There Was No Secret Evil-Fighting Organization (srsly?!), So I Made One MYSELF!
Chapter 12: Final Battle in the Ancient Ruins!
Volume 4: The Newly-Built Ancient Ruins
Right when the girl is on her knees, her stamina depleted and her weapon broken, with the enemy just about to deliver the final blow, BAM!, he thrusts himself in between and sends the enemy flying. Then he says over his shoulder, “Good job hanging in there. Everything is fine now.” Then the girl, smiling through her tears, would then reply, “You’re late, baka.”
Oh man, I just can’t. Just thinking about it is getting me stoked.
Sadly, however, situations like that do not happen in real life. There are two reasons why: safety and timing.
As Touka-chan had put it before, in order to save someone from a crisis, you need someone to be in a crisis. Arriving right before the final blow is delivered means that if you were late by just a split second, that blow would have actually landed. And that’s entirely out of the question. Thinking about it from a logical standpoint, not getting into a crisis in the first place is the best strategy. This is a situation that you are not supposed to hope for.
Even in the off chance that such a situation crops up, timing would still be an enormous hurdle. At times, this timing might require adjustment in intervals of single seconds, depending on the situation. If you arrive too early, then it’s not dramatic and you’re just normally joining the fight; if you arrive too late, well, you’re too late. It’s a razor thin line.
This is why in real life, it’s either just “You arrived with plenty of time to spare and just helped fight” or “By the time you got there, it was too late.” Real life just sucks like that.1
For example, you went to the store, but you were a cent short. Or you were taking a test and the proctor told you to put down your pencil ten seconds before you solved that last question. On the other hand, maybe you had a task that you didn’t think you were going to complete but then someone arrived earlier than expected to help out and you totally finished it with time to spare. I’m sure everyone has had experiences like these.
So then. This time, we had the girls’ team arriving first and kicking off the boss fight, with the guys’ team trailing behind. This was the perfect situation for the guys to do the whole “arrive just in time to save the girls from a crisis” thing.
However, the timing couldn’t be more off.
If I was to stick to the boss’s originally planned specs, the girls’ team would get wiped out ages before the guys caught up. The setting was that this boss was also a World Shadow mutant, so when the guys finally arrived, they’d find the girls dead and devoured.
The guys’ team was running through the ancient ruins at their top speed and leaping up stairs two at a time, but a certain shitty, slow-footed slug was dragging them down, greatly delaying their scheduled approach.
There was no other choice but to forcibly make the guys arrive in time. That involved making the fight drag on as long as possible without it feeling dull, using earthquakes to seal off as many cave branches as possible without it feeling unnatural to give the guys as close as I could get to a one-way path, making walls crumble to reveal shortcuts, and breaking traps with “age.” Somehow or other, I had to arrange things so that the guys could arrive just in time to save the girls. You guys sure are a handful.
Kaburagi-san looked between our map and the clock, set an alarm on her smartphone, then updated me.
“At this pace, they’ll be arriving in three minutes and twenty seconds. The alarm I just set will go off ten seconds before they do.”
“That’s really helpful, thanks. Ugh, I think I’m about to reach the limits of my mental capacity. I want to focus on the boss fight. Can I wrap up the clash of the titans thing?”
Since permission had come down from She Who Controlled the Schedule, the rock giant found its abdomen pierced by Invisible Titan’s punch and collapsed, signaling the end of the fight. The peanut gallery — including the police officers — all raised a cheer of excitement.
Thank you very much for watching. Please Like, Subscribe, and click the bell icon if you want to see more supernatural battles in the future. All right, now that that’s all wrapped up, let’s focus on the other battle, the one that’s underground and hidden from view.
The same moment Chris — who could no longer fight while constantly reading the future due to Miyama’s absence — dashed into the shadow of a pillar, Boss Bone sent rock shrapnel flying in all directions as if firing them from a shotgun. Touka-chan protected herself by throwing up a torrent of flames.
Before the explosive heat wave had time to disperse, she then simultaneously generated five flame lances and threw them in quick succession. All of the attacks landed on Boss Bone and each blew up into a fresh sheet of fire, but not even the robe it was wearing showed signs of being singed.
“I knew it! Using a barrier is cheating!”
