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The golden Yatagarasu was flying with the consciousness of Toba Riona placed in it.
She departed from Kyoto's Arashiyama and headed toward the southwest. She was already within Osaka prefecture. Coincidentally she could see Yodo River flowing below her while she was flying.
The Katsura River that was seen at Arashiyama, it was actually joining with Yodo River if one followed the stream for a while.
Tokaido Shinkansen was running side by side with Yodo River at this area. Just like how there was a water transportation at Yodo River in the past, this was a vein that was in charge of the transportation between Kyoto and Osaka.
However right now corpses were squirming at that Kyoto-Osaka route.
「Sure enough they're coming out everywhere……」
Riona was overlooking the inside of the prefecture from the sky as Yatagarasu.
Places like Nagaoka-kyo City, Yawata City, Neyaga City, and so on that she had passed through until now. Each time she passed between three or four cities, she would surely find one of it. A space distortion.
A singularity where countless lights converged like a nebula. A gate to mythological world.
「There are three space distortions already confirmed just in the route from Kyoto to Osaka……. How many there'll be in total throughout the whole Kansai area……」
Riona muttered as the will of the soaring Yatagarasu.
All the gates were connected with the destroyed Sanctuary Yomotsuhirasaka.
Also there would surely be the Japanese zombies Yomotsu Ikusa appearing near the space distortions.
At the very least there would be ten-odd zombies. When there was a lot the number would be nearly a hundred. Furthermore around ten percent of them would be Yomotsu Shikome. The female monster was as big as two ordinary people and fast like lightning──.
The police force and JSDF that were dispatched in emergency were fighting hard for the "zombie extermination".
They hid behind riot police's shield or vehicle while desperately firing with the firearms they were carrying. They were shooting like there was no tomorrow.
Although, these were the two organizations that were taking pains to 『economize bullet=tax』 at their usual training. There was no way they could deal with this kind of mission well.
Furthermore, the corpses of hell didn't really stop moving even when they were hit by bullet.
They wouldn't be defeated if a vital spot like head or heart wasn't struck with a shot. The Japanese zombies were continuing to advance even while under fire──
They clung at the brave civil servants! And sunk their teeth!
The corpses of police officer and JSDF personnel were increasing one after another.
But, a part of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force was putting up a really good fight. They were scattering lead bullets with automatic rifle, or using tank to exterminate the zombies other its thread.
However, that fortune was limited to area that was close to JSDF base or garrison.
That was why Riona was flying as Yatagarasu while──
「Purify, exorcist. O secret word of fire, fill the heaven and earth.」
A great amount of fire dusts were scattered from the spread open wings.
If the zombies got showered by the dusts, they would burn all over their body and perished without fail at the end.
Furthermore, the fire dusts were like yellow sand or microscopic dust. They would reach until dozens of kilometers around the route that Yatagarasu passed and purified the enemies all at once.
Yatagarasu repeated the annihilation of the dead with her feat of strength before she finally arrived.
Osaka Castle Park──.
Vast forest and open space, the outer moat and inner moat and museum, and then the keep.
The site of a famous castle that was once the center of the whole country. Her destination was the symbol of Osaka Castle, the keep. Riona yelled inside Yatagarasu.
「The place with the thickest miasma in Kansai right now is──here!」
Similar with Arashiyama, the trees of Osaka Castle Park were completely withered.
The land was also horribly dried. The water in the moat was muddy, looking like it was starting to rot. Countless dead fishes were floating on the water surface.
There were even humans collapsing everywhere. The number reached hundreds, perhaps even thousands…….
And then Riona witnessed it through Yatagarasu's eyes.
「That's Izanami no Mikoto……!」
A beauty was standing alone on the keep's roof.
Black hair and black eyes, a slender face that looked unhappy. Her limbs were slender with slim waist of a willow tree. She was terribly dainty, but on the contrary she also looked like terribly coquettish because of that──.
She was wearing blue round-necked robe worn by members of nobility and the imperial court called hou with tight sleeves, along with black ancient skirt called mo.
In short she was wearing dress of ancient Japan with pleated skirt. Although it was particularly simple, it had beauty that was worthy for a goddess. It was an outfit that was similar with Asuka period (550-710 CE).
And then, her whole body――was sparking with electricity that was continuously letting out black sparks.
「In the myth she should look ugly and decomposed though. Has she recovered her beauty when she was alive?」
「Oo. Radiant messenger of sun……」
The goddess at the keep smiled gracefully.
「How sublime. But, that light and hope is not what I desire. Well now, let Izanami bequeath you with a well wish.」
Izanami stared at Yatagarasu that came soaring from the northeast and chanted.
「If that's what my beloved significant other choose, then I shall strangle to death, a thousand of people of your country each day……」
It was a curse, the words of power of impurity.
It entered into the sacred bird through her sense of hearing. The vitality, life, the holy spirit of fire and sun that were brimming inside the golden body――were consumed in the blink of eye.
Yatagarasu lost all of her golden radiance and fell toward the ground as a grey corpse.
「Enemy reconnaissance, finished. Well, I was splendidly defeated.」
Riona who had her eyes closed all this time opened her eyes.
'Fuu.' She let out a deep sigh. She wasn't at Osaka Castle, but at the garden of the Institution of Divinities at Kyoto - Arashiyama. Around her the people of this organization regardless of the management or underling were in flurried activity.
「I made one of my shikigami the twelve divine generals into substitute to try clashing with the enemy's supreme commander but――it was an instant kill.」
「No worry, that's just as expected.」
Julio who was standing beside her responded calmly.
「Although it was an underling of Yatagarasu, it's not any threat at all against a genuine god. It's a difference of strength that is just as we assumed. That's not something to fret over, Riona.」
「Yes. During that time I sent the other eleven divine generals throughout Kansai.」
Riona nodded, then she turned her gaze toward her cousin who was also her superior.
「Maki-san. I think the "pseudo-Yatagarasu" I sent to places other than Osaka did their work well but how is the situation?」
The supervisor from Institution of Divinities, Seishuuin Maki spoke in bewilderment.
She contacted various areas of Kansai using her smartphone and checked the battle situation.
