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Some changes may occur regarding terms from here on out. Thank you for your understanding.
I will keep the original term/TL of this series beside its TLed term for a few chapters until the readers can get used to it. Note that this is not official and may change in time.
Four Species -> Four Races
悪魔族 (akuma) : demons
精霊族 (seirei) : spirits
蛮神族 (banshin) : foreign deities
幻獣族 (genjuu) : mythical beasts
法具 : vessel
法術 : magic arts
法力 : magic power
The sandstorm had passed.
Kai who regained his consciousness is still standing by the junction of the 9th terminal.
Jeanne who was supposed to be in front of him was gone.
The pedestrians passing through the junction, the hundreds of customers going in and out of the high buildings to shop too was gone.
"….What is going on here. Hey Jeanne? Jeanne? Where are you! This is no time to be playing hide and seek to scare me!"
The unmanned 9th terminal.
And what exactly had happened here.
The roads beneath his feet were destroyed as if something heavy had passed through, the trees which was lining up by the street had a huge crater by it. The glasses of almost all the high buildings were broken, and the buildings itself was on the verge of crushing down.
As if an abandoned town. The 9th terminal now looked like a view out of an apocalyptic world.
"What is this.. Where did Jeanne and everybody go to…"
There was no one there, too much of an irregularity.
The absurd reality which Kai was unable to grasp, to that, Kai took a glance upon the metal case he carried by his shoulder.
The HPA's Gunblade.
Without the key from Kai's affliated Ulza HQ, the case will not open. But even so, he needs a means of self-defense, or so his senses tell him.
Searching for Jeanne and the surroundings would come later.
"Though the distance is not that close, but all I can do is haste."
Towards the HPA Ulza HQ.
In the shadows of the building behind Kai, a small stone sprung up.
"A voice? Someone is here?!"
Even a stray dog or cat is fine, if there is anything which is living, then the environment still supports life which brings to a relief that there will also be humans.
"Hey, is there anyone…"
From the building's shadow, 'that' had appeared. That which is not a dog nor a car.
Seeing that appearance, Kai was struck dumbfounded.
That which stood with 2 legs, was more than 2 meters in height.
Its body was jet black and thick as if armored. From its back grew jet black wings and its tail squirming like a snake. Its head was triangular, which was obviously made differently from a humans, and its pupil was pure white.
…. Just like 10 years ago.
…When I fell into the Graveyard, there I saw 'them' who looked just like 'that'.
Kai had never once forgotten ever since he became a soldier. That someday, if perhaps those monsters escapes from the Graveyard.
The jet black Demons.
As Kai looks up, there the big monster is.
…This is not a machine doll alright.
…In the middle of the city like so.
The machine doll invented by the HPA is only able to activate within the training grounds. It's impossible for it to be here.
The demon who opened up its mouth spanning to its ears.
Though it seemed its voice was somehow hard for humans to understand, but it definitely was the human's language it talked.
"-Humans? In this land?"
"It can talk!?"
Demons, and others of the Four Heroes was said to be able to understand the human language.
But individuals other than them which are able to speak was only a few, thus was the history Kai knew.
Shining lights. Through the curves from the demon's wings, beams of light emerged and eventually the lights form fire-like particles which increased in size mid-air.
The effect range is alike to one of a machine gun's.
Slightly grazing Kai, he then hid behind the wall of a building behind him. The wall burned, scortched black.
If he did not dodge in time, his body would definitely have been shot full of holes by now.
Kai leaped backward before the impact.
Magic Arts「法術 houjutsu:law of arts」- Said to be the source of miracles and magecraft since ancient times.
A strongly formed magic arts' destructive power is equivalent to humanity's heavy weaponry, if chanted by a high tiered Demon, the arts would provide monstrous continuous fire alike a storm.
My first time seeing 'the real thing'.
But me being able to evade its attack and come out unharmed is by no chance a coincidence.
-My body moved unconsciously.
Foreboding that this will someday happen. The countless hours I spent on training to fight against Demons has made my body accustomed to evade reflexively. That was what saved my life.
"…Though I'm not sure what's exactly happening here"
But I'm certain of one thing.
This Demon is not the same as the machine dolls and that they are hostile towards humans.
"… Bring it on then"
Kachink, a sound of a metal lock opened.
