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Kaze no Stigma – Ignition - Volume 1 - Chapter 6

Published at 17th of February 2016 08:05:46 PM

Chapter 6

Chapter 6 - Ayano-chan's Further Misfortune


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"Ha ha--- "

Looking down on the Earth from the top of a building, the woman coldly laughed .

Turning to the people going back and forth on the street the same gaze she would to poisonous worms,

"Here---She is here, yes?"

Who was that beautiful voice intended for? Even if one were to look over his shoulder, the voice was invisible .

Even so, the woman continued her speech as if addressing someone .

"Come now, let us go . Let us take the title of an expired family living so remotely to someone much more deserving . "

With that proud declaration, the woman left the rooftop .

On that empty rooftop an out of season shimmer of hot air flickered in the atmosphere and disappeared .

 

It's December --- after the end of term examination is over only the closing ceremony remains so it's a day meant for relaxation .

Since this morning, Ayano couldn't calm down .

Not typical of her she made so many mistakes it caused an uproar, immediately after she absentmindedly gazed outside the window,

unexpectedly blushed and broke into a smile .

Frankly speaking, it was a suspicious behavior .

"Kannagi, are you listening, Kannagi! "

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

As if not hearing the teacher's rebuke, Ayano dreamily looked at the clouds .

At such a suspicious condition in their friend, Yukari and Nanase exchanged glances .

Without the need to speak, they understood each other by sight .

"This is . . . . . . "

"it's that . . . . . . "

And they exaggeratedly nodded .

"Ayano-chan you're going on a date with Kazuma today, right? "

"Wha---"

At the excessively direct guess, Ayano was unable to deceive them .

It was the lunch break, on the rooftop .

Normally it was full of other students but today there were only the three of them . That was because Yuukari locked the door after

hanging a Closed for today sign .

"Wha- what are you saying, all of a sudden? "

Cornered in the space she could not escape from, Ayano feigned calmness as much as possible, trying to deceive them . But---

"I think that's useless right now", informed Nanase including sympathy .

"You were unable to calm down since this morning . You were like an elementary school kid before a trip"

"But- but even so, why must it be a . . . . . . . with Kazuma? "

Ayano answered back mumbling the important parts . But Yuukari replied without doubt .

"Because, there is no other event Ayano-chan would look forward to such an extent"

"I'm not anticipating it! "

Because she reflexively shouted, and realizing that for Yuukari that was the same as affirming her guess, Ayano turned red .

It happened over a week ago . Ayano receive the request of the Chairman of Seiryu Gakuen to investigate the abnormality that appeared

in the garden .

Together with Kazuma, who was a really popular subject of discussion these days .

At that time Ayano snapped because of the fairy's severe teasing and to soothe her, Kazuma promised to take her out to dinner .

Incidentally, at that time, somehow finding out about the request, Yuukari and Nanase came along and of course, they knew about that

arrangement .

Their stereotypical father-complex friend, her first awareness of the opposite sex, her first date --- of course this kind of joke

material could not be overlooked by her two friends .

"Aah, so that's how it was! "

Looking glad from the bottom of her heart, Yuukari smiled . What appeared to be a good-natured smile made all of Ayano's muscles along

the spine shiver as she instinctively backed off .

"N-no, it's not really a date . . . . . "

"So, as a commemoration of Ayano-chan's first date, I have a gift for you . "

Stepping closer to Ayano, while still smiling, Yuukari placed the gift in her close friend's hand .

Ayano stared fixedly at the object on top of her hand .

For a short while, she didn't understand what it was at all . That light <<something>> wrapped in opaque vinyl .

She couldn't see the contents but the vinyl outline looked like a circle with a diameter of three centimeters .

" . . . . . . . . . ?"

"Do your best! "

Together with words of encouragement, Yuukari made a very vulgar gesture with her hand .

Ayano clearly understood the meaning of the sign and realized the purpose of the thing she was holding .

"Th- this is . . . . . . . . a condom . . . . . . !!"

That's right . What could be played with like a balloon, used like an impromptu water bottle or to stop a blood cloth, that kind of

rubber product .

Of course, Yuukari didn't gave it to her to use in any such way but the original one, the gesture was loaded with that meaning .

"---!"

Speechless, Ayano flushed bright red, and as if she touched something filthy she threw the package in her hand .

Not satisfied with just that, she stepped on it with unconcealed anger .

The condom rubbed on the ground hard was exposed to a high frictional heat and finally was set on fire .

From the present full of Yuukari's good intentions not even ashes remained but turned to smoke and evaporated .

"Aah"

Very disappointed, Yuukari let out a murmur of despair .

"When I finally had the courage to buy it! "

"Don't have that sort of courage! Just don't! ", replied Ayano furiously .

"But shouldn't you be prepared just in case? "

Even Nanase spoke like that .

Ayano stared at those two with in a completely still manner .

"I don't know what the two of you are misunderstanding but this is not a date! For the sake of recovering some momey from the lowlife

that's making easy money without working, that's why I let him treat me to most expensive meal, that's the plan! Do you understand? "

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

Yuukari and Nanase looked blankly at Ayano, making public her real intention .

Although flinching under that gaze, Ayano frantically continued .

"What? . . . . . . . . th-that's the truth! The cooking is obviously a full course meal, the aperitif is Krug Champagne, the wine is Château

d'Yquem and Romanée-conti so there! "

By the way those products were extremely expensive Champagne, white wine and red wine .

They weren't normally combined because they would dry one's wallet .

But no matter how much Ayano shared her true feelings, she couldn't correct their misunderstanding .

"Ayano-chan, aren't you focusing too much on the alcohol? "

Yuukari revealed a somewhat out of sync impression .

"No, you see, if she were to drink all that she can use the drunken urge excuse", Nanase shrewdly offered her oppinion .

