Eternal Ice Princess/Crucifixion by the Purple Flame High Priest
In order to follow Lavinia who had been chasing Augusta, Tobio and the others had been dashing deeper into the mountains but…….
They were suddenly enshrouded in mist, and by the time they’d noticed——they’d reached a place where before their eyes was Barakiel and a tall man.
“Eh? What is this? We were chasing Lavinia……and yet before us now is Barakiel-sensei……huh?”
Natsume couldn’t help but to be confused.
Tobio was also feeling the same……he had judged however that, most likely, the mist from earlier was some sort of supernatural power, one which had brought them to this place.
The tall man approached while watching them with his silver eyes.
His gaze held extreme towards them, to the degree they could practically see into his soul.
The man displayed a thin smile.
“——The imitation god and each of the Four Fiends. Nice to meet you. I am Satanael.”
At the man’s self-introduction, Tobio, Natsume, and Sae were terribly surprised.
This was because they recognized the man before them as one of the masterminds behind the series of events. Moreover, he was the leader who betrayed the organization of Azazel.
Shigune let out a subdued mutter while holding Poh-kun.
“……The aforementioned beautiful man……. This is the person, the one who made a deal with Koga-kun.”
With the transformation accomplished by Koga fresh in their minds, upon realizing that the transaction partner was right in front of them, Tobio and the others were able to understand that Satanael’s connection to the current events was considerable.
His black dog accomplice——Jin, even while remaining vigilant towards Satanael who was before him, was using his eyes and ears to scan the surrounding area.
Somehow or another, it seemed that the enemy had surrounded the place.
In response to Jin quietly, without so much as a growl, raising his aura of fighting intent, Satanael put on a seemingly happy expression.
Satanael pointed at Jin as he spoke.
“Your Sacred Gear bears a certain will within it. ——Are you perhaps aware of the being known as Lycaon?”
“……I heard a little bit from Governor-General Azazel.”
In regards to the sacred gear that dwelt within him, Tobio had received a certain degree of an explanation from Azazel.
Of course, that didn’t mean he had been told everything, and it had ended up such that the continuation of the tale would happen when circumstances permitted.
However, he had heard roughly everything in regards to its origins.
Satanael spoke of things identical to what Azazel had said.
“The paradise that appears in Greek mythology——‘Arcadia’, Lycaon was said to be the name of the king who ruled over it. Due to accumulating misdeeds against the chief god of Greek mythology Zeus, he earned Zeus’s wrath and was degraded into the form of a beast. His name was passed down in legends as a wicked king.”
The originator of werewolves——the king who was said to be the original true ancestor. As far as the myth of Lycaon was concerned, he was famous as a wolf even if it was only a temporary form from when the gods would descend to walk the earth.
Satanael stared at Jin with narrowed eyes.
“——But, that thing of yours isn’t a wolf, it’s become a dog. It is an imitation god that isn’t a wolf at all——. The reason is something that even the Grigori haven’t been able to understand. Most likely, even for the person himself who made it, that was a result that could not have been predicted.”
Azazel, perhaps coming from his influence that transcended mythological systems, had stated several theories but…….
Satanael raised his index finger.
“There is one more will that is lodged within that Sacred Gear.”
Indeed, Jin——‘Dog God of the Black Blade Canis Lycaon’, had another existence other than Lycaon lodged within it.
“——‘Ama no Ohabari’[?], the strongest among the Totsuka-no-Tsurugi[?] that are considered divine swords, which even obtained divinity. While a god, it is a blade——. That will is also lodged within you.”
The source of the warped blades produced by Jin is ‘Ama no Ohabari’——.
However, it was also considered to have lost its divinity. As a consequence it is receiving Lycaon’s influence, turning it into an ominous blade.
Satanael then continued.
“However, that you emerged from the Himejima bloodline is not coincidental from my perspective. The one they worship is the god Hinokagutsuchi. The sword which beheaded him——was ‘Ama no Ohabari’. It’s what called a god-slaying sword. It seems almost inevitable that you would be born possessing that power.”
When he first heard about that from Azazel, he felt like he understood the reason why Himejima Hanezu had been so attached to his power in the end.
For a man who detested the Himejima, if an existence that slew the god worshiped by the Himejima was born from the Himejima bloodline, it was only natural that he’d bear a great interest in it.
——I have fashioned you into an ominous blade.
Tobio did not recall that instant, but it seemed those were the last words of Himejima Hanezu.
Satanael shrugged his shoulders and spoke.
“It’s a mashup of Greek mythology and Japanese mythology. Moreover, it’s a cross between King Lycaon who bore ill will towards Zeus and god-slaying sword……. How befitting that the one who produced the Sacred Gears was such a whimsical, or rather, crazy Creator. ——Don’t you think so? Imitation Dog God possessing the god-slaying fangs.”
Tobio was the one being asked but…….
‘Canis Lycaon’——when it came to sacred gears, for two beings to dwell within one simultaneously was an exceedingly rare case, and with them both being powerful, it followed that such a thing would be counted among the Longinus.
