Shiniki no Campiones

By TAKEDZUKI Jou,丈月城

Shiniki no Campiones Volume 3 Chapter 1

Shiniki no Campiones Volume 3 Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - Tokyo Ravens

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1

「Ren-sama! This is the first time I climbed until the height of the sky!」

The beautiful princess of Troia, Cassandra was speaking with sparkling eyes in excitement.

「To think that a tower this high was built by human's hand……just what kind of magic is used in it!?」

「There should be no magic in it you know?」

At the viewing platform of Tokyo Skytree that boasted the height of 634 meter from the ground.

Ren spoke near the window there. The height here was 350 meter, but it was more than enough to take an extensive view of the skyscrapers in Japan's capital Tokyo.

It was a superb view that wasn't inferior even against the various wonders in mythological world.

「Everyone combined their strength together to build this like carpenter building a house.」

「My!?」

Cassandra was in admiration hearing Ren's rough explanation.

「Then, it's the same with the king's tomb of Egypt that I heard from hearsay!」

「……King's tomb? Ah, you mean pyramid. Now that you mentioned it, both of them gathered a lot of people and built with group work aren't they.」

「I have never even imagined that this kind of scenery exist!」

It wasn't Troia or Norse mythology. It was Tokyo at 21st century, autumn.

st

Cassandra's attire was also in "modern style".

She was wearing a knitted dress with bright yellow color and black leggings. She was wearing a wine red knitted hat on her head. It was for hiding her subtly pointy ears that was because she was a royalty from Greek mythology.

They returned back from the world of Norse mythology a week ago──.

Because they were unobservant, they brought back Cassandra who was a resident of Greek mythology with them. And then the princess of Troia said this.

『I wish to see the world of Ren-sama and Riona-sama!』

In the first place Cassandra came to the Norse sanctuary with the power of an item.

The divine tool Hermes's Feather. It was a treasure of the god of traveler Hermes that could teleport its owner to any country or world they liked once a month.

To reuse this time, they had to wait nearly half a month more…….

Thus, Rokuhara Ren accepted the beautiful princess of another world. First they spent several days at the stronghold of Campiones association, Valencia.

『Ren-sama, the carriages are running even though there is no horse!』

『My! The door opened by itself, how convenient!』

『The, there is small people inside the box!』

Cassandra was busily being struck in admiration before the product of modern civilization.

The girl had come to earth only once for a night before the decisive battle in Sanctuary Troia, but at that time they only stayed briefly. She returned home without even seeing anything significant.

And then at the long-term stay this time──.

She spent several days in the old city of Spain, Valencia. In addition she kept close with Rokuhara Ren who was urgently going back to Japan and rode even an airplane. She came from Europe to Japan.

Cassandra had grown to not get surprised anymore by the things in general, but,

She was greatly struck with wonder at the viewing platform of Tokyo Skytree that Ren brought her to at the beginning of their Japan sightseeing──.

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「By the way, where is Riona-sama going?」

「She is showing her face at the place of her acquaintance, so she will join us later.」

Ren talked while walking with Cassandra at a riverside.

「Our return here this time is for taking care of the difficulties at Riona's place but……she said that before she goes back to Kansai where the "headquarters" is located, she will go to exchange information.」

「Kansai……if I remember correctly the region we are at right now is Kanto, isn't it?」

「Right right. This is where I was born. After this let's try visiting my house too.」

「It's the house where Ren-sama was raised then!」

「Yep. Well, it's not like my family is waiting for me there though.」

Asakusa, Kaminarimon and Sensouji, Nakamise.

Today the two of them were going around the regular sightseeing route without any problem.

Right now they were walking along the Sumida River and came to the public park at the waterside. The gelato that they purchased along the way had the taste of earth that quickly became the princess's favorite.

By the way, Ren chose matcha flavor while Cassandra picked sweet potato flavor.

「Ren-sama. The seat over there is empty.」

「Then, let's rest for a bit. How about you come out too Stella?」

「……Ren」

When they sat down on the bench of the park to taste the soft cream slowly,

Stella's voice that sounded terribly displeased replied back.

「Are you perhaps jesting, to wish for my presence in this kind of street? It will become a commotion if I manifest in a place where the vulgar riffraff are coming and going!」

「It's fine, it's fine. No one is looking at us.」

「That's what you said, but it once happened when we completely attracted public attention!」

「Hahaha. Our luck was really bad at that time.」

「Stella-sama. Please have a taste of my ice cream. It looks like there aren't many people if it's right now……」

Cassandra gave a recommendation beside Ren who was laughing irresponsibly.

Stella's mood seemed to be cheered up by the princess's reverence and she appeared on the bench with a pop. She had the size of a doll that was around thirty centimeter tall.

