Kenshin no Keishousha Translation

Chapter 3 – The End of the Forgotten Street

The sun was slowly setting below the mountains.

An orange radiance covered the road. As if a gentle breeze was pushing it across, a small piece of trash rolled along the street.

Kurou and Hinako were walking side by side on the sidewalk.

Starting from the shopping district, they rode the tram for approximately twenty minutes as they exited the Specialized Central Region towards the Outer Human Region.

The street that they were walking on was vastly different from the bustling plaza from before. The place was devoid of people and even the occasionally appearing shops were all closed.

Kurou checked his cellphone screen. The bright dot that was displayed was indeed pointing towards the front of the road. The flashing dot was over a certain building. Was there an issue with the accuracy of the GPS? It was impossible to tell if the cellphone user was still wandering around.

“There’s not really a place to eat.”

Hinako muttered as she walked.

“If it’s here, you won’t get lost as easily at least.”

Kurou was at wits end.

Hinako would always get lost just because there was an indistinct pleasant aroma. It felt like she was enticed by the smell of crepes this time for her to get separated from Sefi.

“Getting lost in this place would be pretty boring.”

“Stop looking for excitement when you’re getting lost! That said, you didn’t have to follow me.”

In truth, she really should not have followed.

Kurou originally wanted Hinako and Sefi to group up. However, she insisted on coming along. Perhaps she thought hanging out with Kurou would be more interesting than shopping.

Furthermore, it was possible that Rinne’s cellphone could not be continually tracked. If for some reason she turned off the power, then the Electronics Operating Division would no longer be able to capture the GPS signal. It would be troublesome if the distance between them was too great.

Since there was no time to waste on arguing, Kurou instead just gave Sefi a call to report that he had found Hinako and the two of them were going to stroll around a bit. After telling her that, they arrived here.

“By the way, who are you trying to chase?”

“So now you ask.”

Should have asked from the start, that was what Kurou thought to himself as he explained the situation.

That situation consisted of him leisurely walking around by himself until he met a girl and splitting up with her after the Sun Cult incident. Moreover, it seemed like————

“That girl is perhaps a Blaze.”

Kurou had not confirmed that, but he felt he was essentially on point with this.

Her movements when she was about to be captured by the Sun Cult were…..

Her hands did not even touch the opposition and when the two cultists were blown away————that was mostly likely her mystic artes.

Just based on intuition it was clear that she was very strong. Sizing up a person’s strength was a necessary skill for a swordsman. Kurou had already thoroughly honed this technique.

Just when Kurou explained up to this point……

“How come you can understand that from just a glance?”

It was a very common question.

“It’s just based on your feeling of your opponent. By looking at their unconscious movements, sensing their aura and such you can tell. When you’ve experienced numerous encounters against other swordsman, you’ll just be able to sense it. For someone like Sefi who is just a first-year in the academy, she would probably still have a hard time doing so due to her limited experience. However, for me and Lars, we are able to judge to a certain extent.”

“Can you just tail her based on an intuition? It just seems like you’re stalking a girl……”

“It wouldn’t be bad if my hunch was wrong. However……”

There was no way I could be wrong, Kurou thought to himself. The place Rinne went to was an abandoned neighborhood. It was not a place a girl would particularly want to go to. At the very least, Rinne was not an ordinary girl, that was for certain.

“Hmm? The road ends here?”

Kurou nodded to Hinako’s comment.

The path Kurou and Hinako were currently walking————had a single bicycle lane along with two sidewalks. In front of them, there was a gate with a police checkpoint sort of station. There were also railings blocking out any vehicles and people. In the middle of the street, there was even a sign placed there with the words “do not enter” written clearly in red.

Kurou was going through his cellphone as he checked detailed reports for the nearby area.

“I see……”

Kurou thought as such. Following that, he continued forward and easily went over the railing that was at about waist level.

Hinako took a quick glance at Kurou. Since they had already come this far, she could not just go back by herself. Kurou grabbed her hand to help her over the railing.

“What happened here?”

“This is————a Blaze reservation.”

“Reservation……”

“Yup. The surviving Blazes from the cleansing which occurred after the war were separated here. The reservations, like this one here, act as a prison ground for them. Actually, I should say this used to be a reservation.”

There was a large neighborhood, a closed up shop, and an old tower further up the road. In the distance, one could even see factory buildings of some sort.

Moreover, there did not seem to be anyone here.

In the neighborhoods that Swordies reside in, generally speaking there would be plenty of greenery. Since Swordia was a world covered in vegetation and with their homeworld nostalgia, they would be restless unless the streets were covered with greenery.

Although this district had plenty of lush vegetation————it was completely unkempt. Whether it was the trees or grass, all of it was growing wild. The cars stopped on the side of the road had vines growing all over them. It was pretty much a ghost town.

“Hmm——“

Kurou retrieved the geographical data from his cellphone’s mapping program.

“It appears that the place was shut off when the number of Blazes dwindled. Perhaps they planned on reopening it later.”

Rather, it seemed to be completely set aside. Currently they were in the Outer Human Region, but this was without a doubt still within Tokyo Swordia. However, for it to be only a twenty minute tram ride from that bustling district to a reservation was quite unexpected for Kurou.

“What to do now?”

“What to do? What do you mean?”

Towards Kurou’s statement, Hinako revealed a puzzling expression.

“Rinne is located somewhere within this ghost town. If she is a Blaze, perhaps it could get dangerous.”

“You don’t have to worry about me.”

“No way.”

“I’m not Sefi, so even if you chase this Rinne girl I won’t ridicule you.”

“That’s what you meant!?”

After snarking in response, he regained his focus. Now was not the time to fool around.

“I don’t think Rinne would make a surprise attack, but it can’t be said that there’d be no issues going forward. Plus retreating from here might be an option.”

“However, does Kuro plan on going by himself?”

“I don’t know.”

“I’ll be fine by myself. Actually, I’d like to try something with that Rinne person.”

“What do you plan on doing if you meet her?”

“If she’s cute, I’ll go report this to Sefi.”

“W-Wait! Hold on a sec! Please keep this a secret from Sefi!”

“If you’re requesting me to do so in such a manner, I suppose I’ll back off……”

Hinako revealed a very somber expression. Kurou was currently looking quite pathetic.

“Well, right now it isn’t time to be goofing off.”

“Do you really want to retreat? If you do an investigation, perhaps you might figure out something about the Blazes.”

“It’d probably be best not to know what they’re planning. Nothing good comes from knowing your enemy.”

“True, it’s because Kuro is very gentle.”

“Yeah……huh?”

Kurou unwittingly nodded and then looked towards Hinako again. Did I mishear something just now?

“If you know too much about your enemy, it may be hard to take action.”

“Even so……that doesn’t mean I’m gentle.”

Although Kurou did not believe that he was heartless, he was not going to obliviously brush it off as being gentle. It was not just Kurou, but all swordsmen were the same. Even though Lars said that Manaka was not emotionless at that time, she was not someone who would hold back against an opponent.

Furthermore, Hinako did not understand how swordsmen think.

“I’m putting an end to this topic. Since we’re already here we might as well go further on a bit.”

Kurou glanced at the map to confirm their location. This place was a small park. In order to get closer to the targeted building, he would have to go across the park.

The two of them entered the park.

The park had swings, slides, a climbing wall, and a sandbox. It was a very complete park. However, each facility was quite corroded.

“I had heard the Blazes were segregated, but to think they had a park like this.”

“They were probably only provided with the bare necessities. I feel that this park was just shoved into this narrow space as some sort of entertainment facility for them. Plus this was probably just all a facade and it’s highly probable that the children were denied usage of the park anyways.”

“Kuro sure is pessimistic.”

“I’m just explaining my speculations is all.”

“Really? Well, I suppose I don’t really have any interest towards this Blaze matter.”

“That’s really unfortunate.”

“Right now there is something I wish to say to Kuro.”

“Huh? What is it?”

Right as Kurou questioned her, Hinako headed towards the swing set. After lifting herself up over the wooden swings, she took a seat.

“This is my first time sitting on this type of thing.”

“You’re a tragic story yourself aren’t you……”

While being locked up within the Sun Cult facility for so long, she most likely never had the chance to experience these recreational facilities.

“However, I know how to work these things since I’ve read about them in shoujo mangas. You just swing around like this————and then kick forward.”

“Although you’re on the right track, there’s something wrong with that.”

Before her legs flew up, Hinako did not properly swing herself up. Basically, when it came to anything involving her body strength she was still very inadequate.

“Is there something you wanted to say?”

“There’s nothing I can do for you in this case.”

“Huh?”

Hinako looked towards the distance while swinging.

“I’m always under Kuro’s protection. Even right now that holds true. However, I haven’t been able to repay you in any way.”

“There’s no need to repay me. Protecting Hinako is my job. Plus I get paid by the Sabers.”

“Was using that hard earned reward on me going outside due to your job as well?”

“……We live in the same house. If you aren’t happy, I won’t be either.”

“I’m always depressed regardless if I go out or stay indoors.”

“To have some sort of impression is good enough I suppose…….”

To be precise, it was impossible for Kurou to see eye-to-eye with Hinako. Having been imprisoned till she was fifteen years old, even after leaving that place she was still confined within the academy. If Kurou were to just abandon a girl like that, there was no way he could consider himself a human being.

“To Kuro I’m just someone you guard. Is that why you won’t tease my body like you do with Sefi?”

“Don’t mention such unpleasant words. It’s because I have a very high level of skinship with Sefi……”

“I see.”

“Don’t you think your character has deteriorated more and more?”

“That’s why I want to take advantage of this time before it gets worse to ask you something. Kuro, I won’t say anything. Regardless if it’s Sefi or Lars, I won’t speak a word. So now there won’t be any issues right?”

“No issues……what are you referring to?”

Hinako got off the swing set and casually approached Kurou. After getting to the point where their bodies almost touched, Hinako raised her head and gazed at Kurou

“Sefi selected this for me and the underwear I’m currently wearing is decorated in lovely laces.”

As she was saying this, Hinako began unbuckling the buttons to her jacket. Following that she pulled down the front of her shirt collar and her pure white skin slowly came into sight.

“Hold on! There’s no need for you to do this!”

“It’s best to not do anything huh. Those are such cruel words Kuro.”

“……”

Perhaps so, Kurou could understand her point of view.

“I’m not as cute as Sefi. Therefore, this is the most I can do for you.”

“You’re also very cute————hold on, actually I have no interest in this stuff.”

“It’s ok Kuro……I’ve already made up my mind.”

“Whatever it is, you don’t have to————“

“It’s fine. I……already know what it’s like having my breasts felt.”

“Huh?”

Kurou was dumbstruck. Hinako’s shirt was close to being completely unbuttoned, revealing her cute laced bra. Even her overly ample chest was coming into full view.

“That’s what you were getting at?”

“Eh? Doesn’t Kuro jump at the opportunity to stare at Sefi’s breasts? Don’t you love breasts more than anything else?”

“It’s not like that……”

There was the fear that she was going to let him go much further beyond that. However, Hinako misunderstood and that was partly because of Kurou’s frequent obsession with Sefi’s breasts.

“What I meant to say was————”

At that point, Kurou leaped a couple of times

As if he was swooping in on Hinako’s body, he pushed her down on the ground.

At that moment, an air piercing sound could be heard followed by an explosion.

“Tch……!”

Kurou clicked his tongue. While protecting Hinako, he noticed that there was a red object that flew across him.

A flame snake————!

“Neena!”

“A marvelous dodge. However, that isn’t at all shocking since I know about your strength.”

A girl came in from the entrance of the park. She had pigtails and was wearing a tightly fitted black suit. Furthermore, she was wearing glasses which were rarely seen among Swordies. Behind those lenses were eyes glowing with a red hue.

The light blade grasped in her hand had a faint light enshrouding the thin blade.

“Long time no see……although it hasn’t been that long. Neena, seeing you so full of life is all I could ask for.”

Kurou stood up and then grabbed the hilt of his sword.

“You haven’t changed a bit. You’re clearly still teasing Sefi. Even now you were about to act atrociously to this girl.”

“Just as he was about to act, you stopped him.”

“How impolite of me.”

Neena gracefully bowed. She appeared to be quite serious, yet unexpectedly enjoyed joking around.

“However, it’s perfect that you’re here. I’ve always wanted to burn down this park.”

“You should take advantage of this kids park.”

Kurou was just messing around while gazing at where the flame snake————Neena’s mystic artes directly struck. The wooden swing was already roasted without a trace except the two dangling chains. The area below was also burned. It was quite a tragic sight.

Kurou had already seen Neena’s mystic artes numerous times in the past. Since he was already used to the sound of the snake flying by, he was able to sense it coming.

“Hinako, are you hurt?”

“Since Kurou pushed me down in time, I’m fine.”

Hinako denied the notion. She was just dirtied up a little bit, but there was not even a scratch on her it seemed.

“That’s good. Well then…..why is Neena here?”

“That should be my line. Why are you here? If it wasn’t you, I was originally planning to just overlook this and head back.”

“……Hmm.”

Based on Neena’s words he realized something. She seemed to be hiding out here in this ghost town.

Although he was thinking that could not be all there was to it, if Neena was here then that meant————

“Hey, Neena, don’t be acting so conspicuous since we are prisoners after all.”