"Aah, that's convenient! Because Ayano-chan isn't quite honest with herself--- "

"That's right . She really put some thought into this, huh? "

What's more, after leaving the person in question out of the conversation and doing as they please, they suddenly turned towards her .

Facing Ayano, the vein on her temple popping because of anger, for a second time Yuukari extended her hand .

"So, I really think you should take this! "

On her open palm there were several contraceptive tools .

That was the final blow .

While the heat emitted from her body made the air flicker, Ayano shouted .

"Stooooooop this alreadyyyyy!! "

 

 

The evening

Ayano was escorted by Kazuma, finely dressed, to one of the restaurants in Shinjuku .

Today she is wearing a mature one-piece dress that was wrapping up her body and pumps with high heels .

If her friends were to see her they would have said that if her purpose was only to make Kazuma spend money, her uniform should have

been fine but, as expected they didn't follow her so far .

Instead, there was no one to praise the way she look after especially dressing up .

"All things considered, you had those kind of clothes, huh?"

After being showed in by the waiter and taking their seats by the window, while looking down on the city lights, Ayano said so with

admiration .

Kazuma was wearing extremely high class clothes, even though worn casually, in his usual style .

Adding the numbers from top to bottom, it was more than the yearly income of an average salary man .

"Hmm? Aah-- ", nodded Kazuma looking good .

"I slipped into the United Kingdom's royal palace not too long ago . It was necessary to have one tailored . "

"Royal palace? "

"Yeah . I searched for various information from the elite . Come to think of it, I had various close conversations with royalty . About

weather and such . "

" . . . . . . . is that close? ", relied Ayano in an amazed expression but Kazuma continued, not minding it .

"It was after the clock tower slanted so I was being fearful of not being found out . "

"It seems like there are always destroyed tall buildings whenever you are involved, hmm? ", shouted Ayano by reflex .

Several months from now on, the girl would remember this conversation together with the symbol of battle but as of now, it was still

a joke .

Looking really upset, Kazuma shook his head .

"It wasn't like that . Aah- look"

A short period of silence . And then, Kazuma clapped his hands, saying proudly .

"That's right, when I went to New York, I didn't destroy one residential building . "

This time Ayano wasn't angry . Making an excessively sorrowful expression instead, she murmured .

" . . . . . . How to say this, wandering throughout the world and the behavior of taking time to remember where you didn't cause

destruction, can't you see any problem here? "

"No, not really"

Kazuma immediately replied . It was an impressive attitude as if saying he has nothing to be ashamed of .

" . . . . . . . I see . Well, that's good"

Realizing it was meaningless trying to demand common sense from this man, Ayano called the waited with a casual gesture .

By the way, her order was really the most expensive .

And by the time the hors d'oeuvres were taken away---

When Ayano turned eyes full of anticipation toward the waited who uncorked a bottle of wine and was just pouring in the glass, at

that time---

A gunshot resounded, making everyone silent .

Just like in any peaceful country there were almost no people in the restaurant who understood that was a gunshot .

But the riffle that right now fired consecutively and the reality of seeing the chandelier pulverized made the threat known to the

guests .

Instantly the restaurant was in panic .

"Silence! "

The angry voice of the man holding the gun appeased it . In the now quiet restaurant, men who clearly didn't respect the dress code

entered .

Five of them . They were all armed .

Their representative shouted .

"We are patriots who love the country, the <<Pure Patriotic Gathering>>! I'm sorry for interrupting in the middle of your meal but if

you are brothers who also love the country, I believe you will willingly cooperate with us! "


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Maybe he planned to say it like a polite request but he he thought nothing about other people's circumstance and it felt like a very

pushy manner of speaking .

Well, naturally bragging with such a name like the <<Pure Patriotic Gathering>>, it was a mistake to expect common sense from such

people .

Anyway they came here planning to act criminally . Ripping off money from the customers and the restaurant or maybe abduction or

assassination .

In the end . they didn't found their real objective . Because---

"Kazuma, what's the matter? "

Kazuma caught in midair the bottle of wine the sommelier threw out but he was looking elsewhere, not at those men .

From the beginning civilians who had nothing else but guns couldn't possibly pose a threat to these two .

Ayano too calmly ignored them and following Kazuma's gaze, she opened her eyes wide in surprise .

"What, is that? "

A strange animal was seating on top of a vacant table .

It's shape resembled that of a lizard . It was extremely big but didn't seem abnormal . But even so, that lizard was bright red .

Except his body color he was entirely clad in flames . It wasn't a breed-cross .

Ayano had an idea about that type of creature .

"Why is a salamander here? "

A salamander is a species of Demon Beast living inside fire .

Except from when found in nature, it was impossible for it to suddenly appear downtown .

Kazuma replied to the puzzled Ayano .

"Wrong, that's not a salamander but a Spirit Beast that closely resembles that shape . "

"Spirit Beast? Huh, is that so? ", murmured Ayano as if seeing something curious .

"What, is this your first time? Ah, I remember now, it's not something popular in Japan"

A spirit beast is a collection of spirits controlled with a virtual personality that behaves like a living thing, employed like a

familiar, the agglutination of both Seirei-jutsu and ritual magic, a magical weapon .

A Spirit Beast of Spirit Formula are some of the various names this technique has but it doesn't have a Japanese equivalent .

That's because this technique is not really used in Japan .

The merits of employing Spirit Beasts are two: full capacity sharing and specialization effect .

For these two to become a set, it's theoretically impossible to acquire just one .

First, the virtual persona must take over the spirit control to make possible now for the practitioner the control of more spirits

than he originally could .

Giving example the human society, it's the use of middle management for the sake of keeping an eye on each and every subordinate .

But because the virtual persona is the one actually controlling the Spirits a time lag is produced in the commands and detailed

instructions cannot be passed down .

Inevitably, the practitioner can only give the rough indications that were previously inserted in the virtual persona .

That's why it will move according to a program . Meaning, that it can do nothing else .

