Godou Kusanagi, a former middle school baseball player who had to retire due to injury, is asked by his grandfather to return a stone tablet to a friend in Sardinia named Lucrezia Zora. After meeting the demonically manipulative sword-mistress Erica Blandelli, he encounters the god of war, Verethragna. After killing the god, Godou becomes a Campione, or god slayer. His duty is to fight heretical gods who start changing things to suit themselves, usually at the expense of the people in the area. One of the problems associated with being a Campione, is that his status keeps attracting attention and difficult girls. Erica, who strongly professes her love for him, usually creates awkward and misunderstood situations for him in particular. Every time he fights a god, he kisses one of the girls he has brought with him.
Chapter 1 - Roman Holiday
It was mysterious that even the hue of the sky changed subtly from country to country.
The current sky Kusanagi Godou was looking up at through the windows of the airport did not have the fuzzy depths of Japan's deep blue sky. The Latin countries' sky, as if to break through the horizons, was an amazingly bright blue one.
Turning his eyes back up front, what he saw was a crowd of different people with diverse nationalities roaming about everywhere.
It was a scene that could rarely be seen in Japan.
Also called the Leonardo-da-Vinci Airport. This was the national airport of Italy's capital, Rome.
And it wasn't because of a school trip that he had come here. So at that time, Godou was the only Japanese high-school student around.
"Even though I had absolutely no intention of coming back here for another half a year..."
Godou murmured while surveying the huge traffic hurrying through the airport terminal.
After being on the shaking airplane for twelve hours, he had finally arrived in this Latin country. Because of the fatigue of sitting on a plane and the time zone difference, his body felt incredibly weak.
"This certainly isn't the first time, or the second, but that girl really doesn't care about others' circumstances."
While yawning, he tried finding a familiar face in the crowd.
The target of the search shouldn't be hard to miss.
Her bright blond hair was similar to a dazzling crown. Her beauty was far greater than any girl in Godou's memory. And on top of the fact that everyone would obviously be looking at her, having an attitude unlike anybody else——
If she was close, he would immediately recognize her.
But the one he was searching for——Erica Blandelli——didn't appear.
From people wearing business suits to rough clients carrying bags to obvious tourist groups, he was surrounded by people in all directions, but he still couldn't see Erica.
......It was said that more or less all Italians had a bad habit of arriving long after the appointed hour.
But in Erica's case, her habit of arriving late really wasn't because of her ethnic background, but simply the result of her own laziness.
After knowing her for a few months, Godou was very sure of that.
Moreover, Erica Blandelli wasn't simply lazy. Besides being self-centered, her way of always playing others at her own convenience made her a very selfish woman.
For example, the day before when he had suddenly received this call.
"Listen, it would be very convenient if you could come to my side immediately. That's the situation, so prepare yourself to take the first flight tomorrow morning. I'll welcome you at the airport."
That had been her opening line.
It was the end of May, on a weekend afternoon. He had received the call on Friday past 4pm.
"What the heck is with 'that's the situation' that you came up with? I have no obligations to be considerate of your circumstances. Also, I have my own plans, so go find someone else."
What was she calling him for all of a sudden, that woman...
Godou replied coldly as he left school for home.
"'Because I really miss you' would be the obvious response, wouldn't it? You must also love me so much that you can't bear it, so isn't this arrangement just great?"
"No, I don't particularly miss you. Stop it with those fabrications about my feelings... Anyway, the last time I saw you was two weeks ago, not even half a month, and for two people respectively living in Tokyo and Milan, it's impossible to see each other that frequently."
He complained with as much indifference as possible.
He was already used to that woman's outrageous behavior. But he couldn't allow himself to get caught up in her pace.
"Yes yes, it's only natural after not being able to meet for half a month, poor Godou. The time spent living apart from your loved ones results in feelings of anxiety and worry, which is something I can sympathize with only too well.... Regarding this matter, since I also have some ideas to improve the situation, please stay hopeful. So about tomorrow's plans——"
Without regard to others, Erica kept going on with the conversation.
As expected of a woman with eleven years of experience in self-centered behavior, she didn't care for my circumstances at all.
"Don't say anymore, Erica, this is as far as this conversation goes. If you would care to explain everything clearly and slowly, from beginning to end, I'll listen to you, but if you don't, I'll hang up right now."
"Just what I expect of you. You rejected the invitation even though it's from me. You are the only one who wouldn't take the bait...... well, I haven't dated any guys yet, but I shouldn't be wrong."
Erica responded with her voice full of delight.
Godou couldn't help but frown, even though he knew what Erica was saying was on purpose.
Her attitude was as bad as ever...... despite knowing her demonic nature, the number of guys she had rejected had to be pretty high.
