Kain kept monitoring the situation around the building. He was using the information-gathering device installed in his powered suit to check everything around him. Every little change in the area was displayed in his enhanced vision. It was also showing a warning that the scanning sensitivity was worsened because of the colourless mist.
It was only a matter of time before the colourless mist waned, and that would be really bad for Kain and Nelia. If the colourless mist stopped preventing Akira from contacting the temporary base, the base would know about their existence and there was no doubt that it would send the city’s defensive squad to that place. As such, they had to withdraw from that place before the base comes to know about them.
“She’s taking too long. What the heck is Nelia doing? With her ability, she should be able to make a short work of that brat…”
Kain thought highly of Nelia. He even thought that no one would be able to win against Nelia in CQC. She might even be able to kill him and all of his companions by herself if they were not in their powered suits and were forced to fight her in close range. So, he thought that Nelia should be able to quickly kill Akira and come back by now.
But even so, she still had not come back from the fight in that building. It was not an exaggeration to say that it was really alarming.
At first, he thought that Nelia would eventually contact him anyway and he would only be a nuisance if he contacted her first. That was why he decided to hold himself back from doing so. But now that things had turned rather worrying, he decided to contact her.
“Nelia!! How long are you going to take?”
Nelia quickly replied back, she sounded happy.
“Kain, I’m having a good time right now. If it’s not something urgent, can you put it for later?”
“Hey! This is something very urgent!! The colourless mist is getting thinner!! Depending on the relay device that they’re using in the temporary base, they might be able to establish a connection by now!! Stop wasting time and get him already!! Or is it that you need more time since you’re chopping the corpse to pieces?”
“I’m not wasting time. And it’s not like I have that kind of hobby either!!”
“Then, are you having trouble confirming the death? It’s not like Yajima set the program so that it would reject any attempts of confirmation, right?”
“That’s not the problem either.”
Kain guessed what was going on with Nelia, to be honest, he did not want to believe his guess as he mumbled.
“…Don’t tell me.”
“Yep, you guessed it right. To think that there’s someone who can fight me evenly in close combat. No wonder Yajima got himself killed. Although he’s not as strong as me, he had his strengths, that’s why we left him to take care of the underground side of the operation. I guess he was really unlucky to meet this boy. Well then, you’re disturbing my focus, so let’s stop here.”
Nelia then disconnected his call.
Kain carefully analyzed the new information that he just got from her.
“…Having Yajima killed is a pretty bad turn of events already. And now this, huh? Is it because there were discrepancies between the information that we shared? Or is it just bad luck piling up on one another by pure coincidence? No matter whichever it is, I need to make a change in the plan.”
There was no one listening to him. But he sounded completely different compared to when he spoke to Nelia and the others.
After ending the call, Nelia quickly closed in and threw a slash at Akira.
“Sorry for the wait. I got a call from my friend that I had to take. Did you wait long?”
When Nelia was talking with Kain, she was keeping her distance with Akira and her movements were dulled.
When Akira saw Nelia keeping her distance from him. He thought that she did that to take a breather as she was close to her limit in their CQC fight. He even hoped that she was thinking of retreating. But it turned out that he was sadly mistaken.
Akira was trying hard to fight back as he said.
“Don’t mind me, you can take your time talking with your friend.”
Nelia answered back provokingly.
“Don’t be so cold. Girls won’t like you if you say something like that, you know?”
“I have no plans on getting liked by a girl who loves to kill her lover.”
“Oh my, it’s not like I do it because I like it. As I said, it just adds a little spice to life. It’s boring to have a dull life, don’t you think?”
“Sadly enough, I have enough spices for my life right now!!”
“Is that so? Then, in that case, you can just enjoy a little bit more, right?”
Nelia looked like she was having the time of her life as she kept swinging her blade at Akira. Her cyborg body that was designed for dexterity rather than strength danced gracefully in the middle of the battlefield as her beautiful slender arm swung the liquid metal blade in her hand. The blade was so thin that it was almost transparent, but even so, it had an unbelievable sharpness as it cut through rubbles and wreckages without any effort.
