The grind for this next event is ungodly. Also, relationship issues are ungodly. Good thing the latter is easier to deal with.
Only like…5 more ships to kai ni and I’m all set. More information on that here: http://kancolle.wikia.com/wiki/User:Nanamin.
With a lot of things out of the way (mostly dealing with people), I may manage to actually translate…or I may end up on Dragon Age: Inquisition again. Or I may end up doing my job. Who knows.
Holy crap, I’ve done nothing for so long :9
Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, floor 274.
Taking a single step out of the elevator into this floor which was customized for the use of the second Sennenshi, everything from the floor to the ceiling would shine with a rusty blue color.
The rusty blue color was the unhidden color of metallic ground. The thousands of buffering plates and the airships’ protective film were made of a special composite metal.
Those buffering planes screeched as they sunk in. Footprints were gouged into the floor.
Stepping down with enough force to warp the buffering plates, she added her own body weight to that force and swung her fist. There was no target or goal; it simply cut through the air. But──
………………! [T/N: A bunch of ッ were in between these indicating sounds that can’t be mimicked.]
The air which was split by the supersonic fist burst. The shockwave borne from a living being which has surpassed the speed of sound rent the air and roared with a sound akin to the cracking of a whip.
“So how is it going for them?”
The girl wiped the sweat trailing down her chin off. Though her clothes were light, consisting of shorts and a tank top, they absorbed her body’s sweat and were currently soaked.
“As you heard.”
Meimel smiled gently at her partner who continued to train in silence.
“But it might be hard to understand the finer points even if you’re informed. ……Speak of the devil, here’s another report.”
There was no need to turn her ears to the ceiling speakers.
“Umm, it appears that the main unit and separate unit have split up. Ah, Sheltis, Leon and the two from the Governmental Sector have alighted from the airship. They’ve landed on the edge of the floating archipelago <Lagoon>……and seem to be heading somewhere.”
“It looks like they’ve split up. It looks like they’re heading somewhere. ……It’s hard on us to receive a report with so many ‘like‘s.”
Ran sat down where she was with a wry smile.
“It’s troubling to have a vague report.”
“Come now. Voices can’t be heard using clairvoyance so they’re trying their best to guess.”
“……I feel like I’m trying to crack a code.”
“It’s not a code─, it’s Ymy-speak. Though it’s true you need to decipher it.”
……But today’s on the better side.
……I was prepared for the information to be more disorderly.
“By the way, Meimel, what about today’s meeting?”
“I’m skipping out. I’ve also called off today’s and tomorrow’s Priestess training. Skipping practice once will mess with my condition but it can’t be helped this time.”
“So you’re saying it’s that important.”
“Yes. After all──”
“……No, ignore that just now. It’s nothing.”
“It’s nothing major, okay? Come on, you need to train yourself properly. I’ll decipher the Ymy-speak for you.”
She scolded Ran who was sitting on the ground and stood up. Looking sidelong at Ran who reluctantly resumed her training, Meimel gently placed a hand to her chest.
──After all, if we make a bad move, they might be wiped out.
Speaking in board game terms, it would be a mistake. It wouldn’t have an immediate effect on the big picture but would manifest itself as great malice in the endgame.
……Just going by the personnel selection, it’s optimal.
……But the opponents and their methods are completely unknown.
The Lords of Unusual Books. Those known were only “Golden” Maha and “Blank” Igun-I.
“To outwit your opponents, you must first deceive your allies.”
“Nn? Did you say something?”
“Nope, no─thing at all.”
Playing it off in a feigned manner, Meimel shrugged her shoulders.
A small species of bird with vibrant yellow feathers, rarely seen on the floating continent <Orbie Clar>, left behind an adorable chirp as it flew away.
“It is a bird which habitats this section of the floating archipelago <Lagoon>. It is known to migrate to the Governmental Sector island before winter and back here after.”
Kuro looked at the figure passing overhead and recited from memory.
“Hehhh. I’m not well-acquainted with that kind of information so I’ll keep it in mind. I have to input it.”
“……That’s fine, but don’t forget something important by overwriting it.”