Although the Demon's fire bullets missed Kai, but it did hit the gunblade's case which Kai held in his shoulder. He then look out a black gunblade from within the opened case.
"I'll be your opponent" His finger on the trigger of the sword bodied gun.
All-purpose Assault Gunblade, Drake Nail. Modelled after the claw of the Drakes of the Mythical Beasts made as an anti-Four Race weapon developed by the HPA in reference from the records of the Great War.
"A mere human like you…"
The countless numbers of 'bullets' which was formed by the powerful magic powers of the Demon, traces of its path can be seen from the sky.
"What an eyesore!"
"Ryakushiki, Elf bullet" (I will keep the TL as ryakushiki. Bcos the literal TL being weird, and its cooler this way :3 [ryakushiki=simplified/abbreviated])
A white firework. The bullet shot from Kai's Drake Nail was transculent in color, and it shines in bright white, like fragments of a crystal. The bullet dispersed the countless fire bullets aimed towards him.
"!!" The Demon's eye widened as if shocked.
"The Elves' magic arts!??"
"No, this is the result of human knowledge"
The weapon was made after research and experimentation post-The Great War.
The bullet was made from an ore mineral which has a magic arts dispersal effect, which reacts when magic arts collides and disperses it, ultimately erasing it.
"The elves of the Banshinzoku [蛮神族 Foreign Deities] used these kinds of tools during the Great War, didn't they?"
But the vessels [法具 houguu:tools for the law] the elves made were infused with their magic powers.
Humans which did not have magic powers used technology and science to compensate and imitate the lack of magic powers, which brings about the said Ryakushiki Elf Bullet (Simplified Elf Bullet).
"Here I come"
As Kai rushed through the destroyed road, a red circle appeared beneath his feet which diameter's over 5 meters, covering Kai within it.
A fire pillar burst out from within the circle, reaching the sky and burning everything within it.
The was not a moment to shoot the Elf Bullet, as Kai judged so, he kicked the ground and leaped away from the circle.
"…. He avoided it!?"
"Since I trained to fight against Demons"
Moving towards the Demon's inner side, Kai striked his Drake Nail towards its flank.
An explosion from the tip of the Drake Nail, a red firework blooming like a flower was shot. The impact shook the Demon's huge body, and a cloud of black smoke covered it.
"Let me teach you another thing. Humans invented more than just the Elf Bullet."
The Demon's body fell.
This bullet too was definitely its first to be used against the Four Races in a real fight.
Ryakushiki Drake Bullet, an imitation explosive bullet of a real Drake's fire breath which activates concurrently when the Drake Nail's blade strikes. It was designed to defeat the Four Races by using the explosive power in zero distance.
The Demon did not show any signs of getting up.
Kai then let out a breath, then look down to his hand which was numb from the impact of the explosion just from shooting each of the Elf Bullet and Drake Bullet.
His body shook in nervousness, his first 'real fight', as well as his first with the magic arts. Even a hint of hesitation would result in him getting burned from the fire pillar, and he would not have come out unscathed.
"But it worked!" His enormous effort towards training was definitely not in vain.
"I can do this, even if the opponent is a Demon."
Kai have not full understand what the current situation is.
But it has become a fact that humans can win against the huge sized Demons, that with training it is definitely possible.
"What are you?" A sound of flapping wings ended the victory fanfare.
A rustling sound of flapping wings which is much louder than big sized birds can be heard from above Kai's head.
"Human? One of ours was defeated… by a mere human?"
Another Demon, its appearance was not much different from the first, but this floating Demon is somewhat 'small'.
Its height was similar to Kai's, and looks to be not much stronger than the first Demon.
….But, this pressure it releases.
….The first one was much bigger in size, but its speech shows its' knowledge.
"What are you"
"A human, as you can see"
This one is far more dangerous than the first. Kai's intuition depicts so, as he replied carefully.
"And you there seems to be eloquent in the human language."
The lean figured Demon looked down, staring at Kai.
This Demon, kept afloat by its widened wings slightly opened up its mouth which spans to its cheeks.
"Us(demons), and the other races too, uses the human language for convenience."
What does that mean?
As if mocking Kai's uncertainty, the Demon continued on.
"To order a slave, using their language is far more efficient"
Humans are enslaved?
