Oct 22, 2017

Last Embryo V2 Chapter 4

Chapter 4

───"Sun Thousand" - Last Wagon.

The last wagon was where the conductors resided. It was a test run now, but when it started for real, the long trip spanning for a few years would begin.

Because they operated the "Sun Thousand" that was equipped with various interiors like special guest wagons, bedrooms wagons, wagons for opening ball and playing wagons, there were naturally many conductors migrated inside the wagons.

However,that was not all, as expected.

In the last wagon that served as a rear, many arms and Gifts were prepared for assailants. In the event of an emergency, the conductors and warriors will be preparing for the battle to ambush the enemy from here.

And right now, the last wagon of "Sun Thousand" that was being attacked by the "Bull of Heaven"───started moving about in disorder to deal with yet another threat different from it.

Sharol Gundark who was in charge of the battle division of the "Six Scar" Community, had heard an emergency notice from the surveillance spirit "Laplace Little Demon" alias Lapko IX.

Sharol, wearing a specially made conductor hat and shouldering her beloved trident, had tension running through her face.

"Attacker other than the "Bull of Heaven".........? What kind of whimsical fellow is it, Lapko IX?"

"I'm having difficulty ascertaining because there's still a distance between us, but they are a tiger Eudemon and a single rider. They are getting closer at terrific speed."

Sharol's facial expression became stern just as she heard it.

"Hohou. An Unknown enemy, huh? However, they sure are outlawry fellows for daring to make an assault on the test run of "Sun Thousand", the latest masterpiece made by the world-famous "Six Scars"! Main forces of "Six Scars", prepare for interception!"

"Ready for interception~!"

"Start loading~!"

"Prepare for elevation~!"

Ukkyaa~♪ the spirit colony noisily ran around as if having fun, and the soldiers of "Six Scars" continued preparations with tensed expressions.

Sharol also fixed her robe and gloves and secretly asked to Lapko IX.

".........So, how strong do they look? Will we manage it by ourselves?"

"It might be difficult to fight them normally. There's already this storm as well. It appears to be a high leveled Eudemon from a glance.........Maybe it's a Divine Beast class."

"Uhyaa, seriously!? In that case we can't leave out the possibility that the rider is a Demon Lord!"

As Sharol gripped the spear and raised her tension while brushing the sweat away. Even as it was, a powerful Celestial Beast like the "Bull of Heaven" was attacking. Being pincer attacked with the Demon Lord would lead to the worst development.

On the other hand, Ayazato Suzuka who came along to the last wagon because of the problem of defense, got surprised with her eyes growing wide the moment she heard the word "Demon Lord".

"W-Wait a minute! Did you just say Demon Lord? There are even those in Little Garden!?"

Suzuka asked while her eyes sparkled a little. Ayato showed a bitter smile as if troubled for having a curious Senpai. Far from trembling in fear from hearing about Demon Lord, she was in such high spirits that she would even go for sightseeing.

In place of Sharol who was overwhelmed by Suzuka's high spirits, Kuro Usagi appeared and raised her Usamimi.

"YES! Demon Lord isn't a title bestowed upon an individual, but a general term for the greatest calamities that are running rampant in Little Garden! They individually hold powerful Gifts, and are beings that hold abilities that can at times change whole countries, or even whole eras!"

"Ho-Hohou? That's amazing. Though the scale is so big to get the whole picture!"

"Well, that's normal for humans of the outer world. To put it bluntly, the Queen who summoned you three is also one of the Demon Lords. So please don't be careless. .........Or perhaps I should say, if the opponent is a Demon Lord, it would be beyond our powers. We can't do anything."

Sharol informed in a troubled manner while scratching the inner side of her nekomimi.

However they couldn’t give up so easily. She quickly started working out the plan with her hands folded.

"Although, if only we enter the Ley Line, we'll be able to escape from this! It's physically impossible for anything to catch up to the super accelerated Spirit Train, so the point is that we only have to gain time!"

".........I see. So are we attacking with that ballista?"

"Ah, impossible, impossible. Even if we raise this ballista, there's this storm as well, you know? There's a chance of it getting shot down by a lightning strike, and it's impossible to hit them directly with the arrows in the first place, isn't it?"