In short, by casting away the general purpose nature of Jutsu and instead only handle proper situations can one's power be displayed

beyond it's capacity .

So, the reason Spirit Beasts didn't spread in Japan is---

"What? "

because of them .

Because from the beginning like the Enjutsushi Kannagi Clan and the Chijutsushi Tsuwabuki Family, there were a lot world top class

Seirei Jutsushi family lineages present in Japan .

Thus, those superior people often boasted with their talent .

The masters of the art have the tendency of looking down on those not so excellent .

For such people, the technique called Sacred Beast was the way of circumventing the limit without acquiring the power, nothing more but

the <<deed of the weak>> .

Because that recognition spread all over the country, even if there were inferior Jutsushi in Japan, they would never have used the

spirit beasts nor study it .

Because it would be like declaring they belong to the weak .

"what a Jutsu to use . . . . . . "

Looking at Kazuma who murmured those words, Ayano asked .

"Do you have one, a Sacred Beast? "

"No, I don't use one . But the only ones who can say I don't need it, even among Kanagi's direct descendants are those who can at

least stand up against my old man . While it's true his ability decreased, it would be better to have even a weak talisman against

him"

"Hmmm . . . . . . . . . . . ", murmured Ayano as if thinking of something .

Staring at her, Kazuma coldly gave her a warning .

"Aah, I'm telling you, don't use it either . Rather that that kind of hobby, improve your swordplay . "

Ayano was already holding a very restrictive, specialized magic tool-- Enraiha .

The technical skill she was pursuing in order to perfectly handle it didn't allow her free time to get involved with another jutsu .

"I- I know that! ", replied Ayano with an expression that said she obviously didn't .

And, as if trying to change the subject, with a red face, she continued speaking .

"If that's a Sacred Bast does it mean a Enjutsushi is inside this restaurant? "

"It seems so . The flames can't really be controlled remotely"

"Are they opponents? Or allies? "

"Who knows? ", replied Kazuma thoroughly irresponsible .

Seeing that half-hearted attitude Ayano pouted but faster than she could criticize him, the situation changed .

The sacred beast opened his mouth wide and from that large opening, it spat out an even larger fireball .

The deep crimson fire gently danced in the air and touched the arm of one of the men carrying firearms . That instant, like a bubble

that bursts open, the fireball exploded, going out without a trace .

Together with the arm of the man it just touched .

"Eeh? Aah, Oooooooooooooo!? Waaahhhh! "

At first confused and next in a daze, the man finally panicked and started screaming, yielding the arm who disappeared from elbow-

down .

Because he cross-section was carbonized there was no blood .

"Wha- what is going on? "

The men who finally noticed the existence of the Sacred Beast turned their guns to the unfamiliar apparition .

Because they were trembling, the bullets didn't reach only the target but flew practically in all directions .

"Hey, hey"

With a murmur of surprise, Kazuma quickly took refuge under the table . Confused, Ayano followed .

And then, she secretly peeked on the situation above .

Mew, mew, mew

Raising that somewhat cute voice, the sacred beast rapidly-fired more fireballs .

The bolides that floated like soap bubbles hit the men holding guns, unaffected by their bullets .

Bam

Bam

Bam

Together with a comical sound, the fireballs burst open . Together with parts of their bodies .

Like cheese holes, their bodies spouted various openings . Because the end was carbonized there was no blood .

Even pierced through the stomach, their internal organs didn't spill out .

Even if the heads became halves, their brains didn't peek out .

There was no smell of blood .

It was a show of dismantled humans . It was an extremely graphic one, that spectacle of extreme pain .

The shooting was already over . Everyone was already dead . But even so the sacred beast continued firing making holes in the dead

bodies .

Bam

By accident or design, although loosing more that half of it's body, the corpse who was still standing was finally intercepted by a

fireball .

A silence as if the world ended fell .

Because of the phenomenon produced in front of their eyes, it's excessive quality, strangeness and gruesomeness--- they were all

speechless, unable to move .

A voice containing a small smile drifted in the air .

"---?"

Ayano turned around searching for the owner of the voice .

Together with that laughter, a silhouette appeared in front of them with a golden brilliance .

All customers looked her way .

Adorably waving his tail, the sacred beast standing on top of the table stepped up to her .

That one woman .

Golden hair gently waving and brilliant, sparky blue eyes that couldn't be mistaken even in the poor illumination .

What appeared was a beautiful woman, very luxurious, with an overbearing atmosphere adequate to a queen rather than a princess .

The woman approached the sacred beast that killed five people without fear . And then she slowly extended her hand---

"You did very well, Azazel . You're a very good kid"

The sacred beast-- Azazel was tickled under his jaw . Azazel purred like a cat .

"On the other hand"

While gently brushing Azazel's belly, the woman slowly turned around .

She was looking straight underneath the table Ayano's head was peeking out .

Her speech, gaze and attitude, including contempt in all of them, the woman said .

"Kannagi's Miko Hime (trad: Sorceress Princess), I am disappointed in you"

"What does that mean? Besides, who are you? "

Catching that provocative speech, Ayano raised her brows .

Doing so, the woman elegantly held the hem of her skirt and bowed .

"I was slow in introducing myself . I am Catherine McDonald . Hearing the name of the glorious McDonald family, you cannot say you do

not know, right? "

"----?"

Catherine McDonald was taught and used old-fashioned Japanese for her self-introduction .

But even so, Ayano couldn't think anything else but the name of a famous family restaurant .

Seeing Ayano tilting her head on the side, Katherine's elegance and good looks froze .

With a bitter smile, Kazuma followed .

"It's an American prestigious family of Enjutsushi . Especially when it comes to Spirits Beasts they are unrivaled . "

"Huh? How well informed . "

"That's common knowledge . In this society at least . "

Kazuma mercilessly sank his boot into the praising Ayano . But, there was a continuation .

"I see, since you are such an ignorant young girl, it's childish of me to get angry . "

Scowling at Katherine who was laughing full of sarcasm, Ayano shouted .

