Power is necessary, in order to protect something, and a stronger power is necessary in order to obtain something.
Without power, one cannot but lose.
And in order to get back what is lost, a much stronger power is necessary.
That was Irene Urzaiz’s creed.
The power struggle of the Integrated Enterprise Foundation was intense; hence it’s political situation was always unstable. Likewise. There were small countries of Southern Europe which were stuck and sinking little by little into the swamps completely. –– Of such countries; A forsaken ruin-like town was Irene’s birthplace.
In this era, where the population was concentrated in big cities, and the extreme unipolarization became natural, the humans, who were living in such places were mostly poor. The government system of the Integrated Enterprise Foundation always required a fixed number of economically weak people. Irene’s family was no exception either.
In such a family, if a Starpulse Generation child were to be born, there was no way that it would not be pleased. The discrimination towards the Starpulse Generation was so far away from the urban areas that it became remarkable, but at the same time it was a money tree for the poor. The Starpulse Generation were valued best when being scouted by the academies of Asterisk and playing an active role, by PMC and related defense/security, and by criminal syndicates at worst.
Irene had presumed early the expectation of such parents. Even so, she did not loathe them, but she did not feel a deep affection towards them, either. This was because, for Irene the sole object of concern was her little sister who was also a Starpulse Generation like her.
Unlike her, who was violent and crude, her little sister was gentle, brave and she dearly loved her above all.
For Irene, her little sister was the only person, whom she could turn to with deep affection and at the same time the only person who would return it without compensation.
Then one day, that little sister suffered a serious injury. She was caught up in the collapse of an old building.
The majority of the buildings of the old century, which had been abandoned since the Ember Tears, had already reached the end of their life span, were already known as dangerous. Even so the poor, with no other places to live, could only cling there.
Originally it was such a serious injury that even a Starpulse Generation could lose their life but her little sister had recovered the next day. It was at that time she realized that her little sister was a Regenerative.
Regarding the Starpulse Generation; The potential aptitude test for ability users was obligatory during childhood in any country. However the government functions became somewhat unable to operate with integrity. In the interior of these impoverished countries they were hardly functioning at all, particularly, in non-urban areas. In fact, the non-registered ability users were not few.
And, those guys always searched for such ability users.
“––You see, Priscilla. These people say that they want you to help them out. Will you go?”
Sure enough, Frauenlob –– the scout of Allekant came shortly thereafter.
With a soft, coaxing voice, the mother put her hand on the little sister’s shoulder, and the father signed the contract with a satisfied look. On that contract, there were the characters for Dedicated Scholarship Student of the infamous Allekant. No matter what is done or what happens, the subject cannot voice any complaints, so to speak.
The next day, Irene took her little sister and left the house.
She did not think that she could succeed in escaping, and it was not as if she had somewhere to go, either.
However. She knew that if she did not do so she would have lost her little sister. That, only, she could never accept.
“––Yo, are you Irene Urzaiz?”
In the deserted house where the two girls were hiding, it was three days after leaving the house that that man appeared in front of them.
He was plump, with darkish red hair, and of short stature. His expression was sullenly distorted and his eyes were dazzlingly and strangely shining.
Irene first thought that he was a pursuer from Allekant, but he did not have such an atmosphere about him. More evident was an emblem of crossed twin swords attached to the man’s chest.
“Try to use it.”
As the man said so he threw a Lux’s activation tool towards Irene.
While Irene kept her guard up she touched it. At that moment; A piercing shock ran through her body.
At the same time… She understood.
This is “power”.
The Lux activated and a huge scythe giving off purple phosphorescence appeared. She felt a violent energy rising in her body.
As the man, who saw it, slightly moved his eyebrows, he once again opened his mouth.
“……Hmm. You passed. All right… Let me hear your wish.”
She neither understood the situation nor knew who the man in front of her was. Even so Irene answered without hesitation. Of course… Irene only had one wish.
And, as long as that wish came true, she was even ready to sell her soul to the devil.
The man hardly changed his expression while hearing her request. After that the man took out his portable terminal and had a conversational exchange with somewhere for a while.
The man then plainly said. “Right now, I have repurchased your little sister. It was a little expensive, but I will have you pay back a part of it by working.”
The man said only that. He turned around, with his back showing, and started to walk off.
But… He suddenly stopped on the way, turned his small head, and gazed at Irene and Priscilla.
