Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume16 Chapter2
Chapter 2: The Men Who Stood Up From Defeat. Flere210.
 Part 1
Frantic footsteps echoed throughout the hospital in the night.
This was the emergency resuscitation hospital on the seventh level in District 22.
The patient transport bed's wheels let out *kacha-kacha* sounds, and numerous paramedics were surrounding the patient’s bed as they move along, the loud sounds outside could be heard inside. The paramedics who had been busy pushing the patient’s bed left the rest to the doctors and nurses. After that, the doctors and nurses all gathered in the centralised treatment room before disappearing behind the large doors of the operation room.
“…Finally managed to complete the operation. To be honest, I can’t say whether he can still be considered safe,”
The young doctor said after seeing the patient's bed pushed out of the operation room and back into the centralised treatment room.
Now that the visiting hours were over, the corridor of the hospital was rather quiet.
But right now, there were many shadows walking in the dim corridor. A large crowd should be the correct term here, consisting of males and females, young and old: a group of around 50 people. Some were leaning their backs against the walls, some were sitting on the sofas, but all of them were listening to what the doctor was saying. Some of them had tattered clothes, and some of them were bandaged all over. Furthermore, red blood spots could be seen on a majority of those wearing white.
They were a group that call themselves the ‘Amakusa’, and as for what kind of organization they were, the doctor didn’t know. To be honest, this was a truly suspicious group. If a large group of people like Skill-Out were to come into the hospital, there would definitely be a large number of delinquents in the waiting room. Thus, the young doctor didn’t intend to pursue this further.
“Let me explain this for a while, so all ordinary folks should calm down. Now for the specifics: the patient’s entire body is covered in bruises from blunt trauma, and he has a slight concussion. He also showed signs of dislocation in his right shoulder and left foot. His insides are also a bit damaged from the impacts.”
“…In other words, you just can't determine his condition now, right?”
The huge, black-beetle haired, man carefully chose his words before asking.
The doctor exhaled deeply.
“It should be considered a miracle… the worst case scenario would have been if oxygen were unable to flow into his brain well enough from being underwater for so long… that was really dangerous. Fortunately, there wasn’t too much harm from it,”
The young male doctor said as he looked through the digitalised injury report.
“However… even with multiple witnesses, the ‘reason’ that caused this is still unbelievable. The human body was blown away from the metal bridge several hundred meters, bouncing off the lake a few times and finally sunk into the water… though I can't believe this, but to be caught up in such a serious situation, it's amazing that he would dare to even take a walk outside.”
"We got let off the hook…"
Because of the dim lighting in the corridor, nobody knew who said that.
Even though the young male doctor turned back to see where the sound came from, he was unable to find out. They were a strange group, as there should be a huge sense of being overwhelmed, yet not even a single one of them was ‘standing out’. It was like they’re called ‘a scene of a crowd.’ Besides, they weren’t very striking, even if they were ‘a group of 50 people all bandaged up.’
“Anyway, it’s not over yet.”
The only one that ‘stood out’ was the beetle-haired man, asking as if he was confirming it.
“If we can say something to him, even if it's just a short sentence, we just want to say sorry to him.”
“You, what are you saying!? Of course you must remain silent!? That, that, I don't know why you're apologizing, but now isn’t the time. He’s sleeping soundly due to the anesthetic, and even without the anesthetic, his body doesn't look like it would allow him to wake up, so just let him rest.”
And the most important thing was, the young male doctor used his chin to indicate the centralized treatment area.
In order to be able to view the patient’s situation from the outside, there was a huge glass panel hanging on the wall, and from the corridor, one could see several patients sleeping over there. In there on a bed surrounded by numerous machines, the hedgehog-headed boy was sleeping.
The beetle-headed man seemed as if he was being pulled by the young doctor as he stared at the centralized treatment room. At that moment, dark clouds appeared on his face.
As if hanging onto the bed, or kneeling on the floor, a girl waited there. A girl in white nun habit used her own hands to wrap the victim’s hand tightly.
It was Index.
"…That kid, according to my experience, I feel it’s best for her to be alone with him,"
The young doctor warned with an ‘all hope is lost’ look.
Even the beetle-headed man didn’t have the guts to walk into the room with both of them inside. He could only nod his head silently. After confirming everything, the young doctor walked away.
The beetle-headed man—Tatemiya Saiji—took a step back from the centralized treatment room.
He was extremely regretful that that he couldn't do anything for the boy. All the Amakusa recovery and healing spells that had been passed down from generation to generation wouldn't work, and they could only pray for his safety. However, even the right to pray for him was perhaps a problem as well.
He said initially that he would protect that boy from Acqua well, but as how the wording went, he was completely ‘kicked away.’ After being shown mercy even after facing such a devastating attack, Tatemiya Saiji could only lie on the floor and watch Acqua head toward his target.
Besides, the guy that he wanted to protect actually fought to protect his Amakusa ‘comrade’… how humiliating. He was now wrapped in bandages and had band-aids taped everywhere. An ordinary person might not have understood, but for someone who knew magic, a person could understand that the Amakusa had gotten even weaker in their techniques of blending into the surroundings.
Right now, the Amakusa could be said to have lost completely.
They lost to Acqua, and lost even further to Kamijou Touma.
Tatemiya unhappily clenched his teeth tightly.
No matter how low-pitched that was, the enemy wouldn’t just wait around and do nothing. According to Itsuwa, Acqua of the Back would not attack Kamijou again if Kamijou Touma’s right hand was cut off by tomorrow. Of course, whether it was the right hand or attacking, they couldn’t let him do whatever he wanted.
Tatemiya understood what he should do.
In order to protect Kamijou Touma, no matter what, he had to stand up.
“How long are you going to kneel down there?”
Tatemiya asked. A place that had even less light than the dim corridor, and it could be said that all the darkness was gathered there. Over there, one could feel that there was a small animal trembling there in fear.
Maybe one wouldn’t be able to understand it if the person didn’t take a closer look.
But huddled at the edge of the sofa was Itsuwa.
Her hands and legs were bandaged, and the right side of her face was pasted with a rectangular gauze. Compared to the physical damage, the mental damage inflicted on her was likely several times heavier.
Her voice was full of unrest, and there was a bit of swallowing sound made. Maybe it was because she had been crying for a long time, she was unable to control her diaphragm well.
“…I, protect him… I said that I would. Whether spear, or magic… it was completely useless, not even… but, he said it, he thanked me… I couldn’t protect him at all, couldn’t even deal even the tiniest bit of damage on Acqua before he left… but I was thanked…”
A *pata pata* sound echoed throughout the corridor.
This may have been the sound of tears, or may have been the blood dripping out of her tightly clenched fist.
“The… the moment I heard that man say that, I wondered, if he had some really strong power. But I was wrong. That man, he can’t rely on any defensive spell. Even when I tried to use a recovery spell, it didn’t heal even a single wound, not even a scratch. He was just fighting by using his own flesh…”
“I, I just watched him be sent off to his death.”
It may have seemed really weird to see a teary and smiling face.
“How can someone like that continue to live on leisurely? Why hasn’t divine judgement come down on one of us!? This is too strange. It should have been me on that hospital bed! That would have solved everything!!”
This one sentence was mixed with all sorts of feelings. This was a conversation, yet she was muttering to herself; it was of regret, yet also of anger; it was of a defeated dog whimpering, yet also a beast roaring.
She couldn’t even control her own emotions.
Being forced by the circumstances, Itsuwa did not have much left to gain control of her emotions.
Tatemiya was very clear about this. He narrowed his eyes, and forcefully took a step forward at Itsuwa as if he was trying to rip the darkness apart.
“So you don’t have any intention of standing up?”
“So what the hell are you doing?”
Tatemiya said this calmly with a hand grabbing the front of Itsuwa’s shirt and pulled her out. Before anyone could say anything, Tatemiya used some really amazing arm strength to raise her entire body up and slammed her against the nearby wall.
BAM!! The intense sound echoed throughout the corridor.
The impact resounded throughout Itsuwa’s back, causing her breathing to become erratic. However, Itsuwa didn’t show any resistance at all, and just stared at Tatemiya with teary pupils as if she was begging for oxygen.
“…Mister, didn’t you…”
Though her voice was getting softer, Itsuwa continued to move her lips.
“Didn’t Tatemiya-san lose as well?”
She probably realised that she shouldn’t have said these words. At this point in time, she shouldn’t have said the words that would anger Tatemiya. But she had clearly said the words that hurt Tatemiya’s soul, for she was already unable to endure it mentally any longer and was unwilling to do it any further. This girl called Itsuwa must have really wanted to protect that boy, but the reality defied this deepest desire of hers. All her desire got crushed by overwhelming strength.
Tatemiya didn’t force himself to understand Itsuwa’s feelings.
It seemed that only Itsuwa alone was allowed to understand those feelings.
So in contrast, he said to the rest,
“So that guy stepped up to save such a woman?”
Hearing these words, Itsuwa widened her eyes for a while.
As if she had been pierced by something, even when Itsuwa hadn’t revealed a painful expression after being slammed into the wall, she revealed an indescribable painful look on her face after Tatemiya said this.
“The saviour that you cared so much about was treated like that right in front of you, his body all battered badly. Being like that in front of him…you aren’t planning to do anything? That guy really went all his way to risk his life for such a woman? If so, that guy’s sacrifice was in vain, really in vain. The outcome is obvious. Didn’t that idiot do something idiotic to save another idiot? Is that not how it is?”
Itsuwa’s head felt hot. Her body being raised up in the air, Itsuwa let out a beast-like shout as she clenched her fist, ready to punch Tatemiya. However, before the fist could hit Tatemiya, Tatemiya brought Itsuwa down from the wall and slammed her to the floor.
This time, the huge sound would make anyone mistake it for an earth tremor.
Riding on Itsuwa’s body while she was having difficulty to breathe, Tatemiya glared at her and said,
“Listen, if you don’t understand, I’ll teach you.”
Deep, he just said it in a deep voice.
Whether it was Tatemiya’s voice or his expression, anyone could see the rage in his heart.
“—Acqua of the Back will definitely come back.”
Itsuwa’s body instantly jerked.
Trying to think about what he shouldn’t be thinking, Tatemiya again confirmed,
“Even if we stay here and be upset, time will continue to shorten. Every second we waste, the chances of happiness will go down a notch! Can you allow this to happen? There’s still a possibility, no matter how small it is, it still exists, but ARE YOU GOING TO LET THAT USELESS GUILT AND REGRET COST YOU THAT CHANCE!? ARE YOU GOING TO LET THAT GUY GET HIS ARM CUT OFF WHEN HE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW ANYTHING WHILE BEING ABANDONED!? IF YOU WANT TO PROTECT HIS SMILE, STAND UP, STOP THINKING ABOUT YOURSELF AND CAUSING THE DEVASTATION OF OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES!!”
Tatemiya’s shout was almost becoming a roar.
Facing Itsuwa, who still didn’t say anything, Tatemiya continued,
“…If our help would come over now, we would have done that already. If Priestess-sama said that she will come over, we can leave that Saint to her. But things won’t turn out ideally as we would hope. Listen—Acqua of the Back will definitely come back. DO YOU WANT TO TURN THIS HOSPITAL INTO A BATTLEFIELD? JUST TO ESCAPE FROM THIS USELESS REALITY!!?”
