Campione! / Campione! Vol 11 Chapter 4


Chapter 4 – Deep Yet Brief Slumber
Part 1
With the beginning of the new school term, two weeks had already passed.
“How peaceful…”
Godou yawned casually.
He was currently on the roof of Jounan Private Academy’s high school
division. Even though it was the lunch break and there were many other
students, the roof was still far from crowded.
Plus the fact of today’s fine weather, with the sunlight and gentle breeze
streaming over the roof, made for a rather pleasant experience.
“With all that behind me, the utter chaos that occurred during spring break
almost seems unreal…”
Perhaps because he had been an athlete since childhood, Godou was a
rather proactive person who got things done.
But currently he was idling around uncharacteristically. Resting against the
roof fence, he casually sucked coffee-flavored milk from a drink carton.
Ever since returning from Italy, he had been stuck in this sort of state.
Perhaps a result of his intense experiences in foreign lands, he found
himself unable to adjust to the pace of his new life…
That’s right. New life. Having passed April, Kusanagi Godou was now a
first year high school student.
Though Jounan Academy’s high school division was considered the type of
school that guaranteed promising university prospects, it was surprisingly
lax.
Thanks to the freedom of the school culture, school rules were not
particularly strict, nor were students studying themselves to death. Club
activities offered opportunities to interact with the university division, and
consequently, for better or worse, these “seniors” would often take their
juniors out to have fun. On the other hand, the encouragement of sports
was nonexistent.
This sort of freedom which completely relied on students’
self-management, was probably closer to a university in style.
Compared to sports, more diverse and varied cultural club activities were
offered.
Last year when the cheerleading club attended the national convention,
they were given a blessing of “the sports clubs returning to the national
arena after an absence of ten years!” The rest of the state of affairs could
be surmised from that.
It was this kind of school. As usual, Godou still belonged to the “go home”
club.
Lazily passing his lunch breaks, he would blankly plod his way through the
afternoon lessons then go home immediately after school.
“Onii-chan, you still haven’t decided on club activities?”
Sipping tea in the living room, Shizuka asked when she returned home
from school.
Not especially tall but very adorable in appearance, she was a very likable
little sister enhanced by her trait of surprising defiance.
“Yeah, because there’s no club I especially want to join.”
“Sigh, I guess our school really doesn’t have a sports club that Onii-chan
can enjoy if you’re serious… On the other hand, the cheerleading and
ballroom dance clubs seem to be quite amazing.”
Shizuka nodded as she spoke. Having passed the middle school entrance
examinations to enter Jounan Academy, the little sister was currently a
second year student in the middle school division. Hence, Godou was also
her senior as a student in the Academy.
“Anyway, the baseball club is so weak it’s not even funny.”
“That’s interesting, but it’s fine anyway.”
“Perhaps, if I had to make a recommendation, it would be the cultural
clubs. Amongst them are some rather weird ones, it’s actually quite
interesting. In any case, no matter which club, you should still join one. It’s
not good for a person to be idle.”
“Really?”
Even urged by Shizuka, Godou was not really convinced.
“It’s not like I have to join a club no matter what. There’s no need to hurry.
In my class, there are many other people in the ‘go home’ club.”
“Other people are other people. Onii-chan is Onii-chan.”
Rudely pointing her index finger at her brother and senior, Shizuka
declared crisply.
“This is advice for Onii-chan’s own good. It was the same with Grandfather,
after he resigned his job at the university, he became even worse than
before. If you continue to idle about, it is very likely you’ll become a
genuine good-for-nothing!”
Grandfather — Kusanagi Ichirou once taught folkloristics in university.
His specialty should be Japanese and worldwide arts and traditions. He
was the legal guardian who attentively looked after the sibling pair of
Godou and Shizuka in place of their busy parents. At the same time, he
was also a man exceptionally wise in the pleasures of life.
Not exactly idle hands.
Only because he was rather skilled in various forms of pleasures, he was
renowned as a “connoisseur” or “celebrity” to many people. To elaborate,
“pleasures” referred to drinking, banquets, traveling, socializing, artistic
accomplishments, and most importantly, the ability to build relations with a
specified (rather than unspecified) large number of women.
Meanwhile, the little sister who was trying to remonstrate her older brother,
was a member of the tea ceremony club.
Even within the boundaries of the high school division, Godou had spotted
Shizuka once. She was probably in the middle of club activities after
school. Girls from both the high and middle school divisions had gathered
together to move cardboard boxes.
During the brief encounter, Godou had waved “Hi” to greet.
Shizuka also waved lightly in return.
…Come to think of it, there was also a high school girl whose beauty was
absolutely stunning — a pretty girl with heavily brown-tinted hair who left
him with a deep impression. She had quietly greeted him with refined
gentleness. Intimidated by such beauty, Godou even failed to catch a
serious glimpse of her face…
In any case, in the two weeks since school started, Kusanagi Godou had
been in the “go home” club all along.
