As clouds of dust rose up with a thunderous roar, the crater was gouged out even deeper.
Aria’s consciousness started to leave her because of the impact, but the sound of her bones and her exoskeleton cracking ironically roused her, and she tried to move her hands.
“GU, ah, you!”
Despite lying face down, Aria pointed her handgun behind her and shot at Frire, but Frire just let Shirayuki take Aria’s attacks on while she calmly cut Aria’s gun.
Then Frire kicked her and sent her flying and tumbling 5 meters away.
By chance, after tumbling several times, Aria found herself facing upwards, and Frire’s blade was once again upon her throat.
“‘Bind Lock’ …What? You still want to fight?” Frire asked as she bound her body with a photon restraint tool.
Aria couldn’t immediately reply when Frire declared her victory so monotonously.
As far as Status was concerned, nothing she had could hold a candle to Frire.
If this were a contest of attacking through different methods simultaneously while attacking from at least medium range, then it would be her overwhelming victory, but now that she’s lost her mobility and Frire was on her, there was no chance for her to win anymore.
“…It’s frustrating how strong you are, but it’s too early for you to celebrate. Do you even know what I came here to do in the first place?”
Despite lying on her back, there was no defeat in her eyes.
In fact, a fearless smile appeared on her face as she looked up at her old friend.
“I never did know what was in your head,” Frire said.
“Hmph, I didn’t really want to use it, but you’ve left me no choice,” Aria said.
Aria wanted to shift the situation to their favor by getting rid of the inspectors and cutting off the communication network and command of the students all without using their trump card.
Knowing Frire, she didn’t think she would simply stand back and watch given the situation, but she still hoped to avoid using it.
Of course, even if things had gone as planned, since the students weren’t actually being commanded, but instead mistakenly led to believe that their exams were still proceeding as planned, it would’ve been meaningless anyway.
“You think I’d let you?” Frire said.
“Unfortunately, unlike the fosters, the military weapon terminals can be used with just a thought, but you knew that, didn’t you?”
Invoked by her thoughts, her terminal transmitted a special code, which was then received by a certain place that then started mobilizing their trump card.
“…What did you do?”
“Hmph. No matter how strong you are, that’s only when you’re being used as part of an attack. You can break through enemy camps all on your own, but you’re terrible at maintaining lines and defending. Unfortunately, there’s no one more experienced in fighting than you in this school. The defense force is no slouch, but there’s no one with the ‘caliber of a general’ who can control everything. That’s why you won’t be able to block this,” Aria fearlessly smiled.
But that smile froze when Frire suddenly looked up at the sky.
“So you really did prepare a large-scale air strike. You really didn’t waste your 8 years hiding.”
‘How did you know that!?’ her voice implicitly asked, but Frire ignored her and continued to look up at the distant sky.
The optical image reflected on her visor showed the sky above the clouds.
There, several giant elliptical spheres could be seen floating, each one about 50 meters long.
“Drone descent pod carriers. Moreover, the unmanned type. How many did you fit in those? Looks like you could easily fit more than three hundred drones in one of those,” Frire said.
The way Frire calmly shook her head left Aria speechless.
It disn’t make sense. Frire should’ve been at the end of her wits already, and yet she still saw through her trump card.
At that, a malaise far worse than when she saw Frire filled her.
“I see, if you drop over a thousand drones from that height, the defensive line of the city will collapse and the students will fall into a predicament. And of course, neither me nor the commander of the defense force is capable of qualming the ensuing chaos.”
“Frire, what are you trying to say!?”
Frire admitted that all those drones falling would spell the end of the school, but she just smiled as though none of this concerned her.
No, that wasn’t it. Aria’s back froze. That wasn’t a smile of abandonment but a smile of certainty.
More so, than being seen through, it was the method she was relying on that bothered her.
And because she couldn’t understand Frire’s source of confidence, the situation became even more terrifying to Aria.
“You look like you don’t understand what’s going on. In that case, let me return to you the same words you gave me earlier. Why do you think I keep talking to an enemy like you?”
Due to the surprise of happening into her unexpectedly, she failed to realize it.
