──Remembering that which is buried in the darkness.
Gemini shinning in the night sky, no one is aware of its origin. The same is true for Yamai.
But don’t blame those who search for the darkness. As expected of mankind’s karma. But when people are looking into the abyss, they are staring into the abyss……
……Hmm? Huh? That’s not quite it? Well, whatever.
Uhh, what was I talking about? Ah, that’s right. That matter with Yuzuru.
Yup, I’m grateful to Shidou. Thanks to Shidou, Yuzuru and I were able to stay together.
At that time, I wanted Yuzuru to survive even at the expense of myself.
When it comes to a situation like that now, surely I think many would consider the same thing.
But now──I can say that was mistaken.
Because I am convince that the most difficult thing for Yuzuru is parting ways with me.
It’s a bit itchy to say that with self-awareness, but it can’t be helped because it is true.
Because we always struggled, thinking of dying. But then a path for both of us to survive appeared.
Because we can always increase the amount of choices──that’s what Shidou taught me.
Recollection. For some reason recently, the old days are being recalled.
No, it’s not the story of when I was human. Unfortunately, there is only one certainty for the memories of that time──everything vague except for one point of originally being one with Kaguya.
Competing with Kaguya, that’s when I met Shidou.
At that time, I was desperate for Kaguya to survive, but now it is a fun memory. That’s strange. Time seems to have the effect of improving memories. Any difficult memory, once passed, becomes an experience. Rather, the more one struggles, the deeper impression it has in the heart.
Of course, that only works if it is peaceful now. No matter how severe the journey or painful the path, everything feels precious if you think it was necessary to shape this current world.
That’s why I think this. Even if I recall the memories of when Yuzuru and Kaguya were human. And──no matter what tribulations or hardship it was. Yuzuru and Kaguya can recall it with a smile.
That’s right. Whatever the future, if it’s me and Yuzuru──
Conviction. Yuzuru and Kaguya──
──Can easily break through.
──Will break through it easily.
“……Kefu, kefu……, ……Yuzuru, are you alive?”
“……Response. Some, how……”
Kaguya and Yuzuru, who were lying side by side on the mountain of rubble, both woke up and unsteadily stood up at the same time.
Both of them were full of wounds. After looking at each other, both of them laughed in a self-mocking manner, glancing to check their surroundings while supporting each other’s aching bodies.
……How long have they lost consciousness for? The last sight both of them saw before fainting was setting up their <Yggdraramus> and charging at <Beast>. It appeared both of them had been tragically dispatched by <Beast>.
However, that was expected. Of course, Kaguya and Yuzuru served as decoys for the blow most likely to obtain victory. Even if it was flashy, it would have been nice if they could have distracted <Beast> for just a moment.
Naturally, the Yamai sisters hated losing. It would be lying if they said there weren’t any regrets. But if anyone could reach <Beast> there, among them all it would be Origami with her CR-Unit.
This wasn’t a battle for merit, but rather a battle to save <Beast>. A battle to pave the way for Shidou to her. It wasn’t necessary for Kaguya and Yuzuru to receive first-class merit if it meant that goal being reached.
However, the surrounding scenery wasn’t what they expected at all. ──A mountain of rubble spreading endlessly. Nothing had changed since Kaguya and Yuzuru had fainted.
The ideal would have been for all of this to be settled by the time they were unconscious and to wake up in the medical facility in <Fraxinus> or <Ratatoskr>──but that seemed too far off.
However, it would have been impossible for that Origami to not do anything. Surely at this very moment──
“Shudder. No way……”
Kaguya and Yuzuru noticed over there.
Scattered around the surroundings, there was the appearance of girls painfully groaning just like them.
And among that, there was the appearance of Origami stripped of her silver CR-Unit.
“Wha……! O-Origami!? It can’t be……!?”
“Shock. No way, master Origami……!”
The two choked on their breath and unintentionally closed their eyes.
Origami was arguably the strongest of the girls. Her defeat was synonymous with the loss of anyone who could protect Shidou.
The moment after recognizing that, Kaguya and Yuzuru clenched their teeth and stood up from the spot. Of course, the severe pain ran throughout their bodies, but such things were held down by their fighting spirit. In extreme cases, even if a limb was broken, as long as they were still alive it could be reconnected with a medical realizer later.
Yes. ──As long as they were alive.
Dying meant being beyond recovery. Even with the power of a Wizard transcending human wisdom. Even for──the strongest Spirit of Origin. That result couldn’t be reversed.
So as soon as possible, they had to confirm Shidou and the others’ safety. Of course, in the worst case scenario, the damages sustained meant that <Fraxinus> could only silently observe. That may very well be the case. Regardless until they confirmed everyone safety with their own eyes──
“────Dumbfounded. This is.”
The next moment, both of them widened their eyes.
But that wasn’t surprising.
Suddenly, a huge pillar of light rose from the ground and into the night sky.
“Uh……ku, ah, a, a, aaaaaaaaaaaaa!”
──<Beast>’s scream caused the surrounding air to rattle and tremble.
Shidou was staring stunned at the violent spectacle.
The <Yggdraramus> dagger that Natsumi fired, the moment that body was penetrated by that distorted blade, <Beast>──or to be precise, the ten swords behind her began emitting light.
That dazzling radiance, as if pulsating, increased in intensity. Eventually, after making a crackling sound, the aftermath of the Reiryoku was dispersed into the surroundings.
Natsumi, being the one closest to <Beast>, was the one most panicking being exposed to this sight. As <Beast>’s body suddenly began to glow, her body cowered on the spot.
“Natsumi! It’s dangerous! Get away from there!”
As Shidou shouted, Natsumi hurriedly left. The light of the Reiryoku violently exploded at where Natsumi was just at a few moments ago.
“Gya! T-That was close!”
“Are you okay!?”
“S-Somehow……but this is.”
“──Well done, cute Natsumi.”
It was Maria’s voice from the intercom that had responded. Natsumi’s face twitched as she heard the adjective attached to her name.