“I hereby declare the founding of the [Imaginary Date Club]. Comrades,
rise and gather forth!”
“Stop talking nonsense! Moe is born from DVDs and hard disks. Try as you
may to fill the gap with imaginary delusions, humans have limitations!”
In Godou’s First Year Fifth Class, male students named Nanami and
Sorimachi were engaged in some kind of strange club activities, arguing for
some inexplicable reason. Godou simply ignored the noisy racket.
Incredibly, after returning from Italy, things around him seemed to lack a
sense of concrete reality.
By the time he noticed, his right shoulder could now swivel and move freely
somehow.
The shoulder that was injured during the summer of his third year in middle
school and his reason for quitting baseball, had unexpectedly recovered.
Consequently, that path remained open for him to pursue once more.
Nevertheless, a recent event had already robbed Godou of this choice.
It was the night just before the last day of spring break.
“Since the new school term is starting, this kind of chance will be rare from
now on.”
Thus declared Miura, Godou’s middle school rival and baseball teammate.
This happened on the sports ground of a certain middle school in the
Tokyo special ward of Kita. During the day, Miura had phoned to say “To
celebrate this bro’s graduation, you have to come along.”
Miura was a fastball pitcher nicknamed the strong-armed. Furthermore, he
was an extremely pushy kind of fellow.
From his extensive experience as a catcher, Godou knew many pitchers
who were conceited enough to call themselves “this bro” as well as others
who were unexpectedly delicate. Unfortunately, Miura belonged 100% in
the former camp.
However, this was precisely how the current situation arose.
Gathered in front of the middle school Miura was graduating from, they
illegally trespassed by climbing over the school walls.
The perpetrators were Godou, Rui, Nakayama and Miura. Everyone lived
in the north of Tokyo and had been mighty baseball champs who
competed in matches of the Tokyo Selection and World Series. Though
they had belonged to different teams, there were often times when they
had to cooperate competitively. These were comrades linked by an
incredible sense of solidarity.
“…So, why have you called us here today?”
Rui was the one questioning. Though not particularly tall, he was an
infielder and first hitter with outstanding sharp senses.
He was clearly a boy but possessed a cute and well-proportioned face.
“What, starting this year, this bro will be courageously advancing towards
victory in the National High School Baseball Championship. Before the
new term starts, it’d be nice to hear you guys cheering and showing
support.”
“…Can I go now? There’s something on television.”
Nakayama grumbled to the willful one who invited them.
A man of few words with an appearance like a vagabond warrior. His
physique was tall and slim, but he was quite a strong long range hitter.
“Yeah, I’ve been asked by people at the amateur baseball club to help out
tomorrow. So I’d like to go to bed a bit earlier tonight.”
“If you guys are going, I’m off too.”
As soon as Rui stated indifferently, Godou concurred as well. That would
be the plan.
“Tsk, stop saying such heartless things! Guys, aren’t you all giving up on
baseball!? That’s why I wanted to invite you all out here while there’s still
time! Can’t you guys act a bit kinder?”
Miura yelled. Come on, man, who wouldn’t want others to treat them nicer?
Somehow these words did not sound annoying. Unexpectedly, he gave off
an impression like a bullied victim.
Nakayama turned back from his exit while Rui smiled wryly and Godou
shrugged. For various reasons, these three had intended to abandon
baseball in high school.
Only Miura entered a school renowned for strength in baseball. Perhaps
he would be immersed in training all year along, sweating like rain even on
weekends. Indeed, today was probably the only chance for them to get
together again.
Due to this, the night game of the four got started.
Miura unlocked his alma mater’s sports equipment storeroom in a
well-practiced manner. Without anyone noticing he had taken a key out
from somewhere, he looked like a student in a sports club hiding behind in
school no matter how you looked at it…
The four of them took out bats, gloves and other equipment.
Then they freely and joyfully played ball games as each of them variously
took on roles of pitching, batting and catching.
Halfway through, Godou took up his bat and calmly stepped into the
batting zone with Miura on the pitcher’s mound. Looking from here, Rui
was standing behind Godou — the position of the catcher.
“A casual match to decide the victor… How’s that?”
As Miura proposed, Godou silently prepared to bat.
Things continued as naturally as water flowing downhill. Miura pitched as
Godou batted. Thus the repetitive cycle began. Judgment calls of strike
and ball were made by the catcher in the umpire’s absence.
Godou started with ten strikes or so without hitting any balls, but thereafter,
his hits began to grow in number.
As expected, a gifted pitcher who set his sights on higher goals and
someone who had not touched baseball for half a year were on completely
different levels. Nevertheless, Godou did not give up on the match and
began to rouse his fighting spirit as a batter.
Presently, the moment finally arrived.
Miura was pitching his prided straight ball towards the top outside corner.
This kind of speed and momentum was normally beyond a middle school
catcher’s ability to handle. Were it not for Rui’s outstanding senses despite
playing in an unfamiliar position, Miura would not have gone all out to
throw this kind of pitch.
