Episode 5: Kirahagane

The newly appeared enemy devastated the central towers of Azuchi Castle with a single blow, and the blast sent Nobunaga and his vassals flying.
There was little doubt that if the enemy were to succeed in this brazen attempt to steal Kirahagane and immediately leave the scene, it would go on to destroy all of Musha World.
They must not let it escape.
Nobunaga rose unsteadily to his feet, drawing the attention of the enemy who now turned to face him.
A second later, a merciless blow descended upon Nobunaga.
It was then that they heard a voice.
A familiar voice.
From that point, Nobunaga lost consciousness.

Rule by the righteous...
The use of samurai might to bring order to the world. Even after the war with Qiongqi, a time when many comrades fought with their hearts as one, that objective had not disappeared.
Nobunaga's commitment to righteous rule began at a time when he was still widely considered a fool—a reckless eccentric.
During this period, when his days were consumed with violence alone, Nobunaga was betrayed by a companion and trapped in a mountain fortress, pushed to the brink of death. At the very moment when all hope seemed lost, a certain figure appeared from nowhere and rescued him.
It was only later that Nobunaga learned it had been Musha Gundam, a warrior who, despite only a slight gap in age, had already established himself as a legend among the people of Musha World. After witnessing his indomitable might, Nobunaga felt an immense fire burning within him.
From that day, he had devoted himself to the way of the sword, while also gathering the knowledge and cultivation needed to govern nations.
"Why would I remember that now?"
Trapped in a state between dreams and reality, Nobunaga had a realization.
That must be it. When the Samurai Mist he had fought in Azuchi castle assumed the form of Musha Gundam, the transformation had been directed at him.
Even knowing it was an illusion, the mere sight of the form had fed the embers within Nobunaga's soul.
It was then that the seemingly sleeping Kirahagane had released its glow, as if responding to Nobunaga's emotions.
The enemy knew. They understood how to revive Kirahagane.
"I was used."

As time passed, Nobunaga regained consciousness. He was in the mountain forests near Azuchi Castle. In addition to himself, scores of wounded warriors were lying all around him. Sasuke and Saizo were among them. But when Nobunaga saw who was delivering first aid to the wounded, he could not help but doubt his eyes.
"You're...Musha Gundam...!"
Nobunaga had been rescued by Musha Gundam the 78th, along with his sworn ally Onmitsu Gundam Aerial.
It was beyond question. He had been reunited with the real Musha Gundam.
And now he owed this great warrior his life, not just once but twice.
Nobunaga could feel his heart stir as he attempted to express his gratitude.
"I see. So that's what happened?"
Nobunaga fell on his face, reopening his wounds in the process.
According to Onmitsu, 78 had a rather carefree personality and his motto was "Let your memories fade with each new sunrise." What the heck was that supposed to mean?
Could he really be the all-powerful Musha Gundam?
The gap between expectations and reality was enough to reopen another wound.
No, it was worse. Upon further inspection, he noticed his wounds had been closed with mere duct tape. Forget carefree, 78 was downright negligent.
In the first place, why had he completely refrained from showing himself during the battle with Qiongqi?
"Well... I intended to go after I got a good night's sleep, but when I woke up, it was all over."
78's easygoing words sent Nobunaga's head spinning.
Was he really, truly, the legendary hero of Musha World?
But then, he must be.
After all, he had saved not only Nobunaga, but everyone who had been present at the crumbled Azuchi Castle. Even in the vastness of Musha World, there were few who could accomplish such a thing.
Furthermore, as he watched the incredible nimbleness with which Onmitsu reapplied duct tape to his wounds, Nobunaga recognized him too as a veteran of considerable skill.
The whole thing was hard to swallow, but for now, he had to return to the battlefield. As Nobunaga attempted to leave the scene with his wounds still fresh, 78 spoke up.
"Impatience hinders all endeavors. You must proceed one step at a time."
"Proceed? For I, the warlord Nobunaga, there are no paths left untraveled."

