The Great Yomotsuikusa, which was covered in the blood of its others and its own blood, bared its fangs and roared before charging towards its new prey with its piercing, bloodshot eyes gleaming.
Its Yomotsushikome and Yomotsuikusa brethren were falling without even having the time for their powerful regenerative abilities to kick in, but it didn’t care about that.
“It’s just a monster that simply obeys its powerful urge to kill. There’s nothing left that resembles a human mind,” Amemiya Hiroto murmured, releasing ten magical light-attribute attacks simultaneously at the Great Yomotsuikusa facing him.
The Great Yomotsuikusa roared as it ignored the small, firefly-sized spells and charged straight for Hiroto.
It didn’t even feel hunger; it had a powerful instinct that desired combat instead. This instinct had told it that it would be meaningless to avoid the attacks.
The Great Yomotsuikusa had no scales or skin, but it possessed an armor of tough muscle fibers and incredible regenerative properties. Even if the surface muscles were injured a little, they would return to normal within seconds.
However, the weak spells that should have been repelled by the Great Yomotsuikusa’s body surface instead pierced through its armor of muscle fibers.
It let out a groan of pain as its muscle fibers and bones were pierced through as if they were made of tofu. They immediately began regenerating, but the damage was enough to cause it to lose its balance and tumble towards the ground.
And then countless sharp metal spikes extended from the ground that it fell onto, easily piercing the Great Yomotsuikusa’s flesh.
“It seems that you don’t have any vital organs, so I’m sorry, but I’ve filled your entire body with holes. I’ll pray that you don’t have a sense of pain,” Hiroto told the Great Yomotsuikusa, which was now a writhing pile of mincemeat, as he undid his ability.
“Unrivalled as always, aren’t you?” said the ‘Avalon’ Rikudou Akira,
“It’s just difficult to use,” Hiroto said, referring to his own ability.
In addition to his affinity for all seven attributes, Amemiya Hiroto also possessed seven special abilities. Chant Revocation and Multi-Cast were the easier-to-use abilities among them, but the Ignore Defense ability that he had just used on the Great Yomotsuikusa was difficult to use.
It was a simple, powerful ability that rendered all defenses useless against Hiroto’s attacks, but because it was simple, one wrong step would cause disaster.
For example, if he fired a rifle while using Ignore Defense, no matter what the target tried to use as a shield, the bullets would pierce through and find their mark. But the bullets wouldn’t stop there; they would keep going, piercing the people and buildings behind the target, until they came to a stop naturally.
If he were to use it along with a spell like Exploding Flame Projectile, he would cause an amount of damage that could only be described as a catastrophe. Everything within the explosion’s radius, whether it be reinforced concrete or the ground itself, would fall apart like Styrofoam.
If he was careless in using this, Hiroto himself wouldn’t escape unscathed, either.
It wasn’t as convenient as attacks in video games that ignored only the enemy’s defense.
And since it only ignored defense, this ability had the weakness of not functioning if the enemy fired an offensive spell back as their defense.
“Don’t be so modest, Braver. Let’s go and avenge everyone,” said Akira.
‘Braver’ was Hiroto’s codename that had stopped being used after the foundation of the Bravers organization. A wrinkle appeared between Hiroto’s brows, though not because his companion had used his codename.
“Hiroto, don’t tell me you still think we should capture them! Those bastards killed Tendou!”
When his head was cut off by Ghost, Tendou had transferred all of the information he had seen through Clairvoyance to his comrades through the Angel telepathy ability during the few seconds he had before his death. His death greatly shocked all of them.
And then that shock had turned into frustration and anger inside many of the reincarnated individuals. The same had happened when the ‘Noah’ Mao was killed, but they had realized that the Eighth Guidance were not ‘victims,’ but ‘assailants,’ just like Murakami’s group.
Even Akira said that.
“Hiroto, I think we can’t, and shouldn’t, hold back against them,” said Narumi, agreeing with him. “We’ve thought of the Eighth Guidance not as a group of religious terrorists, but as ideological ones. Pluto and her companions won’t even hesitate to blow themselves up if it’s for the sake of killing us. No, it’s like they’re aiming at us because they want to blow themselves up. It’s too dangerous to think of capturing them.”