Thanks to the painkiller in his medicine, Akira did not feel any pain as his body was forced to move to evade Nelia’s attacks. But the moment his augmented suit ran out of energy, he would not be able to lift even a finger. Even though he was in the midst of battle, his brain kept telling his body to shut down, while on the other hand, his survival instinct was telling him to stay awake no matter what.
Akira was close to his limit. While on the other hand, Nelia had a lot of leeway during their fight. If things kept going at this rate, there was no mistaking that he would end up dead.
But there was something else that had hit its limit before Akira. It was the very place where Nelia and Akira were having their fight.
Nelia had sliced and diced the ceiling of that room, after that, they both released a powerful kick to the ceiling at the same time. The floor of that room was also sliced so many times during their fight that it was significantly weakened.
The ceiling that was destroyed earlier was crumbling and its pieces were falling over Nelia and Akira. Normally, with their ability, it was not a hard thing to evade those falling rubbles.
But it was an entirely different story now as they were closely watching each other’s movements for any openings. They both knew that even the smallest opening would be fatal. In order to get the upper hand over one another, they were mostly ignoring the falling rubbles.
The impact of the falling rubbles damaged and cracked the already weakened floor. As Akira and Nelia were fighting while keeping their eyes on each other, suddenly, they were swallowed up by the crumbling ceiling and floor and fell down to the lower floor.
One of the piles of rubbles on the lower floor moved. Rubbles were shoved aside and Nelia stood up from within the pile.
“Good grief, to interrupt our date like this, what a bunch of rude rubbles?!”
Nelia looked at the handle in her right hand, it had lost its blade. Although she tried many times to recreate the blade, the silver blade just would not come out from the handle. It was either the handle was broken during that fall, or it had run out of liquid metal, or it had no energy left.
Nelia threw that handle away and looked around. She could not find Akira anywhere. She thought that he might be buried somewhere. At least, after that fall, there should be no possibility of him pulling off an ambush.
After scanning the area, she could see Alpha’s body. It was still sliced into two as it was lying on a pile of rubble. She could see Alpha’s location with the map of the Kuzusuhara ruin that she was connected to.
[That is… his friend, right? The one who I killed earlier. I’m glad I killed her despite the fact that I had to sacrifice an expensive relic. If she’s as strong as him, this would be 2 against 1 and I would be the one losing.]
The image of Alpha in her vision vanished for a split second before returning back. It was because Nelia set her vision to only show information coming from her cyborg body.
[Since my cyborg body can’t see her, it means that she’s using some kind of advanced camouflage. I can’t even see the blood around her too, so it must be something more than just an optical camouflage. It might be some kind of old-world technology. Was it because she thought I couldn’t see her that she was caught by surprise back then?]
Nelia judged that Alpha was really there. It was because she was seeing Alpha’s sliced body in front of her. That body was bleeding out and leaving traces just like a real body should, thus, judging solely on what she was seeing, there was no doubt that Alpha was really dead.
After confirming her surroundings, Nelia turned her attention to the most important thing in that location, Akira. Akira popped out and stood up from a pile of rubbles, he wobbled for a short moment before falling over.
Nelia approached him, she was also all wobbly. The fall had dealt quite a lot of damage to her cyborg body too.
[…Well, let’s put everything aside for now. First things,first…]
Nelia smiled in relief as Akira was not carrying his blade too. Instead, he was using his CWH anti-material rifle to help him stand on his feet.
“…First things first, I need to kill you!!”
Nelia started running toward Akira. Because of the damage on her cyborg body, her movement stuttered a bit, but even so, she judged that she was still strong enough to take out Akira given their situation. She charged at him, hoping to put an end to their fight.
Akira who just came out from the rubbles kept on stumbling over. Although he tried to get back on his feet as fast as he could, he just could not do it. Both his body and his augmented suit were put under immense stress when he had to fight Nelia.
“Alpha, I can’t move my body well, can you control my body through the augmented suit?”
“Unfortunately, I can’t do that right now. A part of the augmented suit and one of its control units were broken after that fall. Because of that, I can’t completely control your augmented suit anymore.”
Akira smiled bitterly and gritted his teeth. Losing Alpha’s support because of his broken augmented suit meant that his fighting ability was greatly reduced.