Sheltis glanced at machine crystal <Ilis> which was swaying at his chest and followed after the two men in front of him.
The Number Nine <Huick> was at the head, Leon was second, Sheltis was third and Kuro was at the end.
“But you know, it’s humid, ain’t itttt. Hey, Kuro, is this really the easiest route? It’s humid and there are roots sticking out; this is rough for a walking environment.”
“That’s because this is the undeveloped floating archipelago <Lagoon>.”
She said that smoothly and jumped lightly up to the top of a boulder blocking the path. Making such a casual jump while dressed in a black suit that fit her perfectly was truly resemblant of a black cat.
“My, what splendid bearing.”
“Well, she is my tag-along, you know? You can’t call her a desk worker lacking in exercise.”
Placing a hand on the brim of his cowboy hat, the Number Nine <Huick> jumped over a tree root.
There were countless ash brown rocks of varying sizes and giant trees were sticking out from the gaps between them. It was a more splendid sight than a forest. However, it seemed like it would cause one to trip over a tree root or rock if he or she wasn’t paying attention.
“But you know, this is good weather. It makes me want to go fishing if I weren’t on this pain-in-the-ass job.”
The Number Nine <Huick> said that in a carefree tone.
“I wonder who the one who came up with that pain-in-the-ass job was.”
“……I get it, I get it, so stop poking me in the back, Kuro.”
“When this is over, I’ll be requesting a special reward. Also, danger pay, overtime pay and holiday work pay.”
“Righty, leave it to me, I’ll pay you three times as much as you request.”
“Even though you have no intention of paying.”
Kuro puffed her cheeks slightly and crossed her arms. Looking at her from the corner of his eye, Sheltis called out to the Number Nine <Huick> in front.
“……Say, about just now.”
“Yeah? What’s up, nii-chan, being so formal?”
“What was that that was mentioned just now? About you coming up with this job?”
“The first one in the Governmental Sector to realize the presence of the Lords of Unusual Books was Huick-sama and Huick-sama was the one who said, ‘Then I’ll go.‘ when we were lacking information and came up with a plan to infiltrate the third organization’s base.”
He didn’t answer, his subordinate did.
“At any rate, it’s a mysterious enemy organization’s base. If we couldn’t find anybody to name themselves for the infiltration unit, then he would head for the enemy’s territory himself……what a headache.”
“That’s quite the resolution.”
Whether out of commendation or surprise, Leon raised one eyebrow.
“Even in Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, how we will deal with the third organization is still under deliberation. It’s because there was a suggestion from the Governmental Sector that a just cause to mobilize the Sennenshi was formed ── is what Meimel said.”
“Are those words of praise?”
“The fact that Meimel went along with it means it was a good opportunity.”
Leon’s reply was blunt but its meaning was important.
“I agree. We’d have just played into the enemy’s hands if we took it slow.”
The fact that Golden <Maha> and <Blank> Igun-I attacked the Governmental Sector was more convincing evidence than anything else.
Attacking before their information could be read from Mikuva’s Crimson Eye should have been their goal. However, in reality, the Number Nine <Huick>, had pulled out that information beforehand.
“What’s more, you planned to break in with just the two of you if the rest of us didn’t come along?”
“I’m sensitive despite how I look.”
While looking at the rocks underfoot.
“There are stiff elders and stubborn co-workers but I don’t not like the current Governmental Sector. The meals are delicious and it’s basically peaceful, and there are subordinates who do the work so I can even do my hobby, fishing.”
“But now there’s a group that seems like it will utterly destroy that situation. It can’t be helped that having those kinds of guys loitering around bugs me. That’s why I’m going to confirm it. I don’t know if I can completely unveil their plan but I can at least get a base.”
The footsteps of the executive who was facing forward did not stop even temporarily.
“So how is it? We’ve actually come to look at the island. We’ll be at our destination shortly.”
“Me, me! I was imagining a narrow floating archipelago <Lagoon> island but it doesn’t look like that now that we’re on it.”
“It should be just short of two kilometers across. At any rate……and speak of the devil.”
The Number Nine <Huick> climbed straight up a rock hill and folded his arms.
