When the hero summoned to this world, King Arthur, had confirmed the silence of the second threat, he moved his legs advancing towards the first threat, Ouka.
His purpose was opening the forbidden area. He, who had no will other than one for obeying orders had prioritized killing Ouka, as she was the threat to fulfilling his purpose.
After he kills this girl there won't be any threats remaining. He will hurry to his destination and perform suicide bombing, using the magical power in his body to complete his objective and take out Dullahan troops along with him.
The hero intended to pierce sleeping Ouka with the point of his gun.
And just about the time he was to pierce her throat.
The hero perceived a new threat that appeared behind him and turning around, he fired a magic bullet from the Excalibur.
It's trajectory went straight and true towards the new threat.
A direct hit. Clearly a direct hit.
It should be.
However, the magic bullet fired by the hero didn't reach the target, despite the fact it should be a direct hit.
A flash. With a horizontal swing, a phenomenon similar to the time and space being cut has bisected the magic bullet made from concentrated magical power.
The hero has seen it.
In his sights, he captured the unidentified threat that has appeared in front of him.
There was no answer. It was different from a human. Different from a witch.
The hero was unable to obtain a clear answer concerning naming of the new threat.
A knight in azure armor.
If one was to name it forcefully, it would be very alike to himself, a hero.
That, was just a threat.
A threat to all of us who are involved in magic.
Despite the fact his sense of self should have disappeared, the hero felt fear inside of himself.
The armored knight clad in azure particles, raised an azure longsword.
The moment the armored knight's eyes shone eerily,
At speed even a hero couldn't keep up with his power, King Arthur was blown away by a kick.
Immediately after waking up, Takeru ran towards the hero who tried to kill Ouka.
No matter what happened, no matter what has become of him, he just rushed to help her.
The enemy's attention had turned to him, his body moved naturally to cut down the projectile.
Excalibur's magic bullet that boasted of enormous power had been easily cut down by Takeru's sword and before he realized, he had sent the hero flying with a kick.
When he came back to his senses, his brain was flooded with questions.
"...what, what happened? I'm..."
Suddenly struck by anxiety, checked on his appearance while holding the sword up.
The uniform that should have been there, his skin and body was nowhere to be seen.
In there, was his own figure covered in azure substance.
And what he clenched in both of his hands, was an azure sword.
Unconsciously, Takeru got scared of his own appearance.
《"Good morning, Host. While it's abrupt, but please fight."》
Suddenly hearing a flat voice inside of his head, Takeru was further agitated.
"...what is this...? What's happening...?"
Unable to recall anything, he put a hand on his head.
He has become worried that he had gone crazy.
《"I am sorry for confusing you. My formal name is 'The Malleus Maleficarum Type-Twilight "Mistilteinn" '."》
"In short, please call me 'Mistilteinn'. Otherwise, by my nicknames, Lapis Lazuli or Lapis."
《"I am one of the Inquisition's Relic Eater series only 'Dullahans' are allowed to use. You have been chosen as my owner."》
Thinking he heard a mistakenly, he asked again.
Relic Eater. Of course he heard of them. It was a Magical Heritage only those who qualified into "Dullahan" and had great achievements were allowed to use. They exerted a tremendous power when going against anything related to magic, a specialized Magical Heritage made for eradication of the witches.
And why did a thing like that had ended up in Takeru's, a student's hands.
With a flat voice he heard somewhere before, Lapis voiced a fanfare and congratulated him.
Hearing this powerless voice, Takeru unconsciously embraced his head.
"What congratulations... I don't catch on this. There's no way a student would be authorized for using one. Is this a dream? It's a dream, definitely."
《"I have received permission from Ootori Sougetsu-sama. There's a a call incoming from him, connecting."》
Before he could reply, the voice in his brain fell silent and a *bssht* sounded in his ears.
《"——It's not a dream, Kusanagi-kun."》
"...Chairman? This, what's going on...? Why me..."
《"Calm yourself. I think you know already, but people other than Dullahans aren't allowed to use Relic Eaters. Actually, other than this child, all Relic Eaters are in Dullahans' possession."》
In high spirits, Sougetsu spoke of the circumstances even faster than usual.
Is that so, Takeru responded.
《"However, Relic Eaters choose their owners themselves. Among many, only this girl didn't decide on an owner. It's was very troubling. As the chairman of the inquisition as well, I want to use all forces possible for the sake of eradicating witches."》
《"In the first place, the reason I invited you to this school is because you are were most suitable candidate for Mistilteinn's contractor."》
It can't be, he thought.