"Then I am going to say it once more. Kusanagi Godou, I hope that you will immediately come to Italy. I need your help. It will probably be difficult for me to settle this matter with my power alone, so please consider this earnestly. I, Erica Blandelli, swear upon my honor that I have not lied to you."
She suddenly got serious about it.
Furthermore, she used her 'honor'. After swearing on that, she wouldn't lie no matter what. Because to Erica Blandelli, her honor was more important than anything else.
——It can't be helped, sighed Godou.
Although Erica was indeed a capricious person, someone who wouldn't care about others' thoughts, someone who liked to play around with people and had a demonic personality, she was still a benefactor who had saved his life many times.
Since she already said that much, he had no choice but to accept it.
"......I understand. I'll do as you say, so don't forget to pick me up."
"Your answer really makes me happy, may the Lord bless your chivalrous spirit."
"So what should I do? I think you already know, but I still want to reaffirm that I won't help you do any dubious dealings."
"Of course, you only need to maintain the behavior of a king, and fight as a king. As for the rest, you can have faith in me......though; it's great that I don't need to rely on my trump card this time. I would feel bad after using it."
After hearing Erica say such dangerous words, Godou was surprised.
"You're right, since I think that you, Godou, have the obligation to accept all my requests, don't you agree?"
"Agree or not, don't be ridiculous, why would I accept all of your requests seeing as I am just a friend......"
"——although you have already......"
It was the whisper of a devil that couldn't help but enjoy toying around with humans. Godou reflexively wanted to escape.
"Although when you have already taken my purity, you fiend. Have you forgotten our passionate night back on Sicily?"
"Th-That was something the circumstances forced on us, just the result of both of our interests. It's not like I wanted to do that......"
"Yes, that's right, desiring it from the bottom of my heart, I gave you my purity. And immediately afterwards, you suddenly became so cold towards me...... you think that there wasn't a need to feed the fish after it was hooked, didn't you?"
Although she kept complaining, Erica sounded really cheerful.
You demon! Godou silently cursed her.
"Don't say things that can be taken the wrong way so easily, it'll look as if we had some secret relationship! If others hear this, they'll surely misunderstand us!"
"But it is a secret relationship! Even afterwards, our lips met over and over again, our bodies on top of each other——"
"That's why I asked you to stop putting it so ambiguously!"
"Okay, answer me this: if I happen to tell your cute little sister about what happened between us, what do you think might happen?"
Godou realized that he had already lost.
Even though what Erica said had been heavily embellished, it was all real. And Godou didn't want the talkative Shizuka to know about it. If that happened, he'd be in deep.
At that moment, Erica was sure to be laughing near a distant sea of a foreign country.
Godou's thoughts formed a very clear image of a gorgeous girl making a self-confident smile of triumph.
"Y-You can't actually want to use this to blackmail me, can you?"
"Don't worry, if you show your sincerity, I certainly will not give your little sister any trouble. I swear upon my honor."
"Don't swear upon your honor for that! Aren't despicable affairs like blackmailing the complete opposite of honor?"
And just like that, his sudden trip to Italy came to be.
Godou, who returned home so he could prepare his luggage, opened the mailbox without hesitation.
......Indeed, a letter had come by airmail.
The sender was Erica Blandelli.
The letter contained an airplane ticket from Narita Airport to Rome.
This letter hadn't been posted normally. He could tell because there was no stamp on it.
If it wasn't Erica's dubious [Knights corps]'s Tokyo branch that had sent this secretly, it would have been sent in a more abnormal way——it would have been something like [Magic], sent directly from Milan, Italy. There was no doubt about it.
"I'm sorry, are you......"
Godou, who couldn't find Erica and was contemplating silently, was interrupted by some Japanese words.
Not only was the pronunciation smooth, but it was also very precise.
"Black hair, black eyes, around 180cm tall; though his looks aren't bad, there are flaws so twenty points are taken off his face...... you are Kusanagi Godou-san, right?
The one who said that was a black-haired woman, around two or three years older than Godou.
"My name is Arianna Hayama Arialdi, and on Erica-sama's orders, I have come here to pick you up. Please take care of me."
"Please take care of me...... excuse me, but that insulting remark just now, that was from Erica, right?
"Yes. So it was you after all. Thank goodness."
Arianna-san herself didn't seem to hold any ill will.
A little more than 160 cm tall and with a warm smile, she wasn't much different from a normal Japanese girl. She was also quite lovely due to the graceful air surrounding her.
She looked so harmless that it was impossible to think she would be related to Erica in any way.
Or maybe she only looked like one who wouldn't even kill a bug from the outside, while in reality she held an unequaled strength, like a beast hiding her fangs?
