Kousuke and co dashed through the dim corridor that was only illuminated by emergency lamps.
They couldn't see the figure of Weiss and the man in lab coat they were pursuing, but there was no hesitation in the steps of Kousuke who was in the lead. He was advancing while his gaze was focusing to the ground of this complicated passage that seemed like an underground labyrinth. There wasn't any map for this place even in Kaysis's data.
Kousuke was following the trail and presence of the escaping Weiss using the skill of "assassin" vocation, [+Tracking]. He didn't miss even the faint trace that was even vaguer than mist which a normal person wouldn't be able to perceive. Putting aside Vanessa who was ecstatic, even Allen's face was twitching for who knew how many times already from seeing that figure chasing after the prey accurately.
「Don't mind them. Run!」
Berserkers appeared from the corner of the passage. The two berserkers were charging at them right from the front, causing the ground to vibrate. Allen and Vanessa spontaneously began to stop their feet to intercept, but Kousuke accelerated faster instead and raised his voice. The two of them reflexively obeyed him.
Kousuke tensed his legs and put strength into them. He soundlessly accelerated and approached the wall. Emily and others followed behind thinking that he was going to pass through from the side, but they soon knew that wasn't his intention.
Kousuke put his foot on the wall and ran on its surface while his body was turning sideways. When he climbed until the ceiling where his body became upside down, he kept running on the ceiling without pause. ――Skill "Shadow Dance". It was Kousuke's favorite skill.
Kousuke sprinted on the ceiling. The movement of the two berserkers who was about to tackle halted for a moment seeing the impossible position of their target. Kousuke rushed into between the two.
Still being upside down, a short sword flashed in a rotation like a whirling wind. A beam of light the color of blue sky gently caressed the necks of the berserkers, melting and cutting without reservation. Shockwave flew from the fingerless glove too as though it was only done as an extra, blowing away the berserkers to the wall.
Kousuke landed lightly and then he resumed running in the lead as though nothing happened.
The body of the berserkers convulsed in vain on the wall, without any splash or without being any obstacle at all.
Even before reaching this far, there were berserkers and berserk beasts attacking them incessantly. Most likely they were prepared by Weiss to hinder them, but they only came sporadically and couldn't hope to stop Kousuke on his track.
Before long Kousuke and others ran into a steel door at the end of the passage. The width of the passage was quite wide, but there were large boxes and machine parts cluttering the floor that if multiple people wanted to pass through they would need to line up in a single line.
When Kousuke called, Vanessa moved instantly in understanding. She hugged Emily who was at her side and hid behind a large machine part. Allen also took cover smoothly after her.
*DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA-* Thunderous roar echoed. A machine gun in full auto spouted fire and a great number of bullets scattered the packages filling the corridor. Kousuke smoothly evaded the flying bullets and threw a kunai.
「Kousuke-san. Your Vanessa is desiring to see the scene of cutting bullets with katana.」
Vanessa-san who was loyal to her own desire even while getting exposed to gunshot. Emily who was being embraced inside Vanessa's embrace was dealing the slaps of straight man repeatedly *pechi pechi* even while turning small.
「No, putting aside getting out from line of fire, but a stunt like cutting apart bullets from full-auto shooting with unparalleled accuracy is beyond me okay?」
Vanessa's eyes turned round while she went「Ee……」hearing what Kousuke said. It seemed that the Kousuke inside Vanessa had been turned into someone who could do anything.
Vanessa turned a gaze that seemed to want to say「You're kidding, you say that, but the truth is?」. Kousuke smiled wryly to that.
「Something like cutting all bullets fired in full-auto without even missing one, that kind of stunt is only possible for the demon king or the demon king’s wife the swordswoman-sama. As for me, I'm going with petty surprise attack just fine.」
Kousuke shrugged his shoulders, and then at the next moment, his figure vanished. In exchange, there was a kunai at the spot where Kousuke had been at until now. That was the kunai that Kousuke threw just before.
Naturall, for the kunai to be there meant,
「Shit-. Since whe――」
Kousuke was in the middle of the enemies.
