"Ahsha" has assumed this blue ranunculus form after fusing with "Antero"'s heart flower petals. Her massive mana allows her to summon and maintain multiple Strides, and her physical abilities are now comparable to Musketeer captains. Her dress exerts power in accordance with the owner's emotions like the United Sanctuary's special armament "Blasters". Instead of "courage", the dress responds to "caring love". The servant returned, protecting and guiding the bewildered ranunculus, and brought her greater growth. To protect those she held dear, she will not be trapped by perplexity again. As long as the two glows of heart flowers shine in her heart, the Ranunculus of Phantasmic Blue is unstoppable.
Monthly Bushiroad Short Novel (January 2018 Issue)
Ranunculus of Phatasmic Blue
"Gredora", the Apostle of "Gyze" the Dragon Deity of Destruction, and the Queen leading the crime syndicate "Megacolony". To accompany her dearest child, she performed Different World Ride and departed from planet Cray. The careful leader had left the battlefield... that was the proof of Megacolony's great advantage. "Neo Nectar" must focus on defense and could not perform counter attacks, and its friendly nation "United Sanctuary" was too occupied by its own defense to send significant rescue.
"Ahaha, victory is at hand."
"Promularva", assigned to deal with the follow-up issues, did not hide his laughter. But, as an invader---as one who stood on the "evil"'s side, there is something he should not forget.
"I can imagine my form receiving praises from Her Majesty and Lord Alicides."
Worldly glory is transient. Until victory is completely assured, one shall never be conceited, no matter how outstanding his talents are, no matter how much the situation is in his favor. But, the victory in front of him is too sweet for him to stay humble. Even Mistress Gredora, an experienced commander, has made the judgement that victory is so assured that she does not even need to witness it. Promularva could not suppress his brimming emotions when predicting his first victory. However, neither Promularva or Gredora noticed that their scales of victory were tilted to their sides due to suppression beyond the seas.
"Okay, okay, how is the fight going?"
"This Mr. Wasp is a pretty good fighter, thanks a lot."
Bolg Wasp swung his black spear with mighty force, synchronizing with his breaths. Whenever the black spear thrust, it made wind-cutting sounds like humming.
Ahsha blocked the continuous attacks with her mana-imbued hoe. Her skills prevented all direct attacks, but,
"Huhahaha! Is that all!? Is this the Ranunculus Flower Maiden!? How ludicrous for the Green State's heroine!"
(Urgh, say whatever you like... If I could deal with the venom, I would move better...!)
To neutralize the venom that struck her at the first attack, she was casting detoxification magic when fighting. She needed to divert her mind to maintain the magic, and it was difficult to tilt the scales.
(The venom is stronger than I expected, and it is spreading rapidly. At this pace, even if I can maintain the situation, I cannot neutralize it...!)
Fighting while keeping the venom at bay was her limit. Even someone powerful like Ahsha could deplete her mana and fall if she kept fighting.
(I must come up with a solution... a solution---)
"There it is!"
She focused on coming up with breakthrough solutions, and made the mistake of diverting her mind away from defense. Aiming at the moment she let down her guard, Bolg Wasp's spear approached Ahsha. Though Ahsha tried to block the spear with her hoe, Bolg Wasp was stronger in terms of physical strength. His spear blew away Ahsha's hoe.
The impact made Ahsha fall on her bottom. Before she could resume her stance, the black spear pointed at her neck.
"It's over, Ranunculus. I had intended to have a full throttle fight with you."
"...Is that something a venom-user should say?"
"Don't blame me, that's war. If I had lost, you would have advanced and could have changed the war."
(A flattering guy...)
"If it is to present a firm victory to Her Majesty, I am more than glad to throw away a warrior's glory."
Concluding with "That's the end of the chit-chat", Bolg Wasp filled his arms with strength. He did not overlook, that Ahsha's detoxification magic was still active. He cut down the chat absurdly before the magic could complete its effects.
"We are mutants. We shall accept slanders willfully!"
(No, the neutralization isn't complete...!)
Sweat touched Ahsha's forehead. Prepared for death, Ahsha closed her eyes...
But Ahsha did not notice "her" coming.
(What is this...?)
Bolg Wasp's body was not moving. He tried to thrust his spear, but his arms did not respond. Not only so. His spear slid from his hands, and fell on the ground.