「Space distortions appeared in the area of Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara in total of──twenty four. Around them there are massive outbreak of creepy zombies. The damages caused are great. But the "pseudo-Yatagarasu" that Riona sent took care of them. They rained down words of power of fire and purified around eighty percent of the zombies.」
Yes, there were twelve servants of Toba Riona.
That was why they were called the twelve divine generals. The eyes of the great onmyouji──of her who changed all of them into Yatagarasu's clones were currently shining blue like sapphire.
It was a display of power that was possible because her ability as sacred bird was fully liberated.
However, the heroine who accomplished the great feat spoke in vexation.
「So, twenty percent got away.」
「It can't be helped. There'll be some who get away no matter what if you're bombing from the sky. Anyway we will make the local polices and JSDF cooperate with our agents to form barrier and defense line around the space distortions. The evacuation guidance to the nearby citizens is also starting. We're managing to carry out the countermeasures somehow right now.」
「What about those zombies?」
「It seems the survivors are wandering in various areas. We're asking everyone to diligently patrol the area thoroughly, and if the zombies are found they're to be exterminated immediately──that's what we're doing right now.」
The space distortions were starting to appear simultaneously around three hours ago.
This much had been done in that short time. The strength of Rokuhara Ren's fiancée, Toba Riona was taking many responsibilities. As expected from her.
And then, seeing that it was the right time.
Ren suddenly interrupted.
「Hey, Riona. Can I ask you one fundamental matter?」
「What is it, goshujin-sama?」
「In the first place, what kind of god Izanami is?」
「Aa……. Thinking again, that's a knowledge that normal person won't really know.」
「Riona-sama. Please teach me too about it!」
「Very well. Once upon a time, when the heaven and earth of Japan was still very young」
Cassandra also raised her hand to ask. Riona then began explaining.
「At that time, the land of Japan didn't have a definite shape. It was in a muddy state like oil that was floating in the water, drifting in the sea like a jellyfish. There the gods of heaven commanded Izanagi and Izanami. Harden the mud there and create a country, they said.」
Riona was narrating the myth like a folk tale.
「Izanagi and Izanami that became husband and wife created Awaji Island at the beginning, then Shikoku, Kyushu, Honshu, and other islands of various sizes, forming the domain of Japan. Next after the lands they also diligently increased the number of gods by creating children. That's why these husband and wife are the gods of country founding.」
「And, Izanami-san was the mother?」
「The name of the husband and the wife sounds similar isn't it?」
Ren and Cassandra commented. Riona easily answered them.
「Because they were biological brother and sister after all.」
「Eeh!? Ah, but, now that Riona-sama mentioned it, similar story of gods were also handed down at our Troia!」
「Well, the episode of gods marrying their brothers or sisters can be found everywhere after all.」
Japan's onmyouji added her explanation to the surprised princess of Greek mythology.
「By the way these husband and wife gave birth to a crippled child called Hiruko at the beginning. This is an episode that "often appeared" in consanguineous marriage myth all over the world. It might be the ethnical recollection of mankind, a warning to the future that there is such risk if you marry someone with blood relation that's too close with you.」
「However, in the myth of Izanagi and Izanami, there was an additional reason that said 『It's the punishment because the woman took initiative in child making』. It was said that such passage was added because of the influence of the ideal 『a wife should do her husband's bidding』 from China that was introduced at the course of the formation of Japanese mythology though……」
「At the modern time, that's a flow that will surely get recognized as sexual harassment huh.」
The impression from Julio really sounded like a line that someone from an intelligent faction would say.
On the other hand──seeing the members of Campiones association talking carefreely, the people of Japan's Institution of Divinities were staring at them with a face that said 『Unbelievable……』.
The two females who were nearest to them called out.
「Sa, say, Onii-san. Can I ask a question?」
「You're acting really calm aren't you, Ren-san……」
「Tha……that's right you know!? The frightening goddess of Japanese myth, she came out to the surface world like a godzilla you know!?」
It was Riona's little sister Fumika and the princess shrine maiden Hinako-sama.
Ren answered the questions with a light tone.
「It's not a big deal. I'm used to this kind of thing after all.」
「Even though you'll fight a god!?」
Fumika vigorously retorted. Ren nodded with a smile.
Then agitation spread at the surrounding──through the people of the headquarter of Institution of Divinities. Even the old men who until now only considered Rokuhara Ren as『a person of doubtful origin from somewhere』.
Should this man's words be trusted or not?
How far they could believe in the power that Toba Riona and this man displayed?
They were obviously shaken. It seemed it would be the phase for the finishing touch soon. Rokuhara Ren who possessed a unique sense of smell regarding getting along with other people grinned and──
「Then, we should be going soon.」
He told Hinako-sama.
「Go, going you say, to where!?」
「Of course, to do something about that goddess called Izanami.」
Ren frankly declared at the flustered old lady.
Julio slightly frowned beside him. It was the obvious declaration of intent as the commander-in-chief of the Campiones association. However, Ren winked at the young man who was his confidant and also friend and faced Hinako-sama once more.
「Right now, among all the people in Japan, I'm the only one who can do this after all. It's a great discount service from me, as thanks for the tea and sweets.」
「Is……is that alright, Ren-san?」
「Of course. I and Hinako-sama are friend after all.」
Ren spoke familiarly despite having only met her yesterday.
「Julio over there must be wanting to say things like『Don't sell your strength for cheap』 or『Make a demand for compensation』 , but in deference to my friendship with Hinako-sama, I'll ask him to shut his eyes for this. It's alright.」
「Ren. I don't have any intention to shut my eyes though?」
「Don't worry about it. I'm not good with bargaining. It's troublesome. More importantly this is Japan, and everyone here is people who put importance to Japan's tradition so of course──」
Julio showed his dissatisfaction. But Ren gave him a thumb up.
「I believe that they will『surmise』 it without being told. That way should be absolutely be easier.」
「Hou, surmise is it?」
「If it's Julio then you must know about it right?」
「Naturally. You mean the system where the people below need to have tacit understanding about their superior, considerately dancing to the tune of their superior, where everything is managed for the convenience of their superior. When this system that's peculiar to Japan start functioning, they said that any instruction using word or document will be completely unneeded──」
「Yep, that's the one♪」
「However, will the old people here go that far? Danger past and god forgotten, there're a lot of people in this world who are like that you know? You Rokuhara Ren is the epitome of that though.」
「Isn't it alright? The people here seem to have better memory than me after all.」
Ren approached a nearby old man.
