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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
It had been 97 years since the day that the supernatural poer that
heralded the arri!al o" hat is no #non as $odern $agic as obser!ed
by the %&' at the ti$e( It had been appro)i$ately 80 years since the
de!elop$ent o" $agical techni*ues turned to the de!elop$ent and hu$an
$odi"ication o" +agicians(
,uring this brie" period o" ti$e- no- actually an e!en shorter ti$e- since it
only too# 50 years or so to create a stable production o" poer"ul
+agicians . the /bloodlines0 that belonged to /"a$ous lineages o"
+agicians0( %pon "urther consideration- this as a rather astounding "act 1
In a $ere hal" century- they had success"ully de!eloped the /race0 #non
as +agicians(
2" course- there ere a host o" reasons lur#ing in the bac#ground( In order
to bring about this possibility- $ore de!eloped countries in!ested $assi!e
scienti"ic and econo$ic resources and began a "urious co$petition( &ince
the start o" the latter hal" o" the pre!ious century- energy depletion had
turned into a dreaded "uture that hung li#e a dar# shado in the hearts o"
the people 3in $ore1de!eloped countries4( 5urther$ore- a"ter 2030 ',- the
6arth had noticeably cooled- hich as then acco$panied by the ensuing
"ood shortage( 7aused by the in"ighting "or "ood and resources- the 8hird
9orld 9ar beca$e a poer"ul i$petus "or the de!elop$ent o" +agicians
. to the point that basic hu$an rights- a core pillar o" society- ere
6!en be"ore the 20 chaotic years o" ar- the entire globe had already
so$ehat publicly conducted /hu$an $odi"ication0 and /hu$an breeding
pro:ects0- all in the na$e o" de!eloping a race called +agicians( 8he "act
that $agic could be inherited had already been ac#noledged in the age
here $agic as held to be a superpoer- hich only ser!ed to legiti$i;e
the progress o" $agical de!elop$ent toards the creation o" /superior
5ro$ the perspecti!e o" $odi"ying the hu$an species- de!eloped countries
used science to tra$ple hu$an dignity(
8he creation o" arti"icial o$bs "irst began in the $ore de!eloped
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'$ong the less de!eloped countries- indi!iduals ith the potential ere
"orced to $ate . practically to the e)tent here nationally sanctioned rape
as alloed to occur( <oe!er- a$ong the $ore de!eloped countries-
cloning pre1"ertili;ed ;ygotes and non1surgical $ethods to gather sper$ .
/gene selection0 . ere used to obtain large a$ounts o" reproducti!e
$aterial to "ertili;e arti"icial o$bs- hereby creating a $ore e""icient
approach to the de!elop$ent o" +agicians( =enetic $odi"ication actually
turned out to be the $inority( +assi!e production o" /test tube babies0
ithout genetic $odi"ication as the true "ace o" the de!elop$ent o"
+agicians in $ore de!eloped countries(
5ortunately . that as one ay o" putting it- gi!en the dissonance beteen
the ad!ances in science and hu$an nature . children born "ro$ cloned
e$bryos all died young "or so$e un#non reason( 8he $anner o" their
birth negati!ely a""ected the$ all( >ased on $etrics gathered by $ore
de!eloped countries- their a!erage li"e e)pectancy as appro)i$ately 7
years( In"ant $ortality loering the li"e e)pectancy as actually not the
pri$ary reason( 8heir li!es ere really that short- gi!en that the oldest
a$ong the$ died at the age o" 17( In addition- their deaths ere not caused
by rapid aging- but a natural death at a young age( ?i!es born "ro$ natural
births "ailed to display this shortco$ing- leading to suspicion that the
proble$ $ay lie in cellular $itosis(
&till- latent $agical talent could be $easured at the age o" 3( 8han#s to
their sacri"ice- the correct $ethod o" $atching e$bryos and ;ygotes as
disco!ered( 8his had a pro"ound i$pact on the second and third
generations- to the point that genetic si$ulations could be used "or
analysis( 8hence"orth- a country only needed to use arranged inter!ies as
an e)cuse to pair $arriage partners- intentionally pro$pting the "a$ilies to
independently $arry on their on(
8hus as born the "a$ilies renoned in $odern $agic( In @apan- they
ere represented by the 8en +aster 7lans(
8he reason hy @apanAs /"a$ous lineages o" +agicians0 beca$e the $ost
re"ined application in the orld as because a$ongst the !arious cultural
bac#grounds "or the $ost de!eloped countries- @apan had the easiest ti$e
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accepting this sort o" $arriage relationship(
IsnAt it ironic that scienti"ic ad!ance$ents that ere utterly inhu$ane ere
ulti$ately at the $ercy o" cultural $oti!ationsB 2r- should this be the
ulti$ate $ani"estation o" the resilience o" /hu$anity0B 8hat detail ill
li#ely be decided by history(
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' s$all !illage sat in the narro basin tuc#ed beteen the $ountains in
the old Ca$anashi Pre"ecture that bordered the old Dagano Pre"ecture(
2ne ith no na$e( 2ne that as not displayed on the $aps precisely
because it had no na$e( ,espite calling it a /!illage0- this as not a
!illage o""icially planned by the go!ern$ent- nor as it a !illage that
naturally occurred than#s to the people congregating together be"ore the
$odern era( In truth- this as $erely a !illage "or people to li!e in(
6)cluding the "act that there as no na$e- this as :ust an ordinary
!illage( Put another ay- e!erything as present sa!e "or the na$e( 8here
as a ton hall- police station- "ire station- and both the ater and
electricity ere running( 8he roads ere all pa!ed correctly and there as
e!en a school( 8he only school in the !illage probably pro!ided "or both
ele$entary and $iddle school(
8han#s to the thic# clouds in the gri$ 5ebruary s#y endlessly casting
don sno belo- a layer o" sil!ery hite co!ered the entire !illage(
+aybe it as because all the !illagers ere indoors- but outside it as
incredibly *uiet( 8here ere !ery "e people about and- e)cluding a group
o" e)actly ten people al#ing "orard- the streets ere entirely e$pty( 8he
lone e)ception- this group o" ten- as currently headed toards the other
end o" the !illage- here the !illage stood ith its bac# "acing the
$ountain( 8hey all ore hite ca$ou"lage and carried pac#s o" the sa$e
color ith ri"les on o!er their shoulders(
5ro$ a classroo$ on the second "loor- a young girl earing a sailor
uni"or$ atched this dangerous crod approach( &he rose "ro$ her seat
and approached the indo hile loo#ing donards at the "ully ar$ed
$en( &he as the only person in the classroo$- though "ran#ly- she as
the entire person on ca$pus at this point( 8oday as not a ee#end nor a
holiday or e!en an e)tended brea#( +aybe the other students #ne that the
ar$ed crod as co$ing and "led "or sa"ety( &till- that "ailed to e)plain
hy the young girl re$ained in the classroo$( It as apparent that not
only the students but e!en the teachers had e!acuated- so a single "e$ale
$iddle school student re$aining behind as "lat out beyond
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,ead ahead o" the young girlAs ga;e- the $en unslung the ri"les at the
school gates( 8hey held their ri"les at aist height and split to the le"t and
right along the all( 8hree toards the le"t and three toards the right( 2"
the "our le"t in the $iddle- to o" the$ he"ted their ri"les hile the other
to set don their pac#s and re$o!ed so$e sort o" ite$(
8he young girl too# out a thin- long ob:ect "ro$ the poc#et in her s#irt(
8he $achine she held in her hand as !ery si$ilar to the /tablets0 that
e)isted a hundred years ago in an age here in"or$ation ter$inals and
pri$ary !erbal co$$unication de!ices ere called /cellphones0( 8he
young girl pressed the poer sitch abo!e the nu$ber pad- disabled the
standby phase- and began channeling psions into the s$all de!ice(
8he $achine in the young girlAs hand as a ter$inal1shaped 7',( 6rgo-
the young girl as a +agician(
&he as atching the to people that stood in the bac# o" the *uartet- the
ones ho had :ust "inished ai$ing hat loo#ed to be EP=1e*uipped ri"les
at the school( 't that $o$ent .
8he young girlAs "inger "le across the 7', and acti!ated her $agic(
8he to $en "ro$ the ar$ed group brought out EP=s "ro$ their
bac#pac#s( Eather than "ocusing on penetration- the short- stubby head as
$eant to raise the ensuing da$age "ro$ the shrapnel at the ti$e o"
e)plosion- thus li$iting its range to ithin 200 $eters( 8here as less than
1/5 o" that distance "ro$ the school gates to the school buildings- hich
as ell ithin the ideal targeting range( <oe!er- the e)plosion ne!er
i$pacted the classroo$ that the young lady as in(
8en $eters aay "ro$ the indo here the young girl as standing- the
EP= round e)ploded( 8he "la$es "ro$ the detonation see$ed to lap
around an in!isible all as it $ushroo$ed outard and the "orce o" the
e)plosion rebounded toards the ar$ed group( 8he $etal "rag$ents
ithin the EP= round rained o!er the #neeling $en( 8hough the shrapnel
had basically lost all o" its poer and could not har$ the$- this as
su""icient to raise their hac#les and ariness(
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8he to $en in the "ront dropped their pac#s and started loading grenades
onto their ri"les( 8he $en ho "ired the "irst shots ere also reloading(
8hey ere ell aare that the earlier pheno$enon as the result o" $agic(
8he reason that the glass in the indos re$ained unda$aged by the
grenadesA e)plosions as because a barrier had $ateriali;ed- and had
properties hich repelled heat- sound- and #inetic energy( &till- the $en
also #ne that a $agical barrier ould collapse i" struc# by attac#s that
surpassed its capacity(
8his ti$e all "our EP=s "ired at the sa$e ti$e( 8hough there as plainly
no sign o" !erbal coordination- their synchroni;ation re$ained per"ect(
6!en i" one round as unable to penetrate the barrier- then shouldnAt the
i$pact and heat generated by all "our rounds detonating together
o!erhel$ the barrierB 8hat as the thought running through their $inds(
6!en i" this e)peri$ent to nulli"y $agic "ailed- the rebounding shrapnel
and "orce ould not be able to har$ the$( 8hat $uch had already been
8he grenades once again detonated in $idair( +uch li#e the "irst ti$e- the
"la$es "ro$ the detonation o" all "our rounds see$ed to spread across a
transparent barrier( 8he only di""erence- hoe!er- lay in the location o" that
Eather than being erected 10 $eters "ro$ the school building- this ti$e the
barrier as erected appro)i$ately 5 $eters aay "ro$ the $en( 8o be
precise- a "resh barrier as deployed the $o$ent they s*uee;ed the
trigger( 5ro$ this close pro)i$ity- the e)plosi!e "orce and scattered
shrapnel re"lected bac# onto the $en( 8hough they ore goggles- anything
beneath the protecti!e hel$et as practically na#ed( 8he shrapnel had
already shredded their "aces ithout gi!ing the$ any ti$e to raise their
hands to protect the$sel!es( 's a result- by the ti$e they regained contact
ith the ground "ro$ the "orce o" the e)plosion- all "our o" the$ had long
since lost consciousness(
'"ter !eri"ying that the "our targets ere no longer $o!ing- the young girl
turned and departed "ro$ the indo( @ust as she arri!ed at the $iddle o"
the classroo$- the door in the rear o" the classroo$ as brutally sho!ed
open( 8he young girlAs "ingers danced o!er the #eypad as i" on re"le)- a
clear result o" endless training( &he acti!ated her $agic :ust an instant
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be"ore the gun1bearing $an too# a step into the classroo$( 2ne "oot in the
air- the $an struc# an in!isible all that caused hi$ to lose his balance(
?ess than one second later- the door in the "ore"ront o" the classroo$ also
opened- but as li#eise unable to enter the classroo$( 's i" both o" the$
ere putting on a $u$$erAs sho- ne)t to the $an ho as trying to
shoulder his ay through the in!isible all- a series o" incredible
shattering sounds ere heard "ro$ the glass that separated the classroo$
"ro$ the hallay( &till- none o" the shards o" glass "ell into the classroo$
and instead shot toards the third $an ho as trying to shatter the class(
8he barriers de!ised by the young girl not only protected the door- but
co!ered the entire length o" the all beteen the classroo$ and the
hallay- including the indos and doors(
@ust as she let out a sigh o" relie" a"ter stopping the "orced entries- the
young girl noticed that the ar$ed group she disco!ered contained 10
people( '$ong the$- "our had re$ained be"ore her and the other si) split
beteen the le"t and right( 8han#s to the e""ects o" their on eapons- the
"our in the "ront had already been incapacitated hile three others ere
being held bac# by her $agic in the hallay( &o- here ere the last
' shrill shrie# erupted "ro$ the indo behind the young girl as it
shattered to the "loor( +en had un"urled ropes "ro$ the ceiling- leapt o""
"ro$ the all and used their on bodies as a singing ha$$er to crash
through the indos( 8he instant she turned around- the young girl as
already rolling "or co!er( <er s#irt as rolled to a precarious height- but
this as not the ti$e to orry about that( 's she hit the ground- she spied
the $en he"ting their ri"les a"ter :u$ping in "ro$ the corner o" her eye( 8he
roar o" gun"ire and the bullet holes that pierced through the blac#board and
the cabinets at the "ar end o" the roo$ pro!ed her decision to be the correct
8he barrier deployed against the hallay !anished( 8han#s to "resh
in!aders draing her attention- the +agic &e*uenceAs reneal had been
interrupted( 8he $en per"or$ing the $u$$erAs "arce rolled in "irst( 2ne
ca$e in through the bac# door hile another :u$ped in through the
indos( Do- the young girl as co$pletely surrounded by an ar$ed
group o" si) $en(
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I" this as any ordinary "e$ale $iddle school student- her body ould
already ha!e been sha#ing in terror( 't $ost- she $ight ha!e been able to
get to her "eet- use both hands to contain her sha#ing and $as# her "ear
hile glaring de"iantly bac# at the $en- but that ould be as "ar as that
narrati!e ent( Cet- this young lass as no ordinary "e$ale $iddle school
&he got to her "eet and sprinted "or the bac# door( 8here- another $an as
aiting ith a gun in hand- but she co$pletely ignored this $an( &eeing
the young girl run straight in "ront o" the gun barrel- the $an as
co$pletely caught o"" guard( >y the ti$e he reco!ered his its- there as
barely to $eters beteen the $an and the young girl( 8his as too close
a range "or ri"les- but there as no ti$e to sitch eapons( =i!en that he
as against a "e$ale $iddle school student- the probability that the $an
ould lose in close *uarters co$bat as practically ;ero( &till- the $an
ulti$ately chose to "ire ith his eapon(
8he other "i!e ere $uch "aster on the dra( >y the ti$e the $an standing
in the bac#door o" the classroo$ raised his ri"le- the other "i!e $en had
already s*uee;ed the trigger(
5i!e gunshots ere heard- ith another co$ing a beat behind the$(
In the ne)t instant- si) screa$s o" pain could be heard(
Incoherent screa$s o" pain erupted "ro$ the $enAs lips( 6!en i" their
opponent as a +agician- the a$ount o" "irepoer as plainly o!er#ill "or
a single young girl(
De!ertheless- the bullets ere re"racted by the physical ob:ect re"lecting
barrier con:ured by the young girl and instead shot toards the gun$en(
8he guns held by the $en ere all high poered ri"les used against
+agicians( In order to penetrate $agic "ields- these ri"les "ired penetrator
rounds ith increased "irepoer( I" struc# "ull on by these high poered
bullets re"lecting bac#- e!en Fe!lar cra"ted "ro$ high *uality carbon plates
ould be useless( 8he $en ere sent "lying by the i$pact o" the bullets
and "ell unconscious in the $iddle- dripping blood all the hile( ' little
lost- the young girl ga;ed don at the$( &he appeared to hesitate because
she as unsure o" hat action to ta#e ne)t(
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't this ti$e- an old $anAs !oice ca$e across the trans$itter(
/6)ercise co$plete( Eescue tea$s please reco!er the 'd!isory &*uad(
&a#urai1san please report bac# to the $ansion( +ilady ould li#e to spea#
to you directly(0
%pon hearing the last "e ords- the young girl in!oluntarily straightened
her bac#( 9ith an an)ious and sti"" !oice- she replied bac# /%nderstood0
e!en though she #ne the other side couldnAt hear her(
't "irst glance- this !illage as no di""erent than any other !illage( 5ro$
inside to out- there as an assort$ent o" "lat- bloc#y buildings $ade o"
concrete and steel that had no indos( 's buildings that co!ered air
bun#ers belo- all o" these ere $ass produced during the ti$e o" the non1
nuclear 9orld 9ar III( =i!en that these buildings dotted the landscape all
o!er @apan- there as nothing surprising about seeing the$ here deep in
the $ountain( .&till- that as only "or appearanceAs sa#e(
Cet- this !illage as not hat it appeared to be( 8his !illage as a "ully
e*uipped e)peri$ental lab( 8he $ost care"ully guarded secret and
in"a$ous /+agician 9or#shop o" ,eath 35our40- this as the 4th
Eesearch and ,e!elop$ent ?ab "or +agical 8echni*ues( 8his location as
both a base and the $ain head*uarters "or +agiciansA $odi"ication and
eli$ination "or the Cotsuba 5a$ily o" the 8en +aster 7lans(
8he largest $ansion in the !illage as the residence o" the Cotsuba
5a$ilyAs $ain house( '$ong the large buildings atop an e)pansi!e piece
o" land- the greatest o" the$ as reser!ed "or the Cotsuba head o" house-
Cotsuba +aya- as her li!ing *uarters(
Do- in a certain roo$ ithin that $ain building- a young girl stood sti""ly
ith a ner!ous e)pression on her "ace be"ore +aya(
8he young girlAs na$e as &a#urai +ina$i- a 15 year old young girl ho
as about to graduate "ro$ $iddle school and- at the sa$e ti$e- as the
second generation o" the $odi"ied /&a#ura0 series( >orn o" parents
genetically engineered to grant the$ poer"ul $agical abilities- she as
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also a +agician ith strong $agical poers( 's a side note- neither o" her
parents ere a$ong the li!ing( '"ter losing her parents- +ina$i li!ed ith
the Cotsuba 5a$ilyAs $ain house hile ser!ing as a $aid- all the hile
training to beco$e a "uture guardian(
8he /&a#ura0 seriesA specialty as creating heat resistant barriers that
repelled physical ob:ects( 8hough its "unctionality and !ariability ere not
on par ith the @uu$on:i 5a$ilyAs /Phalan)0- :udged solely on its utility
as a de"ensi!e $echanis$- +ina$i as able to $atch the @uu$on:i
5a$ilyAs le!el e!en at the tender age o" 15(
/+ina$i- "irst o" all I ant to than# "or you a :ob ell done( 8his
per"or$ance as $ore than enough to rate you a pass(0
/I a$ o!erhel$ed by your gracious praise( 8han# you !ery $uch(0
7o$pared to +ayaAs "riendly ords- +ina$iAs tone as clearly tense and
stilted( Dot that she could be bla$ed "or this- gi!en that the o$an sitting
across "ro$ +ina$i as not $erely her $istress( 6!en a$ong the 8en
+aster 7lans that do$inated the upper echelons o" @apanese +agicians-
the Cotsuba 5a$ily as a particularly poer"ul clan( Dot only as she the
head o" the Cotsuba 5a$ily- she as also "eared as this generationAs
strongest +agician- the /,e$on Fing o" the 5ar 6ast0(
/'h- thereAs no need to be hu$ble( ,onAt you thin# so too- <aya$aB0
<aya$a- ho had hitherto stood both silent and $otionless behind +aya-
spo#e in a serious tone(
/8hough points should be deducted "or alloing the ene$y to brea#
through the indo- the e)ercise still concluded ith the success"ul
incapacitation o" all 10 targets( I belie!e this logically deser!es a passing
'"ter hearing <aya$aAs ords- +ina$iAs eyes idened in shoc#( 8his as
not because she "elt that the e!aluation as o!erly harsh( 's the head
butler ho o!ersa all the ser!ants in the $ansion- <aya$a as scant
ith his praise toards subordinates- yet here he as gi!ing a /pass0 to a
ser!ant( 8o +ina$iAs #noledge- this as the "irst ti$e this had occurred(
2n top o" that- she as the recipient o" such praise- hich only doubled
her astonish$ent(
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/&pea#ing o" hich- +ina$i1chan((((((0
/9hat is your ill- $iladyB0
<oe!er- she didnAt ha!e the leisure to re$ain surprised( 8here as no
ay that the head o" the Cotsuba 5a$ily ould banter ith a :ourney$an
li#e hersel" si$ply to congratulate her on the results o" the e)ercise( 8hat
$uch as clear ithout any deeper conte$plation(
/Cou are about to graduate "ro$ $iddle school( 'ny thoughts on high
/HH<a!enAt decided(0
/Eeally- are you still orrying about thatB0
9orry as hardly the right ord- gi!en that the decision to enter high
school as not so$ething she could decide "or hersel"( +ina$i as
indentured to the Cotsuba 5a$ily( 6!en i" she said that /she anted to
attend high school0- so long as +aya or <aya$a declared that to be
/unnecessary0- the point as $oot( /<a!enAt decided0 as a#in to
/<a!enAt recei!ed "urther orders0- so +ina$i hersel" had no cause to
/8hen- +ina$i1chan- you ill go to 8o#yo(0
8his order caused +ina$i to "eel 30I co$prehending and 70I surprised(
' year ago- +ina$i had heard that she ould e!entually be ser!ing
+iyu#i( &till- she assu$ed that as "ar o"" in the "uture and at least a"ter
+iyu#i returned to the $ain house( 8hough +iyu#iAs house in 8o#yo as
slightly larger than the a!erage delling- it as still ithin the boundaries
o" a typical residence( ' "ull1ti$e $aid on sta"" ould "eel so$ehat
unnatural( 5urther$ore- a child ho had :ust graduated "ro$ $iddle school
ould only deepen suspicion "ro$ others- +ina$i thought(
<er $istress si"tly ansered the *uestions churning in her head(
/=o and attend 5irst <igh(0
9as 5irst <igh re"erring to the Dational +agic %ni!ersity '""iliated 5irst
<ighB 8hat as the only *uestion in +ina$iAs $ind( &ince she had been
ordered to /head "or 8o#yo and attend 5irst <igh0- no "urther e)planations
ere necessary(
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
&ince registration as no done online- there as no need to orry about
the registration deadline( &till- the proble$ as 5irst <igh boasted the
$ost di""icult entrance e)a$ination a$ong the schools( 9ithout any
"or$al tutoring to prepare "or the e)a$- ould she be able to passB 8his
caused +ina$i to "eel deeply uneasy(
/Cou do not ha!e to orry on account o" the e)a$(0
9ere they going to use their connections to get her throughB In truth- that
as hat +ina$i as hoping "or(
/8hereAs still 3 ee#s until the e)a$( 'll the necessary in"or$ation ill be
directly ritten into your brain(0
<oe!er- that line o" thin#ing as o!erly naJ!e( 8here as indeed such a
de!ice in this !illage that utili;ed brainashing as a techni*ue to directly
car!e necessary #noledge into a personAs $ind ith or ithout their
consent( Cet- that de!ice seriously depleted a personAs strength( &he ould
li#ely be bedridden "or a ee# a"ter the e)a$(
/,o your best( Cou ill be granted a period o" ti$e to rest a"ter the e)a$(
?i#eise- "ro$ to$orro onard- you are relie!ed o" your duties as a
's i" sensing +ina$iAs unease- +aya $ade this gentle yet $erciless
declaration . /you ha!e no choice0(
/Present- $ilady(0
%p until no- +ayaAs e)pression had been s$iling- but no she as
absolutely serious( 5olloing her $istressAs e)a$ple- +ina$i tightened
her e)pression(
/=o to +iyu#iAs side( &tarting in the spring- +iyu#i ill be your $istress(0
8his as a $ission that as originally assigned to her ahead o" ti$e( '
steely deter$ination lur#ing in the $idst o" her an)iety- +ina$i accepted
+ayaAs orders(
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Chapter 1
Thursday, April th, 2!"# AD$ 8oday as the day be"ore the opening
cere$ony o" a ne school year "or the Dational +agic %ni!ersity
'""iliated 5irst <igh and three days be"ore ne student orientation(
In the house o" the &hiba siblings- 8atsuya stood be"ore a giant $irror that
re"lected his entire body ith a disco$"ited e)pression on his "ace(
>y his side- his sister +iyu#i ore a da;;ling s$ile li#e a "loer in "ull
bloo$( 'ctually- be"ore such a brilliant s$ile- e!en the cherry blosso$s
$ay ilt into buds out o" sha$e( 8hat radiant s$ile as enough to cause
people to dee$ it /$agical0( +iyu#i dre so $uch attention that e!en the
e)istence o" the neco$er standing beside her see$ed to di$inish( &he
as the ne $aid/bodyguard/houseguest sent by Cotsuba +aya to the
siblings and ould beco$e their underclass$an at 5irst <igh in three days-
&a#urai +ina$i(
9ith hope"ul eyes that "airly shone- +iyu#i s$iled idely as she atched
her brother in "ront o" the $irror( 2n the cabinet ne)t to the $irror-
8atsuyaAs ne uni"or$ :ac#et hung there a"ter being deli!ered by $ail last
/2nii1sa$a- please hurry and don your ne uni"or$ so I can see( 2r do
you ish "or +iyu#i to be an)iousHHB0
Ignoring her ould probably thro +iyu#i into a sul# right no( 5or the
sa#e o" his sisterAs $ental health- 8atsuya "elt that there as a need to set
aside his personal unhappy $ood "or the $o$ent(
7urrently- he as already earing the uni"or$ pants and "ull !est- so the
only thing le"t as "or hi$ to put on the coat( 8atsuya could only
helplessly pic# up the slee!e o" the suit(
+ina$i stepped "orard as i" to assist 8atsuya ith the slee!es- but as
i$$ediately bloc#ed hen +iyu#i $o!ed at the sa$e instant( 9ithout
"eeling put out- +ina$i returned to her original position(
<is sister pressed a hand to the coat hile 8atsuya turned around( +iyu#i
helped 8atsuya into the slee!es o" the long suit be"ore or#ing "ro$ her
brotherAs bac# to the shoulders- "i)ing the contours(
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De)t to 8atsuya- ho had once again turned to "ace the $irror- +iyu#i
dran# in his "igure ith a hand laid against her da;ed "ace as ar$ gasps
o" air e)haled "ro$ her $outh(
8he style and colors ere e)actly the sa$e as the school uni"or$ "or $ale
students at 5irst <igh( <oe!er- there ere three particular details that
ere di""erent "ro$ be"ore(
2n 8atsuyaAs ne school uni"or$- an e$ble$ o" eight petals "or$ing a
gear as e$broidered o!er the le"t chest and o!er both shoulders( ' ne
design- the e$ble$ as the e)act sa$e si;e as the eight petal "loer on
the 7ourse 1 student uni"or$s and also sen at the ends o" both slee!es(
/2nii1sa$a- this "its you per"ectlyHH0
8hough 8atsuya hi$sel" still "elt a little out o" sorts ith the ne uni"or$-
this ne design as absolutely integral "or alloing +iyu#i to !ent the
aggra!ation o" atching her older brother spend the entire pre!ious year
ithout an e$ble$ to his chest(
8hat gear as the sy$bol o" the ne +agic 6ngineering ,epart$ent
established this year( In the pre!ious year- 8atsuya had accu$ulated
acco$plish$ents that ere undeniable to both ithin and ithout( I" his
/substitute0 status as $aintained- the school belie!ed that ould ha!e a
detri$ental e""ect on the studentAs i$age( In the end- the ne +agic
6ngineering ,epart$ent as established- or +agitech "or short(
2" course- the school syste$ asnAt being changed "or 8atsuya alone(
&etting aside the reason behind all this "or the $o$ent- there as no ay
the nely created classes could only accept one student(
In regards to this- a "unda$ental ad:ust$ent as $ade to 5irst <ighAs class
8he nu$ber o" ne students accepted into 7ourse 1 and 2 re$ained
unchanged at 100 students each(
9hat changed as the procedure in!ol!ed hen these students ad!anced
to Cear 2( 8he ne Cear 2 students had the option to choose beteen the
original +agic &tudy or +agic 6ngineering classes( &tudents ho chose to
continue ith the original ould still be di!ided into 4 classes o" 7ourse 1
students and 3 classes o" 7ourse 2 students( 2n the other hand- students
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ho !olunteered "or the +agic 6ngineering ,epart$ent and passed the
e)a$ination in +arch ould :oin the nely established +agic
6ngineering class ith an e$phasis on $agic engineering in the
In the na$e o" de!ising a ne e)peri$ental class- 5irst <igh accepted ne
"aculty dispatched "ro$ the uni!ersity( 8hough they only began ith one
class- i" the results ere positi!e- the plan as to grant ne students ho
had :ust enrolled the sa$e option o" choosing beteen the nor$al +agic
&tudy or +agic 6ngineering(
5urther$ore- as a side e""ect o" the +agitech classAs establish$ent- 7ourse
2 students ere granted access to this class to supple$ent the de"iciency o"
7ourse 1 students trans"erring into that depart$ent( 8his as done based
on the practical s#ills ran#ing a$ong the 7ourse 2 students( '$ong
8atsuyaAs "riends- +i#ihi#o ould be trans"erred to 7ourse 1 at the start o"
this year(
Eegardless o" ho they tried to e$bellish the truth- the "act that the +agic
6ngineering ,epart$ent as created because o" 8atsuya as blatantly
ob!ious to those ho ere aare o" the details(
<ence there as a reason- and it as there"ore natural- "or +iyu#i to be
o!er:oyed ith her brotherAs /dashing "igure0(
+aybe because she as satis"ied a"ter her brother struc# a series o" poses-
+iyu#i "inally relented and let 8atsuya o"" the hoo#( 8hough he got the
i$pression that he as being treated li#e a dress up doll- 8atsuya consoled
hi$sel" ith the ords /+iyu#i is a girl a"ter all0( 3&pea#ing o" hich-
+ina$iAs ne student "ashion sho had been per"or$ed three days ago(4
/2nii1sa$a- +ina$i1chan- co$e ha!e tea(0
+iyu#i delightedly proposed to her house$ates as she see$ed to bounce
o"" to the #itchen( 6!en the scene o" +ina$iAs see$ingly gloo$y loo# at
her retreating bac# as no ithin the nor$( In 8atsuyaAs eyes- $aybe
because o" her age . perhaps her youth ould be a better ay o" putting it
. and the "act that she had been "ir$ly i$bued ith a sense o" diligent
pro"essionalis$- +ina$i as !ery proud o" her duties as a $aid 3a
so$ehat rude ay o" loo#ing at it4( 5or +ina$i- stealing her tas# o"
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preparing the tea as so$ething that i$pacted the $eaning o" her
e)istence( <oe!er- hen it ca$e to the i$portance o" /ta#ing care o"
8atsuya0- +iyu#i ould second that to no one( 9hich is hy during the
"irst 5 days a"ter +ina$i ca$e to this house- the to o" the$ ere
outardly pleasant toards one another- but ere actually engaged in a
"urious tug o" ar( I" 8atsuya as so$eone ith a ea# constitution- he
ould surely ha!e succu$bed to an ulcer( 5ortunately 3B4- his physical
"lesh as ell as his ner!es and innards ere as strong as steel(
9ith both sides putting their raison dKetre on the line- the result o" this
*uiet ar ended in a dubious co$pro$ise beteen +iyu#i and +ina$i(
5irst- +ina$i as responsible "or cleaning and ashing clothes(
&econd- +ina$i as responsible "or cleaning up a"ter $eals and tea(
8hird- hen 8atsuya as present- +iyu#i ould prepare $eals( +ina$i
could do so i" 8atsuya as not around(
5ourth- hen 8atsuya as present- +iyu#i ould prepare tea( +ina$i
could do so i" 8atsuya as not around(
5i"th- 8atsuyaAs ardrobe as +iyu#iAs do$ain( +ina$i ould assist ith
+iyu#iAs clothes and garb(
8he reason this as dubious as because e!en no- hene!er +iyu#i or
+ina$i detected that the other side had le"t an opening- they ould
i$$ediately sei;e the opportunity( &till- in 8atsuyaAs eyes- the to o" the$
see$ed to be on a relati!ely "riendly "ooting(
2n the sur"ace- 8atsuya and +ina$iAs relationship appeared to be cordial(
.8hen again- a soon to be 171year old youth and a 151year old girl
beco$ing the best o" "riends in to ee#s as probably a proble$ in and
o" its on right( 8atsuya thought as i" all this did not a""ect hi$ in the
8hough this didnAt constitute estrange$ent- it as true that 8atsuya as o"
the $ind to #eep +ina$i at a distance( Eegardless o" the slightly
donard drooping eyes at the corner- the dar# bron- a!y hairstyle-
illoy bros- or the di$ples that appeared on the sides o" her "ace hen
she s$iled . +ina$i as too si$ilar to <ona$i(
&a#urai <ona$i( 8he o$an ho ser!ed as his dead $otherAs guardian(
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5our years ago- she had died at 2#inaa hile protecting 8atsuya(
?i#e <ona$i- +ina$i as born "ro$ an un"ertili;ed egg that ca$e "ro$
the sa$e /$other0 and had also undergone genetic $odi"ication be"ore
applying sper$ "ro$ the sa$e /"ather0 to /$anu"acture0 a genetically
$odi"ied hu$an being hose $agical genes had been strengthened . a
$odi"ied body( 8hough they erenAt /tins0- they ere close enough to be
/sisters0( 8he "a$ily tree ould list her as a cousin- so it as only natural
"or +ina$iAs "acial structure to be si$ilar to <ona$i(
2" course- that e)tent o" the theory as #non to 8atsuya( &till- that sort o"
co$prehension as insu""icient to e)plain anything or co$"ort anyone(
8he thing that created the estrange$ent 3or so$ething a#in to that4 as not
her appearance- but that her appearance triggered 8atsuyaAs $e$ories o"
the dead(
8o the siblings- <ona$i as so$eone ho as practically "a$ily( %pon
"urther conte$plation- she as a girl ho $ight ha!e been an older sister(
9hene!er she as re$inded o" her- +iyu#i as alays "illed ith
$elancholy and gloo$y re$e$brance( <oe!er- 8atsuyaAs recollection
contained $ore bitter regret than +iyu#i( 5or 8atsuya- e!en the re$inder
that she as practically "a$ily only co$pounded the bitter a"tertaste( It
asnAt so$ething he couldnAt sallo- but he still couldnAt help but "ron
at the bitterness o" it all(
118oo poerlessL
8he struggles 8atsuya bore toards the regret in!ol!ing <ona$i could be
su$$ed up in that one phrase(
8he cause o" <ona$iAs death as physical ea#ening( I" 8atsuya had not
$et the =reat 'sian 'llianceAs "leet attac#ing 2#inaa- then at least she
ouldnAt ha!e died there( 8he undeniable truth o" the $atter as that in
order to protect 8atsuya- <ona$i had "orced hersel" to use large scale
$agic that burned through all o" her re$aining li"e "orce(
<oe!er- 8atsuya didnAt regret the decision he $ade at the ti$e( <e didnAt
belie!e that choosing to $eet the ene$y assault as the incorrect decision(
'lthough his actions at the ti$e ere not the product o" care"ul planning
and ere the result o" i$petuousness- there as a $uch higher probability
o" the situation orsening i" he had not chosen to annihilate the =reat
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'sian 'lliance "leet( 8his as not :ust 8atsuyaAs opinion- but the consensus
o" the research labs in the %ni!ersity o" ,e"ense a"ter running $ultiple
<is regret ca$e "ro$ the "act that <ona$iAs poer as e!en necessary(
7urrently- 8atsuya did not need to e$ploy any e)tra e""ort hen ielding
+aterial >urst( Do that he had learned to set up /,eco$position0 as an
area o" e""ect $agic- 8atsuya no longer needed to rely on <ona$iAs poer
to intercept the shots "ired "ro$ the ene$y "leet(
<e as :ust that poerless at that ti$e(
8riggered by +ina$iAs appearance- 8atsuya as re$inded o" his
poerless sel"(
/'h- IA$ on $y ay(0
8atsuya "ell into a re!erie "or less than 3 seconds(
<e replied bac# to +iyu#iAs call and began al#ing "orard(
I$$ediately behind hi$- it see$ed per"ectly natural "or +ina$i to ait
"or 8atsuya to $a#e the "irst $o!e(
&ince there ere literally only the siblings in the house- the sudden
addition o" another house$ate re*uired purchasing *uite a "e
replace$ent ite$s( 8he dining table as one such ite$( 8he table as one
si;e larger than be"ore and the sur"ace design as no co$posed o" glass
that as able to ithstand high te$peratures( 8hat said- the table as
actually sturdier no and as proo" against brea#age unless a to1handed
ha$$er as used against it( 7onsidering its $oisture resistance and ease
o" cleaning- practicality as also a plus( .In co$parison- the price as
also signi"icantly higher( 8atsuya too# a seat at the table hile +iyu#i sat
across "ro$ hi$- ith +ina$i sitting to +iyu#iAs side(
5or so$e reason- +iyu#i still ore an apron( >y her side- +ina$i
re$ained silent though she also ore an apron( &itting across "ro$ to
young girls both earing aprons as certainly an interesting scene-
8atsuya thought(
<oe!er- though they ere both earing aprons- the style di""ered
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drastically beteen the to(
+ina$i ore a "ull body- long1slee!ed "roc# ith a high collar( 8he thic#-
sturdy apron practically co!ered e!ery inch o" her body "ro$ the "ront and
as clearly designed ith practicality "irst in $ind( 6!en though this
asnAt the /o""icial0 6uropean $aid uni"or$ "ro$ the 19th century- this
plainly e!o#ed that i$pression(
7o$pared ith that- +iyu#i ore a $ini1gon hich daringly re!ealed
the thighs e!en though it as still early spring( 8he apron as also the type
ith thin straps . ho $any aprons did she ha!e s*uirreled aay . and
le"t the cur!es "ro$ the chest to the collarbone on "ull display( Daturally-
e!erything belo the edge o" the apron that as 10 c$ abo!e the #nees
as also unco!ered( 8hrough the sur"ace o" the transparent glass table- the
depths o" her thighs could be seen along her #nees that ere side by side(
9as this little sister o" his te$pting . teasing hi$B
&top- he lost i" he started paying heed(
8han#"ully- once he $ade up his $ind- he as truly able to put it "ro$ his
