Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume12 Chapter4
 Chapter 4: The City of Spirits
Just what had happened? No one here could understand, but they were sure that something had happened. Groups of invading filth monsters had taken over parts of Zuellni, but those filth monsters were fighting each other. They didn't seem like they were allies. The presence of the enemies was enough to seep through Nina's entire body, making her grit her teeth.
A name had come from the flake – Delbone, Grendan's messenger.
Karian had kept a flake to communicate with Felli, and that person's voice had come through that flake.
"We'll take care of the filth monsters on the ground. Please rest at ease."
The old woman's peaceful voice dispelled the ruckus in the room, a voice from heaven that exuded a relaxing breath to ease off the tension. Her words comforted them. In fact, Zuellni's Military Artists were at their limit. To be attacked in the middle of an intercity match........ Many had been injured. No one had died yet, but the number of Military Artists sustaining heavy injuries was on the rise.
They were saved! Relief showed on the faces of the members of the Student Council around Karian. But Karian himself held a complex expression. Nina was the same. Grendan's aim was the Haikizoku. The city might have other goals, but they were sure at least that the Haikizoku was its main goal. Judging from the action of the Mercenary Gang, Grendan's movements were all about retrieving the Haikizoku. Right now, no one knew where it was, though. It was originally in Nina's body, but it had gone somewhere. It might have abandoned Nina to possess another person. In that case, what would Grendan do when it realized it couldn't reach its goal? Or, what would Karian do if the Haikizoku had possessed yet another student of Zuellni? But Delbone hadn't mentioned the Haikizoku, and Nina didn't feel the old woman had any other aim. The negotiation was all about eliminating filth monsters. The psychokinesist had left right after the conversation.
Karian watched the screen on the ground, projected by the psychokinesist.
"What's happening?" he said in a small voice. This was reality but no one knew what it was. Karian called over the Head of Alchemy. This was his first time meeting him. He already knew his name, but he couldn't imagine what the other person looked like.
"This is that, isn't it?"
"I can only think so. It's a guardian beast."
"Guardian beast?" Nina cocked her head, but then she remembered.
Before Nina entered Zuellni, the students of the Alchemy course were researching on a project that got cancelled later– the Guardian Beast project. In a strange event that Felli got caught in, she was attacked by these monsters but Nina didn't see it as she arrived late to the scene. So it was a Guardian Beast? Looking from the function of a Guardian Beast, it was a monster with the body of a worm. Right now, this group of Guardian Beasts was attacking a giant.
"So they were hiding in a place that we didn't know? So many of them too?"
"Impossible! We did a thorough check of the city when the city's base collapsed. We would've found such a place if it existed."
"We did not investigate the underground maze though!"
Members of the Student Council said to each other.
"But a facility that can sustain so many lives needs energy! Why didn't we find out about that........." The Head of Alchemy said, thinking.
"Karian, there's a place I want to confirm."
"If possible, I want to go too!"
Some secret information flowed between Karian and the Head of Alchemy.
"But that place isn't connected to the shelter. We'll have to return to the ground."
The Head of Alchemy was a very thin man, but enthusiasm and passion filled his eyes. He wasn't scared of the outside at all.
"We need guards. Military Artists. Psychokinesists........ I want a platoon for this, but we don't have any that is intact. We must choose."
Karian adjusted his glasses. "Contact Vance. Since Grendan's going to eliminate the filth monsters, we can arrange some elites to be guards."
Vance came over quickly, bringing with him Gorneo and Shante. Karian walked with Vance a distance away from Nina and the rest of the people in the room before they spoke.
"Are you all right?"
On the other side, Gorneo was observing the situation.
"Grendan is here."
"What did you say!?" Nina said.
Bandages were wrapped around Gorneo's head. Blood showed on the bandages. He was surprised.
"Just what is the Haikizoku that makes the city come all the way here?"
"I'm not sure of the exact details, but Grendan is looking for the power that the Haikizoku possesses."
"You mean Grendan's government?"
"No...... Grendan itself," Gorneo shook his head. "Only few people in Grendan know of this. Originally, even the Luckens family shouldn't have known since they're not connected to the royal family. No, I myself didn't want to believe a Haikizoku existed, so I don't remember where I heard of this from."
Vance and Karian were still talking. They seemed to have gotten stuck over something in their discussion. It appeared some time was needed till they made the final decision!
"Grendan is a Haikizoku."
"What!?" she couldn't comprehend, but he didn't look like he was lying.
"It does things that other cities wouldn't do. Have I not thought of this before? I did, but I gave it up, thinking it was too ridiculous an idea. But that is the reality. Grendan is a Haikizoku!"