She was the tiny goddess of beauty and love, the lovely other half of Rokuhara Ren.

「……Hmph. It's not bad for the taste of the common people.」

Stella gave a lick at each of the soft cream that Ren and Cassandra offered and then she commented haughtily.

「But, this city is the worst. It's nothing but uncomfortable.」

「That's surprising. I thought that Stella love big city.」

「Yes. Stella-sama was really inconvenienced in the country of Midgard where there was nothing but forest and wilderness, and you yearned for the city at that time.」

「If this place is compared with that boondocks, than Midgard is completely preferable.」

Stella declared in front of the surprised Ren and Stella.

「Even that repulsive tower just now, there is a limit in even being insolent! For the like of human who isn't god to attempt to approach the sky, just how arrogant they can be! Besides when it come to this city, there is nothing but ugly black stone everywhere──furthermore humans expressly covered the land with tampered stone, it's really the worst. The air is murky, and the sky is also blurry. Whether it's the sea or the river they are polluted, and there is nothing but humans crowding everywhere repulsively……. It feels choking.」

Those were words that were really like the haughty Stella.

「But Stella. You didn't hate Valencia that much right?」

「That's because that place has the mettle to protect the legacy of the ancient world regardless.」

Stella unusually talked with a solemnity like a queen.

「Although it's only moderately. But, Ren's home town is completely hopeless. It's a city that keeps growing fat following its desire without giving any consideration in regard to the sea and land. From a glance it seems to be splendorous to the extreme, but it's a completely decadent city that only embodied the ugliness of the humans……」

「I see now.」

The stronghold of Campiones association of Ren and co, Valencia.

It was a city that was in the top three of Spain, but compared to Tokyo that was crammed with skyscrapers, it was a city that was really compact in scale.

Besides above all else──Ren recalled the profile of the goddess of love.

「If I  remember right, Stella is a goddess who was born from the sea isn't it?」

「Yes. I am the one who govern over beauty and love, and the heaven sent child of the sea. I am also a daughter of the land. For such queen, this city is a place that is terrible hard to tolerate. ……Well, unlike that violent woman, it doesn't make me think as far as 『That's why it's better to destroy it』 though──」

『By violent woman, who could it be that Stella-sama is referring to?』

Stella spat out her words at the puzzled Cassandra.

「It's a woman who you also know. I'm talking about that Athena who cockily called herself a goddess of wisdom.」

「Come to think of it, she certainly say such thing!」

「Right? Athena too is also a daughter of the land. There is no way she would think positively of the land and world that became like this. Well, though perhaps I too won't be that reluctant if I can destroy this city with Ren's authority.」

「Don't say such dangerous thing. But, even for my power doing such thing is impossible.」

Ren smiled wryly at Stella's scathing remark.

「It feels like it will be really difficult to destroy Tokyo. I'm not Godzilla after all.」

「How foolish. You should be able to do it really easily. I guarantee it.」

The tiny goddess of beauty and love asserted solemnly.

「Ren, you have only fight in the domain of mythology, so you are unaware of how much destruction your authority can bring about. If there is a chance, try ramming this city with the retribution that is fully stocked. Or you can try making that bird girl's flame to fall from the sky. It should produce a result that is more than you imagined!」

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2

「Your evaluation is greatly declining at Kyoto──in the headquarters of the Institution of Divinities.」

The owner spoke to Riona who was sitting on the counter's seat.

「Like how you were playing around in Europe using your duty as excuse, or how you are getting conceited……」

「It's not like I care. I'm already unpopular with the old men over there since the past anyway.」

Riona shrugged and replied carelessly.

She was wearing plain clothes. She took off her light grey chester coat and put it on the seat beside her. Other than that she was wearing long sleeves with stripes that was matched with black jeans.

The place she visited with this appearance was a café at Yushima in Bunkyo ward.

There was a large man who owned the café behind the counter. He was stout and chubby 『♂』, but the way he was wearing a loose dress was a factor that could be quipped at.

But Riona didn't even pay it any mind and brought the Blue Mountain served to her into her mouth.

「Well, it's also half true that I played around in Spain. I don't care whatever they say about me.」

「Only half?」

「Yes. I more or less also faced a danger to the world over there.」

「As expected that line sounds cool when it's said by the top Onmyouji-sama of Japan……. Even I can only boast something like 『protecting the public order of the imperial capital Tokyo』 even though I'm your colleague.」

The effeminate owner was running the café 『M』 at Tokyo, Yushima.

His true identity was a colleague of the genius Toba Riona, an onmyouji who headed Matsumikado house, a nonsensical character.

And then, he was also an "ally" of Toba Riona which was few in number at their business circles.

