Chapter 2: Beyond the four gods

Part 1

In the Eastern District of Shiba’s Five Element barrier.

Nonaka Yuki, who raised her hand to fight Seiryuu alone, had a plan. It was to change the field of battle. Seiryuu who protects the Eastern domain has an affinity for wood. Because water is compatible to the wood element, the Edo River is making Seiryuu stronger. Continuing to fight near the river would only be advantageous to Seiryuu.

The Master Servant Contract that Yuki has with Basara, strengthens those in the contract the deeper their bonds are. Prior to visiting the Village, Yuki’s fighting strength was already that of a Pre-S Class but by deepening her bond with Basara before their fight against Celis, her strengths were now that of a S Class.

However, after analyzing the power of Seiryuu while they fought, Nonaka Yuki came to a quick conclusion: if they were to continue fighting in their current location, she would not stand a chance.

Therefore she had to change the battlefield. But just stepping away from the river wasn’t good enough. The whole area was named “Edo River District” and thus, while not as strong, was still compatible to Seiryuu’s wood element to strengthen it. To make things worse, the entire eastern district of Tokyo within the barrier was full of locations associated with water. Just south of Edo River District was Ichikawa District, which had the character for river in its name. The neighboring Urayasu district is also a landfill site that sits on top of the sea and historically speaking, was also a famous salt farm. Salt is considered to be a part of the water element in the Five Elements, and thus, Urayasu might be an even more dangerous place for Yuki to fight.

Westward was not looking so good wither with Koto District also containing the character for water in its name. If however, they were fighting outside the barrier and not within it, Koto District could have been an option. Koto District is home to the Kameido Sengen Shrine, an offshoot shrine to the Sengen Shrine in Mt. Fuji, the shrine that houses the spirit of Konohana Sakuya-hime, the same spirit that resides in Yuki’s blade Sakuya. If they were outside the barrier, the shrine would have definitely helped in powering up Yuki’s Sakuya.

But within the barrier, while the carbon copy of buildings were recreated, the holy spirits that reside in the shrines themselves were not brought into the artificial world recreated within the barrier.

And to make things worse, the name Kameido is a name given to worship the water deity. Kame, meaning turtle, overlaps with the God of the North, Genbu, who is a turtle himself, thus making Kameido a very dangerous location for someone fighting Genbu.

However, the directional advantages and their elemental compatibilities do not only strengthen the 4 Gods, but also helps Yuki as well. The opposing element of Seiryuu’s wood element is the element of metal. And the metal element was out in the west.

So Yuki headed towards the west, further than Koto District. She made her way for Sumida District. While it wasn’t in the west per se, but in the western side of the Eastern Districts, getting away from all the water would weaken Seiryuu’s wood element and Yuki needed all the help she could get.

But Sumida District wasn’t without its own problems. The very name Sumida, while spelt differently, comes from the Sumida River, and thus, once again is affiliated with the water element that will strengthen Seiryuu.

So Yuki decided to fight just before Sumida District, at the town of Kinshicho. Metal was most concentrated near the train station so Yuki headed towards the South Gate of the station since it was facing the business district with all its high rise buildings and also gave distance from the northern side of the station which was home to Kinshi Park which would have played to Seiryuu’s wood element.

“This place will surely…!”

Just as Yuki arrived near the south gate of the station, she looked up towards the sky only to see the dragon charging down at her.

It wasn’t difficult to lead Seiryuu to this location. After all, it was the dragon’s duty to protect the eastern districts. And since Yuki already attacked first, it had determined Yuki to be a threat to its domain and will relentlessly chase her down.

With all the water in the nearby areas, Seiryuu had grown to a tremendous size. To protect its area, it had no qualms in recklessly charging into Yuki. Yuki quickly jumped off the pedestrian overpass that she was standing on, and in the next moment, saw the entire overpass being destroyed by Seiryuu’s charge.

“Ha!”

Taking advantage of the momentum of her jump, Yuki swung Sakuya several times to send multiple slashes towards Seiryuu. But before the blades could reach Seiryuu, a giant barrier of wind surrounded Seiryuu and negated the oncoming attacks.

“Kh…”

Yuki bit her lip in anger. She was a versatile swordsman who fought close and mid range using the power of spirits. With her element of metal and Seiryuu’s affinity for wood, she should be right up close to Seiryuu and delivering as many slashes and strikes as she could. However, the Four Gods have direct control over their elements and that means the wind barrier that Seiryuu has, makes it impossible for Yuki to approach it. And unlike Mio and Kurumi, Yuki was not exactly proficient with elemental magic or long range attacks. Even if she were to use Sakuya and somehow break through the barrier, if Seiryuu sent another gust of wind her way, she would have to use Sakuya on the defensive and won’t able able to attack the dragon directly.

But since Seiryuu was the guardian of the eastern districts, the dragon would most likely refrain from using any long range destructive attacks to target Yuki. The way it charged at Yuki at the overpass was an indication to its will to preserve the buildings and structures of the area. Yuki could buy some time by dodging those physical attacks and wait for a chance to strike.

However, the fact that the wind barrier from before so easily deflected her blade attacks meant that Seiryuu’s wind affinity was definitely stronger than her wind-based blade attacks. That’s why Yuki ahd to do everything she could, to bring Seiryuu someplace that will weaken it.

After landing on a building, Yuki carefully analyzed the situation. She could continue to dodge and weave and find an opening to strike, but she didn’t step off the building for her next jump. It wasn’t that she was afraid of being hit. She’s fighting one of the Four Gods. Of course she won’t come out of this battle unscathed. In fact, she would have to prepare to throw her life away to defeat Seiryuu. But she couldn’t just do that. After all, she made a promise to make it out of this alive. If she were to die, the master servant contract would also weaken Basara, and that would make it all the more dangerous for him to fight Shiba.

So while Yuki’s enemy was the dragon in front of her, it wasn’t as easy as to just winning against Seiryuu. This was Shiba’s home turf. Any sort of dirty play could happen. Even if she were to use all her powers and subdue Seiryuu, Shiba could send in some reinforcements to kill her or kidnap her. Whatever she does, she had to make sure that she did not become a hindrance to the others.

Yuki watched as Seiryuu rose back up after destroying the overpass. She had to remain calm. She had to consider the risks as long as Shiba’s barrier was active. If there was no barrier, she could unleash all of her powers.

“…”

Yuki heard something call out to her. Something voiceless reaching out.

“Sakuya…?”

She felt it through her hands that gripped the blade. The sword was telling her to trust it. To let it unleash more of its power. And that was what Yuki needed to find her plan to fight against Seiryuu.

“In understand.”

With that, Yuki faced her back to Seiryuu and began to sprint towards the main road, jumping over roofs on the way.

With Sakuya to guide her way, she headed south towards the location that would weaken the dragon the most.

But Yuki wasn’t aware yet.

Aware of the thing behind Seiryuu who was chasing her.

That while the barrier was supposed to replicate everything in the outside world, there was an important thing that was missing within the barrier.

Part 2

Unlike in the eastern district where Yuki was moving around to find a more advantageous location to fight Seiryuu, Kurumi in the southern district did no such thing against Suzaku.

Since Suzaku was a bird, the very flapping of its wings gave it an affinity to wind. An affinity to wind also meant an affinity to the element of wood. Since Suzaku was naturally a fire element creature, the wood and wind element complemented its natural powers and you could say that Suzaku was in its complete form from the get go.

But the reason Kurumi did not move was because their field of battle was at Tokyo Bay right near the marine park. While water does complement the wood element, it still opposed Suzaku’s natural element of fire. So Kurumi had to use her water element attacks to fight Suzaku.

But did the elemental advantage help Kurumi in battle?

That answer wasn’t as clear.

Battles are a constantly evolving things. And so as time passes, many new problems start to appear. In the case of Kurumi, she had to remain as close to the surface of the sea as possible if she would like to fully unleash her water element attacks.

“Kh…”

Kurumi had to dodge quickly, while flying, to avoid the explosion. For Suzaku was shooting down fireballs into the ocean and causing the explosion of the impact with the water to try and damage Kurumi.

While she could dodge and weave using her flight magic, it was never a good thing to let your opponent fight above in the midst of an aerial battle.

“Damn!”

While gliding over the surface of the sea, she got into touch with the spirit in the water, and began to fire back the water towards Suzaku like a cannon.

But Suzaku did not budge at all or defend itself. So all the water cannon shots that Kurumi sent, hit it directly.

Except that nothing happened. Suzaku was a giant bird surrounded with fire. Some measly water attack that Kurumi came up with on the spot won’t affect the fiery veil surrounding the bird, even if the water attack was a natural weakness to the fire element. Simply put, even if Kurumi used a water element attack, Suzaku’s fire element overpowered it.

“I guess I’m going to need something else to damage him.”

Kurumi had to think whether to sacrifice her water element attacks by engaging herself in aerial battle against Suzaku, or to sacrifice her flight to stay on the surface and focus on her water attacks.

But it was neither option that Kurumi had to take. Suzaku above her, spread its wings wide, and in the next moment hundreds of burning feathers were unleashed from the bird and came hurtling down towards Kurumi.

And she couldn’t just dodge. The way Suzaku was causing steam explosions the last time, any of these feathers could cause an explosion to get her. And setting up a water barrier might not do so well either as the fires from the feathers might evaporate the barrier, and that would be deadly.

So Kurumi had to go with a third option: to defend and evade at the same time. The first thing Kurumi did was to set up a barrier; not a water barrier but a wind one. Controlling the wind barrier to form a sphere around her, she used her flight magic to move quickly. Not horizontally, but by dropping straight down deep into the sea.

Just as Kurumi sunk below into the ocean, the fiery feathers all hit the surface of the sea and caused countless explosions. And since Kurumi was now surrounded by water, she was able to better utilize her water element.

“Haaaaa!”

Kurumi concentrated power into her hands in front of her chest to create a huge whirlpool inside the ocean. And by clapping her hands, she sent that whirlpool high above to create a gigantic pillar of water that began to form itself into a water dragon, bigger than Suzaku, in the air.  The water dragon then charged towards Suzaku and swallowed it whole.

“I won’t let you!”

As Suzaku started to wrestle and fight inside the belly of the water dragon, Kurumi called forth more water to maintain the shape of the dragon and dragged down Suzaku into the depths of Tokyo Bay while she herself flew out into the air once again.

The water element snuffs out fire. So for Suzaku being trapped inside the ocean would be akin to a normal person taking a bath in poison. The water surrounding it would surely take its toll on Suzaku.