"Wait... I'm not looking at the ground, why do I see that?"
Bolg Wasp's head fell on the ground. As he looked up to seek the answer, at that moment...
The crimson blades cut numberless times. Then...
(This, this is... my... death---)
At the moment he noticed his end, his head was cut into pieces and became a blue blossom. The body without the commanding part fell down. Before his corpse could touch the eyes-closing Ahsha, the crimson blades flashed once more, and cut the mutant's body vertically. The shockwave made the mutant's body not fall forward, but into two halves.
"If she was put to her end more quickly, that will be a great achievement in the syndicate's history."
Looking down at the severed mutant's body, the black angel showed a cruel smile.
She moved her eyes away from the mutant, whom she was no longer interested in, and began speaking with Ahsha. That was a very gentle voice for her friend. Yet,
"Are you okay? Ahsha? Ahsha?"
Seeing that Ahsha is still closing her eyes, the killer made a slight sigh.
And to look at Ahsha at the same level, she lowered her body...
And made her greeting with a karate chop. Because she used significant strength, Ahsha screamed.
"It hurts! It really hurts! Who---"
Ahsha screamed in pain with both her hands pressing her head, but she stopped at the moment she looked at the lady watching her face.
"If you can feel pain, everything is alright. That is proof that you are alive."
Not only because Ahsha recognized that face, but because Ahsha did not anticipate to see that face at this place.
"I have not seen you for a long time. Though I did not want to come like this."
"Eh? Why're you here... hey? Your place is not doing well, if my memory is right..."
"Anyway, stand up first. You are wasting your pretty clothes."
"Ah, thank you."
Ahsha's legs were still trembling that she could not stand well. Gavrail lent Ahsha her shoulder to lean on.
"Yes, I'm poisoned... I'm too shocked to bear that in mind..."
"Do not forget that. If I had known, I would not have forced you to stand up. Good. Sit down again, and I will help with your detoxification."
Ahsha sat down slowly and restarted the detoxification process. As she could focus on the magic, her recovery was so quick that one could tell from her face.
"Do not make sounds that only old women make."
"Your face is not something suitable to show to your caretakers."
"Fine~ I've always been like this~"
"So this is your normal form..."
As the detoxification is over 70%, her body was mobile again. She asked Gavrail again,
"Why do you come? I heard the Sanctuary was attacked on the ship, so I didn't expect any rescue."
"It is true that the Sanctuary was attacked, and is still defending the attack. But, the Sanctuary is a nation that seeks global peace, and shall never ignore those who seek help."
"And," Gavrail said in a serious voice,
"The Black Gravers were chosen as the rescue troop for two reasons. The first is simple, that our speed is the fastest. Another is..."
Gavrail had been speaking fluently, but stopped at this point.
"...Because I am familiar with you."
"T, that means to send someone that a powerful person had communed with can enhance cooperation at the space, that's the meaning!"
"Oh, I see."
Ahsha did not notice Gavrail blush in embarrassment, and seemed to accept the "truth" by hitting her fist at her palm.
"'I see', you say...how can you---!?"
As Gavrail was stunned by Ahsha's ignorance, she turned back suddenly and swung her blades. The heavy impact hitting her crimson blades stunned her right hand for several seconds.
"The enemies' attack...!?"
She looked at the object blocked. That was a massive black spear.
"That was, the mutant just before---"
As Gavrail recognized that was Bolg Wasp's spear---
"Gavrail! Above you!"
She responded to Ahsha's cry. She looked up immediately. What she saw was the enemy she defeated, Bolg Wasp. But, the number of black shadows in the sky was more than one.
2, 3, 4... A total of 10 Bolg Wasps looked down at them.
"That Mr. Wasp... Bolg Wasp No. 7 had the most potential among the Black Spear Mutants. So I did place a little expectation on him... but he was unlucky for that reinforcement."
In the Queen's empty room, Promularva murmured while making exaggerated movements like dancing.
Promularva pressed on his protective goggles, and raised his head. He looked at the monitor above him, observing the two ladies surprised by the many Bolg Wasps.
"That was his fault, not mine. That was his fault to make a great achievement on his own. If I were him, I would not be over-confident and request for forming troops of special-ranked mutants. Hohohohoho."
