Sep 6, 2016

Volume 12 Chapter 8

Part 1


The sound of a large gong reverberated throughout the the entire cave. The large gong that signaled the start of the Game, resounded through every part of the cave and continued to spread beyond it. The wild animals and birds weren't aware of what will happen afterwards. Even so, they would still probably be regretting with their lives regardless even if they were.

Kudō Asuka displayed a bitter smile after Kasukabe Yō's speech and plunged forward into the cave with a renewed determination.

(Izayoi-kun and Kasukabe-san will start immediately. I also shouldn't fall behind.)

Faceless —The girl who calls herself Kudō Ayato. There was a need to settle things with her.

Thinking back, Asuka was probably always aware of her.

Ever since she was rescued from the Titans at the waterfall of the giant tree, there had been many opportunities to exchange words with her. Her serpent sword, that easily dashed in the air, had saved Kudō Asuka many times, but at the same time, drew her at a corner with dilemma. Her eyes got attracted to those special moves for over countless times.

She expected that under her mask, there was a face full of purity.

......Despite that, fighting in that form was full of irony.

Advancing in the cave dyed with various colors, someone who looked like her split image stood in her way.

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

A clink of preparing a linked sword was heard.

Faceless already prepared to fight. Asuka was already inside her attack range. The attack of the serpent sword was about to chop off Asuka's head.

Aware of that, Kudō Asuka asked her… whose face was like a split image of her's, the final question.

"Can I ask one thing?"

"——Go ahead."

"You said.......... You wanted to leave Little Garden. What does that mean? Aren't you planning on receiving Queen’s next order and accomplish it?"

Asuka asked while guessing her reply. As always, Faceless' reply was quick.

"No. That was a lie. If I don't clear the game with Queen before the time limit, I would be sent to the outside world as the Queen's vanguard. They would take away my personality and reincarnate me. And that time limit is not that far."

"Then, why do you need all this?"

"There were others aside from you at that place. ...Isn't this reason enough?”

Asuka silently accepted the ambiguous answer she received. As a fellow comrade in arms, Asuka quickly realized that she was worrying about 「No Name」.

In that case, words were now deemed unnecessary. She already clearly understood with what reasons did this masked knight faced this battle.

.........In a way, the situation was inevitable for her as well.

Would she kill Asuka and begin a new life?

Or would she go to the outside world as the Queen's vanguard?

She only had these two choices. To save the personality that is ‘Faceless’, she has no choice but to kill Asuka.

"I understood it well. You are truly dead, resent the living person that is me, and want to snatch away my spirit level. Yes, what a shameless usurper. The title of Queen's knight is wasted on you as well. Certainly, there are many painful things in the outside world, but not to the point that I would hand over my life for someone else. ...Today is not Halloween, but.... I pray for your happiness in your next life, Ayato-san."

Even if it crushes all the affection and emotions she accumulated in this Little Garden, she still had to face this battle head on. If Kudō Asuka can… She will just take all those things back by force.

To that indomitable spirit, Faceless merely answered with an angry look in her eyes.

"Those are supposed to be my words. To be honest, I can't endure looking at your shameful sight knowing that you have almost the same face as me. The moment I saw your miserable ability at the time during the waterfall hunting game, I kept feeling guilty that I always resented that mere level of bitter enemy."

"Y-You asked for it.............!!!"

Her cheeks were dyed red with shame. Indeed, was her sigh from back then due to disappointment?

If so, then it was necessary to make her reconsider her opinion right now.

——On the day when the boundary of life and death breaks,

The living welcome the dead, and the dead drag the living with them.

This is a banquet truly fitting for the entertainment of Gods and Demons. Asuka, who saw a scene appropriate for the banquet of Gods and Buddhas, took out her gift card.

But at the moment she did that, the serpent sword came at her at terrifying speeds.

"——!!?"

In Asuka's eyes, that attack was truly like a flash of death. She wasn't even able to see hand’s afterimages, so there's no way she would be able to avoid this linked sword moving at divine speeds.

The metaphor "Storm and Stress" perfectly fitted that attack. No mercy shown to the opponent.

If it was Asuka from several months ago, she would have already lost her head from this attack.

If not for this fortress — This impenetrable fortress of Goddess 「Almathea」 that boasted its high defensive ability.

"——Let us begin. Master, give me your orders!"