Yes, she remembered. When she saw Savaris in Myath. Leerin had had an encounter, then Savaris had shown up. What did he say? He said.........
"The real consciousness........."
"Is there another Electronic Fairy in Grendan?"
"I've heard of it, but only the royal family knows. Only the Luckens family is left from the first generation of Heaven's Blades."
He didn't look proud of that fact, but why was he telling her of this so easily?
"I'm Zuellni's Military Artist. Even if I'm to return to Grendan, I'm still Zuellni's," he said honestly. "I'll stand before Grendan if it has bad intention towards Zuellni........ Even I can fight against some of them."
A kind of tragic emotion was in his words, but in the next second...
"Ah!" Gorneo's head turned. Shante had suddenly leapt to sit on his shoulders. Her legs encircled his neck as she pulled on his short golden hair.
"Don't worry! We'll beat them up!"
"You're too naive!"
"Don't think so much. We just need to beat up our enemies."
Shante's quick words helped Nina relax her expression. Gorneo looked funny with his troubled expression. He was speaking to himself in a tiny voice.
Karian and Vance had finally come to a conclusion. Nina, Sharnid, Gorneo and Shante were to guard Karian and the Head of Alchemy. They went back to the surface and headed for their destination. Vance stayed in the shelter in case anything happened.
Only four people. Too few to protect the key members of Zuellni's Student Council in a danger zone.
"Captain-level Military Artists are unable to fight except for you four."
"What a terrible situation!"
This was the painful truth. Nina herself might have shown her shock if Sharnid hadn't voiced his out first. She swallowed her words. This wasn't a usual time. No time to get surprised at every little thing.
"For those who don't want to rest, they'll never rest. We must carefully observe and confirm those who force themselves."
This was the reason that Vance had to stay back. His expression had always been bad, and now he looked even worse. His team was the first to fight the first wave of larvae. He fought while commanding all the other Military Artists. He probably hadn't gotten any sleep.
Nina's wrists hurt. She had received treatment but they hadn't entirely healed. However, she could now ignore the pain. Gorneo and Shante both had bandages on them. Sharnid was the only person unhurt, but his eyes were red. His vision must be overworked for having to do so much precision shooting. He had used eye drop medicine countless times, but he still rubbed his eyes occasionally.
"Can we safely arrive there?" Sharnid looked at the ceiling and applied some eye drops again.
The psychokinesist had turned the sky into a map. Vance began the explanation.
"You're to leave from the E1 exit. There's a distance to the destination from E1, but that area has the fewest number of filth monsters. If the enemies come over to check the situation by sense of smell, our psychokinesists will create a magnetic barrier to control the flow of the wind, but that won't affect their vision."
"So we're to move tentatively!" Sharnid joked.
Vance nodded. "Yes. It's best if you don't get found out. We still don't know the enemy's strength. We don't know whether four injured birds can defeat them. In the long term, these things are gathering, fighting and consuming each other. We must use this chaos to our advantage and head for our destination."
"Isn't it better to stay here and wait for Grendan's help?" Gorneo asked.
Karian answered. "We still don't know their aim. With this situation, even Zuellni itself might become problematic."
"You mean the City's Electronic Fairy?"
"Yes," he nodded heavily.
Nina tensed at the possibility of something happening to Zuellni. She didn't know what Karian was planning, but she couldn't let this go if it was connected to the Electronic Fairy.
"This is the temporary route. Everyone, remember it. Got it? Then go!" Vance said.
They walked through a passage in the shelter. The aroma of food wafted to them. This was the canteen, and many students were inside, mostly women. They were probably making meals for Military Artists. The usual food eaten in a shelter was food that could last long, and this food was being cooked in the kitchen.
"We can rest a bit and eat some hot food," Karian said.
Nina saw Leerin in the canteen. The other girl had also noticed her. Nina was a bit surprised. Once the two of them got close to each other, questions surfaced. Nina's expression was dull, but that was normal for this situation. But Leerin was still bothered.
"What is it?"
"I have a mission," she replied vaguely.
Leerin looked at them. "Wait a moment." She entered the canteen and came back with a bag of stuff.
"If you're in a hurry, eat this on the way."
Sandwiches, and soup in paper cups sat in the bag.
Though she wasn't hungry, she realized she hadn't eaten a thing for a long time. Nina took the bag with gratitude.
"Are you all right?"
Leerin smiled. "Yeah, I'm fine!"