“Why now of all times? But it’s not like it’s completely broken, right?”
“You should still be able to move it. After all, the input signal should be much more stable when you use it compared to when I control it. It still has some energy left too. You should still be able to move it if you try.”
“Is that so? So I keep stumbling because I’m not trying hard enough, huh?”
“It’s true that the damage also makes it more difficult to move the augmented suit. I’ll keep trying to take control of your augmented suit while also finding an opening to strike back. Just try to buy as much time as possible until I get that chance.”
“Roger that, and please hurry up.”
Akira was somehow able to keep himself standing using his CWH anti-material rifle to support his body. Extreme pain ran through his whole body. He gritted his teeth to endure that pain as he kept his eyes on Nelia who was coming towards him.
Nelia’s cyborg body was sustaining significant damage. But even so, it still had enough power to close the distance between her and Akira faster than a normal human.
Akira raised his CWH anti-material rifle and pulled the trigger. But because of the pain and lack of support from Alpha, he was moving way slower compared to when he was evading Nelia’s blade.
Even before he was able to pull the trigger, Nelia kicked the CWH’s muzzle. The bullet flew out from the gun’s muzzle and hit somewhere far away from her. With that kick, the CWH rifle was also thrown off from Akira’s hand and landed nearby them.
After that, she continued launching consecutive strikes toward Akira. Akira’s CQC ability had gotten way better because of Alpha’s training, thanks to that, he was barely able to defend himself. But with that being said, he was not skilled enough to be able to counterattack. Akira could only desperately defend himself from Nelia’s flurry of attacks.
Every time Akira blocked Nelia’s strike, he could feel his bones cracking and his muscles tearing. Looking at how he was being pushed to only defend himself, Nelia increased the intensity of her attacks.
Since Akira was moving very badly compared to before as if he was a different person, Nelia overestimated his injuries.
Although it actually was his real ability since he had lost his support from Alpha, there was no way for Nelia to know that. So, she started to smile faintly.
[He’s moving way worse compared to before!! I have to kill him now before he can regain his composure!!]
Akira kept facing Nelia’s attack head-on. The reason why he did not run away from that place was because he simply did not want to get attacked from behind. Not to mention, his CWH anti-material rifle was lying on the ground not too far from them.
If he turned his back and ran away, Nelia would take his CWH anti-material rifle which was his only weapon that could inflict damage on her cyborg body. So if he lost that rifle, his winning chance would plummet to zero. Not to mention that Kain, who was able to take CWH special ammo head-on, was monitoring the situation outside that building. There was no way he could fight Kain using only an AAH assault rifle. If Kain found out that he had no way of fighting back, there was no doubt that Kain would come to kill him.
Although Akira’s eyes and reflex were able to follow Nelia’s attacks, it was not the case for his body. His movements were dulled because his body was tired and he was in so much pain. Thanks to that, some of Nelia’s attacks went through and added injuries to his already injured body. Even his augmented suit started getting heavier and heavier as it sustained more and more damage.
The moment either his body or his augmented suit finally gave out, Nelia would be able to quickly kill him.
“Alpha!! I’m gonna hit my limit soon. Where is the opening to strike back that you said you’re going to create?!!”
“It’s not like I can easily make one. Hang on a little bit longer. Look behind her.”
Akira glanced over Nelia’s back. He could see Alpha standing not too far from them.
He looked puzzled. Since Nelia was not aware that Alpha was behind her, she did not put up her guard toward Alpha at all. But even if Alpha attacked her from behind, it was not like Alpha who had no corporal body could injure her. Thus he did not understand the reason behind Alpha’s action.
From the way Akira glanced behind her, Nelia noticed that someone was behind her. But her cyborg body could not identify who it was. From her experience in cutting Alpha down, she knew that there were people using some kind of advanced camouflage that prevented her cyborg information-gathering organs from identifying them.
So, Nelia quickly checked the Kuzusuhara map network that she was connected with, from it, she was able to ascertain Alpha’s movements behind her. Judging from how Alpha was moving, she thought that Alpha did not know that she could track her location.
She quickly turned around and sent a roundhouse kick. She set that up so that it would be a perfect counter that would catch Alpha, who was coming at her, off guard.