“Confirming activation of <Yggdraramus>. Temporarily separating Angels from <Beast>. As expected of Natsumi. A capable child. A strong child. A cute child.”
Hearing what Maria had said, Natsumi twisted her body while clutching her head. Rather than being glad to be recognized for her achievement, she was writhing as if a painful black history had been dug up.
……Somehow, she seemed like a completely different person. Shidou smiled wryly.
“……Please don’t tease her too much. It needs to be recognized that she did so with great pains all by herself.”
“My intentions were to praise her. ──Well, that’s fine. Compared to that, it’s coming.”
“──Guh, uh, ah, oh, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa────────────!!”
<Beast> let out a remarkably loud roar──from that body, an enormous amount of light burst towards the sky.
The scene was exactly like a spire soaring into the sky. Or it was reminiscent of a huge sword──thrusting and tearing through the evening night.
At this sudden scene, Shidou and Natsumi opened their eyes wide.
Immediately following that movement, the top of the pillars of light glistened like stars──
From there, many shootings star began descending towards the ground.
“……What, wait, something is flying this way……!?”
At the same time, Natsumi who was looking up at the sky screamed loudly.
Right. Countless clusters of light were pouring down from the sky. One of them came down towards Shidou and Natsumi.
But they involuntarily cowered, even if trying to escape, it was too late. Shidou and Natsumi’s sight was blinded by the bright light.
But, there was no shock wave as expected.
Natsumi’s dumbfounded voice echoed around.
After a beat, Shidou noticed.
In front of Natsumi who fallen to her backside, a short sword was sticking down there on the ground.
Natsumi whispered quietly, staring intently at that sword.
A curved sword as if it was pursuing sharpness rather than destructive power. An emerald green gem was sparkling in the center. The shape, composed of graceful curves, somewhat resembled as witch’s hat.
The sword looked familiar. ──One of the ten swords <Beast> was carrying behind her back.
At that moment, a faint light began to grow in the eastern sky, as if the shooting stars had call upon the morning.
While bathing in the light of dawn, Shidou raised his head to look around. ──Following the direction on the grounds where those shooting stars had landed.
And then, he immediately understood.
Each shooting star had reached the position where they should be.
In front of Origami, there was the first sword.
In front of Nia, there was the second sword.
In front of Kurumi, there was the third sword.
In front of Yoshino, there was the fourth sword.
In front of Kotori, there was the fifth sword.
In front of Mukuro, there was the sixth sword.
In front of Natsumi, there was the seventh sword.
In front of Kaguya and Yuzuru, there was the eighth sword.
In front of Miku, there was the ninth sword.
──Each sword was stabbed into the ground.
“Ara, ara. Really──what a nostalgic feeling.”
The girls unsteadily stood up, staring at the swords that descended in front of them. Even Yoshino and Origami, who had fainted, raised their faces with a groan as if shaken by the Reiryoku coming from the swords.
“Guh, uh……you, bastard, damn……”
In response to that, <Beast> who had lost the swords, struggled to squeeze out every word from her throat.
Don’t miss this opportunity. Shidou raised his voice in order to reach everyone.
“Everyone, the swords!”
Responding to Shidou’s call, the girls reached out their hands, grabbing the hilt of the swords in front of them.
Then, at that very moment.
On the crumbling mountain with no life left, countless Reiryoku lights swirled──
Like giant flowers racing to bloom in full glory.
Starting from the handle held by the girls, the iron-colored swords gradually assumed brilliant colors.
And soon, the swords transformed along with that light.
Into countless feathers. Into a magnificent book. Into a clock with guns. Into a huge rabbit. Into a fiery battle axe. Into a key-shaped khakkhara. Into a broom furnished with a mirror. Into a shining musical instrument.
Right. The Angels that should have vanished with the disappearance of the Spirit of Origin had now reappeared once more on the surface.
“No way, our Angels really came back……”
“Mun……in that case, we can fight.”
The girls──the Spirits controlled their Angels, the Reiryoku wrapped around their bodies, as if a nostalgic feeling, and formed different clothes.
──Astral Dress. The absolute stronghold that protected the Spirits.
The glorious sight of the girls lining up was just like the scene from one year ago. Shidou felt a strange feeling filling up his chest as he clenched his fist.
At that moment, a warm light enveloped his body. Shidou widened his eyes.
Looking to the side, he saw Natsumi standing up there and raising up <Haniel>. At the same time, the wounds etched in Shidou’s body completely closed up like a joke.
“……I was worried since it’s been a while, but surprisingly I still remember it. For now, it’s just first aid. As usual, I only cleaned up the damaged parts. Don’t be too reckless.”
“No, I feel much better. Thank you, Natsumi. I’m glad you’re here.”
While saying that, Shidou closed and opened his hand as if he was checking on the condition of his wounds. Natsumi turned away like she was embarrassed.
While it was a gentle response, it was proof that Natsumi received Shidou’s honest praise. Shidou felt somewhat happy over this as he loosened his cheeks. Then, perhaps noticing this, Natsumi had her cheeks blush even redder.
Overlooking that scene, Kotori smiled wryly. After that, she cleared her throat to regain her state of mind and shouted to lead everyone.
With an Astral Dress that resembled a kimono, horns that were just like an oni, Kotori pointed her flaming axe towards <Beast>.
“──From here on out, this will be our war (date).”
With that command──
The Spirits danced in the dawn-lit sky.
In the field of rubble bathed in the morning glow, several lights shined.
It was the shine of the Reiryoku emitted by the girls wielding Angels. Created by gathering all of the world’s mana. A supernatural crystal. A ‘miraculous form’ that transcended human wisdom.
The girls, dressed in their Astral Dress for the first time in a year, manipulated their Angels with exquisite control as if no blank time had occurred. One by one, they surrounded <Beast> in the process.