“Isn’t this even faster than when I played catcher!?”
Godou yelled out as a savage grin appeared on his face the very instant
he swung the bat.
–Everything seemed to stop, allowing him to see clearly. During his days
as a player in peak condition, Godou had been able to see through Miura’s
fastballs and hit them cleanly, but this was on a completely different level.
The strong fastball pitch was clearly motionless in his view.
Then he swung, making contact squarely with the center of the bat.
With a clear and crisp bang, the ball was sent flying into the distance in a
seemingly straight line.
“Struggling before your imminent demise, Godou! Just accept it and go out
in three strikes!”
Miura pitched again but from this point onwards, the result was always the
same.
Despite the outstanding speed and trajectories of his pitches, Godou saw
through them all. He made hit after hit as if it was the most natural thing in
the world. The only reason why he did not hit homeruns was because he
realized on the third ball that “it would be bad if the ball flew outside the
school.”
“How amazing, Kusanagi-kun… You’re in great shape, or perhaps not. Did
you get possessed by a god or a devil?”
Rui widened his eyes nonchalantly, Nakayama applauded enthusiastically,
while Miura clutched his head in shock, completely defeated…
“I guess when I focus myself on matters of winning and losing, this body’s
constitution naturally expresses itself…”
Muddling through a day of classes in a daze, Godou was on the road
home from school.
Godou muttered quietly as he recalled events during spring break. His
battles in Italy were the same. Inexplicably, his instincts and reflexes would
suddenly become keen, allowing him to evade enemy attacks with the
slimmest of margins. The crucial factor seems to be fighting spirit, so how
seriously did he need to take a fight before adrenaline levels overflowed…?
Could it be possible, his current state was also — Godou thought to himself,
greatly unsettled.
Even a 100mph fastball from the American Major Leagues should be
visible if he decided to face it seriously. Disregarding the issue of capturing
the ball at the most appropriate spot, seeing through that speed and hitting
it with the bat was probably not a problem?
“Now that I think about it, my body became keen on its own…”
In the match against Miura, his limbs started becoming agile at some point
without consciously noticing. As if for the sake of winning, his rusty body
was being fine tuned on a detailed level, with the goal of reaching the best
possible condition.
“Using this body would be the same as cheating. At any rate, it’s too
underhanded for any serious competitive sports… It’s quite unfair.”
In direct proportion to fighting spirit, his concentration and condition rose to
illogical heights.
Inconspicuous though it may be, it was quite an advantage. Godou
originally intended on trying out other sports apart from baseball in high
school, but he was now forced to give up. It would be too unfair for the
other competitors.
That said, what could he do now?
“The cultural clubs don’t really interest me, so how about working some
jobs…”
In the process of his contemplations, a blonde foreign woman brushed
past his shoulder — It can’t be.
Godou looked back in trepidation to find a tall Caucasian woman in her
latter twenties. Completely different from the beautiful girl he had met in
Italy.
How could it be her? The instant his heart settled down, someone came to
strike a conversation.
“What’s going on, Godou? You’re showing an expression like you dropped
your ice-cream.”
It was his childhood friend who lived on the same shopping street,
Tokunaga Asuka.
She was wearing her school uniform of Tokyo Metropolitan High. The two
of them had been in the same school from kindergarten up through middle
school, but were finally separated at high school. Her long hair was tied
into twintails, one on each side of her head. Maintained since childhood, it
was Asuka’s trademark.
“What the heck kind of expression is that?”
“An expression of subtle disappointment. As if you weren’t likely to eat
another ice-cream again.”
Since they were familiar friends who knew each other inside out, they
started conversing without even bothering with greetings.
Observations pointed out by Asuka who had known him for so long, were
generally quite accurate. But Godou frowned slightly and said:
“Nan, it isn’t that kind of expression. Don’t say such strange things.”
“Really? Fine, if you say it isn’t, I’m not going to argue over that. By the
way, Godou, there’s something I want to confirm. You must answer
truthfully.”
“What’s with this sudden change of subject?”
“You… You’re not hiding a girlfriend from me and Shizuka, right?”
The childhood friend’s gaze was like a detective’s interrogation of an
important witness.
“As if that kind of thing was possible! What would make you speculate
something so strange!?”
“Suspicion number one. You ran off to who knows where for spring break
without returning home for ten days. Even when asked what happened
during this period, you never gave a straight answer.”
“…I am not obliged to report. Anyway, I don’t see the connection.”
“Suspicion number two. You’ve been looking blankly out at space and
lacking in spirit after coming home. Furthermore, you sometimes stare
intently at brunette and blonde women.”
Godou was greatly shocked. He was completely unaware he was doing
something like that.
But now that he looked back in context, she was quite right in certain ways.
He could not deny that…
“Completely unfounded. Say, it’s been so long since we last chatted, and
all you talk about is stuff like this?”
