Cross Gun: Chapter 197 – [Deathly Night Style]

<< Prev Table of Contents Next >>

Chapter 197: [Deathly Night Style]


「…………」

Having borne witness to the moment that flipped 《Cross’s》 life on its head, Saito Junichi couldn’t help but narrow his eyes as he remained speechless. But then again, he couldn’t help but stay silent as the sight of the carnage that the young [Counterpart] wrought eerily reminded the boy of his own past.

Furthermore, the fact that the [Counterpart’s] sister bore such a striking resemblance to that woman, Junichi’s nostalgia only intensified, even if it did cause pangs of guilt and agony to run through his body.

Caring not for this reminiscence, however, memories of the dark-haired entity’s life continued to play out, surfacing as panels that littered the unstable 【Spiritual Zone】 which bugged and glitched like a corrupted video game.

And, while he didn’t intend on invading so deeply into the obsidian [Counterpart’s] past life, Junichi’s eyes still swept over the snapshots of memories, all in the name of obtaining a better understanding of the individual who he knew of as 《Cross》.

One such memory was of the dark-haired entity applying herself at school, switching to a military course as she joined the ranks of young soldiers who would lay down their lives for the country. The sight of her dedicating her life into the art of taking others’ made Junichi recall his own devotion to honing his craft of slaughter.

Another snapshot involved 《Cross》 completely changing her appearance into that of a man. Perhaps having taken the advice of her father a little too literally, the young girl decided to discard her womanhood in favour of the intimidation that a man’s stature brought. Of course, the sight of her embarrassment in initially failing to fool anyone, as well as her perseverance in changing her image reminded the dark-haired youth of the time when he first had to learn the technique of cross-dressing for the sake of an infiltration mission.

And then, there was a scene where 《Cross》 and several other young but talented soldiers were gathered before what seemed like a throne, kneeling as they accepted a mission to invade mankind’s plane of existence in order to intercept [Counterparts] from other countries and prevent them from ‘Assimilating’ the world into their own.

Honestly, it was an incredible story that Junichi couldn’t bring himself to believe at first glance. Nevertheless, as this wasn’t pertinent to his current state of affairs, Junichi decided to stow this topic away and ask his big-headed [Counterpart] for more details later.

Yes. After seeing all this, the dark-haired youth could no longer make that choice to forsake the dark-haired entity. Call it what you will: a whim, pity, or just simple naivety. Whichever it may be, however, the boy was now determined to save the life of a young woman who should have disappeared into oblivion.

And that did not spell good news for those who he now had his sights on.

「*sigh*……I’ve seen enough.」

The dark-haired youth muttered, having already had his fill of the dark-haired entity’s past as he turned his eyes away from the screen. In doing so, he began to walk slowly forward, his focus shifting from left to right as his pupils began glowing with an eerie light.

A sharp light found in the eyes of predators that looked upon their prey.

It needn’t be said that the subjects of Junichi’s frosty gaze were the [Counterparts] that had wormed their way into this space—this sacred space that should have been purely for 《Cross’s》 eyes only. And, unlike Junichi’s method of entry which was akin to skilful infiltration, these entities’ invasion was forceful and inelegant, caring not for the damage they inflicted upon the young woman’s [Soul] as they rampaged about at their leisure.

Or rather, it seemed like they were causing havoc and destruction on purpose, though what they hoped to achieve in doing so was unknown. Perhaps they were aiming to somehow place 《Cross》 under their control by beating her [Soul] into submission, though the youth had little idea if such a thing was truly possible.

In all honesty, as he didn’t know enough about how all this stuff worked, the finer details eluded the mercenary of blood and iron. That being said, he knew enough to understand that something had to be done about these trespassers.

-though perhaps the best place to start would be to rescue the dark-haired entity that was being surrounded by these otherworldly invaders, her body crouched down and shivering pathetically while hugging her knees close to her chest.