The divine mountain goat appeared with lighting in tow. She also finished her preparations for the fight.

Asuka gripped her reins and jumped on her back. Although she was at an overwhelming disadvantage in terms of physical abilities, she could fight well enough thanks to the Gift of the impenetrable fortress and speed.

Taking out the 「Flute of Hamelin」,  Asuka gave out the commands for the three Melun sisters.

"Let's go, Merun! Merul, Meril!"

Roger! – vigorous replies came from the Mel sisters that hid in the cave.

At that moment, Faceless’ foothold became muddy.

"Foothold..."

"Flyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy——!!!"

The flute’s sound reverberated, resulting to a dramatic effect..

The magic orbs that Asuka threw, turned into sharp blades of air and attacked Faceless from every direction. They turned to a hundred, or even a thousand super-thin, barely visible attacks and assaulted her.

A dance of a thousand blades, of which even one of them could kill a Titan.

Faceless switched her serpent sword to twin-spears and faced the attacks.

"Fuu—!"

She fixed her breathing. She united her blood circulation and physical strength in order to accelerate her heartbeat. And with the softness that was at the pinnacle of practice and training, she fended off the first attack with the twin-spears she took out.

2, 4, 8, 16 and then 360 attacks rushed at her at the same time. This was the divine tempest that produces the “storm and stress” from vengeance.

However, Asuka believed that she would be able to handle this.

Since she even fended off the wicked claws of the Three Headed Dragon with her divine techniques that even surprised the Great Sage Who Devastates the Seas, this level of tempest was but a breeze to her. It won't be good unless she exceeds that.

Asuka quickly prepared for the second attack.

But Faceless didn't allow that.

While it's true that this tempest was like a divine wind, it wasn't like it didn't have gaps that no needle could pass. What's more, she fortunately had two spears. In other words, even if she loses one, the second will definitely defend her.

Faceless did not let slip the opportunity that appear just for an instant.

Reverse-gripping the spear, she faced towards Asuka and threw her spear overhead.

『The ceiling is collapsing! Master, please hold on!』

"I-I got it!"

Alma informed Asuka with a flustered voice. Asuka, in response, grasped the reins tightly.While evading the collapsing ceiling and falling stalactites, she grew distant from Faceless.  

Asuka and Faceless lost sight of each other thanks to the collapsed ceiling.

"I lost her......! Let's chase after her, quickly!"

『Please wait. The Pseudo-Divinity is about to wear off. Let's take distance and prepare for now.』

Almathea informed her with a calm voice. Asuka turned around, smacking her tongue that was unusual to her.

The Pseudo-Divinity given by nature, would reach the time limit soon. Faceless tried to gauge that time limit and destroyed the cave. She expected that if there was no time limit, Asuka then would immediately chase after her.

『She's not just skillful, she also managed to find our weakness in just little time… her Game managing abilities are also high. Master's sister received wonderful training.』

"Kuh......... I know that!"

Faceless' abilities were of divine levels, Asuka already knew about this. Once before, she already understood the gap in their abilities. You could even say that she was envious of her.

But, in this battle, Asuka already understood. The one who needs to get stronger in order to overcome the fierce battle was not just Yō. She herself also needs to get stronger to overcome this death struggle.

"That said...... If we discover her first, we will get an overwhelming advantage. Lets search for a detour."

She recovered the Melun sisters and collected 「Adamantine」 from the collapsed cave as well. The fight has only just begun. Let's move without negligence – saying it to herself Asuka walked away.


Part 2


At that time.

Kasukabe Yō was silently gathering ores from the cave with her giant hands.

In this Game, the one who collects the most 「Adamantine」 will win.

In truth, that would be impossible because unlike the preliminary round,stealing others’ Gift Cards was the most effective method in this game.

Snatching the opponent's points to add them to your own.

That was the most effective method, but if the usual Izayoi was provoked to that point, then he would surely do some searching for Yō.

So, waiting like this and gathering the ores was also an effective move. Fighting with Izayoi was important but so was overall victory.

(It's not a Gift Game that you can win by just fighting. So, it's important to be prepared for any situation! Izayoi doesn't have any Gift for collecting so his points must be low!)

Yō desperately kept digging.

The duration of the main battle was one hour. Even if he gathers 「Adamantine」 in the first half and goes to fight after that, the remaining time would probably not be enough. What's more, Yō already made a foolproof plan.

For now, she should just dig and dig.

