This is "Chaos Breaker Dragon" after absorbing the Dragon Deity "Gyze"'s destruction power until his body reached its limit. On the verge of being struck by the divine sword "Fides", he accessed the true body of Gyze and unleashed Gyze's mana. He manipulated that power to the limit of his capacity and absorbed it. Even so, the deity's power was more than he could handle, and Chaos Breaker's body was distorted into an aberrant form, with his body length exceeding ten times of his original form. Even in Cray's history, few creatures could reach this scale. By the way, his source of power is "negative thoughts flown from all spacetimes" that reached Gyze, in other words, all spacetimes interfered indirectly. For this, this form of Chaos Breaker is classified as "Stride" even though the details are different.
Monthly Bushiroad Short Novel (March 2018 Issue)
The Sacrifice Offered to the Deity
To thwart the revival of the Destruction Deity "Gyze", four warriors of light raided "Void Relics". "Chaos Breaker Dragon" welcomed them with clapping hands, but hidden in his mind was disappointment. "Is that all?"
(Four is below my expectations.)
He had opened the portal so that all with the adequate level of power could enter this space. Yet, there were so few attackers, that could barely meet the minimum number of actors to make the play enjoyable.
"Who are you?"
"It's a tradition to say your name first, before asking someone's name. Isn't it, Chrono Dran?"
What a pity to have only a few participants for the banquet of world's end. For Chaos Breaker has made quite a number of efforts to make the banquet enjoyable.
"Oh yes, sorry! I'm Chrono... hey, you know me?"
Nevertheless, Chaos Breaker hid his disappointment and showed his characteristic smirk. For he likes the title "the Clown", it applied to him for some time.
"Yes, I know. You have been a particularly important subject of monitoring for these several hundreds of years."
It is the Clown's duty to wear the mask of a smile. An actor should never expose his true feelings.
(Reading others' minds to manipulate their actions is extremely fascinating... but becoming the prey of mind-reading is never my hobby.)
Chaos Breaker turned his eerie smile to Chrono Dran, making the latter so horrified that he hid behind "Chronojet Dragon". And, two silhouettes stood out to protect Chrono Dran.
"Subject of monitoring... that's an unpleasant term."
"I don't know of your machinations, but there is no way you could hurt him."
With firm words, Ahsha and Altmile released an enormous amount of fighting aura and mana. They were ready to fight. Their mana were stronger than anytime of wars they had experienced.
(Both of them... have power beyond the limits of mankind.)
Even Chronojet, who had chosen them, was surprised by their growth. Even deities could not defeat them without suffering heavy loss... the pressure they gave was strong enough to make others think so. But, even when standing in front of such power,
"Marvelous... what marvelous mana. How many centuries have passed since the last time I saw such level of power, I wonder."
Chaos Breaker responded with no fear, but a deeper smirk. He clapped his hands loudly.
(Minimum, that said, they are truly mighty beings. Competent enough to decorate this wonderful stage.)
Clapping his hands several times, he raised his right hand, and pointed one finger up.
"Let me say it in advance, I am tenacious and unyielding. Know that the Destruction Deity's revival is unstoppable, unless I am annihilated without even one piece of flesh remaining."
Moving his finger down, a black line appeared in the space. The line spread out like an opening wound, and a great scythe dropped from the line and descended on Chaos Breaker's hand.
"If you want to save the world, display your full strength from the very beginning. No need to save your strength, no need to be thrift."
As he flickered his finger, the scythe spinned like it was a living thing. Every floating rock touched the scythe crumbled to dust. All his actions were imbued by an unimaginable amount of mana. The four warriors confronting him became more alerted.
"Come, show me... show me all your strength."
Before the estactic Chaos Breaker, Ahsha and Altmile looked at each other, and nodded. Their convened sights turned to Chronojet and Chrono Dran standing in the back. Chronojet understood their unspoken words instantly.
(Prepare for Gyze, you say.)
Chronojet replied with a small nod. Chrono Dran did not understand and looked puzzled, but the two warriors turned back and stared at Gyze. Then,
In a heartening warcry, Altmile charged like a shooting bullet. His sword hit at Chaos Breaker's scythe-holding hand, and made an unpleasant clashing sound like heavy metal pieces hitting each other.
Second, third, Altmile's flurry of blades struck Chaos Breaker like ferocious billows. "...!"
Chaos Breaker parried all attacks, but that was not an easy job. Because every single attack of Altmile could easily sever a sailing ship, and the knight delivered his attacks at a speed beyond sound.
(So this is the power of this era's strongest knight... his prowess surpasses the rumors.)
The knight, though his mass was below half of Chaos Breaker's, delivered impressive sword attacks. Despite being a fragile "son of man", Altmile attempted to surpass the reaction speed of Chaos Breaker, a dragon, a being classified as the strongest type of creature.
Chaos Breaker had not tasted this level of tension for a long time. He sensed neurotransmitters of pleasure brimming in his brain.
(But, this is, what a luscious impact...!)
