At the same time he issued the command to Yaya, Raishin dashed forward with all his strength.
The enemy greatly outnumbered them. To be surrounded would be disadvantageous. Therefore, he would take the initiative!
He targeted the closest enemy. Yaya leapt onto it, causing it to lose balance. Raishin swept it off its feet, and Yaya dealt the finishing blow. The automaton was instantly turned into little more than scrap metal.
However, the enemy wasn’t done in just yet.
Moving to surround Raishin, about half of them circled around to his back.
Unfortunately, their movements were painfully uncoordinated. The short swords that flew at Raishin were linear and easily telegraphed. The time it took to retrieve the swords were also very long. It was a far cry from Loki, who could control them freely.
Synchronising their breathing, Raishin and Yaya attacked the enemies in turn. Smashing the torso of the first, they knocked the head clean off the second, and sent the last crashing into the group of puppeteers. Having seen four units scattered all about the place like that, their opponents’ fighting spirit plummeted. They all turned, preparing to flee.
Taking advantage of that moment, Raishin threw a stun grenade into their midst.
A blinding light erupted forth. Raishin had already turned his back on it, running towards the cattle barn with Yaya.
Throwing open the closed door, he rushed inside.
It was cold. And strangely quiet.
He hurriedly lit a lamp. Holding it over his head, he looked around, and knew the reason for the silence.
All the cages were empty!
The worst case scenario flashed into his mind. Could it be that they had already been disposed of…!?
“Raishin! The enemy is headed this way!”
Yaya called to him from the other side of the door. Raishin closed his eyes.
Calm down. There’s still hope. Believe that they’re still alive.
For the security measures here to be so excessively strict, it must mean that they were being cautious of something.
It would be damaging for them if their secret were to be leaked out to the world. It would be disastrous if the fact that they had been performing illegal experiments were brought to light.
In short, they were afraid of the long arm of the law.
Even if they wanted to get rid of the evidence, the Garm series was a Bandoll type, and thus couldn’t be just thrown away so easily—
At that moment, he was struck by an epiphany.
There was a way to stealthily transport a large number of automata and Shiramiko.
And this facility had the ideal “equipment” for doing so!
At that moment, the ceiling broke apart with a loud tearing sound.
Something had torn through the roof. It was something like the sharp end of a sword, but the tip had only appeared for a brief moment. Like a giant can opener, it began to carve out a portion of the ceiling.
“I got it!”
Yaya jumped upwards. Kicking, she pulverised the large piece of the falling ceiling.
The fragments scattered about, causing the walls to collapse. Raishin covered his head, waiting for the dust to settle.
After it had done so, he saw something he didn’t want to see.
Mercenaries were standing there. There were about ten of them, clothes and physique were both ragged, standing in a circle around him. Obviously, each had an automaton following them. A golem type, a four-legged wild beast type, even a thin humanoid type, there were various types of automata present.
In front of Raishin, who was on guard, a giant sword stabbed itself into the ground with a thud.
Standing on top, someone was looking down on them.
“If I may say so myself, I am a tolerant person… However, there are three things in this world I cannot forgive. People who give me orders. People who defy me. And finally, reckless vermin who scurry about like rats.”
It was Frey’s younger brother, Loki. The Sword Emperor had made his grand entrance.
By some unknown method, he had managed to bring Cherubim out of the academy grounds. Since floating in the air was Cherubim’s strong point, if it was just Loki alone, he might have been able to climb on it and fly out.
His pearl white hair fluttered as he leapt off the giant sword onto the ground.
Just like Loki had said, Raishin was the proverbial rat in a trap. Not only was he surrounded by ten automata, the Sword Emperor was standing right in front of him.
Just as he thought, this is really not good; Cherubim’s short swords whirled to life.
Piercing the heart directly, the automaton toppled over like a wooden doll.
But Yaya wasn’t hurt. The short swords were targeting the mercenaries’ automata!
In the time Raishin was dumbfounded, the short swords had flown towards another automaton.
“What the hell are you doing!?” “We’re your allies here!”
The mercenaries were thrown into panic. However, Loki wordlessly continued his slaughter.
The truth finally dawning on them, the mercenaries howled with anger and began to attack Loki.
