“That’s not going to work!”

Naturally, Valentina simply took an evasive maneuver.
However, the missile was timed and it detonated itself just before it reached the [Ortho Kratzer], creating a huge fireball in front of Valentina.
At the same time, Kisei throws away the grenade launcher and accelerates at full speed.

“Trying to blind me? But when you abandoned your only means of long-range attack, the victory is already mine!”

Valentina fired another shot of blaster beam and flew backward with a grin on her face.
Even if she loses sight of the [Gradius-kai] for a moment, that is no problem to her.
As long as she can maintain the distance, the victory will be hers eventually.

“GUh…….only 10 percent of the propellant’s left! Can we really win this!?”

“Of course!”

Kisei deflected the beam toward the [Ortho Kratzer] and Valentina easily avoided it.

“That’s a scary technique but if you know it’s coming then there’s a lot of ways to avoid it!”

Further deepening her smile, Valentina pressed the button on her control stick.

“Besides! Even if you can deflect a few blaster beams, there’s no way you can deflect all these!”

The container-shaped object mounted on the back of the [Ortho Kratzer] split opened and a large number of micro-missiles were launched from the inside.
The hornet-like missiles all rush toward the [Gradius-kai] at the same time.

“It’s just Proximity Fuze, just sit back and accept your defeat!”

These micro-missiles only contain a small amount of explosive charge.
If they don’t land a direct hit, the cockpit should be relatively safe.
That being said, Kisei is not planning to give up.

“She came up with a countermeasure for me after a single battle huh….!”

Kisei mutters so as his mouth curves into a smile.
If he can not block them with the photon saber, then he just has to avoid them all.
Kisei accelerated at full speed……toward the horde of missiles!



The two princesses screamed in surprise.
However, Kisei smiled and accelerated even further.

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The distance between him and the missiles was closed in an instant.
As a result, the missiles couldn’t fully accelerate.
When Kisei advanced his striker past them, most of the missiles could no longer track him and were left behind by the [Gradius-kai].
These missiles were designed to make sharp turns for tracking purposes but they are still small-sized missiles.
All of their propellants would be exhausted if they had to perform such a U-turn.

“You are good! But—–!”

But it is still unavoidable for Kisei to take some hits.
With the proximity fuzes detonation, several small explosions broke out around the [Gradius-kai].

“It’s my win.”

Convinced of her victory when she saw the [Gradius-kai] emerging from the explosion, Valentina raised her voice.
The [Gradius-kai] was in tatter with Its head and several parts of its body completely blown away.
It is no longer fit for battle.


In the cockpit of the [Gradius-kai], Kisei pulled the trigger with a satisfying smile.

“It’s my win.”


Before Valentina could finish her sentence, a shock shook the [Ortho Kratzer].

“Ugh….what!? Damn it!”

After enduring the intense tremor inside her cockpit, Valentina looks at the console monitor, her earlier confidence disappeared from her expression.
What was displayed on the monitor was the damage report screen of her striker dyed in bright red and a single merciless sentence.
[Complete lower body loss].


As far as she knows, the [Gradius-kai] did nothing.
She looked around to see if any other striker had ambushed her but there was no one around at all.
Instead, Valentina spotted something floating in the empty space.

“The grenade launcher!?”

Yes, it was the anti-ship grenade launcher that Kisei threw away.

“He activated it remotely!? That’s impossible.”

Anti-ship grenade launcher’s ammunition indeed possesses a guiding system.
However, since it was designed to hit a large target like warships, the guidance system installed was only a simple one.
Hitting a small target like a striker with it is extremely difficult.
Moreover, since it was fired remotely from the striker, precise aiming with it should be impossible.

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“You guided me to its range using your striker as a decoy……”


Valentina weakly let out a sigh at Kisei who casually replied to her.
She then let go of the control sticks.

“It’s my complete defeat.”

The [Ortho Kratzer] has lost everything from its waist down, and its main engine was shut down in an emergency.
It can no longer continue the battle in this state.

“Your mistake was when you stopped moving when the battle was still not decided yet.
If you moved earlier……I might have accidentally got the cockpit within the explosion range too.”

Thanks to the image guidance system, it was possible for Kisei to manually guide the missile to some extent.
That being said, he will not be able to aim that well against a moving target.

“I see.
It seems that I am still green huh.”

Valentina said with a self-deprecating smile.

“But your tactics and the decision you made were all superb.”

Saying so, Kisei exhales.
It was a close call for him as well.
However, his expression still looks happy for some reason.

“The next time we meet, I’m sure that you will bring along an even tougher partner.
I’m going to look forward to that.”

Instead of sounding ironic, his tone was genuine.
Hearing that, a bitter smile leaked from Valentina.

“Well then, my fuel is almost gone as well, it’s about time I take my leave.”

Saying so, Kisei cut off the communication and flew away in his tattered striker.

“……the wicked start that once you laid eyes on it in the battle, you will definitely fall, huh.”

Being left alone in her cockpit, Valentina’s eyes fixed toward the direction where Kisei just left.

“I see.
Certainly……….it seems that I did fall.”

As she whispered to herself, her cheeks were dyed bright red.

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