“Now, all I need to do is…!?”

With victory almost guaranteed, Kurumi couldn’t contain her shock when a giant fireball broke out from the water prison and charged straight at her.

“Damn it!”

Kurumi just barely avoided that charge by using her flight magic. But the fireball she dodged wasn’t an attack by Suzaku, it was Suzaku itself. Just like how Kurumi used a wind barrier to surround herself with to create distance between herself and the water within the ocean, Suzaku did the same using a fire barrier. It created a fire barrier so hot that it instantly evaporated any water that came to contact with it. And by doing so, it survived being dragged into the ocean and was able to come back and retaliate.

“I thought I had it in the bag…”

“But it’s not like that was a complete waste.”

She did not say that out of bitterness. It was actually true. The Suzaku she currently saw in front of her was definitely smaller in size than before. Even if it was for a moment, Suzaku was indeed dragged into the ocean, so the opposing power of the water element must have taken its toll. So Kurumi knew that all she had to do was slowly chip away at Suzaku’s fire elemental energy.

But Suzaku suddenly charged at her. Even if it may have been weakened, Kurumi would still be unable to create a carrier strong enough to protect her from a headlong charge. At worst, Suzaku will just smash through her barrier and will kill her.

So Kurumi quickly used her flight magic to evade above Suzaku and fired a water element attack towards its back.

“Huh !?”

At that moment, Kurumi saw that Suzaku wasn’t charging at her, but at something behind her. And what she saw horrified her. For Suzaku was charging towards the port with all the containers. Not just normal containers, but oil tankers.

A series of massive explosions rocked the area as the entire port went up in flames. Then suddenly, all the flames began to morph itself in the shape of a giant bird: into Suzaku.

Now Suzaku was far bigger than anything Kurumi had ever seen.

“I see…when you aren’t on a rampage, you can actually use your brain to fight smart.”

Because Kurumi used spiritual magic to fight, she doesn’t use any of her own magical powers and that does help her conserve some energy. But her physical stamina and spiritual energy were at low levels, especially after the water dragon and prison technique from earlier. While she could possibly pull off those moves a few more times, there was no way that was going to work on the current Suzaku. In fact, the current Suzaku was probably big and powerful enough to evaporate the entire Tokyo Bay.

But even faced with such a calamity, there was no doubt in Kurumi’s eyes. Because Kurumi was entrusted to fight Suzaku here by the others. She couldn’t let the others down. So Nonaka Kurumi knew that she had to do everything she could to defeat the giant flaming bird.

When Kurumi and the others fought in the Demon World, she lost her fight. Even if she did finally defeat the same enemy with the help of Maria during the fight with Chaos, it didn’t change the fact that she still lost and that her loss put a burden on the others.

So she swore that she would never lose again, no matter how strong her opponent may be. And for that, Nonaka Kurumi would give her all in this fight.

“I can no longer afford to lose…!”

And with that, Nonami Kurumi charged straight towards Suzaku.

Part 3

Of the Four Gods, there is one which is often considered to be different to the others. The defender of the North, Genbu. There were two things that separated Genbu from the rest. First, Genbu was a combination of two spiritual beasts: a turtle god and a snake god.

The second was its name. The other gods, Seiryuu, Suzaku and Byakko were all names with a combination of “color” and “beast” for their characters. While the “Gen” in Genbu can be considered as the color “black” it also meant “snake”. And the “Bu” in its name has the meaning of “turtle” and “God of War” at the same time. So unlike the other beasts, both chinese characters in Genbu’s name refers to beasts, and the second character referring to Genbu being a God of War was not just a simple reference. Genbu really was the most powerful and battle oriented out of the Four Gods.

That is why even when the massive golem charged towards Genbu, it didn’t even flinch. It is true that the element of earth is strong against Genbu’s element of water. But their attacks still did not do anything to Genbu. None of the golem’s punches or the earth magic that its castor was using did anything to penetrate Genbu’s hard shell.

But Genbu was not just a big turtle with water element magic. The snake part of Genbu was another weapon itself with its whip like body and sharp fangs. The snake tail of Genbu struck the charging golem like a whip and disintegrated the upper torso of the golem instantly.

But Genbu knew that it was not over. Genbu looked up and saw the castor floating in the air with some sort of wings on her back. She must have flew and dodged the snake whip the moment it hit the golem. But she was wrong to think that being airborne would help her dodge its attacks.

Genbu prepared its water element magic, but instead of water, it was ice. Genbu, being the protector of the north, also had the property of “winter”. That meant that the water element that Genbu uses can also be molded with ice properties.

“Kh…!!!”

The castor must have realized what Genbu was doing and quickly started to create defensive magical barriers. But Genbu did not care. There was no way the castor was going to survive the millions of ice shards he was going to shoot her way. With a combination of water magic and ice magic, he used a power shot of water to hurtle all the ice shards towards the castor at the speed of sound. The shards tore through the castor’s earth element defences like cotton candy and hit the castor.

“…”

But something felt off with Genbu. He definitely felt his magic hit the castor, but it didn’t feel like the feeling of hitting flesh. More like the feeling of hitting hard stones. His instincts told him to turn southwest, and that’s when he saw the castor with her eyes not losing a single shred of determination. She then turned her back to Genbu and flew away to gain some distance.

The figure that Genbu hit before must have been a stone clone. For a castor who could control and create golems, a stone clone should surely be easy. The castor flew off towards one of the bright light areas of Tokyo. It didn’t matter whether she was fleeing or whether she had a plan. For Genbu’s role was to protect the northern districts and to destroy anyone who threatens it.

Part 4

Kinuta Park was currently the battle ground for two seperate battles: Mio and Byakko’s fight near the baseball field, and Maria and Balflear’s fight.

But Naruse Maria’s opponent wasn’t Balflear. It was the countless numbers of sludge shaped creatures that covered the turf.

Legion.

The devils were all the same shape and size. Each of them were over 2 meters tall and around the same size as Maria’s past enemy, Valga. Each of them were not so powerful, but their large fists could definitely pack a punch, and the sheer number of them was quite daunting.

There must have been at least a hundred of them there, and while they did not possess high levels of thinking to dodge and evade attacks, every time they guarded an attack, it slowly chipped away at Maria’s stamina.

Maria had to adopt a hide-and-snipe approach to take them out one by one to conserve energy. Although she could have hid in the forest in the park to sneak up to each creature, it would also give the devils a chance to sneak up on her. So Maria took the fight out into the open in the wide open field.

Quick on her feet, she dodged all the lumbering punches from the Legion and executed perfect counter punches and kicks to defeat each monster as they came. When four or five of them charged her at once, she punched into the ground to create a shockwave to blast them all away. The blast also took out another dozen at the back.

“Hmmm, there really is no end to this.”

Even Maria had to admit that the odds were not in her favour. She must have killed over 100 of these Legion already but more and more of them just keep coming out from the summoning circle Balflear created. She won’t be able to stop the swarm unless she defeats Balflear himself, but she wasn’t able to sense his whereabouts. But he must be in this area as he has to maintain control of the Legion while also providing maintenance to Byakko’s condition. He must be using some sort of magic to hide his presence. The silver lining of that magic was that Balflear himself wasn’t able to attack Maria as he had to conceal his location and presence.

Still, Maria had to do something quickly. Fighting all the Legion was taking a toll on her physically and emotionally. If she was even to be hit by one attack, the others will jump on her in an instant and that will be that.

And she can not let that happen.

She had already tasted defeat during the fights in the Demon World. Technically, Kurumi and Zest lost as well but their situation was different. Kurumi couldn’t unleash her full powers because she thought that Basara was held hostage, and Zest lost as a penalty for stepping into Kurumi’s fight to stop the fight.

But Maria… She lost fair and square.

Of course, her opponent was that Takigawa, Lars if you wish, so he was never going to be an easy opponent. And just because Maria was the only person to lose, it did not mean that she was weaker than the other girls.

Nevertheless, she still lost that fight. So this was one fight she couldn’t lose.

There had to be a way. Balflear’s contract with Legion meant that he could summon these creatures endlessly without consuming any of his own magical energy. So what Maria had to do was create an opportunity where Balflear will reveal himself. And she would have to strike him in that one opportunity or she will lose.

And while Balflear could use his barrier magic to block Maria’s attack, she wasn’t without a trick up her sleeve. She could unlock her seal, overload her powers and focus all her energy in one strike.

But that was one hand she couldn’t play. After all, the last time she lost against Lars was specifically because she overloaded on her powers and her physical body was unable to handle the stress. For a close ranged fighter like Maria, losing control of her own body was the same as losing the fight. And while she had been training with Basara to slowly unseal her powers bit by bit, she had never tried it in practice, and this would be the first time she would do so. It was simply too risky to unseal her powers in front of Balflear. How ironic that all the training and preparation for unsealing her power had made her cautious in actually using said power.

If she were to actually use her powers, it would be a gamble. And this fight wasn’t just about Maria. Mio was fighting against Byakko nearby as well. If Maria was to lose against Balflear, the Legion will simply target Mio next. And even if Legion was summoned by Balflear, because of his ability to hide himself, Byakko won’t consider him a threat to the area and will simply attack both Legion and Mio.

If only she could link up with Mio. Then perhaps the two of them could work out a way to defeat Byakko and Bal-

No.

She couldn’t think like that. She had to defeat Balflear and Legion right here and now, then go and help Mio take on Byakko. And she did have one last hand she could play. Something she picked up while training with Basara.

She only had one chance.

And she would not fail.

So Maria set her plans in motion, to defeat Balflear and Legion.

Part 5

The fight between Basara and Shiba in the central district was taking place in the midst of all the high rise buildings to the west of Tokyo Tower.

An area that would usually be full of business people was without its hustle and bustle within the barrier. But the area was not without its sounds. Dull sounding clashes vibrated through the air and a faint buzzing similar to a guitar amp, rang through the district.

Suddenly, a gust of wind whooshed past. Except, it was no wind. The streak of color moving close to the speed of light was Basara charging towards Shiba. It was Basara who chose this place to fight. Away from all the buildings that lay north of Tokyo Tower. The Azabu and Toranomon area to the north and north west of Tokyo Tower were full of embassies from countries all over the world. If Shiba were to dissolve the dimensional barrier during their fight as the combat took place in those areas, any damages inflicted on the embassies will have a disastrous consequence for Japanese diplomacy.

So it wasn’t just Tokyo. Shiba was taking the entire country of Japan hostage. While fighting towards the east of Tokyo Tower would have moved the fighting away as well, Shiba would have been placed closer to the Four Gods and would have accumulated their powers more quickly.