“Don’t just forget this. It’s not Le Wolfe that has saved you. But me. Therefore, it’s not Le Wolfe that will use you, but me. Okay?”
Now that she thought about it, only the point of being sent from Allekant to Le Wolfe changed, it probably didn’t necessarily mean that something was resolved.
Even so, in order to take back Priscilla from Dirk, she was given necessary time, chance and above all “power”.
And, it was enough for her.
“……Onee-chan? It’s about time.”
As she opened her eyes to that voice, Priscilla was looking into her face with an anxious expression.
––In a waiting room of Sirius Dome. By checking the time, she thought that it would be indeed bad if they did not soon go to the stage.
“All right, then, let’s settle the task.”
As Irene said so and stood up from the sofa, she gently stroked Priscilla’s head.
“Don’t worry. Everything will be all right as usual.”
It was Irene, who always received orders from Dirk. Priscilla did not know anything and did not ask anything. However, she would only give her blood to Irene when needed.
Irene thought that it was better like that.
Whether it be standing place on the field of battle or dirtying her hands… She herself was enough. Such a thing did not suit Priscilla.
She already did so up to now and it would never change even in the future.
“Well, that said, those two indeed aren’t your average opponents. It’ll be hard if I don’t go all out from the start.”
Irene said and activated Gravi-Sheath.
Priscilla, who saw it, revealed the nape of her neck as she understood.
A desire hard to resist, swelled up in Irene’s heart, and she silently thrust her fangs into that white neck’s nape.
“Ah……” A thin voice leaked from Priscilla’s mouth.
Irene then sensed the taste of lukewarm iron coarsing down through her throat.
––Since when? Did she come to think that this taste was sweet… Irene wondered.
In response; Gravi-Sheath trembled with joy.
She remained in that state probably for a good minute.
As Irene released her mouth she lovingly caressed the deep scar… Though it was small.
However. It then disappeared from view.
“I’m sorry for doing this as always.”
As Irene said so, Priscilla shook her head (in denial).
“No, this much is not a big deal. But––”
Irene tightly embraced Priscilla, who looked downward.
Priscilla muttered in Irene’s arms in a small voice.
“I’m sorry, Onee-chan.”
“Idiot. Why do you apologize?”
Once she completed the one task, with it she would be able to haul in Priscilla with her own hands.
Dirk was not a trustworthy man, but he never broke his promises.
So for now. She had no choice… But to fight.
“Well, it’s about time.”
To Julis’ voice, Ayato suddenly raised his face.
“Ah, yeah. You’re right.”
“……What’s wrong? It’s not good to be lost in thought just before a match.”
Julis put a hand on her waist and pouted.
Ayato smiled wryly and lightly waved his hands.
“No, it’s nothing. Let’s go.”
“Hmm, then it’s fine.” Julis’ face showed that she was not yet convinced.
She took a glance at the watch and slightly exhaled.
Like that… The two people came out of the waiting room.
Julis, who went ahead making footsteps with a clacking sound, said without looking back.
“I must win. No matter who the opponent is, I don’t intend to concede his wish. That’s why I’m here now.”
“……Yeah.” Ayato, still, thinking.
“But –– I’m also not going to dwell on how to win.”
The long corridor leading to the stage seemed to be short.
Julis’ voice slightly echoed and flowed behind.
“If we can win in the way you wish, then let’s just do so. We’re partners after all. Let’s cooperate and fight hand-in-hand. It’s something normal… Right?”
Ayato stopped his footsteps and looked at Julis.
He bowed his head to Julis, who similarly stopped several steps ahead.
“Idiot. It’s not something to be thankful for.”
The cheeks of Julis, who slightly looked back just a little, were slightly dyed red as she felt embarrassed.
“So, what do you intend to do?”
“Uh huh. There’s something I want to try. I don’t know whether or not we can do it. But……”
As Ayato explained his intention, Julis opened her eyes wide as she was surprised.
“Yeah…… Certainly, it’s not as if there has been no precedent, but… The opponent is that Gravi-Sheath you know?”
“I know that it’s difficult. But––”
To Ayato, who vigorously said, Julis responded with a wry smile.
“Haa…… I understand. Let’s try it. But… There will probably be only one chance. If we fail, you will just have to give up on it.”
“Then it won’t be helped.”
“It’s fine if you understand. Okay –– Then… Let’s go.”
And they gently held out their fists.