However, perhaps because they were mutually contrary existences, their original characteristics had been warped into their current conglomeration.
Tobio replied with careful vigilance.
“……I have an interest in my own ability, but for breaking through the present situation, it is necessary in order to survive. It seems you have a great interest in Sacred Gears……but for me if it brings everyone back safely that is all I care about.”
From out of his own shadow, Tobio produced a single scythe.
Satanael was watching Tobio’s actions with cynicism. He pointed at the sickle.
“However, that blade seems to be releasing an entirely ominous radiance regardless of your intentions.”
As Satanael said, the sickle Tobio was wielding was releasing a dangerous brilliance, to the point that even Tobio who was wielding it could feel a deep black something from the sickle.
He sensed that the being dwelling within him, pushing past the will of its host, was attempting to alter his awareness……. It was still to an extent that it could be held back, but if it got any stronger than this, just how would things end up……?
While experiencing a touch of anxiety, that voice became audible.
“Would you be so kind as to not indoctrinate that child with strange ideas?”
The one who appeared was Himejima Suzaku.
She appeared while clad in a courageous aura and atmosphere.
With next head of the Himejima clan to having appeared, Satanael’s expression seemed to become even more pleased.
“The Himegimi[?] of the Himejima clan. Are you hunting the remnants of the ‘Utsusemi Agency? Or else did you come to capture the Dog God?”
In response to Satanael’s query, Suzaku spoke while producing flames in her hand.
“The former of course. My subordinates are already concealed throughout this entire area. Though there are only a few of them, I shall have them capture the remnants of that agency. Please do not hate me though should those practitioners from Oz, as well as thy own subordinates, end up being injured or even arrested while that is ongoing. That incident that developed before was because of thou after all.”
“As always you are at least quick when it comes to brushing away the sparks involved with your household. After speaking with a friend, I was even able to see the face of the dog at last. ——Well then, I’ll leave the rest to the Purple Flames.”
As he said that, Satanael expanded a magic circle beneath his feet.
“——Transporting is it? I won’t allow it.”
Reacting instantly, Suzaku proceeded to fire a sphere of flames originating from her hand.
Thrusting his hand forward, Satanael produced a magic circle that served as a protective wall, which protected him from Suzaku’s flame.
Satanael was enveloped in light released from the magic circle he’d created.
“Let us meet again, ladies and gentlemen.”
When those words were concluded, the light light ceased——and the figure of Satanael was no longer there.
It seemed he had jumped to some other place using a transportation type magic circle.
Suzaku spoke to Barakiel.
“Oji-sama, please pursue him. For such a well-informed man, it is likely possible to acertain insight in this situation as to place he transferred to.”
“Considering the possibility of being a hinderance to that man, the only one in this situation who can do that is you Oji-sama. Please leave Tobio and the others to me. ……Can’t you depend on me?”
In response to Suzaku’s question, Barakiel seemed as though he wanted to say something, but he swallowed them down and made black wings appear from his back.
Barakiel flew away from that place.
“You all! Don’t be rash at the very least!”
Leaving those words behind, Barakiel pursued Satanael.
Tobio, Natsume, Sae, Shigune, and Suzaku wer left behind——.
Suzaku boldly addressed the people who appeared to be on standby in the surrounding area.
“Be so kind as to come out. You will won’t you? Given that your master isn’t nearby, you surely were left behind in order to fight us.”
In response to Suzaku’s provocation, four men and women revealed themselves from where they were hiding.
There was the sunglasses man they had met just before, a new man with a handsome physique, a man with a bandage wrapped around his right arm, and a woman with braided hairstyle who was holding a tattered bear plush doll in both arms.
They were all dressed in a uniform resembling that of ‘Nephilim’.
As Tobio and the others had been told by Barakiel, this was the exclusive uniform of the ‘Abyss Team’.
All of them were people who had been listed in the materials they’d been given.
The opponents were oozing an uneasiness from their bodies, and from their eyes most of all. As though to curse the entire world, their eyes reflected a terrible corruption.
……Their circumstances had also been written about in the materials.
As a result of the sacred gears they carried in their bodies being atrocious ones, they’d been neglected by those around them since the time they were children. Even their true blood relatives kept a distance, and more than a few people had tried to kill them.
Due to having lived while only seeing the ugly side of humanity, they were warped entirely from their personalities all the way to their abilities.
It was also said that none of them had not become murderers. Being those sorts of people, in accordance with Grigori policy, they would have naturally been disposed of before they could cause any harm, and yet…….
In gathering them, Satanael had organized them for the sake of making use of them rather than disposing of them.
The woman who had been carrying the plush toy, taking a step forward, inquired of Tobio and the others while smiling.
“Hey hey, you guys are also the owners of sacred gears, right?”
In a complete turnaround from the cute smile, she switched to being mean as she continued inquiring.
“——About how many people have you killed so far? Five? Ten? Or is it even higher?”