What Narumi had seen from the Eighth Guidance until yesterday were calculated, ideological crimes. After securing a certain number of supporters by saving the lives of seriously ill individuals, they had continued carrying out their crimes while making sure that nobody got directly caught up in them other than their targets.
There were even fans that worshipped Pluto as a goddess.
However, after attacking Mao, the Eighth Guidance’s actions had been reckless. It could only be assumed that they were intentionally sacrificing themselves.
It could be interpreted as them being desperate because their base’s location had been discovered and they had been betrayed by Murakami’s group, but…
“I can only imagine that the person from the Eighth Guidance who killed Tendou-kun didn’t care that he would die afterwards, as long as he succeeded in killing Tendou-kun. If we show them any weakness, they’ll take us down with them. Think of it like that,” Narumi said.
“Alright. I’ll treat them as any other terrorists from now on,” Hiroto said.
“That’s right, Hiroto. It’s just as Narumi said, so it’s fine that way,” said Minami Asagi’s voice through the Angel network. “You guys keep going and head for Pluto ahead of us. We’ll catch up with you after we secure Baba Yaga, who’s apparently just ahead of us.”
“You guys shouldn’t let your guard down, either,” Hiroto said.
The reason Hiroto’s expression was constantly clouded was because the ‘Oracle’ Endou Kouya had said that this plan would “cause the least number of casualties, both among our enemies and our allies.”
However, both the enemy and Hiroto’s own allies had suffered so many casualties that he found this impossible to believe now.
Was the Oracle wrong? Or did Kouya lie to me? Is that possible? If it is, then why?
“Ah, the biggest Yomotsuikusa has been killed,” said Enma, the boy with the ability of knowing people’s names and faces the moment they died.
“Then I suppose it’s time for me to get going,” said the woman named Ereshkigal as she stood up, as if Enma’s words were a signal.
With her stolen military uniform, the hand grenades and assault rifle she was equipped with and the cloth covering her mouth, she looked like an ordinary female terrorist, unlike the strange appearance of the Eighth Guidance’s other members.
“I’ll do my best to take as many as them with me as I can, but don’t expect too much,” she said.
“Isn’t this the part where you’re supposed to put on a strong front and say you’ll slaughter them all?”
“Are you trying to pressure me to death?” Ereshkigal said with a bitter smile, and then she left the room.
There were only a few Yomotsushikome lurking around between her and Amemiya Hiroto’s group; there weren’t many obstacles in her way.
In a few minutes, the enemy would make contact with Ereshkigal, kill her within perhaps a minute at most, and then enter this room.
“Well then, I’m counting on you, Enma,” said Pluto.
“I’m kind of reluctant about this,” Enma said.
He stood up, curled his bony fingers into a fist and approached Pluto.
“I’ll say this beforehand. I’m sorry, okay?” Pluto said.
“Even if it’s part of the plan, that’s not what someone who’s about to be punched is supposed to say, Pluto.”
Minami Asagi’s group, who were proceeding along the rusty railway tracks, were now several dozen meters from where Baba Yaga was hiding. At that moment, there was an explosion and their surroundings were filled with red flames.
“It’s Baba Yaga!”
“Leave it to me!” shouted Akaki. Due to her Ifrit ability, the flames gathered to form spheres in her hands.
Among the Eighth Guidance’s members, Baba Yaga was the only one whose abilities were clearly known.
She had what was known as an ‘igniting’ ability; she caused spontaneous human combustion in those she touched, and she could even burn organic matter, including corpses, from distances of up to a hundred meters away.
Baba Yaga had used that ability to fulfil her role as the Eighth Guidance’s only combat personnel.
That was why Asagi’s group had thought that they would be able to deal with her as long as they knew where she was hiding.
“There she is!”
“I’ll stop her movements!”
In fact, Asagi’s group had noticed Baba Yaga’s hiding spot immediately; Iwao used his Titan’s gravity manipulation to strengthen gravity around her, just enough so that the passageway didn’t collapse.
“Shit! They brought Ifrit here?!” Baba Yaga cursed.
Having decided that it was impossible to escape now that her body weighed several times more than usual, even though her special ability had been sealed off, she had no choice but to leave her hiding spot.
However, she had been trying to jump out with all of her strength, but the Titan’s gravity caused her to simply collapse dully onto the ground, so her body suit was pierced by the bullets of the waiting Asagi and his companions.