But it still worried her. Leerin's attitude was the same as when Nina talked to her childhood friend. Bluffing. But there was a reason behind that attitude. She had wanted to make a carefree expression but had failed. Whose heart was more knotted? But there was no time to investigate further. Gorneo was calling her. She ran with the bag in her hand.
"Leerin, remember to see a doctor if your eye hurts!"
Leerin looked surprised. Her eye had not opened again.
Nina ran, hoping it wasn't something serious. Layfon wasn't here, and this fact surprised her. She had always believed he was here, and pain cut through her when she thought of that. What would happen to her if she didn't think this way? The soup in her mouth flowed warmth into her body.
A different air hit their nostrils the moment they left the shelter through the door. As expected, this air differed from the purified air in the shelter and the dust-filled air when fighting the larvae. The sky had turned dark. No moon or star could be seen, as if a thick cloud cover had shrouded the entire sky. Electricity had been cut off from some parts of the ground. Everywhere was dim and gloomy. Only the faint emergency lights on the streets led their way.
The sound of clashing filled the air. Filth monsters roared. But there was still some distance between the enemies and the students. Though they could fall from the sky, the number did not seem to have increased. Compared to that, the sound that had been enveloping the entire city was more stimulating. A regular rumbling brought along a bad premonition. The sound of Grendan's multi-legs.
How could they let the Head of the Alchemy walk ahead of them? Gorneo and Shante headed the small group. Nina and Sharnid took up the rear, and the rest were protected in the middle. Shante had strong night vision. She could see the path even without light. That ability must be innate! On the other hand, Gorneo had chosen to walk close to the emergency lights. Shante looked left and right to check whether anything had closed in on them.
The route remained unchanged. Vance's strategy to change the flow of the wind through a magnetic barrier might have been effective.
Nina was observing her surroundings, and so did Sharnid, but they didn't feel anything getting near. What was this? She was undergoing a mission, and it was the same with the city. This wasn't something simple. Things were developing while she was still in the dark. Just like the literal darkness surrounding them now. For Nina's group, they could see only very little, so they had to do all they could to survive.
Something big was happening. Would Zuellni survive? Unease continued to plague her. What about the Haikizoku? Did Grendan come just to defeat filth monsters? Not because of the Haikizoku? What would they do when Grendan realized it had failed? If that happened, Nina could only give up her body. Grendan's people didn't know how the Haikizoku worked, and Nina had deceived them. What would the situation be when they realized they had been lied to? She better take that possibility into consideration too.
"You're thinking of something again?" Sharnid asked in a small voice.
"You think simply. I can guess from that," he said to the surprised Nina as he looked around. "You're thinking of using yourself for the exchange, right? Stop that thinking! No one would be happy if you do that."
"Layfon's forcing himself and being reckless!"
Nina was confused at his words.
"Why's he doing that? That's important. Since he understands Grendan, then he shouldn't move recklessly! But he was like that when you weren't here."
He meant when she was in Myath. Recalling herself back then, Nina looked at Karian. He was following Gorneo. It appeared he hadn't heard them.
He had said to her before her return that Karian didn't think it possible for Layfon to fight without a reason. Hence, Layfon was only following Nina's reason for fighting, and he was doing that even now! They had to fight because they were Military Artists. But that matter-of-fact reason for Nina did not work for Layfon. He was too strong, and his birthplace was too different. He had things he wanted to protect. He betrayed to protect the people precious to him and then he was tossed away. Was she to draw that Layfon into battle? Was she the one who drew him in? She had asked herself numerous times, and so she confirmed her answer again and again. She could only ask him for his power. No one else had the power to handle the task.
"True. As a Military Artist, he really is too strong, so strong that we find it hard to stomach. He surpasses all of us. He's always acted clueless and clumsy, but he's entirely different when he fights. But how should he fight? – He never thinks of that. As long as he's set his goal, he'd probably fight even if the outcome would be defeat. That's what I think."
"That guy knows."
Layfon really was different when he trained. As long as something had to do with Military Arts, he'd become sharp and cold. People found it hard to like him when he was like that. He was saying clearly to the weaker people that they were weak. He had walked through many intense battles. He had obtained a Heaven's Blade at the age of ten. From then on, no, he had been fighting filth monsters before that. What was Nina doing before age ten? She didn't yet have her own Dite. But Layfon had already stepped into the battlefield, had already started facing cruel and cold reality. To let him fight was foolishness. Unbelievable. But Sharnid thought differently.
He sighed, "Oi, if he really understood, he wouldn't have come here."