$ind( In this regard- he should e)press than#s to his $other and aunt-
8atsuya thought( .8hough perhaps +iyu#i bore the opposite opinion(
&till- both sides #ept their cards close to their chest as the siblings both
raised their co""ee $ugs and sa$pled the snac#s(
/L8hereAs only 3 days until student orientation( +ina$i1chan- are you
loo#ing "orard to itB0
8his as so$ething that had ne!er happened be"ore hile the to o" the$
ere li!ing alone( 2nce ignored by 8atsuya- +iyu#i "eigned obli!iousness
and changed the topic to +ina$i(
/Indeed- +iyu#i 2nee1sa$a( I a$ loo#ing "orard to it(0
8o the other side- it as possible that +ina$i "ailed to pic# up on +iyu#iAs
thoughts or $aybe she had no other recourse e!en i" she noticed( 't any
rate- +ina$i replied bac# in a "ran# $anner(
/IAll ha!e to arri!e at school ahead o" ti$e that day ith +iyu#i( +ina$i-
do you $indB0
/8hatAs no proble$- 8atsuya 2nii1sa$a( Please allo $e to acco$pany
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's a side note- /+iyu#i 2nee1sa$a0 and /8atsuya 2nii1sa$a0 ere ter$s
that 8atsuya had proposed and +iyu#i had gi!en the order to use(
8he inherent characteristic o" $odern public transportation- the train cabin-
ould usually pre!ent strangers "ro$ sharing the cabin( Dor as there any
ay to share one hal"ay through the :ourney( People ho ished to
board the sa$e train cabin ould either ha!e to li!e under the sa$e roo" or
be neighbors- and at the !ery least needed to rende;!ous at the train
2n the other hand- based on the de$ands o" her role as a bodyguard-
+ina$i could only choose to board the ride that +iyu#i too# to school(
Cet- riding along in the sa$e cabin ith a co$plete stranger ould surely
be :arring and bring about unnecessary suspicion(
8o that end- the e)cuse they ca$e up ith as /+ina$i is a cousin "ro$
the siblingsK $otherKs side0( 8hat itsel" as entailed in instructions "ro$ the
Cotsuba 5a$ilyAs $ain house and the siblingsK census in"or$ation had
been counter"eited in the "irst place( 8here ould be nothing out o" the
ordinary e!en i" a cousin ith no blood relationship suddenly appeared out
o" nohere(
8he proble$ as +ina$iKs choice o" ords- such as /+iyu#i1sa$a0 and
In the current age- besides an e)clusi!e $inority- there ere practically no
"e$ale high school students ho re"erred to upperclass$en ho ere
older than the$sel!es by one year ith /Msa$a0( 8hat $inority typically
belonged to the upper echelons o" society- ser!ants or#ing "or ealthier
"a$ilies- or girls ho belonged in a ser!ing caste to a poer"ul "a$ily(
5ro$ the perspecti!e o" +agicians- this as a phrase only "ound in the 8en
+aster 7lans or "a$ilies o" si$ilar stature( 'lthough phrases li#e /2nii1
sa$a0 and /2nee1sa$a0 ere already outrageous enough- they ere
relati!ely nor$al hen co$pared to /Msa$a0(
+iyu#i and 8atsuya actually hoped that she ould re"er to the$ as
/+iyu#i0 and /8atsuya0- but +ina$i ada$antly re"used( +ina$i e!en
recoiled "ro$ re"erring to the$ as /2nee1san0 and /2nii1san0( &till- she
understood the necessity o" concealing their identity- and "inally
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co$pro$ised ith /+iyu#i 2nee1sa$a0 and /8atsuya 2nii1sa$a0(
8he siblings ho had pre!iously li!ed alone no had to elco$e an
une)pected addition to their $idst- and see$ed to be getting along *uite
ell so "ar(
,uring a"ternoon tea- the sub:ect naturally turned to the student orientation
3 days don the road(
/8his yearAs student representati!e is a boyHH ItAs been 4 years- hasnAt
/5i!e years- 2nii1sa$a( 8he &tudent 7ouncil President be"ore &aegusa1
senpai as also a girl(0
8he topic o" the siblingsK con!ersation as regarding this yearKs ne
student representati!e- ho also happened to ha!e the top score on the
entrance e)a$ination( @ust as the to said- it had been a long ti$e since
5irst <igh sa a $ale student as the ne student representati!e(
/&ince &aegusa1senpaiKs sisters also applied- I thought that this yearKs
representati!e ould be a girl "or sure(0
/IndeedHH 5urther$ore- i" +ina$i1chan ere a little $ore serious
during the entrance e)a$ination- then she ould be the ne student
/Do- thatAs hardly the caseHH0
<earing +iyu#iAs ords ith a hint o" teasing- +ina$i ore a sti""
e)pression as she shoo# her head( 8he $ain house had ordered her to
re$ain inconspicuous- so it as true that she held bac# on +agic Poer(
6!en so- 8atsuya belie!ed that i" she truly tried her best during the e)a$-
there as a high probability that she could ha!e ta#en the top spot- but
+ina$iAs passi!ity see$ed to render her unable to treat this sub:ect lightly(
@ust as they ere about to descend into an a#ard silence- 8atsuya
decided to change the sub:ect(
/I belie!e his na$e is &hippou 8a#u$a( >y &hippou- I donAt suppose it
ould re"er to that /&hippou0B0
+iyu#i asnAt intentionally putting +ina$i in a hard spot( &he
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i$$ediately "olloed her brotherAs e)a$ple(
/6)actly- he is the eldest scion o" the /&hippou0 5a$ily "ro$ the 18
' $ap o" the authorities a$ong $agical "a$ilies "loated into 8atsuyaAs
head and crossed ith +iyu#iAs $e$ories o" the "iles gleaned "ro$ the
&tudent 7ouncil records to reach a consensus(
/De!er thought that &aegusa and &hippou ould be in the sa$e year( I
onder i" this as a coincidence or predestined "ateHH <ope"ully they
onAt do anything to cause trouble(0
's i" getting a "oreboding pre$onition- 8atsuya slightly crin#led his
/I do onder i" they ere to create a ruc#us- ould that help us #eep our
identities secretB0
/8hat $ay also be true(0
9hat +iyu#i as re"erring to as that the disturbance caused by the
"riction beteen the eldest son o" the &hippou 5a$ily and the &aegusa
tins $ight help dra the schoolAs attention- hich ould then ta#e aay
anyone snooping around regarding +ina$iAs lin# to the siblings- or at the
!ery least decrease it so$ehat(
8hese ords or#ed ell in theory- but 8atsuya could "eel a headache
co$ing on hen he thought about ho had to ta#e care o" the ensuing
/&pea#ing o" hich- in regards to the "a$ily party tonightHH0
8he cups and tray ere all e$pty- so it as about ti$e to clean up( @ust as
+ina$i as about to stand- 8atsuya raised a hand to stop her be"ore
suddenly changing the sub:ect(
/I belie!e that +ina$i should still attend(0
8atsuya and +iyu#i had been in!ited to the Fitaya$a 3&hi;u#uAs "a$ily4
"a$ily gathering this e!ening( 2riginally- +ina$i as not supposed to
stay on guard at the house- but "ollo the$ to the Fitaya$a $ansion and
stay on station in the ser!antsA aiting area- but no that plan as sub:ect
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to change- 8atsuya elaborated(
/I" thatAs an order- I ill obey(0
+ina$iAs reply as precisely ho a ser!ant should respond( <oe!er- her
lac#ing e)pression see$ed to intentionally con!eyN /IA$ really not
interested0( 9hile +ina$i as an intro!erted young girl- that did not
$ean she as co$pletely ithout "acial e)pression- thus hen co$pared
to indi!iduals ho intentionally re!ealed e)aggerated e)pressions li#e
+ayu$i or 6ri#a- she as actually an easier person to read( .2" course-
that re*uired 8atsuyaAs le!el o" obser!ation s#ills(
5orcing other people into obedience as not 8atsuyaAs nature- nor did he
ta#e delight in ordering her to do things that she disli#ed( /&ince this is an
order- I ill obey0 as not an anser that he anted( I" thatAs ho the
other side !ieed it- he as $ore inclined to say /then "orget it0- but once
he re$e$bered his earlier ords- he ulti$ately opted against saying that
/In that case- sorry "or putting this on you this ti$e(0
&ince he "elt the need to put on this sho to help increase the
persuasi!eness o" the lie that she as a cousin "ro$ their $otherAs side- he
as not going to bac# don e!en though he heard so$ething he disli#ed(
/8hen letAs hurry and pic# a dress( I ill help +ina$i1chan- and eAre
al$ost out o" ti$e(0
+iyu#i clapped her hands together and said this to help brea# the tension-
though she as also probably ta#ing into account her brotherAs
une)pressed "eelings(
'nd de"initely not because she anted to see +ina$iAs a!ering
e)pression( Probably(
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Chapter 2
,espite being called a /"a$ily gathering0- this as still sponsored by the
"inancial giant Fitagata %shio . /Fitagata %shio0 as the industry na$e
&hi;u#uAs "ather used . thus the party as "airly bustling ith acti!ity and
&till- no one had the i$pression that the e!ent as chaotic or unorgani;ed-
in spite o" the e)tra!agant nu$ber o" people present(
/' grand area as e)pectedHH0
+aybe only the Fitaya$a $ansion as ide enough to ser!e as the
gathering area and pro$pt that undisguised ad$iration "ro$ 8atsuya(
&till- his senti$ent as not echoed by his co$patriots( +iyu#i $erely
s$iled as she ent along ith her brotherAs ords( 8o the side- +ina$i
still ore a be"uddled e)pression( In this regard- 8atsuya had $ore
opportunities in the $ilitary and at the research labs to interact ith
/plebeians0- so hen co$pared ith the heir 3candidate4 to the Cotsuba
5a$ily- +iyu#i- and the ser!ant ho had $ore or less gron up in the
Cotsuba 5a$ily $ain house- +ina$i . hat appealed to 8atsuyaAs "eelings
as di""erent than hat i$pacted his sisters based on their !arying
8he purpose o" todayAs "esti!ities as to congratulate &hi;u#u on her
return to the country a"ter her short study abroad session in the %&D' as
ell as her ad!ance$ent to Cear 2(
8hough she had already returned 2 ee#s ago- the reason hy this party
as delayed so long as because she as preoccupied ith greeting
9hile &hi;u#u as one o" the "inest students at the Dational +agic
%ni!ersity '""iliated 5irst <igh and a budding +agician o" talent in her
on right- her identity also entailed being a daughter o" a $a:or "inancial
giant( 5ro$ societyAs perspecti!e- her position as the daughter o" the 762
ca$e "irst( <er "uture as an aspiring +agician 3in the end4 belonged to her
alone- hereas her position as the 762As daughter carried the
responsibilities toards "a$ily- e$ployees- stoc#holders- and clients(
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2ing to these layered reasons- her personal 3B4 party as pushed bac#
until the day be"ore the ne se$ester began(
8he Fitaya$a 5a$ily o" "i!e people consisted o" her parents- a
grand$other- &hi;u#u- and her younger brother( &till- &hi;u#uAs "ather also
had an additional 5 brothers and sisters 3this sort o" "a$ily si;e as hardly
odd gi!en that they ere ealthy e!en a$ong the ealthy4- and gi!en that
&hi;u#uAs "ather $arried late- $ost o" her relati!es ere older than her(
+ore than hal" o" the$ had already $arried and had arri!ed ith their
"a$ily $e$bers in to- hile the single ones brought their "iancO or
engaged partners( <ence this "a$ily party boasted such enor$ous
attendance( HH't least- that as ho &hi;u#uAs $other e)plained it to
/%shio1#unAs "a$ily is an old industrial "a$ily that has lasted "ro$ the
pre!ious century to this age( ' lot o" people canAt be si$ply dis$issed so
9hile cautiously playing along ith the ladyAs ords- 8atsuya had lost
count o" the nu$ber o" ti$es he had sighed $entally( 5or so$e
un"atho$able purpose as to hy she ;eroed in on hi$- ?ady Fitaya$a-
once "a$ous throughout the $agical orld "or her 2scillation18ype +agic
as the '1ran#ed +agician- Fitaya$a >enio- or Daruse >enio prior to her
$arriage- sei;ed upon hi$ as her con!ersation partner the $o$ent 8atsuya
e)changed greetings ith &hi;u#u( &pea#ing o" hich- +iyu#i and
+ina$i had already "led to the sides o" &hi;u#u and <ono#a(
/6!en so- itAs still hard to put on a elco$ing "ace to so$eone ho as
sha$eless enough to drag a stranger in here( 6!en ith the co$pany at
sta#e- %shio1#un shouldnAt pa$per his "a$ily so $uch(0
8atsuya $entally concurred( .&hi;u#uAs $other appeared to be so$eone
ith a "or#ed tongue(
2" course- so$eone ho alays e$ployed a "or#ed tongue ould not be
able to sur!i!e in the real orld regardless o" her status as the 762As i"e
3the !irtual orld as another story altogether4- so she probably selected
the proper ti$e and place as ell as the appropriate con!ersation partner(
<oe!er- as to hy that con!ersation partner happened to be he ho$ she
$ost li#ely $et "or the "irst ti$e currently re$ained beyond 8atsuyaAs
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grasp no $atter ho he rac#ed his brain(
8his as not the "irst ti$e 8atsuya encountered >enio( 9hen &hi;u#u as
sending along the in"or$ation she gathered "ro$ '$erica- he and +iyu#i
had $et >enio that day- but that as only "or an instant( <e didnAt recall
doing anything that ould pro$pt her to stri#e up a con!ersation ith hi$(
3<oe!er- /%shio1#un0- ehHH Is it really 2F to use that na$e ith all
o" these people o" standing hereB4
&tarting to get a little "ed up ith >enioAs co$plaints- 8atsuya $entally
retorted hile indulging in a little escapis$ "ro$ reality(
8atsuya #ne the ages o" &hi;u#uAs parents( Daturally- there as no need
to go into detail regarding &hi;u#uAs "ather and since her $other as *uite
"a$ous in the $odern era- gathering their Personal ,ata didnAt re*uire too
$uch e""ort 3that being said- ith the hea!y security surrounding Personal
,ata in this day and age- a typical indi!idual ould be unable to do this4(
'dding a /1#un0 appellation to her husbandAs na$e as not because ?ady
Fitaya$a as older( %nli#e %shio- ho appeared younger than his age-
>enioAs age and appearance ere o" an accord- so their appearances put
the$ roughly at the sa$e age hile in reality- %shio as older than >enio
by 9 years(
3+ust be lo!e- then(4
8here ere *ual$s to e!en i$agine applying the ords /pa$pered0 or
/spoiled0 to a "riendAs relati!es(
+aybe she as satis"ied ith !enting all o" her internal displeasure- and
the ugly glint in >enioAs eyes "aded( <oe!er- in return- she le!eled a
calculating ga;e at 8atsuya( 8his ti$e it asnAt directed toards a
/stranger0 ho had been brought by a relati!e as a guest- but toards
8atsuya instead(
8hough his "ace as rela)ed- 8atsuya "elt :ust as out o" place as anyone
else ould( 9hile he hoped to rende;!ous ith +iyu#iAs group as soon as
possible- >enio didnAt see$ ready to let hi$ go(
/&pea#ing o" hich((((((0
>enio spo#e up e!en be"ore 8atsuya could e)cuse hi$sel"( 8hough he as
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holding bac# because she as the $other o" one o" his peers- this as still
a conte$ptible $ista#e on 8atsuyaAs part( .Dot that this as anything
pro"ound- but 8atsuya :ust as out o" sorts(
/&o- are you <ono#aAs crushB0
,espite this co$ing out o" nohere- 8atsuya i$$ediately pic#ed up on the
conte)t( <indsight as 20/20- but i" he could ha!e predicted this then he
could ha!e prepared a suitable response(
/&etting aside that ter$ "or the $o$ent- I a$ indeed that person(0
8o be honest- the na$e /crush0 as so$ething 8atsuya had to resist
ansering /thatAs true0( 8hough this as :ust pointless sophistry at this
point- it as not so$ething 8atsuya could so easily concede(
/&o you arenAt easily "lustered( <o dependable(0
&o$eho- this tisted point appeared to be >enio gi!ing hi$ high $ar#s(
2therise- he as recei!ing high $ar#s because he asnAt $uddling
through the issue( 8he s$ile >enio ore toards 8atsuya turned "ro$
su$$arily polite to so$ething a little "riendlier(
/>ut hy didnAt you acceptB0
5riendlier- but still ith an ele$ent o" teasing(
/8hough sheAs not on par ith your sister- isnAt <ono#a1chan still
&he $ust ha!e an interest in atching s$all ani$als scurry around in a
cage hile "eeling #inship to the$( '"ter success"ully passing the "irst test-
8atsuyaAs eyes too# on a glint that hoped she as asting her ti$e(
/I do thin# sheAs cute( Dot :ust her "eatures but her personality as ell(0
8atsuyaAs attitude as $ore or less :ust playing along "or sho( 9ithout
being aare o" hat he as loo#ing "or- he as care"ully scrutini;ing
>enio "or the purpose behind these ords ithout letting a single detail
slip by(
/'haHH I" thatAs ho it is- then this beco$es e!en $ore con"using(
Plainly- "acial appearance- body and personality are all e)cellent- but you
still re:ected her con"ession(0
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8atsuya "ailed to recall that he $entioned <ono#aAs body- but this $ust be
hat a slip o" the tongue as li#e( 8atsuya planned on ignoring her
regardless o" hat she said- but that appeared to be unnecessary(
6!en "aster than hi$- >enio dropped an e)plosi!e declaration(
/'lso- <ono#a1chan already helped you( &he ill ser!e you "aith"ully(0
I" this asnAt an e)plosi!e declaration then nothing else could *uali"y(
6!en "or teasing on her daughterAs peers- this as going too "ar( 5ro$ one
+agician to another- this as neither proper nor prudent(
'n ordinary $agic high school student ould be co$pletely unable to
understand hat >enio as re"erring to(
I" they could understand the $eaning behind her ords- then the natural
sensibilities that ca$e along ith a 16 to 17 year1old young $an should
ha!e been unable to hide his e)hilaration(
<oe!er- 8atsuya only ga;ed bac# at >enioAs "ace ith nary an e)pression
on his "ace(
>enioAs s$ile "ailed to cru$ble- as e)pected o" the i"e o" a $a:or
/HHI see( &o you are able to put on such an e)pression e!en #noing
<oe!er- she appeared to be unable to hide the slight sti""ness in her
/I didnAt plan on "eigning obli!iousness(0
8atsuyaAs !oice as de"initely so$ething that could not be described as
"riendly( Do $atter hat her intent as- >enioAs earlier ords belonged to
a category that could not be !oiced aloud( ,espite the "act that she as the
$other o" one o" his "riends- 8atsuya did not belie!e it as necessary to
con!erse ith her in a "riendly $anner(
/Is that soHH Fnoing the 6le$entsK poer and its potential !alue- thatAs
hy you re"used and too# a hands o"" attitude(0
<ono#aAs bloodline . the 6le$ents( <ono#a as the descendant o"
+agicians de!eloped to re!itali;e traditional $agic that ca$e e!en be"ore
the 4 =reat &yste$s and 8 +a:or 8ypes o" $odern $agic( 8o those ho
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held positions o" colossal poer- that bloodline as o" incredible !alue(
8atsuya as ell aare o" this point- hich as the sa$e point that >enio
as re"erring to(
't this $o$ent- the decorous s$ile on >enioAs "ace !anished( <er sti""
!oice changed to a chilly one(
/,onAt tell $e- this as all part o" your planB0
>enio "ailed to clari"y hat as planned out- but 8atsuya accurately
captured the gist o" the $eaning behind her ords :ust as he correctly read
the repri$and and slander entailed ithin(
/I ne!er planned on using <ono#a li#e that(0
8hat being said- 8atsuya as not coed( Dor did he atte$pt to rebut the
in:urious ords directed at hi$(
/Cet- you still alloed her to acco$pany you hen you beat bac# the
>enio $ight ha!e "elt that 8atsuya as playing du$b( 5rustration as
beginning to sur"ace in her ords(
/8here as no reason to deny her then(0
8atsuya #ne !ery ell the cause behind >enioAs alteration( 6!en i" he
$issed out on the positi!e points directed toards hi$- there as no ay
he could $iss en$ity( 8hat as si$ply the ay he had been "orged( 2n the
other hand- he had also trained to ne!er a!er e!en in the "ace o" "erocious
en$ity and $alice(
'gainst 8atsuya- ho shoed no inclination o" beco$ing enraged no
$atter hat sort o" pro!ocation as gi!en- >enio changed the
con!ersationAs direction(
/HH<ono#a is li#e a sister to &hi;u#u( 9e also see that child li#e sheAs
one o" our on( In addition- &hi;u#u has ta#en a "ancy to you( 8he trust
&hi;u#u bears toards you surpasses the real$ beteen ordinary "riends(0
8he ga;e 8atsuya sent bac# to >enio in*uired her as to the point o" all this(
In 8atsuyaAs $ind- the concern that /this as &hi;u#uAs $other0 had long
since been e)tinguished(
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/9hich is hy I conducted an in!estigation on you- &hiba 8atsuya1#un(0
>enio atched 8atsuya ith a challenging glint in her eyes(
/8hough that ould hardly be pleasant- I can understand(0
In response- 8atsuya recei!ed it ith a $agnani$ous loo#(
/9ho the de!il are youB 9ith Fitaya$aAsHH 8he in"or$ation netor#
"ro$ the /7orporate 'lliance0 couldnAt e!en "ind your Personal ,ataP0
/8hat $ust ha!e been a $ista#e( '"ter all- I canAt attend high school
ithout Personal ,ata(0
8atsuyaAs anser $ade per"ect sense( <oe!er- >enio "elt that this as the
/Please donAt underesti$ate adults( It is true that your P, has the loest
le!el o" in"or$ation- interlaced ith e)tra in"or$ation that co$plicated the
picture and a "e negati!e re!ies- so it asnAt o!erly per"ect( I" I had not
heard the things that child has said about you- I ould ha!e "ound nothing
/Is there so$ething suspiciousB0
8he tone 8atsuya used ith his riposte as as li"eless as a $achine( <is
entire attitude practically screa$ed that he had already seen through the
"act that >enio had no concrete in"or$ation on her hands(
/Do- thereAs nothing( 'nd thatAs hy itAs so odd(0
8atsuya silently atched &hi;u#uAs $other as she #ept glaring at hi$ hile
chasing her on tail around( 8here as nothing to say( 8hose ere
8atsuyaAs honest "eelings on the $atter( 8he only thing he could thin# o"
hile escaping "ro$ reality as that /sheAs unli#e her daughter in that
sheAs hot1blooded0(
/<earing that child tal#- you are so$eone ith incredible proess- no-
practically di!ine abilities and talent( '"ter this "ace1to1"ace con!ersation-
$y i$pression o" you has only gron e!en "urther along the /atypical0
direction( Cet- ho can your Personal ,ata be so /$undane0B0
>enioAs ords ere both the truth and $ere speculation( &ince it as $ere
speculation- there as no reason to ad$it to anything(
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/Personal ,ata is :ust si$ply in"or$ation( 8he actual person cannot be as
si$ple as that(0
Personal ,ata as the $as# created to allo other people to identi"y hi$(
9hether this $as# as close to the truth or not- so long as the "act /it as
close to the truth but not0 re$ained hidden- the $as# ould continue to
ser!e as his e)istence to the outside orld(
/HH&o you are saying that it is only natural "or i$pressions to di""er- is
that rightB0
/8hat is ho I a$( I" you as# $y na$e and e)periences- then itAs :ust as
recorded in $y Personal ,ata( In ter$s o" i$pressions- it is :ust as you
ha!e seen( >eyond that- there is nothing $ore I ha!e to say on the $atter(0
2n so$e le!el- those ere 8atsuyaAs honest thoughts on the $atter( .8hat
is ho I a$( <e as so$eone ho ielded incredible destructi!e poer
on the scale o" nuclear eapons and $ay !ery ell one day shatter the
orld( &o /hat0 as heB 8his as the *uestion that he o"ten posed to
hi$sel" ithout any suitable anser(
<oe!er- >enio as unable to accept that anser(
/'re you trying to play du$bHHPB0
8hough she tried to curb her !olu$e- that tone o" hers as harsh enough
9ith a "e e)ceptions- people ho tread through the upper strata o"
society ere able to de"tly capture hen so$eone o" an e*ual or higher
social standing re!ealed e$otional "luctuations( 8he sight o" the hostAs
i"e "ighting ith one o" the guests as starting to garner attention "ro$
the other participants(
/>enio( &ettle don a little(0
'lthough this as called a "a$ily gathering- there as no ay that only
"a$ily $e$bers ere in attendance( &he de"initely ouldnAt ant
so$eone else itnessing that scene o" hers- hich as hy it as only
natural "or Fitaya$a %shio to *uic#ly co$e o!er and arbitrate(
/&hiba1#un- I apologi;e "or $y i"eAs display(0
/<ardly- I belie!e I a$ the one ho should be apologi;ing "or $y insolent
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ords( '"ter all- I a$ an i$$ature $e$ber o" the younger generation- so I
ould be i$$ensely grate"ul i" you could pardon $y beha!ior(0
't %shio boing his head and apologi;ing- 8atsuya also returned the
greeting and o""ered his apologies( Cet- his ords ere still *uite haughty(
5ortunately- %shio didnAt $ind 8atsuyaAs rather re$o!ed ords( 8here as
no sense o" reneed an)iety and- :ust as the tide receded- his eyes dri"ted
"ro$ >enio and 8atsuya(
/I" appropriate- allo $e to e)cuse $ysel"(0
8atsuya li#ely belie!ed this to be a good opportunity- hence his ords ere
directed at %shio instead o" >enio(
/'h- thatAs true( I belie!e $y daughter ould li#e to spea# ith you(0
%shio "elt that >enio also needed so$e ti$e to cool don( 8atsuya boed
be"ore al#ing o"" in the direction o" &hi;u#uAs group hile %shio pressed
>enioAs bac# as they gra!itated toards the chairs by the all(
/8atsuya1#un- IA$ sorry(0
%pon approaching to a distance here they no longer needed to shout to
hear one another- &hi;u#u beat 8atsuya to the punch and apologi;ed "irst
hile boing her head(
'"ter &hi;u#u raised her head- a barely perceptible hint o" utter
e$barrass$ent as tuc#ed ithin her usual stoic e)pression( '"ter all- she
had in!ited one o" her class$ates to her party only to ha!e her on $other
trouble the$ 3in &hi;u#uAs eyes4( 6!en so$eone other than &hi;u#u ould
be donright e$barrassed(
/Dothing o" the sort- I understand here your $other is co$ing "ro$( I" a
$an appeared out o" nohere and approached your on daughter- so$e
concern is only to be e)pected( I thought nothing o" it- so &hi;u#u- please
donAt be concerned(0
/HH<$- sorry again(0
8he lac# o" any $ore re"utation as not because she anted to change her
$ood 3though there ere so$e ele$ents o" that as ell4- but because
"alling silent as against her nature( 8hough she plainly anted to
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apologi;e e!en $ore- that as the only phrase she could $uster( 8hat
"eeling as $ultiplied against her sense o" e$barrass$ent- causing her
current a#ard e)pression(
In the nic# o" ti$e- 8atsuya reali;ed that he as about to rub &hi;u#u on
the head( 8his as blatantly not his responsibility- but because that o!erly
depressed e)pression o!erlapped ith a loo# +iyu#i occasionally ore-
8atsuya as about to "all bac# on /rubbing her on the head0 as a re"le)(
<e as "ar too rela)ed- 8atsuya chuc#led ryly to hi$sel" as he tuc#ed
that thought deeply aay be"ore sha#ing his head and laughing lightly as i"
to signi"y /letAs end this here0(
&hi;u#u- <ono#a- +ina$i- and +iyu#i( In the circle o" these girls in their
gla$orous dresses- there stood a young boy in a suit in the $iddle(
Dor$ally- a person in his position ould be intensely ner!ous- but 8atsuya
didnAt detect that "eeling "ro$ the boy( <ono#a as "er!ently trying to
engage +ina$i in con!ersation hile &hi;u#u as inter:ecting e!ery so
o"ten to pre!ent her "ro$ beco$ing o!erly e)cited( 9ith +iyu#iAs
assistance at her side- +ina$i as tentati!ely replying bac#( 9atching
the$ all- 8atsuya only #ept a cursory ear open to this particular
con!ersation arrange$ent( 't this ti$e- he suddenly heard a !oice call out
to hi$ "ro$ behind and turned around(
/6)cuse $e- you are &hiba 8atsuya 2nii1san- correctB0
8his young boy appeared to be under the i$pression that 8atsuya didnAt
hear hi$ clearly( 8atsuya responded in the a""ir$ati!e a"ter the boy
repeated his *uestion(
8he boy probably hadnAt started $iddle school yet( 5aced ith a petite
young boy ith an adolescent air- 8atsuya had no need to in*uire his na$e(
8he young boyAs na$e burst "ro$ &hi;u#uAs $outh(
/2nee1chan( &orry- did I interrupt you allB0
Cet- the boyAs identity had to be con"ir$ed by his on lips(
/Do( &till- be sure to greet the$(0
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8aciturn as she as- &hi;u#uAs ords $ay sound cold on the sur"ace- but
the ga;e she sent toards her younger brother as *uite gentle(
5ully understanding her ords- the young boy na$ed 9ataru tried his best
to present a diligent e)pression . an e)pression as i" he as /putting on a
strong "ront0 that as si$ply adorable . and politely boed according his
sisterAs instructions(
/Pleased to $eet you( +y na$e is Fitaya$a 9ataru( I ill be a si)th
grader this year(0
9ataru had turned his body and "ace toards 8atsuya in order to introduce
hi$sel"( &ince he as already ac*uainted ith <ono#a- there as no need
to $a#e any introductions( <oe!er- he didnAt spare +iyu#i a single
glance . he see$ed to be a!oiding her 3so as to not be o!erhel$ed4(
'"ter 8atsuya e)changed greetings- he slightly a!erted his eyes hen
+iyu#i replied- clenched his teeth and tightened his hole body- hich
only solidi"ied that i$pression(
&ince this plainly asnAt because he disli#ed or as ignoring her- +iyu#i
only considered 9ataruAs attitude to be !ery cute( &till- his indecorous
beha!ior toards her /$istress0 see$ed to rouse so$e ill ill on
+ina$iAs part(
/I a$ !ery pleased to $eet you- 9ataru1san( +y na$e is &a#urai +ina$i(
I a$ 8atsuya 2nii1sa$a and +iyu#i 2nee1sa$aAs cousin( Please ta#e care
o" $e in the "uture(0
+ina$iAs greeting as i$peccable- but that duti"ul s$ile on her "ace
see$ed to lac# sincerity( 8hough this didnAt constitute arti"icial "aning- it
as di""icult to hide that she as :ust obser!ing decoru$(
<ono#a as the one ho stepped up to dispel the a#ard at$osphere(
/9ataru1#un- didnAt you ant to as# 8atsuya 2nii1san so$ethingB0
&till- she asnAt "orcibly changing the sub:ect here( >ased on 9ataruAs
earlier beha!ior toards 8atsuya- he did see$ li#e he had a *uestion to
/'h- youAre right(0
9ataruAs attention i$$ediately turned toards <ono#a( 8his as not
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because he as percepti!e- but si$ply ho children ere(
8here ere to people ith the na$e /&hiba0 here- but e!eryone here
#ne ho 9ataru anted to spea# ith- so no one interrupted hi$
intentionally . including +ina$i(
/8hereAs so$ething I ant to as# you(0
5aced ith an an)ious 9ataru ho "inally or#ed up the courage to spea#-
/&ure( &o long as I can anser it- o" course(0
8atsuya used an easily approachable tone to reply(
/I anted to #no- uh- can so$eone ho canAt use $agic beco$e a $agic
8he *uestion itsel" as nothing surprising- but "ro$ the $outh o" the son
"ro$ the Fitaya$a 5a$ily- this beca$e odd( 7urrently- both &hi;u#u and
<ono#a ore astonished e)pressions(
/Do( +agic engineers are technicians ho use $agic techni*ues "or
engineering( 8echnicians ho are unable to use $agic cannot be called
$agic engineers(0
<oe!er- 8atsuya ne!er hesitated and deli!ered a "ran# reply(
/Is that soHH0
<earing 8atsuyaAs clear anser- 9ataruAs shoulders drooped gloo$ily(
&till- it as too early to thro in the toel(
/Donetheless- $agic engineers are not the only technicians ho or# in
$agic engineering(0
&eeing 9ataru raise his head to loo# at hi$- 8atsuya re!ealed a steady
<is eyes bri$$ing ith hope- 9ataru hung on his e!ery ord(
/6!en ithout $agic- you can still learn $agic engineering(0
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8atsuya as not intentionally putting on a sho out o" pettiness( 6!en i" he
as a /!illain0- that did not $ean /his personality as e!il0( .'t least-
thatAs ho he sa it(
/9hile it is !ery di""icult to do 7', $aintenance ithout getting a "eel
"or $agic- you can still $a#e 7',s ithout being able to use $agic( 8his
is the sa$e "or other products used "or $agic techni*ues( 's long as you
study hard- you ill be able to obtain the #noledge and techni*ues
necessary to help your older sister(0
/'h- no- IA$ notHH0
Do $atter ho he tried to deny it- his inner thoughts ere already on "ull
display than#s to the utter e$barrass$ent on his "ace(
5olloing that- the ga;e he sent toards 8atsuya $orphed "ro$ one used
against strangers 3to ele$entary school students- high school students ere
adults4 to a orshipping one ith a respected air(
%n"ortunately- adults ere unable to adopt the sa$e pure attitude as
9atching the siblings ho had co$pletely been char$ed by 8atsuya "ro$
"ar aay- >enio suddenly anted to sigh(
/9hatAs the $atter- >enioB0
6!en i" %shio spo#e to her out o" concern- >enio could only $a#e a "ace
hile resisting the urge to sigh- but did not reply( <er ga;e only rested on
her husband a"ter he spo#e "or an instant be"ore once $ore dri"ting to
here the children ere tal#ing and laughing(
/>enio- e)actly hich part o" &hiba 8atsuya1#un do you disli#eB0
Fitaya$a %shio lo!ed his i"e- but that did not $ean he as a henpec#ed
husband( Eather- a portion o" hi$ as a"raid o" his i"e- but their
relationship as not one here he could not !oice his thoughts(
/HH%shio1#un- you sound li#e you appro!e o" hi$(0
>enio "inally turned her eyes bac# to her husband(
/I thin# that heAs an acco$plished young $an( +ore i$portantly- he is
!ery talented(0
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%shioAs reply as !ery "ran#Q another interpretation ould be that he
hadnAt thought !ery deeply on the $atter(
>enio "elt a surge o" displeasure on re"le)- but didnAt $uster any hysterical
/HH+aybe e!en a little too talented(0
<oe!er- hearing his !oice ith those "orcibly suppressed e$otions- she
#ne that his $ental state as "ar "ro$ peace"ul(
/5urther$ore- he #nos too $uch and understands too $uch( 6!en a$ong
the $e$bers o" the 8en +aster 7lans I a$ a""iliated ith- not a single one
o" the$ $a#es $e atch $y step as care"ully as he does(0
' sigh "inally slipped "ro$ >enioAs lips( 9ithout sighing- there as no
ay to con!ey the concerns she "elt(
/5or +agicians- being superlati!ely talented is not a sign o" happiness(
Instead- happiness recedes "ro$ the$( 8han#"ully- &hi;u#u stopped at the
ledge o" talent- but i" she dras too close to an incredibly talented
+agician- then she $ay be dran into the $is"ortune that is dran to
those o" o!erhel$ing poer(0
%shio as unable to tell his i"e that /she as o!erthin#ing this0(
Eather- %shio laid a hand on his i"eAs shoulder(
/6!en i" it is as >enio says and &hiba 8atsuya brings $is"ortune- is that
really his "aultB '!oiding hi$ because o" an uncertain "uture that is no
"ault o" his on is so$ething I cannot agree ith( I" his strength truly
brings $is"ortune and pulls &hi;u#u into the $i)- then all ill be ell i"
e re$o!e that $is"ortune "ro$ their li!es( '"ter all- IA$ not #non as a
/"inancial giant0 "or no reason( 9e are "a$ily- and I ill protect the$(
CouAll see(0
<earing %shioAs strong ords- >enio only nodded and didnAt reply(
De!ertheless- she see$ed "ar "ro$ accepting his ords(
Do it as hard to tell i" his strength as too great- but it as true that
8atsuya had the tendency to attract trouble- or at least he as that type(
@ust as 8atsuya as con!ersing ith &hi;u#uAs brother- the seeds o" trouble
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ca$e creeping up on hi$(
/&hi;u#u1chan- long ti$e no see(0
8he person ho struc# up a con!ersation ith an inti$ate tone as a
young $an ho loo#ed to be about 25 years o" age( 8hough he ga!e o"" a
"ri!olous i$pression- his attire asnAt bad or $undane at the !ery least(
&hi;u#u only nodded lightly in greeting( 8hough their na$e as currently
un#non- gi!en the "a$iliar air about the$- he $ust be an older cousin
"ro$ &hi;u#uAs "a$ily(
<oe!er- hen &hi;u#u and 9ataru sa the young o$an by the side o"
the $an- both o" the$ too# on astounded e)pressions( 't "irst glance- she
as o" the sa$e age as the young $an( Cet regardless o" her "ace or "igure-
both ere "ar beyond the nor$( <er choice o" dress and :eelry ere
i$peccable- gi!ing an al$ost $ysti"ying i$pression( >ased on &hi;u#u
and 9ataruAs shoc#ed e)pressions- this beauti"ul o$an as clearly not
one o" their relati!es(
/'h- IA$ going to get $arried at the end o" the year( 9ith her(0
8he young $an "elt the eyes o" &hi;u#u and 9ataru on hi$ and "rantically
/CouAre engagedB 7ongratulationsP0
/'h- no- she hasnAt gotten the engage$ent ring "ro$ $e yet(0
&hi;u#u politely o""ered ords o" congratulation- to hich the young $an
so$ehat a#ardly shoo# his head(
&eeing hi$ li#e this- 8atsuya thought /"or a $e$ber o" the Fitaya$a
5a$ily- this one sure is a nor$al young $an0( 8he beauti"ul o$an by the
young $anAs side ho see$ed to broadcast her e)istence s$iled at 8atsuya
a"ter noticing his ga;e(
8his ti$e it as 8atsuyaAs turn to beco$e astounded( I$$ediately
detecting the change in 8atsuya- +iyu#i sent a *uestioning loo# at her
brother that see$ed to in*uire /9hatAs upB0( I" this progressed "urther-
+iyu#i ould undoubtedly "ollo 8atsuyaAs line o" sight and narro her
bros upon seeing ho her brother as loo#ing at( Cet- be"ore things
ad!anced to that stage- the beauty turned not to 8atsuya- but to the star o"
tonightAs sho- &hi;u#u- and opened her $outh(
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/9ell $et- &hi;u#u1san( +y na$e is &aa$ura +a#i( ' pleasure to $a#e
your ac*uaintance(0
In 8atsuyaAs $ind- this o!erly si$pli"ied sel"1introduction as not the
product o" an intro!erted personality and disli#e toards e)pressing
hersel"- but because others should naturally #no ho she as ithout her
's i" to pro!e his hypothesis- <ono#a as#ed +a#i in a disbelie!ing !oice
a"ter being presented behind &hi;u#u and 9ataru(
/6)cuse $e- &aa$ura1san- you ouldnAt happen to be the actress-
&aa$ura +a#iB 8he one ho as no$inated "or >est 'ctress in the
Paci"ic +o!ie 'ards "or her role in /7urrents o" &u$$er0(0
/'h- so you sa that $o!ieB0
&aa$ura +a#i adopted a grace"ul s$ile and ansered <ono#aAs *uery( .
