oneill: Haibane Renmei - Kana, Nemu, Rakka, and Hikari look toward a column of light (終章)
[personal profile] oneill posting in [community profile] sutepri
Sorry this one is late. I'm rly sick.

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Canzonetta of the Unforgiven | The Transgressor | Part 4/4

The Fourth Peacemaker, Galil, observed the situation through the mass of flesh . . . through the Relay Point.

The Relay Point, which was formed from the Purgers' flesh and granted a portion of Galil's power, was, in a manner of speaking, his avatar. He could control it as though it were a part of his own body, and it allowed him to perceive the surrounding sights and sounds, even the scents and the temperature. At the same time, he could also cut off those sensations whenever he wished, and dispose of the Relay Point.

Hm--?

Miðgarðr altered.

A different mage had taken over the defense of the building in which the citizens had taken shelter. It seemed the Guardian Siblings Casull intended to commence a different spell.

It was likely they had considered their circumstances and settled on a high-output offensive spell. However, Galil well knew the weakness of such spells.

The Relay Point need only keep moving. No matter how powerful, if the spell could not get target a fixed location, it was meaningless.

However . . .

Countless lines danced around the mass of flesh.

What are . . . ?

They were chains. They nimbly twined around the mass of flesh again and again, and bound it up fast.

Following along those chains would reveal a man at the end of each, holding them securely from the shadows of the building, or from its rooftop. They had thrown the chains out skillfully, and the movements of their bodies were efficient--these were no civilians. Likely they were the members of the intelligence division, whom the military had sent out in advance.

. . . Ye mean to restrain me with these?

Galil sneered voicelessly.

How powerless these beings called humans were.

If only they had obediently submitted to Divine Decree, they would have died peacefully, without this futile exertion. He was a Peacemaker by Divine Decree, and even in terms of simple physical strength, humans could not compare to Galil.

Even the Relay Point, which had been granted a mere portion of his power, could destroy a town or two if he willed it.

Tentacles twined around the chains.

They could tear such things off easily. If need be, the monster could even transform itself and slip away . . .

At that moment.

A shattering impact struck the Relay Point.

Ngh--?

The offensive spell Mjölnir. It brought forth a flash of lightning that raced along the chains to pierce through the Relay Point.

Hn . . . ngh . . . !

It was a maximum-power lightning strike that held nothing back. It would have caused an ordinary creature's blood to boil and its body to rupture in places. As it had been formed from such creatures, even the Relay Point could not escape unharmed.

Its tentacles burst apart and crumbled into ashes.

Of course, the tissues that had been burned away by the lightning strike immediately began to regenerate.

This was not accomplished through cell proliferation. Rather, it rebuilt its material structure. As long as its nucleus remained intact, its substance retained the memory of its previous forms, and could rebuild itself as many times as it needed. Unlike cell proliferation, it could regenerate in a very short amount of time, and it did not require a supply of organic material. If need be, the Relay Point could rebuild itself using the air, soil, and even water.

The drawback was that it consumed enormous quantities of energy at such times.

Indeed, as a result . . .

You impudent--

The lightning strikes continued without pause. Mjölnir is a powerful offensive spell, but it only lasts for a very short time--it could well be called momentary. In all likelihood, several mages were taking it in turns to cast Mjölnir in rapid succession.

Galil realized his disadvantage.

He had configured the Relay Point's abilities to prioritize regeneration above all else. Upon sustaining an injury, its regenerative powers would activate automatically, and consume energy in the process.

Consequently, when the Relay Point's powers were tied up in regeneration, it lost the ability to move. Surely the humans could not have thought that far ahead when launching their lightning strikes, and yet . . .

At this rate, the Relay Point would take the full force of the Casull siblings' attack.

He was not entirely certain just how powerful an offensive spell the two of them could cast, but there were offensive spells that possessed enough destructive power to eradicate the Relay Point in its entirety.

Galil was chagrined.

Because he was fully aware of his own agitation.

The Lord God Mauser had bestowed sovereignty over the world of the Dustvin continent among four absolute beings: the Peacemakers.

Though he may have ranked the lowest among them, he was still absolutely superior to humanity. This was not founded on such vague and barbarous concepts as strength or weakness. It was established by Divine Decree.

Yet those humans were forcing his back against the wall.

True, he may have been channeling his power through a Relay Point, which he could dispose of at any time, but such a thing should still never come to pass.

It was something that absolutely should not ever have come to pass.

Damn thee, Pacifica Casull--!

With the indignity of his charred body still fresh in his mind, Galil has no choice but to adopt an oblique approach.



. . . O Fettered Beast,
Now . . .

Shannon saw it as he chanted the spell.

A new face rose to the surface of the fleshy mass. It was the face of a very young child.

. . . HELP ME . . ., the child's face pleaded.

Like a fish that had washed ashore, the child's mouth flapped voicelessly, in visible anguish. The child implored him in an unvoiced voice.

. . . IT HURTS SO MUCH . . . PLEASE DON'T KILL ME . . .

The child probably had not even turned ten yet.

He was at an age when he had yet to learn the meaning of the word future.

It was an age when one innocently accepts the joy that tomorrow will come, without any doubt, and without any awareness.

. . . IT HURTS . . . HELP ME . . .

". . ."

Shannon stopped the spell's incantation.

. . . HELP ME . . .

He already knew.

They had no way to save this child. There was nothing they could do. That fact alone tormented Shannon. Hadn't they been the ones to cut this child's future short?