"S-shut up! Your pedigree is inconsequential! What did you mean you are disappointed in me? "

"Ara, that's pretty obvious, right? "

Raising her chin proudly, Katherine declared . And then, she lightly pointed at the corpses .

"Not punishing those kind of villains behaving so selfishly and hiding underneath the table thinking only of your own protection . We,

the <<powerful ones>> are supposed to have the duty of carrying out justice in behalf of the weak . Are you even aware of such a noble

duty? "

"Wait a minute . Do you claim this is justice? ", asked Ayano looking at the human wreckage full of holes but Katherine elatedly threw

out her chest in pride .

"Of course"

"Of course not! ", retorted Ayano .

"There are various methods, right? There was no need to kill them or if you wanted to kill then you should have done it before they

even managed to fire, you know? Just look around! Because you took your sweet time doing it, the place suffered so much damage! "

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


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As if to say "Ara, I have just noticed this" Katherine looked around .

Certainly inside the shop was full of bullet holes and victims bleeding out .

But even with such a spectacle in front of her eyes, her facial expression didn't waver even a little not feeling guilty and she

proudly declared .

"The important thing is that justice was carried out . Victims are of no importance . "

"Wah, what an American idea", murmured Ayano completely disgusted .

But with this, she understood .

That between her and this woman- Katherine McDonald, their sense of value were different from the foundation .

Even if they spoke the same language, they can never establish a conversation .

"Well . . . . . I understand what you wanted to say . Although I don't agree . "

Giving up on the barren exchange, Ayano turned her back on Katherine .

There are plenty of activities better than insulting the creepy woman . First she should check the condition of the injured---

"Wait"

But even so, Katherine called out Ayano .

Annoyed, Ayano looked over her shoulder .

"What? "

"I came to Japan to meet you . We met here by chance but this is convenient . How about we get this thing over with? "

"Thing? "

"Yes, I want you to give me something-- no, two things"

She said to give but that was definitely not a request .

Taking on the rather aggressive gaze, Ayano urged her .

"Really?--- I don't feel like giving you a scrap of paper but how about saying it out loud? "

Picking a fight or rather accepting the challenge--- not hesitant at those words, Katherine smiled attractively .

"What I want is the title of the Strongest held by the Kannagi Clan . And as a proof of it, I would be glad to receive Enraiha,

the Sacred Tool you have received from the Spirit Lord"

At the direct declaration of war, Ayano's temple vein twitched .

"Bring it on! "

Closing her eyes partly, Ayano's lips raised .

"You know, I don't particularly consider myself the strongest but--- the title of The Strongest the Kannagi holds is not

something so cheap it can be handed over to a hamburger shop! "

This time Katherine's mouth twitched .

" . . . . . you said it"

A voice ripped at the bottom of Hell .

"You said them, those words! You regard in the same light my lineage family and a humble fast food restaurant! "

It seems she pricked something she shouldn't have . But Ayano sank her boot even more on the enraged Katherine .

"Ancient origin you said but aren't you an American? Then your history goes back two hundred years at most . How can you possibly boast

with that standard of tradition?", declared Ayano arrogantly, backed up by the history of a millennium .

"Sh-shut up! Even if our tradition is short, I won't let anyone look down on the name of our family who continued devoting their life

to the pursuit of magic, no matter who it is!"

"Then shouldn't you boast about that in the first place? Don't be so stingy and brag about your two hundred years blob of a history"

"S-stingy . . . . . . !"

Even her knowledge of Japanese was incomplete, Katherine understood perfectly well that contempt .

And then, Ayano gave the trembling Katherine the final blow .

"You actually want to say We worked so hard . Please praise us! Yes, that right, how admirable . You can come closer to pat you on

the head . But, aren't you too conceited to challenge the Kannagi Clan? If you apologize while grinding your forehead to the ground,

I'll forgive you just now . "

As a return to the declaration of war that got full marks .

Those provocative words and the tone full of scorn conveyed to the opponent without a doubt that the situation couldn't be concluded

just verbally anymore .

"That's just fine! ", murmured Katherine in a monotonous, strangely flat tone .

Just like before, although there was no emotional disturbance in her tone it didn't mean she wasn't angry .

She was already beyond that level .

"I will show you the power of the rising family without history nor tradition . The technique you looked down upon as weak I'll

let your body decide just how much might doest it have!"

Coincident with the loud declaration, Katherine boosted her power . The flame that manifested in front of her immediately molded in a

human shape .

Matching that, Ayano unsheathed Enraiha .

Crimson and gold---the two-colored flames, each dazzling, spread forcefully dying the world in their colors .

"Well then--- "

While looking at those two about to clash with a sidelong glance, Kazuma investigated the surroundings .

It seems that the manager of the shop was a quick wit as he already skillfully finished evacuating the customers .

Not one injured person remained around, in fact there was enough information to understand the situation .

In any case, there was no outsider on the floor . If it's like that, even if those two were to become violent, no serious harm will

come of it .

If he were to contact Kirika afterward, the situation could be settled, on way or another .

As lond as those two's crash won't destroy the entire building .

"If it comes to that, I'm the one who has to stop them? Don't wanna . . . "

Reluctant from the bottom of his heart, Kazuma grumbled in his heart .

If he were to stop them, he had to be prepared to use his power without reservation from the bottom of his heart .

"Well, no need to think that far ahead"

This time expressing it out loud, as if suddenly thinking about something, Kazuma headed for the kitchen .

"Come forth, my protective spirit, Metatron! "

From the back Katherine's vigorous shout could be heard .

In a stance holding Enraiha, Ayano observed the thing in front of her eyes .

It was a little over two meters . Looking like a Greek sculpture, it had a very beautifully proportioned body .

On it's back there were huge wings-- unsurprisingly clinched, the figure on an Angel .

But even if the idea was stale, the modeling was praiseworthy .