However, thinking about it well, he felt it was strange for him to be able to enter a high level AntiMagic Academy. With no skill other than close combat, with horrible results on both practicals and written tests, Takeru shouldn't have been admitted in.
If there was a recommendation from Chairman behind the scenes, it would resolve the mystery.
"...why is it me? There should be someone else who's more competent, right?"
《"You see, among Relic Eaters Mistilteinn is the only one that takes form of a sword."》
Told that, Takeru looked at the thing he was holding.
Certainly, it was a sword. He read in the textbook before that all Relic Eaters were Magical Heritage in shape of a gun.
《"The required skill isn't shooting. ...it's the skill in close combat, in other words, someone like you is most suitable."》
"...and that's why, it's me?"
Takeru tightly gripped the sword in his hands, Mistilteinn.
His heart faintly throbbed with excitement.
He could feel that Sougetsu was grinning on the other side.
《"That's right. This child can be only handled by a person like you, a Relic Eater dedicated to you."》
《"Kusanagi-san... please, I want you to use this child and defeat that hero. It's something no one but you, only you can do."》
Takeru squeezed Mistilteinn even stronger.
He felt Sougetsu's words were low. There was no man who would stay silent after being told that. When it comes to instigating people, he was a genius.
However, it wasn't time for that now. Takeru too, had a reason to defeat that hero.
《"If you realize this wish of mine, I will thank you as the representative of Inquisition. In the event of the hero's defeat, I'll grant one wish of yours."》
《"Let's see, how about Dullahan qualification? You hoped to join Spriggan, but if you want to make money it would be more efficient to join Dullahan."》
Hearing Sougetsu's proposal, Takeru frowned.
"——There's no need."
A low, clearly hostile voice.
Takeru looked at Ouka who had collapsed on the ground and fainted.
Her body was battered. Her exhausted face. The traces of her resistance, firing the gun until the very end.
And traces of tears.
Anger had welled up from Takeru and he squeezed the sword's handle intensely.
"Sorry, I can't trust you."
Takeru said that flat out.
Tracing everything back to the source, there was a load of things he wanted to question Sougetsu about. About Ouka, about having the students participate in defense instead of dispatching Dullahans and above all, about Takeru himself being a candidate for a Relic Eater which sounded too good to be true. The amount of mysteries made him angry. In the first place, Ootori Sougetsu whom he met after entering the school was endlessly cold and ruthless person.
The matter this time was decisive.
The man who was calling him now was an existence similar to that of a trump's joker.
"I have no intention of becoming your puppet, I won't let my comrades be used for your own motives. My power serves my own purposes."
"You didn't even try to save Ootori... I won't forgive that."
When he said these words, Takeru felt that Sougetsu grinned joyfully on the other side.
《"Oh...? Is it okay? I'm certain your goal in coming to this school was——"》
Takeru's tone turned rough. Just like when he met Sougetsu for the first time after enrolling in school.
"You——stop talking to me."
Furiously and quiet, he roared.
When he did, Sougetsu let out a muffled laughter.
《"What, when I met you earlier I thought you've rehabilitated, so that was a façade huh. Whether it's Ouka or you, so incorrigible, good grief."》
《"Fine, I don't mind. If you really are okay with that."》
Right now, Takeru couldn't care less about Dullahan qualification.
He had a lot of things that were more important than that.
《"Thank you... is all I'll say, Kusanagi-kun. I wish you luck in battle."》
The call had ended and silence had hung over.
Takeru tensed his body and raised his sword again.
《”——Enemy's restart confirmed. Host, prepare for combat."》
Just as Lapis said, the hero who was blown away, King Arthur had come back by dragging his beat-up body.
Apparently, there was a considerable amount of damage accumulated.
There were pieces broken all over his body.
《"I will briefly explain my performance."》
"What's with this body? Aren't you a sword-type Magical Heritage?"
Looking at his body covered with a tightly-fitting power suit-like armor, Takeru asked.
《"Currently, Host's body is enhanced by Relic Eater's intrinsic magic 'Witch Hunter form'. All bodily abilities other than brain's reaction speed are enhanced and it is possible for Host to use strength beyond that of an ordinary person."》
He didn't wish for it anyway. What Takeru always needed was the strengthening of the body. Human bodily abilities couldn't keep up with brain's reaction speed. In order to fully use Kusanagi Double-Edged style, one required bodily strength beyond that of a human.
Mistilteinn could be called truly optimal for Takeru.