The central district they were fighting at had the affinity for the Earth element. The fields and parks that lay to the east of Tokyo Tower would have also complemented his power. And while the high rise buildings had Earth and Metal affinity, the property itself was of Wood. For Shiba to increase the power of the Earth affinity, it would have been beneficial for him to reduce the Wood affinity within the area.

There was another reason for Shiba to fight in this area and that lay with the Zojyouji Temple in the district. Part of the Jodo-Shu Buddhism established by the Tokugawa family, the feng shui of the temple held significant powers. The Ura-Kimon Gate in Zojyouji Temple and the Kimon Gate in Kaneiji Temple lay northeast and southwest respectively, and were used to focus and concentrate the power.

Just like how the military base in the north strengthens Genbu, the Kimon Gate and the Ura-Kimon Gate also played their part in Tokyo city. With their long history in establishing the feng shui in Tokyo, if either of the gates were to be destroyed, it will cause an unbalance in the feng shui in Tokyo and will cause the Four Gods to go berserk and in turn, will lead to the destruction of Tokyo.

And so Basara had to fight while making sure that the fight was taking place well away from the gates and the embassies. As long as they were away, Basara could fight at full strength as well.

Moving faster than the wind, Basara closed his distance with Shiba and unleashed Brynhildr. Shiba, seeing Basara’s movement, began to move, only for Basara to raise his speed and step away to the side. Shiba’s eyes tracked Basara but suddenly, Basara disappeared from his sights with another sidestep.

Using his momentum as a pivot, Basara spun on the spot to unleash a powerful horizontal slash, faster than the naked eye could follow.

“Phew, that was close.”

And with a curl of his right hand, a defensive barrier sprung up and surrounded Shiba. Basara’s slash hit Shiba right in his blindspot but the barrier absorbed the full impact of the slash.

This was Shiba he was fighting. Basara gave his all in that strike, and it didn’t even scratch his barrier. That just proved the difference in their strengths. But this time around, he couldn’t depend on the help of his friends as they were fighting their own battles.

No, it’s not that they couldn’t help him. They were helping him. They were helping him by fighting the Four Gods and Balflear. And it was Basara’s job to defeat Shiba. That meant that he had to expect situations when his plans went awry. This was Shiba after all. However, he wasn’t expecting his first and fastest strike to be so ineffective, that Basara was left hanging in the air in a mild state of shock. His eyes saw a black blur and his brain registered that it was Shiba’s foot. But for a speed type like Basara to not be able to keep up with the blur of a kick meant that the kick itself must have been some sort of ability of Shiba’s. Thinking on instinct, Basara continued the momentum of his horizontal slash to spin his body away from the kick, and he felt a strange gust of wind pass his cheek.

“Oh, you didn’t use Brynhildr to block it?”

“You must be really cautious of my attacks Basara”.

Of course he was. Takashi was adamant that he dodged Shiba’s attack, yet he was damaged so badly to the point that even Kaoru’s magic couldn’t heal him. It must be something to do with Shiba’s ability. Right now, Basara wasn’t able to identify that ability so he had to make sure he dodged everything.

With a backflip, Basara gained his distance from Shiba and made multiple slashes towards Shiba. The slashes cut through the air but Shiba just swayed on the spot to dodge all of them. But Basara expected him to dodge.

Shiba heard a groaning sound from behind and turned to see a giant building falling his way. Basara’s blades weren’t for him, but for the building behind him.

“Geez, just because we’re in a barrier, you sure do crazy things.”

Shiba let out a chuckle. He still had time to dodge.

“!!!”

But Basara didn’t let him. With a great swing, Basara brought down Brynhildr for a vertical slash. But it wasn’t for the Banishing Shift. No. A red glow surrounded his blade. A red glow that was only given to those who shared the blood of the previous Demon Lord Wilbert. It was the same slash that defeated Leohart in the battle in the Demon World.

The Gravity Slash.

Back then, Basara needed the help of Sheila’s medicine to use this ability. But since the battle with Celis at the Village, where he was able to use Belphegor’s spirit, Basara had learnt to control his demonic powers at will.

If the gravity would crush Shiba, that would be for the best. But even if he didn’t, the gravity could keep him trapped long enough for the building to come crashing down on him.

“Oh, so this is the famed Gravity Slash… I’ve heard all about it from Balflear.”

Shiba spoke in such a nonchalant manner that you wouldn’t have guessed that this man was about be crushed my a high rise building. But Shiba was the very image of calm, and he raised his right hand as if to catch the building. Basara stared in shock. Even Shiba won’t be able to catch the force of a falling building with a single hand.

He didn’t. Basara could only watch as a brownish glow appeared on Shiba’s hand. And in the next instant, the entire building, concrete pillars and all, were reduced to dust.

Part 6

 

Basara watched Shiba turn the building to dust and it dawned on him. So that was Shiba’s ability. What Shiba just shot out from his palm wasn’t magic. It was most likely “Ki”. Unlike Magic, which was used by higher beings such as spirits, Ki was available in abundance on Earth. The Five Elements themselves are all properties of different Ki. Ki resided in nature, and people and animals were not exempt from that. But for people and animals, their spirit determined how their Ki was used. There were those within the Hero Tribe who were able to channel their Ki for combat, but those numbers were few as the Heroes themselves usually fought using the power of the Four Gods. And those who did fight using Ki were usually only able to use the Ki within their body.

 

What Shiba used right now was definitely Ki. And from the brown color, Basara was certain that Shiba was channeling the Earth energy of the central district. Shiba must be able to manipulate Ki to fight with.

 

The very reason Shiba set up the Five Element dimensional barrier was probably for him to absorb all the Ki that was being generated from the different complementing and opposing elements in the area.

 

Basara finally understood now. Even if he may be faster than Shiba, things such as “killing intent” and “presence” were all parts of Ki. That’s how Shiba was able to sense and predict all of Basara’s attacks. And with Takashi, even if he was able to physically block Shiba’s attack, all Shiba had to do was channel and overload Takashi with Ki to damage him indirectly. A well-trained Ki user is able to channel the Ki from the elements to and fro one’s body. It was no surprise that a master Ki user like Shiba would be able to channel Ki through other people.

 

Now that Basara knew what Shiba’s ability was, he could finally formulate a plan to defeat him. But Shiba must be aware of Basara’s trump card. The Universal Rejection that he used against Celis, which allows him to negate all physical and magical properties. The Universal Rejection must have negated the visual magic that Shiba was using to observe the match. So he must have a faint idea as to what Basara’s trump move may be. Shiba also must be aware now that Basara is able to use his Banishing Shift again, unlike when he was fighting Celis.

 

He wasn’t able to use his Banishing Shift then because of the contract he had with Chisato screwed up the spiritual balance inside his body. But with the help of Belphegor’s spirit restoring balance during his fight with Celis, he was also able to remove the corruption within Takashi’s body. Shiba wouldn’t have known about this as he had already left the village by then. But for someone who can sense Ki, Shiba should be able to sense that something had changed in Basara’s spiritual makeup.

 

And the way he was acting so relaxed, there must still be many cards for him to play. For now, Basara could only guess what those cards were. This does put him at a disadvantage. There was a clear gap in their strengths and Basara had already shown all his cards while Shiba has not revealed his. However, Basara has always overcome situations like these. His opponents were always stronger than him. So Basara focused on a plan to defeat Shiba. And by the time his mind came up with an idea, his body was already moving on its own and charged into the smiling Shiba.

 

Part 7

 

Yuki continued to head south from Kinshicho while avoiding Seiryuu’s attacks. Sakuya’s element was metal. But her wind blade attacks did nothing to Seiryuu whose element was Tree. So now she was headed to Sumida Ward, an area she once rules out as a battleground, because of its abundance of water, an element that would complement Seiryuu’s Tree element.

 

“So that’s why you wanted me here.”

 

Yuki now understood why Sakuya was leading her to this area. The further she headed southwest away from Kinshicho, the stronger Sakuya began to glow and give off power.

 

And she arrived where Sakuya was leading her. To the Monzen-Nakacho Station of the Tozai Subway Line. Precisely, to the Ooyokogawa River nearby. The word for “flower” in the name of the spirit that resides in Sakuya, Konohana Sakuya Hime, means “Sakura” (Cherry blossom). Sakuya was a Tree element weapon.

 

And the riverbanks of Ooyokogawa River were full of cherry blossom trees.

 

Sakuya’s metal property is an opposing element to Seiryuu. But unless she can get close enough to strike Seiryuu, it didn’t mean anything. Seiryuu’s wind barrier was simply too strong.

 

But Yuki knows that Sakuya is just as, if not more, powerful than Seiryuu. On a head to head, perhaps Seiryuu’s strength was stronger than that of Sakuya. But Sakuya chose Yuki to be its wielder, and they have overcome many adversities together over the years. The bond that they share, and the bond that Yuki shares with Basara and the others, are more powerful than any flimsy bond between Shiba and Seiryuu.

 

That is why Yuki will not be fighting Seiryuu with Sakuya’s opposing property of metal. She will believe in her sword. She will believe in Sakuya who had chosen her. She will believe in the bond that they share together.

 

Atop the Ishijima Bridge on Ooyokogawa River, Yuki clasped her sword and focused.

 

As if to answer her call, Sakuya began to glow, and the very nature around Yuki also responded. The sakura trees that only bloom in late March suddenly all bloomed in unison. The bright light from Sakuya, the moonlight from the crescent moon and the countless sakura trees in full bloom, enveloped the entire area in a light crimson colour.

 

Seiryuu flew above them. It knew that Yuki was down there. The sudden surge in the tree element power made Yuki a shining beacon in the darkness. But Yuki did not care.

 

“Sakuya…”

 

Having her name called, Sakuya summoned a vortex around the river, the wind carrying the thousands of sakura petals into the air. The petals and the wind then concentrated and was absorbed into the blade of Sakuya, changing its color from silver to a sakura-pink, and finally to crimson.

 

When Seiryuu saw the change, it acted quickly. It opened its huge jaw, and blasted a gigantic blue and green beam from its mouth. Seiryuu fired a Tree element beam attack towards the girl. It used the tree energy within its body and not from the surrounding sakura trees as the sword absorbed all the powers from the nearby trees. Recognizing the threat that the girl now possessed, Seiryuu no longer paid heed to the environmental destruction, and decided to blast away its strongest attacks to eliminate the threat.