She couldn't make a retort. Layfon had always been fighting for the orphanage. What a Military Artist earned could sustain the operation of the orphanage, but he thought it wasn't enough. He wanted to protect all the orphans in Grendan, so he participated in underground matches and consequently was exposed. A person who was a hero was not a hero in reality. Nina couldn't reproach the orphans who thought they had been betrayed. Probably even Nina herself would have condemned him like them if she was there. Sharnid was right. There might be another reason. It probably wasn't what Nina said before about his spirit, but just a more practical way to make up for his deeds in the past.
Layfon had said that he wanted to kill, but he didn't end up killing. He had the chance to kill the guy who threatened him, but he failed. Something must have stopped him. The orphans looked at him as a hero. They might have been in his mind and had stopped him – Nina thought so. But perhaps he couldn't kill him because the screen didn't manage to hide them. If the trend went the majority's way, then he couldn't kill Gahard even in broad daylight. Anyway, something must have gone wrong. That was what she thought.
"That guy's probably the same as you! He doesn't really think about the problem. To him, it's a mistake, if he doesn't face it......... You guys don't think over things, so you never change. Because you never think of whether the fight benefits you or not."
"I don't think I'm doing this for myself, besides, with me here......."
"If you really think you understand, then we ought to celebrate!"
She could only fall silent. They were now at a distance from Karian and the rest. They wanted to talk about deeper things, but this situation didn't allow them. Sharnid understood that and didn't say anything more.
They walked some distance. Still no filth monsters, but they could hear the sound of fights. And the sound of Grendan's movement was getting louder. The sound came from the direction of the Student Council building, so it was opposite from where they were. Though they couldn't see the thing on the other side, they could feel the darkness deepening.
Nina and her group walked a long circle to come to the Student Council building. The sound was close. She could tell the location of Grendan even if she didn't want to know of it. She could see Karian's face had turned stiff, but the Head of Alchemy seemed all right. He just kept moving ahead as if he was impatient for not being able to move according to plan. The clock tower that was the symbol of the Student Council emerged from the darkness. The digits on the clock shone. Light emitted from them so anyone could see them anytime. They were about to step on the path that led to the clock tower.
Shante took a step on the path, shrouded by the shadows of the trees, and stopped. The path was wide, covered by fallen leaves. The building that hid deep in a distance where the path led to was where that event had happened. The event that Felli got caught in.
Shante suddenly lowered her body, holding her spear and stared behind Nina.
(One's heading your way.)
The psychokinesist's report was a bit late.
A huge shadow accompanied by the sound of wood splitting headed for Nina.
"It's here!" Karian said.
"Nina, you cover for the Student President. I'll stop it with Shante!" Gorneo said.
Shante raised the spear. The Kei on the weapon had already painted her hair red, as if she was being burnt.
"No time for discussion! Go!!"
The Head of Alchemy was already running for the building.
"Don't die," Karian called.
Nina chased after Karian. Roaring shook the entire forest. Trees fell one after another. Shante shouted and Kei exploded one by one. Nina turned her head around and kept running after the Student President. Sharnid had already reached the entrance and had readied his sniper rifle.
"Hurry and support them!" Nina thought but didn't say it. They couldn't afford to draw attention. Sharnid understood too and hadn't pulled the trigger.
Once she entered the building, Sharnid followed.
It was dark inside, but Karian and the Head of Alchemy kept forging ahead. The psychokinesist didn't know what danger lurked before them, so he moved with caution. Finally they reached the end of the building. The Head of Alchemy touched the wall, and another space opened before them.
"A false door!" Sharnid whistled.
"This is a secret research facility," Karian said.
Nina looked ahead, but there was no light around them. She couldn't see anything.
"Zuellni's been researching about something that came out of the Guardian Beast project. But we haven't fully investigated it."
Karian followed the Head of Alchemy into the darkness. Darkness felt like water. Once she stepped into this area, Nina felt something resisting her, and her breathing became slightly difficult. She had thought that maybe the air wasn't good in here, but she felt that couldn't be the reason.
Darkness filled Zuellni. Filth monsters conquered the surface, and the mysterious things that they fought against were here, as well as the ever closing in Grendan. The pressure that Nina felt before entering this hidden space was different from the pressure she bore now. The term "monster" surfaced in her mind. Darkness conquered Zuellni, yet the darkness here had been living within Zuellni since long ago.
Finally, something that could suppress the darkness – faint green light. The darkness was close to the source of the light, but they didn't seem to touch. Was the darkness a creature? She thought of that and was shocked at what she saw.
The source of the light was in the shape of a large container, and liquid filled its inside. This thing was emitting green light. The glass container was similar to the medical facility used to take care of heavily injured patients. No, this was probably a medical facility.