There are several openable and closable parts on the wagon decks of the Spirit Train, and it was designed to be able raise the ballista and set it up from there. Arrows of the ballista that was endowed with the Gift of Semi-hitting, are the magic bullets that chase the enemy with tracking as long as they were in sight. There was no way to slip away unless the target is knocked down or its momentum gets killed by this violent storm. However, in this situation where the visibility is bad due to the thunderstorm where even aiming is difficult, it would be hard to make use of its ability to the fullest.

Towards the two who fell silent without thinking of a good move, Kuro Usagi raised her usamimi and proposed.

"Sharol-sama. The enemies are clearly outlaws. Can't the "Host Master Authority"───"Der gestiefelte Kater"[1] that "Six Scars" holds be invoked?"

"Hmm.........It's impossible right now. I can't speak of the details, but it’s meaningless to use it unless we are at a conversing distance with the enemy."

".........So then, are we going to wait until they board and assault them inside the wagon?"

Everyone received Lapko IX's suggestion and muttered whether it would be safe that way.

It would be best if they could gain time, but the loaded ballista had only 25 arrowheads in it, and that amount was unreliable for the barrage either. If so, then it would be more proper to make preparations to wait in advance, and take the initiative of attack when they boarded.

The Inner side of the wagon would be destroyed but there was no helping it given the situation.

Since it was an advantageous position, surprise attack tactics would be more effective towards higher ranked opponents.

Sharol clapped and gathered attention.

"Alright everyone! Let's quickly begin the interception! Activate all traps inside the wagon, and move your luggage! Because if the enemy turns out to be a Demon Lord for real, we will be cutting off the last wagon before we dive into the Ley Line! As soon as you move the minimum luggage and assets, prepare to intercept───"

"Please wait."

Ayato quietly raised her hand in order to interrupt Sharol's command.

Hearing the suggestion from the unexpected person, Sharol turned around with her nekomimi standing up.

"Yes, what's the matter, big breasted girl? Do you have some good idea?"

"Yes. I have an idea in regards to using the ballista. In short, the problem is that we can't hit well enough with it as it is now, right?"

"YES! However, we only lack the skill to hit with ballista arrowheads in this heavy storm.........so if there was someone who possessed such skill, then it could be a different story."

Kuro Usagi directed her sight towards Ayato while delaying her words a bit. Kuro Usagi doubted whether she and a certain woman were one and the same person. If Kudou Ayato was the same person Kuro Usagi knew well, then even in such a storm she would accurately shoot through the skull of the enemy.

However, appearing as if she did not notice Kuro Usagi's intentions at all, Ayato shook her head and turned towards Suzuka.

"Suzuka. It seems it's your turn."

"Me? But I can't use such a big thing, you know?"

"It's alright. You will not be shooting. Rather than the shooter───it would be good if you become the cannon itself."

───Come again? Question marks popped up inside the wagon all at the same time.

Suzuka's situation in particular was severe.

Being serious down to the roots, she imagined "Ayazato Suzuka who became a cannon itself" as Ayato told her, and groaned with her arms folded with an amusingly frowned expression. Judging at her state as she opened and closed her mouth, she probably imagined a funny scene.

As Ayato revealed slight smile of enjoyment, she turned towards everyone present.

"There's no need to think too deeply about it. It's just a nonsense of a girl from the outer world. It's an idea at the level where there might be worth in testing it. Rather than depending solely on it, I think it would be good to advance both plans."

".........OK. I leave that to you! We, "Six Scars" will start preparing for interception, so only take a few necessary people!"

"Thank you, Sharol-san. ───Ah, Kuro Usagi-san please help Sharol-san. Our side will be fine with Suzuka and few others."

"I-Is that so? But wouldn't it be hard with only the two of you and few others in case of an emergency?"

"No, it will be alright."

Kuro Usagi, pressed by the smiling face that couldn't be said whether was soft or not, drooped her usamimi. It appeared that she was vigilant after all. Given the situation, it seemed that she wouldn't let herself be caught so easily.

Withdrawing as it couldn't be helped, Kuro Usagi faced towards the interception unit in the vehicle.


While the two-sided strategy was being developed inside the "Sun Thousand"───The attackers that were Asterius and the White Tiger, steadily advanced towards the Spirit Train. The Bull Monster Asterius that was straddled on the Tiger Deity, carried the giant battleaxe on his shoulder and awaited the opportunity to attack.

