Chapter 7 - Ladislav’s Youngest Child
『Now then, it’s finally the climax of this Grand Coliseum, the third phase! As you might expect from the last phase, the condition to clear is very simple, if you knock down World Dragon Seventh Institute’s two proud guardians within the time limit, you’ll be declared victorious! Moreover, this time unlike the two previous phases, there is no hit judgment, so no matter how many attacks you receive, you won’t be disqualified! Please, rest assured!』
“…So this means that fairly unreserved attacks will come, right?”
“Well, the princess being involved probably means that it’s the real thing from here on.”
Ernest agreed to Ayato’s mutter.
Having remained for the third phase were the five people Ayato, Ernest, Sylvia, HuFeng and Irene.
One among them, HuFeng was for some reason pondering with a sour face.
“What’s the matter, Zhao-kun?”
“No, I am sorry. I have a somewhat bad feeling…”
Even when Sylvia called out to him, HuFeng’s expression did not clear up at all.
『Well then, I’ll ask World Dragon’s guardians to make their appearance!』
When Eishiro declared so, a big hold opened in the stage’s central part and something gradually rose from under by means of a mechanical device.
“Ah… So, it’s really BaiQin and HeiFu after all…”
HuFeng who saw them held down his face while saying so with a voice mixed with amazement and grief.
What have appeared were two black and white giants ── although called so, it was not something mechanical like puppets and powered suits, their outward appearance was rather close to handicraft-like carved wood statues. Their faces attached a simple mask and empty holes were gaping wide opened only on the part of eyes. Their arms were strangely thick and long in contrast to their bodies and their fists could almost touch the ground though they were standing straight.
They would be about one size bigger than the powered suits that Ayato and company fought in the second phase. The white giant held a sword in each hand and the black giant held a very long spear with both hands, and a strange pattern was drawn on all over their bodies.
“Oi boy, if you know, then tell me. What’s that?”
“Boy? …Well whatever.”
HuFeng knitted his brows to Irene’s way of calling him, but he immediately pulled himself together and began to speak while pointing at the giants.
“The white one there is called BaiQin and the black one HeiFu ── both of them are World Dragon’s hermit tools that the first generation left. So, they are, so to speak, something like guards of the Yellow Dragon Temple.”
“The successive generations were also proficient at fire skills, and they created various weapons armaments. Those are known as hermit tools… but, they are originally not to be taken outside World Dragon.”
It seemed that that was the reason why HuFeng was at wits’ end.
“I don’t care about that. More importantly, are they strong?”
“──They wouldn’t be guards if they were weak, right?”
It was approximately at the same time as HuFeng answered so that Eishiro’s voice resounded in the hall.
『Well then, third phase start!』
But even when the announcement of the start was made, BaiQin and HeiFu substantially took stance as is and did not move.
Ayato set up his blade type lux with the point aimed at their eyes and sounded them out as he measured his breathing and the distance, but it was a quite mysterious feeling.
They were neither machines nor living things; having said that, they were different from Gustave Malraux’s magic beasts that he fought in Lieseltania, something unknown that they had never faced, until now.
“Tch, it won’t get anywhere like that.”
The moment when Irene who lost her temper struck her fists and was about to step forward──
HeiFu who shortened the distance with wind-like movement mowed down Irene with its spear.
Although Irene promptly bent over and dodged that blow, HeiFu rotated its spear as is and drove its (spear) butt end into Irene’s abdomen.
Irene who was vigorously blown away crashed to the defense wall from her back and collapsed trailingly.
“Damn…! I was careless…!”
When Ayato called out to her in panic, Irene unsteadily stood up while bleeding from the edge of her mouth.
She seemed to be somehow safe, but it would be impossible for her to immediately come back to fight.
Both that offensive ability which made Irene unable to keep fighting and that speed were a threat, but what was surprising above all was that its presence could not be felt at all.
“Not feeling presence at all at that speed isn’t funny…”
At the opportunity where Ayato turned his attention to Irene for just an instant, the blade BaiQin which sneaked around behind him swung downward aiming at Ayato.
He warded it off with his blade of light and ran through as he passed under the opponent’s arm.
In so doing, he mowed down at its torso as he slipped through, but contrary to looking as if it was made out of wood, it had incredible durability and was not damaged at all.
BaiQin turned its face around Ayato’s way and tried to set up again the swords of both hands.
But, in the timing where it was turning around to Ayato’s way, from the side HuFeng’s kick gouged its flank.
BaiQin’s large build was blown away and HuFeng furthermore set up chase.