“……”

Sure enough, Kurou’s ominous premonition came true.

Another girl appeared from the entrance of the park just like Neena.

She was wearing the Sabers uniform that he was already accustomed to seeing along with a bright red jacket even though it was clearly summer.

“Ah, it’s Kurou-kun and Sakurai Hinako. To think we’d meet up here.”

She was the former Sword General and director of the Sabers. She was also the sister of Kurou’s master and a member of the Blazes who betrayed the Swordie government.

“Manaka, seems like your wounds have completely healed already.”

Kurou felt cold sweat running down his back, but he was already used to that. Those who climbed to the Seven Swords have overwhelming light power. Her light was not to the point where he would shake uncontrollably, but just seeing her made him nearly faint.

“That was all thanks to you, but I’m fully recovered now. On the other hand, I was originally supposed to have slain you but you seem to have healed quite nicely.”

Was this some psychological effect? It felt like Manaka was very excited. Was she delighted from seeing her sister’s enemy?

“I never would have thought I’d see you here. What are you doing here Manaka?”

“Even if you ask, isn’t it just Kurou showing up to where we are currently living.”

“This isn’t normal. Your hideout is within the Blaze reservation?”

Although the hideout seemed to be pretty successful, to choose a location that had some relation to them was perhaps too daring.

“Lifelines still run through here actually. I can watch TV and drink ice cold beer after bathing.”

“How perfect.”

Having electricity in an abandoned neighborhood seemed very odd. However, this doubt was better off being set aside for now.

“Speaking of which Kurou-kun, since I answered a question of yours, can you answer one of mine? Why are you even here? Did the Sabers already discover this place?”

“The Sabers is a highly touted organization. I know you are clearly aware of this.”

“Yeah, it wouldn’t be surprising if they actually did find out. However, it’s quite peculiar that you would be here by yourself. Furthermore, you’re even being so cautious as to bring Sakurai Hinako with you.”

Her words did not seem to be lies. Perhaps it would be best for Manaka to think that the Sabers had already found their location.

“I was hoodwinked by some girl and let her get away. I went in pursuit since I was reluctant to part from her and so I ended up here.

“Ah, so that’s it.”

Manaka indicated as if she had figured out everything.

“I was wondering where that kid went. In that case she brought some extra baggage back with her.”

“I’m considered extra baggage? The kid you are talking about……is that Rinne? Is she here?”

“Is she? I’m not that kid’s guardian so I wouldn’t know.”

In the end, he only arrived here due to the GPS signal. Although he was not totally sure, it seemed that this was Rinne’s residence.

In that case, his guess that she was Blaze was correct.

Manaka, Neena, and now Rinne, these three Blazes being here was not particularly interesting.

It appeared that this was not an idle location either. Before the situation continued to worsen, he had to consider some retreating tactics.

“Oh oh Kurou-kun, I have some good news for you.”

“I’m quite interested.”

“There’s no point in thinking about escape.”

“If one always avoids the impossible, then they can’t continue to grow.”

“However————trying to do the impossible is also pointless.”

Just as Manaka displayed a frightening smile, the sound of footsteps could be heard. It was not just one or two people. The sound of those footsteps soon closed in on the park.

“……Heh heh.”

Kurou felt anxious but he was still smiling on the surface. In fact, perhaps a smile was the appropriate response.

There were thirty or so female swordsmen surrounding the park. All of them were wearing the same black suit as Neena, plus they each had their own personalized swords.

Furthermore, each of their eyes emitted a red light. That sort of red glow was the confirmation of a Blaze.

“……Kurou, you mentioned before that you can understand the difference in power from a glance right?”

“I believe right now it’d be best if I didn’t understand.”

Kurou responded with a smile towards Hinako’s quiet muttering.

The swordsmen surrounding the park were all on par with Neena or perhaps even above her. Excluding a monster like Manaka, there still would not be anyone who he could handily win against.

“We are also considered as a race of Swordies so there is no way we’d smash Kurou all at once. Except, we don’t plan on letting you escape either.”

Manaka drew her personalized sword————the Dancer.

“Before we were just concealing ourselves. I was told to be careful and to cease any unnecessary movement. Well, perhaps I did go against that just a bit but there are worse things that can happen you know. Although I can’t guarantee to what extent, but if you don’t resist we won’t take your life.”

“O-Onee-sama!? Why can’t we take advantage of this opportunity to cut him down————“

“Neena, even I will comply with the matter that someone reminded me.”

Despite Manaka speaking very calmly, her words had this cryptic meaning.

Back when he confronted Manaka, he felt as if there was someone even above Manaka in all this. That person must be the leader of the Blazes, that was what Kurou thought. Right now he had other things to contemplate over.

No, there was nothing to think about actually.

After taking a quick glance at Hinako who was right next to him————

Kurou placed the sword by his waist onto the ground and raised both hands.

“Understood, I surrender.”

After the sun had already set, a calm night descended.

It was currently night time in the former Blaze reservation and there was basically no activity outside.

Manaka returned to her own room within the abandoned tower————well, the room that she called her own without permission. She was relaxing on her favorite sofa.

Manaka really enjoyed the tranquility of this neighborhood’s evenings.

“Onee-sama, why are you doing this!?”

However, that calmness was broken up by Neena’s shrilling voice.

“What are you yelling about Neena? Nights are supposed to be peaceful.”

“Even if it’s from you Onee-sama, I can’t just let it slide. Although we can just extradite that Sun Cult girl, Kurou should be killed as quickly as possible!”

“I have no intention of being kind to that kid. I already explained this before didn’t I? It isn’t wise to kill Kurou-kun right now.”

“Wouldn’t it be great if we caused a disturbance with this? It would certainly be more interesting!”

“You totally sound like a Blaze.”

She was very energetic. The only incurable drawback to that was she always wanted to cause unrest. Since Neena lost to Kurou twice, there was some spite mixed in. Overall it did not amount to much. One would not think that the Blazes were an immoral group just due to their pursuit of revenge.

“Just imprisonment and such isn’t enough to dispose of him.”

“That’s probably not how they are thinking.”

Kurou and Hinako were locked away in the basement of the abandoned tower. The rigorous treatment of tying them up was so they could not escape. As for them thinking it was a very forgiving disposition, that was rather unlikely.

“Speaking of which, how is that kid who brought Kurou-kun along doing?”

Manaka purposefully changed the topic. That was because even Manaka could not explain why she did not immediately just kill off Kurou. She also did not want to lie to this sister-like figure.

“Rinne is already asleep.”

“She’s sleeping?”

“She seems to have returned to her room and immediately went to bed.”

Rinne’s room was in a residence located near the abandoned tower. What was she doing here then? Manaka did not inquire about that.

“Playing outside without permission and sleeping away after she had her fill. What in the world is she thinking?”

“That’s unexpected.”

“Ha?”

“Neena, are you thinking about what’s running through that girl’s head? There isn’t really a need for that. Rinne is a Blaze who ranks above you. Just rely on your own abilities to survive. It has nothing to do with common sense anyways since for all we know that kid doesn’t even act rationally. Well, don’t worry about it too much. She’s a Blaze and she isn’t one at the same time, so just think of it like that.”

Manaka was not really well acquainted with Rinne. Although upper management had sent her for Manaka to look over, she did not plan on interfering with her.

“Are you saying to implement our approach from before?”

“Exactly. You still carry some of that exhaustion from infiltrating and doing battle at the academy so you should get some much needed rest. I’ll be resting as well.”

“……Alright.”

Although Neena did not seem like she was completely accepting of this, she still nodded.

Manaka, who was not her master, was seen by Neena as an older sister that she looked up to. She was a very cute girl.

In fact, she had never really thought about it before but perhaps taking on a disciple would have been beneficial. During her time as the Sword General, Manaka did not accept any disciples. The reason was simple. As a Blaze, betraying the Swordie government was just a matter of time. It would be too tragic if her disciple were to be dragged into the conflict.

However, accepting a Blaze like Neena as a disciple should be alright. It was a fine proposition, but it was still open to discussion for her.

“Umm, Onee-sama?”

Neena voiced her doubts towards Manaka who was lost in deep thought.

“Oh, sorry. It’s best if we consider what will happen from here on out. Perhaps changing up our hiding location might be best.”

“Our plans over there are nearing completion too.”

“Helping out like that is quite like you. You helped prepare their dinner too after finishing the preparations right? Although, it’s just fast food as usual————“

Just now, the cellphone that had been lying on the couch the whole time sounded. It was a different cellphone compared to before. The cellphone she had when she was the director was already destroyed.

“Yes it is. Hello.”

The person calling Manaka seemed to be someone she was well acquainted with. She stayed silent while nodding along.

After speaking on the phone for a couple minutes————

“Well then.”

Manaka closed her phone and turned towards Neena. She then revealed a slightly troubled expression.

“Onee-sama?”

“Neena, there’s something unfortunate that I have to tell you.”

“What is it?”

“Looks like our break is over. Jeez, if I knew it was going to end this early I would’ve went to the southern islands to rest on the beaches and drink ice cold beer.”

Manaka gently used her index fingers to tap against her cellphone.

“Since I have been summoned, I’ll be heading out for a bit. You take care of things around here.”

“Yes Onee-sama.”

“Neena.”

“Yes?”

Manaka smiled and gently hugged Neena.

“Now that the park is already burned down, you have broken free from your shackles. Now you should be able to have some more freedom.”

“…….Nothing else matters as long as I can battle alongside Onee-sama.”

“Enjoying life is a must. I follow that saying as well.”

Manaka lived for revenge, the revenge of the Blazes as well as her own personal grudge.

Manaka also noticed that she did enjoy those things. However, she clearly understood that taking enjoyment in such things would result in her heart being engulfed and twisted.

Manaka held on to Neena and prayed————hoping that this child would not end up like her.

“It’s almost dinnertime right? You think they’ll give us some food?”

“You still think about food under these circumstances?”

Kurou exasperatedly recalled Hinako was also a conceited person.

The place seemed like a basement of some sort within the abandoned tower. There were no windows and they were surrounded by cold concrete walls. Despite the ground being carpeted, there was no furniture in sight. The air was also stuffy so it looked like staying comfortable was out of the question.

Speaking of which, Kurou’s hands were handcuffed and he was firmly chained up. In fact, the chains were tied to the pipes along the walls. As a result, he could only sit down as he was pretty much immobilized.

On the other hand, Hinako was only handcuffed so she could move around freely within the room. However, the room was locked from the outside so she was unable to leave. Plus since it was her, there was no way she could break Kurou’s chains.

Basically the two of them had no means of escape.

“I’m speechless. Who would have thought there’d be Blaze after Blaze in addition to Manaka and Neena.”

“Even Kurou has no chance when facing that many people.”

“There’d be a chance if it was all of them except Manaka……well, if they all used mystic artes at the same time I’d be screwed.”

Since there was a long preparation time for the mystic artes and openings would occur to a person’s stance during this time, the dangers were relatively low in a one versus one battle. However, if it became a concentrated artillery barrage then it was a completely different matter.

“Mystic artes? In that case, if I’m able to……”

“No need to overthink the unnecessary.”

Kurou specifically stated to her.

Back when Kurou was battling against Manaka, Hinako was able to dissipate Manaka’s flame snake and seal her mystic artes. Actually, it was uncertain as to whether Hinako did seal her mystic artes since she does not even recall that instance very clearly. However, no one else really fit the bill except her.

“There’s no need for you to get involved in the battle. Stay away from doing anything dangerous.”

“……Kurou, you’re really going overboard with the protecting.”

“I told you before, this is my job.”

In truth, Kurou believed those without weapons should not participate in battle. This was especially true when it came to Hinako, who possessed no battle capabilities, getting involved.

It was a grave mistake to bring her here in the first place.

“Hmm……if Kurou is in this state, then we can’t continue where we left off at the park.”

“Are you still going on about that?”

“What, do you want me to make the first move?”

“Hey.”

Hinako stood up in front of Kurou which startled him. Her legs were exposed from the uniform’s miniskirt and she approached him at a frighteningly close distance.

Kenshin v02 192.PNG
Even he himself did not notice. Kurou enjoys sexually harassing others, but he was not very sure what to do when it was the other way around. His heart started pounding in embarrassment.

“Look——“

“…….”

Hinako deliberately muttered as such while gently lifting up her dress. Although her panties were not visible, her white flawless legs were exposed to a dangerous extent.

“Well, don’t go thinking that you owe me anything. This is just a bit of service is all.”

“Why are you……”

“It seems Kuro is having it quite tough, so that’s why I wanted to let you vent your frustrations a bit.”

“……Thanks.”

Although he tried his best not to show it, Kurou was indeed depressed. After all the Blazes treated him as some sort of beast, even going as far as tightly tying him up like this.

“I’m at a loss as to what to do now. Looks like this doesn’t work too well if I don’t have any knowledge in regards to sex.”

You have learned so many strange things that even I am worried. Originally, Hinako was known for not being sure on what to do under any circumstance.

“Ah, speaking of which.”

“Now what?”

“Quite some time has already passed since separating from Sefi.”

“Ah yes, that’s true.”

“Sefi will certainly be mad.”

“Ugh……”

It had already been two hours since they were last in contact with Sefi. It was probably going to become dark outside soon. While Sefi must have been worried sick, she was likely enraged as well.

“My cellphone was taken away from me, perhaps even destroyed.”

