamazura!!” Hanzou shouted with a look of disbelief on his face. “But that guy, that monster…!!”
Before Hanzou could continue, Hamazura shook his head.
There was a reason why the delinquent group Skill-Out would be against the #1 Level 5. That monster seemed to have some history with Komaba, and they couldn’t let Fremea hear that.
“Right now, Fremea’s our priority.”
Though Hanzou remained silent, it seemed like he was unable to accept it.
Fremea looked rather uncomfortable as she looked around at Hamazura, Hanzou and Kuruwa.
Kuruwa spoke up for Hanzou.
“Then, Hamazura-shi, do you have the way to contact that #1 Level 5?”
“Do you think we’re so familiar with each other that we’re willing to exchange numbers with each other?” Hamazura tried to act casual. “However, it seems like that guy has his own independent network. Speaking of which, I have no idea how on earth that guy got involved in this. Maybe something happened on the street and that guy just so happened to get involved naturally. It’ll be good if we can do ‘something’ to shake up this building.”
“Should be simple enough if we’re to go to the roof and light it up or something.”
“Add something more; A code that anyone can understand.”
Hamazura pondered for a while, and then took off the miniature powered suit helmet.
He passed it to Kuruwa.
“Place it near the fire. Anyone who’s spying through satellite surveillance or tapping the lines can identify it…so at least this is the latest way of testing it.”
“Understood.” Kuruwa took the helmet and stroked it enthusiastically. “The weapons are stashed at the coin deposit box on the east side of the third level. The locks were changed but, with Hamazura-shi’s skills, there’s no need for a master key.”
“Thanks. Also, sorry for getting you involved in this.”
“Not really. It’s awesome. Not for money or fame, going up against some huge unknown authority just for the sake of a kid’s life, this is already a ninja’s way of living in those dramas!”
“I got it!! No matter what, it’s the same whether we move or not. I have no intention of dying here like this.”
Kuruwa headed to the roof to send the message to Accelerator, while Hamazura and Hanzou headed off to the coin storage machine on the east side of the 3rd level. Though Fremea had nothing to do, it was scary for her to be alone, so she timidly followed behind Hamazura.
Normally speaking, a mini coin deposit box was about two mailboxes, and a larger one could accommodate cleaning tools that were placed upright. Like what Kuruwa had said, the lock was a lot more complicated than how it looked, but it was not like it couldn’t be opened with a few needles.
After opening it bit by bit, guns dropped out from within.
“…This isn’t like a ninja at all.”
“A samurai should be using a matchlock gun.”
But those weapons didn’t look like they would be able to break through a heavily-armored suit.
“How about these?”
Inside the largest cabinet, there was an automatic rifle that was even wider than Hamazura’s back. Hanzou read the words engraved on the gun.
“Metal Eater M5…an anti-tank automatic rifle, huh? It was originally the MX, only with modifications done to the handle and scope, and a water cooler was added to it. It was officially used in that war.”
Instead of a gun, it was better to call it a savage block of metal that made anyone want to use it as a blunt ramming weapon.
“It’s true that this thing will definitely cause some damage to that powered suit, the recoil’s definitely not ordinary. An amateur would most likely end up smashing their shoulder.”
“Better than nothing.”
Picking up a magazine that was as thick as several dictionaries, Hamazura said, “At least blowing the sound out of our ears is better than getting beaten down.”
Hearing Hanzou’s chuckle, Hamazura placed the pistol into the belt on his pants, grabbed the sling of the semi-automatic rifle and grabbed the Metal Eater.
Getting all the weapons that he could use, Hamazura said to Hanzou, who was beside him, “About defense, what should we use for our barricades?”
“There are too many exits, and considering that the enemy has enough output to blow the wall up, it’s useless to set up any barricades.”
Hanzou scanned the supermarket map Kuruwa had handed him.
“Instead of that, we have to find an important location for us to make a path. We have to set up places to defend when we move inside, and thus use gunfire to prevent the enemy from advancing…luckily, there’s still the Metal Eater.”
“And what if the enemy blows up the wall?”
“That’s when we’re moving horizontally, but when we’re moving vertically, there are only the paths that are already there. The stairs, escalator, elevator access; the space here is extremely limited, and also, the number of powered suits that can pass through is limited as well. If we camp over there and snipe them, we should be able to take down a number of them.”
Passing through the level to meet up with Kuruwa, Hamazura and Hanzou found what was supposed to be a bank. However, there were only things like sofas and benches; it was impossible for money to be around, and things like ATMs had been moved away.
However, they had left something that they couldn’t move away.
The huge bank vault surrounded by the thick walls.
Hamazura and Hanzou glanced at each other.
“Kuruwa got the electricity flow handled, and the backup electric supply of the bank vault is inside that ‘large box’. Once it’s locked, it won’t open even if we cut the electricity, unless we use a special code.” Hanzou added on. “It’s not a certainty that they can’t open it with brute force. And besides, there’s no road to retreat inside. Once it opens, there’s no way to escape…we can only stall for time. We can’t settle the problem like this.”
Then, Hamazura and Hanzou looked at Fremea.
It was a no go if they were to stuff everyone inside, but they also couldn’t leave this young kid on a gunfire battlefield. The enemy was definitely targeting at Fremea.
Hamazura went silent.
He was pondering.
(The worst thing is for us to be gobbled up with this bank vault here. It’s likely that that #1 monster will get here before Fremea gets taken away.)
Hamazura’s fingers trembled unnaturally due to that premonition, and he could only sigh reluctantly deep inside his heart, but he couldn’t show this no matter what. Only in front of Fremea Seivelun was it imperative that they hide those feelings.
“Listen, Fremea. You’re going to hide inside this bank vault. The walls and door are rather thick, so it’s not easy for anyone to open this. It’s definitely safe for you to hide inside.”
“In the first place, what about you guys, Hamazura?”
“Next, we’re going to fight one splendid battle…It’s all right Fremea, you just need to stay quietly inside the bank vault. Go in, and when you come out, the battle will be over. We’ll, we’ll definitely protect you.”
Fremea suddenly said that.
She was trembling violently, her arms were hugging onto Hamazura’s waist.
"No!! In the first place, I can still tell that those are lies! You big liar!! Hamazura, I know what people that show the eyes that you are showing end up like!!"
She shouted crazily.
But something was proportionally different from everything else.
"Komaba onii-chan didn't come back! My older sister didn't come back!! Those people had the same expression that you have right now, Hamazura!! It's like I turned away, not expecting them to hide, and then everyone disappeared right in front of my eyes!!"
The people who had died.
Those people who had a deep relationship with Fremea.
Because she was in a position where she couldn’t know the truth, Fremea always carried the burden of having to live on. At the same time, she was afraid of having the people important to her disappearing on a whim. Thus, she would explode without warning and without restrain.
The greatest terror.