Kasukabe Yō silently stored the piled up ores in her Gift Card.

However, it was also true that this was not such an easy Gift Game that could be won by just steady means. In the worst case, she might have to hide her Gift Card.

At that moment, large trembling ran through the cave.



"""RA…… RA… GE-GEEEYAAAAAaaa!!!"""

"!?"

Yō’s hands stopped working without thinking from the sudden cry. It was something she had never heard before. However, the cries she heard was not just one. Only six people advanced to the final round. It was impossible for such ferocious sounds to have been heard at this stage.

It was possible that the Mythical Beasts living in this cave might have barged in.

Just as Yō decided to go confirm the identity behind the cries...the whole cave started beating as if it had come alive.

(Just like Aži Dakāha, the cave became a living thing......!? But who!?)

It wasn't an ordinary person. This must be the power of the Gift of bestowment called 「Authority」. But she hasn't heard of any participant having a gift like that.

It would be troublesome if there was a strong person who uses Authority participating in the finals. If she doesn't strike first, they might get in the way later. For the time being, Yō stored the ores inside her Gift Card, and went towards the center.

She then saw an unexpected person there.

"Enclose, Algol! Don't let him go!"

"GEEEEYAAAAaaaa!!!"

The pulsating cave grew fangs and claws and attacked Sakamaki Izayoi. Although Izayoi had a carefree smile on his face, he was unable to counterattack so he was not sure what to do.

"Tch..........! Changing 「Adamantine」 to devils is troublesome as expected, Luilui!"

It was entirely different from the time back at the white wall palace.

They weren't by no means especially fast, but if whole ground that was full of 「Adamantine」 was transformed into the serpent and scorpion demonic beasts, then even Izayoi wouldn't be able to easily handle them.

Sharp fangs attacked Izayoi from overhead. The blow that could shake the stars could easily crush the unprocessed 「Adamantine」, but it won't go like the previous fight.

Izayoi showed a ferocious smile as if he just finished warming up and bared his fangs.

"HA........! I thought Algol vanished along with the disappearance of Perseus constellation! What's going on Luilui!"

"From the evaluation of merits earned in battle with Aži Dakāha, one third of it came back! Although I can't summon her, I can still use the authority! I will clear away the loss of that time here! Also, don't call me Luilui!!!"

Luilui was waiting for the opening while freely soaring in the air equipped with the flying boots.

But he wasn't the only one fighting against Izayoi.

Walking in skies, the Gryphon, clad in the storms, assaulted Izayoi. As he avoided the fangs of devils, he took that attack head on.

"Tch.........! Gry, you bastard!"

"GEEEEYAAAAaaaa!!!"

The Gryphon rushed while raising a ferocious roar. The power behind that rush was unlike before. Noticing the new pair of wings on his back, Yō let out a voice of admiration.

"Gry! Why do you have those wings!"

『Oh! Yō! You came at the right time! Lend me a hand to reform this big fool!』

Eeeh? Eh? – Kasukabe shook her head left and right not understanding what was going on.

Crashing on the wall, Izayoi wiped his lips and stared at Gry as if not understanding him.

"What's wrong, are you still angry? Isn't it fine? You received the Divine wings from Indra after all. What are you dissatisfied at?"

『Who requested that of you!!! For me, that wound was not a disgrace but an honour! Remembering that they were offered for your life and victory in "Underwood", they only gave precious feelings! —Why did you heal them without the assent of the person in question!』

"Didn't I say that it was a heavy burden for me! It's not my hobby to carry the debt of life! What's more, I also said that 『I would return the debt someday』 when you got injured, didn't I!?"

『But no one asked you to return it!!!』

"Shut up, you black usurer!!!"

Both of them were unusually emotional.

Laius was not able to comprehend their talk, but he understood that they were yelling about something serious. He decided to wait until they settle it and folded his arms.

Temporarily stopping the attacks, he turned towards Yō.

"Kasukabe Yō... was it? You also came for taking the championship?"

"I-I? I came to accomplish what I declared befo—"

『Alright, I got it! I think we have to beat everything out of you! Are you prepared? Izayoi!!!』

"Come here, Gryphon!!! I'll take you up to your game and make yakitori out of you, so prepare yourself!"

Barking at each other, Izayoi and Gry got heated up.

As expected, even Yō got flustered. She won't maintain her status if it continued like this.

