’s true ability, you say…?”
One could see that all the members present swallowed their saliva.
The ability of the twin swords, ogre lux
, that Claudia used was foresight.
But, it was not known how much power it actually concealed ── for example, specifically how many seconds ahead could it foresee. That was also because Claudia was the first person to be decently able to handle
Though of course the development staff would know, since the development research of ogre luxes was a highly confidential domain even inside the Integrated Enterprise Foundation, it was very improbable that it would leak out from there.
In the end, there was only rumor going around about
and its ability was still a mystery even now.
“First, I will tell you about the fact.
’s ability is foresight, in other words there is no mistaking it that it can see the future. And currently, what I can foresee is ── about 300 seconds ahead I would say.”
“T-Three hundred seconds!?”
Everyone could not help becoming speechless.
It was no wonder since 300 seconds meant that she could predict until 5 minutes ahead in the future. Though it might not simply compare with the
, among the matches of Ayato and Julis, there was one which was over without lasting even 5 minutes. It meant that Claudia was able to predict everything from the beginning of that match to the end.
Normally thinking, one could no longer lose.
“However… even if I say so, the number 300 seconds is to the bitter end only a stock.”
Kirin wonderingly tilted her head to the side.
In contrast with it, Julis nodded with a startled face.
“I see, so that’s it…”
“As expected of a
, you’re quick to catch this kind of thing.”
As Claudia smiled, Julis too continued while returning a sarcastic smile.
“In other words,
’s future foresight wears out, right?”
Claudia applauded pleasantly.
After hearing it, Ayato finally understood.
“Then… This meant, for example, that if Claudia was to read 10 seconds ahead in the future from now, the remaining time (of prediction) will be 290 seconds?”
“Yes, that’s exactly it.”
“So, it isn’t like it can be used infinitely…”
“Which reminds, you said the other day, didn’t you? That
has a weakness. Were you speaking about this?”
Julis was probably talking about the time on the way to Lieseltania, when Claudia invited Ayato and them in her team.
“Yes. When I use up this stock, this child becomes mere twin swords. Also, so that that doesn’t happen, I have worked out a plan to able to preserve the stock as much as possible. For example, my first duel is the best strategic arrangement for it.”
“When you say your first duel, are you speaking about that one of the middle school section times?”
“If I’m not mistaken, your opponent was the rank #20, right?”
Julis and Kirin immediately returned so.
“Is it that famous a duel?”
Claudia’s middle school section times meant that Kirin and of course Julis too should have not yet come in this Asterisk.
“She already had very few matches, but that one is probably the most famous among them. People who try to challenge her, after having first seen that match video ── most of them had their hearts broken.”
Julis answered in a somewhat unamused tone. Perhaps she might have been one of those people.
“U-Um, I have the data about it.”
When Kirin operated her portable terminal as she said so, the match video was projected to the space window.
Standing on the stage was certainly Claudia, although her features were more childish than now.
Confronting Claudia was a man fairly older than her; he was probably around 20. He was holding a small one hand sword type lux in his right hand and a handgun type lux in his left hand.
“Heeh, a dual wielding style with a sword and a gun, huh.”
It was a quite offensive style.
“In those days, this kind of offense overemphasizing strategy was popular after all. He was quite a skillful user, too.”
“…It just sounds like pride when we already know the result.”
Julis muttered as she was amazed.
Meanwhile, the school badges announced the beginning of the match and the man shot a light bullet towards Claudia so as to check her.
Claudia easily avoided it with only a slight movement──
“Wait a minute. Don’t tell me here, Claudia… she has her eyes closed?”
Ayato muttered in astonishment.
He did not see it wrong. Claudia, not even having set up
, just loosely slouched and she clearly had her eyes closed.
It seemed like the gallery in the screen has also noticed it. You could perceive that a strange commotion spread in the audience and on the other hand, that the face of Claudia’s opponent was dyed in anger. Though it was a natural reaction, he probably thought that he was taken lightly.
When the man shortened the distance at a stretch, he swung his small sword to slash sideways.
Claudia, with her eyes still closed, dodged it with a back step and then avoided the light bullet, which the man shot in his pursuit, by only twisting the upper half of her body.
At that moment, the gallery got excited as if exploding.