An annoying laughter echoed in the room. There was no sorrow on Promularva's face.
"Oh my, oh my, what a pity, Mr. Wasp... Ex-No. 7. I'm sorry for being unable to enjoy the wine of victory with you. But rest assured, leave everything to me, and the mass-produced type with your combat data. Everything will end."
Promularva raised his arm from his protective goggles,
"Leave everything to me, and rest in peace."
And swung his arm down.
"Hohohoho! Fine, last rite time for the Ranunculus and the unknown black angel!"
"Ahsha, fall back."
"The venom is not over. If the detoxification is not complete, there is a high chance of lasting effects. The worst case is sequela."
Ahsha stood up, but the crimson blades flashed in front of her. That was violent, but that was Gavrail's expression of "don't move".
"Are you underestimating me? If you had not been struck by the venom, you would not have fought in disadvantage."
Just as Gavrail said, Ahsha was more powerful than Bolg Wasp in the first place.
If she had not let down her guard at the first attack, she would have defeated Bolg Wasp easily. But the situation was different this time.
"You're right, I do know Gavrail's power, but the number..."
A huge light pillar emerged like interrupting Ahsha's words.
"This is, Stride Fusion...!"
The echoes were going far, the light were dissipating. From Gavrail appeared again from the pillar, Ahsha sensed,
"What awesome mana..."
Seeing Ahsha's surprised face, Gavrail seemed to be satisfied, and showed her a small smile.
"Fuu...I haven't been wasting my time. By now, with only you requiring my protection, this battle..."
Considering they had an opportunity, three Bolg Wasps thrust their spears at the back of Gavrail. But,
"Is easy as ABC!"
In front of the spears was only one blade thrust into the ground. Where could she have escaped? Must be above...
""Ga, ga, ga...""
As the three Bolg Wasps thought so and looked up, two of them were beheaded. The one with his head intact was finding...
And his whole body was severed vertically, from his head to his hips. The punishments delivered by Gavrail's blades were swift beyond bare eyes, that even experienced knights would be stunned.
"You tried to finish the battle with only three? I am really underestimated. If you had all struck simultaneously, you might have some chances, perhaps?"
Hearing those words or not, the remaining sever nodded at each other. This time, five of them flew together. Gavrail observed their actions...
"...An obvious feint attack."
She murmured with despise. At the same time, she pulled back the blade from the ground, and threw it with all her strength.
But, the spinning blade aimed at not the five attackers above her.
"Try to divert my alert by attacking simultaneously?"
The spinning blade cut down the Bolg Wasp who fell back. The tip of his spear had transformed into gun barrel. It seemed that he attempted an opportunity attack at Gavrail.
"Three bugs become five, but who cares such trivial matter?"
Gavrail caught the ferociously spinning blade easily, and thrust it at the ground behind her. From the tip of the thrusing blade, a faint scream "Gyaa" could be heard.
"Such a lackluster tactic even with the advantage of number, are your brains all rotten?"
Gavrail removed her blade with strength, and the tip was stained by blue blood. The burrowed individual tried to deliver a venomous sting from beneath. Only five were remaining---half of the Bolg Wasps were eliminated in several minutes.
"Gugigigi...what is that angel!? That rule-breaker is completely beyond my expectations! My, perfect, tactics! Will be ruined, will be ruined by that girl!"
Promularva was enraged by the tragedy over the monitors. Gavrail's Stride Fusion power exceeded his prediction.
"At this pace...at this pace, the Ranunculus will reach..."
As a matter of fact, if he took no effective actions, Gavrail and Ahsha would reach the defense. And they were likely to hinder Promularva's plan.
"No! This is! NOOO!"
Promularva is an outstanding advisor. Few could match his brain in simulation battles on the board. Even Gredora was amused by his tactics.
"Her Majesty's praise for this victory belongs to me, Promularva! My plan must never be ruined! I say, NEVER!"
He got nervous, so nervous that all could tell. If Gredora had been there, instead of showing anxiety, she would have devised a new plan with a composed face. Then, what is the difference between Promularva and Gredora?
"The advantage over the defense is overwhelming...then, if I send a special-ranked mutant from the encirclement..."
The answer is experience. This is the difference between an armchair tactician and a true veteran who has stood on many battlefields, knowing both her enemies and her own forces.
