The chapel shook as though it had been struck from the side. The tremor so great that the people inside were displaced.
Shinichi and Myuhi immediately crouched down and shielded the children around them. Then a moment later, Monica and the Sister followed suit did the same.
However, the tremors did not end with just a single shake. After the first, came a second, then a third, all of the same magnitude.
The lights up above swayed wildly, and cracks appeared on the white walls. The children screamed, but only three people truly understood what was happening.
“Don’t worry, it’ll stop soon! Just stay put for awhile!”
Monica probably thought that this was just some common earthquake, but in truth, this was a silent bombardment.
Shinichi and Myuhi were experienced in combat, and they could tell that much through their five senses. As for the Sister…
Blood spilled out of her lips.
She held down her mouth while crouched on the floor, but blood still dripped in between her fingers, spilling down onto her chin and then onto the floor.
That was a huge mental blow to everyone here. And for a moment, the people here forgot about the tremors and went silent. The children cried and clung to her, but the Sister couldn’t even react to that and just collapsed. The wimple she wore acme undone, and her faded chestnut hair was set free.
Screams resounded abound as the building continued to shake. In this situation where there was no telling what would collapse, where the children couldn’t leave, and Myuhi and Monica couldn’t easily move…
“Enough, Sister! You can’t handle anymore than this!”
Only Shinichi was able to understand why the Sister collapsed, but there was no way for the Sister to hear his voice, and she just continued to hold onto the rosary by her chest as though to offer a prayer.
“Ku, that’s the fifth blow! Enough, Sister! Release the barrier!!”
By the fifth time that the building shook, Shinichi had already noticed it – the meaning of the Sister’s shock when he had been brought here. That was a shock stemming from the barrier telling her that an enemy had entered.
Right now that barrier was on the verge of collapse. It was doing its best to protect the land and the children, but it was already at its limits.
“Damn it! Of all things, it just had to be a holy barrier!”
Ironically, that barrier actually prevented him, the strongest weapon they had right now, from making a move.
The Sister was too skilled and her feelings too strong that all that Shinichi could do right now was to cover for the children that were within his reach.
A pressure akin to the gravity being multiplied several times bore down on him. At the same time, headache, ears ringing, dizziness, numbness in the limbs… Various symptoms assaulted him.
He could blow the chapel away to break free, of course, but that would come at the cost of the Sister and the barrier. And There would be no guaranteeing the safety of anyone else but himself.
“Uu, ah, I-I have to protect them…”
“At this rate, you won’t be able to deal with the damage at all! Enough! Someone get the rosary away from her! It’s hurting her!”
There was no one here who was able to completely understand Shinichi’s words. But when the children heard that their Sister was suffering, they immediately took the cross from her and threw it away. The Sister was too weak to resist, but with that, the barrier spell lost its point of reference, and the power suppressing Shinichi also disappeared.
“Ah, gah, haa…”
“That’s not good! We have to treat her now!”
Immediately after the sixth attack, Shinichi stood up. His head still ached from the lingering effects of the barrier, but regardless, he covered the entire chapel with his own barrier, then he ran for the Sister, but…
──Fool! That’s the wrong direction!──
A voice that he should no longer be able to hear suddenly resounded by his ears. That warmth he shouldn’t be able to feel anymore grabbed his arms.
But rather than surprise, happiness, or nostalgia, he understood the meaning of that, and as such, felt a chill crawl up his spine instead.
──Who is wearing that pendant right now?
But that momentary pause of his was enough to allow Monica to run off on her own.
In her eyes was the impatience and anxiety of seeing one’s own relative collapse. Already, she couldn’t see anything other than those people she considered her mother and her siblings.
Shinichi had to turn his attention to her.
“Huh, wait, let go— kyaa!?”
Shinichi grabbed Monica by the arms and pulled her to himself, in the process setting free her long, pink hair as he brought her to his chest, then in the next moment, something passed through where she’d been earlier, and the bench there was crushed. Monica was speechless.
“Don’t dawdle! It’s coming again!”
Everything happened too fast for Monica to comprehend. Shinichi jumped with her in his arms, and immediately after, something shot out from the floor they were standing on. Monica paled as the thought of what might have happened were he a moment late crossed her mind. Without intending to, she was holding onto Shinichi for dear life.
“W-W-What is that!?”
Perhaps, realizing that it missed, that thing floated still in the air. A silvery radiance that resembled either a long bullet or an energy form imitating a thin blade. Like a compass needle, it wavered slightly before pointing at the songstress, accelerating and charging once again. It was like the blade of a death god as it sought to claim her life.
──Pierce through it!──
“You don’t need to tell me twice!”
But standing before in its way was the real thing, an evil god. If that thing was meant to pursue its target until it hit, then he would just have to break it. Shinichi covered his free right arm in a layer of mana, then he strengthened it internally and externally via the Magic Raiment Battle Law to unleash a powerful strike that brought out his Strength and Resistance. It was a head on clash with the mysterious projectile, but… The result was a draw.
He had barely held back in that attack, yet he failed to destroy it. In fact, he had even been pushed back a little. As though that silver spear could deflect anything, it tore through his layer of mana, his flesh, and made even his bones creak.
“A-Ahh, your hand! Your hand!?”
Monica screamed from within his embrace, but he just made her quiet. This was not a normal attack. He had received so much damage, and yet it felt as though he didn’t make contact. It felt off, as though he’d punched something that wasn’t there. When he couldn’t sense any photons, he anticipated that a different power was at play and prepared a different response, but the quality of mana and existence was just too different. This was not something that mana could deal with; however…
“So that’s what you meant!”
If so, then he just had to use a power aside from mana. Suddenly, the quality of power that covered his arms transformed. To a normal person, it just looked as though a dark-red electricity clad his fist like a gauntlet. Myuhi seemed to shrink from fear, but Shinichi didn’t have the time for her right now, and he flicked his finger against the enemy.
” ‘Be gone.’ ”
As though unwilling to allow even a trace of that existence to remain, Shinichi extinguished it right from its very roots.