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Gakusen Toshi Asterisk Vol 5 Chapter 1

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Chapter 1 - The First Semifinal Match

“ーI see. No wonder Camilla-sama is that interested to you, Sasamiya Saya.”

Rimsi who slowly stood up within the cloud of dust said so and thuddingly brushed up her hair.

The light bullet shot by Saya should have definitely been a direct hit, but judging from her appearance, she did not feel damage at all.

But, upon close inspection, the huge gun type Lux which Rimsi was holding in her hand was destroyed. Seemingly, she abruptly used it as a shield to defend against the attack.

Which means that Rimsi did not have a function to deploy a defensive barrier like Ardi after all.

Though that was also guessed from her outward appearance, perhaps Rimsi was a long-range attack type specialized in mobility and Ardi was a close range attack type specialized in defense.

“I admire your technique to control that extremely unstable Lux with such precision. What’s more, it was a more than a perfect timing on top of having completely seen through my attack. That was really wonderful.”

Rim said with an unusually calm tone and a cold expression.

“Though it will be repeating what Kirin had said just now to that big junk[1]. Your attacks are based on accurate, perfect predictions. But, that’s why it’s easy to deal with them.”

“…All right. The reason why Master gave us a personality and a heart was so that we could also taste such humiliation. Those words of yours, I have certainly carved them in my heart.”

As Saya curtly answered with Waldenholt’s muzzle still turned towards Rimsi, Rimsi slightly frowned and threw away the remains of the Lux which she held in her hands.

At the same time, the huge unit which she carried on her back activated and emitted a green light while letting a high-pitched tone resound.

“In that case, I shall respond with all my might.”

When Rimsi said so, a gun type Lux appeared again in her right hand and her body lightly floated. And, as a conspicuously big green light swelled up, Rimsi soared up in the air at an intense speed.

『U,Uh-oh, player Rimsi flew!? She flew!』

『S-So that thing on her back was a flight unit. Those with flight ability are not so rare, but it’s a different story when it comes to players able to pile up training of only doing full battles freely in the sky.』

While hearing the voices of the live reporter and the commentator, Saya chased Rimsi’s figure with her gaze.

Certainly among the Strega and Dante, there were those who could fly freely by application of the ability (actually, it was also so for Julis), and even without a size like that of Rimsi’s flight unit, personal flight modules could be put in practical use.

But as the commentator said, it was another issue when it came to the question of whether or not they could become useful in combat. Of course, basically it worked advantageously to take a position higher than the opponent, but if one could not cope with the movements of a Starpulse Generation on the ground, such advantage had no meaning.

ーHowever.

“…!”

Rimsi’s mobility in the sky was without a doubt overwhelming. Even describing it by saying “like a bird” would be halfhearted. Chasing the tire track which the green jet light depicted in the air was the best one could do.

“Well then, let’s go.”

At the same time the green straight line crossed the sky, light bullets poured literally like rain.

Although she somehow tried to apply her aim while dodging them, Rimsi was no longer there.

Grasping the movements of Rimsi ーwho was flying in the sky in a way just short of impossible, and moreover, her sudden braking and acceleration which could not be endured by a humanー was making predictive shooting difficult.

“…This is troublesome.” Although while saying that, Saya was chuckling.

That’s right. There will be no meaning if it’s not like that. If the form of Camilla Pareto’s conviction was the weapons wielded by those puppets, then she would win by defeating all those with the weapons her father had made.

It was for that reason that Saya had won her way up to there.

“ーー”

She muttered in a small voice and poured Mana into the Mana Dite. At the same time; the muzzle of Waldenholt was concentrating a huge amount of energy which formed a restrictive force field. It, which shone, repelled the light bullets shot by Rimsi like a shield.

While maintaining to the very limit until the force field broke down, Saya set her aim.

“…Here.”

As she began to shoot a huge light bullet from the right gun barrel, it easily swallowed Rimsi’s bullets which were already fired towards Saya. There was just too much difference in output between Saya’s Waldenholt and the gun used by Rimsi.

