Saturday, September 16, 2023 @

Volume 2 Chapter 21 The Beginning of the Battle

 On a night when everyone had settled down to sleep, we walked slowly through the darkness.

 'My True Name' is an armor that includes an extension of sensory functions. In other words, I could feel the early summer's heat on my skin, and my field of vision remained unobstructed. The sensation of moving my body felt as light as usual.

 As a result, even while activating magic, I could sense the oppressive weight of the humid air that seemed to cling to me.

 It was an unpleasant night.

 All human presence had completely vanished, and it felt as if the silence was accumulating and settling in the surroundings.

 "Yuusuke-san... Are you okay?"

 Lisha, who was walking beside me, looked up at me with a worried expression.

 Lisha's concern was understandable. After all, it was just the three of us—myself, Kanami, and Lisha—walking alone along the nighttime streets, almost as if inviting danger.

 The nights on Earth, with their high concentration of magic power, favored demons with a greater total amount of magic power.

 Furthermore, the element of surprise was entirely in our opponent's favor.

 It was a blatant fishing.

 The risk was too great, so under normal circumstances, we would have observed the enemy's movements and then approached them. However, this time, there was no time for leisurely tactics. The demon with a title Senai "(chaos)" had a different approach to the battle from that of Jillzack Luiid.

 Even if it was a bad move to use Lisha as bait, it would lure the enemy out.

 "'Don't worry, Lisha. I will protect you.'"

 So, I wouldn't let a single scratch touch Lisha. Since it was my decision to expose her to danger for my convenience, I would ensure her safety.

 Kanami, swaying her extravagant Gothic dress beside me, also chimed in.

 "Yes, desu~wa. Even as a Saint, you should remain composed in any situation, no matter what."

 "Kanami-san... But I can only use Sanctuary, and I can't fight..."

 "'You're perfectly suited for this, considering you have Sanctuary.'"

 "That's right, desu~wa. Your Sanctuary is undoubtedly one of the best. Have confidence in that."

 Kanami was correct. Lisha's magic was an essential element in our current strategy. Frankly, my magic was designed for direct combat, making it unsuitable for opponents who approached indirectly.

 That's why I needed to rely on Kanami and Lisha.

 I had asked Kagami-san and Tsukiko's group to keep people away at all costs. To lure the enemy, only the three of us were actively participating in the battle.

 Now, all that remained was to see how the enemy would respond.

 "They're coming."

 Kanami murmured.

 Simultaneously, I sensed the presence of magic power from above.

 Looking up, I saw the silvery light that stain the night sky fall as meteors.

 The numerous spears approaching from all directions were the Guardian's magic.

 I guess it's not the demon but this one who showed up.

 "'It's a rather lukewarm ambush.'"

 It seemed our opponents were planning to measure our response.

 When I tried to manifest my sword and infuse it with magic power, Kanami acted before me.

 "If it's at this level, I can handle it."

 With light and graceful steps, she advanced and her arm moved with a flick.

 Then came a series of gunshots. From the barrels of the pistols held in both her hands, light from magic power blinked like muzzle flashes, and bullets were fired at the spears.

 The collision between the spears and bullets lasted only an instant before there was an explosion.

 That gun was using magic to create the bullets. I had seen similar magic tools multiple times during the war, but I had never seen one with the ability to invoke such advanced magic at pistol size.

 Perhaps it was developed after the war, or maybe it was a privilege of the royal family.

 Either way, it seemed there was no need to change our plan.


 Beyond the light, our opponent stood motionless. With silvery hair and wings to match, her pure white long spear emitted an eerie radiance against the night backdrop.

 Her coldly beautiful looks remained expressionless.

 "Oh my, the traitor decided to show up, desu~wa."

 Kanami immediately taunted her. It appeared that the defection of the Guardian, the one tasked with protecting the 'Key,' had greatly angered her.

 Of course, it would. Regardless of her motives, acts of treachery during wartime were subject to execution without exception.

 Without mercy, we would deal with those who sided with the enemy.

 And now, the Winged Guardian silently activated her magic.

 A pure white spear thrust forward, and from it, a straight line of brilliance shot forth. Burning through the air, the spear's flash approached rapidly, only to be intercepted in the next moment by bullets fired from Kanami's guns.

 Immediately after, the Guardian, who had remained silent until now, finally spoke.

 "...Guardians, Keys, they're all just sacrifices in the end. You, too, are living within a worthless set of values centered around the world and righteousness."

 The voice, unfamiliar to me, was incredibly cold. I was taken aback; I hadn't expected the Guardian to utter words that essentially denied the very essence of the God-Demon War.

 For a brief moment of astonishment, Kanami raised her eyebrows and responded.

 "Just when I thought you finally opened your mouth, you're spouting nonsense."

 "If you think it's nonsense, it's because you haven't thought about anything."

 A grinding sound, as if teeth were being clenched, resonated even to my ears. It seemed like the sound of blood vessels about to burst could be heard any moment now.

 I didn't know the background of this Guardian, but Kanami was a warrior who had experienced the God-Demon War. She had been wounded many times, faced death helplessly, and yet chose to keep fighting—a hero born as a member of the royal family. Given her birth, she could have chosen alternatives other than fighting.

 But she hadn't.

 To speak in such a disrespectful manner about the very act of fighting, even though she had fought countless battles, was beyond Kanami's tolerance.

 "Yuusuke-sama, I should be the one to handle that person."

 "'I'll leave it to you.'"

 Perhaps she had deemed it pointless to continue exchanging words, as Kanami said this and stepped forward.

 I remained calm, even as a participant in the war. I could empathize to some extent with what the Guardian was saying because they were an otherworld people. Kanami and Eris, who were born as members of the royal family and had a different background and environment, had different perspectives.

 So, in this case, it was appropriate for Kanami to confront her.

 The Winged Guardian prepared her spear and activated her magic.

 Her wings fluttered as if taking flight, and many feathers sparkled and drifted elegantly in the air. The feathers gathered before the Guardian as if they had a will of their own, forming an elegant object.

 It was a big move.

 Moreover, it was different from the wide-ranging attack from earlier; this was a powerful single-point strike designed to pierce through defenses. Just by looking at it, I could tell it possessed the power to overwhelm even a magician's defense.

 Still, she lacked...

 "Are you mocking me?"

 ...experience in battle.


 The Winged Guardian appeared right beside Kanami and instinctively tried to swing her spear. But it was too slow. Even with the shortened preparation time thanks to her wings, using a magic with such a long cast right in front of the enemy was suicidal.

 Kanami's finger pulled the trigger. The magazine rotated continuously, and magic generated bullets were fired.

 "'Grem (Karmic Wind Bullet).'"

 What Kanami fired was a tempestuous bullet. The compressed tempest was so intense that the night seemed to warp as it struck the Winged Guardian, forming multiple layers of spiraling winds.

 The Guardian instinctively activated a defensive spell, but she couldn't completely stop it. The silver object dissipated into particles of light, and the Winged Guardian was blown away at an incredible speed.

 Kanami's attack didn't end there.

 "Let's switch places for a moment."

 The guns whirred, and one after another, a storm of winds were unleashed toward the Guardian. Kanami's role was to separate that Guardian from us.

 Despite her anger, Kanami had fulfilled her role with certainty.

 Now, it was time for us to make our move.

 I tightened my grip on the sword once again and kept a vigilant eye on our surroundings.

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