『───Fall and sink,
As indecipherable words were uttered, the three men shot to the ground as though they’d been hit.
Their exoskeletons struggled to keep them in the air, but with the force too great, they were slammed into the sea, giving rise to three high pillars of water.
They did not come back up.
As everyone gulped, a moment of silence filled the area, only for a spirited yell to finally break it as a giant hammer descended on the black mist.
‘Gan!’ cried the hammer as it struck.
『…Correct once again, Joyce Ronan. Shooting, slashing, thrusting… Dotted attacks or line attacks like those have a hard time hitting me. 』
“Tch, tell me about it!” Joyce said with frustration as he gripped his hammer.
He had indeed been thinking along those lines. That’s why he chose a hammer big enough to cover an entire head.
But not only did he fail to scatter the black mist floating in the air, the black mist didn’t even budge.
He could tell from the sensation that something had blocked his attack, perhaps an arm or something else, but regardless, his attack was ineffective.
Joyce ground his teeth, but there was something that he had to ask no matter what.
“Kainz and Mike! What did you do to them!?”
『 You saw. They’re gone. 』
That was all there was to it, the mask told him.
An answer so uncaring that Joyce became even more furious.
But were he to lose his mind just from something on this level, then he would be a mere boor with no talent for leading people.
“You would even lay a hand on the wounded and the medics!? Even Earth with its ridiculous wars has a treaty that prohibits that!”
Whether it was their world or Earth, there was a treaty that forbade such behavior.
But this was the battlefield. Regardless of intention, nothing held unconditional.
Be that as it may, the black mist had clearly intentionally targeted those two, so as a soldier, Joyce couldn’t help but question the black mist’s actions, however…
『 Says the same person who pointed his weapons at the children he’s supposed to be protecting. How long are you planning on pretending to be a soldier, Mr. Terrorist? 』
Joyce’s surprise was not because he’d been shamed, but because his hammer’s head had suddenly been crushed.
Immediately, he abandoned his weapon and fled, but their exchange hadn’t been for naught.
There was scorn behind the words of the black mist, and there was anger as well.
That’s why there was no doubting it anymore. The black mist was indeed human. The only question that remained now was ‘from which world’.
The black mist spoke in the Garesto tongue, but there was no way to tell if he was merely relying on a translator device or actually speaking unaided.
『 So the captain himself is buying time now? 』
That order was sent below, where 15 soldiers had formed a ring.
Although the weapons they each held was different, their target was the same.
In fact, they were already mid-flight when they received that order, so the distance between them and the black mist was already a meager 20 meters.
” ‘Blow Impact’ !!” A soldier yelled.
That yell became the signal that tipped the soldiers to simultaneously invoke the advanced strike-type attack skill.
In the next moment, all 15 soldiers moved automatically.
There was a kind of beauty in such coordinated movements.
But let not that fool anyone, for imbued into their various weapons was a powerful strike.
A strike that became a wall of energy that charged straight for the black mist.
This attack was neither a dot nor a line, but a wall that covered a large area.
With the timing perfect, and the black mist still in sight, victory was in the bag.
They all believed that.
『 Ah, I see. Since the movements are the same, if you can just time the invocation correctly, you can move in tandem. I see, so they were originally meant for group battles… 』
Explosions erupted in the sky, and the soldiers could feel through their weapons that they’d indeed made contact, and yet, that voice spoke casually from behind them with admiration.
The hammer their captain had abandoned had even been caught in the blast and was destroyed, and yet the black mist was casually remarking about how convenient their skills were.
Without intending to, the soldiers quivered.
“H-How…” A soldier asked.
But he didn’t turn around out of fright.
Of course, they did anticipate that their target might dodge.
That’s why the remaining soldiers were lying in wait at the predicted area with their heavy guns.
But even these soldiers in charge of bombarding the enemy were he to escape had a limit to the area they could cover from behind the assault group.
“B-Betty!?” The aide yelled.
It was rare to see her call out a person’s real name instead of a number.
That spoke plenty about her state of mind, and it was also then that the soldiers finally realized that their number had been reduced to 14.
Reflexively, they turned, and there they saw their missing ally being held by the black mist.
Everyone screamed at the tragic sight, but who could fault them?
After all, the situation of that soldier was so bad it was as though she’d been hit by something even worse than Blow Impact.