It was unlikely that Lars would be able to use the GPS to track their location. Regardless if it was Sefi or Lars, neither of them could have possibly imagined that Kurou and Hinako would be in a Blaze reservation.

In short, there was no other way to escape besides relying on his own strength.

“I guess there’s no choice……should I try it anyways?”

“Are you planning on attacking me while in that tied up state?”

“Umm no?”

“Or perhaps you mean you enjoy being tied up.”

“That’s wrong too! Like I said, you should stop learning all these unnecessary things!”

Needless to say, he meant he should try to do something about the handcuff and chains.

His katana was also confiscated. After going through a body inspection, his dagger and other small items were seized.

In other words————

He can only use his Light Body.

“Ha——……”

The drawback of using the Light Body before had not completely dissipated. Furthermore, Kurou used the Light Body a handful of times before, but never had he tried activating it without a one month gap minimum.

To add to that, there was no guarantee that he would be able to sever the chains even with the Light Body. Even so, he could not continue in this tied up state. That was because there was no guarantee that Manaka and Neena were going to keep their word.

“Hinako, quiet down a bit.”

Hinako nodded in response.

For the Light Body, if he was not completely focused it would not work. In other cases, he must be under perilous circumstances. That was why even under his calm state right now it still might be impossible to activate.

“————Hmm.”

“Ah, there we go.”

Just as Kurou let out a deep breath and was trying to concentrate, the door opened after a clunking sound. That sound was due to the lock being forcefully pried open.

“Ah so it is Kurou-chan after all. Followed me here eh?”

“……Rinne?”

Rinne paid no mind towards Kurou’s confusion and slowly approached him. She was wearing the same uniform as before along with that guitar case.

“Oh yeah, I apologize for before. I suddenly decided to leave. Those were Sun Cultists right? I had a sense that some troublesome folks were present and that things could have gotten hairy.”

“The Sun Cult does have some annoying people. That must mean……”

Hinako seemed to feel bad about something.

Although Kurou intentionally tried to forget about him, that bulky guy with glasses did indeed emit a fearsome aura. He was likely a human, but why did he sense such danger from him? It was truly puzzling. Except, if Rinne also thought the same then Kurou must be spot on.

“I heard that Kurou-chan was defeated by Manaka-chan.”

“Manaka-“chan” eh…….”

“I was hoping you’d criticize the ‘Kurou-chan’ part as well.”

Hinako was just muttering and it seemed as if she did not intend to incite a response from Kurou.

“Well, who cares about what’s going on with Manaka-chan.”

“You’re kidding me!”

“However, well……what should I do? It’s a real head scratcher.”

Rinne tilted her head as she spoke. She squatted down in front of Kurou. Since Rinne was in a position where she tucked her hands, her white panties were visible.

“I’m having a headache……Ah, Kurou-chan, you’re still peeking!?”

Rinne spoke with a hint of embarrassment as she firmly dragged her dress over her knees, thus covering up her panties.

“That’s because Kuro likes panties a lot.”

“That was unnecessary!”

After Kurou glared at Hinako, his line of sight shifted back to Rinne.

“Setting this stuff aside, what are you doing here Rinne?”

“I was asleep for a bit but then I heard some sort of ruckus. Afterwards I overheard something from nearby people. A human was said to be captured so I thought could it be……Well, they’ll probably be mad for me helping out Kurou-chan.”

“Rinne is also a Blaze right? In that case, there’s no way you could help out.”

Of course it would be great to receive her assistance. However, Kurou was not that optimistic to expect help from the enemy.

“Yeah~~, what to do. Honestly, I don’t really care about the people here.”

Rinne raised her brows while unwittingly extending her hand towards Kurou’s hair. She nonchalantly stroked and tugged his hair. She seemed to be unconsciously doing this.

It was safe to say that she was different from the other Blazes. She was not part of that group of Blazes who surrounded him, so perhaps that was indeed the truth.

“……Ah.”

Suddenly, Rinne let out a quiet squeal as she fell on her butt. Her legs were spread open and her panties were revealed again.

“……W-What happened? I didn’t do anything.”

“You don’t have to find excuses for me…….”

Hinako showed an exasperated expression towards the flustered Kurou.

Rinne stayed in that spread out state and shook her head.

“Ah——, what a rare occurrence. I have been seen like this twice in one day and both times it was Kurou-chan.”

“Well, I’m pretty sure your panties have been seen more than twice per day……”

If someone were to wear a dress as short as Rinne’s, it would also be visible on countless occasions.

“Who cares about my panties. Actually, this isn’t good, but it’s useless to be concerned about such matters when dealing with Kurou-chan.”

“It sounds like I’m quite pathetic.”

“This girl is quite fast in figuring that out. Even Sefi hasn’t reached that way of thinking yet.”

Hinako swooped in to continue the attack. Perhaps it would be best if I showed some restraint in my sexual harassment. Kurou stressed over such a thought.

“That’s no good, then it won’t be good for the others.”

Rinne stated something incomprehensible as she reached for Kurou’s body. She casually grasped the chains wrapped around Kurou and sliced it apart as if she was cutting through vegetables.

The chains fell to the floor. Following that, Rinne made her way towards Kurou’s back and freed Kurou’s hand from his handcuffs.

“Rinne, what are you……?”

Kurou wriggled his wrists which had regained their freedom while giving Rinne a cautious stare. Allowing him to regain his freedom, there was a good chance a battle may ensue.

“It’s hard for me to explain. I should probably free that girl over there as well.”

Rinne released Hinako from her handcuffs. She did not cut through the chains of the handcuff, but rather the cuff itself was severed. What a frightening display of power.

“Well, you guys get going. Since you guys are trying to get outside, I’ll be your guide during that time.”

Rinne smiled as she spoke.

Although it was just Kurou’s intuition————but beneath her smile there did not seem to be any ill intent or anything else.

Rinne trotted along inside the reservation at night.

In order for them to not be left behind, Kurou held on to Hinako’s hand and followed Rinne.

The tower where Kurou and Hinako were locked away had no one on lookout. They were probably at ease after having Kurou firmly bound. However, if it was Kurou, he would somehow find a way even if there were a few guards.

Kurou was running along while surveying the streets around the reservation.

He had heard about there being signs of life here, but the street lights and such were not even on.

Actually, there being signs of life here was strange now that he thought about it. Why was there electricity in this already abandoned reservation? Perhaps the Blazes’ influence had already extended deep into administrative departments and power companies.

Kurou contemplated over such matters as he sprinted with Hinako in hand. The reservation had an eerie stillness with only the sounds of footsteps echoing clearly.

The three of them had arrived at a place with towering walls. Following that, Rinne found a door and opened it. On the other side of the wall was an even more spacious area————it seemed to be a playground.

“……So they even have these facilities here.”

“They allow Blazes to do some light exercises, although it can’t be with swords. After you go through here there should be a shortcut.”

Rinne responded to Kurou’s murmurings. Perhaps she grew up within this reservation. Kurou was not very knowledgeable about being raised within a reservation. It was likely an isolated region where none of the Blazes there were allowed to wield a sword.

Was life in this district really that pitiful……

“……!”

Suddenly, they were surrounded by an eye piercing brightness.

There were lighting fixtures along the walls that were emitting beams of light.

A girl walked towards Kurou from the door that he had just entered. She had glasses on and was wearing a tight fitted black suit. Her right hand was holding a slender sword. This girl was————Neena. The sword was covered by the light of a light blade. It seemed as if she was completely prepared for battle.

For some reason she was holding on to Kurou’s katana with her left hand.

“Looks like that shortcut was to the gates of hell.”

Kurou nonchalantly muttered.

Neena ignored Kurou and instead sharply glared at Rinne.

“Rinne-san……I really didn’t think you’d be a traitor.”

“No way that’d be possible. I would never become a traitor. You were told by Manaka-chan not to attack right? However, Neena-chan————”

“You saw?”

Neena took off her glasses and looked towards Rinne with a serious expression. Rinne on the other hand smiled, acting as if she did not notice the frightening atmosphere.

“Yup, it’s just as you see. I’ve already completed the preparations.”

Rinne took a quick glance around her.

From the other entrances, wave after wave of Blazes came out to surround Kurou. All of them were like Neena and had their weapons at hand.

“Neena-chan……you intend to kill Kurou-chan and defy Manaka-chan’s orders?”

“So what?”

Neena provocatively spoke as she tossed the katana to Kurou. Kurou caught the sword that was thrown to him with enough force that it actually numbed his hand.

“I’ll give this to you first. Killing an empty-handed enemy is not my intention.”

“So this is what you were planning Neena-chan.”

Kurou still did not know what was going on, but Rinne appeared to have seen through Neena’s plan.

“This guy is too dangerous. Although they are just ordinary people, they did harm Onee-sama. If he is allowed to live, he will interfere with our plans.”

“Such lies.”

Rinne shook her head and smiled.

“Rinne-chan only felt a bit uneasy towards Kurou-chan. However, your Onee-sama would always be attentive of Kurou-chan. That’s why————you wanted to kill him without permission. That’s the behavior of a true traitor. You shouldn’t do this.”

“……Shut up!”

Neena had nothing else to say.

“Please stop your silly imaginations! The earlier we kill him the better!”

The Blazes standing behind Neena just stood there in silence. Rather, they had no objections to Neena’s statements.

Kurou felt anxious as he was listening to the two of them.

Even though Manaka was not around, which made the situation better, there were thirty other combatants around Neena. Was he going to have to battle against all of the Blaze swordsmen himself? If Rinne returned to the enemy side it would become even more troublesome.

Rinne seemed to go off of her own judgment to betray them. Perhaps even the one versus one trait might be overlooked as well since Neena understood that it takes more than one person at a time to beat Kurou. Although he should rejoice over having his katana returned to him, he still wished that his options were better.

This was especially due to Neena seemingly giving her all in this. If Kurou was willing to put down his sword, it was unlikely that he would be allowed to surrender.

“Even if it’s Rinne-san, if you try to protect this guy then————”

“Seems like there’s more to it than just this.”

After Rinne finished speaking, her gaze shifted over to the walls. Kurou detected that and immediately went to protect Hinako by tightly hugging her.

Boom————there was an ear shattering explosion.

A scorching wind blew by. Smoke and debris also flew up into the sky as all visibility went away.

After that————

“Everyone stop and put down your weapons!”

Kurou heard a familiar voice.

From the smoke, she could be seen wearing a red jacket. By her waist was a longsword and a dagger representing a Sabers swordsman————it was deputy Sabina making her appearance. One by one, members of the Sabers appeared behind her.

“What in the world? What are you doing here Kurou?”

“……In that case, it looks like you guys aren’t here to save me.”

Kurou was not shaken by the sudden change of events as he spoke. In fact, the one who was surprised was the deputy.

“Of course. There’s no way I’d be able to watch over every member during their breaks.”

The deputy began to concisely explain the whole story behind coming here.

“We don’t have that sort of leisure time. Since the Blazes went on a killing spree of officials, we’ve had to deal with new evidence in regards to the new crimes. One of those incidents was particularly carelessly carried out. Following that, we pursued that individual and deduced that this was their destination.”

“Umm, Rinne-san……”

“Ah, are you trying to say that carelessness was from me?”

She was being stared down by Neena, but Rinne returned a frivolous smile.

Despite the situation of the Blazes being a mystery to Kurou, Rinne seemed to be the fox who had its tail caught. In that sense, she did mention something about a job before.

Rinne was also a criminal who engaged in assassinations, right?————Indeed, it did not seem she would be able to secretly carry out her objective.

“Well, I already understand what’s going on now……however, this is quite excessive deputy.”

“Even if the enemy were humans, one shouldn’t be hesitant over bringing out their best as long as the opposition’s strength is unclear.”

Kurou found that to be reasonable.

The Sabers members who kept appearing behind the deputy————must have numbered over a hundred. Female members consisted of about 30% while the rest were males.

The core of the Sabers’ battle force had all gathered together.

“……Anyways, what was that explosion just now?”

“You don’t know? It was a grenade launcher.”

The deputy spoke as if it was nothing. Upon closer inspection, many of the male members were holding firearms with small barrels.

“The Sabers are not permitted to have weapons equipped I thought?”

“Since these idiots showed up, we had to consider how to deal with them. We also got the approval of the government. Nevertheless……”

The deputy glanced across after the smoke cleared. Over there was Rinne, Neena, and many other Blazes. It seemed none of them suffered even a scratch.

Other than damaging the surrounding walls, the grenade that flew into the playground did not really accomplish much.

“Looks like we are being underestimated. These weapons are the kind you’d find in war. To think you’d actually try to use something like this to challenge us.”

Neena tightly grasped her sword while glaring at the deputy.

“Don’t you have any dignity as a swordsman? How dare you use firearms.”

“And what’s wrong with that? We put our public security force status before being a swordsman. Taking down you idiots is our utmost priority. Dignity and such, failing a mission would be even more shameful so anything is fair game.”

The deputy stared back with contempt.

What she said was the truth. With the new threat of the mystic artes, if certain measures were not taken then the planning process would be incomplete.

“Well, firearms have been outlawed for too long. This was all we could muster up in a short amount of time. Who knows what other interesting equipment we have these days.”

“I eagerly await to destroy them.”