Though the man unleashed consecutive attacks as he became irritated, he could not even graze Claudia’s body.
It wasn’t that the man was weak. As Claudia said a little while ago, he was a very skilled user which skillfully managed the sword and gun. Though there was no weight in one blow, the number of blows in middle-range battle and the power control were considerable.
However ── no matter how many fierce attacks the man set, Claudia, with a cool face as is, easily dodged them as if dancing.
“…It’ll be over soon. Watch carefully.”
Before long towards Claudia who dodged an attacked as she greatly jumped in the air, the man, thinking that it was a good opportunity, rapidly shot successive light bullets. Naturally, evasion in mid-air is extremely difficult.
While rotating her body in mid-air, Claudia swung her twin swords for the first time in this match.
The next moment, the light bullets were all lopped off and scattered.
Claudia who landed as is slightly stepped towards the dumbfounded man and accurately bisected only his school badge as she went past him.
The mechanical sound announcing the conclusion resounded in the site which fell silent.
After finishing hearing it, Claudia slowly opened her eyes and gracefully bowed with her usually calm smile.
“…That sure is crazy.”
“Well, since this was a performance for the sake of having one believe so.”
Claudia put her hand on her thin smiling lips as she calmly said so.
“Perhaps is this match the source of the rumor that Claudia can foresee dozens of seconds ahead?”
In fact, there was no doubt that it was an impossible feat unless one had foresight ability.
And after this display, there were certainly not many people brave enough to challenge Claudia.
“Yes. In this match, I used a fair amount of stock that I had saved up; but thanks to that I had the wanted results. After all afterwards, even when I remained as rank #2, there were hardly people who dared challenge me.”
The more she used the time of foresight with
, the more it decreased.
If so, then it’d be better that the opportunities to use it were as few as possible.
If this match was a performance for that, then it was indeed well thought.
──At the same time, it reminded of another condition regarding
“…I’ve a question.”
There, Saya slightly raised her hand.
“…If you choose such a plan, then does the foresight time’s stock recoverrestore perhaps?”
It seemed like Saya thought also the same thing as Ayato.
had a fixed amount of foresight time from the beginning and if it was the end when it was consumed until the remaining quality fell to zero, then there would be no meaning of this strategy of Claudia.
“I see, that’s a very good question. The answer is… Yes. Even with me doing nothing, this stock will increase with time as long as I make a contract with
So that was it after all.
By first investing it to some extent and then through that, by decreasing the chances of battling, it would make storing up the stock easier. That was probably Claudia’s aim.
And that splendidly succeeded.
(But, in that case…)
“Um, how long does it take to recover?”
“Roughly speaking, about three days are necessary to stock one second.”
“One second in three days, huh… You can’t indeed waste it.”
Though Julis muttered so with a difficult face, Ayato realized something entirely different.
“──‘The worst personality’, huh”
With a dubious face, Julis turned at Ayato’s mutter.
“What are you talking about, Ayato?”
“Ah, no… The truth is, I have heard about
’s prize from Claudia before. She said ── ‘the user personally experiences their own death, which will come someday, within their dream’.”
Julis and the other two girls’ expressions changed at the words of Ayato.
“T-That’s too cruel no matter how you look at it…”
Though Kirin held her mouth and looked at Claudia with a face likely to cry any moment, the very Claudia only nodded with a smile.
But, that was not the most repulsive part about
Able to use its ability for one second in three days meant that it was necessary to be together with this ogre lux for that much time in order to manage it. In other words, one could only draw out its ability by personally experiencing one’s own death nightly and keeping enduring the long suffering.
Claudia has said that she evaluated
as having the worst personality before, but you could certainly agree with this.
“In other words, it’s necessary to pay a great prize for a powerful ability… No but, at any rate…”
“…It seems painful.”
Julis and Saya too spoke with sad expressions.
“Fufufu, don’t worry. It’s not that severe a prize as you are worried about. Besides… if I, its user, have to say, this child’s ability is not that absolute, either.”
Claudia said so with an indifferent face.
“As I also said before, although called future foresight, it’s not like it’s omnipotent and invincible. Let me explain it… Ayato, may I have you take a battle stance for a little bit?”
“Eh? Ah, yes. It’s fine, but…”
Ayato urged by Claudia released his seal, activated
and set it up aiming at the eyes.
