AntiMagic Academy "The 35th Test Platoon"
The Witch Hunt War (Second Part) - The 2nd Witch-Hunt War Preview

Chapter 1
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When he opened his eyes, he could feel his brain shake.

Gasping in severe nausea, he looked around with his eyes that ached so much it felt like they would pop out.

The world was weird.

Everything seemed slow. The sound, air, even the light seemed to be slow.

He felt he was going crazy just from looking at it.

Kusanagi Takeru immediately recalled the circumstances that had led to this.

They infiltrated the Critical Point in order to retrieve Mineshiro Kazuma's documents, and there they fought with the EXE and Kurogane Hayato with whom they met in there. Driven into a corner by Hayato's overwhelming strength, when he used the technique he should have——Takeru surpassed the human boundaries.

He could remember it somehow. That beast-like thinking, the sense of crisis as he felt he will no longer be able to return to being a human, he could remember it all.

The scenery spreading in front of him, was extension of his state from back then.

While having an urge to vomit all his internal organs, Kusanagi Takeru called out.

Lapi...s... Lapis....

With a voice as if he was looking for help.

In fact, Takeru was indeed seeking help from his partner as he couldn't do anything about his brain way on a rampage.

He thought he will die at this rate. This world wasn't a place a human should reach. He couldn't bear even a single second longer of it.

When he thought so,

《"—— Ho —— st —— can —— you —— hear me?"》

The voice of his partners had appeared in his head.

It was still too slow. It was too slow so it took him some time to understand the meaning of the words.

《"——I'll——believe——that you——can hear——and continue. Currently, the operating rate of Host's brain is out of control."》

As the voice had caught up he could hear it clearly, but Takeru still hasn't returned to his usual world. The world was still slow.

What should I do?

He only sent these feelings to Lapis.

《"Most likely... Host will never return back to the original state. That's just how far Host has crossed boundaries the of humanity. Currently, this state is Host's default brain processing speed."》

............

This is no joke. As if I could withstand this.

Takeru felt like raising a white flag.

《"Host's life will run out in this state. There's one solution. Please do the opposite of Soumatou. As you are now, you should be able to do it."》

Hearing about the opposite of Soumatou, Takeru closed his eyes.

Speaking of Soumatou, it would be releasing the limiter in his brain. It could be also said to be the activation of absurd strength in times of crisis.

He recalled the every-day training with Orochi.

The training he was made to do in order to learn Soumatou was simple and intense.

What constituted the training, was jumping off a hundred meters tall cliff into a valley. Or rather, being pushing down by Orochi. As he was being pushed down, Takeru grasped the rocks and tree branches on the cliff, then climbed. And once he finished climbing, he was kicked off the cliff again.

He repeated that every day for a dozen times. Takeru was broken on daily basis, he lost his life countless times.

But as he repeated it, he grasped the trick. He got accustomed to having his life in danger and dealing with it.

Takeru couldn't forget that feeling. It was like there was a lid closed on a key in his brain, an image of breaking it forcibly.

Lapis told him to do the opposite.

Close... the lid.

"......————...khh!"

As if closing a wind in middle of powerful wind blowing, Takeru concentrated his consciousness.

Normally he would be able to immediately stop Soumatou when it was triggered, but now that it was going out of control, it required powerful concentration.

Close, close.

——Zzuuu...nn.

Immediately after hearing a ringing sound, he felt bass and returned back to the original world.

His breathing returned to normal, oxygen was pumped into his lungs, and the pain and body sensations returned.

"...ih...thh...!"

Takeru had a horrible headache, his eyeballs were screaming from pain and were so bloodshot he felt like they would rupture, but he was somehow able to return to his normal state.

《"The moment you relax it should go out of control again... it might be difficult, but please concentrate as to maintain your current state. I'll try to help as much as possible with my meager abilities."》

It seemed like it was true that his brain going berserk was the default state, if he doesn't hold down the lid he would enter that state again.