「Kakaka! C’mon, ya fucker! Why don’cha put down that shield of yours and let us play!?」

「Chichichi. To think that this sweet little thing was a lass. She’s just my type, *lick*.」

「Enough of that, you two-kero. If we don’t take down this barrier soon, then we won’t have a chance of returning to the surface-kero. Let us make haste and bring down this naive girl’s last defences.」

「Yeah!」「Let’s hurry up and break her!」「Keep destroying shit!」

Cries of agreement followed soon after as the clamour in the surroundings grew to a fever pitch. It would seem that there were 3 individuals who were heading the rabble of assimilated [Counterparts], the trio addressing the quivering obsidian entity directly as they were trying to get past what they referred to as a ‘barrier’.

That being said, such matters did not concern the dark-haired youth at this juncture. After all, he was more concerned about the wanton destruction that was being inflicted upon 《Cross’s》 【Spiritual Zone】.

Which is why, rather than approaching the trio, the teenager decided he would clean up first.

「…………hey, you there. Mind if I join the fray?」

Junichi spoke calmly to one of the [Counterparts] who was thrashing about willy-nilly inside of this sacred space. Upon first glance, the entity seemed to resemble a beast—more specifically a wolf—as his dark complexion and spiked grey hair bestowed him with a wild appearance.

–not that such a thing mattered much to the dark-haired youth.

「Sure thing, brother! If we all work together and follow 《Leo-anego’s》 orders, then we’ll definitely bust out of this joi-」

*click*

Without giving any prior warning whatsoever, the dark-haired youth drew one of his cannons that were holstered at his waist with movements so smooth and natural that it seemed like he was simply taking out his phone or wallet. And then, whilst still wearing a pleasant smile that juxtaposed completely with his actions, the youth leisurely thrust the barrel of his pistol into the [Counterpart’s] jaw, bashing his teeth in as the metal cylinder prevented the entity from continuing his speech.

Now, being able to take out a lethal weapon with such poise, all while not displaying a shred of killing intent, was a feat that could only be performed by a highly trained combatant. A wielder of guns who had enough skill to attain the status of a professional.

And make no mistake, the mercenary of blood and irony was just that: a professional in the art of killing.

*bang*

Without even batting an eyelid, Junichi pulled the trigger, causing the wolf’s mouth to explode as blood and brain matter painted the surroundings in gore. And, as a result, the sudden blast of unknown origin caused everyone to jump as they turned their attention towards the source of the sound.

Yet, by the time that they did, the dark-haired youth’s figure could no longer be seen, as if he was never there to begin with. Like a phantom, the teenager had simply vanished into thin air, with only the remnants of the assimilated [Counterparts’] comrade told of the atrocity that took place in that empty space.

An atrocity that only continued to repeat itself.

*bang*

After each gunshot, Junichi would make use of the distraction for his ≪Ominous Wind≫ technique, allowing him to vanish from sight in an instant as he continued his carnage from the shadows. As he did so, he noted that the entities, despite purporting to be almost unkillable existences, were rather fragile when inside of this 【Spiritual Zone】, as not even one of his victims showed any sign of recovery.

Perhaps this demotion in mortality had something to do with the fact that they were assimilated beings? Or maybe 《Cross’s》 【Spiritual Zone】 played some part in their clean dispatch? Whatever the case, Junichi was pleasantly surprised that his handiwork had a permanent effect, and so decided against thinking about such a topic while perpetuating his one-sided slaughter.

And, as the rain of blood eventually dyed the area in a fresh thick layer of red, 〔Gun〕 stood in the centre of the carnage, revealing his figure to the remaining 3 enemies that could do nought but watch his silent slaughter in horror.

「Chichi!? 《Cross》?!」

「He’s not, kero. This man’s on a whole different level, kero.」

「Wha-?! You!!」

Unlike the first two entities who were confused as to who this intruder was, the silver-haired [Counterpart]—《Hash》—displayed outright rage as he spat at the man in the midst of the blood puddle through gnashed teeth. Needless to say, he was the only one who knew of the youth that stood before him, as his previous host–〔Hawk〕–was ended by his hands.

The memory, even now, haunted him so deeply that he couldn’t help but glare at the androgynous figure. This anger—or perhaps agitation—was not lost upon his comrades either, as they looked between him and the 《Cross》 lookalike with incredulous eyes.

Yet, before they had a chance to voice their concerns about 《Hash’s》 peculiar attitude–

「……it’s time to die.」

-the mercenary of blood and iron made his move.