That extremely detailed appearance that didn't seem possible to be molded out of fire emitted the dignity appropriate for it's name,

the one sitting on the throne .

In his right hand there was a sword resembling Enraiha .

Holding it loosely Metatron confronted Ayano .

"Come now, Kannagi's Miko Hime", pronounced Katherine in a tone bouncing with excitement .

"Please make way for the concentrated effort of my entire family, our protective spirit! "

Protective spirit . The moment she thought that was the way the sacred beast was called--- it moved .

The wings on it's back spread widely, flapping them . Doing so, fire feathers spread from them, shooting out like knifes .

There were a lot of them .

Instantly Ayano's field of vision was covered in feathers .

"---!!"

The Kannagi Clan is under the divine protection of all Fire Spirits . Their bodies cannot be injured by fire .

The only exception under the attack of more excellent Enjutsushi, Genma and Juugo only, as far as she knew .

Whether it's McDonalds or Lotteria (another fast food chain) it doesn't matter, she didn't think a developing family could gather

enough power .

But Ayano swung Enraiha intercepting the flame feathers . The gushing out golden flame swallowed countless plumes and consumed them .

The flame feathers couldn't negate Ayano's blaze and were too quickly gone . But immediately following the flaming angel drew near

Ayano piercing the raging golden flame .

The sword held in it's right hand was already raised overhead .

"Fast . . . . . !"

Ayano side-stepped on a grand scale . She narrowly escaped the flame sword aiming straight at her .

Ayano took a bid sidestep . She managed to avoid by a hair's breath the sword aiming at her in a straight line .

Luckily there was no pursuit .

In front of Ayano, Enraiha ready, Metatron slowly turned .

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

Carefully, she put distance between them . And then, considered what might follow .

The Spirit Beast, in a word, the manifestation of the phenomenon of binding together Spirits and altering their form to one's desire .

Naturally, the more it was altered the more it deviated from essence .

Meaning that the thing called Metatron was Katherine's familiar first and then flame .

If so, it must be admitted . - that flame was was capable of harming even Ayano .

If not for that, it's impossible she would just pick a fight with her .

Resolving herself, Ayano started to run . As in agreement, Metatron did too .

"-----uueh!?"

Metatron didn't . Not moving his feet, not even changing his posture, as if gliding, with a high speed movement he swung his sword at

Ayano .

Because of too much surprise, her timing was off .

Unable to sustain it or dodge, she evaded by clumsily tumbling on the floor .

This time there was pursuit .

In a flash Metatron closed in and swung down the flaming sword .

Getting up by utilizing the force of her tumble, Ayano simultaneously raised Enraiha . The slashing attack that cut towards the sky

scattered easily the ablaze sword .

"---fuu", breathed Ayano lightly taking her distance while getting poised back for charging .

Thinking about it, it was only natural . Metatron had a humanoid shape but that was only its outward appearance .

There was no need for it to follow the movement of a human body made of skeleton and muscles . Rather, in spite of looking human he

moved the way no human could -- it could be considered some sort of weapon that exploits a gap in one's mind . Which means, Ayano was

splendidly caught up in it .

"How to say it, that's a real nuisance . . . . . . . "

Because the scope of her power was unknown, Ayano was pressured to follow her pace from the beginning . If she could she would ignore

such a thing and strike the Jutsushi herself so she was carefully preparing for such a thing .

She fleetingly examined Catherine's appearance . Noticing her gaze, showing a refined smile, the girl said:

"Please give up such a pointless resistance and admit your defeat, if you are so inclined? "

"As if, dunce", replied Ayano frankly .

At the rude tone, Catherine involuntarily knit her brows .

"Although as a woman I have a problem with such a manner of speaking, all right . To make you realize the difference in power, it will

hurt for a little bit . "

In response to the silent command, Metatron came forward . Matching that, Ayano also raised Enraiha .

She won't give him the time to use such a gliding motion . From the beginning, that trick could only work once . And, with only pure

might, she will cut that fire sword with Enraiha----

"--haaa!"

Just as she expected, in a moment the fire sword vanished . A continuous diagonal flash obliquely sliced Metatron's body .

From the cross-section of the bisected fire angel, dumbfounded and rock-still, Catherine's expression could be seen .

Facing her way, Ayano proudly declared .

"If I get kind of serious, this is the result"

"Ah, what are you talking about? ", came the reply immediately .

In that instant, Ayano realized . That Catherine's mouth, whose protecting spirit was supposed to have been destroyed, was still

smiling . And then, the bisected Metatron, without having healed his injury, made a stab with with his left hand holding the sword .

In Ayano's brain the previous deduction was revived with the speed of lightning .

Metatron's human form was only skin-deep . His insides didn't imitate those of a human, it was dangerous to employ battle tactics that

would work against a human . The way she moved, also aiming for his vitals .

"Am I an idiot or what----!"


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In her heart, Ayano was abusing herself . The opponent wasn't even a life form . Whether she bisected him or shredded him julienne

style, it was theoretically impossible for it to die .

She couldn't imerse herself in the reverberation of victory until after she defeated Catherine McDonald .

"Kuh--"

There was no more time to raise Enraiha . Without hesitation Ayano let go of Enraiha and intercepted Metatron's hand with her empty

right hand clad in flame .

Crash - ignoring the heat and impact transmitted whole through her right hand, she swung her arm with all her strength .

The girl's fist smashed the hand holding the sword and his entire left arm .

As expected she couldn't offset erything -- her hand, for the first time was lightly burned -- but it wasn't bad enough to disable

her from holding her sword .

Compared with taking a direct hit, it was nothing more but damage that could be ignored .

"--Return"

In a low voice, Catherine made Metatron fall back . And then, while she restored the damaged part, looked at Ayano with a damp gaze

"You're really obstinate, geez"

"---?"

Ayano slightly tilted her hand to the side in confusion at the enemy's appearance abruptly loosing it's composure .