“Enough boasting you imbecile. However, I don’t like firearms either. For a battle between swordsmen that has been hard to come by, the use of firearms is unpleasant and should have a limit. Furthermore, that’s applies to mystic artes as well.”

“Although you can’t use them, to ban its usage for me is quite troublesome. Back then, even other Swordies besides Blazes could use mystic artes.”

“I don’t know anything in regards to that.”

Suddenly, the deputy charged forward like a bullet.

She pulled out the two swords by her waist as she went past Neena’s side. Even though the slightest mistake would sever her own wrist with this technique, the deputy of course was not the type to make those errors. Akin to a ferocious gale, the two swords were quickly crossed as her pathing resulted in an “X” shape. Regardless of the sword drawing motion or swordsmanship, her attack was basically invisible————No, it was a simultaneous attack.

“Guh……”

“Gah……”

The two Blazes had their neck and chest slashed before falling over. They were likely Blaze swordsmen who were on par with Neena, yet they were killed without even being able to respond. Sabina was not the Sabers’ deputy for nothing.

“What’s this? Even though you’re all Blazes you guys are surprisingly weak.”

“I had hoped you’d save that sort of phrase for if you’re still alive after this.”

Neena attentively raised her sword. She and Kurou had battled twice so he was used to her swordsmanship. I should be able to battle her myself. Just as he was thinking along those lines……

“What are you doing Kurou, hurry up and go.”

“Deputy?”

“Protecting Sakurai Hinako is your mission. Having her stay in such a dangerous location would be going against orders. Do you wish to suffer a salary loss?”

“……In that case.”

Sabina seemed to want Kurou to run away. In fact, under these circumstances, there would be too many openings for Kurou if he were to participate in battle.

“Rinne-chan!”

Suddenly, Neena loudly called out to her.

“These Sabers and even Kurou, you brought them all here! We’ll take care of the Sabers! You go after Kurou……!”

“……But, I don’t really want to fight Kurou-chan————”

“Stop joking around. Since you bear the burden of a special mission, you’re allowed to freely move around. If you cannot pay the cost of freedom————then perhaps you should return to your original place!”

“……”

Rinne’s expression suddenly changed.

An expression of pain and sadness……Her usual smile dissipated like mist.

“Rinne-chan……doesn’t want to hear those words.”

“That’s not my will, rather it is the rule of the Blazes. Only those who engage in battle can be considered as friends. There is no exception. Even though you are a Death Sword————it’s the same for you.”

Neena ended her speech there. With her sword in hand, she began moving forward. The other Blazes were beginning to move out as well.

Following that, Sabina and the Sabers members also had their swords in hand and prepared their stance in preparation for the attack.

The Blazes had thirty people while the vast majority of the Sabers group were men, they numbered over one hundred. However, there was zero indication of cowardice from the Blazes.

If a scuffle were to break out, then Kurou escaping with Hinako during an opening would be quite dicey. Because of that————

“A Death Sword huh……although, I never wanted to be that sort of thing.”

Rinne’s smile resurfaced.

Except she seemed————perplexed, as if she did not know what to do.

“Well, what should I do.”

Rinne retrieved her guitar case and began to slowly open it. After that, a pole-like object was taken out.

“Uhh……”

Kurou could not help but groan.

From the looks of it, that pole-like object appeared to be the handle to a lance. More precisely speaking, it was a lance that was closer to a small spear. However, there was more to it.

Rinne continued to reach down inside the case. This time she pulled out two blades.

“What is that……?”

“Sorry Kurou-chan, please hold on a sec.”

After that, Rinne attached the two blades on the ends of the lance. That sure takes a lot of time.

“…….Jeez, this is really hard to stick in. This meticulous work is quite tricky……”

While clumsily putting it on, Rinne began whining. Finally, just as Kurou started thinking if she needed some help……

“Guh, ah……finally, it’s ready!”

Rinne raised the towering strange lance that was outfitted with two blades. She gave off a triumphant impression.

“Let me give you a quick introduction Kurou-chan. This is my personalized sword, Silver Wing.

“That sword is quite different from the norm……”

“Sorry to keep you waiting. Seems like even I have to battle even though I don’t really want to.”

“……How unfortunate, I don’t want to fight either.”

She was someone who had played games with him, grabbed a bite to eat with him, and he had seen her panties before. Battling against a girl like that was truly frightening.

However————

“Well, I can only fight now————“

Rinne’s purple eyes emitted a red glow.

Kenshin v02 211.PNG
Any youthful Blaze was capable of changing their own eye color at will. Was it an illusion? It seemed the red hue in her eyes were to a greater degree than the other Blazes, resembling a burning sensation.

Right after that————

“Here I come Kurou-chan.”

“……”

Kurou was forced to back away. He felt a sudden pressure that was similar to an intense gale.

Rinne released her light.

It was different compared to Manaka’s light. It was similar in regards to the pressure, but Manaka’s light felt like a thick magic block pressing against you while Rinne’s light felt like being pierced by countless needles. The pain of the piercing had already passed through Kurou’s entire body.

“You’ve got to be kidding me…….”

Kurou could not even retrieve his sword. It was as if he was entranced by Rinne’s stare.

He had never felt a dangerous light like Rinne’s before. Just by facing her, the sensation was like his life force was draining away.

Rinne walked forward with the pace of a leisurely stroll. The Silver Wing slashed across horizontally, sending dirt up into the air with an explosive blast of wind.

“…….”

Kurou reflexively pulled out his sword to block her. An ear piercing sound resulted as sparks intensely scattered. Kurou’s Olden Style was able to completely negate any attack no matter the strength of his enemy. However, when he dodged Rinne’s attack, his arm felt an attack that he had never experienced before.

Immediately after, the Silver Wing’s other side slashed over as well. Kurou barely parried the second strike. These attacks coming in like a wild storm once again numbed Kurou’s hands.

“Guh……!”

Kurou leaped back and then repositioned his sword.

Her intense light left him feeling very uneasy. Her swordsmanship along with her rapid attacks with two blades felt quite strange. Kurou was even capable of defending attacks from Manaka of the Seven Swords. However, the power behind Rinne’s sword could not be completely canceled out.

What is going on————?

Kurou did not dare to carelessly handle his sword. His eyes were locked onto Rinne’s eyes.

Speaking of Rinne, she was just smiling in excitement. That smile was so crystal clear, making this battle feel as if it was not a struggle of life and death.

Kurou raised his sword and stood there————that was about all he could do.

The situation just became more of a mess. Even Hinako began to waver.

Kurou’s opponent seemed to have cleared her mind about him already. After the first clash of swords, he was face to face with Rinne and stood there like a motionless statue.

Hinako gradually left Kurou’s side. Of course, she did not intend on running away. Perhaps she was currently looking forward to this. Running away from a gentle person such as Kurou, Hinako would never be able to do such a thing.

Except, right now she had to maintain some distance. Forget about getting caught in a mystic artes attack, with the extreme quickness of a Swordie, they could just close in with unimaginable speeds. Hinako’s current objective was to do her best to distance herself from the battle.

“Gaahhhh!”

Blood splattered everywhere as a cry rang out.

The person killed appeared to be a member of the Sabers————

The Sabers members were being slain one after another.

The weaker male members formed groups of three and had multiple groups going after one of the Blazes.

Normally speaking, Swordies were sticklers for one versus one battles. However, it was a different story when it came to warfare or a Saber-type mission. That was to be expected. Despite the miraculous victories of some of the Swordies, if they were to always adhere to a one versus one battle, the end result had a chance of being vastly different.

“Get them!”

This time it was not a cry of despair but rather a yell.

A male member yelled while waving down his sword. His strike aimed towards the front was done with terrifying power. He might even be considered as a refined swordsman. However, the strike was easily defended by the female Blaze swordsman. The female swordsman even revealed a slight smile. With just a slight touch of power imbued within her sword, she was able to push her opponent’s sword back. With a straight-line attack, she slashed apart the guy’s chest.

This sort of scene was playing out everywhere.

It was not just the male members, but even the female members were being killed left and right.

The playground became lit up exceptionally bright. In the hands of one of the Blazes, there was a whitish blue light being emitted.

Lightning based mystic artes————as the air rattled, the attack cut right through the air in a straight line. The lightning had roasted two female Sabers members following the blast.

“What a horrible situation……”

Hinako muttered upon witnessing the scene.

When it came to numbers, the Sabers had a landslide victory. However, with this type of advantage, it was a matter of how long it would last.

Which side was the stronger side? Hinako had no clue. Even so, it was clear to her that the Sabers members were dwindling.

There were swords clashing, mystic artes explosions, and blood splattering everywhere.

The playground turned into a tragic battlefield. In a short period of time, it had become the stage for the massacre of the Sabres.

“Don’t underestimate us!”

Following that sharp battle cry, the deputy’s dual blades slashed through a Blaze. The Blaze that was killed was sent flying back from the momentum of the strike and rolled along the ground. That strike possessed terrifying power.

That was one particular battle with the deputy along with the four or five female members alongside her. The other battles were just Sabers members charging in and getting killed.

“————We haven’t underestimated you guys.”

Neena spoke in a cold tone as she charged towards the deputy.

A clashing sound was made when Neena and the deputy crossed swords. The two of them seemed to have pushed each other away as they backed off. Their landing was so forceful that the ground collapsed beneath them.

“Deputy Sabina, I heard about you from my Onee-sama. According to her, your dual-wielding skills are like an artform. That would seem to be the case. Even I can’t beat you when it comes to a sword battle.”

“If these are your last words, that would be quite boring you little brat.”

With a tasteless smile, the deputy placed her two swords back in the scabbard. From the looks of it, she was planning on using her highly praised maneuver of pulling out her swords in mid-strike to determine a victor.

However, Neena curled her lips and smiled. Around the blade of her glowing white light enshrouded sword————was a flame that was beginning to wrap around it.

“A flame snake? What an obvious trick, so I was underestimated after all.”

“Yup, this is an obvious trick. However————there are others besides me.”

“……!”

The deputy’s expression changed. She had finally noticed the figures of the Blazes who were preparing to snipe her at a distance.

Four Blazes had their swords pointed at the deputy————right when Neena shouted “flames, come forth!”, there were numerous mystic artes being fired.

Flame snakes, blizzard strikes, lightning shots, water blades, and even an earth hammer-like attack was aimed at the deputy from the ground beneath her. Following that, the attacks all headed towards her.

“……!”

Hinako was not able to bear watching the conclusion of the attack. When she shifted her gaze away, the barrage of explosions violently reverberated throughout the battlefield. Without any remarks from deputy Sabina, perhaps she decided to remain silent due to her dignity. Or maybe the explosions masked her words.

“……”

After Hinako timidly looked back, she noticed that the place where the deputy had last stood was devoid of anyone there. The ground was entirely a round crater. The only thing in sight was some rags and the remains of a sword scattered across the ground.

“Oh no……”

After receiving a combined artillery barrage from the Blazes that would have even frightened Kurou, the seemingly strong deputy did not have time to avoid it. Perhaps the reason why they were able to muster four additional Blazes was because of the degree of casualties that the Sabers had suffered.

Hinako knew that she lacked emotions, but even she could not hide her trembling. This was her first time witnessing a battle between two groups. Well, this could not be considered a battle, but rather some sort of horrific massacre grounds.

The other female members who were tenaciously battling were being slaughtered one after another. After the weak died off, now it was time to get to the strong ones————that was what Hinako was thinking.

“Hina!”

“……!”

Hinako swiftly turned around at a speed which would even shock herself. She noticed that Sefi and Lars were currently running over from the other side of the wall.

The two of them instantly ran to Hinako’s side, standing next to her to protect her. They had already pulled out their swords.

“……Why is Sefi and Lars here?”

“That’s not the problem!”

“Well, it’s just a simple question.”

There was a sharp contrast between Lars and Sefi’s reply. Lars seemed to be quite calm. To him, there was the corpse of someone familiar to him lying on the ground……

“Anyways, the response from Kurou was way too late. The cellphone’s power source was shut off so the GPS wasn’t able to track you. That left us with two possibilities. Either Kurou and Hinako went to some love hotel and wanted to hide from Sefi, or you guys were caught up in some mess.”

“Whether it’s the former or latter, Rou could not possibly have dealt with either in a short period of time.”

Sefi revealed a very unpleasant expression.

“Following that, the Sabers got in touch with us and said they found the Blazes’ hideout. Perhaps Rou might be there——based on that inkling, we came here to check if it was true. And what do you know, we were right after all.”

Lars chuckled. For Kurou to be caught in a situation where he was not even able to contact them, the only possibility that came to mind was the Blazes——. Lars and Kurou have known each other for a long time so his instinct on these matters were quite sharp.

“Alright enough of that! Rou……”

Sefi looked over to where Kurou was still facing off against Rinne. She gripped her sword and planned on rushing in.

“Hold on!”

Hinako did not know who that voice belonged to.

Sefi was probably thinking the same. Sefi turned around at the sound of that stern voice and noticed Lars grabbing her shoulders.

“Wait……you can’t go over there.”

“Why not!? Even though it is the way of the Swordie to fight one versus one, it’s already become an all out brawl……!”

“No one can interfere. There’s no point.”

Lars’s current facial expression and tone was something Hinako had never witnessed before. He was clearly all smiles until just now, but his current expression was quite……

“……Lars? What is it?”

