In the end, the battle between the black and the silver armor ended after a short while.
When it was balanced out, the battle had developed into a stalemate, but after apparently receiving a lot of damage from Renya’s slash which the black armor was unable to recover from, it gradually couldn’t deal with Kurz’s attacks, and its condition declined immediately as if connected to the barrier’s complete destruction originating from a few cracks.
Unable to recuperate from this deteriorated situation, its chains were one-sidedly cut and beaten down. The attacks that had started to reach the black armor’s main body drove it towards destruction by continuously piling up damage on its parts. The broken armor parts were devoured by the snakes, and by reusing them as strength for the snakes, the black armor was being destroyed even faster.
Thus, when Renya got close to Kurz while slowly floating on his air cushion just like Son Goku on his cloud, the black armor had turned into a wreckage, while the black chains, which had been stuffed inside, had vanished except for a couple fragments that were scattered all over the place. Surrounding the remains of the armor and the chains was something that appeared to be black mist.
“Good job. That was amazing, Kurz.” Renya praised him.
Kurz peeked his face out of the armor’s open plackart, and looked up at Renya who was floating in the air, while showing a smile that was appropriate for his age.
“It’s thanks to you having weakened it, Margrave-sama~!” Kurz answered brightly.
“That was only possible because you carried me. You did well. Nice, Kurz.” Kurz narrowed his eyes happily as Renya, after having descended with his air chair, caressed his head.
Seemingly judging that the battle had finished, Kurz gathered the black mist around the shoulders of his silver armor. The two beastmen priestesses appeared from within, and started to clap their hands while sitting on Kurz’s shoulders, looking small and quiet.
“Kurz-sama, amazing~” Tsubaki applauded.
“Kurz-sama, you did your best~” Botan joined in.
Renya watched Kurz become bashful while blushing after being praised by the two with a somewhat warm and snug mood.
The needles that had protruded out from the ground nearby lost their shape as if they were slowly being undone, and went back into the ground, returning the surroundings to their original flat surface. Given that Renya himself hadn’t done anything, he thought that Emil had likely cast a cancellation spell. The dragonoid army’s rear guard unit, which waited for the needles to completely disappear as they had hesitated to advance while the needles were still a hazard, began to rescue their colleagues that were still breathing.
You could hear loud shouting ring across the battlefield.
It looked like quite a few soldiers had been completely sucked dry to the point they turned into dust, but because the dragonoids’ resilience is quite high, the number of survivors appeared to be at a reasonably high level because too many of them had fallen into the trap, which resulted in the dragonoid army avoiding complete annihilation.
Even so, the exhaustion that befell the trapped soldiers wasn’t anything to scoff at. Those that had been saved all lost consciousness as they had no strength left in their bodies. Among them there’ll likely be some soldiers that are going to die even if they’re breathing right now, Renya exhaled.
“So Margrave-sama, what are we going to do about this?” Kurz’s voice brought Renya’s attention back to reality as he had started to consider offering a prayer since everyone will ascend to heaven upon death.
Once he looked at Kurz, Renya noticed that Kurz was looking in his direction while pointing at the remains of the black armor which was still leaking what looked like black mist.
“That is?” Renya asked.
“For some reason it’s not tasty. It feels like you’re being pulled in when you touch it.” Kurz answered with a really disgusted face while poking at it every now and then with the tip of his armored foot.
Unable to get too close to it as he was still floating on his air chair, Renya lowered his altitude just a bit and after closing in on the remains that Kurz was kicking, and used <Manipulation> with a parallel activation of the spell. When he tried to grab the remains, Renya’s expression changed due to the weird sensation.
The hand-like object created out of sorcery vanished as if it had been completely absorbed the instant it touched the remains. Moreover, although the spell’s effect had disappeared, the sensation that Renya’s mana was being drained continued. After Renya canceled the spell in a hurry, he increased the altitude of his air chair slightly, distancing himself from the remains.
“Margrave-sama? What’s wrong?” Kurz asked, puzzled.
“What the heck is this? It’s sucking out my mana…?” At first Renya anticipated that the black armor might return to its original form after recovering by absorbing mana from its surroundings again. However, once he continued his observation for a while, it looked as if the remains were about to vanish, their size continuously decreasing, albeit very, very slowly.
Renya saw that the remains looked like they were about to disappear, but because it couldn’t do so as there was some sort of obstacle or it was caught on something, it seemed to become gradually smaller at an irritatingly slow pace.
“For heaven’s sake, just what is this thing? Margrave-sama, do you have an idea?” Kurz inquired of Renya.
“I don’t know, but…somehow it feels really bad.” Renya replied due to a feeling that lacked any proof, and lifted up the katana in his hand.
Renya, who had raised the blade in front of himself, began to slowly pour mana into the katana. Just like he had done for body strengthening, he imagined something like fine, complicated circuits inside the katana, and let the mana flow into those.