The gap of life and death---Chaos Breaker was intoxicated by the pleasure only earned in an extreme state. This level of pleasure was unexpected. Altmile's potential strength had greatly surpassed his expectations. Yet,
Altmile's attacks could not cut down Chaos Breaker's head. He could only peel down thin pieces of armor from Chaos Breaker, but that was totally not enough to kill Chaos Breaker. But that statement would hold true, if Altmile was the only combatant.
Even before that voice reached his ears, Altmile had jumped back, drawing more than ten metres of distance from Chaos Breaker in an instant. Then,
Ahsha unleashed a gigantic projectile of light at Chaos Breaker. However, Chaos Breaker was not shocked, for he had noticed the oddity as they did not attack simultaneously in the first place, and Ahsha's attack was within his expectation.
(A projectile of concentrated mana. At this level of mana, I don't even need to dodge.)
Chaos Breaker analyzed calmly and found the attack not even a threat, and he deliberately chose to be hit. He even made a sad face.
"Compared to the Grandmaster's swordsmanship techniques, this is so unsightly..."
Finally, the projectile reached Chaos Breaker and engulfed his body. But that could not even make a scratch on his body.
"The Green State's heroic envoy. Is that all..."
"All I could do? What a---"
Ahsha made an evil face that she would never do in normal times, and she reached out both her arms to the front.
"Stupid question you could ask!"
At that moment, Chaos Breaker's facial expression changed.
(I can't move... this is--)
He can't move his body in the projectile of light. Numberless micro-spirits restricted and suppressed his body.
(Binding magic performed by micro-spirits of light... is that only a movement restriction?)
The micro-spirits had little power, but they were summoned in a terrifying number. Chaos Breaker could not repel them with only physical strength.
(Then, I should release my mana of darkness attribute to counter them.)
Chaos Breaker came up with the solution instantly, and concentrated his mana into his chest. But at that moment, he noticed something.
(The projectile's amount of mana, is rising...)
The number of micro-spirits was increasing at an impressive speed. From this clue, Chaos Breaker finally discovered a horrifying truth.
(It can't be... is mana being supplied from an external source!?)
"Ahsha, what's happening inside there?"
"I've increased the number of micro-spirits of light."
As Altmile asked Ahsha, Chrono Dran joined the conversation.
"What happens if there're more spirits?"
"Hmm, a mage cannot add more mana into an unleashed magic... do you know that?"
While Chrono Dran had a question mark above his head, Ahsha continued explaining.
"If we take magic as a balloon... if you want to add air into an inflated balloon, you need to open one hole on the balloon first. But if you do so, air leaks from that hole. Nevertheless, if you can blow air into it, at a rate faster than the rate of leakage..."
"I see... so you imbue the mana of Striders into your magic!?"
"Bingo! I've been thinking about it for a long time, but as a knight, isn't Alt too familiar with magic?"
Even while Ahsha was explaining, she maintained delicate control of mana. This could possibly be done only with her exceptional focus capabilities.
"First, I fired a low amount of mana into a projectile. After hitting, I converted the mana within the projectile for binding the target. As he let down his guard, I borrowed mana from the future, in a similar fashion to Stride... haaa!"
A moment after Chaos Breaker's voice could be barely heard, the projectile of light overloaded with mana exploded in blinding radiance.
After the explosion, there was nothing left on the ground zero. The explosion created a literally "completely lightless space". As Void Relics was created using the Destruction Deity's mana, the explosion only made cracks on the space. If this magic was used in the outer world... what horror.
"I have completed the theoretical mechanism for a while, but this is too dangerous, so I sealed it in my mind. I didn't expect that would help in this situation..."
"Buruburu... Ahsha, so scary."
"Eh!? Oh my, I ain't scary. Hey, come to me, Dran!"
"He would be in this state for a while, I suppose..."
"N, no way..."
They were relaxed after the fight and enjoyed a chat. But, that was too early.
"Do not let down your guard."
Chronojet's short dialogue made them tense again. To respond to his words, perhaps,
"As expected from the leader of a group, good Chronojet Dragon. There aren't weak thoughts of carelessness within you."
A malicious voice was made from above. As they raised their head, they saw the dark silhouette looking down upon them. On his back, ominous black rings spun like before.
"How, how can it be...?"
Ahsha was too shocked to keep silent. The magic she just used could be described as a "forbidden spell", and she could not adjust its power.
(I can't go easy on him... so I fired with the preparation to destroy him, and that was a direct hit, without a doubt! But...!)
"Without a wound...!?"
"Not really without a wound. He just regenerated, from that arm."
Chronojet pointed at Chaos Breaker's right arm. On that arm were numberless wounds cut by Altmile. But, there was not even one single scratch on the rest of Chaos Breaker's arm.
"Bingo. I cut down my right arm in a hurry. I threw it outside the projectile of light. Oh my, oh my, that was almost dangerous."
"Regenerating completely from a single arm, in this short period of time. That's impossible even for a dragon...!"
