[TRANSLATION] Volume 6 Kings Summit (Chapters 2 and 3)

HimekoTachibana Aug 10th, 2012 842 Never
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  1. 08/02/12(Thu) -
  2. 08/09/12(Thu) -
  3. 08/10/12(Fri) -
  4. 08/13/12(Mon) -
  5. 08/15/12(Wed) -
  6. 08/17/12(Fri) -
  7. 08/18/12(Sat) -
  8. 08/24/12(Fri) -
  9. 08/25/12(Sat) - + GIF Dump
  10. 08/25/12(Sat) - = LN Illustration Dump
  11. 08/26/12(Sun) - = Biggest shitfest ever
  12. 08/26/12(Sun) - = A lot of discussion
  13. 08/27/12(Mon) - = Trauma Game
  14. 08/27/12(Mon) - = SAO and AW thread.
  15. 08/27/12(Mon) - = AW game + BT drama + Dox
  16. 08/30/12(Fri) - + GIF dump and Illustration Dump
  17. 09/01/12(Sat) - + Ch3 Translation
  18. 09/02/12(Sun) - = LN illustration + discussion
  19. 09/10/12(Mon) - = Birth of Rule C
  20. 09/10/12(Mon) - = OST2!!!
  21. 09/12/12(Wed) - = Stuff
  22. 09/14/12(Fri) - = My tutorial on GIFs
  23. 09/16/12(Sun) - = Discussion
  24. 09/19/12(Wed) - = Illustrations
  25. 09/21/12(Fri) - = Episode 24 holy shit discussion
  26. 09/22/12(Sat) - = Episode 24 part 2
  27. 09/23/12(Sun) - = Recruiting translators
  28. 09/24/12(Mon) - = Discussion
  29. 09/25/12(Tue) - = Jesus fucking shitstorm mindfuck what.
  30. 09/28/12(Fri) - = EX 1 Released
  31. 10/11/12(Thu) - = Graphite Edge Translation Start
  32. 10/12/12(Fri) - = Illustration Translations
  33. ----------- ------------ Himeko♥Tachibana !IuIUmPOLLY ------------
  34. ***TL and Himeko Notes at lines***269***365***439***
  36. CHAPTER 2
  37. ___________________________________________________________________________________________
  38. A sky filled with an eerie greenish-yellow color. A ground covered with blue-black tiles. Groups of buildings ornated with fang-like points, and the dense fog that flowed between them.
  39. “Demon City stage, huh? Well, it matches with today’s theme.” Murmured the Black King, as she loudly clashed her finely sharpened tiptoes with the tiles at her feet.
  40. Haruyuki, after being momentarily mesmerized by his beloved Legion Master’s graceful yet ferocious form, turned to stare at the sky-blue standing silently by her side.
  41. This one, a perfectly elegant figure. At the back of the delicate female-form body, a somewhat dark blue hair flowed like wings. The sleek arms and legs were not equipped with any form of weapon.
  42. However, Haru knew. The slender legs firmly set on the ground as she stood tall were the proof of the miracle that she – Sky Raker- had accomplished. If Black Lotus is Haruyuki’s parent and master, Raker is what should be called a teacher. For a long time, she had stepped away from the front lines of the accelerated battles, and on the top of the Old Tokyo Tower that had been forgotten by all, she lived a reclusive life.
  43. The reason for that was, about two and a half years ago, she had, by her own volition, had her legs cut down from the knees, losing the greatest part of her fighting power. However, by meeting a Haruyuki that had temporarily lost his own power-the Flight Ability- and teaching him the ropes of the Incarnate System, she slowly reawakened her passion for fighting, and on last week’s Hermis’ Cord Vertical Race, she had finally overcome the wound that hand restrained her and brought back her legs.
  45. The difficulty of freeing oneself of the influence of negative Imagination, Haru , having once been controlled by Chrome Disaster, had understood with his own body. Had Chiyuri-Lime Bell not have rescued him with a special attack with the transcendental ability to “Rewind the time of the targeted avatar”, he would likely have been engulfed by the armor, and by his own hate, and indiscriminately attacked the gallery of several hundred people.
  46. Had he stayed a few more minutes submerged in the negative Imagination, he would have passed the point of no return. And yet Sky Raker had severed the chains of the fear and desperation that had tied her for two and a half real years. It that is not a miracle, than what is?
  47. Being hit deeply with emotion, as Haru stared at Raker’s legs-
  48. “Ara Crow, did you like my slender legs that much?”
  49. Being called out with a voice filled with laughter, Haruyuki, flustered, shook his arms and head.
  50. “N-no, I mean they are really beautiful, but that’s not what I…”
  51. “Oh, you had a leg fetish, right? I apologize, having no thighs or ankles…” Said Kuroyukihime, with a dangerous light in her violet blue eyes. Haruyuki looked at her and tried explaining again.”
  52. “N-no, I love senpai’s legs and... Wait, it’s not like a fetish or anything...!”
  53. Getting the feeling that saying anything more would just be sinking deeper, he pointed with his left hand to the southeast and screamed:
  54. “More importantly, look, the guide cursor is pointing over there! Let’s go, quickly!”
  56. As Haruyuki had said, two grey cursors were steadily pointing in the same direction. In that direction should be the two Blue Legion lieutenants serving as hosts for today’s meeting. Furthermore, above the cursors where lined two HP bars, and between then, a countdown was in progress. Having started at 1800 seconds, it had already reduced to 1750.
  57. “Un, they did say to gather strictly within 100 seconds. Well then, shall we run?”
  58. The three nodded to each other, and at once dashed on the streets of the Devil City towards south. The gallery of regular battles, while not having the ability to break objects, were awarded with top moving speed and jump power. Haru and the others ran up the wall of the building blocking their path, and from there progressed from roof to roof in a straight line.
  59. After running for about 20 seconds, the deep fog that covered their target direction cleared at once. Faced with the view in front of his eyes, Haru involuntarily raised his voice.
  60. “Wow… I-it’s huge...”
  61. It was a “Castle”.
  63. Slightly to the southeast of the direction the cursor pointed, a gigantic construction towered as if piercing the heavens.
  64. That castle composed of pointed towers shining with blue light and eerie statues emanated a presence that dwarfed all others in the stage, seeming almost godly.
  65. Surrounded by tall castle walls and wide ditches, an entrance was nowhere in sight.
  66. Despite having glimpsed, in his countless battles in the Suginami and Shinjuku areas, the form of the castle towering in the sky of the far east, this was the first time he had gotten this close to it. As Haru stared flabbergasted at the menacing giant castle, Kuroyukihime whispered to his right side:
  67. “That is, in the real world, the Imperial Palace. Inside the Accelerated World too, it’s the only place where, regardless of method, it is impossible to invade.”
  68. “E-even by flying?”
  69. It was Fuuko, running by his left side, who answered.
  70. “Yes. Above and below the castle walls, an invisible barrier is set. Therefore flying or caving in don’t work. In the beginning it seems they tried a variety of methods, but…”
  71. “Indeed. Because at the time, rumors, for instance that inside it a super powerful enhanced armament is hidden, were running. But in the end, nobody succeeded in infiltrating it. In the regular battle field, that is.”
  72. Sensing something in Kuroyukihime’s choice of words, Haruyuki asked further.
  73. “Huh? What do you mean by that?”
  74. However, before an answer returned, Fuuko whispered sharply:
  75. “I found it… On top of that Hill!”
  77. He looked in the direction she pointed. There, he saw two… no, three figures. In the real world, it probably corresponded to the place called Higashigyoen. Unlike the actual palace it is not restricted, and Haruyuki had once visited it with his social studies in preschool.
  78. They slightly dropped their speed and approached carefully. Even in this observation mode without the risk of being attacked, thinking that he would finally meet closely with the rulers of the accelerated world, the Pure Color Kings, he couldn’t stop his body from trembling.