In a blink of an eye, he jumped to BaiQin’s bosom, drove in fists consecutively to its abdomen, lastly threw a roundhouse kick and then took distance.
His speed was astounding. It was at a level where even Ayato’s eyes could barely catch with it. It would probably only looked like teleportation for an ordinary person.
(Does he use prana for acceleration…!)
Ayato noticed that HuFeng’s prana was always kneaded into his legs.
Prana could raise defense ability and the offensive ability in empty-handed fight; but if one enhanced his explosive power in the same way, high-speed movement like now would theoretically become possible, too.
However in contrast with the former two, the degree of difficulty was high beyond comparison for the latter. This was because if one were to make even a little mistake in the adjustment, he would easily lose control of his body. Anyway, only recklessly jumping highly aside, extraordinary proficiency was necessary when using it in a battle which required accurate movements.
“Ooh~, as expected Zhao-kun is very fast.”
Sylvia who dodged HeiFu’s attack greatly jumped back and landed near Ayato.
“That’s a great feat only possible with needle-like precision of prana’s control technique.”
Ayato frankly admired.
That was also the field which Ayato was not very good at the most.
“That acceleration is also changed to offensive power, how frightening.”
“…Even so, I don’t feel like he’s dealing that much damage though.”
HuFeng overwhelmed BaiQin with speed and number of punches, but he did not deal damage enough to knock it down.
As Sylvia said, HuFeng’s every single blow should have quite destructive power, but they had no idea at all what kind of materials the hermit tools were made with.
“Fufufu, looks like this might be bad if I don’t take it seriously… even if I say so, it’s a little bothersome to not be able to sing.”
Not being able to use their ability was originally quite fatal for and .
Nevertheless, the fact that Sylvia did not look inferior at all despite being the only was proof that her strength did not depend on her ability, but that she was supported by a clear combat skill and high body specs.
“But well, I guess there’s no point in asking for too much. I only have to manage with what I have now.”
As Sylvia said so, the blade of light of the sword she held in her hand swelled up at a stretch.
“To think that you’d suddenly initiate Meteor Arts with a lux that you used for the first time… as one would expect of you.”
“If I carry the signboard of a rank #1, I must be able to do this much.”
Although Sylvia lightly said that, at least it was impossible for Ayato.
“Now then Ayato-kun, could you help me, too?”
“As you wish.”
When Sylvia winked at him instead of a reply, she blocked HeiFu’s spear as she replaced Ernest who was facing it by himself.
“Oh, I’m thankful that you came to my help.”
As Ernest, who calmly said so, did not really go all out, he seemed to be devoted to defense to the bitter end. He was not sweating even one bit.
“Is Mr. only here to watch? If you’re not motivated, you may as well go back.”
“I cannot do that. If I leave it to a woman and stand by as a mere spectator, I will be forsaken by .”
Ernest was about to set up his sword while saying so as troubled, but Ayato ran past his side one step earlier than Ernest who was about to slash.
“Amagiri Bright Dragon Style, Grappling Technique ── “Stance Breaker””
When Ayato slipped into HeiFu’s bosom as if sliding, he destroyed its balances as he flipped up the handle of the spear crossing with Sylvia’s blade with a fist and moreover, threw a roundhouse kick at full force to the pivot leg.
No matter how large a build it had, it was easy to defeat it if you made its power’s flow derail.
Violently shaking, Sylvia’s sword flashed as HeiFu bent forward.
“Tch, it’s really hard, jeez!”
While hearing Sylvia’s complain, Ayato too immediately sneaked around behind it and swung his blade straight; but as expected the attack was not good enough.
“──Then, how about this?”
Just as she raised her gaze while surprised at that voice, Ernest who flew highly had his sword thrust into HeiFu’s mask to the hilt.
When looking carefully, the sword’s blade increased in brightness in the same way as that of Sylvia ── in other words, it was Meteor Arts.
It looked like what Sylvia said was not necessarily a joke.
『This is gorgeous! A coordination attack by three academies’ ranks #1 exploded!』
“Hey, taking the best part is unfair.”
As Sylvia, who took distance once, blamed so, Ernest who similarly went away from HeiFu slightly waved his head with a serious look as is.
“…No, it looks like it won’t go so well.”
『But! But still! The guardian wasn’t stopped! What sturdiness!』
HeiFu, which slowly got up, set up its spear once again as if nothing happened.
“Just for note, I aimed for the parts of eyes thinking that it was its weak point. Who knows how it was built, it seemed to be sucked in and there was no response at all.”
As for Ayato, he did not know what to say.