That pain, and the wavering that Hamazura and Hanzou were showing now caused her to overly react. Hamazura’s acting wasn’t foolproof, and the burden that Fremea was bearing wasn’t something that could be fooled that easily.
"I don't want to let anyone disappear!! I had enough of that!! In the first place, it doesn't matter what happens to me!! So please, don't go anywhere!!"
Hamazura went silent.
Thinking about the people who had disappeared, at this moment, he realized it. Most likely, there was a future for Fremea not to cry for. Why was it that the gentle future hadn’t arrived yet and that he had made this kid bawl?
It was all because Hamazura was too weak.
In the past, he…no, the current Hamazura was the worst scumbag ever. He didn’t have any ability to handle the problem in front of him.
Also, what had happened to Komaba and Frenda were related to the deepest parts of Academy City’s darkness. Truthfully, it was already past what he could handle. So even if the same thing happened over again, it was hard for any happy ending to occur.
But Hamazura was over there.
When Komaba Ritoku and Frenda Seivelun disappeared, Hamazura did act as witness.
In contrast to Fremea, who didn’t know anything even after everyone had disappeared and couldn’t even do anything to help, Hamazura had the possibility to change anything. Even if it was weak, sad, even embarrassing, if he changed his choice, maybe they could continue to live.
Hamazura clenched his teeth.
It was as if the thing that hurt Fremea, that made him afraid wasn’t Silver Cross and the others. The reason had Hamazura’s name written all over it.
Even so, Hamazura couldn’t really heal Fremea’s inner wounds. Having known the beginning and the end, he understood that he couldn’t possibly create any wonderful miracles.
It was not the highest, not the ultimate, and not the most perfect.
However, he didn’t have a cold heart that wouldn’t respond to anything.
(…Komaba Ritoku is no longer around. Frenda Seivelun is no longer coming back as well. To a kid, the most important people to her have already vanished from right in front of her. This is a fact that can no longer be changed, nor can it be restored again.)
The things he could do.
Even if everything was over, there were a lot of things that he could do.
(…That’s why I won’t allow any more losses. The things that Fremea Seivelun does not want to lose, I will definitely not let them disappear. No matter whether it’s Academy City’s darkness or the higher ups, I won’t allow you guys to make this kid cry again, no matter who the enemy is, no matter what happens.)
His trembling stopped.
It didn’t matter even if it was the secret group with powered suits, Hamazura was no longer afraid. It was meaningless to decide winning or losing like that. If they couldn’t win, they would just have to create a winning condition. The problem subconsciously became a workable problem immediately. There was no need to follow a model answer set by the examiner, and it didn’t matter whether it was twisted logic or not. It was not a problem without a solution, so there was no need to go over and try to find an answer over and over again.
Hamazura placed the large Metal Eater against the wall, bent over and his eyes drew level with Fremea.
“Listen, Fremea. The people who you miss very much, Komaba onii-chan and Frenda, are both amazing people, they did many things that I couldn’t. Most likely, I can’t do the things they did.”
“That’s not the case.” Fremea shook her head. “Hamazura, you didn’t leave me alone to die. In the first place, you would come save me every time I got captured.”
For a moment, Hamazura looked like she was spot on, but he immediately denied Fremea’s valuation of him.
“Truthfully, I’m just a minor character. I’m not the type of person who’ll be able to stay on the spotlight-lit stage. Most likely, if it’s Komaba onii-chan and the others, they would have immediately went on to do what they have to do instead of hesitating about here. They won’t be bothered about what to do, which is why they’re amazing people.”
Maybe it was a bit of a beautification, since Komaba Ritoku had been a delinquent and Frenda had sold out her Item comrades. However, they definitely weren't lost. It was because they had things that they had to finish no matter what that they had managed to reach that outcome through their own methods.
Hamazura couldn’t do it.
No matter what he decided on, he would immediately succumb when a gun was pointed at his head. No matter what he choose, it would only remain there every day, and after that, he would continue to ponder whether whatever he had done was correct.
He was just that sort of person.
He definitely wouldn’t become a hero.
“But I’m here.”
It was time for Hamazura to convince Fremea.
The thing that anyone would take for granted; it was something that nobody couldn’t possibly have.
In order to remember those who were denied this, Hamazura spoke the truth with his own words.
This time, definitely.
There was no need to act out this smile from deep within his heart.
“…We won’t disappear that easily. Us supporting characters don't tend to give up. Even if we get stuck and fall down, we will keep getting back up to the end.”
Trembling, Fremea reached her hand out.
“You really won’t disappear?”
Fremea reached her little finger out.
Hamazura completely forgot about that method until this very moment.
Hamazura somewhat shyly reached his own little finger out.
Both fingers crossed.
The intertwined fingers were separated, and Hamazura seemed to feel that a heavy load was taken off him as he sent Fremea into the large bank vault. Fremea continued to stare at Hamazura’s eyes until Hamazura closed the door properly.
After closing the door and turning the door lock, Hanzou said, “The door lock has about twenty bars of titanium, and then it’s a magnetic lock. There’s even a vacuum set-up inside the crack of the door. For twelve hours, the door won’t operate after it’s closed. The same goes for our code, it’ll be ineffective if we use it during this time.”
“It’ll get messy once the gunfight starts. Even if the #1 monster doesn’t arrive, the policemen patrolling on the streets will immediately rush over when they hear gunfire. The longer it lasts, the harder it’ll be for us to hide; so we’ll stick to the original plan and continue to try and stall for time…Hey, Hamazura, what’s wrong?”
“That won’t do,” Hamazura blankly said. “Thinking about waiting for the cavalry to arrive will be rather consuming. It’s true that we have to protect the heart. Maybe Fremea will be saved, but when the bank vault opens again, she’ll start crying after seeing our corpses. There’ll be unnecessary tears on her face. That won’t do, that can’t be considered our victory.”
“…So, what do we do?”
“We have to win.” Lifting up the Metal Eater M5, the delinquent answered without any hesitation. “Me, Hanzou, and Kuruwa, we can’t lose a single one. We have to finish off every single powered suit, drag out the people who’re operating them and finish them off. There’s no need for Fremea to be involved with the darkness; there’s no reason to in the first place. That’s why we have to send that kid back to where she was from. An ordinary world without any life threatening situation, one that everyone can continue to smile to their hearts’ content. Definitely.”
“Are you kidding me…?” muttered Hanzou.
In contrast, Hamazura said to his friend who was arching his back, “There’s no need to follow me. Fremea and I should be the only targets, and they won’t really chase you and Kuruwa even if you guys escape. You two can live on to see Fremea’s smile, that’s a type of victory.”
"Running away sounds good! If you really thought so, could you have told that kid those words in a place where I couldn't see you!? A kid's tears are a really powerful threat!!"
“To actually make this decision; as expected, you’ve become like Leader Komaba, already past the realm of being a role player.”
They couldn’t let Fremea Seivelun cry any more.
Having confirmed their goal again, the two delinquents lifted the anti-tank gun and headed off to face the enemy.