“You, bastards. What did you do……to me……”
<Beast>, having had her swords stolen, turned her rag-like cloak and swung with the ‘claw’ in her right hand. Sharps slashes that scrapped away at space itself attacked the girls.
“Nuha!? Didn’t it take a debuff? It’s still really strong!”
“Certainly, the Angels have been temporarily plundered, but the original power is too different. Rather than weakening, consider it narrowing down her attack options. Don’t let your guard down and cooperate to suppress this opponent!”
The Spirits all responded to Kotori’s words.
In such a battlefield, two shadows were silently looking at this illusory spectacle.
──Yamai Kaguya and Yamai Yuzuru.
Twin sisters that usually took the lead in front of everyone and competed for being the best, for some reason they didn’t grab the handle of the sword in front of them.
The eighth sword <Beast> had carried on her back.
The slender sword that held a spiral design.
Despite its shape, the sword was reminiscent of the Angel of wind <Raphael> once used by Kaguya and Yuzuru.
Surely, by picking that up, the power of the Spirits would return just like it did for everyone else. In that manner, it must be a way to help Shidou. There was no need for hesitation. But──
Kaguya and Yuzuru called out each other’s name while exchanging glances.
Because their timing was shared, both of them unintentionally laughed.
And also, coincidentally they remembered again.
About a month before now, the event that caused this hesitation──
──What I remember is the sky.
Yes. The sky. The blue sky. Without a single cloud──not recognizing until now, but it was a breathtaking sight.
And the appearance of the birds crossing it seemed strangely beautiful; I unintentionally reach out my hand.
No──I tried to reach out my hand.
Actually, my hands were out of sight.
I just couldn’t stretch it to the heavens, or they couldn’t move at all……or perhaps my arms are already gone.
Although thoughts were clear, bodily sensations were strangely vague. Like something appearing in a science fiction work, a human that had been reduced to a brain and spine submerged in a water tank. Perhaps the feeling was like that. And then, even these effortless thoughts floated and faded.
Nevertheless, perhaps it might have been better to be grateful for this lack of physical sensation.
Surely, if that had remained clear, I couldn’t even be able to think like this right now.
That day should have been nothing out of the ordinary.
The time I got up in the morning was no different than usual. I painted my toast with half butter and half homemade strawberry jam like usual. This was done four times. Butter two times and strawberry jam two times. That combination was important. While putting emphasis on this, my mother would praise me by telling me to, “Hurry up and go to school soon”.
Then, I took to school with an infinitely light school bag, and Fender Stratford bought with money from a part-time job (as well as pocket change borrowed from her parents in advance), taking her classes (ymmv) seriously.
Lunch is purchased bread as usual. Always competing with each other with Maya’s two sets, it was slightly less than her preference of five sets, the popular cutlet sandwich and custard melon bread, and also getting the splendid sausage mayo roll and chocolate Danish. Chewing at the leftovers with tears in her eyes, the bread she ate while eating with those two always had an exceptional taste.
After school, finding out that her friends decided that the song played at the next school festival will be Kana and Batori (guilty of coughing out lol at this song recommended), helping a woman on the bus, stopped by a fashion research institute where asked to be a model, talking with her classmate Mieri about love (But the love she boasted about was borderline masochistic. At the end it was concluded with, “Yamai should hurry up and get a boyfriend soon”. It seemed she was not interested in longevity), and going back home after accepting a challenge.
Such was a page of the everyday life that has been repeated over 100 times now.
Yes, a fun day. It was a day that was impossible to not make a fuss. After 10 or 20 years, it may be suitable to look back on how good she had it during this time.
But if forced to say what happened differently──
While on the way home, a child jumped in front of moving car while chasing after a ball……what a manga-like sight.
……No, no, not at all. I did something cool. Quite like a hero always longed for in the olden days.
I’m sure I would have gotten a certificate from the police and be given a three-sided article in a local newspaper. They may have wanted to introduce me in front of all of the students during the morning assembly.
Ah, but this injury is quite troublesome. The school festival is near. Without me, the performance would be put on hold. And also being the supporting member for the sports club. And──
With that thought in mind, my consciousness finally became hazy and I realized my own condition.
No, I probably always knew.
I understood and pretended to be unaware.
──I’m here. I still want to do something. I want to travel. I want to eat more delicious things. Best of all, I haven’t even had a boyfriend yet.
Ah, that’s right. I am──
Kazamachi Yamai died at this time.
February. Spirit mansion room 808. The room where the Yamai sisters lived together.
Kaguya and Yuzuru, having read the information from within the envelope, silently sat on the sofa. This was a rare sight for the Yamai sisters, who would otherwise always be talking except during sleep.
However, that wasn’t unreasonable.
After all, that information contained a fact that they didn’t expect.
“……Kazamachi Yamai, you mean.”
How long did the silence last for? Kaguya whispered as if she couldn’t endure this quietness.
“……Consent. It appears so. That’s surprising.”
“Uhh……yeah, well, the name is pretty cool……I guess.”
“Smile. Is it then?”
Listening to Kaguya, Yuzuru lightly laughed. In response to that, Kaguya shrugged her shoulders and smiled unclearly.
The moment of seeing those envelopes in front of them, Kaguya and Yuzuru picked theirs up faster than anyone else──but as expected this wasn’t even considered.
It couldn’t be that the information of the person described would be for only one person.
No, to be exact, there certainly was the feeling of a strange memory before.
──It’s said that Kaguya and Yuzuru were originally one and split into two.
Indeed the numerous battles before meeting Shidou were nothing more than fights to determine the main personality of when the two became one again.
However, after the fact that all Spirit besides Mio and Tohka were originally humans, their minds changed a little.
That’s right. They didn’t know if they were born from Reiryoku just like Mio and Tohka. Normally, it wouldn’t be possible to even imagine a single human splitting into two.
Therefore, Kaguya and Yuzuru felt that the “originally one idea” came from an effect of the Sephira Crystal given to them.