That woman was still supposed to hold the advantage even now .

But, while observing Catherine, she realized . That what was reflected in her eyes was the feeling of fear .

In spite of commencing many lethal attacks, Ayano was still going strong .

She wasn't unhurt but she still had plenty of combat ability left in her .

Faced with that reality, Catherine felt fear towards the existence of an enemy who could evenly fight against her .

Perhaps, up until now she never fought someone stronger or even .

That's right, she was the same Ayano was before meeting Kazuma .

If so, now it was the time to attack .

"What am I supposed to do?"

Ayano too, didn't discover the way to beat Metatron . She understood the extent of it's power but even so she couldn't find the weak

spot to give it a decisive blow .

Or perhaps, it was pointless to attack that thing . So to speak, he was similar with the paper something was stamped on so even it it

was torn off, as long as the stamp template remained, it could be reproduced as much as one likes .

"If Metatron's flame can burn through everything, before he can do so next time I'll attack the Jutsushi itself"

She considered the idea that came to her head randomly . But before she could reach a conclusion, she received the right answer from

outside .

"It's impossible"

"---!?"

At the murmur she heard from behind, Ayano jumped extremely surprised .

Peeking behind a little but still keeping her eyes on Catherine, she saw Kazuma's figure sitting down on top of the table in a

perfectly relaxed manner .

"You . . . . . where have you been until now . . . . . . "

Beginning to speak, Ayano stopped in mid-sentence . There was no point in knowing that .

Rather, it was possible he had been there the entire time sightseeing or sneaked behind Ayano only to frighten her .

At any rate, it was impossible for her to grasp Kazuma elusive presence in the middle of the battle .

"What's impossible?"

"Different from the flame as a natural phenomenon, even for you it's impossible to burn the flame bent by another's spell . Give up",

declared Kazuma as if reading Ayano's mind .

She naturally agreed with him but but she had no other plan . Spontaneously, while sulking, she asked .

"Then, what are you telling me to do?"

"You're confusing what you should be burning with what you see"

An incomprehensible answer was returned . Ayano wanted further clarification, but with a ill-natured smile Kazuma shook his head .

"That's the only hint you get . It's also tasteless to interrupt other people's brawl with conversation"

Declaring so, irresponsible to the limit and saying do your best, for the second time he entered the watch the game mode . It

was obvious he had no intention of saying anything anymore .

Ayano resigned her questioning and confronted Metatron . Naturally all the damage it received up until now disappeared without a

trace .

"I won't be going easy on you anymore", said Catherine obviously having lost her composure .

"Be destroyed here, Kannagi Miko Hime!"

In response to her loud shout, Metatron approached promptly .

Also determined, Ayano met the enemy .

"The refresh rate rose!?"

Realizing that fact, her face turned pale .

Because Catherine gave it her all to manage it, the guardian spirit shaped like an angel clearly increased its power .

His regeneration speed was especially uncommon .

Even if she bisected it's torso, by the time the sword came out, the cut on the opposite side was already beginning to heal .

No matter how many times she cut him it was pointless .

"Kuh----what am I supposed to do------?"

While tiding over Metatron's fierce attack, Ayano recalled Kazuma's words .

"You're confusing what you should be burning with what you see"

Certainly not ignoring Metatron and aiming for Catherine . If that were so simple there would be no difficulties and if she were to do

it by brute force it would require enough caloric value to use almost all her ability .

Total annihilation - she was reluctant to do that .

If so, what exactly was she supposed to burn of Metatron - of the spirit beast . There's no point destroying only a part of him .

The spirit beast - the virtual persona binding the spirits that did no more that imitating human form .

Therefore he had no vitals and even if she were to behead him, like a headless knight he would easily continue to fight .

"Aah, if that's the case, is it hopeless burning the virtual persona?"

In a flash thought Ayano she had a good idea but the next moment it was discarded .

Even if theoretically it was possible, Ayano didn't have the experience for such a fine technique .

"That baka, he didn't tell me what he himself would do, right?"

While silently abusing Kazuma, she avoided Metatron's flaming sword .

As a matter of fact using this spirit beast was foul play .

When it was was nothing but fire to injure her body, because of that strange alteration the flames were fully blocked off .

"Che--- huh?"

In response to that truth that suddenly dawned upon her, Ayano forgot she was in the midst of battle and stood rock still .

"Is that something that works?"

Following that break Metatron approached urgently but without even noticing it, Ayano was immersed in her own thoughts .

And then, just before the sword was about to pierce her forehead, Ayano manifested a golden flame and purified Metatron .

Once she became aware of it, it was a very simple thing .

Because it was altered, all she had to do was revert it to it's normal state .

No matter what Jutsu formula was used to make the spirit beast, no matter where it was - all of it didn't matter .

She simply used the natural phenomenon called flame as a denominator and got rid of all the extra noise .

Thus, the Kannagi flame was a purifying flame - exorcising everything that wasn't natural, the flame that crushed evil .

It didn't matter how strong the the spirit beast Catherine McDonald was using was .

Because the Kannagi Clan was the natural enemy of all those employing Spirit Beasts .

Ayano's flame instantly burned through the Jutsu that configured Metatron .

In a moment, the fire angel's delicate modeling crumbled away and for the time being lost it's human shape and was reduced to a

child's molding .

Passing by that powerless thing, in a sprint Ayano ran towards Catherine .

She won't give her the time to make another Metatron .

She obviously wouldn't kill her so she put the sword away . Instead, tightly grasping her fist she turned it to that composed face .

But it seemed it wasn't necesary . Dumbfounded, absolutely dumbfounded Catherine was standing still as if fossilized .

It was obvious the battle finished .

"Was loosing her protective spirit she boasted about that much of a shock? No--"

The expression of that woman was pure fear . And her gaze was slightly turned away from Ayano to where Metatron once was .