Responding to those words, the male group also let out ominous chuckles.
Natsume spoke as Griffon perched on her arm.
“……There’s no reason for something like murder. We’ve only been frantically fighting in order to survive.”
The woman inclined her head at Natsume’s statement.
“……You mean even if it’s in order to survive, it’s not okay to kill people? But, if we don’t kill, won’t it be us who get killed? Ordinary humans, despite being powerless, try to kill us.”
In the middle of saying that, the woman stopped speaking……and her body completely stiffened.
Her head alone was making rapid unnatural movements, and she suddenly shouted.
“I’LL BE KIIIIIIILED!! I’M GOING TO BE KILLED!!! Forgive me, forgive me! I didn’t do anything! I was only just looking!! I was just playing with this child!! Mirei-chan and Yuuri-chan were also just playing because they said they wanted to play with this child is aaaall!! Therefore, forgive meeeee!! I didn’t do anythiiiiing!! That Mirei-chan and Yuuri-chan ended up chopped to bits is something I hate too!!!”
The woman’s eyes became fixed on a specific point as she raised a cryptic shriek.
That became the battle’s starting signal.
The bear plush doll the woman was holding separated from her hands, alit upon the ground on its own, and then grew to a gigantic size.
What appeared before Tobio and the others was a bear plush doll that reached three meters in height.
The plush doll opened its mouth with a ‘gupah’, extended pointed fangs from it, and sharp claws appeared from inside of its fingerless hands.
This woman’s Sacred Gear was an independent avatar type. Its special characteristic was to protect the woman autonomously, but due to her possessing tremendous power from birth, without her control the sacred gear had ended up indiscriminately attacking the people around her.
Furthermore, the claws and tusks were endowed with a deadly poison.
The now gigantic bear plush doll——the Sacred Gear rushed at Tobio and the others. With the Ryoukou students who were there, there were three in possession of sacred gears——but to be perfectly honest, when it came to fighting potential there was only Tobio and Natsume. Shigune was also in possession of sacred gear, but for starters its ability was still unknown and on top of that “Poh-kun” seemed to lack motivation as he was yawning even in this situation.
Tobio and Natsume began employing their alter egos Jin and Griffon to defend Sae and Shigune.
At Tobio’s instruction, Jin produced a sword from the shadows, gripped it in his mouth, and was shooting towards the bear plush doll like a bullet.
Griffon also rose steeply into the evening sky, preparing to dive bomb from high altitude.
However, it wasn’t just the bear plush doll before them that had started to attack.
The man of handsome appearance began breathing in deeply, his abdomen having swelled to a bizarre degree. It seemed as though his abdomen was being filled with something, which he would then forcibly expel from his mouth.
Tobio and the others evaded using the defensive movements from Barakiel’s training.
BECHAH! ——What the man had spat out had clung to a large tree behind them when they had evaded. When they looked, it was a gelatinous substance, and the smoke rising from the large tree where it clung made it clear that it was melting. Moreover, this gel wriggled as though with a will of its own.
This man’s sacred gear had the ability to bring a highly corrosive slime to life within his abdomen. Moreover it wasn’t just one——.
The man was bringing forth slimes successively, and the unpleasant slimes were crawling to surround Tobio and the others.
That slime, according to what had been written in the materials, as a type that would engage in parasitism towards an opponent, would enter through the mouth, nose, ears, and other orifices and would gradually dissolve the person from the inside.
And then there was the third person. The man with the bandages around his right arm was unwinding the bandages.
As for what was there——it was a strange right on which there existed closely packed mouth-like things covering the entirety.
According to the materials, if one heard the curses let loose from those numerous mouths, they’d receive a curse that would induce extreme variations in their mind and body.
Above all, there was the man in the sunglasses. Just like when he’d attacked them a short time before, he had made two stone statues appear to steal away their eyesight.
All four of them were now being hostile, but it would only be unpleasant for the owners if they were directly bathed in their ability.
Jin, who was complying with Tobio’s lifeforce, performed a single slash with the sword in his mouth towards the bear plush doll’s torso, bestowing a single straight diagonal wound from the tip of its shoulder until the base of its flank.
When the plush doll staggered, Griffon descended from the sky and scored a direct hit with a ramming attack. The woman’s sacred gear collapsed to the ground.
While the battle had just commenced, Suzaku took a single step forward and inquired of the man vomiting slime creatures and the the man with the ominous mouths covering his right arm.
“There is just a single inquiry I would like to make. ——You all are the low ranking members of the Abyss Team, correct?”
The well built man sneered in response to Suzaku’s question.
“……Certainly we might seem like small fry compared to the superior members of the Abyss Team, but even so isn’t it sufficient with just us if it’s about to mortally wounded you all?”
In response to the man’s statement, Suzaku let out a breath as though sighing.
“As expected, you really are low ranked members. After all, while opposing me and a Longinus your speaking in such a manner. ……I wonder if Satanael is currently taking a wait-and-see approach. Well, no matter.”