8hough traces o" glee could be seen ithin(
/&o it is youP IA!e seen that piece at the $o!ie theater be"ore( It as
/<o ho- than# you !ery $uchP0
8atsuya didnAt atch $o!ies- but he had heard o" the "a$e surrounding the
"il$ /7urrents o" &u$$er0( <e recalled that this $o!ie as the sub:ect o"
$uch debate in the pre!ious su$$er( >ased on <ono#aAs attitude- it
appeared to be a piece o" considerable interest( 't least- this as a "il$
hich pro$pted people to go see it in the theaters rather than !ieing it on
one o" the $ainstrea$ channels on 8R(
9ith a no$ination at an international "il$ "esti!al- this o$an $ust be a
"a$ous actress- 8atsuya thought( 't this $o$ent- 8atsuya lost all interest
in /her0( <e as originally uninterested in the entertain$ent business and-
"ro$ his perspecti!e- there ere too $any disad!antages to being a "a$ous
artist ho as the "ocal point o" the $edia( 9ith apologies to the highly
interested <ono#a- 8atsuya personally ished "or the$ to *uic#ly lea!e
and see# out other guests(
'las- reality had other ideas(
/5orgi!e $e i" I ha!e the rong personHH0
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8here as an upard lilt at the end o" that phrase- entailing a *uestion(
+a#i addressed 8atsuya and +iyu#i standing in the bac#(
/Cou to ouldnAt happen to be &hiba +iyu#i1san and &hiba 8atsuya1#un-
ould youB0
8atsuya and +iyu#i ere not naJ!e enough to appear harried( <oe!er-
though the degree as di""erent- shoc# still per!aded their $inds(
/Indeed e are( Pardon $e- but ha!e e $etB0
8atsuya stepped in "ront o" +iyu#i- pre!enting his sister "ro$ once $ore
introducing hersel"( ,irectly "acing +a#i- he o""ered his on *uestion(
+a#iAs reply con"ir$ed that 8atsuyaAs $e$ory as correct(
/Do- this is the "irst e ha!e $et(0
8hen ho ould you #noB 5aced ith 8atsuyaAs ordless in*uiry- +a#i
easily un!eiled the $ystery(
/<e let $e atch the broadcast "or the Dine &chools 8ourna$ent( <e said
that &hi;u#u1san ould be co$peting(0
Deedless to say- /he0 re"erred to the "iancOe by her side(
/I had thought the to o" you ca$e straight out o" a painting(0
&hi;u#u as currently spea#ing ith +a#iAs partner( 8he reason hy she
loered her !oice to pre!ent &hi;u#u "ro$ hearing as probably because
people ould $isconstrue her praise "or +iyu#i as insulting toards
&hi;u#u- 8atsuya reasoned( 9ith the drop in !olu$e- the gap beteen their
"aces also decreased( 8here $ay ha!e been another intent in!ol!ed- but
8atsuya as under no obligation to indulge her(
/EeallyB +y sister is another story- but I $ysel" a$ hardly deser!ing o"
such praise(0
8a#ing into consideration the location and person he as spea#ing ith-
8atsuya intentionally used /$ysel"0 in the "irst person( 7o$pared to
$eeting ith &hi;u#uAs parents- 8atsuya held +a#i at an e!en "arther
%nder the guise o" decoru$- +iyu#i re$ained silent "or the e)act sa$e
reason as her brother( >oth the siblingsA instincts told the$ to be ary o"
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/<o hu$ble o" you( I as not the only one ho thought highly o" you
to( +y "riends all concur as ell(0
&pea#ing o" hich- +a#i also listed the na$es o" se!eral actors and
directors- but un"ortunately "or her- 8atsuya hadnAt heard o" a single one o"
/2h- yesP ,o you ha!e ti$e ne)t ee#endB I" you donAt $ind- I ould
lo!e to introduce you to to our salon(0
+a#i in!ited 8atsuya ith a da;;ling s$ile( 2n one side- she used an
innocent e)pression to e)press purity hile the other hal" as char$ing
and te$pting( 's e)pected o" the acting proess "ro$ a "a$ous young
8o be honest- 8atsuyaAs interest as slightly per#ed( 9hat dre his
attention as "inding out e)actly hat this artist ho had nothing to do
ith $agic anted "ro$ hi$( 8atsuya ne!er belie!ed that codsallop
about being dran to so$eoneAs loo#s( 8he glint in &aa$ura +a#iAs eyes
as not so$ething so super"icial(
/8hough the opportunity is hard to co$e by- I ill ha!e to decline(0
Cet- 8atsuyaAs reply as a re"usal( 8hough his tone as conciliatory- there
as no roo$ "or $isinterpreting the $eaning o" his ords or any chance
o" changing his $ind(
/I see(0
In that instant- "ury bla;ed across +a#iAs pupils- but as i$$ediately
e)tinguished( 'gain- as e)pected o" the acting proess "ro$ a "a$ous
/8hen- your sisterHH 9ould +iyu#i1san grace us ith her presenceB0
8his ti$e she sent a generous s$ile toards +iyu#i( &he as able to
"reely ield a s$ile "illed ith o$anly char$s that as co$pletely "ree
o" co*uettish airs( +a#iAs acting s#ills ere legiti$ate indeed(
/&ince $y older brother has already declined- I couldnAt possibly bother
you by $ysel"(0
In response- +iyu#i i$$ediately replied bac# in the /negati!e0(
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>e"ore these responses that le"t no roo$ to $aneu!er- astonish$ent
su""used +a#iAs "ace( ,uring the ti$e she as unbalanced- 8atsuya
slightly inclined his head and +iyu#i grace"ully boed be"ore the to o"
the$ departed "or the dining tables(
&ecretly obser!ing their $o!e$ents- +ina$i si"tly "olloed on their
heels( &uddenly turning her head- +ina$i caught +a#i sending an ugly
loo# at 8atsuya be"ore hurriedly turning aay(
Possibly $isinterpreting the glance sent his ay by chance- her 3sel"1
declared4 "iancOe returned to her side "ro$ his con!ersation ith &hi;u#u(
+a#i elco$ed hi$ ith a ide s$ile- a s$ile that contained none o" her
earlier "ury or "altering(
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Chapter 3
8he anti*ue electric sports car . a replica o" the /super sports cars0
popular throughout the country beteen the late 1970s and the 1980s .
stopped be"ore the tall apart$ent constructed in the heart o" the city(
/<ere ill be "ine( 8han# you "or gi!ing $e a li"t(0
+a#i opened the ing1shaped door and stepped out "ro$ the lo- short
!ehicle that as practically pressed against the ground( &he rose
dra$atically "ro$ her seat as i" still in "ront o" the ca$eras- looped around
the rear o" the engine- po#ed her head into the dri!erAs seat . that being
said- this as actually an auto$atic steering syste$ that happened to
pro!ide a seat . and said this a"ter a glance(
<er lo!er- &hi;u#uAs cousin- had an unsatis"ied e)pression on his "ace(
<oe!er- once +a#i stepped closer and stooped to plant a #iss on his "ace
be"ore gi!ing hi$ a da;;ling s$ile- the young $an rela)ed and started the
'lthough +a#i a!ed goodbye to the anti*ue replica speeding aay- once
the electric race car turned around the intersection and !anished- the s$ile
i$$ediately "aded "ro$ her "ace in "a!or o" a colder e)pression( 8he
/lo!er0 ho could be $anipulated ith a single s$ile as e)pelled "ro$
+a#iAs $ind ith a sigh as she al#ed toards the apart$entAs lobby
here the ele!ators ere(
9ith the e)ception o" incredibly tall buildings li#e the Co#oha$a >ay
<otel- there ere !ery "e buildings in @apan that e)ceeded 100 $eters in
height in the 22nd century( 8his as especially the case "or residential
buildings( 5ro$ the perspecti!e o" the e""icient usage o" national soil- it
as pre"erable to construct a series o" ordinary- taller dellings co$pared
ith a single- lone s#yscraper( 9ith that philosophy in $ind- there as a
ro o" /condo$iniu$s0 here that stood 80 $eters tall and boasted 20
stories( +a#iAs roo$ as one o" the$- a corner roo$ on the 20th "loor(
8hrough a co$bination o" $irrors and "iber optics- e!en loer "loors had
su""icient light- but tenants ulti$ately pre"erred higher "loors- hich as
hy the top "loor co$$anded the he"tiest prices( In order to purchase such
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an e)pensi!e delling in the heart o" the city- a "a$ous actress early in her
career ould be hard pressed to do so alone ithout a sponsor( .8hat as
under the condition that she as :ust an actress(
/=ood or#(0
+a#i said to the to "e$ale bodyguards ho stood in the hallay-
#noing that their $istress had returned( 8hese ere no /"olloers0 that
typically acco$panied those in the entertain$ent circles- nor ere they
interns dispatched by the acting co$pany +a#i belonged to( 8hese ere
guards selected by her "ather(
In tele!ision industry- +a#iAs "ather as the 762 o" a stoc# co$pany ith
$any $edia co$panies under its u$brella( 8hough they ere not on the
sa$e le!el as the Fitaya$a 5a$ily- the &aa$ura 5a$ily as a $e$ber
o" the upper crust o" society ith considerable ealth at its disposal(
'"ter returning ho$e- +a#i "irst too# a shoer be"ore changing into a
$ore rela)ing dress and robes and sat on the so"a( It as a casual garb that
she ore only at ho$e or during that particular type o" photo shots( '"ter
"iddling ith the controls on the side o" the ar$rest- she ordered the <'E
3<o$e 'uto$ation Eobot4 to prepare a bottle o" ine and a glass( 8he
sur"ace o" the co""ee table dipped- alloing the bottle and glass hidden
beneath the "loor to pass through- then returned to its nor$al height( 8his
as a co$$on $echanis$ in high class apart$ents( >y no- this as
orthy o" neither surprise nor e)cite$ent( +a#i re$o!ed the cor# and held
the bottle to pour hersel" a glass o" red ine(
Eather than hurrying to sa$ple the taste- she le"t the glass be"ore her and
sa!ored the s$ell( &he asnAt really planning on drin#ing alcohol( It
asnAt that she as incapable o" i$bibing alcohol- but nor as she
so$eone ho couldnAt li!e ithout the bottle( 8his as +a#iAs ritual to
help her loosen her "raught ner!es a"ter returning ho$e "ro$ the :ob( 2n
so$e le!el- co$pared to the s$ell o" the li*uor- i$$ersing hersel" in the
at$osphere as probably $ore appropriate(
<oe!er- that hardly indicated that she asnAt drin#ing anything- and by
the ti$e hal" the contents o" the glass had disappeared- her bodyguard
opened the door to the li!ing roo$ and ca$e in(
/+ilady- &hippou1sa$a is here(0
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/8a#u$aB HH&pea#ing o" hich- itAs al$ost ti$e "or the appoint$ent(
<eAs a little early- but no $atter- let hi$ in(0
ItAs not li#e she as a"raid o" so$eone seeing her dressed li#e this(
9ithout any sign o" hesitation on her "ace- +a#i ordered her bodyguard to
allo the guest into the li!ing roo$(
6!en a"ter the bodyguard turned and le"t- she didnAt "rantically reach "or
her cos$etics(
&he as an actress(
6!en i" she only ore her underclothes- she as $ore than capable o"
playing /hersel" as others sa her0( 'gainst an ine)perienced youngster- a
slac# dress and robe as $ore than su""icient(
8he youth shon into the li!ing roo$ approached ith an air o" "a$iliarity
and plopped hi$sel" don in "ront o" +a#i ithout so $uch as a please(
<e stood at appro)i$ately 170 c$( 8he young $anAs build as slightly
thin- and though his "ace as "air- a "aint trace o" a childish air re$ained
about hi$ as be"itting his age( 8he reason he ga!e o"" a haughty
i$pression as li#ely due to the burning sense o" sel" that lur#ed in his
/=ood e!ening- +a#i1san(0
>oth his tone and actions ere guilty o" acting /older than his years0(
/9elco$e- 8a#u$a( CouAre *uite punctual(0
+a#i plainly didnAt pay any $ind to 8a#u$aAs bra!e shoing( &till- this
sort o" interaction asnAt enough to li"t 8a#u$aAs $ood( 8heir relationship
had already persisted "or a year(
/'nything to drin#B0
/Do need( 'lcohol i$pairs cognition(0
8a#u$a shoo# his head at +a#iAs suggestion( .8hough there as no
in!itation to /drin# alcohol0- +a#i didnAt call hi$ out on that(
/Do that you $ention it- itAs about ti$e you told $e( '"ter all- thatAs the
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reason you called $e here- asnAt itB0
/8rue( ?etAs cut right to chase(0
8a#u$a as a little o!er;ealous "or +a#iAs taste- but "aced ith a
youngster ho as al$ost an entire cycle younger than she as- she
asnAt going to stic# to her on style( 5or +a#i- 8a#u$a as neither a
younger lo!er nor her personal gigolo(
/I $ade contact ith Fitaya$a &hi;u#u( %n"ortunately- it loo#s li#e she
has only $anaged to re$e$ber $y appearance and na$e so "ar(0
/HH%ninterested in the arts- ehB0
/<oe!er- her "riend +itsui <ono#a clearly indicated considerable
interest- I belie!eB0
&eeing 8a#u$a $a#e no atte$pt to hide his disappointed $uttering- +a#i
e$ployed the poise o" an actress- no- a superstar as she s$iled at hi$(
8a#u$aAs attitude shi"ted 3"ar too honestly4 i$$ediately and he leaned his
torso toards +a#iAs direction(
/+itsui <ono#a is also one o" the elites a$ong the Cear 2 students( Pulling
her into the "old ould be o" great help(0
/+aybe( In addition- I "eel that i" her "riend +itsui <ono#a :oined
8a#u$aAs ca$p- the chance o" achie!ing a brea#through ith Fitaya$a
&hi;u#u ould rise as ell(0
+a#i and 8a#u$a ere /allies0( 5or their on personal reasons- they
sought +agicians as co$rades . or pieces on a board( 2ne o" these
scenarios in!ol!ed enticing +agicians ithin 5irst <igh ith great
potential into their ca$p and beco$ing "riends(
/I thin# that it ould be better to loo# "or co$panions a$ong your "ello
ne students "irst(0
/2ur goal is realign$ent in our respecti!e orlds( 7reating a party itsel" is
not the goal- :ust as capturing a leadership position at school is utterly
$eaningless( Eather- e should be conte$plating ho to bring people ith
$assi!e in"luence li#e the Fitaya$a 5a$ily o!er to our side( +a#i- didnAt
you belie!e in that as ell- hich is hy you approached that boring $an
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ho happened to be a relati!e o" the Fitaya$a 5a$ilyB0
Interrupting +a#iAs ords- 8a#u$a captured her ga;e ith a strong loo# o"
his on(
/?etAs set +itsui <ono#a as the "irst target( 2" course- you ill assist $e
in this $atterB0
+a#i turned a s$ile on the childish "er!or that burst "orth "ro$ 8a#u$a(
/9ell- thatAs a gi!enHH >ut 8a#u$a- you better ta#e heed to call her
/+itsui1senpai0( I" you donAt pay attention nor$ally- you $ight
accidentally address her by her "ull na$e at an une)pected ti$e and place-
donAt you thin#B0
' guilty loo# suddenly "looded 8a#u$aAs "ace as his eyes a!ered(
9etting her lips ith a touch o" red ine- +a#i ore a languid e)pression(
8hat as- o" course- an act(
/+a#i- is so$ething aryB0
&eeing that e)pression- 8a#u$a "urroed his bros( <is *uestion per"ectly
hit the nail on the head "or +a#i(
/&o$ething aryHH 8hatAs true(0
Daturally- all o" this as hidden aay( +a#i only put on an act that
/accidentally e)pressed that on her "ace0 and ended ith /since you as#ed-
I ill reply0(
/'s e heard be"orehand- &hiba +iyu#i appeared at the party ith her
older brother(0
8a#u$a see$ed ignorant o" the "act that as an act( 8here as no ay o"
#noing hether he as incapable o" seeing through her $as*uerade or
he si$ply didnAt care about +a#iAs $indset( <e as holly "i)ated on her
/,ragging those siblings to our side ill be !ery di""icult(0
/,id so$ething happenB0
/Do- e :ust tal#edHH >ut those to appear to ha!e a special
relationship ith the pre!ious &tudent 7ouncil President(0
+a#i as co$pletely lying at this point( +a#i had been dis$issed by
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8atsuya and +iyu#i ithout a chance to do any in"or$ation gathering(
<oe!er- 8a#u$a had no ay o" #noing this(
/8he pre!ious &tudent 7ouncil PresidentHH &aegusaP0
' spi#e o" en$ity erupted "ro$ the interaction beteen +a#iAs ords and
8a#u$aAs on( 5ueled by ani$osity- his e$otions co!ered any chance
rational logic could detect the "alsehood ithin(
/8his is :ust speculation on $y part- but I thin# the &hiba siblings are
already in the &aegusa ca$p( 8a#ing out the &aegusa 5a$ily in one "ell
soop ill be di""icult no( 8his is especially true "or the sister- ho has
legions o" supporters(0
8he hatred burned "iercely in 8a#u$aAs eyes as he bit bac# in a belligerent
tone that sounded stout(
/8he $ore "riends you ha!e- the $ore ene$ies you ill ha!e as ell-
thatAs the la o" the orld( I" theyAre the dogs o" the &aegusa 5a$ily- then
e ill thro don against one another sooner or later( >ring it onP0
/8he sister is the &tudent 7ouncil Rice President- so I thin# you better
abandon your idea o" sei;ing a "oothold in the &tudent 7ouncil(0
+a#i see$ed to i$plore ith her eyes as she atched 8a#u$a- ho had
leaped to his "eet in e)cite$ent(
/5ro$ hat I #no- the sister is a serious bro1con and her older brother is
detested by $any( 9ouldnAt it be "ar $ore bene"icial to use that
+a#i $ade this suggestion to 8a#u$a in a sincere- encouraging tone(
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Chapter 4
6!en no in the 21st 7entury- 8o#yo- 2sa#a- and Dagoya re$ained
@apanAs three largest cities( 'lthough 2sa#a once su""ered dra$atic
changes in real estate prices- the price o" goods as decreased than#s to
the ad!ent o" a "ree1to1use airport and being the "irst harbor to operate 24
hours a day- alloing the city to regain its status as an industrial hub(
Cet tonight- the location o" the incident to co$e as not 2sa#a- but
8he ti$e as appro)i$ately 2300 hours( 8he location as the paths
located near 'tsuta Par# along the ri!erban#s o" the <ori#aa Ei!er(
/&pea#ing o" hich- choosing this practically deserted place as the site o"
their secret gathering is pretty $uch screa$ing that they ha!e nothing to
hide here(0
6ntirely ignoring the location . in a thic#et by the side o" the al#ays .
that as surrounding the$- a 15 or 16 year old young girl ith long curls
and dressed in a gaudy dress that appeared "resh "ro$ a li!ely roc# and roll
concert spo#e *uietly(
/I "eel that those ords should not be co$ing "ro$ 2nee1san ho as
al$ost $ista#en "or a thug at this ti$e and place(0
8he !oice that replied bac# sounded lo "or a girl- but still a touch too
high "or a boy( +aybe it as i$possible to detect hether the indi!idual
as a young boy or girl based on !oice alone( <oe!er- the blac#-
slee!eless $inis#irt and "roc# as ell as the stoc#ings o" the sa$e color
ere plainly girlAs clothing( 's a side note- a blac#- high collared shirt ith
long slee!es as orn on the inside o" the slee!eless "roc#- so the only
!isible "lesh as the hands and "ace( 8he boso$ as only slightly ele!ated
and the blac# hairstyle as cut neatly short( 5ro$ appearances- this as
undoubtedly a young girl( <oe!er- based on the age o" the "irst young
girl and the title o" /older sister0- she as either a sister o" si$ilar age or
they ere tins(
/Ca$i- youAre a #nuc#lehead(0
'lthough the young girl ho as re"erred to as /Ca$i0 by her older sister
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"urroed her bros "or an instant in displeasure- there ere no other $a:or
co$plaints "orthco$ing(
/ItAs precisely because o" this out"it that e can be out here li#e this( 't
$ost- people ould only thin# /2h- itAs a delin*uent0- rightB0
8here as a certain persuasi!eness to that argu$ent- so Ca$i had no reply
to that( &till- ta#ing into consideration that the $ission gi!en to the$
tonight re*uired a certain degree o" $o!e$ent- clothing that "acilitated
$o!e$ent should ha!e been a basic re*uire$ent( Do- her older sister as
earing an out"it that ha$pered her $ore than anything else- hich should
not ha!e "ul"illed that basic re*uire$ent( &till- gi!en that she had chosen a
$ore "luid . oing to certain reasons- a dress as $andatory . set o"
clothing and yet as still dis$issed ith a $ere /#nuc#lehead0- Ca$i had
a hard ti$e putting that don(
Do $atter hat- she had to $uster so$e sort o" rebuttal( 8he young girl
rac#ed her brain- but a report that ca$e through the recei!er she ore
o!er one ear put a halt to that pointless e)ercise(
/2nee1san- our target see$s to ha!e arri!ed(0
/7on"ir$ed( 7o$ing by boat is certainly a surprise- and a racing boat to
boot( =i!en ho eye1catching they areHH 9ere they not planning on
hiding at allB0
2n the other side- the large- thic#set eye patch that her sister ore o!er her
le"t eye appeared to be a <+, 3<ead +ount ,isplay4( &he rubbed hand
o!er the sur"ace o" the eye patch hile her right eye s*uee;ed shut "or a
$o$ent be"ore snapping open( It appeared to be a hassle e!en "or the
person earing it( Ca$i thought /you $ight as ell not ear it0 hile also
co$ing across a $ore ob:ecti!e phrase and !oiced it aloud(
/I belie!e that the target isnAt trying to obscure the$sel!es( 6!en i"
so$eone sa the$- the in"or$ation ould at $ost be pro!ided to
/Eeporters- ehHH0
<earing her older sister $utter that ord in a suspicious $anner- Ca$i
intentionally shrugged her shoulders in an ordinary $anner(
/?etAs lea!e Coru 2nee1sanAs theory regarding the $ediaAs
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untrustorthiness "or ne)t ti$e(0
/Ca$iHH CouA!e gron *uite insolentP0
8he s$all tal# stopped there( 8he young girlAs intent as not entirely out
o" "un and ga$es( 7o$pletely heedless o" her older sisterAs satire- she
"ocused her ga;e on the racing boat that as approaching shore( 8he cabin
o" the sailing boat as not !isible "ro$ the outside( 8he boat stopped at the
s$all doc# that also ser!ed as a stopping point "or tour buses( 5ro$ the
boat- to large $en dise$bar#ed(
' $iddle1aged $an o" $ediu$ stature ho as neither round nor slender
greeted the to $en( <e ga!e o"" a shabby i$pression- but the to young
girls ere not "ooled( <idden beneath a layer o" a business suit- his body
had actually been trained through nu$erous battles( 5urther$ore- the
$anAs body ga!e o"" the s$ell o" gunpoder(
/8hatAs a reporterB ?oo#s $ore li#e a $ercenary(0
/'ctually- loo#s li#e he has e)perience being hired as a $ercenary( 8he
data should ha!e been "orarded to you :ust no(0
Coru turned her "ace aside to a!oid the /,idnAt you read itB0 loo# sent her
ay by her younger sister( &he had already !eri"ied the reporterAs
appearance( 6!en i" the person in *uestion tried to hide it- they ere
currently unaare that they ere under sur!eillance( 8he data i$age had
already identi"ied their target(
/In other ords- he as a hardline anti1establish$ent reporter "ro$ the get
/<$ph- a $odel reporter(0
/IAll patiently listen to 2nee1sanAs biases a"ter this is concluded(0
/,id you say biasHHB Ca$i- youAre $ore than :ust a little insolent noP0
/2F- 2F- itAs about to start( ?etAs start ith the boat "irst( 2nee1san- itAs all
up to you(0
8he older sister ore an unhappy e)pression at being so rudely sidelined-
but in spite o" their youth- they erenAt so unpro"essional that they ould
bungle their tas# because o" personal "eelings(
/I #no- I #no(0
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'lthough her replying tone as casual- CoruAs e)pression had gron
serious( &he unrapped the leather decoration co!ering her le"t "orear$
and re!ealed a braclet1shaped =enerali;ed 7',( Coru pressed the poer
button that as slightly re$o!ed "ro$ the nu$ber pad and su$$oned the
'cti!ation &e*uence(
/9ell then- IA$ setting it o""- 2FB0
Coru $o!ed behind her sister( &tanding in the gap beteen the trees- she
pinpointed the location o" the boat(
5olloing that- Ca$iAs body !anished(
In the ne)t instant- Ca$i stood on the sailboatAs bo(
+oc# 8eleportation( 8hat as the na$e Coru used "or this $agic( 8his as
a type o" $agic that re$o!ed an ob:ectAs inertia 3including the hu$an
body4- surrounded it ith a cocoon o" air- and created an e!en larger tunnel
o" !acuu$ around it to $o!e the ob:ect through that tunnel( &ince this as
only a $agic ith "our processes that utili;ed 9eight18ype- 7on!ergence-
7on!ergence- and +o!e18ype +agic- it asnAt a !ery co$plicated
techni*ue( &till- it still had its disad!antages- such as scouting out the
destination prior to "or$ing the surrounding air currents that bu""ered the
tunnel o" !acuu$( I" so$eone had the ability to repeatedly leap into the air
hile using this ability- they $ight e!en be able to continuously use this
ability to con"use their opponent( <oe!er- this techni*ue as
"unda$entally inco$patible ith attac#ing and as $ore suited "or
De!ertheless- the +oc# 8eleportation Coru e$ployed didnAt lea!e any trail
o!er the ri!erAs sur"ace( &he e!en controlled the air currents that bu""ered
the constructed tunnel o" !acuu$( 8his pro!ed that the shoy young girl
actually possessed an e)traordinary caliber in $agic(
%sing her older sisterAs poer to charge straight into the $idst o" their
prey- Ca$i lightly tapped o"" the dec# and stor$ed into the cabin interior(
8here ere "i!e $en aiting there( +uch li#e the reporter ho had once
ser!ed as a $ercenary- their bodies had also undergone training( <oe!er-
unli#e the barbaric i$pression that the reporter le"t people ith- their eyes
carried a decidedly loyal and pure ga;e(
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
/9hoAs therePB0
8he !oice rattling o"" the *uestion sounded a touch sti""( ' sti""ness that
ca$e "ro$ the $other tongue being renched out o" oneAs $outh but
"orcibly changed into @apanese( 8here ere $any @apanese people in the
'$ericas and 6urope- and the nu$ber o" 6ast 'sian indi!iduals ho
appeared si$ilar to the @apanese as e!en larger( Personal identi"ication
$ight ha!e to ait until a"ter the arrest- Ca$i thought(
%nder the light- Ca$iAs appearance as si$ply adorable( &he had a pair o"
large pupils ithin al$ond shaped eyes ith a "inely shaped set o" red lips
beneath a straight- narro nose( It as such a young girl ho had suddenly
burst into a cabin "illed ith only $en( 8he con"usion "elt by the $en as
palpable( Dot that Ca$i had any reason to allo these $en to reco!er their
its- o" course(
Ca$i reached out ith her right hand( 't this point- the $en "inally noticed
that this young girl ore a shining blac# set o" brass #nuc#les o!er her
right hand(
Ca$iAs action only ser!ed to con"use the $en "urther( >rass #nuc#les ere
eapons that increased the "orce o" punches and had little purpose i" not
ithin range( 5our o" the $en ere actually ondering i" this as cosplay
o" so$e sort(
/<ey- hatAs going onPB0
'll o" a sudden- one o" their co$panions "ell "orard( It as abundantly
clear no to the $en that the situation be"ore the$ as not a :o#e( 2ne o"
the$ crouched o!er their "allen co$rade and shoo# his body( <e as
probably obli!ious to the "act that he as spea#ing in 6nglish( 8he other
three $en no longer had the leisure to orry about such tri!ialities(
@ust be"ore he could !eri"y that the "allen $an had lost consciousness- it
as the crouching $anAs turn to let out a shout o" pain as i" struc# be"ore
collapsing( Ca$iAs right ar$ as pointed at the second !icti$(
/' +agicianPB0
>y this point- the $en had reali;ed the connection beteen their
co$panionAs collapse and Ca$iAs right hand( 9here!er the young girl
pointed ith her right hand- one o" their "ellos "ell to the "loor( >eteen
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the young girl and the$sel!es stretched a distance that as di""icult to
co!er ith ar$s alone( Dor as there any sign o" any ob:ect being "ired
"ro$ the young girlAs hands( 8he only re$aining e)planation they could
thin# o" ould be a $agical attac#(
8he $an ho dropped the *uestion as not anticipating any anser( <e
as :ust calling out on re"le)(
Ca$iAs hand reached out toards that $an and- :ust li#e his "ellos- the
$an stretched out on the "loor(
/Cou $onsterP0
<atred lacing their ords- to guns ere ai$ed at Ca$i( &houting alone
could be absorbed by the sound barrier that they had deployed ahead o"
ti$e- but Ca$i asnAt con"ident that they could silence gunshots( =i!en
that the guns they pulled out erenAt e!en e*uipped ith silencers- they
seriously hadnAt planned on co!ering their trac#s(
&till- Ca$i had no reason to si$ply ait there to be #illed(
2ne "inger pressed a button at the end o" the #nuc#les( 8he bar she held in
hand as the actual 7', itsel"- hereas the brass #nuc#les on the outside
ere :ust decorations( 8he &peciali;ed 7', loaded ith Ca$iAs speci"ic
$agic deployed its 'cti!ation &e*uence(
8his as a $agic that directly bestoed pain on the hu$an senses( '"ter
sustaining pain as i" they had been ha$$ered in the abdo$en- the $en
easily lost consciousness(
'"ter putting don resistance ithin the cabin in record ti$e- Ca$i also
dispatched the three $en at the doc#s in si"t succession be"ore re$o!ing
a trans$itter "ro$ a bag on her aist to contact support( Coru al#ed
toards her as the three layers o" her dress "luttered in the ind( 8he eye
patch o!er her le"t eye as gone no- probably due to her "rustration( 9ith
her real "ace re!ealed- the older sisterAs appearance as actually rather
childish( 2n the other hand- as cute as Ca$iAs appearance as- it also ga!e
o"" the sa$e neutral i$pression that her !oice did(
/Ca$i- ha!e they been identi"iedB0
/9eAre $atching their appearances no- so e should #no soon( 8he
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people on board ere $e$bers o" the <u$anist organi;ation acti!e in the
%&D'( I" e brought the$ bac# "or intensi!e in!estigation- $ight e
ha!e a chance at "inding out ho is pulling their stringsB0
/'nd the reporterB0
/>ased on the trans$ission records le"t in the ter$inal- that one appears to
be an independent congress$an "a$ous "or loathing +agicians( 9hat a
careless $ista#e(0
/EeallyHH I "eel a little disappointed(0
/Ceah( ?oo#s li#e our inter!ention asnAt e!en re*uired(0
7o$pared to her older sisterAs disappointed s$ile- the young sister as
earnestly co$plaining(
/<ey- Ca$iP0
Cet- those ords roused a scolding "ro$ her older sister(
/<o can use you that "or$ o" /our0B0
8hat being said- itAs not li#e it as directed toards the co$plaints about
the :ob(
/%hHH 8hereAs no har$ in $e using /our0 onceP0
/'lthough there are girls ho use that "or$- they are still the $inority(
&eparating yoursel" "ro$ the pac# and draing attention to yoursel" is a
big no1noP0
8hough the phrase /'nd 2nee1san has the right to tal#B0 as stuc# in his
throat- his older sisterAs repri$and as undeniable- so Ca$i could only
sallo his retort(
<oe!er- Ca$iAs con"lict beca$e co$pletely $eaningless ith the arri!al
o" the strea$ o" countless $en in blac#(
/Coung $aster- eAre about ready to $o!e(0
8he $en ho loo#ed suspicious under any conte)t directly re"erred to
Ca$i as /young $aster0(
/Cou idiotP ItAs /$ilady0- not /young $aster0P ,id you ant to aste the
young $asterAs painsta#ing e""ort in cross dressingPB0
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8he one ho appeared to be the leader o" the $en "uriously struc# one o"
the $en in blac# on the bac# o" the head(
/IA$ terribly sorry- young $aster- no ait- $ilady(0
/Cou- you- youHH0
/Cou co$pletely ruined itP0
8he beauti"ul young girl *ua#ing in "ury as actually a cross dressing
young boy( In a so"t !oice- he "uriously ad$onished-
/'nd thatAs not /cross dressing0- itAs a /disguise0P0
/Ces- yes- itAs a per"ect disguise( 6!en in our eyes- thereAs no ay e could
ha!e thought that it as Coung +aster 5u$iya(0
/9hat the hell are you doing lea#ing it all outP0
/Ca$i- rela)(0
Coru- or Furoba 'ya#o- arned Ca$i- or Furoba 5u$iya- as the latter as
rapidly losing control o" his !olu$e( 's a side note- /Ca$i0 as a
pseudony$ that ca$e "ro$ re!ersing the last to phonetics o" the na$e
/5u$iya0- hereas /Coru0 as de!ised "ro$ the $iddle character in
/&till- you guys are all too careless( 9ith that sort o" diligence- I onder
ho terribly the $aster ill scold all o" you(0
8he $en in blac# all paled in an instant( 5u$iyaAs brain also cooled don(
' clear sign o" ho greatly the "ear o" the /$aster0 as i$printed in their
/9e should not be staying here( Prepare to retreat(0
In an organi;ed and e""icient $anner- the $en in blac# hauled the reporter
and "oreigners aay in large sac#s(
/IA$ sorry- 2nee1san(0
?e"t behind as 5u$iya- still standing there as Ca$i- ith his head boed
don in sha$e(
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/2h ell- there as nothing e could do anyays( I" I had ta#en your
"eelings into accountHH0
/HHI a$ o!er:oyed to hear you say that(0
5u$iyaAs shoulders see$ed to slu$p at his sisterAs reassuring ords(
/@ust bear ith it a little longer( 2nce you hit puberty- thereAs no ay to
disguise yoursel" as a girl any longer( 8hough it ill be a hassle- e ill be
"orced to co$e up ith another disguise "or you(0
/CeahHH CouAre rightHH0
8hough he as plainly a high school student- there as no sign that he as
physically unable to continue pretending to be a girl( 5u$iya nodded
encouragingly to hi$sel" as i" trying to a!oid "acing that "act(
2n the sur"ace- Shou =ong:ing as the young oner o" a popular 7hinese
restaurant- but he had se!eral other personas on the sly(
2ne o" the $ore ell1#non ones as an inter$ediary ho helped
transport re"ugees ho ere staying in @apan te$porarily a"ter "leeing
"ro$ the totalitarian regi$e in the =reat 'sian 'lliance to a third country(
Dot only as he assisting in transportation- he as also pro!iding "unding
"or !arious resistance $o!e$ents against the =reat 'sian 'lliance
's i" to balance the scales- he also ser!ed as a spy "or the =reat 'sian
'lliance( 8o be precise- he as the local collaborator "or spies( ,uring the
Co#oha$a Incident last 2ctober- he had pro!ided assistance to the =reat
'sian 'llianceAs operational units(
6!en ithin the Ra$pire Incident at the dan o" the year- Shou had
pro!ided critical assistance in aiding the Parasites secretly enter the
&uper"icially- his secret acti!ities appeared donright treacherous as he
aided and abetted both @apan and the =reat 'sian 'lliance- but naturally
there as a $ethod to the $adness( ' student o" s$all go!ern$ent- this
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political !ie did in"luence hi$ so$ehat- but abo!e all else- Shou ser!ed
as catAs pa to so$eone else in order to "urther anti1+agician acti!ities to
da$age both @apan and the =reat 'sian 'lliance(
It as deep in the night on 7hina &treet( In the base$ent o" his restaurant-
Shou =ong:ing #nelt in a roo$ that no one else had tread in be"ore( 8he
target he boed to as a large- hu$anoid doll dressed in 7hinese "inery
o!en ith countless gold and sil!er threads hile sitting in a chair( 8his
as a &orcery >ooster $ediu$ that had been created "ro$ a hu$an
corpse- ith its entrails re$o!ed and preser!ati!es applied be"ore directly
$odi"ying the brain( >ehind the doll- a gigantic trans$ission de!ice that
ri!aled the "ree;er used "or the restaurant sat there ith a cable co$ing out
that plugged directly into the bac# o" the s#ull(
/=reat 2ne(0
<earing the young $anAs su$$ons- the corpse that ser!ed as the $ediu$
opened its eye lids( 5ro$ ithin the e$pty soc#ets- a ill1o1the1isp as
/=ong:ing- ho go the preparationsB0
8he doll let out a rattling !oice( =i!en the ob!ious lac# o" any lung
$o!e$ent- the !oice as created "ro$ 'ncient +agic that ca$e "ro$
$ainland 7hina- So$bi"ication( %sing the sa$e techni*ue "ound in 7',s
to trans"or$ psion signals into electronic ones- the corpse as turned into
a co$$unication de!ice that could not be iretapped(
/'las- the <u$anists gathered "ro$ '$erica ha!e all been apprehended
