I came back but the world is still a fantasy!? – Garesto Academy – Exam Arc: Chapter II – Those Who Take Advantage of the Test – 04-29-B: A Fox’s Game (2/3)

Immediately after, they were shown the power to back that statement.

It was unpleasant, but they had to accept it, that a threat they could not win against was standing before them.

Before the beautiful maiden’s smile, their hearts could only collapse.

Numerical advantage, tactics, new weapons, experience, the equipment they wore for today… They had all of that, and yet all of that was meaningless to the woman before them.

It didn’t matter that she was naked, there was no way for them to win.

Perhaps, if at least one of them had a stat that had reached AAA, there would be a way.

A Rank S just signified too much. What’s more she had three of them.

In the face of that overwhelming rank, the support from the exoskeleton and their buffs were all but trivial tricks.

No matter how many of those they had, they, a group of ants, could not possibly overcome her, a whale.

And…

“Ah, right. Personally, I don’t really care, but if I start killing needlessly, Master will scold me, so do try your best not to die, okay?” She sweetly smiled at them.

If this had been earlier they would have surely been charmed.

She didn’t have even the slightest regard for their lives.

It appears she’d been told not to kill them, but it was doubtful she’d mind much if she were to kill them by mistake.

In her eyes were indifference, like someone seeing a rock on a wayside, there was no regard there for them.

“Fu.”

“N-NOOoooo!”

One small breath, and another turned into a screaming pillar of fire.

A hot red flame blazed so brightly it hurt the eyes, but it lasted only a mometn.

“I don’t really like blue rare, but it we go all the way to rare, you’ll die, so we’ll just keep it at this level,” she smiled as someone’s burned flesh fell to the ground.

Although their teammate was still alive, the burns were so severe that there was no way to tell who it was.

When they thought of them ending up just like that.

“Eek!?!?”

“U-UWAAAhhh!!!”

“AHH, AHH, AHH!!”

Fear finally overwhelmed them.

They screamed, fell, crawled. They did everything they could to try and get away.

It was pathetic, but against an overwhelming Status that they had no hopes of defeating, and an attack that they could neither dodge nor block, sanity was a luxury.

There were those who didn’t escape, but that was only because they couldn’t.

In the end, it wasn’t a question of who was afraid, but who could move and who couldn’t.

And yet that too begged the question of which was more fortunate.

“Ha ha! It’s been a while since I got a reaction like this! Come on, crawl faster! If you don’t hurry up, you’ll be eaten!”

An alluring smile appeared on her face when she saw one of them fall.

She casually dropped some jokes at that, but given the situation, it turned into a powerful threat.

“HiYAAaaaa!?!? Don’t come, don’t come, you monster!!!”

“W-Why is there a monster like this in Kutoria!?”

“Ha ha! That’s right! That’s perfectly correct! Only a monster such as I am fit to be the servant of my master!”

In an attempt to overcome their fear, they called the beauty a monster as they crawled.

But she only took that as an honor and put on coquettish airs.

To someone who had a master ‘greater than monsters’, such words could only be a compliment.

“Fly! Don’t crawl, don’t run, fly! She’s not wearing an exoskeleton, so we’ll fly up, and then we’ll retreat at full speed when we’re in the air!”

It was curious whether the commander had been waiting for an opening or was merely able to regain his calm after her short speech, but regardless, he gave an order that his teammates should’ve long realized on their own but couldn’t due to fear, and they all desperately started flying one after another.

“…Finally, you fools realized it. I went through so much effort(・・・・・・・・) to prepare it, so it would’ve been a waste if i couldn’t even use it.”

Despite the group of men that started flying, she smiled sweetly all the same.

What was strange was that the words that left her lips was about her effort not being wasted.

Unfortunately, while Gamma Team’s decision wasn’t wrong, it wasn’t correct either.

“Huh?” Said someone in confusion when he started floating.

Every one of them wanted to get away from this place as fast as they could, but for some reason, they just floated.

They all just started floating 10 meters above the ground, a location just a little bit higher than the trees by the road.

“Huh, why? Hey, move! I want to leave!”

“I-I can’t move!? But my suit’s output is already maxed out!?”

“What do you mean I can’t move because of an obstruction!? Don’t be stupid, my exoskeleton hasn’t been caught in anything!”

They struggled about and raised the output of their exoskeletons, but despite all their efforts, they couldn’t fly any higher.

As their glimmer of hope gradually turned into despair, they became irritated.

Their exoskeletons had only told them the exact cause of their problem, but in their panic, none of them could understand it.

“Pitiful insects caught in the spider’s web. Oh, but I shouldn’t liken you to them, should I? I’d feel bad for the insects. They too are doing their best to live.”

She was the one who likened them to insects, though.

Regardless, she touched the supposedly empty air with her fingers, and then flicked.

“HAa!?”

“HIGYAaaA!!”

In the next moment, some of the exoskeletons were torn along with the juicy flesh within, and fresh, red blood spilled.

“Oh, my… You’re not too durable against physical attacks, I see. And here I was thinking of taking an arm or two. A pity. I could’ve reasoned it away as an accident too.”

As those disquieting words left her lips, she flicked somewhere once again.

A small ‘pin!’ sound resounded, and once again fragments of exoskeletons shattered as fresh blood spilled into the air.

“GYAAA!!”

“What is this, what’s happening, what the hell is going on!!??”

Pained screams and fearful screams harmonized together in an orchestra of flesh and armor.

