【Last Episode: Curtain Call and the end Part C, 7】
「Monjiro, now that I’m here, the key to overcoming 『Angelic Gift Omoikane』 is in our hands!」
The person who landed beside me was none other than Shiki herself.
Even though my consciousness was being repressed by 「Demonic Gift Gorgon’s」 hypnosis, my heart couldn’t be stopped from jumping with unrestrained joy. If not for our current predicament, I would have probably start crying like a little baby.
The one standing next to was the same old, reliable Shiki I knew and loved.
「Right now, Kaguya was going to attack me, but she defended against your threads at the last possible moment. Does that mean that…?」
「That’s right, she couldn’t fully predict the future. If she was able to do that, she would have known the exact time of my arrival and the direction I was going to attack her from, acting well ahead of time to stop me from doing so.」
In other words, Kaguya didn’t know that Shiki was going to appear here at this exact time, and that means that her future-predicting ability definitely has some kinda flaw to it. But before we can get to that, I feel like I should apologize to Shiki for what I did to her, or else my guilt won’t let go of me. I know I did that because I was desperate to defeat mother, but something like that absolutely should not serve as an excuse for hurting her.
「Monjiro, I know what you want to say, but please, wait with it until we’re done here, all right?」
「…..okay. If that is your wish.」
Looking at the way Kaguya was looking at Shiki now, she does not seem to be all that surprised about her turn coating.
「So you came to Jiro’s side after all, Shiki?」
「Because I lost a woman’s battle.」
「My oh my, really? Then I guess there’s nothing I can do about it then.」
「Pretty much. As much as I hate losing, I have to admit that this loss helped me see what is truly important, and that I can only obtain it by defeating you.」
Shiki told that to Kaguya with a serious, determined face. Her only reaction was a light nod, as if she understood what was going on right now.
「Do you honestly believe you can defeat me?」
「Yes, I do. I believe that is exactly the reason why we have all gathered here today.」
Kaguya just squinted her eyes and directed her hand towards us again. But just as she released the fireball, Shiki swiftly moved her fingertips to create a barrier made out of countless threads between us, preventing the fire from reaching us. Those flames might be burning down everything they touch, but it won’t matter as long as they will die out before they can reach us.
「Now your 『Angelic Gift Kaguzuchi』 won’t work against us anymore.」
「You don’t say?」
As if she was happy with the current turn of events, Kaguya spreads her arms widely. Heeding that gesture, the giant sword pulled itself from the ground, flew into the sky and descended on us directly from above. Shiki tried to stop its descent with her threads, but they were cut through as if they were made out of wrapping paper. Kaguya used that chance and pointed her hand towards Shiki.
Yes, we were so sure that she won’t be able to reach us, but she just carved another path to hurting us with her own ingenuity.
I hastily threw a knife towards Shiki in order to intercept the fireball that was going to collide with her. She understood my intention and simply nodded her head, catching the knife in mid-air and throwing it in front of her, where it met with Kaguya’s ball of flame and explodes, turning to dust, but leaving Shiki herself unharmed.
「Thank you for the help, Monjiro.」
「Took the words right out of my mouth.」
Without Shiki’s assist I probably would not be able to fight against Kaguya at all. If she didn’t appear when she did, I would have probably been dead already.
But she’s here, and she’s fighting right beside me.
「Shiki, we won’t get anywhere if we just stay on the defensive. /we have to coordinate our movements and overwhelm her.」
「Basically what you’re proposing is a simultaneous attack.」
She showed no doubts and simply agreed to my suggestion without any hesitation. Knowing that she will have my back, I lowered my body and dashed forward.
「Jiro, Shiki, your fighting spirits are truly praiseworthy, but tonight’s party can have only one star, and that star is going to be me. This is my night! So either step aside or be crushed by the power of the gifts at my command!」
Kaguya shouted and swung the flame fan in her hands, sanding fiery waves at me one after another, but I’m not even trying to avoid them. Since Kaguya is focused entirely on me, Shiki can freely operate her threads to protect me from the fire, allowing me to keep charging forward as the wires around me continued to be incinerated.
「I already knew you were going to do that, Jiro!」
「But you didn’t know about that, didn’t you?!」
I fell on the floor of the stage without any care for the sword that once again appeared above me. I am completely lying down, without showing any intention of going forward towards Kaguya, eliminating and quieting down my hostile aura.
At the same time, a single thread shot forward right above my head, heading for Kaguya’s leg.
And of course she was not going to allow it to reach her, so she did the only thing she could right now: used the 『Heroic Gift Susanoo’s 』 Amenohabakiri to dispose of the thread.
『Kaguzuchi’s』 flames were busy burning the ongoing onslaught of Shiki’s wires and 『Susanoo’s』 sword was preoccupied with that one thread which went forward, meaning that I was now in the clear to approach Kaguya myself.
I have no knife anymore, but I still have one blade hidden in my other shoe.
She had no means of escaping me, so my sudden kick reaches all the way to her cheek, cutting it open and tearing a portion of her beautiful jet-black hair in the process. The cut on her cheek is not deep, but that’s okay, because now she was forced on the defensive. Finishing the motion of my kick, I used the momentum to perform a backflip in order to return to Shiki’s side.
「Looks like her future prediction only works on one target at a time.」
「Makes sense. That would explain why she was unable to perfectly defend against all of your threads, since each and every one of the is technically a separate 「target」.」
「By the way, that Amenohabakiri looks to be semi-automatic, taking the thing that is the most dangerous to its user as the priority target.」
「That’s what I thought as well, since it did change its target according to which one of posed a bigger threat to Kaguya at that moment.」
In other words, although she was using it to attack us, this particular Gift is more geared towards defense. That is also why Kaguya was mainly attacking us with 『Kaguzuchi』, which was all attack but no defense. Now that we know how those Gifts work, we will surely be able to come up with a proper countermeasure…
「Fufu… yes, you continue to exceed my expectations of you, Jiro, Shiki. You really are the best Knights a Lord could ever ask for!」
Kaguya laughed bewitchingly and ran her fingers across the cheek and ruined hair, restoring them to their previous, untouched state in a mere second. As she continued to laugh, the atmosphere around her has changed drastically.
「Kaguya… were you going easy on us until now?」
「Yes. I wanted to play with you a bit longer, but I have to admit that you managed to anger me just a bit. I am 「The One True Lord」, 「The Queen of the Night」. And also your master, so if you’re giving this battle all you’ve got, it would be rude of me as the priestess of the God’s Gate not to respond in kind!」
Knowing that she was not being serious all this time brought fear into my heart. In my current state, even though my combat capabilities were that of a ruthless killing machine, I have retained all of my human emotions. To put it another way, 『Gorgon’s』 ability acted like an assist for moving my body in the most efficient manner, but my heart and mind were still that of a human, and right now my human instincts were telling me that something unimaginably bad was going to happen!
「Both of you can feel honored, because you pushed me into using this. A Gift whose usage in this world has been forbidden! Should it ever be used, the laws that govern this world would be distorted, the fabric of reality twisted and it would even cause the surface of the moon to be destroyed, if the legends of yore are to be believed!」
In the next moment, a tremendous earthquake shook the entire mountain. Shiki and I had to do everything in our power just to stay standing so we could respond to whatever Kaguya was planning to do next!
「Life and death, moment and eternity… bear witness to the forbidden power that was granted only to Princess Kaguya… a power to manipulate the world itself!」
She raised her hand into the sky, as if she wanted to grasp a hold of the moon which continued to shine brilliantly on us and pointed it down.
「Slumbering in the depths of the underworld, I command thee to awaken! 『Underworld Gift… IZANAMI』!!!」