K SIDE:BLUE - Chapter 5
Sword of Damocles
As Zenjou’s sword, glowing with radiant blue light, destroyed its scabbard on the draw, its point slashed across the space mere centimeters away from Munakata’s nose.
A few things happened simultaneously: the glass of the huge picture window shattered, a firework of sparks blossomed along the path of the demon blade, a portion of the wall blew out and a fist-sized hole opened in it.
The identity of the thing that was responsible for shattering the glass, spraying a shower of sparks in midair and making a hole in the wall was one and the same.
Namely, a 12.7mm round from a rifle.
The heavy bullet that came zipping in at the supersonic speed breaking the window on its way in, was repelled by Zenjou’s saber, reinforced with his superpower.
The black kitten bolted to hide under the sofa with a squeal.
The person most shocked at the realization was Zenjou himself, despite also being the one to prevent said sniper from suceeding.
The action he took was not conscious.
Sensing the supersonic bullet with his animal instincts, he drew his sword and knocked the shot down on physical reflexes alone.
Just then, abruptly, Zenjou’s body twirled again, hand slashing through the space behind him even as his back was still turned to the window.
Another shower of sparks flaired in the air.
The second shot got knocked off course to lodge in the wall as well.
Zenjou, with a motion that gave the adversary no openings to exploit, turned to the window and stood ready.
Another 2, 3 seconds passed – the third shot was not coming.
Munakata turned on the intercom. “Fushimi-kun. We came under a sniper attack.” He glanced at the holes in the wall. “The weapon used was probably a large caliber anti-materiel rifle. The sniper’s location is, most likely–”
‘There’s a skyscraper in 2 clicks west-southwest.’
“Yes, most likely there. Please notify the police.”
‘Already on it.’
Fushimi had already estimated the sniper’s location from the blueprint of the room Munakata was in and the shooting range of the rifle used. Capturing the sniper was the police’s jurisdiction, and Fushimi initiated the necessary urgent search procedures with them.
“Very well.” Munakata cut off the intercom link once again.
—A sniper attack from 2,000 meters away using an AMR.
Exceptional organizational capability was required to arrange for a large type of a sniper rifle like that along with a proficient sniper to handle it and successfully orchestrate the assassination attempt. Such resourcefulness of the “enemy” exceeded even Munakata’s expectations.
Scepter 4 possessed a special right to inspect all sorts of public and official information networks in the metropolitan area, but it was not unusual for them to fall a step behind when it came to information not pertaining to supernatural factors.
If it had not been for Zenjou, the enemy’s bullet, having slipped through the gaps in their information network and fired into the dead zone of their awareness, would have blown Munakata’s head off, there could be no doubt about it.
“So this is today’s final trap… or should I say, all the other moves that the enemy has made thus far were for the sole purpose of luring me into this situation,” Munakata said unruffled.
“…Why?” Zenjou asked.
“”Why” as in “why did I intentionally step into the enemy’s trap and expose myself to danger”?“ Munakata inquired. “Because nothing ventured, nothing gained. In order to draw out reactions from the unknown enemy and obtain intelligence on them, using myself as a bait was the optimal choice… although, that, too, only went well thanks to the strongest bodyguard one could possibly ask for, Zenjou Gouki, escorting me.”
“That’s not what I meant,” Zenjou said. “…Why did you feel the need to provoke me?”
“Ah, that… Hehe.” At Munakata’s chuckle, Zenjou’s face turned even more grim. “This world is like a puzzle that one can only unravel through laborious effort put into facing it. That is how I view it… however, sometimes I feel like throwing reason to the wind and surrendering myself to heaven’s decree.”
“Zenjou-san. Your sword is yours but, at the same time, it is not.” Munakata shifted his gaze to the saber, now naked in Zenjou’s hand. “A slash of your sword dealt quicker than you gain awareness of your action, surpasses the will of a mere mortal, becoming a manifestation of providence of sorts, in my opinion… that is, heaven’s decree itself.”
Zenjou answered nothing, only let out a low growl through clenched teeth.
A pair of eyes with the spirit of a demon dwelling in them stared at Munakata. What these eyes saw was Munakata Reishi’s bottomless smile. An ambiguous smile.
Zenjou’s right hand, holding the saber, was heavy with power. But so long as that smile remained ambiguous, Zenjou’s hand would not move. Could not swing the sword.
“Shall we go?”
Turning his back to Zenjou, Munakata started walking. “…Someday, when you see through the person that I am to the deepest bottom, perhaps you will decide to slay me.”
Zenjou followed him, staring at the nape of Munakata’s neck as if ready to bite into it any moment.
“You are a swift blade, as well as a bomb on the verge of explosion. You are part of my power, yet at the same time beyond my control. In other words, Zenjou-san…” Munakata smiled, exposing his defenseless back to the gaze of the demon. “…to me, you are another “Sword of Damocles”, involved in my fate.“
30 minutes later, having subjugated the remnants of the enemy and secured custody of all the superpowereds and non-powereds at the site, 22 names in total (and one animal), Scepter 4’s mission was complete. With damage suffered in action by the allied parties being negligible, for the first proactive sortie, the result left nothing to be desired.
After leaving the building that served as the site of the operation and calling in the police to deal with the post-proceedings, the troops lined up in rows on the road in front of the entrance.
Formally, the state of battle readiness would be terminated only with Munakata’s coming out of the building.
“Present your swords!”
At Awashima’s command, the troops assumed the posture of the sword salute appropriate for welcoming the head of the organization and, when Munakata finally came in sight, held their breaths.
Passing through the entrance, Munakata kept walking calmly. Zenjou was slowly trailing after him with the naked sword in hand, like a beast ready to sink its fangs into its victim at the first sight of an opening…
As Munakata stepped into the street, he looked up into the clear sky, squinting at the bright light. There, right above his head, the enormous crystalline “Sword of Damocles” was floating, producing a groaning sound as it did, with its tip pointed at him.
Letting an enigmatic smile tug at his lips, Munakata started walking again.
Living under a sword rasping overhead and followed by a demon at his heels baring its fangs at his back, he simply walked forward with an air of composure, paying no mind to either. Even with the danger of death and destruction so close by his side, his confidence was unwavering.
The Blue King, Munakata Reishi, truly was the embodiment of the man destined to be a supreme ruler.