Baba Yaga gasped as she rolled on top of the railway tracks, covered in blood. Asagi and his companions went to shower her in even more bullets.
“Wait! Alright, I surrender! I surrender, so don’t shoot!” she shouted before the bullets came, spitting blood from her mouth.
Asagi’s group had changed their view of the Eighth Guidance from ideological criminals to fanatics, so they were discomposed because they hadn’t expected Baba Yaga to surrender.
“W-what do we do?”
“What do we do… we have no choice but to take her captive,” Asagi spat.
The Bravers were an organization recognized by other international organizations, and in the present day, the flow of information wasn’t limited like it might have been in the Middle Ages.
It was difficult to imagine that Baba Yaga was really surrendering, but with that said, they couldn’t simply ignore her words and finish her off.
It was possible that hidden cameras were recording this scene and footage of “Bravers making an independent decision to execute a criminal who has surrendered” would leak onto the internet.
And excuses could be made if it were other terrorists in question, and the public would eventually agree. However, the terrorists in question were those of the Eighth Guidance.
No matter how badly each nation’s press secretary and mass media portrayed them, the only ones they actually wanted to kill were those in organizations conducting research into the death attribute, so their victims were limited.
In addition, there were numerous people in every nation, both the rich and the poor, who insisted that their lives had been saved by the Eighth Guidance’s leader, Pluto.
And the Bravers had their enemies as well. There were plenty of influential people who wanted to make use of the Bravers’ abilities, but would be troubled if they were to go too far.
Even Asagi, who was poorly informed when it came to political matters, knew that it would be troublesome if these two different groups of people were to join forces.
“Iwao, undo your Titan. She’ll bleed to death at this rate,” Asagi said.
“I’ll use Mage Masher to capture her. Everyone else, back me up. Is that alright with you, Hiroto?”
“Thanks. But be careful,” said Hiroto’s voice.
Activating the Mage Masher ability that nullified all attributes, Asagi approached Baba Yaga.
Baba Yaga gave a small laugh as she looked up at him. She was drenched in her own red blood that had poured out of her body. Her head was undamaged, but her limbs and torso had been hit by the bullets.
It looked like there wasn’t even a ten percent chance of saving her, even if she were to be brought to a hospital with top-of-the-line equipment right this moment.
But Asagi first checked whether Baba Yaga was concealing any weapons, not showing her any sympathy.
“What is this… you pervert…” she groaned.
“I’m doing a body check. It’d be bad if you were holding a bomb, after all.”
Once Asagi confirmed that there were no weapons, he set about administering first aid. He made Baba Yaga hold a life-support Magic Item, and put a needle in her thigh, injecting a medicine that would increase the effects of healing magic.
But it was all ineffective; it was as fruitless as trying to pour water into a bucket with a hole in the bottom.
“Asagi-kun, should I head over there?” asked Narumi, who was proficient in healing magic.
“Should I take her somewhere with space-attribute magic?” asked the voice of another Braver through Angel, who was proficient in space-attribute magic.
Asagi shook his head. “I’ll secure this one. Narumi, you support Hiroto and the others, and the backup team, make sure you concentrate on looking at the surroundings. There might be more like that knife guy who killed Tendou.”
“Knife guy? Ah, you mean Ghost –” Baba Yaga stopped speaking and let out a dull scream at the intense pain she felt.
“Stay quiet; I’m going to touch your wounds now,” Asagi said, but it was obvious that he had deliberately caused her pain to shut her up. “Akaki, you guys go on ahead and meet up with Hiroto’s group. There are no more Zombies or monsters, and it seems that Venus isn’t moving, so I’ll be fine on my own.”
“Whether at the front or the back, I think acting on your own is dangerous, but… we have no choice, huh,” Akaki said.
“Leave me behind. That Ghost guy? If there’s more like him around, you’re in danger as well, right?”
Akaki sighed as she walked away, but the ‘Titan’ Iwao tried to stay behind.
“I’m fine,” Asagi said, shaking his head. “My Mage Masher erases death-attribute magic as well. Relax.”
“Alright. I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to be an optimistic person or a worrisome one,” Iwao said as he shrugged and left.
Once he was sure that his companions were out of earshot, Asagi consciously created a wall between himself and Angel.
