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Such a foul smell.
"So annoying," Barmelin complained. Her voice echoed and gradually faded. The thick pipe next to her was happily operating. Barmelin's height wasn't something she was proud to show in front of others. The pipe was much bigger than her body and its inside continued to exude heat. Thanks to that, it was still extremely hot to walk on the cleaner path next to it. Even the water was hot. Water for the living pa.s.sed through this pipe before being purified. Because of the heat, the bacteria was having a blast multiplying in the pipe, and as such, the smell was much sharper than usual.
"I'm so unlucky..." she said. The smell entering through her mouth made her frown. Even so, she brushed away the tree roots blocking her and continued her walk.
Why was she even doing this?
That question had already been kicked flying away.
This was the Queen's order, and that meant everything. The Queen's command was beyond all unreasonable things in this city. Before her words, all of Grendan's citizens had to obey. There was no other way. That was what it meant to be a Queen.
So Barmelin had to obey the Queen. Even though she thought other people were more suited to this job than her, she could only obey the Queen's order. Besides, she thought it was wonderful to play rock, paper, scissors. No matter how powerful one was, there was a chance of losing in this game.
(Why did I have to change from paper at that time...)
Barmelin hated herself. She knew from that fight with Cauntia, the idiot who ambushed her, the idiot who had part of her chest cut away from the wind pressure would decide on scissors...
She had already played scissors so many times.......
"Rock, paper, scissors." In the end, Barmelin chose paper. She knew Cauntia had a sly smile on her face at that moment. Her smile had put doubt in her heart, and so she changed her decision to scissors.
So she became the loser dog.
"Go die, you ambushing idiot."
And everyone else should just go die as well.
Barmelin kept moving forward as she cursed and swore. The weapon harness hanging from her waist made a "saasaa" noise. In it were a number of Dites, and chains served to decorate her clothes. Her face was very pale. No one knew whether it was because of makeup or if her health was bad. Her short hair was naturally black. Her lips were painted blue, and black color circled her eyes. No one was probably more suitable than her to the phrase of "having the aura of the underworld".
Barmelin? Reverse? Delbone?
She was also one of the great Heaven's Blade Successors. There was a reason behind it.
The sun was close. Sunlight heated her head. In the middle of the courtyard, Alsheyra supported her big hat with a hand as she lifted her head to look at the sun.
The city had entered the tropics. Though the air shield had reduced some of the sun's heat, it was difficult to dispel the heat that had entered the city. The heat was gaseous and this situation couldn't be helped. The air shield was created to maintain a sealed s.p.a.ce.
"How long has it been since we last had summer?"
Alsheyra complained on the hammock. This was the most ventilated place. The wind blowing past here blew away the sweat on her feet.
"It's been five years," Kanaris said beside her.
"This is the war period. There might be other cities around."
Usually, Grendan moved in spring and winter areas. A large part of the year was in spring, and the rest was spent in winter. It wouldn't enter a summer area. When summer arrived, it meant Grendan was moving in an area it didn't usually enter.
"So troublesome...I'm sure there's nothing to be benefited from by coming here."
Filth monsters were unusually numerous in Grendan's path. Hence, normal Regios wouldn't go near Grendan. This meant Grendan had sole possession of the selenium mine in its vicinity. It had no need to fight to gain another city's selenium mine. In exchange, it fought filth monsters.
"But it's so hot," Alsheyra said in irritation. Evaporated water touched the gla.s.s of fruit juice.
"Right, let's make a swimming pool?"
"We don't have any spare money in the budget," Kanaris immediately gave a cold refusal.
Alsheyra looked unhappy.
"Well then, is it all right to swim in the breeding lake?"
"If Your Majesty has finished all the work, then it's up to you."
"Sometimes, it's all right to put the problems of reality to the back of the mind."
"Hasn't Your Majesty been doing that all the time?"
"Aaa, what a purposeless life," Alsheyra sighed and curled up on the hammock. Kanaris was stubborn. She would wait till Alsheyra changed her way of thinking.
"Speaking of which........"
Losing to the heat, she gave up curling into a ball and reached for the gla.s.s of juice.
"Why did we come to the tropics five years ago?"
"I can only think of the fight with Behemoth? Nothing else special happened."
"Ah, Behemoth, how nostalgic...You still remember."
"Not many filth monsters we fought were given names."
"Really? Wu..... I suppose."
Even though the filth monster was so powerful it was given a name, it only meant so little to Alsheyra, and that was shocking for Kanaris, Lintence, Savaris, and Layfon. It took the strongest Heaven's Blade Successor, Lintence, and two other Heaven's Blades to defeat the filth monster. Kanaris had witnessed Alsheyra's strength through her eyes and body. Even so, she still didn't know the Queen's true strength. Did her strength really come from the Haikizoku?