“EVEN IF WE DON’T DO ANYTHING, ACQUA WILL STILL COME BACK!! EVEN IF WE’RE TO REQUEST REINFORCEMENTS, THE ANGLICAN CHURCH CAN’T JUST CHANGE THEIR STRATEGY AND SEND REINFORCEMENTS, SUCH A GOOD THING ISN’T GOING TO HAPPEN!! THUS, WE, AS PEOPLE STILL MOVING, ARE THE ONLY ONES ABLE TO TAKE ACTION. WE ARE THE ONLY ONES ABLE TO FIGHT ON!! FORGET ABOUT IT BEING A MASSACRE, IF WE DON’T DO ANYTHING, WHO’S GOING TO PROTECT HIM WHILE HE’S STILL NUMB AND ASLEEP!? DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND ALL THIS!?”
Tatemiya’s hand, which was grabbing onto Itsuwa’s chest, let out a slight sound as the grip was too tight.
Actually, the force he exerted on his hand was almost enough to destroy his hand. Also, Itsuwa knew that it wasn’t just one person being angry and embarrassed about being unable to protect Kamijou Touma, but the reality was that everyone here had been beaten easily.
Even so, they said that they were going to stand up again.
Even after they knew the feeling of a defeated hound, they wouldn’t continue to be depressed like this, but would stand up again.
In order to protect something important.
“You want to apologise to that guy?”
Tatemiya said as he stared at Itsuwa’s eyes.
“So do you want to let the ‘guy you want to protect the most’, the one who had gotten beat up like that, to stand in the sunlight again?”
Itsuwa nodded her head slightly.
Though she seemed to be saying something, it was hard to make out what she was saying since she was crying.
“…Then show me a fight. Prove to me that you’re the best girl, let him feel that risking his life for this girl is worth it. You may want to apologise or even see his smiling face again, but if he’s dead, isn’t it all worthless? If you don’t want to regret before his tomb, you have to fight alongside us!”
Tatemiya let go with the hand that was grabbing onto Itsuwa and slowly got up.
Looking around, he seemed to be confirming something as he said,
“…Among all of you, is there anyone who’s going to say that he or she disagrees with Itsuwa?”
Tatemiya’s voice echoed throughout as if he was trying to break the regretful and weak atmosphere.
“If there’s anyone, I’ll make that person wake up.”
But everyone had made their realisation.
It was not like all their regret and fatigue was gone, but rather, their thirst for battle had overcome all other things.
Tatemiya again looked at the people that amounted to about 50, all standing in the dim corridor of the hospital, and said,
“If there’s no one, good. Next, we just have to fight on.”
None of the Amakusa-style Church members looked back.
Leaving only the boy and a nun inside the centralised treatment room, the Amakusa would go back to where they belonged—the battlefield—in order to fight against this strong enemy.
“Really, the guy we wanted to save was right in front of us, yet none of us managed to reach out and save him. How could we have let this happen to him?”
There was only one thing they had to do.
Give the decisive counterblow to the enemy and protect that boy’s life, that was all there was.
 Part 2
In the darkness of the night, Acqua of the Back was alone, silently standing down there.
It was a natural park located far inside a corner of the third level of District 22. The reason he was there was simple, even if it was a bit, he wanted to get far away from the android development plant where science and technology was rampant. However, he should have noticed that all the forests here were products of scientific water and cultivation technology. It was too late though.
(Speaking of which, this entire underground space was made for humans, huh?)
Looking up, he could see the starry sky, but these were just images made from a planetarium and a screen. Anyone that understood magic by even the slightest bit would sense how it deviated from how it really worked.
It seemed like there was not much money spent on maintenance, as the street lights scattered throughout the streets, letting out small rectangular lights.
Acqua was holding onto an ordinary phone.
He was talking to the Pope, however, his handphone was not turned on. The glow on the tip of the antenna was created due to magic.
(There’s still the likelihood of us being eavesdropped. Besides, those elite Anglican Church forces, the Amakusa, are still here.)
Even if he said this, it was better than to use the phone so openly right in the middle of Academy City, the main stronghold of the science side.
“Speaking of which, it’s not about killing the target, but getting his right hand? I heard it from Vento before that God's Right Seat won’t change their goal.”
““That’s a personal problem of Vento’s character. In fact, we would change according to how the situation plans out…but Terra went overboard.””
Though Acqua had killed a comrade in cold blood and sent his corpse to an enemy organisation, he didn’t feel the slightest sense of regret or guilt.
“Basically, what’s special about that boy is gathered on that ‘right hand’ of his, all the threats will be removed if we take it away. We’re fussing all over an adolescent boy. Really, we aren’t such a carefree organisation.”
““To me, what you’re doing now is the better method.””
One could feel that the Pope was smiling on the other side of the phone.
““I did mention it to Vento before, but…if he really intends on defying God, we have to kill him. However, I did hear that the boy isn’t all familiar with God, so I’m really against having to kill him all because of this…but Vento ignored my view.””
“…I don’t know what you’re expecting from me, but I’m neither a good man nor a philanthropist.”
Acqua’s tone was somewhat flat.
“If it comes to the point where I have to kill him, I’ll still do it. Right now, that time hasn’t come yet, and once that time comes, I’ll kill him, that’s all. Among all these choices and timing, there may be a possibility that I’ll never need to kill him, ever, that’s how the situation is.”
There was no sense of false pretense in his tone.
In this highest group of authority in this world that had only 4 members, the one who had instantly killed his comrade, Terra of the Left, without any mercy was Acqua of the Back alone.
If the hostile threat disappeared with the ‘right hand’, all these would come to an end.
If that didn’t work, or if he refused to give up his ‘right hand’—what came next was very simple.
There was no need for anything else to be said; Acqua would return everything to dust.
He had such strength and resolve.
Acqua of the Back recognised this clearly, and his expression did not change at all.
““This is truly an intriguing situation.””
The Pope suddenly said.
““God's Right Seat was set up as a ‘negotiation tool’ for the Pope to enter the enemy’s stronghold, yet this Pope here can only watch from the Vatican.””
In Christianity, there was only one God.
All miracles were managed by this one and only God, so no one would defy this entity called God. Normally, everyone should be living happily together, and there shouldn’t be anyone living in misery.
However, the reality was a lot different.
It was obvious when one looked through the history of humanity: the failure of the Crusades, the plague running rampant, the expansion of the Ottoman Empire . This wasn’t just an issue about individual happiness anymore; these events had nearly caused the entire continent of Europe to be annihilated.
The Pope was not enough to handle all these.
Actually, for Christianity that signified that ‘God is absolute’, for the Pope, who represented all these, to find someone to talk about this, it was a sign of misfortune.
Thus, God's Right Seat had been born.
Sometimes, they had power and knowledge that even the Pope had to rely on, they could be considered to be a special existence among this pyramid of the Christian society.
They were different from the Cardinals, the administrators, the strategists etc. Basically, they who ‘didn’t exist in the pyramid in the first place’ would just give advice from behind the scenes.
The number of members was always designated as 4, representing the 4 Archangels that were the most important amongst Angels. Just like this, the members of God's Right Seat could be changed and replaced ‘internally’ to keep it alive.
But even with these unique circumstances, sometimes the Pope would rely on these ‘secret discussions’ too often, causing God's Right Seat to take the central role of the Roman Catholic Church.
Regarding this, Acqua pondered for a while.
However, he didn’t say anything specific.
“The next time I contact you will be when all this is over. As for whether the target will still be alive after that, I’ll tell you later.”
At this moment, a loud sound covered Acqua’s voice.
The reason was due to the air.
Something flashed once in the darkness, it was a small, dim light that an ordinary human was unable to distinguish. Acqua sensed the danger behind it, tucked the handphone in with his shoulder, and easily jumped over.
The air formed a huge tornado, and the place where Acqua had been standing was ripped up easily.
Seeing this strange phenomenon, Acqua finally made a hypothesis.
(…Scattering some strange particles into the air and then decomposing the contents, huh?)
For people who were familiar with science, they would think of this nano-sized reflective metal codenamed ‘mimosa’. There was no need for any circuits or power, a specific frequency was used to react to some very small particles. The theory behind this was like a wireless remote control, it could distinguish between animal and plant cells one by one.
Acqua was wary against some magical hand that he couldn’t distinguish. This time, the giant artificial planetarium screen changed abnormally, letting out a bee like noise and indicating a warning on the screen.
““Third level region-wide alert regarding absence of air. All residents are to evacuate to the designated buildings. All families are to install the designated oxygen flasks. I repeat, third level region-wide alert regarding absence of air.””
Acqua gave a defiant smile.
“It seems like the opponent has scattered many offensive microbits to force me to be unable to escape.”
““This is really bad.””
“You think so?”
Acqua sounded as if he was reciting something. All the moisture in the air was his friend. With the moisture, he roughly had enough time to understand the movements of the ‘mimosa’ and predict it.
The bushes that were off to the side let out some crisp, ripping sounds. Looking inside, one could see that there were mobile armours moving between the trees, their armour reflecting moonlight. Slightly far away, one could hear a mechanical sound. Run on gasoline and electricity, some urban armoured vehicles seemed to have been deployed.
Even Acqua’s smile vanished.
“So they’re here to check my battle strength? Then let’s show them how a mercenary fights.”
““Please try not to kill anyone.””
“I’m not sure, but it seems like they’re unmanned. I can’t sense anything that’s human-like from them, so they managed to get all the way here.”
At this moment, a new explosion could be heard.
Acqua pulled out a 5 meter metal mace from his shadow.
“However, these things from Academy City are really good.”
He easily rested the heavy metal on his shoulder and said,
“It’s nice for them to create a battlefield without any bloodshed, I’m really grateful for that. Nice way to pass the time.”
As if in response to his voice, the enemy started to take action.
In a corner of the park, the numerous shadows around Acqua surrounded him.
Numerous bullets were fired at him.
The ‘mimosa’ that could not be identified with the naked eye came attacking as well.
But these weren’t going to beat Acqua.
He avoided the bullets and blew the ‘mimosa’ away. Even the bullets that used the power of the ‘mimosa’ and deviated from normal trajectory were predicted by Acqua easily and countered.
“(I’m not sure of how the science side works, but there has got to be someone coordinating them from somewhere.)”
Acqua broke through the barricade. The 5 meter-long lance-like metal mace he was holding onto pierced into the side of the armoured vehicles. Then ignoring the weight of the armoured vehicle, Acqua swung the metal mace, causing even more of these armoured vehicles to be crushed and blown up. This caused the movements of the ‘mimosa’ to be restricted. Maybe some special spell was used as among the burning flames, Acqua walked through as if he was taking a stroll.
“(Then, I’ll just have to rip through the mobile armours, check the insides and confirm them all one by one!!)”
God’s Right Seat’s Acqua of the Back started to take action.
Sounds of explosion and destruction echoed throughout the place.
 Part 3
There was a 9-hour time difference between Japan and England.
Right now, it should be midnight in Japan, but it was evening in England. Due to the latitude, the sun set in England even earlier, so the sky there was slightly violet.
The Royal Academy of Arts.
A famous and top-notch arts museum in England. This place was one that developed the next generation group of artists, and held activities similar to those of an arts school. And right now, one could hear the voice of a lecturer teaching.
