“A monster from a foreign country is using spells like us? Impossible. From where did our secret techniques leak?” A monk said.
“Little girl, who are you?” Another said.
“…Is that something intruders like you should be saying?” Tomoe said.
If anything Tomoe should’ve been the one asking that question.
Of course, she didn’t have the slightest inclination to tell them who she was.
Because she had an idea who they were.
“Now, you, on the other hand… Given your appearance and your techniques, you’re definitely not from the Tsuchimikado Main Family. They’re similar to the Kusakabe Branch Family’s, but from what I’ve heard, their head is with the quiet conservatives. If so, then you must be the house that was expelled five years ago for their extremist views, the Ootsu Family,” Tomoe said.
“You!” A monk said.
“…So it appears that you’re not unrelated with us,” another monk said.
Their reaction proved her conjectures correct.
Tomoe clutched her fist tight.
At the end of Tomoe’s sight was the empty box that they’d brought.
That was a ‘Magic Tool’ that made it look like it had nothing inside to normal people.
“But enough of that! What are you thinking bringing something like that out here!? Just seeing how sinister it is is enough to make me want to puke!”
A power that only Tomoe and the monks could see.
Something so terrifying that it made the arrow and the walls earlier look adorable.
Within that wooden box that the monks were protecting squirmed ‘something’ dark and gloomy.
Just the black miasma seeping out of it like vapor was enough to make chills crawl through Tomoe.
It made her endlessly uneasy, and so uncomfortable it felt like she was about to spew back out what she’d eaten.
“I see, that’s why you wanted to destroy it first. Good intuition,” a monk said.
“Are you crazy!? The people here are just kids without any spiritual power! And yet you’re going to unleash that on them!? Even if you’ve been expelled, you couldn’t have forgotten all the teachings of the main family!!?”
Tomoe didn’t fully understand what was inside the wooden box, but she knew that it was related to the spirits.
At the very least, that’s what she’d been taught by her beloved and most respected mother.
It was clearly something meant to hurt humans, something that they as practitioners should be exorcising.
“Hmph, it’s unfortunate that your blood has been tainted by foreigners. Otherwise, we wouldn’t mind accepting you into our family,” a monk said.
“Demonic children that can only wreak havoc in our country. Now they’ve even stolen our techniques! Despicable!!” another monk said.
The monks did not seem to have any intention of hearing her out.
In fact, the gazes they looked at her with carried evident hate.
And then as though there was nothing left to talk, one of them signaled with his jaw, and the rest simultaneously attacked Tomoe.
“Damn it… What era did you people come from!? We’re already at a time when otherworlders have come to our world! How long are you going to keep saying such twisted thoughts!?”
Tomoe took out as many charms as she could carry with her two hands, and threw them around her.
Small explosions erupted all around her, preventing the people that leaped at her from approaching any further, but four managed to get past the blast and approach her.
“Fear not, one day we will hunt down every single last one of you foreigners.”
Upon seeing their number and the brilliance from their khakkharas that was aimed at her, Tomoe entrusted her body to the simple exoskeleton.
She still wasn’t confident in being able to take on four people at the same time in a melee.
She let herself go as much as she could, and allowed her armor to move her.
Four khakkharas clad with a spiritual blade swung at her, but the sensors of her exoskeleton carefully observed them and the movements of the body to predict their next movements and guide the Tomoe accordingly.
The excellent coordination of their Taijutsu and Bojutsu was easily predicted by the eyes of a machine.
Those Khakkharas that could destroy a rock in one hit were dodged by a hair’s breadth. Arms reached out to try and suppress Tomoe, but they were deflected. Another Khakkhara tried to hit her, but it was caught and broken, and then a kick was sent right into the belly of the monk that sent him flying.
“Ugh… I hate that annoying foreign technology!”
Although the monks were indeed fast for unarmored men, in the end, it was only at the level of a human.
Hence, despite their numerical superiority, a B Class student equipped with a Simple Exoskeleton was still their superior.
“Have you no shame!? You’re a practitioner, and yet you’re actually relying on that!?” A monk said.
“What’s wrong with a student like me using the school’s equipment! And I don’t want to hear a bunch of cowardly old men ganging up on a girl talking about shame!” Tomoe said.
“You filthy foreigner! How dare you talk to us like that!” A monk said.
“What a fool. If you’d just behaved, we would have put you to rest painlessly,” another monk said.
The girl’s sound argument was shot down by selfish remarks.