“Hmm, in that case aiming at the operating area like just now doesn’t look like it’ll work, so…”
Sylvia suddenly interrupted the words she was about to speak.
Even when he called out to her wanting to ask what was wrong, there was no reaction.
Sylvia had an expression that Ayato had never seen so far. She greatly opened her eyes, harking back to amethyst, wide and her lips were trembling. Shock and confusion as if she saw something completely unbelievable ── they were little by little repainted in delight that she could not contain.
When he looked at the direction of her gaze, it seemed to be turned towards the most top of the audience seating.
(I recalled that that area is the special watching room…?)
“──Sorry Ayato-kun, I will retire from here! Ah, if you don’t mind, use this!”
Then, as Sylvia revealed an evasive smile and handed the lux which she was using to Ayato, she started running towards the entrance gate.
“Eh? W-Wait, Sylvia?”
Even if he was suddenly told such a thing, Ayato could not but be confused, too.
『Eh? Huh? W-What happened? Sylvia Lyyneheym, does she possibly renounce midway?』
Eishiro’s perplexed voice resounded and stir occurred from the hall. However, Sylvia, as she did not mind it at all, disappeared as is to the other side of the gate.
“What on earth is…?”
Ayato once again looked closely at the point where Sylvia was looking.
In the special watching room’s north side ── immediately to the other side of the glass wall there, a figure of a person seeming to be a woman seemed to be looking down his way.
As soon as he caught her figure, a chill ran down Ayato’s spine.
The figure immediately disappeared to the back, but that was enough to make Ayato shiver.
(What the hell was that just now…?)
It was not fear.
It was something that came from evasion regarding a more basic, incompatible existence.
Rather, if he were to look for a sensation close to it from his past experiences──
(It’s that time, when I faced which took over Irene.)
Its loud laughter full of malice flashed across his mind.
The bad feeling did not stop.
If Sylvia went to meet that figure──
“It’s bad…! Fairclough-san, sorry! I retire here as well!”
“Eeh? What is it, all of sudden?”
Though Ernest raised a surprised voice, Ayato has already started running.
But as he was a few steps until the entrance gate, BaiQin’s large build was blown off as if to block his way.
“Hahahahahaha! Did you see?! Don’t underestimate me, piece of trash!”
When he looked, Irene, who returned to the battle before he knew, revealed a ferocious smile while heavily breathing. How much prana she hit it with, traces of Irene’s fist remained on the area of BaiQin’s solar plexus.
Next to her, even HuFeng was also dumbfounded.
But even so, BaiQin still showed no signs at all of having received damage.
As BaiQin slowly got up, it turned its hollow eyes this time towards Ayato.
It seemed to have changed its target to Ayato.
“……My bad, but I’m a bit in a hurry. Can you let me through?”
He tentatively said so, but of course there was no way that BaiQin could grant it.
As Ayato shortly sighed and dropped his waist, he took a stance with the blade type lux in his right hand and the one hand sword type lux, which he received from Sylvia, in his left hand.
BaiQin was fixedly watching Ayato’s movement, but as Ayato gradually reduced the interval, it suddenly swung down the sword in its right hand.
Ayato warded off its blow, and then dodged the thrust of its left hand by minimum movement as he twisted his body.
With that momentum, Ayato slipped into BaiQin’s bust and──
“Amagiri Bright Dragon Style, Dual Sword Intermediate Technique ── “Hell Spider”!”
Right Kasaya, left sweep, rotated his body and right thrust, left Kasaya, right sweep, then rotated his body again and left thrust, right thrust after a large step ── he drove in a total of seven consecutive blows all exactly at the same point, the place where there was the trace of Irene’s fist.
This time, there was a proper response.
The last thrust pierced the torso and, at the same time that he pulled the blade, BaiQin weakly fell down on his back.
『Ooh, finally one guardian has been knocked down by player Amagiri… wait, h-huh? How surprising, this time, even player Amagiri has left the stage! What on earth is happening, even I’ve no idea at all!』
While Eishiro’s half-desperate voice resounded, Ayato hurriedly went after Sylvia.
“Jeez, I ended up being charmed, eh.”
While taking on HeiFu’s attacks by himself, Ernest, who was left behind, fell in admiration to Ayato’s sword skill which sank BaiQin.
Speaking only of sword skill, Toudou Kirin, who was similarly in Seidoukan, would be above Ayato.
Moreover, speaking of range of close combat, World Dragon’s ── just if we excluded XingLu, that is ── was probably the strongest.
However, Amagiri Ayato’s sword had a brightness that those two’s swords did not have. It was the splendor that only those, who have controlled their own inner dread with their ideal and will had.