Standing on the brightly-lit stage was Sherry Cromwell.
“Then, we’ll be discussing about heraldries today.”
She had godiva blond hair that was like a lion and chocolate-coloured skin. Her attire was a black Gothic Lolita dress that was scratched and tattered all over. As a renowned sculptor, she was known for only appreciating her own works…or that was what the students said about her.
“The heraldries are like those family crests, they’re not those so-called things that don’t exist in real life…well, it’s not like those heraldries don’t exist, but we’ll just ignore them for now.”
Laughter could be heard from the crowd of students.
Seemed like they had just treated it as some sort of a joke, but the magician Sherry didn’t mind as she continued,
“If we’re going to talk about heraldries, normally speaking, they are made of many different parts. However, today, I’m going to talk about those shield-type heraldries.”
Sherry said in a bored manner.
“You people who only know how to paint on a canvas might find these to be unimportant, but this knowledge may help you when you are creating something that has a special significance in it. Of course, I understand that you’re depressed, so just listening a bit will do.”
At this moment, a few knocking sounds could be heard at the door.
Sherry, who was placing the shield-type heraldry on the podium, looked surprised as she stared at the door.
Without even making the slightest bit of noise, the one who opened the door the slightest bit was the young clerk of this arts museum. She was a young clerk that had just started work there last year, and she lowered her little head and said in a slightly apologetic manner.
“Well…someone from the British Library is looking for you…”
Sherry made an appropriate reply. She then stroked the side of the heraldry with her index finger and pondered,
“Then, if you excuse me. Everyone please carry on with your self-studies.”
Sherry used a perfunctory tone to instruct the students, then scratched her head as she walked out of the classroom.
After arriving in the corridor, the petite clerk looked at Sherry embarrassed.
“I’m really sorry about that.”
“No problem, that group of people likes to do self-study. Creating something can’t be done by just teaching, and those people that love to self-study have no such talent in the first place.”
The clerk laughed ambiguously. With an impatient tone, Sherry asked,
“So how did this person contact me?”
“Mm, through the phone. Please receive it at the office.”
With the clerk leading, Sherry arrived in a small room. The telephone on the business desk was giving off a flickering light through the little light bulb on it.
“Is that it?”
“Since it came from the British library…it should be something related to art.”
Sherry often got ‘contacts’ from places like the British Museum and the St. George Cathedral, and the people around her seemed to feel that they were looking for her to do some artistic identification and restoration.
The clerk nodded to Sherry before returning to her place. After watching her leave, Sherry picked up the phone receiver with an impatient look.
The voice that came from the other side belonged to a lazy-sounding woman.
““Ara ara. Is that Miss Sherry?””
“…So it’s you, Orsola. Really, can’t you find any other experts?”
In contrast to a really irritated Sherry, the woman called Orsola smiled without any nerves.
““Well, the large garbage disposal occurs on Mondays and Fridays.””
“I got it, I got it. It’s useless to talk to you regarding this, so hurry up and get straight to the point.”
Recently, Sherry had mastered a way to handle Orsola, so she continued to talk normally.
Orsola said the following,
““From the remaining records of the English Library regarding past magic events, regarding God's Right Seat… we did check up on Acqua of the Back, but…””
“I heard of those things before I got out to work. So, what’re the results?”
““The testimonies from the September 30th incident indicate that before he used the name ‘Acqua’, he seemed to have worked primarily in England, as there were many similar eyewitness reports.””
“I heard you say that during lunch break.”
““And some of them testified that ‘he’ was a ‘knight’ of England…”
Sherry’s eyebrows immediately twitched due to surprise.
(As a Roman Catholic, this Acqua of the Back was actually an English knight…?)
In modern England, the title of ‘knight’ was just a medal of commendation on the surface. Their background was unimportant; anybody that made any outstanding contributions to England could receive this title from the Queen. However, this title can’t be inherited by children or any descendents. To put it in a straightforward manner, it was similar to an outstanding civil award.
However, there was a difference. In the dark side of England, there was still a large group known as the ‘Knights of England’. They would raise their sharp blades high for the Royal Family and the country, and anyone that threatened these would be seen as enemies. They would risk their lives to annihilate and—like the samurais of the East—these ‘Knights’ probably vanished into the river of history with the advent of firearms.
“…And right now, this person acting on behalf of another sect was actually a foreign knight of England. If that’s true, this may get troublesome. Academy City may come over to question the Anglican Church's role in this because of Acqua of the Back’s involvement.”
““But from the records of Knights in Buckingham Palace, there isn’t anyone with Acqua’s characteristics.””
“Maybe that information was false.”
Most likely, he was a mercenary who had been skilled in magic and gotten mistaken…this should be the case.
But Orsola let out a frustrated ‘Ummm…” sound.
““It’s true that there was no such person in the name list, but…””
““For someone who is nominated to be knighted, there should be some shield heraldry that symbolises their family background, right? I checked with the heraldries manufacturers in the outskirts of London, and it seems like there was an unknown order for a shield heraldry for an unknown person…and this heraldry seemed to have been cancelled after it was made halfway.””
Sherry’s mouth curled up.
“The patterns of the heraldry should have the person’s background, family history and identity carved on it as markings. If we check these, we can investigate the real identity of this ‘Knight who doesn’t exist in the records’.”
““So only the pictures of the patterns, right?... I suppose. Well, I’ll use that thing called ‘FAX’ to send it over to you like how I ordered that stuff the last time.””
Sherry turned to look at the fax machine, and just at that moment, a sheet of paper was being coughed out from the machine. The young female clerk that had called her immediately moved towards the fax machine.
Sherry received a pile of 10+ pieces of paper from the female clerk and scattered them onto the table, using her index finger to run through the patterns and see what the patterns depicted. Instead of saying that it was a piece of art, this thing in front of her seemed more like a blueprint for a machine. The black and white paper had all sorts of information like materials and colours written all over it. Maybe this made the paper feel a lot more like a blueprint.
“…There are two main colours, blue as base and green as decoration. The animals used are…a dragon and an unicorn, and the woman here is Selkie (a female ghost rumoured to be based in England)…right? The shield’s divided into 4 parts, and there are 3 animals on it, this means…”
““Is there anything you got there?””
“I just understood some basic things.”
After looking at the picture for a while, Sherry sighed as if she had given up.
“I don’t know the specifics, but it seems like the owner of this heraldry really loves to make fun of others.”
“The dragon, the unicorn and Selkie. The common point between these three is that ‘they don’t exist in real life’. Also, the colours used for the heraldry are odd. The base colour is blue, and then for decoration, green was used when it’s supposed to be another base colour. This defies common logic…it’s so explicit that anyone has no choice but to laugh at it. It seems like this person was unhappy about being chosen as a ‘Knight’.”
Sherry’s fingers were like a phonograph, as she stroked the pictures and transfer the records on the pieces of paper to adult language.
“Most likely, he was warmly invited by the ‘Royal Family’, but wanted to reject this and didn’t manage to succeed, so he accepted this grudgingly. If so….this person should have been an active fighter as a free man before he became a ‘Knight’. And these were all beneficial to England…he’s a mercenary and yet he was appointed as a Knight, this shows that he’s a just person even on the dirty and bloody battlefield. An enemy without fault even in background, there’s no one harder to handle than this kind of person.”
For confirmation, Sherry checked the date it was ordered from Orsola. It seemed like it was about 10 years ago.
It was such an old thing that had been cancelled and yet was so well preserved by the manufacturer, this showed that Acqua was so well respected when he had been working in England.
““Also, for those who contributed through magic, anyone that’s to be given the title of a ‘Knight’ under this category has to be an Englishman, so how about if I check on mercenary activities in England?””
“So be it.”
Sherry used her index finger to knock on the animal drawings.
“A dragon, unicorn, and Selkie. These all appear in English legends, but it doesn’t mean England, but rather ‘Great Britain’ that includes the 4 areas of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.”
““…? Isn’t the unicorn supposed to originate from Greek mythology?””
“There was the legend of Elizabeth the First receiving the horn of a unicorn.”
Actually, it was just an ordinary animal bone, Sherry muttered.
“Anyway, he’s born in England, and was a mercenary that contributed greatly to Britain…that group of lone wolf mercenaries that aren’t affiliated to any magic guilds and seem ‘primed to be nominated as Knights’ are suspicious here. And even when he was requested to do something, he couldn’t refuse it completely, so this shows that he had some connections with the ‘Royal Family’. Check out every single bit of information on this person.”
 Part 4
With Tatemiya Saiji leading the 50-strong Amakusa main force, they were now in an alley of District 22. After that, Tatemiya, who was listening to a handphone he was holding, said to his fellow comrades.
“Acqua of the Back seems to be fighting with Academy City’s unmanned mobile armours in the natural park on the third level.”
At this moment, everyone present felt nervous.
The third level was where Kamijou and Itsuwa had been attacked.
There was no need to mention who had the victory. This monster called Acqua of the Back wouldn’t be beaten with just a large group of machines, everyone knew that.
Ushibuka, who was near Tatemiya, looked at Tatemiya and asked,
“…Should we go?”
Tatemiya closed the phone and shook his head as he answered.
“Even if we’re to go now, the result is very obvious. Right now, we can only wait for the intel from the Anglican Church, be ready, come up with the best battle plan and deliver our best fight at the right time…after this, it’ll be the decisive battle. We have to fight with all we got.”
Acqua of the Back had managed to beat up the Amakusa comrades and even their saviour, Kamijou, to this extent. But even if they knew where he was now, they could only endure. Tatemiya’s heart was probably burning and raging now, but he chose to endure for this one shot at victory as he said “Just wait”.
“This isn’t the right time. For us to prepare our best battle plan, we can only rely on Miss Orsola and the rest as they compile all the information, it’s alright even if they’re a bit late. So what we can do now is simple—our best preparations.”
Tatemiya looked at his surroundings.
The Amakusa members scattered all over were all armed with weapons like swords and spears. Normally, they would sacrifice the sharpness of their weapons for ease of carrying the weapons secretly. However, now wasn’t the time to worry about this, so they were ‘strengthening’ their weapons.
“…Please wait for another 3 hours.”
At this moment, this voice could be heard.
Tatemiya turned to look at the source of this voice, and over there was Itsuwa modifying her belt like a belay. She was sitting on the floor as she strengthened her spear—or more accurately, a full-on modification.
Her spear was attached through many short rods, so no matter how strong it was, the strength would always be weaker. She had used some fixative spray to spray the entire spear and then coat a layer of resin on it, and right now, she was using sandpaper to polish the surface of the grip.
“I have to adjust the shape until it feels straight, and I also need quite a bit of time to sharpen the blade such that it’s able to stab through a monster…but leave it to me. Since I got attacked directly by that guy, I know what kind of guy he is…”
Continuing to use the sandpaper to rub and adjust the exterior of the spear. After the small pile of resin was flattened, she applied another layer of fixative spray on it, repeating it tens of times, hundreds of times.
One could sense the killer intent in her heart as the sound of resin being scrubbed by sandpaper could be heard. This caused Tatemiya’s back to go cold a bit; it was just like an old cannibal granny sharpening her knife in the middle of the night. Once this idea popped up in his mind, Tatemiya thought: not, not good! Did I overdo it a bit?