The moment when Claudia said that and grinned──
The body of Ayato who felt a slight chill partly moved reflexively and he exerted
to the left.
Its sword blade stopped the blow, which Claudia has suddenly launched, at the very limit.
“…That’s sudden, Claudia.”
When Ayato said so with a wry smile, Claudia quickly pulled back her sword and shrugged her shoulders.
“As expected, it doesn’t work on Ayato.”
From the strength of the power put into it, he could understand that it was a blow without intention to hit.
“Now then, the attack just now has, as you saw, splendidly been blocked by Ayato. If I had used
’s foresight one second before the attack── well strictly speaking, even 0,5 second is enough only to confirm the success or failure of one attack, but I will rather go with one second in order to explain it comprehensibly ── I would have been able to foresee that scene just now.”
As Claudia said up to there, she returned
to his activation body and put it in the holder.
“In that case, let’s think about how I should have gone for the next move. For example, because that just now was an attack from the right, let’s assume that I changed it to a blow from the left. Right,
’s foresight is absolute, but there isn’t one future. If I change my action, the future will again change at that instant, too. So, we can express in other words that
’s ability is ‘an ability that can repeat trial and error with no risk of failure’.”
“The future changes…”
Ayato muttered so for no particular reason.
That was something obvious, but for some reason he resounded in his chest.
“Now then, I used one second stock and foresaw the result of the attack from the left, but it was similarly blocked. It can’t be helped, so let’s try foreseeing an attack from an overhead position and an attack from a low position. With this, it makes that I consume a stock of a total of four seconds, but even so I couldn’t still foresee a future where my attack succeeds. ──That’s natural, because in a situation where we confronted each other head on like now, it’ll be almost impossible if it considers the ability difference that I launch an attack to Ayato.”
“N-No, I think that Claudia’s attack was scathing enough, but…”
As he followed so, Claudia exaggeratedly shook her head.
“No. Of course, I myself am confident about my skill in close range combat. But when compared to Ayato and Toudou-san, I cannot deny that I am one step behind.”
Kirin lowered her eyebrows as she was troubled, but seeing how she said nothing, she was probably of the same opinion. Frankly speaking, Ayato certainly felt the same way, too.
“But, it does not mean that I am in a deadlock with this, either. For example, among the attacks of up, down, left and right that I tried just now, let’s say that Ayato’s defense was just a little late regarding the attack from the low position compared with the others. So, let’s say that I change the trajectory of my attack in response to the movement that Ayato used to defend against the attack from the low position… First, I will foresee that the attack that changed the trajectory clockwise… Ah but, it’s a shame. Even so, Ayato’s reaction is splendid and in the end it is parried. Then, how about changing the trajectory counterclockwise? Yes, it is likewise parried, but in this side it looks like it’s possible to slightly break Ayato’s stance. Then this time, I use here as a reference… You already understand, right? I consumed six seconds up to here, but if I put this much into just one attack, the stock wouldn’t be enough no matter how much there is.”
As Claudia cut off there, she sighed while saying “good grief”.
“…In other words, doesn’t it work against higher ranked opponents?”
“It’s not like it doesn’t work, but at least in terms of attack, it’s certain that it’s inefficient. If there is an exception, it would be the counter, I guess. Since in this case, it becomes a situation where the opponent’s actions are considerably restricted, it’s very likely to work even against higher ranked opponents. But, if the opponent has knowledge about my foresight ability and is cautious of counters, it will become difficult. Besides above all, there is no means to deal with projectile weapons and long range attacks.”
Claudia replied with a wry smile to Saya’s outspoken question.
“That said, even I don’t deny the fact that the ability of future foresight is powerful. As you understood when you have watched the match video recording a little while ago, this ability displays a tremendous effect about defense in particular. After all, no matter what kind of attack the opponent set, you will know.”
“Certainly in this case, even if the opponent is a higher rank, there will be no problem.”
“Yes. But of course, there are exceptions. I can’t deal with wide area attacks like the
’s ability with foresight immediately before, and it also has bad affinity with consecutive attacks like Toudou-san’s “Conjoined Cranes”. After all, the stock will steadily decrease. Besides, I cannot evade an attack at a speed beyond my physical ability even if I see it coming. They are the so-called limits.”