  79. Crossing a bridge over a large ditch, and passing a majestic gate, they climbed the stairs on the inclined surface of the hill. The impenetrable Demon Castle stood directly to his right, but without glancing in that direction, Haruyuki fixated his eyes on the top of the hill.
  80. Finally the steps ended, and a large stone-floored space opened before his eyes.
  81. In the real world, the grassy field of the Edojirohonnmaru ato would stretch over this place. Despite that, without a single plant in sight, instead several steel pillars stood forming a circle.
  82. However, one pillar on the other end one pillar was quite short, with barely 15 centimeters.
  83. And there, one duel avatar was sitting down.
  85. Blue. As if sucking you inside it, a transparent, deep blue. Not the color of the sky, nor the color of the sea. He was covered in a blue so pure that it seemed difficult to compare it to anything from the real world. The form of his armor was that of a perfect knight type. But without a hint of the perverseness of the disaster armor, he had the gallant look of a legendary hero. On the sides of his visor and helmet sprouted horns like those of a dragon, and on his left hip a giant two-handed sword rested.
  86. Resting left leg over his right knee and with his arms crossed, the stature of the blue avatar was not all that big. Most likely, if he stood, Takumu-Cyan Pile would be taller. From his entire body a pressure, like that of a meteor crashing in from space, emanated from his entire body, forcing Haruyuki to stop 20 meters ahead of him.
  87. “Is…Is that…”
  88. As he whispered with a dry voice, next to him Raker nodded lightly.
  89. “Yes. That is the leader of Leonidas, the legion that controls the Shinjuku and Bunkyou areas, called Vanquish, Legend Slayer, and by a number of other names, the level niner, Blue Knight, the blue king.”
  90. “Blue…Knight…”
  92. In other games, it would be the type of simple name usually given to low level enemies, but hearing it in the accelerated world brought a sense of incomparable uniqueness.
  93. With his back trembling under the bottomless feeling of pressure, Haruyuki finally remembered. It’s not as if he is his duel opponent. In terms of position, they were both just part of the gallery. Despite being only observer with no power to cause or receive damage, he was feeling this much pressure- he was afraid of even thinking about the possibility of fighting him one on one.
  94. That moment. A small, metallic noise echoed, and Haruyuki’s paralysis was gone.
  95. That was the noise of Kuroyukihime taking a step forward.
  96. The black king Black Lotus, ignoring the blue kings perilous aura as if it were nothing, took several steps forward, and lightly moved the her right hand sword.
  97. “Since you are the host this time around, I’ll keep good manners and make the first greeting-Your get-up looks as uncomfortably warm as ever, Knight.”
  99. At Kuroyukihime’s line, Haruyuki screamed inside his head. “Wha-wha-what are you provoking him for!?”
  100. With on top of that Raker lightly giggling, he almost did a backdash and ran for it, but luckily, before that could happen Blue Knight responded with a pristine young boy’s voice.
  101. “You know, you don’t call that a greeting, Lotus. You are also as sharp as usual, even though it’s been what, two and a half years?”
  102. He shrugged his shoulders, his armor making noise. At the same time, the bloodthirsty aura disappeared as if it had never been there.
  103. Apparently, from his tone of voice, the Blue King was a more relaxed person than he had thought. The blue legion attacks the black’s territory every week without fail, so he thought for sure the king himself was also bent on purging Kuroyukihime, but it wasn’t all that much…
  104. And as Haru starts to relieve the tension on his shoulders, on that moment.
  105. From the kings sides, across the lingering fog, two very similar shadows slid silently forward.
  107. Samurai! He thought immediately. The armor that involved the tall and thin bodies was completely covered in Japanese style wide, overlapping plates. As for color, the left avatar was a deep ultramarine. The right was clear bluish green. In their heads they had not normal helmets but hachigane, with long hair jutting out of it. From the body shape, both were female.
  108. The two female warrior avatars slid forward several meters with a curious walking technique, set their hands on the hilts of their swords, and started with a deep voice:
  109. “Using that teasing tone on our sacred knight, king or not I won’t allow it!”
  110. “You should be thankful to be allowed to be in this place, traitor!”
  111. And Haru, feeling once again murderous intent rippling through the air towards them, cringed with fear.
  112. As a follower of the black king, this would probably be a good time to respond by throwing some cool lines, but a feeling his head would fly the moment he said anything didn’t allow him to open his mouth. The reason being, those two were unmistakably the lieutenants of the blue king who created this space, in other words the players, and therefore had the right to, upon mutual agreement, eliminate bothersome observers.
  113. However, in the next second-
  114. “Ara, in the short while we haven’t met, it seems the two of you learned some big talk, young ladies.”
  115. Said Sky Raker, in a half laughing voice.
  116. Sounding her high heels, she lined up next to Kuroyukihime, and pointing her right palm towards the warriors , lightly waved her fingers.
  117. “Should I hang the two of you next to each other from the top of the Tokyo Government Office again, like in the good old times?”
  119. Hiiiiiiiiiiiihh! Haruyuki once again let out a mute scream. You actually did that?!
  120. After screaming in his mind, Haru quickly grasped, that much isn’t strange at all, not coming from this person.
  121. The two samurai’s eyes lit flames of rage, and both at the same time grasped the hilt of their swords.
  122. “You insolent…!”
  123. Their perfect unison was interrupted by the blue king with a slightly sarcastic tone.
  124. “That’s enough, Cobal, Maaga.”
  125. “……Yes, Sir.”
  126. Quickly lowering their head, they both retreated a step.
  127. Haruyuki exhaled with relief, and once again looked at the HP bars lined up at the top of the screen.
  128. Under the bar on the left, Cobalt Blade.
  129. Under the bar on the right, shined the avatar name, Manganese Blade.
  130. For their names and appearances to match to such an extent, those two must be really similar personages in the real world.
  131. If they turned out to be twin sisters, the blue king, having both serve him as close aides, is quite awe inspiring himself. As he made this bizarre observation, Kuroyukihime lightly shrugged her shoulders and began speaking once again.
  133. “By the way, Knight. Instead of sitting there all by yourself, how about getting me a seat?”
  134. “Oh, right. My apologies.”
  135. The blue king waved his had to signalize the two armored warriors.
  136. Immediately the pair lowered their stance where they stood, and once again rested their hand on the hilt of their swords. And before Haru could shrink his body-
  137. Together with a loud, clear metallic sound, two rays of blue light flashed widely over the stage.
  138. For Haruyuki’s wide open eyes, it could only be perceived as three still images of their right hands blurring with movement, then a flash from the swords, and once again returning to the scabbard.
  139. Immediately, the white flowing fog was thinly cut, and in its wake, the giant circular pillars towering to either side of the warriors began silently tumbling, two at a time, for three times. A total of six pillars smashed into the ground with a sounding a deafening noise, and broke down to countless small blue-back pieces of metal. Afterwards, all that was left were the stumps, with slick surfaces that shined like mirrors.
  140. “Yo-You gotta be kidding…”
  141. Stunned, it was all Haru could mutter.
  143. This stage’s classification is unmistakably Demon City. It’s defining characteristic being that ground objects are abnormally tough. When Haruyuki was learning the Incarnate System, it took him a week of ferocious training to poke a hole of a few centimeters on the wall of a building of this same Demon City stage.
  144. And yet, both Cobalt Blade and Manganese Blade cut down three pillars with a flash of their blades. If it were Haruyuki in place of those pillars, his torso hand head would certainly suffer tearful goodbye.
  145. That is the true potential of the blue legions elite linkers. And that means the kings power went above even that.
  146. I, we, are trying to fight those people…
  147. With his avatar shaking with a deep shudder, he was surprised by a tap on his back. It was Sky Raker. The beautiful , completely unarmed avatar, neared her mouth to his ear and whispered.