But she was surprised three-fold. The person who was coming at her was the same person who she thought was dead. Then her kick just passed through that person as if she was only kicking through the air, throwing her off balance. Then at the same exact moment, Akira kicked her and sent her flying. She did not see that coming at all.
Akira released that kick with all of his strength and it sent Nelia, who was already off-balance, flying into the air. Although it was not enough to damage Nelia’s cyborg body, it was enough to overturn the table.
Nelia was totally confused, all the questions that were flooding her brain prevented her from thinking clearly. She was still confused even after she slammed into a pile of rubble, but her confusion was cut short the moment her eyes met Akira’s eyes. What reflected in her eyes was Akira who was already aiming his CWH anti-material rifle at her.
After Akira sent Nelia flying with his kick, he quickly grabbed his CWH anti-material rifle lying near him and immediately aimed it at her before pulling the trigger.
The CWH special ammo hit Nelia on her torso. The impact ripped her cyborg body into two, mechanical parts were sent flying into the air and scattered on the ground. Her upper body and lower body then landed at two different places.
But Akira did not stop there, he emptied his rifle at Nelia. Although he was able to destroy her lower half and limbs, her head was left untouched. It was not like he did that intentionally, he had aimed at Nelia’s head when he released those shots but all of them missed their target.
Akira clicked his tongue. It was obvious that Nelia was using a cyborg body. So he needed to at least destroy her head to make sure that she would not pose any more danger.
When he kicked Nelia, it was actually Alpha controlling his augmented suit. Alpha was already able to control his augmented suit at that time.
The reason why Alpha did not immediately give her support to Akira was to catch Nelia off-guard. She knew that even with her support, Akira would not be able to win if they did not somehow catch Nelia unprepared.
Nelia took that bait more than Alpha thought, thanks to that, she was able to take full advantage of that opening. All of that hard work turned her plan into a big success and Akira was able to turn the table around.
Akira realized that Alpha’s support was back when she controlled his augmented suit. So he thought that his shooting support should be recovered too.
But all of his shots missed the target. He sounded slightly panicked as he said.
“…I can’t hit her at all!! What’s going on here?!!”
“The augmented suit is too damaged, so it’s not working properly and disrupting your aiming. Not to mention that the CWH special ammo adds an extra kickback for each shot. So it’s rather impossible to control that kickback using your damaged augmented suit. Even that shot at her torso would have been impossible without my support, you know?”
Akira loaded a new magazine while listening to Alpha’s explanation.
“What should I do then?”
“You’ll have to get closer before shooting at her. I don’t recommend leaving her alone. Even in that condition, she might still be able to control the powered suit which she left outside.”
“I wonder if the other guy would run away if I kill her.”
“I hope that would be the case too.”
Akira and Alpha worded out their wishful thinking as they hoped that such a thing would happen.
Kain was still monitoring the situation outside the building. The colourless mist had already thinned out.
He was pretty sure that Akira should be able to contact the temporary base by now, but Nelia had not contacted him yet. As such, he concluded what to do.
“I guess this is time for goodbye, huh.”
Kain’s powered suit opened up from behind. It looked more like the powered suit used him as its control unit rather than him using it as a powered suit. He then stepped out from his powered suit. Although his limbs were folded-in when he got out, he extended his limbs in midair and landed smoothly.
In contrast to his bulky powered suit, Kain himself was a slender man. His limbs were thin, so was his torso. His hair and skin did not look like a human, he looked more like a robot with a human appearance. From the outside, it was obvious that he was not a cyborg that resembled a human, but more of a humanoid battle cyborg. The only part of his body that resembled a human was his 10 fingers, and even that part was fully mechanical.
A heavy machine gun and a sniper rifle popped out from behind his powered suit. Both of them were huge rifles that a normal human would not be able to use. But he caught them both with his thin arms and carried each rifle on either arm.
Although both of them were heavy rifles, it did not seem like it bothered him at all. It was unbelievable that he could produce that much power with those slim arms.
Nelia’s powered suit suddenly started moving on its own. Kain, who saw that, understood Nelia was remotely controlling her powered suit from inside that building. So, it confirmed his suspicion.
