Volume 2, Opening X-02: Inside A Block’s International Airport
“You can’t, Kyousuke-chan. You can’t. Just calm down, okay?”
“That lack of strength is my own fault, so it isn’t a reason to abandon them.”
(Opening X-02 Open 04/29 17:20)
Inside A Block’s International Airport
Toy Dream 35 was the world’s 35th international revived city. Natsumi City had fallen into the red and gone bankrupt, so the world’s largest entertainment corporation, the Toy Dream Company, had bought up the entire city and remade it into a giant amusement park.
The harbor had been used to directly build countless buildings “in the sea” and giant bridges crisscrossed between them. It was split into twenty-six Blocks named from A to Z and they were laid out in a circle like the slices of a giant pizza.
The urban planning was colored more by the unified opinion of what the corporation financed than by the opinions of the residents.
“The A of A Block stands for Airport, right?”
Lu Niang Lan, a beautiful woman in a modified China dress, made that comment while holding an umbrella below the never-ending rain.
Her eyes were too blue and her skin too shockingly white to be stereotypically Chinese, but that was hardly surprising. Her “family” had married and “crossbred” with all the peoples of the planet in search of the most superior form of the human body. Lu Niang Lan had been one of the leading candidates among her “family”. The other candidates included a black boxer with an afro and a Native American nature girl who claimed she could speak with animals. It was the kind of “family” that could fill out the roster of a fighting game all on its own.
As such, Lu Niang Lan and her “family” did not belong to any nation or homeland. No one knew anymore where they had first come from.
However, standing next to her with his own umbrella was Shiroyama Kyousuke.
He was a stereotypical Japanese boy, but it was not entirely accurate to say there was nothing to him. It may have been more accurate to say a search on his name turned up unnaturally little. It was currently just past five in the afternoon, but he wore his usual hoodie and sports brand track pants instead of a uniform.
He had switched to his private and business outfit.
He also had his business expression on his face.
“I really want to make this the last one. I want to wash my hands of this industry and live a carefree life.”
“Yes, yes. I won’t take your dreams from you, Kyousuke-chan.”
“Um, Lu-san? Are you sure this is okay? Isn’t this an airport block? You have weapons hidden all over your body, so I get the feeling you’d be cuffed right away if the police stopped us.”
“The police focus on checking people’s bags and checking for drugs, so I’ll be fine. This country puts a lot of focus on civil liberties, so they can’t just tell me to strip naked because I look suspicious. Oh, I’m so glad I was born a woman.”
Lu Niang Lan belonged to Illegal.
That was one of the three major powers in the world of the summoning ceremony. It was said to be a gathering of about 330 criminal organizations and she was in a position where, if she wanted to, she could call in a shiny black luxury car that no one would dare put a scratch on.
There was a reason they had nevertheless taken the crowded monorail that was full of wet umbrellas.
Simply put, they were on a job where standing out would be a bad idea.
“Kyousuke-chan, sorry for calling you here on such short notice.”
“It’s fine. But I don’t have a vessel right now and you haven’t told me what we’re doing. Of course, you know what kind of person I am, so I doubt this is something that will ruin anyone’s life.”
“Correct. Today, we won’t need any special ‘dumpsters’ and we won’t need to call in a reservation at the ‘pig farm’. We just have to pick up an attache case while pretending to be meeting a friend in the airport lobby.”
She did not explain what would be inside said case.
That likely meant it was best not to know. It might sound strange in a world where everyone wanted to make a search on anything they did not know, but not knowing could be a weapon at times.
“Why do this at the strictly guarded airport?”
“Because it’s so strictly guarded, of course. Open a case in a shady harbor or back alley at night, and a group will intervene with machineguns. A lot of people leave their guns at home when they’re headed near the airport, so it’s the best place to mug people. You didn’t know that?”
“Um, but guns aren’t allowed anywhere in this country…”
As they discussed that, Kyousuke and Lu Niang Lan walked into the international airport.
A Block’s airport was a giant square with three kilometer sides. One hundred pillars placed at even intervals supported the world’s only midair airport at a height of 250 meters. The runways needed as much of that limited space as possible, so other than the terminals, the buildings holding cafes, restaurants, duty free shops, and other businesses were hanging down below the structure.
Lu Nigan Lan spoke as she folded up her umbrella and stepped through the terminal’s automatic glass door.