  148. “Knocking down immobile pillars, Crow, is nothing but a parlor trick. If you keep looking this scared, I’m going to have to punish you later <3”
  149. He jolted.
  151. Leaving aside a paralyzed Haruyuki, the black king and her sworn friend began walking, and Kuroyukihime alone sat at the nearest stump on the right end, Raker standing behind her. Haru, to whom master Raker’s punished was scarier than the warrior’s swords, could only hurriedly followed them, cross his arms and throw out his chest as he stood on Raker’s side.
  152. The two warriors once again stood back behind their master, and the silence that momentarily took over was broken by Kuroyukihime’s voice, with a tone of slight impatience.
  153. “Well then, now that the organizer’s introduction is over with, how about you too showing your faces? 100 seconds are long past.”
  154. Indeed, the time count was about to reach 1600 seconds. But, what does she mean, show their faces? In this place, at the moment, only the six members of the blue and black legions are…
  155. Just as Haruyuki thought this and started looking around, on that moment-
  156. “What, I held back for your sake and now you come at me with that tone, Lotus?
  158. A voice in which cohabited pure childishness and steadfast will rang out from somewhere, and following it a light footstep was heard.
  159. Facing that direction in surprise, atop the next pillar stump, about three meters away, a silhouette had appeared.
  160. A dark red avatar with a form that resembled a carnivore on two legs. Even without looking at the sharp, triangular ears and the long tail, he understood that it was the so called “Bloody Kitty”, the red legion Prominence’s lieutenant, Blood Leopard.
  161. And on her left arm sat a tiny crimson avatar, the owner of the voice from a moment ago.
  162. Two antenna on the shape of twin-tails. The rounded eye lenses. The round-ish, sleek extremities and armor. Along with its diminutive size, this cute little girl, almost like tiny ruby, is the red king Scarlet Rain, leader of Prominence, which made Renma and Nakano its area.
  163. The origin of her nickname, “Immobile Fortress” , that giant firepower container, is unequipped . Looking at her adorable profile, Haruyuki opened his mouth to call out to Rain and Pard.
  164. However, at that moment.
  166. The two red avatars released an aura that lost in nothing to that of the Blue King, causing Haruyuki to seal his lips.
  167. It was different from the Incarnate System ‘s Overlay. It was invisible, pure fighting spirit.
  168. In the accelerated world, everything is registered as digital code, but this phenomenon of “feeling energy” is most definitely not an illusion.
  169. In terms of game logic, it is often explained as “the weight of the battle experience imbued in the avatar sensed by others as pressure”, which sound a bit like occultism, but it is a fact that the powerful can repress those inferior to them merely with their presence. Just as the red pair are doing to Haruyuki right now.
  170. The red king, real name Uwaduki Yuniko, nickname Niko, and Blood Leopard, nickname Pard, are Haruyuki’s friends to the point of revealing their real selves. Further, Prominence and Nega Nebulas are, after the occasion of joining forces at one point, in a non-expiring truce.
  172. However, it’s not the kind of relationship where they can get friendly everywhere, said the duo’s stern profiles. Even while feeling faintly desolate, Haruyuki understood this was probably correct. After all, Brain Burst exists so that all can compete and get stronger.
  173. No…
  174. Really, there’s another reason why it was hard to face Niko.
  175. The enhanced armament –Chrome Disaster- that was thought to be even now infecting Silver Crow, was the very same Nico had, at the cost of wielding her power as region leader to use the Judgement Blow on its former owner, her parent, supposedly vanquished. In other words, Niko has, more than any of the other kings reunited in this place, a strong reason to support Haruyuki’s execution.
  177. Forcibly cutting out that thought, Haruyuki returned his face forward. Simultaneously, Blood Leopard’s low voice echoed.
  178. “From Promi it’ll be just me and the king. We’ll omit the greeting.”
  179. After Niko jumped down from her arm and sat on the round steel chair, Leopard stood behind her and put her hands on her hips.
  180. With that, three of the seven kings were present. On the seven cut pillars that formed a semicircle, the blue king sat on the one in the center. The black king sat on the right end, facing him. And completing the arrangement, on her right side sat the red king.
  181. Then, as Haru prepared himself, wondering who would come next…
  183. “ku…kukuku…”
  184. That laughter filled with scorn and contempt was certainly familiar. But he couldn’t tell from which direction it was coming. He tried to look around, but all the time the origin of the laughter seemed to go around his back.
  185. “Kuku… King, huh? If my memory serves me right, “kings” is an abbreviation of “kings of pure color”, you see? But, that tiny tot sitting over there, now isn’t that color a bit cheap looking?”
  186. That voice, coming out of who knows where, was clearly an insult to the red king Scarlet Rain.
  188. Niko is, out of the kings that command the seven great legions, the only “second generation”. The previous red king, Red Rider, had, 2 and a half years ago, had his neck cut down by a blow of the black king, and due to the sudden death rule applied to battles between those of level 9, permanently left the accelerated world. Resuscitating the once almost ruined Prominence, and proclaiming for herself the name of 2nd generation master, was Niko. It’s true that the color of the avatar itself was not a pure red but a somewhat bright scarlet, however not because of that there should be any reason at all to treat her as a false king. After all…
  189. “C-color’s got nothing to do with it! Rain climbed up to level 9 with her own strength! There are no other requirements to be a king!”
  190. That’s the reason.
  191. It was then that Haruyuki noticed that he was screaming out his inner musings. Next to him Raker giggled, and Niko, sitting far away, gave the impression of a bitter smile.
  192. “Looks like what I wanted to say that crow over there said for me, so I just wanna add one little thing. When it comes to cheap, your banana color ain’t losing by a lot. We ain’t got a lot of time, so come out already.”
  194. As the red king spat out these words, she snapped the fingers of her right hand, and pointed to the middle pillar out of the ones lining on the other side.
  195. As Haruyuki confusedly stared at it, he noticed, on top of the pillar he until now thought empty, a small object, like a paper doll. Tilting his neck about five degrees, he finally got it. That is the same thing Kuroyukihime, while hiding from the king’s assassins, had once used to obtain information about the accelerated world, an “observer dummy avatar”. The owner of that voice had, taking advantage of the arrangement of connecting to the field as part of the gallery, made his avatar something extremely hard to notice.
  196. Just as Haruyuki had perceived this, smoke suddenly rose from the center of the paper doll. Once the breeze of the stage had blown away the smoke, on top of the pillar stood a bright, one might say poisonous yellow armor-clad battle avatar shaped like a thin jester.
  198. A hat with large, twisted horns protruding to the sides. A face mask with eyes and a smile cut into it. Out of the round and inflated shoulders and waist came long and gangly limbs. 
  199. Putting his needle-thin fingers on his chin, he continued to let escape contained laughter.
  200. “Kuku, Banana color, now that’s rude. I myself prefer to compare it to uranium, you see? But it can’t be helped, can it? After all, everybody knows monkeys and kiddies like bananas, right? Kukuku…”
  201. Bobbing his head as he continued to laugh, this was indeed the jester that had once tried to in one swoop trap both Kuroyukihime and Niko, the yellow king, of the legion that controlled not only the areas of Taitou, Arakawa, and Adachi, but also Akihabara, Crypt Cosmic Circus.
  203. From his mannerisms and verbosity, he could not pick out the same sort of dense pressure of the other kings.
  204. However, having once seen him in close quarter combat with Kuroyukihime from a short distance, Haruyuki understood well that he was not one to be underestimated. Despite being a yellow with not a dash of anything else, in other words a pure indirect attack type, he crossed swords with Black Lotus without retreating a single step.
  205. It seems the yellow king had showed up without a single aid. Once he was done laughing, he took his right hand to his chest and did an ironic bow. And from there he sat down as if sliding onto the pillar.
