Accel World:Volume 2 Chapter 6
What came falling down at the beginning, was of course, a heavy rain of long range attacks.
Even in the «Yellow Legion», of course not all members are yellow type - that is made up of only indirect attack type Burst Linkers. The 30 or so enemies surrounding the crater, with at least 10 red type people, released beams and explosive ammo that could be appropriately called a concentrated bombardment.
Most of that firepower was directed at Niko, which, the Red King, when compared to fortress mode, dodged with far more agile back dashes. However, one blue beam, maybe they were wrongly targeted, aimed for Haruyuki while he was holding Kuroyukihime and was immobile.
He somehow managed to twist his body and avoid it, but his left shoulder was lightly scratched. ‘This can’t even be called damage’ - as he strongly said in his mind at that moment.
From the burning sensation and sharp pain on his shoulder, Haruyuki involuntarily leaned back.
For Brain Burst «duels», at the same time the damage is dealt, a painful stimulus is given at a level unlike other Neuro Linker applications. However, the pain Haruyuki was feeling right now, is double the intensity of normal duels.
That means, it could only be like this in the Unlimited Neutral Field. In order to balance against the benefit to gain points without the risks of dueling, the special rules of «Unlimited time» and «Cannot leave instantly» existed in addition to having damage pain sensation doubled.
To Haruyuki who momentarily stood up, over his head, in just short moment, many small missiles would arrive.
It was Takumu who roared. He stood in front of Haruyuki and Kuroyukihime, Cyan Pile’s right hand’s pile driving equipment was aimed at the missile group.
‘Click!’ With that metallic sound a sharp steel pile was fired out, and from the blast wave, most of the enemy missiles exploded. However a few missiles remained, and hit the blue armored body here and there. Flashes. Explosion sounds.
Even though moaning and staggering, Takumu did not fall down. He turned his smoking huge body and shouted shortly.
‘Sorry’, while he apologized to his best friend in his mind, Haruyuki started running while dragging Kuroyukihime’s avatar. Where he was running to, was to Niko who had pulled her gun from her waist, and started firing at the enemy formation on the east side of the crater.
If they don’t get out of this encirclement first, then they cannot retreat nor counter attack. Fortunately, since the enemy completely surrounded the 100 meters or so diameter crater, the wall itself is thin. If they break through the enclosure with a charge attack, and make it out to the Green highway, then Sunshine City with the Leap Point would be just ahead.
While Haruyuki held Kuroyukihime with his right arm, he opened the wings on his back. After he was hit by the earlier attack, his special skill gauge recovered a little bit. It is possible to slide dash just to the edge of the crater.
With Niko’s continuous fire, there was one point of opening in the east enclosure. Staring at that, Haruyuki used all his strength to kick off the ground.
At that time, behind him the Yellow King, Yellow Radio’s crisp yet somehow squeaky voice loudly echoed.
“...«Silly Go Round»!!”
Special attack skill!
‘But it’s too late! The crater’s edge is right in front - ‘
The phenomenon that abruptly occurred made Haruyuki stood still.
The world began turning. No, to be precise, with the crater’s edge as a dividing line, the inside and outside rotated in different directions. The buildings in the background, and the enemy duel avatars standing there, all flowed in high speeds from left to right.
Furthermore, without knowing when it started, from the area around him many hazy yellow toy horses appeared and started to move up and down in an easy going way. Also, in his ears, a cheerful country style - however somehow the notes were a bit off kind of BGM could be heard.
Losing more and more of his sense of balance, Haruyuki knelt down on one knee there. Looking around, Niko who was right in front of him, and Takumu beside him were also trying their best to stand firm, with their bodies swaying.
“The fi... field is, turning...?”
To Haruyuki who said that while dumbfounded, the Red King’s sharp voice came flying.
“It’s just you seeing it turning! Nothing is actually moving! Close your eyes and run!”
“But... where to!?”
Actually, he could no longer tell which direction was the east side he was aiming for. If he went forward blindly and ended up going farther from the Leap Point, then there will be no turning back.
At the same time, Niko and Takumu pointed in the opposite directions.
At that moment, as if the enemy was aiming for the resulting immobility - .
From outside the crater, an angry swarm of firing lines came attacking.
‘We cannot avoid this’, was Haruyuki’s direct feeling as he looked up at the many incoming firepower lines. Those strong curvature of the paths, were just from looking. From the Yellow King, Yellow Radio’s illusion attack, they just seem to be curved.
While thinking of at least protecting Kuroyukihime, Haruyuki was going to cover the small avatar with his expanded wings.
However faster than that, Takumu shouted once.
And then, his two strong arms held all three, and covered them while falling down.
Opening his eyes wide, the words coming from Haruyuki’s mouth were erased by tremendous explosion sounds. His view was coated white, and his cheeks were seared by the heat - right next to his ears, his best friend’s suppressed screams sounded.
Right now, on Takumu’s wide back, many different kinds of long range attacks are raining down. Just one hit’s scratch gave him that much pain. What would be the total amount of pain sensation forced on Takumu’s nerves? If it’s like this, then wouldn’t this be above the pain level Haruyuki felt in his self made training room - .
“Stop... Taku, stop already!”
Haruyuki shouted, as he tried to get out from under Takumu.
However steel like arms with strength held Haruyuki still, and at the same time a heavy breathing voice was released right next to him.
“It’s... okay, Haru. To you... what I owed, just this, kind of thing... can’t pay it back...”