Riona spoke with a relaxed tone.

「That's because I possess the strength and also the caliber that allow me to say that. Ah, also I'm not the top of Japan, but the top of the world.」

「But, things like modesty and humbleness are nonexistent in you……」

「Shut up.」

Right now the customer inside the dim café was only Riona.

The tag of 『Today the café is reserved』 was completely hanged up the moment she entered the café so that they could talk about business in privacy as they liked. They were being protected by a magical barrier from any bugging or peeping whether they were magical or mechanical in nature.

「I quite like that cheekiness of yours though.」

Shop owner Matsumikado muttered.

「Be careful. It looks like the gramps of Institute of Divinities gave a tacit consent 『It's fine even if the impudent Toba Riona is chastised severely』 to the green young master of Asukai House.」

「Asukai House's……green young master?」

Riona tilted her head and pondered.

「If I remember right, it's a clan at Kumano area right? A clan of sorcery called crow sect or something……」

「They are the same like you. You know, their catchphrase is 『descendant of Yatagarasu』.」

「Aaa. I see, I see.」

It was an episode of Japan mythology.

Jinmu aka Kamuyamato Iwarebiko who became the first emperor of Japan. It was fine and all that he headed to subjugate the eastern country where malevolent gods were clamoring, but he was having a terribly hard fight against the formidable enemy there.

The one who guided him to the completion of his eastern expedition was the sacred bird Yatagarasu──.

The land where Emperor Jinmu and Yatagarasu met was actually Kumano.

Based on that, café owner Matsumikado said.

「Or rather, isn't it Kumano at Wakayama prefecture that is the "home" of Yatagarasu?」

「Preposterous. Yatagarasu's home is the place that was called Yamato in the past. In other words it's Nara prefecture.」

Toba Riona was born and lived in Nara prefecture──.

She immediately denied the café owner's opinion with a straight face.

「Certainly it was Kumano who dispatched Yatagarasu to where Emperor Jinmu was. But, after that they went north and it was the country of Yamato that became the actual battlefield.」

「Well, this is what they called 『there are various theories and personal feelings』 isn't it~」

「Besides, in the first place who is this green young master of Asukai House?」

「The previous head who went senile and died got succeeded by his grandson. He is a young guy who is still barely at his twenty.」

「Ah, I see. So there is a takeover while I was going to Europe.」

「It's already from three years ago you know……」

「I don't remember at all. In other words, he is someone with really thin shadow.」

「It's pitiful to say it clearly like that. By the way, about the danger to the world that you encountered at Europe, it's related with the space distortion phenomenon wasn't it?」

「Yes.」

Riona answered without delay at the huge effeminate man, owner Matsumikado.

「The mythological world at the other side of the space distortion──if its destruction isn't hold in check, it will also cause bad influence to our world here after all.」

「The theory that if the world of mythology is destroyed, then the world over here will also head to destruction, is it true?」

「It's true. Previously I only thought of it that perhaps such thing is possible, but right now I'm convinced that it's completely the truth.」

「Good grief.」

Owner Matsumikado grumbled before he spoke.

「That's right. It might be too late to say this but, is it okay for you to dawdle in Tokyo like this? You should be able to just land in Kansai Airport when going home instead at Haneda or Narita and from there return to your hometown right away.」

「It couldn't be helped.」

Riona rested her chin on one hand above the counter.

「It's because my fiancée said that he want to stop by for a bit at his house.」

「Fianceeee!?」

「Ah, I forgot to say that, but just the other day I got engaged.」

Her colleague who was also her ally was dumbfounded. His mouth was hanging open.

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「Now then──」

Riona exited the café M and walked through Yushima district.

It was a business district that was also close to Ueno. The subway station of Chiyoda line was the closest to here. But, if she was going to meet up with her "goshujin-sama" and others at Asakusa──

She was about to take out her smartphone to check the complicated and mysterious transportation map of Tokyo.

However, Riona didn't do that. In exchange she quickly started walking.

Toba Riona who lived in Kansai & Nara prefecture wasn't really familiar with this area. But, if it was just the location of Yushimatenjin then she would somehow manage…….

And so, she came to a large shrine that was distinguished even in the capital.

The shrine grounds was covered with gravel. The three kanji of 暗剣殺unpropitious direction were written on it with shoes track. After that she randomly strolled while waiting for several minutes──.

暗剣殺unpropitious directionunpropitious direction

The visitors around were leaving one after another.

There was also no new visitor coming into the shrine.

Even the personnel of this shrine that originally should be protecting this shrine were also disappearing. It was because Riona applied the magic of people clearing. No one could enter here anymore if they weren't possessor of magic power that surpassed a certain level…….

As expected, a person immediately came walking.