It was one of the abilities possessed by the kunai. Space substitution. The subordinates of Weiss were panicked at the sudden appearance of Kousuke at the wall where the kunai had stabbed. They aimed their gun muzzle without delay, but at that time they could do nothing but having a tearful separation, between their head and body.
A single attack of heat and slash given them an unreal death. Their torso and head rolled like broken toy without even any time to transform into berserker and they departed for their journey to the other world.
Even so, different from a berserker's last moment who would have their body dried up completely and broke down to a degree they couldn't keep their original shape, now the space was filled with human corpses rolling around everywhere. That factor was enough for Emily who wasn't used to death to turn pale and bile to rise up in her throat.
「Emily, right now think only about forward――」
「I, I'm fine, Kousuke. Let's go!」
Her smiling face was twitching and pale, but Emily stopped Kousuke's words with a strong voice. And then, she stared at the solid-looking steel door in front of her eyes, as though she understood something.
「Kousuke. Ahead of this is……」
「So you realize. Yeah, that's right. They are at the other side of this door. It looks like they are flustered, but they still aren't escaping. Looks like we made it in time.」
Emily took a deep, deep deep breath. And then, she closed her eyes just a little. By doing that, spectacles revolved behind her eyelids like a revolving lantern. The days she spent at Down classroom. The smile of Hendricks and Lizzie who looked after her, the quarrel between Rod and Dennis in place of greeting, Jessica's mischievous smile, the joyful and fun joke exchange between Sam and Milo.
They were Emily's beloved big brothers and sisters. They weren't here anymore. She could never meet them again, her precious family.
Emily opened her eyes quietly.
Her words were few, but the respond she got was strong. Kousuke's short sword left azure trail behind and pierced the steel door. It was as though a knife stabbing through butter, the short sword smoothly pierced without meeting resistance. The place pierced by that super-high temperature had the surrounding area melting in the blink of eye.
*plop, plop* The steel door was turned red hot and melted down. The sight behind the door was starting to turn visible bit by bit from there.
It seemed that it was an underground parking lot at the other side of the steel door. There were several passenger cars and freight cars, there were also particular vehicles like forklift and so on.
Beside one of those cars, at the side of a medium-size pick-up truck, there was the figure of two people. They were at the side of the truck load that seemed to be filled with luggage, but it appeared they were astonished with the steel door melting. They were standing still without a twitch.
*plop, plop* The door was vanishing, The door separating Emily and the man was vanishing.
Their knees were starting to be visible. One set was Weiss that they saw before this, while the slack of the other man was something really familiar for Emily. That slacks was dark brown and Jessica and Lizzie always said that it was too plain. Surely if the slack was seen from nearby, there would be a small fray that could be found around the right knee.
The belt was starting to get visible. That belt was slightly thinning recently and the holes were shifted. Everyone was worried if the wearer of that belt was eating properly because he often went on a trip.
The necktie was visible. It was a bright navy blue necktie with sharp stripes on it. To tell the truth, it was a present from Emily to him for his birthday. The expense choked out her pocket money while she chose the necktie with the help of Lizzie and Jessica.
Emily unconsciously leaked out her voice. That voice came from her fleeting hope――that "It could be a mistake by some chance", that hope which she herself would laugh at, it was now crushed to bits.
Kousuke swung his arm. The steel door was blown away without leaving any trace.
There was no more thing that stood in their way.
The remains of the steel door illuminated the surrounding bright red even though they were rapidly cooling down. Emily slowly walked forward while the remains were scattering. At her right side was the protector from the Far East who was wielding the mystic, at her left side was the heroic protector who would stand up even against her motherland if it was necessary, and behind her was the protector who shouldn't exist that symbolized the necessary evil. She entered while taking them along.
The fluttering lab coat, that was Emily's pride. The proof of her pride of the things she had piled up and of the place to belong that was given to her by him. But right now, that pride felt really heavy, really empty.
Beside Weiss who was cursing「This is too fast, this damned monster」while holding his head, there was the man who was still petrified in astonishment. Emily looked like she was going to burst crying anytime, however her expression was filled with the resolve that she absolutely wouldn't cry. It was with that expression that she opened her mouth to that man.