They also remembered that there was a topic before about which one between Claudia and Kirin is the stronger.
They mutually compromised then and did not reach a conclusion, but now they understood after hearing this talk. In fact, if it was only battle techniques, as she said a while ago Kirin would be above; but since there was
’s ability, Kirin’s attacks would not be successful very often. How much stock Claudia would spend at that battle… depending on that, there was no doubt that the outcome would vary.
“With this, I have told you everything about
’s ability. And I think that you can now understand why I am fixated not on the
which is an individual match, but rather on the
which is a team battle.”
Julis nodded at her words.
’s ability at your disposition, a one-on-one tournament battle is out of question. After all, if you were to face a higher rank on the way, even if you win, you might have used up the stock there. But, when it comes to team battle, there will be no need to face a higher rank by yourself. And above all ── if you yourself are the team leader, the possibility of defeat will become extremely low, huh.”
“That’s right. In team battle when the leader’s school badge is destroyed, that team’s defeat is decided even if all the other members have not yet been defeated. Conversely speaking, if you defeat only the team leader, a great reversal is possible. The reason why there are many unexpected results in the
lies precisely on this fact.”
“…Then, everyone will concentrate and aim at the leader?”
Claudia grinned and answered Saya’s artless question.
“That depends on each team’s strategy. Certainly it is effective to set a swift attack match aiming for the leader with many persons, but creating a numerical advantage by crushing each one using that opportunity is again another mean, too… Ah, by the way because team leader and team representative are different, it is also possible to change the leader in every match with the current regulations. It is also a strategy to choose an appropriate leader depending on the opposing team.”
“…Hmm. Although it may be certain that your ability is effective for defense, but I hear that it’s the current main stream that the person in charge of rearlogistical support acts as leader.”
“Well, the risk is big for the vanguard no matter what after all. ──Well, let’s set that aside.”
Claudia stopped the conversation there and turned her gaze to Ayato.
“It is not only of my
that we must accurately grasp the ability.”
“Ayato, we must also know in detail about your
. Although I said that,
that you use is too unstable.”
“Ah… well… I guess…”
When being jabbed there, Ayato ached.
As he was aware that he hasn’t yet mastered
, he could not deny it.
“First, the power to burn down
’s ability itself which you showed in the battle against the
. It would be a great if you could freely manipulate that, but…”
“Even I don’t really know how I did it after all.”
could burn down all creation.
’s or an ogre lux’s ability were not exception to that.
But, it could only deal with attacks which materialized and like at the time of
, it was common for it to do something like cutting the ability of gravity control itself. It would be delicate if Ayato were asked whether he could do it again.
“At that time, I was absorbed in the battle, or rather it looked like
has lent me its power.”
“Hmm… It looks like that child is quite whimsical.”
“Basically, I feel like I’m constantly tested.”
Ayato shrugged his shoulders as he said that.
In the first place, although he was able to activate it even in his sealed state at the very first time, judging from how he became unable to activate it unless in a full powered state from the second time onwards, he could not deny the feeling that the hurdle was being steadily raised. Even though it was at this late hour, it seemed like he went through training from Sparta with the thought “since I was able to do it from that time up until now, I can probably do it this time, too”.
“Even the size optimization that you showed in the
finals, you can’t still do it without Julis’s cooperation, right?”
“Looks like it. This guy seems to be quite bad at small adjustment of prana.”
Julis replied in Ayato’s stead.
In fact, Ayato has tried it countless times since then, but in the end he has never once succeeded again by himself.
“If Julis is to act as agent for adjustment, there will be many openings in a team battle and we would hardly be able to incorporate it into tactics. At least regarding this, I want Ayato to be able to do it alone.”
“…I’ll do my best”
When Ayato replied so, Claudia contentedly smiled and clapped her hands.
“Now then, there is no meaning if we only discuss. Ayato has also taken the trouble to release his seal, let’s begin training for team battle.”
At the center of the training room, Ayato and company were divided into two sets and were facing each other.
“Well then, since I am the only one among us that has experience with team battle, I will explain it simply. The
is a team battle by five persons, but a team where all the five persons can take a perfect coordination is extremely rare. Naturally time is required to train, but that is not necessarily effective ── ah, only Garrardsworth’s teams are exception. After all, that place is an academy laying emphasis on group battle.”
