The overcast sky is a reflection of a certain person's cloudy feelings. It's telling everyone a great battle is incoming. Strong winds whipped through the castle ruins, blowing clouds of dust up. Natsuki looked at what used to be the Prison Barrier, she wasn't sure how she should be feeling about its destruction.
She's free from the devil so is this the glee of extrication?
Is it the sadness of leaving after guarding the place for a decade?
That might be true too.
Natsuki felt weird, she suppressed her emotions and she stood in front of Wu Yan, staring straight into his eyes.
She continued staring at him, her doll-like face had little to no emotional ripples. She condensed her words into one simple sentence.
"You're going to clean up this mess!"
Wu Yan shook his head while chortling. He lowered his stature to get to eye-level with her.
"I told you, I am going to be responsible no matter what happened."
Natsuki frowned. She sounds like she's scolding him but she did her best to come up with that tone, Wu Yan's eyes almost melted her cold façade.
To change the topic, Natsuki continued using her poker face.
"What are you going to do about the inmates?"
Just like how the prisoners are afraid of Natsuki, she knows how dangerous the prisoners can be since she's the one who caught them.
With her power, she can catch them again. However, there are prisoners that were brought to her because they were very hard to imprison or keep in a cell. There are also prisoners that were caught by Natsuki's substitute body. Her current power is unlike her substitute self.
Since her real body's in an enchanted sleep in the Prison Barrier. The real Natsuki can focus a major portion of her power on that substitute. This substitute Natsuki can use most of her original's power.
In the end, a substitute is just not the real Natsuki, even if she invested most of her power in the substitute, there are some skills she can't use.
For instance, she can't use her guardian.
Guardians are like familiars to witches, they are just as important as familiars are to vampires.
If she can use her guardian, she can properly exhibit her tier 9 power. Right now, she can fight on even standing with Vatler.
The deal with the devil required her to pay a huge price. The higher the price, the greater the power they are granted. Natsuki gave up freedom and she stayed in an enchanted sleep inside Prison Barrier, naturally, she exchanged this for great power.
She also had more than a decade's experience of hunting demons and supervillains down.
Even Vatler wouldn't be proud enough to say he can win against Natsuki in her current state. His eyes were flashing with battle intent, that's just how powerful Natsuki looked like in his assessment.
If she wasn't worthy, Vatler wouldn't even consider her as a potential sparring partner.
Wu Yan also stored away his smile, it's time to get serious.
"I used a very high-level barrier spell on Itogami Island. It's meant to protect Itogami Island and smooth over the effects of intense battles. It is also installed to keep the prisoners here on Itogami Island."
"Even so, no matter how powerful the barrier is, the longest I can keep this thing up is around 5 days. For now, those prisoners aren't going anywhere..."
Natsuki, Yukina, and Kojou sighed in relief. If the prisoners ran away from Itogami Island, it would be tantamount to releasing a tiger back into the mountains.
"You're saying we have 5 days to catch all the prisoners?"
Natsuki furrowed her brows.
"Are you sure about that? There are powerful individuals among the prisoners. For instance, Aya is a mage adept with space spells like me, are you sure you can keep her here?"
"Yeah, she's not going anywhere."
Wu Yan waved his hand.
"We just need to come up with a plan to catch them all in 5 days."
"5 days, huh?"
"So many inmates to catch, would 5 days be enough?"
Yukina tightened her grip on Sekkarou.
"We can only roll our sleeves up and get to it. We can't just let those sinners run amok..."
Vatler shrugged. He chuckled politely.
"I will gladly offer a helping hand."
Kojou threw a sharp gaze in Vatler's direction.
"I am saying this upfront, absolutely no killing... Or else..."
Vatler raised an eyebrow, he grinned.
"Since that's your request, I must agree. It will also provide much-needed relief to those prisoners..."
"Alright, that's enough standing around."
Vatler looked at Wu Yan. He didn't hide his predatory smile.
"I must begin my hunting trip..."
Wu Yan glanced nonchalantly at Vatler.
"We only have 5 days. You can enjoy the first four days. I want you to bring all the captured prisoners to me on the fourth day. On the fifth day, I don't care if you're having a blast, I am going to finish whatever's left on the plate."
"That's more than enough time for me."
Vatler turned into golden mist and he disappeared on the spot.
"Hey, is that okay?"
Kojou just can't let his guard down around Vatler.
"We have to use all the resources available to us."
"We are short on time..."
Yukina also nodded.
"What are going to do now?"
"Since the residents were evacuated, there are only a few mages and demons left on the island..."
Kotori turned towards Wu Yan.
"With the barrier here, we can put the capture objectives aside for now. What do we do with the inmates after we catch them again?"
The prisoners were imprisoned inside Prison Barrier because they posed a great threat to others. Also, they were too powerful to be kept inside jails.
With the Prison Barrier gone, it's going to be hard to find another place to lock them up.
"Got any ideas?"
Kotori asked Wu Yan.
"Something that can replace the Prison Barrier..."
The others looked at Wu Yan. He smirked.
They knew what Wu Yan is thinking about. The others grinned except for Natsuki.
The Prison Barrier is a prison realm created from Natsuki's dreamscape. The prisoners inside are all trapped in there within her dreamscape, it's also why Aya couldn't escape despite her proficiency in space-related spells.
Natsuki didn't think anything can replace the Prison Barrier. Since Wu Yan is so confident, Natsuki decided to just follow whatever Wu Yan came up with.
Natsuki's expression changed drastically.
A dark aura exploded outwards from Natsuki, the aura enveloped Natsuki while the others gasped.
Wu Yan, Kotori, Yukina, and Kojou were taken by surprise.