The glint in his eye became slightly sharper as he looked down ── at the coast of the floating archipelago <Lagoon> island opposite theirs, floating not even ten meters away.
……The Plant which is hiding the third organization’s base.
“My, that’s amazing. It’s close enough that it wouldn’t be strange if rather than neighboring, they were touching.”
“That’s what I said. We can cross with just a little jump. By the way, the island the nee-chan in the separate unit chose is about the same.”
The Number Nine <Huick> kicked away the small pebbles at his feet and began doing stretches.
“The other coast is……just under six meters away. The ground will crumble if we land right on the edge so it should be seven meters with allowance. Factoring in the headwind and side winds, it’s nine meters. We’ll jump using the fundamentals of long jumping. If you fail, it’s free fall, but you’ll end up on a direct course to death by even falling into the Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden>.”
……Falling to the Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden>.
Looking down from the edge of the floating archipelago <Lagoon>’s cliff, he could see the blue crystal ocean created by Hyouketsu Kyoukai down in the distance. Squinting, he could even confirm black barriers swirling within.
──It’s this close-by.
──People are living this close to the Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden>.
“Ohh, what’s up, nii-chan? Your lips are shut so tight together; are you bad at long jumps?”
“……I’ll be fine. I can do it.”
He clenched his fist so he wouldn’t have to speak.
“Kuro? Can you do it?”
“My personal record for the long jump is 13.7 meters. That’s with a suit and high heels.”
“Ah─ is that so? Then there’s no problem……well then.”
The Number Nine <Huick> flicked the brim of his hat.
“Follow starting from those with resolve.”
With a short approach run, he jumped towards the opposite coast and Sheltis followed after him once again.
The sea of trees was overgrown and dense.
Large trees with thick and rough trunks were lined up in the dark forest. There were many layers of strange vines or creepers wrapped around the trunks and the bugs on the thin ends were also mysterious.
“……Looks just like every other day.”
Horn snorted and and looked away from the giant tree ahead of her.
Having gone on patrols of the Biotope with her older sister constantly, strange trees and mysterious bugs were common knowledge to her. She would not be surprised if she were to just keep up the minimum of caution.
“I’m twenty minutes behind the main unit. I think that should be just right?”
She had a long-range rifle slung over her left shoulder and her favored machine pistol in her right hand. Upon her hip were reserve magazines and a communicator.
──My mission is to aid the main unit.
She would sneak onto Plant via an alternate route from the main unit. Afterwards, she would infiltrate the base some time after the main unit and group up with them if they had succeeded in safely stealing information. If the main unit became engaged in combat with the enemy, she would support them by following the instruction of Ymy who was observing.
……At any rate, I have to sneak onto Plant and wait nearby the base.
……After that, I wait for the main unit or Ymy’s orders.
The minimal personnel was good for covert operations like this. She had heard that the combined unit’s members were selected by Meimel but it was a splendid choice for the one left in charge of governing the tower by the Queen.
“You remember what I said just before?”
“Of course. I’ll remain on standby until I’m contacted by someone from the main unit or Horn-nee.”
The airship’s camouflage blended it in with the surrounding greenery. Horn made a large nod to Eyriey who was showing her face from the pilot’s window.
“Add on one more thing to that. If you don’t receive contact from any of us──”
“Return to Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> with just the two of you. There’s no need to wait for us.”
──A research facility.
The walls of the rectangular structure were grey. There were no windows and neither wiring nor plumbing was jutting out of the walls. The perfectly flat wall was completely covered in moss and its singular green color seemed to blend it in with the surrounding forest.
“Leon, doesn’t this look familiar?”
“Yeah. It looks like the other floating archipelago that other time……is this some kind of joke?”
Leon, who was standing beside him, made a rare sigh.
“It’s nothing strange. Tenketsu Palace also often sets up strata or environmental observation facilities like this.”
Kuro surveyed the facility ahead and gently shook her head.
“In other words, it’s the same as the other one Tenketsu Palace identified to us.”
That was the origin of the conference between Tenketsu Palace and the Governmental Sector.