The Head of Alchemy took a step forward and stood, silent. Karian couldn't see the glass because of him, so he stepped to a side and then saw it.
"......... What is this?" Nina said. Karian was also silent. Sharnid, who used to joke around, also didn't say a word.
A very beautiful young girl was sleeping in the container. A girl with black hair and white skin. Naked, but the green liquid had covered most of her body. Her beauty was indescribable.
"Ha, hahaha.......... It's all right. It's all right!" The Head of Alchemy laughed, as if something had possessed him.
Nina looked at him, feeling something terrifying was beside her.
"Student President, this is..........."
No matter how she looked at it, this girl looked like a scientific sample.
"It is true that a failed experiment during the Guardian Beast project had caused an explosion," Karian said.
Nina looked at him. For some reason, she could see him now. It was difficult to move her gaze away from the girl.
"According to the record, the explosion had heavily damaged the underground energy net. The energy hadn't run away on a rampage, but it has remained here and become like this."
"A part of Zuellni. An Electronic Fairy. That was the conclusion of the researchers back then. She's been sleeping and she has a body, but the structure of the body differs from a normal human's. The researchers had concluded it's made of a high level magnetic field, but they're not sure of the exact details."
Meaning this girl was Zuellni? But she looked different. A question floated past Nina. If this girl was part of Zuellni, then that question would definitely surface again.
When Falnir fled, it had communicated with Zuellni. No one knew what they said. But something had been decided, and Zuellni had grown. No person in existence knew of how an Electronic Fairy grew. Even Nina, who grew up in Sheniebel, didn't know. The growth of an Electronic Fairy probably denoted the city was in possession of something. If that was the hypothesis, then what did Zuellni's growth represent? A growth stage? Or had she just returned to her original form? If it was the latter, then what did it mean to regain what had been lost? But, but...........
Nina looked at the girl in the container again. Dizziness assaulted her head. It hurt. She realized she might have seen this girl before. It might just be her imagination, but that feeling remained. She had seen her somewhere. Yes, in Myath. To her, the entirety of what was unbelievable all came to her when she was in Myath. Since her mysterious encounter with Dixerio, she had touched the other end of his fate, and that had in turn changed her fate. What was going on? She still didn't get it. A force of darkness was inside her, but it might be part of the darkness that now shrouded Zuellni.
What did she see in Myath? Was this thing in Myath too? Not really. Just her imagination? But something unbelievable existed. She had to remember it quick. Since everything happened so quickly, she might have missed something. Something. Something?
That named surfaced in her mind. She and Leerin went to deliver the Electronic Fairy back to the Mechanical Department, and the Wolf Faces had interfered. Nina was rendered immobile because of the Haikizoku losing control......... What had happened at that time? Something had calmed the Haikizoku down. Something was behind Leerin. Savaris had called it "the true consciousness".
But why was Nina recalling that now? Because she talked about it with Gorneo in the shelter? Because she wished to connect everything? She must remember what she saw at that moment.
"What?" The Head of Alchemy said.
Everyone reacted. Nina raised her iron whips. But the sound of Gorneo fighting from the outside couldn't reach here.
The change occurred in the glass container. The Head of Alchemy stared at the measurement, and he looked as if he had been hit. What did the change in number on the measurement mean? Nina didn't understand. But his action told her it wasn't something good.
Numerous bubbles emerged in the glass container and the girl opened her eyes.
"She's awake. No way........." Karian said.
The Head of Alchemy trembled.
The girl moved. Her hand touched the glass. Next moment, all light vanished, but the green light came back straight afterwards.
The girl was missing. The Head of Alchemy gave off a shrill shout and fell background. Karian also fell as if he had lost his strength. Sharnid was the same.
Nothing happened to Nina.
"As I thought, it's better to return to my original body. Good timing that you're here. Oh, shadow. It really isn't something that other people can use! I didn't like that at all!"
Where did the voice come from?
Nina looked around. Sharnid had fallen. A force of darkness that could suppress the green light was here. A face emerged from it.
"First time meeting you, little girl."
"Nelphilia, that was how people called me. No one calls me that now, but since that's the only name I have, call me Nelphilia then," she said in a joking way.
And her words seemed to suck Nina in.
Hang in there. Nina encouraged herself. If she relaxed here, she'd be drawn in. That beauty was dangerous. The lightly dancing figure with her eyes opened was so beautiful.
The girl wasn't naked now. She wore black clothes. She walked over to her. Her dress swayed. The darkness seemed to sway with her too.