Haikizoku. The Electronic Fairy that had gone insane from having lost its city. Because of its hatred against filth monsters, the Electronic Fairy changed its energy and came to possess Military Artists to act as an avenger. However, no shadow of madness was found in Alsheyra. Lazy and arrogant, this was Alsheyra Almonise, but Kanaris knew this was only the superficial side of her. Though she was lazy, it wasn't like she never tried. Though she was arrogant, she knew what gentleness was like.
"Speaking of which, it was just a filth monster with a name. Why did the city change its path for it?"
"It's impossible to predict the city's destination."
"Is it all right if I intrude?" A leisurely voice of an old woman suddenly descended.
"Delbone? What is it?"
The voice was Delbone's, the only Psychokinesist among the Heaven's Blades.
"It seems someone has invaded the inner court of that place."
Kanaris' expression turned horrible after listening to Delbone's report, but Alsheyra's expression remained unchanged.
"Heh," she replied. "Well, I don't think anyone can just enter that place, but we can't just let this slide."
"Yes, but that area isn't in operation. It's been sealed. Even if that person can reach that place, he certainly can't enter it."
"But just in case," Kanaris said.
Alsheyra nodded. "Yes, but we can't send too many people."
"Then how about sending a Heaven's Blade?"
"That's the best way."
After this simple decision, all the Heaven's Blades were summoned and a great rock, paper, scissors match took place. In the end Barmelin was the one to take up this mission.
"Go die, you foul smelling Majesty."
Barmelin moved in the foul smell as she cursed the tree roots. If she had taken the clear path in the Mechanical Department, she wouldn't be in this tragic situation. No, there might be other trouble. But to Barmelin, taking the other route was better than this one.
However, the Queen's reason had prevented her from doing so.
"If a fight occurs there, it'd damage the Mechanical Department. Take the alley and fight at the entrance of the inner court."
This kind of tree was important to the water purification system of the city, so the tree roots weren't something Barmelin could just destroy. But in order to release her stress, she was taking it out on the roots. Because of the roots, it took longer to get to her destination. She had thought for a number of times that it was better to take the normal route.
The normal route ran from the Mechanical Department to the depth of the court. As it took advantage of the Department where the city's legs moved, the route was like a maze. One might get lost in the maze or even be squashed to death by the walls. As such, it'd take a considerable amount of time to take that route, so instead, Barmelin had to go through the alley.
After a hard time, Barmelin finally managed to separate the roots. The foul smell now clung to her clothes. She decided to throw away the clothes she wore after everything had finished. Then she would need to melt herself in the bathtub. As she silently made her vow, she suddenly halted her steps.
A wall had appeared before her. She knocked on the wall with a rhythm and a crack split to run from the bottom of the wall to the top. Compressed air leaked out of the crack as the wall separated into two to reveal a straight path behind it. Barmelin moved past the walls.
The two halves of the wall returned to form one wall.
The light had disappeared. Barmelin strode forward in the dark.
After pa.s.sing through the h.e.l.l like maze, he finally arrived.
"Geez, is this a joke," the man said. Anytime he recalled the event in the maze, trembling would seize him. A complicated path was all right, but the walls kept moving and the exit kept changing as a result. Also, the design that made him cry was made on top of a permanent exit. In addition, the walls really did want to kill him and make him into mincemeat. Even a Military Artist would find it very difficult to fight metal plates.
The man's body shook once more. He had to quickly forget that feeling.
"It's busy on that side. This thing doesn't match at all, really," he complained, his voice echoing in the huge s.p.a.ce.
Everything else was dim, but lamps hung on the walls, shining with blue light. The air wasn't too bad. It didn't feel suffocating. He got the impression of a s.p.a.cious area.
Still, it felt different from the feeling he got standing on a gra.s.sy plain. This was a feeling of being defeated by an artificial s.p.a.ce. The feeling coming through the soles of his feet was different from before. This floor was made of polished stones. It reflected the blue light, making the place like the world of night. In the depths of the s.p.a.ce was a huge door, and a circle of blue light surrounded it, as if to stress the existence of the door.
This was the man's destination, but his feet wouldn't move.
"......... As I said, can't you try to understand my troubles?" he said, rooted on the spot, his red hair swaying as if resisting the darkness.
"Are you s.h.i.tting?"
The obvious disapproval came from a female.
"Hey, hey, isn't that too dirty," the man said with a helpless expression, but he felt cold sweat on his entire body.
(d.a.m.n, I can't fight her like how I played with those guys before.)
He knew he had been noticed. Even for him who could move between cities at will, he could not move as he wished in this place. For the Wolf Faces and he himself, this was the biggest door of the ghost. This was a city dominated by unusual Miltiary Artists who obeyed a super-unusual person. And the person in the depths of this city was also....... He knew it wasn't easy to invade this city. But how did she get here earlier than him?