《"Interrupting——enemy shooting from the front."》
Even without Lapis saying it, Takeru already took a stance not showing any openings.
He activated Soumatou and prepared for interception. The enemy directed Excalibur towards him and fired a magic bullet.
《"Avoiding isn't necessary. Please cut."》
In the slow-motion world, the voice resounded directly in his brain.
Takeru believed Lapis' words and cut the magic bullet through the middle.
A tremendous impact assaulted him. Feeling vibrations transferred to him from the sword, Takeru swung it away.
At the same time, the magic bullet was repelled and had landed by its master's feet.
King Arthur got hit by his own magical bullet and received damage again.
His body moved smoothly even with Soumatou activated. His sword could repel magic.
Takeru checked on his weapon. What else he was curious about, was physical sharpness.
"Lapis... you, how are you as a sword?"
He asked openly. In other words "How much can you withstand my moves?" is what he asked. No matter how skillful he was, he couldn't fight with a dull weapon. An accordingly sharp sword was needed.
《"Please rest assured. No matter what happens, I absolutely won't break."》
Lapis immediately answered like that.
She declared it in a strangely strong manner, Takeru was slightly taken aback.
《"I also guarantee the simple sharpness as a sword. Something on level of orichalcum might as well be tofu. When it comes to countering magic and anti-magic effect, I take pride in being first-class goods. I am clearly different from a fake like that Excalibur. While I'm inferior when it comes to the amount of magical power generated, it absolutely won't result in shortage of performance."》
"? I-I see."
《"And one more thing, I can change my shape into anything, as long as it's a sword. Thanks to that, it could be said that my versatility is unparalleled among Magical Heritage. If you wish for any change, please say so."》
Despite the fact t here was no intonation, he felt she spoke in a strangely blunt manner.
...is she angry?
In a quiet voice Takeru said "Then... a nodachi."
《"Acknowledged. Please pull the trigger. At the top of the handle, just below the guard."》
Just as he was told to, Takeru squeezed the gun's trigger attached to the handle.
Momentarily, from the long sword it had changed to a nodachi that was requested by Takeru. Seeing the sword shining in mystical azure light, he narrowed his eyes and made a happily smile.
"I see. It's even more convenient."
Convenient. He meant exactly that.
Just like Mistilteinn was able to become a sword of any type, Kusanagi style was capable of handling any sword. If he could immediately change it depending on the situation, there was no sword more convenient than this.
《"For me, you too are convenient."》
"? What do you mean."
《"An ordinary swordsman cannot handle me. Even if they are given strong bodies, they cant use it to the fullest because of slow reaction time of their brains. No matter how skillful they are, there's a limit to normal humans."》
"...I see, so you..."
Knowing my abilities, she chose me.
Takeru's mood had gotten even better.
Chosen by a sword. For someone from a swordsmanship household, there was nothing more joyful.
"——Take care of me."
After briefly acknowledging each other, Takeru rushed towards the enemy.
《"Another bullet, incoming."》
Just like Lapis' support said, the hero had raised his body and immediately fired a magic bullet from the gun's muzzle.
Triggering Soumatou, he clashed with the magical bullet.
As if to say the same attack won't work again, Takeru deflected the bullet.
——But, the same attack not working had it applied to the other side too.
In the slow-motion world, Takeru saw it.
Despite the fact hero avoided the bullet by hair's breadth, enemy's nearly three meters large body fell apart.
For a moment, Takeru had no idea what happened.
《”Enemy purged his armor."》
At the same time Lapis reported, from the broken armor a human figure as big as that of an adult man's had jumped out.
Takeru immediately swung his sword, releasing a slash to match the enemy's attack.
Excalibur and Mistilteinn clashed, releasing a tremendous amounts of sparks. The figure that emerged looked like a doll.
《"The insides are that of an alchemist-made golem. It's a doll with a hero's soul dwelling inside.."》
"...for a doll, this guy's quite good...!!"
《"Inside of it is King Arthur, it's natural that his strength transcends that of a human. From what it looks like, the creator was skilled as well... this golem was adapted to King Arthur's movements too well."》
"So whether a doll or not, a hero is a hero you mean...!"
The locking of their swords had reached its peak, both of them repelled each other's swords using their entire body's strength.
Immediately after, the two transcendents started a sword fight.
Heavy sound of metal rang out and sparks scattered. It was something an ordinary person's eye would be unable to follow.
Soumatou was already active. The speed at which the two fended off the blows was beyond that of a bullet.
The difference between Takeru's and King Arthur's power wasn't big. Both of them benefited from Magical Heritage's bodily performance enhancement and their skill was extraordinary.
