32. Kill Time Making (Substitution Tags)
“[False · Wave of Healing Water].”
A wave of light envelops Souji’s casted arm and leg.
“Alright, your fractures should be healed with this.”
“Ee… yo- you’re right! I really am healed!”
Souji stands up and walks despite the difficulty given by his cast. He then shakes his broken right arm a few times to check the state of his arm.
“Well then, carry that girl and get onto my back. I shall take you outside.”
“Ye- yes! I’ll immediately… wha!”
“…Looks like we are not going to be allowed to leave just like this.”
Kuro turns towards the entrance of the room and sees a man and woman enter.
“My name is Chie, he is Sefiku. Now, for you, what the hell are you?”
“Fumu, my name is Kuro. I am the one rescuing these people. Your lordship standing aside and allowing us to leave without any trouble would be most appreciated.”
“That’s impossible. Even here, I have a reputation to uphold. As such, I cannot allow you to continue.”
“Is that how it is…?”
As Kuro readies himself for battle, Souji speaks to him.
“Kuro-san, those 2 people are rank A. You could call them ridiculously powerful special ability holders. The woman has [Perception] and the man has-”
“I will not allow any more than that.”
Sefiku invokes [Capture] and Souji can no longer move.
“I see. That appears to be the special ability which prevented the building from collapsing. Were you not being serious when you used it against me?”
“I used it… against you?”
“Mu? You did not notice? This was my appearance when we met before.”
Kuro transforms into a black cat as he speaks.
“That form! I see, so you’re the black cat that defeated Sefiku and the others.”
“That is correct.”
Kuro nods to Chie’s words.
“I failed to capture you at that time, but this time I will succeed! [Capture!]”
Sefiku invokes [Capture] the moment he sees Kuro turn into a black cat. He pours all the strength he can muster into apprehending him. However, not a trace of fluster appears on Kuro’s face despite having his ability to move sealed.
“Despite keeping the building from collapsing, you are able to exert this much of your special ability. Your lordship seems to have put in a considerable about of effort into developing it.”
“You give me too much credit. Even if I weren’t preventing the building from collapsing, I do not believe I would have been able to contain you.”
Sefiku, despite his composed reply, is frightened by the abnormality of Kuro deep inside. The level of [Capture] he invoked shouldn’t just stop one’s breathing, but the beating of the heart, too. Yet, Kuro doesn’t show any sign of being affected.
“Fumu, in that case, will you not let us through? As long as I am able to rescue the prisoners, we will not give you any problems. I believe we have shown enough of our power.”
Kuro mutters while glancing up at the shift ceiling.
“Certainly, you are all very powerful. That the organization hadn’t learned about you until now is quite the mystery. Still, that is precisely why I cannot allow you to leave like this without anything to show for it!”
Chie disregards Kuro’s warning and pulls out a pistol. She aims it at Souji who is stopped behind Kuro.
“I cannot allow that, [False · Protective Barrier].”
The bullet Chie fires is repelled by an invisible barrier.
“Is that an onmyou technique? Or is it witchcraft? Well, I don’t care either way!”
Chie shoots her pistol without worry that her bullets are being defended against.
“It is futile. A weapon of that caliber against this barrier will not-!?”
For a moment, Kuro is surprised. A bullet approaches him from behind and grazes his cheek.
“Doesn’t look like it was futile.”
“Fumu… was that due to the power of your lordship’s special ability?”
“That’s right. My [Perception] accurately lets me sense the life force you emit. Spotting the weak points of a barrier made from that life force is a simple matter.”
The [False · Protective Barrier] Kuro is utilizing was adjusted so that the area being concentrated on was strengthened. However, that the areas not being concentrated on lowered in strength is a massive weakness.
While Chie was focusing her fire on the front of the barrier, she was at the same time ricocheting one shot off the walls of the room to hit the barrier at its weakest point in the back.
“The principle is the same, the techniques all of you use can be predicted before you invoke them. As such, I have no intention of allowing you to do anything.”
Kuro, instead of pondering on the fact that his barrier was broken, focuses on Chie’s words and actions. Then, at her saying, “As such, I have no intention of allowing you to do anything,” his discomfort changed into conviction.
“Does your lordship have no intention of defeating me?”
“The special ability [Capture] has little effect on me while your lordship’s [Perception] lacks the decisive strength. You might be able to stop me if you cooperate, but you cannot defeat me. Even the current ricocheting is a simple matter of strengthening my barrier a little more.”
The protective barrier Kuro setup isn’t his strongest. If he were to be serious, not even a direct collision with a missile would be able to hurt him.
“Yet, despite knowing this, your lordship continues to challenge me. For what reason is this?”
Chie keeps quiet at the fact that her intentions were seen through.
“I dare say, does it not relate to your comrades on standby down below? Not to mention, there seems to be some significance to the machine in your lordship’s chest pocket.”
Chie’s eyes open from shock at Kuro making such an astute prediction after having discovered the existence of her backup remaining on standby. She then opens her sealed mouth.
“…That’s right. You already noticed, so I will be honest, I do not believe we can defeat you. In fact, if we continue to fight, we will certainly lose.”
“That is correct. Even if the one who seems to be called Sefiku were not keeping this building together, I am unable to see any factors that would lead to my losing.”
In truth, Kuro possesses numerous methods for invalidating [Capture].
“But, we’ll be able to deal with you once we understand your abilities. I have subordinates downstairs with the same [Perception] ability as I do. As for the device in my chest pocket, it is a small camera for recording this battle.”