Although he had imagined cells for his body and thought about providing mana to each and every single one of them, this time he strengthened the katana by moving the metal molecules that composed it. Of course there was no way he could actually provide mana to every molecule. No matter how much Renya’s ability might stand out, he couldn’t do something so far removed from common sense. To the bitter end it was just an image.
And although it was just an image, the concept that metals were composed of small elements that couldn’t be seen with the naked eye didn’t exist in this world. Renya was about the only person who could manipulate mana by using such an image.
The spell, which was based on an image no one had ever used, naturally turned into a spell no one had ever used.
“Margrave-sama…what’s that? Somehow it’s scary, okay?” Kurz asked with a slight tremble in his voice while staring at Renya’s katana.
The katana, which Renya kept completely still, began to emit what seemed to be black electrical discharges all over its blade, and the atmosphere around it glistened like a heat haze.
Renya didn’t answer. He simply stared at the katana in his hand.
While Kurz withdrew several steps due to unconsciously feeling an abnormal aura, Renya’s body, which sat on the transparent air chair, lost its support and fell with some kind of rupturing sound.
Kurz, comprehending that the scaffold that was being maintained by Renya’s sorcery broke down for some reason, simply watched as Renya softly landed on the ground without being thrown off balance.
The two beastmen priestesses, who sat on Kurz’s shoulders, curled up their bodies and clung to Kurz’s shoulder and helmet, apparently frightened by Renya’s unusual aura.
Without minding the reactions of those around him, Renya switched his hold on the katana from just his right hand to both hands. From a seigan stance, he slowly shifted towards a hassou style1 while pulling back his right foot. From that point, he changed his stance further by bending his left knee a bit while slightly lowering his left shoulder.
Lightning, which should strike down from the sky, was released from Renya’s blade, who had temporarily stopped moving, and was emitted with a rumbling sound towards the sky after changing into a pitch black color.
The haze-like fluctuation covered Renya’s entire body and the ground started to vibrate with such intensity that even the soldiers, who were busy saving their injured comrades quite a ways away from Renya noticed it.
Due to the density of the charged mana, Kurz hurriedly stored the two priestesses inside his black mist again. He himself also retreated deep into his armor after having closed the open parts and tried to get as far away as possible. This was owed to Kurz’ guessing that the damage to the target and the surroundings would be enormous, no matter what action Renya took, considering the amount of mana flowing through the katana.
However, Kurz’s response was a bit too late.
Kicking the ground with the left foot he had positioned in front, Renya widely stepped in with his right foot, which he had pulled back before, and while distorting the atmosphere, he thoroughly thrust his katana, which was clad in lightning that was piercing the sky, at the black armor’s remains alongside a loud, spirited scream.
In that moment Kurz tightly closed his eyes and gave up on most things. It was a thrust technique that had been unleashed with a staggering amount of mana converged into the katana.
The thrust’s destination will likely not be pretty to look at due to the damage it will suffer due to this outrageous power. Being right next to Renya, even I, who don’t have anything that can be called a form of protection, don’t know whether I will be blasted far away just by the aftermath. Even if it develops into the worst possible outcome, I will at least protect the two priestesses sheltered inside me somehow, Kurz heroically hardened his resolve, but no matter how long he waited, the expected shockwave didn’t come. Realizing this, Kurz slightly opened his tightly shut eyes. The armor, which stored Kurz’s body, was extremely big in comparison to Kurz’s physique. For that reason, the helmet, which should originally contain a head, was filled with Kurz’s black mist. Since Kurz’s own head was at the height of the armor’s torso, he couldn’t grasp the situation outside just by opening his eyes. As such, Kurz aligned his vision with the black mist as always, peeking outside through the gaps in his helmet.
What unfolded in front of him wasn’t the scenery he had expected. Just as he had seen before closing his eyes, the battlefield’s remains, seemingly untouched, spread out before him. The dragonoid soldiers stared this way thinking that something outrageous might have happened as they couldn’t tell exactly what had taken place from their distant location.
Renya wasn’t moving, still in the stance of having unleashed his thrust, but after a short time he returned to his normal position while pulling back his katana. Even though nothing was clinging to his blade, he sharply swung his katana once as if shaking something off, and then sheathed it back into its scabbard.
Kurz hurriedly cut the alignment of vision, opened the breastplate again, peeked out with his head, and frantically looked around. It was an action triggered by his disbelief that nothing happened after a thrust charged with so much mana was released, but from what he could see, the surrounding area hadn’t changed almost at all from what it was before he dove inside his armor.