“Shut up. In regards to you whose female relationships have grown in
complexity somehow, I am simply worrying if you had some sort of strange
encounter. Clearly you should be thanking me instead, not complaining
about things.”
Asuka shrugged as she spoke, completely self-absorbed.
“Whatever. I don’t really think a girl can be found who can stomach a weird
guy like you. Fine, investigations will resume once new evidence surfaces.”
“I am nowhere as weird as you describe.”
“Please restrict such foolish statements to the first of April. It is completely
unconvincing, with zero credibility.”
During times like these, Godou would pretend to be very calm and
composed, when in actual fact he was quite taken aback.
Obviously he had not gained a girlfriend, but it was true that he made a
friend in distant foreign lands under the influence of mysterious fate. As
befitted the childhood friend dating back to kindergarten. Godou was truly
impressed.
Part 2
Erica Blandelli was the most glamorous and beautiful young maiden
Godou had ever met.
After the battle with Melqart, he woke up to find her attending to him by the
pillow side.
“This time you slept for five and half hours. Your recovery time from near
death has shortened slightly.”
As soon as Godou woke up, Erica reported fluently.
“…Why did I almost die?”
“Because Melqart was not completely destroyed. He used his last strength
to give you a blow, only then did he become powerless… Simply stated, it
resulted in a double knockout.”
Godou surveyed the room as he listened to her melodic voice’s
explanation.
It was the bedroom in the Zamparini mansion, and he was lying on the
same bed as Erica. The rays of dusk streamed in through the window,
illuminating the room orange.
“Well, whether [Heretic Gods] or Campiones, both sides possess almost
immortal survivability. It is quite unheard of for a fight to be decided without
one side dead.”
“Almost immortal… Ah, now that you mention it…”
Godou agreed wholeheartedly, recalling his body clearly.
Despite facing those sorts of desperate crises where one would invariably
think “I will probably die,” no matter how many times, he had barely
survived them all. I guess that’s the kind of illogical beings we are.
“Since you’ll resurrect anyway, there was no point in troubling a hospital,
so I brought you here. And just as predicted, hospitalization was
unnecessary.”
Godou got up from bed to examine his body — it was completely healthy
without a single wound.
“In any case, you fought a divine king-class [Heretic God] immediately after
rebirth as a god-slayer, and managed to get a draw. An outstanding
performance award is a total bargain considering your labors.”
This appeared to be Erica’s distinct style of praise, but Godou shook his
head in disagreement.
“No, I’m nowhere near that amazing. I think I owe the majority to
Verethragna.”
“What do you mean?”
“When Verethragna was lingering on Sardinia, that guy was seeking a
worthy opponent for battle. Hence, the island’s strongest god — Melqart
was revived.”
I, seek nothing but defeat. Hence I arrive in search for a formidable foe.
Verethragna’s arrogance but cheerful manner of speech was recalled from
Godou’s memory.
“Melqart manifested not because of me, but for the sake of fighting
Verethragna. But since the original opponent disappeared, wouldn’t it be
natural for his fighting spirit and obsession with victory to be compromised?
For someone inexperienced like me to find an opening, it feels like that’s
the cause. But it’s just a feeling.”
Unable to bear unworthy praise, Godou spoke out of such considerations.
However, Erica stared at Godou meaningfully and said:
“In just a few rounds of actual combat, for your instincts to have such a
level of effect… That feeling of yours, has already surpassed the level of
mortals.”
“W-What do you mean by that?”
“Considering us mortal humans, whether a god of that level becomes
stronger or weaker is completely irrelevant. Because, regardless of
whether he is at peak condition or not, fighting equals death.”
“Becoming king results in a body with this sort of disposition. Or rather, you
require this kind of disposition to slay a god in the first place. This is
equivalent to the ‘chicken and egg’ problem. There is no answer.”
Erica nodded as if in admiration.
“Whatever. In any case, this incident is really over, so I can return to Japan
without worries.”
“Eh? You’ve already decided to return home, Godou!?”
“Of course. Didn’t I mention that not too long ago?”
“Eh, yes. But it wasn’t easy for you to become king and survive actual
combat against gods. The option of staying behind in Europe, the center of
magic, living as a Devil King is also–”
Uncharacteristically, Erica’s speech displayed anxiety. It seemed like she
was reluctant to part with Kusanagi Godou. To such a girl, Godou
responded:
“No no. This kind of illogical power is better kept unused.”
“…You’re really unbelievable. Even if you’re uninterested in a god-slaying
authority, with no attachment to it at all, how should I put it? Your attitude
towards power is quite easygoing.”
“The power to fight or whatever, it’s something that many people possess,
right?”
Compared to a baseball team filled with fourth hitters, Godou preferred a
team that deployed people in flexible strategies based on their strengths.
He explained clearly:
“What’s important is how a person chooses to use it. Based on this
principle, I originally had no use for a power to battle gods. Since I have no
use for it, I don’t need it.”