"I'm just the Clown. Not above that, not below that... kukuku."
Chaos Breaker said it blank, and without the slightest hesitation, he cut down his right arm. The next moment, nerves, blood vessels, muscles and bones shot out and formed back the arm.
"This regeneration power is not originally mine, but generated by analyzing and boosting the power of Reverend Gastille, who is now resting in the deeper part of the Temple."
Having experimented on his new power, Chaos Breaker became high-spirited and peskily eloquent.
"It looks like an impressive form of healing, but I have boosted the speed too much that it adds burden to my body. I would not use that if I had a chance."
Contrasting his words, Chaos Breaker cut down his fingers, regenerated, cut down, regenerated, and repeated this process, like a baby finding a new plaything.
"However, as a matter of fact, your powers have surpassed my expectations. You deserve a piece of eulogy!"
Chaos Breaker clapped his hands again, and raised his voice.
"Be proud of yourselves, Altmile, Ahsha! Despite being born of feeble races, you have heightened yourself to even destroying a dragon!"
Responding to his words, perhaps, cracks appeared just beneath Chaos Breaker. Sensing danger, the four warriors stepped back. Just after that, black light blinking in red overflew from the crack.
"I shall show respect to your power."
The black light reached the zenith like a pillar, and engulfed Chaos Breaker's body. Everyone was familiar with this scene.
"No. There is no sign of possibilities being summoned from the future. The phenomenon is similar, but this is not a summoning."
"It looks like Fenrir's Stride Slave, but this was ominous enough to overshadow Fenrir's...!"
As the black pillar dissipated,
"I, no... we--"
"Shall save our strength no more."
There were "two Clowns" smirking like mirror images.
"One, one more!?"
"I know this! Bunshin-no-jutsu! So he's a ninja!"
"No, look at that carefully. Their forms are not identical, with a few differences."
"So they are separate beings?"
Hearing their conversations, Chaos Breakers laughed.
"Kukuku, separate beings, you say? That may be true, depending on how you define the term."
"Kukuku, exactly. You and I are clones generated from the original Chaos Breaker. You are me, and you are not me. So it is suitable to call us separate beings."
"Clones... but what kind of technique can create clones maintaining such power..."
"Yes, it is, good Grandmaster. To establish the technique to clone myself perfectly, more than two centuries of time have been spent."
"In addition, making even one clone costs a signficant amount of time. For this, I haven't got time to further improve and mass-produce other soldiers."
"Sure it is. For I would have released 52 times of the forces descending on Cray."
All looked up at the laughing Clowns in shock, except Chronojet.
"Oh my, the good Chief's eyes look scary."
"Kukuku, what a precious moment. I have monitored you for a long time, but this is the first time I could have a glimpse of your exposed feelings."
Without responding to the Clowns' playful words, Chronojet questioned them, in rage.
"Have you, devoured the future...!?"
Hearing his wrathful words, the Clowns squinted a bit.
"G, Grandpa is getting so angry. It's the first time..."
Chrono Dran had overcome many difficulties with Chronojet, so he was most surprised by Chronojet's drastic change. Chronojet is solemn yet warm, a great being more gentle than anyone else. But now, he was showing obvious signs of anger.
"As expected from a pioneer of the power of spacetime."
"You have understood so much."
"Answer me, blasphemer!"
"...Stride refers to the summoning of entities from the past, the future, all time."
"Stride Fusion refers to the linking with one's own future possibility, and to call down its power temporarily."
"And, Stride Evolution is a miraculous power, performed only by the same beings in different spacetimes."
"Kukuku, your group may be the origin of Stride, but now, this power has been improved in many ways."
The Clowns decorated their words with laughter like an unpleasant sound of metal pieces rubbing each other. But, Chronojet's face showed no change. Seeing Chronojet was not interested in the introduction of background knowledge, the disappointed Clowns gave up and moved on to the next part.
"Oh, so like the predecessors, we have improved Stride, in our ways."
"To harness one's power within the body is quite interesting. But it's unknown what kind of future will be summoned. So unstable it is."
"To solve this problem, we worked to eliminate all futures except the necessary one."
Ahsha's question was answered by the Clown on the right.
"Yes. The power of Stride slumbering in oneself... I deliberately let the power rampage, and destroy the unnecessary futures."
"What atrocities you have done...!"
Chronojet's power goes turbulent and making small cracks on the space surrounding him.
"So this is a pot of Gu utilizing the power of Stride. Let me name it Stride Curse (Transcendant Insect Poison)!"
"As the futures crush each other, the last standing future without being destroyed... that is the future with the most power, the strongest possibility."
"And by stealing this future power, I can seize a mighty power without difficulties. And there is no worry of swinging among multiple future possibilities, unstable and uncertain."
"How many futures have been destroyed by your selfish actions... are you fully aware how many lives are lost in your hands?"
"Of course, o Chief of the Administrators of Time, good Chronojet Dragon."
"By discovering this technique, we have become the destroyer of innumerable lives."