Tsuchiya wasn’t the only one who had received training to prevent thoughts that she didn’t want to share from leaking into the Angel network.
“Oi, I have a question,” he said to Baba Yaga.
“… What is it?”
Surprisingly, it seemed that Baba Yaga intended to reply honestly. Asagi did find it a little suspicious, but he asked her the question that had been on his mind for a long time.
“How can you guys do something like this?”
“Huh? That’s because those important researchers messed around with our bodies and used the Mana from the Undead to –”
“No, not that. I understand why you hate us. But still, how can you go so far as to sacrifice your companions and yourselves… no, fight as if you intended to sacrifice yourselves from the beginning?!”
Baba Yaga looked up into Asagi’s eyes and saw that they were filled with great bewilderment, as well as frustration and anger at his unfathomable enemy.
“I know that you guys helped sick and injured people all over the place! And until now, you’ve only killed us, death-attribute researchers and those involved with them! Not only that; you spared a lot of guards as well, didn’t you? They were guys who begged for their lives, saying that their fiancés were pregnant, and guys with photographs of their families in lockets around their necks!”
“… You’ve investigated pretty thoroughly, haven’t you? They were just hired guards, so it’s fine if we spared them, right? It’s my choice whether to get swept away by my emotions or not. Or would it have been better if I’d killed them?” Baba Yaga said.
“That’s not why I’m saying. I’m asking how you can do things like this, when you clearly have emotions that you can get swept away by!” Asagi shouted, spit flying from his mouth.
Baba Yaga could see his lips trembling.
“Don’t make me laugh when my body’s full of holes,” she said. “It’s because we have emotions that we can do things like this. If we didn’t have emotions, we wouldn’t be able to take the guys we hate more than anyone else in the world with us before going back to hell, would we?”
“That’s what I’m talking about; why does it have to be that way?!” Asagi’s irritation had grown to the point that it looked as if he were on the verge of ending this conversation.
Baba Yaga asked him a question in turn. “Could it be that you’re the type who thinks that good things will definitely happen as long as you keep on living?”
“Are you trying to say that that’s wrong?” Asagi said.
“No, it isn’t wrong. Even we’ve had countless good things happen to us after we escaped from the laboratory.”
Asagi fell into silence at this unexpected answer.
Baba Yaga smiled at his pale face as she continued. “The bread I had for breakfast was delicious; the wind felt nice; the alcohol we had after one of our jobs was good; and Pluto turned into a drunkard after a single mouthful, so I laughed so hard I was holding my stomach. A month ago, I finally beat Enma at cards; I tried talking to Hitomi and found that she was a nicer person than I’d thought; I laughed hard at the comics that I picked up at one of the research facilities we attacked; the onigiri that we had in the end contained my favorite, salmon… See, if I just think back a little, there are so many good things that happened.”
All of them were small things. Almost too small to be called memories. However, there was no mistake that all of them were pleasant things.
“So then –” Asagi began.
“So then, we should have hidden quietly and lived in peace without becoming terrorists… without taking revenge? Is that what you want to say? But you know, we have no future ahead of us. If we’d tried to live long lives, relying on the small good things that happened to us, the only things waiting for us would have been pain and despair that would erase everything else. I mean, after we escaped from the research laboratory on our own, the whole world started looking for us with crazed, bloodshot eyes, didn’t they?”
Asagi was startled. For the first time, he’d noticed that there was a deep emptiness in Baba Yaga’s eyes.
She and the other members of the Eighth Guidance all possessed death-attribute Mana. The death-attribute Mana that the entire world desired right now.
Magic Items that had circulated in large volumes around the world until about ten years ago. Things ranging from hair regrowth treatments, omnipotent medicines that could cure previously untreatable diseases, countless death-attribute items of all kinds.
Now, these couldn’t be created, nor could they be repaired.
And the politicians, high officials and multi-billionaires who realized that humanity had been on the verge of achieving the dream of immortality were desperate to acquire death-attribute Mana.
Baba Yaga and her companions trying to live their lives in peace under these circumstances would have been impossible.
Origin had science as advanced as Earth’s, as well as being a world where using magic was completely ordinary. It would be impossible for the members of the Eighth Guidance, who could only use death-attribute magic, to live normal lives. Identification papers required citizens to register which attributes they had an affinity for.
