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I look around. Ryuuouji is nowhere to be found.

‘Where’s Professor Ryuuouji?’ I ask Brennan.

‘Ah, you have some business with the professor, is it? You just missed him. He was rambling about how he cannot be caught now, not when his goal is almost within his grasp and whatnot. He did send his regards.’

‘I’m sure he did.’ I say sarcastically.

Delightful. While we were busy fighting the guards, the person we’re here to capture has already escaped. And now we have to deal with at least two executives of Lost Children.

‘I suppose you lot didn’t stay back just to get arrested?’ Amesaki-senpai asks him.

‘Arrested? Hardly. We’re being told to entertain all of you. Perhaps you would like me to give a little demonstration of the marvels we managed to create by offering yourselves?’

‘We would have to decline.’ Amesaki-senpai refuses politely.

‘Oh, I’m not asking for your permission. You will be our lab rats, whether you like it or not.’

This man, Joseph Brennan uses a Regalia called Skull of Basilisk. Like its name suggested, the Regalia is from a basilisk, a serpent-like creature mostly appeared in Greek mythology. Even though it’s just the skull and the fangs, it can still shoots out deadly venom capable of melting steel boards.

In the original anime, the audience were given a brief mention of Brennan’s history. He used to be a normal researcher who worked in the field of toxicology where people study all sorts of poisons. One day, he was accidentally exposed to some sort of poison that made him insane. Ever since then, he was obsessed with gathering poison. Not to make antidotes out of them, but using them to harm others.

I never understood why would a scientist who studies poison suddenly takes interest in experiments that enhances humans. The anime didn’t explain it either. My best guess is that he wanted to give the test subjects the ability to spit out poison or something.

Anyway, Yuuji and his harem confronted Brennan after our main character defeated Madoka and won her over to his side. Unlike now, Brennan was all alone when he was fighting against Yuuji and co. He’s being way outnumbered, so it should have been a breeze for our hero and heroines, right?

Wrong.

Since Brennan was all by himself, he had no qualms about releasing a toxic mist from his Regalia and poisoning everyone who got into contact with it. He himself was immune to it, since he injected lots of anti-toxins into his body.

Just when they were about to die from poisoning, Mashiro took out the key of her choker and opened up the lock. I should mention that in the original anime, she never formed a contract with Itachimaru.

After the poison mist was blown away and Brennan being torn to pieces, Itachimaru continued to use Mashiro’s body and go on a rampage. The lab was reduced to ruins, almost burying Yuuji and co. inside it. As for Ryuuouji and his researchers, they’ve already evacuated. The same can’t be said for the test subjects though.

In the end, they had to forcefully drag Itachimaru out of Mashiro’s body and defeat him once and for all, the one who did the job being (surprise, surprise) Yuuji. After Itachimaru was defeated, Mashiro is finally free of him. However, she even lost her power to summon Destroyers. She had to spend the rest of the seasons being a normal girl.

Yuuji knew about Itachimaru being inside Mashiro’s body but chose to do nothing about it. Instead, he spouted the usual nonsense about he’ll protect her when the time comes. Look what happened now.

Back to reality. This time, Brennan has teammates. Depends on his insanity, he may or may not release the poison mist. Either way, I guess it doesn’t really matter much, since Mashiro can freely use Itachimaru’s power without getting her body taken over.

As for Brennan’s fighting style, he lets it rip with the poison mist five seconds after the battle between him and Yuuji and co. started, so not much is known about it. On the surface, he doesn’t look like a fighter, so I guess he’ll be firing poisonous substances from a distance while all or most of his teammates fight at the front.

‘Brennan, do not go overboard.’ Jordan warns him. ‘Ryuuouji specifically told us to get rid of them, so that’s what we’ll be doing.’

Brennan glares at him with eyes full of hatred. Jordan stares back impassively. Just when I had a wishful thinking that these two will start an argument and eventually fight each other, Brennan’s shoulders slump in defeat.