「Why did, you do it……teacher?」
There was no way the man couldn't understand the meaning of that question.
The first voice Emily spoke out, it made him, Emily's teacher that was like a substitute of her father――Professor Reginald Down to come back to his senses.
「Why did you do it, teacher?」
Hearing her name called by that voice that she thought wouldn't be able to hear for the second time, it caused Emily's heart to be shaken whether she wanted it or not. The words that she repeated had no intonation, perhaps because she was forcefully holding down her emotion.
Professor Down's words got caught up in his throat once more. He bit his lip hard, as though he was in pain, or as though he was holding back something. Kousuke and Vanessa watched over the scene.
Silence ruled over the place. In the middle of that, Weiss suddenly glanced at his wristwatch. At that moment, Allen who had never taken off his gaze from Weiss reacted.
He exchanged glance with Kousuke for an instant. That was him signaling to let Emily kept talking while he would capture Weiss ahead. There wasn't any reason to let an enemy at large, so Kousuke also showed an agreement with his gaze.
Like that, Kousuke and Allen were about to leap out, but just before they could,
「Whooops, don't move you two. If not I'm going to make this beloved papa of that missy get riddle with hole yeah.」
Weiss who anticipated that quickly move and circled his arm around Down's neck and pinioned him from behind. He was hiding behind Down and turned him into a shield while his gun muzzle stuck out on Down's side.
Weiss hindered Emily's talk with his gun muzzle not wavering. Vanessa gazed at him with a suspicious gaze.
「What are you planning?」
「What, nothing. Even though he is threatened, but as expected, with the girl who is like his daughter in front of him, perhaps this guy might do something stupid. That's what I think, you know?」
「Threaten? ……Are you saying that Professor Down is here because he is being threatened?」
「Hm~~, it's a bit of faulty expression to say threaten I guess. It's that, something like unwillingly complying with forced request for cooperation.」
It seemed that Weiss wanted to say that Down was here unwillingly. Down's face grimaced from the sensation of gun being pressed hard on him. Weiss grinned smugly while he jerked his chin toward Emily.
「Genius missy. This substitute father of yours is really gallant see. He will lick even other people's shoes with the term that they won't lay your hand on you. Even I got moved into tears by that devotion and thought that maybe I'll overlook you missy, but it's a different story if you come here by yourself.」
「Wa, wait, that's not what we agreed on. You said that Emily won't――」
Down showed his panic hearing Weiss being talkative. Just from looking at that, it really seemed as though Down was obeying without any choice because Emily was used to threaten him.
Weiss sent a vulgar gaze at Emily as though he was going to ridicule Emily's agitation――
「Teacher, please answer. Why, did you come to do something like this?」
What was there, was an Emily who wasn't shaken even for a bit, her straightforward gaze was unchanging while her expression looked as though she was desperately stifling her overflowing emotion. Rather, her expression was showing as though something was dirtied from how Down was still displaying that kind of farce at this point of time. Be that as it may, a strong will could be seen from her that made it clear that she had no plan of going along with that kind of farce.
Kousuke and Allen spontaneously made a small smile seeing how Emily acted. Vanessa too, even though she was gazing at Emily with concern, but her expression was proud toward Emily who was showing her "strength".
「What's this, I though you are going to get shaken at least a little. Well, I didn't expect that much from this anyway. It's fine because the sure thing will be from here on.」
Weiss easily separated from Down and he shrugged his shoulders, and then he cleared away in one go the cover enveloping the large box that was put on the back of the pick-up truck.
「Ooh, so you are shaken by this. I'm glad I brought it here for just in case.」
Emily glared at Weiss with a furious look. Kousuke and others also weren't an exception. That special case with transparent surface was filled with children who hadn't even reach five years old. They looked really scared, three children were snuggling with each other at a corner of the cramped case, their body huddled down while trembling fiercely.
Weiss pushed his finger on the smartphone on his hand while his vulgar grin deepened.