「How confident to invite me like this.」

「I won't deny that I'm confident, motivated, and energetic. But this time I simply thought that 『stalker is gross[ so I want to deal with it quickly.]

「……What?」

The young man who came was slender with a face that looked highly strung.

His attire of navy blue jacket and white shirt also had no appeal at all. His reaction was also lacking in individuality. Someone suddenly appeared to shadow her after she left her friend's café. There was no doubt that it was him.

Riona sighed and said.

「You must be a small fry at best if you can't even make a smart comeback here. I don't know who are you but, you should assume that if you tail a girl at this age then the risk of being considered as a pervert at the least will──」

「……Asukai Takeru.」

「Yes?」

「We are meeting face to face in the general meeting of the Institution of Divinities every year. I am Asukai House──Kumano crow sect's leader.」

「Aaa……so we are acquainted……」

Come to think of it, it was also a name that she had just heard not long ago.

She didn't connect that name with the face of the "stalker" at all. As expected even Riona got awkward and she coughed.

「I see, I see. No, I only forgot a little.」

「Something is wrong if you forget even if only for a little. We are the same like you──a clan who is entrusted with the divine power of the sacred bird Yatagarasu you know?」

「That's not true isn't it.」

Riona completely switched from awkwardly making excuse into a cold smile.

「I am the reincarnation of the founder of Kamo House, Kamo Taketsunumi. I am Yatagarasu itself. In contrast, your clan is……a gathering of novices who can't even use a percent of the power of Yatagarasu that Toba Riona is using despite claiming to inherit the sacred bird's blood or divine protection or whatnot.」

She put her hand on her slender breast and spoke with a pride like a queen.

「I already heard. It seems you are acting toady to the old men at the headquarters of all people and obtain the permission to settle your personal grudge with me. Good grief──to flatter your superior and ask permission first to pick a fight……there is a limit in even being cowardly.」

Riona scoffed at the opponent's cowardice and boasted.

「It's troublesome to be followed around by a coward from here on. I'll accept your challenge here.」

「Shit-. A mere woman dare to act so smugly!」

Asukai what's-his-name swung up his right hand.

There was a talisman between his index and middle fingers. It was a piece of paper that was written with spell and crest. This talisman instantly transformed into eight crows──

They flew toward Riona to assault her!

……Well, if it was an average level magic battle, then surely it would be a useful technique. Like in a competition where both sides' technique clashed with each other to compare the effect and decided which one was superior.

However, for Riona who had even experienced the clash between gods and godslayers──

「Well, it's only something like this.」

She ascertained the technique's strength in a glance and let out a breath *Fuh*.

This sigh became a wind that easily blew away the crows that were created from the talisman. The caster Asukai what's-his-name also got affected!

「Kuhah!?」

The body of the young magician with highly strung face bent into the shape of ">".

He then fell on the gravel and started to convulse. He was writhing. There was even foam going out from his mouth.

「It seems the effect is right on the mark, how nice.」

Riona didn't even give anymore glance at Asukai what's-his-name and left from the grounds right away.

It was a trifling technique if the trick behind it was exposed. It was a technique to blow the breath of life into other person, granting them vitality──originally it was a spell with the purpose of healing.

However, if the vitality given was too excessive, even adult man would writhe in pain.

Well, if it was her "godslayer goshujin-sama" Rokuhara Ren, it would only be a modest sleight of hand that gave him a tickle…….

「Rokuhara-san and Cassandra right now are at Katsushika are they?」

Riona checked the message in her smartphone's communication application and muttered.

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──Ten-odd minutes later, in the shrine of Yushimatenjin.

「Kehah, kehah! Shit, that woman, what powerful mystical force……. Isn't she becoming far stronger compared to when I saw her several months ago……!?」

He was also a practicioner who was entrusted with a clan of sorcery.

Because of that, he had the sharpness──to vaguely sense how much power contained by the opponent he faced.

His spiritual sense as a magician appealed to him in terror.

That wasn't an opponent that a mere human could contend with, it said…….

However.

Even with excessive vitality breathed into him by that monster, Asukai Takeru had a trump card to absorb it and somehow recovered his body to form.

Asukai Takeru took out a stone from the inside pocket of his jacket.

White stone that looked similar with limestone──.

「If I can skillfully use this Thousand Pulling Stone, the next time I'll surely……」

The muttering of the highly prideful young man was filled with resentment.

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3

Katsushika ward of Tokyo Metropolis that was bordered on Chiba prefecture with Edo River between them.

And then, Kameari of this Katsushika ward was Rokuhara Ren's "hometown".