There was also a part of him . . . that was eager to resume the spell as soon as possible.

And yet . . .

". . . We can't."

At the same time those words were spoken . . . a dagger came flying to stab into the child's face.

". . . Chris?"

Shannon stared in blank amazement at Chris, who stood nearby.

"We aren't able to save you," the young SpecOps combat technician said quietly, still in the same stance he had taken when he loosed the dagger. ". . . No one is, not anymore."

The child's expression momentarily registered surprise, but . . . it soon went limp and distorted, and then promptly sank into the mass of flesh.

"You--"

"There's no way to save that child, so staying your hand is the last thing you should do," Chris said, looking over his shoulder at Shannon. "What you should do is kill them, that much is clear." The young SpecOps combat technician spoke in an indifferent tone that held no trace of anger or sadness. "I told you, didn't I . . . If you want to protect someone to the very end, you have to be prepared to kill someone else. Whatever your personal convictions, you should understand that, at least."

Shannon was speechless.

But his hands shook all the more violently, making plain his inner agony.

"Shannon Casull!" Chris shouted sharply. "You swore to protect her, didn't you? No matter what you had to do, you swore to protect your little sister to the very end, didn't you? Then don't you dare hesitate!" His voice . . . carried far too much pathos to be called a reprimand. "I'm begging you, don't hesitate . . ."

". . ."

Giving a small nod to Raquel (who had sent an anxious glance in their direction), Shannon finished the rest of the incantation.

Be released,
And thou
Shalt be a staff of destruction!

The complete annihilation offensive spell Fenrir launched from Raquel's hand, its power doubled by the two-fold amplification spell.

Crack! . . . The sound of the air being burst apart reverberated.

All of a sudden, an enormous lattice rose up from the ground.

A moment later, countless beams of light shot out from it.

From two dimensions to three . . . the beams of light refracted simultaneously, entwined with each other, and assembled into a web-like formation. The lattice of light, which was created around the mass of flesh, became a cage in the twinkling of an eye

Both the chains that bound the Relay Point and the fleshy tentacles that spread throughout the town crackled.

. . . . . . !

As though remembering itself, the Relay Point began to struggle, but it was too late.

Annihilation field set.

The cross sections of tentacles and chains had smooth edges, like butter that had been sliced by a hot knife. They were neither shattered nor dismembered. The cage of light had definitively separated the inner part from the outer. That within could not leave, and that without could not enter; anything that spanned the two was quite naturally split in twain. The door to the site of execution had been shut, and it would not open again until the victim had perished.

Damn thee--!

The mass of flesh beat its tentacles against the cage, but the lattice of light did not waver.

After all, though Fenrir's annihilation field resembled a cage, it was not one. The lattice merely delineated the boundary between the isolated, disparate space within and the ordinary space without. The gaps in the lattice only allowed a view of the interior and were not actual gaps at all.

Suddenly.

With a rustle, a part of the fleshy mass was no more.

It had not been cut away. It had completely and suddenly ceased to exist.

This is--!

The disappearances continued, one after the other.

Just as though they were being bitten off by the jaws of an invisible beast, pieces of the fleshy mass were gouged out one by one, and vanished. The mass of flesh seemed to be trying to escape--its entire body wriggled and squirmed, it metamorphosed, it beat against the cage . . . but each time it made one of these fruitless efforts, its body grew smaller.

This power . . .

A molecular disintegration cascade--!

Galil's realization shocked him.

When faced with this force, any substance at all would end up as particles smaller than dust. Neither restoration nor proliferation could keep pace with the disappearances. The mass of flesh shrank more and more quickly.

Damn thee, damn thee, damn thee--!

He could not be defeated.

Peacemakers were superior to human beings. Two is certainly greater than one. This followed the same reasoning. They were meant to be absolute beings against whom humans could not win, no matter how much they struggled.

Divine Decree, that which embodies absolute order, was engraved into each and every human being, in a place deeper still than their instincts. So long as it remained, humankind could not disobey a Peacemaker. They could not oppose one. They could offer nothing but unconditional submission.

That was as it should be. An indignity such as this should never have been allowed.

And yet . . . the destruction continued to spread.

Faces wearily rose up to the surface of the fleshy mass. The faces belonged to the Purgers, to the little boy from not long ago, and to the Black Hawk soldiers.

A swarm of faces belonging to those the mass of flesh had absorbed, who served as an archive of configuration data.

The faces of the dead, who would never return.

. . . YOU'RE CRUEL . . .

Countless faces made their accusation.

. . . HELP US . . . IT HURTS . . .

". . ."

At the chorus of grief and rancor, Shannon bit his lip.

. . . YOU'RE CRUEL . . . YOU'D KILL US? . . . YOU'D KILL US? . . . YOU'D KILL US? . . .

A drop of red appeared on the tip of his lip. Even so, Shannon continued to bite down with nearly enough force to sever it, and he stared at the faces of the dead, whose destruction he had wrought.

Fixedly, patiently . . . he stared.

As though it were his duty.

. . . DAMN THEE . . .

The mass of flesh writhed, seeming to struggle.

Encircled by the cage of light, countless mouths screamed, as though weaving a curse.

Damn theeEEEeeeeee--!

The finishing blow . . . came when the cage collapsed in on itself.

The annihilation field collapsed infinitely upon itself.

A flash of light burst forth.

The next moment, without leaving so much as a mote of dust behind, the mass of flesh had vanished.

---

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