One automaton charged in, one more breathed fire. However, the attacks didn’t reach Loki. The whirling short swords and Cherubim’s blade sliced, diced, and cleaved the rest of the automata.
The circle surrounding Raishin was crumbling.
Raishin quickly rushed forward, bringing Yaya with him to break out of the circle.
Like he was competing with Loki, the two of them broke down the door to the orphanage and rushed in.
Behind them, a rain of bullets descended.
They hurriedly rolled out of the way. Being protected by Yaya and Cherubim, the two of them scrambled for cover behind a pillar.
Raishin breathed a sigh relief. Once he felt assured they were safe, he turned to Loki and yelled at him.
“You! What was with that sudden appearance! Make it clear if you’re an enemy or an ally-“
“Does your idiocy know no bounds?! Why don’t you think before you act?!”
He felt ashamed at Loki’s words. Loki continued on,
“Do you know what you’re doing? An academy student assaulting a member of the public- that is a capital offence!”
“Shut up and think about it carefully, you western idiot! They’re performing illegal experiments here, right? There’s no way these people can go to the police!”
“From the bottom of my heart, I praise you as the world’s greatest idiot! Don’t you think that D-Works would have already prepared themselves in case they were brought to justice? Your ‘evidence’ will never be accepted in court! You’ll just be burned at the stake after going through a witch trial by the Church!”
“What!? You’re just an idiot who can’t save people properly! When that time comes—“
Raishin laughed lightly mid-sentence.
“Then I’ll just have to fight against this God person.”
Even Loki was left dumbfounded by his declaration. Recovering, he knitted his brows in displeasure.
“Stop trying to act cool. I think I’m going to throw up.”
“Fine, throw up then. By the way, what about you? You might be preaching to me, but don’t forget you also went wild back there. For your information, you’ve cut down at least eight people already. Hey, Mr. Policeman, there’s a violent criminal on the loose here!”
“Silence you coward! Mr. Prosecutor, the principal defendant is this guy right here!”
The two of them glared at each other. Behind them, the mercenaries from earlier had caught up.
While keeping an eye on them, Raishin spoke.
“Why would an esteemed member of the Rounds be wilfully engaging in a criminal act anyway?”
“Who knows? I’m just here because I want to hit people I can’t stand till I feel satisfied.”
“… Are you prepared to be burned at the stake for a reason like that?”
Their eyes met. An instant later, out of nowhere, they both suddenly spat out.
Their voices were simultaneous.
“”I guess we’re both idiots.””
They flew out at the same time. They weren’t planning on attacking each other; instead, standing back to back they attacked in opposite directions.
Yaya blocked the incoming bullets, and Raishin leapt over her back, kicking and striking, knocking the enemies down.
Loki’s short swords gracefully danced as he passed through blood spraying everywhere as he scythed through the opposing puppeteers.
Showing absolutely no signs of co-ordination whatsoever, the only thing they had in common was the amount of force used. The mercenaries behind and the riflemen in front were both pushed back by their onslaught, eventually being routed.
Chasing after the retreating riflemen, they went further inside. Ahead of them was a passageway that connected the main building to a separate one. Bursting through the passage, they emerged into a wide courtyard.
If they could break through here, they would reach the staircase leading to the basement. Just a little more and—
“Raishin! Get back!”
Yaya suddenly braked, causing Raishin to bounce off her back.
The next instant, like a bolt of lightning, a sword came crashing down from directly above.
It was big and shiny. The golden blade was a beautiful sight to behold… and equally sinister looking as well. This form and design was something he had seen before, somewhere.
“This is… Cherubim?”
“No— this is Lucifer.”
Loki answered, as a drop of cold sweat shone on his cheek.
(This guy is sweating…!?)
If even Loki was sweating, then this was surely a formidable foe. Raishin frantically searched for the figure of their opponent.
And then, he found him.
Standing by a window on the third floor, a slender gentleman was calmly looking down at them.
Placing his foot onto the window frame, he launched his body into the air.
Slowly descending as lightly as a feather, he landed in the middle of the courtyard.
Raishin’s eyes opened wide. If that was by means of telekinesis, then that was some fearsome magic energy!
“It looks like today’s my lucky day.”
His finely chiselled face turning to face them, he spoke in a cold voice.
“I’ll be able to obtain quality parts from the both of you without too much effort.”