Rimsi evaded it while twisting her body, but Saya shot another light bullet from the left gun barrel at that exact time.

No matter how high Rimsi's mobility was in the air was, if she were made to take an evasive action after the first aim, her movements would be limited to some extent. What was left was to snipe at there.

This also was similar to what Kirin had said earlier. Exactly because Rimsi’s reaction to the opponent’s attack movements was too precise, it was easy to lead her on.

Actually, the light bullet shot by Saya was a direct hit course ーBut.

Just before that, a dull explosion sound echoed and Saya’s light bullet exploded and scattered.

“Hmm…?”

Saya unintentionally frowned at that sight.

It should be nearly impossible to intercept Waldenholt’s attack with the power of the Lux which Rimsi was using.

(How on earth…?)

Saya strained her eyes while being still cautious.

As the blast cleared up before long, there was the figure of Rimsi greatly sticking out her left hand forward there. But, her left arm had changed a part from the elbow to the tip into a huge gun barrel.

On Rimsi’s delicate body, the unbalanced, huge gun seemed to have changed as if only that part was a heteromorphic monster.

“Did you think that I’m just an incompetent puppet which could only fly in the air? Even that superficial and thoughtless blockhead was given the absolute shield of defensive barrier. Don’t you find it strange that I wasn’t granted that much from Master?”

Though Rimsi’s tone was indifferent, it was somewhat boastful.

“…Not that much. Huh.”

While Saya muttered so, Saya quickly checked the data projected onto the aim monitor. Even judging from the energy’s flow, it was not an armament held on hand, but probably Rimsi’s built-in weapons. In other words, that energy should have been supplied by the multiple Mana Dites which was Rimsi’s source of power and which were processed and were standing abreast. If so then, it would not be strange even if it flicked out only the output which surely offset Waldenholt.

“Let’s see… This Ruinsharif is, so to speak, an absolute spear.”

An absolute shield and an absolute spear.

In that case, by all means I would like to crash both of them into each other, butー.

“…As expected, it looks like it would be tough.”

As she sent a sideway glance for an instant, Ardi and Kirin were ruthlessly competing intensively near the center of the stage. But, Rimsi had not so far taken a position in which she was behind them; Saya as well. While both were concentrated on the opponents in front each other, they also kept a close eye on their tag partner. If they were to relax their attention even a little, it would jeopardize not only themselves, but their tag partner as well.

Since both Rimsi and Kirin were in charge of the rear, it might be said that it was a matter of course.

“Well, still there’s no problem. Let’s go with a contest of strength.”

A direct confrontation was exactly what she wanted from the beginning.

Ruinsharif ー Shoot.

Energy concentrated on the muzzles of Saya’s Waldenholt and Rimsi’s Ruinsharif.

“Ruinsharif ー Shoot.”

“…Kaboom”

The next moment, the two light bullets shot by Saya’s both arms and the torrent of light which gushed out from Rimsi’s left arm clashed just at a halfway point of both. An earsplitting roaring sound and a blast as if to blow off one’s body swirled.

“Both attacks vanished, huh. You aren’t bad.”

“…I returned you those words.”

While shaking their hair to the blast, Rimsi’s and Saya’s looks clashed.

Saya and Rimsi somewhere looked alike.

Either of them hardly revealed their emotions as they did not show that much change in their expression. However, sooner or later, strong and unyielding feelings would emit a clear heat.

“…”

Both of them, remaining silent as is, re-set their weapons almost at the same time.


ーOn the other side.

“Haaah!”

“Nuuh!”

Kirin’s Senbakiri described an arc and approached Ardi, and Ardi’s Hammer flipped it up. Kirin sneaked around to his back and once again slashed with an overhead chop, but she was blocked by the defensive barrier and the edge of her sword had not reached even slightly. Even so, Kirin’s sword slashed without stopping, even for an instant, and each connected to the next slash, on and on like a flow.