The ground shook, and then the entire place trembled.
Nelphilia lifted her head to look above her.
"The thing that controls the shadow is finally here!" she said.
The giant had seen it. The sensing organs in its chest flashed, only the face with the mouth looked up like a human's action. A gigantic ball-like thing floated within the darkness. It saw it, or perhaps it felt it, and then it moved. That was the only thing the giant could do.
The next moment, that thing hit the giant's chest. The impact exploded against the giant's chest. Bones shattered and muscles flew apart. Cracks spidered down the giant's entire body. The giant fell.
Countless number of thorns stood from the ball-like thing, and it was connected to a chain. The chain stretched to the outside of the city where a certain huge shape was.
A large metal ball and a long chain.
Loud noise sounded from Zuellni's ground. Next, a huge man appeared next to the metal ball. He was shorter than the giant, but he was a giant by human standard. Zuellni's "huge men" were Gorneo and Vance, but those two paled into insignificance beside this man.
Ruimei Garrand MacRing. That was this man's name.
"Ahah?" Ruimei looked underneath the metal ball. Liquid spurted from the giant. Dissatisfaction pushed his brows together. The sound of rumbling called in more giants, but he ignored them.
"What? So weak! Is this hell? She sent me out so grandly. Did I mistake her meaning? Or was she dizzy from sleep? No, hasn't she been acting like the fool usually too?"
The giant's body shivered beneath the metal ball. It was regenerating. The previous strike had not finished it. But Ruimei didn't move away.
"Look! It's not like I haven't been out! This way, even that Kalvan's foul face would look shocked?"
He stepped on the chest of the giant casually. He didn't seem to be using any strength in his foot, but the chest of the giant shattered. Sensory organs broke with the sound of glass breaking. The giant struggled and fell still.
"Stop moving, you worm."
He stepped on the face that only had a mouth on it.
"I'm talking! Listen up. Listen up! If you don't have the brain to cry and beg for mercy, then shut up and listen! Oi!!" he said to the still giant. As if satisfied that the giant wasn't moving, he swung the chain.
The chain shortened and the metal ball floated. He put it on his shoulder.
"Don't be too reckless!" Troyatte said from a far distance. When did he arrive at Zuellni? The giants that had surrounded Ruimei had yet to discover him. Who knew when? But he was now standing with Rumei.
Both of them didn't wear fighting clothes since they weren't fighting outside the city. Fighting clothes were unnecessary burdens in battles inside cities. Unlike Kalvan, the clothes would restrict their Kei flow.
"This is an Academy City? Cute boys and girls live here. They're in the shelter because of the monsters. We've to save them!"
Ruimei spat. "Your "man" isn't in there!"
"Of course, Danna! A man naturally uses his own skills to deal with any trouble. As for a woman, she ought to let a man do that for her and that means me, Troyatte!"
In his hand was a Dite in the shape of a cane.
"Let's first chase away the darkness here! It's too dark where I'm standing."
Tenkuru. Tenjuru..... Light up.
What was that guy joking about! Ruimei thought. Who cares what the name is! Besides, the name of Troyatte's technique changed according to his mood. He remembered the last time Troyatte used the name Birushana (notes: this means the light of Buddha.)
Troyatte raised his arm as he tightened his grip on the cane. Light suddenly spilled forth from Zuellni's sky. A gargantuan ball shone with light and illuminated the entire city, dispelling the darkness around them. The hour right now was noon. The light stopped at the edge of the city, where it looked like dawn.
"Light up! Light up more brightly!" Troyatte shouted.
The giants reacted to the light. They headed for the two Heaven's Blade successors.
Ruimei swung the large metal ball to strike and break apart the top half of one of the giants. The metal ball kept moving forward and destroyed more enemies to at last come to a stop on the body of an already dead giant. During this time, other giants had encircled him. They showed their fangs and attacked with the weapons in their hands.
Ruimei wasn't at all anxious. He did not retrieve the metal ball. Bare-handed, he stabbed an enemy's chest, his fingernails piercing the giant's skin, and he lifted him up with indescribable power. That giant then became his shield. Strange sounds came from the captive's mouth. His body trembled, and his arms and legs expanded in an unbelievable rate. His entire body expanded to a certain size and exploded. All the giants around Ruimei fell like weeds.
External Burst type Kei variation – Exploding Fist.
The smoke of the explosion quickly dissipated. Ruimei only sustained one burn injury, but he hadn't been defeated. He retrieved the metal ball with no expression.