In other words, they thought that two separate Sephira Crystals were given to twin sisters, so the idea that they were originally identical was planted.
So, before they opened the envelope.
“I’m absolutely the older sister!”
“Negative. Yuzuru is the older sister. The proof is mainly over here. Fufuni.”
“Don’t rub someone else’s breasts like its natural! Jeez……if I’m the older sister, I hope you’ll call me ‘Kaguya ane-sama’.”
“Resolution. When Yuzuru is declared the older sister, I’ll call you ‘Yuzuru Onee-chan sama’s favorite cool and gentle Kaguya’.”
“Aren’t there too many adjectives there!?”
And, going above a carefree quarrel, both of them wagered tomorrow’s snacks on who would be the older sister.
……Well, to be precise, this hypothesis that was raised, was suggested by Origami during a discussion with the two. Kaguya and Yuzuru who heard that said, “Hoho……ah, no, just like I thought.” “Praise. As expected of master Origami”, and gave those remarks as their replies
However, the information <Ratatoskr>’s documents only contained information about a single girl named ‘Kazamachi Yamai’.
Kaguya scratched her head while being confused.
“……Anyway, what does this mean? Are we originally a human that split up like slimes? Uh, are we really human? Isn’t that more monster-like than a Spirit?”
“Details. According to <Ratatoskr>’s comments, the current situation is similar to……vanishing twin syndrome.”
“Vanishing twin……? That sounds a bit cool. Like some sort of technique that can erase an opponent’s attack.”
“Explanation. For one pregnant with twins, one of them didn’t wasn’t nourished well, so it’s a phenomenon where that one is absorbed into the mother’s womb or by the other fetus. So in a more concise way, Kazamachi Yamai is ‘a human that should have been born as twins’.
Kaguya and Yuzuru looked at the document again.
──Kazamachi Yamai. 17 years at the time. Born on October 18th.
One day coming home from school, an accident was recorded of her protecting a child. Likely that was the moment she was turned into a Spirit by <Phantom>.
But, as it was helping Kazamachi Yamai who had her vitals in a perilous state──an existence lurking within, did another human factor respond to the Sephira Crystal?
That was what was written on the document.
“……Uhh, are there any more documents?”
“Verification. That’s right, the rest is──”
Then, Yuzuru found a small envelope from within the bundle of documents.
The envelope had the words ‘Photo/Kazamachi Yamai’ written on the surface.
Upon seeing this, Kaguya and Yuzuru became silent again.
“Address. It’s Kaguya.”
Both of them let out a voice that came from nowhere.
“Question. What does Kaguya mean?”
Both of them had made a concession to the other. But, as it was, this didn’t help make any progress. Both of them also then made the decision to clear their throats with a cough.
“No……I mean, speaking of which, we haven’t had lunch today. Let’s take a break after some lunch. Pick this up again in two hours……how about that?”
“Coincidence. Yuzuru was thinking the same as well.”
Kaguya and Yuzuru glanced at each other for a moment, giving out forced laughter while both standing up at the same time.
After leaving the spirit mansion and walking for a while, Kaguya let out a small sigh.
She had set a break for lunch, but she wasn’t hungry. ……No, this morning she only had toast with strawberry jam and a salad. Perhaps her appetite was gone, but she didn’t feel hungry at all.
It was needless to ask why. ──It was about Kazamachi Yamai.
She couldn’t say it in front of Yuzuru……but after reading those documents, the memories of Kazamachi Yamai was revived in Kaguya’s head.
Yes, she remembered.
Her history. Her thoughts. Her──last moments.
What did this mean? Kaguya, suddenly left confused, had no choice but to stand up for this adequate reason.
──The reason why she and Yuzuru were divided into two was because of another human factor in Kazamachi Yamai.
If so, could it be said that one of them was the original Kazamachi Yamai and the other was the twin sister of Kazamachi Yamai that didn’t exist originally?
And since the memories of Kazamachi Yamai were revived in Kaguya──
Kaguya shook her head to wipe away these gloomy thoughts.
No good. No good. Worried about this point alone meant just having a bad imagination.
After all, there was only one place to go for a case like this. Kaguya raised her face and accelerated her pace, taking the course to her destination.
After leaving the spirit mansion and walking for a while, Yuzuru let out a small sigh.
She had set a break for lunch, but she wasn’t hungry at all. ……No, this morning she only had toast with butter and salad. Perhaps her appetite was gone, but she wasn’t hungry at all.
It was needless to ask why. ──It was about Kazamachi Yamai.
She couldn’t say it in front of Kaguya……but after reading those documents, the memories of Kazamachi Yamai was revived in Yuzuru’s head.
Yes, she remembered.
Her history. Her thoughts. Her──last moments.
What did this mean? Yuzuru, suddenly left confused, had no choice but to stand up for this adequate reason.
──The reason why she and Kaguya were divided into two was because of another human factor in Kazamachi Yamai.
If so, could it be said that one of them was the original Kazamachi Yamai and the other was twin sister of Kazamachi Yamai that didn’t exist originally?
And since the memories of Kazamachi Yamai were revived in Yuzuru──
“……Self-defense. Don’t think this.”
Yuzuru shook her head to wipe away these gloomy thoughts.
No good. No good. Worried about this point alone meant just having a bad imagination.
After all, there was only one place to go for a case like this. Yuzuru raised her face and accelerated her pace, taking the course to her destination.
“Surprise. This is.”
Kaguya and Yuzuru widened their eyes after discovering each other at the exact same spot.
Yes. The two of them, having parted ways to walk around the Spirit mansion, had ended up coming to the same place at exactly the same time.
This was──located right next to the mansion, the Itsuka household.
They stared at each other stunned for a brief while.
“Wry smile. Fu, fufu……”
Laughter began to emerge from out of nowhere.
It was nothing whatsoever. Both Kaguya and Yuzuru felt that the best way of dealing with this worry──was to come here and be heard by Shidou.
As this laughter was noticed, the entrance to the Itsuka opened and Shidou came out.