Ernest who was dodging HeiFu’s attacks could not stop smiling broadly.
“──Now then, even though everyone showed up their skill, it’ll be unfair to be the only one left out, I guess.”
Saying that, Ernest lightly blocked with one hand the spear which HeiFu swung downward.
One could understand that HeiFu put strength into it, but Ernest’s arm did not move an inch.
“Lately, my skill has become dull since I rely too much on . I guess remembering the old days a little isn’t that bad.”
When Ernest flipped the spear as is, he lightly laughed while looking downward.
There was no doubt.
She did by no means see wrong.
──That was her.
Sylvia was running the corridor of the Sirius Dome.
Because the access to the corridor which connected to the special watching room was prohibited to the general audience, there was no one who called out to Sylvia.
When she turned at the last corner leading there, a silhouette of a person could be seen ahead of the passage.
Sylvia called that name.
But, that silhouette went ahead through the passage without stopping.
She rushed up near and called once again.
Then, the silhouette finally stopped and slowly turned around.
Her face was half covered with the hood that she put over her eyes, but even that alone was enough to see her face.
There was no way that Sylvia would forget.
“As expected, you’re Ursula……”
Sylvia revealed a smile while restraining the thing which almost overflowed within her.
“Who are you?”
Her smile froze at these words.
Both her voice and her features without doubt belonged to the woman that Sylvia knew.
However, Sylvia noticed there, too.
It was the same, but it was different. Something was definitely different.
“I see…… you’re someone related to this body, huh.”
To her way of speaking which made one shiver, Sylvia’s body unconsciously drew back.
“You…… who are you?”
“There’s no need to give my name.”
The wind suddenly blew and a black light swelled up from inside the hood.
The hood rolled down and her face became exposed.
That was definitely Ursula Svento’s, but the eyes were empty and reflected nothing. Instead, the design of the necklace hung on the neck increased black brightness as if glaring at Sylvia.
Immediately after, an intense headache assailed Sylvia.
To the strong pain to the extent that she almost lost consciousness, Sylvia got down on her knees as she was unable to stay on her feet.
One could understand that something disgusting went into her head and was searching about for something as it pleased.
“……I will have to erase your memory.”
(Don’t tell me…?! An ability of the mind operation system……!?)
“You’ll be broken if you resist carelessly. Well, not that I care though.”
An ability of the mind operation system should hardly have any effect on a normal . Moreover, Ursula, that Sylvia knew, was not a Strega.
(Then, what on earth is this power──?)
As Sylvia mustered her strength, she leaped back and escaped from that black brightness.
With that alone, her body became quite at ease.
It seemed that the effective range of that power was quite short.
“You’re quite stubborn. It looks like you’ve a large amount of prana.”
“……I’ll ask once again. Who are you?”
Even though Sylvia was glaring at her, the other party was not daunted at all.
“What will you do when hearing it?”
“You already know that it won’t be the answer that you want, right? Despite that, why do you expressly ask?”
To these indifferent words, Sylvia strongly clenched her fist.
“Well whatever. I too learned that human beings are like that. Though I think it’s foolish.”
Saying so, she slowly shortened the distance.
While Sylvia gradually drew back, she took the lux from her waist ── or should one say that she hesitated for an instant.
If I were to injure Ursula.
That thought slightly delayed Sylvia’s decision.
The next moment, the black brightness once again attacked Sylvia.
“I won’t let you get away this time.”
A pain, which could not be compared with that of a little while ago, ran throughout her head.
She could not even think properly anymore.
It looked like she found out something important for Sylvia.
At this rate, she will steal it.
No good. Only that, I can’t allow it.
Someone. Anyone is fine.
Tears overflowed from her eyes, and just before they spilled over and fell──
As a voice which called Sylvia’s name could be heard, the black light was cleared away in an instant.
“──He cut off my power……?”
Unrest ran on the woman’s voice for the first time.
On the other hand, Sylvia was released from the pain and perhaps from the relief of having being able keep what was precious to her, her body lost strength at a stretch.
Her consciousness receded, but as she was about to fall down she was gently held.
“Are you all right, Sylvie?”
When she opened her eyes, there was Ayato’s face immediately before her eyes looking at her worriedly.
Even she heard her own heart greatly pounding.
“Y-Yes…… Thank you, Ayato-kun……”
Sylvia averted her gaze as she was unable to look straight at his face for some reason.
“So, on earth what kind of situation is this?”
While holding Sylvia as to protect her, Ayato warily set up with one hand.
“I see, , huh. But──”
Along with these words, the black light was released once again.