He was one of the directors of the Institution of Divinities. From his bearing and atmosphere, he must be highly positioned even within the organization──actually Ren had secretly marked him as someone like that.
Ren peered into the face of that old man with a smile.
He was cheerful and openhearted till the end from very close proximity where their noses almost touched each other.
「How about it, mister? Will you surmise and give some consideration about our situation?」
「Rokuhara-san. It's alright even if you don't go that far to obtain a commitment.」
Riona grinned with the face of an evil queen.
「Kansai region is the special ring of Rokuhara Ren VS Goddess Izanami anyway. When the match is over, the surmise system will naturally start to function. They're able to spectate the battle of Rokuhara-san with the goddess from the front row seats after all.」
「Is that how it is?」
「Yes. This person is the godslaying devil king, and his name is Rokuhara Ren──. After the battle is over no one will be able to forget that fact. As long as Rokuhara-san don't die in battle that is.」
「I see. Then, I've got to do my best to return alive.」
「Double KO is also not permitted. I don't want to be a widow before the marriage.」
「Ren-sama-. I will of course give my assistance too!」
Cassandra too was valiant as usual.
Thus, the Campiones association prepared to "challenge god".
While it was an extremely serious situation, they were acting light and easy till the end without any grim atmosphere. In contrast, all the people of Institution of Divinities who were watching everything had gloom expression.
Especially the old men who regularly acted "like a big-shot" more than necessary.
They began to notice that were directly faced with something that surpassed their understanding and tolerance. They were still unable to swallow of how they should deal with it.
But on the other hand, Hinako-sama alone was lifting her face with determination──
And smiled at Ren sweetly and gently.
「I understand. I will pray for Ren-san's victory.」
「Thank you Hinako-sama.」
「Ren-san is the son of my second cousin after all.」
「Hahaha. You're still keeping that setting?」
「If even "that kind of thing" is alright with you then……I will consolidate the Institution of Divinities with my command and──offer it up to you.」
「Hee! Then let's go with that, Hinako-neesan.」
The old lady with mild and gentle personality. However right now she made a suggestion with a mischievous face. Ren immediately accepted that suggestion.
「O, Onee-chan, I'm also going!?」
「Naturally. Fumika is also a member of Toba main house after all, so resolve yourself.」
「When the battle is over, I'll take you to Nihonbashi and Ikebukuro. Of course Onee-sama'll also cover for the shopping expense.」
「Leave it to me, Onee-chan. A great power carries a great responsibility isn't it!」
Instantly, although she looked like she would burst into tears, Fumika immediately recovered her footing.
It was the conversation that the Toba sisters exchanged just before they departed from Institution of Divinities at Arashiyama. Julio was listening from the side with a curious look. Riona explained to him.
「The opponent is the goddess of death who came from the realm of the dead after all. As the reincarnation of Tamayori Hime, Fumika has the special ability as spirit medium, so she might be useful. I think it'll be better to bring her.」
「Understood. I'll believe your judgment.」
The commander-in-chief of Campiones nodded and changed the topic.
「How about the transport? Should we call for a helicopter of JSDF?」
「I think that the air route won't be good. When I approached from the air, Izanami detected me from quite far away. Let's go with a car.」
「It's better to use strong vehicle that is as solid as possible and can even go through bad road. Do you have any idea?」
Riona and Julio exchanged opinion.
But, in the parking lot of the Institution of Divinities there were only domestic high class cars for the directors. They couldn't find four-wheeled vehicle that fulfilled their conditions.
「Well, it can't be helped. Let's search around this area.」
Riona came to a clean decision. Behind her, Julio spoke in doubt.
「That seems to be an American car. There's a pickup truck in this kind of place?」
「There's no way there'll be that kind of imported goods in the Institution of Divinities. It's a farmer's Porsche aka minitruck that is familiar at Japan's countryside. This thing can run really well, and it can also be loaded with a lot of baggage. There're even fanciful people who would use for rally.」
「Hou, Porsche huh.」
「I commandeered it from the gardeners that fiddled with the garden here. It's emergency situation after all!」
Riona who was raised while looking up at Ikoma Mountain was actually familiar with this kind of car.
It was a white minitruck that was often seen at the street. They emptied the cargo bed and loaded the weapons from the Institution of Divinities on there. Handgun, automatic rifle, etc──. Riona also used them at the previous incident in Kobe.
They brought them in preparation for emergency.
「Will Rokuhara-san and others also use something? There're also a lot of Japanese katanas with miraculous effect against zombie just like what's popular at foreign drama here!」
「I'm fine. I'll make do with my own strength.」
「Me too. For weapon I have my own.」
「Say. Onee-chan, Making your little sister who is still a middle school student to bring handgun is a bit……」
「You shut up. We're departing right away──wait, what about Princess Cassandra?」
Come to think of it, the Troia princess had been staying quiet all this time during the sortie preparation.
She didn't particularly express any opinion and secretly erased her presence. And then, when they noticed the silver haired beautiful princess was already sitting on the minitruck's driver seat with brimming motivation.
「Everyone. Please leave the driving of this chariot to me!」
Cassandra grasped the handle with blazing fighting spirit.
Riona spoke out her opinion even in her bewilderment.
「But, if it's driving then we also have Julio, even my shikigami also can do it.」
「If it's about my skill then please don't worry. Since I came to this world──I has secretly learned『driving』 using this divine object!」
What Cassandra took out was a green feather.
Riona and Ren were familiar with it. It was the divine object Hermes's Feather. It could teleport the owner to any world they liked once a month.
「Actually, Hermes-sama's feather also has the effect to teach the holder about the situation and knowledge of the travel destination. Using that at every opportunity──」
「You used it to teach you the way to drive a car?」
「Nice. If you're saying that much then we'll leave it to you.」
Seeing Cassandra having fun, Ren gave his agreement.