 

Seiryuu’s beam blasted the entire area around Yuki. Seiryuu experienced the same feeling Yuki experienced when she sent wind blades to it the first time. Seiryuu’s beam met a wall of crimson that was pushing back against it. Seiryuu then changed its attack to a wind element attack and let loose another attack, only to have it be blocked by the crimson barrier again.

 

That meant one thing: at that moment the girl’s power outmatched its own.

 

A huge explosion rocked the area from the collision of the beams and Yuki’s barrier. Luckily for Seiryuu, its wind barrier protected it from the explosion. It quickly judged that Yuki would have to absorb the powers of the sakura trees again in order to fire another one of that crimson attack from before, so it wasted no time in attacking the girl to prevent her from absorbing power.

 

Seiryuu swooped down to where the girl would be and dispelled its wind barrier to prepare to fire off another beam. Except, the girl was charging through the dust and debris of the explosion, straight to Seiryuu. And Seiryuu finally saw it.

 

On the line of trajectory of the girl and itself lay a sakura coloured “road” lain out like a carpet of flower petals. The smoke and dust from the explosion had covered this road so Seiryuu wasn’t able to notice it, and because the area was already full of Tree element energy, it was unable to sense this sakura stairway either.

 

The girl ran to the top of the sakura pathway then took a leap right behind Seiryuu in its blindspot,  then unleashed a devastating vertical slash of deep crimson through the night sky towards the blue dragon.

 

Part 8

 

The south district was the home to the fire element. Having blown up the oil tanker and absorbing all the fire energy within the area, Suzaku glided along the night sky, all but guaranteed of its victory.

 

Ever since it has absorbed the fire energy of the oil tanker, the battle went from being a battle between beast and spellcaster to a battle between hunter and prey. The spellcaster was originally able to fire off some water based magic. But now all the prey could do was to run away and evade attacks.

 

But run away it did well. Suzaku was still unable to land the finishing blow. Although, a big part of the was because Suzaku was not using any mid to long range attacks, reason being that it had absorbed too much fire energy. It had absorbed too much power to the point where Suzaku might risk destroying the area it was assigned to protect, if it unleashed any long range attacks. And if Suzaku was to evaporate the Tokyo Bay, it would greatly imbalance the waterways in Tokyo and may even affect the elemental powers of the other Four Gods.

 

That is why Suzaku was currently remaining airborne and attacking from afar with small burts. Currently, Suzaku’s flames were strong enough to turn the girl to ash by slightly brushing against her. But the girl’s use of wind magic meant that she was able to survive by the skin of her neck each time Suzaku attacked. However, sooner or later. Fatigue will strike the girl. She would not be able to continue this cat and mouse chase forever.

 

“!”

 

Suzaku saw the girl floating in the air, preparing to cast a spell. But it did not care. Even if Kurumi was able to use all the water in Tokyo Bay for her attack, it would not be enough to take down Suzaku. Wind attacks will only make Suzaku stronger, there was not enough earth above the water for any Earth element attack that could cause considerable damage, and any fire based attack by her would simply be absorbed.

 

And while the girl did use spirit magic, which was separate from the Five Elements, none of her powers or her spirits were strong enough. There was simply no spiritual being stronger than Suzaku in this southern district.

 

So the girl posed no threat at all. And Suzaku saw that she was casting wind magic, which would only strengthen its flames, so it charged right towards the girl.

 

But in the next instant, something crashed into Suzaku.

 

Impossible. Currently Suzaku’s flames were hot enough to evaporate anything that it came into contact with. There was simply nothing in this area that could physically hurt it.

 

And that was when Suzaku realised, when it looked around, the the flames surrounding its body had seemed to have disappeared.

 

“Seems like the plan worked.”

 

Kurumi Nonaka gave herself a pat on the back for her strategy. In this battle, Kurumi was using two different elements: water elements for attacks that opposed Suzaku’s fire affinity, and wind magic to give herself the ability to fly. And it was during her flight that Kurumi came up with her strategy.

 

When she had cast her water dragon spell and dragged Suzaku underwater, it had used a flame barrier to evaporate the onslaught of water. She had done the same with a wind barrier when she had to go underwater. And that gave her an idea. To surround Suzaku with a gigantic wind barrier. To remove a crucial element that Suzaku needed.

 

Oxygen.

 

Normally, fire from magical spells and spiritual magic don’t require oxygen and doesn’t exactly follow the laws of science. But the Five Elements draws its strength directly from the natural source of energy. Therefore, the amount of flame that Suzaku was unleashing would have to burn through a lot of oxygen to maintain it. It was only a matter of surrounding Suzaku with a wind barrier and the fire burnt through the oxygen real quick.

 

Without the flames, Suzaku was nothing but a gigantic floating bird at this point.

 

“Look at you. You’re just a floating piece of teriyaki chicken.”

 

Kurumi’s little joke couldn’t contain the sense of pride she felt with her plan.

 

“I’ll teach you why you couldn’t defeat me.”

 

“It’s the difference in fighting experience… and the fact that you have never tasted defeat.”

 

And with that countless water lances shot out from the sea to penetrate Suzaku.

 

Part 9

 

Zest, who was fighting Genbu in the northern district, was currently heading to a different location. Southeast from their previous location, Zest was heading towards the business district of Ikebukuro.

 

Floating atop of the train station, Zest was certain that this was the best place for battle. She had came to this area once. After their fight in the Demon World against the Current Demon Lord faction and it was decided that Zest will move into the Toujou household, they had come here to shop for furniture. As the maid of the household, she was entrusted with the finances. And while the generous funds in their bank account, thanks to the contributors in from the Demon World, meant that money was not an issue, there would be no wasteful spending under the eye of Zest. That is why Zest and the others had come to Ikebukuro to shop for cheap deals. And that was related to the reason why she chose this place to fight Genbu.

 

Because she wanted to learn more about the places she visited with her master Basara, Zest always made sure to research the history of every location they visit together. Ikebukuro was no exception. The first reason why they moved here was to get away from the military base that was strengthening Genbu. And the district they were in before had the Sumida River flowing through, which also added to Genbu’s already frightening power.

 

Regardless this northern district was still a disadvantage for Zest. But there was something here that will allow Zest to close the gap between their powers.

 

That was the earth itself. In the northern area before, there was plenty of earth, but the mountain earth was full of water, which gave power to Genbu. The lands around Ikebukuro did not seem to contain water, which would allow Zest to create more powerful versions of golems.

 

There was also the issue of buying time. Genbu was a massive creature. Further to that, as the dimensional barrier currently covering Tokyo was created by the holy magic of the Four Gods, a pure blooded demon like Zest was unable to use her full power. But this northern area was connected to the central district where Basara was fighting. If the others defeat their respective opponents, they would be able to come and help her fight Genbu.

 

But that was was an option Zest did not want to take. She already felt like excess baggage by not being able to enter the Village with Basara and the others. While that was done in order to not aggravate the villagers, she still felt like she was unable to provide support to Basara when he really needed her. So it was impossible for her to play the waiting game. To depend on someone else. Genbu was hers to fight and her alone.

 

“How weak of me… to even consider the need for help.”

 

At that moment, a monumental object came crashing down from the sky and destroyed the building under her, the Sunshine Aquarium. And absorbing all the water from the aquarium was the grotesque turtle-like creature.

 

“Genbu…”

 

The creature’s eyes turned towards Zest and she summoned two new golems as if to challenge it. When she summoned one golem before, it was easily overpowered by the turtle and snake beast. This time, the even numbers should give Zest more of a fighting chance. The white and blue golems Zest created this time were coated in armor and wielding swords and shields. The golems were created from the Seibu (West) Department Store and Tobu (East) Department Store respectively.

 

“Go forth!”

 

Controlling two golems was no small task. In fact, it wasn’t a matter of using double the magical reserve. Instead, it was double the creation magic and double the controlling magic, so in reality, it was closer to 4 times the magic to control two golems, and this was going to be a strain on Zest if the battle was to be drawn out.

 

The two golems charged at Genbu and began a synchronized array of attacks. These golems wielded swords but that did not mean that their attack power was greatly strengthened to rival that of Genbu’s. However, the use of swords and shields have made a significant change to the battle. Genbu was being pressed. Genbu was made of two separate creatures connected together. That meant both the turtle and the snake had to make independent decisions each time they attacked or defended themselves. This of course meant that things did not go smoothly when they mess up their timings. It’s one thing to join forces and fight one enemy. Fighting two equally sized enemies alone was a very different task. What made things worse for Genbu was that the golems didn’t have that problem. They were simply puppets being controlled by Zest. That meant that they were able to move fluidly and synchronize their attacks to the same heartbeat without any confusion.

 

Of course the snake could still propel itself like a whip from before and strike down at the two golems, but Zest was sure that it was not able to do so. The reasoning lay in the nature of the golems’ attacks. There was a reason why Zest had the golems equip swords. While the snake’s whip allowed it to attack enemies from afar with a powerful snap of the whip, that whip-like motion made it extremely vulnerable to the blades. If the golems were to block the whip with their swords, the snake will risk cutting itself on the sharp blades. While the turtle was blessed with an absolute defense, the snake did not have a hard shell surrounding it.

 

Watching from atop the ruins of Sunshine Aquarium, Zest was preparing for her final plan when Genbu let out a bellowing wail.

 

“What…?”

 

In an instant, Genbu had turned a large part of Ikebukuro into ice. Her two golems were also frozen in place with the rest of the city.

 

“!”

 

Zest dodged the quick attack from Genbu, only to see a large snake head come at her from above.

 

What Genbu did before was to unleash all the water it had stored inside its body to freeze the area. This was all a strategy from the very beginning. The reason why Genbu did not use its ice attack twice in the mountains before was to give off the impression that it needed a large body of water to use ice attacks. The ice attacks consumed a lot of energy, and Genbu needed to make sure that the target was the real one: it had already been deceived by a mud clone before after all. So after confirming that the woman floating in the sky was indeed the real one, Genbu launched its ice attack. And in case she was able to dodge them, it send its snake tail after it as well. All the snake had to do was swallow the woman whole and crush her in its mouth.

 

“…!?”

 

It was at that moment that Genbu realised that something was off. First, it was suspended in mid air, even after using the propulsion of water from within its body to launch itself at the woman. Second, the mouth on the snake head was not closing.

 

“I knew you would have eventually ignored the two golems to attack me directly.”

Genbu looked up to see the woman floating above him.

 

“I knew that you would have factored the risk of using your whip attack. So you would most likely attack me with the turtle part of your body.”

 

“And I used all of that against you, in order to penetrate your absolute defense.”