“Nothing... there isn’t anything! How many times do I have to say it for you to understand, Taku!”
His shout was desperate, but the reply to that was more anguish. While shaken by direct hits, moaning sounds leaked from cracks in Cyan Pile’s mask.
Mixed in the numerous range attack sounds, the Yellow King’s detestable voice reached them.
“Unsightly... Burn that wooden puppet up.”
Many firing sounds responded to that, however Takumu did not fall.
Probably, the red type Burst Linkers in the enemy group, were people with not too high levels. Against those, Cyan Pile is not just level 4, but a blue type, furthermore with stamina as the main focus. That meant, he can take that all that concentrated fire without falling and continue to resist. But that also means the painful torment Takumu was experiencing would last longer.
Haruyuki could no longer say anything. Takumu was determined to protect the three of them until the Yellow King’s special attack, «Silly Go Round»’s effect time ends.
Maybe she also realized that, Niko who is next to Haruyuki said shortly.
“...I take back what I said about you using your brain only, Cyan Pile. Just 30 seconds more.”
“Under... stood, I...”
That unpleasant sound echoed at close range, and Takumu’s sound scrapped off.
Haruyuki saw three shining sharp pieces of metal slightly sticking out of the thick chest covering him, and looked at them while dumbfounded.
Some unknown time ago, long range attacks from the surrounding area has stopped. As the Go Round’s cheerful strange BGM flowed, Cyan Pile’s huge body was lifted up not by his own movement.
Standing right behind him, was a similar sized blue green duel avatar. With a rough form that made you think of heavy civil engineering equipment, a remarkably huge right arm was lifted up. The end of that arm became three atrocious claws, and those were buried deeply in Cyan Pile’s chest from behind.
That was one person in the waiting close combat type, he must have jumped out in frustration. While the goggle on his head that is like a previous era CRT monitor shone, the avatar let out a loud sound.
“I heard you were pretty good in the young «Blue». You are just proud of being a hard wall, Cyan Pile.”
Lifting the skewered Takumu up, the heavy equipment type avatar lowly sneered.
“Heehe, before you die, remember this. The one who defeated you is, Sakkusu...”
“Your stupid name... I have no interest in it.”
Takumu who murmured that with raspy sound, suddenly lifted up his right arm, and stuck the pile driver’s firing hole at the center of his own chest.
“«Lightning Cyan Spike»!!”
With a weak yet firm shout, blue white flash is sent from the back end of the hole.
At the same time, the lightning that was shot out, passed from Cyan Pile’s chest, to the heavy equipment type avatar’s right arm, and then extended in a line to the square head and shot through. With ‘crackle’ sounds, Sakkusu something’s right arm and goggle was blown apart, both of them floated in the air for an instant, then fell with an explosion.
With the Go Round illusion in effect, even if the enemy close in there was no way to aim accurately. However, that is a different story if the enemy’s arm is holding you up. Following that arm in a line, the enemy’s body is always there.
‘Incredible, after all you are incredible. You are far stronger and smarter than me - a best friend to be proud of.’
That feeling rose in his chest, but he did not have a chance to put them into words.
To the screaming enemy avatar who fell to the ground while holding his face with left hand, Takumu used his last strength to hold him still.
From under the mask that glanced at Haruyuki, a fading sound leaked out.
“After... I will leave it to you, Haru.”
Then both of his arms firmly held down the enemy - .
Between the two that is close together, machine gun like continuous fire sounds and flashes continued to appear.
The enemy’s jerking movements stopped, and many cracks of light ran on both avatars.
An instant after, two different blue pillars towered up from the crater bottom. As polygon fragments dispersed from the explosion, Takumu and the enemy’s shapes were no longer there.
At almost the same time, the Go Round illusion attack ended, and the world returned to the original state.
A moment of silence filled the crater that was south Ikebukuro park.
The long ranged attacks from the surrounding have already stopped, and only distant sounds of thunder and wind echoed.
For duel avatars' long range attacks, beam types overheat, and actual ammo will run out, so continuous firing forever was not possible. However even taking that into consideration, this silence is strange. They were probably taken in as well. By Cyan Pile and the other person’s over dreadful display of their attacks on each other.
‘This is our chance to escape’, Haruyuki thought. It’s the time that Takumu bought with his life. However, somehow his feet could not move. While he was on one knee, Haruyuki’s small avatar shook.
A feeling that he could not explain himself, roared in his chest.
The feeling of helplessness as he could only be protected by his best friend. Anger at the Yellow King for setting his despicable trap and playing with others' hearts. And above all else - the feeling toward the person he held in his right arm, the deep black avatar that drooped without any strength as if power was cut - .
From the bottom of Haruyuki’s throat, a squeaky sound was wrung out.
“Kuroyukihime senpai... why... why are you not standing up...”
“It’s useless, Silver Crow.”
It was Niko who murmured that.
With a strong ‘Crunch’ footstep echo, the Red King stood her delicate body up straight.
“«Zero File»... Right now, the power signal from that girl’s soul that is sent to the avatar is zero. A Burst Linker with no fighting spirit cannot move a duel avatar. The reason is that a duel avatar’s source of power is the heat from its owner’s heart. If you don’t even have the strength to face your wounds, you cannot even stand up. That is the «Brain Burst» game. That girl, too, understood even if she does not want to. But it’s a problem that you cannot do anything about even if you understand it.”
After saying that in a low voice, Niko took a quick glance at Haruyuki.
