Chapter 6 - Part 4: Battle Start
[A demon has appeared on the school grounds. We ask that all students and staff exit the building in a calm and orderly fashion. The demon is currently rampaging in the vicinity of the first floor main entrance. Please use the east and west staircases, and exit through the gymnasium or the new wing. This is not a drill. I repeat-]
It had been a long time since the students in their classrooms had heard this alarm and the emergency broadcast.
"It's been a while, huh?"
"What kind of idiot still falls for one of those? It's almost time for midterms!"
"The school rules say that if there's less than half a class remaining when a demon attacks, they cancel the rest of the day's lesson."
"Sweet! No makeup classes!"
"I was just about to go to sleep, too…"
The students chattered blissfully, neither panicked nor worried, and began to evacuate the building in an orderly fashion just as they were directed.
Kino's class was no different. Everyone stood from their seats and began the evacuation procedures.
[What's going on here? Oh! Could it be…?] Inid wondered. Inuyama answered her.
[That's correct. There is a demon running loose. But please stay calm. We'll evacuate onto the school grounds with the others.]
Inid didn't seem to be entirely relieved, however.
"Classes are practically over now, right? I guess we can go home now."
"Good thing it's sunny out. We're not allowed to take umbrellas outside during an evacuation."
The students filed out of the classroom, the very picture of calm. Inuyama joined the line, making sure to escort Inid.
They were just stepping outside the classroom when Inid noticed something.
[Wait! Where's Kino?!]
Inid had finally realized that Kino had walked in the opposite direction and disappeared through the balcony on the other side of the open window. Inuyama had already noticed earlier, but he did not seem too concerned.
[Don't worry. Kino always runs off by herself like this, but she always turns up without a scratch.]
[But we can't just leave her! We have to find Kino!]
Inid turned around, passed by the other students, and poked her head out towards the balcony.
[Kino!] She yelled at the top of her lungs, but Kino had already disappeared round a corner.
[She'll be fine!] Inuyama said from behind her.
[We have to rescue her!] Inid said, and stepped onto the balcony to follow Kino. What a loyal girl. You know, they say that idiocy makes you braver.
The other students had all left. Inuyama was left alone in the classroom.
"Today… I will defeat you, Shizu…" He said with a terrifying grin.
Where was Shizu, and what was he doing now? He happened to be in the gymnasium.
Unusually by his standards, Shizu was wearing a gym shirt and shorts. Unusually by human standards, Shizu was playing basketball with a katana strapped to his side.
Suddenly, the alarms sounded.
"This isn't good! Evacuate the gymnasium, everyone!" Shizu directed his classmates. They followed his command and quickly exited the building. As the others left, Shizu made up an excuse to stay behind.
"I'll check to make sure no one's been left behind! Go on without me!"
Shizu held the absolute trust of both his peers and teachers alike. There was no one around who held any doubts about his character.
Now he was left in an empty gymnasium, surrounded by still-rolling basketballs. It was finally time for his transformation sequence.
But… Well, it's no fun describing a man's naked body, so I'm just going to omit that.
There you go. Transformation complete.
Standing in the gymnasium post-transformation was a suspicious man wearing a white school uniform, a silken white cape, a white mask over his face, a pair of white doggy ears and an apple on his head, and a katana on his belt.
The suspicious man's eyes glinted seriously as he spoke to himself in a tone dignified enough to use at a funeral.
"I have to do whatever it takes to finish things before Ti gets here…"
And as for the most important point--the demon…
The bespectacled man had transformed into something resembling a large wolfman. It was about four metres tall, unable to walk on its hind legs without bumping its head into the ceiling.
The first thing it did was kick away the man in the work wear, who was trembling beside him.
With an unusual cry of pain, the man flew through the main entrance doors and lay on the ground, twitching in pain.
[What's going on here?]
Seeing this, four men leapt out of the other station wagon. Like the duo, they were all wearing work overalls, but they were all foreigners. Two caucasian men and two black men, all extremely well-built. All four of them were had large bags slung over their shoulders.
The two caucasian men, in fact, were the ones who had been eying the souvenirs back when Kino was in in Kotoku-in.