He nodded in his brain in response to Lapis' words and looked up in order to understand their current situation.

"——Takeru, did you wake up?!"

Ouka's voice had entered his ears, Takeru tried to reply.

But, he bit his tongue at full strength.

"Agh... w-what is it?"

His body was shaking up and down.

Apparently Takeru was being given a piggyback ride by Ouka and she ran at full power while carrying him.

"Ouka, why are you in such hurr——"

"Sorry, but I have no time to explain the situation! You'll bite off your tongue so clench your teeth!"

Ignoring the state he was in, Ouka sprinted as fast as she could.

As a man, being given a piggyback ride by a woman, Takeru felt a little miserable.

Just how much time has passed since his battle with Kurogane Hayato?

What happened to Mineshiro Kazuma's document?

While he felt disappointed in himself for fainting, Takeru turned his head to look behind, and there,

——Something, something like a pitch black storm was approaching from behind them.

"...w-what's that..."

Being frightened was the right thing to do.

Behind Ouka, there was Mari and Usagi, Ikaruga and Kyouya.

Everyone ran desperately, their faces pale.

"It's Akashic Hazard, yes, that Akashic Hazard! The one where you get a tour of heavens just by touching it!"

With flight rings expanded on her ankles, Mari who was flying beside Takeru shouted.

"Then, ever since I lost consciousness..."

"Not even five minutes passed, you damn early riser...!"

Kyouya who came right beside him said with a grumpy expression.

"Five minutes?! Only five minutes passed since then?!"

"That's right. As you can see, we're out of time and in middle of escaping from Akashic Hazard."

Ikaruga carried on Kyouya's back spoke in the usual, languid manner.

"Out of time... then, the operation failed... what happened to Kurogane-san?"

"We successfully recovered the document. Kurogane Hayato is... I don't know. It seems like he remained there in order to let us escape, normally there would be no saving him."

"............"

Takeru's memory from what happened after that final blow was all gone.

But he didn't think he was able to win against Kurogane Hayato with that blow. The reason Hayato remained there, was probably to turn someone's attention to himself so that 35th platoon can escape.

Honestly speaking, Takeru had mixed feelings.

He and Hayato couldn't understand each other. With conflicting beliefs, they couldn't proceed in the same direction.

Wasn't there any different ending for that? He felt regret first and foremost.

"Also in order not to waste captain Kurogane's act, we need to bring this document back no matter what..."

"In short, we're in danger...!"

Yeah, Ouka nodded while running.

Mari seemed to have been exhausted by fierce combat, Ouka was also injured. Kyouya too received Hayato's blow and hasn't fully recovered. Moreover, he was carrying Ikaruga.

And,

"Haa, haa..."

The problem was Usagi. Her basic motor skill weren't bad, but sprinting while carrying a big gun wasn't an easy task.

"Usagi! You okay?"

When Takeru called out to her, Usagi raised her weary face and tried to respond.

"I arm arr righ——wah?!!"

Her foot hit a raised tile on the ground and she was about to fall.

At the same time he saw Usagi roll violently on the ground, Takeru jumped off Ouka's back.

——Make it in time!

He triggered Soumatou. Overusing all the muscles in his body, he kicked off the ground at full power.

《"Host! Don't!"》

Although he could hear Lapis' voice stopping him, Takeru was just a moment faster.

The movement in his surroundings slowed down——no, stopped completely.

As he moved his body in this state, Takeru's consciousness shook violently.

"Ugh——ghhh...!"

Feeling as if his brain burn out was inserted into a liquid iron, Takeru released Soumatou in the same way as earlier and fell on his knees.

Everyone who ran turned around and tried to run over to Takeru and Usagi. Usagi tried to raise herself seeing Takeru run over to her, but probably because she injured her knee she couldn't move.

If he stops here, he won't make it. The Akashic Hazard was looming right in front of him. There were at most three seconds left until it reaches her.