Other giants had also reached Troyatte. The Heaven's Blade successor did not move. He kept his arms raised. The giants' footsteps shook the earth. Troyatte remained rooted on the spot, however, something had changed.
In the next split second, the giants were all painted with red. They were burning. Parts of their body were suddenly on fire. One had fire on his shoulder, one on his chest, one on his head.......... Flame spilled from their bodies and their muscles melted into fiery blocks. The ball of light above Troyatte's head had caused many changes during this time. Karen kei caused the density of the atmosphere to change, creating many things like magnifying glasses. Those glasses turned to the giants, readied the right angle and began to concentrate, filtering the sunlight onto the targets.
If this was just normal sunlight, many magnifying glasses were needed to generate the high heat. But this light came from Troyatte's Kei. A very destructive power. Troyatte had no problem gathering that power.
There were about ten magnifying glasses, and around Troyatte were fifty giants, gathering closer and closer. Ruimei was probably facing that many giants too.
The giants burnt one after another, but it would still take time to turn them all into a sea of fire.
"Aaa, this is annoying," Ruimei called after hammering a giant's head into pieces. "If I could destroy Zuellni, then I can take care of these things immediately."
"Danna, that's the act of a villain!" Troyatte laughed.
"Well, though it's weaker than a filth monster in its aged phase, it's stronger than a male filth monster. What mysterious half-ass. The only fearful thing is their number. If a male appears before these green Military Arts Students, they'd definitely lose."
"Because Layfon's here? Where did that little brat go off to?"
"Playing around with Savaris. Haven't seen him either."
Ruimei snorted and looked at the city. Zuellni looked different from Grendan. Grendan had many more crude buildings, whereas the buildings here lacked unity. After all, this city consisted of students who all came from different cultural backgrounds. Ruimei thought that a pretty good idea.
"I really want to destroy the city!"
"Be patient, Danna."
More giants appeared while they chatted. These giants had probably drowned the entire city. Their number must have reached 10 thousand! Delbone didn't tell them the exact number. Perhaps she knew but the Queen thought it unnecessary to relay that piece of information. Was it a terrifying number? That thought alone made Ruimei furious.
Even so, only he and Troiatte were assigned to here. Lintence and Barmelin had moved, but they were carrying out another order. Did the Queen think Ruimei and Troiatte were enough to handle this situation? But other Heaven's Blade successors were guarding the contact point. Did she think the enemies would get past to the contact point? That made him even more furious.
"I'll destroy you all. Destroy every single one of you!" he rushed for the giants with the metal ball on his shoulder.
"Oi, I'll take care of the ones that have gone past Danna!"
"As if any would get past me."
"The lively Danna wouldn't do that!"
Really. As he thought, he would be the one to destroy this city himself. The metal ball flew in amidst the group of giants.
It was night, but the sky was unusually bright. Layfon felt that he had encountered this phenomenon before. He landed while this thought flashed past him........ He was in the outskirts of Zuellni. The feeling of desolation brushed past his skin. He shivered.
The bike didn't manage to last the entire journey. Though he thought the fight was finished, he knew a new battle had begun since Grendan made contact with Zuellni. But, no. Something wasn't right. What he felt now wasn't the feeling of desolation that appeared after the fight, and it wasn't the pressure of having to face new battles.
As he talked through the flake, he saw a man standing before him.
Savaris was waiting. Looking at his composed face, he probably knew of the situation too.
(This was what happened after we fought the first filth monster.........)
Felli begun to explain what had happened during the time when Layfon was away. Everything was shockingly real. Things that Layfon had never heard of. Things that he had never experienced before.
Felli continued the explanation.
Grendan's messenger – Delbone, the person who held the flake in the shape of a butterfly. Layfon immediately thought of her – even when Felli reported the name of the psychokinesist. He had only seen her a few times and remembered she was an old woman. The way she talked never changed. It wasn't impossible to interact with Delbone, but she was a difficult woman.
Grendan was here to eliminate the filth monsters. That was possible. But why had it appeared here of all places? It couldn't be interested in an Academy City! Either way, consternation seized him at how Grendan had come all the way here. He remembered himself changing many roaming buses before reaching Zuellni! Words couldn't convey the entirety of that hardship.
Grendan's aim was the Haikizoku. Savaris was also here for it.
"What about the Captain?"
"She's fine. She's carrying out a mission for my brother."
Next, she told him how the Haikizoku seemed to have left Nina's body.
What was going on? But there was no time to get the details. All he needed was to understand the situation.
"..............." he was stuck when he wanted to ask the next question. Was it appropriate to ask that question now?
(Leerin-san is also safe.)