The biggest of the four men, a caucasian, was wearing a pair of costume pants. He had probably been in the middle of dressing up as a demon inside the car.
[What happened?! Who did this to you?!] They asked their ally, in English. The short-haired man, pale with fear, also replied in English.
[R, run…! Take me with you!]
It was difficult to understand what the man was trying to say. The four men frowned in confusion when the world suddenly went dark.
[Huh?] [What?] [Hm?] [Oh?]
To be specific, a large shadow had been cast over them all. They looked up, only to meet the eyes of a two-storey tall wolfman.
"O, open fire!"
The men quickly reached into their bags and pulled out their Glock G18C handguns. But at that very moment, the demon mercilessly pounded down upon them.
[Gah!] [Ugh!] [Oof!] [Argh!]
Although no normal person could be in possession of a Glcok G18C, the four men were knocked out without even getting a chance to fire a single shot. Their unconscious bodies fell in a pile atop one another.
The short-haired man looked up at the sight, almost on the verge of tears.
"Who said there had to be a real demon attack…?" He repeated what he said the day before, and fell unconscious to the demon's strike.
Kino looked down upon the main entrance from the balcony of the new wing of the school.
"There! I see it!"
From her viewpoint Kino could see the five fallen men and the demon, which was slowly breaking down the pillars at the main entrance to bring down the school building.
The alarms stopped. The students and the PA team had all evacuated safely. There should be no one left in the school building.
At this point, even the explosion-proof shutters had probably been activated. The demon would likely be able to plough through them with ease, but they would still buy Kino some time.
"That's the one, huh? It's huge!" Kino mumbled, looking down at the demon.
"You still only need one shot to bring it down." Hermes said.
Of course, even if a demon was the size of a daidarabotchi(1), Mysterious Bishoujo Gun Fighter Rider Kino's secret weapon, Big Cannon ~Shining Iron Demon Destroyer~, which could only be used once per transformation, would be enough to end things. In fact, bigger demons made for better targets because of their sheer size.
"That's right. It might even be better for me, since something that big probably won't be moving very fast. I'd better finish this before Samoyed Mask gets here."
The demons were not Kino's worst enemy.
Kino's greatest nemesis was Samoyed Mask, an eternal thorn in her side. She understood this fact clearly last time, when a student who would grow up to be an author was turned into a demon.
When a demon appeared, Kino would transform in the blink of an eye, use the firearms in her pouches to stun it, then land the final blow with Big Cannon. This was Kino's plan. Speed was critical.
Now, for the transformation sequence you've all been waiting for!
"Here I go, Hermes!"
Standing in a corner of the balcony, hidden out of sight, Kino drew the model gun from the holster around her waist.
She thrust it high into the clear autumn sky, raised the hammer with her thumb, put her finger over the trigger, and took a deep breath.
"From my cold! Dead-"
Kino's best scene, the transformation catchphrase, was suddenly interrupted. Kino let out a mangled gasp as she pulled the trigger. Of course, it ended in misfire.
"Wh-wh-wh-wh-who's there?!" Kino stuttered, turning around. A beautiful girl with long blond hair had turned the corner and was running towards her.
"Inid?! What are you doing here?!"
Inid skidded to a stop in front of Kino, quick enough for the soles of her shoes to melt off, and picked out one of the few Japanese phrases she had memorized.
As Kino stood reeling in confusion, Inid began to rapidly berate her in English.
[It's dangerous here, Kino! You're the one who told me to escape if a demon appeared! Come on, we have to go! It's not too late! The rules say we have to get onto the grounds!]
It went without saying that Kino did not understand a word. Everything just sounded like Blahblahblahblahblahblahblah to her.
Kino was in trouble.
Of course, Kino could not let Inid find out that she was secretly Mysterious Kino.
That was why she had to get Inid somewhere safe, even if it means she had to lie to her. Kino couldn't let Inid witness her transformation. In fact, the transformation sequence itself only took a moment. All Kino needed was for Inid to look away for even one second.
"What am I supposed to say?!"
Kino lacked the ability to communicate anything to Inid in English. She clutched at her head in frustration, as Inid worriedly spoke to her in English again.