It seemed like Ushibuka was wondering that as well, as he slowly got near Tatemiya and whispered to his ear.
“(…What to do now! It feels like we added too much oil  to Itsuwa! It’s almost on a petrochemical plant-level fire!)”
“(…Ah, no way!? But you see, she looked so out of it at the hospital, so I just did that! All I wanted to do was to motivate her!?)”
“(…YOU IDIOT!! You didn’t consider the outcome of it and torched her up!? Don’t you know how we will be scared of a maiden in love in the future!!?)”
“(…EH EH? MY RESPONSIBILITY!? THEN WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO!?)”
“Tatemiya-san, and Ushibuka-san.”
Suddenly being called by Itsuwa, the two men were rooted to the spot in fear.
“I’m alright, I’m alright—so, can you allow me to focus, please?”
A blank expression compounded with a very flat tone.
After Itsuwa said this, she continued to use the sandpaper to polish her spear to let it feel more comfortable in her hands, convenient to use, sharp and deadly. The shape of the spear was slowly forming.
“(WWAAAHHHHHHH!!!)” Seeing Tatemiya and Ushibuka tremble, their comrades all sighed in helplessness.
Itsuwa looked extremely violent today, so Tatemiya and company could only cast strengthening spells on their clothes and make sure that everyone had jotted down the terrain in a notebook and memorised it.
As they were doing this, Tatemiya and Ushibuka felt like praying for Acqua of the Back’s safety, even though he was not there.
[We know you have your reasons, but our Itsuwa here has switched to killing mode, so please protect yourself well.]
“(…We cannot, cannot face an angry Itsuwa head on.)”
“(…Ye, yeah, I feel the same.)”
At this moment, Tatemiya Saiji’s phone rang.
““Ara ara, is that Tatemiya-san?””
“Wah, Miss Orsola!! Your voice’s really healing me!!”
Seemed like Tatemiya had been hit really bad somewhere deep inside his heart, as it seemed like he was about to cry.
But it seemed like the person on the other side of the phone didn’t grasp the situation.
““Well, I’m sorry. Seems like I called the wrong person. Then I’ll—””
“PLEASE DON’T HANG UP THE PHONE!! IF YOU HANG UP NOW THIS PLACE IS GOING TO BE TENSE AGAIN!!”
Having finally grasped the grain of hope, Tatemiya paid attention to Orsola. In order to allow everyone to hear the conversation, he chose the phone to be a non-handheld type and waited for Orsola to continue on.
““I’m going to tell you the latest information regarding Acqua right now.””
This natural airhead and self-centred Orsola was now reporting in a rare serious tone.
““We found out Acqua of the Back’s real name. His name is William Orville, a magic mercenary born in England, and he doesn’t have any affiliation. Of course, when he was born, he wasn’t a Roman Catholic, and there are records indicating that he was baptised in an Anglican church when he was young. As a mercenary, he was a lone wolf, and it seems like he specialises in taking down enemy strongholds.””
To think that he actually specialised in this.
This didn’t just mean that he specialised in ‘taking down enemy bases’, but rather, among all forms of combat, he specialised in taking down bases. But besides that, it didn’t mean that he didn’t excel in other forms of combat. If so, William Orville would have failed a long time ago, and couldn’t possibly be standing here.
““Also, as a magician, William had a sorcery name. The name engraved on his chest is Flere210.”
A Latin word normally formed half of the sorcery name, and the meaning of the word Flere was ‘tears’. They may not have known the significance to this name, but William Orville most probably had a reason for engraving it on his chest. Also, to be able to engrave the name on his chest, it showed that he had overwhelming strength.
This one word that signified the absolute difference against him echoed in Tatemiya’s mind.
“So what were William Orville’s accomplishments as a mercenary?”
““Hm, there was an ‘aid to an Astrology group’ in Western Russia, an ‘elimination of the Orleans’ Knights’ in Central France, an ‘England’s third princess Rescue Mission’ near the Straits of Dover…I can’t finish if I’m to name them all.””
This showed that he had participated in a lot of battles, and kept winning. To be able to come back alive from so many battles, this was the best proof of Acqua of the Back’s strength.
Orsola rattled off the list of battles that Acqua had taken part in, and Tatemiya had heard of some of them. No matter which ones they were, everyone knew how intense those battles were. Even if the entire Amakusa was to gather, they might never be competent enough to handle this. Basically, those were Hell-like battlefields.
“One strong enemy…no, he’s our worst enemy.”
““But William Orville isn’t just someone who will settle any problem with just force. For instance, even in the medical facilities within the battle zones, he will impart knowledge of herbs to them to lower the mortality rate, taught poor and hungry villages how to cook Murdock…he’s pretty active even outside the battlefield. In some places, they even call him a ‘Sage’.”
These were really things that people could only do when they truly realised the reality on the battlefield.
Some problems couldn’t just be settled by sending large number of forces or donating. One had to truly experience the atmosphere of a battlefield to understand what the people really needed, and thus they could understand that ‘what they could do’ wasn’t just in the short-term, but rather ways to improve their standard of living in the long run. It seemed like Acqua of the Back wasn’t just a battle maniac.
He had a robust body and a softer mentally, he was a wise beast.
This was Tatemiya’s impression of him right now.
““We didn’t find anything that can be classified as a weakness. As a mercenary, he continued to use this attribute of being a Saint to continue to carry out explosive battles.””
“…So after he changed sects, he obtained the strength of a member of God's Right Seat?”
Yes, all the legends during the mercenary era had happened before William Orville was called ‘Acqua of the Back’. Right now, his power should be a lot stronger than that, and not just that, he had completely mastered a new form of fighting. Tatemiya again recognised how strong this opponent was, and he was likely even scarier than their Priestess-sama.
(With this power, how did he control his powers?)
On first glance, people like Kanzaki seemed like they managed to control their powers naturally, but that wasn’t the case. If an ordinary magician like Tatemiya was to try control that power, they would be completely destroyed by the power.
And the power that Acqua wielded was even stronger than that.
(…So we can’t overcome him with magic, huh?)
““Originally, William was supposed to be an English Knight, but he disappeared a week before he was appointed, so the heraldry that was halfway done was kept in the maker’s house.””
And when he appeared again, he had become an enemy of England.
What happened during that time was still a mystery, but they didn’t have time to wonder about this.
“We can’t expect any weaknesses from him. But at least we can find out Acqua’s main fighting methods, right? Like the kinds of weapons he uses, what school of thought he came from.”
““As for school of thought, it seems like he self-taught himself, and he calls it the ‘Mercenary code’. As for weapons, he uses a 5 meter long iron mace that looks like a Knight’s lance.””
These were things that Tatemiya already knew having fought against Acqua of the Back first-hand before.
““Also…the way he moves in battle is rather unique, not by running, but it seems like he glides on the floor.””
At this moment, Tatemiya couldn’t think anymore. It was true that he hadn’t heard anything when he had been approached, and now that Orsola mentioned it, that seemed to be the case. No matter what, the speed at which Acqua of the Back moved, except for the moment he changed directions, made it looked like he was vanishing.
““Seems like he uses a water movement spell. The reason why horse carriages can slide on ice is because of a thin layer of water between the carriage wheels and the ice, right? ””
“That means…this guy, before he was called ‘Acqua of the Back’, he knew how to use water spells…”
Vento of the Front, Terra of the Left, Acqua of the Back.
If they each represented the four Archangels, then Acqua represented the ‘Power of God’, his element was water, and during the last battle, he hadn’t used any water spells because with the abilities of the fighters there, there had been no need to use them.
‘’(…So what sort of plan should we use?)’’
The intangibles—the number of intangibles that far exceeded their imagination was too many, and Tatemiya couldn’t help but laugh at this.
At this moment.
“No matter who the enemy is, what we have to do hasn’t changed…”
Without moving her lips, Itsuwa said this as she wielded her enhanced spear.
“You’re right, Tatemiya-san…”
The unspoken meaning behind Itsuwa’s words was ‘Don’t run away’. Hearing these words, Tatemiya’s hand that was holding onto the handphone, trembled violently.
 Part 5
It was 3am in the morning.
On a metal bridge on the third level of District 22, Acqua of the Back was standing there casually.
From the park till all the way here, he had taken down a total of 8 self-propelled ‘mimosas’, 17 armoured vehicles, 38 androids, all unmanned. Every time he took down an enemy, he would move on to another point before destroying the enemy…though he had been repeating this over and over again, he hadn’t managed to find something like a human controller.
It seemed like the opponent wasn’t as tactless and dumb as he had expected.
Acqua didn’t even look at the artificial planetarium giant screen as he pondered to himself.
(It would be very easy now if I had Vento’s ‘Divine Punishment’…)
Even so, the enemy forces had retreated after an hour of fighting.
Maybe because it was so one-sided that the higher-ups of Academy City felt that they were just wasting their military resources. Acqua himself also felt this way, wondering how much money had been spent to build what was now a pile of scrap metal. The huge amount of money needed to buy modern weapons would sometimes change a person’s thoughts regarding money. Don’t they have a better use for this money? Acqua thought.
“…Unexpectedly though, they aren’t idiots.”
Acqua made this assessment regarding this enemy that had retreated at an appropriate time.
Any professional would often have a sense of pride regarding their areas of specialties; these were things that could be explained in every industry. And for soldiers, it was the most direct thing, ‘force’. There shouldn’t be anyone able to endure and repress the feeling of being abused and killed. But there were leaders who could repress that anger, propose a logical reasoning that everyone could accept, analyse the situation well and quickly give orders to retreat, this kind of person existed in Academy City.
But no matter how good the political skills the enemy commander had, no matter how strong the forces he had, the thing that Acqua wanted to do hadn’t changed.
Destroy the Imagine Breaker.
And to eradicate anything that was impeding him from taking action.
Acqua pulled out a pocket watch from his pocket and confirmed the time.
(So there are 19 hours till the Imagine Breaker deal, huh…?)
He covered the pocket watch and slipped it into his trousers pocket. Acqua slightly moved his eyeballs at the side.
“So I can see the ‘outcome’ now, right?”
Acqua said to the darkness.
“There’s still more than half a day till that time. Are you guys prepared for this?”
Footsteps could be heard from deep within the darkness.
It wasn’t just a pair.
The number of footsteps totalled around 50, and every one of them was of the Anglican Church sect, the Amakusa style Remix of Church. The footsteps gave a sense of unity, as if they just penetrated each gap between the metal frames.
Males and females, young and old, they were all wearing ordinary attire, but they were wielding weapons like swords, spears, axes, bows, whips; and under the shine off the street lights, it was rather unlucky. There were people wielding weapons that even the ex-mercenary Acqua didn’t know of, like the Japanese exclusive chain sickle (kusarigama), the jutte and even something like a metal flute.
Standing in front was the current Substitute Supreme Pontiff of the Amakusa style Church, Tatemiya Saiji.
The reason why Acqua knew his name was simple. During the previous battle, Acqua had managed to sort out information that the Amakusa exchanged with each other. Being able to effectively gather information in the middle of a battlefield was something a mercenary had to be skilled in.
“Well, you gave us a tough question that we couldn’t decide on, and ended up not bothered by it at all, so we quickly settled it. Got to thank you for that.”