「The American comic bastard over there, also the agents, and even Emily, don't move okay? If my finger slipped because of the spur of the moment, this brats will end up going with cheery monster debut yeah?」
Because Weiss knew about Kousuke's ability, he didn't take his gaze off from Kousuke even for a moment despite his frivolous attitude. Most likely, the moment Kousuke's presence vanished even for an instant in this situation, he would move his finger without hesitation and activated the detonator switch for the Berserk that was consumed by the children.
……And so, Kousuke was normally vanishing just like usual.
「You scum. Just the fact that you are living is a crime.」
Vanessa who guessed what Kousuke was doing cursed to buy time. Weiss's expression turned amused instead at the abuse from an opponent in a situation where he was overwhelmingly superior and he shrugged. Of course, he didn't take off his gaze from Kousuke……he didn't take off his gaze……
「It's better for you all dogs of the government to increase your cursing variation a bit more. I already got too used at what you guys will say, recently it was boring for me. Well, no matter. Come on, first of all, you guys toss the dangerous items to the floor.」
His gaze toward Kousuke wasn't taken o……wasn't tak……it was taken off.
Weiss's gaze smoothly flowed toward Vanessa who was talking at him. He did that really naturally, without any doubt, as though it was only the norm. He slowly lowered down his gun and he made a satisfied smile toward Allen and Vanessa.
「Not using skill is also advantageous sometimes……it's not like, I'm crying here.」
Kousuke-san who was normally at your side, weeping like usual, was here. He ignored Weiss who jumped in shock, held his wrist and made him dropped the smartphone, and then held him down to his knees.
「Guh, god damn it-. This American comic bastard! Just why the hell something like you comes out here huh!」
「It's not like I don't understand your feeling, but be quiet for a bit. Right now is Emily's time.」
When Kousuke increased the pressure at Weiss's joint, Weiss leaked out a small anguished voice「Ngih」before he shut his mouth.
Down backed away from Kousuke who suddenly appeared at his side where Emily's gaze then pierced through him.
But, right after when they thought that Weiss's farce was over and they could start talking,
A suspicious voice that sounded like it was resounding from the bottom of earth resounded on the eardrum of Kousuke and co. It was the sound of some kind of machine activating. And it also sounded really loud. Kousuke and co ran their gaze suspiciously on the floor.
And then, their gaze caught a crack running through the floor. No, it wasn't a crack, but a circle line with its center split by a vertical line.
「Is that, elevator?」
Vanessa muttered. It was just as she said, there was an underground space further underneath this underground parking lot cum cargo storeroom. The diameter of the circle shaped elevator was around seven, eight meter. It was a large elevator for transporting large machinery and material.
It was climbing up. Kousuke and others had bad premonition welling up inside them fiercely. This time a muffled laughter resounded in their ears.
「Ku-, kuku-, fuhah. It finally arrived. It thought a lot of time to lure it until the elevator, but it's barely safe. I thought just what will happen when the distractions got easily broken through and we were caught up with, but it's worth it making up that kind of farce.」
Weiss said that kind of thing while getting pushed on the floor by Kousuke. They were about to question what he meant by that, but before they could, the elevator's door opened. The floor split to left and right, and a hole was opened wide on the floor――
Countless something instantly flew out from there.
「-, Get down-」
Kousuke yelled while taking position in front of Emily right away. And then, he mowed down those things attacking them with a flash of his short sword. Vanessa and Allen also quickly got down and they succeeded to evade the first attack somehow.
Those things intercepted and severed by Kousuke made raw sound *bicha* and fell on the floor. The fallen things convulsed with watery sound, while the sources of the things that lost its tips were pulling back into the elevator.
「Looks like it. Those guys, just what in the world they are calling to here?」
The things that Emily mentioned while her face went pale were indeed tentacles. They were skin-colored, fleshy tentacles that even looked like human guts. Those things flew out simultaneously from the elevator.
「Old man. It's plan B! Run until the meeting point somehow!」
「-, Go, got it!」
The moment Kousuke left him, Weiss sprang up to his feet and jumped to the side. He barely avoided those things that also came attacking at him. And then he took out an attaché case from the pickup truck's driver seat that had its door opened all this time. At the same time he started up the engine.
But, he didn't enter the truck, but started running in full speed while still holding the attaché case.