But it seemed Felli knew what he was thinking. He felt a bit embarrassed at that, but the current situation wouldn't allow him to keep feeling awkward and shy.
"So you probably have a grip on the situation?" Savaris said.
He just stood there full of spirit. He still couldn't use his injured right arm.
"The Haikizoku has left the Captain."
But Layfon had also lost his weapon. He only had the Shim Adamantium dite with him now. The Dite was now in the shape of a Katana. Layfon could use the techniques of Psyharden since the fight with Falnir. That was a big help to him.
Savaris didn't move.
"But the Haikizoku won't leave the city alone, since it's facing a crisis? It'll possess someone and show itself again."
"Yes, I was surprised too! You might not believe this, but don't you think this city, being unable to move, is connected to something?"
"The other Heaven's Blade successors will defeat them."
Night turned to day. A huge source of light flew to their position. A ball of light had miraculously appeared above Zuellni. Layfon remembered this was Troyatte's Kei. That guy was here. The person that Layfon found hard to like. For defending any city, Troyatte's Karen kei made him a hard to obtain talent.
"What a headache! But there's someone else that makes this a pain."
As Savaris had said, Layfon could also feel the Kei of another person. A rough Kei.
Oh no! What was the Queen thinking? Why did she send Ruimei to fight in a city? Savaris had said this before. If Ruimei wasn't cautious, he'd end up destroying the entire city, but wouldn't that crisis suit the Haikizoku?
Did the Haikizoku change after coming to Zuellni? Was this Grendan's aim? What would the Haikizoku do if Zuellni was destroyed and all its inhabitants were dead? Would it look for a new place that had Military Artists? In that case, Grendan was right here.
"Since I've left Grendan for a period of time, I wonder whether Her Majesty might have changed her mind.........." Savaris smiled as usual, but Layfon disliked that face of his.
"So what do you plan to do now? But if you drag it out, Ruimei might clean this entire place."
He was happy. This was the situation he wanted, pushing Layfon into a corner and seeking for one last full power fight with him.
"The curtain's closed for too long. About time to get serious, uh?" he lifted his left arm. His right arm still hung down by his side. Was it too hurt to move or did he do that to draw Layfon into a trap?
"You are too arrogant."
"Yes, but you have to listen. You carry the lives of all Zuellni's students with you."
What should he do? He wanted to spat out that horrible tension in him. When he first arrived in Zuellni, he just raised his sword after some consideration. Because he had found the target to protect from that time on. Nina and the 17th platoon, and Meishen, Mifi and the others. They were all his friends, as if they had replaced the children in the orphanage. But that time he faced a female filth monster and its larvae. He had the confidence to defeat them even without the Heaven's Blade. But now?
Grendan. Just the name itself made his heart heavy. The despair in him was the same as when he fought the filth monster that tossed larvae into Zuellni. He knew his situation thoroughly. This time he faced Military Artists who were the equal of him when he held a Heaven's Blade. No, these Military Artists might even surpass him in power. In addition, there were more than ten of them, and they all had lots of battle experience. Moreover, the Queen stood above them all. That mysterious light that destroyed the filth monster was definitely the Queen's move.
"It's a bit heavy for one person to bear!" Savaris laughed even though his words were that of a sympathizer.
Layfon took down the helmet and tossed it away. He raised the restored Shim Adamantium dite. Kei ran up the blade. For one split second, if he could get rid of that man and stop Ruimei....... But could he win with this weapon? If Grendan truly wanted to destroy Zuellni, beating up Ruimei was not enough. As long as the person was a Heaven's Blade successor, he could destroy the city. Ruimei was only good at large scale fights. Troyatte should be able to manage that feat. Lintence might find it a bit difficult, but that was only a psychological problem.
Zuellni's crisis would stay if he didn't defeat all Heaven's Blade successors and the Queen.
The Katana was heavy. This was the first time that he felt it to be so weighty in his hands.
But the Kei inside him was running and bursting out intensely, so intense that his entire body hurt. If he poured that Kei into the Dite now, the blade would shatter. The long fight had tired him out, but his Kei vein showed no unusual signs. What was this feeling? He didn't think he had become stronger. But it felt like he had been released from something. This might even be a power that he had unknowingly sealed within him.
Layfon's realization was plain. Savaris' smile deepened. He was elated, an expression that one would never understand if one had not fought in battle; an expression that Layfon would never make. A fight was always just a means. To aim for battle was never something Layfon would do.
What did it mean? What was different? He had no time to think of that now.
First was Savaris.
That one single thought occupied his heart.