If he didn't use Soumatou, Usagi wouldn't——!

He shook off the pain and tried to move forward again.

Then leaped extending his hand to Usagi.

A vortex of darkness approached from behind to swallow Usagi.

On the brink of not making it, when Takeru's had was about to touch Usagi.

——She disappeared from in front of him.

"?!!"

His outstretched hand cut the air.

Immediately after, Akashic Hazard approached him, assaulting his body like a tsunami.

I can't avoid this.

Takeru prepared himself for death.

"——Reckless as ever, aren't you."

At the same time as he could hear a man's voice, his left arm was pulled up.

Takeru's body vigorously soared upwards until it finally stopped only when he was about to reach the clouds.

Looking down at the Critical Point swallowed up by the Akashic Hazard, Takeru confirmed the identity of the person who pulled him up.

"By a hair's breadth."

Pulling Takeru's arm while straddling a broom-type flight device, was an owner of almond eyes and platinum-blonde hair.

Pureblood Party's Seventh Squad's captain, a member of Heretic Alliance, Sage.

The reason it seemed like Usagi disappeared, was because one of his subordinates pulled her up into the sky.

He could see the other members of the seventh squad who put his fellow members from the 35th platoon on the flight devices.

"Everyone safe?!"

When Takeru called out, everyone confirmed they're safe. Just one person, Kyouya, was hanging from a flight device because there was no space for him on the broom.

"All right, seems like it!"

"Does this look like I'm safe to you?! Damn you Kusanagii——WooAOAAhhh?!"

Ignoring Kyouya who was trailing behind the broom on the strong wind, Takeru looked up at Sage who helped him.

"You guys... weren't you involved in a different mission?"

"The schedule changed. Our new mission was rescuing you guys. I'm glad we made it."

Sage pulled up Takeru and sat him down on the back of the device.

Takeru breathed out with relief and cancelled the Witch Hunter form.

"...you've saved us. If not for you we would have been inside Sanctuary by now."

When he pat Sage's shoulder and thanked him, he heard "don't mind it" in response.

"By schedule change you mean... what happened?"

"Ah. Everyone from the Heretic Alliance had evacuated from the headquarters. Currently, they have all returned here."

"Everyone?"

"...correction. Hoshijiro-dono's whereabouts are unknown. According to Oonogi-dono she remained in the headquarters alone, but we know nothing but that... the connection was lost."

Surprised, Takeru squinted.

He had no clue what was the reason for evacuating the alliance members' from the base in another world, nor Nagaru's reason for remaining alone.

Although he knew it can't be helped even if he thinks about it, there was no doubt something abnormal was going on.

"Kusanagi, did you succeed with your mission? I've heard you were chasing after a document."

"...yeah, somehow."

He had no clue whether that could be called a success, but it was a fact they secured the document.

"We'll confirm it later. Let's hurry now."

Sage started to increase flight speed.

"We need to hide for now. There's a need of discussing the future course of action. There was a change in the world during your mission."

"Did the enemy move?"

They pierced through the clouds and when rose to an altitude where they could see the cityscape under them, Sage said.

"Valhalla appeared near the Inquisition's headquarters——right now, the city turned into hell."

At the same time as Takeru gasped, he saw the buildings lined up in the distance.

Explosions and pillars of smoke were rising from everywhere.

The city he used to live in, was wrapped in flames.

***

The flames wrapped around the city in a mere moment.

A surprise attack that used transfer magic was enough to confuse the Spriggans who were defending the city.

Inquisitors were told in advance that enemy can use transfer magic, so they used goggles and Dragoon cameras with analysis filters in order to find signs of transfer.

However, the enemies weren't so few in number that would enable inquisitors to cope with them.

As if ambushing them from the shadows, the sorcerers appeared from underground and had the inquisitors at their mercy.

The elusive sorcerers launched an attack while riding flight devices.