 

Genbu understood what she was saying. And it knew why it couldn’t move and why it couldn’t close its mouth. It knew exactly what the woman did.

 

The tall white building that the woman was standing on before was turned to sand. Not just any old sand, but sand that was being funneled into Genbu’s body through the mouth of the snake. The reasons why the snake couldn’t close its mouth was because the density of the sand was far greater than the biting strength of the snake’s jaw. Genbu’s absolute defense was only from attacks from the outside. It cannot block attacks from within. The woman was planning on overfilling its body with sand to rupture it from within. It won’t let that happen!

 

Genbu tried to throw up the sand from within the body when-

 

“It won’t work.”

 

Sand started to pour into the turtle’s mouth as well and Genbu wasn’t able to throw up the sand. It started to hear a creaking sound as his body was starting swell from all the consumed sand and the hard shell was finding it hard to contain the body.

 

“Ikebukuro’s name literally means ‘landfill’ as was the origin of this town. Its very name origins means that the land itself killed the water in the area. Therefore, there is no stronger a land than this to defeat you.”

 

“I am Basara-sama’s maid… I cannot be eaten by the likes of you.”

 

“So feast on this land as much as you want. I shall grant you a feast that shall appease your gluttony to your heart’s content.”

 

Genbu lay suspended in the air as sand continued to flood its mouth and fill it up.

 

“After all, as Basara-sama’s maid… I must be hospitable and accommodating to guests at all times.”

 

And as the woman stopped talking, Genbu felt its body implode.

 

Part 10

 

While Maria was looking for an opportunity to use her trump card, Mio too, was fighting at Kinuta Park. Precisely, at the baseball field against Byakko. Byakko, who protects the west, had an affinity for metal, which made the fire using Mio its natural threat. But things were not going so well for Mio.

 

It wasn’t that her magic wasn’t good enough. Having defeated Luca in the Demon World and continuing her training with Basara once they returned, as well as having more ‘extra sessions’ with Basara compared to the other girls, Mio was definitely stronger than when she was in the Demon World. And while the barrier by the Four Gods meant that there was some restrictions on her power, she should still be strong enough to take on Byakko.

 

But no matter what fire attacks she threw at it, it didn’t work. She threw fireballs at it, rained downs spears of fire and created pillars of fire at its feet.

 

Byakko was simply too fast.

 

Its reactions speed was faster than Mio’s speed to cast magic. And Mio couldn’t just cast a spell that would attack the entire area as Byakko always stayed within the baseball pitch. To be precise, Byakko only lingered around the pitcher’s mound where the Byakko Spear was planted.

 

And Mio couldn’t damage the spear lest it destroy the barrier that the Four Gods set up. The barriers were created for Shiba to take the people of Tokyo as hostages. If they were to accidentally destroy the barrier, the Four Gods will go on a rampage and will lead to the destruction of Tokyo.

 

But Mio couldn’t just approach Byakko either. For every time Mio tried to do so, Byakko will fire off multiple crescent shaped blades from its body that will chase after Mio.

 

“Kh… Damn it!”

 

Mio was pushed to defend herself, using her magic to create fire pillars to block Byakko’s attacks. She was only able to create the pillars and barriers in time as long as she kept her distance, so fighting close range was not an option.

 

“You really are a bother aren’t you?”

 

Mio was forced to admit that their difference in speed was causing a lot of trouble for her. For a fighter like Mio who relies on casting powerful spells from a distance, speed type enemies are her worst nightmares. The first time she faced off Basara in his living room, he had Brynhildr pointed at her neck in an instant. And even with her fight against Takashi, she was only able to buy some time for Basara.

 

But that was all when she lacked any real combat experience. She was definitely stronger now. And she will never forget the bitter feeling of being so useless.

 

She glanced towards the other side of the park and saw Balflear summon countless creatures to fight Maria. That was a man who was second in command to the current Demon Lord Leohart. Of course he was going to be a force to be reckoned with.

 

Time and time again, Mio had been saved by Maria. Ever since the time when Zolgear came and killed her parents. But has Mio managed to return the favor? It seemed that Basara was always the one to help Maria when she needed it. Back when Sheila was taken hostage, it was Basara who fought and defeated Zolgear. When Maria felt like she lost her position in the house, with Zest coming to live with them, it was Basara who cheered her up.

 

“Now it’s my turn.”

 

Mio Naruse promised herself. It was her turn to help Maria. And together… No, with everyone, they were going to go and support Basara.

 

“Let’s do this.”

 

Mio began to cast a spell and suddenly a strong vortex began to swirl around Mio. The vortex picked up the sand from the park and resulted in a giant tornado in the middle of the park.

 

 

Byakko stared at the black tornado. That must be some sort of plan of attack for the girl. But Byakko was not afraid of such a threat. The tornado in the Five Elements fell under the Tree element, which was weak against Byakko’s Metal element. The Metal element was already being strengthened by the Earth element of the park. If Byakko was to attack the tornado, it will cancel out the tornado and shred the girl at the same time.

 

But before Byakko could launch an attack, a glaring white light shone throughout the area and a loud sound ripped through the air. It was a thunderstrike. And it struck right in the center of the tornado.

 

The girl must be causing this. But Byakko wasn’t able to grasp her intentions until he felt himself being pulled towards the tornado. As his body was afloat, he wasn’t able to dig himself into the ground and Byakko found himself being dragged closer and closer to the tornado. It tried to create a wall of metal to stop his pull, but the metallic wall was simply pulled into the tornado.

 

“!”

 

In a last ditch effort, Byakko grew metal spikes all over its body. If it’s going to charge head first into that tornado, it was going to make sure to impale the girl while at it. So Byakko stopped fighting back and let the magnetic force pull it towards the tornado.

 

Just then, the tornado changed from black to crimson. And the magnetic pull on Byakko stopped. But it was too late. Byakko wasn’t able stop itself from charging head first into the crimson tornado.

 

Byakko didn’t even make a sound.

 

It simply evaporated.

 

 

What Mio Naruse used was magnetism. By using magic to create a vortex around her, she was able to pull in the iron sand in the area to cause a magnetic field. And that field was just too strong against Byakko, whose entire body was made to create metal. And while the wind element was weak against Byakko’s metal element, it was also used to power up Mio’s fire element. That was why Mio was able to instantly change the tornado into a tornado of fire by adding fire magic to it. It was so hot and strong that Byakko evaporated the moment it came in contact with it.

 

“Phew…”

 

Mio dispelled the tornado as she relished in her victory. That was one thing she could tick off her todo list. But her job wasn’t done yet. Their battle was still ongoing.

 

“Mio-sama!”

 

Mio snapped her neck towards Maria’s scream. At that moment, she didn’t realise that it wasn’t a scream of congratulation from Maria. It was a scream to warn her. And Mio saw why Maria let out a warning. For one of the disgusting looking creatures that Maria was fighting, was right in front of her, and it brought down its massive fist towards Mio.

 

Part 11

 

Maria’s brain snapped into overdrive as soon as she saw Mio in danger. It seemed that her cry out to Mio did reach her ears. But that wasn’t enough. At any other time, Mio would have been able to deflect the attack from a single Legion, but the current Mio had just given her all fighting Byakko and controlling lightning magic. Her senses and reaction were just not the same.

 

Damn it!

 

If it was her, she would be able to survive a blow from Legion. But not Mio in her current weakened state. Any direct contact will be devastating at this point.

 

But Maria could not fault Balflear for this seemingly underhanded attack on Mio. He was the commander of his army. He must have predicted the outcome of Mio’s fight to set his plan in motion after factoring all the possibilities. And fights like these didn’t have rules. While Mio fought with Byakko and Maria chose to fight Balflear, there was no unspoken rule for Balflear to focus solely on Maria. For Balflear, Mio and Maria were all part of the same group trying to stop Shiba. So if there really was anyone to blame, it would be Maria. For allowing Balflear the opportunity to attack the vulnerable Mio.

 

What can I do!?

 

The distance between herself and Mio was not something that could be covered by a short sprint. And there weren’t any time for her to unlock her seal. But she still had to do something. She had to protect her precious family.

 

“Arrrrrghhhhhh!!”

 

Maria Naruse let out a ear splitting scream and, out of pure instinct, brought down her right fist towards the ground.

 

 

Balflear watched Maria as he hid his presence with the Wraith ability.

 

“What a pointless endeavor.”

 

Balflear smirked to himself. There was simply too much a distance between the baseball field where Mio was, and the park where Maria was standing. And no matter how powerful Maria’s fist was, the shockwave of her punch will weaken as it emits further away from her. Even then, Legion’s fist would strike Mio long before the shockwave of Maria’s punch reached her.

 

Deciding that Mio’s fate was sealed, Balflear focused Legions’ attention towards Maria.

 

“!?”

 

But he was faced with an unbelievable sight. Maria’s fist, while it struck the ground, did not create any shockwaves. Instead, a crimson coloured glow emitted from her fist. In an instant, that crimson force field expanded, and the Legion surrounding Maria were all crushed by some unseen force, including the Legion that was about to strike Mio.

 

“Unbelievable…”

 

Balflear understood what that power meant. Maria Naruse just used gravity magic.

 

 

“Maria…?”

Mio was in a state of shock as well. Not just at finding herself safe from harm, but also at seeing Maria use gravity magic.

 

“…Mio-sama…I’m so glad…”

 

Mio saw Maria look her way with a smile as her legs gave way from under her.

 

“…Maria!”

 

Mio quickly activated her flight magic and propelled herself to Maria, catching her just before she hit the dirt. As she clung onto Maria’s frail body, Mio sensed for oncoming attacks but couldn’t detect any movements. There were no Legion in sight. Perhaps Balflear deducted that a two on one will not be advantageous to his situation, and made a hasty retreat.

 

Taking a soft sigh of relief, Mio looked down at Maria in her arms. She had lost conscious but looked to be sleeping in peace while breathing gently.

 

“But…what was that…?”

 

No one answered her question. The only things left at the park were a sleeping succubus and a massive crater.

 

Part 12

 

The fight in the Central District between Shiba and Basara had changed. That is because Basara changed the way they fought. Basara adjusted his fighting style to a mid-range fighter by using his Extinction Sword to adapt to Shiba, who was able to channel his Ki for both close and mid-range attacks. By doing so, if Shiba was to use his Ki like before which destroyed the building, Basara would be able to evade and even use the Extinction Sword to counter it.