“...Sorry, even though Cyan Pile sacrificed himself to buy time for us... I am not running away. I do not have the discipline to just quietly escape here. You are fine, just take that girl and retreat from here.”
Haruyuki thought he saw that the crimson girl avatar starting to burst into flames.
No, it was not an illusion. The area around her foot that took a step forward, he actually saw slight flames flare up.
‘It’s reckless. The enemy formation is almost totally unscratched. There would be no way to win.’
While he thought that escaping is a sensible choice, Haruyuki did not move. If he left Niko here and ran away, then to himself, and also to Kuroyukihime, he realized that he would definitely lose something, so he just crouched there and replied in a low voice.
“I am not running away... I don’t want to run away and leave a comrade behind!”
“Comrade... - A hardcore fool. Then, do as you like.”
After a short break of speechlessness, Niko said that while dumbfounded, then took another step forward.
Extending her right hand straight out, she pointed her finger at the Yellow King standing on the crater’s west edge, then the Red King shouted.
“Yellow Radio! Before your cool appearance, your sneaky filled special attack gauge should now be empty! This time is my turn to pay you back... don’t forget, if you are defeated by me, you will at that time be forever retired!!”
As if being pushed back by the pressure, the Yellow King’s clown type avatar backed off half a step.
On the other hand, Niko took another step forward, and extended both arms wide.
“Come... Enhanced Armament - !!”
With a ‘Gou’ sound, flames flared up, and the avatar covered in that lightly floated up.
From the surrounding space, armament made up of flames appeared one after another, and containers covered the girl from all sides. Missile pods on both shoulders, thick armor skirt, thruster on the back - also in place of both arms, fearsome long and large main cannons.
Then Red King Scarlet Rain who became the shape of her other name «Immobile Fortress», landed on the center of the crater with a heavy tremor, and put out white steam all over her body.
From the 30 avatars surrounding them, Haruyuki felt that they momentarily wavered. Since the Yellow Legion’s territory is on the east side of Tokyo, they did not have many chances to be in contact with the Red Legion controlling the west side in Nerima and Nakano. Not having a chance to battle Niko directly is a matter of course, and there should not even be many that had seen her fight from the gallery. Looking at Scarlet Rain’s true shape, the first thing that happened was to be scared out of their wits from the huge size that could not be a duel avatar. The same as Haruyuki the other day.
As Haruyuki swallowed his saliva, in his ears came Niko’s low voice with strong effect added.
“Hey, Silver Crow. Sorry to ask, but take care of just the close combat opponents that stick to my behind.”
“Un... understood. But... senpai is...”
“They won’t lay a hand on that girl, before they defeat me, that is. If I am taken down, then it does not matter, just fly away together with Lotus.”
«Taken down» - in this situation, it would mean that Niko’s Brain Burst would be forcefully uninstalled.
Before Haruyuki could reply with something, the Yellow King looking down from high above shouted with his usual poisonous voice.
“There is no need to fear! That thing is just a stationary turret, if you close in it’s just a lump of steel!”
Then he held up his right hand.
“Close combat team, it is your turn! Long range team, support them! - Go!!”
With yellow light reflecting, at the same time as that arm going down - .
With ‘Uoooo’ battle roar echoing, from the crater’s edge around 15 duel avatars all started charging in.
As if in response to that cry, the missile containers on both of Niko’s shoulders opened with a crisp metallic sound. The few tens of seeker heads exposed shone red, and right after, they were fired with white smoke trailing them.
The missile groups that were fired straight up, did a half circle curve and fell down aiming for the enemy duel avatars on the ground. Some dashed while pulling missiles, others took defensive stances, and the charge slackened.
Two of the standing ones, were instantly aimed at by the main cannons from both arms.
With ‘Kuooon’ high pitch resonance sounds, the released ruby heat rays swallowed the unfortunate two duel avatars. Instantly, ball shaped energy lumps that grew created tremendous explosions here and there.
They next became tall fire pillars with the same color as their avatar's armor. Their HP gauges were blown apart and disappeared.
‘- In one hit!’
Haruyuki was terrified. At the same time, ‘If it is like this then maybe’, he thought.
However, immediately from the outside edge, long range attack avatars who had finished recharging began firing. There would be no way that they could miss Scarlet Rain’s avatar that’s so huge that it cannot move, so they were sucked by the crimson fortress.
Her whole body was covered by flowers of explosions, but the Red King did not seem to tremor. In response, she aimed her four machine guns towards the outside and showered them.
Against long range attacks, they can do nothing but withstand them right now. Haruyuki grounded his inner molars strongly, and placed Kuroyukihime’s avatar there.
According to Niko, when you lost to the wound in your heart, then the Burst Linker will no longer move.
Haruyuki himself also experienced that.
Three months ago, when he knew of the existence of «Accelerate» for just a bit, to protect Kuroyukihime, he fought his best friend Takumu - Cyan Pile. Then he was beaten up to smithereens, and while overwhelmed by feelings of being small and powerless, he could no longer stand up beside the unconscious Kuroyukihime’s avatar.
If at that time, Kuroyukihime’s voice - illusion sound or they actually communicated - did not reach him, then Haruyuki probably could not fight any longer. Then he would not have awaken Silver Crow’s hidden potential «Flight Ability» and would probably have lost everything.
That’s why right now, seeing Kuroyukihime being unable to move, Haruyuki felt neither disappointment nor anger.
But he was sad.
He did not understand the reason why, but he was very sad.
