Thursday, April 26, 2012
Queen's Blade Rebellion Illustrated Stories, chapter 12
Extra chapter! This one doubles as both the last extra chapter in a row (about time, they're like twice the work :u), and the real last chapter of the first volume.
Chapter 12: The Phantom Warrior
After Annelotte met and received training from the Kensei Tomoe, she returned to the Continent.
Aiming at Annelotte and her comrades, pursuers had been dispatched.
But, they were something totally different from soldiers or bounty hunters.
Lacking a normal person's feelings, they were ruthless assassins who continued to follow the target earnestly until they killed him.
When Queen Claudette raised her hand without saying anything, they all left through the castle gates at once.
As a huge moon shone on the earth, the sinister, red-eyed pursuers ran towards them.
In a location to the east of the Queen's capital Gainos, within a walking distance of two days from it, there was a small town. Despite not being far from Gainos, thanks to the town being separated from the main road and its local specialty being nothing great, the arm of the Queen's Army didn't reach there. Instead, it was well known for attracting rascals and other perverse people.
Annelotte's party was heading towards that town, that looked like such a lawless area.
Annelotte muttered with a sigh. Just before leaving the Sacred Mountain Fuji, the name Tomoe had told them. It was Maria.
"Judging from what lady Tomoe said, it can be assumed that they were old friends... maybe a fighter from the previous Queen's Blade?"
"That can't be it."
Yuit answered Annelotte's self-muttering.
"Yuit, do you know of her?"
"Yeah, there have been quite the rumors about that name lately."
According to Yuit's story, Maria had been appearing near Gainos to eradicate the bandits, occasionally punishing the soldiers from the Queen's Army, and apparently was a skillful warrior. Since she's believed to appear and siappear in the blink of an eye, she became known as the "Phantom Warrior".
"Hoe, there are great people in the world."
As usual, there was Mirim's admiring voice, somewhat vapid.
"Wonderful! Yuit, I have to meet lady Maria, the Phantom Warrior."
"Ah--, I knew big bro would say that."
"If she's someone who cuts down evil people, by all means we must fight together."
Annelotte said excitedly, thinking about the person called Phantom Warrior Maria, who they had yet to meet.
As soon as they stepped into the town's bar, many evil gazes were cast on Annelotte's party.
"W, what are they looking at..."
The one who attracted the most gazes was Mirim.
It was natural. There was Mirim's figure, with her armor pathetically covering the small area near her breasts and hips. Here and there, coupled with the growing body, would give the impression that she was rather a dancer, instead of a warrior.
However, besides the sword and armor, there was the gem the Iron Strategist Ymir had created. Through the alchemy treasure known as the magic stones, the ultimate offense and defense on earth had been realized with the development of the "Hyper Vibration", and it could certainly be called the "strongest" equipment.
How amazing could it be called, that an ordinary -- maybe even plain, if one was pushed further -- girl, wearing that armor and sword, could destroy the Rebel Army just on her own, and knock Annelotte down very easily.
"So, can you handle the armor properly?"
"Of course. Please look... Ah, aahn!"
As she operated the armor just now, Mirim's body trembled and throbbed.
"All in all, not too bad..."
Seeing Mirim panting, Yuit sighed with a "Geez".
Even now that she wasn't dominated by Ymir any longer, Mirim seemed unable to master the armor.
After the fight with the Rebel Army,they had gone through a lot with Mirim, and she had come to join Annelotte's party, but as could be seen, one couldn't rely much on her fighting strength.
"Let's gather information in this bar for the time being."
Saying so, Annelotte walked straight to the counter.
"Bar owner, we want to ask a few questions."
As she said that, Annelotte held out three silver coins.
Although she asked for drinks for three, the sum was more than enough.
"...What will you have?"
"I'll have a beer. The other two will have milk."
"Don't they seem to be three?"
"Aah, Vante is good. She's a wind-up doll."
In an instant, the bar owner began preparing the drinks for the three people, with a questioning look on his face.
When she made sure a waitress was carrying the milk for Yuit and the others, Annelotte took a sip of her beer.
"So, what did you want to ask about?"
"Do you know a person by the name of Phantom Warrior Maria?"
Just then, the bar owner's expression changed.
No, it wasn't just the bar owner's look that was different.
The malicious men in the bar showed a directly withering look after hearing the name.
"What is it? You don't look well."
"...You, do you intend to meet Maria?"
The bar owner asked Annelotte, outright wary.
"Judging from your answer, you do know Maria."
The bar owner was startled.
"I, I don't. I don't know about any woman called Maria."