Ayato nodded and they bumped their fists against each other.
『”Well then, the heated matches will continue at each venue for the fourth round! The finalists gracing Sirius Dome today are the Amagiri/Riessfeld pair of Seidoukan Academy and the Urzaiz sisters of Le Wolfe Black Institute! Which tag team will advance to the best 16!”』
『”This is also a match to look forward to. Since either of them has won through the qualifier almost without letting their opponents have even the slightest chance. I think that this will become a watershed event.”』
『”Well then. Here I would like Tram-san to give her conjecture about the outcome of this match. Since Gravi-Sheath, which is used by player Irene, has heavy fuel (prana) consumption, will Seidoukan be advantageous if it’s a drawn-out battle after all?”』
『”Hmm well. I think that we can’t unconditionally say that. Since player Irene has, so to speak, the supply line called player Priscilla after all. Besides, in terms of comparison of the ability in itself……”』
“Hmph, as usual they speak as if it was that simple.”
Julis’ reaction to such live commentaries was to furrow her eyebrows and grumble.
Since, Ayato had a limit, it was rather their side which could not draw out the battle.
From this point onward, aside from the first adjustment day of just entering, there was no resting day up until the finals.
If he released the seal for a long period of time, it was clear that the matches on and after next day would be difficult.
“Ayato, don’t overdo it……, though it’s probably useless to say it.”
“After all… It’s an opponent that we can’t defeat without overdoing it.”
Julis activated Aspera Spina and nodded.
“I agree. Let’s go all out from the start.”
Ayato returned a nod, fixed his breathing and raised his prana.
Magic circles appeared around Ayato and the mana shone and burst. Power swelled up within his body and pain ran through all directions.
“––Secret sword bound by the prison of stars, release your might!”
The binding chains of imprisonment, which admonished all creations, were smashed up and power overflew.
『”There it appeared! Player Amagiri’s performance… With which we are already familiar!”』
『”It’s flashy whenever I see it.”』
The gallery seethed all at once, and cheers flew about wildly.
“I see that you’re highly motivated, Amagiri.”
Irene, who placed Gravi-Sheath on her shoulder, lightly laughed while glaring at the active Ayato.
Irene stepped forward alone, leaving Priscilla behind.
“Well then. I’ll also go all out……!”
Gravi-Sheath emitted a purple light and mana weirdly wriggled.
The tension stretched––
“Phoenix fourth round 11th match, battle start!”
The mechanical voice announced the start of the battle.
“Bloom proudly –– Livingstone DaisyFlaming Crimson Decapitator!”
Julis immediately activated her ability, and flame blew up from her surroundings.
The flame wound a swirl, turned into crimson chakrams, and attacked Irene from all directions.
“Hahaha! What pretense!”
Irene easily cut down the chakrams, which amounted to about ten, with Gravi-Sheath.
But, at that opportunity (chance), Ayato shortened the distance at a stretch.
He was just barely running between the chakrams while holding Ser-Versta, and slashed at her from a low position.
Irene stopped the blow with Gravi-Sheath and the two weapons’ edges collided and sparks fell as if dancing.
Although Ser-Versta was an Ogre Lux, which cut through everything it touched, the opponent had an Ogre Lux of the same level. It seemed that things would not go so well. He knew that by engaging in close range combat, he would gradually overcome his opponent’s blade, but with that alone, he could not say that he had a particular advantage.
Since Ayato had expected this, he immediately changed his tactic, and slashed at her torso while rotating it as he rolled up his body.
Irene repelled it with Gravi-Sheath and like that she slashed down with an overhead chop but Ayato’s following backslash was one step faster than it. So he dodged the diagonal cut to his shoulder, as he promptly shifted his body, and in a flash Ayato followed up with a thrust towards her.
Irene turned Gravi-Sheath around and defended against it using the blade as a shield. Sparks danced once again, but Ayato twisted his wrist after pulling once the point of his sword, and repelled Gravi-Sheath.
He sliced down with Ser-Versta aiming at her chest, –– her school badge, which became wide open.
Irene leaped back and dodged it by a hairsbreadth, but her trademark muffler was torn and burnt up.
“Tch! To think I was pressed so far……! As expected I’m at disadvantage when crossing blades, huh!”
Furthermore, the fiery chakrams sprung at Irene one after another as if they had been waiting for the timing when she dodged.
“––Diez FanegaTenfold Destroyer!”
