Frire wasn’t happy about their ill-fated relationship either, so her expression was somewhat ugly, but because of that, the scene was somewhat ruined.
“But why? …Why is
Aria really couldn’t be bothered by that right now, though.
That silver that was exceedingly close to white, Aria remembered it all too well.
That was the loathful figure that so easily crushed their first rebellion.
Frire’s face could easily be seen through the visor covering her head, but it wasn’t as though the person inside the exoskeleton was ever in question in the first place.
There was only person who could use it.
“But if you’re here, then who’s that!?”
Without averting her eyes from the person before her, Aria showed the situation below through a screen.
There, Frire could be seen lying motionless amidst the clouds of dust.
“That’s a decoy projection. The same trick as your disguise.”
Frire had given her a taste of her own medicine.
As Frire smiled, this time, it was Aria’s turn to bite her lips.
“To think the day would come when I would be tricked by you! And I can’t believe you actually brought Shirayuki with you!!”
“We owe it to you, Aria. Thanks to you using that incomplete Mind skill of yours so carelessly, it was possible to predict this situation.”
‘Not by me, though,’ she said internally as she smiled a fearless smile.
—Close Combat Quarters Assault Type Exoskeleton 『Shirayuki 』
That was the
She had taken the boy’s advice seriously when he told her that she would need it.
“But even then you shouldn’t have permission to use it. You’re just a civilian now, even if it’s you, you’ll still be punished for using it!”
“It’s already been acknowledged that I can use it in times of emergency. All thanks to your little group that made this emergency situation possible.”
“Now then, as your former associate, I should at least ask— Will you surrender?”
“…If I did, will you treat me nicely?”
“I’ll think about it after I beat ’till you can’t move.”
It was hard to believe the surrender of someone like Aria, who specialized in infiltration missions. Any surrender on her part would likely just be part of her schemes.
Especially given that this was a woman who had faked her own death. That wasn’t someone whose words could be taken at face value.
“I thought as much !i”
Aria had been expecting that answer, however, and she immediately threw a lightning skill without any warning to create an opening, then fled to the skies.
No matter what she didn’t want to be within Frire’s range.
“Your favorite lightning, I see… But, you underestimate me!”
That lightning was only meant to keep her away, but unfortunately, it couldn’t even hit the Valkyrie fluttering about in the sky.
Because of that Aria was only able to buy herself a few seconds at most.
“It’s been three years, and yet you haven’t gotten dull at all! As expected from you!” Aria bit her lips and scattered some spheres in the sky.
Those sphere were originally the size of marbles, but then they transformed into 40 bird-shaped drones.
Frire didn’t think it wise to jump into that, so she stopped in the air with her sword drawn.
The bird-shaped drones were about half the size of a normal adult, but when their wings were spread they were close to being 2 meters wide.
“Air-Combat Drones, huh.”
As those drones gathered together and obstructed her way, they looked just like a wall in the sky.
But whether they were a wall made of steel or paper depended on who they were facing.
“Mind skills, robot hijacking, communication jamming… You’ve really prepared, haven’t you? Unfortunately, it’s not enough!”
Fire erupted from the large wing boosters behind her, and Frire shot off like a meteor.
Aria opened the wall of drones and sent them up to avoid colliding into her, but then Frire’s skirt wings burned downwards to send her up.
“I see you’re just as stupid quick as ever!”
The resulting G-Force from that insane acceleration and those 90-degree turns wasn’t something that could easily be endured even with an exoskeleton, but Frire’s Resistance was so high that it didn’t matter.
This absurd mobility was made possible only by her high Resistance.
10 drones gathered together like a wall to block her.
But before her, they were nothing but a wall of paper.
With her absurd acceleration, nothing could stop Frire’s charge, and the wall of drones was turned into junk with a single blow.
But regardless of the fate of the drones, a collision was a collision, and they did manage to buy Aria a moment.
Beyond the wall of drones, Aria had slipped away once again, and Frire found herself clicking her tongue.
The only thing waiting beyond the wall of drones was a bouquet of muzzles – a muzzle from Aria’s sniper rifle that was aimed straight at her from the front, and the muzzles from the Independent Floating Type Remote Guided Attack Terminals, the Gun Bits.
If Aria were an average soldier, Frire would have ignored everything and charged through.
But that sniper rifle of hers really did pack a punch, and as much as possible she would rather dodge or block it.
But if she were to slow down, the Gun Bits and drones would surround her and swarm her.
If she changed directions to dodge, the Gun Bits would go after her weak spots, and Aria was good enough to hit her thrusters when given a small opening.
Against someone like her, who specialized in medium to long-ranged attacks, losing one’s mobility was a fatal mistake.
So what was Frire’s answer?
Charge on through anyway.
“Have you lost your damn mind!?” Aria yelled.
She suspected that Frire must’ve had a plan of some sort, but all she could do now was to pull the trigger.
A beam just as powerful as the one from before headed straight for Frire, but Frire too headed straight for that beam, and then she swung her sword.
In the next moment, that flash of light that could gouge out the land was cut cleanly in two and fell.
But before it could fall, Frire was already pressing Aria hard.
Aria immediately shelved her shock and moved everything she could to try and resist.
She had her drones throw themselves into a suicide charge at Frire from the side, while the Gun Bits attacked from behind, and she herself rapidly shot her rifle at Frire’s face.
Without any hesitation, Frire stopped herself with a reverse thrust and dodged the drones that headed to her original destination by a hair’s breadth, and then she swung her blade as though she were spinning it.