“That… I see, so that is why you received the ten incarnations…”
For some reason, Erica showed an expression of full agreement. Godou
said to her:
“I never expected us to spend so much time together, but because of that,
I must say goodbye now. You’ve taken so much care of me, Erica, if a
chance arises in the future, I will definitely return the favor.”
“Yes, I look forward to it. But Godou, if you’re going back to Japan, why do
you still plan on encountering me again?”
Finding something greatly amusing, Erica smiled.
“Isn’t the eastern country of the rising sun quite far from the European
continent?”
“Even if you say it’s far, it’s only half a day’s flight, so it’s not that far after
all. If a friend is ever in need, and I can help in some way, I believe it is
worth the time and expense to travel here.”
“Right! This is precisely your manner of thinking!”
Godou was struck by a most precious sight at this time, Erica’s innocent
smile.
It was not a pretentious smile, nor an eerie devilish smile, nor a lioness’
ferocious smile. This was an innocent, bright, cute smile that belonged to
someone her age.
Godou instantly felt his heart beating intensely. To describe it as a sudden
shock would not be wrong.
“Ah yes, by the way, even though it’s only about Zamparini, that guy was
found earlier. After Melqart blew him away, he was drifting in the sea.”
“Really!? To think he actually survived!”
Godou yelled out loudly to disguise his quickened heartbeat.
In truth, it was not entirely acting. After all, the old man’s survival was good
news indeed.
“Making the most of all magic at his disposal, he drifted for an entire day
on the stormy seas. When the storm subsided today, his dove familiar
finally managed to fly back to the mansion and report his survival. A ship is
currently going out to pick him up, and he’ll probably be admitted to a
hospital tonight.”
“That’s really good news. Are we going to visit him later?”
That night, Godou and Erica slept in the same room just like yesterday. As
per their custom, they demarcated an invisible boundary and slept in the
same bed.
The unfortunate Old Man Zamparini was sent from the harbor to the
hospital, so he was not home tonight.
Hence, all said and done, it would have been fine to sleep in other rooms.
However, Erica did not elect to do that, and for some unknown reason,
neither did Godou object.
Probably because of the stress immediately after the deadly battle, neither
of them were able to sleep as they lay on the bed. They chatted
sporadically, softly conversing with each other.
When night yielded to dawn, Kusanagi Godou welcomed the day of his
return home.
Getting a ride from [Panormus], they arrived at a comprehensive hospital in
Palermo city and met the rescued Walter Zamparini.
“Oh my, that was so careless of me. If another opportunity arises, please
remember to call upon me. I will surely prove my worth next time!”
Reportedly, he was still quite haggard last night.
Residing in a hospital room far more luxurious than for other patients, the
old man seemed completely unaware of smoking restrictions as he lit and
puffed on a cigar, requesting for a chance to avenge his honor. Without
any external injuries to recover from, he was looking a lot better.
His reason for hospitalization was supposedly pure exhaustion.
Nevertheless, that concern also seemed quite redundant.
The sight of the vigorous old man made Godou smile wryly.
Afterwards, he went to the airport with Erica.
Somehow, they ran into Lucretia Zola who had just flown in from Sardinia.
“Who knew I would once again encounter you, whom has returned safely
from the Mediterranean, ordained by fate to survive… Oh well, it seems like
all sorts of unexpected things happened.”
Unexpectedly pedestrian yet possessing sublime beauty, Lucretia
exclaimed in surprise.
Recalling all sorts of “finished” matters, Godou stood stiffly in the airport
lobby with an “Eh.”
“That’s right. This person has the ability to respond to changing
circumstances with astounding swiftness. He can already be considered a
full-fledged Devil King.”
This comment instantly caused Erica to straighten her face and Lucretia to
murmur “oh” softly.
Their gazes focused on a young man. A handsome blond with a tall and
tightly sculpted physique.
He was dressed in a bright red shirt and white cotton pants. There was a
Latin air of easygoing thoughtlessness about him. With a smile like the
summer Mediterranean sun (or put differently, a foolish aura), he was
walking over.
“It must be you. You’re the seventh. Not bad, you’re even younger than me
back then!”
He suddenly spoke to Godou in a sweet voice that matched the handsome
man’s face quite well.
However, perhaps due to his shortcoming of frivolous airs, he did not seem
like a lady-killer.
“It’s been a while, Sir Salvatore… And your reason for coming to Sicily is?”
Somehow the name Erica used to address this young man sounded
familiar.
“Ah, it’s been a while, you must be Ellen Ivanovic, right? Oh my, actually I
was still in Argentina until a few days ago.”
Boldly getting names wrong, the young man continued unconcerned.
“I was suddenly informed that a [Heretic God] had appeared so I hastily
made my way back to Europe. But then all transportation to Sardinia was
stopped due to the heavy storm.”
The young man called Salvatore seemed to be in his early twenties.