Claudia who stood in front of Ayato once again activated
and set it up with both hands. On the other side, Kirin who drew out Senbakiri stood next to Ayato listening carefully to Claudia’s talk.
“Well, people who can change a situation all by themselves with the ability of
── or an ogre lux are not few.”
To the words of Julis who has folded her arms on her side, Claudia nodded.
Certainly in case that one had to deal with an ability which had a wide range effect, individual action would become more important than moving in group.
“Yes. Even so, there are also not so many cases where the five team members will disperse and it will turn into a melee. Because in case one stood alone, he will be aimed at first. The vanguard fighting while fluidly combining a two-man cell or tree-man cell depending on the strategy and situation, and the rear guard covering them is the most typical strategy in the
, right? And for that, nothing will begin if we do not first do individual coordination.”
“…In other words, the
is the extension system of the
Only Saya who stood in a slightly distant place looked somewhat bored.
“Yes, that’s right. We will first determine which member each of us will function together with as a tag team for a basis, and then as an extension of it we will set up a coordination pattern of no less than three people. Of course, we will narrow down the person in charge and situate them with the coordination pattern, and there is also the method of shortening the training time, but…”
“No, I think that if we do that, the risk in case of emergency will be high.”
Ayato also agreed with Kirin’s words.
It would be more preferable if they could deal with it extensively even if it took time.
“Then, at least in this year… let’s firmly endeavor in the individual coordination strengthening for another three months. Afterwards, I intend to start a full-scale team battle practice after observing the situation. With that said──”
Claudia lightly laughed and one could feel that she was kneading prana inside her body.
“I already want to begin the mock battle, but are you ready?”
The grouping of mock battle that would be held by Claudia’s suggestion was Ayato/Kirin tag versus Claudia/Julis tag. Ayato has already taken sufficient coordination with Julis and Saya, and since it was also the same with Saya and Kirin, while considering all that ── it has been decide that Saya who eventually lost in rock-paper-scissors would be left out for the time being.
“I will count on you, Kirin-chan!”
Kirin answered with a slightly nervous voice.
That was probably due to the fact that not only was this her first time to form a tag team with Ayato, but also the fact that she was the team leader.
In this mock battle, they have set the leaders assuming the
. Kirin was the leader of her tag and Claudia, the leader of the tag Claudia/Julis.
“Fufufu… let’s do our best, Julis.”
“You don’t need to tell me that. More importantly, this is a rare opportunity. So I will use that.”
“Of course. It looks like we will be able to record some great combat data today.”
As they were probably setting up a strategy, Julis and Claudia were whisperingly discussing about something in low voices; but as they nodded at each other before long, Julis took a step back.
“Team A vs. Team B, Practice Match Start!”
Probably because they left the team names as default settings since it was a mock battle, the mechanical sound subtly announced a flat start signal.
As Ayato exchanged a significant look with Kirin, both of them stood side by side and shortened the distance to Claudia at stretch.
Since the leader Claudia was the vanguard, it was probably common sense to aim for a swift attack match ignoring Julis.
Ayato and Kirin slashed at Claudia almost with the same timing with Ayato slashing from the left and Kirin from the right.
Although Claudia stopped them with
set up in both her hands, her expression became stiff. Kirin’s slash aside, it should be fairly harsh to stop Ayato’s attack with one hand.
Moreover, Ayato’s weapon was
. Although fellow ogre luxes, one could understand that
’s light blade.
“As expected this is… harsh!”
As Claudia suddenly relaxed, she warded off Ayato’s attack as she twisted her body.
But at that chance, Kirin moved to her next attack as she following the flow.
Claudia barely repelled it, but her stance was completely broken. Just before Ayato was going to mow down the school badge on her chest──
Suddenly feeling bloodlust from right above, Ayato greatly leapt back once. Immediately after, three blades of light which nose-dived from up in the air pierced the place where Ayato was standing until a little while ago.
When looking, Kirin similarly dodged and opened wide her eyes in surprise.
“Phew… you’re late, Julis. No matter how you put it, it’s impossible to deal with Ayato and Toudou-san without the future foresight. I can’t also possibly afford to waste it on a mock battle and I was on the verge of losing without even holding ten seconds.”