"Lady Antoinette! Please head to the designated place as soon as possible, and annihilate the targets! The coordinates are---"
So Promularva took the step.
"This is perfect...Fuhoho, that angel is a melee-specialist. That makes her an easy prey of that mutant!"
The worst step that would bring doom to him.
"Fuhohoho! Come, face your true ends! Ranunculus! And that unknown black angel!"
When Promularva acted behind the stage, Gavrail was fighting the Bolg Wasps. That was a fight that one would fear and hesitate to call it a fight, for that was totally one-sided.
"This is the last."
With utmost calmness Gavrail swung her blades, sliced and diced the last Bolg Wasp into minced meat.
"Awesome...so strong...I say, haven't you become too strong?"
"Don't you sound mocking, O Heroine of the Green State, Ranunculus Flower Maiden?"
"D, don't say that. Being called something like heroine makes me embarassed!"
"Hehe...then, are you fine?"
"Hmm. After focusing on healing, I feel a lot easier."
"For sure, you look better now. Anyway, we shall leave here quickly. Enemies may come here."
As Gavrail was saying and going to lend her shoulder for Ahsha...
A high laughing sound came from somewhere.
But, they did not see who was making the sound.
"You! Do you know what your actions are called?"
(Another enemy in this short period of time...are we being watched?)
Both Gavrail and Ahsha looked around. But they saw nothing, and sensed no traces of mana.
"People call them flags!"
(A whip in a sudden...! No, too late to dodge it!)
A super fast whip attacked from the empty place, aiming at Ahsha.
But, the deadly spiked whip caught not Ahsha, but Gavrail.
"What a beautiful friendship. Yes, so beautiful that it disgusts me!"
This time, the whip aimed at Gavrail. But, Gavrail in Stride Fusion form possessed extraordinary mobility vision and reaction speed. As she knew the whip would attack her this time...
"I, got you...!"
It was easy for her to catch the whip.
"Show up immediately. Or you want me to pull you out forcibly?"
Listening to the intimidation or giving up, the whip's owner showed up right away.
"Oh my, you came from a peaceful nation, yet you speak with savage words."
At the end of the whip grabbed by Gavrail stood a lady. No,
"Greetings. I am Antoinette, a special-ranked mutant of Megacolony."
(Special-ranked...the highest-ranked mutant)
"I'm a bit surprised for exposing myself so quickly, but thanks to you, I get to test my ability, to examine the effects of my Stealth of Antoinette. Please accept my gratitude."
Speaking all the words at once, Antoinette let her whip go and raised both of her hands.
"...What are you doing? Throwing away your weapon and surrender, do you think it can be accepted?"
Looking at Gavrail's intimidating eyes, Antoinette smiled with a cruel smile.
"Surrender? What a ludicrous joke. I am only---"
At that moment, Gavrail refined her senses to the extreme. No matter what actions Antoinette took, Gavrail would be able to react and stop her. Yet,
"Giving you a hint."
That would be effective, only if there was one enemy.
A heavy impact hit Gavrail's blade. Gavrail blocked it reflexively.
A sharp sickle appeared from nowhere, clashing with Gavrail's weapon sparkly. The sickle appeared in the same way as Antoinette's whip.
(The level of power, is different...!)
Suddenly, small cracks could be seen on Gavrail's blade. The damage was deadly during a clash of strength.
The shattering of the crimson blades blew Gavrail away. The impact was too strong that Gavrail made several rotations in the air, sliding on the ground, and finally stopped when hitting a rock.
When Ahsha rushed to there, Gavrail had lost her consciousness. Her Stride Fusion was deactivated in the air, and she spilled a glaring amount of blood.
"Blood...I must use healing magic...!"
"Do you think we will let you go?"
Ahsha raised her head, and saw Antoinette. Behind Antoinette was another mutant, much bigger than Antoinette. The mantis-like mutant was likely the attacker who hurt Gavrail.
"Ooo---hohoho! As a gift for you to bring to the netherworld, I shall introduce to you! She is Poison Sickle Mutant Deity, Lady Overwhelm! The prepossessing noble lady who responded to my summons, and came from the distant future!"
"This woman, has the same kind of camouflage like you..."
"Hehehe. Exactly! My body tissue has the same power as Antoinette's high-level camouflage."