Amidst that, perhaps as one might expect of someone who had been entrusted with an entire team, or perhaps it was merely a coincidence, but regardless, Gamma 1 alone was able to notice it.

“…A thread?”

Red lines in the air and scattered fragments that continued to float.

By magnifying those with his optical sensor, he was able to understand what was happening despite his unwillingness to accept it.

Just like a spider’s web, thin threads had been laid out in the area through the many trees nearby.

That’s why they couldn’t fly any higher. They had been caught in it.

When those threads were flicked, they vibrated and turned into a sharp weapon.

“This, is, impossible. I’ve never heard of a thread this hard and this sharp!”

“Oh, you foolish old man. Did you really believe that you knew everything there is in the world?” Mocked the woman, who held the origin of all the threads, with a smile. “I’m sure you did; otherwise, you wouldn’t think of doing something as stupid as this. Even a hikikomori NEET would still know more about the world than you. Oh, by the way, a NEET and a hikikomori are…”

She feared that the terms wouldn’t be translated properly, so she was about to politely teach them what they meant, but the translators they’d brought were the high-end sort.

“Oh, you just signed your death warrant!!” Gamma 1 said.

So it was at least able to translate it into something equally insulting.

“Leader, that’s!?”

“Don’t! At this distance, we’ll get caught in it too!”

“Oh, my.”

Provoked by a few words, Gamma 1 angrily took out a weapon.

A giant weapon with an equally big gun barrel and a simple grip – it was a non-standard bazooka.

It was powerful enough that the man’s teammates asked him to stop, while the beauty also let out a breath of admiration.

A large quantity of photons had already been loaded into it, but it was still continuing to converge them.

It was actually the siege weapon they’d prepared to destroy the school.

As such, one could easily imagine how destructive it was.

“The way you’re able to carry weapons like that is the troubling part about you people.”

“Shut up! I’ll blow you away!”

She calmly watched as the large quantity of photons gathered together.

That seemed to infuriate the man further, and he finally shot the weapon with indignation.

However, she just laughed when she saw the energy shell charged with more destruction.

In fact, the rest of Gamma Team were more fearful than her. They had even already braced themselves for the aftermath.

Only(・・・) the strength and the quantity are amazing. After all, mana(photon) attack that hasn’t been charged properly isn’t even something a child would do.”

As she laughed, she reached out for the approaching energy shell of light and deflected it.

“Hah───?”

“Huh───?”

With a finger flick.

She had deflected that powerful attack with the slightest movement so easily that all of Gamma Team was left speechless.

That was impossible. A different kind of abnormality from a Resistance so high that attacks didn’t work.

That attack just now was made to explode upon contact.

It was much stronger and bigger than the photon light bullets, but in general, they were all shot in that same state.

And yet the moment that energy shell came into contact with her finger, it was sent flying.

Shock and disbelief made it hard for them to swallow reality.

But beyond that, they also hadn’t been given any time.

Because the energy shell that had been deflected to them swallowed them up.

“Who would’ve thought that these humans who need to rely on machines to control mana would be made to eat their own medicine in this way?”

The beauty mocked the humans as the dust rose up with the explosion.

She knew that photons and mana were the same thing, the only difference being the name and the vessel they inhabited.

Once a mana’s wavelength has harmonized with a body and has fully assimilated with it, it can no longer be touched.

As someone, whose senses have been sharpened from countless trainings and battles, the wavelengths of photons that were mechanically tuned were too easy to read.

Making that conform to her own mana wavelength was a piece of cake.

Although it also requires a different skill to deflect a photon in the desired direction.

“u, ua…”

“GU… aa”

As the smoke cleared, an anguished voice resounded.

And all of the members of Gamma Team could be seen lying down.

it was originally a weapon meant to destroy the campus from a good distance,

Having it thrown back at them could naturally only result in their exoskeletons being destroyed.

Sparks could even be seen on them from time to time, but they were still much better off than if they were to have caught one of her flames.

“Oh, you fell? But I still haven’t practiced my strings(・・・・) enough. I need to devote myself to my training properly.” As she clapped her hands and showed a determined look, the mysterious threads winded back around her tails().

The threads that stopped them and hurt them were in fact none other than her fur.

That was just how durable her fur was.

“Uu, guu… Curse, you…”

“Hmm?”

Everyone was lying on the ground, and even the conscious ones couldn’t move.

A man with a half-broken armor that sparked from time to time walked totteringly.

He glared at the woman with so much hate it seemed as though he was looking at the person who killed his parents.

A closer look would show that he was dragging his legs and even his arm seemed to have been broken, as it just hung limply as he walked.

His whole body was covered in wounds, and it was much harder to find a spot on his body that wasn’t dyed in blood.

It was his fault, though, since he got provoked and fired the weapon himself.

“Oh, wow, as expected of Garesto’s tenacious armor. You can still stand up. What an annoying technology.”

But the only thing reflected on the woman’s eyes was his armor.

She didn’t have any interest in the bloody man that could only walk thanks to his will supporting him.

After all, it was of no concern to her whether the rolling stone by the wayside was dirty or not.

In the first place, someone who was so weak that they had to brace themselves for an attack of that level lest end up unable to stand was not worth putting in her eyes.

The only thing worthy of her attention here was the existence of a system that could mass produce those armors. Something that she had heard from her master.

With a system like that, any rabble could evolve from a pebble into a soldier.

But what her master really feared was people being forced to become soldiers.

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