He remotely controlled his powered suit to aim the big guns in its arms at Nelia’s powered suit and showered it with countless warheads. It blew Nelia’s powered suit to smithereens almost instantly.
“I’m sorry, it’s just to be safe. It would be problematic if you’re tailing me after all.”
Kain then abandoned his powered suit behind and left that place alone.
Even after losing half of her body and her limbs, Nelia was still alive. As a cyborg, she would be able to stay alive for a few days with just her head.
But that did not mean that she could survive her present situation which was simply hopeless. Akira was walking towards her with a loaded CWH anti-material rifle.
Akira wanted to make sure that she was dead for good. She herself understood that the only reason she was alive was not because Akira wanted to beat her to death. But it was because he kept on missing his shots at her head due to the tiredness and his injuries.
Akira took another aim at Nelia’s head and pulled the trigger. He frowned as his shot missed again. He then carefully walked closer to her while still watching his surroundings and took another shot. He repeated that action since he kept missing his shot.
He could immediately kill Nelia if he walked right next to her, thrust his rifle to her neck, and pulled the trigger. The only reason he did not do that was because he was still very cautious of her.
He knew that Nelia was obviously stronger than him. Even though he had the upper hand right now, he did not think that he had rendered her fully harmless. And that was exactly what delayed her death.
Nelia was still smiling even in that situation. To Akira, it looked like she still had an inkling on how to win that fight. So he became more cautious of her and it slowed him down from approaching her.
Nelia actually was not smiling thinking that she could still win that fight. She was actually smiling in order to numb her feelings from death. If she died here, then that would be the end for her. That was all there was to it. She was only smiling because she understood that fact.
But it was not like she wanted to die either. So she still tried everything that she could think of. That was why, although she thought that it would not make it, she still called her powered suit which was outside the building to come to where she was.
But suddenly the connection to her powered suit got cut off.
[…Did my powered suit get destroyed? What the heck happened outside?]
Right as she was wondering what happened outside, Kain called Nelia. Since they were talking through their internal organs, no one could hear their conversation.
“Nelia, how are you over there?”
“Kain? I’m actually having a hard time here. I’m sorry, but can you please help me out?”
Nelia answered back as if there was nothing special happening. It was because she wanted to increase her odds no matter how small it was.
But Kain answered back casually.
“I see, so you lost, huh?”
If she told him the truth, it was unlikely that Kain would help her. So Nelia answered back as if she was doing fine.
“As I said, I’m just having a hard time here. Although, it would be a big help if you could hurry up.”
But then Kain replied.
“At least you have been done-in to the point that you can’t move, right? Not to mention that you got beaten in your speciality, CQC. If that’s not the case, you wouldn’t have moved your powered suit to get you out from the closed space like that room, right? Ahh, about that though, I’m sorry but I destroyed your powered suit. That’s why it’s pointless to wait for your powered suit.”
“Oh my, you’re so mean. Didn’t I tell you not to touch my powered suit?”
“My bad, I have reasons why I had to do that.”
Nelia sounded as if it was completely normal. And Kain also replied back as if they were just having an everyday banter. Both of them were abnormal people. Forget about other people’s lives, they did not even worry about their own.
“Well, I do apologize for destroying your powered suit. But as an exchange, I’m sending my powered suit to you.”
“Thank you so much… Wait, sending?”
“Yep. I’m sending only my powered suit. It’s on autopilot as I’m running away from here. I have no wish to fight someone who can beat you in CQC. By the way, I also set it to go on a rampage regardless of friends or enemies. The colourless mist is already gone. So he might have contacted the city and the city defense squad might already be somewhere near. If my powered suit goes on a rampage, it would at least be able to divert their attention. Well then, take care.”
Kain then ended the call. Nelia tried to call him multiple times only to get rejected. She then mumbled.
“…Good grief. If you would send me your powered suit, I hope that you would send me the access code too.”
Nelia kept calm even in that situation. In her head, she simulated any ideas that she could come up with. Suddenly, Akira’s shot landed right beside her. Although it shook her head, she still looked completely calm without even a trace of fear or panic.
“Well, I guess I’ll at least do everything I can.”
Nelia smiled as she placed all her hope on her new plan that she just came up with.