As he was whipping around from victim to victim, the dark-haired youth studied the 3 leaders of the assailants that threatened the girl that he was trying to save. From what he could see, the trio was a rather well-balanced pair of attackers (if nothing else).

The first was a familiar face, a lean youth with tanned skin and distinctly silver hair. And, while his foreign delinquent look and his sharp eyes were rather eye-catching, the most distinct part of this entity’s appearance—the bird tattoo plastered to his upper arm—was what allowed Junichi to recognise his identity as 《Hash》.

Based on his build alone, he looked to be an agile-type combatant, focusing more on speed than muscles to overcome his fights. And, upon recalling how his old host–〔Hawk〕– had flown in the air previously, it seemed even more likely that 《Hash》 was the type of fighter who capitalised on his mobility.

The second [Counterpart] was a tall, yet muscular woman whose toned body could be likened to that of a beast’s. She possessed a similar build to Sora’s athletic frame, though while the 〚Hurricane’s〛 build was trained for endurance, this woman’s body was much meatier and primed for explosive movements. Other than those unique characteristics, the woman’s attractive, deep blue hair that flowed behind her like a spiky cape and her eye-catching assets were about the only things Junichi found worthy of note.

It was clear that, despite being trained for very different purposes, this lioness was also suited to be a power-class attacker. And, from what he gathered, she was the woman who was regarded as the attacking group’s anego, 《Leona》. It was highly likely that the blue flames that 《Cross》 fired off during her attacks were ones that belonged to this woman, based on their similar colouring.

The last of the trio was quite the anomaly. With a stout, lumpy frame that did not look at all suited for battle, the remaining individual possessed an unusual calm to him. He sported bright purple hair that was permed and glossy, parted to both sides which created a bald line that bisected his scalp.

Strangely enough, Junichi couldn’t find any significant information from this peculiar individual, such as what sort of abilities he possessed. The only thing that he was able to gather was that he was referred to as the 《Toad》, a nickname attributed to his greasy rubber skin and beady little eyes. That being said, just from the stout amphibian’s calm and collected bearing, Junichi presumed that there was an intelligent mind trapped inside of that ugly mien.

One part speed, one part strength, one part technique. Truly a balanced trio that deserved respect, as the three of them together had raised a rebellion inside of 《Cross’s》 【Spiritual Zone】. Just from this fact alone, Junichi reckoned that these three entities possessed enough capability to take him out in a head-on confrontation.

That being said, this only holds true if the [Counterparts] were capable of working together. Or rather, if he allowed them to.

*bang* *bang* *bang*

Without giving any prior warning, Junichi immediately fired off 3 shots in a row, 1 bullet per entity as each bullet was on a direct flight path towards their respective target’s head. And, while the surprise attack had indeed caught the trio off guard, their reactions were superhuman enough that they were able to handle the assault without suffering any damage.

《Hash》 immediately sprouted wings, using his prided mobility to evade the projectile by dodging to the right so that he wouldn’t run into his comrades on his left. 《Leona》 stood still, hurling a ball of blue flames at the pellet to incinerate it before it could even reach her. 《Toad》, on the other hand, extended an open palm before him as though to catch the bullet, the flying slug emitting a stream of hot vapour as it corroded away the instant it touched the violet aura coating the man’s skin.

Although the way in which each of the [Counterparts] dealt with the incoming attack was unique, it didn’t change the fact that they remained untouched by this initial assault. However, the dark-haired youth’s primary aim in launching this assault was not to cripple his enemies but to gain more information about them—or more specifically, to gain more information about the anomaly that was the purple frogman.

While there was no conclusive proof, his observation of 《Toad’s》 coping strategy led Junichi to believe that he was a user of toxins. A poison wielder who used corrosive attacks that were so potent that they rivalled the eroding capabilities of acid.

It was very fortunate that the first target of such a devastating ability was a simple bullet and not the youth’s body. As per his expectations, the probing shot was worth it just for that piece of information.

In fact, this opening attack had proven its worth even more than that, as it had also achieved its secondary purpose: to separate one of the entities from the rest of the pack. And, after having successfully urged 《Hash》 to fly away from his comrades, the mercenary’s right eye blazed in a murderous glory as his figure blurred through the skies.

「Wha-!?」

*bang*

(……one down.)