It happened in an instant——. The aura of flame covering her swelled to a tremendous degree, imposing high temperatures on the entire area. The temperature reached a degree where one would suffer injury just from breathing——.
Forming flickering flames in her right hand, she directed her sights towards the group of slimes that were surrounding them.
“To start with——“
She slashed horizontally with her arm while the flames were dwelling in her hand, and instantly the group of slimes was assaulted by an extensive blaze.
“Let us erase those smelly things.”
There had been a group of at least ten slimes, but they were instantly reduced to dust by Suzaku’s flames.
Furthermore, turning to the man vomiting slimes, Suzaku held her right hand in the shape of a gun and performed a shooting action.
With a ‘Booh!’ sound——a pillar of flame rose from the man’s mouth.
The man raised a shriek. It seemed that flames had been fired at the same moment that Suzaku had made a gun shooting action.
Having lost consciousness, the man fell prostrate on the ground.
“I shall put a lid on that while I’m at it.”
The shooting incident had occurred in such a brief instant that it couldn’t be followed.
Next Suzaku turned towards the enormous bear plush doll that seemed to be getting to its feet..
Raising the palm of her right hand, Suzaku manifested flames there which began to take the shape of something.
Above her palm, the flames formed into the shape of a small bird.
Suzaku released this, at which point it charged directly at the bear plush doll. The small bird of flames crashed into the bear plush doll’s guts, boring a large hole into it.
With the small bird having penetrated its abdomen——flames instantly flared up from inside of the bear plush doll, and its large build was covered by the fire.
“M-My sacred geeeeEEEARRR!”
With her sacred gear seeming to have hit its limits by being engulfed in flame, the woman raised a shriek.
Strangely, the flames manipulated by Suzaku didn’t burn the surrounding vegetation. Most likely, she was capable of regulating them.
With her sacred gear having been burned the woman leapt at Suzaku in a fit of rage and began attacking her with Taijou[?]. Perhaps having also learned technical skills with the Grigori, the woman was someone familiar with Taisabaki[?].
Highly accurate palm strikes, magnificent spinning kicks, she moved with those movements that driven people away time and again.
However, since Suzaku was also learned in the arts of unarmed combat, she nimbly evaded all of the woman’s attacks.
By shifting her upper body——the opponent’s attacks would go sweeping past, and seeing an opening she struck with her feet to sent the woman to the ground.
Suzaku spoke to the floored woman.
“My power[?], it has the ability to easily burn you if I wanted to. If I get serious, then I’m sorry.”
As Suzaku said this, she delivered a palm heel strike into the tip of collapsed woman’s chin, at which point she lost consciousness.
Suzaku immediately turned her gaze upon another one. The one there was the man with mouth-like things manifested close together along his right arm.
The countless mouths present on his right arm, having started to open, were all muttering something. Letting out curses, they were trying to place a curse on them.
Suzaku asked Natsume.
“That falcon……Minagawa-san! That person’s arm, can you remove it?”
To Suzaku’s audacious question, Natsume focused her attention on the man.
“R-Remove it, but……!”
Natsume timidly spoke such words after gulping.
Suzaku, having immediately made a decision when faced with Natsume’s resolution, this time inquired of Tobio.
“——Tobio. Can you remove it?”
Tobio, without any delay in his response, issued an order to Jin.
With a sword held in his mouth, Jin rushed towards the man at high speeds.
“Kuh! Don’t make light of me! I’ll curse even your dog!”
The man oriented his arm towards Jin. ——But, Jin vanished from the man’s sight, and by hiding under the cover of the trees, he advanced from his blind spot.
“Wha! So fast!”
Unable to react to Jin’s movements, it the man who weakened the force of the curses——and the black dog rushed in from behind him.
Mercilessly, Jin lopped off the man’s right arm.
“GAAAAAAAAAAAH! My arm is AAAAAH!”
Having lost his right arm, the man collapsed on the spot, writhing in pain.
With the arm of curses having been contained, it was Tobio who let out a momentary sigh of relief but——.
The aforementioned stone statues that stole one’s eyesight had shortened their distance with Sae.
Sae had not realized the stone statue’s approach——.
Tobio immediately rushed in at that very moment! He couldn’t afford to let his important Sae be struck by that guy’s technique!
The sunglasses man shouted as he showed an ugly smile on his face.
“It’s an openiiIIIING! Since a short time ago, you’ve been seriously protecting this femaale! So then let’s snatch away her eyesight shall weeeEEEE!”
Light shone from the stone statue——.
Tobio stood in front of Sae to serve as her shield.
A dazzling light enveloped the vicinity!
The sunglasses man raised a mighty laugh with an insane voice.
“Ah haaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahah! It covered you directly! Take that take thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat! Are you no longer able to see!? Can you no see anything!? Come come come come come, tell your impressions to meeeEEEEEE! Tell me your impressions about losing the ability to see——wait! Huh?”
The sunglasses man, who had been dancing for joy, finally collected himself.