『Now then, looking towards the center of the stage, player Toudou’s amazing consecutive attacks continue here! Player Ardi seemed to barely defend against them; he just one-sidedly defends without even being able to counterattack!』

『So this is the "Conjoined Cranes" of the Toudou style whose rumor I hear about. Hmm. I see, I see, it really gives no opportunity to counterattack.』

ー"Conjoined Cranes".

It was the hidden technique of the Toudou style which Kirin learned, but it was not just pointing to one skill. An unending sequence of attacks which combined variants of chained skills and never ceased until the opponent had been cut was what "Conjoined Cranes" was.

“Fuhahahaha! What a terrifying sword skill, Toudou Kirin! It’s exactly a divine skill… No, the skill of a demon! To think that I of all people could not find even an opening to counterattack!”

While dodging Kirin’s fierce attacks by a hairbreadth, Ardi laughed very happily.

“But, nice, nice! So this is what humans call exaltation! I can’t bear it! Even you can understand, right? That by dodging that one sword, I’m learning and evolving! Wonderful! You are the best mentor!”

Kirin did not respond to it, and unleashed a stab as to scoop out. The edge of the sword which swerved its trajectory by grazing the defensive barrier shaved Ardi’s shoulder, but ー it was shallow.

Although she then rotated her body and moved down her trunk as to draw a circle while tightening her flank, her blow was blocked by the hammer as if it was completely predicted.

(As expected… A pattern showed once won’t work again, huh.)

Kirin slightly knitted her brows, but of course, Kirin’s sword would not be stopped with that much. After all, being able to link attacks from any stance or any situation was what "Conjoined Cranes" was.

However, she just reconfirmed that Ardi’s words of earlier were certainly true.

ーArdi was evolving at a dreadful speed also while dodging the sword like this.

There was apparently no doubt about it.

(The combination from "Kumanri[2]" to " Reed Warbler" is now useless… Connecting from "Fūran[3]" to "Saotome" is also dangerous…)

The Toudou style has 49 variants of chained skills. When incorporating basic skills in these combinations, the pattern becomes endless. However, while swinging her katana, Kirin realized that it was being shaved little by little.

Originally, it was near to impossible for someone to perfectly deal with a technique he saw just once at the second time. Such a thing was probably impossible even for Ayato. This was because the human was a creature who let his body pile up, little by little, what he learned by repetition.

But, this opponent was different.

He only needed the data of an attack executed just once, and was already able to cope with it.

(I must also take back the words I said earlier…)

Kirin floated a small wry smile while continuing "Conjoined Cranes".

Although she pointed out 'the fact that he’s a machine is his weak point' to Ardi, the high level of this learning ability was obviously 'his strong point precisely because he is a machine'. In addition, Kirin was right now letting him pile up the combat experience which he was lacking.

Even his movements, which were just merely fast and accurate in the beginning when he wielded the hammer, suddenly began to become sharp and each blow became more and more heavy.

However, even so, Kirin did not feel like losing.

Kirin had no confidence in anything other than her sword skill, but conversely speaking, she had absolute confidence only in her sword skill. It was not about talent or ability, but about the confidence which she had piled up every day until today.

No matter how remarkable the rapidity of growth of Ardi was, the ability difference with Kirin in close range combat was still overwhelming, and it was not something which could be covered (filled) that easily.

ーAnd…

“But well! No matter how exceptional data I got, it's not fun at all to be one-sidedly beaten like this…!” As Ardi said so, he forcibly threw his body to push Kirin aside and then greatly swung his Hammer.

Naturally, if one was to make such a blunder when "Conjoined Cranes" was executed, a big opening would arise. It was a suitable chance for Kirin.

She sneaked around the huge hammer which was swung downward to the side while eluding so that her katana did not break. Position-like, it was difficult to aim at the school badge on the chest, but there was no doubt that it was a decisive way to prevail.

“Got you!”

Kirin swung Senbakiri downward with a loud scream.

“Fufu! Way to go, come as much as you want!”