“Hey Hinako, I’m sure you don’t quite understand what is going on, but what in the world is that?”

“That? Oh, you mean Rinne?”

“She’s Rinne eh. So……what’s her deal?”

Lars’s eyes focused right on Rinne as he stared at her.

“What do mean? That kid is a Blaze. Even I know she is very dangerous.”

“No, you don’t understand. Same with Sefi. She……is different from the rest. Fortunately Kurou is able to fight on level with her……”

Hinako noticed that Lars had sweat dripping down his face. Must have been cold sweat.

“Just let Kurou handle her. If we can clear out the others, that would be the best form of support. Sefi, you protect Hinako.”

“Hold on! You plan on doing that yourself!?”

“Compared to battling against that girl, this is much more enjoyable.”

Now Lars finally returned to his usual self. However, there was a sense of hesitance behind it.

“Lars, the deputy was struck by a mystic artes barrage just now.”

“I want to believe I didn’t see that. Following the disappearance of the director, now it is the deputy who got obliterated into pieces. Must be the curse of the Sabers.”

“This cursed organization looks like it’s about to be completely wiped out.”

“I should get to it quickly. Hinako, thanks for reminding me about the mystic artes. Well, let’s give this a shot.”

Just as Lars closed his eyes, he pulled out his sword and sprinted off.

It took Lars one swing of the sword to kill off a Blaze who was about to slay a male Sabers member. The Blaze swordsman was blown back and stayed motionless. His superb sword maneuver made that seem too simple.

Lars’s sword was known as————the Beast Slayer. Right now there was a black smoke-like thing rising from that long and thick sword of his. It was known as his own special type of light blade.

“So strong. Lars……”

“No matter how you look at it, he is the Sword Saint’s disciple.”

From Sefi’s tone, there was a slight sense of disdain. It was because a sword maneuver of that level was one Sefi could not achieve.

Despite Lars being a male Swordie, his strength was not at all inferior compared to a female Swordie. However, there was a superstition about the limited amount of strong male Swordies.

That would be the demonic essence that is said to inhabit the sword of all powerful male Swordies.

It was said that they would use a prohibited tactic of sneak attacking from behind in a one versus one battle. They would also kill opponents who were unarmed and occasionally use long range firearms.

Furthermore————indulging in bloodshed, having the enemy suffer, carnage, they take enjoyment in these things more than anything else.

“Ha!”

Lars summoned his strength to pull off the light blade in a flash and killed another Swordie with a horizontal slash. Blood sprayed out like a fountain. Lars avoided that and rushed towards a third person.

However, from the looks of his fights, that kind of character could not be seen. Nevertheless, with countless Sabers members being killed, Hinako thought it was quite abnormal to be able to fearlessly charge towards the enemy.

“So Lars looks like he is doing ok after all. Quite a few Blazes have been eliminated already.”

When Sefi said that, Hinako finally realized something. She seemed to be a bit surprised as well. The Sabers were reduced to a number that could be counted with both hands. However, only about half the Blazes remained from their original count of thirty. Moreover, most of the survivors were wounded in some form.

“With mystic artes being a possibility, it’s best to prepare……”

“Lars is a shrewd man. Even with the number of opponents he is facing, he’s able to battle with exceptional skill. Hey Hina, you still can’t use that ability right?”

“……Even if I wanted to, I have no idea how to use it.”

With a determined expression focused on Kurou, Sefi nodded her head and said “that’s fine”.

“There’s some Sabers members here as well. If someone catches a glimpse of Hina’s ability————then the people eying you won’t be limited to just the Sun Cult and the Blazes.”

“I figured……”

Even so, Hinako was quite happy. Sefi was truly worried for Hinako. With those intentions, one should happily accept them.

“Please be careful Sefi.”

“Eh?”

“Since there are those after you as well……”

Hinako was absolutely terrified as she eyed the girl approaching them.

“Neena……”

“Hello Sefi-sama.”

Neena, who had the stains of someone else’s blood, stood in front of Sefi.

Even Hinako understood that those red eyes behind the glasses were indeed filled with killing intent.

After Sefi enrolled into the Sword Academy for her studies, she instantly made many friends.

When she was young, she would always be surrounded by friends. Sefi did not believe that her character suited making friends easily. Even so, when she did make friends, practically none of them were particularly close due to her princess status. If one were to become friends with someone of that status, they would refer to her as “Sefi-sama”. Or more precisely, those who did mind her status were never going to be able to get close to her.

However, Neena was an exception in a certain sense. For all of Sefi’s friends, they were the ones who approached her, but Neena was someone who Sefi greeted out of her own initiative.

Right when she enrolled, Neena did not integrate well within the classroom. Since she was a very reserved child, she would only say the bare minimum and did not really have many friends. Sefi did not approach her out of sympathy. Instead, she felt something from Neena’s eyes————like some type of radiance.

“Ah……hahaha.”

In the instant that she recalled these matters, Sefi suddenly broke out in laughter.

“……Sefi-sama! What are you laughing about?”

Neena unexpectedly revealed an expression of genuine concern.

“My bad. It was just some strange memories that resurfaced. Things are a bit different from our initial encounter……furthermore, I also remembered that your swordsmanship is quite refined as well.”

“Well, thanks for the compliment.”

Neena once again revealed a thankful expression.

“You hid your true strength. Regardless if it was Migune or Freya, there was no chance they could beat you if you tried your best.”

“It’s true, they would have no chance. Even though I surprise attacked Freya, I did fight Migune properly and won. She was tougher than I thought.”

Although it was said Migune was found dead alongside a small road in the middle of the night, based on Neena’s strength, she would surely win even if she did not specifically plan a night attack.

“Of course, even I wouldn’t be much of a challenge. In truth, you could probably knock away my Starbreaker rather easily. However————“

Sefi lightly waved her sword. After that, the blade of the sword————was infused with a white light.

“The light blade……Sefi-sama, looks like you can use it too.”

“It’s my first time doing so. I feel like I’m capable of using it now.”

Sefi also felt that she was currently maturing as a swordsman. Although it was just a battle royal, Kurou’s fight with her felt different. Even the light deep within her body had never felt so enriched before.

“……Very good. Except, it’s a shame that Sefi-sama didn’t bring the Starbreaker with her.”

“Indeed. It’s fine though. As long as there’s a sword, a Swordie can fight.”

“Hmm, I see. Then allow me to use my personalized sword. Its name is————the Flame Serpent. I still wanted to introduce the name to Sefi-sama even though it was kind of given away already.”

“Not a shabby name.”

Sefi chuckled. As usual, she kept her sword in a middle stance. Akin to the reflection on a mirror, Neena displayed the same pose.

“In that case, I’ll tell you about my stance as well. Although, overconfidence should have a limit.”

“No, it was a good teaching method. It seems like you have the talent to teach people and lead them.”

“I still have a lot to learn. Neena, I hope you can-————teach me a bit as well!”

Sefi raised her sword and charged in with the speed of a missile fired from a missile launcher. However, Neena easily dodged her superb strike that was impossible for the eyes to follow.

“Tch!”

Sefi clicked her tongue.

Compared to the Starbreaker, the alternate sword felt as light as a twig. Wielding it in her normal state, the sword traveled an abnormal path.

Must adjust, must adjust————

As Sefi was telling herself that, she unleashed a second strike. Sefi’s sword whooshed through the air, cutting over from the side.

“Guh!”

This time Neena used her Flame Serpent to make contact with the strike. What followed was a rigid sound as Sefi was able to suppress it with her sword by continuously putting power into her sword. The light within her body was scorching hot like an engine as it burned intensely.

“Wuaahhh!”

Sefi roared like a wild beast.

When the sword made contact with Neena’s blade, she added her own body momentum to where their hilts connected in order to push Neena down.

The two of them fell down on the playground during their entanglement.

“Sefi……sama……!”

Neena, who was the one below, revealed a painful expression as she gave it her all to push Sefi’s sword back. However, Sefi was going all out as well. As she pressed against Neena’s sword, if she was unable to cut through Neena’s Flame Serpent, she would be eliminated.

“Can’t……push……back? Your strength is on the level of a sword princess……Sefi-sama, since when did you acquire this kind of power……?”

“When it comes to technique, I’m completely outmatched by you and Rou. In that case, I can only survive through brute force!”

During that battle with Manaka————once the portal opened, her light power was raised significantly.

Nevertheless, that was still far from enough since her swordsmanship was unable to rise with it. Even when it came to the quantity of light, it was still inferior to someone like Manaka.

She wanted to become stronger, much stronger.

For that reason, Sefi could not let this become the end of her————

“Sorry, Neena……!”

“Apologizing……it’s too early for that!”

Wooosh. A flame began curling up around Neena’s sword. In an instant, Sefi became quite timid towards the scorching air in front of her.

“Flames, come forth!”

“……!”

Sefi unleashed her entire light force as she held her sword. She then crossed her hands in front of her face to protect herself. That heat akin to an explosion spewed upwards, blowing away Sefi like a withered leaf.

“Guh……!”

Sefi was not even able to collect herself as her back violently slammed against the ground. Unable to breath, she appeared to slowly lose consciousness.

“What, no way……”

Sefi struggled to hold on to her sword as she stood up.

The force of a mystic arte being cast at close distance is really something……From the looks of it, when the flames crashed against Sefi’s light enhanced body and blade, some sort of explosion took place.

Sefi took off the shirt to her uniform that had already been burned. Even the cuffs to her shirt were roasted black. Fortunately, her hand only seemed to have suffered minor burns. At that degree, it would only take three days for it to heal with a Swordie’s recovery ability.

“Eh, that strike looks like it did nothing to you.”

Neena, who was standing in front of Sefi, smiled as she stated. Although the black suit and even part of her skin was burned, her wounds seemed quite light as well.

“Jeez, what kind of nonsense are you talking about? That could have been a self-destruct explosion if you weren’t careful.”

“Hahaha, such a matter isn’t something I’d hesitate over, even right now.”

Neena brazenly smiled. Following that, she suddenly put up a stern expression.

“Sefi-sama, there was a small park in the place where I grew up. There was this slide and jungle gym, it was a very small park.”

“What are you talking about?”

As Sefi repositioned her sword, a jolt of pain coursed through her hand. On the surface, it seemed her skin was fine. However, the mystic arte explosion left an internal injury in her hand.

“I really hated that park. It always felt like I had some type of duty to play around in it since the only amusement park we were given approval to play in was that one. At that park……you couldn’t yell or run around. Even if you went there, no happiness could be found.”

“……Was it an amusement park?”

“It was a Blaze reservation.”

Neena crooked the corner of her lips to reveal a sinister smile.

“Sefi-sama, you’ve looked through this neighborhood right?”

“Yeah, of course I saw it on my way here.”

Considering this was a neighborhood that did not even have streetlights, Swordies were able to see in the dark with their visual acuity. It fit the description of a ghost town perfectly, a place where it would send a chill down your spine.

“It looks like a pretty dead neighborhood right?”

“Well……”

“However, don’t be mistaken. This district didn’t end up in this state due to being abandoned. It was dead a long time ago when the Blazes started living here.”

“Neena, you……”

Could it be……it was a thought she had early on, but now Sefi was sure of it. This place————was Neena’s hometown. At the very least, she must have lived here before.

“The adults had these lifeless eyes, going day after day without doing any work and just aimlessly wandering the streets. The kids grow up to become those kinds of adults. After the four generals created the reform program to defang the Blazes, the program still runs smoothly even today.”

“……”

Sefi had nothing to say in response. She had the feeling that Neena was not looking for a response from her.

“The Blazes————whether it was from the start of the cleansing, or the moment of segregation, there was always people who escaped and began patrolling the reservations, secretly saving those with swordsmanship talent————and those with fighting courage. The Swordies didn’t seem to care that a few Blazes went missing. Perhaps if one or two got away, it didn’t really matter. They’re truly some peace loving buffoons.”

“Did they————have you escape as well?”

“When I was seven, the Blazes who saved me taught me the way of the sword and mystic artes. It was exciting and I was very happy. At that time I finally realized——the lack of freedom compared to being outside, not being able to wield a sword, and life within the reservation that restricted battles, it was all hell.”

Neena raised her sword and began slowly walking towards Sefi.

“In order to get revenge on the Swordies who tossed me into hell, in order to help my fellow Blazes————I must battle.”

“I won’t play the sympathy card Neena. If you wish to battle me, the only thing I can do is reciprocate.”

“That’d be wonderful Sefi-sama.”

Seeing Neena’s terrifying smile, Sefi understood that she was currently caught up in a dangerous situation.

This girl, who was originally her friend, had killing intent overflowing from her red eyes. It seemed like she had forgotten about the flames that had burned her body.

She should have gotten rid of her during that exchange of white blades since that was the first and last opportunity that would come up.

“Guh……”

The scenery in front of Sefi began to shake.

It was strange, she had thought there was nothing to it, but fatigue was beginning to set in from all the damage. Was it because of her close distance to the explosion? Or could it be from the being knocked back violently against the ground? Perhaps both played a role.

“Are you ready for this Sefi-sama?”

“……Un.”

Following Sefi’s response, Neena launched forward. With a skillful twist of her body, she slashed at Sefi.

Sefi barely contained the Flame Serpent’s attack. That attack, which was akin to an artillery shell blast, was imbued with all her might.

“Neena……!”