Tobio’s eyesight——hadn’t been weakened. The man on the other hand, having noticed an abnormality in himself, covered his face with his hands.
He waved his hand before his eyes numerous times.
“Huh? Huh huh huh huh, huuuuUUUUUuuuuuh! WHY!? Why was I the one who lost the ability to seeeee!? I CAN’T SEE! HOW IS IT THAT I CANNOT SEE!? You’re fucking kidding meeeeeEEEEEEE!!!”
The man, who possessed the ability to steal one’s eyesight, had conversely lost to his own light.
The man shouted upon confirming that the sunglasses no longer covered his eyes.
“Y-YoOOOOOOU! You stole my sunglasses!?”
As the man had said, Tobio was wearing the sunglasses that had been his opponent’s.
At that instant, Natsume had quickly launched Griffon, who had snatched the man’s sunglasses. Immediately after they were stolen, Tobio, who had received the sunglasses from Griffon, covered his own eyes.
Immediately after the previous battle, they’d received a second explanation from Barakiel about the sunglasses man’s ability, and the specially darkened glasses he wore over his eyes.
Since the man’s ability could befall even himself, he couldn’t use his ability unless he wore darkened glasses developed by the Grigori.
Having known that Tobio and Natsume stole the sunglasses from the man in the instant he took action. It was a coordinated effort without prior arrangement, but both of them gave each other a thumbs up at how smoothly it had gone.
It was a result of them having fought together up until now, as well as Barakiel’s training bearing fruit.
Tobio quickly destroyed the stone statue with the sickle in his hand, after which he turned upon the man once more.
“Shall I tell you my present thoughts?”
The man who had his eyesight stolen, his body staggering, ended up slamming his back into a large tree behind him.
“This is bullshiiiiIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTT!”
Towards the screaming man, Tobio swung his scythe downwards——such a thing was unnecessary, instead he instead thrust the butt end portion into the opponent’s abdomen like it was a spear.
With the impact of being nearly skewered, the man lost consciousness on the spot, and ended up collapsing on the ground.
With all four Abyss Team members including the sunglasses man having been defeated, the animosity drifting through the area instantly vanished.
At last Tobio and the others could take a break.
Sae grabbed Tobio’s face with both hands, making a concerned inquiry.
“……Tobio, your eyes……”
“I’m alright. Griffon brought theses sunglasses just in time.”
Tobio was showing a smile while still wearing the sunglasses, and Sae——perhaps feeling relieved, just burst into tears.
In protecting her, it seemed he had thought he would have his eyesight stolen. Removing the sunglasses, Tobio clasped Sae’s hand.
“……I’ll protect Sae. No matter what that entails.”
Nonetheless, faced with an opponent with an intention to kill……at the final moment he hadn’t killed him.
If it was a monster employed by a supernatural ability user——such as the Utsusemi of the ‘Four Fiends Project, even Tobio would kill without hesitation.
However, even if it was a supernatural ability user, nevertheless, when it came to slaying humans……there was still hesitation.
There was seemingly no mistake that his consciousness had been modified when he had killed Himejima Hanazu……but even so…….
Natsume cleared her throat and spoke.
“……I apologize for breaking up the good atmosphere, but……”
Tobio and Sae, who had been presently holding hands, suddenly realized and separated their hands.
They both simultaneously apologized to Natsume.
——And, with the Abyss Team members having all been defeated, Tobio and the others realized their next move.
Natsume spoke to Suzaku.
“Err, Himejima Suzaku……san, thank you. You saved us. Or perhaps I should say, you practically finished them off……”
“No, it was no problem. I do not believe that even this is more than a partial compensation for all the trouble the ‘Utsusemi Agency’ put you through.”
“However, to be able to inflict instant death on such troublesome opponents, as expected, the next family head of the Five Principal Clans is on a different level.”
Natsume said this as she passed her gaze over the people of the Abyss Team that Suzaku had brought down on her own.
While folding her arms, Suzaku smiled bitterly.
“Though I have certainly been training……they were not that supernaturally powerful. Just now, they told me that they were the low ranking members within the team. Though they were a threat to ordinary humans, anyone with a certain degree of experience with supernatural powers could have dealt with them. Their team composition was of the so called ‘kill on first sight’ variety. To have attacked with such a number of forces, it can be easily understood from that they had divided their forces. They were personnel intended to test our skills and abilities.”
Shizuka spoke with a calm expression.
“……The truly troublesome members are still being kept in reserve. With this method, the supernatural power users coming to arrest us are of an unknown level.”
……Indeed, having finished reading the documents, there were several members of the Abyss Team who Tobio and the others were extremely wary of.
Their powers——were ones for which the level of danger far exceeded that of the ones they were presently keeping company.
Consequently, they had resolved themselves to a certain degree on the way here…….
Noticing something, Natsume was glancing around the nearby area.
“S-Say, weren’t there two stone statues the snatch away eyesight!? Where’s the other one!?”
At that single statement, Tobio and the others again raised their guards and turned their attention to the surroundings……. The stone statue did not appear at all.