 

But that did not mean that Basara had the upper hand. The Ki which Shiba emits from his hands can manipulate the Extinction energy of Basara’s blade as well. Therefore, even if Basara was able to destroy the buildings surrounding Shiba, Shiba himself was left unscathed. To a bystander, this fight may have looked one-sided with Basara, who wanted to keep his distance, and Shiba who continued to press him. But Basara was content with that. After all, this was all part of his plan to lure Shiba into a trap. Specifically, he was luring him towards Daimon Road, close to Zojoji Temple.

 

By turning around and facing Shiba, Basara was now facing west while Shiba faced the east. And as Basara was running at ground level while Shiba pursued by hopping over buildings, Basara was looking up to Shiba while Shiba stared down at Basara. Currently, Basara had his back to the Old Gate of Zojoji Temple, while Shiba stood in between the World Trade Center Building and the Cultural Broadcaster “Mediaplus” building. And that was exactly how Basara wanted it to be.

 

“Oh… this is interesting.”

 

Shiba let out a little chuckle, as if he knew what Basara was planning. Zojoji and the Tokyo Tower were key buildings in the Central District. If they were to be destroyed, it will cause a rupture in the Earth element in the area and will risk weakening or breaking the barrier: something Shiba would have wanted to avoid.

 

While the destruction of the barrier meant that the Four Gods will destroy Tokyo, that wasn’t Shiba’s plan, but merely a last resort. His goal, after all, is to absorb the Ki energy of the Four Gods to turn himself into an omnipotent being. So this location right now should limite Shiba’s liberal use of his Ki blasts.

 

But this plan did have one big gaping hole.

 

That is, while Basara wanted to end the fight as quickly as possible, Shiba did not mind taking his sweet time. As Shiba was absorbing Ki every moment, the longer the fight was drawn out, the stronger he would get. But the fact that Shiba gave chase to Basara meant that he did not want Tokyo Tower and Zojoji Temple to be destroyed… Or he could have just been bored and wanted to play cat and mouse.

 

Another issue was that, Basara himself didn’t want the barrier to be destroyed. The Four Gods destroying the city of Tokyo must be avoided at all costs. And that is why he had his back facing Zojoji Temple and the Tokyo Tower; to make sure his Extinction Blade did not accidentally destroy those buildings.

 

With Basara wanting to avoid damaging Zojoji Temple and the Tokyo Tower, Shiba could indeed use that to his advantage and corner Basara. But making Shiba think he had Basara cornered was also part of the plan.

 

“!”

 

In the next instant, Basara Toujou made his move. As quick as the wind, he dashed towards Shiba.

 

Part 13

 

Shiba stared down as Basara made his quick sprint towards him.

 

Hmmm?

 

Shiba sensed that something was off. Basara knew that his ability was to manipulate Ki. And that is why he had been keeping his distance all this time. Even coming out here to fight was to restrict his use of Ki.

 

But then why?

 

Why was Basara charging right at him?

 

Basara wasn’t the type of person to just charge in blindly without a reason, and Shiba knew that. That meant that this seemingly suicidal move was a stepping stone to victory for Basara.

 

But what exactly was he plotting?

 

Right then, Shiba saw the trump card Basara had been hiding. A crimson hue started to surround the charging Basara.

 

And in the next moment, he disappeared.

 

Part 14

 

Basara moved with an explosive burst, leaving behind sound and reaching godly levels of speed. This was the anti-gravity “Universal Rejection” that he used in his fight with Celis.

 

The only way to defeat an enemy who is stronger, and with a potential hidden ace in the hole, was to defeat them with speed before they can play their strongest card.

 

Appearing right in front of Shiba, Basara swung his sword to cleave Shiba into two.

 

“Ah… the power you used to defeat Celis.”

 

Basara heard Shiba’s voice and looked up to see his hands enveloped with golden particles. At that moment, Basara knew that whatever was coming, was Shiba’s ace in the hole. And this time, he was emitting Ki far greater than the amount he used to blow up the buildings from before. Shiba must have deduced that he would not be able to block Basara’s blade with his bare hands while he was rushing at him with the explosive speed of “Universal Rejection”.

 

With that amount of Ki charged in his hands, Basara knew that being hit by it would mean his death.

 

“Arghhhh!”

 

Basara swung Brynhildr with all his might. And just as expected, Shiba went in to stop the blade with his left hand covered in Ki.

 

“—!?”

 

Shiba had a look of shock on his face when the Ki around his left hand dispersed. It was Banishing Shift. Basara knew that Shiba was aware of him being able to use Banishing Shift again, as well as “Universal Rejection”. But the reason why he was still able to catch Shiba off-guard was because he was holding Brynhildr in one hand.

 

Banishing Shift was an attack that needed two hands to activate. And Shiba was keeping a keen eye on when Basara would change his grip to two hands. And that is why Basara used a one-handed Banishing Shift. This was by no means, a complete Banishing Shift. But ever since his fight in the Demon World, Basara was aware that there may come a time when adversaries, who have studied his Banishing Shift, would come after him. And so, Basara had spent considerable time in practicing a one-handed Banishing Shift. But this was by no means the same as the real Banishing Shift, but it did its job to deflect an attack.

 

When the spiritual balance in his body was unbalanced due to his contract with Hasegawa, he wasn’t able to use this move during his fight with Celis. So this made it the perfect opportunity to use it against Shiba.

 

As Basara’s Banishing Shift cancelled out the Ki surrounding Shiba’s left hand, what resulted was a ear-piercing clash between Basara’s Brynhildr and Shiba’s armguard. Their metallic weapons were of similar toughness, and thus, the clash of their weapons made the both of them lose their balance.

 

“– Got you.”

 

Shiba let off a little smirk as his right fist came hurtling towards Basara. Shiba was already preparing his follow up strike. And unlike his left fist that had its Ki dispersed from Banishing Shift, his right fist was cloaked in a layer of Ki.

 

“Kh!”

 

Basara activated Universal Rejection to the back of Brynhildr’s blade to quicken the slash. Not only that, the Universal Rejection that now surrounded the blade will nullify any physical or magical property, meaning that Basara’s slash was going to strike Shiba once again.

 

“Rrrgaaaaaahhhhhhhh!”

 

Letting out a roar, Basara swung Brynhildr and felt their attacks collide. He also heard a loud explosion like a cannon being fired, and one of them was blasted away. Basara saw Shiba becoming smaller in the distance.

 

Except, it was Basara who was being blasted away.

 

“Rrrrgggaaaaaahhhhhhh– wha!?’

 

He didn’t even have time to comprehend it. Basara was blasted straight through and destroyed the Old Gate, before being flung into Zojoji Temple. He collided into into the main altar within the temple and everything went black.

 

Part 15

 

“Ugh….gh….urk!”

 

Even as the dust settled after the impact of the collision, Basara did not get back up. He just took the full brunt of Shiba’s right hook, Ki and all, and his body was not responding to anything. The inside of the temple was a mess from Basara’s collision and Shiba’s Ki blast.

 

“You guessed right that I could manipulate Ki Basara… but you were off by a bit.”

 

Shiba spoke as he walked through the entrance that Basara just smashed through.

 

“Although I use Ki, my attack itself is a physical blow and you can classify it as such. And so, you used that same defensive move you used in the fight against Celis, to nullify all physical and magical strikes.”

 

“And I believe this ability comes from your mother, who was the younger sister to the previous Demon Lord. You were able to combine your mother’s power to control gravity with the magic of one of the members from the Demon Council.

 

“Huh…?”

 

Basara could only mutter weakly as Shiba picked apart the concept of Universal Rejection so easily.

 

“Judging from your reaction, I guess you have no clue as to how I did what I just did…. I presume that you don’t know the difference between “magic” and “Ki”. You probably think that they are two completely different things. You are both correct and incorrect in that assumption.”

 

“Ki exists in all things, and it also exists in magic. Magic is a type of Ki… therefore it also existed in that Universal Rejection ability that you used.”

 

“With my punches, I am able to manipulate the Ki of anything my fists touch. So of course, when our attacks clashed, my punch was stronger than your blade.”

 

“Kh…!”

 

As Basara lay on the dirt floor, unable to move, he knew that Shiba simply had the better hand when they revealed all their cards.

 

But one thing still confused him. Shiba didn’t hesitate at all to blast Basara into and destroy the Old Gate and damage Zojoji Temple. Destroying the building will surely bring unbalance to the barrier. And as a Ki user, Shiba should have been able to sense Mio and the others defeating the Four Gods. If the balance for the Five Elements were broken, Shiba will no longer be able to absorb power.

 

Shiba should have been able to send Basara into any direction. So that meant that he deliberately send Basara to crash into Zojoji Temple.

 

But why?

 

Basara heard the answer from the man himself.

 

“Seems like it will all go well.”

 

As Shiba gave a smile, the area was bathed in a golden glow.

 

Part 16

 

Nonaka Yuki, after defeating Seiryuu, made a beeline towards the Central District where Basara was. After finding Mio and the unconscious Maria in the Western District, Mio carried the unconscious Maria with her flight magic and they all made their way towards the South District.

 

When they didn’t find Kurumi there, they knew that she was successful in defeating Suzaku as Suzaku was also nowhere in sight. They presumed that Kurumi made her way to the north, so the group continued onto the North District where they spotted Zest and Kurumi.

 

But their happiness to see each other was short lived. It wasn’t that Kurumi and Zest were waiting for them. But it was strange for the two to not give chase after Basara in the Central District. Yuki soon found out why, when the hand she stretched out to the barrier connecting to the Central District, was rejected by the barrier. Although they never faced any problems going through other barriers, this one was refusing to let them in.

 

“Then let’s try this…!”

 

Yuki unsheathed Sakuya and let off a slash, only to see it being absorbed by the barrier.

 

“Kurumi-san and I have tried with both magic and physical attacks but to no avail. The barrier must be made from the same barrier protecting the four directions.”

 

“That means even my gravity magic won’t work…”

 

Mio mutterted a sigh from behind Zest.

 

“But that doesn’t mean we can just twiddle our thumbs out here.”

 

Basara was inside the barrier in the Central District. They had to do everything in order to get in there.

 

Kurumi voiced her plan.

 

“The Central District’s element is Earth right? Since the Eastern District is the Wood element, the barrier might be weaker there.”

 

“But there is a fissure between the Central and Eastern district. I’m afraid that if we force our way through, the fissure will send us to another district.”

 

Mio shook her head to Zest’s concern.

 

“No, my gravity magic will be able to directly impact the fissure, so when we attack the barrier, it’ll get us through.”

 

“… We should refrain from doing that.”

 

All heads turned towards Yuki.