The boy murmured under his breath, pronouncing the winged [Counterpart’s] demise the instant after he pulled his trigger. Having circled around the now-separated entity in a split second by performing an ≪Accel Shift≫, the youth placed the barrel of his pistol right up against the back of 《Hash’s》 head, making it impossible for the otherworldly being to evade his attack.

Which, of course, meant that his imminent death was a certainty.

「Hou, we’ve got a strong one here. Chichichi! My blood’s already boiling!」

「Hmm……kero. This may prove to be troublesome, kero.」

After the hollow ring of the launched bullet plunging into 《Hash’s》 cranium, the winged entity fell to the ground as black ink was expelled from the fractured cage that contained his bird brain. In response to this skilful dispatch of their comrade, neither of the remaining [Counterparts] showed a shred of compassion for their dearly departed ally, finding their attention, instead, being drawn towards the one who had taken him out with ease.

And, while the 《Toad》 showed some concern after noting how easily someone of 《Hash’s》 ability had been permanently removed from play, the spiky blue lioness displayed a completely opposite reaction, speeding straight towards the youth as both of her hands became covered in ocean-blue flames.

「-tch.」

In the face of 《Leona’s》 charge, 〔Gun〕 involuntarily clicked his tongue, narrowing his eyes as he sauntered forward to meet the woman head-on. As he understood that those flames were also capable of being launched as projectiles, the youth judged that challenging this target in a long-range battle would be disadvantageous, as her balls of fire rendered his bullets useless.

Thus, left with no choice, the mercenary of blood and iron prepared himself to fight the proud lioness in close combat. Yet, unlike his resident delinquent, this beast was much wilder, in that all her attacks were filled to the brim with raw, unrestrained power.

Of course, if given the choice between which of the two were more difficult to deal with, then Junichi would answer that Massaru was the harder opponent without question. After all, even with his violent tendencies, the knucklehead’s form still possessed technique, and his anything-goes street fighter mentality made dealing with his attacks a bit tricker.

In comparison, 《Leona’s》 fists were like that of a mindless animal, purely seeking to break his bones as she launched them at all of his vitals. Of course, as the power imbued in each swing was equivalent to one of Sora’s momentum-charged attacks, they were incredibly dangerous in their own right as the mercenary was forced to dodge each and every single attack, or else be incapacitated in a single hit.

Now, thanks to his ≪Tranquil Breeze≫ skill, the boy was able to evade all of the punches thrown at him by a hair’s breadth, while utilising ≪Muzzled Gale≫ to quickly intercept and deflect any incoming hits that he couldn’t dodge with his Iai-like hand movements. Yet, even with these techniques, the power emitted from the lioness was so strong that Junichi was constantly pushed back, rendering him unable to find an opportunity to counterattack.

To put it simply, 《Leona》 was just a bad match for the youth. Similar to Aki, this beast was a powerhouse that relied on brute strength and aggression to take down her foes. And, being the agility and technical specialist he was, 〔Gun〕 found it difficult to fight back against her overwhelming strength.

Which is why, against all odds, he decided that it was time to use that.

「……!」

The dark-haired youth gathered power into his right eye, even more so than before as he willed all of the strength of his body to focus on that single point. In doing so, a minute but bizarre change took place, causing the hairs of his attacker to stand on end as her ferocious grin increased in intensity.

Of course, the reason for 《Leona’s》 deepening wicked smile was the change in pressure that she received from the mercenary before her eyes. If the atmosphere surrounding 〔Gun〕 previously could be described as an assassin hiding their presence, then his current aura was the exact opposite of that, a murderer whose insatiable thirst for blood was so thickly concentrated that it caused the air to become dense with his abundant killing intent.

《Leona》 could hardly contain her excitement in the face of such an intimidating pressure—in the face of such a powerful foe. However, due to being lost in her anticipation, the lioness failed to notice the other subtle change that had taken place in the youth.

The symbol of a new moon [🌑] embedded deep into his right, blood-stained pupil.