"Bi-myriad (108), tri-myriad (1012), quadri-myriad (1016), quint-myriad (1020)... gougasha (1052), asougi (10104), nayuta (10114)... we have taken lives beyond all existing numbering terms."
"The nefarious atrocity that shall never be surpassed."
"The slayer of massacring almost infinite lives."
""Sounds so sweet!""
Chronojet's rage was reaching its limit, but as he almost charged forward, two silhouettes stepped forward.
"You, who treat lives as expendables..."
"There is no way we would lose to you!"
Altmile and Ahsha charged towards the Chaos Breakers, at a speed that would be mistaken as the speed of light.
"Kukuku, we had intended to stimulate the Chief, but it seems that a different kind of prey was lured."
"Good... come, unleash more of your strength. The luscious tensions and pressure in the fight just before..."
""Let us taste them once more.""
The Clowns blocked their blades at full strength easily.
Altmile unleashed his ferocious billows of blade flurry.
Ahsha unleashed her forbidden spell with every bit of mana she got. Yet,
Chaos Breakers with Stride Curse is a different story. Ahsha was blown away by the shockwave, and Altmile was distracted by her damage.
(There is no other time, but now, to use Fides!)
It is possible for "Fides", the blade of mythic age, to damage Chaos Breaker.
(If this space is tough enough to withstand Ahsha's forbidden spell, Fides's power would not penetrate the space and harm the outer world.)
But, Chaos Breaker isn't someone to overlook Altmile's thoughts.
Before Altmile could touch Fides strapped on his waist, Altmile was struck by a powerful shock. He was struck by Chaos Breaker at a high speed. He reflexively blocked the attack with the back of his sword, but that was insufficient to completely absorb the shock, knocking him on his knee.
"The good Grandmaster is too honest. All could tell you've shifted your focus on Fides."
(That speed, is totally different from before...)
"But, your reaction is too slow. Or have we become too swift?"
"Ku... I can, still fight!"
Altmile and Ahsha, though injured, tried to stand up again. The Clowns looked at them with freezing eyes.
"As expected, the unrefined Stride Fusion is outdated, and these are your limits."
"It's an old power, after all. You can't reach the power of the new generation."
Even though his comrades were in danger, Chronojet did not move. No, he could not move. Even if he joined the fight, it would be difficult for him to fight two Chaos Breakers at once. And if he unleashed his power, he would be exhausted, and there would be no chance for him to defeat Gyze.
"Now, what should be done?"
"Maybe I should use them as experimental subjects of Stride Curse?"
The Chaos Breakers looked through Chronojet's thoughts, so he was not worried about Chronojet's reinforcement.
"Hmm... then just extract those unnecessary parts."
"Only the brains are necessary for performing experiments."
Therefore, the Clowns taunted, at the weaklings falling down before him, and at the pathetic administrator who could do nothing to save these weaklings.
"We won't lose!"
Altmile tried to stand up in rough sounds. Seeing his eyes, the Chaos Breakers' eyes became sharper.
"Even in this desperate situation, your hope isn't lost?"
"In all generations, the warriors of light are unyielding."
"And it is also a matter of fact, that your tenacity dooms you to suffer adversities."
Another Clown descended gradually, and landed just in front of Altmile. Even when being looked down by the shadows of death, Altmile spoke bravely.
"I won't lose to you, who treats the future as nothing but mere power!"
Smiles disappeared from the Chaos Breakers, and they expressed abyssal coldness on their faces. That was the first time Altmile could see the emergence of the Chaos Breakers' true emotions.
"Your life as a human ends here. You can do nothing against us who deny the future, and what awaits you is a miserable finale."
"Do it if you can."
"Even if my arms are cut to a thousand pieces, even if I can't take my sword, as long as I'm alive, I won't give up victory... the future!"
In rough breaths, Altmile held his sword with the tip pointing at the Chaos Breakers' eyes.
"...Even if you struggle, you can't change anything."
Altmile could not touch Fides, for he understood at the moment he touched Fides, Chaos Breaker would strike.
(He can still maintain this level of calmness.)
"There is no hope. Enough of..."
"There is hope!"
"Your actions have gone beyond pathetic, and reached the level of burlesque."
The Clowns taunted, but their eyes contained no joy.
Giving false hope, then kicking his victims down to the bottom of despair... Chaos Breaker has done that many times and turned many people into sacrifices of his own pleasure. In terms of tormenting his victims mentally, simple despair is less effective than turning hope into despair. The victims eventually find that the light of their faith is in fact despair itself, and the Clown indulges in the luscious moment of light disappearing from the eyes of the hopeful ones.
(I don't want to see that face.)
Chaos Breaker had seen that kind of face when he descended on Cray as an alien invader several centuries ago. There were people who never gives up even on the verge of death. There were warriors whose eyes host everlasting hope, unstained by despair.
"Then I shall change your hope into despair, now, by my hands."
The man in front of the Chaos Breakers resembled the warriors of the past. His willpower keeps hope in hold. This was not something Chaos Breaker desired. A plaything that did not work on his will must be discarded.