“Okay, Kyousuke-chan. Head to the flower shop and buy us a welcome bouquet. I’ll buy some cardboard and a marker to make a sign saying, ‘Welcome to Toy Dream 35, Gunfan Alhazred’.”
“It needs to be red and white roses and then baby’s breath, right?”
“The roses need to be Wedding Dress and Virgin Road. Those are the sign…or rather, the password.”
The three major powers of the summoning ceremony could freely manipulate inhuman monsters known as Materials and sometimes even ignore the laws of physics, but they were not facing each other with those monsters year-round. They were still human organizations made up of humans, so they would break apart if they did not make some effort toward mutual relationships.
“This is nothing like being a magician in a children’s picture book. If this job was as peaceful as stirring a pot deep in the forest, I might not want to quit so much…”
“Well, if you think about how actual witches were treated, pursuit of the supernatural is a rather empty endeavor.”
At any rate, they just had to follow their instructions and receive the attache case.
Then they just had to leave the airport.
There would be no need for summoners or Materials. There would be no supernatural battles that ignored the laws of physics.
That was how it should have ended.
“Okay! Don’t move!! As long as you obey our rules, we won’t hurt you!!”
“This airport is now under the control of the Black Wings. We are the rules and don’t you forget it!”
The entire area was filled with black masks and machineguns.
A group of about one hundred men and women were taken hostage in the glass-covered airport lobby.
Toy Dream 35 loved explaining things by saying “It’s normal in the West!” and now they had gunmen occupying the airport.
“………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………What is going on here, Lu-san?”
Nearby, Shiroyama Kyousuke whispered while hiding behind one of the thick columns lined up at even intervals.
The masked men were confiscating the phones and luggage of the hostages. The odds of them hiding a gun were much smaller than elsewhere, but the masked men still seemed to be searching quite carefully.
Meanwhile, Lu Niang Lan was messing with her smartphone while more or less leaning up against Kyousuke to hide behind the same column.
However, she was not searching the normal internet. She was using strange devices and connections unique to underground assassins in order to view information that was normally impossible to find.
“Oh, here we go, here we go. Within twelve hours, they want their comrades released from the various prisons they’re being kept in and they want three hundred million yen for each of them sent to an anonymous bank.”
“You don’t actually believe that, do you? The timing is way too good and I bet they’re searching everyone’s luggage for this.”
The two entangled people had left the attache case at their feet.
Its contents were still a mystery, but it was likely the most valuable case in the airport. It was possibly even more valuable than a passenger plane or a hundred people’s lives.
“I thought the airport was safe because you didn’t have to worry about people intervening with guns?”
“Well, to be honest, even I didn’t expect them to disguise themselves as terrorists.”
“Any guesses who this is?”
“The name Black Wings has got to be a bluff. We vanish from people’s memories as soon as we leave their field of vision, so the fact that they could ignore that rule and put together an attack plan means they still have their memories. …My guess is a summoning ceremony group is pretending to be someone else.”
“How do you think they slipped past airport security?”
“The airport has guards, barricades, and tire spikes. They’re well defended against threats coming by land, but they’re unprotected against someone descending from the air. That’s just how airports work.”
Lu Niang Lan smiled bitterly over the boy’s shoulder while continuing to practically embrace him.
This beautiful woman could still smile.
“Airports are based on mutual trust. They assume they can invite a plane in because it was already confirmed safe at the airport it left. It’s all based on that.”
“Buy up an entire airport in a small poorly-managed country. Load soldiers and armored vehicles onto a passenger plane and then give it the stamp of approval. Then when you open the lid, they come pouring out. It’s a modern day Trojan Horse.”
The Modified China Dress Beauty had mentioned something especially dangerous: armored vehicles.
Three eight-wheeled armored vehicles had crawled out from the passenger plane’s cargo space. That was all it had taken for the first wave of guards to flee. It was too much firepower for duralumin shields and police cars to protect them.
“Yeah, those things have 20mm heavy machineguns, automatic grenade launchers, and one of them even has a low-pressure anti-tank gun on top, doesn’t it? Attacking them on the ground isn’t going to cut it. They’ll need something to attack from above like an attack helicopter or multirole fighter. This is a job for the military, not the police, but no country wants to send the military in for a domestic incident. It hurts their pride as a nation of laws if they can’t resolve everything with those laws. …I bet there’s a scuffle going on right now between the suits way, way, way at the top, so they’ll be too slow to make the right decision. This group will be able to do whatever they want in the meantime.”