Even though they couldn’t be heroes.
Hamazura Shiage had to protect Fremea Seivelun’s smile.
The final battle of defense was at the third level, the large vault in what was originally a bank.
Hamazura and the others set up traps on the road leading to the large bank vault, preparing to fight back by ambush.
While walking towards Hamazura who had the Metal Eater M5 in front of him, Kuruwa said, “It’s wired, so there’s no need to worry about electronic interference.”
“This is the third floor, isn’t it? Even though a large bank vault can’t possibly be blown apart that easily, wouldn’t it fall down if the floor collapses?”
“A bank vault that’s to be used for renting out stuff like data drives and antiques should be rather detailed. Most likely, even if the entire third level collapses, there’s an alloy pillar to support it.”
As if cutting off Hanzou’s words.
An explosion could be heard behind.
With the explosion, the large amount of dust underneath the air ducts dropped to the first level.
“Suddenly breaking the wall, now that’s quite the shock.”
“Get ready, Hamazura. You’re the one who decided to fight.”
There was no time to even idle around.
In the midst of the explosion of dust, a huge shadow appeared. It was a bipedal powered suit. The right hand seemed to be wielding a shield larger than its main body. The shield was extremely huge and thick, it felt like even the powered suit couldn’t lift it. There were wheels underneath the shield, and there was a hole in the middle with a cannon barrel the size of a human arm poking through it. Also, the slanted cannon was now aimed at Hamazura, who was on the corridor.
The gunfire continued to ring.
The machine gun shot holes through the floor in front of Hamazura, and then moved towards him as if it was cutting grass.
Kuruwa grabbed the back of Hamazura’s neck and forcefully pulled him from where he was. The powered suit seemed like it was trying to destroy the entire floor instead of just aiming at the target as it continued to fire. Being chased by this steel slab of concrete, Hamazura, Kuruwa and Hanzou ran about on the corridor.
(That bastard, that was some serious firepower!!)
Running as he was looking down at the corridor below, Hamazura saw the miniature powered suit moving up the escalator.
“Kuruwa-chan! The number three escalator!”
Consecutive explosions occurred at each end of the escalator, and the escalator became a waterfall of rubble. The powered suit that had already moved up from the second level to the third level collapsed to the first level along with this waterfall of waste.
However, that wasn’t going to be enough to destroy the powered suit.
Hamazura continued to run as he readied the large anti-tank rifle.
He aimed at the center of the mini-powered suit below in the middle of all the waste and squeezed the trigger.
There was a booming explosion.
The terrifying impact pierced through his right shoulder, and yet that heavy Metal Eater M5 was still facing up. Even though he thought that, it was actually Hamazura who had been sent flying by the recoil even after getting himself into position, ending up forcefully separating the back of his neck from Kuruwa’s hand.
It was not just his shoulder, the unbelievable pain spread throughout his entire body. Even though Hamazura had wielded an assault rifle in Russia, he didn’t know how to wield it properly. It was not designed to be a weapon that was set on the ground.
He had no confidence in hitting it at all.
But he didn’t even have time to recover from the pain of the recoil, or confirm the situation downstairs.
Because just as he was doing that, the sweep-shooting continued.
Hamazura was unable to stand up. He remained on the floor as he crawled away to avoid the cannon fire and collapsing floor, escaping down the corridor.
The trio flew into the shadow of the circular pillar.
Since it was a junction of tough and thick steel, it was the only place that could withstand the cannon’s piercing attack.
“Cheh, what was that?”
Hamazura checked the situation from within the shadow of the pillar.
The huge shot he had fired off had definitely pierced through the miniature powered-suit. However...It was strange. Since the impact had broken through the metal parts, the thick pilot cabin had been forced open, however there was no pilot inside and the pilot cabin remained open.
An explosion interrupted Hamazura’s thoughts.
Beside him, Hanzou squatted and chased the mini powered suit, but since it wasn’t fully autopilot, Hanzou avoided one attack after another.
The bullets then completely destroyed the open cabin, and just like that, the mini powered suit stopped completely.
“Seems like these powered suits were programmed. Most likely, they used something that Silver Cross has.”
Plenty of sounds of metal hitting the floor could be heard.
Five new powered suits appeared from underneath the vents.
Hanzou frantically hid back behind cover.
“…This pillar isn’t going to make it.”
“The enemy doesn’t seem to have any reason to remain there. The escalator got destroyed, but they’ll find other ways to get up. The other levels and elevators…”
Just as he was saying that, Hamazura sensed something.
Right behind him.
On the other side of the open window, in the space that was supposed to be empty, a large shadow was floating. It was more like a five-meter-long praying mantis. It was not standing on four legs with two sickles, but had two sickles, two arms, and two legs as it was standing up. Translucent wings spread out from the armor and moved at a speed that Hamazura couldn’t catch, leaving an afterimage behind.
It was different from the wings of a bird.
Normally, it was impossible for such a large object to have such small wings.
(…Does it use ultrasonic waves to mix the air around it into its wings…?)
It was unlike the wings of a butterfly or a moth. With the movement of the wings, it created an air flow that had a whirlpool-like effect that ended up creating more buoyancy. Most likely, the mantis was developed from that basis.
Hamazura immediately readied the Metal Eater M5.
But this was the limit.
The huge powered suit rushed through the broken window before Hamazura could even squeeze the trigger.
Hanzou and Kuruwa rolled away to the left while Hamazura rolled to the right.
There was a large cylinder-like thing on the back of the praying mantis, it was something that was used to store lots of cannons. Also, there were shields on the front side of the front legs, which had replaced the folded sickles, and there was an artificial weapon placed between the two shields.
The three barrels overlapped each other, looking like they could rotate.
They didn’t need gunpowder to fire.
They used the basis of electromagnetism to fire metal bullets.
There were such things on the side of the front limbs’ shields.
Hamazura squeezed the trigger of the anti-tank rifle before he could even aim. He was not intending to destroy the giant praying mantis, but trying to use the recoil to fly back.
It was a violent act that could break his arm.
But that was definitely the right decision.
Immediately afterwards, a storm of steel struck.
Even sound vanished.
The destructive power was on a completely different level from the previous battle.
A line had cut perfectly through the place Hamazura had been standing. Every place the destruction hit left a hole the size of a meter. The barrels let out over four thousand bullets per minute, piercing the building from the third level all the way to the first level. The building itself slightly tilted.
Based on the size of the barrel, it should be classified more as a gun than a cannon. However, it didn’t match the destructiveness of a gun.
There were a few powered suits looking for a way to attack, but they were reduced to scrap in a matter of seconds.
The level was different.
It was way beyond that level.
Hamazura heard a cracking sound, and after a while, realized that he was gritting his teeth. He widened his eyes and saw what was on the abdomen of the huge praying mantis with its folded wings.
It was referring to the #3 of the only seven Level 5s in Academy City, the Railgun. Most likely, it was a powered suit which replicated the power of that esper, and was completely based on the philosophy of using technology to create something that exceeds the original.