‘...It’s a huge shame, but I guess it can’t be helped.’

Jordan nods satisfactorily. ‘Good.’

I have more data on Jordan from his fight with Yuuji that lasted an entire episode, not that it makes me any more confident if I were to fight him one-on-one.

His Regalia is Mjölnir. I don’t think it needs any introduction, but I’ll give one in case some of you had been living under a rock. It’s a hammer used by the Norse God of Thunder Thor, son of Odin. It’s a small, one-handed weapon, but legend has it that it packs enough punch to level a mountain.

Now, the hammer itself isn’t charged with lightning. It’s Thor’s job to be the battery. “Coincidentally”, Jordan’s main element is also lightning, which is why he’s one of the best candidates to use Mjölnir.

Jordan is a huge bear of a man. He’s probably close to 190cm tall, maybe taller. When a giant like him is wielding a small mallet, it kind of feels…weird. You would think he prefers something much larger like a double-bladed war axe. Instead, he got a tiny mallet.

Despite the size, it’s still a God’s Regalia. I was told by Coinchenn that the likes of it will have limitations. For example, my ring will absorb a crazy amount of stamina if its output is too high. For Mjölnir, it’ll amplify its wielder’s power, but at the cost of the wielder also suffering from his own power. To put it simply, if Jordan uses a lighting attack through his mallet, some of the lightning will also electrocute him. This is probably the reason he has so many scars on his body. Surprisingly enough, his robe never got burned from all the electricity. Maybe it’s electricity proof.

As for his fighting style, he tends to be defensive, which is extremely surprising considering his huge statute. When an attack comes, he’ll block it, and then gives a quick counter. Suddenly, having a small weapon is a huge advantage for him, since he’ll have little openings when he does the counter.

The ones I have problems with are the man and woman I see for the first time, since I know nothing about them. The only good news is that they already have their weapons out, so I could try to guess the function(s) of their Regalias, if they’re Regalias at all.

First, the man. He carries a flintlock revolver in each of his hands. I look down at his legs. Two more are strapped at the left side of his legs, and two more on his right. I have the feeling that each revolver contains different types of ammunition. It’s either that or he wants to save time on reloading.

As for the woman, she has a transparent veil in one hand, and holding a spiked chakram with the other. I’m thinking that the veil deflects attacks, or makes her invisible. As for the chakram, it’s mostly a boomerang.

From the way the two of them didn’t take Brennan’s or Jordan’s sides just now, they’re probably low ranked than they are, or they just got promoted. Whatever the reason, they’re still the enemy, and should not be underestimated. Heck, I worry about these two more precisely for the fact that I know next to nothing about them.

Just as I’m getting a headache, Madoka whispers a simple battle plan to the rest of us.

‘Oomori and Fuyukaze will take the scientist. Akira, vice president and Amesaki-senpai, take the huge muscular man. Takayama, president and Kiryuu, the man with the guns. Shimazaki, Miyahara, the two of you and I will take the woman.’

Great. I’m supposed to fight Jordan. I don’t know why, but since Madoka pits me against him, I’m pretty sure she has a good reason.

Now that the formation’s been decided, it’s time to fight. The thing is, I don’t know who’s gonna start.

From the corner of my eye, I see Oomori opens up her right palm. A fireball starts to form on top of it. She then launches it towards Brennan.

Brennan laughs mockingly and opens up his right palm as well. The only difference is, instead of a fireball, a skull much bigger than his head appears. It then gushes out a wall of venom right in front of him. The fireball Oomori fired flies towards it and disappears while sizzling loudly. Thanks to gravity, the poison wall falls to the ground, and it’s so corrosive it melts the ground easier than a hot knife cutting through butter.

I guess that’s our cue.

I charge straight towards Jordan. Ichika and Amesaki-senpai follow right behind me. Jordan notices us aiming for him and thus takes up a fighting stance.

Right before we manage to reach him, he slams his mallet on the ground. Lots of blue sparks appear, making the whole room smells like ozone.