"You may have guessed from my name, but my grandfather was born in Japan. That is why being of your assistance has been left to me. Please call me Anna. All of my friends do so as well."
"Then you can simply call me Godou as well. Though not all of my friends call me that, at least Erica does."
"I understand, Godou-san."
Anna showed a carefree smile.
Like a lily wavering under a light breeze, her appearance was very lovely.
Though if she called Erica with the suffix '-sama', she had to be a member of that group that couldn't recognize different eras and still claimed themselves to be mages and knights.
"You don't look like one of Erica's comrades; you're more like an ordinary person."
"......Ah, so you also think that? Since I don't have any abilities, I am still a trainee. Luckily, I have been in Erica-sama's care, and she made me a direct subordinate."
Anna-san indeed looked very young and normal. Nothing about her seemed out of the ordinary.
She said that she was still a trainee, and Godou could fully agree.
"But being her direct subordinate......sounds pretty hard. Isn't it dangerous?"
"Ah, no, I only take care of her daily routine, so there's no danger, and Erica-sama is very strong, so she always protects me."
Taking care of the daily routine...?
Wasn't she a maid rather than a subordinate?
And Erica was also very lazy, so even the tasks that she could do surely would have been pushed onto Anna.
......Godou started to pity this older girl.
Thinking that Anna might also be one of those who suffered under Erica, Godou thought he should be a bit more considerate to her.
"By the way, why don't I see the one who called me here?"
"Erica-sama is now attending to an important meeting. She'll get to you when she is finished, so please let me take care of you in the meanwhile."
Please let me take care of everything, said Anna. She seem quite reliable.
"Does Anna-san know what Erica wants from me? That person didn't explain anything properly and called me over. Even now, I'm still confused."
"I'm very sorry. I'm not clear about this either. I have only been told that Godou-san was Erica-sama's honored guest and that I cannot by all means neglect him......"
"So it's like this? She didn't reveal my identity to you?"
"She didn't......maybe it's because Godou-san is someone very important? It might be why she didn't care to let me know."
"I don't think it's something important. Simply put, I am only a Japanese high school student who has been forcefully called here, so there shouldn't be any problem."
If there was something wrong, it would be the fact that it was difficult to easily explain who he really was.
But since there was no reason to proclaim it out loud, Godou didn't say anything.
"Ah, talking like this in a crowded place feels a bit uncomfortable. Let's go onto the streets. Is it the first time that Godou-san has come to Rome?"
"It isn't, but whenever Erica calls me over, I never had any time to rest regardless of where we went."
"Then this time, there should be time, I've been instructed by Erica-sama that we can walk around before she returns, so let me be your guide. The car is already prepared."
"The car, huh......if it is that kind of luxurious BMW car with a driver, then no thanks, I can't be at ease in that sort of car,"
Whenever Erica selects a car for transport, it's almost always that kind of car.
Though, when he asked her once, she answered that she didn't have the experience of taking a bus or a tram. Anna seemed to be different than her, but......
"I won't make it that luxurious, and I'll take care of the driving, so no worries."
To take off Godou's worries, Anna smiled and walked forth.
And what happened afterward filled Godou with admiration. For Erica to choose someone as decent as Anna-san to take care of her daily routine - it really was unbelievable!
The important part wasn't that she was meticulous, but that she was a normal person.
......However, only later did Godou realize that he had reached this conclusion too soon.
As the official residence of the princess of House of Savoy[1B 1] was under remodeling, the assembly was held in a spacious room in a certain hotel.
Though it was still daytime, the room's windows were tightly closed, completely blocking the view from the outside.
Around this exceptionally large table used for conferences were a total of four people, including Erica.
The first was her —— Erica Blandelli.
The sixteen year-old Erica was the youngest person here.
There were in total two old people. They are the commanders of [Old Dame] and [Female Wolf]. Especially in this country where the magic world flourishes, both were the commanders of the most powerful Knight corps.
To call them in the old way, they were the Grand Masters.[1B 2]
And the last one was a young man.
He was the young commander leading the Knight corps [Capital of Lilies][1B 3], and should be in his early thirties.
That man's position was the same as Erica's.
Just like Erica, who was representing the [Copper Black Cross][1B 4], he had won the rank of [Great Knight].
There had been thousands of mages since the ancient times.
Even though a lot of them were fakes, there were also great mages. The [Knights] who study both arts of swordsmanship and magic skills were among them. Erica's ancestors in the medieval age were the Knights Templar who worshiped Baphomet.[1B 5] In addition to being magic-users, they were also men-at-arms.
And the title of [Great Knight] could only be given to the most well-known figures amongst those warriors.