“Whaー!?”

However, Ardi, far from dodging that blow, pushed out (shove) his head himself to block it. The sensation of cutting at a hard metal was transmitted to Kirin through Senbakiri. It was a moderate response, but Ardi, without flinching, shook off Kirin with his arm which was like a big tree.

Kirin could not help taking distance, too, and set up Senbakiri again.

Needless to say that the head was one of the vital points of a human, and a place which one would try to protect even unconsciously. To dare to use that place as a shield wasー

“…You were really careless.”

Though Ayato escaped from "Conjoined Cranes" by also receiving one attack of Kirin before, it was of a means different from that. It was precisely because he was an existence fundamentally different from a human that it could work.

“Fuhahahaha! Certainly if it was a human’s body, the outcome would have been decided by now! But unfortunately, my body is a machine! Even the head is not more than one of the parts! It seem that you forgot that point!”

“…”

Since it was actually true, Kirin could not reprove it.

While she herself pointed out his flaw as a machine, she had moved by a fundamental point in accordance with the usual common sense.

“I still have a long way to go, too…”

As Kirin admonished herself so, she immediately changed her awareness.

The match had just begun.

“Now then, I should also express my gratitude for providing me with good data.”

While saying so, Ardi slowly stroked his head so as to check the scar.

To the part which would correspond to ー his right eye, a straight sword cut was chopped.

“Your gratitude…?”

As Kirin quizzically asked again, Ardi proudly bent his chest and declared this.

“Fufufu…! All right, Rimsi. Now is the time we show that!”

- ψ -

“ーI refuse.”

But, Rimsi who was facing Saya and was in the air flatly declined without even turning towards Ardi who cried loudly.

“…Why?”

Ardi asked in a somewhat downhearted tone.

“I returned you those words, you damn low brain. Why is there a need to do such a thing in this situation now? In the first place, it's up to me to decide such things, not you.”

Although saying so, Rimsi did remove her gaze from Saya.

While fixing her breathing which was disturbed, Saya lightly laughed.

“…Still reluctant this far in the match?”

“It's a strategy to the bitter end. ーI'm already fighting you seriously, but are you still dissatisfied?”

“…No way.”

As Saya said so, energy shrank on Ruinsharif ー Rimsi’s left hand.

“Then, it's good.”

With the launching sound similar to a monster’s roar, a whirlpool of huge light attacked as it seemed to completely swallow Saya. Saya’s Waldenholt was still in the process of forced cooling, so a counterattack was impossible.

As Saya evaded it by rolling over, the ground where she was standing just before exploded and vanished without leaving any trace. Needless to say that even a Starpulse Generation could not get unscathed if hit directly by that.

In addition, to the place where she rolled over, light bullets downpoured from the gun which Rimsi mercilessly set up in her right hand. Saya moved in zigzag and evaded it while using Waldenholt’s barrel as shield.

(…I understand, but if this drags on, the disadvantageous one will be me)

If she was to compare Waldenholt and Ruinsharif in terms of simple ability, she completely lost in the quick firing, but was slightly above regarding the accuracy; however this was probably the difference of correction ability which came purely from combat experience. Actually, Rimsi was gradually correcting (adjusting) it.

They were almost equal about power ー However, Waldenholt had not yet revealed his maximum output. It was probably the same also for Ruinsharif.

“What's wrong? You're just been running away for some time now.”

Energy once again gathered in Rimsi’s left arm.

Ruinsharif’s quick fire efficiency was about three times that of Waldenholt. In other words, while Saya could attack only once, Rimsi could attack three times. Although the diversity of attacks had been improved since Waldenholt also had a right and a left gun barrels, because it was a Lobos transition system, one could not just deny that time for cooling was necessary no matter what. Moreover, since heat piled up the more it was used, the time also became longer, little by little.

But still, Saya did not think that this Lux made by her father was inferior to that of Camilla Pareto. If it was not this, a destructive power of a crushing blow which could not be achieved. That essence was packed here.