Haruyuki blinked his eyes hard, removed his hand from the deep black avatar and stood up, then turned around and ran straight forward.
What he was aiming for, was the shape of a close combat avatar closing in behind Niko. His color was olive green, with oversized long and fat arms becoming U-shaped metal at the tip.
The opponent saw Haruyuki coming in from the front of his path, and yelled in a deep voice.
“Out of the way, small fry!”
Then he aimed the left U-shaped hand at Haruyuki, and continued with a shout.
At the same time as the skill name was being shouted, purple lightning was sent out, and it caught Haruyuki. However it did not do damage, in exchange it pulled Silver Crow’s small avatar with tremendous power, and stuck him to the U-shape with a clank.
“Hihiii, metal color is easy to suck in!”
As the olive colored guy shouted, he used his right hand to excessively beat Haruyuki. While Haruyuki used both arms to guard against that, he thought calmly.
From the name, this is the enemy’s special attack using magnetic attraction. Then it should have a time limit. Furthermore, since it is a skill that can completely hold an opponent, then at most 10 seconds.
Haruyuki suddenly extended both hands, and covered the opponent’s goggle shaped eyes. Then he expanded his wings, and left the ground all at once.
“Hey, you, let go of your hands.”
With the screaming opponent, while they were stuck together like a magnet, Haruyuki went up some tens of meters high into the air.
Right after, the purple waves generating the magnetism disappeared, and the opponent shoved Haruyuki away with his freed left hand.
“Just covering my eyes, doing that won’t have any damage on... hey whattt!?”
Haruyuki ignored the screaming opponent that found out he was left in the sky with nothing to hold onto, and started a full speed descent. He passed the magnetic avatar in the air, and extended his right foot, moving forward with a sharp cone.
At the same time as he psyched up, he pierced through the back of the drill equipped avatar that was about to jump onto Niko. To the enemy who was nailed to the ground with a loud impact, Haruyuki hit using his left hand the area at the back of the neck.
“Aaa... Gaaa... Aaa!”
After breaking two spinal bones, Haruyuki jumped back from the screaming enemy, and a little in front of him the magnetic avatar fell down from the air. With full body landing shock, this one too could no longer move.
As Haruyuki was jumping out to finish that guy off, his right cheek was suddenly forcefully hit.
He was blown away in a flashy way, and tumbled around. Sharp pain from his broken inner teeth made him see sparks in front of his eyes.
Haruyuki forcefully ignored that and jumped up, seeing the 3rd enemy closing in. A four corner body as if carved from stone, and covered by a light blue martial arts robe. The mask reminiscent of a Moai statue was humorous, but he knew the power of those rock like fists from one hit. A very close contact type with no weapon, but these orthodox types are very fearsome.
Maybe a veteran, the martial artist not only silently attacked, he slid up into range and suddenly released a right front kick.
Silver Crow is fortunate to have a very thin body, he somehow managed to avoid a direct hit, and the left flank that was scratched gave out sparks and his HP bar was cut. He used a left punch for counter attack, but that was stopped by a huge wooden like right arm.
‘- When you get into a situation of close combat with a blunt type that is disadvantagous to metal color...’
Suddenly, an old lecture from Kuroyukihime was awakened in his brain.
‘- Don’t guard or counter attack in panic, try to flow with the enemy’s attack and use its power. It is possible with your reaction speed. Listen, no matter how powerful a punch is, it’s slow compared to a bullet, don’t forget.’
The martial artist avatar released a right front straight punch with a large psyche.
The fist came flying in with a blue aura, as Haruyuki pushed down his fear and watched. ‘While falling back behind, left hand under the enemy fist, and right feet against the enemy’s stomach.’
At the same time as his shout, he flapped the wings on his back for just an instant with all his strength. With the lift generated, Haruyuki kicked his right foot up, and then with his own punching power as a catapult, the brusque martial artist danced up into the sky.
Hearing Haruyuki’s yell or not, Scarlet Rain’s shoulder missiles fired, and all of them hit the martial artist in the sky. Swallowed by many red black explosions, that avatar fell to the ground trailing smoke, and right after, a light blue pillar of light went up and disappeared.
“...Hmm, not bad for so being so delicately built, Silver Crow.”
“Why thank you!”
After shouting a reply to Niko’s bad mouthing, even thought it distract him from countering the next enemy, from the side of his eyes, Haruyuki looked at the deep black avatar laying a bit away.
‘- That person, Kuroyukihime, is definitely not a super woman that’s totally perfect. A middle school student like me, and a girl that is easily hurt.’
That thought, when he saw Kuroyukihime crying from words not from his heart, he definitely could not forget. However even with that, the admiration and worship inside him did not reduce even a bit.
Not against strength.
It’s the will to become strong. The soul that continues to shine while resisting different adversity, Haruyuki is absolutely drawn to it.
‘- That is why, you should be standing up again. I don’t know what kind of relationship you had with the previous Red King, but you should get past that memory, and should be standing. Isn’t that right!?’
At the same time as Haruyuki’s desperate silent shout under his silver mask.
The momentarily slowed enemy legion attack restarted fiercely.
The remaining close combat types were less than ten, but they started advancing from all directions. To support them, long range fire came down like rain.
“Don’t underestimate meeee!”
Niko roared, left and right main cannons, missile pods, and machine guns started firing.
Then all of them spit out fire - right before that, Haruyuki thought he heard a strange sound.
A high frequency sound that could only be called noise shook the air. At the same time, his view of the world doubled, and tripled.