"Then everyone, it's about time to conclude this, the reason for our headaches. To whom should we give the Gorgoneion[1B 6] to take care of?"
The commander of [Old Dame] asked the question.
And it was the commander of [Female Wolf] who objected.
"Give the Gorgoneion to someone to take care of? Is that really acceptable? I think that this isn't a wise decision. Even if our leader, Lord Salvatore, isn't here, to give it to a foreign country's king, isn't it shameful? Aren't you afraid that we will become a laughing stock?"
"The ones who want to laugh can laugh all they want. What's really important is that this time it's the genuine Gorgoneion, and we don't have any kings to rely on, so it's a minor shame compared to what might happen."
"Being humiliated isn't what is most important. If it made the king angry, then what should we do? If Lord Salvatore discovers that we asked for help from other kings, then who could foresee his anger? I am really bothered by that fact."
These words weren't normally said by these elders.
But, even if their sword skills were excellent, and they aged very slowly, they still couldn't help but show their reverence towards the king.
Indeed, even the strongest knight, the most highly-ranked knight, cannot do anything to a king or a deity.
And that was the pure truth of this world.
"But will Lord Salvatore be bothered by such a small thing? In the eyes of that great person, we are only on the level of bees gathering around a beehive. If it's just bees choosing a new queen, I think he wouldn't have any problems with it."
Cutting between those two elders, was the [Capital of Lilies]'s commander.
That tall man's height was about 190cm, the bottom part of his face was covered by a beard, and although his face wasn't that bad, it gave off a somewhat gloomy feeling.
He was wearing a great tux, but it didn't really match his purple tie.
The color representing [Capital of Lilies] was purple.
One of the obligations of that group was to wear something purple.
And Erica was wearing a deep red dress with a black rose headdress on her head, which also represents the [Copper Black Cross]'s red and black.
"That being said, I really don't know which king we should ask for help. The Gorgoneion is the symbol of Mother Earth. Though it means fighting with the most ancient goddesses, Marquis Voban would be eager to try it. So we can conclude that even if we can escape from the [Heretic Goddess], it won't be worth it if it attracts the Balkan's devil.
If that devil used his entire strength, two cities would easily be reduced to ashes.
That was because his 'power' was to break, lacerate, and crush almost all living things on Earth."
"There's another king we can ask."
At that time, when Erica thought it should be the right moment, she finally opened her mouth.
She thought it was the best opportunity to end this non-beneficial reunion.
"I heard that the United States' John Pluto Smith, who really cares about the safety of the citizens, is a hard king to have. Do you mean that we should cross the Pacific Ocean to ask him?"
The [Capital of Lilies]'s commander asked in a chattering tone.
As Erica was taking a sip of coffee, she responded with a light tone.
"No. That saint guardian of Los Angeles seems to be busy only with protecting the West Coast from the [King of Flies], so I doubt he should have any energy left to accept our request."
From the young ones' attitudes, they seemed to be more comfortable than the elders.
They weren't really underestimating the seriousness of the situation. Their haughty attitudes were from their self-confidence.
"Then you are talking about the Jiangnan's Leader Luo Hao? Or is it Cornwall's Black Prince? They are all commanding their own associations. Unless we join them, they won't help us, will they?"
"I am not talking about those two. And before you ask, it isn't Alexandria's Madame Aisha."
"Then there are none. [Kings] —— the ones who are also called Campione, there are only six in this world. We just named all of them."
The Eastern Europe's old Marquis and Southern China's martial artist, as well as the Mysterious Queen of Caves.
They were the most experienced kings, having lived over two centuries, and after that was the constantly expanding hero of the New World, as well as the wise king who controlled the British Empire, the Black Prince.
And in this century, there was also the strongest swordsman in Europe, who received the title of king.
And until now, they were all the people who were known by everyone who had the slightest inkling of the magic world.
But, in the end, there was also a king born on an island in the Pacific Ocean, and was not really known by anyone, besides a few exceptions —— for example, someone who had seen him fight with her own eyes.
Erica had a feeling of superiority, and said his name.
"No, there's still someone. Kusanagi Godou's name hasn't been mentioned yet. He is the new king, the seventh Campione, and the one I'm talking about. Since Lord Salvatore isn't here, the only one we can ask is him.
The commander of [Female Wolf] said it in a crooning voice.
"I've heard of this name recently, the one rumored to be the Japanese who became a Campione......but it's still unknown if it's a lie; we don't have any proof yet."
"I also read the Greenwich Parliament's report. You mean the one mentioned to have won against Verethragna, and seized his power of ten forms? ......It's indeed hard to believe."