"Eh? Huh? Wait, no way--"

Slightly later, Ayano too noticed . The reason Catherine was terrified .

The protective spirit, the flame spirits packed tightly within an angel template was a high density mass of flame .

If so, if that model were to be unfastened without following the proper procedures----

"Wait a minute-------------------------!"

It already became the case where Catherine wasn't the opponent anymore . If she couldn't control that flame and let it be dispelled,

the calorific value and shock wave released would turn this building to nothingness .

Putting herself together, Ayano stretched out her hand and consciousness . But---

She didn't make in time .

A thunderous roar instantly paralyzed her eardrums . The crimson flame filled the floor . That thing itself represented no particular

problem .

The flame already returned to its natural state was unable to harm an Enjutsushi .

But she had no way of resisting the shock wave that accompanied that flame .

The blast swept away her body together with that of the girl who was her antagonist just now and expelled them ten meters above the

ground .

The feeling of floating for an instant and then obeying the law of gravitation, Ayano's body started to fall .

"Kyaaaaaah!"

"Shut up, you're noisy"

That high scream was silenced by a sullen low bass . Before she knew it, Ayano was embraced by Kazuma's arms, standing still in the

air .

"Aah . . . . . Kazuma . . . . . thank you"

"You're welcome"

Saying so in a posture she couldn't calm herself down and while blushing, Kazuma replied in a blunt tone .

While thinking his attitude was unusually cold, Ayano first inquired:

"That woman?"

In silence Kazuma jerked his jaw . Following that, she saw Cathrine seeming to fly in the sky on a brand new Metatron she somehow

managed to make - holding onto him and overlooking them .

It was difficult to grasp the distance in mid-air but she seemed apart by ten meters . But even at this distance, that odious smile

was in place as she loudly declared .

"Kannagi Miko Hime! I'll be so generous and recognize today was a draw!"

"Wha--"

At that shameless way of speaking, Ayano was at a loss for words . But completely pulling herself together after a few seconds,

yelling with bare rage, she retorted:

"Don't kid me you dunce! No matter how you think about it, it's my victory! If you are so inclined I'll purify that puppet right here

and right now and let you experience a parachute-free free fall!"

With a start, Catherine's shoulders began to tremble she understood they were too far apart .

Little by little, but steadily her silhouette drew further and further .

"A- anyway, today I'll grant you forgiveness . Next time I'll thoroughly whip the floor with you so look forward to that!"

"How fussy, don't ever come back, or rather die here!"

Screaming so, Ayano raised Enraiha overhead but before she managed to swing it down Kazuma stopped her .

She turned around furiously seeing Kazuma's face even more displeased, she gulped down her words .

"That woman doesn't matter . The problem is here"

Saying so, Kazuma shifted her body . In Ayano's field of vision the building they have been in until now was reflected .

It was a miserable sight . the top floor where the battle took place was blowing up flames and smoke even now and because of the last

explosion the rooftop was shaking ominously .

"Huh--? But surprisingly the damage is not very bad, I almost expected it's entire destruction"

" . . . . . . Because most of the explosion was directed outside . By me", spat out Kazuma as if saying he needlessly expended effort .

He pouted dissatisfied .

"What's with the attitude? Haven't I acted according to Kazuma's advice?"

"Because I never thought you wouldn't notice that"

About what would happen after dealing with Metatron---

"Uuu . . . . "

Beyond doubt, that was her own mismanagement . Ayano mumbled without any words to retort .

"Well, it's in the past so don't worry about it . The problem is that"

Kazuma pointed to the rooftop of the building .

"Still, I wasn't able to deflect all of it . A big part of the shock went up . The rooftop will collapse pretty soon"

" . . . . . . . eh?"

"Because the top floor's floor is done for, it's unable to support the double weight . So, it will fall down . And it will cause a

chain reaction"

" . . . . . . . Whait, that's . . . . . "

Faced with such a serious situation, Ayano turned pale . In the worst case scenario the building will collapse in its entireness .

"Even if the other party initiated aggression, all the same it's bad if an entire building gets destroyed because of your private

matter . Besides there will be a lot of casualties . "

"Wha . . . . . . . what am I supposed to do? "

With an expression about to burst into tears any second, Ayano looked up at Kazuma .

As expected in such circumstance not even Kazuma would tease Ayano and directly suggested his plan .

"Thoroughly burn the roof and top floor with Enraiha . "

"----ha?"

"Not just blow it away . there's no point damaging the lower floor . The explosion, the shock, all of it, burn it all to nothingness . "

Having it explained so clearly, even Ayano understood it . In other words, that the main catalysis for the chain caving in should be

eliminated before it can happen .

It was a terribly coercive feat of strength but there was no time to dwell on it .

Her decision reflected in her pupils, Ayano drew Enraiha .

"I'll support you . Don't hold back"

Influenced by Kazuma's voice, Ayano brandished Enraiha with all her strength .

 

 

 


"Ah, geez, I'm so tired!"

Vigorously dropping herself on a perk bench, Ayano shouted in a tone loaded with emotion .

"Why do I have to experience this kind of thing even in one of my off days!? "

Kazuma, soundlessly sitting down next to her, murmured with a cigarette in his mouth .

"Isn't it because your usual behavior is sinful? "

"That's not something you could say to me! ", retorted Ayano in a flash .

But, instantly calming her anger, she entrusted her body to the bench in a dispirited manner .

"Aah--aah . . . . . "

A murmur void of energy leaked out . Casting her eyes down she spontaneously saw her own appearance .

To speak frankly it was shabby . The brand-new one-piece dress was dirty here and there and torn, she had no choice but to throw it

away now . Because she went on a rampage her hair was disheveled .

Ayano couldn't suppress her sigh .

No matter who the other party was, this was still her first date . Even if she didn't approve of him, even so, she spent time selecting

her outfit, carefully arranging her hair and even if it was light, she wore make-up .