  206. With this, there were four.
  207. “And, the ones that didn’t come yet , are…”
  208. As Haruyuki muttered, this time firm steps reached his ears.
  209. Bam! Bam! Hard and heavy vibrations shook the stage.
  211. It came from the right. Just as he turned in that direction, he saw a large avatar appear, pushing his way through the mist.
  212. He was indeed large, but not what you would call gigantic. In terms of sheer size, he didn’t pass Niko with her enhanced armament deployed, obviously, but also didn’t pass the blue legion’s mid-level member Frost Horn.
  213. However, Haruyuki had, up until now, never encountered an avatar with such an overwhelmingly dense pressure.
  214. His mask, shoulders and lower body were all covered with armor reminiscent of thick plates. However his lower back was thin and tight, eliminating any impression of dullness. His right hand was empty, but in his left he carried a massive shield.
  216. And the color covering all of his armor was a green deeper and more vivid than emerald.
  217. “…..The green king….” Said Haru, having once seen this avatar for a few seconds in a replay video.
  218. Next to him Raker nodded, and completed with a whisper:
  219. “Yes. That is the leader of the legion that controls a large region from Shibuya to Ooda, Great Wall, Green Grandee. His nickname is Invulnerable.”
  220. “If I remember correctly, his HP bar has not once turned yellow, right?”
  221. Between sighs murmured Haruyuki, who on battles within equal levels, even when winning, often had the gage turn bright red. Immediately, Kuroyukihime snorted shortly.
  222. “To begin with his total number of duels isn’t that high. He earned most of the points to reach level 9 from hunting enemies, you know. Though that is quite the feat in itself…”
  223. “O-oh…”
  225. Haruyuki let out another sigh of admiration. Even though, among the bizarre creatures that march through the neutral field, even the weak ones have absurd fighting power, after going through all the trouble of defeating it the actual profit in points is really small.
  226. Even Haruyuki, who in normal RPG’s loves plain point grinding, tends to veer away from monster hunting unless he’s been on a losing streak.
  227. Scarcely aware that he was being directed a look of respect as a fellow ”level grinder”, the green king approached with a firm walk the pillar between Niko and the blue king and sat down heavily. Same as the Yellow king, he brought no escorts.
  228. And with that he simply rested there not uttering a single word, but it seemed nobody found this unnatural in any way. It looks like he was established as a pretty quiet character.
  230. Once again facing forward, Haru drew a deep breath.
  231. Despite being the entrance scene of the all powerful kings, after going on for this long, it seems like he had gotten used to the pressure. In fact, even his knees, that had been shaking slightly, had at some point become fixed, and the coldness and numbness of his hands was also disappearing.
  232. That’s right, there’s no need to be afraid. I too, am the black king Black Lotus’ henchmen… I mean child. I should be standing tall like Raker is.
  233. He persuaded himself in his head, and pushed out his chest- or tried to, because in that moment.
  234. “………..?.........”
  235. Hit by a feeling as if a cold hand were crushing his heart, Haru cowered more than he had at anything else that day.
  236. What is… this?
  237. Killer intent….? No, it’s not just that. It’s more drastic… the will to erase. It spoke of executing me, banishing from the accelerated world… a wordless declaration.
  238. Klak.Klak.
  240. From somewhere unseen, loud footsteps echoed.
  241. Even while paralyzed, he strained his ears. South. Walking towards the kings from straight ahead, footsteps approached. Creaking his stiff neck, he directs his line of sight.
  242. Far away in the dense mist, one silhouette.
  244. Seeing only the shadow, he could sense it was a female avatar. It’s because he could see the hair and skirt armor parts swaying. The waist was impossibly thin, and the legs too were like needles.
  245. Klak,klak,klak. These footsteps like swords striking the ground were likely caused by the pin heels, more than twice as high as Sky Raker’s.
  246. The moment those legs stepped into the circle of lined pillars, the enshrouding mist, as if unable to endure that bloodthirst, opened widely.
  247. The avatar, finally revealing its form, if one were to describe it with one word- it would not be “king”, but “queen”- and nothing else.
  248. What looked like hair was a long bell-shaped armor coming down from the top of her forehead. The face mask was sharp yet beautiful, and the breast and shoulder parts were also feminine yet somehow menacing. From a tall point in the waist a long skirt-shaped sectioned armor stretched , and from a gap you could see a long, thin leg exposed all the way to the top.
  249. Unmistakably, it was the most, shall we say luscious duel avatar he had ever seen. However, it was not the type of beauty you felt like stretching your hand to touch. Because starting from the tiara in her head, and on every part of her body, were rose shaped ornaments crowned with gleaming, sharp thorns.
  251. In her right hand, she held a staff with about one and a half meters. In its tip, a rose vine with a slightly longer needle shined. The color of her armor, a mysterious purple that, upon receiving light, flickered bewitchingly.
  252. “She finally came.”
  253. Narrowing her eye lens as she watched the queen avatar walk closer, Sky Raker whispered:
  254. “That is, most likely, out of the kings reunited here, the one that will oppose us the most fiercely. The leader of the legion that reigns from the Ginza area to the costal area, Aurora Oval, nicknamed Empress Voltage, the purple king, Purple Thorn. And the Staff she has in her right hand is one of the Seven Arcs, The Tempest.
  255. “A-arcs?”
  257. As Haruyuki parroted back the unusual word, Raker quickly added an explanation.
  258. “In the accelerated world, they are the assumedly seven top-class enhanced armaments. Of the ones that are know right now, besides that staff, the blue king’s greatsword The Impulse, the green king’s greatshield The Strife, and one more…
  259. At that point that point it seemed to Haruyuki that Raker was holding back her tongue, but there was no opportunity to ask again.
  260. That’s because the purple king, who had slowly moved across the center of the group of pillars, reaching the point closest to Black Lotus, who sat in the cut down pillar furthest to the right, stopped, and loudly hit the ground with the tip of her staff.
  262. The thin veil trembled, and her masked faced slightly towards Kuroyukihime. Her sharp shaped eye lens shined coldly like amethysts.
  263. If up until now, just feeling the pressure the queen form avatar was emanating diffusely, he was freezing up, when that pressured was focused on the three members of Nega Nebulas, he seriously felt faint.
  264. If it was clear rage and hate, he could still deal. Haruyuki himself, in the 8 months since becoming a buster linker, had experienced many fights in which both sides released all their hate.
  265. However, what emanated from the purple king was no simple feeling. It was absolute denial, showing no room for mutual understanding. With this opponent, no matter how the circumstances come to change, Haruyuki intuited there was no choice but to continue fighting forever. Until the accelerated world comes to an end.
  267. ___________________________________________________________________________________________
  268. I don't know if I missed anything between here. Please give me the archive link if I have.
  269. Thank you.
  270. ___________________________________________________________________________________________
  272. The purple king, after looking down on Black Lotus for about 2 seconds, calmly began to speak.
  273. “It’s been a long time, Lotus. Who would know, that the day the two of us would speak like this again would ever come.”
  274. There was nothing harsh about her tone, but that was like the slickness of ice. Under that tension, which, once broken, would create thousands of sharp edges, Haruyuki held his breath.
  275. Of the purple king’s voice, that, threatening as it is, maintained some of the sweetness of a young girl, Haruyuki had some remembrance. Thinking for a second, he soon recalled. He had, in fact, listened to this voice one time before. Not directly, of course. In that one scene that he had see once in a replay on the neutral field, the purple king’s voice was recorded. From the depths of his memory, the voice came back to life.
  277. Rider, I can’t let this one pass!
  278. Wait, what?!!
  279. The seemingly angry, yet begging voice of young girl.
  280. In the video, at this moment, Black Lotus`s arms were thrown around the original red king Red Riders’s neck and their bodies were held close.
  281. Because of that, the purple king, who was intimate with the red king, raised a voice which could be perfectly described as “vexed”.