Seeing those two elders having a negative attitude, Erica came back with a proud smile.
"Then everyone knows that report? Until now, Lord Salvatore has been absent so he can heal himself, and the one who gave him that injury is Kusanagi Godou. Indeed, on an evening half a month ago, the two kings fought against each other, and the result was a draw. Both of them were severely injured, but fortunately, Kusanagi Godou has already healed."
"......You mean that Kusanagi Godou managed to get a draw with Lord Salvatore?"
"Impossible! Lord holds four powers; even if Kusanagi Godou is really a Campione, he should only have a single power. That overwhelming advantage makes them simply incomparable!"
Erica looked at the elders with slight disdain in her eyes.
"What are you two talking about? They are all Campiones, and upgraded to kings. The differences between fighting strength on paper, what meaning does it have?"
Hearing these words, the two elders shut their mouths with an unhappy look in their faces. The one who opened his mouth was [Capital of Lilies]'s commander.
"I have a question for you, Erica Blandelli, how can you know that those two Campiones fought each other, something that even us and the parliament doesn't know?"
The young man called [The Purple Knight] asked.
That is the title given to [Capital of Lilies]'s [Great Knight] that has passed from generation to generation.
"The reason is quite simple, it's because I witnessed that fight. I have already seen Kusanagi Godou fight, and that's why I suggested him. Kusanagi Godou, one day, will surely become equal to Lord Salvatore and the devil Marquis Voban. To prepare ourselves for that day, I think we should build a deep relationship with him as soon as possible."
"Oh. To be regarded so highly by Erica-san, who is called the [Diavolo Rosso],[1B 7] he should be quite the amazing person. From your speech, I deduce that you have a very deep relationship with him, privately."
"Indeed, you can think of it like this. I, Erica Blandelli —— am that person's lover, and also his number one knight."
Erica said that without restraining herself and clearly declared her involvement with the other person.
And as a result, the group couldn't help but sigh.
"[Copper Black Cross] has already submitted themselves under Kusanagi Godou!"
[Female Wolf]'s commander exclaimed.
Having a [King] —— countries having a Campione are rare.
Since there were only seven of them in this world, that much was obvious.
But in Italy, there was a [King] called Salvatore Doni, and he was a young man who was a knight just a few years ago and had received the title of [King] after defeating the Celtic god Nuadha.[1B 8]
The Campiones focused on Europe as the center, and had great authority.
Whether it was people who had some connection with magic, or people influenced by them in the political and economic sectors, they had all pledged loyalty to the [Kings], and became their subjects.
They were supreme rulers and devils —— because they had unrivaled powers, a [King] could be a tyrant.
Facing that terrifying power, the number of people who worshiped and swore loyalty to them was high.
"[Copper Black Cross] is not under Kusanagi Godou. What I said was only that I, myself, became his lover, and that I take care of him...... of course, it is distinctly possible that we will pledge loyalty toward him in the future."
Facing Erica, who exposed her soft smile, the commander of [Old Dame] chuckled slightly with a snorting sound.
"So it was like this, I finally know the reason why you were sent here. Though you are a child prodigy who received the title of [Great Knight] at such an age, it is perhaps a bit soon that you are sitting at the same table as us. The only possibility —— is that you want to act as bait, and bring that young Campione here.
"I'll pretend that I didn't hear your statement, or your reputation would be damaged; probing that deeply into the relationship of two people who are in love. You'll be made fun of for that kind of action."
"Haha, that was great! As expected from a reliable fox."
The elders said these words with sarcasm.
The smiling Erica shrugged her shoulders lightly. With this debate becoming too noisy, maybe a quieter one would have been better.
"Anyways, you mean that if you are here, [Copper Black Cross] has hopes of receiving Kusanagi Godou's protection. And to gain the favor of someone like you, it means that Kusanagi Godou has proven himself —— that is why you proposed to borrow his strength, isn't it?"
"Yes, the most important thing is that Lord Salvatore is a lord only in name. He doesn't care about anything that is not related to him. So having a good connection with another Campione isn't bad."
"But I regret to say that we have never really seen the potential of Kusanagi Godou, and to see if he really is a Campione or not, I must judge it with my own eyes."
The [Purple Knight] coldly suggested that point to Erica.
"I am sure that the [Diavolo Rosso]'s testimony is more valuable than gold. But unfortunately, I cannot entrust my fate to him just because of that."
"Of course, I thought that everyone here would say that, so let me prove it."
"How do you plan on proving that?"
The [Purple Knight] finally asked back, as Erica expected.
Believing that her plan was working as expected, a clear smile emerged on Erica's face, as fresh and beautiful as a red rose, and everyone else in the room sighed.