However, it was not because of anxiousness that they didn't approach the Spirit Train.

It was because the other person that they heard would be joining them on the way didn't appear at all.

While Asterius bared his fangs out of impatience, he asked to the White Tiger.

"Hey, White Tiger. Is your comrade not coming yet?"

『Pardon me. She's a moody and irresponsible girl. I think she'll come any time now.........』

"I heard that for the third time already. Did you think my memory was that bad?"

Muu, the White Tiger lost the words to say. In addition, Asterius who hit his stomach, announced in order to make progress.

"It would be annoying if they escaped like this. In the first place, your goal should be for me to advance the Game normally right? Then transport me without complaining. Or stop the iron fortress."

『.......... It cannot be helped. Let's hear what that little girl has to say later.』

The White Tiger leaked a small sigh. His appearance seemed to be too far off from the proper majesty that he should have───However, that evaluation was overturned in an instant.

The moment his forelegs that were pushed forward touched the atmosphere, the Celestial Beast's running speed underwent a drastic change.

The thunderstorm that was obstructing the vision parted away as if avoiding the body of the Tiger Deity, and the storm became a tailwind and started to push his back. Unable to bear the sudden increase of speed, Asterius had his upper body overturned, however he clung to the white fur with enough power to stick his nails in it, and held onto it with both feet.

He almost fell down, but if it were a normal person their body wouldn't even have been able to withstand the shock that came with the acceleration.

It was said that the Gryphons of the Greek Pantheon manipulated the fluids to protect the riders from the acceleration. That was because the reasons why the Eudemons called Gryphons were created were two: "Pulling the war chariot" and "Protecting the treasures of Gods". They would be disqualified as rider beasts if it appeared that they would kill the war chariot passengers with their own acceleration.

However this pure white Tiger Deity was different.

Originally, this beast did not have the plans to carry a rider on his back. Let alone the rider, the current speed was so dangerous that it would even mow down all the lifeform surrounding it.

In fact, his acceleration broke through the wind and rain and even gave shock to the Spirit Train.

From the side, the Spirit Train that received the shock shook violently, and slightly moved from the great river track. Following that, the White Tiger realized that the place the Spirit Train was rushing to was the surface of the Ley Line.

Talking a small distance, the White Tiger growled in a small voice.

『.........Mu. This is bad, Bull Monster. It appears that this iron fortress is made of "Adamantine". Moreover, it seems to be travelling over the Ley Lines and receiving divine protection. It's foolish to destroy it, and I can't stop it with half-hearted power either.』

"My my.........To construct a fortress with the most valuable asset of Greece, it seems there are people of firm character in Little Garden. So even a Celestial Beast raises his hands?"

『I hate to do it, but there's no other choice but to board on it. There should be some kind of entrance. Or perhaps there's also the method of breaking through the outer wall. Although it's made from Adamantine, your battleaxe should be able to cut it. Judging by the looks of it.........could it be the prototype of Zeus' Thunder?』

The White Tiger said while pointing towards "Proto Keraunos". He seemed to be confident about it from his tone, so Asterius shrugged his shoulders thinking denying it would be meaningless.

The double-edged axe that Asterius originally used, official name Labrys───was a Gift befitting of "Labyrinth" etymology, and it was a weapon different from Keraunos. It was an extremely powerful Gift on its own, however this Keraunos that took the shape of his Sun Authority excelled even that.

This double-edged axe that was endowed with the Authority of Taurus, held the power that corresponded to the prototype sacred tools of various Western Europe, Northern Europe and Orient gods.

In past, both edges of the double-edged axe, were regarded as the horns of one of the holiest animals - the bull, and there were many who treated it as the authority symbol of the governor of the skies.

In the Western Europe, Zeus' Lightning.

In the Northern Europe, Thor's Hammer.

In the Orient, Indra's Vajra.

The powerful moldings that would attack the enemy with both sides, are seen as the weapons of chief gods and war gods, and are also called the "The Strongest Proofs". Furthermore, this axe was bestowed with the ability that held the most destructive power among Twelve Constellations.

However much it is a fortress of Adamantine that’s worthy of being the armor of gods, it should be bisected in two with just a single swing of it. To be able to endure the Keraunos with its full power unleashed, it should be something around the level of the Strongest Shield───Aegis of Capricorn, that had the protection of Twelve Constellations.