Even if they were to live in fear, hiding in a place like this underground subway that was beneath a ruin that nobody knew about, the people of the world would have likely tracked them down and extorted the Mana out of them.
In pursuit of the maximum amount of happiness for the maximum number of people.
“W-we… or at least Amemiya, tried to save you guys! And there was no need to kill Aran and Izumi, or even Mari, was there!” Asagi shouted, averting his eyes from the emptiness in Baba Yaga’s.
Baba Yaga laughed, a mixture of blood and saliva flying from her mouth. “You people tried to save us? You people who killed the ‘Undead’ who saved us? You people, who fooled us into thinking that you’d protect us and then sold us to another research laboratory, save us?! Thanks for the laugh during my final moments! By the way, who is Mari? I don’t remember killing anyone by that –” Baba choked and coughed. “… It seems that I can’t really speak anymore. Well, it’s fine. Because I’ve bought enough time, Mage Masher.” With a smile appearing on her face that was steadily becoming more and more deathly pale, Baba Yaga grasped the hand of the discomposed Asagi.
“You, could it be?!” Asagi realized that her body was too hot; he forcibly set his discomposure aside in his mind and poured more Mana into Mage Masher. “You’re planning to blow yourself up, aren’t you! But your death-attribute magic is –”
“Your ability doesn’t work on magic that occurs inside the bodies of living creatures. Heheh, I learned that from Murakami.”
Baba Yaga’s ignition ability… to be more precise, the ability to forcibly combust organic material and cause living creatures to die in flames, caused her body to instantly reach a temperature hot enough to melt iron, and then burst.
Asagi immediately shook off her hand, undid Mage Masher and cast a defensive spell. However, even with the latest magical media, he wasn’t able to produce an advanced enough defensive spell to block this intense heat in the tiny window of time that he had.
Without even giving a dying scream, Minami Asagi was destroyed by the fire, with not even a single fragment of bone left behind.
Hiroto’s group, who had proceeded to the corridor leading to the room in which Pluto and Enma had shut themselves in, encountered a barricade blocking the way forward, and Ereshkigal, who was guarding it.
However, Ereshkigal had simply hidden herself in the barricade and fired her assault rifle at the intruders.
It would have been enough of an attack if it were a regular terrorist shooting at an ordinary police squad. However, for a member of the Eighth Guidance facing the Bravers, it was difficult to even call this an attack.
“What is this?” Hiroto said.
It was only natural for him to be suspicious. He and his companions would be able to easily destroy a crude barricade like this by using magic.
“Isn’t this just a way to buy time? Maybe it’s a Zombie they left behind as a guard rather than one of their members.”
“No, I detected life with my spell. Since it’s not an Undead, it’s some kind of trap. We should be careful and think of a plan.”
“But if they’re buying time, giving Pluto and the others time is dangerous – !”
At that moment, Asagi’s consciousness disappeared from Narumi’s Angel. The last thing that was sent through the network was a vision filled with flames.
“This is...! Asagi…!”
Hiroto’s group, having understood that Asagi had died, stopped moving from the shock of having lost yet another companion. The only one who didn’t stop was the ‘Avalon’ Rikudou Akira.
“So, it was a mistake to leave him on his own after all. If at least Akaki was there, she would have been able to manipulate the heat and save him. And he was too reliant on his Mage Masher. If he had used defensive magic from the beginning… No, honestly, if he had just run from the beginning… there’s a high chance he would have gotten away with just some major burns…” Akira said in a matter-of-fact tone.
“Akira! Don’t say such troublesome things!” the ‘Ifrit’ Akaki said, interrupting him.
“Oi, calm down!” said the ‘Titan’ Iwao, following behind her.
“Asagi’s dead! And you’re telling me to calm down?! How dare you say that!” Akaki shouted.
“But there are limits to how much you can lose your cool, right?!”
Iwao tried to calm down the furious Akaki, but he was only making her increasingly angrier.
“It’s because we’re talking about being careful that we’re getting caught in their traps!” Akaki said. “Nobody would have died if we just went in and killed them all, like this!”
“Wait!” Hiroto said, trying to stop her immediately.
But Akaki fired her Ifrit’s scorching flames at the barricade. “… There was only one, huh. How disappointing,” she muttered.
Ereshkigal was set aflame in an instant, along with the barricade that she was hiding in. She writhed in agony after becoming a human torch, but quickly collapsed and stopped moving.