Godou noticed he had a cylinder slung over his shoulder. Its shape and
size was large enough to carry a baseball bat, and it caused bone-chilling
fear for seemingly no reason at all. Surely, something most dangerous was
contained inside.
Zamparini’s submachine gun could not compare in any way…
“I went to Sardinia as soon as the storm calmed down. I asked the local
associations many questions, about the gods that had appeared and the
god who was reassembled and reportedly defeated by the seventh. It
seemed a shame to return just like that, so I came over here to meet my
new kin.”
The seventh. Kin. Those words could only mean one thing.
The instant Godou realized, Lucretia Zola greeted the young man
reverently.
“Indeed. Then allow me to make introductions. This young man, Kusanagi
Godou, is indeed the seventh to become king after you, the sixth. The
god-slayer who slew warlord Verethragna and repelled the Phoenician
divine king Melqart at Sicily.”
“I see. I am Salvatore Doni. Let’s get along well from now on!”
Paying half-hearted attention to Lucretia’s introductions, Doni offered his
greeting. Just as Godou hesitated over how to respond, Doni suddenly
said something unexpected.
“So, I’ve got a minor suggestion, why don’t you have a duel with me?”
“What?”
“Other than gods or our kin, there are no opponents we kings can fight
seriously. I’m sure you’ll soon find this fact troubling. So, how about a duel
to commemorate our first meeting?”
Godou replied reflexively to this stupid proposal.
“I’m sorry, I don’t really understand your joke. There’s no time left, so
please save your words for next time.”
In the near future, Godou would come to regret concluding this encounter
so hastily.
At the time, why did he waste respectful speech on that idiot… Educated in
a sports environment since childhood, speaking to elders with politeness
had become an ingrained habit. Nevertheless, this should really be
adjusted based on the person…
Regardless, an unexpected meeting had occurred. It was time for the flight.
Sent off by Erica and Lucretia, as well as the young man named Doni,
Godou started his return journey to Japan.
In actual fact, he had spent a total often days in Italy.
A period multiple times that of his initial plans.
Part 3
Godou experienced a turbulent ten days in Italy.
After returning home, Godou spent the remainder of his spring break
purposelessly. After that, April arrived with his new life as a high school
student. With that, things had basically ended in a daze.
That said, it was not as if he had done nothing.
Back when exams had ended and he was concerned that his body was
getting out of shape, Godou had started jogging almost every day and
doing stretching and other muscle training that did not require equipment.
Thanks to that, he managed to maintain an energetic mental state after
returning from Italy.
Two weeks had passed since the new school term, and he found himself
with too much free time.
Even passing time doing nothing would result in hunger, resulting in getting
fat. Bored out of his mind, the idea of “I should start working jobs” suddenly
occurred to him.
The simple explanation: Kusanagi Godou was a man.
“Since the root of human nature is animalistic and coarse, I can’t continue
this nervous mental state.”
Hence, on a Thursday in late April.
After school, Godou made his way to a shop located in the Adachi special
ward in Tokyo. Through an acquaintance of his grandfather, he had found
a part time job entitled “assistant in an antique shop which collects broken
junk that has been sleeping in old storerooms.”
By the time he got off from work at 10:30pm, it was quite late at night.
On the way home, Godou found himself in trouble. Walking along the
streets at night, he was surrounded by seven foreigners.
This occurred on a bridge crossing over a river in a residential zone.
Looking down from the steel-built bridge, one could see a river bank
covered with flourishing weeds as well as a top class river which required
no flattering descriptions of magnificence. Once Godou stepped foot on
this bridge, he found four men in front and three more appeared behind
him.
Blocked from advancing or retreating, Godou looked to find traffic and
pedestrians absent.
“So… Can I help you? This seems to be our first meeting, right?”
Even though the mood was far from friendly, Godou asked gently.
The seven men were all tall and strongly built.
Funnily enough, they were all masked. The type which covered the eyes
and the nose, reminiscent of masquerade balls except with more varied
clothing.
Men in ordinary suits. Rough men in t-shirts and construction pants. Men in
jackets.
Based on their complexion, one was black while the others were white.
The black guy was the most conspicuous and seemed quite dangerous.
Standing at roughly 190cm, his weight was likely over 100kg. It was
certainly believable to call him a heavyweight fighter.
Wearing a tank top, his bare shoulders were tattooed with poisonous
spiders…
“Excuse me, I’m a bit unclear as to why I’m being treated this way.”
This sinister group, were they the comrades of Italian magi?
Godou felt very uncomfortable from their tactic of surrounding a lone
person, but he continued to speak politely.
When people look like they are itching for a fight, nothing good would
come out of responding in kind. Godou tried to get out of the situation
through gentle and peaceful measures, but the men began to take action
without speaking a word.
The black man approached from the front and suddenly launched a right
punch. This was clearly no amateur punch, proving Godou’s earlier
suspicions to be correct.
Fast and heavy, it was punch that flew towards his face in the shortest
possible trajectory.