 

“We have no idea what will happen if we attack the fissure. It’ll be good if we can make our way into the Central District. But what if we end up causing a fissure inside the district?”

 

“Even worse, there’s a chance that the entire barrier will break down.”

 

All of them had fought the Four Gods to make sure to stop the Four Gods from going berserk. All that they had done would be for nought if they were to accidentally destroy the barrier themselves.

 

“Right… sorry, I thought I had an idea.”

 

Yuki places a reassuring hand on her sister’s slumped shoulder.

 

“Don’t worry, thanks to you, I was able to come up with a plan.”

 

“Really, Yuki-san?”

 

Zest asked eagerly.

 

“Yes… this should work.”

 

“First, we have to–”

 

Yuki stopped her train of thought as she saw something at the edge of her vision.

 

Seeing Yuki freeze up, Mio and the others followed her gaze.

 

They didn’t know how it got there. But there was a bright gigantic golden dragon wrapped around Tokyo Tower.

 

Part 17

 

Basara felt a ripple through his body.

 

This…is…?

 

Having the Ki inside his body destroyed, as well as having multiple organs damaged by Shiba, Basara was in no state to move. The ripple was not his heartbeat. It wasn’t wild and erratic, but stable. And it was coming from the very ground below him as if the earth itself was throbbing.

 

Basara looked up to see what Shiba was planning the whole time.

 

Right there, on the 300 metre tall Tokyo Tower, was a colossal golden dragon that wrapped itself around the tower.

 

“No way…it can’t be…”

 

“It is… That’s “Kouryuu”. You know about it don’t you, Basara?”

 

The name uttered by Shiba was the name of the Divine Beast that held dominion over the Four Gods. The Four Gods not only represented the four directions but also the four seasons as well: Spring for Seiryuu, Summer for Suzaku, Autumn for Byakko, and Winter for Genbu.

 

But in the Five Elements, there was another direction and another season. The direction was the “center” and the season was “midsummer”.

 

And Kouryuu was the very representation of both the center and midsummer. The dragon was often used as a symbol for emperors, and its element of “Earth” allowed it control over the destructive forces of volcanoes and earthquakes.

 

Kouryuu’s power was not limited to Japan. It was the Earth itself. That meant it had control over the all the land on the earth. If it so much as willed it, it could wreak havoc anywhere in the world.

 

So that was Shiba’s plan. It all made sense now. If he had control of Kouryuu, Shiba would be able to attack the Vatican while he stayed on the other side of the world right here in Japan.

 

“But…how…?”

 

Ignoring his body’s cry of pain, Basara stood up to face Shiba. Basara still couldn’t believe what he was seeing. After all, there was no sacred vessel for Kouryuu. The idea of the Five Elements and the existence of Kouryuu was not an idea that only Shiba knew of. Therefore, if there ever was an object that would summon Kouryuu, the elders would have used it long ago, and the Vatican would have never allowed the Village to be in possession of a power so powerful that it could destroy the whole world.

 

That was the very reason why the Village in Japan was in possession of the Four Gods and their four elements and not the Five Elements. They also only had 4 sacred vessels.

 

While Shiba managed to forcibly turn the vessels and the Gods into part of the Five Elements, surely the Vatican and the Village must have had their own safeguards against situations like this.

 

But here they were, and Basara was seeing Kouryuu right in front of him. The only possibility that Basara could think of was that Kouryuu was a representation of absolute authority. It was said in Chinese history that Kouryuu would often lend its powers to emperors.

 

Even in Japan, during the Heian Period, there are records of Kouryuu appearing in front of the Uda Emperor. In short, Kouryuu at times would lend its strengths to kings that were deserving of its power.

 

“Kouryuu…chose you…?”

 

Not to history’s great leaders, not to heroes… not even to the strongest hero Jin. The fact that Kouryuu would pick Shiba, a man who was trying to wipe out the Hero Clan, was a baffling reality to accept for Basara.

 

“Oh no way… There’s no way I’d leave it to a matter of chance like that.”

 

“While it’s true that in raw strength alone, I might be considered special, but that alone won’t make me an authoritative figure like a king. Even the kings which Kouryuu served, some of them knew how to wield a sword and were strong enough, but there were many warriors and generals under said kings who were far stronger.”

 

“Kouryuu merely lended its strength to the ‘king’… In that case, you’d expect the Elders in the Village to receive Kouryuu’s blessings right?”

 

“Then…why…?”

 

“You have no idea…?”

 

Shiba smirked as Basara’s face drew a blank.

 

“Kouryuu is the leader of the Four Gods, and is tasked to protect the center… so it’s not surprising for it to appear when it has to protect the center right?”

 

“That…”

 

That did make sense. But… there was no threat to the Central District. Shiba had an absolute advantage over Basara currently.

 

“!?”

 

Then Basara realised something. Realised something he was ignoring ever since he entered the Central District. That was for him to locate the girls’ positions using the Master-Servant contract. He was able to sense the girls around the barrier separating the Central District and the outside. The fact that they were all there together meant that they had all won their respective fights. Which meant that they had all succeeded in weakening the effects of the Five Elements. While that was progress for Basara and the girls, to Shiba and Kouryuu, that was a threat closing in closer and closer.

 

“It was because… Mio and the others…defeated the Four Gods?”

 

“Exactly… it’s not up to me or you whether this area is in danger or not, it’s up to the Gods. And those Gods had had their spiritual reincarnations destroyed by your friends. There’s no greater threat than that, no matter how much I was to beat you here.”

 

Shiba’s little talk did make sense, but there was just something off about it for Basara. There was no way that the Elders in the Village or the Vatican would have let something as simple as this happen. They would have had safeguards for a situation like this. But then how did they…

 

“As I thought Basara,… you have it all wrong.’

 

Part 18

 

Shiba taught the confused Basara how Kouryuu was summoned. Secrets and all.

 

“You and those Elders are all the same. You’re all just running different simulations in your mind, without ever thinking of how powerful Kouryuu really is. You’re all thinking of ‘how to prevent summoning’ Kouryuu.”

 

“Meanwhile, I was always thinking of ways to summon it. So while you all focused on the different ‘situations’, I was thinking of the ‘requirements’ needed to call forth Kouryuu.”

 

The need for a worthy authoritative figure.

The need to defend the center from threats.

That is when the leader of the Four Gods, Kouryuu, will appear.

 

“But Kouryuu is not borne from those requirements. Kouryuu has always existed. It simply appears when those requirements are met. Then all I had to do was present a situation where those requirements happened.”

 

“The reason I chose to center my plans around Tokyo Tower wasn’t because it was the symbolic figure of Tokyo… It was because this building was one of the tallest towers in Tokyo.”

 

“A dragon lives in the heavens. So instead of ‘summoning’ Kouryuu, we have to ‘bring it down’ from the skies. In order to do that I needed the Tokyo Tower.”

 

“That’s not the only reason however. You see, the way this city is designed in the Five Elements, Tokyo Tower has another very important role to play.”

 

“Judging from your reaction before, I’m guessing that you knew Zojoji Temple was used to repress the ‘Rear Demon Gate’ of Edo Castle? A popular myth for these Demon Gates is that they were built to prevent demons from entering an area. And that is why the two temples, Zojoji Temple and Kaneiji Temple, were built to protect the ‘Rear Demon Gate’ and ‘Front Demon Gate’ respectively… But that’s not true.”

 

“You see, the route from the Front Demon Gate to the Rear Demon Gate was made as a path for the gods to take. Humans aren’t meant to walk this path. So in this Edo City, where the city itself was designed to incorporate parts of the Five Elements, the path for the gods lay from the Northeast to the Southwest. And Zojoji’s role was to ensure that the gods can pass through smoothly. But imagine if Zojoji was being used for exactly the opposite reason?”

 

“What if Zojoji was used to trap a certain god that made its way into the center?”

 

“Trap a god… you mean…”

 

Shiba smirked as realization dawned on Basara.

 

“Yes… Kouryuu itself. Kouryuu revealed itself in the Edo Period as well, not just during the Heian Period. But Ieyasu Tokugawa wanted the power of Kouryuu for himself and successfully trapped it by building Zojoji to block Edo Castle’s Rear Demon Gate. And in his grandson, Iemitsu’s generation, the city building based on the Five Elements was almost complete. Iemitsu built the Kaneiji Temple to block the Front Demon Gate to make sure other gods weren’t able to make their way in.”

 

“And so the Tokugawa family were able to rule for many generations to come by rapping the power of Kouryuu.”

 

“But with Zojoji now destroyed, the exits have been unsealed. Since Tokyo Tower was built within the precinct of Zojoji Temple, it made it so much easier for Kouryuu to appear.”

 

That is why Shiba deliberately summoned the Four Gods, to make Basara and the others fight them. Switching around the directions to threaten the group with the god’s rampage. The reason why Shiba didn’t destroy Zojoji himself was to make sure that Mio and the others defeated the Four Gods first, to make way for an easier summoning of Kouryuu.

 

“But…that wasn’t all I needed… I still needed a ‘container’.”

 

“A ‘contai– No way!”

 

“Yes, Georgius.”

 

Shiba couldn’t hold back a laugh at Basara’s shocked expression.

 

Basara looked towards Tokyo Tower and saw, right at the foot of it, Georgius stabbed proudly upright.

 

“The ‘Earth’ that Kouryuu represents is made up from the other four elements… therefore Georgius, which can harness all four elements at the same time, makes the perfect vessel for Kouryuu.”

 

“And while it’s true that Georgius can only use the four elements of fire, water, earth and wind, Georgius has proven itself to be easily manipulated in the way it made a copy Byakko when pressured by the other gods and myself. I knew that if I were to channel the four elements into the weapon, it will know what it has to do and will act accordingly.”

 

“Originally, Georgius was a Saint for Harvest. It has a natural affinity for the earth.”

 

“Kgh… Then when you left the village and left Byakko behind…”

 

Shiba almost pitied the way Basara was grasping for answers.

 

“I needed Georgius for my plan from the very beginning. But I didn’t forcefully bring it against my will in case it broke Byakko. That would have ruined my entire plan. That’s why I had you guys deliver it to me.”

 

“I knew that you would have guessed my plans had I went for Byakko myself. That is why I used Georgius to create a fake Byakko, to make it look like Georgius was only a tool to be used for the sake of creating a fake Byakko. And that is why even after Balflear removed the weapon, you paid no mind to it, and thus, didn’t realise what my plans were.”

 

“If you had remained calm, perhaps you would have seen an another angle to the whole event. After all, if the only thing I needed was the Four Gods, I could have taken all of them from the village and just left.”