"First, I shall take your unpleasant eyes."
One Chaos Breaker held his scythe horizontally, in gradual motions.
"After that, I shall collect the parts for experiments."
The Chaos Breakers' physical abilities had been greatly boosted by Stride Curse. It would be impossible for Altmile to block this attack.
(Ku... with Fides, I would be able to turn the tide!)
If he had known the threatening power of the Chaos Breakers, he would have unsheathed Fides from the very beginning. Though struck by deep regret, Altmile did not abandon hope. He did not give up his life.
(Still, I cannot...)
"I can't die here!"
"Death shall sink you in despair---"
"The mos' suitabl' candidat' to-be kick'd down to despair---"
"Is YOU, big junk!"
In an abrupt way.
Another Chaos Breaker, watching the situation from above, said in mixed feelings of surprise and exclamation. His other self was suddenly severed in two halves. Moreover,
The severed Chaos Breaker's body was torn into pieces, beyond the rate of regeneration, That was done by a beast-like man making annoying warcries.
Just like Chaos Breaker explained before, there was a limit of regeneration power.
"Come on, come on! Ya heal back slow!"
The mana of regeneration depleted gradually, which led to slower regeneration. If a body was destroyed too many times, regeneration would come to its limit.
(If I leave that body to be destroyed too many times, that'd be a bit of trouble.)
After observing the unanticipated situation, the Chaos Breaker watching from above finally took action.
Numberless shockwaves struck down from above, forcing the attacking man to draw distance from the injured Chaos Breaker.
"What, there's another thing?"
Coincidentally, he stood beside Altmile.
"Hiii, it's been a long time, Altmile!"
Without hiding his astonishment, Altmile asked the beast laughing with exposed fangs.
"You, Fenrir... Why're you here?"
"A specia' measure, the favourite of those top dogs. If ya're saved, I can taste some air outside."
"Saving us...? You...?"
"Don't tak'it wrong! I don't reall' care if that Gyze thing revives!"
Altmile could not but raise his voice from seeing Fenrir's selfish altitude, but Fenrir interrupted him.
"If the world gets blown up befor' I crush ya, that'd give me a headache. Who'd die like they're burnin' not to full heat!?"
"Tch, no warm eyes on me! Quickl', use Fid... use that dump sword!"
Saying that, Fenrir pointed at Fides on Altmile's waist, and urged him to unsheath the sword. But,
"There's no way I'd allow you to do so."
Chaos Breaker unleashed a shockwave at full power, against Fenrir and Altmile. Altmile tried to move his hand away for defense, but he was stopped by Fenrir's hand sign.
"Don't get distracte'!"
"Just do it, take that dump Fides!"
Fenrir cracked his knuckles. Only Altmile could hear the sounds, like bubbles bursting in Fenrir's joints.
In a warcry, Fenrir swung his right arm and hit the shockwave, and the point of contact exploded.
"A foolish man."
The releaser of the shockwave taunted at Fenrir.
"My full strength at this stage can destroy all kinds of divine artifacts. Leaving the legendary Fides aside, being hit by my shockwave means..."
But his sentence could not be finished.
"Who'd be crushed by this level of attack!"
Within the smoke of the explosion, Fenrir leapt at Chaos Breaker, and struck with his claws at Chaos Breaker's face.
Chaos Breaker jumped back, but that was not enough to fully dodge the attack.
(Why could he injure me so easily?)
That was a twisted cut on his face. The wound was deep, but as Chaos Breaker placed his hand on his face, the damage disappeared like a magic trick.
(I'm hit by a high density of mana.)
Chaos Breaker looked at Fenrir again, and finally noticed something.
"From those chains... I sense trivial signs of mana, of the same nature as Fides."
"Tch, your eyes are sharp, Pierrot-lizard!"
Holding the chains connected to his collar, Fenrir smacked and answered,
"The chains were a new piece of the dump smith who forged Fides. He could do some work to make magical swords... and this was imbued with mana that when released, powers up the user like a divine weapon."
"So, your power is not limitless... are you alright? Telling me your weakness?"
"So you trust what I said? So foolish of you."
Fenrir held the crystal on the end of his chains, and gripped it with strength that could almost crush the crystal. One could tell a high density of mana was flowing into Fenrir's body.
"And ya aren't limitless, right? It's better to say my secrets, rather than being watched by ya disgustin' eyes!"
Fenrir charged again. But this time, Chaos Breaker was well-prepared, and parried the attack with his scythe. But,
"Ya blocked the direct hit, but the imbued mana shall invade your body... ya can't block that!"
True to his words, as Fenrir's claws hit Chaos Breaker's scythe, wounds opened on Chaos Breaker's body, but regenerated.
"When my rate of destructio' surpasses your rate of regeneratio', ya're finishe'!"
Enjoying the pleasure of crushing his enemy violently, the blue beast laughed with exposed fangs.
"Being saved by that beast is the least likely thing to appear in my imagination..."