"Hmph.........Is this where I should say as expected of a Celestial Beast? But you are looking down on it a little, Tiger Deity. If I seriously swing "Proto Keraunos", everything in the surroundings───until the horizon would be turned into dust. But I personally don't intend to do that."

『Hohou. So you don't like meaningless destruction? That's quite lenient for someone who's called the Bull Monster. Taking in mind the damage to surroundings, isn't that quite like a military men?』

The White Tiger spoke as if poking fun at him.

He had no other intention aside from teasing him, but it came back with a bigger reaction than expected.

Asterius who was lost for words and violently shook his eyes, revealed a bitter smile while timidly holding his mouth. He looked at White Tiger's face dumbfounded, but then said while glaring at his palm as if reflecting on what kind of person he was.

".........That's right, huh? No, that's exactly right. What am I even saying. It's unrelated to a Bull Monster like me whether the damage befalls upon the innocent nation. Those right now weren't the words a Minotaur should say.........No,"

Asterius shut his mouth as if inspecting his own words.

In the first place, Monster refers to a disaster with intentionality.

The aforementioned Perytons were exactly that.

Perytons existed not by the reason and instinct of "Killing others in order to live" but just "Killing people". But as they rejoiced life, never did they had necessity to kill people. If asked whether murderer species could live without killing mankind, the answer would certainly be this.

The same can be said for Minotaur.

The Minotaur being a Monster of the Labyrinth was a cannibal, but it couldn't be called a tribe who couldn't live without eating humans by any means.

Rather, in case of taking in mind the nutritional value necessary for living, it could be concluded that the efficiency was bad.

In the first place, the reason Minotaur was committing cannibalism───Was probably because it was a spiritual rank that relied on the monster nature residing in the blasphemy that was the act of eating life-forms that possessed souls.

"───. That's right, I'm not mistaken. Minotaur isn’t from the race of murderers but cannibals. That's why I shouldn't commit murders that isn't connected to cannibalism. .........Don't say misleading things, Tiger Deity. I am not wrong in any way."

Asterius condemned the White Tiger while being angry.

White Tiger despite seeing through his thinking that resembled worry and warped rationality, stated his apology without any particular feelings.

『Is that so? I did something improper. You are certainly not mistaken. I'll refrain from meddling from now on. .........And, what do we do? Invading would be difficult at this rate, don't you think?』

Returning to the main problem. The problem now was how to invade this gigantic moving fortress.

The Spirit Train was still under the fierce attacks of the "Bull of Heaven", however its speed didn't know of declining. Its speed couldn't be compared to the Celestial Beast's sprint, however there was no way of knowing of what kind of trump card it was hiding. He wanted to avoid ending up in a shameful state by underestimating them and receiving a counterattack or letting them slip away.

Even with his sure-kill technique that utilized pseudo-lightning being sealed, Asterius showed a confident smile indicating that he could still win despite that.

"Regarding that, I have an idea."

『Fumu. Let's hear it.』

"To put it simply. It would be good If I hold a normal Game as a Minotaur and fight with those guys. In that case, don't you think it would be faster to make them come out without getting inside ourselves?"

Asterius revealed a sadistic smile. Even for the White Tiger, that was a desired outcome. He directed a questioning gaze asking how to do that.

Asterius took out a small double-edged axe used for rituals from his pocket.

White Tiger immediately realized that it was a powerful Gift───But suddenly, he stepped on the atmosphere and leaped away from the Spirit Train.

Asterius wondered what was going on, but he quickly grasped the situation.

The deck of Spirit Train opened and ballista appeared from it.

『It's coming. Get ready, Bull Monster!』

Taking White Tiger's advice, Asterius put himself on guard. If that ballista held the same ability as the one from the other day, then they would pursue them even if they avoided the arrows.

It would be hard to cope with unless they were resolved to knock down every single one of them.

Asterius prepared while holding the double-edged axe in one hand and holding on to the White Tiger's fur with the other.

With the sound of a gong that seemed to signal for a simultaneous barrage, the ballista arrowheads shot out, piercing through the wind and rain. Their totaled twelve in number, but only three approached them directly. If it was only this much, it wouldn't be a problem to knock them down.