“Hah!” Akaki shouted triumphantly. “I should have disposed of Baba Yaga like this as – huh?”
Before she could finish her sentence, her own body was engulfed in flames.
“What?! Hurry up and extinguish the flames!”
“I am, but it’s impossible. These aren’t flames,” said Akira, who had immediately tried to extinguish the flames using water-attribute magic.
Akaki struggled for a few seconds, as if desiring help, but she quickly collapsed and stopped moving as well.
During those few seconds, Akira and several of the Bravers had tried to extinguish the flames burning Akaki’s body, but their efforts were completely ineffective. Despite that, the flames disappeared like an illusion the moment Akaki became a black, burnt corpse.
“No way… Akaki-san.”
“For Ifrit to be killed by flames…”
Narumi and Titan were standing in a daze, shocked by the repeated deaths of their companions, who had died in ways beyond their comprehension.
“This is… the power of that Eighth Guidance member, huh,” Akira murmured.
As he said, Akaki had died due to Ereshkigal’s power.
Ereshkigal had been the queen of the underworld, who had been defeated by Nergal, the god of the sun. It was said that she offered her throne in the underworld and begged for her own life, and Nergal became the new god of the underworld.
The Eighth Guidance member whose codename was taken from this goddess possessed the power to inflict the exact same injuries that she herself suffered to her attacker. It was a power that was more like a curse, but there wasn’t a more convenient ability than this for someone who was trying to take revenge and drag her enemies down with her.
That was why Akaki’s own body had been set aflame after she did the same to Ereshkigal. And the flames that burned her had been impossible to extinguish.
Because what had burned Akaki was the curse that had activated after she burned Ereshkigal alive.
“With that being the case, it can be said that she sacrificed herself to protect us. If all of us had fired our magic to destroy that barricade, we might have all been wiped out,” Akira said, analyzing things calmly once more.
This time, it was Iwao, who had tried to stop Akaki, who lashed out at him. “Akira, what the hell are you saying at a time like this – ?!”
“Wait!” said Hiroto, interrupting him. “… There’s nothing wrong with Akira’s attitude. The responsibility for letting Akaki die before our very eyes falls on me, the leader. And what we need right now is some composure like Akira’s.”
Iwao and Narumi immediately tried to object. Even those who weren’t there expressed their agreement with them through Angel.
But Hiroto didn’t change his stance. “Everyone, we’re too delicate to the deaths of our companions. Each person’s death shakes us; we become unable to suppress our anger and lose our composure. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to grieve our companions’ deaths. But for ourselves and our companions, we must maintain our composure. Please understand.”
The Bravers other than Akira seemed to have been convinced by Hiroto’s words; Iwao reluctantly agreed as well.
However, this type of problem couldn’t be immediately solved, and they couldn’t regain their composure right away when their companion had been killed right before their eyes.
“Iwao, you and the others stay here and keep watch to make sure Tsuchiya, Murakami and the others don’t come this way. Me, Akira and Narumi will deal with Pluto and whoever is in there with her,” Hiroto said.
Taking the two members that he trusted the most, Hiroto moved on to capture the two remaining members, Pluto and Enma.
Kouya, when all of this is over, I’ll have you tell me what in the world you were thinking.
Four Bravers had already died during this plan. All but two members of the Eighth Guidance were dead. If the soldiers from the various nations were taken into account, there had been countless casualties.
The doubt in Kouya, who had said that this was the plan that would produce the least casualties, had already become firm in Hiroto’s mind.
Smashing down the door, Hiroto took the lead as he and his companions charged into the command room, ready to unleash their spells or fire their weapons.
They were prepared to suppress Pluto and Enma, no matter what traps had been prepared or what trump card they were holding.
However, the sight that greeted them was vastly different from what they had expected.
A girl crouched over after having been punched, clutching her face as blood dripped from her nose, and a boy brandishing a bloody fist, the finger of his other hand wrapped around the trigger of a gun.
“Help me! Please!” the girl, Pluto, screamed at Hiroto and his companions.
Pluto, who was supposed to be filled with a desire to kill them, was begging them for help. Hiroto and his companions hadn’t expected this, and they froze.
“To beg the Bravers for your life, you shameless bitch!” the boy shouted.