The Frire that Aria knew would never have spent so much time talking to a covert ops like her.
It would’ve been normal for Frire to beat her up without a word, but what she did instead was to talk.
Moreover, that was before she even knew that she was an old friend.
“You’re also buying time?” Aria asked.
Frire turned her back to her and glared at the skies.
“Surprisingly, Kutoria has never actually been attacked from the skies,” Frire said.
After all, it was hard for either world’s air forces or exoskeletons to break through the excellent radar system and Kutoria’s defense network, that was ever vigilant for attacks by those against the continuing interaction of the two worlds.
But that didn’t mean it was impossible to attack them from the skies. For example, if one were to suddenly send a great number of forces from outside the range, the defenses wouldn’t be able to respond fast enough.
All the more so if Kutoria was already in the middle of a battle.
Whether or not that’s realistic, it’s an answer that anyone could come up with if they just gave it some thought.
“If you’d really thought things through, then there’s no way you wouldn’t attack from that angle. You could send a disorderly mob with that method and it would still cause chaos. I’m sure you at least have a disorderly mob. Corner them, make them use it, and then crush it. That’s, right… Ha ha, as unreasonable as ever.”
That was the role that the boy had chosen for her.
She confronted the infiltrator and made her use their trump card on purpose.
The reason was because it would be much easier to deal with the enemy’s trump card if someone, who they knew could use it, used it at a time they were expecting, than for someone else they didn’t know to use it when they weren’t expecting it.
“F-Frire, what are you talking about?”
The Gaen Volunteer Army had been preparing for 8 years for this day, that’s why they were able to prepare this trump card, but now, Frire was casually enjoying herself as she uttered someone else’s words after seeing through their plans.
Aria couldn’t help but shudder.
“It wasn’t clear if the infiltrator would have the authority to use the trump card, but given that the infiltrator was the one person able to observe the situation from the school. It’s likely that the infiltrator would’ve been given the authority to use it in case of emergencies… Is what he said. Looks like he was right.”
“W-Who is that!? Who are you talking about!? Who said that!!”
She didn’t understand it.
She had lived in this city for 8 years and investigated various things at the academy.
She had sufficiently investigated all the people that could become a hindrance to them.
Despite that not a single candidate, who could do what Frire claimed, came to mind.
“Perhaps he’s a person who possesses the ‘caliber of a general’ that you were talking about. At the very least, he’s much better at using people than a clumsy teacher like me. It was thanks to him that today I could just be the sword that I am.”
Just for this moment, she was able to forget the responsibility of a teacher and the weight of her fame.
That feeling grew even stronger as she thought how this role suited her better, but then she focused once more.
“Now then, shall we, Shirayuki?”
With a solemn face, she spoke to the
“The situation has now fallen into the special case of article III of the regulations of use. Permission cannot be acquired from the relevant authorities, and an encounter with a large-scale force cannot be avoided. For the sake of my allies and the civilians, I Frire Doneju, wielder of ‘Shirayuki’ appeal to be permitted to draw the ‘Sacred Sword’.”
〈 Request acknowledged. Based on the observed situation, permission to use is granted. Sheathe deployment complete, safety released, photon energy charging. I understand it’s your first time using it, but please remain calm, Master. 〉
“I know. You think I’d get excited over some drones?”
Frire knitted her brows in response to that monotonous mechanical voice.
As a colossal sword blade extended behind her, the inside of a cave could be seen from in front.
Frire took her beloved sword blade and buried it inside that cave. Yes, that cave was none other than a giant sheathe.
“Sword sheathing complete, coating starting, cooling systems released… Objectives, locked on!”
〈Roger that. Everything is ready. 〉
“Wait, Frire! What are you trying to do!? No, it doesn’t matter! At that altitude, there’s nothing you can do!”
An unfamiliar weapon and an exaggerated appeal to use it.
What’s more, given the situation they were in, there was no way it would be just a simple weapon.
But the carriers were too far up. Even with Shirayuki’s speed, it should still take them a few minutes to get up there.
By the time they reach the carriers, the drones will have already descended.
By then, no weapon would be able to destroy all of the scattered drones immediately.