However, as Irene made one swing of Gravi-Sheath, black gravity balls appeared around her body, clashed with the chakrams and vanished into each other.
『”––Th-This is an amazing offense and defense from the very beginning! The combination of the players Amagiri and Riessfeld was impressive, but player Urzaiz, who has outdone herself, is even more amazing!”』
『”To dive into those three-dimensional mobile flames is amazing. Player Riessfeld originally possessed splendid control but player Amagiri could not readily do it if he did not trust his tag partner very much.”』
Ayato and Irene re-measured the distance between each other, and Julis kept her original distance and focused on her next skill.
“Hmm, it’s not so bad for an improvised tag formed for one or two months.” Irene said so while catching her breath.
Julis responded to it while setting up Aspera Spina.
“You too. You really dodge it well even when alone.”
“Hahaha! I’m not alone. There are also two of us here.”
A ferocious light glowed in Irene’s pupils and sharp fangs peeped out from her mouth as she broadly laughed.
“This is the power of both Priscilla and I!”
Gravi-Sheath shook with a clattering sound, and a purple light streamed down the ground.
It looked as if it was laughing––
“Dodge it, Ayato!”
Ayato was already moving before Julis cried.
The air of the surroundings, where Ayato was until a while ago, violently shook.
Probably, the gravity around there was manipulated.
“Ho~u, you indeed have good reaction.”
“I already saw it several times after all.”
Ayato re-set Ser-Versta while carefully dropping his waist.
Gravi-Sheath gravity manipulation was a range specified type ability. Therefore, no matter what, a moment of time lag was required before it’s activation. Average students could probably not cope with it but the current Ayato was somehow able to evade it.
“But, did you think that you can conquer (capture) this Gravi-Sheath with that level?”
Within Irene’s hand, Gravi-Sheath laughed once again.
The purple light ran on the ground, but this time the range was much wider than earlier.
Ayato, who leaped greatly to one side, was not able to evade it, was suddenly endowed with a heavy pressure.
But, on the contrary, instead of being crushed, Ayato’s body started floating softly.
“It’s toilsome to make the gravity really strong but just weakening it somewhat is not really so hard. So… I can specify a wide range like this.”
Ayato was floating at a height of about two meters.
I did not matter if he was of the Starpulse Generation he still couldn’t do anything. Even though he tried to move his limbs he had no purchase to apply his power. His limbs, flapping, cut the sky in vain and his body just turned around.
“Oops, you, just stay quiet here!”
Gravi-Sheath was swung towards Julis, who tried to hurriedly rush over, and a heavy pressure weighed on her body.
Although Julis fell down as she rolled, and was going to stand up, it seemed that she could not even move a knee.
It was a degree of activation range that was not impossible for Julis with her reflexes to dodge, but seemingly, her move towards Ayato’s side was completely read.
“Well then, my control is not as good as the Gruene RosePetalblaze Witch’s, but in a case of an immobile target, then it’s another issue. ––Uno FanegaOnefold Destroyer!”
A gravity ball appeared before Irene’s eyes, and exactly aimed at Ayato.
But, Irene suddenly fell to her knees.
“Tch, as expected, it’s difficult to maintain three different abilities……! Even though I refilled that much, it’s already reached the bottom huh……!”
Irene was painfully distorting her face.
Nevertheless, the ability was still holding out.
“Well, it’s fine……, with this, it’s over, Amagiri!”
The gravity balls were shot towards Ayato and the very moment they were going to directly hit him––
“Bloom proudly –– AmaryllisSix-Petal Burst Firebloom……!”
The fireballs shot by Julis, who was still lying on the ground, directly hit in front of the gravity balls.
“Guh!” Ayato grumbled as he tumbled on the ground.
“What!?” Irene was suprised.
Ayato’s body was blown off by the small explosion.
Still quite quickly he rebuilt his stance and frowned towards Julis.
“…… I’m thankful that you’ve saved me, but wasn’t there a more gentle way to do it?”
“It was still better than losing like that, right? Besides I held down the power to the minimum possible. So this level of power wouldn’t have caused damage on someone like you with that much prana.”
As Gravi-Sheath’s attack was dispelled, Julis, who was rushing over, returned a joke to Ayato.
On the other hand, though Irene still kept her eyes on Ayato, she was slowly retreating little by little. She was probably heading towards Priscilla in order to refill blood.
