27. The Ace up my Sleeve
Down a certain alley way, Shizuka can be seen running alone.
“Shizuka, the world could end if you’re caught. That’s why, even if it’s just you, you’ve gotta escape!”
“Relax, I’ll catch up later with Akari. No need to worry.”
Shizuka, recalling the words of the 2 who stayed behind so she could escape, wipes her tears as she runs.
She bears a heavy responsibility. If she is captured, the entire world might fall to the clutches of the organization. Her wish is to pass normal days free of worry together with Akari and Souji.
Shizuka, with various thoughts flashing through her head, desperately runs in search of help.
“The police… the organization might not have spread their influence there. My smartphone was destroyed, so I can’t even contact Yui-san. What do I do? What can I do?”
However, those thoughts are cut short by the large man standing before her.
“No, no, I was surprised, su1. The entire time you had [Bestowal] on you, I was terrified you’d escape, su.”
Despair fills Shizuka’s face upon seeing Dius. For him to have chased after her means that Akari and Souji, who stayed behind so she could escape, were captured.
“Ah, perhaps, you’re worried about those 2, su? No need for concern, they are alive. Souji-kun might be a bit hurt, but your onee-chan is unharmed, su. Seems like she fainted from overusing [Bestowal].”
Hearing that the 2 are alive brings relief to Shizuka. At the same time, she steps in a different direction in order to escape.
“Woah there, I was hoping you wouldn’t make a fuss. Your special ability, [Union], is the most important of all, su.”
However, Dius is holding Shizuka in an instant. He reached her despite the distance between them being more than 10 meters.
Shizuka is again shocked at how beyond normal the phenomena from rank A special abilities reach.
“So- someone, help-”
“Woah there, su.”
Dius taps the back of Shizuka’s neck and knocks her out.
“Fuu, that was dangerous. The agents haven’t finished setting up yet. It would have been terrible if someone heard her.”
It is cruel, but Shizuka’s cry for help didn’t reach anyone— —
“Now then, let’s go ho-”
“Ano, what are you doing?”
— —Except for one person.
—Diamonds do not float—
Through Near’s guidance, I was able to find Shizuka-san, but…
“What’s going on here?”
I discover her asking for help while being held down by a large man. The large man takes some distance upon seeing me and now Shizuka-san is in between my arms.
“She unconscious, but she seems to be fine.”
“Vitals are normal, external wounds cannot be found either. She is fine.”
Eh, Near has a vital check function? Awesome. Ack, right now I should be concentrating on the large man in front of me.
“Well, who are you supposed to be? What do you want with Shizuka-san?”
I glare at the large man as I thrust my questions at him.
“Fuu, you don’t need to put up that act, su. You can understand what’s going on without an explanation either, su, right?”
Eh, except, I don’t understand? That’s why I asked, but… what’s with this guy’s pointlessly smug expression?
“At any rate, I didn’t think I’d get to meet you here, su.”
Eh, have we met somewhere before? I’m pretty sure I’m not acquainted with such a huge guy…
“Chie-san said not to get involved with you, but in a situation like this, it can’t be helped, su.”
The large man raises his fists as a fearless smile crosses his face. I see, at times like these, the reason doesn’t matter. I can’t forgive him for knocking out Shizuka-san. If he’s this motivated, then I’ll meet him head on.
“Near, watch over Shizuka-san for me.”
I set Shizuka-san in a nook in the road and then place my bag and Near beside her. With that done, I too raise my fists.
“Here I come!”
The large man, together with nimble footwork, thrusts his hands into my eyes and throat.
Yeow! No doubt about it, it hurts!
“I won’t give you any time to use onmyou techniques, su. I don’t want to find myself imprisoned like last time.”
Find himself imprisoned? What is this guy saying?
While he’s saying something I don’t understand, he thrusts his knee with pinpoint accuracy into my solar plexus. I thought he was using boxing at first, but that’s wrong. Looks more like Jeet Kune Do2!
“More than you being tough, it feels like the damage is being nullified. Is this also an onmyou technique, su?”
“That’s a trade secret!”