「It feels really nostalgic when I come back here after several months.」

「So this is Ren-sama's native land?」

「Yep. Well, it's a low-lying part of a city that you can commonly find at Tokyo, so it's a bit lacking to be a sightseeing spot.」

Ren led Cassandra and said that while walking in front of a station.

The vicinity of Kameari Station was a business district that also possessed things like large shopping mall and so on. It was also a residential area where mansion, apartment, house, and so on were standing side by side disorderly. Due to that, it had limited material for tourist from the outside to spend their time looking around here.

「Ah, over there is the place where my home was at.」

「My. It's a really big castle!」

「Hahaha, wrong wrong. We only rented a single room inside that building. I had also moved out from there before going to Spain, so there is already nothing at all there.」

It was a worn out five storey condominium that was built 30 years ago.

Ren explained to the wide eyed Cassandra while passing through in front of it.

Actually it seemed that Rokuhara family was a family lineage with quite the pedigree. It was a family that served as doctor to a shogun of a feudal domain somewhere at Edo period. His grandmother who married into that family was a former teacher who exerted her authority in a prestigious girls' school. She was a person who was strict to both her family and herself.

His parents died from traffic accident when he was a very young child and his grandmother raised him.

Even that grandmother also passed on when he was at high school and so he lost his close relative who he could rely on. Rokuhara Ren somehow arrived at his graduation day while earning his daily income by doing part time job.

「I picked a school where I could become sport scholarship student so that I could save for the school expense. It really helped me at that time.」

Ren recalled his busy high school period and nodded.

「When I tried learning boxing by watching others in the club, I could do it really well. Perhaps it was thanks to me playing at the gym of master Chanathip when I was a child.」

「Cha, Chan……what was it again?」

「The person who was my friend and master. I wonder if he is there today?」

They arrived in front of a "gym" right at that timing, so Ren peeked inside.

It was the first floor of a multi-tenant building. There was a square ring taking space at the center of the floor.

There was also a sandbag that was hung from the ceiling, training tools, etc. It was a really dreary room that smelled of sweat. There wasn't any trainee inside.

But, a Thai person wearing T-shirt and short pant noticed Ren and laughed.

「So you came home, Ren!」

「Hahaha. It's just a temporary one though!」

.

It was in a bar in front of Kameair Station, but──.

「My! So this is the martial art of this world!」

「It's the bare handed martial art of Thailand, not Japan. Master Chanathip seems to be a Muay Thai athlete in the past. He also did boxing and it seems he was quite high ranked as pro. He said that recently he also tried his hand on mixed martial arts as hobby.」

「In other words he is an expert?」

「Yep. He came to Japan around twenty years ago and started this gym and bar.」

Cassandra also had experience in martial arts like horse riding and archery.

She was watching the kickboxing match that was held in the special ring inside the bar with an unexpected enthusiasm.

This place was a Muay Thai bar Mai Pen Rai.

Not only people could taste genuine Thai cooking here, they could also watch kickboxing match. Furthermore even Japan's pro and experienced Muay Thai practicioner from Thailand itself also participated in it.

Even now a match between fellow brown skinned Thai people was going on at the ring.

The flexibility of the kicks toward each other was just like leather whip.

It was an exchange of kicks with some distance between the two fighters. But, before they noticed the two athletes stuck close to each other and entered a grappling situation where they neck wrestled──.

Cassandra stared at the heated match and spoke in excitement.

「My late Hector-niisama was also really strong at that kind of grappling martial arts!」

「He was a person from Greek mythology after all, was it a martial art like wrestling I wonder?」

Of course Rokuhara Ren didn't have an extensive knowledge like Riona.

But, he was more or less an experienced person in bare handed martial arts. He at least had the knowledge that the modern wrestling and boxing were born from mixed martial arts Pankration of ancient Greek.

Plates of Thai cooking were lined up on the two's table.

Tom yum goong that had prawn miso in it, salad of green papaya, fresh spring roll, beef minced meat fried with basil, green curry, Thai style fried noddle phat thai, chicken rice with boiled chicken leg khao man gai, etc.

Ren spoke in between of his eating the ethnic hot taste.

「I was a child who wanted to try imitating when looking at people moving their body. When I was occasionally imitating the kicking and punching practice at the gym just now, the skateboard in the street, or dancing, various people would get amused and taught me.」

「It must be because Ren-sama's movement was that agile in your childhood.」

Cassandra deeply nodded.

「I can picture it in my mind. I too have always been thinking it. That Ren-sama's martial art is splendid to the degree of being able to match most warriors of Troia……」

「Hahaha. It's embarrassing to hear that from someone who is acquainted with serious fighting.」

Princess Cassandra has seen the hero Hector and Achilles from close by.

Her eyes should be considerably refined. It made Ren felt ticklish. And then, a girl who had only entered the bar interrupted from the side.

