Chapter 10 - Gender Assault, IS Academy
Been busy over the past few days, did not not have much of the usual time to write.
But I managed to finish what I can for this chapter, might probably need just one more to finish up on this section on IS Academy.
I made one slight change with the design of the Orimura family Mon in case some of you did not notice. I believe I did mention that the 8 white circles around the heptagon white flower are arranged in consecutive angles with a common difference of 22.5 degrees. But it is actually 45 degrees, not 22.5. I must have accidentally divided 180 degrees instead of 360 degrees. Anyways, it is already corrected. Sorry for the slight mistake.
Well then, let's start:)
Mainland city close to IS Academy, Houki POV
The child turned her body and left the scene.
The two Europeans got into their battle stances.
It seems that they are reluctant to use their ISes in broad daylight.
Houki considered her options.
She cannot summon her own IS unless they summoned theirs.
It is against the Alaska Treaty to use the IS for personal uses.
If she used [Akatsubaki], where these two males did not use their ISes, her reason for using her IS might be unjustifiable.
This means that she has to use her own skills to get out of this mess.
But even without a Kanata or a Bokken, she still has other skills.
She knows Aikido and the Shinonono secret close combat skill 'No Rhythm'.
If she can grab…
Then something happened.
The two Europeans activated their ISes partially.
They summoned the forearm frames of their ISes, clearly intending to utilize the metal layers for combat.
It looks like Houki will have to use another method to get out of this situation.
Even with her own close combat skills, fighting males with metal arms just might put her at a little disadvantage.
If she needs to defeat the two of them to get out of this mess, she will have to make them fight on her own grounds.
Meaning, she must use [Akatsubaki], not with partial deployment, but full deployment.
But if she needs to use [Akatsubaki], she must use it where people won't be able to see her.
So to conclude, she must be somewhere else, at least at an isolated area.
Houki has been to this city buying groceries for the past year since she enrolled into IS Academy.
She knows a few spots where people don't usually go at this time of the day.
The street near the waterways might do the job.
At this time of the day, there is usually no one there.
If she can draw the two of them there, it just might work.
Without a second thought, she turned and made a run for it.
The two gave chased, dematerializing their IS arms so that they don't get too much public attention.
Same place, A few meters away
"Heh… so she made a run for it." The 12-year-old said.
"I heard you Kuhina." A voice rang in her right ear.
Orimura Kuhina then reached for her right earpiece.
"Are you tracking her Kuhana?"
"Yea… she is heading for the street near the waterways." Orimura Kuhana reported.
The younger twins of the Orimura Main house started their work.
While Kuhina confronted Shinonono Houki at the front lines, Kuhana watched from the shadows at an isolated location, tracking Shinonono Houki's progress.
After their beloved brother became the 28th and increased the number of restrictions for underground missions, the younger twins became extremely bored.
Since their brother became over protective of the family line, they did not have a lot of chance to go out for underground missions.
When their brother offered a job for this mission, they just accepted it without hesitation.
Now that they can have a rare chance to satisfy their boredom, they are going to enjoy whatever time they currently have.
The two originally thought that they could handle Shinonono Houki themselves.
But when their brother specifically told them to keep a low profile, the two then decided to include two members from the Russian faction just for the sake of insurance.
According to proper research prior to the mission, Kuhina was aware of the various places of the city and the usual number of people around in different timings.
"The street near the waterways… Isn't that place usually deserted at this time of the day?"
"Hai. It looks like she wants to use her IS where no one can see her."
"Sigh… legitimate IS pilots, always following the rules."
"But as long as she does not fly into the air, we might stall her for long enough."
"Well, let's pray to the gods that those two Russians are good enough to keep her away from IS Academy. By the way, where's Ichika-nii now?"
"He should be observing whatever is happening at IS Academy."
"Eh? He is not going to fight?"
"Only at worst case scenario."
"You know Ichika-nii is not the flashy type Kuhina."
"I know. Well, I wish I can see him in action myself."
"I thought we saw plenty at the island villa?"
"I mean when he is fighting someone else. I want to see how strong he is compared to someone other than Madoka-nee."
"Ichika-nii probably won't even need to sweat."
"Probably… Oi! Are you watching that Shinonono Houki?"
"Duh? You better do your job too… wait. Aren't you supposed to fight her?"
"Only at worst case scenario."
"Now that is a bloody excuse."
"You know that I am not the flashy type right?"
"Shut up you liar. If you slack off and Shinonono Houki returns to IS Academy before schedule, Ichika-nii is going to be pissed."
"Sigh… ok ok, but I want to see if she can handle the Russians first. Where is she now?"
"Oh right, the street near the waterways, right."
Same place, The Street near the waterways, Houki POV
Here will do.
I then turned around to face the chasing Europeans.
Focusing my attention on my red bracelet, I deployed [Akatsubaki].
The red multiple shifts of armor soon enveloped my body and I feel a great sense of security and confidence.
I have trained hard for another crazy event like this, preparing myself for the right time to get Ichika back.
I am a lot stronger compared to ltaly, let's see how I will fare now.
The two Europeans then looked at each other and began to speak in a foreign language I can't understand.
But based on the accent… they sound like… German?
No, they don't have the 'sie' and the 'ich' in their pronunciations.
Then I felt another report coming from [Akatsubaki], it feels like it is telling me that the language they are speaking is Russian.
Why are these males Russians?
Is Nee-san in Russia?
The two Russians then fully deployed their ISes, their right hands armed with white beam swords.
Oh no, I better focus on the fight now.
I got ready to counter them should they take into the air.
But unlike the usual black ISes I came across in Italy, these white ones chose to maintain their hold on the ground.
It looks like they are reluctant to fly into the air, unlike the black ISes I faced in Italy.
It looks like they are stuck in the same position as I am.
We all don't want to draw public attention by flying into the air.
Just nice, they are completely walking into my area of specialty.
For two opponents, 'Amatsuki' just might do the trick.
I immediately equipped it, both hands gripping a single blade.
Since I am on the ground without using much of the PIC effects, I might as well use Kendo to help myself out.
In response, the two Russians in front of me materialized white beam blades on their right arms.
I got ready in the chūdan-no-kamae Kendo stance, waiting.
Realizing that they can use a little bit of sport, the one on my right assumed a battle stance and moved towards me, the other following slightly.