"My camouflage was but a misdirection. To make you focus on my ability and ignore hers, I came to attract your alertness!"
It seems that Antoinette showed up deliberately only to make the two noticed that "there was one special-ranked mutant with high level of stealth ability". They were tricked and focused on Antoinette. As a result, they were defenseless against Overwhelm, making Overwhelm's sneak attack a big success.
"Then, you can't escape at all, why don't we enjoy a long chat time?"
"The young great tactician will get mad."
Overwhelm laughed arrogantly, while Antoinette smiled elegantly. They looked different, but there was one similarity.
"My apologies, but I must kill you two. Hmm, a painless departure, perhaps. I will do my best."
"Rest assured. I don't kill for grudge, I kill for joy. I will do my best."
Their expressions are those of the predators, when they are going to torment their preys. But, even in a situation that most would be horrified...
(I must do something)
Ahsha was not desperate.
(Even if I fight, I cannot win.)
If she was alone, she might have given up. She might have accepted her own death.
(I cannot escape as well)
"Humph, you look denying the defeat. You do have some guts, that's unexpected."
But now was not the case. Behind her were Gavrail, and her many friends she should protect.
(Then, what should I do?)
"Do you have any hidden moves?"
Even if she faces the danger of losing her own life, she could not use all her strength. That is because she considers her strength "a power to protect someone". She should use this power only when she thinks of others, when she wants to protect her friends, her family, those she holds dear. That is her belief.
(The answer is clear)
"If you want to do something, do it quickly."
Fight not for herself, but for the others---she has witnessed many miracles triggered by that thought.
So, she believes. And she prays. The power to change destiny.
"I am killing you!"
(I believe in the miracle!)
Above Ahsha's head, the sickle was swung down---
"Fuhohoho! I've done it! I've done it! Fuhohohoho!"
Promularva could not control his excitement and clapped his hands strenuously. The monitor was covered by dust blown up---
"None can escape from such situation, none can flee! You're nothing but smithereens!"
The exhausted Ahsha had no way to block Overwhelm's blow at full strength. She had no way to escape immediate death.
"Good! Show me the heroine's corpse! Quickly, quickly!"
Listening to Promularva's gasping words or not, the dust spread out. As he said, Ahsha had no chance to survive. When the dust spread out, there would be nothing but a grotesque corpse. Right...
The Sickle of the Poison Sickle Mutant Deity had easily crushed the angel's blade. A full strength attack with that sickle...
"!...My sickle blade, could not go further!?"
The attack was devoured abruptly by a blue radiance. No, the blade was blocked.
Blocked by something in the blue radiance.
"Light!? No, this is...!?"
Faster than Antoinette's words, the radiance turned into a certain form.
"W, what's this? This man is!"
That was a solid humanoid form. The first one to notice the humanoid's identity...
Was Ahsha could could not keep her tears from shredding.
"I have not seen you for a long time...Princess."
"Antero...! Where've you gone!? Why..."
"My sincere apologies. I must express my deepest regret for returning late."
"Really, enough of this...you've returned...we can be together."
Hearing those words, sorrow surfaced on Antero's face, for just a moment. Ahsha did not miss that.
He could not control his brimming emotions, that his strength let loose a bit from his sword.
"Tch! No more sobfest charade!"
Overwhelm took this opportunity, and raised her sickles again. But...
Before she could attack, Antero's empty hand gripped on Overwhelm's head. On that hand, a magic circle of patterns never seen before appeared, and engulfed Overwhelm's body.
"This is not the time you should exist, be banished immediately."
"Arrr, arrrrgggghhhh!? What's this?"
"Borrowed from Lord Messiah, the magic to interfere with the time magic circle. Now, return to your time."
The magic circle became light that devoured all of Overwhelm, and disappeared.
"S, so awesome! So awesome you are, Antero!"
"Thank you very much, Princess."
"Right! We must go to help everyone, quickly! And we must heal Gavrail! And---"
Facing the excited Ahsha, Antero spoke in a serene voice,
"I am sorry to tell you that I cannot go with you."
"...What do you mean?"
"I, am already dead. This body...Lord Messiah used the last grow of my heart flower to reconstruct this temporary spiritual vessel."
"You, you are joking, right?"
I beg you to take back those words. That was Ahsha's prayer, but Antero could only wave his head.