Seeing Fenrir exchanging blows with Chaos Breaker, Altmile had mixed feelings. Fenrir did not repent, he only acted on his own will.
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend, is it... for sure he is reliable in terms of combat strength."
He put his hand on the sword again.
"O sword of mythic age, the legacy of the unparalleled swordmaster... the world needs you again."
He closed his eyes silently, and gripped the hilt strongly.
"Please heed my call once more."
The blade unsheathed released a blazing radiance. The sword was waiting, for its master of this generation to call its name.
"This is the radiance of the divine sword Fides... the light hosting the power of deities!"
Chaos Breaker exclamated as he witnesses the light of the sword.
"Ya've finally drawn it... that radiance is always this annoyin', whenever I see it."
Without stopping his flurry of claws, Fenrir expressed his agony.
"Then, deity-slaying beast."
"The preparation is finally complete. I feel a bit of regret, but our dance must come to an end."
"What nonsense ya're talkin' abou'!? Fight with m---Gwargh, fwargh..."
Fenrir's intimidating words were turned into moans of sufferings. Without turning back, he could tell blood was surging out from his back.
"Focus on offense means neglection on defense. If there were only me, it would have been difficult to return you one slash."
As Fenrir turned back,
"Kukuku, greetings. You did give me some surprise treats a while back."
He saw the Chaos Breaker, assumingly defeated, regenerated completely. The scythe in the revived dragon's hand penetrated deeply into Fenrir's back.
"Tch... I should've grinded ya mor'..."
Chaos Breaker pulled back the blade, and Fenrir's body fell from it.
"Gargh, argh... hey, Altmile..."
With blood spilling, Fenrir shouted at Altmile.
Fenrir was shouting something, but Altmile could only hear the essence.
"...Time for the kill!"
To Fenrir who had fought hard, Altmile responded with a powerful nod. And,
The strongest knight of this generation unleashed the attack with the greatest sword of mythic age. Altmile's swing filled the space in light.
"What a tremendous mana! What a tremendous divine power!"
The Chaos Breakers, engulfed by the slash of blinding radiance, screamed in ecstatic cheers. The overwhelming mana of light devoured everything, and left no possiblity of regeneration.
"This is the end, o culprit dragon of unknown name! Gyze's revival will never come true, as long as we are here!"
Altmile shouted powerfully, at the crumbling Chaos Breakers.
The Clowns' screams became louder, and louder,
"...Well, this should be enough."
And ended abruptly all of a sudden.
At the moment the knight's name was called.
The white horizons were stained in black.
Altmile's sight should have been filled with white light by Fides, but that was overwritten by something. Something black, dark, and lifeless.
"Altmile, fall back!"
Chronojet's voice dragged Altmile back to reality. Altmile did not know what had happened, but he could tell that staying on the same spot would lead to a worse fate. Carrying Fenrir, deeply injured, on his back, he stepped back immediately.
The black light filled the surroundings, but after a while, it concentrated at one point. And as the black light subsides, they noticed.
(Something's over there...!)
A colossal being was squirming over there.
"What a marvelous power."
From the black light, they heard an adhesive voice, that they had heard before.
The speaker was of course, Chaos Breaker, still alive. But,
Fenrir, in his many wounds, could not but express his astoundment.
"Even the divine power..."
Appeared from the light was Chaos Breaker, in a xenomorphic form. His colossal tail stretched a seemingly endless length, and his four eerie legs moved irregularly. His body length had possibly surpassed ten times than before. His face could not even be seen from the ground.
"Even the blade of Fides could not hurt him...?"
"No. You got it wrong, good Grandmaster."
Responding to Altmile's grief, Chaos Breaker spoke in his pretentious courtesy.
"The radiance of that sword destroyed my body and reached my core."
"It was exactly because the power reached my core, that I gained this new power."
"Tch, you pierrot crap... say'it in a way I can understand!"
"I'll gladly listen to your words," the Clown continued his presentation.
"I had been thinking, how to harness the Destruction Deity Gyze's power within my body."
"Hey... that's what a cheap villain'd think."
"But, that was impossible. I am also mortal and fragile, just like other creatures born in this world. If I accepted mana of purity high enough to destroy planets, I would make myself crumble. So..."
Chaos Breaker squinted his eyes in joy, looking at Chronojet and Chrono Dran.
"I put my eyes on Stride Evolution. In a way different to you same beings in different spacetimes. I could do some kind of fusion myself. By combining the strongest myselves reinforced by Stride Curse, I could perform Stride Deluge to reinforce my body as a container of power."
"Then, if I adjust the amount of mana to fit my capacity, I can become a being to host the deity's power... in other words, an apotheosis into a being equivalent to the deities."
"So you used the power of the strongest sword of mythic age, Fides, to reduce the amount of Gyze's dark power for your need."
"You have a pair of observant eyes, good Chief. Having already connected myself to Gyze's true body, I had set the mechanism to allow mana to flow into my body at the best timing. The exact timing when Fides was used to hit me. A simple task."
