Falco

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「I’m fine with whoever.
Come on.」

Bardo made his machine pull out its long sword and take a stance while sounding pretty composed and carefree.

Blue began taking distance as her machine aimed at the enemy with its small caliber railgun, starting the battle.

They were in a completely closed space.
Since Blue’s specialty was fighting from a distance while Bardo’s was close combat, the terrain advantage was firmly in favor of Bardo.

Blue and Kou were also restricted by the need to advance forward to reach their target.

Blue chose to fight from a medium distance.

Bardo, on the other hand, moved at high speed while firing his light-gas-type autocannon as he endeavored to flank her.

Some of the small caliber railgun’s rounds hit their mark, but they were easily repelled by the armor of Bardo’s Falco.

Although it was a high-mobility type machine, it was still the successor to Lanius.
The basic concept of sporting medium armoring and high maneuverability had not been lost.

The SAS-F02 Snipe, on the other hand, was a long-range shooter that could equip various weapons in order to adapt various tactics that depended on the distance from the enemy.

Although she fired some missiles from the missile pod equipped on her machine’s shoulder to restrain the Falco’s movements, she was still knocked down by Bardo’s autocannon.

Snipe was a machine that excelled in long-range sniping and support fire.
It was weak when it comes to combat situations like the one they were currently in.

Anticipating that Bardo would surely aim at the thinly armored parts of her Silhouette such as the shoulders and limbs next, Blue changed her weapon.

She brought out a medium-caliber carbine rifle.
It was an assault rifle with a shortened barrel.

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Once the distance between them got shortened enough, a slash from the enemy’s long sword would immediately be unleashed.

She was wary of that.

Blue tried her hardest to keep her distance by continuously backing up, but before she knew it, Bardo was already right before her.

She held up her carbine with both hands and fired while taking evasive action, but she wasn’t able to land any decisive hits.

The Falco’s large-caliber light gas-type autocannon fired in retaliation.
The twin gun barrels alternately shook as they rained bullets down on Blue’s machine.

Even though the difference in their weapon’s calibers wasn’t much, their firing rates were another story.
To Snipe that prioritized equipment loading capacity instead of thicker armor, it was a pretty tough situation to be placed in.

The barrage, however, was a feint.

The Falco quickly closed the remaining distance between it and Snipe, and within moments, the latter was within sword range.

Falco used its flight boosters to instantaneously accelerate.
It intended to end the battle all at once.

Blue wanted to retreat, but there just wasn’t enough time.
The enemy was now in front of her.

「So fast!」

Blue involuntarily blurted out those words in shock.
Falco was now in front of her with its sword raised in an overhead stance.

A sharp and fast downward slash fell toward her.

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But then–

「I won’t let you!」

Kou intruded into their battle.

He received the long sword’s slash with the AK2.

Due to being painstakingly manufactured by Aki to be tough, the rifle barrel managed to withstand the vicious impact.

It worked as intended.
This was a weapon primarily meant to protect Kou.
As its creator wished, the barrel didn’t get distorted and endured the powerful slash.

The Falco remained vigilant.
As soon as Kou cut in, it quickly backed up.

One of the weaknesses of the humanoid Silhouette was reverse movement.
It was just not designed to walk backward.

It’s even said that you can judge how skilled Silhouette pilots were just by seeing how good they were when making their machines go backward.
In that regard, Bardo was unmistakably an expert.

「Blue, fall back.
I’m taking him on.」

Unit 5 repositioned its rifle held with its left arm and aimed it straight at the enemy Falco.

「So you’re gonna fight me instead huh.
You’re not bad.
Decisively protecting a woman like that deserves some praise.
I also find it awkward to go up against women and children y’see.」

「Hee.
Sounds like you’re a pretty nice guy, uncle.」

Kou found it a bit regrettable.
If they met in different circumstances, maybe they could have gotten along surprisingly well.

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「But if you’re hostile against me, then who or what you are doesn’t matter.
I’ll still finish you off.」

Bardo displayed a wide grin.

「That’s only natural.」

Kou offered no objection.
If one held hostile or even murderous intent against you, then it didn’t matter what age or sex they were.

However, it was still up to you whether or not you ultimately decided to actively try to kill them in retaliation.
That’s even if the final result ends up being largely the same.
That’s just human nature.
Some just find performing such merciless actions uncomfortable.

「Now then, let’s do this, shall we? Lanius.
I got this baby just for the sake of going up against you.
I’ve waited a long time for this.」

Kou wasn’t able to imagine just what happened between the pilot of the enemy Silhouette and his former boss, Takaba Hyoue.

He could sense something similar to obsession from the other party.
He found himself suddenly excited by the prospect of fighting against such an opponent.
He wanted to fight and win.

「Falco.
It’s a Silhouette bearing the name of a bird of prey known for its sickle-like talons.
Please be careful.」

The appellations of Silhouette models are mostly taken from animal names.
The names were generally chosen to correspond with a Silhouette model’s characteristics.

Hence, it sounded quite appropriate that the successor to the Lanius, or shrike, was named after the falcon.
Kou acknowledged that it did indeed look pretty fast.

Kou’s Lanius was equipped with a large caliber battle rifle usable at medium and long-range.

Bardo’s machine, on the other hand, sported a light gas-type autocannon that functions reliably at medium and short-range.

What both machines had in common was that they’ve abandoned the concept of equipping a large number of weapons right from the beginning.

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「His machine is generally better than mine when it comes to speed and mobility huh.」

Kou calmly analyzed Bardo’s machine.

He surmised that the other party would try to take the initiative first.
The enemy should be thinking in the same vein.

When it fought against Blue’s Snipe, the Falco used its 3D flight unit to instantly accelerate forward.
It launched at a speed nearing 300 kilometers per hour.
This was exceptionally fast for a humanoid weapon.

So how exactly should he fight it then, Kou mulled inwardly.

「A sword duel huh.」

Kou couldn’t help but mutter under his breath.

A one-on-one sword duel was quite an anachronistic concept.

He almost couldn’t believe he would even consider such a thing.

「Sorry, everyone.
I want to fight him seriously after all.」

If he dies, it would undoubtedly make the ones waiting for his return and Blue, who was accompanying him, feel despair.

Even so, he wanted to fight.
He wanted to respond earnestly to the opponent’s resolution.

And oddly enough, he didn’t find such a situation unpleasant at all.

Kou experienced a sense of elation he hadn’t felt when he was still living in Japan.

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