——The King Arthur's sword and Kusanagi Double-Edged style's sword difference in concept was decisive.
The king's sword was for fighting people.
And Kusanagi Double-Edged style's sword, was for the sake of cutting the inhuman monsters.
As they exchanged blows that difference had become visible.
When it came to the weight of the blows——Takeru was winning.
Regardless of its own exhaustion, regardless of its own injuries, a sword disregarding its own life.
The sword for smiting the inhuman swung by Takeru who had become inhuman increased its destructive power even further.
A slash, swung down from above had burst into King Arthur's shoulder.
The blade had cut through the shoulder, slicing off the right arm.
To capitalize on the attack, Takeru tried to release a powerful thrust.
But, despite losing his right arm, King Arthur aimed Excalibur towards the ground and shot a magic bullet.
The magical power collided with the ground and diffused, an impact assaulted Takeru's body.
Takeru took distance and tried to rebuild his posture.
The moment he distanced himself, a golden magic circle appeared beneath King Arthur's feet, magical power started to rise up and concentrate on Excalibur.
Takeru felt the chills he had experienced before and turned wary.
《"Intrinsic magic incoming."》
"Then I'll take him down before it activates!!"
《"It's futile. The enemy is well aware of his weakness during the chant. The magical power required for the activity, in other words, King Arthur's own magical power is used to expand a barrier."》
"Can't you and I break through it?"
《"Although it's possible, we won't make it before the chant completes. The reason King Arthur was the strongest, was because of the amount of magical power he and Excalibur generated as well as the sheath's performance allowing him to defeat everything with pure force. Although it's not as strong as the sheath, that barrier's magical power concentration is quite high. As we are now, it would take thirty seconds to take down the barrier and the remaining time until intrinsic magic activation is ten seconds."》
"...what should we do then?"
Takeru might have aspired to be an inquisitor, but magic was outside his specialty.
《"We'll use intrinsic magic as well. Host, please pull the trigger and don't let go of it."》
As he was told to, Takeru continued to squeeze the poised sword's trigger.
Momentarily, along with azure particles a magic circle had appeared beneath Takeru's feet.
【"——Who killed Cock Robin? With my lance, and sword I killed Cock Robin ——"】
As if to respond to the chant, the blade of the sword Takeru held had begun to shine with azure color.
《"The blade will absorb and render powerless any magic that touches it, converting the magical power which will become our damage source. Since it's impossible to use it at range, whether it hits or not depends on the Host's ability."》
"...so I just have to cut down the magic that guy unleashes."
《"Can you do it?"》
"Whether it's magic, light or whatever, the enemy ain't a human."
Raising the sword, Takeru clad himself in his ambition
"Smiting those who are not human, the pinnacle of swordsmanship... when in possession of a sword and a body that won't break——
——Kusanagi definitely ain't going to lose!"
Takeru poised the sword high and exerted strength in his entire body.
《"I am turning the armor into magical power. Since the defensive capabilities will decrease, do your best to avoid enemy's attacks."》
The glow of King Arthur and Takeru's magic circles reached its peak, the space itself around them screamed.
Crackling sparks scattered around and a heat haze crawled on the surface of the ground
【"——Knights of the Round."】
——Intrinsic magic of the two Magical Heritages has activated.
At the same time eleven knights appeared in the vicinity of his enemy, Takeru unleashed Soumatou completely.
He didn't hold back in the least. His body was no longer a human's, he could exceed the limit.
The world slowed down to the maximum, his reaction speed increased to the maximum.
Slow down more. Speed up more.
Enough to make a moment feel like forever. Enough to track light with his eyes.
The world——was left behind.
In the world that slowed down to the limit, Takeru charged at the enemy.
The eleven knights confronting him had become light and rushed in unison at Takeru.
Their speed was equal to his. In this world of the fastest, the eleven knights were equal to Takeru.
Believing Lapis' words, he cut down the eleven with all he had.
He avoided the first one's thrust and slashed him.
Dodged the second one's horizontal swing and crushed his head.
Crushed the third one's upwards slash along with his body,
Bisected the fourth knight along with his shield bash.
Protected himself from the fifth and sixth's simultaneous bow and sword's attack with a sword-drawing technique's flash,
Blocked the seventh's spear thrust from above and finished him by thrusting from below,
Parried the eighth and ninth's overlapping attacks by splendidly rotating and cut them both in half.
Showered the horseback-riding tenth knight's horse legs with slashes,
Pulverized the large-bodied eleventh knight in a sword clash.