They indiscriminately attacked the ground.

This place, was 18th line of defense near the main station, at this hour it was crowded with office workers and students returning home from work and school.

So fast the evacuation couldn't catch up to it, everyone flocked to the shelters like moths to flame.

"If they knew this would happen, why didn't the higher-ups prioritize evacuation of the civilians...?! It's impossible to accommodate everyone in the shelters!"

One of the Seelies calling for people to evacuate ran against the crowd. Inquisition headquarters' shelter was sturdy enough to survive nuclear bomb attack, but it wasn't large enough to let the entire city in. Moreover, in this confusing situation where they have received a surprise attack with transfer magic, they couldn't even guide people in there properly.

Enemy appeared in the city using transfer magic. It hardly made any sense to form defense lines. There was no better magic to break through the bases than transfer magic.

《"Notification from the EXE. Ignore civilians' evacuation and take the headquarters' defense as priority, the frontline troops are to focus on annihilating the enemy."》

"You must be joking! What kind of inquisitor I'd be if I ignored this!"

Ignoring the orders from above, the Seelie moved.

While raising in his arms a woman who received a magic bullet in her back, he took out a magical power-neutralizing agent and injected it into woman's neck. What was scary about magic bullets wasn't power, but the toxicity. Ordinary humans have a rejection reaction upon intrusion of magic power in their blood and die.

The Seelie tried to move the woman into the first aid station near the station, but he was rendered speechless at the sight in front of him.

Countless injured people and bodies filled the main street. Even now the attack continued and numerous witches filled the sky.

Unlike during combat at the border, this place was overflowing with civilians.

Although unwilling, he was reminded of the fact that war had began.

A sorcerer in a red robe noticed the Seelie and started covering magical power at the tip of a wand.

The Seelie, unable to do anything, in the middle of despair had looked up at the army of enemies.

《"——Fire simultaneously! Shoot them down!"》

But that's when, from behind the Seelie came a sweep of machine gun fire.

A storm of bullets passed by him and rained on the enemy, the Seelie could see the sorcerers who were looking down at him scatter.

When he looked back, he saw a task force of Dragoons who slipped in to protect the Seelie and the civilians.

《"Ignore the orders from above! The Fifth Armored Corps will become a shield protecting the civilians!"》

《《《《"Roger that!"》》》》

Firing a barrage of bullets from miniguns, the captain of the Fifth Armored Riot Police Corps and his colleagues rushed in using Dragoons.

The mediocre sorcerers were unable to deal any damage to Dragoon's armor. Moreover, the Fifth Armored Riot Police Corps was a troop made of elite Spriggans. In inquisition their proficiency in maneuvering the Dragoons was top class even though they used outdated versions of the machines.

《"We'll defend this shelter with our lives! The evacuation corps lead out as many civilians as possible!"》

The captain unit pierced the ground with huge shield mounted on the right arm and raised the rifle.

The Seelie held down his fluttering hair with his hand and felt faint hope in his heart.

Although the entire Inquisition was integrated under the command of EXE, not everyone was convinced by that.

Spriggan duties. Seelie duties. Banshee duties. Not forgetting those and their pride, there were a lot of people who have challenged this battle.

Seeing the inquisitors coming with reinforcement, the captain of the sorcerers in the sky clicked his tongue.

"Don't falter! We have the air superiority! The enemy are stupid mechanical dolls with only defense and firepower! Rearguard prepare activation for large-scale magic and blow them up! Vanguards divert enemy's attention and protect the rear!"

The sorcerers on the brooms flew in the sky like bees and began a diversionary attack on the Dragoon troop.

The witches from the rearguard landed on a building's roof and expanded a huge magical circle.

《"At two o'clock, on top of the building's rooftop, enemy's magical power reaction is increasing!"》

《"Target the building's rooftop, all machines fire! Interrupt the large magic!"》

The Dragoons directed all firepower towards the building's roof.