The unmanned research facility had been remodeled by the third organization. There had been a Yuugenshu breeding tank set up before but this one was being used as a base as-is.
“This was as much as Kuro saw using Mikuva’s Crimson Eye. Both Kuro and I don’t know the interior but they’re somehow deceiving the regularly scheduled patrols.”
“……I think it’s underground.”
Sheltis bit down on his lip at the Number Nine ‘s whisper.
“……If it’s the exact same as before, that means they’re below here.”
He glared at the ground underfoot.
The aboveground research facility was just a fake and the real one was an underground floor made by extension. That’s why it was meaningless no matter how many inferences were made while aboveground.
“Yes. Sheltis-sama and Leon-sama, please step back.”
Taking a step out front, Kuro took a yellow key out of her breast pocket. She advanced directly to the central door like that. She soundlessly inserted the key into the rusted brass lock.
Shortly after, the metal lock fell to the ground.
“Only one side can be opened. Just in case, don’t stand in front of the doorway.”
While also stepping aside herself, Kuro pulled on the door handle. The grating sound of rusted metal rubbing echoed.
Only a dim space lay on the other side of the completely open door.
“Well, this is as expected.”
The Number Nine patted Kuro’s shoulder with a slight wry smile. However he kept that act moderate and turned to them, pointing beyond the door.
“You’ve seen this once before, right? Wouldn’t we be more familiar with the structure from ahead of here?”
“Ah, but I wasn’t with Leon……”
The ones who were with Leon at that time were Eyriey and Yuto. The one who was acting together with him was Monica so the routes they’d taken to enter the research facility were different.
“I entered this way but I think Leon entered through a secret passageway. If I remember, a path continued underground and the it had to be unlocked from Leon’s side.”
“That’s how it was. ……Shall we try it since I was told the release code by Eyriey?”
“In that case, I guess I’ll go along too. Kuro, you stick here with nii-chan and do something like introduce yourself again if you like.”
Following after Leon, the Number Nine also headed outside.
Only the two of them, he and Kuro who was a Governmental Sector executive, were left behind.
……Come to think of it, besides her name and affiliation, I don’t know anything about her.
“Why did you volunteer for this unit?”
He leaked out a voice without thinking at her sudden whisper.
“Meimel-sama spearheaded this operation. Around you were only Priestesses and Sennenshi who outrank you. Amongst them, the first to raise their hand at Meimel’s appeal was you.”
Kuro swept aside her sidebangs which were a dark green nearing black. Her eyes reflected not a shred of emotion and only stared at him dispassionately.
“I know that the other day when Ymy-sama visited the Govermental Sector, your unit was assigned to travel together with her as her escorts. Did you volunteer because you view this mission as a continuation of that one?”
“No way. That’s a different mission.”
“Then why? You are a Cadet Guard. He may act like that, but Huick of the Governmental Sector also possesses authority equivalent to a Sennenshi of Tenketsu Palace . You should not possess power to silence those around you with the simple words ‘Then let’s have a look.‘”
It was a general rule that Cadet Guards would act like Cadet Guards and focus on training. For an outsider like her, his desire to participate in this mission was very unexpected.
“Am I wrong?”
“……Yeah, that’s why I raised my hand first. Because I wanted to convey that I wanted to go.”
“That you wanted to go? Neither a feeling of obligation nor responsibility, you truly personally wished to go?……My apologies but I cannot think of any other reason for that beyond creating achievements.”
Inserting a wordless moment, she suddenly leaked a smile.
“……However, I can’t see you being that kind of ambitious person. I cannot think of the reason you joined this mission.”
I give up ── he watched as she shrugged and jested.
“It’s the same reason as Huick’s.”
“The same as Huick-sama’s?”
“I can’t let it slide. Somebody precious to me is in the tower and The Lords of Unusual Books are causing that person unrest so……wouldn’t it stand to reason that I can’t let it slide? That’s why I’d like to settle this myself for that person.”
She stared blankly at him.
“You, a Cadet Guard? You can’t leave it up to the Sennenshi and Priestesses?”
“……That’s right. I really do want to puff out my chest with pride.”