Though he could feel her presence, he had yet to see her. She wasn't using Sakkei. Taking advantage of the good echoing properties of this room, she was hiding in his blind spot.
"So terrible, as expected of Grendan."
"You're so noisy, you idiot, go die."
The light of a Dite being restored flashed behind the man. The female's feet appeared above his own back. The man also restored his Dite, an elongated metal rod. His weapon was the metal whip. The light of restoration shone around his body.
The man readied himself to receive the presence pressing close to his back......... but, the attack wasn't here!?
Sensing danger in a split second, he jumped. The Kei covering his body shook because of external Kei, but it had yet to attack him.
Her voice sounded from somewhere in the room.
"You were just s.h.i.tting too."
The consecutive attacks came from outside his sight. He swung the metal whip and blocked the small and sharp rain of external Kei.
He understood what type of weapon she held.
He thought the rain had stopped, but it then a.s.saulted him from an impossible direction. He blocked it with his weapon again and jumped to change his position.
The advantage of a gun was that it automatically turned the Kei into external Kei. This way, the user didn't have to spend time to make external Kei, so her attacking speed was much higher. The user needed to continuously pour Kei into the weapon and pull the trigger. The shortcoming was that the Kei poured into the weapon was basically turned into external Kei and nothing else, so it couldn't be used any other ways. Because of its other shortcoming of being unable to adjust its power, it was useless against Military Artists with strong defense and filth monsters with strong scales. But the advantage that one couldn't ignore was the weapon's long range and consecutive attacks. The user could concentrate on using Kei to strengthen her body. In this regard, even Savaris who was good at close combat was lacking.
Heaven's Blade Successor Barmelin Swattis Nolne, the slaughterer without a pose.
"Die, idiot. Die, idiot. Die, idiot."
Her voice was not m.u.f.fled. She continued to shoot the Kei bullets, just wanting to kill the man.
"Your words are too awful."
The man gave up moving and blocked her attacks on the spot. The light of Kei covering his body shone more intensely as it received all the Kei bullets.
Suspicion surfaced in his mind as he defended himself. His opponent must be a Heaven's Blade Successor. He could tell as he had to use everything he had to take the speed of her bullets, but on this point alone, his opponent's a.s.sault power was too weak. Though the power was weakened as she was using a gun, wasn't this weapon too weak for a Heaven's Blade Successor?
Was she not using a Heaven's Blade?
This was his conclusion by speculating on the quality of the gun. A bad premonition flashed past him.
A flash of light instantly conquered the surrounding blue light.
Barmelin responded again at that result.
"You s.h.i.tting lucky idiot, go die."
She swung the Dite to dispel the remnants of heat from it. The gun she was holding had now turned into a chain, clinging on her body.
Right now, she was holding a big long cannon. A target sat on the shining silvery white body of the cannon. Barmelin could shoot while holding the weapon.
This was her Heaven's Blade. She used a Dite that changed its form according to the situation. This was her fighting style.
The man was gone.
She stood at the entrance, looking around. Even his presence was gone.
"Did you finish him?" Delbone's voice came from the flake that had floated down from the ceiling.
"I don't feel that I've totally finished him."
"Ala Ala. How rare."
"Which side are you on?"
"Uh, his presence is gone."
"Looks like he isn't here anymore."
The two of them had the same opinion. The man had suddenly vanished. He had avoided Barmelin's attack and had vanished from Delbone's net of Psychokinesis.
"What is he?"
"Who knows? I remember a red haired Military Artist who wields a metal whip, but this man's age doesn't match that in my memory. He's got a ten year gap."
"Is he masking his age with Kei like Her Majesty?"
An angry howl from Barmelin as her expression turned terrible.
The depth of the court. This area sunk in darkness and blue light once more returned to peace. Steady stirring that rocked one to sleep dispelled the remnants of war. Sleepiness called forth dreams. Dreams shook the darkness. The shaking darkness reflected reality, but reality was not here.
It was in a place far far away, but in fact, it wasn't all that far.......
"Ah," the man moaned.
He had taken the external Kei with his back. Small tree branches hammered his entire body. In the end, the huge tree trunk had stopped his momentum.
Through the gap of the tree, he saw the clock tower that he had once seen. He put a hand to his temple.
"Is it here again? Why? Why do I always return here?" the red haired man, Dixerio........ Dixerio Maskane said. He moaned because of the pain.
The breeding lake reflected the sunlight beside him. It was too bright.
And the huge noise that was like the sun echoed in his ears.
"....... It's summer."
He said without much thinking, and then his consciousness faded.