Science and technology continued to improve, and the latest technology yesterday may no longer be superior today.
A flying machine that was already terrifying, and a monster that could fire several thousand times in one minute; the terror of science was revealed again.
The one above the #4, Mugino Shizuri.
A powered suit that surpassed the #3.
The terrifying latest model moved its head, and the killing machine scanned the surroundings.
He couldn’t move his legs.
His body started to tremble, unable to move at all.
Hamazura finally realized that his vision was narrowing.
"Get over here, Hamazura!!"
He heard Hanzou shout at him, as Hanzou and Kuruwa ran off in different directions. Hamazura looked around, his forehead emitting cold sweat as he thought that he would die.
His eyes saw the multiple barrels of the gun come together.
Hamazura immediately abandoned the Metal Eater M5 and jumped over the railing of the third level corridor without hesitation.
An explosion scattered, and the Gatling railgun bullets missed slightly, reducing the floor and walls on the other side of the corridor to dust.
Hamazura hung onto the railing on the second level and frantically flipped himself up.
A rain of destruction fell from above.
The corridor on the third level above him and the one on the second level below him got shot right through. Hamazura leaped towards the CD shop in front of him and fell towards the first level.
(…The penetration power is considerable, but it seems like the accuracy isn’t that great. Did they purposely stiffen the rotating part of the gun to prevent it from being affected by the storm whipped up by the electromagnetic bullets?)
If he continued to do some minor movements, maybe he could avoid being aimed at.
But what happened next crushed his naïve thoughts thoroughly.
Before he could even feel fear, the Five Over was already there. It was floating in mid-air, ignoring the fact that its bullets had destroyed the entire corridor. The ultrasonic waves gathered air to power the translucent wings.
He seemed to hear something.
It was a sound with ambiguous intent, but a chill seemed to strike Hamazura’s spine.
(Silver Cross…!? That guy shouldn’t be able to stand up. He definitely had an injury that would kill him if he didn't go to the hospital. How is it possible for him to be here?)
A powered suit was a machine that strengthened an injured body externally.
So he managed to return by using that?
Or was it that a third-party thought that he could still be used and he was dragged onto the battlefield forcefully? Checking the atmosphere, one could find that there was no will in Silver Cross’ voice as compared to before.
There was no time to think.
With a mechanical sound, the barrels that were bundled together scattered as they started to move on their own.
Even so, they were railguns.
The bullets that could pierce through three or four cars lost their rapid fire capability as they pummeled the porous second level.
(Damn it…! What’s with this reloading method!?)
Normally, a Gatling gun filled up the barrel by quickly rotating it, but a Gatling railgun was different from the traditional one as it seemed to be an enhanced version.
Thinking that staying still was meaningless. Hamazura tried to escape before the rain of bullets struck, only for the floor to collapse before that. The hole was several meters tall, and with that sound, Hamazura landed on the first floor.
The pain pierced through his body, squeezing out all the oxygen in his body.
The oxygen in his lungs had been exhausted, so he couldn’t shout out.
Even so, it should be rather serious. If he wasn't wearing the suit that the Dragon Rider used, he probably wouldn’t have been able to survive with his limbs intact.
Looking at the space and scattered dust around him, Hamazura stood on the crushed materials and thought.
(What do I do now…?)
He had no time to care about the blood in his mouth.
(If I don’t deal with that guy, I won’t have time to fight against the other powered suit. But as for what to do, I can’t shoot that guy down properly. Besides, that gun’s not with me anymore.)
He only had two magazines that were as thick as metal dictionaries.
Even if they had powerful bullets, they couldn’t damage anything if he couldn’t shoot them.
There was power, but it was hard to create a gun in this critical situation. If he used something inferior to replace it, the explosion would blow Hamazura apart if he tried to fire.
Of course any gun other than the Metal Eater M5, like handguns or semi-automatic rifles, would be completely useless.
(Five Over uses different sensors to scan the battlefield all the time. Anything that can be used as a weapon, anything that can shoot back, it probably knows everything that’s hiding.)
How was he going to fight back?
Hamazura continued to rack his blank head, but the enemy wasn’t going to wait for his decision.
After exhaling, Hamazura wondered about something.
Five Over didn’t chase after him.
He was definitely unable to move. He was in a state where anyone could just deal him the finishing blow.
Thinking about it for a while, Hamazura noticed it.
The enemy’s main priority wasn’t Hamazura Shiage, but Fremea Seivelun. It may have been unable to detect her inside the large bank vault, but once the AI wondered why there wasn't a response from Fremea in the building, the answer would be easy.
How could the giant door of the vault endure the rapid fire?
Enduring his aching body as he tried to support himself, Hamazura dragged it forward.
Even if there was a risk of being eavesdropped, Hamazura still contacted Hanzou through his cell phone.
“Hanzou!! Can the Metal Eater still work? Five Over…that Gatling railgun is after Fremea!! Do something to stop it!!”
“An anti-tank rifle might be useful, but it’s going to be tough taking out this guy, Hamazura,” said Hanzou in distress.
“Can’t that giant rifle do anything!?”
“It should be useful if it’s close range, but this guy’s speed and power are directly related. The larger the initial speed, the closer the target, the larger the damage. So how are you going to get close? If that typhoon-like shooting continues, we can’t even reveal our faces from our hiding spots.”
Hamazura slammed a fist into the wall.
If he wanted everyone to remain all right, he would have to destroy Five Over, but if he wanted to destroy Five Over, he had to risk his life.
Holding the magazine the size of a dictionary, Hamazura pondered.
And then looked up.
An electric cable drooped down from the collapsed ceiling.
“…Hanzou, there’s no need to completely destroy the Five Over. Can we at least stop it from moving?”
“That’s an unmanned AI. There’s no worry about destroying it.”
“How long will it take?”
“Cheh, if we maintain this battle prowess and fight with a plan, about ten minutes; but we’re done if it’s set to destroy as priority.”
“That’s enough. Go, but do as much as what you can. If you find out that something’s wrong, hurry up and escape.”
“And what do we do after we prevent that guy from advancing? In this current situation, even the Metal Eater M5 can’t destroy that electric praying mantis. There’s nothing we have that exceeds that in firepower.”
“…If that’s the case, we can only use all the firepower that we have now.”
Now, they had to decide on the location.
Hamazura stared at the ceiling, and then looked in front.
“We’ll stop that Five Over here.”
“If this is a hiding place, things other than weapons are collected here, right? Bedding, food, whatsoever. Let Kuruwa-chan deal with that. Since the gas and electricity work, the refrigerator and house storage work, right?”
“And so what?”
“The lights? The refrigerator and induction cookers have them, and you can’t say that the mini-lights don’t have them.”
“There’s a whole lot of LEDs on the main floor! And so what? Are you going to blind that monster’s dog-eye?”