“Sorry. I haven’t yet been able to perfectly control all the six of them.”
As Julis said so, the blades of light which stuck in the ground softly floated in the air.
They thought at first that it was Julis’s ability, but upon closer inspection, that wasn’t it.
“Is this perhaps, Aspera Spina…?”
It looked just like the thin sword type lux which Julis used before. But, three blades ── no, if combining with the ones which attacked Kirin, a total of six blades flew in the air as if being manipulated with invisible threads and then stopped exactly as they surrounded Julis.
“No, you’re wrong Ayato. This is Nova Spina── my new sword.”
As Julis fearlessly smiled, she waved the seventh thin sword type lux which she held in her hand.
“Is this the said new type lux?”
Then, Saya who has been silently watching until then asked as she unusually had a keen interest in it.
“Yes. This is the new type lux RectoluzShining Type Long-Range Induction Armament that Allekant and Seidoukan jointly developed.”
“RectoluzShining Type Long-Range Induction Armament…”
“It’s the mother machine of the thin sword which Julis owned and can freely manipulate multiple devicesterminals. But, it’s a weapon which can’t be managed if the ability for space grasp isn’t high.”
Although Claudia said so, she carefully measured the distance again.
“I see… I think that it’s an amazing technology, but it isn’t somewhat suited for Julis.”
While saying so, Ayato exchange a fleeting glance with Kirin.
Kirin seemed to have guessed what he meant with that alone. Even though it was their first time forming a tag team, perhaps because they were both swordsmen, they could guess each other’s intentions to some extent without even exchanging words.
Senbakiri’s point was still turned at Claudia while Kirin properly paid attention to Julis, too. Although there was no other choice, but to evade the attack of a little while ago as it was a surprise attack, it would be easy to counter attack an attack of that level with Kirin’s sword skill. In that case, Ayato could focus on attacking Claudia.
“Hou? What do you mean by that, Ayato?”
“Exactly as stated. Doesn’t Julis similarly have plenty of techniques that she can freely operate remotely even without such a weapon? I’m saying it like this, but I can’t feel that much originality.”
Though he said it in a slightly provocative way, it was his frank impression. It was an obvious fact that gaining a technique similar to the ability that one already possessed would not become a significant increase in one’s combat capabilities.
However Julis, still smiling, slowly shook her head.
“You don’t really understand, Ayato… Well whatever; in that case, it’d be better to see it with your own eyes!”
As soon as she said that, Julis fiercely shortened the distance towards Kirin.
Kirin unintentionally raised her voice as Julis’s action was unexpected.
(No way, does she want to challenge Kirin in a close range combat…?)
Ayato was also surprised.
Thanks to her special training with Ayato and the fact that she has gone through fierce battles in the
, Julis’s close range combat skills evolved beyond recognition these past several months. Although at first, it was to the extent where she could finally followed Ayato’s movements barely with her eyes, now she has become able to cope with them.
But even so, compared with Ayato and Kirin, it was not yet at the level where she could match them. Claudia has evaluated her close range combat ability as being “one step behind” compared to Ayato and Kirin, but going by that logic, Julis’s should be nearly 3 steps behind compared to them.
Be that as it may, Kirin was the leader. Ayato could not afford to let her through without doing anything.
“Oops, I won’t let you do!”
As to block Ayato who tried to break in between Kirin and Julis, Claudia’s slash attacked him.
Although he reflexively prevented it, Claudia unleashed attacks one after another.
He understood while crossing swords with her, but Claudia’s sword skills had no particular styles. No, more precisely, it was rather a unique sword skill which seemed to remove a proper style after having learned it.
Above all, even if in terms of technique, Ayato had the edge, the twin swords’ attacks exceeded Ayato’s simply in number of moves. Even if she could not land a direct hit, it was not easy for Ayato to set up a stance for counterattack.
“It’s her special debut with the new model. You shouldn’t get that much in her way, Ayato.”
In the meantime, Julis jumped into Kirin’s range.
Kirin, who revealed a surprised expression at first, immediately changed it and moved to a stance of interception.
“Let’s go, Kirin!”
As Julis shouted so, she swung the twin sword in her hand aiming for Kirin’s school badge. It was a sharp thrust as to tear the wind.