The one at my right then swing his beam blade towards me from the top.
He intends to slice me with a two-handed chop.
In response, I raised my left elbow up and pulled my right elbow down, paring the assault.
His strike was heavy, heavy enough for me to use my legs to maintain my posture.
He is strong all right, but his strength will be his weakness.
In using the basic concept of Aikido, I twisted my blade downwards.
The change in my blade's angle would cause his white beam blade to slide down naturally.
Due to the huge amount of force the male IS pilot was using, he lost his sense of balance.
Letting him fall right next to me, I twist my body at 100 degrees and brought my blade up, just in time to block the other male IS pilot's beam sword.
I began focusing on this particular male IS pilot.
Switching to the Shikake-Waza (to initiate a strike) techniques, I intend to finish him before his partner can recover.
Moving fast and quickly, I went on the offensive.
I aim for the usual places, the top of the head, the side of the waist and the guard on his elbows.
I twist my wrists in correspondence with my feet and arms, feinting as I land several successive strikes.
While using my fists while still gripping on 'Amatsuki', I locked my hilt to his.
This act alone would limit the actions of my opponent.
This move is called Tsuba Zeriai.
It is a common move in Kendo, and for those who did not touch Kendo, it can have quite an effect.
I can sense my opponent's dismay as he realized that his beam blade is restricted.
I then moved my own blade slightly to the right and to the left.
My opponent, sensing that I am attempting to land a strike through this position, immediately shook me off and tries to strike me from his right.
But the Tsuba Zeriai was meant to be a feint, to make my opponent strike first.
Once he shook me off, I immediately brought my blade slightly upwards and landed a solid strike to his left waist.
Once the blade made contact, I shot out the multiple red colored laser beams from 'Amatsuki', focusing its concentrated pattern towards my current opponent.
I chose to shoot the four red laser beams at minimum impact since we are in a public street.
But the minimized force of the four beam shots was more than enough to throw my opponent off his feet, sending him flying and crashing into the edge of the street.
His IS armor frame ended up creating some deep cracks into the ground, but it can't be helped.
Once he is down, I immediately turned my body around, just in time to block another assault from the first opponent.
In considering how I am outnumbered, I need to pay close attention to the two around me.
In knowing that I am still outnumbered, my first opponent continued to move on the offensive.
This time, he launched a series of strikes aimed at my shoulders and waists.
I parried them all without much effort.
But even with my strength, as a female I cannot continue matching to his brute force in the long run.
I need to resolve this quickly.
I moved further back, instigating him to take wider steps.
He then lug more forward just as I had expected, continuing with his two handed chops.
His strikes are hard, but his movements are still quite sloppy.
After one last parry, I stepped a little further back compared to the previous steps.
This time, my opponent became prompted to jump forward, landing a devastating strike.
I jumped out of the way.
As he landed with his blade wrecking the ground, I swung 'Amatsuki', unleashing the four red laser beams.
They landed accurately on his torso and abdomen.
My opponent was then sent flying all the way to the other side of the street.
Turning my attention, I saw my second opponent back on his feet.
But as he was about to race towards me, he caught the attention of something and retraced his steps.
Looking from a distance, I can see that he is going to help his fallen partner.
I soon charged towards him, intending to finish him off before his partner can recover.
Then a few beam shots landed a few inches from my legs.
Out of instinct I am forced to step aside.
This obviously gave my opponent the time he needs to help the first opponent.
Turning to see who is the culprit, I saw that 12-year-old child again.
She is standing on a higher platform, with her IS partially deployed.
She had her right forearm frame out with a beam submachine gun in her hand.
From the angle of her weapon, I can tell that she missed that shot on purpose.
Right… her objective is to stall me, not to kill me, since she is from Nee-san's organization.
Wait… if they can't kill me, they can't even touch me right?
If I can use that to my advantage…
The 12-year-old then jumped from the higher platform towards me.
As she jumped, she fully deployed her own IS.
Looking closely, her IS is of a complete different design compared to the black ISes from Italy and the white ISes I am facing now.
It is mostly grey with some shades of black and white, and like the new ISes, it is fully armored.
An exceptional difference though, is that she does not wear a helmet.
I can identify whom she is as the odd child who gave death threats.
But I cannot fully see her face as she is still wearing her yellow hood.
Her IS leggings are a little thinner compared to the standard thick frames adopted by all the legitimate ISes worldwide.
On the waist of the 12-year-old's IS I can identify dual waist boosters.
They are obviously meant to help her with her maneuvering skills.
Her forearm frames are reinforced with additional layers, and her left forearm has a slightly bigger shield like projection.
I cannot see Nee-san's logo name on it, nor it's generation number.
But based on the design, I can tell that it is not a 4th generation.
Is it another of Nee-san's creation?
Or is it a stolen 3rd generation IS from a different country?
The child then flew higher into the air and maintained her altitude.
Does she intend to fight in the air?
She then attempted to land properly, as she decelerated.
I soon rushed towards her.
I want to bring her down before she can land properly.
If possible, I want to disable her fast.
Fighting a child is not what I believed in.
The faster I can fully drain her shield energy, the better.
But she responded to my approach by reversing and firing her dual waist boosters, increasing our distance.
She raised her left arm such that it is perpendicular to her neck.
She used her left arm to support her right arm while it uses the beam submachine gun to fire.
From this stance, one can tell that she is using her left forearm as a form of shield, while firing her beam submachine gun at a slow rate.
Based on how slow she is firing, she intends to land accurate shots.
I then began to use evasive movements.
I partially deployed the PIC effects, taking me slightly off the ground.
Then I began to fly in Zig-Zag patterns, avoiding the 12-year-old's shots.
In seeing that close range combat won't get me anywhere, I swapped 'Amatsuki' with the 'Thousand Pierces'.
In comparism to what the child is using, 'Thousand Pierces' has a slower rate of fire.
But its power is a lot more devastating.
I can miss her by inches and drain her shield energy without hitting her directly.
If things work according to plan, I can defeat her without having to hurt her.
But just as I was about to fire my first shot, she immediately close in our distance.
Wha… so fast? She must have used double 'Ignition Boost'.
For a 12-year-old, she's damn good!
Before I can respond, she lowered her body such that I can just barely stare down at her face at the lower corner of my eye.
In using her right arm, she knocked 'Thousand Pierces' off course.