Sefi’s legs weakly staggered. However she braced for the struggle as she summoned all her remaining strength. Pressing against her sword, Sefi wanted to push back Neena.

“You’re quite tenacious Sefi-sama!”

Neena turned around and gracefully landed. She seemed to still have energy to spare.

Sefi felt like laughing at the situation. Death was at her doorsteps, yet she was still thinking about some otherworldly matter.

Sefi would probably be unable to handle Neena’s next attack. Up to this point, she had never thought about reaching out for help and that was due to her being a Swordie swordsman. However, even if she wanted assistance, Kurou and Lars had their hands full with their own battles.

Sefi was unable to control the wavering of her vision. Which one was the real Neena?

“Sefi, here she comes!”

“……!”

Sefi’s body reacted to Hinako’s warning. She reflexively raised her sword. It was her most adept middle stance position where she then raised her sword up to hammer down at Neena. However, Sefi realized it when she swung her sword, Neena had stopped in her tracks after hearing Hinako’s voice.

Her sword could no longer be stopped at this point. Sefi slashed downwards and————

“What…..!?”

This time it was Neena who yelled out.

Even Sefi————she saw it too.

In front of Neena, out of nowhere————a black opening resembling a crack in the air appeared. Although it was similar to the portals, it was much smaller. Crackling noises came out of the split as it slowly expanded.

Following that, Sefi’s blade came out from the rift. At the same time, the blade of Sefi’s sword disappeared. It was as if the blade flew towards the enemy while the hilt and handle stayed behind. Actually, that was exactly what was playing out right now.

As Sefi stared at the blade, she recalled something.

Indeed, this same occurrence happened with her fight against Kurou in the battle royal————

“Aghhhh……!”

Neena uttered in pain. Even she could not have completely avoided the blade that suddenly appeared in front of her. Neena was slashed on the right side of her chest.

Sefi was perplexed for an instant. After confirming that her blade had returned, Sefi took aim at Neena and charged forth.

This was going to be the final strike————

“Neena……!”

Sefi’s sword gave off a howling sound as the air wrapped around it.

“Guh……!”

Neena’s right chest took a deep stab.

Blood was viciously spewing out. Neena weakly kneeled down as a result.

“Sefi-sama……that was beautiful.”

“……This isn’t my true strength.”

The strike that seemed to have crossed through time and space was not something Sefi consciously planned.

“No, Sefi-sama. It surprised me, but it was definitely your sword.”

“Perhaps…..maybe that is the case.”

Sefi responded while setting down her sword. She had used up all of her remaining strength.

“Was there anything you wanted to say? I’m still able to hear out what you have to say.”

“Yeah……I am truly sorry for not saying anything to Lima before disappearing. Can you pass on my apology to her?”

Neena was smiling————rather she looked to be very happy. Sefi had a feeling why she would be smiling in a situation like this.

“……What about Manaka? Maybe I will meet her again.”

“There’s nothing to be said for her. If it’s Onee-sama, she’ll understand what I’m thinking at my last hour.”

“Lima understands as well.”

“You’re right……it seems I’m in the wrong again. Although we Blazes are traitors and rebels, we are very mindful of manners.”

“Indeed, I hope the savage Swordie swordsmen act the same.”

Sefi also smiled and nodded her head. The atmosphere felt as if they had returned back to the days when they were friends. Perhaps Neena felt the same.

Neena’s gaze inadvertently fell to Sefi’s hand.

Sefi looked at the same spot and slightly trembled. She was unable to completely control her wavering.

“……Sefi-sama, was this your first time?”

“Yeah, I feel————for my first time to be you, it truly is great.”

“I’m honored.”

Neena joyously nodded.

“There is nothing to fret over since this is a battle after all.”

“I……understand.”

Sefi tightly bit her lips.

Even though she was a past friend, it might be considered a good sign that she was trembling over slaying another person.

I am a Swordie swordsman. There will eventually be a day where I kill someone. It was an experience that one cannot help but accumulate.

Sefi forced herself to stop the trembling in her hands and focused on her dying friend.

“Everything will be fine, Sefi-sama……thank you very much, Onee-sama.”

Neena clearly stated as she fell down facing the sky. She slowly closed her eyes————and ceased all movement.

Farewell and thank you. When I die I hope to be thinking of those thoughts as well, Sefi thought to herself.

“Waah!”

“Huh!?”

Suddenly, a coarse cry sounded. Sefi was crashed into by someone and fell to the ground.

When she realized what happened————

“Rou!?”

“……Oh, Sefi, you’re here too.”

The person who was tangled up on the ground with Sefi was Kurou. He had cuts all over his body and there was blood visible.

Just as Sefi wanted to push Kurou away————she noticed the person who was approaching them.

She was a beautiful girl with pink hair and she was currently wearing her school uniform. It was the girl Hinako referred to as Rinne.

Within her eyes there was not a trace of killing intent————she even displayed the playfulness of a child with her innocent smile.

“Sorry”, Kurou left Sefi’s side after apologizing.

Although Sefi’s posture was something to behold, there was no way he could request to be carried by someone who was also injured.

“Hold on Rou, are you ok?”

“That’s normally my line.”

Kurou wryly smiled.

Kurou had no idea when Sefi appeared before him. However, it seemed he had fallen down during his battle against Rinne. He knew her abilities had improved, but the level of improvement was sort of unexpected. Regardless, she looked ok——Kurou breathed a sigh of relief.

Taking a quick glance at Rinne, she was currently mourning Neena’s death. Neena had done things that could never be worthy of praise, but Kurou did not find any fault with her reasons. Despite going after Sefi’s life, it was only her mission in the end.

“Just have a seat here Sefi. There’s probably nothing more dangerous than this.”

“You didn’t have to tell me, I can’t even stand up. If you were to do anything to me I’d be unable to escape.”

“What a hard to come by opportunity.”

However, Kurou did not find any satisfaction in messing around with defenseless girls. Even if he did, this was not the time for it.

“Looks like that side has been taken care of. What the, that guy looks completely revived.”

Kurou stated with a hint of exasperation.

In one corner of the playground, Lars was currently in battle against a Blaze. Judging by his movements, he definitely did not resemble someone who had just come out of the hospital. Lars was his normal self. Although it was not on par with the Starbreaker, he was able to freely control the heavy and thick Beast Slayer as he fooled around with the Blaze swordsmen. With his back to the wall, he held his poise as he appeared to be wary of mystic artes coming from behind.

There were still four Blaze swordsmen left. Three Sabers members were left, but they were completely incapacitated from battling any further.

Even so, Lars would always find a way.

“I-It can’t be, there’s only five of us left?”

“Hmm? Ah, yup it appears so. We also lost quite a few people.”

Rinne was closing in on Kurou. She suddenly stopped in her tracks and surveyed her surroundings.

“I heard that the Sabers were supposed to be a group dedicated to fighting humans, but it seems they are quite something. Perhaps it’s because the group was created by Manaka-chan.”

“Indeed, we used to be very powerful.”

Kurou specifically mentioned “used to” for a reason.

The Sabers were probably done for. With the deputy already slain, what was left was the fighting core of the group. With such a drastic reduction to the fighting group, it would be hard to rebuild the organization.

“Well, whatever. Let’s continue Kurou-chan.”

“I don’t really want to though.”

Kurou was facing Rinne as he prepared his stance.

“Rou, what’s the matter?”

“No matter what I do it’s the same. Although we were facing each other, since I had no other choice I just slashed at her, but the attack ended up hurting me instead.”

Him crashing into Sefi and falling over was due to taking a kick from Rinne. It was just a simple fake maneuver, but if he did not leap back his internal organs would have been shattered.

“……She’s quite strong isn’t she?”

“She’s certainly more than just cute.”

“You’re still not at your optimal state right……?”

Eh, no signs of jealousy? Kurou felt a little down. However, Sefi was probably aware that this was not the appropriate time and place for that.

His current state————in truth, even Kurou was unsure.

“Well…..I don’t know.”

Kurou replied honestly and walked towards Rinne.

“Rou, you’re…..not smiling are you?”

Kurou heard Sefi’s worrisome voice coming from behind.

Smiling? Even he had no clue.

“That girl over there is Sefi-chan right? The princess of the four generals. You’re so cute just like a fairy. Are there fairies in Swordia?”

“No idea. Swordia does have some strange creatures I heard but I haven’t set foot there before.”

“Neither have I. Well, let’s go.”

Rinne raised her Silver Wing once again. From the looks of it, there was no other impression towards Sefi other than “cute”. Even though Sefi was their target, Rinne did not seem to be very interested.

Following that, Rinne began to move as if she was gliding across the ground. She swung the Silver Wing more like a sword than a lance. With a blade on each side of the lance, she seemed to be at ease even though the weight should feel abnormal. Even though the single blade was blocked, there was an incoming second blade that came down as well.

With a ferocious strike akin to Sefi’s from Rinne’s swing of the Silver Wing, it was as if a tornado formed during the attack. Even though she was not hit during the strike, just being in the attack radius made her body feel like it shattered into pieces.

“Guh……!”

Kurou’s katana was unable to completely avoid Rinne’s blade and he was repelled back. Following the sparks that resulted from the clash, his blade was being peeled apart as tiny pieces flew in all directions.

Even with the Olden Style’s prediction and high precision sword style, it was unable to completely deal with Rinne’s sword————

One after another the dual blades repeatedly hacked away at Kurou’s sword. Unable to completely mitigate Rinne’s full power, it was like a shock wave attack spreading through Kurou’s entire body from the initial hand contact.

“Gah……!”

Kurou jumped back to maintain his distance from Rinne. She stopped as well and decided not to close the distance.

“Hold on Rou, you……”

“Oh my this girl is quite strong. In some ways she is even tougher to deal with than Manaka.”

“I-Is she really that good……?”

Kurou nodded and stared into Rinne’s eyes. There was something he wanted to ask her.

“Rinne……when did you start wielding a sword?”

“Umm……about one year ago I think?”

“One year!?”

Sefi was flabbergasted. She was supposed to have taken a lot of damage from her last battle but she appeared to be surprisingly very active.

“No way it’s only been a year. To be able to match up with Rou……I was born under the sword and I have never won against him…..ah, nevermind me!”

“Are you an idiot?”

“Yup she is.”

“Shut up, I said don’t mind me!”

It seemed Sefi was not too fond of Kurou and Rinne’s reactions.

“Well, what Rinne said is true, I had a feeling that was the case as well. Rinne must’ve been wielding a sword for a short period of time. In terms of strength and speed she is unexpectedly an anomaly. Despite that, she still has too many unnecessary movements. Her swordsmanship is also a mess and she can’t even control it yet.”

“Jeez, you don’t have to announce that to everyone.”

For some reason Rinne started to blush.

“However, there are aspects that make up for the lack of experience. It’s mostly your innate combat ability that makes you appear so monstrously strong. Furthermore, your messy sword style is quite annoying.”

“Huh……”

Sefi understood now.

Kurou’s Olden Style relied on predicting the opponent’s movements. Reading the curse that is the Swordies’ killing intent and then using the sword to avoid the predetermined track.

However, Rinne’s sword————even though the timing of the attack could be read, it was possible that the pathing drawn up was something different from her intent. It was like he thought, she was unable to completely control her sword style in maneuvering her sword. Rinne used excessive strength which probably played a part in it as well.

To be able to confirm the location of which he was aimed at————against a Swordie that was of course doable. To be denied that would be a disadvantage————Kurou found it to be quite problematic.

There was a huge difference when comparing Rinne and Kurou.

Suddenly Kurou remembered something. When Sylphy spoke of the assassination, there was one corpse that was crudely hacked in pieces. That must have been Rinne’s doing.

Who would have thought a Blaze would use such a sloppy swordsmanship……

“……To have never learned the sword, does that imply that you were not raised at the reservation?”

“N-No, I was not brought up at the reservation.”

Rinne clearly stated while shaking her head.

“The opportunistic insurgency of the Blazes————I was raised as one of them. However, they did not teach me the ways of the sword and I was even told not to battle. I was only to go to school like a normal person.”

Rinne grabbed the front of her uniform skirt and lightly tugged down at it a few times.

“That’s really strange. If you’re not allowed to use a sword then you’re no different from the Blazes at the reservation right?”

“Indeed, except I do retain my freedom. My identity as a Blaze was hidden and I became just your average Swordie girl until now.”

“So just like Neena you wanted to infiltrate a Swordie school?”

“Although I didn’t have a particular objective, I have this sickly disposition and I never went to any sword lectures. Other than that I lived my life as a normal Swordie.”

“Isn’t that a good thing?”

Normality, that was what Kurou desired the most.

“However, for a Blaze like me, there was no need for school at all. As a result, regardless if it came to school or my own residence————none of it was needed since wherever I go there will be nothing that lies before me.”

“Rinne……”

Not having to live a life of segregation at the reservation, her life would seem to resemble that of a human.

In regards to Rinne, do Blazes find that type of situation to be unsatisfying?

“When deciding to engage in battle, I intended on participating because the Blaze’s numbers were low. It came to the point where no one could say not to participate.”

“Rinne, you……”

“I am a Death Sword. Among the Blazes, I appear to be a cursed existence as well.”

Rinne provided a bit of a worrisome smile. It seemed to resemble self scorn.

“A cursed existence……. is that referring to you never being able to learn swordsmanship?”