“……? What’s the matter, the both of you. In front of the house.”
“Ah……sorry, sorry. I just wanted a little consultation with Shidou.”
“Consent. Can you listen?”
Shidou slanted his head curiously, but he invited Kaguya and Yuzuru into the house.
“So, what is this consultation?”
Shidou quickly brew some tea to serve in front of them. Kaguya and Yuzuru looked to each other, trying to say those words under a small groan.
“Hm……I mean, if hypothetical……”
“Question. What would Shidou do is someone said you are a fake?”
Hearing their question, Shidou looked at them while confused.
“What does that mean? Fake……? Is this supposed to be a physiological test?”
“Hm, well, something like that. What do you think? One day, someone with the exact same face as myself emerged.”
“Declaration. ‘I’ve be placed under so much difficulty until now, I’m the real one’, what if that is stated?”
“……Is this about Shinji?”
Shidou asked that question while placing his hand against his chin. In response, Kaguya and Yuzuru let out a collective “ah’ sound while widening their eyes.
Shinji was the name of the existence before becoming Shidou. Kaguya and Yuzuru had no intention of brining that up, but certainly it would be reasonable for Shidou to think about that while listening to a question like this.
‘S-Sorry. I didn’t mean that……”
“Apology. Apologizes for making you hear that. Both of us had no intention for any insult.”
As Kaguya and Yuzuru spoke out in a hurry, Shidou shook his shoulders while loosening his expression.
“No need to apologize, I know.”
And then after saying that, he replied back after thinking it over for a few moments.
“……What is a fake?”
“Question. A matter of the heart?”
“No, I mean, aren’t I living a different life from ‘that real Shidou’? I’ve met different people, talked differently, ate differently. ……Then that isn’t a fake anymore, isn’t it just another real thing? ──At least I think so regarding me and Shinji.”
Hearing what Shidou said, Kaguya and Yuzuru looked at each other──
“Smile. That’s certainly true.”
The anticipated reply caused them both to broadly laugh.
──Ah, as expected, it was good to have come here.
A warm feeling filled their hearts as Kaguya and Yuzuru gradually smiled.
Surely the answer had already been with Kaguya and Yuzuru all along. If they had considered the other to be Kazamachi Yamai, they would have arrived at this answer sooner. Even if they were the one that couldn’t be born, it didn’t matter to their current selves.
However, that compassion heart gave birth to hesitation. Kaguya and Yuzuru, both were worried that the other would be shocked at her origin.
Thinking it over now, why were they brooding over this so much?
Kaguya and Yuzuru both thought about that at the same time. And for some reason, they were convinced that the other was thinking the same thing.
Certainly, Kaguya and Yuzuru may have a slightly special background compared to the other girls that turned from humans to Spirits.
But what about it?
Now, it was so much fun to be together.
The competition between them was so exciting.
To be saved by having each other’s existence──
The two of them kept laughing for a while in front of a confused Shidou.
──Yes. Since that time, their resolution had been decided.
The hand stopped for a moment. The power of the Angel that should have been lost was in front of their eyes. Likely, that sparked some confusion.
The power of the Spirits can change shape depending on one’s heart. If the memory of Kazamachi Yamai held true, then both thought that taking in that Reiryoku would lead to some transformation for the both of them.
But──what is there to be afraid of now?
If she was with Kaguya.
If she was with Yuzuru.
──Then together, they will be the strongest.
In this glimmering battlefield, Kaguya and Yuzuru smiled at each other and reached their hands out simultaneously.
“Let’s go, Yuzuru.”
“Agree. Let’s go, Kaguya.”
And while saying that, with each other’s hand, they grabbed the handle of the spiral sword protruding in front of them.
That moment, from the point where they touched, the ripples spread on the surface of the sword, suddenly changing its shape.
At the same time, Kaguya and Yuzuru both felt a nostalgic feeling.
Like warm blood that flowed into a cold body.
Like something from the depths of their core had woken up.
──Lost wings that had returned once more.
With their connected hands as the starting point, there was the feeling of the boundary between their bodies becoming ambiguous.
But they weren’t afraid. Rather, it was harder to suppress the exhilaration that came to mind.
Kaguya and Yuzuru brought their faces closer to each other from both sides.
And their lips touched each other.
With a roar of anger, a number of slashes were released.
The ‘claw’ that furnished <Beast>’s five fingers indiscriminately and roughly tore apart the air and ground to attack the Spirits.
“Ku……! How powerful is this girl……!”
In one way or another, she was using <Camael> to repel away these slashes infused with tremendous power. Kotori involuntarily frowned at the heavy impact being transmitted to her arm.
<Beast>, who should have had her swords taken by the <Yggdraramus>, was more or less fighting equally against Kotori and the others as the battle unfolded.
Compared to when she was swinging those swords, she was no longer opening a ‘hole’ in space or releasing ice and fire.
However, <Beast> still had a ‘claw’ that can cut anything it touches and paranormal strength and reaction time──the point stood; she still overwhelmed the Spirits in terms of clear and pure ‘power’.
Origami’s rays of light, Yoshino’s cold air, Mukuro’s blind spot attacks, Natsumi’s transformations, Miku’s sound waves, all of that were smash under a single blow. She howled as if to show that any resistance was futile.
Such is a beast released from its shackles. The girls involuntarily gulped at the divine presence she radiated.
Of course, Kotori’s goal wasn’t to succumb to <Beast> or even try to kill her. But at this rate, it would be a wishful dream for her to start a conversation with Shidou.
Rather, it felt that she was even more violent than before after being stripped of her swords. Perhaps she had started taking them seriously after having her weapons stolen. Or──perhaps those ‘swords’ really were a prison holding her down.
As Kotori laughed at that thought stealing her attention with sweat dripping down her face, Maria’s voice came again from the headset.
“──There’s no time for a skirmish. <Yggdraramus> can only temporarily peel that Angels away from <Beast>. Wait too long and the Angels will once again become ‘swords’ that will be drawn to her. If so, there won’t be any more options left.”