Even if they instantly released the loaded rounds, the ratio that went straight was pretty much the same to the point of being painful to watch. If one was challenged with this degree of arms they would be amazed beyond their anger.

Only the reloading and firing speed were praiseworthy, but like this, they looked like an amateur.

Asterius who knocked down the ballista arrowheads on the spot, immediately understood the war power and circumstances of the enemy and encouraged himself.

"It was a mistake for them to choose ballista in this thunderstorm! With that degree of skill, there is no chance of hitting us even by luck! Be ashamed of your inexperience and become the rust of Keraunos!"

He kicked the abdomen of the White Tiger and instructed him to get closer to the ballista. The ballista appearing on the deck meant that there was a door that could be opened and closed as well as an elevator.

White Tiger who immediately understood his intentions, dashed towards the ballista that appeared above the deck. If it was his speed, he wouldn't need more than a second to destroy the ballista and take down the archer.

White tiger who drew near to the enemy with speed that left the sound behind and overtook the wind, bared his fangs and rushed to attack the ballista. However, his fangs───pitifully stopped at tearing through the air.

『The ballista disappeared.........!?』

That's right, it disappeared.

───The ballista itself had disappeared. The ballista that gave off sounds until just now, disappeared without leaving a trace behind as if everything was a lie.

Everything including the archer vanished like mist.

From the sudden event, the White Tiger whose momentum still remained fell down from the deck.

In addition to the wet foothold, his claws could not stand on the sheet of Adamantine. Without stopping his momentum, the White Tiger stepped on the atmosphere and stopped, but he shouldn't have done that in this situation.

Asterius yelled while kicking his abdomen.

"Don't stop your legs. We are surrounded!"

With Asterius' reproaching voice, the White Tiger finally noticed it.

The first nine shots that were supposed to have flown towards random directions, have surrounded them from every direction before they noticed it. It wasn't certain what kind of trajectory they drew to come back, but if the Gift close to endlessly tracing the target didn't dwell in them, there was no way they would fall into this situation.

They knocked down four ballista arrowheads at once and dodged the other five. Taking a distance from the arrowheads that turned back, they adjusted the position so that the trajectory would head directly at them and knocked down all the arrowheads.

Their speed itself couldn't be a threat to the White Tiger and Asterius, however their tracking ability and number was troublesome. In addition, different from normal arrowheads, the ballista arrows were thick and had a huge weight. It was certain that it would become a severe injury if even one of them were to hit.

(.........No, that's not what I should be thinking about. In the first place, the released ballista arrows should have went astray without pursuing us.)

There existed Gifts that would track targets unconditionally, however a Gift that powerful wasn't supposed to be mass-produced in large quantities. To say nothing of the fact that it was out of the question for them to still aim and pursue the target despite the initial aim being off.

What's more, the disappearance of the ballista just now was also concerning. In the first place, even though the "Bull of Heaven" still created whirlpools in the sky, rising the ballista onto the deck was a foolish plan in that heavy storm.

There were undoubtedly some tricks behind enemy's Gift.

However, without having any time to solve that mystery, countless numbers of ballista and archers appeared on top of the deck.

Different from last time, the distance was close and aiming wouldn't be hard even in this storm. The instant the enemy revealed themselves, they released a simultaneous barrage.

The White Tiger raised the altitude and attacked the ballista arrowheads from the sky.

And ballista as well, without quickly disappearing, released innumerable arrows to bring them down at once. The battle between the two which seemed like it couldn't be overturned, gradually began to rival each other.


───"Sun Thousand" - Armory of the last wagon.

The tactics devised by Kudou Ayato, was more successful that imagined.

The horizontally lined up ballista inside the wagon were facing the empty space, however they continued firing them on command. However, the ballista arrows never penetrated inside of the wagon.

As for why───It was because Ayazato Suzuka who possessed Apport & Asport stood at the edge of ballista with her hand raised overhead and transferred the fired arrowheads towards the enemy.

"Amazing! Suzuka is amazing!"

"Ballista disappeared! Even arrows disappeared!"

Ukkyaa~♪ - the spirit colony jumped about.

Lapko IX also nodded her head from Ayato's shoulder as if admiring it once again.

"T-That surprised me. To be performing object teleportation without touching them with hand! I have seen many teleportations in the past, however among them, only Maxwell Demon should've been able to perform teleportation without touching."