Moreover, Garesto didn’t have any ultra long rang weapons.
That was one of the reasons why they feared the Earthlings in the first place.
“Have you forgotten what my special skill is, Aria?”
〈Photon Converter operational. Support system, starting. Please head straight for the target without unnecessary trips. 〉
“I see you’ve gone senile,” Frire said as a monitor appeared before Aria.
The preparation of the carriers to drop the drones was projected there.
“Take a good look. Thanks to the world’s good fortune, this has never been used until now! Feast with your eyes! This is Shirayuki’s sword!”
Dropping her hips a little, she reached out for the handle of her beloved sword with both of her hands.
As she set her sight at the distant carrier through her visor, she uttered the name of the skill.
The moment realized her mistake, she cried that out in regret.
It was true that it would take Shirayuki some time to get to the carriers.
But if Frire had a skill that made it possible to teleport short distances, and if she could grasp the distance toward her target and the objects that existed until then, then she could simply teleport consecutively and make it all the way up there in a few seconds.
“Damn it! Damn it all! Just who was it!? Who was it that I missed!?”
When Aria saw Frire appear in the screen, she started cursing.
She hated whoever it was that advised her.
But what infuriated her the most was that she couldn’t even imagine who it was.
“Burn you, Frire! Burn youuuuu!!!”
Everything would come to nothing. All their preparations this past 8 years, everything was going to be destroyed.
Because of someone she didn’t know and because of a sword that they’d been wary of.
Aria screamed from the top of her lungs, but her voice couldn’t reach the skies above.
〈All units within range. Master.〉
With the same stance as she had on the ground, Frire drew her sword.
In the next moment, that peculiar golden color filled the sky and everything was torn through mercilessly.
The Sacred Sword. A single stroke of instant death turned into a guardian that would keep anything from approaching.
That was the Wide Area Slash Type Attack Skill that she could use only while wearing Shirayuki.
The vast amount of photons that filled the sheathe was – in a single stroke – released with the sword, devouring all of the drones and the carriers in a single flash.
In the face of that powerful slash of highly-concentrated and highly-compressed photons, neither the drones nor the carriers could last even a second.
Not even fragments were left in its wake, and when everything had quieted, it was as though there was nothing there in the first place, the only thing left were the traces of those golden particles and the silver Valkyrie herself.
A ‘line’ that could fill the whole sky. That was the attack released by Frire Doneju.
As the various systems of her exoskeleton spent time cooling down, she slowly returned to the ground, where a furious Aria greeted her.
“Do you realize what you’ve done, Frire!? As strong as your weapon may be, Earth’s weapons are even stronger! That weapon that only you could use won’t be able to stop them!”
In Aria’s eyes were anger and a faint trace of resignation.
She was going to be arrested anyway, so she might as well let out her feelings now.
She glared at her old friend and continued.
“Interacting with Earth is the government’s biggest failure. Even if we have to resort to force, we have to correct this mistake, or a calamity will descend on Garesto! The Garesto we should be protecting doesn’t need a world like Earth!!”
“…Failure, mistake, disaster, and doesn’t need… huh. I didn’t want to hear those words from you.”
After Aria had laid bare her honest feelings, for a moment, Frire’s golden eyes wavered sorrowfully, but that color vanished and she drew her sword.
Just like that the weapon terminal over Aria’s exoskeleton was destroyed.
With the system maintaining her exoskeleton gone, the exoskeleton she wore was now nothing but dead weight.
“Sorry, Aria. If I had the time, I wouldn’t mind debating with you, but I was told to help the students after finishing my errand here. I don’t have the time to spare for you right now, so go to sleep. I’ll pick you up later.”
That wasn’t a conversation. Frire had just said what she wanted to say, as though to imply that the only reason she’d talked for so long was to find their trump card, then without any hesitation, she threw a fist right into the pit of Aria’s stomach and knocked her out. She didn’t even glance at her as she flew away to her next battlefield.
Enemy Air Forces──Destroyed
Tl Note: Changed Inviolable Sword to Sacred Sword to better match her skill ‘Sacred Caliber’.