“What’s so shameless, when you’re the ones who threatened me and made me do everything you said! I never wanted revenge, I just wanted to live a quiet life!”
“You bitch, I’ll kill you –”
Pluto and the boy… Enma, were shouting angrily at each other. Enma pointed the barrel of his weapon angrily at Pluto, but before he could pull the trigger, a hole appeared in his head.
Akira had produced a sharp spike with earth-attribute magic that pierced Enma between the brows.
“I might have been able to neutralize him without killing him. However, we don’t know what his ability is, so I had no choice. And more importantly, Narumi, secure the girl,” Akira said.
Though Enma had collapsed onto the ground face-up, Akira watched him, not letting down his guard. Enma’s finger had already been on the trigger. In order to ensure Pluto’s safety, Akira had been given no choice but to pierce Enma’s brainstem with a single attack so that he couldn’t pull the trigger.
“… Sorry. It’s exactly as you say,” Hiroto said.
Akira’s actions were extremely correct. Hiroto realized this and turned around to check on Pluto. However, Narumi had already called out to Pluto and was trying to heal her injury from being punched.
At a time like this, it might have been easier for Pluto to calm down if treated by someone of the same sex. If possible, Hiroto wanted to hear her story as soon as possible, but –
Seeing through Narumi’s Angel that Pluto was smiling, and that Narumi had frozen without being able to let out her voice, Hiroto immediately cast an offensive spell.
The moment she touched Narumi, who had approached her with a handkerchief to wipe her bleeding nose and apply healing magic, Pluto was certain of her victory.
Enma’s poor acting had paid off.
Pluto hadn’t minded being ridiculed or laughed at; she’d just needed to touch any of the Bravers, even for an instant. To think that she had been able to touch the ‘Angel’ Naruse… Amemiya Narumi, the one she had wanted to kill second most, this could only be described as fortuitous.
Pluto poured the ‘death’ that she had accumulated from countless sick and injured people up until now into Narumi. Like black paint that engulfed all other colors in a picture, it invaded Narumi’s life force.
Ideally, Amemiya Hiroto would have been the best target, but she was killing the wife of the Bravers’ leader. That was enough.
You were too late to realize, weren’t you?
Perhaps because of the drugs being secreted in Pluto’s brain, the entire world felt like it was moving in slow motion. She could see Hiroto, who possessed the Chant Revocation ability, casting a spell at her.
It seemed that he desperately wished for his wife to not be killed; he was even using Multi-Cast to release multiple spells. Pluto knew that she would suffer a fatal wound if any of them were to hit her.
But I don’t mind. Live on, and savor the pain of having something important being taken away from you!
With a great sense of satisfaction, Pluto tried to completely paint over Narumi’s life with ‘death,’ but she realized that something was strange.
There was a life existing within Narumi other than her own.
This is… She’s pregnant?!
Narumi’s womb harbored a new life. However, it was too small to be called a fetus; it was nothing more than a fertilized egg that hadn’t even attached itself to the uterus wall yet.
It was such a small, fleeting being that wouldn’t even be detected by a pregnancy test or even the life-attribute spell, Investigation.
How frustrating… I can't kill her!
Using her own life force as a cost, Pluto began fiercely reabsorbing the ‘death’ that she had poured into Narumi.
Narumi gasped as the blood instantly returned to her deathly-pale face. Meanwhile, Pluto’s life force was fading at an astonishing rate.
Pluto let out a groan of pain as the arm that was touching Narumi was severed by a vacuum blade. It was Hiroto’s spell. Instead of pain, Pluto was assaulted by a sensation of heat, as if molten iron was being pressed against her.
How frustrating! Why, this woman!
Pluto instinctively extended her other hand towards the severed arm that was still grasping Narumi.
And then she used her ability once more. A spear of ice pierced her arm. Even so, she continued using her power.
Why do I have to be so desperate in saving this woman?!
After feeling several attacks land on her, Pluto’s consciousness blacked out for a moment, and then quickly returned.
The first thing Pluto checked was Narumi’s status. Narumi had broken out into a cold sweat and had fallen onto her back, but it seemed that all of the death had been sucked out of her.
“Damn it, healing…!”
Next, Pluto looked at Amemiya Hiroto. Partway through, he had realized that Pluto had been saving Narumi, but he had been unable to stop the spells that he had already cast.