“I don’t particularly like wasting time anyway……!”
Kotori groaned and frowned back in response.
But Maria may have not necessarily been trying to inspire Kotori and the others. Her words were just plain facts. Kotori clicked her tongue and raised her voice.
“Origami! This clearly isn’t working! We need to deliver a big one!”
In response to Kotori’s instructions, Origami raised her voice. Kotori gave a small nod, focusing her concentration while raising <Camael> overhead.
Then, obeying Kotori’s will, the battle axe changed shape──forming a huge muzzle that was attached to Kotori’s thin arm. <Megiddo>. The form of the Angel of fire <Camael> which boasted the greatest firepower.
At the same time, Origami gathered the countless ‘feathers’ floating around her and also created a cannon-formation shape.
Perhaps because of their movements, <Beast> twitched her eyebrows. She narrowed her eyes to watch out and lowered her posture to jump.
Was it instinct, intelligence, or experience? Either way, it wasn’t exactly clear what gave her this conviction, but she obviously saw Kotori and Origami as threats. And unfortunately, <Beast>’s speed far surpassed Kotori and the others.
Kotori’s mind was troubled by the conviction that firing <Megiddo> now would mean likely being dodged. No matter how powerful, it was pointless unless it landed.
No, on the contrary, Kotori and Origami also had a momentary pause after firing. In front of her, that opening could prove fatal.
That’s right. She couldn’t shoot like this.
──If this went on.
“I’ve been waiting!”
As Kotori shouted, Yoshino who was riding a huge rabbit doll and Miku who had a shiny keyboard surrounding her body, both replied back. Even though detailed instructions weren’t given to both sides, they had been set up at a place located within <Beast>’s blind spot.
The next moment, as the surrounding temperature plummeted instantly, ice shackles appeared on <Beast>’s feet to anchor onto the ground. At the same time, an invisible sound wall piled up to restrain her body.
“Uh, gu, a, aa────!?”
As expected, she hadn’t anticipated this. <Beast> screamed and tried to move her body.
But Kotori and Origami wouldn’t miss this opportunity. Both of them pointed their two turrets at <Beast> and shouted.
Fire and light.
Dense Reiryoku concentrated in both turrets as it was released, etching two lines onto the empty sky. The sky, which was still dim at dawn, was brilliantly lit up as if set ablaze.
In terms of raw firepower, <Camael> and <Metatron> were the strongest among the Angels.
Each full-power blow was on course without the slightest hint of deviating, swooping down on <Beast> who was crucified onto the ground.
“──A, a, aaaaaaaaaaa──────!”
Just before being directly hit by those two bombardments, <Beast> let out a roar. With all her strength, she broke free from Yoshino and Miku’s restraints.
“Kya! Too violent!”
As Yoshino and Miku were left oozing out dismay, <Beast> kicked off against the ground and leapt into the sky. Kotori and Origami’s full power bombardment passed through the space where <Beast> was just located a few moments ago.
“Mun. Imōtogo and Origami’s blow, it shan’t go to waste.”
“……Oh, that’s right. If it’s you, I thought you would avoid it……!”
At that time. Unnoticed by everyone, Mukuro and Natsumi took a roundabout path to position themselves diagonally from Kotori and Origami. Both of them raised their Angels at the same time.
The key Angel <Michael>.
And the mirror Angel <Haniel> that imitated that form.
“Open the door, <Michael>!”
“I won’t……let you escape!”
Both of them inserted the tip of the khakkhara outward, opening a huge ‘hole’ there.
The ‘hole’ inhaled the deadly blow from Kotori and Origami──releasing the bombardment from another ‘hole’ opened right behind <Beast>.
Light that scorched the heavens and fire from the pits of hell.
A torrent of Reiryoku dyed in white and crimson engulfed <Beast> and pierced into the sky.
In that spot──no, perhaps it boasted the greatest power on earth now. It was a single blow that combined the power of all the Spirits. The unparalleled herculean strength of that light of ruin wouldn’t leave even dust behind for an ordinary creature.
No matter how powerful <Beast> was, she wouldn’t be safe from that. ……Actually, even now, Kotori considered to herself that they might have overdone it a little.
With that being said, it was urgent to make her docile. This may mean her holding a grudge on Kotori and Origami, but it was Shidou’s role to open her heart. If it meant capturing her, she would do as many hated roles as possible to──
Kotori finally noticed from Shidou’s sudden cry.
The torrent of Reiryoku still left traces on the sky.
From within that dazzling pillar, a black shadow leaped out.
“Run away, Kotori!”
Shidou screamed as he looked up to the sky from the ground.
Yes. Kotori and Origami’s proud certain-kill cannon fire.
<Beast> rushed to attack Kotori after receiving that huge blow with her entire body.
Of course, she didn’t come out completely unharmed. Her crackled and decaying Astral Dress had been further destroyed and was no longer at its original form. The tips of her hair which had lost its color were now singed at the tips. It wouldn’t strange for her to collapse onto the ground after that disastrous spectacle.
However, in the midst of that, only the five ‘claws’ equipped to her hand had their blades shining brightly.
One beat later, everyone screamed. But they wouldn’t make it in time. A momentary pause of relaxation after that full-power blow struck. Even Kotori’s consciousness couldn’t catch up with her body right now.
──With a roar that could shake the entire world, the five ‘claws’ swung down at Kotori.
Kotori’s body could only defenselessly accept this slash──
The next moment, Shidou felt a sloppy voice leak out from his throat.
But that wasn’t surprising at all.
After all, <Beast>, who was just about to slash at Kotori, suddenly crashed down to the ground.
“What the hell──”
<Beast> glared at the sky after being slammed down.
Raising his face and following that gaze──Shidou finally noticed.
The blue sky illuminated by the morning sun.
There was the appearance of a girl there.