「Take this!」

As her fists burned wilder thanks to her boiling blood, the lioness wasted no time launching another attack, this time her right hook aiming straight for the young man’s body. Her swing was accompanied by a gigantic roar, the pores of 《Leona’s》 skin spewing out a wall of flames that threatened to swallow the young man whole. And yet, without showing any signs of panic-

*click* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang*

〔Gun〕 began to rapidly empty his magazine, undaunted in the face of the encroaching inferno as he repeatedly shot bullet after bullet at the approaching predator. Although hectic in nature, his rapid-fire barrage was not a move that he made in desperation, as signified by the sharp confidence exuded from his narrowed eyes. Each of the projectiles fired was intentionally aimed at 《Leona’s》 vitals—her head, her heart, her lungs—with deadly accuracy, forcing the woman to shift her posture lest she suffers an untimely death.

And with this change in positioning, the attack that would have scorched the dark-haired youth into cinders passed by inches in front of his face.

Of course, the disruption of 《Leona’s》 assault was not all that the mercenary achieved with his counter, for the last-minute forceful evasive manoeuvres had completely destroyed his blue-haired victim’s balance. Now, that’s not to say that the lioness suddenly took a dive into the floor, but it was evident that her body was currently in a state of inaction, poised in a manner where she hung in the air without the ability to change her movement.

And it was this moment that the dark-haired youth aimed for, bringing forth the silver pistol in his left hand before planting it directly against 《Leona’s》 face.

*bang*

(……this makes two.)

The dark-haired youth muttered under his breath, caring not for the slick putrid oil that painted his silver pistol as he nonchalantly shook his arm, causing the droplets of grease to fly off his glossy hand.

Needless to say, this warm lubricant that coated the mercenary’s skin was the blood of his latest victim, 《Leona》 freshly obtained from her head that was now missing a significant chunk of flesh. Her face that once gave off a wild but charming atmosphere was now horribly disfigured, to the point where the word ugly wasn’t even enough to describe such a grisly sight.

Truly, the lioness suffered a gruesome death not quite unlike the one that Junichi delivered to 《Hash》. That being said, it couldn’t be helped. After all, the strength and abilities of these [Counterparts] were so dangerous that the youth couldn’t afford to show leniency. In particular, 《Leona’s》 attacks were so brutal that the young man had no choice but to end the fight quickly, else risk losing body parts of his own.

Which is why the mercenary of blood and iron chose to hold back no longer as he executed his techniques designed for murder.

During this encounter, 〔Gun〕 employed a skill set that was quite unlike the usual combat manoeuvres. The student, Saito Junichi utilised his pistols as propellant devices to assist in his close combat tactics, whereas the mercenary, 〔Gun〕 had his physical prowess supporting him as he assassinated his targets long range with his deadly firearms.

For example, the barrage of bullets that he fired against 《Leona’s》 charge was a technique he called ≪Chaos Berserker≫. Just as its name implied, it was an all-out attack that was often used with an automatic weapon, each of the rapid-fire bullets aimed purposefully at an opponent’s vitals. It was essentially a rampage assault that would blast the target to smithereens, though it only crippled the [Counterpart’s] limbs due to her insane physical traits.

Another clear demonstration of how merciless his attacks could become under this new doctrine was the finishing blow that he delivered against both the hawk and lioness. A technique called ≪Dead End≫: an inescapable shot that pronounced the demise of one’s target. A technique that 〔Gun〕 would often execute by placing the barrel of his pistol directly against the head of his victims.

Unlike the easy-going [Elusive Wind Style] that prioritised dodging blows and keeping the user safe, the mercenary’s killing art—the [Deadly Night Style]—cared not about the practitioner’s well-being whatsoever, contrarily placing all focus in the dispatch of his targets by any means necessary. It was a dirty, rotten, and disgusting style that the boy learned during his army days.

However, it was only because of this [Deadly Night Style] that Junichi was capable of traversing hell and back.

「I see, kero. So that explains it, kero.」

「?」

Upon seeing the sudden understanding that flashed across the remaining [Counterpart’s] face, 〔Gun〕 remained silent, simply turning towards his final victim as he furrowed his brow in confusion. The dark-haired youth’s inquisitive gaze, in turn, prompted 《Toad》 to bring a clenched fist in front of his mouth, coughing into it rather haughtily before beginning to explain himself.