Godou managed to evade, most likely thanks to that body’s constitution.
The instant the man clenched his fist, a “switch” seemed to have opened
inside Godou. Immediately, his focus became keen, allowing him to easily
see the incoming punch-
Anyway, Godou evaded to the left first.
But the black man was clearly no amateur. Without withdrawing his
extended fist, he grabbed at Godou’s shoulder instead. Still recovering
from his dodging posture, Godou was unable to evade this time.
He was caught.
Violently pulling Godou towards him, the black man sent a strong knee
attack!
“GahH”
Struck in the stomach by that horrifying impact, Godou groaned.
Unable to bear the pain, he bent over and fell on his knees. Furthermore,
the other men took this as a signal to attack. The tragic group beating thus
began.
The enemies were seven strong men well-trained in martial arts. Battered
by their merciless punches and kicks, Godou felt intense pain and was
thrown onto the asphalt of the road.
Even so, he continued to resist.
Godou attempted to use the [Bull], the incarnation for facing enemies far
stronger than him, but it was no good. These guys — big strong guys on a
human level were nowhere enough.
Conditions were not fulfilled unless fighting a bearer of greater “strength.”
Godou continued to experience tangible pain.
Several minutes passed in this manner.
Due to the lateness at night, neither cars nor pedestrians passed by. It
almost seemed as if people had been driven away by magic. Then Godou
yelled out slowly.
“T-Treating someone like a punching bag… You guys, you have no sense
of right or wrong!”
Hearing his angered voice, the team of seven men panted as they lowered
their heads.
“Damn it, this monster…”
“l-ls this really an opponent beyond our so-called level…”
“Comrades, do not despair! If we fail this mission, there is no returning
home for us!”
Speaking one after another, they made it sound like they were the victims
instead.
Nevertheless, they were indeed out of options. It was true that Godou was
injured all over, but he also remained unexpectedly lively. On the other
hand, the attackers’ hands and legs were hurting.
A man who had landed a left hook on Godou’s face had his wrist twisted
into a strange angle. His fist also seemed to have fractured. A man who
had taken a low kick at Godou’s shin also seemed to be in similar pain,
nodding his head as he held his leg.
…A Campione’s bones are harder than iron, Erica mentioned once.
If that was the case, haphazardly beating in an unarmed fashion on
various bones — the cranium, the cheek bones, the lower jaw, ribs, the
thighs, the shins, etc, resulted in this.
However, Godou’s bruises, scratches and internal hemorrhage were
innumerable.
Only his bones did not break or shatter, muscles and tendons were fine,
brain and internal organs needed no mentioning. And most important of all,
the [Camel], which Godou could only use when suffering from severe
injuries, was still unavailable.
Simply stated, that was the level of injury he sustained.
“Looks like we must prepare ourselves for a struggle to the death…
Everyone, take out your weapons!”
The man who appeared to be the leader of the seven-man team suddenly
produced a double-bladed axe!
The other men also revealed dangerous tools in their hands — slender
swords, handguns, short swords with gauntlets, and even hammers.
Erica had also used that magic to conjure weapons before. These guys
were magi after all!
Godou shivered in fear. Barehanded attacks aside, bladed weapons and
firearms would not simply end with “Ouch!” — No, he was certain he had
had enough, he did not want to experience this any further.
In order to penetrate this encirclement, what should he do!? The instant he
thought that, Godou sprang into action.
“The one unblunted and unapproachable! Oath-breaking sinners be
purged by the iron hammer of justice!”
This should be usable — the incarnation that came to mind, was instantly
summoned.
Affected by the spell words, the river water below showed a murky black
color. This black color scattered blue-black sparks as it took form.
Verethragna’s fifth incarnation, the [Boar].
The 20m black divine beast which could only be summoned by a wish to
destroy a massive target. In any case, it was summoned for the purpose of
sending this bridge flying.
“Uwaaaaaaaaaah!?”
Seeing the divine beast manifesting before their eyes, the seven-man team
cried out simultaneously.
The [Boar] proceeded to roar as usual.
ROOOOOAAAAAAR!
Roaring, the [Boar] jumped vertically.
Under the impact of the casual headbutt — like smashing paper craft, the
steel bridge was demolished. With excess momentum, the beast’s majestic
form continued flying several dozen meters up, displayed against the night
sky of Tokyo’s Adachi special ward.
Furthermore, the [Boar]’s howls caused destruction like supersonic waves.
The booming roars shattered all the glass in the neighboring residential
streets with resounding crashes.
The seven-man team were sent flying as if struck by a sonic wave and
swept beneath the collapsing bridge — the river shore. A few unlucky ones
fell directly into the polluted waters.
As a side note, Godou the summoner had already hurried down to the river
shore for shelter.
When the [Boar] began to leap, he had quickly jumped down from the
bridge.
“We are so sorry!”
“Really sorry!”
“In regards to this foolish act, please spare our insignificant lives!”