But, it didn't reach. Not only it was outside of the range, a barrier was stretched out, there was no way for the bullets to reach.

《"!! All units, cover me!"》

The captain machine discarded the minigun and shield, the caterpillar's rotated and it rushed at breakneck speed towards the building.

As ordered, his subordinates fired all the missiles from the pods on their shoulders to cover the captain unit.

The sorcerers didn't remain silent either. They realized the suicide attack and fired magic bullets at the captain machine all at once.

《"UOOOOOOOOOOOOHH!!"》

The captain unit passed through the barrage of magic bullets, arrived at the bottom of the building and ignited the thrusters to jumping to the roof.

Intending to burn out all the energy, he climbed up to the roof's building.

Appearing in front of him, was the enemy captain.

"I won't let you!"

The enemy captain expanded five-layered defensive magic and spread his arms as to protect the witches on the building.

At the same time, the captain machine spread magic-diminishing chaff and sent a hit towards the barrier with the Dragoon's right fist.

Although he broke through two layers, the first didn't pierce the magic.

That's when——the magic on the rooftop was completed.

《"This is bad——!"》

Expecting the activation of large-scale magic, the captain of Fifth Armored Riot Police Corps clenched his teeth.

And the moment a smile appeared on enemy captain's face.

——A bullet pierced his back.

"Imp-ossi...ble..."

Suddenly struck by assassin's bullet, the sorcerers' captain crashed down.

The witches who were building up the magical circle on the roof had also evaporated, caught up in a huge explosion.

The captain machine suppressed the booster and landed on the ground, then looked in the vicinity of the building's roof.

He could see five flight-type Dragoons hiding themselves with optical camouflage.

《"We're the Sixth Covert Mobile Troop. It seems like Spriggans have a proper commander... leave the sky to us."》

Cover Mobile... it was a generic name for Banshee's Dragoon troops. They were mostly social outcasts who never appeared, but it seemed like they intended to protect the city despite the higher-ups orders.

The Banshee and Spriggan discord was famous in the Inquisition, but the man in the captain unit wasn't as rude as to bring such a thing up in this situation.

《"Thank you for the reinforcements. We, Spriggans shall take care of protecting the shelter."》

In response to the captain unit's words, the Covert Mobile Troop's cameras flickered and their machines once again melted into the sky.

We'll protect everyone.

All of their hearts were as one.

They didn't think they will be able to protect the entirety of this city. But, they wanted to save as many people as they can with their own hands. Although they were only inquisitors, it wasn't that they were clinging to their own interests and positions.

《"Listen, Fifth Armored Riot Police. We'll protect them... with our own hands!"》

With hope dwelling in his chest, the captain gave orders to his subordinates.

His subordinates gasped, and——started screaming in agony.

When feeling a chill, the captain directed the Dragoon's body towards the shelter, along with his comrades participating in defense the entrance to the shelter exploded.

The civilians gathered for evacuation, the troop carrying out the evacuation, the Seelies who were trying to rescue injured people, all of them were wiped out in an instant.

The captain stood dazed as he stared at the collapsing shelter.

In the middle of frustration from losing the ones he was trying to protect, the captain found a figure.

A giant shaped like an ancient knight stood there clad in magical power, holding a gun shaped like a sword.

《Einherjar》... an ancient warrior revived with summoning magic.

There's no way he could forget it. Several months ago during the incident with Hyakki Yakou, he too had witnessed this threat.

——GRRRUOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

Raising a war cry, the mechanical hero fired a sweep of magical power.

In front of the overwhelming power and violence, the captain looked down from the cockpit.

Then, he removed most of the weapons and purged the armor as well.

He expanded high-vibration blades on both arms and raised them up.

《"YOU SON OF A BITCCHHHHHHHHHHHH!!》

The captain unit started to rush towards the Einherjar.

There was no hope remaining, no fighting spirit, all of it was shattered in an instant.

What was remaining, were chagrin and fury.