「I now understand why you have given me such an uncomfortable chill ever since you arrived here. Although I don’t understand how such a thing occurred, I doubt that my suspicions are wrong.」

(……the hell’s he babbling on about?)

Having absolutely no clue as to what the amphibian-esque individual was trying to say, 〔Gun’s〕 complexion grew a shade darker, clearly denoting his lack of patience at the [Counterpart’s] stalling. He was actually tempted to end the purple freak right now if it wasn’t for the fact that his intuition told him that making reckless moves against this fellow would put him in great danger.

And so, in the midst of this strained standoff, the 《Toad》 croaked once more.

「You. You’ve inherited her power, haven’t you? The power of 《Lunar》.」

「……《Lunar》?」

「Come now, no need to feign ignorance. Judging from that symbol in your eye, there’s no denying it. That’s the mark of the traitor known to us as the [Counterpart Slayer], the one goes by the name of 《Lunar》.」

「……」

Upon hearing 《Toad’s》 confident declaration of what he thought to be the truth, 〔Gun〕 was left speechless. After all, according to this man, the power that his right eye wielded was a power that he inherited from someone else. A fantastical notion that bordered upon utter nonsense, as this ability had shaped who Junichi—nay, who 〔Gun〕 was.

Yet, despite how ridiculous such a claim was, the dark-haired youth couldn’t find it in himself to refute it. After all, there was some truth to 《Toad’s》 statement.

Recalling his mentor, who taught him the essence of combat during his army days—a silver-haired woman with deep red eyes—he was reminded of the fact that, once upon a time, both this eye and the moniker of 〔Gun〕 belonged to her. It was only after that incident 5 years ago—the same incident that ended her life—when a strange power was thrust upon him without any explanation whatsoever.

It didn’t take long for the dark-haired youth to understand that this ability was a gift he had received from his deceased mentor. Yet, no matter how much he pondered it over in the past, he was never able to grasp just how his teacher was able to bless him with such incredible power.

—at least, not until now.

(I see……so she was a [Counterpart].)

The dark-haired youth murmured in understanding, nodding to himself as though convinced by such an explanation. Although he had no way of confirming it at the current time, somehow the boy was convinced that his mentor was an abnormal being.

As for the name 《Lunar》, it didn’t ring a bell whatsoever. That being said, it did strike a chord with Junichi, as, while he had never heard her being called such, he believed it to be a somewhat fitting name for the woman who always gazed up at the moonlit sky—-the woman whose silver locks possessed the same radiance as the Earth’s natural satellite.

(Still……[Counterpart Slayer], is it?)

The dark-haired youth couldn’t help but smile wryly as he looked at his surroundings. Piles upon piles of bodies all lay strewn about on the floor in his wake, almost as though the void’s flooring was a blank canvas that needed to be painted over with the colour of blood and ogre.

Seeing this, it was clear to see that the young man was not puzzled by the title’s meaning, but because he had unknowingly inherited yet another one of his predecessor’s nicknames.

And the thought that he was carrying on his mentor’s will caused a gush of vigour to surge throughout his taut body.

「As I thought, you are very dangerous, kero. I will concede here, so would you mind letting me escape, kero?」

「……」

「……oh dearie me, kero. I suppose that’s a no, then?」

The instant that 《Toad》 finished confirming that negotiations had broken down from the mercenary’s silence, a bright purple light blazed from his fingertips, soon followed by a stream of nauseously vivid gas that spewed into the air, enveloping the air between the two who faced off against each other. In response to this manoeuvre, 〔Gun〕 didn’t even bat an eyelid as he raised his pistols and began shooting at the fog.

Now, the mercenary didn’t need to be reminded of the fact that shooting at vapour was a rather meaningless task. Yet, the man’s purpose behind this act was to gain information, his keen eye constantly keeping track of the bullets he fired as he observed their behaviour.

The moment that the projectiles made contact with the haze, each and every one of them received a reduction in size without exception. Starting from their outer layer, the bullets were being steadily corroded by the thick fog, making it seem like the clouds of purple were dissolving the bullets like how children sucked on candy.

Yet, even though the bullets suffered constant erosion, the rate of their destruction wasn’t actually that fast. Many had withered into dust before making it through to the other side, but a few well-placed shots had managed to threaten 《Toad’s》 life, as the heavy-set man stumbled around in order to avoid the stray pieces of shrapnel.