ith the reporter(0
/&o the plan to de!ise sy$pathetic itnesses has "ailed(0
7o$pletely the opposite o" the utterly re!olting !oice- the phrases and tone
e$itted by the corpse ere both $odern and co$$onplace( 8his pro!ed
that the one spea#ing through the corpseAs $outh as no spirit but a li!ing-
breathing hu$an being(
/It is as the =reat 2ne has sur$ised(0
Shou respect"ully boed( 8hough the corpse doll had no gi"t o" sight- it
as still able to con!ey the at$osphere here( 't the !ery least- ShouAs
attitude as not supplicating(
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/8heir $ission as $erely co$ple$entary( 8he pro:ect ith the $edia is
proceeding s$oothly(0
/9hat is your progressB0
/'ppro)i$ately 40I ith tele!ised $edia and 30I ith the press(0
/2nce you reach 50I ith the tele!ised $edia- begin operations at once(
7ontinue until the politicians beholden to the !oters are "orced to act(0
/'s you co$$and(0
Shou boed deeply and the doll e$itted a satis"ied aura(
8he ill1o1the1isp in the e$pty eye soc#ets "lic#ered out(
>y the ti$e the young $an raised his head- the doll had closed its eyes(
Shou rose to his "eet and re$ained "acing the doll as he bac#ed out o" the
base$ent( '"ter closing the door behind his bac#- the young $an "inally
sighed in relie" no that the doll as no longer in sight( 6!en 'ncient
+agic users "ro$ the $ainland ho speciali;ed in =hostal#er li#e Shou
ho had nothing to do ith So$bi"icationQ spea#ing to a corpse as
alays a grotes*ue e)perience no $atter ho $any ti$es he did it(
39ellHH I suppose that is a !essel that be"its a $alicious spirit ho
carries a grudge against the =reat <an(4
<oe!er insulting to his leader- ShouAs pri!ate ru$inations "ailed to
detract "ro$ his de!ilish s$ile in the slightest(
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Chapter 5
%ommon &ra 2!"#, April #- the "irst day o" the ne school year( 8atsuya
and +iyu#i ent to school- +ina$i stayed ho$e( 8he clichO phrase- KitAs
been a hile-K didnAt "it- because they had occasionally ent to school "or
&tudent 7ouncil $eetings during spring brea#(
'"ter today and to$orro- the to siblings ould no longer be alone on
the path to and "ro$ school( Perhaps because she as conscious o" that-
+iyu#i glued hersel" to 8atsuya during the short co$$ute "ro$ the station
e!en $ore than usual( 5ro$ a"ar or e!en "ro$ near- their point blan#
nearness ga!e o"" the illusion that they ere al#ing ar$ and ar$(
5ro$ the start- these siblings had beco$e pretty ell #non a$ong the
$agic high school students- hose nu$bers could not be called s$all( 't
this ti$e- al$ost no student did not #no o" the relationship o" the elder
brother and his younger sister( 8he Tcon!entional peopleA ho raised their
eyebros at the i$propriety o" relati!es ho acted $ore li#e lo!ers ere
not :ust one or to( It as not a surprise that there ere no bra!e souls 3or
possibly boorish people4 calling out to the$ to ta#e the$ to tas#- but the
nu$ber o" people ho directed shoc#ed eyes at the$ as not s$all(
Daturally- such a thing L being surrounded by those stares L did not
$a#e +iyu#i an)ious at all( 5or her- people ho could not "ace her and
spea# up ere only ri""ra""( 6!en under nor$al circu$stances- it could be
said that she accu$ulated a lot o" loo#s- so the ti$es she asnAt being
loo#ed at ere "eer( 5or +iyu#i- other peopleAs stares ere too nu$erous
to be bothered about(
2n the other hand- there as no ay 8atsuya could Tnot let the ga;es o"
others bother hi$A li#e his sister(
<e ser!ed as his sisterAs guard( <e de"ended his sister "ro$ all $alicious
intent( 8his as his assigned duty and- si$ultaneously- a pri!ilege he
ould not let others ta#e "ro$ hi$( 8atsuya could not ignore any ill ill
directed against +iyu#i(
8his as not particularly di""icult( >ecause the tri"ling ill ill as directed
at 8atsuya hi$sel"- no one as able to direct it against +iyu#i(
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It as hard to ai$ a negati!e eye at +iyu#i( 5or e)a$ple- e!en those ho
"elt :ealous o" +iyu#i had di""iculty ai$ing their :ealousy( <er loo#s and
talent ere too lu$inousQ :ealously sent against her beca$e a sort o"
graciousness( ,ue to the di""iculty o" directing $alicious intent against
+iyu#i- a strong ill as needed to do it(
8hus- i" 8atsuya as aare o" it- it as ne!er a $ere "lu#e(
Paired ith a strong ill- the stare as neither distinctly hostile nor
"riendly( 8he loo# being ai$ed at +iyu#i as o" an unusual type(
6specially- "ro$ the opposite se)- it as e!en less understandable "ro$ a
8atsuya as "a$iliar ith the boyAs "ace( <e had not $et hi$ "ace to "ace-
but he had seen the 3, i$age that had co$e ith the pro"ile( 8he boy as
one year younger than hi$- the "resh$an representati!eL
3L8hat is certainly the eldest son o" the &hippou 7lan(4
%nconsciously- his bro "urroed- but 8atsuya deliberately #ept his
e)pression "ro$ changing( 8atsuya !igilantly #ept hi$sel" "ro$ displaying
an o!ersensiti!ity- but perhaps because he as aare o" the inter$ittent
glances 8atsuya sent his ay- 8a#u$a a!erted his "ace and disappeared
into an alley entrance(
I$$ediately a"terard- +iyu#i spo#e to hi$ in a doubt"ul !oice( &he
#eenly percei!ed that a "raction o" her brotherAs $ind had slipped aay
"ro$ her( 6!en though she could ignore the ga;es o" the ri""ra""- she
couldnAt ignore 8atsuyaAs ga;e(
8atsuya shoo# his head to tell +iyu#i TitAs nothing-A turned around in
response to a greeting o" T$orningA and raised his hand(
6ri#a- "olloed by ?eo- <ono#a- &hi;u#u- +i;u#i- and +i#ihi#o ere in a
$ass( It asnAt unusual "or all o" the$ to be together a"ter school- but it
had been a hile since they had all been together on the ay to school(
6specially &hi;u#u- ho hadnAt co$e to school ith the$ since be"ore the
end o" last year- because she had been studying abroad(
&eeing as at last their "inal $e$ber had returned- the "aces ere all the
sa$e- but so$e o" the$ ere earing a design on their uni"or$s di""erent
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than hat they had until last $onth- hen they ere "irst years(
2n 8atsuyaAs breast- there as no an e$ble$ o" an eight petal "loer
surrounded by a gear(
8he sa$e e$broidered design as on +i;u#iAs bla;er(
'nd on the right side o" +i#ihi#oAs chest- there as the eight petal icon o"
5irst <igh &chool(
/+i#ihi#o- ho does it "eel to ear the uni"or$ o" the "irst courseB0
/,onAt $oc# $e- 8atsuya(0
+i#ihi#o ansered 8atsuyaAs broadly grinning teasing congratulations
ith a pained but s$ug s$ile( 8hey had #non that +i#ihi#o ould be
trans"erring to the "irst course since last $onthQ hoe!er- this as the "irst
ti$e they each got to loo# at each other in their ne uni"or$s(
/<o about you- 8atsuya ho does the ne bla;er "eelB0
/6!en though you called it ne- it only loo#s that ay(0
+i#ihi#oAs re$ar# had also re"erred to the "act that the $agic engineering
course as a ne course( 2nly the na$e denoted hat it as and the
instruction "or the brand ne course hadnAt e!en started yet( 9ell- not :ust
the instruction but e!erything about the ne course ould start "ro$ today(
't any rate- until the day it actually started not e!en the class lineup as
clear- indeed- the "eeling o" not enough preparations had been $ade as
incontro!ertible( 8he re$ar# about only the appearance being changed as
also a :o#e but it as not ithout "oundation(
/2oh- cynical(0
<oe!er- 8atsuya had a serene- or rather a Kit doesnAt really $atter-K
attitude about it- contrary to his "riends e)pectations it see$ed( 9ith
8atsuyaAs personality- they hadnAt e)pected hi$ to sho great :oy about the
class separation- but they had i$agined he ould be a little buoyant(
/Ee1al1ly- +i;u#i as "airly slac# :aed(0
'"ter ?eo- 6ri#a rang out her discontent( &he $ade a sidelong glare o"
disappoint$ent- but as her opponent as 8atsuya- the dart o" her glare
passed on right through to the other side(
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/I aHas not slac# :aedP0
+i;u#i protested ithout thin#ing( &he hadnAt intended to pay heed to her
second course "riends 3in short- 6ri#a and ?eo4( >ut she couldnAt conceal
the e$barrassed happiness on her "ace that 6ri#a had pointed out(
/ItAs alright not to o!er do it(0
'nd as 6ri#aAs $ischie!ous s$ile shoed there as undoubtedly no need
"or +i;u#i to be orried about their "eelings(
8he +agical 6ngineering 7ourse classroo$ in the $ain school building
as in the $iddle o" the classroo$s on the side on the third "loor( 7lass 6(
In short- the roo$ right abo!e the one 8atsuya and +i;u#i had been going
to until last $onth(
>y the ay- 6ri#a and ?eo ere both in class 5( 9hen they "ound out their
assigned ho$eroo$ "ro$ the schoolAs ireless- the pair had blatantly
displayed their distaste( Perhaps their attitude as genuine- or $aybe they
ere concealing their real "eelings out o" e$barrass$entH only the people
the$sel!es #ne and- anyay- it didnAt really $atter either ay to
8atsuya( 'lthough- +i;u#i and <ono#a ere deeply interested(
9hen 8atsuya entered the classroo$- the seats ere about hal" occupied(
8he "i!e ros o" "i!e ere the sa$e as last yearQ the @apanese phonetic
order o" the seating as also the sa$e as hen they ere "irst years(
<oe!er- did the ' I % 6 2 lined on the side ithout regard to gender
ha!e a special $eaning or as it $erely a hi$(
'"ter asting less than a second on sol!ing the $eaningless pu;;le-
8atsuya ent to his on seat( 8he "irst ro "ro$ the hallay- second seat
"ro$ the "ront( ?i#e the pre!ious year- +i;u#i as in the seat ne)t to hi$(
9ell- this had no special $eaning since in @apanese phonetics- they ere
&hi1ba and &hi1ba1ta(
/+i;u#i is ne)t to 8atsuya this year also( It ould ha!e been good i" I had
atte$pted to change classes as ell(0
8he one ho gru$bled the unnecessary :o#e ithout caring hether
anyone heard it as 6ri#a- ho had both her ar$s on the rail o" a ide
open indo(
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/&urely- thatAs not needed( CouAre in the class ne)t door(0
?eo- ho as peering at the "ace o" 6ri#a- ho as thrusting her body out
the indo- "olloed up ith a re$ar# that- contrary to its contents- as
spo#en in a regret"ul tone(
/8hatAs right( 6!en though eKre in di""erent classes- itAs not particularly
2ne year be"ore- this scene ould ha!e beco$e an e)change o" abusi!e
language- but 6ri#a didnAt "ollo up ith an in"la$$atory re$ar# or tit "or
tat( 8hat change as a little a$using to 8atsuya- as that beha!ior 3on the
sur"ace at least4 indicated agree$ent ith ?eoAs ords ithout loo#ing at
hi$ e!en a little(
/&ince intruding on another class isnAt "orbidden(0
/2nly ta#ing instruction in another class is(0
+i;u#i pro$ptly shoed her agree$ent ith 8atsuyaAs state$entQ she
probably thought she could di!ert 6ri#a( 2" course- although she loo#ed
ild- 6ri#a had al$ost ne!er escaped "ro$ instruction( 8atsuya as the
clear inner in nu$ber o" ti$es lea!ing the classroo$ during instruction(
/8hatAs also true(0
Perhaps- 6ri#a no longer re$e$bered placing any ob:ections( &he readily
nodded her assent to +i;u#iAs ords(
/De!erthelessH there are a lot o" un"a$iliar "aces(0
6ri#a $ur$ured that as she loo#ed around the roo$- changing her train o"
thought( 8he ostensibly sociable 6ri#a re$e$bered the "aces and na$es o"
al$ost all one hundred o" the second course students in their year( In short-
Tthe un"a$iliar "acesA ere "or$er "irst course students(
/'h- no that youA!e $entioned itH it does see$ a little une)pected(0
8he nu$ber o" students inside the classroo$ had considerably increased as
it got closer to the start o" instruction- and to thirds o" the seats ere no
"illed( 8hat as con"ir$ed by e)a$ining the group- and the genuinely
sociable ?eo- in a !oice soa#ed in surprise as his ords suggested-
e)hibited his agree$ent(
8he pair L no- although she hadnAt piped up to agree ith 6ri#aAs
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state$ent- +i;u#i should be included L the trio had belie!ed that $ost o"
the people ho ould ant to trans"er into the ne +agic 6ngineering
course ould probably be second course students( 8hey hadnAt thought
that the e)tre$ely proud "irst course students ould choose to share a
classroo$ ith second course students(
5or 8atsuya- although the "irst course trans"ers ere surprising- it as a
tri"ling $atter- so e!en though he could certainly understand hy 6ri#a
and the rest had thought that ay- he hadnAt bro#en in ith any special
/>y the ay(0
6ri#a asnAt "i)ated on this topic either( >esides- there as so$ething she
as $ore interested in(
/8atsuya- youAre being glared at a lot(0
6ri#aAs re$ar# as a""ir$ed by 8atsuya displaying a slight shrug o" his
shoulders( 6!en be"ore she pointed it out- he had been aare that he as
on the recei!ing end o" a "i)ed glare o" hatred( 'nd he had already grasped
hose glare it as( 's "or hy he as being glared at- since he couldnAt
really understand- it $ight eigh on his $ind( De!ertheless- he con"ir$ed
that he had $ore reasons to hate her than she had to hate hi$( &ince
$erely being loo#ed at didnAt cause actual har$- 8atsuya planned to lea!e
it alone- but it see$ed li#e "or 6ri#a- it asnAt so$ething she could ignore(
<er disagreeable !oice shoed hat as going on in the bac# o" her $ind(
/&he caused all that trouble in so $any aysQ I onder i" she still hasnAt
ac#noledged that it as all her on te$per tantru$(0
/6!en i" she #nos it as a te$per tantru$- she probably canAt :ust
replace all those e$otions *uic#ly(0
/Uuic#lyH itAs already been hal" a year(0
/2nly hal" a year(0
's 6ri#a ansered hi$ thus- 8atsuya directed his eyes "leetingly to the
origin o" the stare- hich as o"" to the side behind hi$( 5lustered-
<ira#aa 7hia#i- ho had been gloering at hi$ in hatred- a!erted her
eyes( I$$$ediately a"terard L perhaps she as $ad at hersel" "or
shoing coardice L she scoled at hi$ ith a gri$ loo# in her eye(
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8hat attitude o" 7hia#iAs grated against 6ri#aAs ner!es e!en $ore(
Daturally 6ri#a- ho had seen the bra!e display o" introspection by
&aya#a- ho had been decei!ed into beco$ing part o" a terrorist group
a"ter the incident- had trouble $a#ing up her $ind about 7hia#iAs
beha!ior- since ith the e)cuse o" a!enging a $isplaced grudge- 7hia#i
had #noingly beco$e a catAs pa o" "oreign spies and e!en no hadnAt
apologi;ed to 8atsuya once( 2n the other hand- 6ri#a- ho didnAt ha!e any
proble$ pic#ing "ights- did ant to go a"ter 7hia#i hersel"- but there as a
chance that doing so ould cause 8atsuya trouble instead( >esides- 6ri#a
"elt that 7hia#iAs i$pudent actions :ust no $eant she as Ttrying to pic#
a "ight(T
' sharp light resided in both o" 6ri#aAs eyes( <er eyes did not narro- to
the contrary- both o" her eyes ere open ith the corners o" her eyes
raised( 'lthough 6ri#aAs beauti"ul "ace had a catli#e air about it- it as
tinged ith a "erocity that brought a tiger or leopard to $ind( <er
appearance e!en aroused so$e slight desire to appreciate her aesthetically
in 8atsuyaQ hoe!er- i" he let this situation go on- he as guaranteed to be
e$broiled in a hirlpool o" trouble( 8atsuya considered the cost o" being
an onloo#er a little too e)pensi!e(
/6ri#a- itAs useless to spea# to her(0
6ri#a turned her sullen "ace to 8atsuya( ' ea# illed $an ouldA!e
i$$ediately prostrated hi$sel" and apologi;ed energetically- but
un"ortunately 8atsuya didnAt ha!e any such laudableness 3B4(
/IAll put out the spar#s I let "all $ysel"( 8hat is- i" the other side has the
ner!e to "an the spar# into a "la$e(0
8atsuya s$iled cruelly( &eeing nothing "riendly in that loo#- 6ri#a cal$ed
don( Perhaps it as an indication that she as shoing her regret by
trying to conceal her e$barrassed s$ile(
't that point- a !oice inter!ened ith good ti$ing and changed the $ood(
/7an I bother you "or a bitB0
8atsuya turned around to the !oice that called out to hi$ "ro$ right behind
hi$( ' $ale student- ho had :ust entered the classroo$ ith an a$iable
s$ile- as standing there(
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/Is this the "irst ti$e eA!e properly greeted each otherB I a$ 8o$itsu#a
<agane( Dice to $eet you- &hiba1#un(0
/8hatAs right- I #no your na$e- but essentially this $ight be Tthe "irst
$eeting(A &hiba 8atsuya( Dice to $eet you- 8o$itsu#a(0
9hile grasping the o""ered hand in return- 8atsuya ansered in his usual
tone( 8o be truth"ul- asnAt sha#ing hands a little o!er the top "or a sel"1
introduction beteen "ello class$ates- 8atsuya thought- but he didnAt
re!eal his "eelings( 8atsuyaAs surprise o!er 8o$itsu#a being here also
didnAt sho on his "ace(
Donetheless- 8atsuyaAs "riends didnAt ha!e a po#er "ace li#e 8atsuyaAs( 5or
e)a$ple- +i;u#i "i)edly stared at 8o$itsu#a- ho had sat don right
behind 8atsuya- and hen she ca$e bac# to hersel"- her "ace turned red(
&he as probably e$barrassed o!er her on bad $anners( +i;u#i spo#e
to 8o$itsu#a ith an e$barrassed grin(
/8o$itsu#a1#un- nice to $eet you( I a$ &hibata +i;u#i( I a$ pleased to
$eet you(0
/I a$ pleased to $eet you also(0
8o$itsu#aAs "riendly s$ile rid +i;u#i o" her e$barrassed grin( 9atching
hat as so$ehat o" a nor$al high school e)change at last released the
other to "ro$ their petri"ied state(
/<o une)pectedH "or the "i"th ran#ed 8o$itsu#a to :oin the +agic
6ngineering course(0
's her ords i$plied- the a#ard ords 6ri#a directed to so$eone ere
"ull o" surprise(
8hat as understandable( 's 6ri#a said- 8o$itsu#a as a top class honor
student ho as ran#ed "i"th in the co$bined scores o" the "inal e)a$s at
the end o" their last school year 3the top o" the o!erall scores ere 1st
place +iyu#i- 2nd place <ono#a- 3rd place a $ale student by the na$e o"
Igara &ousu#e- 4th place '#echi 6i$iQ &hi;u#u didnAt $a#e the list
because she as studying abroad4( 9ith such a satis"actory record as a "irst
course student- there didnAt see$ to be any need to sitch to the $agic
engineering course( L's "ar as those ith ob:ecti!e eyes could see(
/'re you 7hiba1sanB 's so$eone ho is also "ro$ the <undred 5a$ilies-
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I thin# you $ight be aare 7hiba1san- but $y "a$ily speciali;es $ore in
co$bat rather than e$ergency aid- and since I Hha!e a proble$ ith $y
practical s#ills(0
' *uestion hadnAt been e)actly addressed to hi$- but 8o$itsu#a ansered
6ri#a hile directing a slightly pained "ace at her( 8hus- 6ri#a 3and ?eo as
ell4 recalled the gossip about the other na$e associated ith 8o$itsu#a(
Eange Sero- a distance range o" ;ero- as his nic#na$eQ hile it as a
title o" honor i$plying the $ani"estation o" $atchless strength at ;ero
distance- si$ultaneously it as an insult that said he could not do distance
$agic( 'ctually- it asnAt that he couldnAt use the$ at allQ hoe!er- there
as no *uibbling o!er the "act that 8o$itsu#a had a proble$ ith long
distance ai$ing hich he hi$sel" recogni;ed(
5ro$ the side- 8atsuya sent a li"eline to 6ri#a- ho as lost at sea and
unable to "ind ords to anser hi$ ith(
/6!eryone has strengths and ea#nesses(0
9as he co$"orting hi$ or needling hi$- to this *uestionable li"eline-
/9hat 8atsuya says has persuasi!e poer(0
9ith an earnest !oice- ?eo bro#e into the pause(
8o$itsu#aAs Tbitter s$ileA changed into a Tsarcastic s$ile(A
/I "ound you- 8o$itsu#a1#unP0
I$$ediately a"terard- his co$ple) tangle o" e$otions as blon aay
by the cheer"ul !oice that thrust into the classroo$ o" second year class 6(
In "ront o" the sight o" 8o$itsu#a- ho hurriedly turned around- T'$yA L
that is- '#echi 6i$i L as noisily trotting to hi$ "ro$ the classroo$As
rear entrance( ,ue to the "act that she as an athlete in last su$$erAs Dine
&chools co$petition- she as also an ac*uaintance o" 8atsuyaAs(
8here as a large nu$ber o" high pitched clic#ing sounds as the
"ra$eor# o" 8o$itsu#aAs des# brought her to a haltQ her hand as raised
li#e she as trying to thro a ball through a hoop in so$e "ashion and her
hole "ace as s$iling(
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/+orning- 8o$itsu#a1#un(0
It as as i" a TPA and a TVA dancing ere at the end o" her ords- so
energetic as her greeting( 'lthough they both had care"ree personalities-
6i$i as di""erent "ro$ 6ri#a hose :oy"ulness as concealing the
ounds in her heart L 6i$i as :oy"ul to the core( &he as the !aluable
type that $ade those atching her "eel that the orries they ere $oping
o!er ere "oolish( ,espite the scene :ust no- due to 6i$iAs arri!al- all
a#ard "eelings had been eradicated "ro$ the at$osphere(
/'h- yes( +orning- '#echi1san(0
8o$itsu#a as dran by the char$ o" that energy( Do- the "eeling gi!en
o"" by the loo# on his "ace as not T6i$i is char$ing 8o$itsu#aQA T6i$i is
o!erhel$ing 8o$itsu#aA see$ed closer to being correct(
/&hiba1#un- $orning(0
/+orning- '$y( 7o$e to thin# o" it- '$y and 8o$itsu#a ere in the sa$e
class last year(0
/8hatAs right( CouAre ell in"or$edB0
/ItAs a $inor thing(0
8atsuya sent a s$ile drained o" energy at the ide1eyed 6i$i(
/'$y- this girl is &hibata +i;u#i( 8his is 7hiba 6ri#a( 8he one o!er there
is &ai:ou ?eonhart( 8he three o" the$ ere $y class$ates last year(0
+i;u#i and the others shouldnAt ha!e had any interaction ith 6i$i( 'nd
8atsuyaAs hypothesis as not o"" the $ar#(
/Dice to $eet you( I a$ '#echi 6i$i( 7all $e '$y(0
8atsuya had introduced the three si$ply 3carelesslyB4 and 6i$i had readily
introduced hersel" in return(
/2(F(- '$y( ItAs alright i" you call $e 6ri#a(0
8he one ho i$$ediately responded as- naturally- 6ri#a(
/Please call $e- ?eo(0
/Dice to $eet you- '#echi1san(0
?eo "olloed ith a 3supple$entary4 sel" introduction and +i;u#i bobbed
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her head( 's she did so "or so$e reason- 6i$i pu""ed up her red chee#s in
/,idnAt I tell you to call $e '$y(0
+i;u#i could not understand hat sheAd done to $a#e 6i$i angry and her
eyes shoed guilt and innocence( I" you loo#ed at it ob:ecti!ely- 6i$iAs
insistence as nearly irrational- but cases here "orce triu$phed o!er
reason had been obser!ed repeatedly in the orld( 'nyay- 6ri#a and ?eo
ere du$b"ounded since they didnAt #no hat #ind o" girl 6i$i as- and
8atsuya- ho so$ehat #ne her- as not shoing any intention o"
inter!ening "or so$e reason( 'nd the other person ho #ne her-
8o$itsu#a- appeared to be $erely i$patient and reluctant to inter!ene(
/%$$H nice to $eet you- '$y( It ould be "ine i" you addressed $e as
In the end- although she as pu;;led- +i;u#i ga!e in(
/Ces( Dice to $eet you- +i;u#i(0
't once- 6i$i s$iled openly( 8he s$ile as $ore "oolishly naJ!e than
pleasantQ it had the e""ect o" $a#ing people doubt slightly that the sel"ish
$anner o" spea#ing they re$e$ber her using had really happened(
&atis"ied- 6i$i nodded and pi!oted her body turning toards 8o$itsu#a(
/Do- itAs 8o$itsu#aAs turn(0
9hy had the con!ersation turned to hi$sel"B 9hat the hec# did she $ean
by his turnB 8o$itsu#a as co$pletely du$b"ounded by this too rapid turn
o" e!ents(
6i$i once again !oiced her nic#na$e(
8o$itsu#a still didnAt understand hat 6i$i as de$anding "ro$ hi$(
8he pu;;led 8o$itsu#a loo#ed right and le"t and beca$e aare that
8atsuya as enduring the scene ith a s$ile(
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8o$itsu#a as#ed "or help "ro$ 8atsuya by eye contact( 8atsuya constructed
a sober e)pression to anser 8o$itsu#aAs 911 call(
/Cou donAt li#e being called '#echi1san- rightB0
8atsuyaAs hypothesis as on the $ar# it see$ed- as 6i$i nodded yes1yes(
/,onAt you ant 8o$itsu#a to also call you by your nic#na$eB0
6i$iAs sullen display ith +i;u#i had "oreshadoed this( 9ell- 8atsuya
had already e)pected this de!elop$ent so he hadnAt said anything during
the pre!ious episode(
2n the other hand- 8o$itsu#aAs "ace started to "lo ith cold seat(
/6h- u$$- '#echi1san- you called $e T8o$itsu#a1#unA andH0
/2hB &o it ould be alright i" I called you T<agane1#unBA0
&o thatAs it M you should ha!e said so earlier M 6i$i said ith her eyes
hile she leaned toard 8o$itsu#a- peering up at his "ace ith both ar$s
behind her bac#- holding her hands together( 8o$itsu#a as clearly
"lustered to anyoneAs eyes( 8he lu#ear$ eyes o" 8atsuya and the others
ent to 8o$itsu#a- ho as leaning bac#ards ith an e!en sti""er "ace(
/Do- u$- that isnAt e)actly hat I hat I anted to sayH 'hP0
8o$itsu#a as desperately trying to a!oid $eeting the eyes o" 6i$i- ho
as bliss"ully staring at hi$- and he deliberately stood up and raised his
!oice hen he caught a stare "loing at hi$ "ro$ to seats aay(
/'#echi1san- letAs ha!e this tal# ne)t ti$e(0
6!ading 6i$i- ho had bloc#ed o"" hal" his "ield o" !ision by leaning
"orard- 8o$itsu#a al#ed toard the seat o" the girl that had been
loo#ing at hi$(
/Is that you- <ira#aa1sanB CouAre in this class as ellB0
8atsuya and the others ere :ust barely able to catch 8o$itsu#aAs !oice
"ro$ here they ere( 8hey erenAt able to catch 7hia#iAs di""idently
hispered ords o" reply at all(
/'$y- is it alright not to "ollo hi$B0
6ri#a spo#e to 6i$i- ho loo#ed sullen about being abruptly le"t behind-
in a purposely lo tone(
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/,o you thin# thereAs nothing you can do no but retreatHB0
9as this the hisper o" a de!il te$pting a hu$an heart into sin- or as it
the !oice o" an angel to so$eone "acing a hard road( L2" course- it asnAt
such a grandiose thingQ it as si$ply nothing $ore than the declaration o"
an i$p egging on her "ello school$ate- but the e""ect as instantaneous(
6i$i nodded ith a deter$ined loo# and rapidly ent a"ter 8o$itsu#a(
/HCou are one scary "e$ale(0
8o ?eo- ho as not $a#ing a *uip but hispering it in a so$ber tone-
/8his ay is $ore constructi!e- rightB0
6ri#a ansered ith a broad grin(
/7ertainly- this is an e)tre$ely interesting de!elop$ent(0
' bit o" surprise $i)ed into the shoc#ed loo# +i;u#i ga!e to 8atsuya- ho
as loo#ing at the ga;es o" undisguised curiosity that onloo#ers directed at
the three o" the$- 8o$itsu#a- 6i$i and 7hia#i- hich he :ust pointed out(
8he youth"ul dra$a o" hich 8o$itsu#a as the lead actor 3or perhaps the
prey4 as ta#en care o" by the ringing o" the bell( '"ter 6i$i le"t the 7lass
6 classroo$ at a li!ely trot- 6ri#a and ?eo ent to the 7lass 5 classroo$(
'"terards- there as no cere$ony o" the "irst ti$e all the students ere
asse$bled "or instruction( 8he stance o" the school as that getting the
in"or$ation needed as an indi!idual responsibility( 5ro$ no on- this
class ould ha!e a teacher in charge o" their practical s#ills 3:ust li#e
classes '1, in the "irst course4( 2!er hal" the class considered not e!en
displaying the na$e o" the teacher until the actual day it started pretty o!er
the top- but 8atsuya as part o" the $inority ho didnAt thin# so(
It probably hadnAt been decided til the last $inute L i" 8atsuyaAs
supposition as co$pletely accurate(
'"ter all- i" the nu$ber o" $agicians *uali"ied to be teachers hadnAt been
inade*uate- then hal" the students that they had the capacity "or at 5irst-
&econd- and 8hird high schools ouldnAt be placed in a loer caste(
8a#ing the dearth o" personnel into consideration- the teacher in charge o"
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7lass 6As practical s#ills instruction ould be a "airly eccentric indi!idual
"or a $agician educator and $ight not be $uch o" a teacher- 8atsuya
predicted( 5or e)a$ple- !ery elderly or perhaps the opposite "airly young(
I" all the instructor as going to do as teach practical engineering s#ills-
then the teacher ould not need to ha!e a great deal o" s#ill as a $agician-
so the possibility that they $ight dispatch a researcher ithout any
*uali"ications as a teacher as also ithin 8atsuyaAs e)pectations(
<oe!er- thirty seconds a"ter instruction as to ha!e started- a practical
s#ills teacher stood in "ront o" the entire second year class 6 ho did not
$eet 8atsuyaAs e)pectations( It also see$ed li#e the teacher as not hat
the other students i$agined either- as a s$all co$$otion ran through the
8he one ho appeared as a o$an in her "orties(
2" course- that alone ouldnAt stri#e anyone as unusual( 8here ere
clearly $ore $ale instructors in $agic high schools- but "e$ale ones
erenAt all that unusual( 8he surprise ca$e "ro$ the o$anAs loo#s(
<er hair as blonde( 8he color o" her eyes ere blue( <er s#in color
hite( <er body as tall and her legs ere long "ro$ this and her other
physical traitsQ it as clear "ro$ loo#ing at her that the o$an as a
7aucasian o" Dordic descent(
/I a$ @enni"er &$ith 3su$isu4(0
&he ga!e her na$e in the style o" 6nglish spea#ing countries and her "ull
na$e as an 6nglish one(
/I a$ originally "ro$ >oston- but I beca$e a naturali;ed citi;en eighteen
years ago(0
<oe!er- these ords $elted the $a:ority o" their doubts( I" that $uch
ti$e had past since she had been naturali;ed- then there $ust be no orries
on the security "ront( Dor$ally- the patriotis$ o" naturali;ed citi;ens
3toard the nation that naturali;ed the$4 as re*uired to be "ir$er than
that o" the citi;ens born in a nation( I" they did not display $ore loyalty to
their ne country than their "or$er country- then their naturali;ation
ouldnAt be recogni;ed( In the case o" a $agic researcher ith $any
chances to connect ith national secrets- this is especially true( 8he
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*uestion o" hy she ould thro aay her nationality to beco$e a
naturali;ed @apanese citi;en hen the %&D' as not only the ealthiest
nation in $odern era- but had the $ost cutting edge $agic techni*ues
re$ained- but to 8atsuya- that as co$parati!ely uni$portant(
/%ntil the end o" the last school year- I as a pro"essor at the Dational
+agic %ni!ersity- but "ro$ this school year on- the $ain school has placed
the instruction in $agic engineering "or this class in $y hands( I loo#
"orard to or#ing ith you(0
&he is in the sa$e situation as 8su;ura1sensei- 8atsuya thought( 8su;uraAs
bac#1story as that his too independent $ind had caused his don"all(
9hat could be the circu$stances in &$ith senseiAs caseB L8atsuya
considered that hypothesi;ing she as a trouble$a#er as both rude and
8hey had to register "or electi!es by the end o" "irst period- but "ro$ the
second period on they i$$ediately started on the regular curriculu$Q it
as no the noon brea#(
8atsuya arri!ed at the &tudent 7ouncil roo$(
<e as- "ro$ no on- a &tudent 7ouncil Rice President( 8atsuya had
trans"erred "ro$ the Public +orals 7o$$ittee to the &tudent 7ouncil due
to a secret3B4 agree$ent beteen ';usa and FanonQ hoe!er- this as the
result i$ple$ented by co$pletely ignoring 8atsuyaAs on ill( &ince he
didnAt ha!e any lingering attach$ent to the Public +orals 7o$$ittee and
he didnAt ob:ect to :oining the &tudent 7ouncil- 8atsuya hadnAt put up any
resistance- but i"- "or e)a$ple- 8atsuya had $ade a sho o" resisting- then
he probably ha!e been persuaded a"ter all( LDot by ';usa- but by +iyu#i(
Perhaps- 8atsuya didnAt try to resist because he understood that(
9hate!er as going on in the bac#ground- 5irst <igh &choolAs ne
regi$e "or the co$$on era 2096 ne school year as sa"ely launched(
8he Public +orals co$$ittee had also added ne $e$bers( +i#ihi#o had
been appro!ed as 8atsuyaAs successor under the reco$$endation syste$
by the &tudent 7ouncil( 5ro$ the clubs- &hi;u#u as chosen to
supple$ent the lac# o" $e$bers brought by the end o" the last school year(
8oday as the "irst day o" the ne school year and in the &tudent 7ouncil
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roo$- the roster o" ';usa- Fanon- Isori- 8atsuya- +iyu#i- <ono#a- &hi;u#u
and +i#ihi#o- in the spirit o" a Kelco$e ne $e$bersK party- ere
holding a luncheon(
8he student council $eeting table as a little cra$ped "or eight people(
Perhaps Fanon thought that as a good e)cuse "or totally gluing hersel" to
Isori( 9hile the pairAs passionate L Isori loo#ed a little unco$"ortable L
scene see$ed to e$barrass ';usa and +i#ihi#o- 8atsuya and &hi;u#u
ere po#er "aced- <ono#a see$ed so$ehat en!ious and +iyu#i loo#ed
at the scene ith a s$ileQ lunch ti$e proceeded har$oniously(
>y the ay- hile <ono#a anted to ta#e FanonAs lead and glue hersel" to
8atsuya because it as cra$ped- ith +iyu#iAs standard attitude unbro#en-
she couldnAt $uster the deter$ination(
'"ter the $eal ended- each o" the eight recei!ed a tea cup or a co""ee cup
according to their pre"erences( 8he one aiting on the$ as the 3<1P94-
Pi)ie( 8he girl1shaped robot as originally on loan to the Eobot Eesearch
7lubQ hoe!er- due to !arious circu$stances- especially because Pi)ie
itsel" ished it- "ro$ today on- it beca$e so$ething "or 8atsuya to use in
the &tudent 7ouncil roo$(
8he topic o" their "irst lunchti$e con!ersation as the ne +agical
6ngineering 7ourseAs uni*ue choice o" pro"essor( <oe!er- close to
hal"ay through the noon brea#- their interest turned to the i$$inent
ad$issions cere$ony(
/Is there another rehearsal a"ter school todayB0
+i#ihi#o- ho had not been in!ol!ed in the preparations "or the
ad$issions cere$ony- as#ed- politely conscious o" the presence o" the
/Its $ore o" a business $eeting than a rehearsal( 8here are only to
"or$al rehearsals L one during spring brea#- and one i$$ediately be"ore
the cere$ony( 'nd since eAre only practicing the progra$- e onAt be
reading the "or$al address(0
+iyu#i replied in her de"ault polite tone "or spea#ing to $ale students(
/?ast year alsoB0
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+iyu#i- ho had $ade the "or$al address last year- replied to &hi;u#uAs
"ollo up *uestion also(
/6h- reallyB It did not loo# that ay at all(0
FanonAs response displayed her surprise in a ay that loo#ed slightly
e)aggerated( Daturally- "or that reason- the person hersel" i$$ediately
spo#e up(
/2ur turns ere pretty toughH because itAs hard or#- I thought eAd
hold $any rehearsals(0
/'t any rate- it as roughH0
's as her apparent habit- Fanon belatedly cut o"" her ords :ust a"ter she
co$$itted a !erbal ga""e( ';usa- ho had been e$ployed as the "resh$en
representati!e the year be"ore last- as ti$idly sin#ing into a deep
/9ell- ell( Da#a:ou1san as ner!ous( 8hatAs not particularly unusual(0
Isori *uic#ly "olloed up a"ter his betrothedAs error on one side-
/2" course- +iyu#i not getting stage "right as not all that peculiar(0
'nd 8atsuya "olloed up a"ter Isori to pre!ent +iyu#i "ro$ ta#ing it the
rong ay(
/,ear $e- 2nii1sa$a( 6!en I as ner!ous(0
+iyu#iAs ti$ing as not !ery natural hen she spo#e "ro$ her place ne)t
to 8atsuya- ith both hands clasped on her thighs( In that state- she leaned
her upper body to pee# up at her elder brotherAs "ace( 9hile $a#ing a
pained s$ile at his sisterAs e)pression ith slightly pu""ed chee#s- 8atsuya
lightly caressed +iyu#iAs hair- $a#ing her return her head to the original