The missiles released by Scarlet Rain suddenly spun in the sky, and flew in different directions. Even the main cannon beams aiming for the long range attackers outside missed them from above, and hit a far away building, with explosion sounds echoing.
“Shit... it’s jamming!”
Niko shouted in a low voice.
“It’s not that Radio guy... one of his yellow color underlings! Find him!”
At the same time as his answer, Haruyuki expanded his wings and strongly kicked the ground to fly up. However.
From the ground two wires extended up like snakes and wrapped around Haruyuki’s feet.
He was pulled back all at once, and hit the ground hard. Even out of breath from the shock, Haruyuki tried to cut the wires with his knife. But.
With someone’s shout of a skill name, blue white lightning ran along all of Haruyuki’s body, and at the same time he was assaulted by intense shock. Looking around, he saw a mechanical avatar with wires extending from both arms, and on his back was a transformer like equipment emitting sparks.
It seems like the main attack was to stun, so he was not damaged much at all, but with his body not under his control, Haruyuki could not shake loose the wires around his feet.
Haruyuki groaned, and he was showered by the electric avatar’s high pitched laughter.
“Kihihihihi! Just sleep there for a while, brat! Till the Red King’s whole body is stripped apart!!”
Like those words said, he could see many shapes of close combat avatars rushing towards Niko’s fortress type avatar. They close in from her main cannons’ blind spots and started to shower her enhanced armament connection points with punches and kicks. Orange sparks flew, bolts were knocked apart, and the thick armor was stripped off one by one.
Haruyuki desperately resisted the electricity paralyzing his whole body and turned his body around, trying to crawl towards the electric avatar.
However the sparks did not seem to weaken even a bit, and he could not even change his head’s direction.
‘- What should I do. What should I do. What should I do at this time, senpai.’
‘- Hurry... if I don’t hurry, then Niko!’
Sounds of despair appeared in his head, at that time from the far edge of the crater, he heard rich tone laughter loudly echo.
It was the Yellow King, Yellow Radio. His slender and long body with the two horn hat swaying, showing joy with pantomime actions.
“How! How unsightly! Comical shapes! A King’s dignity and such... there isn’t a single fragment of that!? After all, you two don’t have the qualifications to be a King, that is what it means! The Red is an upstart fake! And the Black, is a despicable traitor right!?”
The relentless insults, was overlap by ‘Gishi gishi’ metallic breaking sounds. And then, a girl’s small painful sounds too.
He looked that way, and saw a large close combat type avatar standing on Scarlet Rain’s missile container, holding her left main cannon.
He used his whole body to pull the huge cannon up. From the joints a lot of flame like sparks came out, that looked almost like fresh blood.
Eventually, with a ‘Bikin’ sudden sharp breaking sound, the main cannon was pulled off.
Linked to that, without a doubt, was Niko’s broken left arm that came dangling down. With Niko’s unsuppressed scream that leaked out, the enemy avatar lifted the cannon up high in a victory pose and roared at the same time.
“All right! The Red King is just like this! You guys, strip off all her skin and yank that kid out!! Till right before her gauge run out, give her plenty of humiliation!!”
Haruyuki grounded his inner teeth till they almost broke, and his extended fingers of his right hand desperately clawed the ground.
In front of that, was a dust covered black lotus avatar laying flat there with eyes fully lost all light.
Haruyuki pushed out a raspy sound from his throat paralyzed by the stun effect.
Behind him, maybe Niko’s last resistance, her remaining weapons continued to sound as they fired. While feeling the vibration from empty explosions, Haruyuki still shouted.
“You... you are okay with this? This way of finishing, is your game ending?”
In his brain, from last night, the real Kuroyukihime and Niko sleeping while holding each other appeared lightly.
What that scene represent, and what the two girls truly wish for, Haruyuki could not conjecture. But, the one thing he was sure is, soon everything will end. The slight bond born out of chance in one night, will be cruelly broken apart.
“Senpai... Black King!!”
Haruyuki used the rest of his strength and screamed.
Right now, the wound Kuroyukihime faced in her heart, might be so huge size that Haruyuki could not fathom. The first generation Red King - a comrade, and friend, while he was excited, he was betrayed and forever retired from the accelerated world, Kuroyukihime must have continued to suffer a long time for that action.
No, maybe «Red Rider» and her, were more than just comrade or friends. That kind of opponent, that person was put down by her hand.
Even if that was true.
“What is «Acceleration» to you!? And «Brain Burst»!!”
Hitting the ground with his fist surrounded by sparks, Haruyuki roared with passion.
“Getting to level 10 that has never been achieved before... Is your ambition to see what’s ahead in this world just to this degree? Is it so cheap as to exchange for the memory of just one man! Someone who wants to exceed the human husk... being tired down by past regrets, how long are you planning to be this unsightly! You don’t have the free time to do that, you should cut through all kind of obstacles, mow them down, and charge forward as the last person, isn’t that right, Black Lotus!!”
In front of his thrown out right hand, was it an illusion that he saw the deep black sharp part waver?
No, that’s wrong. Inside the sharp form’s goggles, like distant stars, slight violet lights shone. Weak like glowing embers of soul, beat with ‘thump thump’.
Haruyuki quietly said.
‘Bun!’ kind of strong vibration sound overlapped that.
That, was under the goggles, the sound of two eyes strongly shining.
In the half transparent armor as if made from obsidian, from parting lines starting from the head to the limbs, the same light filled them up. That blew away all the dust covering her whole body, reviving its dull reflection.