Shiroyama Kyousuke narrowed his eyes just a little.
“Um, Lu-san? You know we’re the ones that got everyone else caught in the middle of this, right?”
“But the best option would be to leave with the case. If it leaves the airport, they’ll end this school play and pursue us with bloodshot eyes. Whereas if they get the case here, they’ll stick with the school play to the very end. And to place the blame on some real terrorists, they’ll take some ‘volunteers’ from the audience to play corpses.”
He likely would have clicked his tongue if one of the masked men had not been patrolling just two meters away on the other side of the column.
In the end, the attache case took top priority. He still felt like he was letting Lu Niang Lan manipulate him, but it was true he had no clever answer.
“Fine, if it’ll save the hostages. In that case…”
Just as Kyousuke grudgingly agreed, something new happened among the hostages on the other side of the thick column.
A girl’s voice rang out.
“Stop, stop! Don’t touch my mom! Why are you trying to take her away!?”
“Didn’t we tell you we’re the rules here? It looks like they’re trying to break in with a small group, so we’re tying a few of you in front of the barricade to deter them. That way they can’t blow open the door to get in.”
“I said stop!!”
When they heard that shrill voice, Lu Niang Lan sensed a change in the look in Shiroyama Kyousuke’s eyes and the aura around him.
“You can’t, Kyousuke-chan. You don’t have a vessel, so you can’t use the summoning ceremony. You said you were going to retire after this job, remember? So you can’t. Just calm down, okay?”
Meanwhile, the exchange beyond the column continued.
As the girl tried to take back her family member, she was struck in the gut by a machinegun stock. Once she fell to her knees, it struck the back of her neck. Finally, the muzzle was pressed against the back of her head. It was enough to elicit a scream from the mother who would be used to keep away bombs.
But not even that was enough to stop the girl.
Fallen to all fours, she tried to reach her hand out into empty air.
The masked man clearly placed his fingertip on the trigger.
The girl knew that, yet she still opened her mouth.
Oh, no, thought Lu Niang Lan, but not because she thought the girl was going to die.
The problem was the next words that came from the girl’s lips.
“Someone help my mom!!”
An explosive noise followed.
Shiroyama Kyousuke had not hesitated to charge from behind the thick column and to throw the 180cm Blood-Sign that he hid inside the back of his hoodie by having it wrap around him like a snake. It flew like an artillery shell and the tip accurately hit the forehead of the masked man who held the arm of the girl’s mother.
The masked man collapsed limply backwards.
Lu Niang Lan quietly set down the case and brought her other hand to her forehead.
Gravity pulled the Blood-Sign down toward the floor.
The light sound of it landing echoed through every corner of the silent lobby.
And a moment later…
“Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha————————————————————————————————————————————”
Lu Niang Lan pressed her thumb against her smartphone.
All of the security cameras ceased to function.
She reached inside her China dress.
She pulled out a gorgeously decorated fan.
She disassembled its frame.
She grabbed more than twenty assassination needle darts.
Kyousuke charged toward the man with his gun aimed at the girl’s head.
She supported him by throwing three each toward all of the enemies in seven directions.
The masked men finally peered down their gun sights.
Their thick tendons and joints were pierced and they collapsed after a short delay.
“————————————————————————————————————————————ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!”
It all happened in the span of a breath.
Lu Niang Lan roared with desperate laughter and a splendid noise reached her ears. It was the sound of Kyousuke’s elbow smashing the jaw of the masked man aiming his gun at the back of the girl’s head.
The rescued girl looked around nervously.
“Stop that. If you don’t want to die, then don’t move and pretend you’re still a hostage! It takes fifty to a hundred people to take over a three kilometer airport and there were only seven here. If the others notice something’s up and attack the lobby all at once, you’ll be shot in the back and wiped out before you can escape outside!!”
“A-ah, um, who…are you?”
“Oh, you don’t need to worry about that. You’d forget soon enough anyway.”
With that said, Kyousuke kicked up his Blood-Sign and caught it in one hand. He met up with Lu Niang Lan who had picked the case back up and they ran through the glass-covered lobby.
“Kyousuke-chan! Just like a sushi chef prepares sushi and a restaurant chef prepares Salisbury steak, an assassin prepares death for a living. And that ‘cooking’ of course comes with a price tag. You can’t just expect me to treat you to a meal whenever you want!!”