  282. However, in the next moment-
  283. Black Lotus’ arms closed like enormous scissors, separating Red Rider’s body and head.
  284. Upon Burster Linkers who have reached level 9, it’s applied the sudden death rule in which being defeated by another level 9, one immediately loses all their burst points. In other words at that moment, the red king was permanently banished from the accelerated world.
  285. The last thing recorded in the replay video was purple thorn's ear-piercing scream.
  287. As Haruyuki had heard it, immediately after the fact, a frantic fight had unfolded between Kuroyukihime and all the remaining five kings. However, unable to defeat even a single one of them, and yet not being defeated herself, the 30 minute battle time ended. From them on, for two years, Kuroyukihime isolated herself from the global net and laid low in the Umesato middle school local net. Until the chance brought, in last year’s spring, by Cyan Pile’s attack, and the birth of Silver Crow.
  288. Carrying a heavy past such as this, the two kings pit their auras and gazes against each other.
  290. As Haruyuki had heard it, immediately after the fact, a frantic fight had unfolded between Kuroyukihime and all the remaining five kings. However, unable to defeat even a single one of them, and yet not being defeated herself, the 30 minute battle time ended. From them on, for two years, Kuroyukihime isolated herself from the global net and laid low in the Umesato middle school local net. Until the chance brought, in last year’s spring, by Cyan Pile’s attack, and the birth of Silver Crow.
  291. Carrying a heavy past such as this, the two kings pit their auras and gazes against each other.
  293. In his heart, Haruyuki could not help his uneasiness that Black Lotus would look away. Kuroyukihime is certainly, even now, in the bottom of her heart, regretting the fact that she had taken down Red Rider in a surprise attack. Even if the red king no longer remembers that he had once been a Buster Linker.
  294. However.
  295. The black crystal avatar, not allowing it’s sharply shaped face mask even the slightest tremor, continued to withstand the stare of the queen of thorns.
  296. Finally, Kuroyukihime’s low, smooth voice flowed in the misty field.
  297. “Same here, Thorn. I thought for sure that when we met again, one of our heads would roll.”
  299. To these calm words which showed not a hint of agitation, the purple king slowly blinked her eyes.
  300. Was it just his impression that the next words emitted seemed a little colder?
  301. “…It could still turn out like that, couldn’t it? For instance if all those present were to agree to change the mode from “regular battle” to “battle royale”… there’s a possibility, isn’t there?”
  302. Swallowing dry, Haruyuki resisted the urge to scream “No way don’t joke about it I’d never agree to it!”
  303. But Kuroyukihime snorted shortly and coolly responded.
  304. “That would make things simple. If today were the day brain burst as a game were to be completed, there would be no need to have this tiresome meeting.”
  306. Immediately, Haruyuki froze up again. Those words almost sounded like a declaration that she would hunt down the four kings here present and become level 10… In fact that’s exactly what they sounded like. He couldn’t believe the boldness of Sky Raker who could continue to stand there placidly.
  307. The purple king tilted her head to the black king’s retort.
  308. Suddenly, she lightly hit the stone-laid floor with her staff.
  309. Before the sharp noise could finish echoing, a situation that further made Haruyuki’s blood run cold appeared. For from the direction the king had come walking, neatly synchronizing their footsteps, as many as eight buster linkers showed themselves.
  311. They came in a variety of colors and armor shapes. However you could know with a glance that they were all hardened veterans. Most likely, she had ordered the purple legions top attack force to dive along with her.
  312. Purple Thorn then, for the first time, smiled sweetly and said:
  313. “I apologize if you thought I was joking. Naturally I came with the proper preparations. Just in case I where to fight you, so this time, I wouldn’t let you get away, right?”
  314. It was not a bluff or a show of force. She was serious. Inside this person, strong feeling that he could not dare to think he understands were sealed.
  315. Feeling a pressure that didn’t allow him to breath, Haruyuki dragged his right foot back a little.
  316. Yet even then Kuroyukihime didn’t break her poise. Unbelievably, in this situation, she began openly laughing out loud.
  317. “Fufu… Is that so, looks like I underestimated you. But, you know Thorn, if you are really coming for my head, shouldn’t you leave your troops hiding at the very edge of the boundaries? Like Radio over there?”
  319. “Wha-“ Haruyuki looked at Yellow Radio sitting in the opposite side. The yellow jester just shrugged shortly and said nothing, but thinking about it, if there was even 0,001% change of the meeting turning into a battle, there was no way the yellow king would come by himself.
  320. Who reacted to Kuroyukihime’s observation was not the purple king, but one female shaped avatar, separating herself from the squad.
  321. The armor color was deep reddish purple reminiscent of wine. The thigh area that spread out like a brimmed hat was almost like a military uniform. However in her hips, instead of guns, she had equipped whips rolled into rings.
  322. The female officer avatar, stopping one step behind the purple king, went off with an extremely cold voice:
  323. “Bluffing, when it comes to that point, is just laughable, cellar king. So you crawled out of the ground and been scurrying about, but that cheap backwater area of yours, I hope you don’t forget if the six kings felt like it, they could squish it in but a day.”
  325. It was an extremely disdainful tone, but Haruyuki could do nothing but grind his back teeth. Unfortunately, he had to recognize what the officer avatar said was the truth. Currently, Nega Nebulas controlled the entire Suginami area, but more than 70% of those coming to challenge them are from middle to small scale legions, and from the six great legions only about Leoniz, adjacent to the west, regularly with one or two teams, and Great Wall to the south occasionally going into the fray. On top of that the average level of the challengers is no more than 4 or 5, and not once did a High Ranker level 7 and up appeared.
  326. Even then, for Nega Nebulas, with no more than five members, keeping their area was definitely not an easy job. In the worst case, if the six legions were to put together their forces and focus their attack during a single battle period, incapable of winning out more than half of the massive number of defensive battles, the black flag would disappear from the map of the accelerated world.
  328. In other words, in a way, it is exactly because the six- no, excluding Niko due to the truce, five kings are just observing for now that Haruyuki and the others could continue defending their home area of Suginami.
  329. Let alone retorting to the female officer-avatar, unable to argue even inside his own head, Haruyuki began to look down with his helmet.
  330. However, right before his eyes fell to his feet, just to his right side a voice brimming with dignity rang out, and Haruyuki, startled, lifted his head.
  331. “It is certainly impressive that you can blurt out all those things you could never do, and say it with that triumphant look, Aster Vine.
  333. It was Sky Raker. As Kuroyukihime’s sub commander, without retreating a step from officer avatar’s threat,she firmly pushed out her chest.
  334. The whip user avatar, apparently called Aster Vine, under her brimmed hat, she closed her eyes to sharp slits, and responded with an even lower temperature voice:
  335. “Can’t do… you say? While you were running and hiding, did your head rust to the point where you can’t evaluate war power?”
  336. “And you, in just this little while we haven’t met, your eyes gotten so foggy you can’t even see reality anymore, huh?”
  337. To this exchange that made the air crackle with electricity, Haruyuki could do nothing but stand there and keep listening.
  338. No matter how much he thought, he couldn’t figure out the meaning of this “reality” Raker spoke of.
  339. Between Nega Nebulas and the the five great legions besides the red, being number of members or total level, the difference was such that it felt pointless to even compare. What in the world is Raker trying to say…?
  340. The answer, to this question, after a few moments, was explained with Raker’s own words.
  342. “If you think the kings are permitting Nega Nebulas area to exist out of the kindness of their hearts, it is either because you are a little slow or not being trusted enough. If they could crush it obviously they would have done it a long time ago. The reason they can’t do it is…They who call themselves kings know that their power is not absolute.”
  343. “What…did you…”
  344. As Aster Vine let out a creaking voice, the purple king simply maintained a creepy silence. In the light floating in her eyes, he couldn’t read any type of feeling. In the cold Devil City stage, Raker’s calm voice continued to reverberate.