distance( +iyu#i let out a s$all /'hH0 and sent a bash"ul s$ile to
8atsuya( &hi;u#u :abbed <ono#a- hose "ace had "ro;en in an /'argh-0
ith her elbo in the "lan#- and Fanon- ho as closely stic#ing to Isori-
loo#ed innocent and unaare o" her on inappropriateness(
In the con"used at$osphere- +i#ihi#o deliberately coughed to return
things to nor$al( 'nd 8atsuya spo#e to +i#ihi#o- hose "ace shoed the
e""ects o" his e""ort to cough as i" nothing had happened(
/'ctually- neither +iyu#i or $ysel" has $et this yearAs "resh$en
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representati!e "ace to "ace yet(0
/8hatAs because the school ta#es the lead in preparations "or inco$ing
%pon ta#ing note o" 8atsuyaAs ords- Isori- ho as $ore cogni;ant o" the
details than he- entered e)planation $ode(
/6!en though the studentAs autono$y is respected- an e!ent li#e the
ad$issions cere$ony- hich has $any distinguished guests attending- is
another $atter- o" course( Donetheless- the &tudent 7ouncil handles the
preparations on the current studentsA side(0
/'re you sayingH that the inco$ing "resh$an arenAt yet students o" our
/Do- +i#ihi#o- thatAs absurd(0
9ithout reser!ation- 8atsuya used a one1liner to deal ith +i#ihi#oAs
$eaningless ords( 8he trace o" en!y that could be seen in IsoriAs eyes
o!er their easy relationship ith each other as surely only an illusion- o"
/9e donAt #no the real reason( &o this is only a hypothesis to us(0
9ith the s$ile still pasted on IsoriAs "ace- his actual "eelings ere not
so$ething that could be gli$psed(
/Da#a:ou1san- ha!e you $eet hi$ "ace to "aceB0
9hen Isori changed the topic- Fanon displayed an interest ithout delay(
/Cou $ean &hippou1#unB0
';usa cast don her eyes as she pondered hen ga;es "illed ith curiosity
turned toard hersel"(
/I ha!eH he see$s li#e an eager boy(0
&he probably did not ant to pre:udice the$ against hi$( ';usa had
chosen har$less and ino""ensi!e ords- but-
/'n a$bitious boy- eh(0
&eeing the lightly pained s$ile ';usa ga!e hen Fanon put her ords into
blunt ter$s then- it see$s that ';usa also actually shared the sa$e
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8he li!ing roo$ a"ter dinner( In accordance ith the di!ision o" labor- the
dirty dishes ere le"t to +ina$i and +iyu#i as preparing co""ee to
8atsuyaAs tastes( 8o his sister- ho had sat don ne)t to the side table she
had placed her on co""ee on-
/I" you consider his position as the eldest son o" the &hippou "a$ily- he
probably canAt help being an a$bitious person(0
8atsuya started the con!ersation li#e that ith a soothing !oice(
/2nii1sa$a- hy are you suddenly bringing up &hippou1#unB0
9ith both her hands "olded together and placed on her thigh- +iyu#i tilted
her head in*uiringly in a polite ladyli#e $anner( 8here as no ay
8atsuya as "ooled by her "or$al "ace(
/@ust because he has his reasons- thereAs no need "or us to bend o!er
bac#ards( 's long as e donAt ha!e a *uarrel ith hi$- e donAt need to
be any "riendlier to hi$(0
/I did not *uarrel or anything li#e that(0
's 8atsuya had been telling her not to pic# a "ight in a rather roundabout
ay- +iyu#i loo#ed the other ay ith a sul#y loo#( L5or her to ta#e that
attitude could only $ean that she as so$ehat sel" aare( <e ould
hesitate to call the "irst $eeting beteen +iyu#i and the eldest son o" the
&hippou 7lan one o" co$pli$ents and "riendliness(
Daturally- a *uarrel had not been started "ro$ +iyu#iAs side( 't "irst-
+iyu#i also intended to elco$e the "resh$en representati!e that had
beco$e her #ouhai ar$ly- ne!erthelessH
/?et $e introduce you( 8his is &hippou 8a#u$a1#un- ho is ser!ing as
this yearAs "resh$en representati!e(0
'"ter school in the student council roo$( ';usa as introducing hi$ to the
o""icers ho ere all present L Isori- +iyu#i- <ono#a- and 8atsuya L
and &hippou 8a#u$a bobbed his head *uic#ly( 8his attitude as "airly
co$$on "or a "resh$en hich continued hen it ca$e to Isori-
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/Rice President &hiba 8atsuya( Dice to $eet you- &hippou1#un(0
@ust as 8atsuya introduced hi$sel"- there as a co$plete change(
/&hippou- 8a#u$a( <o do you do(0
8here as an unnatural e$phasis on the "a$ily na$e in his ay o"
spea#ing- but his language as ithin the bounds o" politeness( <oe!er-
his attitude could not be called all that polite( 8a#u$a asnAt loo#ing at
8atsuyaAs "ace- but his right chest(
9hen ';usa spo#e so"tly to hi$- 8a#u$a loo#ed a little ta#en abac# and
a"terards put an a#ardly "riendly s$ile on his "ace(
/Pardon $e( 8he gear shaped e$ble$ &hiba1senpai is earing is
<earing 8a#u$aAs e)cuse- ';usa nodded W'h- I see(0
/It is the e$ble$ o" the ne +agic 6ngineering course that started this
/2h- thatTs it(0
'lthough he probably didnAt $ean to do it- he cast out his
ac#noledge$ent in a rather careless $anner- indicating his lac# o"
interest( 8atsuya did not consider that to be o""ensi!e( 8he &hippou clanAs
tru$p card T+illion 6dgesA as unusual "or +odern +agic- because the
techni*ue did not use a 7',( 8atsuya had heard gossip "ro$ his "ello
engineers that the &hippou clan had a tendency to neglect +agic
6ngineering- perhaps "or that reason( 6!erybody had their on ay o"
loo#ing at things( 8o hi$ it had !alue- but he could not "orce other people
to share his sense o" !alues(
<oe!er- it as not so$ething +iyu#i could o!erloo#( ' haughty
e)pression- a disrespect"ul loo# in his eye( ' "oundationless con"idence o"
oneAs on superiority and conte$pt "or so$eone "or no reason( 8he eyes
o" this "resh$en as earing the sa$e loo# as her "ello "resh$en last
year- ho scorned her elder brother as a T9eed(A 8his could be "elt by
8a#u$a- ho i$$ediately had to continue greeting people- turned to the
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ne)t person( <e did not intend to cause an uproar at this ti$e and in the
"irst place- 8a#u$a as not aare o" the rudeness o" his beha!ior( It as
not that he as being so$ehat insensiti!eQ one probably had to be !ery
sensiti!e to ho his rudeness ould be ta#en( &o he as not especially
prepared "or the ne)t student council o""icer L in short- "or turning his
eyes to +iyu#i(
I$$ediately a"terard- he !isibly inced hich "or 8a#u$a as
undoubtedly a disgrace( <oe!er- it had been ine!itable( >ecause right
8he &no Uueen descended(
>eing in the presence o" a bli;;ard princess or the li#e as not a gentle
e)perience( 'n aloo" "ace could be called ordinaryQ hoe!er- this ordinary
"ace as a signal to prepare "or a li"e or death struggle to pre!ious &tudent
7ouncil o""icers( It as still "ar "ro$ the le!el it reached at that ti$e L the
&tudent 7ouncil Presidential election last year L hoe!er- it as not
sha$e"ul that 8a#u$a- ho as e)periencing it "or the "irst ti$e- should
lose his co$posure due to the pressure being e$itted(
Donetheless- 8a#u$a hi$sel" did not thin# so( <e couldnAt help gi!ing o""
a $orti"ied loo#( <e rapidly constructed a courteous s$ile- but loo#ing at
it ob:ecti!ely- it as not a !ery good one(
/5ello Rice President- &hiba +iyu#i(0
's "it her cold e)pression- +iyu#i spo#e only this state$ent "or her sel"
/L&hippou 8a#u$a( Dice to $eet you(0
8he sha#ing in 8a#u$aAs !oice as not out o" "ear but anger( <e as
disgusted ith hi$sel" "or being o!erhel$ed by +iyu#i( <e retained
enough sel" control not to trans"er the anger he "elt at hi$sel" to other
people- but 8a#u$a as a naturally passionate boy( In order to restrain
hi$sel"- he grinded his bac# teeth(
Do $atter ho $uch he tried to s$ooth o!er his e)pression- it asnAt
enough to conceal it(
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
8he attitudes o" +iyu#i and 8a#u$a could not possibly be called
har$onious( 's the at$osphere gradually beca$e $ore turbulent- ';usa
started to get "lustered( 9ith last yearAs o""icers- &u;une ould ha!e
"olloed up as the ne)t one in this setting- but Isori- ho held the sa$e
position this year- loo#ed li#e he as unsure hat he should do(
+iyu#iAs actions ere childish "or an upperclass$anQ nonetheless-
8a#u$aAs conduct also as not the desired courtesy "ro$ a ne student(
8he sense that they ere both e*ually at "ault as sty$ying the$(
8he only one here no ho had the potential to rebu#e +iyu#i and bring
the situation to an end as 8atsuya- ho as silently e)a$ining 8a#u$aAs
"acial e)pression(
H'"terards- due to <ono#aAs "orce"ully cheer"ul sel" introduction- the
thorny at$osphere lightened a little( Donetheless- the at$osphere o" the
$eeting re$ained strained in the &tudent 7ouncil roo$ "or the rest o" the
8here as not any type o" rehearsal todayQ it as o!er shortly since they
ere only going o!er an already decided progra$( I" they had had to
continue in that at$osphere "or a long ti$e- they ould ha!e had to orry
about the outco$e o" the entrance cere$ony( LI" the tradition o" in!iting
the "resh$en representati!e to :oin the student council is ta#en into
consideration- then it as already at a le!el that the potential har$ to the
&tudent 7ouncilAs acti!ities had to be a concern(
/>ut I didnAt thin# e ould suddenly be glaring at each other( 8he
&hippou 7lanAs eldest son apparently has a belligerent disposition(0
8he attitude I too# as not rong- thought +iyu#i( <oe!er- no $atter
ho :usti"iable the reason L "eeling that he had loo#ed at the elder brother
she lo!ed and respected ith scorn"ul eyes L she had- that did not change
the "act that she had despoiled the $ood o" the &tudent 7ouncil( &o +iyu#i
had prepared hersel" "or a light scolding( &o hile she as in the $ood to
"end o"" the *uestions o" her elder brother- ho hardly e!er rebu#ed her a
little- +iyu#i agreed ith 8atsuyaAs ords in a hesitant tone(
/I thought his attitude toard 2nii1sa$a as not si$ply a type o"
insolence( I "elt that he as concealing hostile intentions toard you(0
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Do- hen she loo#ed bac# cal$ly- she belie!ed that 8a#u$aAs attitude
as a little di""erent "ro$ the one displayed by her class$ates i$$ediately
a"ter they ere enrolled last year( <e asnAt disdaining 8atsuya as
orthless- he as set on "orcibly acting superior in order to deal ith an
ene$y "ro$ a sub:ecti!ely superior positionH no- +iyu#i corrected
hersel"Q he did not ha!e the lu)ury o" #eeping it concealed(
/8hatAs right( <e as atching us(0
8atsuya #ne that the hostility "ro$ 8a#u$a as $ore toards +iyu#i
rather than hi$sel"( 8his $orning on the ay to school- the person 8a#u$a
had been loo#ing at intently as i" he as glaring as not 8atsuya- but
+iyu#i( 8atsuya "elt that the hostility directed against hi$sel" as si$ply
appended to the hostility toard +iyu#i(
2n the other hand- +iyu#i had not considered the idea that she as the
$ain target and 8atsuya as only an additional target e!en a little bit(
+iyu#i as aare that 8atsuya had said T%s-A but in her on $ind- she
persistently put her elder brother as the greater and hersel" as the lesser(
/I do not co$prehend the reason- but I belie!e it is best i" e do not ta#e it
too lightly( Dot li#e last year(0
+iyu#i as tal#ing about the incident that had ta#en place i$$ediately
a"ter they enrolled last year caused by the do$estic terroris$ organi;ation
T>lanche(A 8he i$petus "or the siblings to beco$e deeply in!ol!ed in the
terrible situation that de!eloped hen terrorists in"iltrated 5irst <igh
&chool had been &aya#aAs in!itations to 8atsuya( 't "irst- 8atsuya had
ta#en it lightly- only considering it Tan in!itation to :oin in club acti!ities(A
It as *uestionable i" there ould ha!e been any changes in the
de!elop$ents that happened a"terard had things been considered
seriously( 8he conse*uences 3"or the siblings4 had not been all that great(
<oe!er- to +iyu#i- her brotherAs attitude that Ae!erything ill be o#ay i"
e donAt get into a "ight ith hi$A as the ay they should react to
8a#u$aAs challenging $anner as re$iniscent o" the ti$e ith &aya#a-
that he "elt there as no need "or caution(
/?ast yearB 'h- no- it probably onAt beco$e anything li#e thatB '"ter all-
he is a $e$ber o" the 8enty16ight "a$ilies(0
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>y the 8enty16ight "a$ilies- he re"erred to the 8en +aster 7lans and the
eighteen associated clans- hich asnAt a co$$on ay to re"er to the$(
2nly so$eone ho as re"erring to their co$$on origin in the $agician
de!elop$ent research laboratories ould lu$p the 8en +aster 7lans and
the eighteen associated clans together as e*uals and use that e)pression "or
/I ouldnAt #no anything about &hippou 8a#u$aAs natural disposition-
9hile holding his co""ee cup- 8atsuya $uttered so$ething li#e a
/It is said that because o" their ri!alry ith the &aegusa clan- the &hippou
7lan has the strongest desire to ascend to the position o" one o" the +aster
7lans a$ong the eighteen associated clans(0
+iyu#i #ne o" the hostility beteen the &aegusa clan and the &hippou
clan- but this as probably the "irst ti$e she heard the rest o" it( &he
listened to 8atsuyaAs co$$ents ith a deeply interested loo#(
/<eAs only ants his on poer ac#noledged because he really cra!es
the spotlight- li#e $ost boys around our on age(0
/9ell- are you li#e that too 2nii1sa$aB0
/9ell- about that( 2rdinarily- I too ould ant that(0
8atsuya ansered her ith a ry s$ile- "eeling li#e he as being teased by
his little sister hen she as#ed hi$ that(
/It see$s that &hippou1#un has the #ind o" desire to be in the spotlight that
$a#es hi$ or# tice as hard as other people( <e probably ants to
de$onstrate that he has poer suitable to be a $e$ber o" the 8en +aster
7lans( &o perhaps he acts hostile to people he "eels $ight hinder hi$(0
/>ut e are not doing anything in particular to hinder &hippou1#un- are
/5or so$eone ho ants to be ac#noledged by those around hi$- people
ho are already ac#noledged are a hindrance(0
+iyu#i agreed ith the ords 8atsuya related to her ith a ry s$ile ith
a deep nod(
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/I see( In short- &hippou1#un is :ealous o" 2nii1sa$aAs reputation(0
8atsuya al$ost spit out his co""ee in response to the co$$ent +iyu#i
$ade to indicate Ther understanding(A
/Do- +iyu#i- the one he recogni;es as his ri!al and "eels :ealous o" is
probably you(0
+iyu#i as#ed ith her eyes i" 8a#u$a had really disregarded her 2nii1
sa$a to "ocus on hersel"- to hich 8atsuya nodded his head countless
/<e is this yearAs "resh$en representati!e- you are last yearAs
representati!e( 8hat is enough o" a reason to !ie you as a ri!al(
'dditionally- you ere !ery acti!e in the Dine &chools 7o$petition(
,oesnAt he !ie $e as hostile because I a$ +iyu#iAs hanger1onB0
/'bsolutely notHP 2nii1sa$a isnAt +iyu#iAs hanger1on or anything li#e
/Do- itAs alright not to get e)citedH IA$ :ust $a#ing an assu$ption about
ho &hippou1#un loo#s at $e(0
/I ill not accept any ridiculous assu$ptions li#e that(0
/6!en i" you say you onAt accept it(0
8atsuya "elt a little bit at a loss about ho to handle +iyu#i hen he
suddenly pressed one o" her buttons(
/Eather it is I ho is 2nii1sa$aAsH Do- I $ust reluctantly ad$it that 2nii1
sa$a is $y !ery i$portant partner(0
In the portion that as $u$bled out o" e$barrass$ent- he heard T2nii1
sa$aAs belongingA but 8atsuya didnAt let it bother hi$( 8o 8atsuya- the ay
she rephrased it as bold and "airly e$barrassing but he ignored it as ell(
/I" e reconsider once $ore- there is also the possibility that he !ies us
as hostile because he #nos e are related to the 8en +aster 7lans(0
<e pointed this out in a nonchalant tone- but it had enough eight to bring
+iyu#iAs $ind bac# don to earth "ro$ here it had been lightly hirling
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/<e #nos that e are related to the CotsubaB 'renAt you o!er thin#ing
things- 2nii1sa$aB0
/8hatAs true( I donAt belie!e he has L no- rather the &hippou clan has L
the ability to penetrate the CotsubaAs control o" in"or$ation- butH I "eel
that there as so$e #ind o" strong i$pression o" so$ething o" that le!el in
his eyes(0
9hat 8atsuya as recalling as not the scene in the &tudent 7ouncil roo$
here they glared at each other- but the inter$ittent staring 8a#u$a had
done at +iyu#i on the ay to school( +iyu#i as unaare that 8a#u$a
did that- so right no hat her brother as saying didnTt ring any bells(
6!en so- +iyu#i housed her brotherAs orry in her heart(
/8hatAs trueH he is a $e$ber o" the 8enty16ight 5a$ilies- it $ight be
better to be cautious(0
HIt as the right anser to any hostility directed to the$ related to the
8en +aster 7lans- but co$pletely rong i" it as suspected that they had a
connection to the Cotsuba( I" they ere suspected o" being related to the
&aegusa- it ould also be the right solution- but neither 8atsuya nor
+iyu#i hit on that possibility( 6!en though they ere "riendly ith
+ayu$i- "or the pair ho ne!er "orgot the co$plicated relationship
beteen the Cotsuba and the &aegusa- being seen as part o" the &aegusaAs
cli*ue as so$ething that ould ne!er occur to the$(
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Chapter 6
April 'th, the $orning o" the "irst day o" school "or 5irst <igh &chool-
hich as attached to the Dational +agic %ni!ersity(
8oday- there ere no ill $annered stares lying in ait "or the$ on the
route to schoolQ all three o" the$- 8atsuya- +iyu#i and +ina$i arri!ed at
5irst <igh &chool to hours be"ore the ad$issions cere$ony( It goes
ithout saying that co$$uting to school at this hour as in order to $a#e
preparations "or the entrance cere$ony( 8he three o" the$ ent straight to
the site o" their "irst appoint$ent- the auditoriu$As preparation roo$(
+ina$i as bothered by the "act that she- hersel"- as an outsider- but
since she had not ac*uired $uch e)perience escorting +iyu#i- 8atsuya had
"orced her to acco$pany the$(
Isori and <ono#a ere already gathered in the prep roo$(
/=ood $orning- 8atsuya1sanP +orning- +iyu#iP0
/+orning- &hiba1#un( Eight on ti$e(0
's +iyu#i and <ono#a e)changed greetings- Isori spo#e to 8atsuya to
their side(
/=ood $orning( CouAre early- Isori1senpai(0
/ItAs $y nature( I" I donAt co$e early- I canAt stay cal$(0
'"ter he s$ilingly ansered 8atsuyaAs greeting- IsoriAs eyes ent to
+ina$i- ho as aiting behind +iyu#i(
/>y the ay- ho is that girlB ' ne studentB0
/2" course- +ina$i(0
/Ces- 8atsuya1niisa$a(0
/Diisa$aB &hiba1#un- do you ha!e a younger sister other than +iyu#i1
In a sense- Isori had gi!en hi$ :ust the *uestion he anted(
/Do- $y cousin(0
8atsuya replied ith the lie he had prepared be"ore hand(
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/+ina$i- this is Isori1senpai(0
/Dice to $eet you- Isori1senpai- I a$ &a#urai +ina$i( 8han# you "or the
care you ha!e alays gi!en to 8atsuya1niisa$a and +iyu#i1neesa$a(0
8he o!erly polite speech +ina$i pro!ided to greet Isori at 8atsuyaAs
direction did not cause Isori to display any "eelings o" unease(
/Dice to $eet you- +ina$i1san(0
/IA$ !ery honored to $eet you(0
@ust as +ina$i once again sent a polite nicety toards Isori- ';usa- Fanon
and the "irst year representati!e- &hippou 8a#u$a- entered( 3>y the ay-
Fanon had already $ade one round o" chec#ing the guest chairs(4
/=ood $orningH could it be that IA$ the last oneB0
/=ood $orning- President( Cou are precisely on ti$e(0
+iyu#i replied to ';usa- ho had as#ed that *uestion ith a slightly
surprised loo#- ith a s$ile( 'ctually- she as three $inutes late- but
+iyu#iAs s$iling "ace carried the inti$ation that any "urther apologies
ould not be alloed(
/=ood $orning- Isori1senpai- &hiba1senpai(0
'"ter getting ';usa to sallo the apologetic co$plaints they e)pected
"ro$ her- 8a#u$a stepped "orard "ro$ behind her and spo#e to "irst Isori-
then 8atsuya(
/+orning- &hippou1#un(0
<e $ade a silent bo to IsoriAs reply and then turned around to "ace
+iyu#i and <ono#a(
/&hiba1senpai- +itsui1senpai- good $orning( Please ta#e care o" $e-
7ould he be ner!ousB 7o$pared to the attitude 8a#u$a hit the$ ith the
day be"ore yesterday- the change as laudable(
/=ood $orning- &hippou1#un( Please gi!e it your all today(0
<oe!er- +iyu#i as not a gentle girl ho could be $o!ed by so$ething
li#e that( <er s$ile as $agni"icent- her tone as gentle( 8he per"ect "ace
o" a lady in hat as #non as an i$peccable social $as#( 2nly
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8a#u$aAs attitude had changedQ he had not apologi;ed "or his rude $anner
the other day( +iyu#i did not intend to $a#e any concessions "ro$ her
side as long as he didnAt $a#e any apologies to her elder brother(
';usa and Isori loo#ed con"used by the s$ile so "or$al that no one could
co$plain about it( 9ith nothing to indicate ill intentions- they could not
rebu#e +iyu#i( 2n the other hand- they could not let the unco$"ortable
$ood that had started to spread si$ply be( ';usa re*uested help "ro$
8atsuya ith her pu;;led eyes(
/&ince all o" us are here- letAs go o!er the order o" the cere$ony "irst(0
<oe!er- 8atsuyaAs only anser to that as to continue spea#ing as i"
nothing as rong(
/8hatAs right- e shouldnAt aste ti$e(0
9ithout a $o$entAs delay- Fanon pro!ided supporti!e agree$ent( &he too
had probably decided that they needed to "orce"ully gloss o!er this scene(
/8hen- starting ith the arrange$ents "or thirty $inutes be"ore the
ad$issions cere$ony( 8he guiding o" guests is +iyu#iAs charge- the
reception roo$ is <ono#aAsH0
8his as originally ';usaAs duty- but 8atsuya as not concerned ith that
as he continued ith the rehearsal arrange$ents( It asnAt right "or
+ina$i to be in this place- but no one pointed it out and it as co$pletely
'nd the rehearsal i$$ediately be"ore the cere$ony proceeded sa"ely in
the strained at$osphere that did not allo the$ the lu)ury o" "eeling
pressured by the i$$inence o" the actual e!ent( ';usa and the others
breathed a sigh o" relie" as it "inishedQ in spite o" the entrance cere$ony
starting in thirty $inutes- they ere !ery rela)ed or rather they ere in an
e)hausted state( 8atsuya thought they ere letting their attention ander a
little too $uch- but it asnAt 8atsuyaAs :ob to point that out( >esides- it as
better than getting too or#ed up be"orehand that they ere useless hen
the $ain e!ent started( Eeconsidering things- 8atsuya set about his on
/IA$ going to guide the ne students(0
/2hQ ta#e care- 2niisa$a(0
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/'h- than# you "or your or#(0
's +iyu#i and ';usa sa hi$ o"" "ro$ the side o" the stage and +ina$i
boed a silent goodbye- 8atsuya departed the auditoriu$(
<is duty be"ore the cere$ony as to guide students ho didnAt #no
here the e!ent as( ?ast year- hen 8atsuya $et +ayu$i- it as because
she as assigned ith the sa$e :ob( 9hen he heard that at the end o"
+arch hen the :obs ere assigned- 8atsuya hadnAt "elt it as a suitable
:ob "or the student council president- ho had i$portant duties :ust be"ore
the actual cere$ony( <oe!er- he had no reconsidered and he thought it
$ight ha!e been an e)cuse to go outside and relie!e her tension(
8here as no ay he hi$sel" as tense to that e)tent( De!ertheless- he
as aare o" a slight sense o" "reedo$( Perhaps this as only natural- to
be $ore at ease outside in the ind instead o" inside preparing "or a "or$al
cere$ony( +aybe- he rese$bled +ayu$i on this point(
Possibly- because he as thin#ing about that stu""-
/'h- 8atsuya1#un(0
/&aegusa1senpaiB =ood $orning(0
&oon a"ter he !entured in to the "ront yard- he une)pectedly $et ith
/&ayingH itAs been a hile ould be strange( 're you the ne student
/'h- yes(0
/&o as planned- you :oined the &tudent 7ouncil(0
8he student assigned the tas# o" guiding ne students ouldnAt be anyone
other than a $e$ber o" the student council( 8he Public +orals 7o$$ittee
$e$bers ere also patrolling in order to police the grounds- and
te$porary o""icials ere also $a#ing the rounds( 8hus- she shouldnAt be
able to conclude that he as an o""icer o" the &tudent 7ouncil :ust "ro$ his
anser- but 8atsuya did not say anything to re"ute the happily giggling
+ayu$i at all( <e had- in "act- :oined the &tudent 7ouncil- and another
$atter had caught his attention(
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It did not really need saying- but +ayu$i had graduated "ro$ 5irst <igh
&chool last $onth( 8here"ore- she asnAt earing a uni"or$Q this too as
only natural( <oe!er- it probably couldnAt be called Te)pectedA "or her to
be here in attire that loo#ed !ery $ature(
8his as not the "irst ti$e 8atsuya had seen +ayu$i in non1uni"or$
clothing( ?ast su$$er- hen they departed "or the Dine &chools
7o$petition- he had seen her in a "airly spectacular su$$er dress(
<oe!er- at the ti$e- although she had been shoing $ore s#in- he hadnAt
"elt li#e he as seeing a di""erent person(
<oe!er- the +ayu$i ho as no clad in a "e$inine suit see$ed older
and a di""erent person than she had been last $onth( 8he "rills "ro$ her
blouse ere arranged in her chest area- she had a short :ac#et- and she also
had on a tight s#irt hich did not gi!e o"" an i$pression co$pletely
di""erent than that o" a high school girl( 7ould it be because o" her deep red
high heel pu$psB 7ould it be because she had aug$ented her coloring
ith light $a#eupB 7ould it be because she had e)changed her large hair
ribbon that held bac# her hair "or an a$ber colored barretteB Perhaps-
e!erything "ro$ the top on don created the e""ect and $ore than anything
else- +ayu$i had gone up one $ore rung o" the ladder to adulthood(
/Dot e!en a $onth has passed since graduation- but H"or so$e reason-
you donAt recogni;e $e- 8atsuya1#un(0
9hile 8atsuya had been thin#ing about those things- +ayu$i hersel" on
the other hand had clai$ed Tthat he didnAt recogni;e herA and penetrated
the L hat can probably be called ine!itable L hole in his de"enses(
/8hat $ay be true(0
+ayu$i s$iled ar$ly at 8atsuya- ho had :ust barely $anaged to reply(
/6h( 8hat uni"or$H itAs the +agic 6ngineering 7ourse one- rightB ItAs
di""erent "ro$ last yearAs(0
/I thin# $y uni"or$ is the only thing thatAs changed(0
<is co$$ent asnAt to hide his e$barrass$ent L it as his actual
opinion( 8hat as hat he really thought- but-
/Do- I thin# you $ay not be aare o" it yoursel"- but last year hen e
"irst $et in this sa$e season- the 8atsuya1#un ho as earing the &econd
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7ourse uni"or$ had a co$pletely di""erent loo# than the present 8atsuya1
#un( 7o$pared to last year- you loo# $ore at ease(0
8atsuya did not dispute the clai$ +ayu$i as $a#ing because he could
not dispute the$(
8he "act as that he hi$sel" as not aare o" it( 8hat he as not sel"1
aare as the truth(
8o put it plainly- he had a bit o" an in"eriority co$ple) about ordinary
/I concede( I do not understand $y on sel"(0
8atsuya bra!ely raised a hite "lag( 8his as not $erely lip ser!ice( T6!en
though you try to understand yoursel"- you really canAtA had been a bit o"
ancestral isdo$ that had been around "ore!erQ he thought "ro$ his heart
that this as the reason "or his ad$ission o" de"eat( <oe!er- seeing
+ayu$i :ust thro out her chest in triu$ph- a seed o" rebellion sprouted
ithin 8atsuya(
/Cou called it "ailing to recogni;e you- but I thin# &enpai has changed ay
$ore than $e(0
/2h- reallyB0
/Ces( CouAre co$pletely a uni!ersity student( Cou loo# !ery $ature(0
/Ee1reallyB ItAs :ust barely past the entrance cere$ony(0
&he spo#e as i" to deny 8atsuyaAs i$pression- but +ayu$iAs not at all
displeased loo# and bash"ul $anner ere ob!ious( 3>y the ay- the
uni!ersity ad$issions cere$ony as on April #th$4
/Ces( 5ro$ that barrette in your hair to those gron up pu$ps- they suit
you !ery ell( ?i#e youAre another person(0
/8eehee- reallyH you say(0
+ayu$i as no longer trying to conceal anything- but she loo#ed li#e she
ca$e to a sudden reali;ation hen her s$ile crac#ed and her "ace abruptly
/8atsuya1#unH hat do you $ean by thatHB0
Do- it as not li#e she ca$e to a reali;ation( 6!idently- +ayu$i had
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reali;ed so$ething-
/,o you $ean I rely $ore on the$B0
/8o $a#e $ysel" loo# di""erent- $ore $atureB0
&he hersel" as being $ade "un o" by 8atsuya(
/In short- you ant to say I used to loo# childishHB0
/CouAre o!er1thin#ing this(0
Daturally- 8atsuya as not so ea# illed to easily ac#noledge his on
$isdeeds3B4( 5aced ith +ayu$i glaring up at hi$ ith upturned eyes- he
$ade his "ace loo# sober and honest and ansered ith a !oice that
$atched that "ace(
/I ha!e ne!er thought e!en one ti$e that &aegusa1senpaiAs "ace or "igure
as childish(0
/5aceH "igureH0
It see$ed li#e +ayu$i had recei!ed so$e #ind o" shoc#( ?oo#ing at her
ob:ecti!ely- only her height as shortQ her "ace and "igure ere not
childish( 'nyone ould say her "ace as the cute type- but it as not
TchildishA and her !oluptuous proportions could be called e)tre$ely $ature
"or her age(
De!ertheless- apparently +ayu$i had a hidden co$ple) about L she
asnAt really all that short L her height( ,isregarding 8atsuyaAs denial-
she as probably interpreting his ords in the orst ay(
/Is so$ething rongB0
/Do- IA$ "ine(0
's she ansered 8atsuyaAs ords L in hich she didnAt hear all that $uch
concern L in a con"ident tone that as hal" blu""ing- +ayu$i as once
again glaring up at hi$(
/&o 8atsuya1#un- hat did you $ean by a di""erent personB0
/It doesnAt really ha!e a deep $eaning( ItAs a co$$on phrase(0
8he persistently *uestioning +ayu$i $ade 8atsuya "eel li#e The had
"ailed(A 8his as not a topic he intended to spea# on at length( <e didnAt
intend to $a#e light o" +ayu$i- but he could not ha!e her occupy all his
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ti$e( L7o$e to thin# o" it- hy had +ayu$i co$e to her al$a $ater-
thought 8atsuya at last(
/EeallyB I donAt thin# so(0
+ayu$i $ade a straight "orard appraisal( 8he Tupturned stareA
trans"or$ed into Ta scol at point blan# rangeA( +ayu$i hersel" probably
asnAt conscious o" it- but a spectator ould $ista#e it "or unanted
/Do- really( H>y the ay- &enpai- hy are you here todayB0
+ayu$i displayed an AahA loo# and a T<ey- youPA in a shrill angry !oice
reached his ear at nearly the sa$e ti$e(
/=et aay "ro$ 2nee1chanP Cou s#irt1chaserP0
't "irst- 8atsuya did not understand that those ords ere directed at
hi$sel"( >ecause the label o" Ts#irt1chaserA as co$pletely unarranted(
<oe!er- he sa that the petite girl that $atched the shrill !oice as
co$ing don the path beteen the ros o" cherry trees directly at hi$-
and he beca$e aare that apparently- this situation L the di""erence in the
heights beteen 8atsuya and +ayu$i had concealed hat as actually
going on L had been $ista#en "or so$ething else(
2n the other hand- "ro$ the ord- T2nee1chan-A and the distincti!e !oice-
+ayu$i had understood that the re$ar# as ai$ed at the$( +ayu$i
turned toard the girl ho as running to the$ and i$$ediately loo#ed
bac# in 8atsuyaAs direction and !igorously too# one step bac#ards(
7learly "lustered- perhaps she had so$e #ind o" clue o" ho the girl had
$isunderstood the situation(
8atsuya #ne the girl called TFasu$i1chanA as +ayu$iAs younger sister
e!en ithout loo#ing at the ne student registry( I" her cordial relationship
ith her $ale #ouhai as $isunderstood by her younger sister- then it as
only natural "or her to be "lustered- thought 8atsuya( <oe!er- he "elt that
her response see$ed to be a little too energetic(
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<is $o$entary concern did not turn into a needless an)iety( It as
probably the high heels that lead to the disaster( Do- +ayu$i should ha!e
had $any chances to attend "or$al parties- so it probably asnAt that she
as unused to shoes ith high heels( &o she had probably been careless
ith her "ooting hen she $o!ed une)pectedly(
>e"ore +ayu$i had tripped and "allen- 8atsuya had cal$ly considered the
possibility( 7o$pletely "ro$ a bystanderAs point o" !ie( I" he could o" :ust
#ept loo#ing and be done ith it then- he probably ould ha!e accepted
the label o" TheartlessA ithout co$plaint- but as usual he as not so
lac#ing in hu$an "eeling(
+ayu$i- ho had stu$bled- as si"tly supported by 8atsuya( <e had
grabbed +ayu$iAs shoulders ith both hands( <e did not grasp her hip
area in an o!erly "a$iliar $anner and o" course he did not insolently
accidentally touch her breasts(
/'h- than# youH0
8here"ore- +ayu$i than#ing hi$ hile loo#ing e$barrassed as si$ply
because she as bothered by "alling hen there as nothing to trip o!er(
<oe!er- it see$ed +ayu$iAs sister didnAt thin# so(
/I said get aay "ro$ her- rightP0
I$$ediately a"ter she screa$ed that( +ayu$iAs sister L Fasu$iAs body
gently "loated up( 8he petite body accelerated $id1air ithout "or$ing a
parabolic line- "loating in a straight line ith a #nee protruding out to
attac# 8atsuyaAs "ace(
8atsuya stopped that #nee ith one hand( <e did not bloc# it ith his
"orear$ L he caught it in his pal$( >eing high in the air adding to the
poer- the shoc# ent up and the inertia "led to the ground(
+ayu$i loo#ed up at the spectacle ith her eyes so open that they ere
per"ect circles- but Fasu$i as e!en $ore surprised than her sister( It as
better than being bloc#ed or #noc#ed don- and i" it as a ballet li"t- it
ould ha!e been praised e)ultantly( 's her $o!e$ent conditions ere
"orcibly altered- Fasu$iAs 'cceleration and +o!e$ent1type co$bination
$agic lost its e""ect(
9ithout the assistance o" $agic- the one #nee abo!e the pal$ posture as
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an unstable stance( 's one should e)pect- Fasu$iAs balance as destroyed(
<er petite body tilted !iolently(
>e"ore she tipped o!er co$pletely- 8atsuya released the body he caught by
one leg and loered his hand(
8he shrie# she raised could not be called !ery cute- as Fasu$i "ell in a
pitched "orard posture( I" she $ade contact ith the so"t coat o" the
pa!e$ent o" the "ront yard in this $anner- then e!en i" she didnAt hit her
head- she ould probably be ounded on her pal$s and #nees enough to
cause bleeding( 's a loo# "or attending the entrance cere$ony- it could be
called a !ery piti"ul one( 8hat ould be a !ery tough trial "or a girl ho
had :ust barely beco$e a high school student(
In order to pre!ent this tragedy- 8atsuya ould ha!e to catch Fasu$iAs
body as it "ell L hich he did not( 8he reason as not that he didnAt ha!e
enough ti$e to react( <is cold eyes pursued the process o" the girl ho had
:ust beco$e his #ouhai "alling don( 8he #noledge that she as
+ayu$iAs sister did not ha!e any signi"icant i$pact on his decision
$a#ing process( 'lthough the attac# had "ailed- the "act that the girl had
launched an attac# on hi$ as $ore i$portant and signi"icant to 8atsuya(
>esides- i" he had caught this girlAs body as she "ell- he ould ha!e shon
the other girl a hole in his de"enses(
8atsuya understood "ro$ obser!ation hy the girl raised her !oice