[Are you hurt? Don't worry! I'm here to help you!]
It was actually the complete opposite. Inid, you're the reason Kino's in trouble. And that trouble was just getting worse by the second.
Kino was stuck between a rock and a hard place. She felt bad about it, but Kino was considering striking Inid in the stomach to knock her out temporarily. Her eye glinted suspiciously.
"I see you may need my help!"
A voice suddenly echoed towards them.
"Hm?" Inid looked up absently towards the gymnasium rooftop on the other side of the main building, where the voice had come from.
"When the maiden of justice finds herself in danger--"
Everything unfolded as though in slow motion.
The moment Inid took her eyes off her, Kino ran. She ran around the corner Inid had turned on her way here, listening to the voice of a man she did not want to be listening to.
"A lone knight-"
Hiding behind the corner, she raised the model gun in her right hand.
Bang! Bang! Sparkle sparkle.
The first series of sounds came from Kino's model gun going off. The Sparkle Sparkle was the sound effect from the transformation. Kino's side of the balcony was illuminated as though a flashbang had gone ff. Of course, Inid couldn't see any of this because she didn't have eyes on the back of her head.
"from the distant skies!"
Inid watched as a highly suspicious man wearing a white school uniform, a white cape, a white mask, a pair of doggy ears, and an apple atop his head struck a pose.
Inid was struck dumb by the display. Which was completely understandable.
Someone suddenly walked up to her from behind.
She's here! The main character of this story, Mysterious Bishoujo Gun fighter Rider Kino, hereon referred to as Mysterious Kino. She appeared from the direction opposite to the one Kino had run towards earlier.
She wasn't much different from Kino in terms of appearance. She was wearing a winter uniform just like before.
The only real differences were the buckles on her pouches (they were now shaped like cats), and the addition of sweatpants under her skirt that killed any hope of titillation. It was not surprising that Samoyed Mask had gotten Kino mixed up with Mysterious Kino.
"Great TIMING!" Kino yelled.
With her right hand she drew a Barrett M82A2 rifle. Big Cannon was still holstered.
An M82A2 is a rifle that utilizes gigantic .50 caliber rounds. These rounds are used in heavy machine guns, and were used by fighter planes in WWII.
The Barrett M82A1 is well-known for its numerous movie appearances, but the A2 is a bullpup version, where the action is located behind the trigger.
This particular gun could be used as an anti-aircraft weapon, where the back of the gun could be mounted on the shooter's shoulder during the shot. This was why it was shorter than the other rifles from Barrett, but it was still 1.5 metres long and a hefty monster at 15 kilograms.
Mounting the M82A2 on her shoulder, Kino approached Inid and took aim at Samoyed Mask.
She then put something resembling headphones over Inid's ears with her left hand.
It was a pair of specialized earmuffs that prevented hearing damage from overexposure to loud noises like gunfire. Outfitted with electronic circuits, it amplified everyday sounds and repelled sudden loud noises.
The sounds of gunfire were nothing to the transformed Kino's ears, but earmuffs like this were a necessity for a normal person, who might be left with ringing ears after only a single gunshot.
"Ahoy there, Mysterious Kino! Are you well?" Samoyed Mask asked from the gymnasium rooftop.
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
Kino answered Samoyed Mask's greeting with a barrage of shots. The refreshing sound of .50 caliber gunfire shook the autumn air. Large shell casings flew out of the M82A2, sunlight glinting off their surface.
Inid's eyes widened.
"Hahahahahahaha! Your violent shows of affection never cease to floor me, Mysterious Kino! It's been a while! How are you? Good day! These are today's greetings."
Samoyed Mask greeted Kino again, deflecting 40g+ pieces of metal travelling at 2.5 times the speed of sound with a single katana.
Kino did not hesitate to repeatedly fire off rounds that could bifurcate a human being from a distance of 1.5 kilometres towards Samoyed Mask, who could not have been more than a hundred metres away from her.
Kino was desperate.
"These are pretty easy to deflect at an angle, you know~"
Samoyed Mask could not have been more relaxed.
Thanks to Kino's indiscriminate firing, the M82A2, which could only hold ten rounds at once, was out of ammunition. Kino quickly put the M82A2 back in her pouch and drew another gun--no, another weapon.