Unlike the silk hat from before, this guy seems to know about, [onmyou techniques]. Well, I guess that’s fine.
It isn’t funny that I would have died from being struck in my vital points, but I’m unharmed thanks to the [Substitution Tags]. Still, there’s a limit to those talismans. I’ll lose if this keeps up.
“Here’s my counteratt— kohaa!”
“Like I said, I won’t give you any time to counterattack, su.”
The large man grabs my neck and slam me onto the asphalt. Underneath me appears a crater similar to when I got punched by the heavy machinery robot.
What’s with this brute strength!? Is he a monster!?
“No way… a special ability!?”
I examine him and, this guy is a special ability holder, too!
[Reinforcement], a special ability that allows the user to strengthen the properties of objects in contact with the user’s body.
“Ahre? Did you just notice now, su? I thought you knew from the start, su… Well, I guess that’s fine, su.”
As the large man mutters such, he continues to grip my neck and presses me into the ground. With his other hand, he punches me.
Except, I’ve no intention of saying nothing about it. I grip the arm holding my neck in return and send him flying overhead with a kick like in judo.
“That’s quite a bit of power you got there, su. Was that some sort of technique, su?”
“I ain’t telling you anything?”
Kuro told me to keep secret that I can use both [special abilities] and [onmyou techniques]. But before that, there is no social obligation to inform anything to scoundrels who attack others out of nowhere!
“Do you nullify attacks through superhuman strength? I heard in a report that you can do things like fly through the sky and send slashing flying. That’s pretty annoying, su.”
Even though the large man sounds like he’s troubled, his smile is just growing wider.
What is this guy?
He then disregards the idea and unleashes a relentless assault.
Karate, Mui Thai, Chinese Kenpo!? Is he a department store of techniques!? Not just that, they’re all at quite the high level.
“Ahre? You can keep up, su?”
I may have also acquired [Reinforcement], but only by over laying the special ability [Reinforcement] with the empowered body I received from kami-sama, am I finally able to close gap in power. As such, I’m being overwhelmed by pure martial arts skill.
“Looks like you’re somewhat knowledgeable in martial arts, but it’s futile, su!”
My punches and kicks are easily avoided and returned two-fold. Even though I’ve mastered each technique I’ve used, they been adapted to opponents of a specific size and weight. Whenever I use them, there is a slight deviation in the results.
The same applies to the techniques I learned from watching videos. This huge guy isn’t comparable to the original opponent.
“Just damn. Now that it’s come to this, I should have practiced properly.”
The only technique my body can freely use is [Gender Equality Uppercut]. My proficiency with my others fall way too short against this large guy.
“In that case, [Melt]!”
I evade the large man’s punch at the last second and grab his arm. From there, I invoke [Melt].
“This is… the same as Melt-san’s [Melt], su? So onmyou techniques can do things like this too, su.”
“Wha- you’re not melting!?”
The sleeves of large man’s clothes dissolved, but his arms are unharmed. I intended to melt up to his flesh, but… did he raise his durability with reinforcement!?
“Naïve, su. You can’t hurt me with a technique at that level, su.”
I haven’t used [Melt] with all my strength, yet. I’d probably be able to defeat this guy if I go all out with invoking it, but his bones and internal organs might dissolve if I did that. I can’t forgive him for knocking out Shizuka-san, but with that said, I don’t want to kill him.
“…It can’t be helped, I suppose.”
The large man, perhaps sensing my resolve, puts a bit of distance between us. He’s pretty sharp.
“I’ll lose at this rate. I’ve decided to use the ace up my sleeve.”
“…Sounds like you’re bluffing, su.”
Of course I’m not doing something like bluffing. It needs to be in a place where people are around and perfect control over [Melt] is required. Those two conditions need to be met, but once they are, victory is guaranteed. It’s that much of an ace up my sleeve.
“I’ll say this first. If this works, you will not win. So, won’t you quietly go home before receiving a humiliating defeat?”
“Fuu, rather, I want to see it, su.”
“Is that so…?”
In that case, I’ll let you relish this to your heart’s content.
T/N: This will be interesting