"Kusanagi Godou has already arrived in Rome. Tonight, everyone, please watch that man's fighting skills through your own eyes. I believe that this approach would be much more convincing than thousands of words from my mouth."
"Although you said something about fighting, who would be the opponent? Finding someone who could be a Campione's opponent isn't easy."
"The chosen one is already in front of your eyes."
Erica showed a pleased smile on her face, a gorgeous smile like the one Godou was thinking about yesterday.
"Let me, Erica Blandelli, be his opponent. Or do you, [Purple Knight], think that I, the [Copper Black Cross]' [Great Knight], who is called the [Diavolo Rosso], am not worthy to be his opponent?"
"No...... it's not like that. Indeed, you are the most appropriate person."
The [Purple Knight]'s face showed a forced smile, and his gloomy expression was finally gone.
"What do the elders think? To be able to witness the [King]'s fight, there isn't a better proof. If Kusanagi Godou's strength is real, I approve of Erica-san's suggestion."
The [Purple Knight] suggested to make the elders approve.
"A battle between the mysterious young Campione and the [Diavolo Rosso] —— this is indeed interesting, Erica-san. We will go according to your plan then."
Of course, Kusanagi Godou had no idea of that. He was in a place completely unrelated to the one where the fight was being discussed.
Compared to that, he was far more occupied in shaking off death's shadow.
In those past three months, Godou experienced different kinds of dangers.
Even though it was clearly the 21st century, his life was almost taken numerous times by blades, spears, and axes. It couldn't even be counted by the fingers of a single hand. And there was even that time when he was sniped by a bolt from a crossbow.
But at least it was in the realms of human knowledge, so it was relatively easy.
He also experienced curses which would boil an ordinary human brain in a flash, or even trample the target to death by horses from the depths of hell.
But, while he should be enjoying a tour in the car of his guide, why would he experience the same things found within the driving scenes of an action movie, with the car just barely short of crashing off-road, or into a building, or down a river. It was completely beyond his expectations.
"......Could it be that Erica knows it, and specially arranged it like that."
Godou started to guess.
He thought of her characteristics, and the nickname of [Devil] which came along with her.
Yes, Arianna-san's driving skills were seriously frightening.
Could it be that Erica knew that it would be like that, so she specially gave this task to her?
"I'm sorry, I don't know how to drive very well......"
"This is the first time that I drove this kind of car, and there were also many problems when I came here......"
When Anna said that while they were walking to where the car was parked at, Godou wasn't really bothered by it.
He thought that it was just a display of modesty or such.
From the sensitivity of a Japanese, this was pretty normal.
So Godou didn't really take her words to heart, and ended up in that car.
"That car is really weird. Besides the accelerator and the brakes, there's also another pedal."
"But it's fine, I have already remembered the driving method with which I came here. Since, if the accelerator isn't stepped on with strength, the car won't work, I'll drive a little faster in a moment."
When Anna said that, Godou started to feel a bit unwell, but it was already too late.
She was already sitting on the driver's seat, and attached the safety belt.
——In less than a second, the car started and accelerated.
The car Anna drove charged into the street like a missile.
"I didn't think that, I would have a near-death experience in that kind of place......"
This was a cafe which provided food and coffee, something that could be seen everywhere in this city.
Godou just came out from the car which had lost control, and was sitting on a vine chair in front of some random cafe, tasting the particularly bitter espresso, while Anna was trying to find a place to park.
...Ten minutes before.
Anna-san was trying to use a clutch which she wasn't used to, while the car flew through the city's streets.
She said that if the accelerator wasn't pushed with strength, the car wouldn't work, so she started rolling at 80km/h with the Mercedes-Benz, and was zigzagging in between the cars before her (s-sometimes, they were cars heading in the opposite direction), until it became impossible to turn as we arrived on a congested road. As we headed into a river, Anna pressed an emergency brake, and it ended up like that.
"......Anna-san, please park the car in a nearby parking spot first; I want to rest a bit near here."
Godou said that with a tone that brooked no questions.
Leaving his own life in the hands of a rookie driver who cannot tell the difference between a manual and an automatic car was far too dangerous. What made it even scarier was the fact that the driver herself had no idea of the very thin line separating her from death.
"Eh? I thought that I should first have Godou-san visit Rome——"
"It's OK, I am already tired! I want to rest a bit!"
That was what happened.
Godou, after watching the car accelerate and move farther, entered a café and said to the Roman auntie there that he wanted an espresso.
"......Anna-san, though she looks normal from her looks, is actually someone really stupid? Just then, I almost died."
At the beginning, Godou didn't care a lot about fortune.
But through these recent times, he started to change his mind.
He thought that he was someone who is, perhaps, really unlucky......