Touka-chan seemed extremely indignant. Sorry for cheating, I guess? But if I don’t put up a barrier, you’ll atomize it in a second. Please forgive me.
In return, Boss Bone sent loosened floor tiles her way like frisbees, but she nimbly dodged them all.
However, the stone frisbees that had flown past then turned around in midair and rushed towards her back as she was busy gathering her flames.
A sudden word of warning went up from Chris, who had been trying to circle around to Boss Bone’s back by sneaking from pillar to pillar and keeping a low profile this whole time. Thanks to this, Touka-chan realized in the nick of time. She whirled around, Ashura Fire bursting from her hands, and knocked down all the frisbees with a flurry of flying fire punches.
Even taking into account the sheer temperature of her fire — which was high enough to melt rock and generate intense heatwaves — it still seemed weird to me how she managed to basically snipe down pieces of rock with flying flames. But then again, these are superpowers because they are supernatural. I suppose it’s a bit late to be caught up on such details.
From what I perceived through my telekinetic senses, it wasn’t so much that the flames had substance; instead, the rocks were basically forcibly pounded to the ground by the supernaturally bolstered heatwaves.
Chris cheered on the clash of pyrokinesis and telekinesis from the shadows of a collapsed pillar.
“Amazing! So strong! You got this, BG!”
“You fight too, Ninja-san!”
“Monster fights are totally out of my area of expertise! Ninjas are specialists in fighting humans. This is common sense.”
Clearly, Chris meant to leave the battling to Touka-chan and sneak behind Boss Bone to nab the Artifact. So sly.
But if you speak that loud, even Boss Bone will be able to figure out your position. There goes all your effort in trying to sneak to its blind spot.
I threw a barrage of pebbles at Touka-chan in response to her bombardment of fireballs — is she trying to overwhelm the boss through sheer number of attacks? — as I telekinetically plucked Chris out from behind her pillar and threw her against the wall.
Despite letting out a weird scream, Chris managed to contort her body in midair to regain her posture and hit the wall running perpendicularly, after which she then kicked off of it and landed on the ground like nothing happened.
Damn, her natural nimbleness and talent for acrobatics never ceases to amaze me. Although she used to say that she’s not yet a proper ninja for not having mastered Clone Technique yet, I personally think that she’s already more than earned the appellation.
“Oh right, I’d forgotten — it probably also has clairvoyance. BG! I can’t do much, but I’ll help you out!”
After muttering to herself and connecting the dots inside her head, Chris decided to give up hiding and started throwing stones at Boss Bone.
Her throws were quite fast, had great accuracy, and showed incredible control, but ultimately did nothing against the skeleton’s barrier. Destructive power was the one area she was sorely lacking in.
“You really aren’t doing much! Don’t you have any other moves?!”
“Nope! I used up my trump card almost as soon as I entered the caves!”
“How cou—! Ah… okay, I guess there’s no helping it, then.”
Touka-chan, who was just about to flare up in annoyance, suddenly seemed to recall something and caught herself. Kusa.2
This time, I unleashed a powerful mowing attack against the both of them. Chris failed to react in time and was slammed against a pillar, causing all of the wind to be driven out of her lungs and hurting her left arm in the process. Touka-chan used a burst of flames — à la rocket propulsion — to offset her momentum and somehow managed to land properly.
Chris gritted through the pain and continued drawing Boss Bone’s attention as Touka-chan then landed the most powerful Sakyamuni High Kick3 that she was capable of. Sadly, even that was not enough to leave a burn mark.
At that moment, the alarm on Kaburagi-san’s alarm went off, so I used telekinesis to knock both girls down to the ground and hold them there.
“Uuuu… Avalokita Bodhisattva who deeply practices the Prajna Paramita clearly sees the five Skandhas as —”
“Kuh, kill me already!4 No, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that, please don’t kill me!”
The two of them struggled desperately to get free, but they couldn’t even shiver despite using their full strength. Boss Bone approached them slowly, each step pronounced and deliberate so as to further fan their terror.