  345. “Are you paying attention? Even though we call them the Six Great Legions, putting together all their members the number won’t go much over 600. In comparison, the number of buster linkers living in central Tokyo is greater than a thousand. On the area map as well, including this Chiyoda area, about 40% are neutral gray color.”
  346. “…What of it? Legions besides the Six Pure Color Kings are frail organization that would collapse with a breath. That includes your little hangout. “
  347. “Indeed, the dimensions of each legion are a modest thing… But you know, there’s one point all these people have in common. That being, “they will not enter the six great legions”.”
  349. Stopping her words for a moment, with an intimidating presence as if she herself were one of the level 9, Sky Raker opened her mouth to continue.
  350. “Are you keeping up? The majority of them are choosing to continue insignificant. As a form of protest to the kings who paralyzed the accelerated world with their Non-Invasion Pact. Those people are now paying attention to the actions of the resurged Black Lotus and the black legion. To test if that “intent of mutiny” is real or fake, you see. During that time, if the legions of the six kings put all their forces and came to crush us, what do you think will happen? Of course, our flag will disappear from the region map for a while. But it’s not as if the black king herself will vanish from the accelerated world, and the legion itself will live on. And the small legions attitude will go one step further than mere attention. If they were all to become one under a single current, would you still dare to insult them as frail…?
  352. At this point Haruyuki felt he had vaguely understood what Raker was trying to say.
  353. In last week’s Hermes’ Cord Vertical Race, the over 500 observers reunited there, even as Black Lotus, who had once been chased out as a traitor, arrived, certainly did not rain insults on them. On the contrary, they sent them warm voices of support. Certainly, in that was included the expectation on the Black King as “she who will break the stalemate.”
  354. If that energy could be condensed into a single power. Wouldn’t that be something even the six kings couldn’t ignore…no, would have to recognize as a threat?
  355. Turning to the suddenly silent Aster Vine, Sky Raker showed her opened right hand in a short gesture.
  356. “Could you understand everything? That today’s accelerated world is in a far tenser situation than you had imagined. That under this pretence stagnation, several great tides are beginning to surge?”
  357. In the now totally silent field, the pure voice’s echo spread to every corner, and then disappeared.
  358. What broke the silence was the sharp noise of the purple king’s high heels, as she stepped out.
  359. Returning her face forward, as if paying no mind to Raker’s observation, she silently walked away from before the eyes of Haruyuki and the others.
  360. Aster Vine too, after leaving one harsh look at the end, followed her. After a while, the remaining seven escorts followed the two.
  362. ___________________________________________________________________________________________
  363. TL Note [08/15/12(Wen) >>70167743]: Well, that ends the part everybody wanted to see. It must have been anticlimatic after 4 days of buildup, but that's it.
  364. It's really late so I'll finish the last 6 pages of the chapter tomorrow, and then right after there's a scene with Niko that's related with 13 pages.
  366. Himeko Note: Definitely not anti-climactic. I got chills while reading this. Much appreciation for your hard work.!
  367. ___________________________________________________________________________________________
  369. Aster Vine too, after leaving one harsh look at the end, followed her. After a while, the remaining seven escorts followed the two.
  370. The purple king, amongst the pillars that aligned in a semicircle, took over the empty seat between the blue king and the yellow king.
  371. Behind her the eight buster linkers formed up making a V shape behind her. The pressure this imposing view brought forth was clearly greater than that of any of the other legions here assembled.
  372. -It’s a good thing Aurora Oval’s territory is far away from Suginami, around Ginza and Ariake. After earnestly considering this, Haruyuki straightened up in haste. If that weakness were to be seen through by the two right next to him, there’s no way of knowing what kind of punishment he would be put through. To disguise it, he whispered shortly.
  373. “With this it’s six, right? One to go, it’s…”
  375. Currently reunited are the representatives of black, blue, red, green yellow and purple. Which means, the one remaining is-
  376. However, before Haruyuki could voice his next thought, Kuroyukihime whispered in a very low voice.
  377. “No, he won’t come.”
  378. “What…?”
  379. “The last remaining one won’t appear in this place. He’ll unmistakably send in a delegate.”
  380. How do you know that? As Haruyuki was about to question-
  381. A moment before, on the corner of his field of vision, a feeling that something was of surged. Losing his words, he made his gaze wander around him.
  382. However, nothing seemed changed. In the Devil City’s stage’s Higashigyoen Honmaruato, as usual, white fog silently fluttered. Out of the pillars that stood in a circle, seven, about half of them, were cut down, and on these improvised chairs the seven representatives of the legions that rule the accelerated world were sitting-
  383. “Huh?”
  384. The moment he realized it, his upper body shook uneasily.
  386. Seven chairs were made. So far six kings have arrived. So one chair should be open. However, right now, all the chairs reflected in Haruyuki field of vision were occupied. Did I miss an arrival? No, that’s not possible. If it were only Haruyuki, who is with his nerves on edge, maybe, but it was unthinkable that Raker and Kuroyukihime would not notice either.
  387. The reason being, the seat that was supposed to be open was right in front of the three members of the black legion.
  388. If it were directly at their side, perhaps, but if someone approached the pillar facing them and sat down, they would have certainly seen that movement. But the reality was, on top of the seat only a little more than ten meters away from them, who knows when, one more buster linker existed.
  389. He had a gangly thin body. Wrapped in an armor of a simple and subdued design, he held nothing resembling a weapon. His only characteristic trait was probably his pointed head. With only a curved parting line coming down the front, there were no eyes or mouth to be seen. Sitting straight on the border of the circular pillar with his hands and legs put together, he seemed less like a duel avatar and more like an ornamental object. The color of his whole body was a pale ivory, reminiscent of porcelain.
  391. It was an avatar with an absurdly rarified presence. He could not feel a speck of the dense pressure the other kings emitted only by being in the place. Wait, isn’t that really just an ornament? Could it be, he had missed a statue that had been there from the start…?
  392. As Haruyuki was take by uncertainty, at that moment.
  393. The ivory avatar, with his hand still riding on his knees, shortly bent at the waist and bowed. As his upper body returned to its position, a male voice, also with surprisingly no characteristics, flowed.
  394. “I am called Ivory tower, affiliated with the legion Oscillatory Universe. I am to participate in this meeting as the white king’s plenipotentiary delegate. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
  395. It was a businesslike greeting that almost made it seem as if the accelerated world’s battlefield had turned into a company’s conference room.
  396. The other kings and their aides, listening to this, let out a repressed yet clear feeling of discomfort. Most likely, they too had not perceived Ivory Tower’s arrival. To prove it, for instance, the yellow king, sitting right at his side, tapped one of his sharpened tiptoes on the ground in obvious irritation.
  397. However, the atmosphere was only bad for a few seconds.
  398. The blue king, who sat in the chain in the middle, got up along with a metallic sound of his armor and emitted a strong, echoing voice.
  399. “Well then, with that we are all assembled. First, I would like to thank the 7 legions for attending, down to the last one. Much appreciated.”
  401. “Even though there are about two faces who are different from the King’s Summit from 2 years ago, right?”
  402. Piped in unnecessarily Yellow Radio.
  403. It was probably sarcasm about the Red King being a second generation and the white king sending in a delegate, but not one of them sported a reaction.
  404. The blue king simply emitted a sardonic aura and continued advancing.
  405. “Time is short, so I'll go straight into the main topic. I’m sure you all already know, so I’m just summing it up, but, on the Hermes’ Cord Vertical Race that happened last week, in the middle of the event, in front of a gallery of hundreds, an incident in which the Incarnate System was activated occurred. Today’s number one topic is, how should we deal with this situation. Although, there’s only one or two response plans that come to mind. Those being, to continue to make every effort to keep the system hidden, or give up and make it public to all buster linkers.”
  407. “Going public is unthinkable, isn’t that right?”
  408. Once again, Radio raised his voice, as if to call the idea absurd. He spread his long and thin arms and shrugged in a theatrical gesture.