' +agic &e*uence had pasted itsel" to the girlAs body( <er "alling speed
sloed( ' protecti!e barrier o" data "orti"ication protected the girlAs body
so that neither the 6I,2& or the s#in ere da$aged( Dor$ally- this
pheno$enon ouldnAt occur unless the $agician applied the $agic to his
on body- but a third party had cast it(
's Fasu$i landed gently unda$aged- al$ost at the sa$e ti$e- 8atsuya
$ade a big leap bac#ard( 8hree $eters in "ront o" the space he !acated- a
girl- ho aside "ro$ her hair style loo#ed e)actly li#e Fasu$i- ith the
sa$e "ace and body type- rushed o!er to Fasu$i- ho as on both her
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/Fasu$i1chan- are you o#ayPB0
/I;u$i- you sa!ed $e( 8han#s(0
&ide by side- they really ere li#e to peas in a pod( 6!en a person
unaare o" their bac#ground in"or$ation ould probably conclude "ro$
loo#ing at the$ that they ere identical tins( 2" course- 8atsuya #ne
the pair ere indeed tins(
&aegusa Fasu$i and &aegusa I;u$i( 9ithin the Du$bered- the sisters
ere #non- ithout irony or hi$sy- as A8he &aegusa 8ins(A
6!en though their "aces ere identical- their auras di""ered greatly( 5ro$
loo#ing at Fasu$i- ho as e$itting signs o" aggression ith her curl1less
hair cut in a short hairstyle- she as probably !ery sports orientedQ
possibly she as so$e #ind o" $artial arts practitioner( 2n the other hand-
I;u$i- ho as clothed in a grace"ul- gentle aura- had straight hair cut to
gi!e her bangs reaching her eyebros and hair that touched her shoulders
e!enlyQ perhaps she as a boo#or$- as she loo#ed li#e she $ight be an
indoor type o" girl( 5ro$ her ords :ust no as ell as her tone and
e)pression- he #ne she as "lustered- but so$eho she did not see$ all
that ner!ous( L't least on the sur"ace( <oe!er- 8atsuya "elt that this as
the one he should be $ore ary o"(
It as so$ehat rude "or 8atsuya to stare at so$eone hen it as their
"irst $eeting- but they ere all doing it( 8hey all had blatant loo#s in their
eyes but 8atsuyaAs as indeed the $ost te$perate(
/I;u$i- this guy is strong "or a playboy(0
/%h- u$$- Fasu$i1chanB0
7ertainly- there as a clear di""erence beteen their $ental statesQ
although the probing loo#s they sent at hi$ ere the sa$e- the "la$e o"
hostility as only burning in Fasu$iAs pupils(
/7al$ing don a little ould beH0
I;u$i as gently stro#ing Fasu$i(
/+y intuition is screa$ing( 8his guy- heAs not ordinary(0
Donetheless- Fasu$i as not listening to her ad!ice( &he glared up at
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8atsuya on her #nees- shi"ting her le"t slee!e and e)posing her 7',(
/I;u$i- eAre doing that(0
's she said that- Fasu$i ran her "ingers don the console o" her 7',(
&he as using $agic ithout authori;ation( 7learly an illegal act(
+oreo!er- "or the second ti$e( 6!en bearing in $ind it as directed at
hi$sel"- it as not so$ething he could turn a blind eye to( &he as a ne
student getting ready "or the entrance cere$ony- but ha!ing said that- there
as no ay he couldnAt arrest her(
In an instant- 8atsuya $ade that decisionQ "ortunately- be"ore he could act
upon it- the illegal act o" $agic ended up being a $ere atte$pt(
/&ettle donP0
+ayu$i- ho had until then been too paraly;ed to do anything about the
situation- let her "ist "all on top o" Fasu$iAs head(
Fasu$i did not cry out but "ro$ the ay she held her headQ despite ho
she as trying to $a#e it appear- that probably really hurt(
/H2nee1chan- hy did you do thatB0
/8hatAs $y lineP Fasu$i1chan- you- hy did you do thatPB0
+ayu$i had both hands on her hips as she loo#ed don at Fasu$i- ho
as loo#ing up at her sisterAs "ace ith teary eyes( &he as really
incensed( Eight aay- Fasu$iAs agitated $ind as cooled by her sisterAs
threatening attitude- the color o" her "ace changing "ro$ red to hite(
/IA!e told you o!er and o!er again- T8he unauthori;ed use o" $agic is a
cri$ePA 8o do this on the !ery day you entered high schoolH 9hat on
earth ere you thin#ingPB0
8atsuya atched- co$pletely du$b"ounded- as +ayu$i tal#ed on and on
in a !oice that as hal" an octa!e higher than usual( &eeing her "lustered
as not an un"a$iliar sight( De!ertheless- this as the "irst ti$e heAd seen
her in a "ren;y( 8his honest straight"orardness as not so$ething he
could ha!e i$agined "ro$ her- so di""erent as it "ro$ the usual enig$atic
s$iling "aXade she used to conceal her real intentions(
2n the other hand- Fasu$i- ho as being drenched in the display o"
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rage- had not abandoned her resistance- although she had curled hersel" up(
>ecause they ere "a$ilyB 2r could it possibly be because she as used to
/>u- but- that guy as doing so$ething indecent to 2nee1chanH0
8he counterattac# as certainly e""ecti!e(
/9haH in- indecentPB0
&he did do so$e da$age to her opponent in a sense(
/9e ere not doing anything li#e thatP 9hat ere you thin#ingPB0
I" you loo#ed at the big picture though- all she had done as add "uel to
the "ire(
/'"ter all that you said about you to being "ine loo#ing around be"ore the
doors opened ithout $e stic#ing ith you li#e you to ere children-
Fasu$i1chan- you did thisPB Cou didnAt cause anyone else proble$s li#e
you did :ust no- rightPB0
I see- that as the reason- thought 8atsuya( +ayu$i ca$e here because she
as escorting her sisters to the ad$issions cere$ony instead o" their busy
/2nee1sa$a- that is absurd(0
8he one ho disputed the repri$and o" +ayu$iAs that had ta#en the "or$
o" a *uestion as not Fasu$i- hose body had begun *ui!ering- but
I;u$i- ho as snuggled ne)t to her(
/'side "ro$ Fasu$i1chanAs $ista#e :ust no- e ha!e not done anything
to cause proble$s "or other people(0
/I seeH I;u$i1chan- should I belie!e youB0
/I pro$ise- there are no discrepancies(0
I;u$iAs polite tone as a bit too polite as she proclai$ed their innocence-
hich see$ed to restore +ayu$iAs e*uani$ity so$ehat(
/%nderstood( H8atsuya1#un- please "orgi!e usP0
'"ter seeing the a""ir$ati!e in I;u$iAs eyes- +ayu$i turned to 8atsuya and
boed deeply(
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/+y little sister did so$ething outrageous( Fasu$i1chan- you apologi;e to
8atsuya1#un as ellP0
Perhaps she understood ho serious her sister asQ hate!er she as
"eeling in her heart- Fasu$i1chan asnAt displaying that de"iant $anner
any $ore(
/I cannot e)cuse $y beha!ior(0
&he lined up ne)t to +ayu$i and bra!ely loered her head(
/I too o""er $y apologies( &hiba1senpai- please pardon Fasu$i1chanAs
rudeness so$eho(0
Fasu$i as not the only interested partyQ I;u$i "olloed up a"ter her
elder sister(
Eecei!ing a si$ultaneous apology "ro$ the three beauti"ul girls L no- one
beauti"ul o$an and to beauti"ul girls L $ade hi$ "eel ill at ease(
+iraculously- there had been no itnesses to the use o" poer a little hile
ago- but no "or so$e reason or other- he "elt $any suspicious ga;es on
the$ "ro$ here and there( I" people $ista#enly thought he as bullying
the girls or so$ething- then the da$age o" the a"ter$ath ould be orse
than Fasu$iAs "lying #nee #ic#(
/Please raise your heads( Do har$ has been done- so please donAt orry
about it(0
Is hat he said- but Tplease donAt do this "or $y sa#eA as closer to hat
8atsuya $eant( In order to escape "ro$ the ga;es o" the gradually
increasing onloo#ers- he anted to get aay "ro$ this place as soon as
possible( <oe!er- TdonAt orry about it any$oreA as not a pretense(
8hat as so$ething +ayu$i probably understood also( 9hen she raised
her head- she had a relie!ed loo# on her "ace( <oe!er- that loo# as soon
replaced by a guilty one(
/'h- u$$- 8atsuya1#un(0
/9hat is itB0 In response to her $ood- hich as so$ehat strange "or
so$e reason- 8atsuya put his $ind on alert(
/I #no thatH the incident :ust no is supposed to be reported to the sta""
roo$- but-0
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's she "aced 8atsuya- +ayu$i closed her eyes an put both her hands
/PleaseP 5or $y sa#e- onAt you o!erloo# this- pleasePB0
2h- thatAs it- 8atsuya did not $utter this out loud(
/I do not intend to $a#e a big deal out o" so$ething as $inor as this(0
'ctually- i" Tso$ething as $inor as thisA as a proble$- he didnAt #no
ho $any ti$es he and +iyu#i ould ha!e been placed in protecti!e
custody( TI donAt ant this tal#ed about eitherA as 8atsuyaAs honest
/8han# you- 8atsuya1#unP0
&o- he as troubled by the abundance o" e$otion( >esides(((
/Do- she intended to barely $iss $e "ro$ the start(0
8hat "lying #nee #ic# had been hat is #non as a blu""( I" she had been
attac#ing hi$ earnestly- 8atsuya ouldnAt ha!e $ade such a gentle
Fasu$i had planned "or the co$bination 'cceleration and +o!e$ent
$agic she had applied to hersel" to be caught by the other $agic she lin#ed
to it hen her #nee as thirty centi$eters "ro$ 8atsuyaAs "ace- so rapid
deceleration ould be cast at the distance o" ten centi$eters hen she
ould halt $id air( I" she hadnAt done so- not e!en 8atsuya ould ha!e
grasped her #nee ith one hand( Do $atter ho $uch he had been trained-
stopping a person ho eighed "orty #ilogra$s and as accelerating at
"i"teen $eters per second as i$possible( >ecause he #ne the point
here the rapid deceleration started and the point here it as to halt-
directly be"ore the stopping point- he had literally "orced ter$ination by
putting his hand there(
/<aH IA!e co$e to e)pect that "ro$ you- 8atsuya1#un(0
's a loo# o" astonish$ent and a $utter o" /<o theH0 ca$e "ro$
Fasu$i on her side- +ayu$i nodded yes1yes ith an i$pressed loo# on
her "ace( 5or +ayu$i- abnor$alities li#e this "ro$ 8atsuya had beco$e a
nor$al thing(
/&enpai- I ha!e the :ob o" ne student guidance- so I $ust go( 8he e!ent
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site is already open(0
8o "orestall +ayu$i- ho loo#ed li#e she as going to say so$ething
unnecessary- 8atsuya $ade this announce$ent and *uit the scene ithout
aiting "or a reply(
'"ter separating "ro$ the &aegusa sisters- in a place here there ere "e
people- 8atsuya put a !ocal trans$ission unit near his $outh(
3Ces- +aster(4
8he !oice that replied in a so"t hisper as an acti!e "or$ o" telepathy(
8his as the response o" TPi)ieA ho as in the T3<8ype P194(A
/6rase all the Psion sensor data "ro$ the records- "ro$ right no to ten
$inutes be"ore no- "or the area in "ront o" the "ront yard entrance to the
3's you ish(4
It see$ed that +ayu$i had carelessly "orgotten- but Fasu$iAs use o"
$agic ithout authori;ation could not be concealed $erely by 8atsuyaAs
silence( 6!eryhere inside the school grounds as co!ered ith sensors to
obser!e $agic acti!ityQ aside "ro$ the e)ception o" periods li#e the ne
club $e$ber in!itation ee#- the unauthori;ed use o" $agic ould be
recorded by the sensors(
36rasure co$pleted(4
Daturally- 8atsuya had not gotten Pi)ie $o!ed to the &tudent 7ouncil roo$
si$ply to ait on tables( &ince she as originally a house#eeping robot- he
had let her do hat she anted- but 8atsuyaAs intention as entirely
di""erent( It as to hac# the sur!eillance syste$ inside the school(
I" this as +arch- hen +ayu$i as still enrolled- then $ost o" her usual
re*uests ould be acco$$odated( &he had o!erco$e the usual li$its o"
the poers o" the "or$er &tudent 7ouncil presidents and retained the
inter!ention codes "or the sur!eillance syste$( 2" course- she had not
gotten the$ by honest $eans( 8here"ore- the &tudent 7ouncil president
that "olloed her hadnAt inherited the$- o" course(
8atsuya- ho had !arious dar# spots in his bac#ground- needed a $eans to
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inter!ene in the sur!eillance syste$ other than +ayu$i( 8hen he cast his
eyes on ho Pi)ie as constructed(
Eight no- Pi)ie as operating "ro$ ithin the hu$anoid ho$e helper
robotAs electronic brain in hich her actual body as lodged- hich she
$anipulated directly( In short- Pi)ie as concealing the ability to inter"ace
and sei;e electronic syste$s ithout an inter$ediary( 8his is hat 8atsuya
&o 8atsuya spent $ost o" spring brea# engrossed in teaching Pi)ie !arious
hac#ing techni*ues( 8he techni*ues ere ones he originally learned "ro$
the T6lectron &orceressA 5u:ibayashi( 8he "ruit o" 8atsuyaAs labor as that
ithin the li$its o" the 5irst <igh &choolAs pri!ate syste$- Pi)ie had
learned ho to "reely in"iltrate the sur!eillance syste$ and o!errite the
'lthough it as called ne student guidance- it as not hard to "igure out
here the auditoriu$ that as the site o" the entrance cere$ony as- and
i" you had a ter$inal e*uipped ith an ?P& 3local positioning syste$4
"unction- you couldnAt get lost( 7ases li#e 6ri#aAs last year here she
didnAt ha!e a ter$inal so she didnAt #no here to go ere the e)ception(
8atsuya and the othersA :ob as not to guide ne students- their $ain :ob
as to pro!ide a heads up to ne students ho loo#ed li#e they ere
going to be late(
/%$$- e)cuse $e &enpai( 9hich ay is it to the auditoriu$B0
8here"ore 8atsuya had not e)pected to encounter a genuinely lost ne
8he place as the tree1lined path beteen the library and s$all second
gy$nasiu$( 8he site "or the entrance cere$ony as on the opposite side(
8he $ale ne student- ith a pu;;led loo# on his "ace that heAd seen
loo#ing hither and thither- had :ust called out to hi$Q no it as up to hi$
to reply to this sentence(
De!ertheless- the ne student as !ery ostentatious- thought 8atsuya(
'lthough- there ere so$e students in his on grade ho possessed red
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hair- blue eyes- blac# s#in or other colors that ere unli#e the $a:ority o"
@apanese people( <oe!er- they ere not as radiantly hued as the slight
$ale student standing be"ore hi$(
8he color o" his hair as platinu$( 8he color o" his eyes as sil!er( 8he
color o" his s#in as hite( It asnAt :ust his coordinating colors( <is
"acial "eatures did not ha!e any distincti!e @apanese traits( Perhaps- his
Dordic genes ere e)pressed to a large e)tent( 7o$e to thin# o" it- 8atsuya
percei!ed a rese$blance to the ne "e$ale teacher &u$isu 3&$ith4(
/IAll guide you( 7o$e ith $e(0
6!en though his $ind as considering such things- 8atsuya did not delay
gi!ing an anser( 's he said it- the ne student boed deeply ith a
relie!ed loo#(
/8han# you( %$$- I a$ &u$isu Fento(0
8atsuya $uttered ithout thin#ing- because the surna$e o" the person he
had been thin#ing about rese$bled the "a$ily na$e o" the boy( <oe!er-
&$ith as one o" the co$$on na$es in 6nglish spea#ing countries( It
could be a coincidence- reconsidered 8atsuya(
/'h- yes- it is ritten ith Ksu$i-K the sy$bol in Kcorner-K and Ksu-K the
sy$bol in Kcounterattac#-K and read as &u$isu( +y parents e$igrated "ro$
the &tates be"ore I as born( 't that ti$e- &$ith started being spelled ith
the sy$bols as &u$isuH is it a eird na$eB0
<oe!er- the boy Fento too# it to $ean that he as tal#ing about the
strangeness o" the na$e( 8he ay he tapered o"" toard the end $ight
$ean he had e)perienced teasing in ele$entary and $iddle school o!er
ha!ing &u$isu as a surna$e(
/Do- I did not thin# it eird- e!en a bit(0
+iddle school and ele$entary students $ight practice hat is called
innocent and thoughtless cruelty( >ut 8atsuya ould ha!e nothing to do
ith "oolishness li#e that( 9hat he as considering as that i" both his
parents ere i$$igrants- then it as natural that he couldnAt see any
physical traits that ere distincti!ely @apanese(
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/>y the ay(0
+ore i$portantly- there as so$ething else bothering 8atsuya(
/&u$isu1#un- doesnAt your in"or$ation ter$inal ha!e an ?P& "unctionB0
9hen 8atsuya spotted the boy- he had been loo#ing at both screens o" his
in"or$ation ter$inal nearly in tears( I" his in"or$ation ter$inal as
e*uipped ith an ?P& "unction then he should not be lost(
/'h- please call $e Fento( 'bout the ?P&H the "unction is attached- but-0
's he as spea#ing- Fento retrie!ed his rather large in"or$ation ter$inal
"ro$ his poc#et( <is height asnAt e!en up to 8atsuyaAs chest( 2ne o" his
inherited traits $ust be ha!ing an e)tre$ely s$all stature( <eight1ise- he
ould be classi"ied ith the shorter @apanese $ales o" his on age( &o
perhaps because he thought it ould be hard to see i" he $erely held it in
his hand- he held it abo!e his head hen he pointed it toard 8atsuya(
8he in"or$ation ter$inal as an e)tre$ely old $odel( 8atsuya couldnAt
deter$ine anything about it other than it as old- but the $odel as at
least tenty years old( 'nd it asnAt a do$estic brand( ' type that had
been constructed in the %&D' and "airly co$$on(
/I didnAt ha!e anything but a !isual $odel ter$inal- so 8ou1san lent $e the
in"or$ation ter$inal he used to use- butH it doesnAt ha!e standard ?P&(0
I see- thought 8atsuya( &ince it as designed "or an earlier !ersion o" the
public in"rastructure- it has lo co$patibility ith the current !ersion L
no- that ould be li$ited to do$estic $odels(
@apan and the %&D' process data by subtly di""erent $ethods( >esides the
%&D'As ?P& is at $ost a supple$ent o" their =P& syste$- it is not an
independent "unction li#e @apanAs ?P&(
/?et $e see it(0
8atsuya re"le)i!ely chec#ed the processing poer and unused capacity o"
the ter$inal Fento handed hi$( It as an old $odel- but it had undergone
!arious tune ups( FentoAs "ather $ight be an electrical engineer( ,eciding
that it ould be "ine- 8atsuya lin#ed FentoAs ter$inal directly to his on
by a ire and trans"erred the local position application(
/IA!e installed a school $ap that uses =P&( It is loer in speed than a ?P&
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application- but it should ser!e you as a $ap guide(0
<e returned the ter$inal to Fento a"ter the installation as co$pleted(
/8han# youP0
,espite the "act that that as all he did- Fento loo#ed at 8atsuya as i" he
had sa!ed his li"e(
/2" course- it ould be better to buy a replace$ent( '"ter all this is only a
te$porary "i)(0
<e as gi!ing out ad!ice that did not need to be said because behind his
po#er "ace- 8atsuya as a little ta#en abac#( <e soon "ound out the reason
"or FentoAs e)cessi!e response(
/%h- u$$- are you &hiba 8atsuya1senpaiPB0
/2h- thatAs it- you #no o" $eB0
/CesP I sa your acti!ities in last years Dine &chools 7o$petitionP0
8atsuya as not surprised at FentoAs anser( 'lthough it as in the
Deco$ers ,i!ision- he had played a leading role in the +onolith 7ode
$atches( 2n occasion- so$eone should probably re$e$ber his "ace "ro$
8hat as hat 8atsuya thought- but-
/Cour tactics ere incredibleP Cour tune ups ere brilliantP I chose 5irst
<igh &chool because you ould be $y senpai hereP0
<e had been hal" right( Fento hadnAt recogni;ed hi$ as an athlete but as an
/%ntil I sa last yearAs Dine &chools 7o$petition- I intended to enroll in
5ourth <igh &chool( >ecause- $y practical s#ills are poor( >ut hen I sa
senpaiAs super technical s#ills- I decided that I absolutely had to go to the
sa$e school as &enpaiP0
?istening to FentoAs enthusiastic ords $ade 8atsuya "eel li#e he as
hearing so$eone else being tal#ed about(
/Eight no- I a$ as you can see a &econd 7ourse student- but IA$
deter$ined to try to trans"er into the sa$e +agic 6ngineering 7ourse as
you senpai- ne)t yearP0
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/HI seeQ or# hard( 9ith such enthusias$- you should be alright(0
/8han# youP0
<is interests ere in a little di""erent direction- but he as probably a $ale
!ersion o" <ono#a( 8atsuya as a little con"used by the enthusiastic puppy
dog eyes Fento used to stare at hi$(
Fasu$i and I;u$i parted "ro$ +ayu$i at the entrance to the auditoriu$
and selected seats in a ro close to the "ront( Fasu$i too# her seat "irst-
but she didnAt ait "or I;u$i to "inish sitting don in her polite elegant
$anner be"ore turning to "ace her(
/I;u$i- do you #no that s#irt1chasing boy "ro$ earlierB0
8here ere still tenty $inutes until the entrance cere$ony began( 8here
ere $any ne students ho ere chatting ith their neighbors li#e the
girls( In their $idst- I;u$iAs posture said ThatAs upA hen her elder sister-
ho as the sa$e age as hersel"- deliberately hispered to her- but she
loo#ed li#e she lost interest hen she understood the $eaning o" Fasu$iAs
/Ces( H7ould it be that you really didnAt recogni;e hi$- Fasu$i1chanB0
9hen Fasu$iAs "ace told her that Fasu$i as as#ing the *uestion in
earnest- I;u$i loo#ed stunned(
/HIs he a "a$ous personB0
/In a sense- he is(0
I;u$i sighed so"tly and $o!ed her hips so she could sit "acing Fasu$i(
/<is na$e is &hiba 8atsuya1senpai( ?ast year- he as in the &econd
7ourse- but this year he trans"erred into the +agic 6ngineering 7ourse(0
/<$$H he trans"erred to the +agic 6ngineering 7ourse "ro$ the &econd
7ourse so heAs s$art(0
It asnAt that she as i$pressed- but she asnAt $a#ing light o" it eitherQ
this ea# response "ro$ Fasu$i $ade I;u$iAs eyes say T8his is so
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/ItAs nothingQ certainly- he is s$art- butH is it really right to assign hi$
such a co$$on labelB0
I;u$i deliberately put her hand to her chee# and to pose as i" con"used(
<er attitude $ade Fasu$i petulant- but Fasu$i #ne letting I;u$i get
you irritated only $ade it easier "or I;u$i to $anipulate you( 9ith these
tins- ho had been together since they had been born- their Tinclinations
and counter$easuresA ere e)actly the sa$e( Fasu$i silently aited "or
I;u$i to continue her co$$ents(
/9hen he as a 5irst Cear L $oreo!er a &econd 7ourse student L he
participated in last yearAs Dine &chools 7o$petition as an engineer( 8he
athletes he as responsible "or in the Deco$erAs ,i!ision =irlsA &peed
&hooting and Icicle ,estruction $onopoli;ed "irst to third place- too# "irst
and second place in the Deco$erAs ,i!ision +irage >at- and too# "irst
place in the +ain ,i!isionAs +irage >at(0
/Do ayH that $eans that the athletes in his care only lost to each other-
so they ere e""ecti!ely in!incibleB0
/CouAre #iddingHB0
/ItAs not a lie or a :o#e( 8hat senpai produced the $iraculous results
leading to the athletes in his charge as an engineer to be called truly
9hile I;u$i as in the $iddle o" ansering her *uestion- Fasu$i
deliberately loo#ed "or signs that her leg as being pulled so she "i)edly
e)a$ined her younger tinAs "ace( <oe!er- apparently I;u$i as
ansering her seriously and hat she as told ne)t caused her to open her
eyes e!en ider(
/<e as e$ployed as support sta"" in 2nee1sa$aAs 7rod >all( Fasu$i1
chan- you ere really unaare o" thisB0
I;u$i had already lost her stunned loo#- rather she as hitting Fasu$i
ith a pitying loo#(
/I as co$pletely unaareH0
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/<e as an e$ergency replace$ent- but 2nee1sa$a didnAt loo# hindered
in any ay(0
Fasu$i had a stric#en loo# and as at a loss "or ords( Fasu$i and I;u$i
had atched +ayu$iAs $atches in last su$$erAs Dine &chools
co$petition together( In spite o" that- she hersel" hadnAt been aare o" the
e)istence o" any ould1be 7asano!as co;ying up to her elder sister- and
only I;u$i being aare o" it ga!e her a shoc#(
/>ut I donAt li#e it(0
I;u$i absent$indedly $uttered hile Fasu$i as in a be"uddled state(
/2nee1sa$a is letting her guard pretty "ar don around &hiba1senpaiH he
$ight a$bush her hen she least e)pects it(0
8his as all she said out loud( '"ter her "orce"ul $onologue- I;u$i san#
into pensi!eness hile ne)t to her- Fasu$i still hadnAt gotten o!er her
8he entrance cere$ony ended as planned ithout accidents( 8a#u$aAs
speech had also ended ithout any special proble$s( 'll the eyes in the
auditoriu$ ere not glued on hi$ li#e the year be"oreQ li#e the year be"ore
last year- the students ere too e)cited by being enrolled to pay $uch
attention to it- an easy speech(
'"terards as the traditional in!itation to :oin the &tudent 7ouncil( 8he
unritten rule as that the discussion ould ta#e place a"ter the
ad$issions cere$ony as o!er( Dot "or the reason that until the
ad$issions cere$ony as o!er- they erenAt really students( It "eels a little
too "or$ali;ed- but until no- there hadnAt been any trouble ith it(
,espite the slight tur$oil last year- none o" the in!itations had been
re"used up to no( <oe!erL
/I a$ sorry- but please accept $y re"usal(0
8his as 8a#u$aAs anser to ';usaAs /9onAt you please :oin the &tudent
7ouncil0 in!itation(
/HIs it alright to as# "or a reasonB0
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Instead o" ';usa- ho as trans"i)ed by the co$pletely une)pected no-
Isori- ho as the only person ho acco$panied her- $ade the in*uiry(
/I ish to de!ote all $y attention to i$pro!ing $ysel"(0
9hile staring bac# at Isori- loo#ing directly into his eyes- 8a#u$a
ansered thus(
/I ant to be as strong as any $agician in the 8en +aster 7lans( 8hat is
$y goal( &o "or e)tracurricular acti!ities- instead o" organi;ational
$anage$ent in the &tudent 7ouncil- I ish to de!ote $ysel" to club
8he unhesitating reply had probably been prepared be"orehand( In short-
his decision as that "ir$( Persuading hi$ ould be di""icult- thought
/I seeH0
8he oner o" that despondent sounding !oice as not Isori- but ';usa(
';usa had been released "ro$ her paralysis une)pectedly "ast- but as she
sighed- she "eebly hung her head don( &he had probably been *uite
shoc#ed( 't least- Isori thought so hen he loo#ed at her "ro$ the side(
/I" thatAs ho it is- then e canAt co$pel you to do it(0
<oe!er- astonishingly- ';usa readily accepted 8a#u$aAs ords(
/It is un"ortunate "or us- but i" that is hat you decided- &hippou1#un-
please or# hard at your club acti!ities(0
<er all too *uic# surrender as co$pletely outside o" 8a#u$aAs
predictions( <oe!er- i" he lingered here- the &tudent 7ouncil o""icers
$ight thin# he had $isgi!ings( Perhaps they $ight thin# he as counting
on the$ to restrain hi$ and belie!e he as only "a#ing his re"usal- this
as hat 8a#u$a thought(
/6)cuse $e( IA$ lea!ing(0
8he thought that there as a !ery high possibility that he $ight be Ao!er1
thin#ing thingsA hurried hi$ up- and 8a#u$a le"t ';usaAs presence !ery
's the pair o" third years- ';usa and Isori tried hard 3and "ailed4 to get
8a#u$a to :oin the &tudent 7ouncil( 8he three second years- 8atsuya-
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+iyu#i and <ono#a- ere also !ery busy(
<ono#a as in charge o" putting things in order a"ter the ad$issions
cere$ony( 7hec#ing the presence or absence o" the $ain guests- sorting
congratulatory addresses- and so on- the deli!ery o" the photographic data
to the !endor and other things all had to be con"ir$ed(
8atsuya as in charge o" gi!ing directions to the second years ho had
been recruited to help( Do one raised sullen protests o!er being ordered by
8atsuya- ho as in the &econd 7ourse last year and as no earing the
eight petal gear e$ble$( <e as reclai$ing the ar$bands- headsets and
other stu"" no that their tas#s ere done(
'nd- as "or +iyu#i-
/+y only regret about this yearAs ad$issions cere$ony is that I didnAt hear
a speech "ro$ &hiba1#un(0
/8hat ould be i$possible- Fou;u#e1sensei( 8he only students ho go up
on the stage during the ad$issions cere$ony are the &tudent 7ouncil
president and the "resh$en representati!e- a"ter all(0
/<ahaha- no that you $entioned it- thatAs right(0
H&he as surrounded by adults ho $ade so$ething o!er nothing- li#e
this one- ith a deter$inedly a$iable s$ile on her "ace(
8he pro"ession o" the $an in the pri$e o" li"e she called TFou;u#e1senseiA
as politician( 's a $e$ber o" the Dational ,iet attached to the ruling
political party based in 8o#yo- i" his party on the ne)t election- then he
as a young $an ith good prospects o" securing a cabinet $inisterAs
post( <e as #non as a parlia$entary $e$ber "a!orable to +agicians
and he as also or#ing as a super!isor on the non1school $atters o" the
+agic %ni!ersity( In the present circu$stances- hen the "orces hostile to
$agicians ere gradually gaining in"luence- he as not a person either the
+agic %ni!ersity or 5irst <igh &chool could ignore(
+iyu#i as ell aare o" this as ell( 8hat as hy she had been putting
up ith his s$all tal# ith an a$iable s$ile "or a hile no( 'ctually- this
as not so$ething a si)teen year old girl should be concerned ith- but
+iyu#i as patiently enduring it( In the eyes o" 7ongress$an Fou;u#e-
spec#s o" se)ual aareness "lic#ered( It as not strong enough to be lin#ed
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to actual deedQ $en ho ere conscious o" their aning physicality see$
to instincti!ely long to e$brace young beauti"ul o$enQ hoe!er- e!en i"
it as only in his $ind 3it as not platonic4- being eyed li#e that
un$ista#ably $a#es a young girl "eel unclean( Donetheless- +iyu#i
endured that rude stare hile pretending not to notice(
<is long indedness ould beco$e a proble$ "or the sta"" soon( 's long
as a public o""icial ith his e)alted status e!en a$ong the other RIPs
re$ained at the site- the sta"" couldnAt lea!e the site either(
8he truth as last year this RIP asnAt this long inded( <oe!er- he
hadnAt suddenly decided he li#ed to $a#e s$all tal# this year( ?ast year
and the year be"ore- he had shoed restraint due to +ayu$i(
Dot +ayu$i as an indi!idual- but to the na$e o" &aegusa o" the 8en
+aster 7lans(
7ongress$an Fou;u#e did not display "riendliness to +agicians out o"
goodill or a li#ing "or the$( <e probably did Ali#eA +agicians- but hat
he li#ed ere the ad!antages "or his political acti!ities he as a politician
got "ro$ ad!ocating "or +agicians( Fou;u#e and the +agicians ere
bound in a pro"itable relationshipQ "or that reason- he shoed de"erence
hen "aced ith the 8en +aster 7lans- ho had e)alted status a$ong the
I" +iyu#iAs relationship ith the Cotsuba as ob!ious- Fou;u#e ould
ha!e $ade a sti"" s$ile and *uic#ly le"t the site( 8he Cotsuba na$e had
e!en $ore i$pact than the &aegusa na$e( 8he political utility o" the
&aegusa na$e as higher- but the Cotsuba na$e incited $uch $ore "ear in
people ith in"luence(
<oe!er- the T"a$ily na$eA +iyu#i as alloed to clai$ as T&hiba-A not
TCotsuba(A >esides- no $atter ho close she as to the li$it o" her
patience- this as "ar too tri!ial a $atter to rely on the poer o" the
Cotsuba to resol!e it( 5or her- the Cotsuba ere not allies she could rely on
8he one ho sa!ed +iyu#i- ho had al$ost no $ore ability to cope ith
her annoyance and irritation- as not a Cotsuba- but a &aegusa(
/<ello- Fou;u#e1sensei(0
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Fou;u#e turned his head toard the !oice that suddenly called his na$e
and the instant he registered the sight o" +ayu$i- clothed in her "e$inine
suit and o$anly s$ile- his "ace sti""ened(
/Cou ha!e graced us ith your presence again this year( 8han# you "or
alays ta#ing the ti$e hen you are so busy(0
/>ecause this is an i$portant day "or the talented youths ho $ust
shoulder the burden o" this nationAs "uture( I belie!e it is $ore o" an honor
that I recei!e an in!itation to this e!ent e!ery year(0
In the presence o" +ayu$i- ith her o!erly "or$al attitude and ho spo#e
to hi$ in a polite tone- Fou;u#e *uic#ly got the urge to "lee( I" he had
been incapable o" reading beteen the lines hen +ayu$i put an
unnatural e$phasis on Tso busy-A then he ouldnAt ha!e beco$e a
candidate to beco$e a 7abinet +inister in the go!ern$ent( 'lthough
insensiti!ity as pardonable- a politician couldnAt "unction ell i" he as
/+ore i$portantly- hy are you here +ayu$i1#unB 're you escorting
your sistersB0
Fou;u#e as#ed that as he loo#ed toard Fasu$i and I;u$i- ho re$ained
behind +ayu$i( 's he prepared to $a#e his retreat- he o""ered a proper
co$$ent to ensure he didnAt appear abnor$al(
/Ces- because both our parents un"eeling said that they couldnAt ta#e the
ti$e to do it right no(0
/<ahaha- both o" the$ are such busy people(0
Fou;u#eAs a$iable s$ile as a bit sti""(
/Fasu$i1chan- I;u$i1chan- say hello(0
9ithout trying to $a#e any $ore itticis$- +ayu$i loo#ed bac# at her
/Fou;u#e1sensei- e ha!enAt seen you in so long(0
/It has really been a long ti$e hasnAt itQ there is no e)cuse "or it(0
8he pair ho had been silently holding bac# until addressed $ade their
bosQ Fasu$i energetically- I;u$i elegantly( 8heir stereotypical greetings
o""ered Fou;u#e a good opportunity(
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/+y- $y- both o" you ha!e been busy studying "or e)a$s- rightQ so you
should not be bothered by such a thing( Please do ell in high school(0
/8han# you- sensei(0
/9e ill put all our e""orts into it(0
's Fasu$i and I;u$i once again loered their heads- a pause in the
at$osphere as created( Fou;u#e did not $iss this change(
/I e)pect great things "ro$ you to( 'nd so- +ayu$i1#un- it is about ti$e
"or $e to ta#e $y lea!e(0
'nd ith this si$ple goodbye- Fou;u#e departed "ro$ that place(
+ayu$i did not chase a"ter his bac# as he le"t(
/'re you alright- +iyu#i1sanB0
/Ces( 8han# you &aegusa1senpai(0
+ayu$i spo#e to her ith a cheer"ul s$ile hich +iyu#i ansered ith a
hu$ble s$ile( 8his place still had the attention o" the school sta""( 'n all
too clear display o" sy$pathy ould only cause the$ proble$s "ro$
7ongress$an Fou;u#e(
5or that reason- +iyu#i had deliberately not gi!en out any sign that ould
cause the school sta"" to sho acti!e concern( &he hadnAt been only
beha!ing as i" she asnAt really being ta#en ad!antage o"( 's long as it
ould not entangle 8atsuya- she o!e a thin protecti!e barrier on her s#in
o" Poly1para"in terephthala$ide 3 Product na$e1 7o!er4(
Doticing that her bare "ace as underneath a see through $as# stronger
than steel as di""icult unless you had e)tre$ely discerning eyes( 'nd
there as no possibility o" it being done by a high school girl that had :ust
$et her( 6!en i" you ere a direct descendant o" the 8en +aster 7lans and
ere used to atching "o)es and raccoons( +ost people ould
undoubtedly only be able to see +iyu#iAs reser!ed e)pression as part o"
her e$bodi$ent as the ideal- re"ined- illoy- grace"ul Ca$ato
't least- that is ho I;u$i sa her( I;u$i- ho as in a da;e- her $ind
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and eyes stolen by +iyu#i-
/I;u$i- I;u$i(0
9hen Fasu$i- ho as ne)t to her- po#ed her #nee- she "inally beca$e
aare that +ayu$i as tal#ing to her(
/+ore than Ku$$K is needed- right( =i!e +iyu#i1san a proper hello(0
<er eldest sisterAs ords per$eating her consciousness- a "lustered I;u$i
directed her eyes "orard( >e"ore I;u$iAs eyes- +iyu#i s$iled gently ith
a slightly con"used loo# on her "ace(
3?i#e a goddessH4
2" course- I;u$i had not encountered an e)istence that could be called a
Tgoddess(A 8he ords :ust naturally dri"ted into her $ind as to ho to
describe the sight o" +iyu#i as re"lected in the eyes o" I;u$i- ho had
separated "ro$ reality( 's "or calling her a beauti"ul girl- her eldest sister
+ayu$i as undisputedly in that caste- and although a stranger $ight
thin# it narcissistic- I;u$i thought Fasu$i as pretty cute as ell(