“…Therefore, I will demonstrate it.”

As Saya confirmed that Waldenholt returned to a standby state, she fixed its body by injecting multiple anchors (in the ground).

“Why are you trying to do? You can’t take an evasive action like that, you know?”

“There’s no need to dodge.”

“Hou?”

Rimsi’s eyes abruptly tapered at these words.

“I see. The output pattern is different from what you used until now. So, I assume it’s your hidden card.”

“…”

Saya, remaining silent, overlapped the right and left barrels.

The gearing sound of two metals could be heard and the two circuits were connected. This was Waldenholt’s original form.

“Fufu… I think that it’s rather nonsense, but ー all right. I will ride on that. Let’s once again go with a contest of strength.”

When Rimsi said so, she slowly got down on the ground. It was probably in order to also invest the flight unit’s energy to the left arm.

“Ruinsharif ー Maximum output.”

“…”

Tremendous energy was accumulated in both muzzles.

Sparks like small lightning flitted about in Saya’s surroundings, and the air vibrated as if the surrounding space creaked.

If she was to miss the Prana control even a little, Waldenholt would accidentally discharged immediately, and Saya would not come out of it unscathed.

The energy gathered increased to the limit before long, and that moment where it was on the verge of bursting.

“Discharge!”

“Kaboom…!”

The torrent of light which swirled from Rimsi’s left arm and the extremely compressed heavy light bullet from Saya’s Waldenholt were shot. Saya’s expression was distorted at the recoil at the time of discharge.

Both clashed at a halfway point like a while ago and it looked like they rivaled for a moment, butー

“Wha…!?”

The light bullet of Waldenholt easily overpowered the torrent of light and scattered it.

Rimsi promptly tried to dodge it, but it was slightly late.

“ー!”

The next moment, Rimsi’s body was swallowed by a huge dome-shaped light.

After the silence of a moment, a great explosion arose as if blowing off the hall itself, all the protective walls surrounding the stage rattlingly shook to the tremor from the raging blast, as if they were about to break, and screams rose from here and there in the stands.

When the blast settled down before long, Rimsi was on her knees in the center of the explosion greatly scooped out like a crater. Her left arm was completely destroyed and spouted sparks and black smoke. Like that, it was probably no longer possible to use Ruinsharif.

(That said… It’s strange there is no great damage other than that.)

Even if she avoided a direct hit, there was too little damage considering that she was caught up in such a great explosion.

As Saya who thought it to be suspicious looked closely, a wall of thin light was flickering as it protected half of Rimsi’s body.

“That is…”

“Fuhahahaha! It was a hair’s breadth, eh, Rimsi!”

A lively laughter suddenly echoed there.

When looking, Ardi who stood on the edge of the crater was slightly happily looking down at Rimsi.

“As expected, I could completely defend against it, but we do not have the luxury to say.”

“…I understand.”

On the other hand, Rimsi’s voice seemed to be really mortifying.

“…I see. That defensive barrier, you can deploy it anywhere else beside around you, huh.”

It was beyond her expectations, but in that case, it was comprehensible.

The defensive wall which Ardi usually deployed looked thin probably because he was far away from her.

“I-I’m sorry, Saya-san. I couldn’t hold him down.”

Kirin who was running up bowed her head with an apologetic face.

“No. You have really done well against that big opponent. It’s enough.”

As Saya stroked Kirin’s head which was lowered, she gently thanked her.

“Even if I couldn’t defeat her, I was able to make one almost powerless. In other words, it’s now a two-to-one fight. Our superiority is…”

“I wonder about it.”

Rimsi who stood up unsteady on her feet interrupted such words of Saya.

“…Hmm?”

“I will admit that you certainly surpassed me. However, it doesn’t mean that you surpassed “us”.”

As Rimsi said so, she slowly looked up at Ardi.

“Ardi, since it has come to this, there’s not helping it. I don’t want to do it, but we shall do just as you requested.”

“Fufu, it should be like this! I am ready to go whenever you want!”