“For the sake of my family and kin, please forgive me!”
The battle(?) on the bridge had ended.
As firefighters, police and nearby residents converged at the site of the
incident, Godou and the seven men escaped to a certain park. Then the
seven men suddenly prostrated themselves on the ground in “dogeza.”^
Apparently they were aware of “dogeza” as the highest form of apology.
By the way, these guys were all speaking in Italian. After they removed
those idiotic masks, Godou was surprised by their unexpectedly youthful
faces. They seemed to be a bunch ranging in age from late teens to early
twenties. Rather than a team of magi, they resembled a gang of
delinquents more…
“In the end, I retaliated(?), so let’s just leave it as a draw. But you guys,
why did you have to dress up like that?”
Godou questioned them as they huddled their massive physiques in
“dogeza.”
“Even if you kidnapped me for a ransom, my family doesn’t have money —
actually that’s not right. Rather, I think my mom will flatly refuse. After all,
she is the type of mother who would tell me ‘I don’t want to spend money,
so you’d better find a way out yourself even if I were a hostage…”
“Ah, no. This isn’t our purpose.”
“Yes, in fact we’re from Milan. Some rumors are currently circulating about
Kusanagi-sama over there.”
“Rumors? What do you mean?”
Informed in polite Italian, Godou frowned.
“These are still unsubstantiated… But anyway, recently a Japanese male
resembling a [King] was spotted around southern Italy, fighting a god.
Then our alliance leader, Sir Salvatore, said ‘Someone caused a ruckus on
my turf’ and expressed great anger.”
“Sir Salvatore… Ah, that guy. But why is he angry?”
Recalling the frivolous smiling face of the young man he met at the airport,
Godou did not think he was angry.
“Because Sir Salvatore is a warrior amongst warriors. He is a great man
who never gives up on a fight whenever a [Heretic God] appears. Hence,
he should be angry because his rightful foe was stolen by
Kusanagi-sama.”
“A warrior amongst warriors!?”
Compared to his impression of the character named Salvatore Doni, there
was no description further from the truth.
Godou reflexively answered “You must be kidding!” However, that
cylindrical case — Godou recalled the dangerous impression he had felt.
Did his instincts as a Campione discern the man’s true nature, thus giving
warning…?
“So, you people are under that man’s orders to attack me?”
“Yeah… That’s right.”
Receiving such a subtle answer, Godou glared each man in the face in
turn, putting on a straight face and said “And then?” This immediately
obtained results.
“S-Sir Salvatore commanded the [Copper Black Cross] which had helped
Kusanagi-sama locally — in other words, our superiors. His orders were to
bring Japan’s king, Kusanagi Godou, back to him by any means
necessary.”
Rather than being scared of Godou, it seemed like it was the result of the
notoriety of the Devil Kings.
Godou was surprised by the frantic confession of the leader of the seven
men.
“Eh? So you guys are comrades of Erica!?”
“Not comrades but subordinates from a lower branch of the organization. A
group responsible for chores and dirty jobs ordered from above.”
“Feels kind of like a yakuza hierarchy…”
Imagining various yakuza gangs, Godou nodded.
“As expected, the brutal act of subduing a Devil King Campione by ‘force’
is judged as too risky for proper members by our superiors — the [Copper
Black Cross] themselves… Hence, we were sent instead.”
“But why do you have to use force? Couldn’t you have negotiated by
talking or in writing?”
For Godou, this was intended as a serious suggestion.
But the seven men instantly showed gloomy expressions.
“How should I put it, we will be done in by the Devil King.”
“A man who can even slay a god. The kind of anger they exhibit when
roused would be impossible for us to imagine. Same for the current
Kusanagi-sama–”
“Eh, me? I think I’m quite a mild, or even unexpectedly gentle person,
right…”
“What are you talking about? In order to defeat us, you were cruel enough
to unleash a divine beast — as expected of a young king. A savage warrior
standing on equal ground with Sir Salvatore, we are all utterly impressed.”
“…Also, about Erica.”
Godou had not felt these kinds of fearful and terrified stares since Sicily.
Uncomfortable with that feeling, Godou changed the subject.
“If she was involved, she should have proposed a milder plan of approach,
so what is she doing now? Especially when I am just a phone call away.”
Before they parted, they had exchanged contact information.
Even though Godou had not contacted her because he was embarrassed
to call or message a girl, he did not expect Erica to be equally indecisive.
“Our lady — Dame Blandelli was prosecuted for assisting Kusanagi-sama,
and is currently under house arrest until Sir Salvatore’s rage subsides.”
“House arrest?”
Godou pondered as he listened to the explanations of the young men
prostrated on the ground before him.
This situation was not good–
References
1 . t Dogeza(±TH): literally “sitting right on the ground,” an element
of Japanese manners by kneeling directly on the ground and bowing to
prostrate oneself as touching one’s head to the
floor.http://en. wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogeza

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