Having his own joke replied to with a joke, Hanzou couldn’t say anything.
But Hamazura continued.
“…We’re going to use our household appliance buddies to destroy it.”
The powered suit that was named as such flew past the damaged corridor and slowly landed onto the third level. Originally, the purpose of its extremely high flight capability was to allow the powered suit to avoid having to stand on the uneven ground caused by the destruction of the Gatling railgun. No matter whether it was a narrow room or a hurricane outside the house, it could remain in the air as if it was standing an invisible support.
The AI had already searched through the building five times, and yet it couldn’t find any response from Fremea Seivelun.
There weren’t many places that its radar couldn’t scan, and so the number of hiding places had been drastically reduced.
The first place it should check was the large bank vault on the third level.
It was all right even if Fremea wasn’t there.
If she was not there, it just meant that it only checked one area. If it continued to check all the hiding spots, it could definitely find its target.
Even if the target ran towards another hiding place, the movements would be discovered by the thorough search that was regularly activated.
In other words, instead of being futile, if it continued to work like that, it could find the target sometime soon.
The process had a method of settling everything from the beginning to the end and, though those complicated conditions were useless in doing delicate stuff, it was extremely effective in destroying things.
The Five Over passed through the third level. In order to prevent using too many bullets, the AI was set to showing all the actions that it had done before. Without this, it would most likely choose to employ the quickest method of blowing away all walls and obstacles.
And then, there were obstacles.
More accurately, while carrying out the thorough search, it captured the figures of some people hiding in the hidden corners.
Two of them.
One was wielding an anti-tank rifle.
The threat level was designated at "eliminate". To the AI, it was the same for Hanzou and Kuruwa, who were attacking it.
However, Hamazura didn’t try to shoot consecutively.
From the blind spot, he just extended the barrel out and, after shooting at the lowest possible angle, it disappeared again into the corner. Though he seemed to worry that it was hard to move the gun while being close to the wall, there was no indication of any mistake, and the terrifying recoil of the Metal Eater M5 didn’t injure his body.
Anyone seeing it would be amazed by it, but the AI didn’t have such a high level of capability.
Remembering to conserve ammo and follow the current route, the AI made a conclusion.
The command to shoot through the walls was issued.
The target seemed to notice the mantis-like sickles twisting unnaturally.
The figure on the other side of the wall frantically got down, and at the same time, the Gatling railgun started to shoot. With the supersonic impact, the weak cover was blown apart.
Even though it hadn’t neutralized the target, the AI continued to work.
Without the cover, it was easier to hit the target.
So there was no need to change objectives.
The AI was very good at being able to finish objectives with simple actions. The Five Over just moved forward, and compared to modern humanoid-looking weapons, it was more like a multi-purposed homing missile.
The most optimized way was to be merciless.
Though this way of thought had no flexibility, it highlighted the ideals of the people controlling Five Over.
And the Five Over's response to those people who voluntarily ran out was the Gatling railgun.
It was not aiming at them.
Estimating the path that the targets would move towards, the machine directly attacked the wall and floor, intending to cut off their return path. It was basically impossible to avoid a Gatling railgun.
It would settle it with the next attack.
It reached the final point where it was able to finish objectives with simple actions.
The right sickle of the mantis aimed at its target accurately.
At this moment, the thorough search received another response. There was someone several meters directly behind it. It was someone pushing a wheelbarrow forward at an bicycle's speed, and there were two boxes of different sizes stacked on it.
There was the likelihood of an explosive.
Having decided that there was a risk, the AI quickly turned the Five Over around. The Gatling railgun blew up all suspicious items near the wheelbarrow. Even though it fired metal bullets, the word "explosion" was a more accurate expression for what it fired.
The boxes contained fruit in them.
Most of the ball-shaped fruits like apples and oranges had been reduced to powder, and the remains scattered outside the box. For fear that they were explosives, the AI partially missed its shots to hit the contents out.
The Five Over continued to access the threat level.
To an outsider, it would seem suspicious that all the fruit that had rolled out of the box were sliced down the middle. However, as a process that determined things on threat level, it completely ignored that.
There were other strange things around. Their threat levels were still undetermined.
The Five Over's barrel turned from the wheelbarrow to the person pushing the wheelbarrow.
At that moment, he smiled. The AI’s thought process was unable to understand it, but it understood something else—that the target was carrying something, something that connected a 100V direct current to a household appliance.
It was a mass of metal.
It was formed by many LEDs that were used to light the surface.
More accurately, it was a pile of things used to light the levels.
An electromagnetic wave device.
The trumpet-like exterior of the mass of metal covered everything, and gave a strong forward directivity.
In the end.
It made an assessment of the threat level. The strong electromagnetic waves would damage electronic equipment, but the tens of thousands of LEDs wouldn’t be able to damage the numerous parts of the Five Over, which was equipped to deal with such things. Since Five Over used strong railguns as weapons, it was constantly exposed to strong magnetic fields and electromagnetic waves.
It eliminated them one by one.
The AI determined that it was just a result that may occur through a simple action. The basis of taking the action was the reason why the Five Over was a weapon.
Because of that...
Five Over's AI wouldn't determine something.
First of all.
What would cause humans, who have fear and an intention to live on, to think they could actually take on a Gatling railgun as if it were a joke weapon?
In other words, belief in their overwhelming victory.
Without that, it would be impossible for a human to deliberately stand in front of that monster.
Five Over had destroyed all the boxes in front of it, and there was a large number of sliced fruit inside. After that, something strange happened. The Metal Eater M5 anti-tank rifle fired at it.
The system decided that it was dangerous now because of the gun firing.
Though half the fruit was crushed, the remaining ones were scattered all over the place.
Of course, the Five Over’s upper and lower body was covered by them as well.
And because of that, the bullets that had been inserted into the fruits were placed so that the tip would always face upward.
This was what Hanzou had said.
The Metal Eater M5 had to be very close if it wanted to destroy Five Over.
But even if it did get close, it was useless if one didn’t fire.
Speaking of which.
The easiest way to detonate an explosive would be a fuse.
But it was not just limited to that.
Strong electromagnetic waves could trigger a very sensitive explosive.
Faster than the Five Over’s sickle, faster than the Gatling railgun could blow Hamazura’s body to bits...
Many explosions burst out.
A shockingly loud sound that was enough to shake the air spread from Hamazura’s ears to his abdomen.
He had put the bullets in the cut fruit so that the tips would always be facing up.
However, nearly half of the fruit had been destroyed by the Gatling railgun, so many bullets scattered in other directions as well.
Beneath the Five Over, into all directions.
It was a huge explosion, which scattered a storm of destruction all over the place.
The "target" holding the electromagnetic wave device frantically got down.
But the Five Over didn’t have any time to pursue.
Orange sparks flew out of the armor.
The threat assessment program was terminated before it could be completed, and the calculations were damaged.
Without a barrel to adjust for the explosiveness of the gunpowder, the power of the bullets was greatly weakened; but the distance was important, and firing from point-blank range created a considerably similar amount of damage.