Tatemiya was holding a large wavy sword. Like a broadsword and two-handed sword, this was a huge two handed sword that was meant to cleave through the enemy’s defenses.
It was a huge monster that was over 1.8m in length.
But to Acqua, that was like a kid holding a wooden stick.
“An unreasonably tough question, huh?”
As if he was mocking, Acqua used the inside of his feet to knock the ground a few times.
Without a single sound, a large block of metal that was over 5m long leapt out from his shadow.
“Right now, you’re against the 2 billion followers of the Roman Catholic Church, and you can escape with just the loss of a single arm. Is that a tough question at all? I thought it was a bargain.”
“The real enemy isn’t the Roman Catholic Church, but people like you who treat ordinary civilians as bait and manipulate them when they continue to believe in God.”
“Humph, so the deal broke down, huh?”
“Is there anything else other than that?”
“Not much difference to me, I won’t be bothered by it. On the other hand, you should be worrying… because you just gave up the one chance you had of surviving.”
From his shadow, Acqua pulled out an extremely large mace and easily swung it as if it was a tennis racket to confirm the condition. He then said,
“I’m afraid you forgot, so let me repeat this again. I’m one of the Saints,”
“And I have the power as a member of God's Right Seat.”
“If, after confirming all this, you people still feel that you have to risk your lives to protect that person, I’ll wait for you. The possibilities that humans have, this dream-like thing, I’ll look forward to it for a bit. I’ll take on all your special moves that you exert with full force.”
Acqua had changed.
It was not that he had changed externally like he getting Angelic wings on his back or a halo above his head. However, at this moment, one could feel that his aura had changed.
“And after that, I’ll win.”
Acqua took half a step forward.
This wasn’t for movement, but to help him grip the metal mace better. This meant that he had recognized Tatemiya and company as enemies, and would use all his strength to crush their realisations and resolve; a silent proclamation.
“This thing called winning, it’s not decided by good and evil, but winning and losing, and I’ll prove that to you. What I’m hoping for is for you to at least force me to use a ‘trump card’. If you can’t even do this, I won’t even call you weaklings, but fools—”
But Acqua wasn’t able to finish his words.
Her patience at her limits, Itsuwa completely ignored the fact that the two were still talking, and immediately carried out a blow meant to kill Acqua.
Itsuwa wordlessly used the Friuli Spear of hers to charge at Acqua at blinding speed, and with the spell ‘Icy Night Wind’ cast on the tip of the spear—it exploded. BAM!! Flashes appeared everywhere, and it was not just Acqua alone getting hit, the neighbouring asphalt roads were mercilessly ripped up and crumbled.
They were supposed to be comrades, but Tatemiya was shocked by this sudden attack as he turned his head around.
Showing a painful expression, Tatemiya said softly, but Itsuwa didn’t look back at all. One could see from her shoulders that she was extremely nervous.
Seeing the dust flying about in the air, Itsuwa readied her spear and slackened her chin.
The mace, being used like a grey window handle, pulled open to scatter the dust, and the unhurt Acqua appeared inside.
“Shouldn’t you listen to other people’s words till the end?”
“…If you have something to say, say it later.”
Forget about being afraid, Itsuwa actually said this as she took a step forward bravely.
“AFTER I BEAT YOU TO A PULP OVER AND OVER AGAIN!! IF YOUR JAW ISN’T ALL BROKEN, I’LL LET YOU TALK ALL YOU WANT!!”
Itsuwa’s plain expression seemed to have some abnormal force gathered on her forehead. The huge shout felt like it could break even her cheeks. Hearing this, the Amakusa members could only hug their heads painfully and exchange looks with each other.
“(…AHHH!! THAT ITSUWA, HAS SHE COMPLETELY LOST IT!!?)”
“(…BECAUSE SUPREME PONTIFF-SAMA, YOU SAID SOMETHING ABOUT ‘PROVE THAT YOU’RE THE BEST GIRL’ IN THE HOSPITAL. WOULDN’T THAT CAUSE ITSUWA TO GO ALL OUT!!?)”
“(…You’re really an idiot. Even if it’s God, a girl in love will still charge on.)”
In contrast to the males who were making a commotion, the females were so calm it makes others feel intrigued.
Ignoring this, Itsuwa continued to glare angrily at Acqua.
From who knew when, the focal point of the Amakusa had changed.
“Humph, you have guts, but can you back up your words with action? Let me enjoy this a bit.”
“Don’t worry, even if we’re reduced to a slice of meat, we’ll LET YOU REGRET ALL YOU DID AFTER BEATING YOU TO MEAT PULP!!”
“EH EH!! DO WE HAVE TO GO TO THIS EXTENT!?” Ignoring the cries behind, Itsuwa again took a step forward.
The two of them were within attacking range, and ignoring Tatemiya Saiji, who was standing there blankly, a huge battle began.
 Part 6
On the metal bridge in the middle of the night, explosions could be heard.
As a Saint, Acqua had tremendous power as compared to Itsuwa, an ordinary human, so there was a definite advantage in speed. Acqua moved at a speed that was like vanishing to a human’s naked eye and attacked Itsuwa head on. He let the muscles in his body expand instantly, and the large mace slammed down towards Itsuwa like a guillotine.
In terms of movement, Itsuwa was slower by half a step, and finally managed to move her spear.
Stabbing the spear into Acqua’s attacking trajectory, Itsuwa tried to block his attack. However, nothing could block this one hit from Acqua.
With the sounds of rocks colliding with each other, Itsuwa’s spear received Acqua’s mace.
Normally, Itsuwa’s body would be crushed together with the Friuli Spear and blown away.
“Hehe, I made about 1,500 layers of resin on it.”
The two people’s weapons let out some squeaking sounds as they continued to bite into each other. Itsuwa smiled and said,
“The symbol behind this are the age rings of a tree, and the spell hidden within is the ‘reproductivity that plants possess’—until the spell reaches the end of the world, as time passes on, the hardness will continue to increase. I’ll let you see how much endurance it can gain after every second.”
“Take this power of the ‘scattered grass’,” Itsuwa declared.
“But there are other spells used as well…”
“…Things from ancient times, in all sorts of civilizations, why are things like clothes created? I suppose that I don’t have to tell you the significance behind this spell, right?”
Looking closely, one could see that a patch of clothing on Itsuwa’s abdomen was torn unnaturally, revealing the white skin underneath. It seemed like the damage done to Itsuwa had been transferred there.
“’To protect a person’s body’… this is the most important significance. But then again, it’s just a spell to weaken the damage; it isn’t one omnipotent spell that can negate all sorts of damage.”
During the last battle, Acqua hadn’t seen such a thing, and right now, they were using these spells without holding back. In other words, the Amakusa members were able to create such efficient spells on the fly.
But what shocked Acqua wasn’t this.
(She matched up well against my speed…?)
Acqua was a Saint, his speed should have been overwhelming, and not something that a human could follow. Normally, Itsuwa should be unable to even flick a finger before she got crushed.
But in reality, this wasn’t the case.
Though she was slower by half a step, Itsuwa had still managed to catch up to him in the end. Though she hadn’t had time to turn defense into attack, she had still managed to defend herself well.
(Why)? Being puzzled, Acqua quickly figured out the catch behind this.
This group of approximately 50 Amakusa members had a certain rule when moving. Instead of just having a different formation to make battling a lot more effective, there was a unique rule behind this. If Itsuwa was the focal point, the focal point would be moved somewhere else. If anyone wanted to pursue the centre, the centre would be scattered into the crowd and disappear, and just when they prepared to ignore the centre, Itsuwa would again be the focal point. It felt like in the group, this thing called the ‘focal point’ had continued to change.
Gathering at the right time, and scattering at the right time. Like sand in an hourglass, each movement had a huge significance.
(A spell that increases visual activity and mobility, huh?)
“Such a little trick…”
This action felt like they were familiar with fighting against Saints, and Acqua frowned uncomfortably. There were only about 20 people with this rare power of being a Saint, thus there were very few people who would actually seen a Saint in their entire lives.
(Speaking of which, there’s a Saint like me who exists among the Amakusa Style Remix of Church.)
Because of this, they had probably gotten used to matching up against the speed, arm strength, and reactions. And also, they had the brains of those that had experienced it first-hand, and thus they had managed to come up with this spell to match up against Acqua’s movements.
Acqua brought the mace behind his body, holding it properly again and saw Itsuwa’s expression.
“—However, you’re still too slow.”
Acqua again closed in.
Before the gust struck, the mace had already struck Itsuwa. Itsuwa tried her hardest to block the hit, and her clothes automatically ripped to avoid the magic impact. However, the next attack was coming. Itsuwa wanted to swing her spear to knock the strike away, but the last hit had taken a lot out of Itsuwa just at this moment, as Itsuwa was knocked backwards. Faster than even the initial strike, Acqua’s second hit was barely knocked off course by the old Isahaya, and at this moment, the lady Tsushima grabbed Itsuwa by the neck and pulled her out.
The third strike that Acqua sent out directly hit where Itsuwa had previously stood, crushing the asphalt without any mercy.
The entire metal bridge shook unstably.
Even though they managed to avoid the direct hit, the large amount of debris hit Isahaya’s entire body, blowing him away.
Acqua wanted to continue pursuing Itsuwa, but at this moment, he noticed something shiny mixed into the grey dust.
It was like an infrared laser to allow people to see through smoke.
This thin light came from,
And it was not just one or two.
Carefully discerning this, one could notice that with Itsuwa at centre, the 50 Amakusa members all had some extremely thin wires on their fingers. Each person was controlling 7 of these, and in total, this deadly spider web of 350 wires attacked Acqua.
Acqua didn’t even dodge it.
The extremely fine maze of wires ripping through the air instantaneously bound his entire body, and, with the extreme force exerted throughout the wires, was trying to rip and crush his entire body.
Instead of killing him, it couldn’t even stop him from moving forward for even a single second.
Such a tremendous display of power, this was God’s Right Seat Acqua of the Back.
This little voice echoed within Acqua’s ears.
[—You killed me.]
‘’(I see, so this is the real purpose, huh…!?)’’
That moment Acqua gritted his teeth, something like red mist ripped on the wires. This red mist immediately expanded like it was immersed with this painting called the darkness, and soon, it engulfed Acqua’s entire body.
“…The hidden spell within this is ‘A Punishment of a Killer’.”
Standing on the damaged bridge, Itsuwa muttered, and the red mist suddenly exploded from within.
The Amakusa magic caused a huge expansion of this mist, and after creating an inescapable prison, it exploded within the mist. With this technique, no matter how fast the person was, they couldn’t escape.
“This is a spell that allows each wire to have symbolic features of being a person’s lifeline, and then punish the person that destroyed these wires. This is an ancient thing, a spell that any religions has, no matter the culture…in other words, no matter what kind of defensive spell it belongs, it can’t block this ‘Curses of the Fallen’.”
The red mist box that surrounded Acqua expanded twice or thrice, like a continuous bomb explosion in water. Each explosion triggered another chain of explosions. Each of the explosions continued to chain up, and from who knew when, the exterior of the red mist box had become distorted as a bunch of grapes.
It was impossible to do this with just a person’s strength; this was something that the Amakusa used—the ultimate definition of being ‘one entire unit’.
But Itsuwa and company didn’t look relaxed.
The sure-kill technique exploded from within, and expanded out.