Kurz found the only change that occurred as a consequence of Renya’s thrust after looking around for a short time, it was the complete disappearance of the black armor, which had been half eaten by Kurz, and the black mist that had been drifting around it. Seeing that, Kurz comprehended that the sole purpose of Renya’s attack was to erase the black armor’s remains. However, even if he understood that part, he still didn’t comprehend why there was absolutely no damage done to the surroundings as a side effect of Renya’s attack.
The fact that no unnecessary damage was inflicted onto the vicinity was an auspicious event, but since it was also an unbelievable reality, Kurz turned an imploring gaze at Renya while being confused.
“Well, even if you look at me like that…” Renya said.
“I mean, Margrave-sama…even though you attacked, it’s only those yucky remains that vanished. That’s weird, definitely!” Kurz exclaimed.
“What is it that you want to say?” Renya asked back.
“If the situation were to develop as usual, the ground surrounding the thrust’s target would be completely whittled down and gone, the dragonoid army would have been dragged into it and blown away, or the buildings on the other side of that hole in the city wall would be completely destroyed…ah, it hurts! Margrave-sama, it really hurts. I’m sorry. I will reflect.” Kurz, who had insisted on this while pushing out his upper body from within the armor, had his head caught in an eagle hold by Renya, who had silently approached Kurz, and in response Kurz immediately went into an apology mode.
Renya started to silently grind Kurz’s head.
“Margrave-sama!? Margrave-sama~!? Margrave-sa~ma~!?” Kurz whined.
“Say Kurz…somehow the way you put it made it seem as though I’m always causing collateral damage without care, doesn’t it?” Renya squeezed out.
“Huh? You weren’t aware of that, Margrave-sama? Ah, it’s a lie. Sorry, Margrave-sama!?”
While restraining Kurz’ head, who continued to scream, with his right hand, Renya thought back on the phenomenon he had caused just now.
In reality he had believed his attack might not only damage his target, the black armor’s remains, but also to the surroundings on the other side of the black armor, if he had unleashed his thrust without holding back, even without having it pointed out by Kurz.
Nevertheless, the reason he didn’t stop the attack was because he believed – by intuition not logic – that it was wrong to leave the remains to vanish at their own pace. Because it was an action that stemmed from his intuition and not logic, he intended to obediently resign himself to the blame that might come afterwards.
However, as if betraying Renya’s feelings, the thrust had almost no effect on the vicinity, scattering only the black armor’s remains.
Because Renya adjusted his attack, Kurz apparently thought that it was unlike the usual Renya, but the reality of the situation was slightly different.
Renya had unleashed his attack without holding back almost at all like he always does. Hence the result should have been the same as they always are, but the reason why it hadn’t turned out like that was right in front of Renya’s eyes. The remains had absorbed all of Renya’s attack’s power like a sponge. Renya panicked for an instant thinking that it would revive after this, but the remains soundlessly crumbled and vanished, apparently unable to withstand the power they had absorbed from Renya’s attack.
Renya tilted his head in confusion, wondering what this was all about.
In the end the black armor had intended to revive by absorbing Renya’s mana just as he had thought, but although it could be considered that it had destroyed itself by taking in more mana than it could withstand, investigating what had actually happened properly was now impossible since the remains had already disappeared.
Renya ended up thinking that he probably should have destroyed the remains after investigating them in detail, but he immediately denied that thought on his own accord.
The aura I felt from the remains was sinister, no matter how I think about it. I had to erase it as soon as possible, Renya felt by instinct.
Reason or intuition; if he were asked which he trusted more, Renya was the type to believe in his intuition if made to choose. With just this reasoning, Renya believed that his attack just now wasn’t wrong.
“Margrave-sama, Kurz-sama’s face has become ghastly pale!” Tsubaki screamed
“Margrave-sama, Kurz-sama is convulsing!” Botan added.
Renya, who returned to reality due to his right wrist being lightly grabbed, released Kurz’s head in panic after seeing Tsubaki and Botan, who had appeared left and right of him, placing their hands on his wrist with quite frantic looks as Kurz had fainted in Renya’s eagle hold. He had apparently put too much strength into his hand while in the middle of his brooding.
While watching the two priestesses that started to desperately nurse Kurz who wouldn’t wake up while showing the whites of his eyes, Renya harbored a somewhat dislocated impression that even Kurz would go down after receiving enough damage, and decided to shelve his worries regarding the remains he had scattered moments ago for the time being.
- Check http://art49.photozou.jp/pub/808/2999808/photo/222061981_624.v1597089614.jpg to get an idea. And a short description by Jahrik: The “roof” guard may also be placed over the (generally right side) shoulder rather than over the head. The hilt can be above or in front of the collar, but not down in front of the chest. Note the blade is neither angled behind the head, nor held horizontal, nor resting on the shoulder. Some armors prevent holding the weapon above the head, hence the side version. More stable than held above the head, the position still permits a variety of threats and counters. This position easily turns around into ox or drops down to plow.