Cracks appeared on the surface of the armor, and the powered suit let out a creaking sound as it tried to move, only for the ceiling to suddenly drop on it. The bullets that missed the Five Over had done significant damage to the ceiling.
With that, finally.
The Five Over stopped.
The powered suit that technically surpassed the #3.
The thing in front of it let out a voice that the AI’s overly-process thinking couldn’t understand.
In other words.
It was a human voice that had emotion.
“…The #4 I know of is even scarier than this.”
Kinuhata Saiai was hanging upside down on the office building.
As the steel water tank had been destroyed from the inside, a large waterhole had formed on the side of the roof. A part of her woolen sweater got caught by the sharp edge of the debris.
Even though she had her Offense Armor, she couldn’t negate the damage completely. It was as if her abdomen had been hit a few times, and the impacts that had reached her vertebrae caused all her strength to disappear. However, this was already the best case scenario. If she didn’t have any ability to protect herself, she would most likely have been crushed to bits.
(…Though it’s super lucky that no one’s inside the building, this definitely is the work of the higher ups)
But Kinuhata didn’t think further.
The door of the elevator linking the roof to the inside opened.
What appeared wasn’t an office worker or a building caretaker.
But rather, a young-looking guy with an extremely menacing expression.
The red-eyed white-haired Level 5 was leaning on a modern cane. Accelerator looked rather impatient as he stared at Kinuhata dangling off the debris of the water tank.
“I've heard the Freshmen are desperately trying to prevent Anti-Skill from getting involved. My companion intercepted communication regarding Kuroyoru Umidori and Silver Cross Alpha.”
“What's your point?”
“I need their whereabouts. The Freshmen are targeting a brat called Fremea Seivelun. I’d like to set up some precautions before she gets killed.”
“Seivelun…? Damn it, so that super crybaby would go about being nosy because of this?”
“Do you have any idea of where they went?”
“If you were able to intercept the secret messages of the Freshmen, shouldn’t you know?”
“They've already set it to top secret according to the battle situation. Anything they want to do always comes down to money. Since all the related organization messages were classified, it’s a waste of time to tap on them…Anyway, the Freshmen don’t seem like they have the complete support of the higher ups.”
“I super see.”
“Then, any clues?”
Kinuhata shrugged her shoulders while hanging upside down
“Shouldn’t be far away from here.”
Hanzou showed his face from the other side of the passage.
“We did it, hey, we really sunk that Five Over!!...Is it all right to go close to it? It won’t go berserk, right?”
"It's safe. All the firing is done."
Hamazura collected a large number of LED lights and dropped the electromagnetic wave device in his hand before running towards Hanzou and Kuruwa, who were in turn running at him.
“Hurry up! How many bullets do we have left? The Metal Eater M5 bullets!!”
“What are you talking about, Hamazura, the electric mantis is already…”
“Have you forgotten?” Hamazura grabbed Hanzou’s shoulders and shook him violently. “Five Over’s not the only powered suit that’s here. Some of them got wiped out in the shootout just now, but there are still a few of them left!!”
And those suits weren’t going to be destroyed without the firepower of the Metal Eater M5.
However, it was over if those few machines were to gather and attack, or maybe it could be even worse than just a single Five Over.
Hanzou frantically confirmed the number of bullets they had left.
“…We have seven rounds, but I can’t guarantee that all of them will work, and based on the enemy’s toughness, it might take a few rounds. It’s too hard to use these remaining bullets to destroy all the enemies!!”
“But there’s nothing else that can immobilize the unmanned powered suits.”
As the owner of the place, Kuruwa knew best what items were stored there.
“Light machine guns and assault rifles are going to be deflected no matter how many we use.”
“What do we do now, Hamazura? Do you think that the trap just now can work?”
“I have a plan.”
The rumbling sounds of suspended objects could be heard from different directions.
Intending to surround them.
There was no time left.
The only thing that could save them was the thing that Hamazura was wearing.
The continuous gunfire rang inside Kuroyoru Umidori’s ears. The numerous windows of the abandoned building were shattered, and the building itself was starting to tremble a bit.
Though she had spent quite a bit of effort in fighting Kinuhata Saiai, as of the current situation, Silver Cross’ collection of items were still useful. It had been ten minutes since they had gone in, so they should have destroyed everything inside, right?
“…It’s about time, nya?”
She muttered to herself. What she was imagining was a huge agricultural machinery that was currently cultivating human meat. Those machines could easily get from one point to another without feeling any dilemma that any human would seriously feel. What they lacked was the judgment between life and death, so they had the idea of crushing the enemy’s flesh to make sure that they were dead.
(…It’s already an era where vacuum cleaners are unattended, couldn’t we just leave these kinds of fucking jobs to machines?)
It was true that Silver Cross and Kuroyoru had a rather ambiguous attitude with regards to humans and machines, but she didn’t mind the ridicule at all.
Even so, if they weren’t kept in check, the human flesh could be crushed into bologna. There may be a need to make sure that they were able to be distinguished through the human eye to allow people to identify them easily.
However, it was likely that she would be attacked accidentally if she entered an unmanned suit’s operational area.
“Well, I'll cross that bridge when I get there.”
Kuroyoru again stroked the dolphin doll that was about to expand again.
“…They’re just mechanical toys, I can rip them to scrap metal within ten seconds if I want to.”
An unknown sound echoed throughout the darkness.
It was the thing reinforcing her.
The large number of baby hands seemed to multiply like a large swarm of locust, looking even more menacing and intimidating as they covered her like a cloak behind.
This was all set up for Kuroyoru’s ability, a battery.
Amassing several hundred to thousands of them, they didn’t just fire Bomber Lances, but was able to cause interference to everything that flowed within a specific area. It was the same thing with creating a large nitrogen lance, this was to create space to absorb nitrogen, to allow easy manipulation of explosions after all the nitrogen was absorbed at will.
This power was no longer that of a Level 4s ability.
Besides, Kuroyoru herself wasn’t interested in that stale ranking system.
“…I got a reputation for not caring about who my allies and enemies are. This time, I'm going to crush human life in exchange for money. I wonder which side will be angered?”
In order to make the situation even more chaotic, the youthful queen headed towards the building.
At that moment, she suddenly stopped.
A mocking snarl appeared on her face.
“Well, it’s better for you to come out anyway.”
That white figure was leaning on the modernistic cane as he stood opposite to her.
Academy City's #1; in terms of ranking, he was at the top of the seven Level 5s.
Kuroyoru suddenly laughed.
“But you’re a lot more cautious than I expected, or did the war change your personality? To actually scout out information just to preserve your battery life, this sure is different from the thought process I know of. I thought you would waste your energy flying about…Well, thanks to you, I may not be able to catch up.” She was taunting him. “You want to protect Fremea, right? Or is it Hamazura? Well, either way, I can guarantee that they died inside. You guys, including that dead Hamazura, are just a little group of resistance, the higher ups won’t get angry even if we kill you guys off.”