「Being humble is a bit unlike you, Rokuhara-san.」

「Riona-sama!」

It was Toba Riona who was going off on her own during the noon.

She sat down beside Ren. Ren smiled pleasantly at his "fiancée". Cassandra too also turned a smile toward her.

「It isn't like that. Even if I'm praised that I have good movement in martial arts or boxing──it doesn't really strike home for me. I have the feeling that in that kind of world what's important isn't being skilled or not skilled, but whether you're『winner or loser』.」

「Those are really deep words. That must be the understanding of a warrior!」

「Haaa……I see.」

For some reason Cassandra was deeply moved when he said his honest thought.

On the other hand, Riona was unusually looking impressed.

「So even though you are good in moving around as though dancing, you properly understand deep inside that dance and battle are two different things. Perhaps that kind of side is the『disposition of the god murdering beast』……」

「What's the matter Riona? Suddenly you said a strange thing.」

「No, it's because just now I coincidentally saw a man who was awfully weak despite having something like『a man's pride』 that was more than necessary, so somehow it makes me feel that.」

「?」

.

「……and that was how someone from the Institution of Divinities picked a fight with me.」

Riona tasted the Thai cooking while talking about what happened this afternoon.

「As I thought it seems it will be necessary to march into the headquarters and make an impact there.」

「So, that means it will be fine to go like Julio planned.」

She nodded at her "fiancée" Rokuhara Ren who was grinning.

「Yes. I and Julio will stir up the old men of the Institution of Divinities sufficiently until the endgame where it will be Rokuhara-san's turn so──please take care of the finishing blow then.」

「I'll hit them *BAM!* with my all then.」

Riona chuckled, while young man Rokuhara nodded frivolously.

It wasn't the sweet mood of fellow fiancées. But, it was fine like this. After all their relationship was a contract that was tied with shared interest and calculating benefit.

Joint struggle, complicity, accomplice, partner.

That kind of words was fitting for their relationship.

「By the way where is the princess?」

「She was watching the match at the ringside seat until just now.」

The kickboxing match was already over.

And then, the figure of Princess Cassandra couldn't be seen inside the bar. Riona was suspecting that she might be going out, but right after that the ringtone of her smartphone rang out. A mail reached her.

……She tried opening the image that was attached in it.

「This must be the work of that bastard.」

Riona cursed.

The mail had the location of a meeting place and the name of Asukai what's-his-name.

And then, the attached image showed a girl wearing present day clothing──Princess Cassandra.

She looked puzzled and not scared. She wasn't restrained. But, looking at the situation, it didn't seem mistaken to judge that she was kidnapped…….

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4

Katsushika ward that could also be said as the representative of Tokyo's low-lying part area.

It was packed full with small houses, but on the other hand it also had a lot of empty lots. Near Edo River and Naka River that were flowing within the ward was the edge of Tokyo that bordered on Saitama and Chiba. Perhaps because there was some surplus of land, there were sprawling public parks scattered here and there.

This public park was also one of them──.

It had a size that could contain a whole neighborhood and hardly possible to be explored by foot.

There were barbeque areas at several open spaces. Rows of tall poplar trees. There was even a reservoir that was like a lake and forest where dawn redwood trees of cedar family were growing luxuriantly.

It was a suitable spot for strolling or jogging if it was noon.

But, there was almost nobody there at night. It was a deserted space.

In a certain open space inside this public park.

「Everyone. How long do I have to stay like this?」

Princess Cassandra asked with a warm and snug voice.

There were eight men right beside her. Business suit, parka, training wear, etc, their appearance was all over the place. However everyone was all making bewildered expression.

It seemed they didn't understand how to interact with the graceful Cassandra.

In the end the leader, a young man answered.

「I'll have──ask you to accompany us a bit more until Toba Riona arrive here.」(TN: The person first ask high handedly before switching to polite language at the middle)

「Understood♪」

Cassandra responded with a smile at the young man who was wearing deep blue jacket and white shirt.

He was the one who was KO-ed by Riona at noon──Asukai Takeru.

There was a reason why he changed his tone from an arrogant tone into a polite one.

……An hour ago. Cassandra who was watching kickboxing with her sweaty hands clenched was excited when it was over and she went out of the bar to cool down herself with the night wind.

The simple bar that was built with prefabrication was located in a corner of a bustling street of drinking establishments.

But, it was also located at the outskirt so the lighting of the area was dim and there were no people nearby. There she was approached by some men and one of them said.

「I'll have you come with us quietly. If you don't want to be treated roughl──」

Unfortunately, Cassandra was itching to move her body.