His childhood friend had waited at the highest floor of the tower all this time.
In order for him to stand proudly before she who had continued to wait all alone, he wanted to bring closure to the matters of his mateki and the Garden of Corrupted Song .
“Is that strange?”
“Is that important person a woman?”
“I think the woman you spoke of is definitely happy.”
The Governmental Sector woman’s appraising gaze softened and she nodded.
“……That would be nice.”
“I would think so if I were her. After that, for you to return safe────!”
At the sudden tremor underfoot, Kuro crouched down.
The floorboards continued to vibrate slightly and a portion raised a sound, sinking into the ground. The surrounding floorboards folded up and headed underground.
“It’s as was reported.”
Kuro blinked as she looked down at the stairs wrapped in darkness which led underground.
“Yo, how’s it going on that end?”
With Leon in tow, the Number Nine appeared from the doorway ahead of them. He walked to the middle of the room leisurely with his hand in his pocket, a carefree appearance.
“Oh, this is something.”
“It’s as you see─. It really did have the same construction as the floating archipelago from last time.”
“Well that’s a cause for celebration. ……I see, this really is quite something. I wonder just when they managed to perform such large-scale construction.”
The Number Nine lightly kicked the first step on the staircase and confirmed its feeling. Having decided it could be ventured, he nodded slightly and began walking with the same gait as always.
……The same as before, huh.
While confirming the conditions of the Number Nine and Leon who were walking ahead of him, he also took care of the feeling from his feet as he went. There were no traps last time but that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be any this time.
“It would be suspicious if the materials for the staircase were to change suddenly.”
“It’ll be great if the traps are so kind. ……It’d be best if there were no traps at all though.”
Straining his eyes to stare at the ceiling, there was a dull setup with a thin metal plate stuck there. The wall to the side was also the same. It was also difficult to call the construction of the staircase neat.
With his back still turned, Leon suddenly called to him.
“We received a message from Horn not long ago. She said she’d also reached the island and was heading here.”
“Got it. ……By the way, will she know about this place on her own?”
“She has a guide.”
──Syun-rei and Ymy.
The two Priestesses were keeping constant watch over the main unit from back at the floating continent using clairvoyance. They knew the location of the research facility so they would convey that information to the separate unit.
……As expected of them, we’re this far out and still within their clairvoyance range.
“It looks like we’ll get through this without fear of traps.”
At the same time as those words, the figure of the Number Nine who was walking ahead disappeared.
“It appears to be the destination.”
A massive corridor that continued for who-knows-how-long.
……It’s different from the previous research facility.
At that time, they had come out to an enormous floor immediately after descending the stairs. He remembered there were fallen over computers, all in black, here and there and countless cables running underfoot. There was but a single one in this endlessly stretching corridor.
“This is……quite the scale. I can’t see the end.”
The Number Nine had passed the point of being tense and instead was speechless in amazement.
“I believe this island’s underground was gouged out to resemble an anthill.”
“……That’s quite the lightning fast construction.”
The walls and floor were also of simplistic construction, covered only by grey metal plates. The electrical lines for the ceiling lights were also visible. If some shock were to sever the lines, the entire corridor’s lighting would fall.
“Now then, just how far does this passage continue?”
“No idea. Well, let’s just keep going without worrying about that. There’s no such thing as being covert with a straight path. Let’s just continue and hope we don’t run into anybody.”
The Number Nine continued on with a gait that could be taken as carefree. But without having taken many steps, he suddenly half-turned his face in their direction.
“Only worry about the back. I’d prefer not to get pincered in this kind of corridor.”
“If for example──”
Interrupting the Number Nine ‘s words, Sheltis continued.
“they come from the front?”
“Not meeting them is ideal……but it’s impossible to hide in this kind of corridor. While praying we don’t meet them, if we do, the first thing to think of is how to escape. We didn’t come here to fight a battle. Though, I would like to get a bare minimum of information.”
The Number Nine spoke in a somewhat quiet voice.