"Simple, you say... adjust an ultra-high amount of mana using crumbling bodies, how can it be..."
Whenever Chaos Breaker moved his colossal body, the space was shaken.
"Though not reaching the level of Messiah's full strength, Fides's power had gone beyond the wisdom of mankind. In this project, the sword is the best adjustment tool... that is."
And whenever the space was shaken, the warriors became more worried.
"...What is your objective? To destroy Cray?"
"Destroy? This is only an experiment. To test if a creature can perform apotheosis, to test how much power a creature can obtain. I just want to see the results."
Altmile could not see Chaos Breaker's face at all.
"But, destroying Cray may be a good choice. Creatures on Cray are filled by hope, and turning all their hope into despair, oh, that must be a joyful thing to do."
But one thing is true. To Chaos Breaker, who joined "Link Joker" and destroyed many planets for his own pleasure, the fate of Cray is trivial in his eyes.
"Kukuku, that's a proposal from the good Grandmaster. I shall accept it with gratitude."
The quake of space went violent.
"What're you doing!?"
"To pay a return visit to Cray."
"It can't be... if something of this level of power descends to Cray, the results would be catastrophic!"
"That's exactly what I intend to do."
Holding his new scythe, with blades attached to both ends of the pole, Chaos Breaker headed to the Temple.
"The Temple was the wedge to hold this space... if I destroy it, Void Relics will vanish, and I will be warped out to the outer world."
"It's not likely, but is Mr. Luard in that Temple...?"
"Yeah, he is."
"Luard!? We must take him back!"
"That is not necessary. He will go with you all, together with this space, to nothingness."
Chaos Breaker accumulated mana, so enormous that the warriors had never sensed before.
"This level of mana, even Fides cannot..."
"Sorry, Antero, everyone...!"
"Dang! Grandpa, we must... wargh!"
Before Chrono Dran could finish his words, he was held up by Chronojet.
(I haven't sensed the heightening of the Power of Destiny... Chrono and his comrades haven't reached there. But,)
"It seems there is no other alternative."
"Grandpa, that means!"
"Let us unleash, our new power."
"Good! We haven't lost, Grandpa!"
Just at the moment Chronojet was going to release the seal of the new power---"Z organs.", all warriors turned back. Even Chronojet stared at where they were looking at.
"This ambience is...!"
Drifting souls in spacetimes are attracted, imprisoned and devoured by the Prison of Soul. "Void Relics" pulls souls from all spacetimes, serving as the slaughterhouse and eating place of the Deity.
But do not be mistaken. Not only evil souls are attracted there. Righteous ones, mighty ones, wise ones, brave ones. Many souls hosted with light are occasionally attracted to this place as well.
Even so, because so.
This is truly a miracle.
Void Relics shook violently, but two silhouettes disregarded the quake of space and walked towards the warriors.
"Are you on our side?"
"That guy... haven't I seen him in the past?"
And the human carried a greatsword. The sword emitted a gentle glow, and those who saw the sword found hope and courage wondrously sprouting in their minds. The white swordsman and the red dragon walked past the surprised warriors, and faced directly and Chaos Breaker.
"You two are---"
Chronojet attempted to talk to them, but,
"We know the particulars. When manifested, we were given the minimum information required to understand this situation."
The white swordsman stopped him with a hand sign, and said it in a straightforward manner.
"We are outcomers from other spacetimes. Over-intervention does no good to both parties."
"You have my gratitude."
The white swordsman took Chronojet's silence as a tacit approval. He lowered his hands, and continued to walk.
"O rival, the only thing we should do now is to hunt down the evil before us."
The dragon did not reply to the swordsman in words. He simply stood, staring at the shared enemy.
"Oh my, oh my, I missed you guys a lot. But perhaps you have never seen me."
The Clown's voice was filled with some emotions, that one could read as either happiness or anger.
"O invader. We have come not to exchange words with you."
"Return to nothingness, wraith of another planet. Know that you deserve no place among the living or the dead."
Those were the final sentences they spoke to Chaos Breaker.
"Shine forth... Blaster Blade!"
Following the swordsman's warcry, the world was filled by white light again.
"Are you awake, Chrono Dran?"
In Chronojet's arm, Chrono Dran rubbed his eyes and woke up.
"So, I've slept?"
Altmile and Ahsha noticed Chrono Dran's awakening, and turned to him.
"Chrono, are you okay? Anywhere hurt?"
"Enormous powers clashed in front of him. The afterwave of the impact knocked him down."
Chrono Dran recalled gradually. When they were driven into a corner by Chaos Breaker, a mysterious duo appeared and fought against Chaos Breaker, and he lost consciousness when they were fighting.
"Where's that big bad dragon!? Where are the white one and the red one!?"
"I don't know. When that light vanished, they disappeared from our sight."
"They know our situation... that is likely reinforcement sent by the Sage of Time."
"Sage of Time? Mr. Chronojet, who's that?"
"...They have saved us. Just thank them."