As Rimsi breathed a small sigh, she greatly extended both her hands. At the same time, the light of Mana Dite began to overflow from her body.

“ACM unit, first external armor, various Luxes purge… Limit control transfer.”

Then, Rimsi’s flight unit and armor plate parted from her body as they floated, and multiple huge guns type Lux manifested and danced in the air.

“Oh yes! It’s there, it’s there, it’s there, it’s there! Connected start!”

And when they went towards Ardi as if being guided, they adjusted his position by shining type beaconー

『O-Oooh! D-D-Don’t tell me t-this is–!?』

While the voice of the live reporter, who got excited resounded, smoke like steam blew up from Ardi’s body and his shoulders greatly opened as they cracked. The flight unit divided into two, the docking ー the Lux and armor plate to those apertures overlapped as they clung (stuck) to both hands and both feet.

His pair of eyes strongly shone and a green light which overflowed from his whole body changed to blue.

This was without a doubtー

“F…Fusion?”

To the dumbfounded Saya and Kirin, Ardi proudly declared.

“Fuhahahaha! This is my (our) true appearance!”

Fuhahahaha! This is my (our) true appearance!

- ψ -

ーThe same time, the private booth seat of Allekant Academy Student Council.

“Oh my! To think that they would be cornered to the point that they have to use that. It’s slightly unexpected.”

“…Will it be really all right?”

At Ernesta sitting cross-legged on the chair, Camilla who was sitting beside her asked with a severe countenance.

In the deserted booth, there were only Camilla and Ernesta.

“There was no problem during the simulation, so it should be all right.”

“I hope so, but… Even now, I regret for not having let you pack that (thing).”

“Fufufu, even if you said that now, it became like that because Camilla’s Ruinsharif lost in a contest of power, right?”

“Th-That is…”

With an embarrassing face, Camilla turned her gaze away.

“Well, I think it can’t be helped; since only the power of a Lux from 'that' Professor Sasamiya was really unexpected.”

“…I will admit that it was certainly an unexpected performance.”

“Then, it can’t also be helped if they use that to win! Right? Right?”

“Well…”

To Ernesta which was letting her pupils glitter extremely joyfully, Camilla greatly sighed.

“I don’t understand… It’s hard to say that the situation is by no means bright. And yet why are you so glad?”

“Ehehehehehe.”

With a face which loosened, Ernesta looked at Camilla.

“After all, those children, they are growing up at an amazing speed. No, they completely exceed my expectations; it’s too amazing.”

And while flapping her feet, she continued happily.

“In addition, if they succeeded in controlling that, I wonder what will really happen.”

- ψ -

The fact that large parts attached to and increased Ardi’s shoulders, made Ardi look much sterner and more dignified than before. Large caliber Luxes in both his hands and also things which looked like gun type Luxes on both his legs added; it was exactly a full armament aspect.

“Now, how is it? This appearance which increase my magnificence and deepened my dignified presence!”

Ardi stuck out his chest really proudly.

“Hmm… It’s really cool!”

“Eh…?”

With a surprised face, Kirin turned towards Saya who muttered so.

“Fuhahahahahaha! Now, come at me wherever you want!”

Ardi lightly brandished the hammer which he held in his hand and thrust its ferrule on the ground. And with just that, the earth was gouged and it caved in.

“It doesn’t just look like merely parts only increased, eh.”

“…”

As Saya lightly nodded at Kirin’s words, she quickly checked Waldenholt’s condition. Because she shot in full burst, it will take more time for cooling. She might change it to a different weapon, but if she was to break that defensive wall, no other weapon than Waldenholt would probably work.

“Hmm… If you don’t come, then allow me the first move.”

They wanted to earn a little more time if possible, but it did not seem that they could do so.

Seeing Ardi setting up his hammer, Saya braced herself. When she turned a fleeting glance at Rimsi, it did not look like she was going to participate in the battle as she was completely unarmed.