"Even Lord Messiah could not light up a heart flower which has lost the glow of life. Originally, I cannot be reanimated even as a spirit...It is only the wish of Princess, the prayer to seek the power to protect, grants my depleted life the final light."
"But...how can it be, how can it be..."
"Given a chance to say the final farewell...I am really fortunate."
Antero's smile could not blow away the gloom on Ahsha's face. She had too much to say, that things came up from her mind one after one.
"No! I don't get it at all! How can separation come so suddenly!?"
"I have a lot to tell you! A lot of places I wanna go with you! I lot of new friends I wanna introduce to you! A lot...a lot more!"
Teardrops streamed from her face, but absorbed by the dry land. Even the sad Princess's call could not stop Antero from continuing his speech.
"Please rest assured. I, Musketeer Antero, will stay with you from now on. For this, I am guided here."
In front of Antero's chest, a small flower petal floated in the air. The last fragment of his heart flower was absorbed into Ahsha's chest.
At this moment, Ahsha's body was shrouded in blue radiance. The same radiance as Antero's colour.
"...My loyalty, my spirit, I have dedicated everything to you."
"Please allow me to accompany you forever."
He did not kneel like in the past. Because his legs were vanishing into light particles.
"...Yes. Musketeer Antero, your will shall be at my side for eternity."
The particles were being absorbed into her chest.
"So, I won't say goodbye."
At the moment every bit of him vanished into light...
He showed a gentle smile, as he did in the past.
Antoinette recovered from stun only after Antero's disappearance.
"I, I don't know what happened, but that strange light is no more. I'm more than enough to deal with you, your head is mine!"
Ahsha silently looked at the bluffing Antoinette. Antoinette could not but step back when sensing Ahsha's mysterious boldness.
"D, don't think that changing some colour can make you arrogant! You look not at Stride Fusion, I'm still stronger than you!"
"Begone immediately, and I shall do you no harm."
Understanding the meaning of Ahsha's words, Antoinette's brain was filled with blood of anger.
"N, no kidding! Enough of your bloating!"
Antoinette picked her whip up from the ground, and lashed furiously. But, her full strength attack was stopped before touching Ahsha.
"Dangerous it is, to lash a whip in this way."
The attack was blocked easily by a proud-looking lady standing aside Ahsha. And...
"This naughty whip deserves a cut♪"
A cheerful lady attempted to cut the whip...
"That is my job!"
An earnest lady tried to take that job...
"It is optimal to freeze it...elder sisters, leave the remaining stuff to me, Inverno."
An intelligent lady showed up at last, and froze the whip.
"I, is this Stride...hyee!"
Releasing the frozen whip from her hand, Antoinette trembled. She saw not only the four ladies. Standing aside Ahsha were more than twenty Striders. Antoinette could not remain standing, and collapsed on the ground.
"P, performing so many Strides alone...m, monstrosity...!"
"Who are you referring to as a monstrosity! Watch your tongue!"
Antoinette became the focus of the numerous Striders' murderous eyes, and lost her consciousness like a bubble bursting. The terror was so strong that she was not likely to resume normal for a remarkable period of time.
"Thank you, Lady Vera. Thank you, everyone of you."
"Then, what are you going to do?"
"I'd like to dash to the Sacred Tree, but I must heal Gavrail first..."
When Ahsha was checking Gavrail's condition, a lovely voice came from above.
"Y, you are?"
"I am Ezezel, a member of Black Gravers! Finally, we catch up with the captain!"
"Catch up, that means...!"
"Yes! We, Black Gravers, shall support 'Neo Nectar' from now on!"
Smile returned to Ahsha's face. The scales of fate were tilting in favour of her. But...
There is someone in this world, someone who puts an unreasonable counterweight on another side of the scales.
"Leave the healing of the Captain to us!"
"Thank you. I'll rely on you---"
---At the same time, in the Special Command Chamber on the seventh basement floor of "Oracle Think Tank".
"!? High-energy signals from the sky! No, this is..."
"From the universe! From the universe, multiple high-energy objects are approaching! "
"Comparing the energized objects to the database!"
"This is...the result is clear! The identities of the coming objects are..."
"Star-vaders! They have the same features as the alien invaders recorded in the database during the Great Wars!"