(It is fortunate that this space is attracting souls... but the burden on Zenon is too heavy. Further support cannot be expected.)
When Chronojet looked at the farside, Chrono Dran looked up at him in anxiety. To ease Chrono Dran's worries, Chronojet patted his head gently.
"Then, what should we do, huh?"
Fenrir shrugged his shoulders in a troubled manner, and spoke without hiding his impatience.
"The immediate threat is no more."
"So that's the good end of the world-savin' make-believ'. Then..."
He bared his fangs, and smiled at Altmile.
"...I have no time to spare for your childish games. When everything is solved, I will arrest you."
"Don' say such borin' things. If ya get in ove' your head too much, I may beat'up ya friends again."
Before Altmile could respond to that obvious provocation,
Chronojet's voice, tenser than before, broke the ambience of discussion. He raised his voice, not for stopping the quarrel.
"Something is coming."
Some sounds echoed in the silent space.
---Kotsu, kotsu, kotsu, kotsu...
"Ah, is that big bad dragon returning?"
"No, from the intervals and the volume, that should belong to a humanoid."
"Then, is it the swordsman's?"
As they discussed in worries, Chronojet remained silent.
"...It can't be..."
The footsteps became clearer, and seeing the walking silhouette, Altmile and Ahsha were surprised.
"What... is that a friend of yours?"
Fenrir squinted in surprise, and,
"A black hat... that must be!"
Chrono Dran noticed it one moment later.
"Luard! It's Luard! Hey! So you're really here!"
Chrono Dran raised his voice in happiness.
"Hey! Luaaarrrddd! Are you okay!? Mu...!"
As Chrono Dran was going to bump into the approaching Luard, Fenrir trampled his face mercilessly.
"What're you doing!?"
Chrono Dran shouted at Fenrir, but Fenrir did not respond, and stared at Luard fiercely.
"Hey, brat... look at his face again."
"Is he really ya friend?"
"Of course! What're you talking about? And move your foot away from me!"
"Do it as I told ya, look at him."
"He is Luard from all angles---"
Following Fenrir's words in disagreement, Chrono Dran turned to Luard. In his black hat and robe with mysterious patterns, the young man with reflecting blonde hair and a scaly dragonic left arm. That form was Luard's, without a doubt. Yet---
Something is wrong. Chrono Dran had slight uncomfortable feelings, and found that he could not recognize the young man before him as Luard.
"No, this isn't Luard... Luard's eyes aren't like that!"
The young man's eyes were dark and dim, with no reflections of Chrono Dran. No, those eyes reflected no one.
"...Who are you?"
Chronojet found out the truth, but he deliberately asked the question. Hearing that question, Luard finally looked at Chronojet. At that moment, the space behind the young man distorted.
<<Cometh forth, first sacrifice.>>
From the rift, something dropped to the ground.
That was Chaos Breaker, with most of his limbs lost and numberless wounds carved on his body.
"I've had a time of fun! That was the greatest stage that went beyond my machinations!"
"Na... where did he come from?"
"Hahahahahaaa! The Swordsman of Light, the Red Raging Dragon, so strong they are! Even now, I have regrets of being unable to confront them during the Great Wars! I am confident, that even if I reincarnate beyond time, there is no way I could taste pleasure to this extent! Hahahahahahahaha!"
The dragon moved his deeply wounded body, spilling his body liquid everywhere. From his unsightly form, Chronojet could speculate and scrutinize what had happened.
(That form, so they have been fighting in that space... It is unknown if they were defeated, or returned to their own spacetimes. But they can damage this monstrosity so far...!)
The young man suddenly stretches his arm, and placed his hand before Chaos Breaker.
<<O first sacrifice, the hour of promise hath come>>
Chaos Breaker's scream-like laughing sounds halted completely.
"...This is the first and the last time I would thank a deity. I've been entertained a lot. O deity, I'll leave the remaining entertainment for you."
As the dragon's massive nail touched the young man's finger.
"Then, I over that place..."
The Clown's body was engulfed by the young man's inflated shadow.
"What...! That form is..."
"Devoured, it is..."
<<The body. The power. The vessel. Hither art all the pieces>>
Closing his eyes gradually, the young man swung down his arm. And as he opened his eyes again,
<<Now is the hour of revival>>
Two colossal arms emerged from the darkness, and gripped the two ends of the darkness. They widened the darkness by force, and the world was stained in darkness at drastic speed.
"Here it comes...!"
From the spreading darkness came it. Beyond humanoid, beyond dragonic, beyond diabolic, beyond mechanical, a xenomorphic gigant.
"What is... that?"
In the gigant's chest, the young man's body was entangled by tentacles. The young man was loaded into the gigant's chest, with only his head exposed. He did not move a bit, making others unable to tell whether he was alive or dead.
Chrono Dran could not tolerate any more, and shouted to call back at the young man.
The young man raised his head.
But the name spoken from his mouth,
''<<Dragon Deity of Destruction, Gyze>>
That was not what the boy asked for.