This not only caused me to miss my first shot, but also caused me to loose my grip on the weapon.
As 'Thousand Pierces' left my grip it automatically de-materialized.
But that was not all.
She used her massive left forearm and slammed it to my abdomen.
For a kid the hit was not so hard, I can simply take one step back to recover.
But unexpectically, I felt another surge of energy protruding from that extensive shield-like structure on the 12-year-old's left forearm.
Before I knew it, I was sent flying to the other side.
While getting up, I saw something extremely unusual.
The 12-year-old'd left forearm frame extended.
When I mean extend, it means that it just added its length like that.
Looking closely, I can see a network of leaking gas and extensive tubes.
I originally thought of it to be some air pressure system, just like the green 4th generation I encountered in Rome.
But the closer I looked, the more I am convinced that the system she is using is an entirely different thing.
It seems like there is a spring-like system in her left forearm.
Whenever she makes contact, she can fire the surface layers of her left forearm frame forward.
Since she is using gas, that feature reminds me of Charlotte's 'Gray Scale', or 'Shield Pierce'.
The 12-year-old smirked.
"If you thinking about France's 'Shield Pierce', you are half correct." She said.
"Then what is it?" I asked.
She might not answer, but I might as well ask.
"Onii-sama calls it 'Fist Pierce'. Think of it like a shotgun within your arm."
With a flick of her arm, the extensive forearm frame returned to its original length.
With one sharp 'Click' I can tell that it is already ready for the next shot.
This totally puts me more at a disadvantage to go into close range combat.
If she ever succeeds at landing a hit, her 'Fist Pierce' will just help her do her job.
"Who is your older brother?"
"Sigh… now now, aren't you not supposed to talk while fighting? Now that is quite unorthodox."
"You are trying to stall me, so fighting does not count."
"That's bull shit… wait is it?"
The 12-year-old then looked up and brought her right hand to her lips, thinking.
"Yea… you're right. If I am stalling you, I do not necessary need to confront you like this." she said.
"You said you are from Shinonono Tabane Organization. If my Nee-san ordered you to stall me, she might not mean attack me. And if you do so, she won't be happy if you attack me deliberately right?"
"… Holy crap, you actually might be right."
The 12-year-old then dispelled her own IS.
Looking around, the other two Russians merely gave the 12-year-old the stare.
It is as if they are thinking, 'What the hell? We just went through all this trouble and now you are saying we shouldn't be fighting?'
But it appears that the 12-year-old did not even care about her European partners.
She was currently focused on herself.
Even with her hood on, I can see doubt and regret in her face.
Now that some level of order is established, I might as well as again.
"Who is your brother?"
The girl then looked backed at me.
"Umm… sorry, even if you are Dr. Shinonono's imouto, I can't tell you."
"Onii-sama told me to keep a low profile no matter what. If I just tell you stuff regarding your Nee-san and Onii-sama… he might kill me."
Oh dear… I think I am starting to sympathize with… WAIT THAT IS NOT THE POINT!
"You said that IS Academy is under attack, just what is Nee-san is up to?!"
"Umm… hello? Didn't I just said that I can't tell you."
"I don't care."
"Ah… but you see… I do – "
Then, the youth's attention went somewhere else.
She then reached for her right ear.
Looking closely I can see a wire right next to her face.
"Hai, hai. YES! I am doing my work. But since we are stalling her, we don't need to fight her right?"
"Why am I even asking if we need to fight? We, are, dealing, with, SHINONONO HOUKI! If we hurt her just like that, won't Dr. Shinonono have our HEADS?!"
"Then ask him for approval!"
"Ah? He said that? When?"
"What the hell? You could have just said that even before our turn is up. Ah… never mind."
The 12-year-old then turned her attention back at me.
"Sorry, it appears that I missed out some crucial information. We are not allowed to fight you, but if you deployed [Akatsubaki], then that is an entirely different matter."
"Oi, you two, finish what you started." She called to the Russians.
I need to get back to IS Academy to see what is happening for myself.
I don't care if what I am doing is against the Alaska Treaty anymore.
I just got attacked by hostile ISes, plus [Akatsubaki] should have already automatically captured some images.
That should be reasonable enough.
Maximizing the effects of the PIC, I soared up into the sky.
Changing my angle, I raced to IS Academy.
"Ara… she got away."
Orimura Kuhina licked her lips in entertainment.
"Well, at least I managed to detain her for long enough. By the time she returned to IS Academy the Russians would have already completed their part."
"But I don't think we had stalled her enough." Kuhana mentioned over Kuhina's right earpiece.
"It is enough. Madoka-nee would have already finished her part of the job."
"Hello? Did you check your watch? Only 45 minutes have past."
"Not including the time Ichika-nii used to stall her. If we combine the two, it is already 1 hour and 13 minutes."
"… I'm still not convinced."
"OK FINE! If things screw up, I'll take the blame ok?"
Then, her phone rang.
"Ok hold on Kuhana."
She reached for her phone.
"Hai? Ichika-nii? Ah… she is already on her way back."
"Hai, hai. I managed to detain her long enough."
"EEEHHH? My part is already over? You make things too easy ever since you became the family head Ichika-nii."
"Yes I know… you don't want any more of us to die I got it."
"Hai hai I know. I'll just call Kuhana then."
"Yup, yup. Ok bye."
She hung up.
"Yes I heard you. I'm packing up. I'll meet you at the railway station."
Kuhina hang up.
"Umm… what about the two of us?" One of the two Russians said.
"Well, you two managed to stall her long enough."
"Yes. So what do we do?"
"Gather those outside IS Academy, our job is done."
"What? That is not something I was told of. I need to speak with Trovalkhin."
"Do you want to die?"
"Our orders are not to engage the sister of the peerless genius. Since we are already done, there is no point in us being here."
"You are missing the point kid, those who are outside of IS Academy do not play the same role as us. Even if they do not have something to do, we need to wait and see if things are ok in IS Academy."
"I'm in charge of whatever happens outside of IS Academy. So just do as I say and pack your bags."
It looks like one of the Russians is not going to play along.
"Look kid, I tolerated you out of respect that you are the little sister of the Japanese leader. But everything has a limit."
"Just get straight to the point dumbass."
"For a 12-year-old you are quite cocky. This is no way to treat your seniors."
"Seniors? I think I killed more people than you ever knew."