In that situation, it was obvious that the bar owner was hiding something.
Noticing that, Annelotte quickly drew her sword and thrust it at the tip of the bar owner's nose.
"Why are you trying to hide her?"
"Hiiii! D, don't do it!"
Malicious men were gathering around the store, excited.
But, at that moment:
In response to Yuit's voice, Vante stood in front of the men.
"Tsk, you! Don't drink your milk so carelessly and help us here."
"Eh? Ah, yes."
With a white moustache, the just scolded Mirim hurried to ready her sword.
"We have to meet Maria at any cost. I beg you, tell us what you know."
Then, the bar owner, shivering with fear, pointed at the inner part of the bar.
There was a woman there, who had fallen prostrated on a table.
Seemingly drunk, the woman didn't budge an inch.
The Princess Knight put up her sword, and approached the woman warily.
"Lady warrior, are you alright...?"
"D, don't! If you approach that fellow carelessly while she's sleeping...!"
The bar owner's warning came too late.
The moment Annelotte approached her enough to touch her shoulder, the woman's body suddenly snapped.
At lightning speed, she drew her sword from her waist and dealt a tremendous blow to Annelotte.
The woman's movements didn't stop the moment Annelotte took the hit. She immediately twisted her body and there was another flash from a different direction. An attack sharper than the one just now struck Annelotte.
"Kuh, she's strong...!?"
Just by receiving two strikes from that sword, the real strength of the woman was patent. She was on par with the Kensei-Miko Tomoe, perhaps even above her.
Had she not received training from the former, she'd probably have been knocked down from the beginning.
As she somehow got some distance between her and the woman, Annelotte gulped nervously.
And then, she saw the woman's figure again:
"That mask... I thought I recognized it from somewhere... That's it! You helped me once!"
"Amazing... That female knight, survived Maria's sword twice."
From the men gathered around the bar, such a voice of admiration could be heard.
The masked fighter who had helped her once, no doubt was the Phantom Warrior Maria.
"So you're Maria? Wait, Phantom Warrior Maria! We haven't come here to fight you!"
But, Maria didn't give any sign that she was going to sheathe her sword. On the contrary, an unusual vigor could be sensed from her standing posture.
"Say, big bro..."
"Step back, Yuit! Those who live in the way of the sword, as I thought, don't talk with words, but with their swords."
"No, it's not that. That person, is she sleeping?"
As Yuit said, Maria was sleeping while standing.
"No--, sorry, sorry. I can't get up like other people after I fall asleep."
Instead of the ghastly sword techniques from not long ago, once she awakened, Maria said that with an indifferent smile.
They had heard about the situation from the bar owner while Maria slept, he said that she was friendly and was seen as cute by the rascals around there, despite her bad sleeping posture.
Because her fighting spirit was deeply ingrained in her body, it seemed like everyone who approached her carelessly would receive a severe blow, like Annelotte just now.
"Tomoe referred you to me? That child. Is she fine?"
"Yes. Her sword skills were greater than I had heard."
"I wonder if her face still blushes and she goes like The looks of the western warriors are shameless!~"
She addressed the Kensei Tomoe with such familiarity, and besides, she acted like she knew her from long ago, just who was this woman?
Annelotte seemed to be fascinated with her completely because she had seen her sword skills in the flesh, and only Yuit had doubts.
With that much skill she had, she should have been famous in the previous Queen's Blade, so it was unnatural that there were no rumors about her.
That is, it couldn't be helped that she went by the alias of Maria to begin with, and besides the features concealed by her mask resembled those of a missing warrior.
"Wh... who are you?"
Yuit asked cautiously.
"Oh, come to think of it, I haven't introduced myself yet. I'm Le... no, Maria."
She was going to say a different name just now!
Yuit looked at Annelotte immediately.
However, her big bro, the Princess Knight she loved dearly, gave no signs that she had noticed that.
"Lady Maria, I assume you're an old friend of lady Tomoe's."
"I guess. Until just one year ago, we were fighting together."
"Well, do you know of the whereabouts of that person!? The whereabouts of the previous Queen's Blade’s victor, the Exiled Warrior Leina!"
Yuit involuntarily coughed out the milk she was drinking.
"Wawah, miss Yuit, are you okay?"
Mirim rubbed her back.
Even if her big bro was as insensitive as a vegetable, no way she'd ask the person herself about her whereabouts.
She'd better tell her secretly, or else she wouldn't shut up...
"U, uuh, Leina... Leina, huh? Well, I don't know where she is. Aha, ahahahaha..."