When Nobunaga returned, Azuchi Castle was virtually unrecognizable.
Meanwhile, a new enemy floated in midair.
He knew instantly that this must be the mastermind of the Samurai Mist's repeated attacks.
"Who goes there?"
The enemy replied to Nobunaga's question.
The Kirahagane armor, which now clad the enemy's body, glowed with an ominous light.
"Demon Lord? Is the power of Kirahagane explained as magic on Musha World?"
Demon Lord Mist... Within that name, Nobunaga sensed a sinister lust for destruction, genocide and conquest.
He must stop this thing from acting now.
Bursting into the air, Nobunaga slashed at the Demon Lord Mist. However, it evaded or repelled his long sword again and again. Even a fateful.
Tenkamuso tekkoho blast failed to leave a scratch.
The next moment, a single invisible blow descended and smashed Nobunaga to the ground.
I must stand...!
But his body had taken too much damage, and his arms and legs no longer obeyed his commands.
Nobunaga had flattered himself as the ultimate warlord, but in the end, he was no more than a tool used to activate the power of Kirahagane. Had he caught on to the enemy's plans, they were likely impossible to discern.
Just as the final blow from the Demon Lord Mist swept down toward Nobunaga's head...

"Hey, Old Man Nobunaga! How long you gonna lie there?"
Wukong launched into an assault on the Demon Lord Mist, one so swift it could barely be seen!
The thunderous blows shook the enemy's hands and a slight shift in the angle of its attack left enough room for Nobunaga to dodge.
Watching Wukong glide through the air, Nobunaga could hardly believe his eyes.
The former had never fought like this before.
His magic staff tore through the earth's crust, stirring up flying debris which he used as a mid-air foothold to land non-stop blows. When he reached the ground, he would instantly slam his staff down and rise again.
Nobunaga had thought of Wukong as a mere child. The evolution of his powers was astonishing.
Yes... Wukong was evolving. He was stronger than yesterday, or even several hours earlier...!
Nobunaga felt ashamed of his judgments to that point.
"I suppose I still...have a long way to go."
There was no weakness in those words.
On the contrary, he felt joy at finding a new path to pursue.
Just at that moment, the Demon Lord Mist screamed in anguish.
Its body quivered, as if struggling, and the Kirahagane armor it wore shot off with the speed of a cannonball.
Now sporting talons, the Kirahagane had affixed itself to Nobunaga!
Its brilliant glow was more beautiful than ever.

Onmitsu stared up at the sky as the 78th Musha Gundam lay resting beside him.
"Are you sure we shouldn't go, 78?"
"Yes. They will be fine now.
The armor worn by 78 and Onmitsu let off a brilliant glow, as if responding to something.
Observing this, 78 spoke.
"Kirahagane... a secret treasure passed down on Musha World since ancient times. They say it glowed like a rainbow when it saved the world from the age of war."

Having lost Kirahagane, the Demon Lord Mist wriggled and magnified its body to a massive size.
More precisely, the countless Samurai Mist entities that made up its body had drawn together and melded as one.
"Don't think getting bigger will save you!"
"Wait, kid."
"Don't worry! I can handle this..."
But Nobunaga held Wukong back as he spoke.
To prevent further destruction, they had to finish off the enemy with their next blow...
"We must maximize our powers. Your skill and my strength."
"Skill...and strength..."
Wukong's eyes stared back at Nobunaga.
The now giant Demon Lord Mist swung its fist in their direction.
As Nobunaga transformed into his aircraft form, Wukong immediately jumped atop him.
They evaded the blow and soared into the sky, banking sharply.
"Let's go, Wukong!"
"You got it, Old Man!"
Assuming the form of The Great Sage, Heaven's Equal, Wukong and his magic staff were enveloped by the glow from Nobunaga's Kirahagane.
With time, the light solidified into a single spear.

Watching from the forest, Sasuke whispered.
"Nobunaga is fighting like that...?!"
To battle by making maximum use of one's allies... it was the first time he had seen Nobunaga do such a thing.

Nobunaga felt his passion surge as the spear pierced the body of the Demon Lord Mist. The path of the warlord goes on!

Thus, the battle with the Demon Lord Mist came to an end.
After returning Wukong to Kingdom World and delivering his report to Zhuge Liang and the others, Nobunaga mounted his warhorse.
However, he noticed a tree branch swaying off to the side.
Sasuke must have lost patience and followed me here.
Well, I'll forgive him on this occasion.
The world is vast and the path he pursued stretched out before him.
With one step, he would surely be off on another endless journey.
To proceed or not to proceed.
"The choice is clear."
With his heart alight, Nobunaga spurred his horse onward.

(The End)