“Yup, well if we converse too much I’ll be yelled at. Is this what they mean when they say all witnesses need to be silenced?”

“I say, it’s more like Rinne just pouring things out nonstop.”

“Perhaps so. I apologize Kurou-chan, I won’t hold back.”

“Since I won’t either, it’s the same for both of us.”

Rinne giggled at Kurou’s words and then proceeded to leap upwards.

Just like Neena’s aerial attack————Kurou was barely able to repel Rinne’s Silver Wing strike with his katana.

However————

The second round of violent jabs————the sword came at him like lightning and only a brief light could be seen. Despite feeling as if he saw through the route’s deviation and responding with a swing of the sword, he was unable to keep pace.

Ding, an ear piercing metallic sound echoed as sparks drifted across like a mist. Kurou’s arm was feeling a bit numb as well.

Rinne did not stop and repeatedly attacked him. Even though her swordsmanship was all disorganized, it could be said that she was the strongest alien out there. It was exactly due to that which made her attacks unpredictable.

Kurou was being slowly pressured as he was constantly being pushed back.

“To be able to hold up against my sword, I would have expected nothing less from a rarity among my master’s race.”

Kurou blocked Rinne’s sword as he smiled. Although it was a nice sword that Kurou received from the Sword Saint due to her interest in him, his own vision seemed to be quite good as well.

Kurou carried on forward despite the pain in his arm.

Following him charging at Rinne and a slash of his Olden Style————he struck Rinne’s right shoulder. Blood splattered out in an instant.

“Ouch!”

Rinne’s eyes flickered in surprise while falling back.

She was struck——Kurou felt that it was indeed a clean hit. Even if he was unable to completely avoid her attack, at least he was able to land a hit on her. If he could capture Rinne’s attack pathing and then swing at her again——

“What the……!?”

Kurou’s eyes opened widely in shock.

Right in front of him, the wound on Rinne’s right shoulder began to quickly heal. The attack was one that cut deep towards the bone. No matter how amazing a Swordie’s healing abilities were, to be able to heal in the midst of battle was truly something else……

“This is one of the abilities of a Death Sword. No matter how bad the wound is, as long as I am alive I can continue to battle.”

“That’s some unexpected foul play……”

As Kurou laughed, he felt cold sweat running down his face.

When you compound the fact his physical capabilities were already inferior along with the ability she just used, Kurou’s winning chances just got slimmer.

Anyone would despair in this situation——

Furthermore, Kurou felt it was quite strange.

If there was just a slight error in that last attack, he would have been struck by Rinne’s sword.

Despite laughing————he knew he had not succeeded in avoiding Rinne’s sword since when their swords clashed, the momentum sent him flying back.

The place that he got knocked into was by a bench next to the wall of a building. A box and crate of indiscernible items were there as well. For some reason a lot of shoes were lined up there as Kurou tumbled into them and stayed in a kneeled down position.

No matter, his arm and sword still have not broken. Neither has his heart.

However, since there was too much clutter he could not move. If he were to take a hit here it would all be over. Just as Kurou wanted to stand up, he looked in front and noticed something——.

“Kurou! It’s heading your way!”

He heard Sefi’s warning, but it was unnecessary at this point.

Rinne was full of smiles as she took aim at Kurou.

With the Silver Wing in her right hand, her left hand was aimed at Kurou as well.

“Winds, charge forward!”

Something was coming from Rinne’s hand. There was the false impression that her left hand was expanding.

No wait, it was not false at all!

A fist shaped block of wind came charging at him. It was much faster than Manaka and Neena’s flames. Just as he was thinking about this——

Kurou vision began to slowly cloud up in a snowy whiteness.

“Rou——!”

Sefi shouted as she stood up.

Hmmm……a thought ran across his mind.

He was the boy who repelled Sword General Manaka and defeated Sword Saint Hyouka, although he did not recall that moment————

Is it possible that he would lose to this girl who is about the same age as him?

Rinne’s mystic artes landed on the bench and reduced it to unrecognizable powder. The walls by it were torn apart, the stuff inside the boxes flew all over the place, and dust covered the air. It was tough to see the situation over there.

“Sefi.”

Sitting in front of Sefi was Lars who seemingly popped out of nowhere. His Beast Slayer was still spewing black smoke. From the looks of it, he must have already taken care of all the Blaze swordsmen.

Even for someone as evenly matched with Kurou as Lars was, facing that many Blazes must have been daunting. He did not receive any fatal injuries, but there were quite a few wounds, his breathing was heaving, and his shoulders slumped over. Although, he was feigning dumb as usual.

“Things have turned for the worse Sefi.”

“Worse? Who cares about that, Kurou needs to——“

Just what was Kurou supposed to do?

From the perspective of a calm spectator, Kurou was struck directly by the mystic arte and must have already been blasted into pieces. Rinne’s mystic artes possessed such immense power. Mystic artes draw on one’s quantity of light to transfer into power. For Lars to change his normal facial expression, you can imagine the kind of power she had.

Tears flowed down. It was too late, Kurou was already————.

“No way, it isn’t like that. I just took a glance and Kurou seemed to be——laughing it off?”

“Eh? I guess, but just now——“

“Sefi, listen to me. Has there been anything weird going on with Kurou?”

“Weird huh……he isn’t in peak condition. Isn’t that just the light body’s aftereffect?”

“If his condition worsened then Kurou can’t fight against Swordies. But don’t forget, that guy has been walking on a tightrope his entire life.”

Of course Sefi understood that clearly.

When it came to strength and speed, he was no match for a Swordie. He does have his own technique to overcome this overwhelming capability gap. If he were to make one mistake he would instantly be walking with the dead.

Anyone could see that there was danger associated with a battle between swordsmen. However, Kurou’s battle was especially perilous and could be considered suicide.

“Kurou-chan”

Suddenly, Rinne began to speak. She seemed to be in high spirits.

“I know you’re still alive. It’s about time you come out.”

“Huh————“

The only person in complete surprise was Sefi. Even Hinako, who was standing like a statue, did not utter a sound.

Sure enough, the scattered wreckage emitted a shuffling sound and began to collapse. Following that, the dust slowly dispersed and a white light could be seen through an opening within the wreckage.

“Rou——!”

Sefi could not control the elation she felt in her tone.

After pushing aside the debris, Kurou appeared with his body shrouded in a white light.

Although Sefi had witnessed the battle between Kurou and Manaka, she could not recall what happened after the portal opened.

The light body——for humans, they are able to barely mobilize one’s own light capabilities. It would never be on par with a Swordie’s, but the light body could allow humans to surpass their normal capabilities.

Kurou was standing and held the katana in his right hand which was drooped down. His head was lowered so his face could not be clearly seen. His uniform became tattered and full of blood trails, but at least he was alive. Sefi wished she could instantly run to him, but her legs still could not move.

And that was not all.

“Rou……?”

Kurou was a familiar figure to her who was also very towering——and at that point, she could faintly see him.

Sefi’s heart began to race.

However, when looking at Kurou’s sword, that burning passion just was not there.

She could hear her own heartbeat. Slowly but surely though, her heart began to change to worry.

That is not the Kurou I know.

It was not the same thought process from when she wanted to kill Rou.

However, for some reason————her chest hurt. It felt like something was strangling her.

What’s happening to me……

“……Heh.”

She was able to make out Kurou’s lips curling upwards.

“Haha……hahahahaha.”

Kurou began to loudly laugh and brushed the fringe of his hair. The traces of a sword wound still remained there. That must be the wound Kurou received from the Sword Saint.

“This wound is so painful, ahhhhhh!”

“Kurou seems to be a bit off……”

Hinako walked over. She revealed a seldom look of worry.

“W-What’s going on Lars?”

As she was suppressing her heart from pounding, Sefi asked.

“The situation just got a bit more complex. Perhaps it’s due to crossing swords with Manaka. The battle against the student council president didn’t help either. Kurou has returned.”

“Returned……”

“Yup, Kurou’s condition never really deteriorated. In fact this is his ideal state and it has nothing to do with the aftereffects of using the light body. When he begins to battle, he’ll be able to move around like usual since he was conditioned to do so. Even if he appears to be exhausted, he’s still in excellent condition except he’s just a bit perplexed is all.”

“What do you mean……”

Sefi tilted her head and asked.

Kurou flew out from the wreckage like a bullet. With superhuman speed, he began to rush towards Rinne.

“Wahhhh!”

Kurou yelled as he crudely swung his katana. It was completely different from his refined Olden Style.

“What!?”

Rinne emitted a cute cry of despair as she blocked his sword. For a Swordie and especially a Blaze like Rinne who possessed extraordinary physical strength, that light body enabled attack probably seemed like nothing to her.

“K-Kurou-chan……?”

Rinne’s eyes opened widely in shock. She was not comfortable addressing him as Kurou-chan. It was not just because of their current state that she was left feeling helpless, there was something else to it.

Kurou kept on going as he continued to wield his sword. The battle momentum flipped between Kurou and Rinne with his brutal and savage sword style.

Was this the real Kurou————?

“I’ve seen Kurou like this before.”

Lars muttered out loud.

“A couple days before our master disappeared————in other words, it was right before their battle. At that time, I felt Kurou started to act strange. Compared to his constantly smiling self——even during practice he felt like a completely different person. It wasn’t a Swordie’s swordsmanship and it wasn’t the Olden Style, it was as if he was provoked by something.”

“Hmm, it probably was that——from the time when he pulled out his sword. Right now, there is no one here who can stop that man. Even I……can’t do it.”

As Lars was speaking, sweat began dripping down his cheeks.

In front of him was Kurou, who was like a wild beast rampaging around.

What am I doing?

Kurou asked himself that question. However, he was unable to stop his hand from swinging the sword.

The light body activated when he saw the blast of wind leave her hands. It was because he was pushed to the brink in what was a hopeless situation that this ability activated. If the light body did not activate, he likely would have died from a direct hit by the mystic arte. With the light body protecting him, he was able to quickly evade by going behind the bench.

Despite that, his wounds were not light. Taking on that high speed block of wind must have been very scary. In fact, it was tough for him to even stand up.

“Riiiiiiinnnnneeee!”

What am I yelling for?

He felt as if he was a spectator to himself. That other him was watching Rinne being pushed into a corner.

The usual smile that was on Rinne’s face until now——that completely disappeared. With an uncomfortable expression, she devoted herself to dealing with Kurou’s sword.

The white blade was glowing with light and light sliced through her wind.

Why am I throwing everything into my sword strikes? That is not what the Olden Style is about. It is also different from what I learned from the Sword Saint.

Saintly Slash of the Nine Heavens——the nine paths unleashed from this killer strike were not visible to the user even with the light body activated. He was just wildly swinging his sword, aiming at weak points, and charging forth with everything he had.

“Kurou-chan, you……!”

A sign of fear surfaced on Rinne’s face.

Of course anyone would be afraid. Kurou thought to himself what it would be like to be attacked by this beast-like being.

Despite knowing Rinne was in fear, Kurou had no way of stopping himself.

As he recklessly slashed around, Rinne was eventually cornered.

“What!?”

Rinne let out a small cry of despair. Because of Kurou’s sword, she was struck in the crevice between her breasts. It was soft, but he indeed felt that he landed a clean blow. That cream colored sweater of hers was stained with blood which was oozing out.

However, he knew that she would be healed in an instant. The bleeding quickly stopped. That cry of pain from before was also gone.

“Rinne……”

Kurou deviously called her name.

While continuing to wield his sword, he repeatedly hacked away at Rinne’s chest, abdomen, hands and legs.

Rinne’s uniform and snowy white skin were covered in cut marks and blood sprayed everywhere. However, all those wounds immediately healed.

Despite witnessing this completely unfair ability, Kurou kept his smile.

That twisted smile was probably because Rinne, who was all covered in blood, was——

She was in a sorry state, but to Kurou, the Rinne in front of him possessed much more charm. He felt Rinne was a bit emotionally unstable despite not knowing what she was thinking. Perhaps she was currently revealing her fear of trying to staying alive.

I want to kill Rinne.

More fighting, I want to rip her heart out————

“Kurou-chan……!

Rinne parried Kurou’s sword and distanced herself from him. She took a deep breath.

Well, what do you plan on doing?

Kurou did not really do anything. He just waited for Rinne to make a move.

“I……I have to battle in order to protect this place. I’m very sorry.”

“You’re doing what you have to do, there’s no need to apologize.”

To Rinne’s exasperated tone, Kurou gave a whimsical reply. Even if he was killed, Kurou would hold no grudge against Rinne.

“Kurou-chan……is very strong.”

Rinne mentioned in a slightly depressed manner. With her hands tightly grasping the hilt of the Silver Wing, she raised it to her chest level.

After that, she began to slowly spin her Silver Wing. Rinne skillfully twirled the Silver Wing while raising her hands in the air.

Next to Rinne’s head, the Silver Wing was rotating like a helicopter as it maintained its spin. The wind roared as a result and made him want to cover his ears.

“……What are you doing Rinne?”

“My sword skills are very cruddy. However, I was taught to use this when facing a powerful opponent.”

“By who?”

“I believe this is called a death strike.”

Rinne did not answer Kurou’s question.

A death strike, Kurou thought it was a bit strange. The double-bladed lance was just making a buzzing sound in the air while rotating. If she did not accumulate proper levels of training, then even this kind of rotation would be difficult to keep up. Yet, this was not considered anything special either.