"Is that so, why is it that not even lady Maria knows...?"
Yuit was overwhelmed by an intense feeling of exhaustion, and wiped her mouth with a handkerchief she took from Vante.
Annelotte didn't realize the situation, but with Maria thinking that her identity wasn't exposed, she was the same as Annelotte.
In some way, both of them were quite similar.
As she was thinking about this:
Vante emitted a blunt sound and squatted down on the ground as she was.
"L, look, miss Vante..."
"Oops, the winding has run out."
"Is Vante okay?"
"She's fine. If I wind her up, she'll move again. ...Right, I haven't wound her up since we left the base."
Yuit took out the golden key hanging around her neck, and setting it into Vante, she wound her up slowly.
"Oh, how rare, this child is a Clockwork Automaton, right."
"Lady Maria, how do you know that?"
"Well, even if I look like this, I'm the daughter of a noble. There were a lot of things like this in our house."
"What, considering your demeanor, I didn't think lady Maria was from noble origin. Though it's rude for me to ask, what's your family name?"
"Ah, no, that's, we are uninteresting, poor nobles. I think you probably won't know us even if you heard our family name."
Looking at Maria, who hurried to dodge the question, Yuit became even more worn out.
Once more, wasn't it better just to clear it all up there?
While Yuit was thinking about it:
A man's death throes resounded through the bar.
What Annelotte saw was the ominous figure of a soldier standing by the bar's entrance.
"Damn... are you a pursuer from the Queen!?"
Annelotte drew her sword immediately. Then,
"Be careful, they aren't human."
As Maria said, no vitality could be felt from that body, wholly covered with armor.
"A, attached to mister soldier's chest is..."
Mirim pointed at the object like a bright red jewel that was embedded there.
Exactly the same thing was attached to Mirim's armor.
"That's... a magic soldier!"
A shiver ran through Yuit's body.
A magic soldier. They were the worst weapons written in the book left by Yuit's mother.
Joining the crafts of the clockwork automatons and the magic stones together, it was possible to mass-produce artificial soldiers.
Although the fighting strength of one of them was no match for Vante, they could be produced in large quantities and more easily than the devices the automatons had.
Certainly, an infinite army. That technology was taboo in alchemy.
"The perfect soldier, who feels neither pain nor fear. Even if their limbs are cut, they'll face their enemies as long as they can move."
While Yuit recited so, magic soldiers entered the bar in droves.
"As I thought... there's no way Sister would use such a thing..."
Whatever was it that Maria muttered, it didn't reach Annelotte's ears.
"Mirim! Take the customers to a safe place!"
"Yuit, how is Vante!?"
"Sorry, big bro. It'll take a bit longer until I finish winding her up."
"Is that so... I'll defend you meanwhile."
"Hey hey, don't forget about me."
Annelotte prepared her sword and stood in front of the magic soldiers. The Phantom Warrior Maria lined up by her side.
"Annelotte, can I leave my back to you?"
At that moment, the attack from the magic soldiers came simultaneously.
Maria's sword cut the leading magic soldier in two in the blink of an eye.
With such a feminine body, you'd hardly think she had that much strength to combine power and speed into that sharp blow.
Annelotte also beheaded a magic soldier to follow Maria.
The magic soldier reeled and staggered, and collapsed onto the floor, knocking a table down. But even after losing its head, the limbs of the magic soldier wouldn't stop seeking their target.
"Damn! I have a bad feeling about this!"
Yuit made up her mind and swung down the chair toward the magic stone attached to his chest.
The magic soldier suddenly stopped its movements like a doll with its strings cut at the same time the red jewel broke.
"Big bro, their weak point is the magic stone on their chests!"
Annelotte aimed at the magic soldier's chest, and swung her sword downwards.
However, the sword was repelled by an invisible force just before it reached the magic soldier's body.
"No way, is this the same as Mirim's armor...!?"
If you looked closely, the magic stone on his chest was vibrating minutely, emitting a light radiance.
"If it's like this, these swords won't reach."
Yuit raised her voice as if screaming.
In the fight against Mirim, manipulated by Ymir, Annelotte hadn't been able to pierce through her defenses due to the hyper vibration.
Yes, if they had won that time, it had been thanks to the demonic strength dormant within Annelotte.
"Kuh... I can't do this."
As her sword was repelled over and over again, Annelotte muttered in frustration.
"Don't give up!"
Then, Maria appeared before her.
Maria's thrust accurately aimed at the magic stone on his chest.
But, the point of her sword didn't reach the magic stone just by a little bit.
Maria's and the magic soldier's battle of strength continued.