‘What selfish people,’ Tomoe thought.
She knew she was selfish too, but she wasn’t this unsympathetic.
Besides, she didn’t even want to be compared with these people and their needlessly discriminating views.
“Truly, a rotten bunch.”
Was it because of these people that she met such a tragedy?
Was it because of these unreasonable fools that her mother and her father──
When she thought that, power poured into her left hand.
“I’ll blow you to the ends of the earth, ‘Air Burst’!” Tomoe said as she released that Advanced Wind Element skill, but…
A strange atmosphere filled the place.
The monks had braced themselves for a moment, but very quickly, an annoying smile appeared on their faces.
Tomoe was supposed to have invoked a skill that could blow away dozens of raybeasts, but not a single wind was conjured.
Tomoe’s confusion was so grave that for the first time she left herself open.
“So they’ve done it, huh… Do it.”
As one of the monks gave that command with a smile, the rest nodded and released a spiritual blade without reservation at the lone girl.
Those spiritual blades apporached the girl like waves, and the girl immediately held her hands out.
“Damn it— Kamunagi!”
Although she managed to block with the katana she summoned, it wasn’t possible to block everything. In the next moment, wounds opened all over her, and she was sent flying.
As Tomoe screamed in pain, she rolled on the rocky beach.
“Ugh… That hurt! Ha ha, come to think of it, I think it’s my first time taking those on.”
Feebly, she laughed in an intentionally ridiculous manner.
There were red lines all over her body.
The wounds were shallow, but because of the spiritual power behind those attacks, they reached much deeper than just the human body.
The physical damage from tumbling on the uneven, rocky beach was completely blocked by the exoskeleton, but the spiritual power wasn’t something that the armor could be of use against.
“Passing through everything man-made except and hitting only living creatures and nature. It’s as ridiculous as ever… Which is which isn’t even that clear… Tch!”
Despite the pain, a wry smile surfaced on her.
As it turns out, these weren’t foes that she could fight against without any preparation.
This was also the first time she was fighting other practitioners.
She had plenty of mistakes, but even then, she couldn’t afford to yield.
“I was naive… But!! I’m the only one who can do something about this, that’s why!!”
Her body cried from the fatigue brought by the pain and the spiritual damage, but she ignored it and forced herself up.
A childhood friend that also had the power, but didn’t undergo training and was given a different role.
A boss, who was able to copy her abilities using knowledge from fiction, had other students to protect.
The moment the girl realized the presence of these enemies, the option to rely on those two naturally disappeared.
Since the exoskeletons couldn’t function as armor against these enemies, even the teachers might lose if they were to make a wrong move.
Not to mention, she didn’t even know how to explain their existence to them.
And then there was that terrifying box that these people kept trying to protect.
As someone who had the knowledge and power to fight, she couldn’t back off here.
As Tomoe stood up, more spiritual blades attacked her, so she used Kamunagi to sweep them away.
She did well surviving that second wave of attacks, but it was clear that her movements have gotten duller.
Tense because she knew she lacked experience, strained because of her sense of duty, and fatigue that had piled up.
Because of all the bad things piling up, she couldn’t even fight properly with the auxiliary system of the simple exoskeleton.
Moreover, because the armor couldn’t even detect the spiritual attacks, its support was actually a hindrance.
As such, she was forced to disable the Action Auxiliary System.
“So, in the end, you’re nothing but a little girl.”
Unfortunately, when it came to battle, the enemies weren’t stupid.
As a monk mocked her, several shadows attacked, and khakkharas were swung with excellent coordination.
The exchange went similar to the first one, but the attacks being dodged by a hair’s breadth were able to graze her.
They knew that their physical attacks wouldn’t work on her simple exoskeleton, so they used their spiritual power whenever they could, and gradually pushed Tomoe into a corner.
“Ha, yaa!” Tomoe said.
“Hmph, that’s just a dojo’s sword technique!” A monk said.
“You’re afraid!” Another said.
Tomoe resolved herself and tried to cut her foe, but her two swords were read, and she couldn’t even land a blow.
It was partly because her actions were too straightforward, but it was also because it wasn’t easy to point her sword against an unarmored human.
In the end, she hesitated and left herself wide open, allowing a spiritual attack to smash into her from up close.
An impact akin to a giant explosion erupted from right in front of her, and Tomoe was sent rolling on the rocky beach once more.
Tl Note: Changed staff to khakkhara.