Rushing through the light like a storm, as he showered the knights with one attack each they disappeared as if sucked into Mistilteinn.
And then——Takeru reached the final knight waiting for him, the King Arthur.
"Lapis! A huge zweihander!"
《"Acknowledged. Mode-Zweihander——enchantment reversal, flexible material release."》
When he pulled the trigger, Mistilteinn changed from nodachi to an about ten meters long sword of improbable size.
Wielding that sword, Takeru jumped far into the sky.
The King Arthur who confronted him had put the remaining magical power into Excalibur and aiming at leaping Takeru, he fired a magic bullet.
This was their final clash.
Both betting everything they have, the hero and the witch-hunter have released their attacks.
"Kusanagi Double-Edged style——"
In mid-air, Takeru attempted to use a secret technique he hadn't succeeded in using a single time until now.
A forbidden technique only usable in Soumatou.
Said to be impossible with a human bodily abilities, a sword of the variant.
Long time ago, said to have been used by the person who became the founder of Kusanagi, an impossible technique existing only in concept.
Unleashing Soumatou to the very limit, in the world that had nearly stopped moving, by slashing eight times at once this technique was made reality.
Right now, Takeru had confidence to pull off such a ridiculous technique..
"——Yamata no Orochi!"
Eight slashes were unleashed at the same time.
The King Arthur's magic bullet was cut down and the impossible slashes had reached his body.
Takeru's strongest eight attacks broke King Arthur's body into pieces and an enormous crater had appeared in the asphalt below.
The impact enveloped his surroundings, everything was dyed with azure.
Magic power collided with magic power, as if the morning sun appeared in the twilight sky, a dazzling light was released.
The collision of magical power with magical power released a dazzling light, as if a sun had appeared in the twilight sky.
With hazy consciousness, Ouka watched him.
Clad in azure armor, confronting the enemy head on. His appearance.
Her tears spilled. That appearance of his had become Ouka's hope.
She didn't want others help. Her revenge was unstoppable. That's why she didn't want others to be involved in it and hurt no matter what. That's why she did her best to avoid it until now. I'm lonely, it's hard, it's painful, she vowed to never say such things. She spoke things that hurt others, alienating herself.
But, the truth was.
The truth was, she was about to burst in tears, she wanted to cling to someone and ask for help.
She was weak, scared, felt as she was going numb... simply, she was lonely.
『"I told you, because I think of us as of comrades" 』
When she was told that, she was shaken.
『"You don't have to bear with it any longer, Ootori." 』
When she was told that, her heart groaned.
『"As a human being called Kusanagi Takeru, I will walk by your side." 』
When she was told that, she was happy.
But unable to accept it, she refused, pushed him away and tried to walk in solitude once again.
However, Takeru didn't withdraw.
『"——Let me carry half of the burden." 』
There was no longer any reason to refuse, nor she had will to do so.
Just... entrust it to him.
In the middle of the azure flames,
Proudly like a knight,
Takeru approached the lonely and weak girl and reached out.
The girl stretched her hands as thin as a dry wood, and overlapped his big hands.
Takeru woke up feeling pain throughout his body.
The first thing he saw was the sky dyed by twilight and incredibly gentle, Ouka's face.
"You don't have to get up. Using a Relic Eater consumes a significant amount of life force. You've overworked yourself due to lack of training. Stay still."
"You don't remember? After reaching out to me, you immediately fell over."
Takeru recalled everything, like Ouka said, he didn't feel much strength in his body.
At the same time, he felt a pleasant sensation with the back of his head and something cold on his forehead.
Takeru didn't seem to notice, but his head was lying on Ouka's lap pillow and pat with her hand.
He made a faint smile facing her.
"I won...Ootori...as promised, you'll let me help you out."
He spoke in feeble and gentle voice. Ouka made a wry smile.
"You're a stubborn fellow, aren't you."
Saying that, Ouka gave him a light nod.
Takeru let out a relieved sigh and closed his eyes.
"From now on... stop pushing yourself alone."
"You've got me. I'm not reliable... but you can rely on me any time."
Hearing these words, Ouka lowered her eyelids as if dozing off, in her eyes gathered tears.
"...is that really okay...can I...be forgiven for that?"
"Even if none forgive it, I will."
Seeing Takeru's encompassing smile, Ouka's dazed expression had turned faintly red. At the same time, she looked downwards anxiously.
"Can it...really be done...until now...I've been always alone..."
"I... don't know how to relate to people."