(Then, to make the best use of our numerical superiority, first…)

The next moment when Saya thought up to there.

“ーWha–!?”

Suddenly, a black large build appeared in front of her like a wall.

(Fast…!)

“Saya-san!”

The Hammer swung down was hardly in a timing which she could evade, but she was saved by Kirin who jumped in and carried her. As the two girls took distance and rebuilt their stance, they greatly spitted out a breath together.

“…Sorry Kirin, you saved me.”

“It’s nothing. More importantly that movement… it’s completely different from until a while ago.”

While cautiously setting up Senbakiri, Kirin continued quizzically.

“However, from what I saw, it isn’t as if his swordsmanship has changed. Or perhaps should I say simply his speed and his power are now in a completely different league…”

Saya was taken aback by these words and looked at Ardi.

The parts which were added to his shoulders should have been those of the flight unit. If he used them as propulsive power, then it explained the increase in speed; but it did not seem to be just that. Assuming that basic specs were improved more…

“Kirin. It’s just a guess, but I somehow understood the root[4].”

“The root?”

“Those parts are powered by the multiple Mana Dites standing side by side and which are controlled. I think that Rimsi handed out some of her Mana Dites to that big thing.”

“Ah…”

If it was the case, then she also understood that only basic specs such as speed and power were enhanced.

“If so ー then, that big thing should have some defects now.”

“Defects?”

“If that big thing can endure it without trouble, then such a troublesome system won’t be especially necessary. It would have been convenient for them if he had used such equipments and specs from the start. Since he didn’t do so, then it means that it’s somehow incomplete… Is what I think.”

“I see. No wonder.”

She came up with such a guess at the very beginning because it was a case like that of Ayato where there was a time limit. If they had forcibly drawn an output beyond the original durability (stamina), he would not have held to that degree for a long time.

Or by being in this state, there was a possibility that some risk occurred. This could also consider various cases; for example there would be a burden on the processing system due to the high output, or there were also common stories where it would end up downing.

“…In any case, there is too little information as it stands. Kirin, can you gain time even a little?”

“Understood. I will try.”

As Kirin nodded, she took Senbakiri in side posture and fixed her breathing.

“Fufu, it looks like you are over with the strategy meeting. As expected, so you make the first move, Toudou Kirin.”

While glaring at Ardi who casually shortened the distance, Kirin gradually reduced the intervalー

“Haaah!”

The moment when Ardi stepped in her range, she slashed at him with a jump.

Ardi blocked the reverse blow with his hammer, but the cutting edge which jumped up immediately connected to the next slash.

It was "Conjoined Cranes".

Although Ardi’s speed seemed to have certainly increased and he could react to all those attacks, even so he was not able to escape from "Conjoined Cranes".

“Hmm, as expected it is a wonderful skill, Toudou Kirin…! Even for the current me, it is impossible to deal with these sword skills, huh.”

While handling well Kirin’s Senbakiri, Ardi laughed.

“But howeverー!”

At the same time with Ardi’s shout, blue light gushed all over his body and the wind welled up.

Kirin continued her attacks without minding it, but the hammer which blocked her overhead chop sent Kirin’s body flying.

“ー!”

Though unbelievable, he removed "Conjoined Cranes" with brute force.

Even if Kirin was still a 13 years old young girl, she was a Starpulse Generation who accumulated strict training, and she also possessed something which far surpassed physical strength. Her driving was heavy, and in case of average Starpulse Generation, even if he possessed great power, defending against it would be the best he could do.

If it was someone with excellent sword skill like Ayato, he might be able to flip her katana to some extent, but sending her body flying was not common. First of all, it would be impossible for a human.

“Fuhahahaha! Not yet!”

In addition; Ardi began to pursue Kirin, who was sent flying.

Although Kirin tried to ward it off with Senbakiri, her stance was bad as she just landed and she could not parry it.

“Guhー!”

She was once again sent flying by the hammer swung from right beside, and her body was violently thrown at the defense wall[5].

“Kirin!”