This weapon is called a Panzerfaust 3. It is a weapon that consists of a gigantic projectile containing a rocket booster mounted onto a cylinder. It is a recoilless weapon. Whenever a projectile is launched, the kickback is taken care of with a scattering of metal dust expelled from the back. This product's relative lack of backblast is one of its most lauded features. And unlike an RPG7, you can even use it indoors when you don't have a lot of space behind you! Isn't it wonderful? How much for one of these?
The projectile was launched, and the rocket kicked in in midair. It is a clearly different weapon from the likes of rocket launchers, where the rockets on the projectiles are active from the beginning. No, this will not be on the exam.
For your reference, it's also used by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, and is called a hand-carry anti-tank projectile. Perhaps some of you readers have had the chance to shoot one of these into the Mt. Fuji mountainside. I'm so jealous.
In other words, this weapon exists to destroy sturdy tanks. I guarantee you that, if nothing else, it is not the kind of weapon you use to silence a lone man armed with nothing but a katana.
Kino mounted the weapon onto her shoulder, unfolded the grip, held it with her right hand, and checked on either side of herself. Once she had confirmed that Inid was in a position where she was as sheltered from the blast as possible, Kino fired mercilessly.
Do I really need to say who the target was? A sound more refreshing than before assaulted the air as the projectile made its way towards Kino's target.
"Hm. Rather violent of you today."
Samoyed Mask simply spun away.
The projectile hit the gymnasium rooftop. It left behind a blast powerful enough to pierce the reinforced concrete and shatter every window in the vicinity, creating a giant grey cloud of smoke.
As the .50 caliber rounds and the anti-tank projectile passed over its head--
The demon looked up at it in confusion. If I had to put subtitles on its lines, maybe it was saying something like,
[Why isn't she shooting at me?]
"All right. He's out of my way for now."
By the time the white smoke cleared in the wind, there was no one standing on the gymnasium rooftop.
Kino relaxed for the moment and placed the Panzerfaust 3 back into her pouch. The launcher tube is a one-off, but the firing and sighting units are reusable.
Kino then gave a word of reassurance to Inid, standing absently beside her.
"You're going to be fine. I'll protect you."
Inid had heard these words before. She knew exactly what anime this line was from. Then there was only one thing she could say in reply.
"Smile, we're friends!"
Kino didn't get it.
This time, Kino had to get Inid to safety before anything else. The demon came after.
But of course, she would have to introduce herself properly so that Inid wouldn't think she was some suspicious person who shot anything that moved, right?
Kino looked at Inid and desperately recalled the things she heard in English class.
[Uh, um… My, name, is… uh, "Justice Hero, Kino"!]
[Could it be? So you're the warrior of justice who turns demons back into humans!]
Kino had no idea what Inid was saying, but from the looks of her smile, her desperate gesticulating must have worked.
[Yes, yes, thank you!]
[Amazing! Thank you for rescuing me, Kino!]
[You're well done…] "Uh, I mean, uh…" [You're welcome! Let's escape! OK?]
[Yes! Please lead the way!]
It was a miraculously successful exchange. You never know until you try--conversations just end if you give up.
"Come on!" [Let's go!]
Kino took Inid by the hand and ran from the balcony. She might have ended up dislocating Inid's arm from her shoulder socket if she ran at full speed, so she had to slow down a great deal.
Kino whispered to Hermes, who was shaking as he hung from her belt.
"That was close. Now all I have to do is get Inid onto the grounds. The demons never go out there!"
"Right. That's if you forgot that you have to take care of Pervert Mask."
"Don't remind me."
Kino and Hermes stepped into the building interior and leapt into the nearest classroom.
"No one's here. Good."
The stepped out into the hallway, on the lookout for the demon or its monsters.
They carefully descended the steps to the floor below. Crack! Bang! They could hear things breaking from inside the building. The demon was rampaging, but that just made it easy for Kino to hear where it was.
Kino quietly poked her head out from behind a corner at the hallway on the first floor that connected the new wing to the main building.