Before I could think, I reach out my right hand which has my ring on it. A wave of murky water with lots of fish skeletons appear and clashes with the sparks. I let the wave that’s charged with electricity to clash onto Jordan so that he could get a good taste of his own lightning. Furthermore, Styx water is very harmful towards a normal human. I hope it did him a great deal of damage.

However, the wave didn’t drown Jordan for long. After three seconds, he let out a huge roar, and the wave sort of disintegrates, along with the fish skeletons. By that time, the three of us already have reach him.

I try to pierce his chest using my spear with an intention to kill, since I know that anything less won’t work. And lo and behold, it still didn’t work. He parries my pierce easily with his mallet and grabs my throat with his huge hand. We have quite the height difference, so my legs are some distance away from the ground.

Ichika and Amesaki-senpai didn’t rescue me immediately. It’s better if they don’t since, well, Jordan can easily snuff out my life with one squeeze of his hand.

‘That ring, where did you get it?’ he asks.

‘It’s a long story.’ I answer.

He didn’t grab my throat that hard, which is why I could still talk.

‘What of Assaf?’

‘She’s alive and doing well.’

‘...I see.’

His expression softens a bit. He was probably a good associate of Assaf-sensei. Or he’s generally a good person, just that he joined a cult out of unmentionable reason. I wouldn’t know. All I care about is getting his hand away from my neck.

I drop my spear. At the same time, I grip his wrist with my left hand and his elbow with my right. And then, I twist his elbow to my left side.

His grip loosens immediately. It happened so fast he was caught off guard, as shown by his surprised expression. Before he falls to the ground, I aim a kick at his face. It connects and he grunts painfully. Unfortunately, the kick wasn’t strong enough to knock him out.

While Jordan’s on the ground, I quickly bend down and pick up my spear. Seeing that I’m free from his grasp, Ichika and Amesaki-senpai stand in front of me to let me catch my breath. I quickly take up a fighting stance.

If we survive this and manage to go back to Japan, I need to treat Paulo-sensei to a feast. Like an expensive buffet in a high-class hotel.

Jordan quickly got up as well. He barely looks fazed and ready to cause major mayhem.

‘How is your throat, Akira?’ Ichika ask while keeping her eyes on Jordan.

I massage it for a bit. It doesn’t hurt, but it might sting after waiting for a night.

‘It’s fine. I just hope it won’t leave any marks.’ I answer.

‘No need to worry. Marks or no, you would still look dashing.’

I raise my eyebrow in surprise. Ths is so not like Ichika to flirt with me while we're in a battle, particularly with an outsider like Amesaki-senpai right next to us.

‘Um, thanks?’

‘I hate to interrupt, but we need to concentrate if we want to win.’ Amesaki-senpai tells us.

I nod. ‘Of course.’

‘Right. I will charge ahead and parries his attack. Kurogane-san, you will use any chance possible to attack him. Kagenashi-kun, whenever he uses his lightning attack, please disrupt the discharge with your water attacks.’

‘Got it.’

‘Understood.’

While we’re planning our strategy, Jordan is just standing there waiting for us. He’s so still you would mistake him for a statue. All the while, everywhere around us is chaotic, even more so compared to the elevator’s entrance.

Oomori and Mashiro are busy blowing up/ away Brennan’s poison. At the same time, Oomori is also trying very hard to knock down the mad scientist with her close combat. Unfortunately, Brennan is surprisingly agile for a researcher that tends to stay indoors. He can hops all over the place, releases poison from the skull on top of his palm, dodging Oomori’s punch and kick and watch out for Mashiro’s wind at the same time. Capturing him would be very difficult.

The man with the guns, on the other hand, looks like he’s having a hard time on dealing with Takayama, Sakuya and Yui. Sure, his hands are very quick with the guns. His time to reload them is indeed less thanks to the number of guns he has. And I was right. Each gun has different types of ammunition loaded inside it. One has exploding bullets, another has bullets that contain green gas. The third one is probably the gun that has the best type of bullets. It shoots out (gasp!) normal bullets.