"Why you little – "
In one split second, Kuhina close in their distance.
The Russian's eyes soon opened wide and stared down at his abdomen.
Kuhina pulled out her blood stained Wakizashi.
Grasping his own bleeding belly, the wounded Russian fell, his partner took several steps back.
Orimura Kuhina deployed her right forearm frame.
She raised it towards the bleeding Russian and spread her mechanical fingers.
The other Russian can see that there is a hole in the mechanical hand.
In a split second, the hole became orange with accumulating heat.
In a flash of light, the bleeding Russian's body is gone.
What remained in place is nothing but black ash.
Satisfied, Orimura Kuhina turned her attention to the other Russian.
"M-Monster…" he muttered.
"Oh please, there are plenty more coming from my cousins. Would you like to hear what my older sister did?"
She turned her glowing mechanized hand towards him.
"Do I need to do this to your head to stop you from talking?"
"I-I will gather the others."
The surviving Russian turned and ran.
"Tch! Scary cat."
"Obviously you scared the shit out of him." A voice rang in Kuhina's right ear.
"Kuhana? Please don't tell me that you are already at the railway station?"
"No, I was about to close off my holographic screen when I saw your interesting episode."
"Ara… you saw everything?"
"Yes, and Ichika-nii is not going to be very happy about it."
"Why would he?"
"Technically, you killed an ally. Plus you might have disrupted our relationship with the Russians."
"Ah but don't worry, Ichika-nii won't kill me~."
"Sigh… you are totally missing the point."
"Fu fu fu, well, since we have finished our job, it would be better for us to withdraw for now."
"Hai hai, I'm already walking to the railway station, you better not be late."
The other side hung up.
Orimura Kuhina smiled.
Though she really wanted to fight someone who might be stronger than her, she recalled strict orders not to engage the sister of the peerless genius.
It appears that direct face-to-face negotiations with Shinonono Houki would be hard since she failed to listen patiently.
They have are forced to approach her like this since they cannot risk the possibility of IS Academy detecting their attempts to reach her.
But the seeds have been planted.
Once Shinonono Tabane Organization took the initiative to reach out to her, there is no chance that Shinonono Houki would ignore them.
40 minutes before, Back in IS Academy
Sarashiki Tatenashi struggled to get up on her feet.
Just a minute ago, her 4th generation opponent somehow managed to negate her 'Rusty Nail' and sent her flying into the ground.
For the past 30 minutes she has been switching between the 'Rusty Nail' and the 'Heavy Rain'.
But her opponent used whatever she threw at him to his advantage.
The more she clashed with him, the more Tatenashi felt that he is merely studying her.
Looking up, the 4th generation's pilot merely stood there with absolute calmness.
Then, the male pilot spoke in Russian.
"Is this all [Moscow's Deep Mist] have to offer?"
"You are Russian?" Tatenashi answered back in Russian.
The pilot then gave a gentlemen's bow.
"I apologize for not introducing myself. I intent to keep a low profile."
"Then it looks like I will have to help myself after I defeat you."
"By all means, but you will have to get by me first."
Challenge accepted, Tatenashi re-equipped herself with the 'Rusty Nail'.
But the Russian than became preoccupied with something else.
He turned his head to the side.
"It looks like things have proceeded to the next phase." He said.
Looking at where he looked, Tatenashi saw the enemy white ISes flying out of IS Academy.
The 3rd year students are were giving chase.
These Russians are luring the students away from IS Academy.
What is their objective?
Where are they leading the female pilots?
Could it be… the nearby urban city?
"If you would like, we can take the fight out on the ocean." The 4th generation pilot said.
"[Moscow's Deep Mist] is specialized in controlling water molecules. If you are to fight above the ocean, wouldn't that be of an advantage for you?"
Now in a strange turn of events, Tataneashi does not know how to respond.
"Why are you suggesting something that would bring you to an extreme disadvantage."
"I have a… theory I want to test out. I need your help for it."
Is this male IS pilot out of his head?
"Umm… we are enemies right?"
"Enemies from a point of view." He agreed.
"So what is your point of view?"
"I am here to… Yes, 'Stall' would be the right word."
"I am merely trying to see how far you can go. For my own curiosity of course."
After all this while, he is not that hostile?
"Ara, so you want to dance with this Onee-sama some more?"
"The pace is too slow, we might want to increase the rhythm."
IS Academy, 4th Arena
Sarashiki Kanzashi struggled to keep her own distance.
The male IS pilot she is currently facing is quite intent to fight her at close range combat.
But with the [Uchigane Niigata], Kanzashi does not have any specs that can allow her to fight at close range.
Her constant revising of the frame blueprints only led her to focus on her missiles and armor frame.
This means that her number equalizers have not increased at all, despite the fact that her IS is not more flexible than before.
Even if she can fight in close range combat, she is not combat fit enough.
The male IS pilot can overpower her anytime.
The only option is to keep firing her missiles at him and to keep their distance.
But her current strategy is not really helping her.
Her opponent just kept giving chase.
Whenever she threw her missiles at him, he would use his beam blade to smack them away or cleave them into two.
Or, he would use the 'Molecular Manipulator' to advert the course of the missiles.
Sending them crashing against each other.
The only strategy Kanzashi has left, one that she is not happy about, is to count on Rin to finish on her current opponent and to come to her aid, hopefully with enough shield energy left.
On the other side, Rin had been tearing her brain deciding how to deal with her opponent.
Just a few minutes ago, her opponent destroyed one of her blades.
This act alone made Rin realize that close combat would be disadvantageous to her in the long run.
This will not do.
Rin had to analyze carefully.
So far, from what her opponent has been doing, the 'Molecular Manipulator' can only be used if he can use his hands.
If Rin can somehow stop him from using his hands…
Suddenly Rin got an Idea.
She shelved her 'Souten Gagetsu' and dropped into a martial arts combat stance.
Her opponent tilted his head to the side slightly.
Then Rin focused her shield energy onto her entire armor frame, and charged.
She lashed out her fists, turned and did a leg upper cut and smacked her knee towards the head of her opponent.
Her opponent blacked these attempts with skill, using his elbows to block her assaults.
But with the shield energy focused on her armor frame, Rin's assaults have double the impact.
Slowly and steadily, her opponent began loosing more ground.