“If the ones we run across are somatic cell organisms, then we should get information with the leading question and run away after that. The annoying case is if it’s a fight lover who attacks without care for what we say, so if that happens──…………”
Suddenly, the Number Nine closed his mouth partway through his words.
Stop ── his right hand which was held up horizontally wordlessly conveyed that.
He was glaring at the right hand-side wall ahead of them. He stared without blinking at that wall which was not even slightly different from the walls they’d passed thus far.
“You guys, don’t get discovered by this wall.”
The Governmental Sector executive suddenly smiled fearlessly.
“An active optical sensor. Do you know what an infrared diode and phototransistor are? They’re basically light detectors.”
“……Like an automatic door’s sensor?”
“That’s a passive infrared sensor. This one’s active so it’s a little more troublesome.”
Leon’s expression distorted in doubt and he sighed.
In contrast, machine crystal continued in a matter-of-fact and quiet tone.
“The majority of passive sensors are, if I had to say, limited to sensing a person’s body heat. However, this active sensor will detect anything that interrupts the infrared rays, whether it be a person or clothing. ……But that’s amazing.”
“I would have pointed out that infrared sensor if you had kept going a little longer without noticing it. You did well to notice it yourself.”
“Even if I’m like this, I’m sensitive, you see.”
The Number Nine indicated a small crack with his chin. It was a fissure little more than a few centimetres. So an optical device was buried in the shadow of that.
“……They’re good. The construction looks old-fashioned but if you unmask it, that’s a high-end optical sensor trap.”
Leon muttered in a very quiet voice as he clenched his fists.
“It seems to be the type of stronghold we’re not good with. Sheltis, did you notice?”
“……Unfortunately, it’s outside my field of specialty.”
At Tenketsu Palace , this was the kind of thing that spies rather than Guards would learn. Or possibly, Kagura who was deeply knowledgeable about mechanics would have seen through it.
“No excuses like ‘It’s my first time encountering this.‘”
With both hands and knees against the floor, the Number Nine advanced in a posture that was basically crawling. After him went Leon and then Sheltis.
Around ten metres.
Sometimes they would crawl, sometimes they would sidle along the wall and other times they would jump to slip past the optical sensors.
“……Phew. For the time being, the trap area is done. Right?”
“Yes. There are no responses on my sensors for the time being.”
“That’s great. But here’s something difficult again.”
Having cleared the section of the corridor covered in sensors, the Number Nine folded his arms.
“Left or right, which do you guys wanna go down?”
The corridor split in two.
After having passed through such a heavily trapped area, both of them probably lead to important areas.
“If we’re gonna check both, then we might as well start with the right.”
“That was quick. Well then, respecting Sennenshi-sama’s opinion─”
“That’s no good─. We won’t let you go, you know?”
“Yup, we won’t let you.”
Two similar voices.
It wasn’t through an amplifier, it was like they were directly echoing in their heads.
“Amazing, amazing, you got through the optical sensors.”
“Yup. As expected, they were poor quality so they didn’t help. Even though we told Natraja so much that sensors were unnecessary with us here.”
Ahahaha ─ shrill echoing laughter.
“……What’s this, are these guys”
“That’s right, hat-wearing onii-chan. We’ve been watching you since you were closing in on an airship.”
“Yup, we were watching. Since that’s our job.”
“I see, I see……I’ll praise you for not calling me an oji-san, but didn’t anybody teach you that peeping is a bad hobby?”
The Number Nine openly warped his expression and clicked his tongue.
“You’ve been watching us since we got on the airship and came? There’s no way brats can pull off that kind of clairvoyance and telepathy. Who are you?”
“Ah. That’s right, Neue, let’s do our “self-introductions“.”
“Okay. Let’s do them. Igun-I also said that it’s “good manners” to name yourself.”
The twins inadvertently spoke that name. That meant that these twins were also one of them.
“I am Neue. Number six of the Lords of Unusual Books, ‘Blue‘ Neue.”
“I am Noesis. Number five of the Lords of Unusual Books, ‘Green‘ Noesis.”
“”Four intruders detected, now capturing.“”
A gigantic mass shook a section of the corridor. It slowly edged nearer.
“To the right!?”