The Einherjar noticed the captain machine's approach and directed the sword-shaped railgun at it.

And, after converging magical power into a magic bullet incomparable to that of the sorcerers, fired at the captain unit.

***

Looking down on the battle at the 18th line of defense from a tower that was the symbol of the city, were Valhalla leaders, Kusanagi Orochi and Mother Goose.

With the surprise attack's success, the battle was being advantageous to Valhalla. It was as if the Inquisition's side didn't make any commands in response to the surprise attack.

"Everything is going according to the plan, but it's quite disappointing. I didn't expect to succeed this easily."

"............"

"...you look discontent, Host."

Mother looked sideways towards Orochi who was looking at the current status of the battle, then asked.

Staring at the slaughter underneath with his unseeing eyes, Orochi snorted.

"Their chain of command is all over... the underlings act on their sense of justice and ignore the orders. Even though they're skilled individually, the dorks ain't have any leadership at all."

In the first place, inquisitors were supposed to have a chain of command and a division into various different positions, but Orochi guessed that they were all integrated to function as military.

It was a bad move, he asserted.

The only ones who operated as a proper armed forces in the Inquisition were the Spriggans. Their main duty was to act as special forces that were a countermeasure against crime that used magic. Organizing them under the EXE as the top was absolute nonsense. Without unification the individuals would probably be able to work together sufficiently enough.

The Inquisition's numbers were overwhelmingly higher. Even if they received a surprise attack, they should be able to properly deal with it if they had a proper chain of command.

It was all fault of their top's decision that they were outmatched.

"Above all, it ain't no wonder they're so confused with this many civilians remainin'."

"Certainly, it's incomprehensible. Why was it that Inquisition had the civilians remain in the city? If they advised them to evacuate ahead of time, they would have received a lot smaller damage."

As Mother spoke matter-of-factly, Orochi clicked his tongue.

"No, his underlying motive's so obvious it makes me sick."

"......?"

"It's not that Sougetsu didn't evacuate the civilians. He left them on purpose."

Orochi squinted and said what was the real intention.

"——The humans in the city are food for Hyakki Yakou you see."

"Food?"

"Hyakki Yakou swallows everything and grows. However, its growth when eating inorganic materials ain't that high."

He put his both hands into the pockets of his kimono and continued indifferently.

"It eats organisms... in particular, it grows the most when incorporating humans. Just like in old tales about demons, they were originally fantastical organisms that were eating humans. Even though they were sealed in the bodies of Kusanagi's ancestors, their nature didn't change."

Listening to the story, Mother furrowed her eyebrows.

"...so that man is trying to do the same thing as 150 years ago."

"............"

"Just like with you and Kusanagi Mikoto... he wants to use those siblings to complete a God Hunter."

150 years ago. Hearing those words, Orochi's chest started to throb.

He could remember the first Witch Hunt War as if it was yesterday.

Even now it was clearly burned out in his mind.

His despair when he realized he killed his older sister, Kusanagi Mikoto, and created the world where everything died out, the rage when he learned he was dancing to Ootori Sougetsu's tune, he could remember it all.

That's why he could say this.

"He... Takeru ain't going to turn out like I did."

While still squinting, Orochi muttered with a smile on his lips.

Kusanagi Orochi and Kusanagi Mikoto.

Kusanagi Takeru and Kusanagi Kiseki.

The tragedies of the two were similar, yet different.

The reason for that, is because Takeru already accomplished what Orochi was unable to.

Takeru was different from him.

He won't shoulder the same feelings as Orochi.

But that's why——tonight, Takeru will most likely stand in Orochi's way.

Orochi made a small smile and switched his thinking.

"Well, if that's what enemy intends to do, there's just one thing we can do."

"?"

"Before the food is eaten, I'll eat it."

Mother could see Orochi's smile as it was stained by evil.

"...in other words, you're going to prioritize disposing the civilians in this city?"