But Accelerator didn’t care about her words, instead focusing on Kuroyoru herself.
“…Is this what happens when you try to patch up that inability of yours?”
The muttering from the #1’s heart didn’t tangle Kuroyoru up.
“Though the timing isn’t great, I did gather all the necessary conditions, right?”
They both had a strong power.
Any Level 0 who let Kuroyoru advance would definitely die, though whoever tried to block her would still at least have a chance of survival.
“Speaking of which, even if we leave them alone, they’ll definitely be crushed to bits inside. Haha, or should I ask if we should check whether they’re still in human shape? Everyone should be the same when they’re buried.”
“…Are you happy?”
“Are you really happy to be staying there?”
The lair of evil.
Accelerator wondered if a certain Level 0 once stared at himself in the same way.
Of course, Kuroyoru didn't know about that.
Her response to Accelerator’s question was pretty simple.
Her tone changed.
"Isn't it obvious? I'm definitely happy. I'm really happy here!! This is the pinnacle of the world. To be able to be in a place where I can release evil. This is all I ever wanted!! No matter how much money is offered, I'll kill. There's a lot of people who lift their chins as they look down on others. And with this cyborg body, the way I live; it's even more outstanding than anyone else living in Academy City!! Why wouldn't I be happy about this!?"
Kuroyoru’s words which were specially targeted at a certain part of Accelerator’s thinking became a reality due to the higher ups of Academy City having rather poor taste. This was somewhat like a conversation with himself.
Now the hate towards her was being redirected back at him.
“Don’t tell me you think that just because you’re the strongest Level 5 in Academy City, you have no chance to lose?”
She continued on with her words of mockery.
The toy dolphin started to distort from within.
“No way. There's no way, right!? These guys that I’m controlling behind me aren’t just a destructive power. They are cyborgs!!”
Numerous arms appeared from the damaged dolphin doll, attaching themselves onto Kuroyoru’s upper right body.
These weapons had originally been developed as something meant to augment a body's functions.
Those ambiguous things could ignore a human figure and expand a certain part of the body.
“Though you’re the #1 of Academy City, you did taste defeat before. For example, Kihara Amata, who used that reflection of yours against you and consciously pulled his fist right back to let the reflection hit the fist into you.”
Accelerator knew what she wanted to say.
The large number of arms behind Kuroyoru were moving about like waves.
“But my arms are cyborgs, they’re machines, completely artificial things that’re controlled through numbers!! I can counter you by using Kihara Amata’s calculations!!”
Facing a past threat head to head.
That tone, that way of thinking was the perfect way to destroy Accelerator.
“So, #1, what are you planning to do? Kihara Amata only used his human fists, so if it’s my Bomber Lances, it’ll be over in a single hit. If you don’t want to die, bring it on. I’ll beat you down and ground you up.”
Several thousand arms moved into position.
Each arm could create a Bomber Lance freely, and in groups, they could completely control all the air flow around her.
There were tens of thousands of ways to attack. By setting the inputs to Kihara Amata's values that caused Accelerator quite a headache, she could definitely beat him with his reflection.
The lances could attack from any direction.
No matter where Accelerator tried to hide, there was no safe zone in the air. Even if the Bomber Lances themselves couldn’t touch him, in groups, they could manipulate the air in the sky.
It was impossible to defend or dodge.
If so, Accelerator made his own decision.
At this moment, the strongest Level 5 in Academy City made his move.
Exhaling slightly, he moved sideways, as if he was letting aside a path.
At that moment, Kuroyoru Umidori did not understand the real meaning behind his action. It was because she had a certain way of thinking implanted within her that she was unable to erase that abnormal feeling. In that situation, no, no matter what happened, that monster would definitely not "step aside". There was definitely a trick behind his move. Even her backup thoughts couldn’t think of why he would do that.
Kuroyoru continued to remain on the path of evil.
And Accelerator had abandoned the path.
Was that what made them different?
Because of that, Kuroyoru doubted.
Without changing his expression, Accelerator muttered something.
“The first characteristic of a mechanical weapon is that it’s not completely controlled by numbers. A mere weapon does not have any thoughts or personal beliefs. All of those are decided by the will of the user. If you think wildly, you’ll only end up with a wild outcome; a fucking idiot who uses it may end up with a serious outcome…well, ‘using a weapon’ is different from mastering it anyway.”
“Are you saying that I can’t control cyborgs of this size?”
“That’s why I moved aside.” Without answering the enemy’s question, Accelerator looked like he didn’t care as he continued with an impatient tone, “Let me say this first, this isn’t directed at you.”
At that moment, a crashing sound rang out.
Something seemed to fly out from the window on the third level of the abandoned building. It landed on the floor and bounced around a few times before rolling to Kuroyoru’s feet… it was one of Silver Cross’ collection that had been crushed…in other words, a powered suit.
The gunfire ceased.
And what appeared at the window was a certain precious object…
Had the gunfire stopped just to indicate that the suppression inside was over?
Kuroyoru thought that, but then realized that something was not right.
There was a large crack on the powered suit.
The hatch of the pilot seat was twisted, revealing a hole.
It was as if it had been ripped open by a human.
After that, she immediately remembered that the Dragon Rider equipment Hamazura Shiage was wearing had been created by Academy City. In other words, it was operated the same way the Five Over was.
In other words.
It was too late for her to feel a chill.
She understood the reason why Accelerator stepped aside.
Overwhelming gunfire was fired at Kuroyoru Umidori.
A railgun that surpassed the #3 were fired at her at a speed of four thousand shots per minute.
The two Gatling railguns on the two sides of the electronic mantis were shooting at Kuroyoru’s arms from behind. They were sickles that summoned death, with one swing enough to slice these esper weapons as if they were harvesting wheat.
The railgun trajectories fired at Kuroyoru from both sides.
That small space could rival a guillotine.
If she was fully prepared, Kuroyoru would win against the Five Over head on based on ability alone. However, she reacted slowly. That small gap of a mere few seconds destroyed a large number of those specially made arms of hers.
Even so, facing the two bullet sickles, Kuroyoru immediately responded.
She moved her remaining several hundred arms about to create a large number of Bomber Lances. The storms created by the manipulation of the atmosphere deflected the bullets, and the large number of huge lances clashed directly with the railguns with amazing devastation, generating lots and lots of storms. Kuroyoru even considered that merely using air alone wasn’t going to do the job, so she placed a large number of arms in front of her to act as shields.
(It can work.)
Even though she was on the defense, Kuroyoru was still thinking about counterattacking.
Her aggressiveness would last to the end.
(The Gatling railgun will use up a huge amount of electricity and create loads of heat. It can’t possibly continue to fire forever. The safety feature will have a cooling period for some time, so if I counterattack at that moment, it’s not hard to destroy the Five Over…)
“You played the wrong card.”