This was an explosion that was larger than what the Amakusa had prepared. It was a shockwave stronger than the explosion the Amakusa used to kill. This shockwave easily ripped through the red prison.
The dust and steam mixed together, making the entire place look like a grey screen.
What came from the other side of the screen was a man’s rough voice.
“Then let me tell you my attributes.”
On the other side of the screen, a gigantic man shadow was swaying about.
There was something like a core supporting this vertical shadow.
“My attribute is the ‘Power of God’, who has the distinction of informing the Child’s birth. I can use the spells related to the Divine Mother to a certain extent—in other words, I can use the secret ritual of worship the Divine Mother.”
Only the words continued on,
“The Divine Mother’s Worship’s special attribute is—‘to weaken the punishment’.”
Only the voice of God’s Right Seat, Acqua of the Back continued on.
Occupying this entire world.
“The believers get saved, and also, punishing those who don’t obey suitably, that’s another attribute of the ‘Power of God’. With this special attribute of weakening this through the worship of the Divine Mother, it’s like helping a woman escape from a monastery, helping her take attendance, and continuing to cheat the watching eyes until the woman comes back.”
Silently, the figure moved.
Ripping through this window that was formed by dust and steam, the human figure moved forward.
“Unlike the Son of God who was born as the Son of Man, God and the Holy Son, the Divine Mother was an ordinary child, but at the same time, she and God have a bond that can’t be separated, it’s this rare existence. Using this logic, the Divine Mother has this attribute of ‘being a middle person that’s able to surpass anyone’s mercy and transfer the suffering of those severely punished to God’.”
The voice echoed throughout the air.
High and mighty, not even trying to hide.
“—Then now, I’ll tell you the conclusion. My attribute is the ‘Divine Mother’s Mercy’ that negates any punishment. Even if they’re strict and just final judgement, they can be overturned. It even directs whether a person is going to Heaven or to Hell. No matter what kind of guilt one has, the punishment will be nullified. To me who has this attribute, your attacks are meaningless. I don’t even need to move a finger to ignore this sin of ‘killing’. And for me, able to even to negate ‘God’s Sin’, do you think you can use this ordinary spell to beat me?”
Explosions could be heard.
The grey screen surrounding Acqua was immediately blown away.
“Humph, you should have listened to me till the end.”
Acqua placed the huge mace on his shoulder, looking extremely bored as he sighed.
There wasn’t anyone else around. The 50 Amakusa fighters had carefully used a diversion spell that let people detect a false ‘human presence’ even while they escaping.
He was standing on the bridge, alone, but he revealed the kind of smile that a hunter would have when he was hunting his prey.
“Well, let’s just say you just increased my fun in hunting you down.”
 Part 7
With Tatemiya Saiji leading, the Amakusa members moved to a small plaza 300m away from the metal bridge. When they had cast ‘a Punishment of a Killer’, the moment they saw the spell break, they had immediately used this high-speed escape spell to run away.
But it was just a temporary effect.
Acqua had such tremendous strength that it was easy for him for him to detect a human presence or magic flow. Also, in this sealed underground space, the number of places they could hide was limited—also, there was an absolute reason why the Amakusa couldn’t run away.
“He managed to break through it in the end. What do we do, Substitute Supreme Pontiff?”
Ushibuka kept the metal wires that were now cut into something like fluff as he waited for Tatemiya to give the next instruction.
“…It would have been great if we could beat him using that just now. Seems like things aren’t that easy.”
Tatemiya wielded the large wavy sword in his hand as he looked at the surroundings.
Though the Amakusa had shown that they could match up to Acqua’s mobility, it did not come cheaply, for if a group of about 50 people could continue to match up against a Saint’s movement speed, the Amakusa were worth even more than a Saint.
“There’s a limit to how much we can fool him.”
Itsuwa exhaled heavily to adjust her breathing as she said this.
Actually, the key behind that body strengthening spell was touching people on the back. The spell hidden within this was the ‘recovery spell inserted from behind’. They continued to change formations as they fought, the moment they moved and crossed each other, their comrades would pat each other on the back, recovering their body functions and immediately getting stronger. It was not a spell that a lone person could do; it was a group-exclusive movement spell that worked ‘for their comrades’. Also, the effects would be even better with the fengshui effect of a ‘pulse’ like a ‘sleeping corner’ or ‘rest point’.
With their comrades helping, the effect of the increased mobility was enhanced, allowing them to be able to match a Saint’s speed. However, the enemy had broken through this formation, causing the strengthening rhythm between their comrades to be broken and them being unable to catch up. A break in one place would affect the entire chain, finally causing the entire group to be slow.
With this, there was no way they could beat Acqua of the Back.
A Saint was such a monster.
“Seems like we can only use the ‘origin’. According to how the Son of God was executed, we’ll start our counterattack with Itsuwa at centre. Don’t feel regretful, make your resolve and head on.”
Tatemiya looked around, and especially at Itsuwa, waiting for a response from everyone.
At this moment, Itsuwa held the Friuli Spear tightly with both hands as she nodded her head.
At this moment.
A strong chilly atmosphere touched everyone’s skin, a gigantic presence ripping through the night and quickly approaching. There was no need to guess who this presence belonged to, there was no one else but Acqua.
For the Amakusa, their ‘favourite’ battle plan still remained.
But even then, as that was their ‘favourite’, it was not something that could be activated so easily.
“Well, let’s get our positions ready first!!”
Tatemiya shouted, and the entire group of Amakusa members moved out like waves.
However, they were not moving front, back, left, right, but ‘down’. They placed their hands on the floor filled with small tiles, and after that, there appeared a 1 square metre area wide helicopter-entrance like thing. What was waiting on the other side of the entrance was an underground space made of reinforced concrete.
The place was filled with staircases and handlebars that were covered with moisture, and large, thick pipes intercrossing with each other. As if she was being held down by a large and loud machine, Itsuwa slipped between the gaps below. Only at this moment did she realise that this was a hydroelectric turbine power plant.
This was another level below the level full of underground streets, the depth was about 10m, and the space was only appropriate to carry out all sorts of daily necessary activities.
Tatemiya, Itsuwa and the rest slipped through this small space as they set up wires and trap spells all over the place. Though they didn’t feel that they could beat Acqua, they just hoped to delay him for a while.
The real aim of the Amakusa was down below.
As long as Acqua went down from the third level to the fourth level that was full of traps, they would have enough time to prepare the ‘favourite’ spell of theirs.
““Since you have prepared such a nice thing for me to see, I should give something back in response.””
Without knowing when, the deep voice of the man echoed throughout the dark underground space.
The voice seemed to have echoed a few times, so they couldn’t tell where it came from.
““As one with the attribute of ‘Power of God’, you should know what I can do.””
They didn’t even have time to respond.
Suddenly, a huge pipe inside this large space of cement broke from within. Greater than 1m in diameter, 5cm thick, the super tube got ripped apart like paper, and debris as large as guitar picks scattered in all directions, causing orange sparks to fly all over the place. The high-velocity metal pieces that flew over collided with the cement, knocking about everywhere.
““Water is something that can change easily; you can even use it to make a bomb if you use it well.””
CLANG!! The pipes everywhere started to explode one after another.
As if they were forced open by water and steam, the large amount of metal pieces ended up being a rain of shotgun rounds. Itsuwa barely managed to react in time as she blocked a piece of metal that was aimed at her face with her spear, but she tripped down due to the impact.
Though she was extremely mindful about the destructive power, there was something that she was even more mindful of.
Before the water pipe had broke, she seemed to have seen some shiny word.
The shiny word that had appeared seemed to be ‘Laguz’.
This word that was like a marking was,
“What… a water rune?”
Extremely ordinary. As it was too ordinary, it could be considered a very symbolic form of magic.
““This reaction…seems like you learnt something about God’s Right Seat when I sent Terra’s corpse over, right?””
According to the Anglican Church report, as the members of God’s Right Seat had bodies that were more akin to Angels, they had the ability to use unique spells, but could not use the ordinary spells that a normal magician could use. This should have been the case…
““But is this really something shocking? Truly, God's Right Seat can’t use spells that ordinary humans use, but I do have the spell of the Divine Mother’s Worship, which releases me from these limitations, bonds, and constraints.””
Having the two powers of being a Saint and a member of God's Right Seat at the same time,
He had completely mastered human and Angelic spells.
““Don’t you put me, Acqua of the Back, on the same level as the other members of God's Right Seat!””
After that, another few pipes broke, and the water turbines that were used to generate electricity exploded as they attacked there. The huge turbine swung about like a rotating blade, and on seeing it slowly coming closer, Itsuwa leapt past the metal handle and jumped down. She used her spear to break through the door on the ground that was like a duct, and quickly got outside. It was the bottom of the third level, near the ceiling of the fourth level.
In this space that was about 20 meters from the surface, the thin metal passages and stairs around were all intercrossed. Such a scene was like a dance stage, and below Itsuwa, it was the street of the fourth level—not really. What was actually below her was the huge planetarium screen. The camera image of the surface that formed an artificial sky covered the entire screen, and the cloth used for the screen was supported by thin pillars and wires hanging in mid-air.
But Itsuwa had no time to notice these strange scenes.
“…!! Where’s Acqua!!”
Just as Itsuwa felt that she heard Acqua’s voice, the giant wind pressure whipped up. Itsuwa instinctively moved her spear once she saw where this wind pressure was coming from and prepared to take the heavy hit from the enemy—just as Itsuwa thought of this, her body got blown away about 15m, together with the spear that she was using as defence.
She could hear the sound of metal being ripped behind her.
Itsuwa finally managed to endure the huge damage on her entire body and prepared to make her next move, but there was no place for her to place her footing. Without any ideas, Itsuwa could only let her body land on the giant screen.
However, what was unexpected was that the screen didn’t rip, but supported Itsuwa’s weight. It seemed like the screen was specially done to stop anything that fell from ceiling, and had this special job of being a guardian.
Not mindful about being unable to stand properly, Itsuwa wielded her spear properly and looked in front.
Acqua of the Back.
He was holding onto a huge mace that was of a different league from Itsuwa’s spear, and he jumped off the railing and landed on the screen.
“Then, the trial will end here.”
Readying the mace that he was carrying on his shoulder, Acqua calmly said.
“Since both sides are holding weapons, there’s no reason not to attack each other.”
“…That seems to be the case.”
Itsuwa seemed to respond as she pointed the Cross-shaped spear tip at Acqua, saying with a heavy tone.
“But I’m not your only enemy.”
After that, the helicopter holes on part of the ceiling opened up one by one. The Amakusa members all appeared here, and all of them were injured. There were blood stains on their clothes, but none of them landed yet.
50 people in all, 100 eyeballs were capturing Acqua’s figure.
In contrast, the monster didn’t even feel fear.
He didn’t even take a single step, just letting his centre of gravity descend.
“Bring it on.”
The moment he said this, all the Amakusa members charged down at Acqua of the Back.
 Part 8
From the front, Itsuwa charged at Acqua directly.
Before Acqua, who was standing on the screen that was meant to show a sky, could respond to Itsuwa’s movements, some sword-wielding Amakusa youths started to attack him from the left, back and above.
About 20 blades were aimed at Acqua’s body, and even if Acqua avoided these, there were 30 more blades left.
