The monster that had fallen was there standing where it was originally.
It seemed to be roaring, but at the same time, it felt like it was crying out from the pain.
It was crouching for some reason, almost as if it were trying to protect the arm holding the demon sword.
She’d thought that the black-clothed men had done something, but when she looked around, it was evident that they too were clueless why the monster suddenly stopped attacking and was crying out in pain.
“…Curious, very… But cleaning up this mess takes priority.”
Other matters could be dealt with later. What mattered most was to prevent damage from spreading.
As she thought back to her lessons and admonished herself for her greed, she wielded her katana.
This only happened because she’d underestimated Michizane too much.
As someone who also wielded weapons and powers that could create a similar result, she should have expected that something like this could have happened.
A mistake that occurred because she arrogantly continued to believe that the matter could be solved quietly.
That’s why she had to take responsibility and correct it. As she thought that, all emotions left her face.
And naturally and without any timidity or fear,
With her legs covered in scarlet hakama, she leaped off the ground, and her ring-shaped wings strummed the air.
It was such an honest charge, but it was the only thing she could do; it was also the most powerful.
Then she further bolstered the strength of that charge by spinning like a drill.
With the intent to kill and the power to destroy, she drew a stroke.
A blueish-white arc was drawn in the dark of the night and sword and katana clashed.
As a sound particular to sword clashes rose, the impact of their clash scattered to their surroundings, sending flying some of the black-clothed men watching, but neither the monster nor Tomoe paid them heed.
As shockwaves erupted from their violent clashes, Tomoe drew one stroke after another with her Kamunagi.
Yet the monster received all her attacks with a speed one wouldn’t associate with its size.
It was a battle unthinkable for a bronze sword and a Japanese katana.
Not only did they not chip away at each other’s blades, they caused shockwaves to leak out to their surroundings.
The battle was in a stalemate with Tomoe on the offensive, and the monster on the defensive.
Despite the strength and speed of her exoskeleton, she could not surpass the monster before her.
And neither could she expect to be able to damage it with anything other than her Kamunagi, even with spiritual power.
She could tell that much without trying from the density and quality of evil ki cladding it.
It was using a human core, but that armor of flesh was basically evil ki manifested.
Weapons that could barely just play a role by being imbued with spiritual power could at most graze it.
“You damned beast!”
Amidst the deadlock, when Tomoe’s sweeping attack was stopped, she sent a kick for the monster’s opened belly, but it just groaned a little, and its posture didn’t even budge.
Seeing that, Tomoe used her other leg to kick off against the monster to launch herself and distance herself.
“Tch, how much output was that just now!?”
『The Spirit Engine is maintaining about 60 to 70%. Beyond that and the engine might not work. 』
As absurd as it was, she could only be its equal while using this one-of-a-kind exoskeleton.
Actually, it was possible to win if she raised the output, but she couldn’t do that right now.
She was grateful to have the exoskeleton, but she hated herself for being unable to use it properly.
“But of course, it’s plenty good enough for a beginner just to be able to───fight!”
Tomoe thrust her katana into the ground, then reached out with her left and grabbed the air with her right.
In the next moment, a bow and arrow made of spiritual power appeared, and she immediately drew the arrow and shot it, unleashing an arrow of light that exploded midway through, pouring down an endless number of arrows on the monster.
The monster screamed and rushed toward her.
Seeing how it didn’t even care about the arrows descending on it, Tomoe drew her Kamunagi and assumed stance.
The Spirit Arrows did pierce it, but the most they could accomplish was scratch its skin.
It was true that the arrows were weaker when fired in a scattered shot, but there was no denying that the monster was much more spiritually resilient than expected.
───There’s no other way but to cut it directly.
That’s why she anticipated the monster’s rush and dodged it by a hair’s breadth.
then as it passed by her, she ran her blade through it, and black blood gushed out.
The pain broke the monster’s posture and it crashed into one of the walls surrounding the mansion, giving rise to a thunderous sound.
“…As expected of the Tsuchimikado’s barrier, it didn’t even budge despite that impact…”
Apparently, that area was within the barrier too.
Tomoe could feel the strength behind the monster’s charge despite dodging it, yet the barrier actually managed to remain unaffected despite that impact that was akin to a large truck crashing.
That’s why Tomoe was impressed, already having forgotten that she’d also shaken the barrier just earlier with her lightning.
“In any case, Kamunagi’s blade got through it as expected!”
She swung her blade to get rid of the blood stuck on it, then held her blade in the Seigan stance.
The monster tottered as though it hit its head but turned around nonetheless to glare at her.
Its left arm had been cut halfway through. As Tomoe resolved herself to completely cut it next…
“Uoooo! Everyone just keeps getting in my way!!”
For the first time, that pair of black, murky eyes, were trembling in anger.
The speech was broken here and there, but without a doubt, that was Michizane talking.
“You and your filthy blood! Just how long do you intend to act so arrogantly!!”
“His consciousness… Did I make it in time after all?”
She thought that his soul had already been devoured, but it appears that he still retained some consciousness.
She immediately looked around her and examined the state of the garden.
It was destroyed in many places, but what she needed was just in the right place.
Moreover, it was also positioned just right, so she could notice it with a glance.
As expected, she thought, but in the same moment, something came flying at the monster from every direction.
Talismans stuck to the dark blue skin of the monster and transformed into shackles that bound its arms and legs.
As the monster broke posture and collapsed again, even more restraining jutsus were cast on it, preventing it from moving.
“───Daughter of Abe.”
A man representing the conscious black-clothed men knelt before Tomoe.