On the other hand, Down also seemed to know what was coming from the underground, he rolled under the truck the moment the elevator's door opened and like that he came out at the other side and hid there, so he was safe. And then, just like Weiss, he took into his hands a shoulder bag and a rectangle case. He then started running toward a door at the opposite side of where Weiss was going.
Naturally, Kousuke and others aimed their kunai and gun to stop Weiss, but a lot of tentacles flew out before they could and hindered them.
On top of that,
「Ah, Kousuke-. Those children-」
「That bastard-. So this is his aim from the start-」
The tentacles attacked the pickup truck as though they were reacting to the engine sound. Even though each of the tentacles was only as big as an arm of a child, they instantly toppled the truck sideways without any difficulty. Naturally, the case where the children were entered into was thrown out from the truck. The children who were jostled inside the case screamed.
The tentacles reacted to that scream and entangled around the case. It seemed that it was a tough case, so the case wasn't crushed or squashed, but the case was dragged toward the elevator.
「Vanessa, Allen. Take care of Emily!」
「Aah, geez. This is completely out of my field you knoww」
They followed Kousuke's instruction and went to Emily's side to protect her, then they led her away to take distance from the elevator. Most of the rushing out tentacles was cut apart by Kousuke, even so, as expected from the two, their skill allowed them to accurately blow away the remaining tentacles using bullet.
Kousuke judged that it would be fine to leave them to fend for themselves for the moment and he was going to rescue the children.
「No way I'll let you do that so simply yeah!」
「You-, this shitty bastard!」
Weiss fired his machine gun from the other side of the door. He was aiming at Emily. As expected, a feat of shooting down bullet using bullet could only be done by a certain demon king. It was impossible for Vanessa and Allen.
Therefore, Kousuke couldn't help but defending against that using his kunai to deploy out a barrier. Although it was only for a little while, but Kousuke was still being held in place,
「Yoo, American comic bastard! If you are a hero, then don't abandon those pitiful children just like a hero yeah.」
Weiss's disgusting laugh echoed, at the next moment――it flew out.
Like a spear that was thrown by an expert, countless tentacles stretched out and stabbed on the ceiling and wall. And then, by using expansion and contraction, and recoil, something that could be described as a lump of meat appeared from the bottom of earth.
It was weird and repulsive, like minced meats that were haphazardly kneaded to each other, with tentacles haphazardly growing a lot from there. That figure stirred up instinctive revulsion from anyone seeing it.
It wriggled with flabby motion and crawled up like a muddy stream, It scattered around flesh and liquid while covering over the nearest prey. ――Yes, toward the case where the children were inside.
「That case is a solid one, so it will be able to hold for a bit even if it was swallowed by that ruined experiment. Do your best and go all out to rescue those children. We won't mind it okay?」
A ruined experiment――just as those words stated, the meat lump was a product that was created from a process of an experiment. The reason this thing ended up as this ugly meat lump was only one, it was because of a demonic deed that was done for the sake of knowing the limit of Berserk's ability.
Berserk would repeatedly caused regeneration by forcefully invigorating the cells until past the limit of the flesh. Then, what would happen if Berserk was continuously administered while also continuously giving healthy and young flesh to the subject? The subject would fuse its former flesh with another flesh in the form of it getting swallowed inside regeneration. Such thing was repeated.
Like that, what resulted was the worst monster that didn't even retain its shape as a living thing――a Berserk Chimera. It was already incomprehensible just what was the former organisms that entered into the fusion.
It took time to lure this thing from the underground's deepest experiment room until here using any kind of bait. But, Weiss believed that it would be impossible to hold back this existence that was wielding supernatural without using the Berserk Chimera. This was his genuine trump card. That farce and all his talkativeness were for buying time to guide this Berserk Chimera.
Weiss immediately vanished behind the door at the same time with his spoken out parting remark. After the berserk chimera took the children's case, it continued to attack Kousuke and others without pause using his tentacles like a storm.
Kousuke defended against all those while gritting his teeth hard. Behind him, Emily called at him with a trembling voice.