As if he was trying to interrupt Kuroyoru’s thoughts, Accelerator muttered coldly.
The owner of her implanted thought process.
The voice of the person who knew how to use that power the most.
“If you want to fight defensively, you have to reflect first. Using vector transformation by concentrating on smaller areas can’t possibly hold out against such a large area of attack. To actually abandon a shield and use your lances to block this rain of bullets, you look like you’re juggling over there.”
Defense rather than offense.
Not Kuroyoru Umidori, but Kinuhata Saiai.
“If you want to specialize your attacks, you should have thoroughly destroyed it. If you have such power that you’re so proud of, it should be beneficial for you to quickly attack to prevent it from getting to you.”
The adverse effect of being unable to get through.
Also known as the way of life being shaken up.
This referred to the basic instincts of living things, to subconsciously choose to defend against this avatar of destruction known as the Gatling railgun.
Accelerator impatiently criticized that series of actions.
“What a waste of talent, cyborg.”
A large number of arms were destroyed, and the mechanical equipment exploded.
Kuroyoru Umidori was sent crashing to the ground by a rain of shrapnel.
The winner was decided.
Hamazura Shiage rode on the Five Over as he walked out of the abandoned building. It should have be able to use its wings to fly, but he didn’t use that unknown technology. Hamazura directly moved from the stairs to the first level, passing through the main entrance.
The powered suit that appeared in front of Accelerator released its hatch, revealing Hamazura’s face from within.
“Is it over?”
“The remaining ones were taken away by that irritating clone. However, you took out the two most important people, so it’s just a matter of time. If you can use that, it means that the original rider got dragged out.”
“That’s the case. Right now, Kuruwa-chan…that ninja girl’s taking care of it.”
Accelerator peered inside the interior of the powered suit.
There were cables attached between the special suit Hamazura was wearing and the inside space. Most likely, he had destroyed the main system of the Five Over and attached the special equipment of his clothing to it to allow him to do the calculations better.
It worked because the principle was the same, and it was activated during that critical moment.
“Are you still able to process the information?”
“Which one do you think is wiser, to think of a way to do it or to do it thoroughly from scratch? By the way, the latter involves having to redo all the mechanics.”
“…It’s like leaving some cooking utensils to a woman who knows how to cook and expecting a table full of homecooked food, is it?”
Ignoring Accelerator’s contempt, Hamazura lowered his head.
Kuroyoru Umidori was lying on the floor.
She had been hit by numerous shrapnel and had lost quite a lot of blood, but at least she still had her limbs intact. Even facing such a sweeping fire, she actually had not been hit directly. As expected of a strong esper of Academy City, she was not an enemy that could be fought using just common sense.
“So the Freshmen commotion is over, right?”
“Where’s that Fremea Seivelun brat?”
“Inside the large bank vault. It’ll open in half a day because of the timer control.”
“…How troublesome. I’ll just use my power to force it open.”
“I wanted to as well, but we need to hide the weapons before Anti-Skill arrive, or it’ll be quite troublesome for Kuruwa-chan.”
While talking, the two people subconsciously ignored Kuroyoru Umidori.
That was a mistake.
They were still unable to grasp the nature of the thing they were fighting against.
Most of it had been shattered into numerous pieces when the Gatling railgun fired on it. However, though the machine couldn’t work if a part ABC was missing, by linking part A, part B, and part C, they could create a part D.
In other words.
Even if they were crushed, the arms wouldn't necessarily be disabled.
There was the sound of a breath.
Hamazura saw the collapsed Kuroyoru stretch her small hand forward.
At the same time.
Over one hundred arms that were barely patched together moved at once.
The target was neither Hamazura Shiage nor Accelerator.
The sound of an explosion could be heard.
A large amount of air mixed together to form a several-hundred-meter-long gigantic lance. The aim was rather messed up as well; Fremea was definitely on the third level, but Kuroyoru’s lance was aimed at the ground, as if it was aiming at the ground level.
But that was enough.
Once she swung the lance horizontally, it would be enough to slice the abandoned building. It was hard to say if the bank vault could completely endure the impact of the fall, and the distorted power itself was enough to easily rip the walls of the bank vault apart.
This was what Academy City made.
A subversion of common sense that was under scientific discipline.
"Fuck you!! This is my last hope!! This is the incomparable darkness of Academy City!! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!"
An explosion could be heard.
The lance was swung.
Hamazura Shiage regretted. He regretted thinking that it had been over and getting out of the powered suit; he regretted seeing Kuroyoru Umidori like that and forgetting that she could still launch a fatal attack at a kid; he regretted that he could have settled this without killing so many people and yet chose the most redundant method; he regretted that he was not the one who ended up in danger, but Fremea, who believed in him so much.
Accelerator was furious. Angry that he mocked Kuroyoru’s wavering sense of living. That excessive talk regained her real nature, and presented her the opportunity to select the "aggression" option.
They were both the same.
They had not made the final choice adequately.
Hamazura gritted his teeth and intended to stop Kuroyoru, but it was too late. Besides, even when he wearing the unique clothing, it was hard for Hamazura to act as a shield without the Five Over.
(…So in the end, a supporting character like me is unable to finish everything like a hero!!)
He moved to block all the lances.
No matter what, Hamazura only cared about charging forward.
A storm was whipped up.
He could only stare and watch the last chance pass by his eyes. He was absorbed in the aftershock of the storm, slowly closing his eyes.
The color of despair clouded his vision.
He felt that all he had done up to now was completely destroyed by one strike.
Fremea Seivelun couldn’t be saved anymore.
He chose the wrong winning and losing conditions.
It was not his win even though he had beaten Silver Cross and Kuroyoru.
He had actually forgotten that the simple objective of protecting Fremea Seivelun’s life and smile would be the real victory. Beating the Five Over and Kuroyoru were useless.
He had thought that he could protect.
He had thought that Fremea would be safe once he beat a strong enemy.
But in the end…
A scream full of despair.
Hamazura noticed it.
He heard the sound of the lance being swung.
But that was it.
The sound of the abandoned building collapsing wasn’t heard.
Trembling, he opened his eyes.
It was a strange scene.
There was definitely a lance. It was several hundred meters long, formed by compressing air together unnaturally. The block of violence would undoubtedly cleave the building.
In reality, the building that Fremea was hiding in was completely unscathed.
It hadn’t fallen.
What had stopped it? The one attack that Kuroyoru Umidori had let loose with all of her remaining strength and resolve?
It was a boy.
More accurately, it was the boy’s right hand.
The boy with the Imagine Breaker hidden inside his right hand stopped the Bomber Lance.
The conclusion came quickly.
It blew away the nitrogen lance that had so much power within it, and Kuroyoru, who had just witnessed her last hope be broken, lost consciousness.
There was complete silence.
It was a world devoid of danger.
He easily swung the right hand with the most inexplicable power in the world and casually spoke to Hamazura and Accelerator.
“Long time no see.”