「According to Maki-san, civilian vehicles are forbidden from passing right now. In that case, it might be alright!」
「I will answer your expectation, Ren-sama!」
Cassandra was on the driver's seat, while Fumika was beside her.
Ren, Julio, and Riona were on the cargo bed. With that lineup the group finally departed from Arashiyama.
And then unexpectedly, or perhaps as expected, Princess Cassandra at her first ten minutes driving caused everyone to be anxious by making the engine stalled and crashing the car lightly on a wall.
But the princess's driving was rapidly getting smoother in a short time──
「Our destination is Osaka Castle isn't it!」
Practiced wheel handling. Switching the gear manually.
Cassandra splendidly controlled the car frame and rushed through the road or even place with no road. She made the minitruck dashed adeptly while laughing.
「Fufufufu. This reminds me when I borrowed a chariot from Hector-niisama in the past!」
「As expected from Troia's royalty……this must be the bloodline of a clan of hero.」
「She has a grounding that make her well versed in every kind of martial arts after all. To drive around chariot of mythological world and car of present day earth with the same intuition is amazing……」
「Nice, Cassandra! Hit the pedal with this spirit!」
「Bu, but, I think it's better to not go through rice field's ridge!」
Riona nodded in understanding, while Julio was impressed.
Ren spurred her on which Cassandra replied back with cheerfulness. It was only Fumika who was relatively "normal" among these members who was flustered.
For the time being it seemed there was announcement of 『Refrain from using car』 throughout Kansai to the citizens.
Certainly they sometimes heard the announcer speaking 「To all the citizens~」 from the speakers that were set up by the local government.
But, there were also a lot of civilians who didn't obey it.
Many tried to evacuate far away using cars, causing congestion to happen frequently.
In order to avoid that, Cassandra controlled the minitruck like her own limbs and drove through road that couldn't be called road. Berm, farm road, dry riverbed, park, sports ground, etc, etc…….
Sometimes she would crash through glass or automatic door.
She even cut across spacious supermarket, electronic store, or shopping mall.
That wild route selection was based on the guidance of the white heron shikigami that Riona summoned.
It was flying in front of the minitruck, using its body to show the direction that should be taken by the Troia princess who had no way of knowing the route of Kansai. Cassandra too followed the instruction well.
And then, when several Yomotsu Ikusa were standing on their path──
「Fueh!? Zo, zombies finally came out!?」
「Please leave it to me!」
Fumika flinched back. In contrast Cassandra stepped on the gas pedal hard.
Hit. Hit. The zombies were stirringly hit flying by the bonnet of the sprinting minitruck or getting trampled by the tires.
The minitruck was changed into a mobile brutal weapon and mowed down the Japanese zombies that should be tenacious altogether.
「Run over the soldiers standing in front of the chariot without mercy! That is the custom of battlefield. That's what my dead elder brother told me. I'm truly very sorry!」(TN: The way Cassandra speak in the raw, she often use very, very polite way of speaking at the end)
Cassandra politely apologized while running over the Japanese zombies.
Her eyes and expression were dignified through all that. They were shining with the pride of Troia royalty.
Even so, there were times when zombies gathered in front of the minitruck in number that couldn't be just ran over, trying to obstruct the minitruck's path. When that happened, Riona would fire without delay.
She pulled the trigger of type 89 rifle along with words of power.
The automatic rifle that was used as the standard equipment in JGSDF was pointed at inaccurate direction.
Even so, the scattered bullets were flying in an arc and splendidly pierced and bored through the head and torso of the zombies blocking the minitruck's path.
All the bullets were inserted with formula and turned into Riona's servants.
The zombies were routed. Ren laughed lightly.
「Hahah. This is easier than I thought!」
「I wonder about that. It seems there is also one that is a bit tougher there, Ren!」
It was the 『average zombies』 Yomotsu Ikusa that got easily mowed down by the scattered bullets. However, there was a monster that was twice as big than them with even more ferocity and agility──.
Yomotsu Shikome. The female monster that could cross 1000 ri with a single leap.
The Yomotsu Shikome spewed out its fighting spirit through its lips and leaped.
She was aiming at the cargo bed of the minitruck. However, Julio swiftly moved without being bothered by the fierce shaking by the vehicle that was in the middle of running.
「It's time for battle Cuore di Leone!」
Suddenly a sword appeared at the right hand of the commander-in-chief of Campiones association.
It was a broadsword. The blade contained a cool and clear silver radiance. The tip of the magic sword splendidly thrust into the forehead of the Yomotsu Shikome──
The female monster instantly turned into ash and vanished!
「It's the magic sword that has been handed down for generation to the head of Blandelli Family. It will be troubling if it's looked down at.」
Julio grinned and chuckled.
Lion's soul. It seemed that was the meaning of the name Cuore di Lione.
Like this, the minitruck rushed to the southwest──toward the direction of Osaka Castle. The godslayer Rokuhara Ren had no turn at all.
The other members were fighting hard that there was no need for him to stand out.
Although, it was only natural. After all the likes of Yomotsu Ikusa and Yomotsu Shikome were small fries. They weren't in the level that was worthy against the devil king, a godslayer.
However, there was one worry.
「It's not like usual when I've gone through a travel in a mythological world, so my stock of retribution isn't much right now……」
But, that worry too was like "asking for the moon".
Ren shrugged and prepared for the battle against the powerful enemy, Goddess Izanami.
The evening of autumn would arrive soon. The sky was dyed madder red.
Ren arrived at Osaka Castle around that time.
From here on only a godslayer could climb up on the ring. Ren crossed the outer moat alone, passed in front of Hokoku Shrine, and approached the inner citadel and the keep.
He caught sight of several human corpses on his way there.
Their limbs and body parts with soft meat were torn apart──that kind of corpse wasn't rare. They must be attacked by Yomotsu Ikusa and Yomotsu Shikome.
Of course, he couldn't say that he didn't feel anything welling up.
But, right now wasn't the time to let the feeling erupted. Rokuhara Ren was an existence who should be light-hearted and nimble not only in his everyday life, but also as a warrior.
Because if he wasn't like that, this man would be unable to display his greatest power…….
「Dancing like a butterfly, and sting like a bee, was it again?」
When he was a child, he was told that when he was imitating punching motion at a gym.
