Several seconds later, the water tentacle broke through Shouta-kun's barrier. His whole body became soaking wet and he was breathing heavily, but besides that, he was just fine. He managed to successfully defend against it. In terms of defensive power, he's already exceeded the limits of any of humanity's current weapons.
By the way, Shouta-kun. What's with the whole "shouting out the name of the technique" thing? Is it really that much fun? I want you to tell this ojisan your reasoning behind it later!
"I just tried it out, and it seems that it's impossible to beat it by manipulating space-time. This is quite a troublesome opponent."
Kaburagi-san, who had caught up with Touka-chan and Shouta-kun, said this regretfully as she glared at the Super Water-Ball. Psst, Kaburagi-san. I know that you want to make it seem like your doing your job properly by telling them you "tried to beat it by manipulating space-time", but does that include using it to go around sightseeing and entrusting the frontline to those two?
"Let's cut it down little by little. I'll act as support. You two devote yourselves to attacking ⸻"
"Sorry to interrupt, Kaburagi-san, but just now, I overloaded Ice-steroid. It hurts a lot actually. I think I can go to absolute zero only once more, anything more than that is impossible."
Shouta-kun interrupts Kaburagi-san's speech, causing her mouth to distort. She faces away from the two of them, and aims an accusatory look towards the empty space.
I'm, I'm sorry. I overdid it. I unconsciously thought he could defend against something of this level. Also, I think I went mad for a moment there. I'm usually a lot more careful. Both of them were supposed to have superpowers that can withstand being used for an extended period of time, which meant that we wouldn't have to deal with them running out of power mid-battle, but that plan's gone up in a puff of smoke. So a short battle it is then.
Kaburagi-san let out a sigh.
"Correction – this will be a short and decisive battle. Since I'll be using my power to instantaneously increase Touka-chan's firepower so she can blow it away, Shouta-kun, you'll be on defense and support."
"I've got your back, Touka."
"What about me?"
"Ah, I've got yours too, Kaburagi-san."
Kaburagi-san laughed a little at Shouta-kun, who was hanging his head in shame and scratching it in embarrassment, and Touka-chan, who's face had gone slightly red, then tightened her facial expression and started to move. The Super Water-Ball, which had read the mood and refrained from attacking, instead pretending to recover from part of its body being sliced off by sucking up more seawater, also started to move. The battle resumes.
As soon as the battle resumed, dozens of flaming javelins rained down on the Super Water-Ball like missiles. It absorbed all of them. The flaming javelins, engulfed in a massive amount of water, caused the Super Water-Ball to suddenly increase in volume by 1700 times due to evaporation. This triggered an explosion that eliminated more water than simply evaporating it with a flame would. It's a steam explosion. Touka-chan started in Kaburagi-san's stopped time and followed these steps; produce flaming javelins→shoot them→stop time→create more javelins… in this psuedo-loop, a lot of flaming javelins can be prepared and fired at the same time. Even if one shot is weak, if you shoot a large quantity at once, the power will be dramatically improved due to a synergistic effect. All the same, the fact that a time-stop ESP'er easily reproduced this technique, is it the result of slowly and steadily doing repetitive training over many years?
The steam explosion attacks continued over and over again. The rising water vapor and hot air are amazing. Shouta-kun's ice starts melting in the aftermath, so he has his hands full repairing the cracked ice. If the ice disappears, then, *splash*, the two girls will fall into the sea. Shouta-kun's repairs are a lifeline, plain and simple.
Letting them have their way like this is fine for a little while, but I'm not done yet. A news helicopter, which sensed the disturbance, is recklessly (or boldly) approaching and has entered video range. Let's do a counterattack strike.
I raise up the Super Water-Ball, which is now half its original size, so it's floating several meters in the air. I then spread it out horizontally over the surface of the ocean so it looks like a huge board. Touka-chan, not understanding what's going on, stops her attack. "Ah, I understand, it's attack pattern F," said Kaburagi-san with a convincing expression. Still, it was Shouta-kun who understood and reacted quickly. He impatiently cried out.
"Kaburagi-san, Touka, retreat! It's going to fall right on top of us!"
Exactly as stated, I launched a large distribution attack with a large amount of seawater to suppress the surface. Due to continuously using her time-stop, Kaburagi-san's Stoprotein is exhausted, and she already can't use it for the full 44 seconds. It'll be 20 seconds at most. It's impossible for her to evacuate all three people outside the range of the attack in 20 seconds. If avoiding it is impossible, there is no choice but to defend against it. Now, once again, Shouta-kun. Now is the time for the impossible!
"Eternal Guard Blizzard!"
As soon as Kaburagi-san and Touka-chan "teleport" themselves to him, Shouta-kun forms a white dome and covers them all with it. A huge mass of water falls on top of the dome and tries to destroy it, but the dome stands firm. A spherical ice block floating on the rough sea is torn open by a flaming sword, and three people come out safely. Touka-chan is lending a shoulder to Shouta-kun, who's breathing quite heavily.
Then, from behind them, tentacles appear to mow them down. Kaburagi-san manages to dodge, but the other two were hit and flew five, six meters. *Gehahahaha!* You let your guard down, Shouta-kun! Or he's simply too exhausted to react. The large distribution attack and previous damage caused the Super Water-Ball to shrink down to the 5m class, so the tentacles are also of suitable size to hit them without killing them instantly.
Thanks to practising thoroughly with medical models, I'm able to perfectly judge how much strength I should use. As intended, Shouta-kun shattered his right shoulder bone, and Touka-chan shattered three ribs. People may say that light bone fractures are only at the level of being serious, but not deadly. However, breaking your bones while in the middle of a desperate battle can prove to be deadly. Both of them are groaning in agony and unashamedly screaming their lungs out. They're no longer able to fight.