“You knew who I was when you asked me to come along, so you must have planned for something like this!”
They ran into a group of two on patrol.
Kyousuke swiftly silenced one with his Blood-Sign and Lu Niang Lan silenced the other by swinging around an assassination tool called a Feizhao that was a metal rake on the end of a rope.
“If they attacked the airport because they knew about our attache case, we can’t use the fact that people forget about summoners and vessels when we leave their field of vision. They’ll notice in five minutes at the latest.”
“That doesn’t change what we have to do. Let’s escape the airport while showing off that we’ve got the case. That should send them all after…!”
Kyousuke never finished his sentence.
The glass wall next to them shattered and an avalanche of glass shards rushed toward them. And a mass of composite armor pushed its way through that to enter the building.
It was an eight-wheeled armored vehicle.
And it was the special one with a tank gun attached to the roof.
Kyousuke heard a sharp whistle-like breath.
Then the attache case was thrown his way.
By the time he heard the whistle and caught the airborne case, Lu Niang Lan was already running forward with frightful speed. Her red modified China dress fluttered around her. She shot forward like a laser beam, circled to the side of the armored vehicle, and slammed both palms against a single point.
A deep noise shook Kyousuke’s gut.
A moment later, the twenty ton armored vehicle came to a stop as if it had stalled.
This was the Perfect Dragon.
Monsters that ignored the laws of physics were perfectly normal in the world of the summoning ceremony, yet this heretic among heretics made her way through that world without relying on any form of the supernatural.
After instantly transforming the armored vehicle into a steel coffin, Lu Niang Lan gestured Kyousuke over. He ran to her side and asked an honest question.
“The gasoline tank?”
“The battery acid. If I only stopped the engine, the electrically powered turret could still turn.”
Of course, no matter how much one trained their body, the human fist could not break through an armored vehicle.
But a slight impact would pass through.
Whether it was an armored vehicle or a tank, it was still an automobile.
In that case, one only had to provide a slight vibration with a certain pattern.
Engines were reliant on the ratio of air to liquid in the fuel, so mixing some air bubbles into the gasoline could be fatal. That would trigger an imperfect combustion and the engine would stall.
Lu Niang Lan had gone a step further and wrapped a bunch of air bubbles around the electrodes soaking in the battery acid. That created a “wall” which significantly reduced the efficiency at which electricity was drawn from the acid.
“It was originally an assassination technique that created bubbles in someone’s lungs through their thick armor☆”
Finally, hatches and cargo doors opened all over the armored vehicle and masked men poked their heads out, but by the time their machineguns filled the wall with holes like a giant sewing machine, Kyousuke and Lu Niang Lan had already escaped around the corner.
Fed up with it all, Kyousuke shouted at the woman.
“What the hell is inside that case!?”
“Oh, you want to know? I’ll have to keep it at a level I can actually tell you, but it’s strategic outline for defeating an enemy nation that a certain nation developed deep underground. In other words, it’s simulation data. Of course, every country does this, but this one’s a little too well made. If it made it to the people at the very, very, very top, they’d probably turn straight toward war, so someone decided it had to be consigned to oblivion. And in so thorough a fashion that there isn’t the tiniest sliver of a fraction of a percent of a chance that it can be recovered☆”
“Illegal’s doing that?”
“Illegals’ doing that. We want to get rid of the current flawed system by ruling the city, the country, and the world with our own inviolable rules and bonds of blood. We just want to supply a better life for everyone like that. Of course, Government sees us as the evil crime lords who want to tear down their stronghold, but destroying the entire world would work against our goal.”
In that case, were they up against the people who wanted that war? Or was this a third nation that wanted to threaten the source of the strategic outline using the fact that they had put together a plan to destroy their neighbor?
Either way, the men in that armored vehicle had to have seen the case and that information would quickly spread to the rest of them.
If Kyousuke and Lu Niang Lan escaped the airport with the attache case, those masked men would pursue them. That would finally settle this nearly worst case scenario.
Or so they thought.
However, something happened to entirely overturn their assumptions.
It had passed the audible range.
This time, an even greater impact shook the entire airport supported by a hundred pillars.
All the glass shattered and disconcerting cracks ran through the walls and ceiling.
But even that was only a side effect.
A bluish prism of light filled a distant corner of the airport.
