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I opened my eyes.
I won’t give up. Not as long as I can hear Kuzuha’s voice.
I pushed back on the front feet of the gigantic fox with my hands. My hands and the rest of my body were almost transparent.
“Looks like you still have a bit of power left in you.” Haruaki spat out before giving an order to the fox.
The fox shifted his weight towards its front legs even further. I desperately fought against it from crushing me flat, however there seemed to be no hope. I was clenching my teeth to the point that I felt like they would crumble. I saw a light from somewhere. Maybe it was from Heaven itself. I must be getting close.
Haruaki’s cruel laugh was cut off by the sound of lightning striking. Tsuzura, the white cat, flashed into view. She ran between the fox’s legs and ripped apart its foreleg just before it was able to crush me. Tsuzura in her half-beast half-human figure attacked the furious Kurokuda fox.
The fox opened its enormous mouth to catch and eat Tsuzura, like a deep-sea fish gobbling its prey.
When I shouted, more lightning flashed. Yoh, the white owl, transformed into a half-beast half-human and kicked the fox’s head. He delivered a brutal blow to the fox’s jaw.
I managed to escape from the fox’s front legs and found that my body was beginning to turn opaque. The light I saw was in fact coming from a fissure in the boundary. Tsuzura and Yoh must have slipped through it while in their origami forms.
“Rin. Pyo. Tou. Sha. Kai. Jin. Retsu. Zai –”
The crack in the boundary slowly widened and…
The boundary shattered into countless pieces which showered over me. The shape of each glowing green piece was actually a Chinese character of malicious meaning. In the rain of the characters stood Kuzuha. Her fingers were interlocked in a particular way.
I heard the sound of a bell.
Haruaki groaned her name in distress. Eyes fixed on him, Kuzuha whispered to me.
I wondered why she was apologizing to me. Perhaps because she was late in rescuing me? Or something else? Suddenly, the truth hit me. Kuzuha had been planning to come with us all along. She just didn’t want anyone to see her. That’s why she hid herself in a hurry when I saw her in the corridor.
Even Kuzuha could not interfere with Haruaki without concrete evidence, as he is the head of the Shinoda clan. So she chose the risky strategy of leaving him to his own devices and catching him red-handed.
It was an undercover operation using me as a decoy. That’s why she apologized to me out of the blue on the night before the school trip. She didn’t say the reason for her apology, but must have wanted to say sorry for knowingly leading me in danger.
Words automatically started spilling out from my mouth.
“I appreciate you coming.”
My voice sounded unexpectedly strong, and she seemed to be relieved to hear it. I looked at her profile, which looked dignified and brave.
“Hide behind me”
Haruaki sneered at me.
“You are the prince shielded by a princess.”
Kuzuha glared at him and said “Kiriya is shielding my heart.”
The gigantic fox pounced on us right as Haruaki yelled. Tsuzura and Yoh, still in their half-beast half-human states, blocked its way with their battle sticks. They pushed the fox back and hit it with a vicious blow. The evil beast stepped back while letting out an anguished cry, which almost sounded human. Soon, the fox gathered itself up and retaliated. It opened its deep sea fish-like mouth and I saw a pale blue light deep down its throat. The next second, it fired at us. There was no time to create a shield with a Mandala. Death by 500,000 degree flame was imminent. I covered my face with my hands—
The ferocious beam split into two, leaving us unaffected. It was Kuzuha, who had drawn a dagger just in time to slash the beam into two. The slashing attack was so powerful that it cleaved the Kurokuda fox in half. I watch the mighty evil spirit crumble into small particles with disbelief.
“That’s…the Ryusei Sword…” I mumbled, stunned
“Don’t you know? The Ryusei Sword eats away at the life of the wielder.”
Haruaki ridiculed Kuzuha but she retorted.
“My life is to protect the people I care about.”
“Well, well. If you don’t care for your life—”
Haruaki drew his special extendable baton which transformed into a Japanese samurai sword with a spell.
“Then I’ll take it right now!!”
An intense sword fight broke out. The impact of their swords striking each other at tremendous speed sent sparks flying. Kazura and Yoh were trying to assist Kuzuha, but the coiling flame of a snake blocked them. Their battle was now a single combat in which no-one could intervene.
Both delivered a powerful strike with all their might, but it wasn’t enough to end the battle. The pair broke away from each other. Kuzuha was panting with exhaustion but Haruaki was calmly admiring his sword.
“Such a beautiful blade, isn’t it? This is Muramasa, the infamous magical sword which terrified even the mighty Ieyasu Tokugawa himself. It’s an excellent thing, since it can transform into any deadly weapon you wish.”
He showed us exactly was he meant as Muramasa transformed into a Viking battle ax, the Green Dragon Crescent Blade of China, and a samurai sword right before our eyes.
“The swordsmith who created this magical sword was quite the character. He slaughtered people for fun and cut down parents in front of their own children sometimes. He deserves our admiration.”
I saw Muramasa transform into another weapon and shouted “Watch out, Kuzuha!”
The sword had become a taser gun. The weapon is used by the police force across the world, so many Japanese may recognise it only from watching foreign TV dramas. Kuzuha isn’t the kind of person to watch TV, so I didn’t think she would know what it was.
Haruaki squeezed the trigger of the taser gun. Automatically, Kuzuha struck the electrode which shot out from the gun. She received a powerful electric shock to her arm and groaned in pain. The short contact time meant that the shock did not pass through her entire body, but it did a good enough job to temporarily paralyze her grip. Haruaki transforms the taser gun back into the Japanese sword and immediately made his way towards her. He struck the Ryusei Sword with Muramasa, and the former hit the floor with a clatter and spun out of reach.
I ran after the Ryusei sword and reached over to it, but the flaming snake intervened.
“Leave it alone, you useless little creature.” Haruaki exclaimed. Kuzuha jumped back as if she were weightless to keep some distance between him. She must continue the battle without a weapon, facing Haruaki’s sword with her paralyzed bare hands.
Haruaki looked at me. “Cry like a baby, you outsider. I’m going to cut down the girl before your very eyes.”
While listening to Haruaki’s words, Kuzuha looked surprisingly calm and stood in a relaxed manner. Her breathing was deep and controlled.
“Komyo Aiki Jujitsu, the esoterica –”
As Kuzuha was uttering her technique, Haruaki made a weird sound and attacked her with his sword. Kuzuha waited until the last second and dodged his attack. She landed on the sword and perched there like a butterfly. Using the magical sword as a foothold, she then performed an amazing somersault kick.
“Butterfly Spectral Cart!”
Kuzuha’s toe smashed into Haruaki’s jaw and broke it.
Astounded by her power, Haruaki dropped his magical sword and stepped back while groaning in pain. His eyes rolled back in his head and he slipped into unconsciousness. He lay on the floor devoid of all motion.
The flaming snake also lost its power and fell. The fire quickly spread and set off the fire alarm. The deafening sound of the alarm loudly echoed, and water was unleashed from the sprinklers.. However, the water didn’t seem to be enough to extinguish the raging fire.
“Kuzuha, run!” I exclaimed.
Go to Shikigami Girl Chapter 10: Shikigami ceremony →
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