Since he is forced to use his elbows, he can't use his hands to utilize the 'Molecular Manipulator'.
Rin successfully managed to bring the tide of the battle to her favor.
He opponent must have sensed it, for he struggled to break out of her assaults.
But it will not be an easy feat.
Since Rin was China's representative cadet, the Chinese government ensured that she has access to martial art training for self-defense.
Even without an IS Rin is formidable.
She applied all the close combat strikes she was trained to do.
Slowly and steadily, her opponent started to flatter.
His sense of control over his own machine started to wear off as Rin's continuous assault threw him out of balance.
With one final kick at his right waist, Rin turned around, and jammed the sole of her IS leggings into his left ear.
The male IS pilot was sent crashing into the ground.
As he got up, Rin sent another kick into his face.
She continued to hammer him, without stopping.
For each strike she did, she did another.
All she cared about is to hammer him before he gets the chance ot use his 'Molecular Manipulator'.
Just as she was about to deliver another strike, Rin got hit by a beam shot from her left.
The impact of the shot sent her off a few paces from her opponent.
Looking up, she saw the other male IS pilot swooping down onto her.
Before she can get back up on her feet, the second male IS pilot spin and sent his metal IS legging crashing into her face.
Rin was then flung a few more meters away from her first opponent.
Kanzashi then flew right in front of Rin, readying her missiles should the second male IS pilot continue his assault.
But the second male IS pilot is more concerned about his partner.
After he kicked Rin, he went to help his partner get up on his feet.
It looks like the first male IS pilot still got a little bit of his shield energy left.
In helping his partner, the two male IS pilots soared up into the sky out of the 4th Arena.
Guess their fight is over.
Kanzashi did not want to give chase.
She turned and looks at Rin.
Seeing that the fight is over without defeating her opponent, Rin only slammed her fist onto the ground.
IS Academy, 3rd year building
"It should be safe here right?" Charlotte asked.
"Who knows? Why are you even asking me?" Laura answered.
In order to help the other students without an IS, the two representative cadets are forced to escort the students to somewhere safe.
Amidst of all the existing chaos, the group ended up in the 3rd year building.
Now, they are currently in one of the unused 3rd year classrooms.
The lock down of the security has left the place dark without lights.
While relying on their eye pigments to make their way out, the group managed to move around without meeting any enemy.
Like all emergency situations, the 3rd year building is deserted.
There is absolutely no one present.
While Charlotte and Laura converse about their current situation, the others then walked around to see if they are alone.
The two were thinking of moving to the cafeteria when a voice called out.
"Charlotte-san! Laura-san!" Tanimoto-san called out.
"Some girls heard voices at the other side of the corridor."
"Friendlies?" Laura asked.
"All right, Laura you stay here and watch the others, I will go and see for myself."
"Got it. Wait, Charlotte."
Laura handed her a device full of multi-colored buttons.
"Since I don't think you will be able to talk, if you need my help, press the yellow button."
"Remember, the yellow button."
For a military person, Laura knew better to just go with the flow.
They are in a crisis enough to argue who gets to go.
Charlotte then exited the classroom alone.
She then proceeded to the other side of the corridor slowly.
As she tip toed, voices can be heard as she went in further.
It sounds like one person.
Plus the low voice…
Could it be one of the male IS pilots?
Keeping quiet to the best of her ability, Charlotte focused on her hearing.
The closer she hears, the closer it appears that the male is alone and he is talking to himself.
From the language and the appearance, he is Japanese.
"Let's see… 0 movements within the system. The security network here is dead so there should not be anyone around."
Looking closer, Charlotte can see the male teenager typing away on a holographic keyboard while looking at a holographic screen.
The holographic screen is showing some sort of map with a beeping red dot in the center.
No doubt the male teenager is trying to keep his geography in check while doing his job.
"It appears that I am in the 3rd year building… that's still quite a distance to the underground security level."
The underground security level?
"Damn it… I have already searched 3 different buildings with no clue to the primary objective. Well, at least the adult female pilots are shut off somewhere."
So they are looking for something at the underground level.
According to Charlotte, the underground level is a restricted zone to students.
Only teachers can have access to that level.
Could it be that these males are after some information within?
"Ok, time for a break."
The male teenager then sat down on the floor.
"I'll just wait for the next 5 minutes and see if anyone found a way to the underground level. Gosh, the 13 different plans are indeed no help when it comes to the inside."
"Everyone said 'each one take one or two of the maps and split up, we'll each find a pathway'. But what happens? Some people like me get lost."
The male teenager then took out a water bottle that was hanging from his belt.
"I can't believe I am doing this job without seeing much action. Those who are out there fighting now must be having a lot of fun." He said while opening the bottle cover.
It looks like these male IS pilots had the building plans of IS Academy, but not the exact one.
But even if they got 13 plans, they managed to find something that is classified.
Charlotte got the feeling that these male IS pilots are indeed not people she ought to underestimate.
To research about the school to this extent, their organization must be very powerful.
In checking her surroundings, Charlotte confirmed that the two of them are alone.
She must move in swift and fast or she might be in trouble.
Using the tip of her toes, Charlotte dashed forward, moving as silent as the wind.
She intends to knock him off the ground before he can even think of using his IS.
Charlotte was just three steps away from him when –
"Seishi! Behind you!"
The male Teenager suddenly rolled forward, away from his current position.
He soon used the momentum of his rolls to turn around and stand up in close combat stance.
From those movements Charlotte can see that he is trained in the close combat martial arts.
But Charlotte was absolutely certain that they were alone.
Just who on earth managed to warn that male IS pilot?
Looking at the would-be-accomplice, Charlotte saw a teenage girl.
She was a few inches taller than Charlotte, with short black hair wearing some casual clothing.
Charlotte cannot identify her face, for she is wearing a black mask that covered her eyes.
"Thanks!" the male IS pilot said.
Charlotte's mind ran in circles.
Why would a female side with the male IS pilots?
If these male IS pilots seek to destroy the female social dominance, why would she work with them?
"Watch out Seishi, this one is France's representative cadet."
"Finally! Some sport."
Turning her head, she can see the one called Seishi using his right fist to hit his opened left palm.
It looks like he is really looking forward to a fight.
How ungentlemanly, I strongly prefer Ichika.
Ichika's blockheaded but good sense of not fighting unnecessarily is much more appealing compared to this guy's rashness.