For a normal human, this was something that he couldn’t handle.
But Acqua did it.
The huge mace ripped the air, and being in mid-air, Ushibuka and Kouyagi were blown away. The deliberately invoked shockwaves that rippled out struck others, and ignoring the Amakusa members who had their formation all messed up, Acqua turned around and slammed his mace straight down from behind.
This entire chain of events was just like an explosion.
With Acqua at the centre, the formation of the Amakusa was blown away, all the members were sent flying back in all directions.
Wanting to add on with another attack, Itsuwa suddenly realised something and stopped her feet.
At this moment, Acqua’s body was gliding as if he was skating on ice.
As if he was aiming for the hole left in Itsuwa’s defence, Acqua raised his mace and aimed at her from a diagonally high position, before swinging it down as if he was trying to crush her skull.
This was a lightning bolt formed by iron.
But this hit missed Itsuwa.
Acqua felt that he missed his attack, and Itsuwa, who was supposed to be within striking distance, vanished. Looking closely, he found that the light-coloured sweater that Itsuwa had been wearing was hanging on the tip of the mace. Acqua turned his eyes to the front, and slightly farther away, Itsuwa was standing there. It was unknown what sort of spell she had used; she was still wearing her clothes, and only her sweater was abandoned.
Acqua easily swung the mace and tossed the cloth on it over.
“So you used this as a scapegoat, huh?”
“But I’m unlucky, there’s not many things to use as a scapegoat.”
Itsuwa readied her spear as she said silently.
“Please don’t make me do something too embarrassing.”
Before both of them could finish, they clashed again.
Acqua’s mace looked like it could cut through the floor easily.
But in contrast to before, Itsuwa and her spear were enhanced, and all these efforts were meant for her to be able to match up against a Saint’s movements. One hit, two hits, three hits, though she was slower than Acqua by half a step, Itsuwa managed to deflect all his attacks at least.
Acqua raised the mace in his hand quickly as he honestly praised his enemy.
“But even though you’re doing well, your movements are slowly getting slower.”
The difference between the two was slowly widening, and once this difference widened to a certain extent, Itsuwa would definitely be unable to block Acqua’s attacks and would be reduced to a pile of meat.
In order to support Itsuwa, Tsushima, Isahaya and many other Amakusa members attacked Acqua from all angles, but got blocked by the protective wall formed when Acqua swung his mace at a terrifying speed. Fighting against Itsuwa and yet still managing to easily hold the surrounding Amakusa members down, once he seized any chances, the rune word would shine and appear, and the high-pressure compressed water would be reflected over.
While they were continuing on with their ferocious attacks, Tatemiya and Itsuwa exchanged glances.
“(…Is ‘that’ thing ready yet!?)”
“(…No time left, do it…!!)”
In order to readjust their current situation, Tatemiya tried to call Itsuwa, but at this moment, Acqua came attacking with another strike. Though Tatemiya managed to instinctively block the strike with his large wavy sword, the impact caused Tatemiya to bounce on the huge screen twice or thrice.
Seeing Itsuwa's breathlessness, Acqua raised his mace.
“How much longer can you last? Let me enjoy it.”
With these words, Acqua’s muscles instantly expanded.
It was impossible to get away from his striking distance.
The giant mace clashed with Itsuwa’s spear. Though she managed to avoid a direct hit, this was already Itsuwa’s limit. Every time the two weapons collided, like some missing gear parts, Itsuwa’s speed would drop at an obvious rate.
There was no room for any counterattack.
There was no way to completely block the shockwaves caused by Acqua’s hits, as the shockwaves hit the screen that they were standing on. Maybe the screen was reinforced with some special bulletproof fibre, but it still got ripped easily like stockings.
This hell that continued to sap strength was like a marathon.
But in this marathon, the runner’s back was against a large blender that could grind humans into meat sauce.
She would die if she stopped.
Even so, forcing her body to continue running would only cause her death once she reached her limits.
The blade and the blunt weapon continued to clash against each other.
Acqua inhaled, wanting to grip the mace even harder and exert even more strength, but at this moment, Itsuwa took action.
She was not heading forward, but rather, it seemed like she was directly running away from Acqua’s frontal attacks, instantly moving backwards.
Dodging it by a few centimetres, it was almost negligible.
If it was someone with Saint-like mobility, like Acqua, this distance could be nullified in an instant. However, to Itsuwa, it was something that determined her life and death. After forcing herself to jump back, she lost her balance, and looked like she could fall anytime.
Itsuwa had no way to carry on with the next action.
Whether it was dodging, or blocking.
Acqua again adjusted his breathing, preparing to deal the final blow by stabbing the mace forward.
The air was ripped, and Acqua’s speed was like a supersonic jet.
But his movement seemed to be restricted by something, as he suddenly stopped.
Acqua looked at his legs in surprise.
His high movement speed was maintained by a certain type of spell, there was a thin layer of water between his soles and the floor, and like how a skater skates in an ice forum, the same principle was used to allow his body to glide.
But this spell had been destroyed without him knowing.
Itsuwa of the Amakusa definitely didn’t have the strength to reverse Acqua’s spell and destroy it. Up till now, she hadn’t done anything like a ritual.
At that moment Acqua he noticed that there was something shiny mixed in it, and it came from the soles of Acqua’s feet. There were inexplicable waves that were obstructing Acqua’s spell.
Itsuwa wasn’t able to take Acqua’s attacks directly, and the remaining shockwaves formed had caused the screen that they were standing on the rip. And the look of this ripped screen formed some sort of a position. What was amazing was that this position affected Acqua’s movement spell as well.
This wasn’t coincidental.
The Amakusa Style Remix of Church wouldn’t use any special spells or spiritual tools when they used magic. They would use all sorts of daily items, reclaim the magical element hidden within them, arrange and develop all sorts of spells.
And most important,
Even if it was for an instant, Acqua definitely revealed a gap.
Seeing Acqua like this, Itsuwa, who was standing in front of him, revealed a slight smile.
Without mercy, Itsuwa raised her spear at Acqua and charged forward.
After waiting for so long, this moment had finally come, a hit that was like lightning.
A straight line attack that ripped the air, Acqua did a dodging motion for the first time.
Acqua didn’t dodge to the front, back, left or right, instead choosing to jump.
It was alright even if it was on the unstable screen, as Acqua was able to jump about 5m after just one jump. He was now standing on one of the pillar that was hanging the screen.
Even so, Itsuwa didn’t change her position.
She lowered her body, ready to use the Friuli Cross-tip spear and pointed it at Acqua.
“NOW’S THE TIME TO USE OUR ‘FAVOURITE’!!”
Itsuwa shouted with her entire body full of strength. The Amakusa members around responded to that call; some were near Itsuwa, some were slightly farther away, but the formation they had now clearly emphasized that Itsuwa was the centre this time.
Balancing on the thin pillar, Acqua was looking for a suitable place to land, but at this moment, what he could sense below his eyes was all the willpower and magical power that was gathered on Itsuwa’s body.
This was some sort of foreboding, the first wave of something big that was going to happen.
“(So it’s coming…!)”
Before Acqua could say this, Itsuwa took action.
A huge explosion could be heard.
The moment Acqua realised that this was the sound of a human stepping on the screen, Itsuwa was ripping the night sky apart like some sort of a rocket or spacecraft. Due to this huge power, some pillars that were hanging off the giant screen were bent. In Itsuwa’s hands that were coming near was a small piece of cloth that was like a wet handkerchief. She used this to hold the handle.
“A tube spear!?”
As the friction between the spear and the palms was reduced, the piercing speed and power of the spear had increased many times.
But Itsuwa’s aim was different.
She used all her strength to send this strike.
If she didn’t do anything to protect her palms, her palms would most likely vanish first while the magic was transferred.
The spear in Itsuwa’s hands exploded.
It was not a metaphor, nor was it a comparison, but rather, Itsuwa’s spear really became lightning. This sharp strike that flew in a straight line hit Acqua right in the abdomen, and without mercy, the bluish white purple electricity passed through his body, spurting out from behind, ripping the darkness of the night apart. This huge friction caused the cloth that had been used to hold the spear to let out black smoke.
With this explosion, a lightning Cross appeared from Acqua’s back, and new explosions continued to occur everywhere.
Acqua wanted to say that some valuable and hidden spell was activated.
The spell that Itsuwa—no, all the Amakusa Style Remix of Church members let out, the ‘Saint Destroyer’.
As a Saint’s body was similar to the Son of God, based on the Idol Theory, Saints were able to have similar abilities to the Son of God.
On the other hand, it was possible to seal this power that they called the Stigma that a Saint had; by destroying what made these Saints similar to the Son of God, in terms of specific body features through human means.
A Saint who lost this balance didn’t just lose the power so easily. They couldn’t even control their power, and may end up going rampant.
In the past,
The Amakusa Style Remix of Church had lost a Saint.
As she was a gentle Saint, she was afraid that her tremendous power would hurt people around her, and chose to leave her home. In order to allow her to endure that tremendous power, the Amakusa members made a vow.
One day, they wanted to be able to bear this tremendous power with her.
The next time, they had to reach her back, grab her hand and tell her it was alright. They had to be that strong.
And what they worked so hard on was the ‘Saint Destroyer’.
In order to let her, a Saint, stand beside them, they had to correctly understand what kind of existence she was. Then, they had to climb past that wall, and then they must step up to whatever she felt may be a ‘threat’. Based on this theory, the ‘Saint Destroyer’ was born.
A real one.
A successful spell that the Amakusa Style Remix of Church had managed to create.
A special spell that existed to beat a Saint.
(As the magic went rampant inside his body, the time it takes to solidify is about 30 seconds.)
In theory, this was a spell that only worked on Saints and had no offensive effect on other ordinary magicians. Because of this special attribute, there couldn’t possibly be a Saint that would specially come over to be lab mouse. Thus in a certain sense, it was a decisive moment right now.
But the feeling that Itsuwa got from her hands was that they succeeded.
She used her (?) to estimate this effective time.
(Using this time that we have left, let’s cause the ‘just an ordinary person’ Acqua be completely powerless!!)
“Not a bad spell.”
This time, Itsuwa’s expression was frozen.
The Friuli spear that had been converted into lightning had changed back into its original shape from who knew when. Itsuwa hadn’t given any commands, so this meant that an external force had forced the spell to be reversed and negated.
Acqua’s left hand was on his hip.
He was not pressing against any wound, but at the place where his skin nearly got touched, he managed to use his hand to grab the tip of Itsuwa’s spear.
Most likely, before Itsuwa’s spear turned into lightning, Acqua forcefully grabbed the tip of the Friuli spear; and the reason why those special sparks had appeared was likely because he had done something to it before it fired, causing the effect to leak out slightly from the tip of the spear.
“If I were just a Saint, I would most likely have been finished off.”
Acqua’s lips curled in a distorted manner.
This wasn’t a mocking smile, but rather a delighted smile that showed that he had met a strong enemy.
“But that’s too bad.”
His left hand grabbing onto the spear, Acqua slowly moved his right hand.
A 5m+ mace that was completely made of iron.
“—BUT JUST AS I’M A SAINT, I’M A MEMBER OF GOD'S RIGHT SEAT!!”
The explosion occurred within the plaza where no one was.
Itsuwa didn’t even have time to use her clothes as a scapegoat.