"Yes. It appears there are some requirements, but it's an extremely powerful teleportation Gift."

However they didn't think it would be compatible to this extent.

There were two especially unique points of Ayazato Suzuka's Gift───"Apport & Asport".

First, "Being able to teleport objects without touching them".

And second, "The teleported objects do not lose their kinetic energy".

If one transferred projectiles like ballista arrowheads towards the enemy, then it wouldn't be hard to surround them or strike their blind spots. The time and effort to carry the ballista or gaps for using elevators wouldn't appear, and safely evacuating would be possible.

Among the Gifts of teleportation system, Suzuka's Gift of "ability to freely teleport objects to a straight line of her left hand" from "the objects on a straight line of her right hand", boasted of extraordinary tactical nature. The tactics Ayato told to that Suzuka, was to "transfer the projectiles with "Apport & Asport" and carry out multi-sided attack".

This was the trick behind the battle being carried out on the deck.

It was such a cheat that as long as it was in a straight line, flying objects or even a closed room space could be meddled with. The Gift bestowed on Ayazato Suzuka, was a Gift that showed its true power in group battles instead of individual use.

"However, we are stalling time as much as we can. If only we had the Gift of Hermit of "Perseus" here, we would've lent it to her."

"That's a wonderful idea. Please consider it if there's a next time."

If the Gifts of Hermit and Distant Teleportation were combined, it would undoubtedly be the birth of the unrivaled Player.

As the battle entered the struggle for supremacy, Suzuka transferred to the distant place in the sky for a moment to confirm the situation and quickly returned back. Suzuka shook her slightly wet hair left and right, and reported the situation with clenched fist.

"Amazing, amazing! Everything developed just as Aya-chan said!"

"No, you are the one whose amazing, Suzuka. You are doing perfectly despite only being suggested the tactics once, aren't you?"

Ayato revealed a half-admiring, half-amazed bitter smile.

"However, Suzuka. Why didn't you settle it with the first arrow? If it's this Gift, it should've been possible to take them by surprise."

"I could do that.........But I thought if one who showed a little failure at the beginning, then the enemy would become careless and come rushing. Look, my Gift isn't effective beyond range of 120 meters. Wouldn't it be troubling if they fled? That's why I thought it would be better to approach them from the other side."

This is what they call girl power! Boasted Suzuka with her index finger raised.

That argument was completely off point, however Ayato saw her in a new light. To her who regarded battle as attacking the enemy with exquisite skill and tactics, the plan to purposely display one’s own inexperience was probably an unexpected idea.

"The secret would be leaked before long, but we should be able to gain some time. If we enter into the Ley Line during this time, we should be able to start super acceleration and break off from them."

".......... I see. Aya-chan is quite well-informed."

Ayato's heart skipped a beat from her nonchalant smile and remark.

Her tongue slipped just now. Even if you took into account Ayato's speech and conduct until now, it would just be a matter of time to notice that she was related to Little Garden.........or rather, keeping her secret would hit its limits any time now. It's difficult even for her like this, and above all, it was painful to keep the secret from Suzuka and Homura.

Ayato who turned around to dodge the matter, left Lapko IX to Suzuka and started walking towards the wagon in front.

"Suzuka. Lapko IX. I leave this place to you. I'll go have a little audience with Queen."

“Eh? Ah, alright. Will you be alright alone?"

"Yes. If it gets dangerous, please rely on Kuro Usagi-san. Because inside this wagon, she is undoubtedly the strongest war power."

Leaving those words behind with a smile, Ayato departed from the last wagon.

Suzuka was surprised with her mouth agape with the words she left behind at the last second, but that was only natural.

Because she probably thought that rather than relying on such a young and adorable usamimi girl, she should have relied on Sharol who was still boisterous and worked hard.

Ayato slightly smiled as she read her inner feelings.

If Kuro Usagi who was the member of the War God's household and was called the "Aristocrat of Little Garden" were to fight seriously, she would be able to easily achieve something like protecting the Spirit Train. However, since her original duty is to be the judge, it wouldn't be good to depend on her unless necessary, and it would be unsightly both as warriors and Players.

Although she decided to remain a spectator, even that was reaching its limit.

Even for Kudou Ayato───The time to grasp her sword had come.

1 Puss in Boots.