The male IS pilot then deployed his own IS.
It is different compared to the black ISes she encountered in Italy.
The IS she is facing now is covered in silver with some shades of black.
It is less bulky and less equipped compared to the black ISes, but its armor frame looks reinforced.
Judging from the looks, Charlotte estimated that this guy's IS has about four armor layers around its mechanized layer.
That is twice as heavily fortified compared to the standard adoption of a regular IS.
But the helmet is also what caught her attention.
Like the other male IS pilots, his helmet only covered his upper face.
Unlike the protective helmets the pilots of the black ISes had, this one had a special visor.
The helmet had multiple metal platelayers overlapping each other, along with a surface mask that had a black line at where the eyes would be.
On the top of the helmet, a distinct U shape crescent can be seen.
It made him look like a Samurai in IS armor, really intimidating.
The only weapon this IS seems to have is a Katana, for Charlotte can see a Katana's handle and scabbard hanging on the IS's left waist.
"I'll leave her to you then, Seishi. Leave the underground level to us."
"Got it! Umm… M-sama."
The Girl in Mask then backtracked her steps.
"So it's just you and me now." The one called Seishi said.
He drew a solid Katana from its shelf, both hands on the handle.
In response, Charlotte secretly pressed the yellow button on the device Laura gave her earlier.
Then she deployed her [Raphael Revive Custom II].
The first thing Charlotte did was to look at the left forearm of this guy's IS.
If she can identify the generation number, she can at least predict what kind of weaponry he has.
There is… nothing.
No generation number, no Shinonono Tabane.
Then… who made it?
Is it a stolen IS from another country?
Based on the design it is Japanese.
But Charlotte never saw that IS under the registration of the Japanese government.
According to the Alaska Treaty, any and all information and technology related to IS must be disclosed to the world and shared openly.
If this IS is a new model from Japan, it should already be publicized.
So why is it that this IS never appeared at all?
Currently, Charlotte can only think of one answer.
Someone made it illegally.
As Charlotte was about to think deeper, she forgot about her current situation.
Seizing this opening, the male IS pilot made the first strike.
Charlotte just had seconds to snap out of her head to block her opponent's Katana with her shield.
Out of habitual response, she used 'Rapid Switch', equipping her right hand with the 'Rain of Saturday', her 0.62 cal heavy shotgun.
She instantly aimed for his head, and fired.
But she missed.
When the one called Seishi saw her weapon, he immediately released his left hand's hold on his Katana.
He slammed his left hand onto Charlotte's right elbow, causing her to miss.
Then he proceeds to use brute force on his Katana, pushing Charlotte backwards.
Due to the unexpected force, Charlotte lost her sense of balance.
She immediately placed her left feet anti-clockwise at 100 degrees, so that she can recover her center of gravity.
She then shoves her opponent away with her shield and created some distance between them.
She then used 'Rapid Switch' again, this time equipping herself with her two 'Vent' 0.55 cal Semi-automatic assault rifle.
Charlotte fired several shots slowly, hoping to get accurate hits.
She did not want to miss only to damage the area around her.
She managed to hit him at his chestplate.
But after the first shot, her opponent moved to using side steps at random timings, decreasing her accuracy.
As he sidestepped, he moves closer to Charlotte.
In realizing that it is only a matter of time before he closes up onto her, Charlotte proceeded backwards into the narrow classroom corridors.
It takes a few more shots for her opponent to gauge at what she was up to.
In knowing that a Katana would be useless due to the lack of space in the narrow corridor, the male IS pilot shelved his Katana.
Then, he used his right hand to reach for the back of his waist, and drew out what looks like a Japanese Howa Type 89.
As he aimed, the male IS pilot spoke.
"The way you fight just shows that you are more interested in protecting the building."
"Well, it's our territory you are invading."
"True, but it would be nice if you ignored about your surroundings for once and come at me. I really hate to kill someone who is not fighting to their fullest."
Charlotte got her shield ready when he was about to fire.
A rail gun shot Charlotte was all too familiar with hit the male IS pilot from his right.
The blast of the rail gun sent him crashing out of the 3rd year building.
As Charlotte lowered her shield, she saw Laura looking at her with her arms crossed.
"You think of your surroundings too much Charlotte."
"Laura! But we are not supposed to destroy school property!"
"In a situation like this where various school properties are being targeted and destroyed, who would ever care about one more damage? What is important now is that we defeat the intruders."
Wait… what about that masked girl?
The one that male IS pilot called M?
"Laura, did you see any girl with a mask around?"
"Huh? What are you saying? This is not a time for a masquerade."
"Sigh… never mind."
"What is it Charlotte?"
"I said, never mind. Besides, it looks like these intruders are after something at the underground level."
"The underground level? That area is restricted to students like us?"
"But in times of emergency, won't that matter?"
"That might make sense, but we must at least have an authorized individual to give us the ok to go into restricted areas. If not, we won't have a valid statement in case we found out about something we aren't supposed to find."
"Well, why don't we look for Orimura Sensei?"
"You go do that. I think I will have take care of that intruder."
In looking through the hole Laura basted the male IS pilot out of the building, the two can see him getting back up on his feet.
"What about the others?"
"I left them where they can be safe."
"Ok then, I'll leave him to you."
In using the PIC effects, Charlotte flew out of the 3rd year building.
15 minutes before, Outside of IS Academy, above the Pacific Ocean
The 4th generation IS continued firing his beam machineguns at Tatenashi.
In order to dodge them, Tatenashi utilized the water control capabilities her IS is gifted with.
Using the 'Molecular Manipulator', she summoned a wall of water in front of her from the sea below her.
As the water formed a distinct shape, she flew around.
The presence of water itself made her image messy in the eyes of the 4th generation pilot.
His shots became misses as the beam shots became hisses after penetrating the water wall.
In knowing that her opponent is engrossed on finding her location beyond the water wall, Tatenashi pushed the movements of the water towards him via her own 'Molecular Manipulator'.
Water wall became water wave, and that water wave is huge.
The 4th generation pilot soon faced a huge wall of water coming at him.
And the 4th generation pilot knows, one hit from that, and he will be at the bottom of the ocean.
In response, he pressed his palms together above his head, and sliced them down once the water is inches away from him.
The water wave then break into two from the center.