The camera within Chie’s chest pocket is connected to a PC at headquarters. Furthermore, the special ability holders on standby with [Perception] can sense events unfolding from hundreds of meters away. They are able to observe that battle. As such, her greatest purpose is using those preparations to gather information about Kuro for headquarters.
“I see. I thought you a fool who challenged an opponent that could not be defeated, but instead you are a hero who entrusts her comrades with future victory. I shall change my evaluation.”
“Evaluate me however you want if you’ll face me with all your strength!”
With their conversation reaching that point, Chie resumes shooting. However, the barrier’s strength is unlike before. It no longer has a weak point that can be taken advantage of.
“I, too, am obstinate. Knowing I was being observed, conducting this engagement as I normally would is irritating.”
Chie, while listening to Kuro’s words, reloads her gun. The bullets she now shoots with are of a different type round.
“I shall offer you my respect and face you seriously. However, whether you shall be able to comprehend my abilities by seeing them is not something I know.”
At the same time Kuro speaks, Chie’s trigger finger stops.
“Wha- what the!? My finger!”
She and Sefiku then come to know of the abilities of the [Bake Neko] who came to be revered as a kami.
“It is the case of how? It is the case of how are you also able to send flying slashes!?”
Toy cries out. In the time it took him to say, “Ah,” 5 machine puppets were destroyed before his eyes. Of his machine puppets, 3 remain. Meanwhile, his opponent Shiro is unharmed. With that, there are no longer any questions about victory or defeat.
“Ka— ka ka— ka!”
“…It is the case that I don’t understand your words.”
The line Shiro failed to transmit to Toy is, “You cannot win, quietly surrender!”
“Nevertheless, it is the case that it is not over yet. It is the case that I’ll be having at least 1 person fall with me!”
Shiro, picking up on Toy’s resolution, takes some distance. However, nothing happens.
“Ya—! Muddy ground~.”
Shiro hurries to turn around and discovers that Rin is already waist deep into the ground. Turns out that the company Toy was referring is Rin.
“Really, going any deeper underground is just asking for trouble~.”
Melt, with those words, appears riding a mechanical puppet from behind Rin from the ground. The mechanical puppet then punches down with a clenched fist.
Shiro regrets having forgotten about Melt’s existence as he returns to Rin’s side. However, regardless of the speed he possesses, it is not enough to make up for how close the fist is to Rin.
“…Mu—, Kuro and Shiro, said not to cut without permission—”
Rin, in such a situation, mutters to herself at her own pace as she raises he sheathed dagger overhead. Then— — —
“So, won’t cut— —!”
— — —she forcefully swings it down.
“A sho- shockwave!? It is the case of how!? How can that little girl also emit shockwaves like the crow!?”
The shockwave from Rin’s downward swing blows away both Melt and the mechanical puppet out of the dissolved ground. Melt faints upon crashing against the barrier and the mechanical puppet, having directly received the shockwave from up close, has all four of its limbs scatter.
Toy’s mouth is left hanging from the spectacle.
Shiro alights before that the dumbstruck Toy and caws out as if to say, “Victory is no longer an option. Surrender.”
“Kuu, it is the case that this is all we can do…”
Toy, this time understanding those words, has his remaining mechanical dolls return into being cars and raises both his hands to show his surrender.
“Toy-san and Melt-san, they lost!?”
“For those 2 who are close to rank A to lose… That little girl and crow, are they rank A ability holders!?”
“Thi- this is impossible. I’m surrendering too.”
“Me- me too!”
One after another, the combatants who witnessed that spectacle cast aside their weapons and lift their hands just like Toy.
Then, the cries of victory from a girl and a small animal resound within the barrier.
However, Shiro immediately notices an abnormal phenomena occurring on the upper floors of the building.
“Ooh—! Incre—dible, so big—!”
Shiro isn’t the only one, Rin also notices that phenomena.
“It’s transfor… ming?”
“It- it is the case of what’s going on? ……It is the case… It is the case of what is that!?”
The combatants and Toy also notice one after the other. The spectacle steals away their attention.
At the opposite end of their eyes, an enormous robot is forming out of the building’s upper floors.
—Diamond 3 million—
“She still isn’t back yet…”
It’s been 1 hour since Kuro and Shiro left. As expected, I’m getting worried about Rin.
“Ah! I could have Near do a search for me!”
I did tell him he shouldn’t hack the surveillance cameras, but this time it can’t be helped. I’m going to ask Near to carry out a search.
“Near, can you do a small favor… Near?”
No answer, just like a smartphone.
“Could he be surfing the web again?”
As I learned over the past 2 days, Near turns into a normal smartphone when he’s concentrating.
“For now, until he’s finished, he won’t be able to hear a word anyone around him says…”
With this, I won’t be able to ask him to search for Rin. For the time being, it looks like I have no choice but to wait for Near to finish surfing the web…
I decide to kill time making [Substitution Tags] as I look after the sleeping Shizuka-san.
A/N: The reason Shiro and Rin can use [Fly Slash] and [Shockwave] is because of the naming effect. The connection of the 2 became deeper due to being name, leading to some of their abilities being share.
Rin being able to speak in chapter 20 after being named suggests this. Rin being able to slash the building while avoiding people is because she was able to use something similar to Shiro’s sonar.
I’m sorry I couldn’t explain it in the main story.
T/N: Glad to see Yuuki is properly settling into his role as Rin’s guardian.
 Bake means transforming or disguising. When given the お honorific, it comes to mean: “monster, ghost, apparition.” That state, Bake Neko is a term that refers to cat yōkai. Such yōkai haunt and menace their households. A bakeneko with a forked tail is referred to as a nekomata
 The line doesn’t specify who isn’t back yet, but the context from the next line makes me think he means Rin.