Rampaging with his emotion driving him wasn't Ren's style. Whether it was at the present, at the past, or at the future. That was why he continued his walk lightly and finally arrived until in front of the keep.
Its height was 55 meter. Actually it had been reconstructed after Japan entered the Showa Era (1926-1989).
「Hou, how mysterious.」
A beautiful woman was standing with the keep of Osaka Castle behind her.
She was wearing a garment from an era that was even more ancient than kimono. She stared at Ren with a dubious look.
「Bathed in the fragrance of the underworld that I scattered, the people of the surface should be unable to even stand. And yet, you calmly visited until before the presence of Izanami……」
「I'm Rokuhara Ren. If I have to confess, I'm not an ordinary person.」
「That seems to be the case. However, you also aren't a god. In the end you're a child of man. In that case there's only one answer. You're our sworn enemy, a godslaying beast isn't it?」
「Correct. It helps that you catch on quick.」
Izanami elegantly smiled at Ren's reaction.
「Hohohoho. Do you intend to defeat me who is an eyesore for you?」
「That's also correct.」
「Very well. As one of the heavenly gods, I will turn the table on the beast!」
「Hahahaha. Things are going so swimmingly that it's scary instead. This is simpler and easier than the time I went to stop the destruction of a mythological world.」
Goddess Izanami emitted black lightning sparks from her whole body. Rokuhara Ren smiled fearlessly.
God and godslayer. It could be said that they were easily settling into their proper relationship. If the usual sanctuary trip was an RPG, then this would be a fighting game.
And then, the battle was instantly started!
Two streaks of thunderbolt fell from the cloudy sky. Ren easily dodged that.
「A misdeed should be accompanied with divine punishment. Sinners, tremble before the avatar of justice──」
Even when the next two shots came down, Ren easily slipped through between the thunderbolts.
Of course, that was possible only because of Goddess Nemesis's swiftness. Ren chanted the words of power of justice and retribution while staring at the queen of the realm of the dead.
Izanami coldly gazed with an expression as though she was staring at filth.
「Wakaikazuchi, Tsuchiikazuchi, Naruikazuchi, Fushiikazuchi──my children, the eight lightning gods!」
Black thunderbolts were falling without pause.
Ren jumped to the front, back, left, right with intense rhythmic like Flamenco while dodging those. During it Ren quickly obtained a certain confidence. What he obtained after going through numerous travels and deathly battles, crossing blows with the fierce warriors of sanctuaries──an animalistic instinct. He could do this.
He moved in an ellipse track using his godspeed steps and circled around in an instant.
To right behind the goddess who continued bringing down lightning. With a timing of taking her defenseless back.
「I get it.」
「Onee-san is the mother of this country. You aren't really used to fighting. You also don't have any significant weapon. My bad but, you can't compete with me like that.」
Ren whispered from behind her while liberating his "stock" at the same time.
「Divine retribution! I wish for the judgment of justice right here!」
The goddess of country founding Izanami shrieked.
It was because she was hit by a counter from the back by Ren's authority, Retributive Justice.
The thunderbolts that the goddess was unleashing randomly until now──Ooikazuchi, Honoikazuchi, Kuroikazuchi, Sakuikazuchi, Wakaikazuchi, Tsuchiikazuchi, Naruikazuchi, Fushiikazuchi, the eight lightning gods. The weapon that Ren obtained from Midgard was also added there.
The lightning that Marquis Voban rained down on him like there was no tomorrow.
The godslaying wolf unleashed an authority that came from some kind of storm god. It was the lightning attack from the worst devil king.
To speak bluntly, the level of the attack was different from the attack of someone like Izanami. Might, number, density, intensity, the goddess's lightning was inferior in every aspect.
That was why, it was only natural for the mother goddess to yield and fall against this dense lightning attack of maximum power.
「As I thought the stock was a bit insufficient. If the counter was filled with one or two more pushes, this should be over already……」
The goddess's white beautiful face and garment were dirtied with black soot. Smoke was rising from her smoldering body.
With the inflicted damage, it shouldn't be strange even if her whole body was burned into an ugly corpse.
But, the mother Izanami was still gorgeous like before. This miracle must be because of the goddess's authority. Ren casually looked down on her.
Well, even if he stocked more of Izanami's black lightning, the result would still be the same.
Rather killing her momentum at the start, making her fell, and then dealing the finishing blow in one go would be more efficient──
「I'll leave the rest to you, Riona.」
『Leave it to me, goshujin-sama!』
While calling Ren as her master with her usual sarcastic tone,
Riona who transformed into Yatagarasu flew to above the keep.
『Sacred flame pure and clear──』
What the beak of the sacred bird recited was the words of power of the sun.
Twelve "fire spheres" appeared around her. They surrounded the golden Yatagarasu while circling around her. They were the twelve divine generals, the shikigamis serving Riona.
The spirits of fire and sun started emitting silver light from the sky.
『This lowly self wish to reverently state in the presence of Sume-Mikami……heavenly god of illuminating sun, manifest thyself here!』
Brilliant and warm pure radiance was scattered to the ground.
Not only to the Osaka Castle, the light was emitted until every corner of Kansai. Yatagarasu and the underlings were already no different from a small sun.
Showered under that brilliant light, the one writhing around was──
「O, OOOOOOH!? Stop, regrain from scattering that annoying light, cease at once, o spirits! This is the command from this great goddess of the underworld you know!?」
『This is because a goddess of underworld──someone who should be at the bottom of the earth came out to the surface!』
Izanami groaned hearing what Riona=Yatagarasu said from the sky.
The mother goddess was still lying on the ground. She looked like she didn't have any spare strength to even stand. The spiritual ki of the sun that was the source of life was amplified and expanded, raining down to the ground. It became an exceptionally crushing blow toward the goddess of death, a negative existence.
This was the finishing technique that was decided by Riona and Julio, the two intellectuals. It was effective as expected.
Around this time, with Osaka Castle as the center, the corrupted land inside of Osaka City was wholly purified. Even the Japanese zombies that got away previously should be exterminated──
It was a result that was just like Riona predicted.