  409. In a way, the incarnate system is a bit like nuclear energy, you see? We are all aware that if it’s not rigidly controlled, it could bring devastating disasters to the accelerated world, am I wrong?”
  410. As the jester tilted his horned hat, next to him, the purple king objected.
  411. “It’s a matter of that control having failed, right, Radio? If you want to use nuclear energy as an example, it’s as if raw nuclear material has been spread all around. How do you intend we take it back?”
  412. “And just because of that, we should kindly distribute a manual on how to make missiles? The vast majority of buster linkers still don’t know the first thing about the incarnate system, you see? Why wouldn’t it be better to just push it as a defect in the event stage’s settings?”
  413. Just before the purple king started once again to retort to the yellow king’s line, a voice cut in.”
  414. “Excuse me, may I have permission to speak?”
  415. The one who politely lifted his had was the ivory avatar sitting at the left-hand edge of the semicircle, the self-declared delegate of the white king, Ivory Tower.
  416. Once all eyes had converged, he quickly put down his hand and spoke.
  417. “Before we argue the counter-measure, shouldn’t we determine why this came to happen? Who is this buster linker who released his IS in the middle of the event, and dragged the gallery into the “space erosion”, and what is his objective?”
  418. Silence reigned over the meeting for a moment.
  420. The name and affiliation of the buster linker at hand. That was something Haruyuki already knew.
  421. However, he hesitated to let it escape his lips in this place. The reason being, talking about this mysterious organization means unavoidably touching upon the buster linker who declared himself its vice-president, and yet the color he bears it the same as his beloved master -pure black.
  422. Knowing about it, the other kings would certainly suspect a connection and…
  423. “Rust Jigsaw, of an organization called the Acceleration Research Society. That is the name of the buster linker who conducted the incarnate system attack on the event.”
  424. “kh……..!?”
  425. When that ringing voice flowed, Haruyuki gasped.
  426. It was Kuroyukihime. Showing no signs of fearing the suspicions that might fall upon her, lined up the words in a smooth voice.
  427. The organizations full portrait is unknown, but they call themselves not a legion but a “circle”. Other know component members are, Dusk Taker, who has already left the accelerated world, and one more…”
  428. “Wait a second there, Lotus.”
  430. A moment before that name would be revealed, one sharp voice interrupted.
  431. It was the red king, who occupied the seat to their right, Scarlet Rain. Crossing her arms and legs, she was unleashing an intimidating air disproportional to its body, the smallest in that place.
  432. You’re gonna give us a hand, Niko? Thought Haru, as the pressure escaped from his shoulders. However.
  433. From the cute, round eye lens that peaked at him for a second, an aura like blazing flames surged towards him, and Haruyuki’s breath stopped.
  434. “Before that, I’ve got one more problem I wanna get cleared, or I ain’t gonna manage to stick around here any longer. There’s one guy mixed in here who’s not appropriate for all this talk about the threat of the incarnate system. One guy with an avatar carrying the ultimate dark side IS, a “cursed power” that was supposed to have been vanquished, you know?”
  436. ___________________________________________________________________________________________
  437. TL Note [08/17/12(Fri)>>70267327]: Aaaaaand it's finally over. There's one more bit of the next chapter that I want to do before stopping, but I'm going to have to leave that for later.
  439. Himeko Note: Jesus, that suspense. Daisuki, Translator-kun.
  440. ___________________________________________________________________________________________
  442. Chapter 3
  443. ___________________________________________________________________________________________
  445. “Hey, get back to your seats already! Long homeroom is starting!”
  446. As the homeroom teacher clapped his hands, a portion of the students raised their voices in discontent.
  447. “What, the bell hasn’t even rung yet. We have to be precise!”
  448. “Well then, everyone who isn’t sitting on their chair the moment the bell rings gets extra homework! It’s going to ring, it’s going to ring! Three, two, one…”
  449. Haruyuki, resting his chin on his hand, got an earful of the sixth period bell and the clatter of the students hurrying to their seats.
  450. Outside the window, as usual, the fine rain painted the city a grey color. According to the forecast, the end of the rainy season was two weeks away, but with the end of term tests closing in right after, he couldn’t get himself in an expectant mood either.
  452. Staring blankly through the window, and thinking over those pointless ideas, the homeroom teacher’s voice went through one ear and right out the other.
  453. “…so it’s been two months since this class was formed. Just about the time people start slacking off. Here, look at this graph, the increase in tardiness and forgetfulness is…”
  454. Usually, the last homeroom was an important time for working out his plan for the duels after school. Which area to go, which tactics to try, who to fight, or even who’s battles to observe. For Haruyuki, who likes simulating things in his head, it’s a pretty fun moment, before the real battles start. Normally before he knows it the homeroom is over, but today time was moving rather sluggishly.
  455. The reason was obvious.
  456. Right now, Haruyuki has been chased into a situation that leaves no room for planning battles. You could even say that the pressure was greater than the time, two months ago, when his Flight Ability was hijacked.
  457. In other words- The crucial moment that would decide whether he could remain as a buster linker.
  459. Yesterday, a Sunday, after the kings summit was over, Haruyuki was delivered to his house in Fuuko’s car.
  460. Despite somehow managing to respond to Kuroyukihime and Fuuko’s encouragement with a smile, as he returned home by the sidewalk of Kannana, he did look down at the pavement and counted the tiles.
  461. Still hanging his head, he rode the elevator up to the 23 th floor. Walking the silent hallway, just as he was about to touch the unlock button displayed on his visual field, next to his apartment door-
  462. A moment before, Haruyuki noticed a small figure furled up next to his door and stopped dead.
  464. A T-shirt with a flashy logo, tight cut jeans. Faded sneakers on her feet. Even with this rough outfit, he could immediately see it was not a boy. Even under the dim light, the hair, red like flames, and tied on either side of her head, shined lustrously.
  465. “Ni-Niko?”
  467. As Haruyuki, dumbfounded, called out her name, the petite girl slowly lifted her head, and showed a brazen, yet somehow weak smile.
  468. “You’re too slow. We got out of the Chiyoda area at the same time, and you make me wait for ten minutes?”
  469. “S-sorry.”
  470. He reflexively apologized, and she shrugged her sharp shoulders lightly.
  471. “Well, I had Pard bring me here on her bike, so I guess it’s obvious I’d be early.”
  472. “Th…There’s no way I’d beat that. Actually…”
  473. Blinking furiously, Haruyuki asked:
  474. “Why…are you here?”
  475. Hearing that, Niko looked away for a second, then snorted shortly, and said:
  476. “If I start talking, it’s gonna get kinda long. You wanna hear it in the hall?”
  477. “Oh…oh, I’m sorry”
  478. Haruyuki hurriedly touched the unlock button that was still on display. After the, as usual, empty apartment’s door opened, and he told her to please come in, Niko exhaled a long and thin breath, put her hand on her knees and got up.
  479. Waving the unexpected visitor into the living room, fixing two glasses of orange juice in the kitchen and returning, Haruyuki once again cocked his head, puzzled.
  480. The younger girl sitting on the sofa and looking out the window to the cloudy sky was, no matter how many times he looked, really Kouzuki Yuniko, also known as Niko- In other words the red king, leader of the legion Prominence, Scarlet Rain herself.
  482. But, why? With Niko, he had not only exchanged anonymous mail addresses but also phone numbers, so there’s no lack of means to make contact. And most importantly, sitting, hugging her knees, and waiting for the person she wants to meet by the entrance to his house goes completely against Niko’s image. While setting the juice in the glass table, he peeked at her small profile once again.
  483. On the slightly freckled cheeks he could not see the usual shining liveliness. She almost seemed a little insecure. It was hard to think it was the same red king who had uttered harsh words from the seat in the reunion. The sharp voice resurged in the back of Haruyuki’s head.
  484. - There’s one guy mixed in here who’s not appropriate for all this talk about the threat of the incarnate system.