As the two walls of water passed him, Trovalkhin then pressed his hands to his sides and the water waves dispersed in all directions.
Tatenashi deduced that he must have broken down the hydrogen bonds in between the water molecules when he split the water wave into two.
And when he dispersed the two water waves, he must have redirected the energy movements around the water molecules to multiple directions.
Based on this action Tatenashi confirmed that this 4th generation also had the 'Molecular Manipulator'.
This indicates that this 4th generation's capabilities might far outclass Houki's [Akatsubaki].
But Tatenashi is not going to leave it like that.
As the water wave dispersed, she moved in closer to the 4th generation.
In using her 'Molecular Manipulator', she pressed numerous water molecules against each other at multiple locations in the air.
After grouping the water molecules tightly together, she minimized the energy movements of the water molecules so that water becomes ice.
What were multiple drops of water became ice pikes in just three seconds.
In manipulating the energy between the water molecules, she instigated a surge in energy movements and sent the ice pikes flying towards the 4th generation IS.
Trovalkhin responded by maneuvering in Zig-Zag directions avoiding the ice pikes.
He could have used his own 'Molecular Manipulator' to convert the ice pikes back to water but he figured it would be a waste of energy.
As more water fall back into the Pacific Ocean, the number of ice pikes Tatenashi could make will be reduced.
Tatenashi also noticed this weakness, and in reaction, she equipped herself with the 'Heavy Rain'.
As she proceeds to shoot him, Trovalkhin soared down and glided on the ocean surface.
The two water waves formed around him made it challenging for Tatenashi to land an accurate hit.
But it looks like the 4th generation had something else on his mind.
After gliding on the ocean surface, he soared up into the sky, but this time with a considerable amount of water.
In using his own 'Molecular Manipulator', Trovalkhin waved his arms into various sequences around him, manipulating the ocean water into thin multiple rings with him in their center.
"Fancy rings, is that all that you can think of?" she asked.
"At the moment. But I find it fascinating that you can create a huge water wall out of nowhere."
"So what? Are you cursing the Russian technicians who made this IS?"
"No, I am actually quite proud of that machine."
"The thousands of hydrogen bonds within the structure of water is difficult to break apart. Even if I can manipulate the molecular bonds, it will require huge amounts of energy just to separate several hydrogen bonds."
He then stretched his arms to his sides and the rings increased their diameter.
From a distance Tatenashi continued to fire her 'Heavy Rain'.
But the shots fired from the 4-barrel gatling gun were blocked by the rings of water.
In seeing that her shots are futile, Tatenashi wondered seriously.
How can such thin water rings block the intensive velocities of her shots?
Could it be due to the currents of the water rings?
Did the Russian manipulate the speed of the water currents to match the velocity of her range weapon?
The only answer is to see it for herself, in close combat.
Tatenashi stopped firing her 'Heavy Rain' and focused on its lance tip.
She then used double 'Ignition Boost', closing their distance in a split second.
In using her momentum of speed, Tatenashi pierced the 'Heavy Rain' into the rings of water shielding Trovalkhin.
The lance successfully penetrated the water rings, but water does not have a definite shape.
Even if she managed to pierce through the rings, Tatenashi cannot halt the water currents.
The flow of the current retained the volume of the multiple rings, slowing the lance down.
As Tatenashi pushed the lance in deeper, she gradually looses her own momentum of speed.
In the end, her lance halted due to the water rings.
There are only 5 inches left before the tip of the lance can reach Trovalkhin's face.
It looks like the Russian did match the speed of the water currents to the shots of her 'Heavy Rain'.
In sharp response to her failure, Tatenashi used her 'Molecular Manipulator' and disrupted the water currents.
The water rings broke apart.
Tatenashi pushed the lance in deeper as hard as she can.
She had seized this opportunity, or so she thought.
From the moment she disrupted the water currents of the water rings, Trovalkhin was on the move.
As she pierced her 'Heavy Rain', Trovalkhin twisted his own body upside down.
Tatenashi pierced thin air, only to face a drop kick in response.
The military trained kicked sent her crashing into the ocean.
Soon, the water around where Tatenashi fell in became spinning in clockwise direction violently.
Trovalkhin assumed she using her 'Molecular Manipulator' to make the water like a massive sink.
What is she up to?
Then all of a sudden, an explosion occurred at the center of the sink.
Tatenashi soared up into the sky fast and hard.
Before Trovalkhin had time to react, she pierced her 'Heavy Rain' into his belly.
As Trovalkhin was knocked off course, Tatenashi retreated into the violent clockwise sink.
Thanks to the PIC, Trovalkhin managed to stay up in the air.
Overall estimation – High 142 points damage inflicted to abdomen frame, shield energy remaining 838
As a 4th generation IS, Trovalkhin's IS had a higher shield energy capacity compared to regular 3rd generations.
The damage inflicted by Tatenashi was nothing much, but the fact it was a high damage concerned Trovalkhin.
She must have used the violent water currents to her own advantage.
With such violent water currents, the energy within that swirling mass of water must be massive.
That would explain the fast speed and hard thrust of her lance.
But it looks like this kind of attack requires time to prepare.
It takes a lot of energy to affect the hydrogen bonds in between the water molecules.
Creating the violent sink must have consumed a lot of her efforts.
She must have done this after studying how Trovalkhin used the water currents to make the tough water rings.
In short, she just used what he did against him.
But how can she stay underwater?
Up to this date, there are no underwater ISes.
Did she create a sphere of air around her in the ocean while keeping her PIC effects on?
Hmm… oh well, Trovalkhin knows that he will find the answer soon enough.
Now that he knows what she is up to, the second attempt won't be that successful compared to the first.
When Tatenashi surged from the ocean again, Trovalkhin was ready.
He ducked slightly and punched his right fist.
As the two ISes collide, Trovalkhin can feel his fist press against the steep side of the lance an inch off from the tip.
Arm and lance glide against each other towards opposite directions.
Tatenashi's lance managed to hit Trovalkhin's helmet.
Trovalkhin's fist struck Tatenashi solid above her celiac plexus.
Tatenashi grasped due to the exaggerating pain.
Trovalkhin cursed as the lance nearly tore his helmet away.
In fast response, Trovalkhin clenched his left hand and swung it upwards, hitting Tatenashi's chin.
The force of the punch is enough to throw Tatenashi off, and with the pain from her celiac plexus, Tatenashi has few options to respond.