“I know! Bloom proudly –– LongiflorumWhite Firebloom of the Sharp Spear!”
As Julis waved her thin sword, the spears of flames manifested along its trajectory.
It was the best chance now that Irene could not use Gravi-Sheath’s ability. There was no way that they would be silent and just watch.
Ayato also ran off a moment later behind the spears of flames that were shot and were tearing through the air.
“––Orreaga PesadoHeavy Reed Prison”
The spears of flames were stopped by a purple wall –– no, it was rather more like jail grate –– which suddenly appeared to grow up from the ground.
Ayato hurriedly braked just in front of it.
It seemed that thin purple rods, which were vertically stretched gravity balls, were linked in a grid pattern.
“Setting type Defense ability……!”
Though Julis bit her lips in frustration. In the meantime Irene arrived at Priscilla’s side.
“Hahaha. At the time this insolent person went and sniped not at me but Priscilla, I had prepared an ace up my sleeve as a precaution. It can’t be easily destroyed.”
Irene lightly laughed on the other side of the wall, and thrust her fangs at Priscilla’s neck as she showed off.
Because Ayato wielded Ser-Versta he could still break through the wall. He would, however, no longer make it in time.
“……with this, I’m fully restored.” Irene boasted.
As Ayato, who sighed, checked the time, two minutes had soon passed since the battle started.
Ideally speaking, they wanted to bring down the opponent in one minute, but……
Julis called Ayato with a sharp voice.
“What’s the matter?” As Julis came over to his side.
“–– The preparations are complete. If you want to try, that, do it quickly.”
As Ayato turned back, Julis briefly said in low voice while whispering into his ear.
While hearing that Ayato returned a nod and grasped Ser-Versta tightly.
The following move was a special of Julis. Its success or failure would probably influence the outcome of the battle.
If so, taking the time into consideration, there were not many chances left for Ayato.[––If we can win in the way you desire, then let’s do so.]
He recalled Julis’ words right before the battle.
It seemed that he had no choice but to try to aim for it before Julis’ bold move activated.
“……Yo, I kept you waiting. Well then, shall we go for the second round?”
As the wall soon disappeared as if melting, Irene stepped forward while wiping her lips.
Behind her, Priscilla lied down completely exhausted, and she was roughly breathing.
Ayato, who saw it, sadly knitted his brows.
“Do you think that that way of doing things is really correct?”
“……Shut up, Amagiri. You don’t have to explain such a thing at this late hour.”
“If that’s the case––”
“You shut up I said!”
A purple shine ran on the ground at the same time Irene raised Gravi-Sheath.
Ayato, Irritated, took a great leap back while escaping the ability’s activation range. The range was also much wider than before but Ayato had grown accustomed to it and reacted early.
As expected, it seemed that, she would not listen if not by force.
Ayato resolved himself and set up Ser-Versta to the side.
“Bloom proudly –– PrimroseDancing nine-spirering-flower!”
Julis’ support entered there.
“You’re annoying! Cien GuestiaHundred fold Funeral Procession!”
Then, as Irene brandished Gravi-Sheath, a purple wave motion spread out like an aurora, and the primroses of flame, that fluttered about most lovingly, were all crushed and vanished in the air.
Even as that occurred Ayato turned around and approached from the right side toward the slight newly created opening and jumped straight into Irene’s bosom.
“Amagiri Bright Dragon Style First Sword Fighting Skill —
Returning his arm, from mowing down the initial blow, he stepped further in and matched it with a rising slash from underneath.
A powerful impact sounded and an afterglow burst forth.
Irene somehow defended against it with Gravi-Sheath, but her stance was entirely destroyed. Ayato did not miss the chance and swung Ser-Versta downward, with all his might, aiming at Gravi-Sheath.
Ser-Versta’s maneuverability was not so effective, since it was somewhat large, but it was also the same for Gravi-Sheath. Although the blow was driven into the engine chamber, where the Ulm mana dite was embedded, it was blocked by a purple light and it’s power had been considerably spoiled. It was a clear response at defense.
Gravi-Sheath emitted a shrill sound like a scream and, in place of where Ayato was trying to inflict another blow, he was suddenly sent flying by an invisible power.
It was probably Gravi-Sheath’s ability. Ayato immediately returned to his stance and raised his face, but right in of his line of sight, Irene was glaring at Ayato with anger filling her eyes.
“……I see. I didn’t think that you would aim at Gravi-Sheath……!”