"W-Wait a minute! Even though I made a declaration before, why is everyone meddling!? Wait your turn!"

"......Aah?

Laius let out a puzzled voice.

At that point, Izayoi finally noticed Yō.

"Kasukabe...? ...Just about time. I want to have a talk with you."

"O-Okay."

Yō straightened from the tensed atmosphere. She did such a bold mic performance after all. Talking in mind Izayoi's character, it wouldn't be unexpected if he attacks suddenly.

The spectators who watched the match through "Little Demons of Laplace" also watched as they gulped the saliva from tension. Lily, Ayesha, and shop manager were also among them.

Kuro Usagi tightly held the mic and observed the situation while preparing herself.

(Izayoi-san......!)

The tensed atmosphere drifted in the audience seats and at the stage.

But Izayoi's expression changed and calmed down.

Looking Yō directly in eyes, Izayoi showed a slight smile and got down to business.

"Kasukabe"

"W-What?"

From the calm voice, she slightly relaxed. But that relief was crushed in the next moment.


"I leave the 「No Name」 to you. —— I will leave the community for a bit and leave for journey."


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

................? (Audience)

................!? (Commentators)

……………!!?? (Aristocrat of Little Garden)

『Oh. What does that mean?』

"It's about the recommendation of Kasukabe as the leader. It looks like most of the things are settled. Everything will work out if Kasukabe takes over. And I will go to earn some experience."

"Isn't that great? It would be great for everyone if you grow up a bit."

Gry raised his voice of admiration as Laius announced without much interest.

At that point, Yō finally understood that something was not right with three of them.

『Yō as the leader? Fufu, I'm also proud as a friend. You will surely become a leader and surpass your predecessors.』

"I think that she is the most normal from the three so I welcome it. This guy and that red one are too ferocious."

"Oi oi, you say that because you don't know the true character of Kasukabe! She is sufficient with this — What's wrong Kasukabe?"

Izayoi looked at Yō with suspicion.

She was shivering while hanging her head in shame. Her face along with ears was dyed with red that reached all the way down to her neck. But that was only natural.

Coming this far, Yō finally understood the situation.

"........You three. At the moment when I was giving speech, what were you doing?"

"Speech?"

『What are you talking about? There were no screens in the waiting rooms』

"I was meeting with Tokuteru. ......Did something happen perhaps?"

Ah.

So that's it, that's what's going on? That's what happened?

As one would expect from the Aristocrat of Little Garden (LOL) and Strongest War God (LOL).

They were both acting with good intentions, but ended up doing something that was not needed.

Thanks to them, this was the biggest embarrassment in life for her. The audience was also dumbfounded without a doubt. Ayesha would surely burst out laughing after this.

This first speech after the assumption of the Leader was the true torture.......!!!

"—KU-RO-U-SA-GI"

"Y-Yess!!!"

—I will get you for this this bitterness.

Kasukabe Yō muttered full of resentment.

Kuro Usagi as a judge understood everything that was happening in the Game. And from the amount of anger that was put in that low whisper, her body instinctively trembled.

Seems like the time of reliability has ended. It sure is regretful.

"......Kasukabe? What's wrong?"

"Nothing!!! Nothing at all! I was wrong to have worried about you, Izayoi! —Hmph! if you are going for a journey, than do as you like. I've been stronger than Izayoi for a while now. People like Izayoi are unnecessary to 「No Name」!"

Kasukabe Yō talked full of emotions.

He didn't know why she was talking so desperately, but Izayoi was not so obedient to that point.

"What was that? Certainly, I wasn't thinking that I could win easily, but I didn't think that I'd lose either."

"Hmph! I heard from Azuka. That you thought I was already stronger than you."

"Oioioioioi, isn't it uncool to to take pride in modest words of the slightly nervous boy! When you sulk, you become even cuter!"

They continued to keep on talking and trying to get back at each other.

Laius and Gry looked at them with surprise, but they entered the preparations to battle soon after.

"Not that I care, but isn't it time to start it about now? Our time is limited."

『Umu. In other words, this will become battle royal of sorts, right?』

"That's right. Lets beat down Izayoi together. I also feel like kicking his face flying right about now."

"Ah! Bring it on! As one would expect, I got pissed from your accusations! All three of you come at me at once—!!!"

The three of them clashed along with the war cries.

「Adamantine Forge」 approached the moment of battle.



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