And yet---

"Aah--aah . . . . . "

You overdid it, God -- she couldn't help but think like that .

But faced with humans who disrespectfully tried to push the cause of their own unhappiness onto him, God obviously wouldn't help .

Rather, he would bestow another blow just to make sure .

Kyururu . . . . . .

In the dark park the girl's stomach rumbled . Properly speaking it was a small sound but in the quiet space it roared like a thunder .

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

In the world that once more grew quiet, bright red to the ears, Ayano curled herself .

Because of too much embarrassment, she couldn't even look up .

But even so .

" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I'm hungry"

That's all she could think of to say .

If she thought about it, she didn't get to eat her precious full meal, little of the hors d'óeuvres, she didn't get to enjoy the

delicious wine she was looking forward to and was dragged into battle .

Her hunger already passed the level where it could just be ignored .

Everything is this guy's fault - with unjustified resentment through misunderstanding, Ayano scowled at Kazuma .

Unusually gentlemanly Kazuma was smoking pretending he didn't hear her stomach and,when feeling her gaze, stood up with a wry smile .

"Wait a minute"

Saying so, he disappeared from the park . And several minutes later --

"There you go"

Having returned, Kazuma tossed something in Ayano's hands .

"Kyaa!? Wh-what? "

By reflex Ayano caught it and observed the unexpectedly hot beanbag .

A large lump of faint violet color . The packed contents seemed thick and heavy . The aroma rising from it was sweet .

"---roasted sweet potato?"

"Yeah"

Not affected by that critical gaze, Kazuma resumed sitting on the bench .

Ayano was still looking at him a critical gaze as if he was the enemy of her parents .

"Why did a French full course turned into a roasted potato?"

"With that appearance we can't go to another restaurant, right? If you don't like it, there was a ramen cart behind the park?"

" . . . . . . . . it's fine"

Burying her dissatisfaction, Ayano tore the sweet potato right in half and bit into it .

"Wah . . . . . . it's delicious"

The sweetness that spread inside her as if melting . The warmth that reached her core, her cold body and her heart that grew wild -

becoming relaxed was irrepressible .

"Do you want some?"

In a tolerant mood after her hunger subsided, Ayano held out to Kazuma part of the potato but--

"No, I'm fine"

Kazuma declined and took out a small bottle from his bosom .

The moment he removed the cork, a rich flavor stimulated Ayano's nose .

"Eeh, wait a minute, is that . . . . "

With a backward glance at Ayano, frowning as if she realized something, Kazuma nimbly gulped from the bottle .

And then let out a long breath of satisfaction .

"Yeah, it's delicious"

"Wait, you . . . . . this is, no way "

"Hmm, yeah, because the bottle was already opened so it would be wasteful not to drink it . If I didn't take it out, I would very

much regretted it"

As expected - thought Ayano amazed by Kazuma's shrewdness .

At that time there was an uncorked wine bottle on their table .

In the middle of that chaos, Kazuma pilfered a small bottle from the kitchen and secured part of the wine .

""You . . . . . . when someone else is fighting for her life, why are you behaving so selfishly? "

"That's fine . This is very expensive after all"

"But it's not like you payed for it!"

" . . . . . . . . . "

As if he realized it just now hearing Ayano's reply, Kazuma stared in wonder .

"---I see"

Pan - And then he clapped his hands .

But of course, he wasn't the kind of man to reform his attitude because of that ---

"Aah, in that case it's excellent . Free of charge is a lovely expression"

Spouting a thoroughly self-centered remark, he was about to drink from it a second time .

But Ayano roughly clutched the bottle .

"It's not excellent at all! Besides who decided you ca drink by yourself!? Give it to me too! "

"No, I don't think sweet potatoes go with wine"

"Just do it!"

While shouting Ayano tore off the bottle by brute force . Next she was about to try the wine when suddenly realizing something she

stiffened .

Fleetingly throwing a side-glance Kazuma's way she lightly blushed .

"This . . . . . Kazuma's mouth . . . . . "

Several seconds of reticence . Kazuma peeked with a look of complaint at Ayano, whose movements stopped while staring at the bottle .

"Wha--at? If you're not going to drink give it---"

"I- I'm drinking it!"

Relying on the force of her shout, Ayano gulped down from the bottle with all her strength . But, because she was a bit too forceful

most of the wine flew in her trachea .

Ayano magnificently choked .

Staring amazed at her coughing so violently her body seemed to break, Kazuma murmured:

" . . . . . . . . what are you doing . This is wasteful"

"le . . . . . . leave me alone . . . . . . "

Taking great pains to normalize her breath, Ayano wiped her her mouth . But droplets of spilled wine were still remaining on her

cheeks and neck .

About to tell her that, Kazuma suddenly showed a broad grin full of mischief .

Stealthily he came near Ayano's face who was still somewhat short of breath --- and using his tongue licked the cheek where red

droplets of wine still remained .

"Waaah Hyaaaaaaa!"

Ayano jumped up while screaming hysterically .

"Wha- wha- wha- what are you--!?"

"Hmm? I just took the wine droplets stuck to you, that's all . ", replied Kazuma calmly at Ayano's confused cry .

And then he sucked the rape of her neck .

Raising a soundless scream, Ayano flew from the bench .

With one hand she pressed down the clearly red mark on her neck and glared at Kazuma with just as red a complexion .

"Wha-what are you doing, you sexual harassment bastard! Sex offender! Rapist! "

The accusation was heavy but even so, it didn't disturb Kazuma .

Rather, Ayano's anger was some sort of appetizer served with drinks and before one knows it he snatched back the wine bottle .

Glaring with teary eyes at this cannibal-like man, Ayano yelled .

"Bakaaaa! The likes of you, the likes of you, I haaate you sooo much! "

 

 

Next day .

"Aah, a hickey on your neck! Geez, Ayano-chan, you took one step on the road to adulthood, huh? "

"Wrong! Don't say such disgraceful things! "

 



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