 

“But I chose this moment to put my plans in motion. After hearing about my story from Kaoru-san and my desire for revenge against the Vatican, you would have thought that I made my move because the Vatican dispatched Celis to the Village. That is kind of true. I did take advantage of all the confusion to push forward with my plan.”

 

“And even after your victory against Celis, and how our fight was cancelled, I goaded you all by saying that I was able to escape because of you let your guard down. By then all of you were thinking about the threat that the Four Gods and I presented.”

 

“Basara, with me as the enemy, that made things even worse for you didn’t it? Because you knew that it was not just you who had to fight against me. It meant that your precious girls also had to take part.”

 

When Basara assassinated the Demon Council during their fight against the Current Demon Lord faction, Basara was able to attempt such a daring feat precisely because he knew that Jin had his back. If something was to happen, he could still count on Jin for backup.

 

But because he was late to his own fight, Kurumi ended up being hurt, and Basara would never forget the consequences to his actions. This time, without Jin, and without time to prepare against Shiba, Basara’s mind was being overtaken by his instinct to protect his girls. There was no way his mind could think things through carefully and analyze every part of Shiba’s plan. The girls taking on the gods on a one-on-one fight did not help the stress he was going through either.

 

“There was a small risk of you not figuring out how to use Byakko’s power or Byakko not lending you its strength. But I’ve already seen you tame Byakko before when you fought Takashi, so I took my chances that Byakko will help you out.”

 

So Basara was the perfect worker ant. Dancing on Shiba’s palm doing all of his bidding.

 

“I’d like to thank you, Basara. Thanks to you and your friends, I was able to call forth Kouryuu.”

 

Basara stared at Shiba’s wicked smile. Then without saying a word, he gripped Brynhildr and prepared for battle.

 

Part 19

 

Toujou Basara did regret that his action had led to Shiba accomplishing his objectives.

 

But not yet!

 

He knew he couldn’t give up just yet. And that feeling was stronger than any regret that he felt.

 

And Kouryuu was still not fully summoned. It might have been that the power of the Four elements were diminishing, or that the threat levels in the Central District was not as high. Regardless, it wasn’t over yet.

 

Over the course of history, Kouryuu had only lent its power to emperors defending their own territories. If Shiba is indeed planning on using Kouryuu to attack the Vatican, he would need to charge Kouryuu with a lot more energy first. That meant that Basara still had a window of time to take out Shiba.

 

“You’re still going to fight me in that state of yours?… That’s admirable. But aren’t you forgetting something important?”

 

With a snap of his fingers, Shiba materialized some sort of screen from nothing, showing Mio and the others. The girls weren’t in the Northern District like they were before however.

 

“How smart of them. They’re heading to the Southern District once they saw Kouryuu being summoned. The Southern District shares an affinity for the fire element, and that brown skinned girl you brought from the Demon World is of the earth element.”

 

“Naruse Mio is going to use her fire magic and Kurumi-chan will use her spirit’s power to neutralize Mio’s fire affinity to send to that brown skinned girl, which will then mimic the same flow of elemental channeling like the Southern District to the Central District. Then the girls are planning on slipping through with the channeling of the elemental magic. Not a bad idea at all.”

 

“But what a shame. It’s not like the Five Elements are all about opposing and complementing elements. Even the earth element from this Central District can be channelled to the Southern District.”

 

Shiba snickered as he spoke to Kouryuu.

 

“Kouryuu, as the one who presides over all four directions, you must see the enemies who are trying to break into this place. The very enemies who defeated the Four Gods.”

 

The golden dragon twisted its neck to face south and Shiba’s sickening smile became even wider.

 

“Now show me… show me the power that defends the center of all things.”

 

As Shiba gave his command, Kouryuu began to glow even brighter. Basara saw this and screamed out

 

“No–!”

 

The rest of what Basara was going to say was drowned out by the bright beam of light that shot out from Kouryuu’s jaws. The light from the beam instantly enveloped all the girls.

 

Part 20

 

Kouryuu’s beam razed everything in sight in the northern area of the South District. The unblockable beam simply blew apart the ground itself and even reshaped the very land that was Japan. A large chunk of land in southern Tokyo was turned into one massive crater, and the sea water was already flowing in like waterfalls to fill it up.

 

Shiba looked over all the destruction with a faint smile on his face.

 

“What a shame… They could have just forcefully dispelled the barrier by killing one of the Four Gods. But they were so considerate by thinking of the people outside the barrier. Such admirable girls. I’m sure you were…. proud to call them your girlfriends Basara.”

 

Those words were the last straw.

 

“Aaaarrghhhhhhhhh!!”

 

Basara grinded his teeth and let out a howl of rage before flickering out of Shiba’s sight.

 

“Oh… that’s the fastest you’ve been today. Even with such a battered body.”

 

“But that won’t be enough to reach me.”

 

Shiba spun his arm guards in a circular motion, and like some invisible forcefield, it deflected the sword slash that Basara hurled his way.

 

“That’s enough Basara… You’ve done enough.”

 

Shiba buried his right palm into Basara’s torso and flooded in a wave of Ki into his body.

 

“…..!”

 

Unable to even let out a cry, Basara’s eyes rolled into the back of his head and his knees gave out. This time he was done for sure.

 

“Phew, well that settles that… But now to make sure…”

 

Shiba walked towards the collapsed Basara, and pointed his right palm at Basara’s back. A spherical ball of Ki appeared in his hand.

 

“Goodbye Basara…”

 

But Shiba’s final attack never happened.

 

Because Basara’s body just disappeared.

 

And it wasn’t because of the super speeds that he showed before when he moved. Basara was unable to move at all.

 

Then it only meant one thing. That another person was able to enter this barrier.

 

“Wow… I’m surprised you were able to make it in here.”

 

Shiba sported a smile on his face as he turned to face the uninvited guest.

 

Right there was a figure clutching onto the beaten and unconscious Toujou Basara – Hasegawa Chisato.

 

Part 21

 

As she clutched onto Basara, Chisato Hasegawa, also known as Afureia, was relieved that she made a contract with Basara. Not long ago, Hasegawa and Basara went to the hot springs resort together. There she revealed her secret and the truth to him, and when he accepted, she erected a dimensional barrier in their room and they spent a time together longer than night.

 

Through the contract they forged that night, Hasegawa, who was once one of the Ten Gods, was now a subject to Basara’s control. And by doing so, she was now able to sense where Basara was at all times.

 

She was tracking him in secret ever since he left for the Village, and when he used the power of Byakko to enter Shiba’s barrier, she used a method only known to the Ten Gods, to infiltrate within the barrier.

p273.jpg

Hasegawa entered from the Northern District. When Hasegawa and Basara made their contract together, they did so in the area of Nikko. While they were travelling together, they prayed at two different shrines. One was to bless them with happiness, and the other was the Nikko Tosho-gu, the shrine that worships Tokugawa Ieyasu. As Hasegawa was a god herself, when praying at the shrine, she was able to receive a divine blessing and was able to sneak through the barrier undetected. And she was able to bide her time to find the perfect opportunity to save Basara. But judging from his wounds now, she wasn’t quite sure if she should have waited.

 

Basara’s heartbeat was faint and he was weakening by the second. And his bleeding wasn’t stopping either. There was no denying that his condition was critical.

 

“…How dare you.”

 

The boy in her arms was the very reason for her life. Hasegawa glared at Shiba. She was about to explode in rage.

 

“Wow, such killing intent… scary.”

 

“Is it okay for a Ten God to favor an individual so much?… Or maybe that behavior is in the blood?”

 

Shiba smirked.

 

“Your cousin also favored Jin-san didn’t she? To the point of giving him a child and being sealed away to pay the price.”

 

“Am I wrong Afureia?”

 

Shiba spoke like he knew everything about her, and Hasegawa responded in kind.

 

“If you find fault in me helping Basara, then what does that make you?”

 

“I sense a very familiar presence from you… A presence of a Ten God who disappeared 20 years ago to visit the Human World, never to come back.”

 

“Those arm guards of yours… must be Reginleif”

 

Shiba raised his arms to show his weapons and laughed.

 

“As expected of ex-colleagues. The Ten God Reginleif is now part of my arms… since that time 20 years ago.”

 

Part 22

 

The Vatican was taking part in forbidden practices 20 years ago. It was the cloning experiment for Toujou Jin. And there was a god behind that treacherous activity. The man who pulled the strings from behind Albareos, one of the Ten Gods, Reginleif.

 

But as Shiba’s power became too much that they couldn’t control it, Reginleif also disappeared. Many simply thought he returned to the Divine Realm, but that was not the case.

 

It was not because they couldn’t control Shiba, that Reginleif disappeared. It was because his disappearance only made Shiba stronger.

 

How nostalgic. Shiba could never forget the time he was reborn 20 years ago. Reginleif was interested in him as a vessel since his body was able to absorb unlimited amounts of corruption. In fact, he wanted that body and ability all for himself. So much that he was slowly converting Shiba’s body into a divine vessel without Albareos or anyone in the Hero Clan finding out.

 

But there was something Reginleif overlooked.

 

First was that Shiba’s body did not only absorb and store corruption.

 

And that Shiba’s body was not just a container, but that he was on a whole other level.

 

Worst of all, Shiba was already aware of his abilities. So it was only natural what happened after. Reginleif tried to use two arm guards to absorb Shiba, but Shiba was able to absorb Reginleif instead.

 

And by absorbing a Ten God, Shiba became an entity that even the Hero Clan did not try to mess with.

 

Now it all makes sense why the Four Gods, Georgius and even Kouryuu itself, all decided to adhere to the wishes of Shiba. It was because of his overwhelming strength.

 

So that was why Shiba was not scared of Afureia. Shiba currently had the power of Reginleif and the Four Gods. So that is why he was able to give Hasegawa a nice smile.

 

“So what will you do? If you’re angry about your injured Basara, we can fight right here. Although it’ll be the first time I’d fight a Ten God.”

 

Shiba looked down at Basara being held by Hasegawa.

 

“Threatening you by attacking an injured Basara might make the fight more interesting. I really would like to know how powerful you are now that you have the bloodlust and rage.”

 

“I see…”

 

“But that won’t be by my hands.”

 

And she and Basara disappeared in an instant.

 

“Huh… she made a great escape after saying such things.”

 

Shiba heard an answer.

 

“Don’t worry, you’ll find out soon.”

 

And her voice disappeared with the wind. But there was a sound of conviction from behind that voice.

 

“My feelings will definitely destroy you.”