That’s right. The very aim of Ayato was the destruction of Gravi-Sheath.
Originally, destroying an Ogre Lux was a next-to impossible undertaking but, if the attacker wielded an Ogre Lux of the same level, it was not impossible.
If he had succeeded in doing so, the battle would have been almost settled, but now that his aim was found out, there would probably not be a second chance.
“It was close, but it’s time-out, Ayato.”
Julis called out there with a serious expression.
It was the best hand that the current Ayato could deal, but, there was no help for it since it failed.
Ayato nodded and renewed his feelings.
“Seriously, you’ve shown me various things through all possible means. Well, I better return the favor……!”
Gravi-Sheath, in Irene’s hand, strengthened the purple light as if it was also angry.
“––Diez Mil FanegaTen thousand folds Destroyer!”
As Irene wielded Gravi-Sheath, gravity balls appeared in the air. They were as big as a fist – smaller than all of them up until now.
However –– their number was astounding.
Julis muttered with a cramped face.
The gravity balls were rapidly increasing their numbers before their eyes; and it wasn’t on the order of ten or twenty. At least, there was no doubt, it was exceeding one hundred.
“I said it before, but I’m not that good at control. But well, with this, it doesn’t matter……!”
“Julis! I will be all right, so focus on your own defense. And then……”
“Ah, I know!”
While hearing Julis’ reply, Ayato set up Ser-Versta before him.
“Be crushed and disappear!” Irene announced.
At the same time that Irene swung Gravi-Sheath downward the multiple gravity balls aimed at Ayato and attacked.
There was only about ten percent of the number, which headed towards Julis.
However that could be expected if thinking about Irene’s aim. Anyway, with only that many, Julis should be able to protect herself.
Ayato deeply inhaled while simultaneously focusing his mind. He made an image of a small circle around him and strained to put his consciousness into it.
––This circle was Ayato’s absolute defense zone.
“Amagiri Bright Dragon Style Intermediate Technique –– < Arrow Clearing Crow>.”
The gravity balls that fiercely came to attack him were all bisected the instant they penetrated that zone.
With a flash-like slash, Ayato continued to repulse the swarm of gravity balls, which came to attack in succession from all directions, without letting even one pass. The gallery, let alone Ayato’s sword flash, was probably not even seeing his arm which was swinging that sword.
“Oi oi, seriously……”
Seeing the number of gravity balls decreasing before her eyes, Irene’s expression was warped in shock.
Ayato confirmed that the number already decreased to less than half and this time he launched himself upon them. He slowly worked his way through the gravity balls and then jumped to within Irene’s reach at a stretch.
Irene immediately coped with it as she set up Gravi-Sheath and returned Ayato’s attack.
Gravi-Sheath and Ser-Versta clashed fiercely as sparks danced violently.
Ayato and Irene continued to lock blades at close range while they steadily gain and lose ground to one another, but before long Irene greatly leaped back at Ayato’s sword pressure, as if having been sent flying.
Ayato shouted to Julis who, had already dodged all the gravity balls, responded.
“Leave it to me!”
A magic circle appeared where Irene was about to land.
It was Julis’ setting type ability.
“Come out –– GloriosaGlorious Rending Flame Claw Flower!”
A huge flame claw blew up from the ground moving to crush Irene.
“Hahaha! Your lure was obvious!”
In fact. Irene seemed to have anticipated it from the beginning.
She thrust Gravi-Sheath in the ground, and easily shattered the magic circle, which was brightly shining. The flame claw also shook like a hazy heat wave, and vanished.
It was a clear failure.
––But, it was fine.
“Oh, it’s fine even if it was obvious, –– that’s just a simple decoy.”
“What did you say……!?”
The Color of surprise floated on Irene’s face as a magic circle again appeared at her feet.
No. Saying ‘at’ her feet would not be exact.
Its size was ten times more than that of earlier with it’s diameter slightly exceeding twenty meters.
“It’s the skill of the highest thermodynamic power, among my setting type abilities, you should taste it fully!”
Julis had obviously already set up Aspera Spina. At the same time that she swung it downward the magic circle shone red. One could clearly see a huge amount of mana flowing into it.
“Damn it!” Irene started running so as to escape.
But there was no way that she could make it in time.
“Come out –– RafflesiaGreat Sparkling Bomb Ring Flower!”