──But, before the point of her sword reached Kirin’s chest, the latter easily brushed it away. Right. As expected Julis’s attacks didn’t work on Kirin.
With her katana turned as is, Kirin cut Julis’s school badge ── or so it looked it.
However just before it, Kirin’s blow has been prevented by one of the terminals that Julis manipulated.
“…I’m not done yet!”
Even so, Kirin immediately moved with her next attack. She cut up from a low position, cut down to the right, mowed down straight ── these beautiful and perfect consecutive attacks were the essence of the technique that Kirin held, “Conjoined Cranes”.
The secret technique of the Toudou Style that even Ayato could not yet completely defeat.
“Fufufu…! It’s indeed a fierce technique!”
──Julis was splendidly defending against these fierce attacks using the six terminals.
Kirin’s “Conjoined Cranes” wasn’t something which could be outdone with only the predominance of a mere number of six. Ayato knew that from experience. Julis could exceptionally deal with Kirin’s sword speed properly.
“Fufufu… do you understand, Ayato? The most astounding point of the RectoluzShining Type Long-Range Induction Armament is its reaction speed.”
At the dumbfounded Ayato, Claudia laughed while connecting her slashes.
Claudia’s attacks all checked Ayato’s movements without her deeply stepping into his range.
If they seriously crossed swords with each other head on, Ayato would probably win; but the more she takes up tactics of hit-and-run like this, the prospects of her winning, in other words the ability difference between Ayato and Claudia wouldn’t be much different.
“Originally, Julis’s close range combat ability shouldn’t even amount to Toudou-san’s. This was above all because their physical specs cultivated with training so far and their techniques were different. Even if she intends to prevent an attack of Toudou-san, Julis’s body won’t be able to perfectly do it…”
Ayato finally realized what Claudia meant.
“That’s right. She can operate the RectoluzShining Type Long-Range Induction Armament only with the mind without forcing her body── in order words, the RectoluzShining Type Long-Range Induction Armament’s terminals react much faster than Julis herself swings the sword.”
“…I see. Looks like I should retract the words I said a while ago!”
As Ayato pushed back Claudia’s attack with spirit, he greatly took some distance again.
When he once again sent a gaze at Kirin, Kirin similarly took some distant from Julis.
“Phew… I was surprised. I didn’t think that I could defend against “Conjoined Cranes”… But!”
It was probably better for them to pull back once here and rebuild a strategy.
Thinking so, Ayato was going to call back Kirin, but Kirin threw a fleeting glance at him and smiled somehow embarrassed.
“U-Um, Ayato-senpai…! Could you just watch?”
Though he wondered what she meant by that, Kirin immediately fixed her breathing and set an attack to Julis.
“Hohou! So, you come again!”
A sword flash glittered and Senbakiri’s point greatly drew an arc.
But this time too, her attack was blocked by a terminal.
Even so without stopping, Kirin connected to her next attack──
The moment when he thought that the attack was prevented in the same way, Ayato did not overlook the fact that Kirin’s wrist was suddenly twisted.
She probably changed the flow of power.
The terminal which blocked Senbakiri was unable to cope with the sudden change of power and Julis greatly broke her balance.
If that was only it, then it would be just a balance breaking technique. And Julis might also be able to deal with it.
But when that terminal’s light blade came in contact with another terminal’s light blade── and moreover Kirin drove in another blow there, the two terminals interfered with each other and all the six terminals were blown away as they were flipped.
Since the terminals were controlled by thought, if the movements of the six terminals were simultaneously thrown out of order, the one controlling would probably have a hard time to reorganize them.
There was no way that Kirin would overlook it.
Kirin’s Senbakiri flashed aiming for the school badge of Julis left opened.
The moment when she thought that the match was settled, a black shadow broke in there.
“Phew… it was really close.”
Having blocked Kirin’s slash with crossing twin swords was ──Claudia.
In this situation, it was Ayato’s task to restrain Claudia.
Naturally, Ayato was properly restraining her, but Claudia seemed to have aimed at the opening at the instant when Ayato had his attention attracted by Kirin’s technique.
“I’m sorry, Claudia.”
“It’s not something to hold a little grudge over.”
“…Yes, I know!”
As soon as Julis replied so, the six terminals moved so as to surround Kirin.
“Come out ── SemiserrataFalling Crimson Flower of Molten Sky!”