「Kousuke, those children……what to do! They have to be saved!」
There was no reply. Normally, Kousuke should reply right away with words that were overflowing with confidence, but now he didn't reply right away. A bad premonition welled up inside her. By any chance, perhaps even with Kousuke here, those children were beyond salvation already. Was this the end, just like what Weiss said……
Emily slowly peeked at Kousuke's side profile with an expression that almost cried. She instantly swallowed back her words unconsciously.
Kousuke was always like whistling wind, or making a troubled smile on his face. Sometimes he showed a serious face, a resolved face, a nostalgic face. Emily had seen all those faces until now, but she had never seen Kousuke's current face.
There was nothing in it, an expression of "nothingness".
Honestly, she shuddered. The eyes without any emotion in it, staring straight at the berserk chimera, and the expression where all emotion had slipped off cleanly from it, it was as though the person there wasn't Kousuke.
「I somehow, understand. Even though I don't know how your former appearance looked like, I understand somehow. ……It's scary isn't it? It's painful isn't it? You were brought to this kind of place, and ended up like that……」
Those words lacked intonation. There, not just Emily, Vanessa and Allen also noticed.
Kousuke, had "snapped". It wasn't at the level of the anger he showed when Emily was cornered by the security bureau. At that time there was still some saving grace. The Grant family was in good health and they were already rescued, Chief Magdanese and her group also people with conviction, and the incident at the research building had a strong aspect as being an accident.
That was why, even though Kousuke was angry at that time, he wasn't totally angry. But, right now was different. What was in front of Kousuke was an inhuman act. Anavatar of malice and greed. He understood. Even though he didn't know the detail, but he understood, just what was the material used to make the meat lump before his eyes. He understood, just who was crying and screaming at that time.
That was why, the feeling that Kousuke held――was rage.
Allen who was suddenly addressed twitched in reaction. Allen was sweating coldly from the terror that was silently, but surely eroding him. Kousuke commanded at such Allen still with a voice that was lacking intonation.
「Chase after "that". Stop him in place, until I catch up after I rescue those children.」
「Ye, YES SIR-!!」
Kousuke stabbed his short sword into the ground and made a path of flame ran on the ground. A path that was protected by a flame wall ran straight until the door where Weiss entered. Allen dashed through it.
「Chase after the professor. Vanessa.」
Flame ran, toward the door Down went through. Emily was hesitating, but Vanessa held her hand and pulled her. Even so, Emily was worried about the children and also about Kousuke. When she looked back, there, Kousuke was putting on his sunglasses while opening his mouth.
「Don't worry Emily. I'll save those children. I'll destroy this pitiful monster. I'll make "that" regret that he was born. I'll leave only Down to Emily, but I also won't let anyone other than those guys to get away. That's why, go.」
「Ye, yes, I understand. ……Kousuke, please, save those children!」
「Yeah, leave it to me.」
Emily started running, led by Vanessa. The berserk chimera instinctually shirked away from the flame wall, even so it still tried to capture the preys by stretching its tentacles in roundabout way through the ceiling, but all its efforts were pushed back by the barrier from the kunai and it couldn't approach the preys.
Emily and others chased after their respective target and their figure vanished from the room. Detecting that, Kousuke, no, the abyss lord declared calmly without even taking a cool pose.
「This rage, surely belongs to all of you who are toyed by others as they pleased. In return, I'll dispel your chagrin for you. That's why, please, sleep peacefully.」
The abyss lord who was driven by rage, began his battle for the sake of salvation.
AN: Thank you very much for reading this every time.
Thank you very much too for the thoughts, opinions, and reports about misspelling and omitted words.
Now then, at the last chapter I said that next will be the climax but……this chapter is one step behind the climax.
So far as it goes, Shirakome is looking on warmly from managing to put out a cool development following the template, that "the mastermind is the father" but,
Actually I wanted to end this all in one go with one chapter.
Everything is the fault of reality and workplace. I'm sorry.
Next week I will receive consecutive holidays, so I think I can go until the end.
It will make me happy if you readers can look forward to it.
The next update is planned to be at 6 P.M Saturday too.
If you find any errors ( broken links, non-standard content, etc.. ), Please let us know so we can fix it as soon as possible.