Regardless of your willingness to fight, pain causes your body to move at its own convenience. Even if inside your mind you're calm and wanting to stand up and face the enemy, if your body is in pain, it won't listen. Instead, it'll instinctively react and defend itself by curling up into a ball. In order to be able to move even in severe pain, it's necessary to undergo intense and repetitive training that allows you to get used to it.
But severe pain is intense no matter how often you experience it. That doesn't go away. Rather, the training allows you to become able to move even while experiencing pain⸺ building up your so-called pain tolerance. I learned this when I was ripping off hundreds of strips of Nenrikin for my experiments. But the two of them have never undergone any such training. Shouta-kun experienced severe pain once before, but that's not enough to build up any sort of real pain tolerance.
With the two main combatants down, Kaburagi-san, who has no direct means of attack, is stuck. However, Ig, who has had yet to play an active role, now has a turn to participate. When Ig heard their screams, she suddenly appeared from her hiding spot in Touka-chan's chest and healed their wounds with a warm, white, healing light that emanated from her small, hairy hands. Ig developed a habit of healing as a conditional reflex upon hearing anguished screams partly due to hearing my fake, over-exaggerated screams over minor injuries and then healing them.
Touka-chan tightly hugged Ig, who chittered happily. The heartwarming scene featuring a small animal and a young girl was almost interrupted by a merciless attack from a water tentacle, but Shouta-kun protected them by making an ice shield from seawater.
"Oops, that was close. Kaburagi-san!"
"Hmm, it shouldn't be much longer before it's reached its limits."
Kaburagi-san ran up to the shrinking Super Water-Ball and looked up at the news helicopter, which was hovering a short distance away. Everyone is already very tired, and if this goes on for much longer, the helicopter may get involved.
"It'll be difficult for me. This is the first time I have used such a large amount of firepower continuously. Kaburagi-san, I can probably only pull off our joint maneuver one more time before I hit my limit."
"I understand. Well then, one way or another, let's bring it down. In three, two, one…!"
At Kaburagi-san's signal, Touka-chan mustered the last of her strength and fired a total of five flaming javelins at the Super Water-Ball. The Super Water-Ball received the attack head-on. But, it wasn't enough! Because of a lack of strength in the attack, a 3m sized Super Water-Ball remained. I'm not doing this just to be mean, I swear. It genuinely was an insufficient amount of firepower to bring it down.
Kaburagi-san turns to face the empty air and makes a "Can't you read the mood? Just go down already!" expression, but I won't go easy on them. I'll go down once I've been thoroughly defeated. Look, Touka-chan has fallen to her knees and is letting out a moan of utter despair. They truly used up all their strength. If that didn't allow them to win, then nothing will.
But Shouta-kun hasn't given up yet. Overloading Ice-steroid caused it to become fatigued, and he's no longer able to go all the way to absolute zero. He's also physically and mentally exhausted from getting serious wounds and then having them suddenly be healed. However, a hero can easily overcome things like that. Shouta-kun responded to my expectations. While protecting the backs of Kaburagi-san and Touka-chan, Shouta-kun stood imposingly; ice shield in one hand, a spear in another.
The Super Water-Ball's tentacles target the shield. It's partially destroyed in one blow, and Shouta-kun unhesitatingly tosses it away. With a loud yell full of fighting spirit, Shouta-kun grabs his spear with both hands and charges at the Super Water-Ball. It's a lance charge.In desperation, the Super Water-Ball fires ice-cold water bullets, but Shouta-kun remains calm and easily sees through it, so he's able to dodge them with a minimal amount of movement. He then passionately makes a violent leap.
It's all or nothing. Shouta-kun throws his whole body into his strike, and manages to pierce the Super Water-Ball. His aim is accurate, and the tip of his lance stikes the lead core, and gradually sinks in deeper…
And deeper… and stops!
Seems like there's not enough strength in Shouta-kun's lance charge to destroy the core ! I held my head again and sighed. *Ha~!* I can't believe it, reality truly is a piece of shit! He struck that blow when he was already well past his limit! A miracle occurred! It's not steel or titanium. It's easily crushed lead! Read the mood and stop screwing around already, will you!?
Fine, if the gods won't give us a miracle, I'll just do it myself! I make a miracle happen! Ok, it's decided then!
I used my psychokinesis to make a crack in the lead core, then smashed it. The floating mass of water, along with the remains of the core, fell into the ocean via a crack in the ice. Shouta-kun confirmed that the remnants of the care didn't float back up to the surface, then immediately lost all his strength. Everyone worked very hard. I decided to quickly and flashily settle the catastrophe of the Super-Super Water-Ball off the coast of Ireland as well.
From Shouta-kun's point of view, it must seem like he used some sort of special certain kill technique; just when it seemed like his attack wouldn't reach and all hope was lost, it collapsed a second later, as if it was toying with him. I wasn't trying to toy with him, I was just debating about whether to collapse or continue here. It's a common moment when you defeat a boss in anime or games, but I realized that it became part of the production like that. That is to say, "I'm not really dead yet, I don't know why, well, I was doing my best, so why did I lose?!" or something like that may be happening behind the scenes. The villain is also having a hard time, you know?
As a reward for the two who were unbelievably tired due to using up all of their vitality during the battle, Kaburagi-san took a waterproofed washi shaped like a whale from her chest and tore it, making a translucent whale appear. They both were a little surprised, but then immediately guessed what was going on, so they closed their eyes and entrusted themselves to it. And so, three people of unknown identity who seemed to be ESP'ers, in direct view of the news helicopter, were swallowed by a black whale and disappeared into the sea. It was a tiring day.
Thus concluded the World Graduation Exam.
*End of Arc 1 (After)*
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