With the man having collapsed, could it have disappeared perhaps……?
In that situation, Shigune timidly raised her hand.
“……S-Say. About that stone statue……”
Shigune was pointing towards her own feet.
Down there was Shigune’s Sacred Gear——Poh-kun, who might have been cruchily eating something.
At a closer glance, what Poh-kun was eating was——the aforementioned second statue that steals eyesight.
He had already consumed more than half of the stone statue, and yet he was continuing to munch on it without any cessation in his appetite.
“……This child will eat anything you see. Naturally this includes human beings, and he can even eat things like techniques or spells used by opponents such as this. What was it……a form of divination? What the people of the ‘Utsusemi Agency’ were using, whether they were dolls made of paper or dolls made of soil, he just ate them entirely.”
He just ate them entirely——.
The reason Shigune had been quiet so far, it seemed it wasn’t just because Koga was present.
Natsume then asked.
“I had been wondering about it all along but, to have been safe against an enemy who fights by snatching away one’s eyesight, that was thanks to this child?”
Tobio had also had doubts. Shigune hadn’t had her eyesight stolen, since after all she had been aware that the sunglasses man was using two stone statues.
“……I don’t quite get it, but Poh-kun was somehow able to defend against the light like a shield. However, based on how it appeared……could he have been was eating the light entirely……or something?”
Eating the light——. Rather than light itself, it was more like he protected her by eating the Sacred Gear’s ability…….
This masked creature of a Sacred Gear did all of that…….
There were many more questions about Shigune’s Sacred Gear……however, Natsume clapped her hands sharply and spoke.
“We’re not pursuing Lavinia!”
Indeed, that had been their original goal.
“Get going. I will take custody of the Abyss Team. You mustn’t leave the Ice Princess and the Witch of the East alone together.”
……Tobio wondered just how the Grigori would respond as a consequence of handing the defeated members of the Abyss Team over to someone from the Five Principal Clans……but more important right now was ensuring the safety of their companion.
Tobio exchanged nods with Natsume, Sae, and Shigune, and temporarily entrusting the present location to Suzaku, they once again chased after Lavinia——.
Tobio and the others had resumed their pursuit of Lavinia.
Having memorized Lavinia’s scent, Jin was dashing straight towards her position.
As they advanced, Tobio gradually became aware of a peculiarity in the outdoor atmosphere. There was alternating, or possibly simultaneous, blasts of cold air and mild heat waves.
The further they advanced, the stronger it became.
They immediately understood.
Lavinia’s ice and Augusta’s flames were disrupting the atmospheric temperature on this part of the mountain.
As they ran they could see traces of magic and supernatural power amidst the many trees, the ground, the boulders, and the like.
——The trees had been felled or gouged out, completely changing the appearance of the forest.
The trees had been either burned to a crisp, or else had been encased in ice. The were places where the ground had been frozen over, and places where it had been gouged out, and there was also smoking vegetation where the fires could not be completely extinguished.
Even from in front of them the clamorous sounds of battle could be heard. It seemed that Lavinia was close.
Sprinting, Tobio and the others finally emerged from the forest——and there was a river of bare rocks.
Lavinia and Augusta were standing confronting one another by the river. Both of them had several magic circles deployed in front of them and were glaring at the other.
Next to each of them respectively, there stood a child of nobility crafted from ice and a giant cultivated from flames. They were their respective sacred gears——their Longinus.
Lavinia manifested countless spears of ice from the numerous magic circles and fired them at Augusta. Augusta also fired enormous flames from her magic circles, which served to offset Lavinia’s ice magic.
The pair’s powerful magics collided with one another, the ice being melted by the flames, the fire being extinguished by the ice, all leading to a powerful wind that blew violently.
Beside them, the flame giant which was carrying a cross swung it with great vigor. From the cross that was swung, purple flames on a fierce scale sprung forth, which rushed towards Lavinia’s ice princess.
The ice princess crossed its four arms, and multiple layers of ice pillars grew from out of surface of the bare rocks and orientated on the giant.
The purple flames and ice pillars collided, creating a grand explosion.
A flashy magic battle was unfolding right before the eyes of Tobio and the others.
Tobio and the other gulped.
Just from the present battle, they understood thatit was a struggle between two people that had exceeded both their imaginations and abilities.
The magic of those two belonged to a domain far above their own world——.
If Jin or Griffon were to rush in, they might be burned by those powerful flames, or if conversely they captured, they would end up being a hiderence to Lavinia.
They should have come to help, but the situation was such that they couldn’t rush in carelessly.
——Perhaps, if I were to demonstrate the power from the time I overthrew Himejima Hanezu…….
Tobio considered this, but the unrestrained power would simultaneously means that he’d end up killing his companions as well.
In regards to how, just before, Natsume hadn’t removed the arm from the man who bore the right arm of curses, the cause of this was how, when Griffon had transformed during the battle with the ‘Utsusemi Agency’, he had cut off the arm of Doumon Kazuhisa.