He never thought of himself as unlucky before. But in these past six months, the number of times he escaped death kept increasing, and he couldn't help but begin to understand those who believed in fortune.
After drinking that espresso, he felt a deeply hostile feeling.
As Godou put the glass back on the table, his eyes met with a young girl in the crowd.
The two of them looked at each other.
That young girl wasn't an ordinary human, and the sensation just then made him feel really bad.
Even though his body was tired from the jet lag, which left him fatigued yet relaxed, he had recovered his senses in an instant, while jitters filled him from his body to the extremity of his fingers.
When he came in contact with an enemy like her, his body naturally entered into fighting mode.
The young girl also stopped walking, and examined Godou's face; could she also see Godou as an enemy?
She was a really beautiful girl.
She was around thirteen or fourteen, and at her age, she looks like a charming and delicate little angel.
But that wasn't surprising. They were all not only beautiful, but possessed extraordinary bodies. Every one of them stood out.
"......I heard that there is a godslayer who calls himself a knight, and that man has cut many things with his magic sword......is that man you?"
Before he knew it——
The young girl of a different existence had already come near him.
She had silver hair that fell on her shoulder like a moon emitting slight rays of light, and pupils as black as the deep night.
"No, the man you are talking about is injured, and has gone to the southern islands to heal himself, using the excuse of going on a vacation."
The one who injured him was Godou. However, he didn't plan on showing that one off.
"......is that so? Then you too, are a traveler."
As if her night-colored black pupils condensed, she quietly stared at Godou.
"What are you planning to do? Now, my only objective is to retrieve the [Snake], so I don't have any intention to fight. However, if you do plan on fighting, then I'll put all my efforts, and the one who loses will become the other one's servant."
"I don't know what is the [Snake], so I don't plan on fighting either. If it's possible, I wish to maintain our relationship, I don't feel like fighting you guys."
"I understand. I'll leave quickly, but godslayer, you are lying."
"Indeed, there isn't a godslayer who doesn't hold any interest in fighting me, so you're a liar."
After saying those words, the silver-haired girl left Godou.
Fuu, sighed Godou.
Luckily, it didn't end up in a fight. But even if she was a god, to call someone a liar whenever she wished was really rude.
As he was thinking that, a black-haired girl rushed to his side.
"I'm sorry, Godou-san, letting you wait so long."
That person was Anna. As she walked towards the table, Godou asked her.
"Can I borrow your cellphone? I need to contact Erica."
"It's fine, but maybe the meeting hasn't finished yet?"
After saying that, Anna lent her cellphone to Godou.
"Arianna, what is it?"
After calling her numerous times, the other side finally took the phone. It was Erica's voice, which he hasn’t heard since yesterday.
"It's me. I need to ask you something."
"So you have arrived, how is it? Do you get along with Arianna?"
"Concerning that, I have many things to complain about, but let's talk about this later. Is it because I need to fight a god that you called me here?"
"About that, I'm still not sure, though the possibility is high......is it possible that you encountered one?"
"Indeed, just now, there was a goddess."
"Is that so......then we need to move quickly. Let's meet up now. We need to prepare ourselves for the fight tonight——"
"......What did you say?"
Godou just heard some words that he couldn't ignore, and asked again.
"I said that, tonight, you will fight me......I think you know even without me telling you that it cannot be cancelled, so prepare yourself."
"What are the reasons that made you take that decision......"
Fate was like rolling dice; there was always something new happening (even if he didn't want that). Just then, Godou finally felt that his own fate wasn't normal.
The time is past 9:00 PM——
Godou arrived with Anna in a high-class Italian restaurant.
Maybe this was also quite famous in Japan, but Godou didn't know about it.
When Anna took him to this hotel, all that was in Godou's mind was a 'this place is really impressive' sort of feeling.
What was most important, however, was the girl waiting there.
He thought that he couldn't enter without a proper suit and a proper tie, but that seemed to be all extra; maybe there was a close relationship between the owner and Erica.
When the two of them arrived there, Erica was already waiting for them.
"Godou, long time no see, though I really hope that I can hear you say some wonderful words for our joyful reunion, I won't expect too much, since I know perfectly well that you don't have the talent of a poet."
"If you can change that attitude of yours that says everything goes according to your plan, maybe I'll think about it."
Erica's and Godou's table was close to the window, with Anna standing respectfully beside them.
Compared to Godou, who arrived in casual clothes, Erica was wearing a bright dark red dress; the two of them seemed to not match each other.
In Erica's hair was an ornamental black rose.
Maybe it was because of her beautiful and regal appearance, but her blonde hair looked like a knight's helmet or a ruler's crown.