The princess who was born in a military family who also excelled in the technique of archery and horsemanship herself. The moment she somehow sniffed out the smell of violence from the men, she did it.

「Eih! Yaah!」

She whipped up her right leg like a whip and landed two consecutive middle kicks.

It was a technique that she had seen several times in the match just now. Cassandra had become the same like 『a kid who imitating punching and kicking right after watching a kungfu movie』.

And then, the Troia princess was a valorous warrior who even shot a giant of Norse mythology to death…….

「Guhah!」「Tawah!」

「M, my apologize! It was too sudden so I reflexively acted!」

Cassandra was flustered after making two men writhed with two middle kicks.

She was looking down worriedly at them who collapsed and squirmed on the asphalt road. The girl's middle kicks were just that powerful.

She easily reproduced a technique that she only watched a bit and used it skillfully.

It was a feat that was accomplished with her godly fighting sense and astounding physical capability. But, that was only natural. In the first place the royal family of Troia was a family of hero who inherited the blood of god.

The development that was too unexpected dumbfounded all the remaining men.

Cassandra who became awkward timidly suggested.

「That, if it's alright, can you tell me what should I do? I will do so as best as I can so……」

──Thus.

'Please stay with us until Toba Riona arrives.' Requested like that, Princess Cassandra accompanied Asukai Takeru and his seven subordinates.

「Ah. Ren-sama and Riona-sama are here!」

Cassandra noticed first and yelled.

But, the eight men around her were tilting their head. Because of the public park's size and darkness, they couldn't confirm the approaching people's silhouette by sight using their eyes.

Kumano's crow sect that was led by Asukai Takeru──everyone was young man who was born from a clan of sorcery.

Cassandra surpassed them both in martial arts and in the sharpness of five senses. Yes. even if they were magicians, when compared to a royal family of legend then they were nothing but "extremely mediocre normal human"…….

And then, finally Rokuhara Ren and his fiancée approached.

.

「We've been waiting, Ren-sama, Riona-sama!」

「Eh? Cassandra, you look completely alright?」

「I get it in a sense. Princess Cassandra is also a great woman of legend as expected. She isn't someone who can be handled by mere green young master of Kumano.」

「Then, perhaps Cassandra's good will and kindness were aroused……」

「And she accompanied that bunch voluntarily……」

Riona and her goshujin-sama nodded to each other.

Princess Cassandra who was surrounded by eight men wasn't even tied by rope or anything. She was waving her hand to Riona and Ren with a smiling face.

Rokuhara Ren grinned.

「But this matter still cannot be solved peacefully just because of that.」

「I agree. Let's properly settle the debt that has been placed on us.」

Grin, grin, the two fiancées exchanged wicked smile──.

Even without any chaste love between them, the Rokuhara-Toba duo was already starting to learn to 『dance to the same beat if the music was started』.

On the other hand, Asukai what's-his-name yelled with an impatient look.

「Everybody, do it just as we arranged beforehand!」

「Ou!」

「Sacred flame pure and clear──!」

「This lowly self wish to reverently state in the presence of Sume-Mikami……!」

Kumano's crow sect started chanting the words of power at the same time with their leader's order.

What the spell manifested above their heads were──golden phoenix. The third legged sacred bird with wing length that reached seven or eight meter, Yatagarasu.

The golden colored bird that manifested in air──was enveloped in flame.

「Hee! That's the same with Riona's transformation!」

「Only the appearance. They summoned spirit of fire and make it to imitate Yatagarasu. I'm hundreds of thousands stronger than that. It's like comparing fire from a match and sun.」

「Ah, certainly it might be true.」

「Everyone, please stop! It's nothing but recklessness to face Ren-sama and Riona-sama with that kind of trivial sleight of hand. This Cassandra will act as a mediator! Kneel immediately and beg for mercy from them!」

In front of the Yatagarasu from the desperate eight members of Kumano's crow sect──

Ren smiled casually, Riona shrugged, while Cassandra was yelling a warning from her heart.

Asukai what's-his-name and the men of the crow sect went red in the face due to the humiliation they felt from that difference in degrees of enthusiasm. They simultaneously chanted the last spell passage.

「O spirit of fire, purify and exorcist the impurity of all sins!」

「Here they come.」

The flaming Yatagarasu flapped its wings and flew straight toward Ren and Riona.

In contrast, Rokuhara Ren was──displaying a reaction that Riona saw for the first time. The composure of a king. He smiled *fuh* with an elegance that made her wanted to describe it like that……

He stared at Yatagarasu.

With just that, the sacred bird whose whole body was clad in flame stopped flying.

Even though it had flown until there was only one meter remaining to crash on Ren and Riona, Yatagarasu spread open its wings fully there. It suddenly halted midair.

