“Kyaa, ah, gah, uu, uuu…”
Without even the opportunity to scream or to break her fall, Tomoe crashed into the big rock.
As a human-shaped cavity was dug out of the hard rock, cracks ran through it like streaks of electricity.
The simple armor was able to mitigate the damage from that crash, but the spiritual attack was a direct hit.
As Tomoe’s whole body cried out in pain and a numb feeling began to settle in, she fell to the ground, unable to pick herself back up.
“I supposed you did well holding up this long when you’re just a little girl,” a monk said.
“You went against us, so don’t think you’ll have an easy death,” another monk said.
“Ku,” Tomoe said.
Shadows that blocked the sun appeared.
When she looked up, two men with their khakkharas in hand were looking down on her. Apparently, they didn’t think they needed to rely on numbers anymore.
In the face of those condescending gazes, Tomoe grit her teeth in frustration and held her katana tight.
“Still resisting? What an unreasonably stubborn girl!”
But immediate after, her arms were stepped on.
It didn’t hurt thanks to her armor, but the numbness and the fatigue made it hard for her to move.
She desperately told her body to move, but she couldn’t put any power into it.
The two monks seemed to gloat as they watched her struggle in vain, but when their eyes were drawn to the katana, they let out an impressed voice.
“Oh? Where did you get that? What a powerful spirit sword.”
“Indeed! A first-rate sword like this can rarely be found! To be used so poorly by a sham, it deserves much better. That’s right, we should be using it.”
Unreserved and patronizing, the monks reached their hands out for the katana.
But rather than them truly thinking what they said, Tomoe was more scared of their actions.
“Don’t, touch it!!”
She couldn’t even move her mouth properly. It took her so much strength just to scream that while putting strength into her arms.
The men tried to take the katana away, but Tomoe firmly held onto it and refused to let go.
“Insolent girl, you don’t want to let go? This sword can only be meaningful when we’re using it!”
“You probably just stole it from somewhere anyway. You need to return it to its rightful owners!”
Don’t screw with me.
If not for her whole body screaming in pain, Tomoe would have likely yelled that.
In fact, she was yelling just that internally as she held onto Kamunagi with just her willpower.
“Why are you looking at us like that!? Truly, the guilty show no remorse!” A monk said.
“Damn it, let go! Woah!?” The other monk said.
As they frustratedly tried to steal the katana from the girl, they stepped on her, but due to that being a physical attack, it was easily blocked by her armor. Moreover, because they put some power behind their step, the armor’s defensive function kicked in and repelled the impact, sending the men flying to fall onto their backside, earning the ridicule and sighs of their friends.
“Ha ha, what are you doing!”
“…Needing so much effort on a lone girl.”
When the two men heard that, their lifeless face twisted a little, and they yelled angrily.
“How dare you humiliate us, you white pig!!”
“Kids shouldn’t go against adults!!”
Shedding off all pretense of leisure, the two men hurled abuse at Tomoe.
Tomoe’s arms were lifted, but she still refused to let go of her katana.
It was eerie how only their voices were furious, but Tomoe couldn’t be bothered by that right now.
She glared daggers at them and held onto her katana for dear life.
No matter what, she wouldn’t give that katana to them.
Because────that was the only thing left to her.
“Damn it all! What’s the point of resisting like this!? You’re all going to die after this anyway. That’s why you should just obediently listen to what we say and make yourself useful to us! That’s your last duty!”
“Good grief, making us expend so much effort, you need to know your place, little girl! What a pain. Let’s just cut off her two limbs. As we’ve suspected, this armor doesn’t work against our spiritual power.”
“You, low, lives!”
Egoistical and violent.
They treated such cruel thoughts as though they were a given.
In the face of those spiritual blades that were sharper than ever, Tomoe was more angry than afraid.
Why did her parents have to suffer because of these people?
Why were these people alive when her righteous parents died?
Why was she rolling on the ground so pathetically even though people like these were in front of her?
Why was she so powerless against these heretics?
She was supposed to have it, she was supposed to gain it here… And yet…
The arm raised up high descended.
Averting her eyes from fear or letting go to protect her body… Such choices were completely rejected because of her stubbornness.
Even as she ground her teeth in frustration, she glared at the men as though looking at them could kill them.
Even if her arms were cut, even if her life was taken, she would never yield to them. That was what her glare was saying.
That’s why Tomoe saw it.
And so great was the sight of it that she couldn’t even be bothered to notice those surprised cry.
──A long, black shadow had appeared between her and the men.
Before anyone could even guess what that thing was, something fell on the girl’s
That something was none other than the arm trying to steal her katana and the arm that was about to cut off her limbs.
They rolled onto the ground so easily it felt like a prank of some sort.
Apparently, that ‘black shadow’ had judged that Kamunagi was on her side.
Even as she watched the hand grabbing onto her katana fall, Tomoe’s first thought was, ‘What is this?’
Had this occurred in a moment of peace, Tomoe would have surely screamed by now.
But for some reason, those arms falling limply to the ground was so unrealistic that her eyes just turned into dots.
The reaction of the people who’ve been cut by that black shadow was also strange.
They were clearly surprised, but they didn’t seem to be in pain, and they just looked at the black shadow in front of them in shock.
But that ‘black thing’ gave them no time to think before coming back.
“Run, you fools!”
Unlike the two men that were staring blankly in front of them, their friends nearby yelled with much panic.
As Tomoe fell on her back and looked up, she was able to see what that black shadow was.
Already, there was no other way to express that
For some reason, the
The way it came back reminded Tomoe of
Given the difference in size, anyone could have imagined the outcome, but it still ended too quickly.
The bodies of the two men were easily sent flying into the sky with just one clash.
And as they flew into the sky while screaming, the giant snake rose up to the heavens as though to give chase, and then it penetrated their chest, scattering their flesh into every direction.
As expected, Tomoe became wide-eyed for a moment, but in the next moment, she tilted her head.
Garbage scattered in the skies. Not pieces of flesh or sprays of blood, but garbage, as in literal garbage.
When she spotted a paper doll at the middle of that, she finally got an inkling of what was happening.
“A paper doll? Ah, I get it! You’re all Shiki made from paper!”
Shiki was a general term for spiritual beings that could be manipulated via spells.
Which meant to say that these people were actually nothing but fakes made to look like humans through paper dolls.
The main culprits were sharing their senses with them and controlling them from far away.
The arms that had been cut earlier have also transformed into garbage because they’ve been separated from their paper dolls.
Of course, despite her accurate conjecture, the monks were too taken by the sudden appearance of the giant snake to respond.
『What a gutsy young lady…』
It was then that a person’s voice came from an ‘impossible’ direction, and everyone swallowed their breath.
‘Impossible.’ ‘Such a ridiculous story couldn’t possibly…’ But as much as everyone doubted their ears, they couldn’t help but turn to the direction of that voice.
Everyone became anxious as it became increasingly apparent that they were tracing the body of the snake, but then, that thing came into view.
『But I do wish you’d take care of yourself more. I get chills just thinking of what would’ve happened if I were a few seconds slower.』
At the base of the giant snake was a ‘Black Mist’ shaped in the figure of a person.