Based on appearances, she had ended up developing something like trauma from that, and now couldn’t bring herself to use showy attacks against a human opponent.
……Natsume and I are both high school students. We’re fully aware that our readiness under such circumstances is like that of children.
However, the witch girl before his eyes, who was of the same age, was continuing to fire off magic with the power to freeze her opponent.
It was a certain kind of readiness——. That was what he perceived within Lavinia and Vali.
Those two, who had gone through similar environments, had perhaps reached similar resolutions——.
Lavinia and Augusta were continuing their magical battle with one another.
From the magic circles the pair of them manifested came, not just fire and ice, but also squalls, lightning strikes, countless arrows of light, deep black balls of darkness, and frequent paranormal phenomenon that Tobio hadn’t seen before were all unfolding before their eyes.
Each and every one of these blows raised columns of water countless times from the river, destroying the rocky shore.
The boldly smiling Augusta, and Lavinia whose expression never loosesened.
——And then, the pair took notice of them at roughly the same time.
“Oh my, it seems that Satanael has finished with his business huh. Moreover, it looks as though his proteges were defeated.”
“Lavinia! We’ve come now, so don’t worry!”
With her companions’ arrival Lavinia finally loosened her cheeks.
Seeing that, Augusta sneered.
“Hey Ojou-chan from just now, if you intrude into a battle between fellow Longinus, it’ll end with you dying in the aftermath of my and the Ice Princess’s magic.”
At that statement from the elderly witch, Natsume resentfully said, “What was that!”
Augusta then directed her gaze at Tobio——and at Shigune who was holding “Poh-kun”.
“……Well, it would appear that I shouldn’t show that dog or Toutetsu any openings though.”
——And then, Augusta turned her eyes upon Sae next.
“……The black lion test subject huh. Seems that she were safe then. ……Oh? You can’t bring it out? That is certainly unexpected. That fallen angel governor-general, could he have possibly done something?”
……Augusta said something disturbing. Sae, as part of an experiment by the ‘Utsusemi Agency’, had been forced to bear an artificial Sacred Gear——an independent avatar type black lion.
Tobio didn’t remember it well, but he’d heard that, as a result of Tobio reaching Balance Breaker, that it had been torn to pieces——that should be how it was but…….
Lavinia asked of Augusta.
“……By black lion test subject, you mean that thing from Oz? Governor-general Azazel is currently in the middle of analyzing it. I would like it if you didn’t say thing that will cause Toby and Shaae anxiety.”
Somehow of another, Lavinia seemed to know the condition of the lion that had been dwelling inside of Sae but…….
Augusta displayed an obscene smile.
“That’s the one, though that was something that we provided to Satanael and the ‘Utsusemi Agency’. Glenda’s research was incredibly useful huh. See, it’s all because Glenda was looking after the ice princess ojou-chan.”
“So you forcibly snatched information on my Sacred Gear from Oshishou-sama.”
Hearing this statement, Augusta——let out a meaningful laugh.
Smiling an extremely ugly smile, Augusta made a statement.
“That’s wrong. That’s completely wrong. It was offered to us by Glenda. All about the power of your independent avatar type that is.”
……They were offered information on Lavinia’s own abilities by Glenda, in other words, from Lavinia’s master……?
Even more doubtful of what she was hearing than Tobio and the others, Lavinia returned a question with a perplexed expression.
“……What are you saying……?”
Augusta, her smile becoming even more detestable, joyfully explained.
This was her devastating confession.
“Oh dear. Unexpectedly, you’re a child who struggles to comprehend. Well then, allow me to explain it clearly. ——Glenda is a witch on our side. She has been from the start. Good witch? Bad witch? That is a self-centered scale from information transmitted by people on our side. At the time, it was because there was a terrible factional dispute in the world of Oz between north, south, east, and west. Well, the magicians of ‘The Country of Oz’, from the beginning, weren’t interested in anything beyond the boosting their own magic.”
For an instant, Lavinia stiffened as though time had come to a stop.
A brief silence fell over the area but…….
Lavinia squeezed out a shaky voice.
“……………………A lie. THAT’S A LIE!!!”
In response to her empathic tone, Augusta continued while smiling scornfully.
“It’s not a lie. In that case, how about this?”
The old witch raised her palm, forming a small magic circle.
Augusta addressed what seemed likely to be a communication type magic circle.
“Can you hear me, Glenda?”
After a beat, the voice of an aged woman was heard through the magic circle.
‘……For you to suddenly contact me, I wonder if something has happened, Augusta.’
Hearing that voice, Lavinia’s eyes widened.
From her reaction, it seemed that the voice was familiar to her.
Augusta cheerfully spoke to the person on the other end of the communication type magic circle.
“Right now, I was just fighting your disciple the Ice Princess. How about you let her hear your voice. Hasn’t she been desperately searching for you?”
In response to Augusta’s words, the woman, who appeared to be Lavinia’s master, replied as follows.
‘…………There’s nothing to discuss.’