And then, Ren thrust his index finger high to the sky.

In the next moment, the flaming Yatagarasu flew smoothly once more and stopped on the fingertip of Ren.

「The goddess of revenge pass down the divine punishment. I wish for the judgment of justice here.」

The authority of goddess Nemesis, retribution. Rokuhara Ren silently chanted its words of power and took possession of the crow sect's bird of flame. He took away the enemy's attack as his own without even needing to dodge it. The retribution would be completed if this attack was sent back to them.

「Wha……what in the world, is that technique!?」

Asukai what's-his-name was aghast seeing the godslayer's stunt.

Rokuhara Ren himself was looking nonchalant and said,

「Riona. I'm okay with returning this to them you know?」

「They are insignificant opponent, so perhaps it will be simpler to do so.」

「How dare you look down on us! My Kumano brethrens, there is no choice but to use that! Prepare yourself!」

Asukai what's-his-name gave the order once more and they started chanting.

「This lowly self wish to reverently state in the presence of Izanami……!」

「「「「The divine spirit of life submerging this heaven and earth」」」」

「「「「Now is the time to humbly present to the deifying festival──」」」」

Riona was taken aback hearing the simultaneous incantation of eight people.

「That's──the words of power of Izanami no Mikoto!」

「That's right! We the sect of Kumano has a deep relation with the goddess alongside with Takehaya Susanoo no Mikoto and Yatagarasu. Manifest the sacrament by means of that miraculous virtue!」

Asukai what's-his-name had taken out a white pebble before anyone noticed.

It was similar with a limestone and began to emit mystical force violently. And then, that power was filled to the brim with inauspicious impurity.

Yes, impurity. The concept that was considered as something that ought to be detested the most in Shinto from time immemorial.

「Riona, the ground!」

「That green young master, he is overreaching trying to pry open the gate of the realm of the dead!」

"Miasma" was rising up from the ground.

It was similar with smoke. The color was faintly white.

It gave off sweet stench that was similar with tainted meat and disgustingly caressed the skin of Riona and Ren with sticky sensation──it was a ghastly and repulsive thing.

Such vapor was filling the sprawling wide public park.

Then──the trees that were swallowed by the smoke were drying up in the blink of eye.

「My!?」

Cassandra was speechless.

The leaves were falling from the trees regardless of needle-leaved tree or broadleaved tree. Their trunks were suddenly getting emaciated. Moisture was vanishing from the surface of their bark and the branches were falling off……

Even the grass under their feet withered in less than a minute and became ash.

The birds sleeping on the tree branches died and fell to the ground. Even the chirping of the insects that were filling the autumn night was suddenly cut off. Most likely they were also annihilated.

It was a wilderness with the living vanishing away as far as the eye could see.

And then even the crow sect of Kumano who carried out the great sorcery together with Asukai what's-his-name were──

*Thud, thud, thud.* They were collapsing one after another. However.

「Do you see Toba Riona! Even us the crow sect can accomplish this feat! Being able to use a part of divine power isn't just the special privilege of you alone!」

「……Riona.」

「……Yes. I will settle this right away.」

Riona responded to Rokuhara Ren's strong tone and chanted words of power.

「By the means of blazing fire and mine curse, exorcist and purify──!」

Golden light was emitted to all direction from Riona's whole body.

That was the essence of the spirit of sun Yatagarasu, the radiance of sun.

The miasma that brought about death to the world──that calamity was purified and blown away by the miracle. Like a radiance that exterminated the darkness itself.

The light that was released from Riona illuminated the surrounding like a small sun.

The forest of nothing but withered trees, the empty lot that was no different from a wasteland, they were filled with the warm light──

「Secret words of fire and sun, purify every kind of sinful impurity.」

Riona solemly chanted the finishing words of power.

Even though the whole area was filled with the ki of repulsive realm of the dead until just now, right now there was nothing that could feel even the trace of it anymore.

The few exception amidst this, Asukai what's-his-name yelled.

「Kuh……little girl, now that it has come to this even if I have to put my own life on the line──」

「Enough already!」

The one who sharply rebuked was surprisingly Princess Cassandra.

Furthermore, a splendid high kick flashed. The back of the right foot was splendidly filled with the strength of her whole body and her weight and kicked through the brain of Asukai what's-his-name.

*Jerk!* The young man lost consciousness and fell forward.

「Before protecting your honor, protecting your retainer is the duty of knight and royalty. The likes of you who can't even protect those saying "put my own life on the line" is simply laughable! Before talking about big matter with such empty determination, learn that it's accomplishing the small matter that deserves honor!」

Spinning kick like a Muay Thai warrior + scolding.

It was a combination that was slightly unsuited for the caged bird princess.