When Saya tried to help her as she hurriedly rushed over, Kirin, even though bleeding from the edge of her mouth, stopped it.

“I-I’m all right… More importantly…!”

When she returned her look to Ardi with these words, a black large build pointed the tip of the hammer towards them while setting up the hammer like a gun.

As they confirmed that a huge amount of energy was gathering there, they shivered.

(No way, a shooting weapon!)

“You are powerful enemies who should be respected. I got various teachings from you. Therefore, I shall carry out the first teaching and crush you with all my power.”

“…That’s kind of bad. Kirin, can you move?”

“Y-Yesー!”

However, Kirin who started to stand grimaced.

“Kirin… Your leg…?”

“I-I’m all right…!”

Though Kirin firmly insisted, her right leg was obviously swollen. It did not seem to be broken, but it would be difficult for her to evade that attack under such a condition.

“…”

Saya immediately made up her mind and linked Waldenholt once again.

The cooling was not yet completed, but now was not a situation to grumble about such a trivial thing.

“Kirin, to my back.”

“B-But, like that…”

“It’s fine.”

Since there was not time for dialogue, she broke off the conversation like that, and poured prana into Waldenholt. Immediately, the Mana Dite induced an Over-Excitation Total Response Phenomenon, and energy rose, but ー probably because the cooling was insufficient, the response was slower than usual.

(I won’t make it in time like this…!)

The moment she thought so, Ardi’s hammer spouted fire.

“Walneil Hammer, fire!”

“Kuh… !”

She could not help but pull the trigger in an insufficient condition.

The head of the huge hammer, which was shot by Ardi, approached the two girls while rotating in high speed, but Waldenholt’s light bullet stopped it at the very limit.

“Guh…!”

Since there was no time to set out (hammer out) the anchors, they desperately put up with the recoil with their bodies which were almost overturned. The light bullet and the hammer were jostling as is while intensely scattering something like sparkles, but the light bullet exploded before long as it used up all its energy and the two girls were thoroughly pushed back up against the defense wall by the blast.

Even so, since they were able to defend against that shot just now, it should be said that it was quite satisfactory.

The hammer head which was shot, returned to Ardi’s hand as it was forced back by the blast. It settled back into the part of the handle, which was raised overhead, as before.

“Hmm… I did not think that you would be able to pull through this. I ought to say as one would expect.”

“…”

Saya who, though tottering, stood up, lightly glared at Ardi who said as he was impressed.

“…Kirin, can you move?”

“Of course.”

Kirin who stood up behind Saya set up Senbakiri so as to respond to it.

Though her voice was still filled of enough power, the damages she took were hardly small. Especially for a fencer using speed as a weapon, like Kirin, an injury on the leg should influence her mobility quite greatly.

Saya’s Waldenholt was also short-circuited here and there, and as expected she could no longer use it.

ーEven so.

As Saya strongly bit her lips, she greatly opened her eyes wide after closing them once.

“…I can’t afford to give up.”

She returned Waldenholt to the activation body state, and active another Lux.

Type 39 – Gleaming Form Laser Canon Wolfdora. In terms of power, what came after Waldenholt was this. She did not know how far it would work, but she could do nothing but try.

“I count on you for the support.”

With movements as not to let one feel that she was hurt in the leg, Kirin also stepped before Saya.

“…It’s really mysterious. If it was the me of before this match began, I would have concluded that that action of yours is just a useless struggle. However, the current me feels even respect towards you.”

As Ardi said so in an unusually calm tone, blue light once again spouted from his whole body.

As if it was the signal, Kirin and Saya are parted left and right, and began to run.

ーAnd shortly thereafter, the first semifinal match lowered the curtains.

References Jump up↑ she refers here to Ardi Jump up↑ http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Hiden_Senbazuru_Orikata Jump up↑ an orchid species in Japan, it's called Neofinetia falcate Jump up↑ also means source, secret or trick about Ardi’s increase of power and speed Jump up↑ that is one of the walls surrounding the stage

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