It was looking good. The belief that the enemy had been checked welled up and Ren smiled fearlessly.
It was a warrior's face that would only grant uncomfortable feeling to those people who only knew about Rokuhara Ren's usual happy-go-lucky side──
It was then.
The sky was torn and blazing flame flew with radiating range. Furthermore there were eight of them.
It was fired from the north of Osaka Castle, from the direction of Neyagawa Bridge that crossed Okawa River.
Eight necks were raised from inside the wide Okawa River……the blazes were spewed by the monster. It seemed that it was lurking underwater until now.
Eight streaks of exploding blazes were spewed out from the eight mouths of the monster with eight necks.
The railway bridge of Keihan's main line and Neyagawa Bridge were struck eight times by the radiating blazes and melted like candy.
And then the eight streaks of blazes attacked Yatagarasu and her servants!
「Watch out Riona!」
Ren warned. Riona ordered.
Yatagarasu and the shikigamis twelve divine generals spread out in the air and dodged the eight blazes in a hair's breadth. And then they flew toward Okawa River where the attacker was located.
The monster that raised its head from underwater was a giant snake with eight necks.
It also had eight tails. However, there was only one body where the eight heads and the eight tails were connected to. The total length from its head until the tip of its tail was around 40, 50 meter.
Eight headed large snake──its single stomach was red like fresh blood.
Ren tilted his head while staring at the eight headed and eight tailed monster snake from Osaka Castle.
「I've heard about that kind of monster from somewhere I think?」
「It seems that it's called Yamato no Orochi in this Japan.」
A dignified voice of a girl told him
Ren put up his guard. The person made her entrance like a night wind blowing through the darkness of night.
Beside Izanami who collapsed and writhed on the ground──an old acquaintance goddess was standing.
Silver hair that was like the moon's radiance and eyes of darkness color. She was wearing a white garment of ancient Greece. Her hand was holding a staff that was decorated with decoration of snake baring its fangs at the tip.
「I too have a little bit of acquaintance with snake gods. I'm also aware of the knowledge to wake them up. Wondering if it can be of assistance with the beautiful Izanami, I attempted to call out to Japan's snake god.」
The goddess of wisdom and war, the rival of his partner Stella=Aphrodite.
Ren asked his archenemy at the Trojan War.
「Athena-san huh. For us to meet at this kind of place……a coincidence?」
「No, it's an inevitability.」
Athena grinned and crouched down.
She helped the collapsed goddess of underworld to stand and then talked with a gentle voice.
「You fought well, Izanami-dono. But, it's impossible for that willowy body to struggle through rough battle. Because I'm in the middle of a journey, I'm unable to give assistance personally but──I tried inviting that one. What do you think?」
「Tha, that's enough, princess god of shining eyes.」
Izanami spoke with a voice that was trembling from deep emotion.
「I don't know how to express my thanks for your kindness!」
「No need, no need. Now let's go. It will be for the better if you rest your body behind that great snake. As for the cursed godslayer, I shall draw him away for a while.」
「Oo, my heartfelt thanks to you!」
Izanami accepted Athena's recommendation and suddenly transformed.
From a willowy beauty to a swan──. She flew away and flapped her wings toward Yamato no Orochi that appeared at Okawa River.
But, Ren had no leeway to intercept her.
Because Goddess Athena faced his way and held him back with her jet black eyes.
「As expected, are you holding a grudge from what happened at Troia?」
「There's also that but, that's not all. Anyway, I'm happy to be able to meet you after so long, Rokuhara Ren.」
It was the chance meeting of the nth time between the terrifying daughter of Zeus and godslayer.
「Yamata no Orochi. Another absurd thing came out……」
Riona who transformed into the sacred bird Yatagarasu at the sky muttered in terror.
A large snack with eight necks appeared from underwater of Okawa that wasn't even a kilometer from Osaka Castle's keep and reared up its heads.
The sixteen eyes of the snake were all red and blazed in the color of ground cherry.
「Those eyes are like red ground cherry, possessing eight heads and eight tails with one body. Its stomach is inflamed with blood. Its appearance is just like in legend!」
Riona=Yatagarasu was burning with flame spirit.
An existence that received the holy number eight that was rivaling other number like three, seven, or nine in the world of myth and legend. But especially in the land of the gods Japan, number eight was the most important holy number──.
It could be said that their status was equal with each other.
This monster didn't lack anything as an opponent. Compressed air and strange warning sound were gushing out from the nostrils of Yamato no Orochi's eight heads.
*Shuuu, shuuu, shuuu, shuuu, shuuu, shuuuu──!*
The eight mouths were unleashing fire breaths once more. Of course the fire was aimed toward Yatagarasu and the flame spirits taking position above the keep!
「O spirits of fire, answer my divine ki!」
Riona chanted the words of power of fire.
If she heightened her power and authority as divine spirit of sun──
「It's not an easy task to defeat us using flame just so you know!」
This time she didn't evade the eight blazes that Yamata no Orochi unleashed.
Riona and her servants the twelve divine generals purposefully stayed in place and received direct hit. They took on the enemy's firepower as it was and used it in return.
「Secret words of fire and sun, purify and exorcise!」
They combined their own flame with the enemy's blaze and sent it back!
Yatagarasu's flame that was burning bluish white attacked to Yamato no Orochi this time. However, the monster snake who possessed red cherry eyes also didn't dodge that.
Yamato no Orochi didn't even twitch and basked in the direct hit.
Those eight heads, eight tails, and one body──were clad in fire and burned with white scorch.
It was like steel that was thrown into a smelting furnace. However, even with its whole body scorching white, it firmly maintained its shape as Yamato no Orochi.
Yamato no Orochi was burned by Riona's flame. The water of Okawa River where that giant body was submerged in was rapidly evaporating. Water vapor was rising up densely. The temperature was increasing to a dreadful degree.
Yatagarasu and Yamato no Orochi, both of them possessed deep relation with fire.
That was exactly why this supernatural phenomenon, a competition of scorching heat was taking place.
「So flame won't become any decisive blow for both sides then!」
Yatagarasu=Riona and Yamato no Orochi, the two of them were worked up with fighting spirit.