Moreover, a magic square unfolded along with Julis’s voice and a huge flame Camellia opened its bud overhead Kirin.
(A setting type ability──!? No, since when did she…?)
Even so, Kirin barely evaded the mass of flames, which has fallen, with her exceptional reflexes.
Just before Ayato rushed so as to protect such Kirin──
“Yes, it’s checkmate.”
’s blade bisected school badge of Kirin, who broke her stance, one step earlier.
“I-I’m sorry, Ayato-senpai! It’s because I’ve jumped ahead alone that…!”
“No, me too, even though I had to restrain Claudia… I’m really sorry!”
After the end of the mock battle, Ayato and Kirin bowed together to each other.
“Now, now, you two. That now was just a mock battle. Besides you two have coordinated to the extent that it was hard to believe that this was the first time you formed a tag.”
“No, you girls, too. I should say as expected of friends from old days.”
When Ayato said so, Julis frowned with a complicated expression.
“It isn’t really like we had some sort of advantage just because we know each other since long ago. Even the match just now regarding the coordination parts, I’ve left almost everything up to Claudia.”
“That’s right. Since I roughly grasp everyone’s battle style, I think that I can come up with a strategy to some extent.”
Though Claudia casually said that, they did not think that she lied after witnessing the match of a little while ago
“…By the way Julis, that last ability you activate ── perhaps can you transmit a small prana in this new model lux?”
“Hou, that’s Saya for you. You understood well with only that, huh.”
Julis nodded to Saya who was intently staring at the RectoluzShining Type Long-Range Induction Armament that she (Julis) held.
“Errr, what do you mean?”
They did not know in which timing the last setting type ability was set, but maybe that was related to it.
“With this RectoluzShining Type Long-Range Induction Armament, it’s possible to diffuse my prana over to the terminals. As you also know, an operation to perform preparations for the activation of setting type ability at some place is necessary beforehand, but by using these terminals, I can greatly omit that process.”
“That… sounds amazing.”
If the words just now were true, Julis’s tactics should substantially increase. Furthermore, it has also been demonstrated that the RectoluzShining Type Long-Range Induction Armament covered the weakness of close range combat, so you might at least say that as for Julis personally, she has been considerably strengthened.
“Hmph… it’s unfair for only Julis to power up.”
Though Saya puffed her cheeks, she has not taken her off the Shining Type Long-Range Induction Armament (Rectoluz) even now.
“No, I don’t think so.”
When Ayato said that, Saya finally raised her face.
“What do you mean?”
“Speaking about power up or rather improving one’s skills, I think that goes for Kirin-chan, too.”
Perhaps because she was surprised that her name was suddenly brought up, Kirin’s body shook.
“That technique which broke Julis’s guard… That was the application of “Banish Evil Spirits” right?”
“N-No, rather than application or copying… since I was impressed after watching it in a match Ayato-senpai before, I secretly practiced it… And when I try it at the time of the fight in Lieseltania recently, it went well… No, I-I know that it isn’t yet good enough, so… um…I wanted Ayato-senpai to see it…”
Kirin confusedly explained with her face which turned bright red.
“Banish Evil Spirits” was a hidden technique of the Amagiri Bright Dragon Style and a technique which controlled the flow of power of multiple opponents and made them attack each other. The point that she learnt it just by understanding and practicing was a surprise, but what was astounding above all was that the technique of perception expansion called state of “cognition” was originally in the base of the Amagiri Bright Dragon Style Hidden Technique.
This was something impossible to accomplish in a short amount of time, and from what Ayato saw, there was no signs showing that Kirin mastered it, either. Which meant that Kirin reached that domain purely only with technique.
(She’s really unpredictable…)
He has felt that Kirin exceeded him in sword ability since before, but it might not possibly be such a level.
“…Hmm. I also have to power up.”
“My, my, it looks like you’re motivated, Sasamiya-san.”
“I won’t be able to help Ayato if I’m left behind.”
Saya said so and deployed one of her luxes.
“…Well, I’ll also participate in the next mock battle.”
“Fufufu, then let’s decide the combination of the next mock battle.”
Like this, the daily training of these five people continued for a while from that day ── and before they noticed, Ayato and company moved up to second year of Seidoukan Academy high school.