In an instant, Leon detected that shadow and went on guard.
To the right side of the forked corridor ── the first thing that appeared was a massive steel-colored object that filled the corridor.
“Placing a mechanical soldier in this cramped hallway……do they not mind a section of it being destroyed?”
The female executive shook her head in amazement.
It was a mechanical soldier with four legs protected by black armor. Its right hand was a shield and its left hand tapered off and it itself was transformed into a gigantic machine gun.
……It resembles the one I saw back in the Governmental Sector’s Sanctuary!?
It was still fresh in his mind. Protected by that hefty armor and shinryoku spells, it was an opponent he couldn’t deal sufficient damage to with his twin swords.
“Ehehe, we know about the dual sword user onii-chan. Igun-I told us.”
“You don’t match up well with this, right? Its armor is very─”
The flash of a sword cut off Neue and Noesis’ laughs.
The great sword was swung in a straight line from ceiling to floor. The sword tip which was swung very quickly and very easily made a light sound as it touched the floor.
Following that was the sound of something solid cracking. That sound came from the mechanical soldier they had just seen coming to attack them.
As the sound gradually grew, the web of fissures in the mechanical soldier’s head armor stretched out.
“It’s nothing major enough to be praised for.”
Leon had his sword pierced into the ground.
“It only took one strike anyway.”
Behind him. With its central machinery in the head destroyed through its armor, the mechanical soldier fell over face-up with a thunderous noise.
“Phewww! As expected of a Priestess’ escort, huh, Kuro?”
“Yes. I didn’t think there was anybody other than Zeadoll-sama would could render that kind of heavily armored mechanical soldier powerless in one strike.”
The Number Nine whistled and clapped.
“Waah, that was amazing, Noesis. Did you see?”
“Yeah, it was amazing, Neue. He beat it so quickly. Natraja told us to ‘buy enough time for a shower’ but it’s not happening.”
“I wonder who’s stronger between this great sword onii-san and Armadel?”
“Eh─. That would be Armadel.”
The twins whispered to each other and laughed.
“You can’t go back anymore.”
“Yeah, you can’t go back anymore. Come out, virtuals.”
The wall in the direction they’d come from collapsed, creating a gigantic hole.
Perfectly orderly, countless footsteps came from the hole.
Virtuals, could that mean?
Sheltis was the first to react to the robed spellcaster that appeared in the corridor.
These clones that he had met with in the Nature District and the Governmental Sector were unforgettable. Each one was a monster capable of destroying Regular Guard units from Tenketsu Palace .
……Maha’s clones to the rear. If another mechanical soldier appears ahead of us, we’ll be boxed in!
……In that case, which way is better!?
He instinctively chose the right passageway that the mechanical soldier had appeared from and started running. Just by sensing their presences, he could tell that the Number Nine and Kuro were behind him with Leon in the back.
……The more important the location, the more severe the security should be.
……In that case, the logical choice is the passage that the mechanical soldier appeared from.
“Sheesh, what a cautious lot. Is that him? Is that the Lord of Unusual Books called Maha?”
The Number Nine spat that out with disdain.
“That was a clone. But……the clone I fought at the Nature District had a much nastier strength than that big mechanical soldier.”
“That’s not very appealing. But that’s just how serious they are.”
Donning only a smile, the Number Nine accelerated.
“Change of plans. We only intended to look around and head back but we’re being watched by those twins. You guys, we’re gonna bust into the deepest part of this base by force.”
“No objections here.”
“I was planning on doing that from the start.”
“Only if I get danger pay, overtime pay and a special bonus.”
“──You guys aren’t a bad party for one formed out-of-nowhere.”
The Number Nine ‘s voice grew lively as he looked over the corridor.
About 20 meters ahead. Small autonomous soldiers appeared from both branches of the next fork in the road. Each one had a shotgun, a tazer or other varieties of guns.
“I believe they’re standalone. Shall we go around them?” [T/N: Standalone as in independent units (no control).]
“Nahhh, we can just force our way through.”
The Number Nine declared that with razor-like thin chakrams held between his fingers.
“It’s a battle of obstinance from this point on.”