Erica Blandelli could even make someone as obtuse as Godou see her as a beautiful girl with overflowing charisma; so if only her attitude was better, she would be perfect. That was what he normally thought.
"Arianna, thank you for your hard work. Has there been a slight problem?"
"There was one, Erica-sama......I felt bad that Godou-san said that he was tired, and I couldn't bring him to visit the streets of Rome."
Godou could only pretend that he didn't hear what Arianna said.
Even if he claimed there was a bit of strength remaining, it would have been sucked out by that flying car that brought him to the brink of death, so there wouldn't be any meaning to it.
"Then that's great. Godou, did Arianna assume the responsibilities of a guide well? Since I was busy and didn't have time to welcome you, I was a bit worried."
"Hn, how can I say it......it wasn't bad."
Godou didn't see what leaked from Erica's eyes, the gleam of a child pulling a prank.
The reason she sent Anna was indeed to give him a headache.
"Is it? It's great that you haven't been disappointed, since Godou will one day become my husband, and is a genuine Campione——"
"......Eh? Erica-sama, what did you just say?"
"I said that Godou will become my husband, and is a genuine devil."
Anna's delicate and pretty smile seems to have frozen for a moment.
Since he felt guilty for hiding that from her, Godou needed to ask Erica to correct part of what she said.
"Hey! Wait a moment! We have never arranged marriage between us!"
"......You have already taken my chastity, so you mean that you were simply toying with me? How heartless of you, I gave my body and my heart to my lover, who seems to be like that playboy in Don Juan——"
Erica deliberately chose the tone of a tragic girl.
Even though he didn't see the smile her mouth let out, he could clearly see that she was making fun of him.
"Please......it was clearly not like what you said, you knew that situation at that time, didn't you?"
"So you would actually invent a lie like this. Ah～～I, a faithful servant to the Lord, can only enter a convent now to clean my body and my mind; I didn't think that at such an age, I will have to move away from the red secular......"
"Is there any sincerity in you? You, who is technically in a heretical cult, and the witch of a religious order, don't talk like you're with something as pure as Catholicism!"
While Godou complained to Erica, pretending to be angry, he quickly glanced towards Anna.
......She seemed to have seen a demon king sexually assault someone, and was now looking at me with angry, frightening eyes.
"How mean, saying that you were only a normal high school student......I didn't think that you were such a demon who believed 'look, humans are like trash'......and that you would use cheesy lines to deceive Erica-sama, and ravage her mercilessly......it is really disgusting!"
"Please don't randomly think of a plot like that, does she look like someone who would be deceived by cheesy lines? Erica, you too, stop babbling nonsense; it's rude to invite someone just so you can tease him."
"Not everything is nonsense, but anyways, our relationship could be properly discussed later. Let's talk about the fight first."
So finally they enter the real subject.
Were the dishes sent to this table also made in preparation for the fight? Erica's drink wasn't something like grape wine, but merely mineral water.
"So? Why do I have to fight you?"
"So that you can prove your strength. There are knights who have inherited ancient magic gathering in Rome right now, discussing over who will keep the Gorgoneion. I suggested you, but the three others would only accept if you prove your strength. That's the story."
"......What is the Gorgoneion?"
"It is a mythological relic which appeared two months ago, on the coast of the Calabria. The Gorgoneion is the symbol of a goddess, lost long ago on Mother Earth. It is the road sign to darkness. Since there isn't much time left, I'll explain quickly——"
"There's no need, you don't need to say that to me. If it concerns gods, then I don't want to know."
Godou stopped her in the middle of her sentence just as Erica was about to start her explanation.
For some reason, Godou wanted to know the least possible about mythology; seeing Godou's attitude, Erica laughed at his stubbornness.
"But you have already met the girl, the one who was probably a [Heretic God], didn't you? I believe that you two are fated to fight each other, sooner or later. I can bet with you that at that time, you'll certainly ask me to tell you about her."
"Please don't say these unlucky things; let's talk about something else, why do I need to fight to prove my strength? Isn't there another way?"
"There isn't any other way. To us knights, a duel is the most important proof. To fight after endless training in martial arts, to show the courage of a lion, and finally receive the honor of victory —— a fight between two people who love each other so much, don't you think that it might become a wonderful night?"
"Who would think like that! I should say that this night would be a nightmare."
"You're really not honest with yourself. Ah～～is it because there are people nearby that you feel shy?"
Erica pointed towards Anna with her head, who was silent and didn't dare interrupt the conversation of her mistress.
"Don't worry. After the battle, I won't let anyone bother us. We'll leave that for the end so we can slowly enjoy it."
Godou felt that his misfortune was brought on entirely by Erica.