The moment Itsuwa noticed that her body made all these noises, her breathing had stopped. This vertical hit that came from above caused her to fall through the bulletproof fibre screen that was ripped apart, falling about 20m down.
As she fell, she could see several layers of defensive barrier spells opened, and they likely belonged to the Amakusa members. Itsuwa herself was also using one, trying her best to slow her falling speed. However, these spells were all broken through, and Itsuwa’s body landed hard on the asphalt floor.
The grey dust danced about in the air.
Battered pretty badly, Itsuwa was buried in the asphalt, and the only part of her body she could move was her head. She looked up at the sky, and saw that on the screen, with a sound of waves hitting a rock, a large amount of water spurted out from the crack within the rock. The several tons of water formed a giant hand or a dragon’s jaw. In front of this overwhelming strength, the Amakusa members scattered, and one could hear many cries of agony.
Among them, a shadow gently descended down like a feather.
“How boring. You gathered so many people, and this is the best plan you can come up with?”
It was Acqua of the Back.
He stood beside Itsuwa, who was basically completely defeated, and said silently.
“As for the conditions I was willing to give, you still have a few options.”
Many streams of water continued to flow down the planetarium video screen, and there were mechanical warning sounds. But Acqua was unfazed, he would just beat all the enemies in front of him. He casually said to Itsuwa,
“I’ll let you decide, do you want to hand that boy’s right hand over? Or do you want to be the patterns on the ground here?”
Itsuwa didn’t reply.
But she made her response. She grabbed a piece of debris of the asphalt road and forced her battered body. This bloodied Itsuwa still wanted to stand up.
“If so, looks like I have no choice.”
Acqua said silently as he raised his gigantic mace.
“Since you wished for death, I’ll let you disappear in all this commotion.”
The front tip of the mace was pointed at Itsuwa’s head.
DONG!! Such an explosion could be heard.
A waterfall came from the other side of the ripped screen, devastating the water on the fourth level in response to Acqua’s call and becoming 20m long. It was just like something that just grew out of the floor; a huge hammer that looked like a cable car joint changed into a beast that prone on the floor, looking for its prey.
Itsuwa didn’t close her eyes.
Thus, she was able to sense it till the end.
She sensed that Acqua’s hand had stopped.
Suddenly, the entire place was filled with killing aura of an unknown nature.
The source of this killing intent wasn’t Acqua, nor was it the Amakusa members around them like Tatemiya and Ushibuka, and it couldn’t possibly be the thoroughly injured Itsuwa. The distance and direction were unknown, but there really was killing intent.
Acqua stopped his hand and noticed that his target was moving from one place to another. This something that had forced someone like Acqua to divert his attention was closing in.
Acqua of the Back muttered softly, and then revealed a smile.
Itsuwa had seen this expression from close range before, it was an expression that he would only reveal when he faced a strong opponent. But this time, he wasn’t looking at Itsuwa, but rather a look that was a lot deeper than the previous one by many times was engraved on his face.
The block of water moving along the fourth level was dissolved, and the water that lost its magical form became a tsunami that attacked the banks on both sides.
Acqua released the strength from his shoulder and carried the huge mace on his shoulder.
And only once, did he look at Itsuwa’s face and said.
“Apparently you got a life back. Thank your master.”
BAM!! This explosion echoed throughout.
The moment Itsuwa thought of this, Acqua of the Back had already disappeared. As he was too fast, the naked eye couldn’t catch up.
Itsuwa blankly slumped on where she was, just looking at the front where there was no one.
She had survived.
The iron, asphalt, anything, everything around had gotten crushed like an explosion in the air. The surroundings was just a pile of wasteland, with a large amount of water washing them away. In this pitiful situation, Itsuwa wasn’t happy even though she had survived. In this situation, she couldn’t tell whether they had been completely defeated. Acqua’s words continued to echo in her mind.
Itsuwa turned her head and looked around.
Though she turned to where Acqua had been standing, there was nothing there. Like Acqua, who had vanished, what was over there was just an endless black night.
 Part 9
About 200m away from where Itsuwa had landed.
On the riverside, there was a little observation post. With the ‘dispel bystander’ spell, there was no one there except for 2 Saints standing on the icy facilities.
One of them was Acqua of the Back.
And the other was…
“Seems like you took care of my ‘comrades’ quite a bit.”
A slim and tall body, snowy white skin, black hair that extended to her waist even after she tied it. Her clothing was a T-shirt, with a rough material jacket that had the right sleeve ripped up. And the left side of her jeans was ripped off below, revealing her entire thigh.
However, despite such a unique get-up, there was something that was even more eye-catching than them.
The sword that was attached to her belt.
The 2m long katana, the ‘Seven Heavens Seven Swords’.
“Speaking of which, there was a Saint in the East that goes by killing everyone with just one strike.”
A Saint that belonged to any country or association wasn’t allowed to anyhow go anywhere. Even though this Saint was taking some risks, she still chose to stand in front of Acqua.
He gripped his mace.
The meaning behind this was basically that he didn’t need to bully the weak and could enjoy all the pleasures of battle.
“I heard that the Amakusa Saint seems to hate fighting. So do you have any intentions of fighting against me?”
“I have that kind of personality, but it seems like I’m a lot more immature that I thought I would be.”
Kanzaki Kaori said,
“But seeing them get beaten one by one, that won’t do. That won’t do at all. I bear that kind of a sorcery name. ‘Wrath’ is one of the original seven sins; at least I was supposedly taught that way.”
The Saint that was called Priestess-sama felt like she was blowing all the darkness of the night and the rubble away.
She was just standing there.
“Stop worrying about someone. I won’t let their efforts go to waste, that’s just enough.”
For that innocent boy that got violently abused without any reason.
For the group of comrades that had stood up to help that boy and yet were trampled by this overwhelming power.
She looked like she was about to break the hilt of the sword as she gripped it.
The eyes of the two Saints collided.
With this signal…
Among the less than 20 monsters in the world, the battle between these two monsters in the world began here.
 Between the lines 2
The Knights of Orleans.
France’s largest magical society and the name of the association that brought this boy despair.
This ‘association’ was originally a volunteer association attracted by Saint Joan’s deeds, and unlike the combat strength that everyone recognised, this group supported Saint Joan from the shadows. Also, at first, they had not been some enhanced special magic ‘group’, they had just been people who wanted to save France, regardless of their identity, their status, and (rare at that time) there were nobility and peasants. All sorts of people standing side-by-side, laughing together, it should be that kind of an ‘association’.
But in year 1431, 30th of May, something major happened that altered their course.
Joan of Arc, who had been captured by the English, was burned under the sin of being a heretic.
From that day on, the Knights of Orleans became another abnormal ‘association’ that existed to ‘avenge Joan’. The revenge on the English that killed Joan was to be expected, and also other French soldiers, nobility, those that hadn’t saved her, those French citizens that hadn’t done anything to bring Joan’s body back, the association treated them as their targets for revenge (strictly speaking, they intended it but did not manage to do it, it was not like they were an ‘organisation’ that would consider whether it was appropriate), and the number of people targeted for ‘revenge’ increased.
Even if it was the largest magic association in France, if it wanted to declare war on these people, the chances of them winning was still slim. However, they themselves didn’t know that.
The Knights of Orleans had a hope.
Saint Joan wasn’t naturally born with any special ability. When she was 13, she heard a ‘special voice’, and after which, her powers started to bloom.
The Orleans’ Knights were always looking for this ‘Oracle of Joan’.
Unlike Joan, who wanted to protect people, these Knights did this only in the name of revenge.
To those who only whispered and prayed for a miracle, God wouldn’t lend them a hand, so why didn’t the members of the organisation notice that? Of course, the Knights of Orleans became an ‘association that looked for mysteries’, making them even more involved in magic.
A few hundred years had passed, and the members of the Knights of Orleans had switched for several generations. They wanted to create someone that had Joan’s powers, and the ‘experiment that could possibly succeed’ was still continuing.
A boy and a girl were involved in this experiment.
The girl designated as the essence of the ‘Oracle of Joan’ could be said to be forcefully taken away. The boy wanted to resist, and he thought of all sorts of ways, using his entire strength to fight on—and failed.
Right now, the boy had lost the girl beside him.
The dying boy last heard the words of the girl: “I trust you”.
But the boy didn’t even have any strength left to stand up.
For if he had that strength, he would have used it a long time ago.
The boy lay alone silently on the dirty ground.
“So are you going to continue lying down here and give up on everything?”
He heard a voice.
A strong man who called himself a mercenary.
Seemed like he had come all the way to France to stop the Knights of Orleans. Over here, he met a boy and a girl, and he had done a diversionary attack in order to allow the girl to escape…but the boy in the centre of the battle was too weak, causing the girl to be taken away in the end.
“I don’t know what to do as well.”
The boy lay on the ground, muttering to himself.
If he stretched his hand out, he would be able to reach the sword encased in the scabbard. It was a French fencing sword that was modified for military use, one that the boy could easily use due to its lightness. And at the moment, the boy’s thoroughly wounded arm felt like it was afraid of touching hot water, all cowardly and not wanting to touch the sword scabbard.
“I’m not some special guy, not some person that can guarantee that everything will be fine as long as I’m around!! I can’t win; the enemy’s the largest magic association in France! You’re asking me to fight against people like that!!?”
“So are you going to abandon her?”
“Because you couldn’t, you stood up, right? Now how long are you going to lie down there?”
The boy didn’t respond. He couldn’t respond.
He moved the beaten and battered body that was covered in mud and wounds, and finally managed to lift his upper body, but this was already his limit. In addition to his physical strength, his mental strength was quite exhausted.
The mercenary didn’t mind.
“There’s no time for you to be stuck in this worthless despair.”
No matter how many times the boy tried, the mercenary didn’t have any intentions of helping him, instead reaching his hand out to the sword that was kept in the scabbard.
“The enemy’s strong. If they carried their plan out for their goals, you and I know that girl’s future. Then, don’t you just need to think of only one thing?”
At this moment, the mercenary deliberately paused.
“Even in that situation of despair, she still said “I trust you”. Right?”
The time in the boy’s body froze.
Only the words of the mercenary continued.
“So what are you planning to do? Are you going to stand up and protect that foolish girl’s dream? Or are you going to give her more despair by teaching that foolish girl what reality is?”
The mercenary grabbed the scabbard and brought the hilt in front of the boy’s nose just as he was lying down on the ground for who knew how long.
“Decide, which one will you choose?”
There was no need to worry.
There was no need to ponder at all.
The problems in front were a lot, and all the possible risks were as many as the stars, but these were unimportant. Only the people who took action had the right to worry and ponder about this.
The boy stood up.
Ignoring the immense trauma, he grabbed the hilt of the sword that the mercenary held over, removed the lock on the weapon and pulled it out.
The mercenary smiled.
The boy’s expression changed. He stood beside the mercenary, the same position, and walked into the dark exit together with his comrade—while continuing to look at the ‘secret base’ with the enemies he must beat and the girl he must save.
The boy said silently.
“The time to be afraid is over.”
The enemy was the largest magic association in France, the Knights of Orleans.
The largest professional fighting association in France continued to act in revenge, and the counterattack of their opponents began.
- Asian expression for “to motivate/encourage”
|Back to Chapter 1||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 3|