“I see you’re as versatile as ever, controlling drones and bits, while handling your rifle at the same time.”
“I don’t wanna hear that from you!”
Frire was genuinely impressed, but to Aria, it just sounded like she was making fun of her.
Not only did her suicidal drones miss, she even cut her beam attack.
It was as if it didn’t matter what the target was or how far it was. Frire just kept cutting everything she threw at her.
A closer look at Frire’s sword would show a dense concentration of photon clad around her sword that formed a giant blade.
That was why she could cut a photon beam and why the distance didn’t matter.
“You’ve gotten even stronger! You can even cut a beam now!?”
“Someone told me that it’s better for me to just keep cutting than to try and dodge. It was really enlightening.”
“Well, he shouldn’t have!”
Aria had no idea who that person was, but she seriously wanted to complain to him.
As she put away her rifle, she brought out two giant hand guns and used the ‘Shotgun’ skill on the light bullets they shot.
“Tsk, that’s going to make them into buckshots instantly! Your brain really works quick, doesn’t it!” Frire said.
As the buckshots shot out from the two hand guns, they covered the air space and made their way for Frire.
Frire’s sword was strong, but in the end, she could only cut in a line.
Unable to cut more than a side at a time, she had to decide whether to endure the attack or dodge.
Meanwhile, Aria corrected her posture.
Frire’s choice was again none of the above.
As she held her photon-clad blade in front of her like she was thrusting with it, she directed all of Shirayuki’s propulsion behind her and uttered the name of that skill.
The fierce blaze of photons once again turned the silver Valkyrie into a meteor.
But she wasn’t just fast like before, this time she literally tore through the sky and easily passed through that wall of bullets without incurring even the slightest damage.
Just like a certain someone, Frire wasn’t good at skills that moved her body.
Boost Crash was one of the few Charge Type skills with little movement.
It was considered a beginner level skill, but when coupled with Shirayuki’s acceleration, it reached a whole new level.
“She made her barrier sharp!? No—!!”
With Frire’s blade pointed forward and her barrier sharpened around it, everything she passed by was destroyed, and now, she was headed straight for Aria.
Immediately, Aria threw all of her remaining bits and drones at Frire, but this time, they couldn’t even buy her a moment.
Bending her body to avoid a direct hit was the most she could accomplish.
Avoiding Frire’s meteor-like acceleration with her reflexes was nothing short of remarkable.
But unfortunately, while she may have avoided the sword and the barrier, she couldn’t escape from the shockwaves of Frire’s charge.
It grazed just the armor of her left arm, but that was already enough to send her flying.
“What a ridiculous—”
By the time she tried to fix her posture while holding her incapacitated left hand, the silver-armored Valkyrie was already in front of her, and a sharp blade was pointed at her throat.
Aria refused to give up and immediately released a lightning skill from her entire body.
As Frire’s former associate, she knew exactly what it meant to stop in front of her.
Despite the damage she would be incurring, she released the lightning attack to keep Frire away and impede her sight, but a swing of her sword repelled all of her efforts.
She did managed to make some progress away from her, but she was still disturbed by what she’d witnessed.
“That’s too fast! What the heck is this!? She’s much faster than the data from 3 years ago!”
The latest data on the official record of Frire wearing Shirayuki.
They recognized her as the greatest obstacle to their cause, so they did everything they could to acquire it.
But now her movements were all much faster than any of her previous record.
As Aria checked the data on her visor, she muttered in disbelief.
“This is impossible! You were turned into an advertisement by the public relations department after my incident, and then you even wasted 3 years working as some crummy teacher, so how in the world are you so much stronger!?”
Grenades rapidly shot from the gun in her right hand as astonishment filled her face.
Although she hadn’t called out the name of the skill, Frire was still able to realize that she’d changed bullets, so she moved away from her attacks and smiled.
“No, that’s not all! Since when did you change schools!? The way you fight is completely different from three years ago!!”
She’s seen how she’s moved before, but the way she was moving now was completely different.
With her speed, she never had to look at her opponents properly. She could just attack, and they would naturally fall.
That’s why Aria believed there was a weakness she could take advantage of, but Frire was too different now.
When she thought back to it, this whole time, Frire had been watching her before making her move.
“…The way I did things before was just too sad against him. It couldn’t even be called a fight.”
A wry smile appeared on Frire when her old friend pointed that out.
It wasn’t just twice or thrice that a counter would knock her out as soon as she attacked.
When that boy sparred with her, whatever speed she came at him with, he would throw right back at her.
“Who are you talking about!?”
“None other than the person responsible for your bad luck. Thanks to him, I’ve been feeling really good lately! My body feels so light!”
In her search for an answer against him, this was the result.
‘Fighting with him really was fun,’ Frire thought as joy filled her and she laughed.
“Thanks to him, I can do this too!”
Her smile still on her face, she looked at Aria and turned into a meteor for the third time.
With her otherworldly speed, she drew a trajectory in the sky that ignored the laws of physics.
“How is that even possible!?”
As Frire maneuvered in impossible ways and pulled off 90-degree turns left and right, all Aria could do was watch.
In fact, neither her sensors nor her eyes could catch the zigzag patterns drawn on the sky.
The only thing she could really catch were the traces of lights left by Frire’s thrusters and the explosion of the dead drones.
Because of that Aria couldn’t even respond when she was finally attacked from behind.
A powerful impact erupted as Frire crashed into her with that powerful speed, and together, they fell into the ground with Frire pushing her.
“Again! You’ve ruined my plans, Frireeeeeee!!”
As her screams resounded through the skies, she was beaten into the very crater she created.