It was──a Spirit. Her tall figure was clad in an armor-like straightjacket. Just like Kotori and the others, it was brimming with ample Reiryoku.
A giant spear held in the right hand. A shinning chain wrapped around the left hand. And on the back, wings that dashed through the sky were standing upright.
But it wasn’t that which caught Shidou’s attention. Her long hair was like a muffler fluttering against the wind.
Passionate and composed. Cheerful and tranquil.
Those pair of eyes contained both contradictory elements.
Shidou had strange feeling while looking at that fearless and lovely face.
“Kaguya……or is it Yuzuru?”
Shidou half-consciously called out those names.
Yes. That girl’s face was reminiscent of somewhere in-between Kaguya and Yuzuru.
Hearing Shidou’s voice reach her, the girl loosened the corners of her mouth.
Then, as she proudly declared her name, her voice echoed in the sky.
“──Intrusion. For those afar listen to my cry. Gaze closer as you will.
One horseman equal to a God. To solve this dilemma swiftly and skillfully. ──The typhoon king reaping all of creation, I am Kazamachi Yamai.”
Shidou repeated and thought over the name the girl had called herself.
And that led him to his conviction.
That was the name of when Kaguya and Yuzuru were human.
“No way, you are……could it be?”
As Shidou muttered while stunned, the girl──Yamai smiled fearlessly.
“For a quick and helpful comprehension, this figure is formed through both Yamai Kaguya and Yamai Yuzuru.
──It’s all thanks to your assistance, my comrade. You gave me courage.”
As Shidou rounded his eyes, Yamai gazed over and smiled as if finding that response amusing.
“Pleasure. Good, we’ll talk about this later.
But Shidou. For a man like you, wouldn’t it be foolish to say nothing about a maiden appearing in her finest form?”
While saying that, Yamai narrowed her eyes mischievously.
Even as Shidou was reflexively flabbergasted, he immediately realized her intentions and raised his voice.
“Ah……too stylish. I was mesmerized just watching a moment ago.”
As Shidou said that, Yamai burst out into laughter as if unable to hold it in any longer.
And then, in a manner that made her feel even more elegant, she pointed her spear at <Beast> who was glaring at her from down below.
“──Combat. Now, keep that as a greeting. Being left that much after having undertaken a dance with my comrades can really injury a lady’s mood.”
As Yamai said that, her wings slightly shook──
The next moment, her figure disappeared from the sky.
Shidou rounded his eyes in surprise.
But, after a beat, he understood from listening to a violent explosion coming from <Beast>’s direction.
Yamai had dashed in the sky at a speed too fast for the eye to follow.
Leaving only that voice behind in her original airspace, Yamai descended at high speed for <Beast> down below.
A moment after kicking against the sky, a terrible impact struck her body. ──Sound barrier. When a certain speed is exceeded, the air becomes a sturdy wall that stands in the way of any substance. Yamai’s body exceeded that speed without even blinking and broke through that invisible wall.
A resulting sonic boom that would shatter even a strong aircraft with a sturdy exterior, but Yamai was filled with a strange sense of excitement that made her want to shout.
──Her body felt light. Her limbs were full of so much power that it felt like they would burst. Everything in the world seemed to stop.
A world where Yamai had reached the pinnacle of speed. She was undoubtedly the ruler of this suspended world.
But there was one person that stepped into Yamai’s world.
<Beast> noticed Yamai approaching and swung with the claw attached to her hand.
Five slashes marked with tremendous power were simultaneously released in front of Yamai. An interval on the brink of death. At the next moment, Yamai’s body would be sliced into several parts.
However, Yamai fluttered her body in the sky at a paper thin-distance──no, not even a single sheet of paper could dodge at this extreme distance.
On her cheeks, chest, belly, hands, and feet, there was the feeling of being lightly stroked by the edge of these slashes. However, not a single drop of blood flowed out from Yamai’s body.
If <Beast> was able to perform at her best, the results would have been different. From her five slash attacks released; if least one of them would have struck Yamai, then the situation would have been completely overturned.
However, Yamai was convinced.
Tanking a full-powered blow fired in coordination among the Spirts. That only dealt terrible damage onto her body. Ever so slightly, the accuracy of that ‘claw’ had been dulled.
Yes. This wasn’t just Yamai’s battle. This was a battle where everyone had staked their lives to carve out a path.
This Sprit was too powerful. Originally, this would be an opponent Yamai could face.
But, this moment was the time where everyone’s contributions were accumulated.
Only at this moment, Yamai’s wind surpassed <Beast>──!
As Yamai offered generous praise to <Beast>, she lunged with the spear in her hand.
──<El Re’em>. The invincible assault spear that invoked the name of a qilin. The wind spiraled at the sharpest point, forming a small tornado.
However, <Beast> forcefully pulled her arm into the opposite direction, using the back of her ‘claw’ to parry the blow. The wind focused on the tip of the spear lost its focal point and dispersed around.
However, Yamai’s counterattack wasn’t just this alone. <Beast>’s face was marked with anguish.
──<El Na’ash>. The chain baring the name of the serpent warped around <Beast>’s leg.
Yamai placed her strength in her left hand, manipulating the chain to slam <Beast>’s body against the ground.
<Beast> stood back up immediately, thrusting her ‘claw’ violently in an attempt to sever the chain. However, just before that, Yamai pulled her left hand to quickly recover <El Na’ash>.
──If considering the Yamai sisters’ style, since Kaguya’s attack was avoided, Yuzuru anticipated this and made a successful attack to avenge Kaguya’s regrets──could it be thought like that?
Yamai laughed at herself for thinking up such mindless thoughts during a battle.
She now knew. Kaguya looked to be in a regretful manner but also praised Yuzuru’s achievement. Yuzuru also understood that Kaguya purposely assumed the role as the decoy.
Anyway, this body was a fusion between Kaguya and Yuzuru. The consciousness that dwelled here had both of their intentions mixed together.