<oe!er- this as the "irst ti$e she had seen beauty at the le!el o" the
upperclass$an ith the ethereal s$ile- I;u$i "elt( +iyu#i "it the i$agined
ideal o" hat I;u$i Tanted to beco$e(A
/H&aegusa I;u$i( 'h- ould it be alright i" I called you +iyu#i1senpaiBW
/Ces- I ouldnAt $ind(0
I;u$iAs eyes ere blurry ith ;eal- and her !oice as a little thin( 9hat
has co$e o!er her so suddenly- thought +ayu$i and Fasu$i uneasily-
aare o" her abnor$ality- but +iyu#i nodded ithout brea#ing her s$ile(
/+iyu#i1senpai- I as so i$pressed by your e""orts in the Dine &chools
7o$petition( Cou ere so splendid(0
/8han# you(0
+iyu#i accepted I;u$iAs "e!erish ga;e ith the ease o" an upperclass$an(
/<oe!er- it is e!en $ore i$pressi!e to see you in person than it as to
see you "ro$ the standsH youAre so pretty(0
/%h- oh reallyB0
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<oe!er- as the "e!erish ga;e transcended ad$iration and started to be
tinged ith insanity- +iyu#i naturally started anting to ithdra(
/8o attend the sa$e institution as +iyu#i1senpaiH I a$ so thrilled(0
/I;u$i1chan- hat in the orld are you sayingB0
9atching I;u$i- ho usually concealed her thoughts and "eelings behind
an unreadable- gentle s$ile- let her e$otions run ild as enough to incite
panic in +ayu$i( Fasu$i as already ell aare o" her younger tinAs
tendency to spout ;ealous ords- so she $erely atched ith a stunned
/+iyu#i1senpaiH onAt you beco$e $y 2nee1sa$aB0
/<ey- I;u$i1chanP 7al$ donP Cour 2nee1chan is $eP0
>oth +iyu#i and +ayu$i ere raising their !oices( I;u$i- ho as the
$ain instigator o" the creation o" this strange sight- as "i)edly staring at
+iyu#i( Fasu$i- ho as ne)t to her- "roned and turned aay
pretending that she didnTt #no the$(
/I belie!e it ould be i$possible "or you to beco$e +iyu#i1neesa$aAs
younger sister- &aegusa1san(0
8he one ho thre a stone into this chaotic stale$ated situation as
+ina$i- ho had been standing there ea!esdropping near the "our o" the$
"or a little hile no(
+iyu#i- ho hadnAt been aare that +ina$i had been aiting "or her-
intentionally put the i$plied *uestion o" A<o long ha!e you been hereB0
into the na$e she spo#eQ +ina$i postponed ansering that *uestion ith
her reply(
/>ut there is a possibility o" beco$ing 8atsuya1niisa$aAs sister1in1la( I"
&aegusa1sanAs 2nee1sa$a $arried 8atsuya1niisa$a- then &aegusa1san
ould beco$e 8atsuya1niisa$aAs younger sister(0
'"ter she had "inished gi!ing her supple$entary e)planation to I;u$i- she
pi!oted- turning to a person behind her(
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/In this case- 8atsuya1niisa$aAs actual younger sister- +iyu#i1neesa$a-
and 8atsuya1niisa$aAs sister1in1la- &aegusa1san- could be called sisters-
8he person +ina$i as directing her *uestion to as- as +iyu#iAs raised
!oice indicated- 8atsuya(
/I a$ totally against itP0
<oe!er- 8atsuya could not anser +ina$iAs *uestion or respond to
+iyu#iAs ords( >ecause "aster than he could open his $outh- Fasu$i
yelled an ob:ection(
/I a$ absolutely against 2nee1chan beco$ing &hiba1senpaiAs bride or
anything li#e thatP0
Fasu$i- ho had up until that point persisted in being a $ere spectator-
suddenly interposed her sel" beteen 8atsuya and +ayu$iAs line o" sightQ
her bac# as to +ayu$i as i" she as trying to protect her as she
con"ronted 8atsuya( <er $ee#ness o" a little hile ago ent so$e place
else and she "ully unleashed a TdonAt get close to 2nee1chanA aura(
/Fasu$i1chan- she as only spea#ing hypotheticallyH0
>ecause they ere tins- they had sort o" assigned rolesQ ith Fasu$i and
I;u$i- i" one o" the$ ent into a "ren;y- the other oneAs :ob as apparently
to return that one to nor$al( I;u$i- ho had up until no as crushing on
+iyu#i- as suddenly serene and beginning to soothe Fasu$i(
+ayu$i applied pressure to her te$ples as she atched the pair( 8his as
not :ust a pose- it see$ed she really had a headache(
9ith her head cast don and her hand on her "orehead- +ayu$i called
8atsuyaAs na$e( 8atsuya tried to get nearer to her so that he ould be at a
distance at hich they could hold a nor$al con!ersationQ Fasu$i stood
glaring at hi$ inti$idatingly be"ore hi$- bloc#ing his ay(
<oe!er- in the ne)t instant(
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Fasu$i raised a screa$ li#e a cat hose tail got stepped on and
i$$ediately held her head- coering(
>ehind Fasu$i- +ayu$i had sung her "ist donard- her eyes still
loo#ing at the "loor( 8he !oice that sprung "ro$ her shoed she as
$iserable all the ay to her core(
/5or e!erything- $y stupid sistersH IA$ really sorry(0
9hat could be seen o" +ayu$iAs "ace as she as hanging her head as
e)tre$ely red( &he as probably really e$barrassed( It asnAt as i" that
as so$ething 8atsuya couldnAt understand( &tanding there all that ti$e-
her sisters going o"" the rails- e!en he probably ouldnAt ha!e been able to
endure it any longer(
/,onAt let it bother you( Eight- +iyu#iB0
/Ces( &enpai- please donAt orry about it(0
8atsuya directed +iyu#i to gloss this o!er- so +iyu#i also cheer"ully
shoo# her head( ,espite I;u$iAs disgrace"ul beha!ior and Fasu$iAs
running a$o#- treating 8atsuya as a s#irt chaser- +iyu#i as in high spirits
"or so$e reason( +iyu#iAs attitude $ade +ayu$i "eel suspicious and
uneasy- but right no she couldnAt indulge in the lu)ury o" pursuing the
/I ill surely $a#e it up to you( LCou to- eAre lea!ing right no(0
/2oohP It hurts- 2nee1chanP0
/2nee1sa$a- youAre hurting $eP 9hy are you treating $e li#e this tooB0
' hand on the nape o" the nec# o" each tin- +ayu$i departed li#e she
as $a#ing an escape(
2n the route used to co$$ute "ro$ the school entrance to the T5irst <igh
&choolA station- turning one corner ta#es one to the co""ee shop T6ine
>rise0 that 8atsuya and his "riends li#e( 8oday also- on 8atsuyaAs ay bac#
"ro$ the cere$ony- ith a co""ee in one hand- he as en:oying a chat in
the ca"O ith +iyu#i- +ina$i- <ono#a- &hi;u#u and +i#ihi#o(
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'"ter separating "ro$ the &aegusa sisters- 8atsuya and +iyu#i had lin#ed
up ith ';usa te$porarily( <oe!er- ';usa had e$phatically told the$
that it as alright to lea!e- so they ca$e here on the ay ho$e ith
<ono#a and the rest(
/7o$e to thin# o" it- ho did the in!itation to the "resh$en representati!e
9hen &hi;u#u as#ed that- she unintentionally silenced the con!ersation(
&he hadnAt $eant anything by it L she hadnAt as#ed the *uestion out o"
gossipy curiosity( &he as unprepared "or the silence that her ords
/H<e re"used(0
&o hen she as "aced ith the blac# cloud she suddenly cast o!er the
table and the thoroughly crushed <ono#a- &hi;u#u tasted bitter regret and
ished she hadnAt as#ed that *uestion(
/6h- &hippou1#un declined to :oin the &tudent 7ouncilB0
&o +i#ihi#oAs ords- hich ga!e his on curiosity precedence- could be
called a "ine $o!e to get rid o" the oppressi!e a$bience(
/8he person hi$sel" see$s to ha!e said he ants to de!ote hi$sel" to club
acti!ities( Dothing can be done i" he has other things he ants to do(0
8atsuyaKs anser see$ed to be $ore o" a TdonAt orry about itA to <ono#a
than an anser to +i#ihi#oAs *uestion(
/Ces( <e canAt be coerced(0
>ecause he read 8atsuya or by $ere chance- +i#ihi#oAs "ollo up re$ar#
re!i!ed the $ood enough that <ono#a loo#ed up and stopped loo#ing so
/&o it ould be $ore producti!e to consider ho to in!ite to :oin the
&tudent 7ouncil instead o" &hippou1#un(0
8a#ing her cue "ro$ 8atsuya- +iyu#i dre their "riends co$pletely aay
"ro$ the topic o" 8a#u$a(
/8hatAs true( I" you thin# o" the conse*uences o" a "resh$an not :oining the
&tudent 7ouncil- this is a bad situation(0
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8atsuya nodded soberly and +iyu#i lightly clapped her hands(
/I #no( <o about +ina$i1chan beco$ing a $e$ber o" the &tudent
+ina$i- ho until then been :ust silently listening to the upperclass$an
tal#- sti""ened at +iyu#iAs suggestion(
/+iyu#i- thatAs a little rough on +ina$i1chan(0
<oe!er- "aster than +ina$i could open her $outh- 8atsuya re:ected
+iyu#iAs idea(
/>ecause there is a tradition to the ay the &tudent 7ouncil chooses
successors- the substitute candidate $ust also be chosen by their score on
the entrance e)a$(0
+ina$i loo#ed relie!ed( 2n the other hand- +iyu#i did not loo# the least
bit upset o!er the plan being re:ected L she as s$iling( +iyu#i probably
asnAt serious about ha!ing +ina$i :oin the &tudent 7ouncilQ she as
probably only teasing her a little(
/9ho as the runner1upB0
&hi;u#u didnAt bother speculating on +iyu#iAs state o" $ind and in
response to 8atsuya- *uestioned <ono#a- ho as student council secretary
had access to the e)a$ results(
/%$$- &aegusa I;u$i1san( &aegusa se$paiAs sister(0
<ono#a did not chec# her ter$inalQ she had the e)a$ results properly
/8hird place is also &aegusa se$paiAs sister- Fasu$i1chan( 8hereAs only a
narro $argin beteen &hippouAs "irst place and the pairAs second and
third( 8hereAs a huge gap beteen these three and "ourth place0
+iyu#i- ho also #ne the e)a$ results li#e <ono#a- o""ered
supple$ental in"or$ation to &hi;u#u(
/&o it ouldnAt be strange i" either o" &aegusa1se$paiAs sisters beca$e a
&tudent 7ouncil o""icerB0
+i#ihi#o as usual spo#e $ore "or$ally to +iyu#i(
/>ut going by the order- ouldnAt it be I;u$i1sanB0
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+i#ihi#oAs attitude could be seen as suspicious or a$using- but &hi;u#u
indi""erently ignored it and $ade her ob:ection(
+iyu#iAs "ace loo#ed a little sour at &hi;u#uAs ords( 8he incident a little
hile ago had probably $ade her aare that she ould not deal ell ith
/8he president ill decide- but the "irst prere*uisite is probably
8atsuya also noticed the change in +iyu#iAs e)pression but- out o"
consideration "or her pri!acy pretended li#e he $ight not be aare o" it(
+i#ihi#o entered the roo$ as 8atsuya as ashing his hands in the toilet(
8here as no special signi"icance to this( 8heir ti$ing had probably
o!erlapped by chance- thought 8atsuya as he prepared to lea!e(
<oe!er- +i#ihi#o called out to stop hi$ in a lo gloo$y !oice(
/9hatB H,o you ha!e so$ething you donAt ant to tal# about ith the
others thereB0
/CesH itAs not so$ething I ant generally #nonB0
/%nderstood( I onAt tal# about it ith the others(0
8atsuyaAs ords relie!ed +i#ihi#o- ho as sti"" ith indecision a little(
/8atsuya- it ould help to #eep the con!ersation short0
/&ince staying in here too long ould be thought eird- IA$ the one ho
has to as# +i#ihi#o to #eep it short0
's 8atsuya said- they couldnAt stay in here too long ithout so$eone
beco$ing suspicious o" their health( 9ith that urging- +i#ihi#o rapidly
opened up(
/8atsuya- do you #no i" the ne $anager o" Eo;enAs @apanese branch
ca$e to todayAs cere$onyB0
It doesnAt need saying that by Eo;en- he $eant AEo;en +agicra"tA hich
as a =er$an $agic technology co$pany that as battling ith
A+a)i$ilian ,e!icesA to beco$e the top $a#er o" 7',s in the orld( 8he
$anager o" their @apanese branch ould be a $a:or i$portant "igure to the
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Dational +agic %ni!ersity as ell as the $agic high schools(
/I #no( I $anaged to get by ith a brie" greeting0
Daturally- 8atsuya had #non he had been in!ited and con"ir$ed his
/2nly brie"lyB 't the a"ter party "or last yearAs Dine &chools 7o$petition-
the pre!ious branch $anager see$ed to be *uite interested in you0
/I as luc#y today- because I didnKt ha!e ti$e "or that0
8atsuya loo#ed sour as he recalled that gloo$y su$$er $e$ory(
/&o- hat about the ne Eo;en branch $anager0
<oe!er- he soon returned to his it doesnAt $atter loo# and urged
+i#ihi#o to continue(
/,o you re$e$ber the ne branch $anagerAs na$eB0
/6rnst Eo;en- he see$s to be a $e$ber o" the Eo;enAs $ain "a$ily0
/8hat right( <eAs a bigig- the trade :ournals ere $a#ing $uch o" it0
5or an instant- the ords ere stuc# in +i#ihi#oAs throat but he
i$$ediately thre o"" his hesitation and hispered in a lo slightly
desperate tone(
/'nd he is a cousin o" 6ri#aAs $other0
8atsuyaAs po#er "ace didnAt sur!i!e this e)plosi!e re!elation(
/6ri#aAs $other as a relati!eAs o" the Eo;enB0
>oth o" his eyes shoed surprise as 8atsuya as#ed that *uestion( +i#ihi#o
$ade a s$all but distinct nod to his re*uest "or con"ir$ation o" the
/It see$s that 6ri#aAs $otherAs "ather eloped ith a @apanese o$an0
/6loped- thatAs an old "ashioned ord0
+i#ihi#o s$iled so$ehat ryly at the surprise 8atsuya displayed at
so$ething that as o""1topic( 8he so$ehat co$plicated at$osphere
cleared a little( 's +i#ihi#o continued his "ace loo#ed as i" his shoulders
ere less sti""(
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/>ecause he shoo# o"" his parentAs opposition and "led to @apan- they had
se!ered ties ith the $ain Eo;en "a$ily( <er grand$otherTs1116ri#aAs
$otherAs $otherAs "a$ily also apparently didnAt appro!e o" the coupleAs
relationship so- it see$s li#e 6ri#aAs $other had a tough ti$e0
/ItAs a sad story but hat o" itB0
8atsuya thought it as a bad "a$ily situation but- +i#ihi#oAs purpose
asnAt to garner sy$pathy "or 6ri#a( 8atsuya as urging +i#ihi#o to get
on to his $ain topic(
/H(since that incident- the Eo;en $ain "a$ily doesnAt ha!e a good
i$pression o" @apan( 6!en though they ha!e trade bases in @apan- none o"
the $ain "a$ily ha!e been on the registry in the @apanese branch o""ices0
/7o$e to thin# o" it- thatAs right0
's +i#ihi#o spo#e- 8atsuya ent through the registry o" e)ecuti!es "or the
last ten years "or Eo;en +agicra"t @apanese branch o""ices( 7ertainly- there
ere no Eo;ens listed(
/I $ay be o!er1thin#ing things butH((I "eel that 6rnst Eo;enAs trip to
@apan has so$ething to do ith 6ri#a0
8atsuya also thought he $ight be o!er1thin#ing things( <oe!er- he as
$ore concerned ith hy- +i#ihi#o as telling hi$ this(
/'nd hat do you ant $e to do about thisB0
/I donAt actually ha!e anything I ant you to do( <oe!er- I anted to
share $y concerns0
5aced ith 8atsuyaAs suspicious eyes- +i#ihi#o s$iled ryly to hi$sel"(
/Do- itAs not thatHI in!ol!ed 8atsuya because it as a little too hea!y to
#eep to $ysel"0
+i#ihi#o hispered in a sel" depreciating ay(
/ItAs a piti"ul tale0
8atsuya did not sho any signs o" e!asion hen he spo#e his "ran#
i$pression in "ront o" +i#ihi#o(
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'"ter 8atsuya le"t- ';usa re$ained in the student council roo$ alone until
:ust be"ore the gate closed 3Pi)ie as in suspended $ode4( 6!en though
the ad$issions cere$ony as o!er- there as still a huge pile o" start o"
the ne school year or# "or the student council( &o it asnAt strange "or
&tudent council president ';usa to stay this late( I" so$ething could be
called strange- it as the "act that the other student council $e$bers had
le"t be"ore her(
8his asnAt because ';usa had anted to do the or# o" "i!e people by
hersel"( %ntil a little hile ago- she had $erely been blan#ly staring at this
$onthAs schedule( &o$eti$es she sighed deeply- and shoo# her head Tno1
noA( 8hose ere the only ti$es- she turned to the ter$inal ith a
deter$ined "ace and i$$ediately relapsed to asting ti$e loo#ing blan#ly
at the $onitor( 5or so$e ti$e no- she had been repeating this beha!ior(
'"ter ho #nos ho $any sighs- a change "inally arri!ed( 8he electronic
chi$e and the $essage display announcing the !isitorAs arri!al noti"ied her
si$ultaneously( 8he screensa!er on the ca$era as replaced by the i$age
o" <attori( ';usa hurriedly $anipulated the ter$inal and opened the door
ith a #ey(
/Pardon $e( Da#a:ouH(hat the( 're you aloneB0
/'h- yes( I anted to ponder so$ething alone "or a hile0
's she spo#e- she conscientiously stood up and directed <attori to ta#e a
'"ter conscientiously boing- <attori sat in the chair she had o""ered(
/I" you used your I,- <attori1#un- you could ha!e co$e in e!en ithout
$e using the #ey to open the door0
9hile saying that in a de:ected tone- ';usa started to get the tea but
<attori stopped her ith a gesture(
/I a$ no longer an o""icer o" the student council( &o- I $ust act li#e it0
/8hatAs so li#e you- <attori1#un0
';usa chuc#led a little and then returned to her on seat( &he as a little
surprised but- <attori1#un as one o" the "e $ale students ';usa could
tal# to nor$ally ithout using "or$al language(
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/&o hat is itB0
/8his yearAs "resh$en representati!e0
%ndoubtedly- one o" <attoriAs $erits as that he didnAt bother ith any
lighthearted phrases li#e TI ca$e to see your "aceA or Tis it alright to co$e
ithout an errand0(
<oe!er- this as also a trait that could be undoubtedly be called a little
too straight"orard and lac#ing in tact(
?oo#ing at the "orced s$ile on ';usaAs "ace- <attori thought Ta nutsA but-
regrets are alays too late( >eside- choosing to halt this con!ersation at
this point asnAt part o" his style(
/'hHH&hippou re"used the student councilAs in!itation- right0
';usa as ell aare o" this in"le)ible- o!er serious nature o" <attori( &o
she asnAt outraged or hurt about so$ething o" this le!el(
/Ces( <e ants to i$pro!e hi$sel" ith club acti!ities0
/8hat see$s to be the case( &o- you decided to accept his prepared
e)planation- Da#a:ou0
<attori "elt that being too orried about others "eelings as a bit rude- so
he didnAt $u$ble his *uestion(
/uh- did hatB0
/?i#e the student council- club $anage$ent needs to train an e)ecuti!e
candidate chosen "ro$ a$ong the "resh$en( Cou are ell aare o" the
need to "ill @uu$on:i1senpaiA place0
/People li#e @uu$on:i1senpai are e)ceptions a$ong e)ceptions( I thin#
<attori1#un is doing "ine butHH(0
<attori $ade a ry s$ile at ';usaAs atte$pt to co$"ort hi$( 8here as no
listlessness or sel"1depreciation lea#ing through that e)pression(
'pparently <attori asnAt depressed "or any reason hich relie!ed ';usa(
/I too understand that he is an e)ception( 'nd so it is necessary that I raise
a leader sooner rather than later0
'"ter listening to all he said so "ar- ';usa reali;ed hat he ca$e here to
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tal# about(
/'re you going to pro$ote &hippou1#un to a candidate "or successorB0
/'h( %n"ortunately- it ill appear as i" e snatched hi$ "ro$ the student
council butHH0
/It as a"ter he already re"used us- so I donAt thin# you snatched hi$0
/2h really( 8hatAs a relie"0
';usa s$iled as she a!ed her hand- <attori boed in response(
/I said not to orry about it( &hippou1#un as already set on re"using us
"ro$ the start andH((oh yesP0
's she spo#e- ';usa intentionally $ade a sho o" cheer"ully clapping her
hands together(
/&ince youAre already here can I hear your opinion on so$ething- <attori1
/2pinionB +y opinion on hatB0
&he did not i$$ediately anser <attoriAs *uestions- ';usa set the i$age
shon on her personal co$puter to be displayed on the sur"ace o" the all(
/8he ne student dataB0
8he "resh$enAs scores on the entrance e)a$ by sub:ect ere included in
their personal data(
/&hippou1#un ran aay but I thin# it ould be !ery bad i" a "resh$en
didnAt :oin the student council0
/&o you ha!e been orrying o!er ho to in!ite to :oin instead o" &hippou1
8his as the e)act sa$e thing 8atsuya and his "riends ere tal#ing about
at 6ine >rise( 9orrying about the sa$e thing in di""erent places is clearly a
"utile thing but as is clear "ro$ the birdAs eye !ie o" the to e!ents- it
as happening( %n$ista#ably- these type o" o!erlapping e!ents happen in
the orld(
/Ces- I a$( I thin# any o" the$ ould be e)cellentH(0
';usa paused as she said that ith a troubled loo# on her "ace but-
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/It not so$ething you need to ponder so hard is itB0
<attori dealt ith the topic easily(
/I" the top scorer re"used the in!itation- itAs o#ay to chose the runner1up(
8he runner1up this yearH(0
<oe!er as he ent through the lineup o" ne students based on their
e)a$ results- <attori cut o"" his ords ith and his "ace sti""ened(
/'s I thought- one o" &aegusa senpaiAs sister ould be o#ayHH(<attori1
#un- hatAs rongB Cou loo# paleB0
/Do- itAs nothing( 2h- yes- I thin# that ould be best as ell0
<attori stood up as he spo#e- he $ade a hurried goodbye and le"t the
student council roo$(
/<attori1#un- hat could ha!e happenedH((B0
';usa $uttered that as she atched hi$ lea!e( 8he reason <attoriAs "ace
had sti""ened as un#non(
%ommon &ra 2!"#, April 1!th$ 5or the "resh$en- this as the noon
brea# o" their third day(
8atsuya "aced Fasu$i and I;u$i in the student council roo$( 6!en though
it as put that ay- he as not the only one "acing the$ because he as
seated ith his "ello student council o""icers(
<e as hit ith a sense o" de:a !u o!er the situation( &pring o" last year-
on the sa$e third day o" school- 8atsuya had been called to this roo$( 2"
course- he as not the only one ho had been in!ited- he had not been the
$ain guest( <is role had been nothing $ore than a supple$ent to +iyu#i(
,ue to so$e #ind o" error- he had been pressured to ta#e up the $antle o" a
$e$ber o" the Public +orals 7o$$ittee(
&ince that e!ent- big uni$aginable changes had been "orced on his high
school li"e( I" he had not co$e to this roo$ on that day- 8atsuya ould
probably be en:oying a peace"ul high school li"e( 't least- he hi$sel"
thought so(
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111People other than hi$sel" ould ha!e so$e doubts about agreeing ith
hi$ on that(
8he one ho in!ited +iyu#i and 8atsuya at that ti$e as +ayu$i( 'nd
no- 8atsuya had beco$e a $e$ber o" the student council that had in!ited
+ayu$iAs sisters( +aybe this is #ar$a- as 8atsuyaAs slightly dis:ointed
/&o you ish to pro$ote one o" us to the position o" student council
o""icer- is that hat you are sayingB0
8atsuyaAs $ind as dran bac# to this place by I;u$iAs ords that
touched on the $ain topic( Eight across "ro$ hi$- Fasu$i as glaring at
8atsuya as usual ith eyes that see$ed to grol( 8hat as the reason
8atsuya has ta#en a brea# "ro$ reality(
/8o be able to or# together ith +iyu#i1senpaiH((itAs li#e a drea$0
<e couldnAt tell hat +iyu#i as thin#ing behind her iron all o" an
a$iable s$ile loo#ing at I;u$i ho had a hand on her chec# directly
across "ro$ her( Fasu$i ho as open in her hostility and I;u$i ho as
open ith her desires( ';usa- Isori and <ono#a ere co$pletely
o!erhel$ed by the pairAs strange attitudes( 's a result- the roles o"
interacting ith the pair "ell to the targets o" their hostility and lust-
8atsuya and +iyu#i(
/I" you ish there is no proble$ ith both o" you or#ing together0
<e "elt that there as so$ething rong ith lea!ing the :ob o" interacting
ith the$ to their targets but- he couldnAt let his sister bear the "ull brunt o"
it alone( 9ith that in $ind- 8atsuya returned to the table hoe!er-
/I ha!e no intention o" :oining the student council0
<is e""ort only elicited a brus*ue response "ro$ Fasu$i( 8he ay she
phrased her anser shoed her strong deter$ination to re:ect 8atsuya( 'nd
the "act that her speech pattern as slightly di""erent "ro$ ho she spo#e
to her sisters probably $eant she as re:ecting any "or$ o" "a$iliarity
beteen the$(
/Fasu$i1chan- you ha!e been rude to &hiba1senpai "or a hile no0
's e)pected- I;u$i could not ignore hat as going on and spo#e to her
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in a candidly needling tone- I;u$i as clearly paying attention to Fasu$i(
8he "act that she asnAt hispering $ight $ean that gi!ing e)cuses "or
each otherAs beha!ior as an aspect o" their relationship(
2n their side- ';usa- Isori and <ono#a could not conceal their surprise
o!er the "act that +iyu#i had said nothing( <er sisterly lo!e "or 8atsuya
as practically a credo "or her- it as nor$al "or anyone ho shoed ill
ill to 8atsuya to be burned 3"rostbittenB4 by her rath( ,espite that the
ga;e +iyu#i as directing toard Fasu$i could be called a pleasant one(
Eather than suspicious the three o" the$ "ound that terri"ying( It as
typically the cal$ be"ore the stor$(
2" course- ';usa and the rest ere o!er1thin#ing it( +iyu#i ho as
attuned to any ill ill directed against 8atsuya co$pletely understood that
Fasu$i did not despise her brother- her attitude as a $i) o" :ealousy and
ariness( +iyu#i "elt sy$pathetic to Fasu$iAs "eelings o" hostility to any
$ale ho ca$e too close to her belo!ed older sister and to +iyu#i- since
there as little chance o" her de!eloping a crush on 8atsuya- Fasu$i as a
cute #ouhai she could associate ith in a rela)ed $anner(
/I see- thatAs un"ortunate0
>y that +iyu#i $eant that it as un"ortunate "or +iyu#i hersel" that
Fasu$i had decided not to :oin the student council(
/&o then- I;u$i1san can e count on you to :oin the student councilB0
<oe!er- +iyu#i did not re!eal any o" her "eelings about that or sho that
she anted to #eep her distance "ro$ I;u$iQ +iyu#i :ust cheer"ully as#ed
the *uestion(
'lthough the "e!erish ga;e I;u$i ai$ed at hersel" gre gradually hotter-
+iyu#iAs per"ect ladyli#e s$ile did not "alter(
'"ter school and a"ter Fasu$i asted ti$e in the library "or a hile- she
ent to the ca"O alone( 8hirty $inutes still re$ained o" the ti$e she had to
ait until she $et ith I;u$i ho had gone to the student council earlier(
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8he ti$e see$ed to be slightly longer than that as she aited alone( I;u$i
had told her that it as alright to lea!e "irst i" she got tired o" aitingQ so
hat should I do- Fasu$i $used la;ily(
/9hatAs rong( Cou donAt loo# o#ay- so$eho0
9ithout arning- a !oice addressed her( 9hen she li"ted her "ace- there
as a young sta"" $e$ber in a pantsuit in "ront o" her(
/%h- no- IA$ not ill or anything0
Fasu$i had intended to indicate TI ant you to lea!e $e aloneA ith that
anser( <oe!er- her ords ere enunciated less clearly than she had
planned- shoc#ing e!en hersel"(
8he "e$ale sta"" $e$ber o""ered a s$ile that see$ed to see right through
Fasu$iAs beilder$ent- and sat don across "ro$ Fasu$i ithout as#ing(
Fasu$i as slightly ta#en abac# by this unilateral $aneu!er but- as she
loo#ed at the so$ehat disingenuous s$ile- she *uic#ly decided it did not
/IA$ a counselor at this school- 2no <aru#a0
/IA$ &aegusa Fasu$i- "irst year0
<aru#a had ai$ed her sel"1introduction "or the precise $o$ent that the
troubled loo# !anished "ro$ Fasu$iAs "ace and Fasu$i had auto$atically
gi!en her na$e in return(
/&aegusa1san is in 7lass 7- I belie!e0
/Ces- thatAs right0
>ecause <aru#a had stolen the initiati!e- Fasu$i as "olloing <aru#aAs
lead( /7lass 7 isnAt in $y charge but- IAll listen to any orries you ha!e0
/IA$ not really orried about anything0
<er $ental resistance didnAt last long and Fasu$i earnestly tal#ed about
ho she had to spend too $uch ti$e aiting "or I;u$i ho had :oined the
student council(
/I see( Cou ha!e $i)ed "eelings about it0
<aru#a ho had leaned "orard to listen to Fasu$iAs tale ith a serious
"ace o""ered those ords in a hisper(
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9hat do you $ean by $i)ed- Fasu$i thought suspiciously butQ <aru#aAs
ords continued "aster than Fasu$i could *uestion her(
/&aegusa1san- hy donAt you gi!e the Public +orals co$$ittee a tryB0
5or Fasu$i- <aru#aAs suggestion as abrupt and co$pletely une)pected(
<aru#a s$iled agreeably as she pee#ed into the eyes o" Fasu$i ho
couldnAt $a#e an i$$ediate response(
/,o you #no o" our schoolAs Public +orals co$$ittee syste$B0
8he *uestion :ust no re*uired a si$ple TyesA or TnoA anser(
/CesH(I heard about it "ro$ $y older sister0
'lthough Fasu$i re$ained perple)ed- she as still able to anser this
/2#ay( 8hen I can $a#e this *uic#0
<aru#a did not as# ho Fasu$iAs Tolder sisterA as( 8he "a$ily na$e o"
T&aegusaA as both unco$$on and ell #non so she #ne ho
Fasu$iAs older sister as ithout as#ing- $oreo!er <aru#a had #non
Fasu$iAs identity be"ore she had introduced hersel"(
/'ctually the sta"" reco$$endation is one ay to get on the co$$ittee( 8o
$a#e it short- e pic# "resh$en to "ill the !acancies in the co$$ittee0
/Cou $ean $eB 6)cuse $e- is it alright to unilaterally decide that right
/I" you ere to accept it- no one ould co$plain0
<aru#a s$iled slightly at the e)pected outburst "ro$ Fasu$i ho had
"inally regained her !itality(
/I thought that you ould be able to do or# that ould not be in"erior to
&hiba1#unAs last year0
'nd- this re$ar# spo#en in a super"icially casual $anner $ade the eyes o"
Fasu$i ho until no as not really interested change color(
/&hiba1senpai- do you $ean the elder brotherB0
5or an instant- <aru#aAs "ace displayed a TgotchaA loo# but Fasu$i didnAt
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/?ast year- &hiba ho as reco$$ended by the student council as stood
out as $uch as a $e$ber o" the Public +orals 7o$$ittee as 7hie"
9atanabe1san hersel"( 8he sta"" reco$$ended +orisa#i is also
re$e$bered "or his reliable battle s#ills but- it is undeniable that he as
seen as so$ehat o!ershadoed by &hiba1#un( >esides last year-
proble$s occurred ith one o" the other co$$ittee $e$bers
reco$$ended by the sta""( I" things li#e that continue a bit $ore than
people ill loo# suspiciously at the sta""- it ould help us a lot i" you
ould underta#e this0
It $ight not ha!e been necessary "or <aru#a to articulate to reasons(
9hen she $ade the point about 8atsuya standing out- Fasu$i as "illed
ith a blend o" "ighting spirit and antagonis$(
/I understand( Please let $e do it0
&he as so enthused right no- she see$ed to ha!e "la$es behind hi$(
/H8han# you( IAll contact the Public +orals 7hie"( I thin# you $ight e!en
be contacted by the$ to$orro0
&ince she #ne that trouble had occurred be"ore and a"ter the ad$issions
cere$ony- <aru#a had used that #noledge to incite her( <oe!er- she had
been $ore stirred up by it than <aru#a had predictedQ 9hat on earth had
actually happened- <aru#a could not help ondering(
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Chapter 7
8he "resh$en representati!e deciding not to :oin the &tudent 7ouncil as
an unthin#able e!ent but- ithout any other "uss- 5irst <igh &chool ent
into club recruit$ent ee#( 3';usa $uttered so$ething li#e Tthis year- let
there be peaceHH(A hich all the second year o""icers pretended not to
<oe!er ithout e)ception each year- trouble to a greater or lesser e)tent
3in this case- TlesserA $ight be an unneeded ad:ecti!e4 occurred during ne
club $e$ber recruit$ent ee# so there as no ay it ould end
peace"ully( 8he recruit$ent ee# started on the second +onday in 'pril
and ent until 5riday the thirteenth- ';usaAs prayer o" T$ay e get
through it this year ithout anything happeningA as an i$possible drea$
that ould die a noble death(
2n this day and e!ery day prior to it- 8atsuya and +iyu#i ere on stand by
a"ter school in the club a""airs head*uarters( &o they could respond
instantly hen trouble erupted( ?ast year- +ayu$i and <attori occupied
this position( <a!ing to student council !ice presidents as an irregular
con"iguration and e$ptying the student council roo$ o" these to !ice
presidents $ight be percei!ed as presenting an easily destroyed battle
"or$ation but- doubting +iyu#iAs $agic abilities as an indulgence no one
dared atte$pt and 8atsuyaAs true strength had been pro!en beyond doubt in
a di""erent di$ension than practical s#ills classes- actual practice 3actual
co$bat4( I" the siblings patrolled as an actual unit- hate!er anyone
actually thought beneath the sur"ace- no one ould oppose it(
In that roo$- they ere on stand by ith one o" the e)ecuti!es o" the club
a""airsA public sa"ety di!ision( &ince be"ore <attoriAs inauguration as
chair$an- a syste$ had been in place here each club sent one $e$ber to
the public sa"ety di!ision as needed but since he had beco$e chair$an the
regular syste$ had undergone a change- the scale had e)panded( 'll
tenty $e$bers in a "our shi"t rotation ere stationed in their $ain o""ice
in a battle array- it as the largest "orce in school e)ceeding that o" the
Public +orals and the student council( 'lthough he as undeniably
in"erior in ter$s o" charis$a to the pre!ious chair$an- FatsutoQ <attoriAs
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abilities as an organi;ational $anager ere superior to his predecessor as
shon by this action(
Cesterday- the head*uarters as stu""ed ith public sa"ety di!ision
$e$bers( 8he $e$bers ere al$ost entirely students 8atsuya hadnAt had
$uch contact ith including the second years( <e didnAt #no $uch $ore
than their na$es and "aces( <oe!er- today- there as a senpai ith ho$
he as $ore than !aguely "a$iliar ith(
/De!ertheless- itAs *uite strange( I- ho clu$sily caused an incident last
year that nearly got $e suspended a$ one o" the people controlling the
chaos this year0
/&enpai- is that so$ething you should say about yoursel"B0
/Firihara- please donAt tal# about that too $uchHH( IAd be troubled i"
so$eone ca$e in and too# it the rong ay0
8atsuyaAs response had a Tshoc#edA tone but <attori really put on a sho
ith his responseN an elbo on the des#- "ingers rubbing his "orehead and
sighing deeply(
/ItAs probably o#ay( &ince no oneAs listening0
7urrently- there ere only "our people in the club a""airs roo$N <attori-
Firihara- 8atsuya and +iyu#i( 8here ere "our $e$bers o" the public
sa"ety di!ision on duty today but- to o" the$ ere $a#ing sure that the
schedule "or the usage o" the s$all gy$ "or de$onstrations as #ept to by
apparently going to atch the$ and the other to had been patrolling
around ca$pus "ro$ the beginning(
/2ops- I :in)ed it( 9eAll cut o"" this con!ersation here0
<oe!er- i$$ediately a"ter Firihara clai$ed TthereAs no one hereA- the
third year "e$ale $e$ber o" the public sa"ety "orce ca$e bac# "ro$ the
s$all gy$(
/8he Fendo clubAs de$onstration has :ust started0
>ehind the "e$ale student ho as reporting on the status o" the s$all
gy$ to <attori- 8atsuya chec#ed the cloc# and as ordered changed the
/'h( 'pparently the Fendo club is adhering to the ti$e li$it *uite
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Firihara said this because $any clubs ent o!er their ti$e li$it "or
/CouAre not going &enpaiB Cou spent $ore hours practicing ith the
Fendo club in +arch0
/CouAre ell in"or$edHH0
/I as in the public $orals co$$ittee last $onth( 2ccasionally- I ould
atch the practices0
/@ust henH(I as co$pletely unaare o" you0
8he loo# Firihara as sending 8atsuya as tinged ith horror and "ear(
<oe!er- seeing 8atsuyaAs aloo" "ace $ade Firihara *uic#ly unclench his
shoulders( <e recalled that it as all $eaningless at this point(
/7ertainly- I participated in the practices but- I didnAt trans"er to the Fendo
club( 8he ee# a"ter ne)t- the Fendo club has a practice $atch0
's he spo#e Firihara na$ed the school that as the national high school
/8hey are ta#ing part0
/&o- thatAs hy you ha!e been attending the Fendo club practicesB0