The demon was in sight: It was about thirty metres ahead, kicking the walls and clawing out its surroundings.
It was so preoccupied with its rampage that it would probably be all right to sneak by. Kino and Inid could cross the new wing and exit into the grounds.
So Kino did not spare a thought as she whispered to her friend.
"Follow me, Inid."
The demon reacted.
The whispered name of its target was more than enough.
It stopped tearing apart metal reinforcements with its claws and looked around to the spot thirty metres behind itself. There was no one there.
But for a single moment, the demon spotted threads of gold--the flash of Inid's blond hair as she ran after Kino.
The demon roared, then got on all fours to pursue its target.
Kino ran through the hallway, Inid in tow.
"Behind us!" Hermes yelled, noticing the muffled sounds of claws and paw pads against the floor.
Kino reacted instantly. She sent Inid ahead, switching positions. She turned her back to Inid and looked upon the demon, which had rapidly closed the distance between them to a mere ten metres.
At the same time, she drew a gun.
It was a Saiga-12 version K, an automatic shotgun that allows for continuous fire just by pulling the trigger again. It is a Russian gun that looks exactly like the famous military-use AK-style rifles. It has a 12-gauge box magazine--in other words, it holds eight regular-sized slugs.
Kino held the gun at waist-level and opened fire.
Nine 00 buck shells, 8 millimetres in diameter, were fired at once. In continuous fire, at that. Although it might not have been enough to pierce the demon's thick hide, it was probably enough to give it the equivalent of a good beating.
Cruelly enough, Kino was aiming for its face in particular. The rounds landed a direct hit on the demon's snout.
The demon yelped like a dog whose tail had been stepped on, and turned to the hallway window. It then smashed through multiple panes of bulletproof glass and fled outside.
"You're not getting away!"
Kino quickly reloaded the Saiga-12, stepped close to the window, and took aim.
But the demon was already out of sight. It had probably gone into another building on the school property.
"That was seriously fast! That's probably the quickest demon I've ever fought! Wolves really are different."
"That's not all, Kino. I didn't notice it at all because it didn't have any bloodlust towards you."
"You're right… normally, you could sense demons faster than this, Hermes. Are you going senile, by any chance?"
"No way, I'm not that old."
Kino stared out the window in thought, her hair billowing in the wind.
She suddenly felt a great deal of bloodlust directed towards herself.
Kino turned back to the hallway, only to find herself facing down several monsters that had blown up like balloons.
Miniature wolfmen, about a fifth the size of the demon, were popping up all over the halls. They would soon fill the floor they were on.
"That's right!" Kino slapped her forehead. The hairs that had scattered when she shot the demon earlier must have started turning into monsters.
And thanks to the wind blowing in from the broken windows, the hairs flew all the way over to the end of the hallways, growing into monsters. They're such cute babies. In other words, in about ten seconds both Kino and Inid would be swamped by dozens of monsters. There wasn't even any time to ask them to wait.
Kino again took Inid by her hand, kicked down a nearby classroom door, and took shelter inside.
"Take a seat behind me."
Kino had Inid sit at a desk by the window, and switched guns. In place of the Saiga-12 she armed herself with a German-made Rheinmetall MG3 machine gun.
The MG3 is a modern-day version of the legendary MG42 that was used by the Germans during WWII. This is why the two models look the same. It is about 130 centimetres long and weighs over ten kilograms. Because it is a belt-fed firearm, a large magazine containing 120 rounds was attached to its left side.
Kino slung the MG3 over her shoulder like a rifle and took aim at the window that led to the hallway.
Whoa, that's a lot. The fully matured monsters writhed in the hallways, filling the space in blackness.
Soon, the monsters blew out the windows and doors as they flooded the classroom like water in a capsizing ship. Kino grinned.
"If I had five yen for every monster I shot, I'd be a really rich person by now."
"Why're you so relaxed, Kino?" Hermes asked, astonished.
Kino pulled the trigger.
BAAAAAAANG! One long gunshot rang out through the classroom. The 7.62 millimetre round turned one monster to ash.
There were so many monsters squirming around that Kino didn't even need to aim. A half-hearted shot was enough to KO one monster instantly. The ring popped up from the right side of the gun. Red-hot shell casings fell to the floor like droplets of rain.