A drop of sweat fell from her brow to her voluptuous breasts.
The drop of sweat flowed through the lustrous, porcelain-like skin.
"If attacking is useless... I'll attack further!"
Surprisingly, when Maria twisted her sword, she managed to pierce through the hyper vibration forcibly.
"Using brute force... what a fool..."
Annelotte was amazed just by seeing it.
First of all, Maria's sword was unusually heavy.
It looked like her sword skills shared the same foundations as hers.
But, her motions deviated from the norm and couldn't be anticipated at all.
Rather than using wasteless movements like the Kensei-Miko Tomoe, it seemed like she used wasteful movements with a certain meaning. But, it was that wasteful move what connected steadily to the next, and so on.
Maria, in that situation with her plump thighs running through their enemies like a whirlpool, seemed like she was dancing.
When she bent backwards, every time she dodged the glittering blades by a paper-thin difference her breasts shook greatly, and with the sweat ran through her glamorous body, even in the middle of the battle, every one of Maria's moves was overflowing with feminine charm.
Annelotte felt a strange exaltation while as she fought the magic soldiers.
However, at that moment, Maria's moves began to dull.
"Ah... no way... at such a time..."
Maria gave a great jump backwards, and kneeled down on the spot.
"Lady Maria! How are you?"
"I'm sorry, hold the fort... for me... good night."
Of all things, Maria laid down and began sleeping there with a snore snore.
That was most unusual, to sleep in the middle of a fight...
"L, lady Maria, please wake up! No matter what, they're too many for me alone...!"
While both of them had defeated a considerable number of opponents, there were still a few magic soldiers left.
Annelotte alone couldn't possibly defeat that many.
She was outnumbered...!
When Annelotte was going to lose her presence of mind:
"Miss Annelotte! Please leave this to me!"
Mirim had returned from evacuating the customers, and she jumped into the battlefield straightaway.
"Here I go~... anyanyanyanyanyanyanya?!"
Just as she thought, Mirim collapsed, unable to endure the vibration running through her whole body. Annelotte almost fell to her knees involuntarily.
"Yeah, I finished winding up! Vante, activate, exterminate the enemy!"
Vante's eyes opened with vigor.
"Vante, your attack's target is the magic soldier in front of you! High speed form, eliminate them without pause!"
Following immediately, a high-pitched sound like Kiiiiin started resounding, and Vante explosively accelerated, getting closer to the magic soldiers.
That movement was worthy of being called of a blinding speed. Covering the distance between them in an instant, the magic soldier couldn't do anything.
Vante's big arm threw a punch at the magic soldier.
As usual, the punch was stopped by the barrier of the hyper vibration.
But, Vante's attack wouldn't end because of that.
"Vante! As you are now, shelling arm!"
Together with a dull, heavy sound, Vante's arm blew fire.
And the shelling tore down the invisible barrier to cover the magic soldier's body. A large hole had been opened in the magic soldier's body, as it slowly fell backwards.
"How's that? I came up with it by looking at Maria."
"Great, as I expected, Yuit!"
They wouldn't lose just yet.
Annelotte changed her sword into a lance, and charged at a magic soldier who was drawing near.
As she slammed the barriers of the magic soldiers' bodies into the wall behind them, she pierced through them in one go.
After a while, the floor of the bar had turned into a mound with the remains of the magic soldiers.
"Good grief, we outdid ourselves somehow..."
Truly exhausted, Annelotte sat down.
"Sorry if I was unreasonable, Vante. I'll repair you later."
Vante's arm threw off small sparks, and Yuit looked worried.
"...Hah! Uh!? Where are our enemies!?"
Mirim, dead tired, had now come to.
"Aah, we are fine, but..."
Annelotte looked at Maria, sleeping a peaceful sleep.
To fall sleep in the middle of the battle, it was quite crazy.
But, Annelotte couldn't help to feel charmed by her.
She was glad she had fought with Maria.
That feeling of exaltation when she had left her back to her.
She wanted to run through the enemy line easily like her.
She wanted to learn her sword.
As she looked at Maria sleeping with such a peaceful look, Annelotte strongly thought so.
-End of the first volume-
Not a big fan of the useless Mirim in these chapters, it's a good thing the Upheaval arc retconned her joining scene.
It seems this chapter was the one that introduced the magic soldiers, as deadly as they are, it makes sense that Mirim, Annelotte and Sigui had a hard time fighting them later.
And with Maria able to sleep-fight, from the curses so far, it's only Alleyne who hasn't overcome hers...
Next chapter: let the Showdown begin!