The tone was one of blunt refusal.
Lavinia was left speechless by this response, and her entire body was trembling.
Completely enjoying Lavinia’s reaction, Augusta let out a laugh.
“Kakakah! How cold! Wasn’t there a time when you more or less loved this girl as a daughter? And yet your fine saying something like that! How heartless!”
In response to Augusta’s statement, the magic circle that appeared to be in communication with Glenda was silent just for a moment.
And then, she addressed her pupil.
That was——for her pupil Lavinia who had been searching after her master’s welfare, a reply that could be said to be regretful.
‘I’ll say it once more. ——What I have to say to you, is nothing.’
Thereupon the communication ended, and the magic circle disappeared.
The excessive events left even Tobio and the others at a loss for words.
As for Lavinia herself——.
Dropping her wand, her arms hung languidly, and with her gaze becoming unfocussed, her expression was enveloped by an atypical lack of composure.
Even the Ice Princess standing beside her had ceased its offensive posture.
Completely trifling with her ability, the truth that her patron, who when she had lost her relatives had showed her kindness and offered her hope, had been one of those conspiring with the enemy she was pursuing, this truth was surely something she couldn’t come to grips with.
It would not have been strange even if she believed that it wasn’t real.
Somehow opening her shivering lips, Lavinia——.
In a voice that was unimaginable for her normally, from deep within her body, from the bottom of her heart, she screamed.
“I DO NOT BELIEVE IT!!! I don’t, I don’t believe it……!!”
Lavina staggered. Her legs had no doubt become unsteady from the considerable shock.
Her heart and body ‘s condition had been completely shaken.
However, they was still a battle in progress.
Tobio and Natsume met each other’s eyes. The pair of them, having agreed to help Lavinia, nodded to each other in silence.
Tobio and Natsume rushed in at that moment, their aim being Lavinia’s rescue.
Augusta let loose a dangerous magic circle from her hand, and a black magic circle with an ominous pattern began to unfold.
“You’ve lost your senses then. Now!”
In an instant, an enormous black magic circle began to develop around the defenseless Lavinia. Bizarre magical power overflowed from it, and began covering Lavinia starting from her toes.
Without time to resist, Lavinia was enveloped by deep black magic power.
Just as her entire body was dyed black, there was also a change that befell Augusta.
The body of the old witch was shining, having turned into an orb of of light. this orb of light flew at great speed towards Lavinia who had turned black, and finally collided with her.
The orb of light went inside of Lavinia who had become jet black.
At which point, the magic circle vanished, and the jet black magic also died out as Lavinia collapsed to the ground.
What remained was——just Lavinia.
Watching this series of events, Natsume raised a voice of confusion.
“——! What just happened!?”
A short moment later, Lavinia regained her posture, her face lowered, and let out an ominous laugh.
For the usual her, a loud laugh of such a volume was unthinkable.
Lavinia turned her face to them. Her pointed gaze was filled with hostility.
She then stated the following.
‘Too bad. I have taken this miss’s body. Now then, how should we do this?’
Lavinia expression was so much like Augusta’s that Tobio and the others were shocked.
The aura drifting from her had also become that of Augusta!
——Could Augusta have hijacked her body!?
The ominous magic from just a moment ago, it was something intended to hijack Lavinia’s body…….
Though they somehow understood the circumstances, it was nevertheless surprising that the Lavinia before them had had her consciousness stolen by the old witch from Oz she’d been at odds with, and Tobio and the others were racking their brains over how to respond.
Lavinia——Augusta, paying no mind to how much confusion and the like they were feeling, was issuing instructions to the Ice Princess that was beside her and——wasn’t that independent avatar type made from ice pointing its four arms towards them!
Moreover, even the purple flame giant that Augusta had controlled had started to take a offensive posture towards them!
Augusta, bringing Longinus of ice and flame that were their respective other selves to their feet, laughed fearlessly.
‘Are you able to oppose two kinds of Longinus? Well black dog and Four Fiend young ladies?’
The Ice Princess produced a mass of ice in its hand, and the purple flame giant raised its cross up high.
In this situation, they’d end up sustaining simultaneous attacks from the Longinus of ice and flame.
Tobio had raised his guard, but then Natsume grabbed his arm.
“——Let’s withdraw temporarily.”
Natsume had just proposed that they abandon Lavinia in this situation.
Tobio’s expression became severe.
“B-But! To leave in this situation——“
He had spoken to that point, but then Tobio noticed how Natsume was biting her lip.
Even for her, this was a mortifying last minute decision.
In any case, at the moment they couldn’t think of a way to save the captured Lavinia.
Tobio made an anguished expression, and couldn’t help but to let out a sound as he gripped his fist tightly in frustration.
And then, Tobio took Sae’s hand, Natsume grabbed Shigune’s hand, and they sought refuge from that place.
‘Running away are you! Ahahahah!’
From behind they heard the loud laugh of Augusta who had entered Lavinia.
It had ended in the worst possible outcome——.