Kino turned the gun left and right as she fired and fired and fired. She fended off the approaching wave of monsters as though she were protected by a magical barrier.
And in the midst of this surreal scene--
Inid was quietly looking at Kino.
After the ferocious roar of gunfire, one last shot made its way to a monster. Now there was only one left in the classroom.
That one monster lunged at Kino.
"Don't make me laugh!"
Kino swung her right arm and smacked the monster with the machine gun. The monster flew into the ceiling, bounced onto the floor, bounced into the air again, and turned into ash mid-flight.
With this, the ruined classroom was left with nothing but piles of ash.
"Phew…" Kino sighed. When she turned around, she saw Inid standing, staring at her with an odd look.
Kino put on heat-resistant gloves and pulled out the MG3's scalding-hot barrel in one smooth motion. she then took out a spare barrel from her pouch and affixed it to the gun. She then began to switch out the magazine.
Inid waited for her in silence.
Behind her was a window leading out to the balcony. Outside was visible a small green patch of forest. The patch of green was then blocked out by the form of the wolfman.
The demon, appearing in silence, raised its right arm with even less noise.
Perhaps she had sensed something. Inid quietly turned around.
Her eyes met those of the demon.
The moment she heard Inid's voice, Kino turned around.
The demon, standing outside the window, was poised to strike Inid's head at any time, its arm raised into the air. Kino would not be able to aim the MG3 in time.
"Damn! Can I do it fast enough?!"
Kino decided to toss away the MG3 and draw Big Cannon. But suddenly--
With one loud cry, a lone man jumped in through the window.
The young man, his long white hair in a neat ponytail, wore sunglasses and a black coat. He leapt towards the demon, firing in midair with the APS Stechkin handguns in both hands.
The APS is a Russian automatic pistol, but it can also be switched to a semiautomatic mode. The young man fired mercilessly, scattering shell casings everywhere, and amazingly enough, landed on the writhing wolfman's shoulder.
Oh! Looks like he's out of ammo. A pair of spare magazine instantly slipped out of his sleeves. The young man smoothly inserted them into the guns, and still standing on the demon's shoulder, viciously continued his attack from point blank range. This time, to the demon's head.
The poor demon let out a pained cry as it twisted and curled.
And just as the man in black jumped off its shoulder, the demon quickly fled outside. The young man continued to fire at it until its tail had finally disappeared into the distance, but he did not give chase.
Soon, the Stechkins were out of ammunition. The slides remained still, and white smoke emitted from them.
Inid had been rescued in the nick of time.
Kino stopped mid-toss and breathed a sigh of relief.
Inid, meanwhile, pointed at the man in the sunglasses and the black coat, who was standing on the balcony railing, with an open palm. She spoke to Kino in delighted Japanese.
"Boss! A girl fell out of the sky!"
"No, he's a guy… But… I get what you're trying to say. Yup. You're always around to help, huh? Detective Wanwan."
He was a familiar face to Kino now--Detective Wanwan, the skilled but mysterious boy who would appear out of nowhere to assist Kino, slid open the glass door and stepped into the classroom.
"I'm sorry for being so late." He greeted Kino, then turned to Inid, who stared at him in shock.
[It's a pleasure to meet you. My name is Detective Wanwan. I protect this school by Mysterious Kino's side.]
It was a very polite introduction.
He was, of course, speaking in English, but was it some kind of law he was following? He neglected to translate the 'Wanwan'. Or maybe 'Detective Bow Wow' is just too corny.
[Oh my gosh! You're a warrior of justice, too! Amazing! This is so exciting!]
In her excitement, Inid forgot all about the threat to her life moments before and lost herself in the excitement. Kino turned around and addressed Detective Wanwan.
"Thanks, Detective Wanwan. I just need to ask you for one more thing."
"What is it?"
"Take Inid somewhere safe on the school grounds. I'll take care of the demon and the monsters myself, so please take care of her!" Kino smiled.
But Detective Wanwan shook his head.
"I'm afraid I can't do that."
"Huh? why not?"
"It's too dangerous."
"Come on, I can take care of myself."
