Charl was completely baffled as she stared at the back of the person in front of her.
The person was the ill-mannered boy who had challenged her to a fight.
To one side was his automaton standing on top on the golem, she was the one who had caught the iron ball.
It took her a few seconds to realise that the two of them had protected her.
And after she did, she was extremely furious.
“… Step aside.”
“I would have even if you didn’t tell me to. After all, I have to get rid of this lot anyway.”
“Stop screwing around. Just what are—“
“What are you doing?”
Someone cut in, finishing the sentence in place of Charl.
An insolent person stepped out arrogantly from amidst the crowd.
Next to him was a female type automaton. The expression on its face didn’t resemble a human’s though, and it was ball jointed. It would be better to say it was doll-like in appearance.
The doll was holding an iron rod. Pointing the tip towards the direction on the iron ball, a thread of light extended forth. A retractable chain of magic energy— it looked like this was some form of a morning star.
(So that iron ball was the head of a morning star…)
Charl didn’t let her guard down, and continued to eye the scene of battle.
Because the field of battle had expanded to accommodate the new arrivals, the students who were watching retreated back. Standing in the widened street were 5 automata: Undine, Jack Frost, Harpy, Golem, and the morning star wielder.
— Actually, that wasn’t all of them.
With a whirl, the three units that were defeated rose up.
They had been restored. As she looked around for the cause of their revival, she spotted a white robed automaton in the distance waving a staff. Which meant it possessed a restorative magic art.
With that, the enemy numbered nine in total. Restorative magic art, offensive magic art, someone for defence, someone to perform quick raids, a long range attacker; this formation was exactly like a military unit.
While continuing the agonising contest of strength with the golem, Sigmund emotionlessly muttered out.
“I guess you ARE popular, Charl. Those puppeteers over there are nothing but men.”
“Is this the time and place for that..?”
The insolent youth and his gang were clearly targeting Sigmund. She tried to remember if there was anyone had any sort of grudge against her… and because there was, Charl prepared herself for an uphill battle.
Meanwhile, the insolent youth was continuing his chat with the rude boy.
“Answer me, transfer student. Why are you interfering with us?”
“That thing there is my prey. I will not tolerate someone snatching it away from me.”
Did he just refer to me as that thing!? I’m prey!? What insolence!
“… In that case, we will hand over Lady Belew’s entry qualifications to you. In exchange, will you not consider working alongside us? Having comrades will prove advantageous to you in the Night Party.”
The rude boy swiftly turned down the proposal. He didn’t even stop to consider the terms of the offer being proposed to him.
“… Why? It’s not like there’s any disadvantage to you.”
“I dislike the idea of relying on ten men.”
He held up his hand towards the kimono-clad girl. In response to the magic energy he transmitted, the girl kicked the golem away. The huge body looked like it easily surpassed three tonnes in weight, but she sent it flying as easily as she had kicked a rubber ball.
Ooooh, went the gallery.
Able to move freely once again, Sigmund spread his large wings, like he was trying to evaluate the current state of his body.
“I’ll gather them over in one spot here. They’re not used to being herded togeth—“
He couldn’t finish his sentence. The roar of an explosion overpowered what he said, and he was engulfed by a huge blast of fire in a flash. A fireball had hit the rude youth from behind.
“Gotcha! Ha! Serves you right for letting your guard down!”
There was a shout of joy. Quickly turning around, there was a lone student amidst the gallery doing a little jig of triumph. Beside her was a witch automaton. — An ambush party, so to speak.
The fire faded away. What should have been the charred remains of the youth appearing from within the smoke… turned out to be two people standing there completely unharmed.
The girl had covered her master. Special mention had to go to her remarkable resiliency. Other than her kimono being lightly scorched, her skin showed absolutely no trace of being burnt at all!
Without even turning to look in the ambush party’s direction, the youth simply said “Go.” The kimono-clad girl burst forward in a blink of an eye, closing in on the witch.
Appearing directly below her, she planted a fierce kick on the witch’s jaw.
The witch was launched higher than the school building, shattering apart in mid-air.
What explosive energy! Then again, she did manage to send the huge golem flying.
“What is with that guy…” “Could he actually be… strong?” “He’s only the 1235th place, right!?”
The gallery was abuzz. The disturbance in the gallery spread to the insolent person’s party, causing them to be unnerved.
“This guy’s automaton is a top class model! Smash the puppeteer instead!”
The master of the morning star’s wielder yelled out. It looked like he was the leader of the gang. The insolent people followed that command, and all started leaping towards the flesh and blood human puppeteer.
The armoured knight thrust his spear, and the golem swung its huge iron fist.
The rude youth lightly jumped away, dodging and landing neatly onto the ground.
“Isn’t aiming for the puppeteer against the rules of the Night Party?”
Even though he said that, it was useless. The insolent gang didn’t let up on their attacks.
“Well, if that’s what they’re going to do, then I supposed I better do something on my end too— Kouen Juuniketsu!”
Receiving the command, the girl’s movements changed. With the force of a raging fire, she violently kicked the golem, causing it to crash into the armoured knight like a bullet; she then dashed into the enemy’s midst.
The scene unfolding before her eyes was beyond Charl’s wildest imagination.
Going against traditional Machinart wisdom and common sense, it was an unconventional fighting style.
The rude youth followed closely after the girl. Picking up a piece of the broken automaton the girl had smashed earlier, he threw it, the girl performing a feint so that the opponent was hit by the rude youth.