Finally, the sword arms and legs strongly vibrated.
To the lightly rising, as if pulled by invisible strings, deep black avatar, Haruyuki watched without blinking as his throat clogged up.
Black Lotus who stood straight up, with the tip of her feet slightly floating above ground, slowly began to hover and move. She reached Haruyuki who was lying flat while being caught by electric shocks, and stopped still.
The sound that echoed was kind and strict like usual.
Hearing his groaning reply, she murmured with her familiar wry smile mixed sound.
“That is... the way you said it earlier, it was like Rider and I were lovers.”
“Is... is that wrong?”
“Absolutely wrong. You are my first, I should have told you before. Also... how long are you planning to lie there, try sticking a hand into the ground.”
“Huh... o... okay.”
As told, Haruyuki lined up his sharp fingers, and stuck them into the dry ground near him.
At that moment, he felt that the sparks holding his whole body slowly flow into the ground, and Haruyuki shouted in realization.
“I... I see, earth...”
“If you think about the skill’s affinity and feature, you should be able to counter even if seen for first time. It seems I still have a lot of things to teach you.”
Right after, he heard a ‘Pusun’ kind of pathetic sound from behind, and Haruyuki turned his head to look.
He saw the electric avatar slowly backing off while white smoke came from the transformer on his back.
“You should be able to handle the rest yourself. - I have to go look after the little girl that fell into a trap.”
She said that casually.
With a ‘Bunn’ air vibration, the deep black avatar disappeared.
Without a single preparation, that was a fearsome speed dash. Kuroyukihime who went forward like a dark color beam for a few tens of meters, the next moment, she appeared beside the close combat type enemy standing directly on Niko.
After that surprised yell leaked out, the enemy avatar holding Red King’s main cannon let it go, and opened both hands with strangely strong fingers trying to dance with Kuroyukihime. Having the arm strength to pull off Niko’s main cannon, instead of a blunt attack type, it must be a hold skill type duel avatar.
Against that, not sure what she is thinking of, Kuroyukihime extended her right arm straight out as if saying ‘please grab it’. The enemy’s eyes shone strongly, and his snake like extended hands held Black Lotus’ arm in two places.
“Got you, «Oneway Sl...».”
With the shouting of the skill name, he turned around, putting the arm he was holding on his right shoulder, going into a judo throw posture - at that instant, some things dropped down.
Ten fat curved cylinders. Fingers. The enemy’s fingers holding Kuroyukihime’s sword arm, to throw her, he applied strength, and they were cut by the sharp edge.
“Sorry, hold type skills do not work on me.”
Kuroyukihime said that to the enemy frozen in the throw posture, and cut her carried right arm down in one go.
From right shoulder to left flank, the faint light passed through. Then the enemy avatar’s tough upper body slid down, and the remaining 70% of the body fell to the ground.
“Aaa... ga... gaaaaa!!”
He seemed to still have HP remaining so did not disappear, however just disappearing might be better off for him. Screaming in the pain of his body being cut apart, his remaining arm flapped the ground. Kuroyukihime moved her eyes away to stare at the remaining 7 or 8 enemy close range type avatars.
“I am not sure if you all realized, but people fighting with me always taste the pain of losing body parts.”
The tone was calm, but the savagery echoing in it made everyone in the battle field breathless.
“You can not... say that you don’t want to now!”
With that loud shout, the black raptor like avatar attacked an unlucky guy that she set her eyes on. High pitched metallic sounds, intermittent screams, and the surrounding Burst Linkers’ cries of desperation soon filled the air.
After determining that he could leave that place to her for a while, Haruyuki turned towards the electric avatar that still had the wires around him.
When their eyes met, the enemy turned his old fashioned instrument-like face away and raised a hand.
“Hey, wait a minute. I am recharging my battery right now...”
“Like I would wait!!”
Haruyuki shouted, and grabbed the two wires wrapped around his feet with both hands and released them, then kicked the ground all at once leaving it behind.
With the moaning enemy dangling below, he attained altitude, then while hovering started turning in circles.
“Waa - Aaa - Aaa -”
With the high and low screams continuing from the opponent, Haruyuki attained plenty of centripetal force then let go of the wires, and the heavy looking robot avatar flew south with tremendous speed, then with a small falling sound somewhere in the group of buildings.
His own eyes were spinning as well, so he shook his head strongly to clear them and looked down, the expanding battle below was right in his sights.
That could no longer be called a «Duel», but a «Slaughter» probably.
Most of the blue type close combat avatars fight with their hand or foot, and some with hammer or sword like contact weapons. That is for blue type comrades, they basically switch between attacker and guard, aiming for any opening in the opponent.
For Kuroyukihime - Black Lotus, with four sword limbs is a super close combat type as seen, but can take various attack actions.
Cut, a slash forward type of action is matter of course, if the opponent blocks with a fist or arm, they will be cut apart, and just chasing an opponent with a dash while swinging a leg up would cut the target apart. Absolutely no contact is allowed. Everything that touches her gets cut apart, just like a «Black death water lily» - .
The dance like battle shape was incredibly beautiful, and also full of very painful rejection.
Within merely a minute or two, the enemy close combat team was mostly annihilated, or with lost parts, damaged, in sharp pain, rolling on the ground out of action.
“Y... you bitch!!”
The last remaining large build Burst Linker suddenly roared loudly. He held up his thick long sword, and swung it down right at Kuroyukihime.