"That's not it. I'm saying it's too dangerous for both Inid and the other students."
"…What do you mean?"
"I've been observing the demon's movements thus far, and I have come to a conclusion."
Detective Wanwan's gaze turned from the curious Kino to the bright-eyed Inid, who was regarding her presence between the two warriors of justice with delight.
"The demon's target is the young lady here. It wants nothing to do with us, it seems."
"What? Ohhh! I get it! That's why Hermes never noticed it…"
"So we were just obstacles for it, huh."
As Kino and Hermes mumbled bitterly, Detective Wanwan explained the situation to Inid in English.
He explained that a demon acted upon the impulses it had been driven by in the moment before its transformation. He also explained that, for some reason, the demon's goal was to kidnap Inid. Detective Wanwan explained that he could not take Inid to the grounds, where the other students were stationed. If he were to do so, the demon would leave the building and rampage through the grounds. This would force gunmen like Kino and Detective Wanwan to take caution with stray bullets--their combat capabilities would be dulled, and it would risk the chance of student injury.
[…I see. I understand. So it's after me…] Inid mumbled, voice filled with more sadness than shock. Her joy from earlier seemed to have evaporated instantly. Inid probably knew something about the demon's motives that Kino and Detective Wanwan didn't.
Having noticed Inid's mental state, the perceptive Detective Wanwan's lip twitched in unease.
"Then what can we do? Any ideas?" Kino asked. Why don't you try thinking for yourself sometimes?
Detective Wanwan's answer was immediate.
"We'll continue the fight inside this building, while protecting Inid. As long as the demon is after her, it will follow her here by scent. That's when you can finish it off."
"But-" Kino was about to complain that Inid would be placed in danger, but, "No… I guess you're right. That's the only way. It might make the fight a bit harder, but I can't run away. If the demon comes to us, then I just have to face it head-on."
Even Kino could not disagree with Detective Wanwan's keen intellect.
"But this location is not entirely advantageous. Let's move elsewhere."
Kino expressed her agreement with Detective Wanwan's reasonable suggestion.
"So, where do we go?" Why don't you try thinking for (rest omitted)?
"Naturally, we will be able to fight at full strength in an open area. I propose that we relocate to the rooftop of the main building."
"Right! You're so smart." Kino exclaimed. But since she wasn't Satori the youkai(2), Kino could not read Detective Wanwan's mind.
Detective Wanwan had chosen the rooftop not only because it was the best place for fighting with firearms a demon suited for close-range combat, but also because it was the optimal place for taking down a swordfighting pervert.
That man would undoubtedly, make an appearance in order to get in Kino's way. He just had to.
This time, I swear…
"What's wrong, Detective Wanwan?" Kino asked. Her confused face was reflected on Detective Wanwan's sunglasses.
"N, nothing! L, let's go. Leave the rear guard to me." Detective Wanwan barely managed to fumble out a cool answer.
"Right! Reliable as always, huh?"
With her left hand, Kino took Inid's hand in hers.
"Let's go! We can run a little slow if you'd like."
She began to run, holding the MG3 in her right hand.
From classroom to hallway, from hallway to stairway--
As Kino watched the front and Detective Wanwan watched their backs as they ran…
"I'm bored. Are they here yet?" The man in the white cape and the white mask mumbled, obviously with nothing to do.
He was above the rooftop. In other words, he was atop the squarish building that contained the exit onto the rooftop. This was where the TV antenna was located. He was lying on this structure, looking up at the clear autumn sky.
"Tenkouhiba, eh?"(3) He mumbled.
In Japan, the phrase Tenkouhiba is used as a poetic term describing autumn, but in the original Chinese, it's actually a cold-blooded warning saying, "In autumn, beware of invaders on fat horses who come to plunder the harvests".
Whether or not he knew this,
The masked man began to sleep. And below him--in other words, on the rooftop, the demon was stirring.
Continued in Part 5.
Continued in Part 5.
(1) Daidarabotchi is a gagantic youkai from Japanese mythology.
(2) Satori is a youkai from Japanese mythology that can read minds.
(3) Tenkouhiba is written with the kanji "天高馬肥".