Kyousuke narrowed his eyes a little.
(An Artificial Sacred Ground? But…)
It was larger than a normal one and that meant the Material inside was gigantic.
A frightfully large form showed its face while tearing away one three kilometer edge of the nearly square airport. The monster was easily over fifty meters long and covered in eerie scales that shined a leaden color.
“Leviathan…A Divine-class Material!?”
The giant fish leaped up like fish leaping from a river to catch bugs and it held something odd in its mouth. The scene looked something like a dog with a toy bone in its mouth, but their size changed things.
The object in the Material’s mouth was a mass of dark metal.
It was about thirty meters long and had a large capsule shape.
“Oh, honestly. I was wondering how the group planned to safely escape the airport!”
The submarine was crushed in the giant fish’s mouth and the two halves of its wreckage fell onto the runway. It crushed a refueling passenger plane that had been left empty due to the incident and a large explosion enveloped them both. A nearby armored vehicle was caught in the flames too.
Once the giant fish reached the zenith of its jump, it was not pulled down by gravity and instead wiggled back and forth to swim through the gray sky.
Directly below it, a small figure could be seen on the flame-covered runway.
It was a boy who looked only ten or twelve at the most. He wore a black shirt and black bike shorts with a helmet and elbow and knee protectors all colored neon yellow. His clothing provided the warning colors of a bee’s belly and looked like the equipment for skateboarding or rollerblading.
But besides that, he held something familiar that had been customized for his body size.
It was a Blood-Sign.
His identity was further confirmed by the protective circle that defended a summoner and the ceremony as a whole from all external and internal threats.
Kyousuke shouted in anger because the boy’s Leviathan dove down from the gray sky to attack the runway.
It was true the people there were the masked men who had occupied the airport.
They may have been undeniable monsters who had involved a great number of civilians in their search for the case.
That boy had made the merciless decision to unleash that unilateral red dance and that monster despite knowing what would happen.
He was clearly taking this too far.
“Kyousuke-chan, stop. Stop for just a moment,” said Lu Niang Lan from the side. “Given the situation, that’s probably an Illegal assassin like me. I’ll admit even I don’t like seeing such a one-sided slaughter, but if he was sent here to let us escape with the case, then we have no reason to fight him.”
“You may not, but that doesn’t apply to me.”
“They haven’t asked you to help them.”
“They might have. Maybe I’m just too far away to hear them.”
“That’s a Divine-class. You don’t have a contract with a vessel, so you can’t use your power as Alice (with) Rabbit. You have no chance of winning this.”
“That lack of strength is my own fault, so it isn’t a reason to abandon them.”
Kyousuke stared at the ferocious Divine-class monster.
“Lu-san, escape on your own if you have to. I won’t just blindly charge into the Artificial Sacred Ground, but there has to be something I can do.”
Lu Niang Lan placed a hand on her forehead and looked up toward heaven.
Shiroyama Kyousuke clearly had no intention of smartly making an escape.
Having concluded that, she applied a merciless blow to the back of Kyouske’s neck.
Kyousuke could not support his own weight and helplessly crumbled to the ground.
Lu Niang Lan supported the boy with one arm.
To safely escape the airport and completely lose pursuit in a car chase, she grabbed the attache case, placed the boy over her shoulder, and ran out onto her battlefield.
It was unclear if she was using her full strength, but no one could outdo Lu Niang Lan when it came to a purely unarmed fight.
*Shiroyama Kyousuke will help with Illegal jobs if Lu Niang Lan asks him to.
*Lu Niang Lan is known as a skilled assassin within Illegal, but she does not rely on the summoning ceremony.
*The case contained a storage medium with a surefire method of destroying an enemy nation.
*Illegal is only an incarnation of evil from Government’s point of view and not everything Illegal does is bad.
*To help them complete the job, Illegal sent an assassin summoner and vessel to the airport. The summoner is skilled enough to summon a Divine-class according to a plan rather than relying on coincidence and he is the type of person to mercilessly send that Material after the masked men who could have been defeated by the very weakest Material.
*The Leviathan appeared in the ocean far below while the summoner boy stood on the airport runway.
*The protective circle is meant to protect the summoner…or rather, the summoning ceremony itself from any internal or external threat. It is something like a computer’s UPS meant to protect against power outages.
*Not even Kyousuke can defeat Lu Niang Lan in an unarmed battle.
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