At that moment a truly magnificent flame flower of extraordinary size swelled up and with a large storm-like blast, complete with an earsplitting roaring sound, enveloping the entire stage, violently blew out with scorching heat reaching all the way over to Ayato who had already taken enough distance. Even the remaining gravity balls in the air completely vanished by the blast-effect.
It was a tremendous power far beyond imagination.
In fact, since this skill consumed a great amount of prana, it apparently took a lot of time and effort to prepare it.
Julis was secretly advancing the preparations while supporting Ayato, who was fighting at the vanguard.
Priscilla with a pale face tried to approach but the fumes and flames from the explosions had not yet cleared up. The situation inside could not be observed.
Since a Starpulse Generation instinctively invested all his prana in defense when he faced a life crisis; unless in extreme circumstances, she should not be in a life-threatening situation, but with this, even Irene and Gravi-Sheath would not probably get away unscathed.
In the center of the crater caused by the explosion, looking downward, was the figure of Irene who was loosely standing while holding Gravi-Sheath in her hand.
Her clothes were burnt everywhere, but injuries that could be called injuries were nowhere to be found.
And a huge gravity ball was floating around Irene so as to protect her.
“Don’t tell me she held down the blast with Gravi-Sheath’s ability……? No, but, it shouldn’t have such an ability……”
Julis muttered with an amazed face.
Ayato was also thinking the same thing. From the power that Irene used so far, it was very unlikely for her to hold back an attack of that power. Even if by any chance she managed to do so, then she would certainly lose her life as the price.[If so, was she not fighting seriously until now……? No, that can’t be……]
“Thanks God! Onee-chan!”
Priscilla ran up to her while letting herself brighten with relief but Irene, still looking downward, did not move.
At that moment. An ominous feeling crossed Ayato’s mind.
At the same time, in Ayato’s hands, Ser-Versta wriggled as if shivering.
As Priscilla felt a discomfort, she stopped several steps in a place slightly away from Irene.
She tightly grasped both her hands in front of her chest, and stared at Irene with an anxious expression.
Then, for the first time, Irene moved.
With an unsteadily disorienting pace… She slowly headed towards Priscilla.
Priscilla slightly stepped back…… Tripped and then fell down.
The moment when Ayato was about to suddenly start running –– a tremendous pressure attacked both of them.
“Wh-What, is it……!”
Both Ayato and Julis were pressed against the ground with no way to perform a technique. The ground started to crack by the pressure; pain and feeling weight oppressive enough to make them lose consciousness, if they relaxed their attention even a little, assaulted their whole body.
Gravi-Sheath gravity manipulation –– that, they knew. But, its range and power could not be compared to those until now. Almost the whole stage was covered with the purple glow, let alone standing, they were not even able to speak. As if a mountain was riding on top of their body.
As they somehow managed to move their heads and turned their line of sight toward Irene and Priscilla; Priscilla was, held in Irene’s left hand, completely exhausted. And Irene’s fangs were sticking out and into her neck.
“Argh…… I don’t know what on earth is happening……!”
Julis groaned in a voice, which was squeezed out.
“Probably…… That’s not Irene. It’s Gravi-Sheath……!” Ayato stated.
“What… Did you say……?”
In contrast to Julis, who was surprised, for some reason Ayato had the firm belief, that his intuition was correct.
Gravi-Sheath had taken over Irene’s body. Its scythe, which emitted the sinister purple glow, as usual looked as if it was laughing while it shook with a clattering sound.
“Anyway, at this rate, Priscilla will be in danger……”
Priscilla was, again, having her blood sucked by Irene since just a little bit ago. However much she was a Regenerative, if she continued to pay the price for this much ability drain, Priscilla’s life would be in danger for sure.
As Ayato mustered his strength and somehow managed to raise his body, he began to walk little by little towards Irene…… and Gravi-Sheath.
His body seemed to be heavily sheared and a violent pain was running about his whole body. This was not only Gravi-Sheath’s ability, but it was probably also because the limit of his seal release had already passed.
Probably he could only hold on for only one more short minute. If the seal was returned, during this situation, it would be the end.
However, however much he was encouraged or scolded, his feet were so heavy and his pace progressed slowly. Irene was only a dozen meters of distance away, but it felt as if it were dozens of times that.
Even so. He could not give up here.