He tried to take steps towards Pluto with an expression of regret on his face, but Rikudou Akira stopped him.
“Wait, Hiroto. She can apparently kill those she touches. Don’t get close to her,” Akira warned.
“And it’s too late… None of us have the ability to resurrect the dead.”
Realizing that she was in an extremely terrible condition, Pluto felt relieved. It was unfortunate that Amemiya Hiroto had been stopped from coming close, but it seemed that she would at least be able to die.
The regrettable thing was that the final plan, the self-destruction of the base, could no longer be executed. Pluto couldn’t take an action that might take the life of Narumi, the life that she had worked so hard to save.
“Why didn’t you kill me?” Narumi asked.
“We… don’t… kill… children…” Pluto gasped with trembling lips.
With a surprised expression, Narumi placed a hand on her own abdomen. Since it was just a fertilized egg, it wasn’t surprising that Narumi wasn’t aware of her own pregnancy, but even so, anger rose within Pluto.
But there was something that concerned her more than that.
How would she apologize to Enma, whom she had made play such an unpleasant role? And she had the feeling that all of her companions would laugh at her for not managing to kill anyone, despite being the leader.
It can’t be helped, I suppose… Because I wanted to die, I wanted to choose the way my own life ends.
And so, just as Gazer had prophesized, Pluto turned a blind eye to two people.
Eighth Guidance: Baba Yaga, Ereshkigal, Enma, Pluto, deceased. All members annihilated.
Murakami’s group: Four members remaining.
Bravers: The ‘Mage Masher’ Minami Asagi, the ‘Ifrit’ Akaki, two deceased.
Remaining reincarnated individuals: 83 out of 101.
“Now that we’ve died and our lives have ended, shouldn’t we come together again with fresh resolutions?! Remember, we were once companions who studied at the same school! Let’s stop blaming each other for the conflicts of our previous lives, and look towards the future!” said Minami Asagi in a positive, constructive speech.
Indeed, holding onto grudges from their previous lives and endlessly cursing each other would be unproductive.
“I’d rather you just keep blaming me! Your shouting is making even my ears die!” said the ‘Death Scythe’ Konoe Kyuuji.
“What’s the point of coming together after we’ve already died?” added the ‘Super Sense’ Gotouta.
It was not only those who had abandoned the Bravers like them.
Even the ‘Noah’ Mao was covering her ears, looking fed up with Asagi’s speech. “Can you just shut up a little? How can you be so loud even after dying?”
“Ah… I was such an idiot. How could I let the blood rush to my head like that?” The ‘Ifrit’ Akaki, who had died as a result of being angered by Asagi’s death, wasn’t listening to his speech at all.
“What are you guys saying?! At this rate, we’ll split up and start killing each other again even in our third lives, just as we did in our second!” Asagi insisted, but nobody was supporting him.
“I mean, it’s impossible at this point. Even my Calculation tells me that we… to be more precise, the ninety-nine of us, have an almost zero percent chance of joining our hearts together,” said Aran.
“Even though my Inspector does tell me that you’re being completely serious about this,” Izumi added.
The two of them had even gone as far as using their abilities to consider Asagi’s idea, but the ninety-nine reincarnated individuals… the reincarnated individuals excluding Vandalieu and Kanata, whose soul had been broken, had almost no chance of joining their hearts together.
As Asagi said, many of the reincarnated individuals had been students of the same school, but not all of them had been friends with each other. And there were people like Amemiya Hiroto, who had simply been a passenger on that ferry at the time, and Mao, who was working on the ferry as an employee.
It wasn’t as if they had all been part of a collective group since they were on Earth.
In fact, it could even be considered unnatural that they had been gathered into a single organization called the Bravers in Origin. The common history of being reincarnated from another world, the destiny of meeting the other reincarnated individuals given to them by Rodcorte, and Amemiya Hiroto’s overwhelming power and charisma. All of these things had made that possible.
Making the same happen in their third lives was certainly impossible.
“For now, let’s just keep watching how things unfold. Depending on how things turn out, more people might die. Gazer hasn’t come here yet, and it seems that the god isn’t free yet. It would be good if Rikudou could stay put, though,” said the ‘Clairvoyance’ Tendou.
It would be good, but it’s impossible, he thought.