  485. The moment he remembered the powerful heat of that accusation, like a scarlet flame, almost as if she had read Haruyuki’s mind, Niko whispered before his eyes:
  487. “…My bad, saying it like that…”
  488. “Wha-… No, it’s okay.”
  489. Lifting his waist, that had just sunk into the sofa, he quickly shook his head.
  490. “O, of course I was startled at first, but later sempai and Raker explained it to me… That Niko brought me… no, the disaster armor infecting me, up at that moment, as to not let one of the other kings, specially the yellow king, take the lead in that topic. “
  491. After he rapidly said that, Niko blinked, two, three times, and in her big eyes, that depending on the light could look green or reddish brown, a hint of wryness showed.
  492. “Tsk, you saw through it? You all don’t have any naiveté in you, do you?”
  493. While mocking him, she buried her back in the sofa, crossed her startlingly thin legs, and let her slippers hang from the tips of her feet.
  494. A bit relieved by that behavior, Haruyuki tilted his head a little and asked:
  495. “Wait, you had met Raker before?”
  496. “Nah, we’d never met face to face ‘till just now. It’s just I’ve heard a lot of stories from Pard.”
  497. “S-stories? Like… what?”
  499. Niko put on a meaningful smile, and answered with a question.
  500. “Hey, her nickname ICBM, you know where it comes from?”
  501. “Huh? Isn’t it simply comparing her booster with a missile…?”
  502. “Yeah, but it’s not just that. To be precise, it comes from a strategy the old Nega Nebulas sometimes used in large scale area battles. Let the opponent advance his front line on purpose, spread out their forces, and then Raker would, by herself or carrying a buffer, fly into the enemy’s rear position with her boost jump. ‘Cose Normally in the back you have these super long distance types with paper thin armor, y’know, so looks like she’d deal some serious, strategic missile-level damage.”
  503. “I, I see…”
  504. Even though they were talking about an ally, Haruyuki instinctively broke out in a cold sweat as he nodded. Niko’s expression softened, and almost as if those were her own memories, she continued her words:
  505. “’Cose, as you know, Pard is a speed demon. When they got hit with the missile plan, she’d be the first to fall back to the rear, and apparently they beat each other around a lot. It’s unbelievable, even with the truce and everything it’s the enemy’s troops we’re talking about here, she got so damn happy that Raker is back on the front… Did y’know Crow, the reason Pard is still level six though she’s a pretty veteran buster linker is…”
  507. Because at that point Niko held her tongue, Haruyuki unconsciously started leaning forward. That was, after all, a doubt he had felt many times before.
  508. “Sh-she’s a level six because…?”
  509. “Nah, I’d better not tell. You go and ask her personally later.”
  510. She smirked, and thanked him as she lifted the glass from the table.
  511. Apparently thirsty, she drank vigorously, and he could no longer find in her appearance that strange weakness. Maybe it was an illusion, though Haruyuki as he retorted:
  512. “I have a strong feeling she’s not going to tell me even if I ask… Well, but anyway… So, Niko, you came here especially to apologize about the thing in the meeting?”
  513. “What, you say that like I’m bothering you or something?”
  514. Getting glared at through the green glass, he hurriedly shook his head.
  515. “N-No, it’s no bother at all! It’s just kind of surprising given your personality, oh, I-I don’t mean it that way, I was just thinking, I’m the one who should be apologizing…”
  516. Once it started moving, he couldn’t stop running his mouth, and something he felt he should convey in a proper fashion started turning into awkward noise.
  518. “I-It’s just… The armor that was supposed to be destroyed after all that suffering, because of my miss I let it survive, and on top of that you dealt the Judgment Blow to the previous owner, Cherry Rook, but I’m still allowed to remain a buster linker…”
  519. To Haruyuki’s words, that couldn’t quite hit the point, Niko heard with unexpected seriousness.
  520. However, eventually she just shook her head and cut of his words.
  521. She set down her glass, and after once again crossing her legs and sitting deeply into the sofa, the young king whispered quietly:
  523. “Nah… It’s not like I’m mad at you over that matter. I didn’t Judgment Blow Cherry ‘cose he was the owner of the armor. It was because he was engulfed by the armor’s dominance, and attacked, no, ate, a bunch of buster linkers. In case he had, with his own strength, forced down the armor and controlled it, I would have protected him instead. No matter what the other kings had said… you know...”
  524. Niko’s voice slowed down, strained. Haruyuki blinked, and looked down at the white, crestfallen face.
  525. In her eyes, which now seemed a deep green, surfaced again the same dark shadow they had showed in the hall. This time, for once, Haruyuki grasped the nature of that expression.
  527. It was fear. And also, anger at your frightened self. Along with that, just a little bit of resignation. The same expression that once, Haruyuki himself must have showed, curled up in depression over his own powerlessness.
  528. “Ni-Niko…”
  529. When he called her name with a stifled voice, the girl raised her eyes for a moment, and quickly lowered her face again, with a weak smile.
  530. “I had both the choice of protecting Cherry, and the power to go through with it. That’s what I believed in, for this last half of a year. But you know…”
  531. Her arms that came out of the T-shirt sleeves suddenly grasped each other tightly. In the middle of the stifling heat of June, it was almost as if she had been assailed by a powerful shiver.
  532. “…….Crow. Back at the meeting, you didn’t feel it?”
  534. “Fe…feel what…?”
  535. Asked back Haru, timidly, and Niko- the second generation red king, the Immovable Fortress, groaned with a cracked voice.
  536. “That amongst the kings reunited in that place… were mixed in real monsters. That information pressure… Unbelievable… - You know, I really intended to protect you no matter what. Just ‘cose … I’m in debt with you for saving Cherry. In today’s meeting, I somehow managed to push it to a compromise. But… if, they had seriously went for execution… I…”
  537. There she stopped her mouth, and for a while, Haruyuki could say nothing to Niko, as she sat on the sofa, holding her knees together.
  538. He couldn’t believe it just like that, or he should say, couldn’t understand it. That Niko would call other buster linkers monsters, and even show an expression of fear.
  539. To Haruyuki, the red king Scarlet Rain is a being of an absolutely different level. If they were to duel under equal condition, he was confident he would lose 100 out of 100 battles. When she deployed all of her enhanced armaments, that super-dreadnought-level long distance firepower was undoubtedly one of the accelerated world’s greatest. After all, her main cannon had blown away half the Shinjuku Government building with one shot.
  540. No, even with only the little avatar equipped with a single pistol, Niko concealed immeasurable power. In fact, from the seat on the seven king’s summit, Haruyuki felt from the red king an immense pressure that lost in nothing to that of the other kings.
  542. Shaking his head shortly, Haruyuki finally responded with a hoarse voice.
  543. “N-No way… I mean, from my perspective, everybody in that place is above the clouds, but I can’t imagine there was someone there that should make you say that much. I-I mean, you are a level niner like the rest of them, right? Isn’t “same level, same potential” one of the principles of the accelerated world…..?”
  544. When he stopped, the red-haired girl peaked at Haruyuki from over her tiny kneecaps, and slowly shook her head from side to side with a bitter smile.
  545. “…It’s that “there are exceptions to every rule” thing. Listen here, level 9 is, in reality, the “cap” for brain burst. ‘Cose no matter how many points you earn, you can’t go to the next level. The path to become level 10 is hunting down five other level 9s… meaning making five other people lose all their points. On the flip side…”
  546. Lowering her eyes again, Niko whispered quietly:
  547. “That means when you become level 9, nobody else can figure out how much time you spent on the accelerated world, and how much experience you gained. On that I thought I ain’t losing to the rest of the king crowd. In the accelerated world, I thought I got the power to not get taken away again what I lost in the real world. But… I was naïve. They… the Originators, have long ago overcome the wounds I’m clinging to. Those… What would you call them, if not monsters?”
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