Originally; In the Festa there was the rule which said that the loss of consciousness was considered a defeat. Since the judgment is performed by the school badge measuring vital reactions, the sentence of defeat being not being made yet, meant that Irene’s consciousness might, if only slightly, still remain.
If that was so, he could only, gamble on it.
Struggling, he reached a place only ten meters off, Ayato strained his voice.
While still moving ahead slowly. There was no reaction from Irene.
Gravi-Sheath, in her hand, only seemed to laugh.
Five meters remaining.
A little more and she would be within Ayato’s reach.
“Come to your senses, Irene! You must not mix important things with power!”
Several more steps.
“Irene! If it’s something really important… You must grab it with both your hands! Think about which way you desire now!”
For an instant.
Just for an instant… Light returned to Irene’s eyes.
The abnormal gravity vanished, the purple light weakened, and silence fell as if the world completely changed.
The next moment a pressure, stronger than that of a little while ago, along with Irene’s scream, squashed Ayato once again.
Irene, completely exhausted, drooped just like that as vitality instantly vanished from her body. Even so. Her right hand did not let Gravi-Sheath go.
––No, it did not part. Irene was no longer the user of Gravi-Sheath but only the part which supplied fuel (prana) to it. And probably, if it ended, she would be discarded.
Thrusting its tip on the ground, Gravi-Sheath, which emitted the sinister purple glow, shrilly laughed.
Before the eyes of those who reached out to a ray of hope. It enjoyed reaping that hope… In order to drive them to despair remembering that loud malicious laughter.
Unable to move a single finger under the pressure… Ayato was feeling a strong bubbling anger welling up.
––A pure anger towards that which trampled down dignity.
He gritted his teeth and strongly grasped Ser-Versta, and as if responding to it, Ser-Versta strongly shook. Ser-Versta was connected to something deep within him –– just for a moment.[This is……]
Although it could not be expressed with words, at that moment, Ayato certainly felt Ser-Versta’s will.
What was down there was……, if one were to forcibly look for a word close to human emotions, it would be “discomfort”. Something like a strong discomfort towards Gravi-Sheath.
And then a will. Which sought something from Ayato…… Or rather test him.
As if it said “try it if you can do it”––
“Didn’t I tell you before that I hate being tested……?”
Ayato stood with all the power he could muster while saying so.
Amidst a world colored over with purple shine, Ser-Versta’s Ulm mana dite emitted a red light. It gradually increased its strength, while at the same time, gradually eroding the purple light as if burning a paper.
Ser-Versta was a poor-defense demon sword that burned away all of creation.
If it was the case, then.
Using all of his strength, Ayato mowed down the empty space with Ser-Versta.
––At that moment, the purple shine, which completely covered the world, was bisected.
Gravi-Sheath’s laughter froze.
The abnormal gravity vanished once again. ––However… From the source this time.
It was probably for just an instant of time that Gravi-Sheath’s power was cut off.
That precise moment was enough for Ayato.
As Ayato instantly shortened the distance, he slashed at Gravi-Sheath from a low position and splashed it away from Irene’s right hand.
And as he scowled at Gravi-Sheath, which fluttered in midair while rotating, raining down in accordance to gravity, Ayato struck it down as it passed by and it deeply pierced the ground when it stopped.
As his wrist turned. “Amagiri Bright Dragon Style Sword Intermediate Technique ––
One beat, in a dissonance like rubbing glass, resounded throughout the stage.
There was no telling how many people there were who realized it was the death agony of an Ogre Lux.
In any case, at the same time as the disturbance broke off, countless cracks appeared in Gravi-Sheath’s appearance. It shattered to pieces.
At the same time the mechanical voice declared the conclusion.
“Irene Urzaiz and Urzaiz Priscilla, loss of consciousness.”
“Winner, Amagiri Ayato & Julis-Alexia Van Riessfeld!”
While the best cheers of the tournament were shaking the stage, Ayato fell down where he stood, lying down with arms and legs spread out, and deeply exhaled.
Jump up↑ here refer to the members of the Integrated Enterprise Foundation Jump up↑ for those, who have forgotten, Gravi-Sheath is the Bloody Scythe of Supreme Destruction. The Ogre Lux used by Irene. Jump up↑ here also means that Gravi-Sheath required a huge amount of prana to activate its ability Jump up↑ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chakram Jump up↑ Mechanical advantage gained from being in a position to apply leverage. Jump up↑ price here refers to compensation that an Ogre Lux takes to its user in exchange for the use of its ability