With the enemy unbalanced, this caused openings in the opponent’s guard, allowing the girl to deal a devastating kick. The power in the girl’s legs easily crushed the automaton’s body, scattering fragments everywhere.
Those movements were simply the pair moving in formation.
It defied common sense, but it didn’t go against it. As a battle tactic it was sure to be consistent in terms of output, and extremely rational.
Charl clicked her tongue. A third-rate puppeteer? He was lying!
While he himself was moving, his doll’s movements were not dull in the slightest.
To control a puppet that well, a strong force— magic energy was needed.
So at the very least, he had undergone a considerable amount of training.
(So the Orientals have this sort of battle style as well…?)
While Charl stared in amazement at the ongoing battle, Sigmund whispered in her ear.
“… I got it.”
Thanks to the rude youth dancing around amongst them, the insolent gang’s attention had been drawn to him.
Charl began to build up magic energy, allowing it to flow into Sigmund’s magic circuits.
Power began to build, and she waited. Once all the enemies were lined up in a row,
A blindingly fierce torrent of light shot forth from Sigmund’s jaw.
It resembled a breath of fire from the dragons of legend. A light so bright it scorched the retinas. Along with the violent blast of light, the molecules in the atmosphere were annihilated, causing a strong vacuum effect.
The beam of light extended for twenty metres, before rapidly decaying, losing its effect. However, that was enough. The insolent gang’s automata were caught in the blast, some getting hit on the arm, some on the leg, and some had half their body hit.
The afflicted parts melted away like candy, the cross section of the remaining parts giving off a curiously smooth luster.
The battle had been decided. And they had lost.
The rude youth could also see that they had been defeated, with all ten bodies out of commission. All the insolent gang could do was to retrieve their puppets and scurry away in a panic.
The surrounding students were at a loss for words, standing where they were dumfounded.
“How scary. The rumours were true; you really do possess such a ridiculously strong power. “
The rude youth spoke in jest. He also had an over-familiar smile on his face.
What a vexing person, if only he had been caught in the Raster Cannon as well.
“Don’t make the absurd mistake of thinking that I needed help.”
“Yes well, you don’t exactly strike me as the sort that needs saving.”
“The result would still have been the same whether a pervert like you was there or not. That goes for your doll over there too.”
For a moment, Charl silently stared at the pair. Then her mood changed slightly, and in a more subdued tone she spoke.
“… Hmph. In any case, tell me your name.”
The rude boy chuckled then introduced himself.
“I’m a puppeteer from Japan. Akabane Raishin.”
“… No, there’s nothing similar about us.”
“In that case, I’m Yaya, his wife.”
“That’s not it either! I didn’t enter you in the family register or anything, ok!?”
Charl laughed contemptuously at the flustered boy— his named seemed to be Raishin.
“Rye? Sheen? That’s a weird name.”
“It’s not like I like it either! Besides, I’ll have you know that in my country it’s written with the characters for ‘thunder’ and ‘truth’!”
“It doesn’t matter. Let’s just get this over with, seeing as I’m going to crush you in a split second.”
She stretched her hand out towards Sigmund, maintaining the link of magic energy between them.
Raishin didn’t move. He just kept staring intently in their direction. His gaze wasn’t focused on her though, he was staring at Sigmund.
“- let’s stop.”
He turned away abruptly. The students began to murmur amongst themselves, them being as surprised as Charl was.
“I’ve lost interest. We’ll pick up where we left off today some other time.”
It was a selfish reason. An indignant Charl trembled with rage.
“Are you messing around…? You’re the one who challenged me, and now you’re just going to run away…”
Not allowing her to finish, something flashed in his left hand. He had taken something circular from the harness around his waist, and now he threw it on the ground.
A tiny explosion gave way to a large volume of smoke pouring out.
The white smoke completely filled the area. It seemed like it was a smoke bomb, a product from Japan, the land of ninjas.
With a flap of his wings, Sigmund cleared the smoke away. By that time though, the pair had already put a considerable amount of distance between them. Easily jumping over the crowd of people, they ran off into the distance.
The only thing that could be concluded was that she had completely and thoroughly let them escape.
“What a wimp.”
“I wonder, is that really the case?”
Giving off a dazzling light, Sigmund reverted back into his smaller form.
“What do you mean?”
Sigmund lowered his voice till the point where the surrounding people couldn’t hear him, and answered Charl.
“I think he may have noticed my injury.”
He moved a wing to show her.
“— does it hurt?”
“I just need two to three days to recover.”
An injury meant that he couldn’t fly as well as he’d like. If he assumed his larger form, then that would be an even bigger burden.
Charl hadn’t noticed it, and yet the youth had?
In that case, did he cut in just now because he had sensed that Charl was at a disadvantage…?
“… Then he really is a wimp. Only a naïve chicken wouldn’t have the resolve to attack an enemy’s weak point.”
“The Night Party is a merciless struggle for existence. A place where the person who eliminates all other obstacles in the way will obtain everything. A perverted, cowardly idiot like him will be the first to get crushed.”
“I must say, you seem unusually interested in him.”
“Why would you say I’m interested in him?”
“If you really weren’t interested, why did you ask for his name?”
She stopped. Now that he had mentioned it, it really was strange. It was something that was hard to explain.
In the end, Charl testily finished her sentence.
“Oh, be quiet. Or else I’ll downgrade your lunchtime chicken to corn.”
Squaring her shoulders, she set off towards the cafeteria.
The surrounding students made way for her. Thus, with a lot of unanswered questions and a little ill feeling left over, the eventful lunch break came to a close.