I never got to find out the type of bullets that the remaining three guns have since Takayama made him drop them with her arrows, and Sakuya is guarding Takayama, Yui and herself from his bullets with her opened fan while vigorously attacking him. Yui is also offering protection from the bullets with her barriers.

The woman Shimazaki, Miyahara and Madoka fighting are proving to be a bit of trouble for them. Turns out that veil can deflects attacks. All the woman has to do is swing it around, and whatever attack that’s directed at her will be parried. As for her chakram, it seems to have a mind of its own and whirling all over the place in an alarming speed.

Whenever one of my teammates manages to sneak to her blind spot so that she won’t have time to swing her veil, the chakram is there to parry their attack. I guess that before they could do something about her, they should get rid of the chakram. Then again, Madoka most probably know this already, so there’s a high chance that she’s biding her time.

Right. Back to my own fight. It’s a bit late to realize this but, Jordan is not the only enemy I have to watch out for. Minus him, everyone else in his team uses projectile weapons. If I’m not careful, those projectiles will get me.

Just as planed, Amesaki-senpai charges towards Jordan. Ichika and I follow behind closely. At the same time, I brace myself to fire up the water magic that my spear and ring have.

Amesaki-senpai swings her Ensifer towards Jordan. He parries it without any difficulty. After that, they start to exchange blows. Their movements are so fast and rapid I have trouble catching on. The only thing I could do is to watch out for Jordan’s lightning attack.

Ichika, on the other hand, has no such difficulty. I can tell by the way she tries to land an attack on him every once in a while. Sadly, he manages to block her incoming attack without looking. With his bare hand, at that. Forget getting cut off, it barely made him bleed. What kind of training or battle do you have to go through to make your arm resistant against an extremely sharp blade?

While I’m contemplating about the toughness of his arm, I see him jump one large step backward. That’s probably a cue for him to slam his mallet on the ground again. I prepare myself mentally for the incoming lightning strike.

As I predicted, Jordan slams the ground hard with his mallet. A few pillars of lightning appear from the ground and head towards us at a, well, lightning speed. To stop them, I form a wall made of murky water right in front of us.

As soon as the pillars make contact with the wall, loud crackling and sizzling sound could be heard. I just hope my wall is strong enough to protect us from the pillars. The wall is much taller than all of us, so I can’t see a thing that’s happening on the opposite side. However, I do hear the ground getting slammed multiple times. Jordan must be being busy on the other side.

While I’m concentrating on keeping the wall intact, Amesaki-senpai takes out her phone and types something rapidly. When she’s done, she shows it to Ichika and I.

‘If this keeps on, we’ll either remain in a stalemate, or Kagenashi-kun’s wall will break down first. Kagenashi-kun, once I give you a signal, you will crumble down your wall. Once that happens, Kurogane-san, you and I will swing our swords with all our might to create shock waves in the hope that it will hit Jordan, or at least disrupt his slamming.’

Ichika and I nod to acknowledge her plan. And so, both Amesaki-senpai and Ichika take up a fighting stance, while I watch Amesaki-senpai closely so that I won’t miss her signal.

Eventually, she slightly turns her neck and nods at me. I nod back and make the wall of water fall to the ground.

The moment all those murky water that was used to form the wall falls to the ground, both Amesaki-senpai and Ichika swing their weapon downward as hard as they could. Blades made of air fly towards Jordan at an incredible speed. To make sure that those blades do not clash with Jordan’s lightning pillar, the two of them made sure to aim for the gaps between the pillars.

At that moment, Jordan was still busy slamming the ground with his mallet and didn’t even bother to look up. If he continues to go full on concentration mode with his slamming, he would be hit by those blades without knowing what had happened.

I don’t want to alert him, so I silently shout ‘GOOOOOOOO!’ inside my heart.

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Blackout FSH

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