Spectacular speed and timing. The lightning like steel colored thick sword that came down, Kuroyukihime did not avoid it, but took it with two crossed sword arms.
‘Kiiiiin!’ That ear splitting high frequency wave echoed pass. Brilliant sparks came from the contact point, and the movement of both stopped.
‘Screech screech’ like high pitch metallic sound continued to echo. The silver and black swords, with every second ate into each other deeper.
Which will eat into the other first, Haruyuki could not instantly determine. However, the sword wielding fighter type avatar, his Hannya like mask twisted in a sneer.
At the same time as the fighter’s low sound, right below the sword, Kuroyukihime’s hands cut left and right in one instant.
What fell without a sound, were the fighter’s head, and the huge sword’s upper part. The head that rolled around with unbelieving eyes was pierced without mercy by Kuroyukihime’s left foot tip. A light pillar went up, and the enemy avatar blew apart like glass figurine and disappeared.
Again, a few seconds of silence.
What broke it was a short sound released from the far edge of the crater.
With a flat sound that finally lost composure maintained till now, the Yellow King, Yellow Radio said in a moan.
“Why appear now, to interrupt my years-long prepared circus carnival? After continuing to hide in a basement somewhere for two years, why?”
In the clown’s laughing face, the up turned eyes were filled with white phosphorescent. The dead branch like arms spread wide left and right, standing swaying on one leg, and head swinging slowly left and right.
Suddenly under the mask, a ‘kukukukuku’ small laughter leaked out. His right hand pointing straight at Kuroyukihime, the Yellow King said in a voice with regained mockery.
“That means, you have already forgotten? From your betrayal, our friend that was beheaded? ...Right now he, what he is doing and where. Never to return to the accelerated world again... I wonder if you remember the person who created the reason why that is? If it was me, I won’t be able to forget it. If it was a normal fight then fine, but that kind of sneak attack... right?”
While hearing the laughter coming up from that throat, Haruyuki shouted in his mind.
‘- Don’t listen to it. That guy wants to take away your fighting spirit again.’
However, to say that in actuall words, Haruyuki could not do it. For the Black King and the Yellow King, since the beginning of the accelerated world they have been training together, between the two that had been friends till the incident two years ago. He thought there was a history that not just anyone can cut into.
Haruyuki slowly descended, and he landed behind Black Lotus who was standing beside the half broken Scarlet Rain. Inside his chest, he just strongly prayed that she would not lose.
Suddenly - .
Kuroyukihime lifted up her right arm without a sound. The obsidian edge that did not have a single scratch from the battle was pointed straight at the Yellow King.
The Black King started her smooth silky voice.
“...You are mistaken about just one thing, Yellow Radio.”
“Oh? What would that be? Don’t tell me that was not a cowardly sneak attack?”
“Not that. You think that your head has the same weight as Red Rider’s to me, that. Let me tell you another thing... I...”
With a ‘Riin’ sound, she slashed her right hand horizontally, and Kuroyukihime said.
“From the first time I met you, I disliked you a lot!”
The Yellow King’s upper body bended backwards.
Kuroyukihime glanced to the side then behind her and quickly called out.
“Rain, your remaining weapons finished recharging right!? Crow, protect her!! - Let’s go!!”
And then, carving a line in the bottom of the crater, she started a fierce dash.
“Damn... let me rest a bit more!”
It was Niko who cursed. With her remaining right cannon and half broken missile pods giving out grinding sounds, she pointed them towards the enemy long range group at the outer edge of the crater.
While Kuroyukihime and the Yellow King talked, Haruyuki was not just idly listening. He used the seconds-long pause to find someone. The enemy indirect attack avatar that used jamming to mess up Niko’s aim.
‘- That guy!’
Haruyuki discovered a yellow type hiding behind a red type at the crater’s north side, and shouted in his chest. The pods equipped on both shoulders were open, and from the center a parabolic antenna with the center cylinder giving out light effects stuck out.
After determining that avatar was in the middle of doing electronic wave attacks, Haruyuki fiercely kicked the ground.
However, there is a full 30 meters from the center of the crater to the outside edge. Even though Silver Crow is a speed type, he could not get there instantly, so the support red type had time to aim his huge weapon.
A slight chill ran down Haruyuki’s back. Just like this, being aimed at in an open space by a gun with no place to hide - this is truly the situation and reason why he had so low success rate these past few weeks.
He could only dodge it.
If he does not defeat that jamming avatar, then Niko’s firepower will remain sealed. If that is the case, then the enemy formation’s existing red type avatar firepower will be concentrated on Kuroyukihime, to prevent her from directly fighting the Yellow King.
Whether Haruyuki can avoid this one shot will probably determine the trend of this battle.
The huge pressure made his hands and feet cold with paralysis. His view narrowed, and only the gun barrel opening darkness expanded wide. It’s no good, if he is like this then he cannot avoid it. The bullet released by the still gun in the virtual training room, he could at most avoid 30% of them.
‘- No. This current situation, is different from that white room.’
The reason is, that gun is held by an avatar. With a brown camouflage pattern body and large lens like eyes shining, that’s a sniper type duel avatar. Not the gun, look at that guy. Try to see the action of when he is about to pull the trigger.
Instantly, from Haruyuki’s view, everything other than the enemy avatar disappeared. He forgot about the battlefield situation, opened both eyes, and just captured the shape of the enemy holding the rifle.