That statement… Somehow clears the source of uncertainties that Kai held, as if depicting the current state of the world, and clearly showing the fact itself.
Humanity lost against the Four Races?
"Her Majesty Vanessa said that we have enough slaves"
"Vanessa?" Kai knitted his eyebrows to the familiar name.
The Dark Empress. The Demons' Hero who leads them has that exact same name.
"…The Dark Empress Vanessa!? That High-Demon!?"
"Human, you reek of danger. Disappear now"
A light is lit from the Demon's finger, a magic circle immediately manifested in sinister purple, from which a lightning strike manifested itself from within the magic circle.
"—Close your eyes!"
A familiar voice. Kai could recognize that voice within an instant, followed by a strong blinding light which clouded his vision.
The Demon's struggling voice. Its' vision which directly looked upon the blinding light burned its eyes.
"…A flash grenade!?"
One of the weapons the HPA officially uses. It affects most races other than the Spirits which have special 'eyes'.
But, who threw it?
"Over here! Hurry before the horde of Demons come!"
Kai ran, facing away from the blinding light, towards the direction of the shadow of a human's hand.
"Get on, that grenade may be strong but it only lasts around ten seconds!"
He grabbed the hand of a girl within the midst of his blurry vision, then he was forcefully dragged to ride on the vehicle.
"We have secured the wandering civilian. Athrun, hit the gas!"
"On it" The wheels of the vehicle revolved speedily, making a high pitching shrieking sound, leaving behind the Demon in an instant.
"They(demons) can float mid-air but they can't fly quick. So rest assured, they can't catch up to this vehicle… Ah, but Athrun's lifespan may have shortened." As the girl sitting in the back passenger seat let out a sigh.
"You sure do not value your life. You, where are you from? A prisoner of the Demons? But your outfit looks like ours for a prisoner."
"Huh? You know me?" The girl's eyes widened in astonishment. She who is similar of age to Kai, with short orange hair and big eyes like a cat, an airhead. In the edge of her mouth is her canine teeth peeking out, and freckles on her cheek.
No mistake, she is Kai's colleague.
"What you do mean 'I know you', It's me. Anyway, thanks a lot Saki, though I'm sure what's going on here…"
"Like I said, do I know you?"
"…Eh?" They fixed their gazes toward each other.
It is unbelievable to mistaken a stranger with someone who he had just been training with.
"You are Saki right? Saki Miscotti… No mistakes?"
"A soldier affiliated with the HPA-"
"What is that?" The girl who tilted her head, her gaze towards the driver's seat.
"Hey Athrun, you know anything about that HPA? Was that something in the Ulza Federation?"
"Never heard of it before-" The young lad, showing off his moves with the vehicle's handle.
His face too, was none other than Kai's colleague, Athrun.
"Athrun!? Athrun Highroll right? Don't joke with me, It's me, Kai Sakuravent!"
"Have I met you before?"
Kai was speechless, there was no other befitting word in that situation.
"You… really don't know me?"
"I guess you really did meet with me before, you even know my name" (Saki)
Of course I do. We were colleagues in the same squad for over a year.
"Your favorite gum is orange flavored, and you dislike the coffee-flavored. You boast of your body's flexibility and can make a full split of 190 degree."
"Eh? Wha-, how did you even know that?"
"While Athrun has bad motion sickness from birth and will not stop getting sick when riding on a vehicle. But to think he can drive one…"
As Kai spurted out so, he then came back to his senses.
Athrun driving? That is unbelievable! The drive to the Graveyard was always by Kai or Saki, and he was always laid down on the side passenger seat.
"Athrun you… What happened to your motion sickness?"
"Huh? I overcomed that ages ago of course"
The vehicle ran passed various destroyed buildings in high speed. His driving skills in these harsh roads full of rubbles may be better than Kai's.
"Not being able to drive in this world means there's a higher risk of getting captured by Demons and becoming slaves, you know? Being motion sick in this situation is… huh? How did you know that?"
"It's mysterious how you know my favorite gums too." Saki who nodded assertively.
"You, who exactly are you?"
"…You really don't know me?"
Even though Saki and Athrun are the same as his memories, and these two are unmistakably themselves.
"Please wait… What exactly is going on here"
Why am I, the only one, one-sidedly forgotten.
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Jeannya no tame dake ni,