Yes. Strictly speaking, this figure and consciousness wasn’t exactly the same as when Kazamachi Yamai was human.
Kaguya and Yuzuru, the two had undergone a history of growth together. As such, the two of them created a new form for Yamai.
And they now discovered something after now achieving a fusion through the power of <Raphael>.
It was a distant memory. When Kazamachi Yamai was dying, the will of the nameless little sister that sprouted when the Sephira Crystal was given.
She woke up from the power of the Sephira Crystal and to prevent her beloved sister’s death, her heart, Yamai’s heart, was assimilated into that body.
The dying Kazamachi Yamai and the little sister that was never born.
These two unclear factors, wandering between the threshold of life and death, managed to escape death by unifying their existences together.
And as time passed, their hearts split into two again.
──But the two Spirits born in this manner were a little different from the original two. Nothing was the same whatsoever.
Kazamachi Yamai and her unnamed sister.
Kaguya and Yuzuru, both of them inherited different portions of both factors.
“……Bitter smile. Well really, for me to be actually worried about something so idiotic.”
Yamai suddenly loosened her cheeks as she set up both <El Re’em> and <El Na’ash>.
“This body is full of love from that nameless sister!”
Once again, she aimed at <Beast> while drawing forth <El Re’em>.
However, the next blow with <El Re’em> wasn’t with <El Re’em> alone.
As Yamai cry out that name, she greatly stretched her body and threw with all her might.
──A huge throwing spear with a chain fused to the tip of the spear’s handle.
Just as before, <Beast> tried to repel the spear with her ‘claw’, but then twisted her body just in time.
She must have noticed. This attack was a bit different than the one before.
However, the threat of <El Tsuohuel> wasn’t just limited to the power of the spear. A stronger wind was wrapped around that attack, gently blowing away <Beast>.
“Conclusion. This is──the end!”
As Yamai loudly declared, she pulled on <El Tsuohuel> and aimed it again at <Beast> who was blown into sky.
But, at that moment.
She imagined that <Beast> had let out a roar quieter than ever before. As she closed the fingers on her right hand, the five ‘claws’ hovering around her hand unified into one.
Yamai slightly tensed her brows at this unexpected act.
With that being said, it should be the same regardless. No matter what the opponent did, there was nothing that could break <El Tsuohuel>, the combination of both Kaguya and Yuzuru’s power──
As Yamai was releasing <El Tsuohuel>, she stiffened her body and widened her eyes.
The reason was simple. That was because <Beast>’s claw was now transforming alongside giving off a pale light.
──Holding onto a wide blade, a single great sword.
With a screaming roar,
<Beast> swung down the sword.
A storm swirled on the battlefield where Reiryoku was being scattered chaotically.
In the midst of all that, Shidou raised his voice unintentionally while watching the battle between the Spirits.
There were many reasons. Within a matter of minutes, the battlefield had changed rapidly.
Everyone had regained their Reiryoku. With everyone’s cooperation, Kotori and Origami landed a huge blow onto <Beast>. And now a fusion of the Yamai sisters was playing the role of fighting <Beast>.
But right, there was just one event that caught and wouldn’t let go of Shidou’s attention.
──It was the sword swung by <Beast>.
Shidou let out a stunned voice from his throat.
However, the reaction of all the Spirits wasn’t that much different from Shidou’s own. Everyone had their eyes wide open, staring at <Beast>’s sword.
But that wasn’t surprising.
The sword she had was──
──Because it was the Angel of the sword once used by Tohka.
“What……does this mean……?”
Shidou whispered while staring at <Beast>.
Certainly, <Beast> carried ten swords that held everyone’s power. If you think about it normally, it wasn’t strange to also have <Sandalphon>’s power as well.
But then, wouldn’t it make sense that <Sandalphon> had also become one of the ten swords she carried?
Why was <Sandalphon> in her ‘claw’?
Could it be, she is──
Shidou’s thoughts were interrupted by Kotori’s cry.
Yes. Just like with Shidou, Yamai’s attention was so snatched away by <Sandalphon>’s appearance that she received a front-side blow as retaliation.
The slash from <Beast>’s <Sandalphon> engraved a deep crevasse onto the ground. Smoke was around rising from there, with no chance to confirm Yamai’s safety.
“That can’t be……”
The dismay of the Spirits echoed onto the battlefield. Having just saw Yamai’s great efforts, the girls were now all trembling in fear. <Beast>’s attack was simply too powerful.
“……Apology. I was careless. To be caught off guard in the middle of a battle.
At that moment, a tremendous wind swirled. The smoke and dust around that area cleared up in an instant.
And at the center of that──there stood a knight holding up a huge shield.
“Display. ──<El Peguez>. I dread to think what would happen without this.”
While saying that, Yamai lowered her shield. Apparently, she had folded the wings on her back and wrapped it around with her chain. Just like <El Tsuohuel>, this seemed to be one of the variations of her Angel.
“Yamai! Are you okay!?”
“Naturally. But it was a close call.”
As Yamai spoke, she narrowly exhaled and glanced sharply at <Beast> who was sitting in the sky.
“Exaltation. Your power, I have firmly confirmed it with my own eyes. I won’t ask about that sword right now. ──For that rudeness earlier, I will unveil my secret technique for revenge.”
And while saying that, she exaggeratingly stretched out both of her arms.
Then, the spear and shield in her hands, as well as part of her armor, flew into sky to create a new shape.
──The form of a huge ballista that was overwhelming to look at.
“Noha! W-What is this!”
Following the movements of Yamai’s hands, the ballista was pulled down and loaded as a surrounding terrifying storm brewed at the same time.
And exactly like that, the clouds were cleared away, the rubble on the ground was reduced to dust, it was just like a huge dragon flapping its wings. The intense winds, which made it difficult to even stand, laid waste to this field of death.
And before long, it all converged into the assault spear, which had become an arrow──
“Liberation. <El Yevrun>──”
Accompanied by Yamai’s voice, she fired towards <Beast>.