His bumbling display aside, it was abundantly clear that this wall of poisonous vapour was intended to deter the dark-haired youth from approaching the 《Toad》. By creating a wall of venomous smog that could very easily eat away at one’s flesh, not only did it serve the purpose of separating the two, but also reduced visibility significantly.

Of course, the latter of these effects did not hinder 〔Gun〕 in the slightest, as evident by the pieces of shrapnel that almost hit their mark. It was hardly surprising, though, considering that his right eye bestowed upon him heightened vision. With these sharpened senses, the mercenary of blood and iron to pinpoint his target despite the dense shroud obstructing him.

And so, while left with no choice but to perform an inelegant dance to save his own oily skin, the cunning frog opened his mouth wide, regurgitating an orb that emitted a toxic aura into his hands. He then gripped the sinister sphere hard before furiously swinging his entire body and hurling the orb at the dark-haired youth in retaliation for the shame of being forced to appear so unbecoming.

As a result of these efforts, the ooze that dripped off the ball of poison swirled over its slick surface, further increasing its dastardly toxicity as it flew straight towards its target.

A target who was no longer there.

「Kero?!」

Caught completely off-guard by the disappearance of the youth, 《Toad》 exclaimed in surprise as his beady little eyes threatened to bulge out of his lopsided skull. Even in his shock, however, the cunning creature didn’t forget to survey the surroundings in hope of finding his target, who had now gone missing.

That being said, it didn’t take him long to figure out where the mercenary of blood and iron had disappeared to.

「Wha—how, kero!?」

Much to the [Counterpart’s] dismay, 〔Gun’s〕 figure was currently blurred heavily, completely encased by the violet smog as the shadow of his slender frame gradually became larger and larger. The mist that 《Toad》 thought would protect him failed even at its primary objective as the human, seemingly undaunted by the dangers of the haze, advanced ever closer.

(But how, kero!? Shouldn’t he be melting, kero?!)

The frogman gasped, conjuring up another one of his toxic orbs before launching it at the approaching shadowy figure, who promptly dodged it with ease. Needless to say, the [Counterpart] was utterly astounded—and, in fact, intimidated—by the man who showed no signs of slowing down as he came closer and closer.

But then again, he had a right to be fearful. Judging by the young man’s swift and unhesitating pace, it seemed as though the acid-filled air wasn’t affecting him at all. Little did 《Toad》 know, however, was that the vapour actually did affect the mercenary’s body.

The fabric of his clothes started falling apart, and the exposed sections of his flesh sizzled in agony as the invisible jaws continued to nibble at his vulnerable frame. The only reason why he appeared to be unaffected by the mist was simply because 〔Gun〕 marched onwards, disregarding the pain inflicted upon him as he focused solely on charging at his prey.

Like the [Deathly Night Style] dictated, the mercenary abandoned all notions of his defence as he concentrated all of his energy into dispatching his target. To that end, he dived into the smog without concern for his body as he approached the target.

And then, after performing an ≪Accel Shift≫ to disappear from 《Toad’s》 sight, the dark-haired mercenary engaged in his final attack.

≪Muted Eclipse≫.

As per its name, it was simply a silent attack. A silenced shot that gave no indication of its presence.

Needless to say, this was not a fancy technique by any stretch of the imagination. That’s why 〔Gun〕 used it whenever he wanted a sure-fire kill.

After all, at the end of the day, he was a killer–nay, an assassin. A murderer who specialised in killing without being seen. If he could erase his presence and dispatch his mark without being noticed, then he would choose that over fighting his enemies in a full-frontal confrontation.

Hence, after having frightened the [Counterpart] with his intimidating approach, 〔Gun〕 used 《Toad’s》 fear as a distraction for his ≪Ominous Wind≫ technique before reappearing behind him in silence. Combining this with his «Illusion» trait to melt into the surroundings, his invisible frame had no problems approaching his prey, placing his pistol against the back of the entity’s head.

And then, just like that—

*pht*

—with a soft spurt of air, the life of the remaining [Counterpart] that threatened 《Cross’s》 [Soul] was extinguished.


<< Prev Table of Contents Next >>

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.