As she fell back she saw a shocking thing.
Her lance did hit Trovalkhin accurately.
But instead of piercing through the hard solid metal helmet, her lance did not pierce through anything, as if the metal did not exist there in the first place.
Are her eyes deceiving her?
She did hit him, but she never hit him.
In looking closely, Tatenashi saw the 4th generation pilot's face.
The part of his face where her lance had hit was… fading.
No, not fading.
It is as if part of his face went into gaseous state.
Tatenashi can see swirls of his skin floating around as if they are gas instead of solid flesh.
Trovalkhin smiled, and for the first time, Tatenashi felt that she was in serious trouble.
IS Academy, an isolated location where few people would go
"The plan was quite successful so far."
"Ara Ichika-nii, isn't it too early to say that?"
"I'm merely stating a fact, nothing has gone wrong up till now. Besides, have any one found the underground room yet?"
"Not yet. But Kyuuji, Yukawa and Ichiru had already reached the underground level. So I guess it is a matter of time before they found the right place."
"Ok good, where are you now Madoka?"
"With Minori and Chiyo."
"Ok, I'm hanging up, call me if you got something."
Ichika hung up on the call.
He did not do it because of leisure.
As he called, something, or more specifically someone, caught his attention.
An IS pilot in a French orange [Raphael Revive] was flying towards a specific location.
In studying the maps, Ichika saw that she is flying towards the control hanger.
According to Madoka, the control hanger is in lock down with Orimura Chifuyu trapped.
If this [Raphael Revive] managed to reach the control hanger, the rogue Orimura would definitely do something about this situation.
And that is obviously something that would jeopardize the plan.
Putting his phone away, Ichika deployed his own IS.
His face and body became enveloped with white metal.
He used double 'Ignition Boost' with a blue beam sword drawn.
One strike with 'Barrier Void Attack', and she would be down.
As he closed in, he can see the look of shock coming from the pilot of the orange [Raphael Revive].
Just as his blue beam sword was about to hit her, a solid Katana blocked his strike.
Looking to see who managed to intercept in time, Ichika clicked his tongue.
It is the last person he would expect, Shinonono Houki.
IS Academy, Control hanger
"Guess we are stuck here for the time being." Keiko said.
"Matsumi! Can you do something about this jam?" Noriko said.
"No I can't, the system is locked down. I can't do any thing."
The four of Japan's most powerful IS pilots are stuck together in this room.
The recent attack on IS Academy saw the security system crashing down.
All exits are locked and everyone is stuck in their respective places.
"Darn it. Even the cellular network is down. I can't contact anyone from the outside." Noriko said.
"We might as well calm down and see what happens next." Chifuyu commented.
Japan's former National IS Representative has quite the charisma in controlling most of Japan's IS pilots, professional or not.
One single suggestion, and the other three soon stopped pacing around.
"Ne Chifuyu-san." Matsumi asked.
"You miss your brother right?"
"Sigh… what are you bringing out at such a time like this?"
"Well, we got some time so I thought you would want to talk about it."
"No thanks. I got enough on my own hands already. That idiot died saving his friends. He should have died the way he wanted protecting those around him. As his sister I am already quite satisfied with that."
Suddenly, the door sliced open.
All four stood up on their feet.
"Rescue team?" Keiko said.
A man walked into the room.
He is old, well past his prime years.
He has short old grey hair, which parted in the middle, along with a fringe full of singular strands and he has dark brown eyes.
If there are any interesting features about this old man, is his beard and mustache.
They are not like those loose strands that are spread wide around at random parts of his lower face.
They are full mustache and beard running around his mouth and chin.
But that is not all.
His mustache and beard are arranged in such a way that they look like the short beards anyone would have in the early 1900s.
Looking closely, Chifuyu almost thought she saw Ichika again, but an older version.
A quick smack of shock and rare fear ran up her spine.
She did not expect him to leave Kyoto, not at all.
This is because he never did, he always stayed there leaving the younger generations to do the family business.
The only person Orimura Chifuyu would ever fear in the whole world appeared in front of her eyes.
Orimura Ichirou, the 26th Head of the Orimura family.
Her grandfather, and the same person who taught Chifuyu everything she knew.
5 minutes before, Another location in IS Academy
Charlotte was steaming across the air heading to the control hanger.
Then all of a sudden, she felt a hostile presence building right next to her.
Turning her head, she saw a white IS racing towards her with a blue beam blade drawn.
He was so close, she did not have time.
Just as he was about to hit her, a solid Katana blocked the assault.
The pilot of the white IS clicked his tongue and created some distance.
Looking to see who intercepted, she saw Houki.
"H-Houki-san! I thought you are in the nearby urban city?"
"I was, until I found out about the attack."
Houki managed to block the mysterious attacker's assault in time.
If she was not quicker, this attacker might have cleaved a huge degree of damage onto Charlotte.
Once the attacker realized he was blocked, he retraced his steps and created some distance.
Looking at this new intruder, Houki could not help but frown.
Not in terms of annoyance, but in frustration against this new IS's model frame.
This IS is entirely different compared to all the ISes she had face before.
It is overall white in color with some black tracings here and there.
Its leggings stood at an average length but its thickness is reduced by a third, making the IS look slimmer.
Not to mention, the upper armor frame are also slightly smaller and thinner compared to the ISes she had seen.
It looks slightly familiar… like the [White Knight] from the 'White Knight Incident' years ago.
But the waist plating was removed.
Then suddenly, [Akatsubaki] flashed out a warning to Houki.
It felt like [Akatsubaki] just got an extremely great sense of danger.
It's as if [Akatsubaki] is telling her that this opponent is way out of her league.
Houki cannot understand.
With her and Charlotte combined, they can have a chance against any opponent.
If their side can have proper coordination, they have a high chance of succeeding.
But [Akatsubaki] does not seem to agree with her.
It soon flashed out a holographic screen, zooming at the enemy's left forearm frame.
It says Shinonono Tabane all right.
So this unit is made by Nee-san.
But as Houki looked closer, a huge sense of revelation hit her.
The danger [Akatsubaki] is revealing to her is not just because of the pilot.
The pilot could be of a similar level compared to the ones she has faced in Italy.
But the main problem is the capabilities of this new IS.
Its not 3rd generation and neither is it 4th generation.