And then, it was the large snake──that started a new attack. Black mineral dust rode upon the west wind and flew toward Yatagarasu and the twelve divine generals!
「This is──iron sand!?」
A great amount of black mineral dusts stained the large radiant body of Yatagarasu.
Black iron sands densely clung on the feathers and wings that contained the golden color of sun, covering up that radiance. It was like a sun that was dyed black by solar eclipse.
Due to the weight of the iron sand, the body of the sacred bird was gradually falling toward the ground.
In addition the iron sands were pulling against each other due to their magnetism, repressing the movement of the soaring great phoenix. Yes. Yamato no Orochi was a divine spirit that possessed the elements of fire and iron!
In that case. Riona=Yatagarasu called her underlings.
「Twelve divine generals, come to me!」
The shikigamis who were transformed into spirit of flame fused into Yatagarasu's body.
Yatagarasu who was covered in iron sand, her whole body was──enveloped in scorching conflagration.
「I'll melt the iron sand with this fire!」
However, it became an opening.
Yamato no Orochi shook its body that was still scorching white and stretched one of its eight tails toward the sky with whooshing sound, toward the flying Yatagarasu.
The scorching tail of the great snake was surprisingly slashing like a sword──to bisect Yatagarasu.
Riona immediately twisted her sacred bird body.
Thanks to that she was able to avoid direct hit, even so one of Yatagarasu's wings were slashed hard by the tip of the scorching tail. Red fresh blood scattered.
With her wing cut apart, she became unable to fly freely. She began to fall!
Riona sent her thought to her "goshujin-sama".
In order to demand for even more power, to grant her his power as godslayer.
However, there was no reply unlike usual. Riona returned from the form of Yatagarasu back into the figure of a high school girl in blazer, falling toward the forest of Osaka Castle Park…….
「……Are you intending to take revenge at me, Athena-san?」
「Of course, I have debt to you. You're the man who took down my retainer Nike and obstructed the destruction of Troia that was my aspiration. Although」
Athena chuckled at Ren's question.
The open space that commanded the view of Osaka Castle's keep. They were conversing at the middle of it.
「Victory or defeat is common for warrior and soldier. It's unthinkable for me to intentionally vindicate my honor to you while the god of this Japan is in the middle of showing her stuff. That's why this time──」
「If I can ascertain it, then that will be fine. Whether Rokuhara Ren will become my obstacle or not.」
「By obstacle you mean, you have some kind of plan in the work?」
「Hmph. I told you the other day didn't I, Ren.」
The one who suddenly interrupted was Stella.
The mini goddess-sama with height of 30 cm. She appeared with a puff on Ren's left shoulder.
「You see, the violent woman over there intend to destroy this surface world. She find it hard to forgive the pollution and blasphemy that the humans brought about!」
「The thing that you mentioned in Asakusa huh……」
Ren understood. Athena herself was grinning.
It seemed she had no intention of denying it. Well, from her action at Troia, he had already learned from long time ago that this goddess of wisdom and war was an owner of such thought.
Ren shrugged and said.
「I'm someone frivolous at all sort of things, but I'll at least display some motivation for volunteer work when the safety of earth is at stake. That's why naturally──」
「You will stand as this Athena's enemy? Well, I know that's what you'll do.」
The princess god who possessed hair of silver moon and eyes of night nodded magnanimously.
「I'm aware that this is how it will be. What. This time, what I want to see is──"how much of an obstacle" Rokuhara Ren can become.」
「Umu. Caliber, wit, intelligence, spirit……that kind of things.」
The conversation was relaxed in a sense.
Even while they recognized each other as『opponent they would confront someday』, they threw words to each other and read the other party's temperament from their reaction.
For Athena who was more belligerent and ferocious than anyone, it was "unlike" her…….
Ren slightly felt that something was out of place. It was then.
He felt like he was being called from far away. Someone was calling his name.
「What's the matter, Rokuhara Ren?」
「No, I think that Athena-san is a bit unfair.」
The goddess smiled ferociously. Ren ignored her and concentrated.
He just needed to do the same thing like at the Institution of Divinities before this. He wrung out his magic power with the intention of smashing all the magic that was applied here to trick and dazzle even the senses of godslayer.
However, this time he went at it seriously with all his strength.
This was most likely a barrier that could obstruct even the Contract of Wings with his partner──
The moment he yelled the name of his fiancée and heightened his magic power in one go.
*Prang!* The binding barrier was smashed and Ren became able to perceive『what was happening dozens of meter ahead』 that was hidden until now from him so that nothing could be conveyed to him.
──Yatagarasu was slashed by Yamato no Orochi's tail and fell.
──The thought of Riona who was seeking her goshujin-sama was transmitted.
「So it's as expected, the binding won't work if the curse isn't blown into the body……」
Athena muttered with a know-it-all airs.
Before this the sun god Apollo was also able to sever his connection with Riona just for a bit. Athena must be using a similar kind of barrier magic.
Ren grasped the situation and started walking briskly.
He passed right beside Goddess Athena to head where Riona was falling.
「Aren't you being really defenseless, Rokuhara Ren?」
Perhaps because his footsteps were like entering into his own house.
Athena asked him. It was when he was just passing right before her eyes. By the way Stella who was sitting on Ren's left shoulder stuck out her tongue 'bleh' at her old enemy.
「Obstructing your path with weapon in hand──that's something that can I do you know?」
「Hmph, just try it! You'll get the table turned on you. Isn't that right Ren!?」
「No, it's alright. I think Athena-san won't start anything.」
Ren declared with confidence.
If Athena attacked, he would be able to activate Nemesis's escaping feet.
In that case he would be able to run to Riona's side in lightning speed, so it would be easier instead. Because of that Athena wouldn't make any move instead wouldn't she?
Ren passed through in front of Athena while holding expectation, but nothing happened.
In exchange, the goddess of wisdom and war whispered this.
「Kukuku. Are you hiding your claws, or is this your nature, I still cannot really get a read on you. How really shrewd. As I thought, you're a godslaying beast. The sworn enemy of gods who is overflowing with cunning and wildness. Perhaps the next time we meet will be the day of our decisive battle……」
Athena didn't even show any sign of pursuing.