Most of the armor covering her had been smashed to pieces, and not a hint of the original appearance of her armor was left.
Her now exposed face was no better. Eyes turned white showed she’d lost consciousness, and yet even more tragic was her now hideous face.
So twisted was it that to know how it once was arranged would prove a herculean ordeal.
She looked just like someone who’d been repeatedly beaten.
Her undersuit was in tatters too, and both of her arms hung limply, turned to erroneous directions.
“S-Say something, Betty!”
“No… There’s no way…”
“You mean to tell me he’d broken through!?”
The truth that sight revealed was all too simple.
The black mist hadn’t done anything special. He didn’t dodge and go around from behind.
Rather, he took the simplest approach, and just broke through a part of the wall that they’d shot, likely by brute force.
Unfortunately, the one who received the damage from that along with her skill being deflected was her.
“Damn you! Let her go!!”
『 You want me to let go? Okay. 』
A soldier had yelled angrily. Even if the black mist didn’t acquiesce, he still wanted to give voice to those words.
But surprisingly, the black mist responded in a tone so honest and gentle it was creepy.
The black mist knew all too well just what would happen if he were to let go.
After all, the girl’s exoskeleton was no longer functional.
Hence, if the black mist were to
They were currently one kilometer above the sea. Free falling from such a height would surely result in a violent crash.
『 Will her resistance hold, I wonder. 』
“Please make it!!”
Taken aback by the sudden turn of events, a few moments passed before two soldiers could act to save her.
The Two soldiers hatefully yelled as they hurried to their falling comrade.
The rest of the soldiers simultaneously struck with their weapons to keep the black mist from moving.
20 swords all in all came to strike the black mist, not leaving even the slightest room for escape.
But the sensation they felt when they attacked was unlike any they’ve felt until now.
“What the heck is this!?’
“I-It feels so disgusting!”
Their attacks were neither dodged nor deflected, and yet the sensation they felt was just too strange.
It mattered not whether they had struck with physical blades or photon blades, their weapons found its way into something soft like a cushion that wrapped around their weapons.
And yet despite the softness and fluffiness of the sensation, their weapons became stuck, and they couldn’t move even one of their weapons away.
“L-Let go already! Just what in the world is with this guy!?”
『 Such a nostalgic reaction… I do wonder about finding something like this nostalgic, though. 』
The black mist’s emotional and casual attitude only served to magnify the horror of the situation.
The enemy was a human. A person. Or at least, that should have been the case, so just what was this situation?
Other than the black mist’s human-like attitude, everything else was simply too strange.
By this point, they would prefer if they were simply told that the black mist was an unknown intelligent life form instead.
For the first time, they realized just how eerie the ambiguity of the black mist was.
In light of that, they cowered, but an angry yell woke them up, and reflexively, they let go of their weapons and spread out, giving birth to a strange black mist that was covered in weapons.
But as soon as that strange object was born, a light descended to extinguish it as though it were an unforgivable existence.
The first to shoot was someone that had been lying in wait in case the black mist escaped from the assault team’s attack.
So vast was that attack that it could be described as a pillar of light that could easily envelop the black mist.
This time for sure there was no escaping or dodging, and even if the black mist managed to evade, the other members of the soldier’s team were ready to shoot at any direction.
Who was it that let out that dumb voice?
For some reason, when the pillar of light had closed in on the target, it suddenly
It was as though something that resembled an arm had extended out to caress it.
But of the soldiers gathered here, not a single one understood the meaning behind that, nor the new direction that it had taken.
『 Such cruelty… Do you take pleasure in misfires? 』
That’s why they all paled when the black mist pointed it out for them.
The pillar of light was headed almost straight down.
Was that not the same
But by the time they’d noticed it, it was already too late, for the light had already swallowed them.
Even the screams of pain and anguish were blocked by it.
The only voice that resounded resembled weeping.
Partly because the soldier had been too preoccupied with Betty’s situation, the anti-black mist attack that he’d prepared turned out to be too big, and the soldiers that did get hit could not dodge it in time.
“No way… I killed them? Nooooo!!”
To make things worse, he’d even added the armor-piercing bullets skill on that attack; hence, the two soldiers that should’ve been safe were shot through, while the third was sent straight into the sea.
As realization of hitting a friendly dawned on him, his face twisted in shock, while his body shook, and frantic screams crawled out of his throat.