However——

“Are you kidding me?”

Kurou clenched his teeth while maintaining his smiling composure.

Rinne was twirling her Silver Wing while charging at him. When she closed the distance, she ferociously swung down the spinning Silver Wing.

“Wuuhh……!”

Kurou struggled to avoid the Silver Wing. However, it was not as simple as a quick dodge. The rotating Silver Wing emitted a wind pressure that caused the ground to crumble and the remnants even flew towards where the other Sabers and Blazes were. This was truly an unbelievable display of power.

A direct hit would probably result in his body literally turning into dust.

Just when his stance was disrupted, another strike came at him. Kurou jumped back a great distance to avoid it.

He then jumped to the side to avoid the ensuing shockwave.

“The Silver Wing’s Divine Wind——can Kurou-chan defend against it with the Olden Style?”

“Who knows.”

As he replied, Kurou was thinking to himself “are you serious?”

Rinne’s manipulation of the Silver Wing was like a high speed propeller. Just a graze would result in his entire body being sucked in and shredded apart.

“These are some really ridiculous moves Rinne!”

“You’re the one who forced me to use this!”

That was indeed the case.

If he was a bit weaker, then perhaps he would not have to experience this fearsome killer strike.

No no, for someone who possesses the successor mark of the Sword Saint, there was no such thing as wanting to be weaker.

Kurou, thou must slay thee——

“……!”

His master’s voice resonated in his head.

Kurou remembered her wielding the Eternal Horizon and exuding an enormous killing intent in front of him.

That’s right, I did battle against the Sword Saint.

Facing against the terrifying Sword Saint, he managed to come out alive.

Being able to confront Rinne’s overwhelming light that pierced his body, that must have been the result of overcoming the Sword Saint’s terror.

“Master……no matter who I battle, I will always remember you.”

Kurou muttered to himself.

Now was not the time to delve into past memories.

The thing he needed to think about was his own sword. If he were to rampage like a beast, there was no way he could break through Rinne’s tactics.

The Olden Style and everything he learned from the Sword Saint, he must remember all of it——

As Rinne waved the Silver Wing across, she came at him again.

“Tch!”

Kurou immediately used the Olden Style to defend and then pulled back his sword. With his increased leg strength from the light body, he once again maintained his distance.

Having his sword make contact with that violently rotating lance was too dangerous.

Moreover, her swordsmanship was similar to when she held the sword normally, which meant even Rinne still had no idea where the trajectory was headed.

Just like before, only relying on the Olden Style was not enough to overcome Rinne’s lance.

“……That’s not the same. Neither is that, my master.”

Kurou started to smile once again.

Rinne never let up and repeatedly attacked him.

He never felt scared or had a moment of cowardice.

His moves were not limited to just the Saintly Slash of the Nine Heavens when combining the Olden Style and the light body.

“Rinne, I have to kill you——!”

Without a doubt, Rinne did not show any signs of stopping towards his words.

Perhaps she was also trying her best too……When she was faced with Kurou’s terror, maybe she was determined to kill Kurou in order to escape that fear and power.

“Kurou-chan!”

The Silver Wing emitted a ghastly buzzing sound as it came at Kurou.

However, Kurou had already spotted the weakness in the Silver Wing’s Divine Wind. The flaw in this monstrous death strike was——it was too slow. Of course it was faster than normal Swordies, but it could not compare to Manaka’s sword.

As a result, if he was not crushed under the power, he could deal with it.

“A cursed being, isn’t that what you said before Rinne?”

With the Silver Wing’s blades approaching him, Kurou mumbled to himself.

“I wasn’t like this among the humans either……!”

Kurou’s entire body was radiating with white light as he swung his sword——against the Silver Wing that was trying to tear him apart, he began a stream of attacks.

“Ahh……!”

Rinne let out a cry of despair.

Due to Kurou landing a hit, the high-speed spinning Silver Wing shifted greatly from its intended path.

Petal Flurry——originally this move was supposed to be used when dealing with numerous opponents at once. Practically at about the same time, countless repelling maneuvers would be used to block the opponents’ swords——this was an art of the Olden Style.

By the time Kurou finished up his move, he swung his sword downwards and knocked away Rinne’s Silver Wing.

The Silver Wing was knocked into the air and then fell on the ground where it tumbled around a bit.

“Aaaahh……”

Rinne revealed an expression akin to a lost soul as she plopped to the ground. Kurou kept up his intimidation while approaching her.

“……How strange, it shouldn’t have ended up like this.”

Rinne uttered with a weary voice.

Originally, Kurou’s chances of defeating Rinne were about one in a million. That was because in a certain sense she was even tougher than Manaka.

What am I doing? Why am I in this situation?

Right, this was the same case with Manaka. It never should have turned out the way it did——

“Rinne……”

Kurou slowly raised his sword. Due to him swinging the sword with all his strength, there were notches everywhere on the blade while he was continuously using the Petal Flurry move. The sword became tattered looking.

On the other hand, having it tattered like that may even become a boost for him.

However, as long as the blade was still intact, that was more than enough for him to work with.

If he were to just kill this immobilized opponent……

“Kurou-chan!”

While sitting down, Rinne collected herself and aimed her left hand towards Kurou.

“Even my own death counts as a weapon. That is what it means to be a Death Sword!”

“Is that so!?”

Kurou yelled out without fear.

Rinne’s wind based mystic artes————if he were to take a blast from this distance, not even a corpse would be leftover perhaps.

——Oh well.

To swing his sword and take out the enemy, that was all Kurou had as his objectives. Using one’s death as a means of attack? Of course it was something to be expected from any fighter.

“Winds, charge forward!”

“……!”

Kurou swung his sword down without a care————however, he could not do it.

“……Eh?”

With her left hand raised up, Rinne revealed a perplexed expression. The block of wind that was supposed to rip Kurou into pieces did not even materialize in her hands.

“What happened……?”

“……”

Kurou suddenly shifted his gaze.

Over there was——

“Kuro——”

It was Hinako who was trembling as she came over.

Her facial expression was akin to a dream-like state——and a golden light radiated from her body which was different from the usual white light.

Kurou had seen Hinako being enveloped by that kind of light twice before——once when he first met her that one night and the other time was during the battle against Manaka.

“There’s something I can do after all. Or perhaps, this is something only I can do.”

It was just as she said, Kurou thought to himself. Sefi was already at her limits and although Lars maintained that nonchalant expression, he must be running out of strength by now after battling against numerous skilled Blazes.

Sealing mystic artes——Hinako had used this move back when he was battling against Manaka and now it appeared again.

Compared to before, it was still the same in that there was no idea under what circumstances and steps could cause it to activate.

“In that case, let me protect you this time. Kuro, I won’t let you die. Furthermore……I can’t really let you kill this girl in such a manner.”

Hinako swiftly jogged over to right in front of Kurou and acted as a barrier between Kurou and Rinne’s battle.

“Kuro.”

Hinako uttered that one word and suddenly kissed Kurou.

“Hina!?”

Suddenly Sefi’s voice could be heard, but Hinako paid no mind while having her lips overlap with Kurou’s.

As their lips converged, fifteen seconds passed————why was Kurou keeping track of the time.

“……Huu.”

Hinako slowly separated from his lips and stared directly into his eyes. Was it due to her feelings? Her face became a bit red.

From this view, Hinako looked rather cute.

Kenshin v02 262.PNG
As Kurou thought to himself——he felt his head starting to calm down.

“……Why did you do that so suddenly?”

Kurou gazed at Hinako as he candidly asked.

“Back then when Sefi went ballistic——Kurou used this method to stop her. So I was just trying the same thing.”

“Don’t mention that!”

Sefi pouted in anger. Even if she could not stand up, she pretty much recovered most of her strength.

“……No, well I see. What was I doing?”

Kurou muttered to himself.

With his mind back in order, he reverted back from that split personality to just his usual self.

“If this kind of thing reverts me back to normal, I wouldn’t mind going crazy once again.”

“……Rou, I’ll have you remember this.”

Sefi was restless from not too long ago. It seemed she was not able to take a joke.

“Great. Seeing Kurou go insane like that wasn’t very fun.”

“Was your amusement really the problem?”

“You’re right, the problem is…..over there.”

Hinako slightly lowered her line of sight. Rinne was still just sitting down.

“……Hehehe. Ahahaha.”

Rinne was laughing like Kurou had been before. She sincerely thought all of this was so strange.

“Ah, this is so interesting. Very interesting. Ever since hanging out with Kurou-chan, I have been able to experience one fascinating thing after another.”

“Well, what you perceive as interesting must also be very good as well.”

Kurou joked around. He had no interest in battling against Rinne anymore. However, he had no idea if the opposition felt the same way.

“Yet, I……always believed that things would turn out like this.”

“You believed?”

“Yeah, I was pretty sure that Kurou-chan and I wouldn’t die. Actually, I knew that would be the case. This is another ability of the Death Sword…..I’m knowledgeable.”

“Knowledgeable……”

Rinne did not answer and stood up. She proceeded to pick up the Silver Wing and guitar case off the ground.

“I also knew that Neena-chan wanted Kurou-chan dead. If I didn’t do anything, Kurou-chan’s head would be chopped off.”

“……Wasn’t that something you overheard from your friends?”

“I had been excluded from the others. Neena hid the fact that she wanted to kill you. However, Neena-chan chopping off Kurou-chan’s head——that moment was something I could clearly see.”

“……You mentioned ‘see’……are you referring to the power of clairvoyance?”

Kurou was totally stunned.

It seemed like a joke but that was the only thing that ran through his mind after hearing such a statement.

“You are correct. Although it isn’t much of a combative ability. Since I can only see a one second duration of what happens, it doesn’t serve much of a purpose in battle. I can see the future from a couple of hours to as far as a few weeks out.”

“It’s something that doesn’t really get used.”

If it was not something very dire, then perhaps it would be forgotten after a few weeks anyways.

“In fact, today’s vision wasn’t just limited to that. Even when we were eating the sandwiches……the scene that I saw……”

As she was saying that, for some reason Rinne’s face turned red and she lowered her head.

Kurou was dumbfounded.

“I don’t know when it’s going to happen though. Even so, that means……”

“What are you talking about?”

“K-Kurou-chan and I are in a certain room.”

“Where?”

“Kurou-chan……”

Rinne’s gaze slightly shifted around as she looked at Kurou. It was a very cute expression.

“Kurou-chan pushed me on the bed and began to…..kiss me……as well as fondle my breasts. Many shameful things were done to me. I was also making some strange noises……”

“Hold on a minute!”

What was she talking about!?

“I haven’t even done those sorts of things to Sefi before!”

“Don’t make an example based on me in every situation! That said, what in the world are you talking about!?”

“I don’t know when it will happen, but it shouldn’t be too long from now.”

“Wha……!”

Sefi was rendered speechless.

Kurou was also doubting what he just heard. Rinne was a Blaze and the enemy’s strongest fighting force.

For a girl like her to be on the bed, that was hard to believe.

“The clearer I’m able to see it, the easier it will be for it to occur……not only did this apply to Kurou-chan’s death……t-the things that happen on the bed……I was able to clearly see that future as well.”

“……”

Kurou already had nothing to say.

When she saved them from Neena’s sentence, that seemed to justify her words a bit more.

“No matter what, I can’t just let Kurou-chan and I ignore such things. Perhaps, t-this……might be my first time. That kind of thing is really important.”

“R-Rou you can’t do this. You’re nothing but a pervert who also loves to sexually harass people!”

“It isn’t harassment. It seemed like I was also enjoying it……”

“I don’t want to hear that either!”

Neither did Kurou. He did not want any prior knowledge on the future.

“The atmosphere here seems to have changed……”

“With Kurou around, it’s hard to be serious.”

Hinako and Lars pitched in as well.

That was true, it no longer felt like the stage for battle. Kurou suddenly sighed out loud.

“Rinne, let’s go. Do I really have to get rid of you……I don’t even remember. I was saved by you once and therefore I want to help you out once as well.”

“Ah, returning the favor I see.”

Rinne chuckled and gently tapped the Silver Wing against her head.

“I also thought of something. Swordies are a sword loving race……and for Kurou-chan’s sword, although it is very frightening……I think I have already been captivated by it.”

“What…..!?”

That was not Kurou, but rather Sefi who was at a loss for words once again.

Of course Kurou was shocked as well, but he chose not to say anything because it was hard to tell whether or not Rinne was being serious.

“Fufufu, well goodbye then Kurou-chan.”

“……It might not be bad to meet up again someday.”

Rinne smiled in response to Kurou.

Carrying the guitar case and Silver Wing, she gently jumped up and after a few hops she disappeared from the confines of the playground.

No one decided to give chase.

In truth, Kurou was already in no state to battle. Sefi and Lars were probably in the same boat. Although Hinako was still an able body, she was of course not capable of battling.

“Well…..let’s head back now.”

As Kurou stated as such, he surveyed Sefi and the others. Everyone was all beaten up, but the four of them did survive in the end.

What did not survive was————the Sabers.

What would happen from here on out?

Kurou stared at the playground full of fallen swordsmen——and contemplated over his survival and what the future would bring.


<Chapter 2 – The Maidens’ Day Off
Volume 2 Epilogue>