Thus, Ren parted from the goddess and began sprinting with all his might.
With him being unable to use Nemesis's godspeed, he could only run using his two legs at full speed.
「Don't shake me too much, Ren!」
「Please endure it. My fiancée is in a pinch!」
Ren objected at Stella on his shoulder while nimbly running.
Fortunately the Contract of Wings taught him. His partner was still going strong. However, it didn't mean that she was unharmed or safe. It would be better to hurry.
Ren rushed through the vast ground of Osaka Castle Park without stopping. And then.
「Ren-sama, over here!」
A voice called him from the minitruck that was moving fast from the other side.
The one holding the wheel on the driver's seat was of course the Troia princess. But although the minitruck had dropped its speed, she didn't stop it completely. Ren also didn't stop running.
They ended up running side-by-side toward the same direction. Even so.
「The eight headed monster, it didn't come chasing you guys!?」
「No-. What saved us──must be Riona-sama!」
The minitruck ran from the park at west wing of Osaka Castle to the southeast. They were trying to shake off Yamato no Orochi that was crawling toward there.
The current location where Ren and the minitruck met up was nearby Hokoku Shrine.
「Ren, get on!」
Julio leaned forward from the minitruck's cargo bed and reached out his hand.
Ren firmly grabbed that hand and jumped with all his strength. After that with his own physical ability and Julio's arm strength, he somehow landed on the cargo bed.
「Wah. To think I'll be able to see Fight On scene in real life-!」(TN: There is a famous commercial scene of Lipovitan drink in Japan that people there called Fight! Ippatsu. Searchファイト一発 through google sensei and watch the youtube link from there if you want to see)
Fumika who was also on the cargo bed was watching with sparkling eyes.
「The entanglement of two handsome men is wonderful just as I thought!」
「This girl, there are times when she is emitting an awfully evil sentiment……」
Stella who was still sitting on Ren's shoulder frowned. Julio was also making a dubious face.
「Certainly. What do you mean by that, Fumika?」
「Hahaha. Isn't that fine, this too is this girl's hobby.」
Ren put his arm around the shoulder of the baffled Julio. Ren brought his lips near the ear of the Latino young noble and spoke his gratitude from the bottom of his heart.
「Thanks, that was really a great help.」
「This too is my duty, don't mind it. More importantly Ren, your face is too close.」
「Isn't it fine. This too is a service♪」
「U, uwaa. Amaziiing. Nuzzling cheek and cheek, it's truly a 2.5D paradise. I might get a bit of nosebleed……」
Ren called at his sister-in-law who was starting to get absorbed into her own world.
「By the way Fumika-chan. How is Riona?」
The second daughter of Toba House jerked and immediately covered up her true nature.
「The, there is no danger to her life, and she has also stopped bleeding so she's fine. But, she still isn't conscious.」
Riona was laid down on the minitruck's cargo bed.
Her blazer was taken off and she was only wearing underwear on her upper body. But her skirt was still in place, so it was quite a perverse appearance.
Her left upper arm was wrapped in bandage. She had been given first-aid treatment.
Come to think of it, Yatagarasu's wing was slashed by the great snake's tail. The wound must be reflected on Riona's arm. Ren nodded.
「Got it. Then, what's left is to escape from here!」
He already used up all his stock of retributive justice. His third authority Contract of Wings was also impossible to be used with his partner down right now.
「That's right Stella. Can we try calling some friend?」
「Stupid Ren! This is the surface world, on top of that it's island country at the farthest end of the east you know!?」
The minimum goddess on his left shoulder spoke indignantly.
「A god who have good compatibility with me cannot be found that easily!」
「That might be so but, please try just once. We've got nothing to lose giving it a try.」
「It can't be helped-. ──Come, o friend of foreign country that I haven't met. Bestow the goddess of beauty and love with thy momentary friendship!」
When Stella used her authority the Circle of Friendship.
Two of the eight sneak heads spewed out flame at the same time toward the running minitruck. However, Cassandra stepped on the gas pedal with nice timing──
They shook free before the flame reached them!
The speed of the minitruck rose further.
100 km/hour, 120, 140, 160──the acceleration was still not stopping.
Fumika screamed. Because of the sudden acceleration, the wind pressure felt painful.
「Stella! You go hide!」
「I, I know!」
Being told that by Ren, his partner the small goddess vanished with a puff.
However, thanks to the outrageous acceleration of the minitruck, they were finally bale to escape from the firing range of the flame breath. Ren rejoiced.
「This truck's amazing. It can produce this much speed!」
「It'll be impossible with normal method. But I applied the magic of Double Speed and tuned it up just in case before this. This is the effect of that.」
「Good work, as expected from Julio!」
The minitruck ran at full speed inside Osaka Castle Park.
But, the gigantic Yamato no Orochi was unexpectedly fast for its huge body.
That giant body mowed down the trees around the keep and places like the concert hall while pursuing right behind the minitruck of Ren and co.
They were in the range of the flame breath once more. It was just a hair breadth's away from reaching the minitruck.
Rush. Rush. The minitruck was rapidly speeding up with its engine working in full. And then, the leading actress of the escape drama Cassandra yelled from the driver's seat.
「By the way Ren-sama, where should we be heading to!?」
「Aa. In this situation, it might be good to head toward Osaka Bay-!」
The orange evening sun was just starting to set right now.
If they ran toward that direction, they should reach the sea. Ren recalled Osaka's geography and said that without any deep thought. It was then.
'Suuuu', Fumika pointed at the opposite direction of the setting sun.
「You bunch of fools. Over there, hurry to where I am, don't waste even a single second!」
The face of the rebuking Fumika seen from the side looked gallant.
The girl who was going 'kyaa kyaa' at Ren and Julio's close contact before this now was like a different person. Furthermore the girl's eyes were shining blue like sapphire!
It was the same like when Riona fully unleashed her ability.
Ren was immediately struck with an idea and yelled at the princess on the driver's seat.
「Cassandra! To the east, head toward the opposite direction of the sun!」
And then the minitruck finally rushed out of Osaka Castle Park and came out to the public highway that was running parallel with Hanshin Highway──.
They headed straight to the east. The car explosively rushed with the setting sun behind it.
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