The back of the enemy’s neck tensed, right shoulder lifted up a few millimeters, right hand shook -
- Right hand finger squeezed the trigger, and a blue white shone from the gun barrel.
At that time, he had already leaned left.
‘Shaaa!’ With that air vibration sound, a heat ray scratched by Haruyuki’s right chest and right shoulder going behind him. He ignored the burning sensation and flew the last ten meters forward, passing right beside the enemy long range type to dance with the indirect type behind.
To the surprised electronic wave avatar, Haruyuki attacked both antennas with two hand knives. After seeing the delicate equipment smashed to bits, he sunk down for a moment, then flew straight up.
Whether his mental shout reached her or not, the instant the jamming was stopped, Scarlet Rain’s remaining weapons all spewed fire.
Her right main cannon shot out a beam of heat, and left side missiles fell down, then the there was a mysterious curtain of flame that went up on the crater’s outer edge. Of course that one shot would not kill all of the enemy army, but all the long range shots that were firing at Black Lotus were silenced.
In the moment of silence after the explosions, Kuroyukihime’s fierce roar echoed.
Her right arm blade drew a deep black path.
What was cut apart without a sound, and floated in the air, was Yellow Radio’s huge hat’s right side horn.
After the angry reply with not a single bit of banter up till now, the Yellow King took out a long and big baton like weapon from somewhere and started counter attacking. The hit that came in while drawing golden lines, Kuroyukihime used her left sword arm to parry, and the sparks that flew brightly lit up both of them.
Niko that was intermittently shooting restraining fire, Haruyuki landed on the long stabilizer extending from her back and watched the fierce battle starting on the western edge of the crater with half amazement.
Kings, that is, level 9 Burst Linkers fighting each other, of course it was his first time seeing it.
That, everyone in this place - including the two persons fighting - would probably say the same thing.
The current «Pure Color Seven Kings», aside from Niko, reached level 9 almost at the same time a bit more than two years ago. Then they found out about the cruel sudden death rule that is needed to reach level 10, and to avoid fights to the death, they started a round table conference.
In that conference, the Black King, Black Lotus sneak attacked the first generation Red King, Red Rider and killed him in one critical hit. A King killing another King, that time was the first and only one. After that, the Black King was hunted as a betrayer and she stayed hidden in Umesato middle school’s local net for about two years, and the other Kings signed no invasion treaties with each other and did not leave their own territory.
That is why, for level 9s fighting each other normally, since the beginning of accelerated world, this is the first time.
Haruyuki, and Niko too.
And as for the remaining ten yellow legion members, they all stopped attacking, and watched the fight with breaths held.
Haruyuki leaked that sound of awe in his chest.
If he did not concentrate, then all he could see around the two fighting, were mysterious flashes that continued to bounce around. The Black King’s four chain, and five chain continuous attacks, were impressively parried by the Yellow King’s baton as he turned in high speed, while he looked for openings and used his long leg to kick. That was blocked by Kuroyukihime’s leg, and ripple like impact waves spread out, distorting the background.
With the way to high power attacks continuing, radiating cracks started to appear from both fighter’s feet, and pieces of rubble started flying about. The space was filled with colorless pressure, and the lights shining from both combatant's armor, also seem to increase in intensity.
“...It will be soon.”
Niko murmured, and Haruyuki asked in reaction.
“Those two’s special attack gauge should be full. The real battle will be starting.”
Before that sentence finished, ‘Baan!’ that one impact sound exploded, and pushed by that those two distanced themselves from each other.
They soon closed up, Kuroyukihime slowly lowered her waist, left arm held horizontal in front of her body, and right sword arm perpendicular to that peak. The long blades pulsed and started to be covered by violet light, and at the same time a low frequency vibration shook the air.
On the other hand, Yellow Radio crossed both arms in front of himself, with fingers holding the golden baton. The balls on the baton’s either end, also released cyclic light.
The increasingly higher pressure, made Haruyuki feel a light snapping sensation around his cheek area.
A King’s special attack, Haruyuki saw a fragment of its power in his duel with Niko. The huge beam released by one main cannon, blew away the top part of Shinjuku metropolitan government building far away in the battle field without much of effort.
If same level potential power as that attack, is released in such close distance, what would happen? To Haruyuki who opened his eyes wide and forgot to breathe, Niko’s voice again lightly reached his ears.
“...Not with power, it will be decided by speed.”
“Eh... wh, what do you mean?”
“No matter how you look at it, Lotus’ special attack is direct contact type. Against that, Radio’s special is illusion type. That means before Radio’s skill going into effect, whether Lotus’ one hit can reach him or not - will decide the battle.”
Haruyuki’s throat made a ‘Gokuri’ sound.
The largely tilted sun, cut through the black clouds slightly, and one red beam of light came down.
That was reflected on the obsidian blade, at that instant.
Black Lotus’ dignified sound echoed.
“«Death By Pi...».”
At the same time, Yellow Radio too.
“«Futile Fortune Wh...».”
Two skill names that were shouted at the same time, neither finished the last sound.
That kind of small, however overwhelming presence dry sound echo, pressed down the two King’s sounds.
That, was from Yellow Radio’s bright yellow color breast armor, something piercing through from behind kind of sound.
Kuroyukihime who stopped her skill in mid shout, Haruyuki, Niko, the other Burst Linkers, and the Yellow King himself as well, looked at the about 15cm of silver grey metal sticking out of the armor.
- Easter island stone statues.
- Female demon mask used in Noh theater.