"If Hyakki Yakou eats all the humans there and grows, it'll be troublesome. But, saying 'disposal' ain't a good way to put it... I literally intend to eat them, y'know?"

Hearing these ruthless words, Mother frowned slightly.

"What is it? You gonna preach me about good 'n evil now of all times?"

"...no."

"Whether humans die or not, as long as we achieve our goal everything will be restored. Right?"

Mother closed her eyes.

"Don't you have pangs of conscience?"

She said that a little bit sadly, in a lonely manner.

Orochi answered.

While laughing as if spitting out, he affirmed.

Coldly, calmly, just like a demon.

"Nope, nothin' like that. I was like this from the start. Whether now, in the past, ever since I was born I was genuinely selfish."

"............"

"As long as my goal is fulfilled I couldn't care less about the world. You too, knew about this and contracted with me, right?"

"............"

"Make your decision. We're rewriting the world ain't we."

Hearing Orochi's words, Mother opened her eyes.

She got down on both her knees and set her hands to a prayer.

As if she intended to repent for her sins.

"——I intended to do so from the beginning. This world is flawed. As long as we can correct it... I'll shoulder any sin."

Mother faced downwards, her lips trembled.

At the same time, a huge white magic circle appeared on the floor of the roof.

【"Time had cometh. The deceased stained carrion, bestowed with blood clot of female goat. With the song of victory sung three times, thou shalt not stop pace of thy march. There is no glory ahead of here, there is no fall. But if thou wish f'r triumphant return, respond——

——the battle maidens art calling."】

It was a chant.

Even among high-ranked even among high level summoning magic. A forbidden magic that couldn't be used unless countless sacrifices were made, the 《Hero Summoning》.

Magic circle had intertwined with lightning and giant humanoids, like dead, have crawled from the ground.

Their number, was hundred.

Their figures were shaped like those of mechanical dolls, but they were a same type of existence as the Einherjar Haunted had summoned in the past, the King Arthur.

The soul and magical power that dwelled in them didn't have any ego, but they were that of genuine heroes. The Hero Summoning called out the souls of the dead and affixed them to the Magical Dragoons. Although it was just summoning souls, it was magic class a human couldn't use. Haunted only was able to use it thanks to the instant charm Mother Goose had prepared.

She alone, was the only existence that was capable of using Hero Summoning without a need of sacrifices.

She was the Sacred Treasure "Gungnir" holding the ancient property "God's Authority".

"No matter how many times I see 'em, those Einherjars you call make me sick. Those veteran warriors too, would be hate being turned into zombie-like puppets like that."

"It can't be helped. Alone I am incapable of performing a complete hero summoning. In any case, there's nothing to criticize considering them as combat forces."

"Hmph, I see... so you did make your decision."

"Ever since the moment I have contracted with you, I have made my decision."

Orochi knew these words weren't a lie.

He knew her for a hundred and fifty years. Even before they made a contract, he had seen the same scene.

But the two wouldn't overlap.

Although they understood each other, they didn't walk on the same path.

They only proceeded in the same direction, but the paths they walked on were different.

The two considered the contract only as a stepping stone for fulfilling their goal.

Orochi and Mother were both convinced that this was the ideal relationship between a Magical Heritage and its contractor.

It was far from Mistilteinn's.... Lapis' and Takeru's relationship.

"............"

Orochi told Takeru to deepen his relationship with Mistilteinn.

That was only because he wanted Takeru to walk a different path from him.

Why did he feel like that? Even if Takeru and Mistilteinn are connected by a deep bond, there was nothing in it for Orochi.

Orochi clearly understood the reason why was he led to think so.

Thinking about himself from the past and Takeru, Orochi pulled out the sword at his waist.

And,

"Now... well, let's go clean up."

The sorrowful demon who shouldered his past had began the slaughter.

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11: The Witch Hunt War (Second Part) - The 2nd Witch-Hunt War