Tsukkomis along the lines of “if the boss can hold them in place, then it should just finish them off already instead of putting on airs” are not welcome here, thank you very much. This is what’s called a cliché and we, as storytellers, are bound to follow it (except for when we don’t). Uhhh… because Boss Bone has no brains inside that skull of his, he can’t make logical decisions and can only move on impulse. There you go, there’s your justification.
Boss Bone stopped right in front of Touka-chan’s prostrate form. She tried to resist by calling up her flames, but the skeleton paid her no mind.
Boss Bone raised a hand clad in a roiling mass of barely visible power. Just as it was about to bring it down…
Shouta-kun burst into the room and cleaved through empty air with World Slayer.
The bluish-white flying slash that was generated roared through the air and made a clean hit, penetrating Boss Bone’s barrier and even smashed into the far wall, staining it pure white with ice. Naturally, this rendered the skeleton immobile and stopped its hand.
They made it (We made them make it)! Pheeeeew!
Along the way here, Shouta-kun had heard the sounds of battle reverberating throughout the passage and came up with the idea of recharging the spent World Slayer with his own blood as fuel. Although this PSI drive had been specially tuned for telekinetic energy, that didn’t mean it couldn’t run on blood from espers with different abilities. In fact, its base capabilities already ranked it among the most powerful among all other PSI drives in existence when it came to bolstering superpowers.
Brilliant judgment call.
“Fuuuuuck that was close! You all right?!”
Shouta-kun made a beeline straight for Touka-chan and lent her his shoulder as she was struggling to get up after having been freed from her telekinetic bonds. A slight distance away, Chris got up by herself and gave Miyama a dirty look as, in contrast to Shouta-kun, he had simply just collapsed like a butchered pig.
Just in case, I used telekinesis to give Miyama a quick body check and confirmed that he was just exhausted from running too much. Okay, now I feel a bit bad seeing what a tough time he’s having. I guess asking him to keep up with the stamina of a bunch of teenagers might have been a bit cruel. Sorry, Miyama. I’ll treat you to some pizza another day, so please forgive me.
“Wait, it’s still moving!”
“You kidding me?! That was a clean hit!”
Well, well, it’d be anticlimactic for it to end here like this, right? I forcibly moved the skeleton’s frozen limbs and started gathering rocks towards it. With its original form as the nucleus, this World Shadow adopted its secondary form as a telekinetic rock gia—
“Like I’ll let you! Eternal Force Blizzard! Fatty! Sound!”
Shouta-kun hollered at the top of his lungs even as he slammed his sure-kill technique against the skeleton. Miyama sat up from being tended to by Chris and starting playing the Demon Lord BGM from the RPG beloved by all Japanese citizens.5 For once, his song choice was actually appropriate. He’s that tired, huh.
In short, Shouta-kun was attempting to interrupt the boss’s transformation by holding it in place with his Eternal Force Blizzard. His decision-making in battle is as sharp as ever.
That said, I’d like to go on record and say that I think stopping a boss from transforming is kind of cheating. But I also concede that it is the logical thing to do. Who wouldn’t want to stop it if they could?
Hmm, I could still force the transformation to go through, but neither Fatty nor Chris would be able to contribute anything to the fight. Furthermore, all of them are already quite spent. If I draw this on too long, they might have trouble escaping the ruins.
I’d have loved to see the fight go on a while longer, but I suppose it’s about time to wrap up.
“Should I end things now with the suicide detonation?”
“Hold on. Looks like they have something else in mind.”
Prompted by Kaburagi-san, I drew my thoughts away from the explosion punchline and found Shouta-kun throwing World Slayer to Touka-chan.
“It won’t die with ice. Burn it with fire!”
Touka-chan nodded, made a small cut on her finger with the edge of the blade, then filled the cartridge with a few drops of her blood. She then turned towards Boss Bone, who was still moving imperceptibly like a video playing frame by frame despite being smothered with Eternal Force Blizzard, and raised the flame-wreathed sword high above her head.
“Go for the head! It will die if you crush its head!”
Touka-chan nodded slightly to acknowledge Chris’s shout, then began chanting in a voice with gravity.
“Sword of wisdom that destroys all Three Poisons —”
The skeleton of this age-old esper that had continued reigning in its underground abode over the span of eons in defiance of death now found itself being the one struggling desperately to get free. The black sludge also attempted to make its escape through the skull, but the instant it got out, it also froze over.
“— we call on you to sever through Delusion, World Slayer.” 6
When the sword was brought down, silently, as if performing an exorcism, a gigantic blade of white-hot fire shot out. It destroyed Boss Bone’s barrier, atomized its head, then even left a huge molten gash on the wall on the far side.
The skeleton stopped moving and crumpled to the ground. Miyama stopped playing. Silence filled the air.
The secret organization union had won.
“…… We did it!”
“Whoa, what the, hold on, get off of me…!”
A beat later, Chris cheered loudly and threw herself at Shouta-kun in an embrace, gleefully twirling around him again and again. Miyama caught his breath, stood up and brushed the dust off his clothes, then leaned against the doorframe of the exit. Touka-chan also stopped to collect herself, leaning on World Slayer like a walking stick.
Considering the mood in the air, I almost thought I could hear Pomp and Circumstance playing from somewhere.
However, don’t forget: there is only one Artifact.
Will Amaterasu walk home with it? Will Tsukuyomi walk home with it? Only one can be the true victor.
“Ahhhh, I see. Looks like we have a real tactician here.”
As I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to see whether the two sides were going to settle this with fists or with words, Kaburagi-san suddenly commented in an impressed-sounding tone.
“What do you mean?”
“See for yourself.”
She pointed at the monitor. I looked over just in time to see Shouta-kun, who Chris had been hugging and circling for a while, wobble and fall down.
His face was blue, and he wasn’t moving a single muscle.
Oh my god, did she…! So she wasn’t hugging him in celebration but to choke him out?!
So underhanded. As expected of a ninja. The way she does things is so underhanded.
Despite having been on guard against being betrayed, Amaterasu had easily gotten done in once again. However, instead of criticizing them, it was more appropriate to praise Tsukuyomi here. They had done a masterful job, fully utilizing their overwhelming edge in experience with dealing with other humans.
I mean, slipping through a target’s guard to assassinate them is what a ninja is supposed to do. Not that Chris killed Shouta-kun, of course.
“Oh my god, he lost consciousness all of a sudden! BG, come take a look at him!”
Touka-chan whirled around at Chris’s very realistic-sounding shout of surprise. But just as she was about to make her way over, she caught herself. She turned to look at the exit and realized that Miyama was no longer there. I used telekinesis to look for him, and found him already running as fast as he could out of the ruins.
Maintaining her distance, Touka-chan asked warily,
“Did he lose consciousness by himself, or did you render him unconscious?”
Chris’s answer was a smoke bomb.
She took it out from where she had been holding it behind her back and slammed it against the ground, dodged through the rain of fireballs that Touka-chan was throwing indiscriminately, shot up all thirteen stairs to the top of the dais, grabbed the Artifact, then ran off as fast as she could, scattering more smoke bombs and caltrops in her wake.
Touka-chan gritted her teeth at the fading footsteps and grabbed Shouta-kun by his lapels, shaking him violently and roaring at the top of her lungs.
“HOW LONG DO YOU PLAN ON SLEEPING WAKE UP ALREADY YOU IDIOT!! WE NEED TO GET GOING AND CATCH THEM!! WE NEED TO MAKE THEM REPENT IN THE DEPTHS OF HELL!!”
If you’re enjoying the series, please consider buying Volumes 1 and 2 in Japanese and English to support Kurodome-sensei and me!
All details in the Table of Contents page.
1 I really, really, really wanted to translate it this way, but I held myself back, so here it is in the footnotes: Pain-peko.
2 Japanese counterpart to “lol.” This can be your TIL of the day haha.
4 “Kuh, korose!”, or as it’s more commonly referred to, “kukkoro,” is a JP meme often attributed to prideful female knights, princess knights, female warriors, etc, who, after being captured, thinks being captured is such a huge shame that they would rather die. Can then lead to various outcomes depending on the genre of what you’re reading. *insert Lenny face*
6 Touka-chan’s chant here is a reference to the sword of Acala. Acala himself is often depicted engulfed in flames and holding a sword and a noose. The Three Poisons are what Buddhism considers the “root of all that is flawed with humans”: Greed, Hatred, and Delusion.