/8hatAs right( ItAs a good opportunity- I thought it shouldnAt be asted0
8atsuya and Firihara had $et in close to the orst possible ay but- no
they ere close enough to chat har$oniously li#e this(
<oe!er- a bulletin chi$e rang out on <attoriAs des# interrupting this cal$
8he sound o" the old "ashioned bell signaled <attori that a report had :ust
been recei!ed by the $echanis$ in the des#( '"ter a short call- he stood up
and called o!er 8atsuya and +iyu#i(
/&hiba- &hiba san0
It as a co$plicated phrasing but this as <attoriAs de"ault ay o"
addressing the pair(
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+iyu#i ansered in a cal$ !oice( 8atsuya silently stood up and aited "or
<attoriAs ne)t ords(
/8rouble has bro#en out at the Eobot Eesearch clubAs garage( =o arbitrate
<attori loo#ed at 8atsuya as he ga!e those directions( 8here as no deep
$eaning to it- 8atsuya as si$ply the easier person to gi!e orders to(
8his ti$e 8atsuya as the one to respond !ocally- +iyu#i shoed her
agree$ent ith a bo and the pair ent to the scene(
'cti!ities to recruit "resh$en ere li$ited to one ee#- a"terard they
ere li$ited to "resh$en ho !oluntarily applied- hich as the principle
source o" con"lict beteen the clubs ho too# part in $agic based sports(
De!er the less- that de"initely didnAt $ean clubs other than the sports clubs
did not clash during recruit$ent ee#( Eight no- in "ront o" the garage
the robot research club used as a clubroo$- the Eobot research club and
the >i#e club ere glaring at each other ith a single "resh$an caught
beteen the$(
8he >i#e club as not a club "or the purpose o" riding bi#es- their clubAs
acti!ities included $a#ing and re$odeling bi#es and ere originally ere
part o" the Eobot Eesearch club( It ould be o#ay to say that the Eobot
Eesearch club had split on $o!e$ent using legs and $o!e$ent using
heels( ,ue to this bac#ground- the to clubs ere nor$ally at odds( 8he
>i#e club hich rented a "or$er car $aintenance "acility nearby could be
said to harbor $ore antagonis$ to its ri!al than the Eobot Eesearch club
ho had a garage on ca$pus(
>oth clubs had their eyes on an e)tre$ely eye catching "resh$en ith
platinu$ blonde hair- sil!er eyes and hite s#in( <is slight physi*ue and
inso$e "acial "eatures ga!e o"" an i$pression o" cuteness to obser!ers(
<e as a boy that stirred up desires to T$a#e hi$ their $ascotA in the
second and third year girls( 8he third year girls o" both clubs ere standing
in the "ront ros o" those glaring at each other(
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/=i!e up grace"ully( &u$isu #un said he ould :oin the Eobot Eesearch
club- right0
8he na$e o" "resh$an ho had beco$e the pri;e in their battle as
&u$isu Fento( 8he "resh$an 8atsuya had "ound andering around lost
be"ore the ad$issions cere$ony(
/<a!enAt your ears gotten bad "ro$ using the press $achine too $uchB
&u$isu #un hasnAt said one ord about that- right( >ecause e ere the
ones to tal# to hi$ "irst- your side has no cause to co$plain0
/9eAre not "irst co$e "irst ser!ed ele$entary students( <a!e you been
sha#en up li#e the old "ashioned reciprocating engines you try to "i)0
/2ld "ashionedBP 8hose ords are only to be e)pected "ro$ a cutting edge
ota#u ho is hoo#ed on playing ith li"e1si;ed $echanical dolls0
' pretty large crod o" ri""1ra"" had been dran to atch the unsightly
$udslinging $atch beteen girls as spectators( <oe!er- the $ale club
$e$bers hanging bac# behind the girls-
=ot pretty re!!ed up- apparently by those #eyords(
/%h- IH((0
111the original cause o" their con"lict- Fento as le"t in a lurch(
Eight no- the $ood as e)plosi!e( 8he "irst to arri!e at the scene ere
not student council o""icers or public $orals co$$ittee $e$bers- they
ere the $e$bers o" the public sa"ety di!ision independently patrolling(
/9ill the Eobot Eesearch club and the >i#e club please cal$ donP0
8he "irst to enter the breech as $e$ber o" the public sa"ety "orce-
8o$itsu#a <agane- a second year student(
8a#ing a place ne)t to hi$ as public sa"ety trainee- &hippou 8a#u$a(
5or &hippou 8a#u$a- ho as apparently recruited by <attori111or it least
it loo#ed that ay111to :oin the public sa"ety di!ision to hich he had
enthusiastically agreed- this as his "irst assign$ent- to assist 8o$itsu#a in
arbitrating any trouble beteen clubs they happened upon(
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8a#u$aAs !igor had pushed Fento out o"" the battle ring(
/'renAt you FentoB0
8o $eet 8atsuya and +iyu#i ho had arri!ed :ust a"ter 8o$itsu#a(
/'h- &hiba senpai0
Fento happily turned around to loo# at 8atsuya( <e did not pay attention to
+iyu#i ho as standing beside 8atsuya( 8his could be called e)tre$ely
unusual( 9hile he "elt so$ehat unco$"ortable ith +iyu#iAs deeply
interested innocent ga;e- 8atsuya *uestioned Fento(
/9hat happenedB0
't this point- 8atsuya had no ay o" #noing that Fento had anything to
do ith starting the trouble that as going on be"ore his eyes(
<e had caught his eye and 8atsuya had spo#en to hi$ only because he
actually #ne hi$(
/'h- u$- IA$ sorry- &enpaiP0
6!en i" Fento suddenly apologi;ed- 8atsuya had si$ply no ay to #no
hat as going on(
/I ha!enAt decided hich club to :oin yet- I intended to $erely ta#e a loo#
around today but- since I ent in to hear $ore about the club- it suddenly
got li#e this a"terardsHH0
<e as probably e)cited- FentoAs state$ent as al$ost co$pletely
incoherent( 9hile 8atsuya as painsta#ing or#ing through that di""icult
to understand e)planation- the situation underent a ne change(
/Public +orals 7o$$itteeP0
8atsuya heard a *uarrelso$e note in that "a$iliar !oice( 8he Eobot
Eesearch club and the >i#e club $e$bers ere proclai$ing their on
righteousness in high pitched !oices- 8o$itsu#a as raising his !oice to be
heard abo!e the$- so no one as really responding to the person ho
/6hB 8hatAs Fasu$i chan- 2nii sa$a(
8atsuya had not deigned to "ace the direction that screa$ing !oice had
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co$e "ro$ but- that really didnAt $atter $uch( 6!en ithout +iyu#i
telling hi$- 8atsuya had recogni;ed that Fasu$i had identi"ied hersel" as a
$e$ber o" the public $orals co$$ittee(
Fento ho had loo#ed o!er his shoulder ith ide1eyes in the direction o"
Fasu$iAs e)cited !oice returned his attention to 8atsuya(
/2h- yes- IA$ sorry0
/ItAs not really so$ething you ha!e to apologi;e "or0
8atsuya s$iled slightly at Fento ho as so ner!ous it as al$ost piti"ul(
8here as a thic# layer o" sniggering in that s$ile but it only appeared li#e
that to +iyu#i at his side ho #ne all his s$iles( 111the person it as
directed at- Fento didnAt notice(
/Ces- IA$ sor1111ah0
>e"ore an a#ard silence could descend o!er the$- 8atsuya continued
/In short- the >i#e club $isunderstood your intentions and the Eobot
Eesearch club $anaged to get tangled up in thatB0
/%$$- yes- $aybeH(0
/I seeH(ell- that part see$s "ine- no0
8he *uarrelso$e !oices they had heard earlier had been replaced ith
other !oices( 'nd they had not noticed the beginning o" a dangerous
interchange( 8here as still the threat o" a $agic "ight starting in the air-
hile the robot research and bi#e club $e$bers ere settling don- the
source o" that threat111as a con"rontational 8a#u$a and Fasu$i ho
ere glaring at each other(
/Fento- itAs alright "or you to go( ?ea!e tal#ing to the robot research and
bi#e clubs to $e0
9hile the thought o" the underclass$en ho had co$e here to arbitrate
one incident starting one o" their on $ade his head hurt- 8atsuya directed
Fento to lea!e the area(
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/CesH(8han# you0
Fento see$ed a little hesitant about hether he could allo 8atsuya to
settle the $atter "or hi$ but- in the end- he $ade a bo to 8atsuya and
obeyed his co$$and(
/8his $atter is already being handled by the club a""airs public sa"ety
di!ision( &o you can lea!e already- public $orals $e$ber0
8his had been the "irst thing 8a#u$a had said to start the dispute(
<is arrogant ay o" spea#ing instantly $ade Fasu$i "linch( <oe!er-
hen she recogni;ed hi$ as a "ello "resh$en- she indignantly spo#e bac#
to hi$(
/>ut- I belie!e the public $orals co$$ittee has :urisdiction o!er disputes
beteen students0
&o thereAs no reason "or $e to :ust dole"ully lea!e- Fasu$i i$plicitly
in"or$ed and tried to bypass 8a#u$a(
/<ey- ait0
8a#u$a reached out to ta#e hold o" Fasu$iAs ar$ as she passed hi$(
<oe!er- that hand asnAt able to grab hold o" anything( Fasu$i $ade a
s$ooth sidestep and e!aded 8a#u$aAs hand( 8a#u$a as $o$entarily
du$b"ounded by his unthin#able "ailure to grab her- hoe!er- seeing
Fasu$iAs triu$phant loo# $ade his blood boil and rush all to his head(
Daturally- e!en 8a#u$a as so si$ple $inded as to use that as an e)cuse
"or !iolence(
/Persistent arenAt you( 7anAt you stop getting in the ayB0
Di$bly going around 8a#u$a ho got in her ay again- Fasu$i spo#e to
hi$ in a bored tone(
/I said eAre ta#ing care o" things- &aegusa( 2r canAt you understand that-
ithout $e spea#ing $ore clearlyB 8hereAs no reason "or you to inter!ene0
/<$$HH&hippou #un( Cou #no ho I a$B0
Fasu$i loo#ed at 8a#u$a ith $eaning"ul eyes and atte$pted to "orestall
hi$ ith ords(
/,o you e!en notice hen youAre being treated as a hindranceB 9hat a
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sorry state( Cou do #no that Public +orals $e$bers donAt ha!e to obey
the orders o" the public sa"ety di!ision0
9ithin Fasu$iAs slightly a$used e)pression- only her eyes ere
gli$$ering ith the light o" battle(
/&aegusaH(are you pic#ing a "ightB0
8a#u$a as the opposite ithin his red "aced e)pression- only his eyes
contained a cold light(
/I donAt intend to pic# a "ight( >ut- IA$ alays ready to accept one0
/2hH(so youAre ready to ta#e $e on- &aegusaB0
8a#u$aAs le"t slee!e as tugged bac# slightly( Ee!ealing the "or$ o" a
bracelet style 7',( 2""icially- only $e$bers o" the student council and
public $orals co$$ittee ere per$itted to carry 7',s on ca$pus- so
$e$bers o" the club a""airs public sa"ety di!ision ho ere not $e$bers
o" those organi;ations ere "orbidden to carry the$( <oe!er- so$e o" the
rules against carrying 7',s ere rela)ed during club recruit$ent ee#(
9hat glittered on his rist as not a 7', ith sa"ety li$its "or use in
co$petitions but- his personal one that as suitable "or actual co$bat(
/I see- IAll do $y best to gi!e you $ore o" a "ight than you e)pect( 6nough
that you onAt consider pic#ing a "ight ith $e again0
Fasu$i also tugged bac# her le"t slee!e to re!eal her le"t ar$( It sat
slightly higher on her rist than 8a#u$aAs- it as on the s$all si;e and it
as designed to loo# prettier- hoe!er the 7', ithin as a cutting edge
$odel that as not in any ay in"erior(
/Cou donAt see$ to ha!e anyone ith you( Cou o#ay ith doing it soloB0
/9hatB Cou ant the e)cuse that you lost because it as to to oneB0
8a#u$a and Fasu$i ere no already incapable o" noticing anything but
the ad!ersary right be"ore their eyes( Dot e!en the "act that the dispute
beteen the robot research club and the bi#e club that they had co$e to
arbitrate as no in the $iddle o" a ar$istice or that Fento- the one ho
triggered their dispute had already le"t the scene(
/9ait a +inuteP0
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8he dispute beteen the robot research and the bi#e clubs had dran a big
gallery o" spectators- a $ale student suddenly inter!ened be"ore they could
ha!e hat loo#ed li#e an ine!itable and e)tre$ely public battle(
/>oth o" you- settle donP0
8his as 8o$itsu#a ho had been stunned by the $alice 8a#u$a and
Fasu$i had been in!o#ing into the at$osphere until no(
/&enpai- please donAt inter"ere0
/I said settle don- &hippouP0
/8o$itsu#a senpai- are you protecting &hippou #unB0
/Do ayP &aegusa san you settle don as ell0
HHith 8o$itsu#a beteen the$ the !iolent $ood receded so$ehat-
but it didnAt "eel li#e they ere done snarling at each other( ,ue to this-
neither the robot research and bi#e clubs "elt li#e bringing up the "act that
the dispute that had brought the$ here hadnTt been resol!ed yet(
/6!eryone- isnAt it ti$e to go bac# to hate!er you ere doingB0
&o- the !oice that called out "ro$ the side $ade the$ "eel li#e they had
been graced ith a procla$ation "ro$ an angel 3it as *uite con!enient4(
/,o not $a#e this incident a proble$ "or the student council( I ill be the
one ho tal#s to the public $orals co$$ittee and the public sa"ety
8atsuya had "olloed a"ter +iyu#i ith an assertion Tto not $a#e this
incident a proble$A hich $eant that the robot research club ent bac# to
the garage and the bi#e club ent bac# to their tent gradually to resu$e
recruit$ent( 8atsuya and +iyu#i also ent bac# to club a""airs
head*uarters- all that re$ained as the gallery o" onloo#ers and the three
people ho had garnered their attention- 8a#u$a- Fasu$i and 8o$itsu#a(
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Chapter 8
/HH'nd thatAs hy it as so annoying(0
/<a(((((( IA$ a$a;ed you ere able to hold bac#- Fasu$i1chan(0
8he sa$e day- during the e!ening o" April 1(th, 2!"# AD( It as only
a"ter the children "inished dinner that they ere in"or$ed that guests ere
co$ing 3e!en though their to eldest brothers ere not ho$e yet4- so
Fasu$i ca$e to I;u$iAs roo$ to co$plain about hat had happened a"ter
/<$- ell- hen I thought about all the cleanup a"terards- I "elt that it
ould be better not to thro don there( <oe!er- to be honest- I really
anted to #ic# his ass(0
's she as sitting on the rug ith her hands rapped around a pillo- she
soc#ed the pillo to or three ti$es probably because she as pretending
that the o""ending ite$ as 8a#u$a(
/&pea#ing o" hichHH >ased on your story- &hippou1#unAs attitude as
a little too un"riendly(0
/8hat asnAt so$ething cute li#e being un"riendly( <e as blatantly
pic#ing a "ight(0
/Ces- yes( 8hen- since he as pic#ing a "ight- ho did he e)plain the
antagonis$ displayed by the 7lub 'cti!ities =roup to the Public +oral
/Ceah( 8hatAs hy I said that guy as pic#ing a "ight against the &aegusa
because heAs a &hippou(0
<earing the suggestion "ro$ the seated Fasu$i as she e)citedly related
hat happened- I;u$i did not see this as her personal "eelings and re:ect it(
/&etting aside hether heAs acting on behal" o" the &hippou- it re$ains true
that he has shon hostility(0
<earing I;u$iAs une)pected perspecti!e- Fasu$i thre the pillo don
ith both hands as she blin#ed se!eral ti$es(
/&o itAs not "or the &hippou 5a$ily- but "or his on personal grudgeB0
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/7anAt belie!e you said grudge- Fasu$i1chanHH 9ell- I guess thatAs
close enough(0
&eeing Fasu$iAs e)aggerated display- I;u$i nodded ith a beildered
e)pression be"ore putting on an e)pression o" rapt attention as she thought
to hersel"(
/I heard that the head o" the &hippou 5a$ily is a $oderate( >ased on the
ru$ors- he shouldnAt be the type to do anything that directly antagoni;ed
the &aegusa 5a$ilyHH0
't the sa$e ti$e- the head o" the &aegusa 5a$ily- &aegusa Foichi as
preparing to elco$e the scheduled guest(
/' pleasure to $eet you( +y na$e is &aa$ura +a#i(0
/9e ha!e been aiting "or you( I a$ the headAs daughter- +ayu$i( Please
"ollo $e(0
8he one ho elco$ed her as +ayu$i( 8his as not a coincidence- as
Foichi ordered +ayu$i to lead the ay( '"ter leading +a#i to the guest
dining hall- +ayu$i "elt $ore suspicious than curious(
38his person should be the 'ctress &aa$ura +a#i1sanHH 9hat
business does an artist ha!e ith the 8en +aster 7lansHHB4
I" the !isitor as a politician or an industrialist- +ayu$i ould not ha!e
"ound anything odd regardless o" the !isitorAs gender( 6!en so$eone "ro$
the entertain$ent circle see#ing the poer o" +agicians itsel" as not
so$ething out o" place( <oe!er- e$ploying the $ight o" the 8en +aster
7lans on so$eone "ro$ the crea$ o" the entertain$ent business as a
$ite too $uch(
/2tou1sa$a- I ha!e brought &aa$ura1san(0
,espite ho suspicious this as in her $ind- none o" this as re"lected on
her "ace( Per"ectly playing the part o" a re"ined daughter elco$ing a
guest- +ayu$i led +a#i to the dining hall here her "ather as aiting(
'"ter alloing +ayu$i to lea!e "ro$ the dooray and dis$issing the
$aids in attendance- Foichi re$ained seated as he opened the
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con!ersation ith +a#i(
/8his should be the second ti$e e ha!e $et(0
'dopting a si$ilar seated posture- +a#i s$iled bac#(
/I a$ honored that you re$e$ber $e(0
/CouAre elco$e( Please- en:oy yoursel" be"ore the dinner gets cold(0
' "ull array o" appeti;ers and $ain entrees as set up on the table( 8he
"or$at intentionally a!oided presenting one dish at a ti$e because Foichi
as aare that this as supposed to be a secret negotiation( Dor did +a#i
raise a "uss o!er this(
/8han# you !ery $uch( 8hen allo us to dine(0
'cco$panied by a so$ehat sua!e anser- +a#i pic#ed up her utensils(
7o$pletely di""erent "ro$ the slightly ner!ous tic in her $anners- +a#iAs
table $anners ere i$peccable(
In +a#iAs eyes- Foichi see$ed to s$ile in satis"action upon seeing this(
/'h- $y apologies(0
It as i$possible to deter$ine ho to decipher that loo# . $aybe because
he ished to $uddle the issue- Foichi opened his $outh to o""er his
/<o rude o" $e to ear these glasses indoors(0
/Do- I a$ aare o" the details surrounding your story(0
9hen he as 14- Foichi as the !icti$ o" an international #idnapping
incident that targeted +agicians- an incident that cost hi$ his right eye in
battle( 2nce he beca$e an adult and his bodyAs de!elop$ent halted he
began using a "alse eye- though he as *uite "a$ous during his teenage
years as the /Coung +agician ith the 6ye Patch0 a$ong $agic circles(
Do- he pre"erred to use lightly colored glasses to help disguise the oddity
o" the "alse eye( &uch details ere easily a!ailable ith a s$all a$ount o"
'"ter e)changing s$all tal# and "inishing the $ain entrees- +a#i adopted
a proper sitting posture( Personally- she anted to tal# about this in a $ore
natural at$osphere- but she as unable to "ind any ea#nesses in Foichi
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hile they ere dining(
/In reality- I as#ed to borro so$e o" your ti$e today because thereAs
so$ething I ish to i$part to you- &aegusa1sa$a(0
@ust as +ayu$i "inished changing and as about to rela) a little- the
spea#er leading to the door rang out(
/2nee1sa$a- this is I;u$i( +ay I spea# ith youB0
/2" course( Please do(0
8he ords /please do0 ere actually the pass phrase( 8he !oice
recognition syste$ "ro$ the <'E 3<o$e 'uto$ation Eobot4 recei!ed
+ayu$iAs !oice and disengaged the loc#( 6ntering the door ere I;u$i
and Fasu$i co$ing in together(
/&orry- but thereAs so$ething I ould li#e your opinion on(0
<earing I;u$iAs re*uest- +ayu$i thought /2hB0( &he did not say /please
teach $e0 but /your opinion0 instead( In other ords- this as so$ething
unrelated to school studies or $agic training(
/9hat is itB0
/2nee1san- do you #no hat #ind o" a person is the head o" house "or the
&hippou 5a$ilyB0
8he "irst thing that ran across +ayu$iAs $ind a"ter hearing Fasu$iAs
*uestion as /9hy ould you as# such a thingB0- but the anser
i$$ediately "lashed through her $ind(
+ayu$i as ell aare o" ho terrible her "acial e)pression as right
no ithout seeing her young sistersA reactions(
/91hat is itB0
Dot only had her tone changed- e!en the eyes ere andering all o!er the
place( &eeing Fasu$iAs reaction- +ayu$i as e!en $ore certain that her
instincts ere correct(
/&o$ething happened beteen you and &hippou1#un(0
/<o did you #no thatPB0
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Fasu$i didnAt play du$b and i$$ediately capitulated 3$ore li#e
con"essed4( Do- she actually anted to co!er this- but +ayu$iAs o!erly
decisi!e re$ar# pro$pted a $ore honest reaction out o" her(
/Please ait- 2nee1sa$a(0
&eeing +ayu$i set to deli!er a tongue1lashing- I;u$i *uic#ly inter!ened
"ro$ the side(
/It as true that Fasu$i1chan al$ost got into a pri!ate duel ith &hippou1
#un- but the responsibility "or todayAs incident lies $ore ith &hippou1#un
and not Fasu$i1chan(0
+ayu$i searched I;u$i ith a suspicious ga;e( <oe!er- I;u$iAs ga;e
ne!er a!ered( +ayu$i ga!e a huge /9heH((0 o" relie" as her
e)pression rela)ed(
/I understand( I belie!e you(0
<earing this- no it as Fasu$iAs turn to let out o" a huge /9heH((0(
8he secret glance she darted at I;u$i contained de"inite traces o"
/&o thatAs hy the to o" you anted to #no about the personality o" the
&hippou 5a$ilyAs head(0
+ayu$i "urroed her bros as she adopted a considerate posture(
/8rueHH 8hough I ha!e not spo#en in lengthHH <e should be a !ery
practical and considerate person(0
/Practical and considerateB0
Dot co$prehending- I;u$i parroted bac# her ords( /Practical and
considerate0 as too !ague "or personality analysis- so she didnAt "eel that
they ere characteristics(
/Indeed( Practical and considerate- so thereAs no ay to tell hat heAs
thin#ing on the inside( '"ter preparing $any strategies- he is not greedy "or
pro"its and ill choose the one ith the loest ris#- so long as the original
costs are co!ered( 8hat is the type o" person he is(0
+ayu$iAs anser ca$e a"ter she correctly assessed her sisterAs con"usion-
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but this anser only ser!ed to arouse ne *uestions "ro$ her sisters(
/>ut- i" thatAs the caseHH0
/Ceah( 's I thought- this see$s li#e the co$pletely opposite personality
type "ro$ hat Fasu$i1chan sa "ro$ &hippou1#un(0
/8hen- in other ords- heAs not acting on behal" o" the &hippou 5a$ilyAs
/6!en so- thereAs only so $uch a high school student can plan "or ith
their li$ited poers( &hippou1#un should be aare o" ho "ruitless this is
regardless o" ho high his +agic Poer is(0
/,oes he ha!e another bac#er besides the &hippou 5a$ilyB0
/HH9ouldnAt that be too big o" a stretchB0
&eeing the ild theories espoused by her sisters $ushroo$ e!en "urther-
+ayu$i couldnAt help but interrupt(
/HH'h ha- thatAs true(0
/((((((Indeed- I thin# eAre o!erthin#ing this(0
8he to o" the$ s$iled as they said this- but neither Fasu$i nor I;u$i
see$ed to honestly accept that in their hearts(
9hile +a#i as spea#ing- Foichi ne!er uttered a ord to interrupt( 9hen
she "inished- Foichi pic#ed up a glass o" red ine "ro$ the table( '"ter
consu$ing a *uarter o" the contents- he let out a so"t sound be"ore setting
the glass bac# onto the table(
/In other ords(0
5inally- Foichi turned his ga;e bac# to +a#i(
/Cour grand"ather plans on brea#ing his secret agree$ent ith the anti1
$agic "action- correctB0
In response to FoichiAs leisurely phrased *uestion- +a#i deci!ely nodded
/I also belie!e that the procla$ations o" anti1$agic ideology are both
unrealistic and har$"ul( 'ny aid e)tended toards that sort o" thing ould
only beco$e a noose around $y on nec#( +y "ather is also ell aare o"
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that point(0
/8han# you( Cou appear to be so$eone ho can co$e to a logical
Foichi slightly inclined his head and used his eyes to urge her onard(
/I belie!e the uses o" $agic should recei!e $ore e!aluation "ro$ society(
Dot :ust in the $ilitary or the police "orce- I thin# that $agic has a lot o"
potential in the areas o" the $edia or entertain$ent(0
/+edia aside- you said entertain$entB 8hat is a no!el idea(0
/Please do not $isunderstand- I do not !ie people ho are +agicians as
$on#eys( I ha!e no plans on turning $agic into so$ething that :ust dras
/5il$ing $o!ies are o"ten acco$panied by danger( 5urther$ore- e are
o"ten troubled by the "act that &5Y or special e""ects are unable to bring
enough realis$( Daturally- thereAs no need to spea# o" reporters- but both
as actors and supporting sta""- the !alue o" $agic is incalculable(0
Foichi urged her on ith high interest across his "ace(
/6!en "or +agicians ho are treated poorly due to the "act that they are
not co$bat capable- I "ir$ly belie!e that there are $any areas in the
"il$ing or $edia real$ here they can display their talents(0
/I see(0
/I ill in!ite the +agicians ho ne!er had the chance to pro!e the$sel!es
and gi!e e!eryone a chance to ield such a onder"ul talent li#e $agic(
5or this- I ill de"initely prepare a reard that ill pro!e $ost satis"actory
"or you(0
<ere- +a#i bro#e o"" and pee#ed at FoichiAs "ace( '"ter suc#ing in a s$all
breath- +a#iAs e)pression see$ed to sho her rallying her courage be"ore
spea#ing again to Foichi(
/5ro$ the +agiciansA perspecti!e- I a$ an outsider( I a$ neither a close
"riend nor a$ I a""iliated in any ay( <oe!er- I ant to beco$e a good
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neighbor- a close "riend- to all +agicians( I earnestly hope you understand
/9hich is hy you ha!e chosen to obstruct the ploy o" the anti1$agic
/I #no !ery ell that I a$ poerless- but at the !ery least- I "eel that I
need to present $y sincerity(0
/In return- you hope to be ac#noledged and in!ited in by the +agicians-
is that rightB0
Foichi !erbali;ed +a#iAs re*uest- but +a#i ne!er "altered( 8his degree o"
perception as ithin her e)pectations(
/I a$ not so bra;en as to hope to earn your appro!alHH I :ust hoped that
you could ac#noledge this- thatAs all(0
Foichi ga;ed at +a#iAs "ace in slight interest(
/&aa$ura1san- not only do you *uali"y to be an actress- you also ha!e a
certain talent as a negotiator(0
2" course- Foichi as not praising +a#i in the literal sense( In order to
catch his true intent- +a#i gathered all o" her attention( 6)cept in this case-
there as no need(
/&till- you are too adept at hiding your true "eelings( 8hat is hat is truly
un"ortunate( ,epending on the ti$e and location- re!ealing your true sel"
at ti$es is use"ul in draing $ore concessions "ro$ your opponent(0
Foichi easily re!ealed his tru$p card(
/8here is no lie in your ords( <oe!er- using +agicians as your pans is
not restricted to only entertain$ent( Cou are gathering +agicians as part o"
a plan to use the$ as a $ore direct poer- are you notB0
+a#iAs "ace a!ered greatly( Cet- that as only "or an instant( %sing her
acting ability- she settled her rattled heart(
/5orgi!e $y per"or$ance(0
6!en in FoichiAs eyes- +a#i appeared to be earnestly as#ing "or
"orgi!eness( In regards to earning bronie points here- +a#i on a s$all
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/&o long as you do not ta#e action against +agicians a""iliated ith us- the
&aegusa 5a$ily- I ill not inter"ere ith your plans(0
+a#i suddenly raised her doncast eyes(
Do- her e)pression as beyond her control- but to none o" her detri$ent(
/I pro$ise you(0
/8han# you !ery $uchP0
Personally- +a#i #ne she on this bet against hersel"( 8hough it as true
that she lost hile haggling ith &aegusa Foichi- +a#i had success"ully
re$o!ed the greatest un#non *uantity that lay in the path o" reali;ing the
/ne order0 she en!isioned(
'"ter seeing +a#i o""- Foichi returned to his on roo$- care"ully loc#ed
the door- and treaded toards the telephone( '"ter pressing the call button-
he aited "or 10 seconds( 8he i$age that as displayed on the tabletopAs
s$all screen as the "ace o" 6lder Fudou(
/+ister- sorry "or bothering you so late in the night(0
Foichi didnAt use /sensei0 or /sir0 and instead used /$ister0( 8his as the
custo$ since his pri!ate tutelage ith Cotsuba +aya and Cotsuba +iya
under 6lder Fudou(
/Do orries( Cou $ust ha!e so$ething i$portant to sayB0
/Indeed( I ha!e so$ething o" ut$ost i$portance to discuss ith you(0
Foichi said this as he grace"ully e)tended his body toards the des#( 2n
the ca$era- he loo#ed li#e he as leaning in to discuss so$ething pri!ate(
In reality- hat Foichi as about to discuss ne)t as both a pri!ate
con!ersation and a conspiracy(
/'ctually- I :ust $et ith a $e$ber o" the $edia(0
Foichi "irst laid e!erything out and e)plained that <u$anists 3anti1$agic
supporters4 "ro$ the %&D' ere $anipulating the $edia ithin the
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country to the detri$ent o" +agicians(
/>ased on hat I heard today- progress on the $edia has gone *uite "ar(0
/&ince itAs you- ob!iously this isnAt the "irst ti$e you ha!e heard about it( I
thought you had already "inished in!estigating e!erything about the $edia
Fudou as#ed ithout any hint o" a s$ile(
/&o you sa right through $e(0
9ithout any resistance- Foichi conceded FudouAs point(
'ctually- Fudou as the one hose e)pression changed(
/I ill listen to you "or no(0
Fudou as#ed ith an e)hausted e)pression(
/9hat are you planning to doB0
/8he Cotsuba ha!e gron too poer"ul( 8hey ha!e long surpassed the 8en
+aster 7lans and are beginning to upset the balance o" the country( +ister-
donAt you thin# soB0
't FudouAs in*uiry- Foichi responded ith so$ething that appeared
/Cou are planning to use the anti1$agic supporters to chip aay at the
CotsubaAs poerB0
<oe!er- Fudou see$ed to correctly pinpoint hat Foichi anted to say(
In short- this $eant that 6lder Fudou held the sa$e concerns that Foichi
/'t 5irst <igh- there is a student ho is closely connected to the 101st
>attalion( ' high school responsible "or educating teenagers is connected
to the $ilitary( ,onAt you thin# this ould be a topic o" !ast interest to the
$edia or politicians "ro$ the ethics ingB0
/Cour daughters are also attending 5irst <igh(0
/In this situation- students ould only be treated as !icti$s(0
/5irst <ighAs principal is neutralHH &o$eone ho re"used to :oin your
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/Indeed- but that is only a $inor detail( I care "ar $ore about the
connection beteen the 101st >attalion and the Cotsuba(0
FudouAs ne)t reply ca$e $ore than 10 seconds later(
/HH&o that is your goal(0
/Dot only that- but there is so$e speculation on that regard( &o- ho about
this- +isterB &o long as the negati!e acti!ity is ithin acceptable
para$eters- I belie!e "er!or "or the anti1$agic supporters ill ane( In
addition- the targets o" their attac#s are high school students- hich i"
e$ployed correctly- societyAs ire could be directed toards anti1$agic
ideology( I belie!e that this plan bears a certain degree o" $erit toards the
8en +aster 7lans(0
/I do not ha!e the poer to appro!e o" your plan( I ne!er held the
authority to do so(0
/6!en ithout authority- you still ha!e in"luence(0
/HHI do not oppose your plan(0
/8hat is $ore than su""icient( 8han# you !ery $uch(0
Foichi hung up the phone in satis"action( Prior to the line going dead- the
i$age o" FudouAs e)pression as rather re"lecti!e o" his age in that it held
no do$inance at all(
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Chapter 9
%ommon &ra 2!"#, April 1)th- &aturday night( 8he na$e on top said this
as the ho$e o" &hiba 8atsurouQ actually this as the ho$e o" 8atsuya and
+iyu#i hich as elco$ing strange guests(
W8his is 8atsuya1niisanKs houseBW
'ya#o s$ilingly nodded yes to her younger brother ho as standing at
the entrance as#ing KIsnKt this too ordinaryBK ith his ga;e(
WItKs not as i" I donKt understand hy you ould as# that- but this is
certainly it(W
9hile these siblings ere con"ir$ing it- the ord ordinary as not a ord
readily applied to 8atsuya and his sister( 'n old estern $ansion in the
$iddle o" nohere or a secret laboratory surrounded by high "ences ould
be a $uch $ore appropriate place "or hi$ to li!e- and both siblings "elt
that as here he should li!e(
<oe!er- 'ya#o had recei!ed the $ap data directly "ro$ <aya$a( 8here
as no ay it as "alse( 9hile 5u$iya controlled his "eelings o" disbelie"-
he pressed the gate post call bell(
/Ces- ho$ $ay I say is callingB0
8he response as in a !oice neither sibling had heard be"ore( 8he Furoba
siblings had last heard the !oices o" 8atsuya and his sister on @anuary 3rd
o" this year hen the pair !isited the $ain house to do the De CearAs
greeting( ' "ull three $onths had passed but the siblings ere con"ident
that they ould recogni;e the !oices o" 8atsuya and +iyu#i(
/I a$ Furoba 5u$iya( I belie!e this is &hiba 8atsuyaAs residence(0
6!en so- the un#non !oice did not $a#e 5u$iya pause and he ga!e his
na$e as ell as stating his errand( &o$e ti$e passed until the ne)t
response- probably to ascertain hat 8atsuyaAs ishes ere( &ince this as
an une)pected !isit ithout prior co$$unication- it as "ortunate that
they apparently hadnAt $issed 8atsuya- thought 5u$iya letting out a sigh
o" relie"(
/Please enter(0
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8he $otor $ade a "aint sound as the "ront gate unloc#ed( 5u$iya pushed
the gate ith arabes*ue scrollor#( 'nd then "aster than he stepped on to
the grounds- the "ront door opened( 9ithin it a young girl in a blac# dress
and a hite apron appeared and directed a deep bo to the pair(
8he siblings ere led to the li!ing roo$ here only 8atsuya as aiting
"or the$(
/5u$iya- 'ya#o1chan- itAs been a hile(0
8hey didnAt ta#e o""ence o!er being greeted by 8atsuya ho re$ained
seated( 'ya#o seated hersel" directly across "ro$ 8atsuya( 1119ithout being
encouraged to sit(
5u$iya properly re$ained standing politely and rebu#ed his sisterAs
rudeness- but 'ya#o listened to it as i" it had nothing to do ith her(
Do- it as not as i" she as ignoring hi$( I$$ediately a"ter 'ya#o sat
don- she politely placed both hands on top o" her s#irt- loo#ed straight
ahead and boed(
/8atsuya san- itAs been so long since eA!e called on you( Please "orgi!e us
"or the i$politeness o" not ta#ing the ti$e to $a#e an appoint$ent ith
you be"orehand(0
/It is not necessary to bother about such a thing( 9eAre second cousins- no-
"ello #ins$en- "urther$ore "ello high school students( 8hereAs no need
"or appoint$ents "or a !isit beteen high school students ho are
/8han# you "or your generosity( H5u$iya1san- hat are doingB Uuic#ly
greet 8atsuya as ell(0
It as a so$ehat insolent e)cuse( Donetheless- 5u$iya ith his
"unda$entally serious nature as unable to ignore his on rongdoing(
/5u$iya- you sit too( &uch "or$ality ill $a#e it i$possible to tal#(0
8atsuya s$iled as he spo#e those ords to 5u$iya ho as standing stoc#
still ith e$otions he did not understand( %pon 8atsuya urging hi$ to sit-
5u$iya so$eho regained his cal$ and sat don ne)t to 'ya#o as he as
told to(
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/8atsuya1niisan- itAs been a hile(0
5u$iya si$ply boed his head( <oe!er- this as not due to his being
reser!ed ith 8atsuya or hi$ loo#ing don at 8atsuya or anything li#e
that( 5u$iya as si$ply ner!ous o!er $eeting his second cousin that he
respected and hadnAt seen in about three $onths(
't nearly the sa$e ti$e as that- +iyu#i and +ina$i entered the li!ing
roo$( +iyu#i as e$pty handed but +ina$i carried a tray ith tea "or
/'ya#o1san- 5u$iya1#un- please ha!e so$e tea(0
7lad in a "lare s#irt that hit belo the noon and prettily $ade up- +iyu#i
sat don ne)t to 8atsuya( +iyu#i- ho had been earing her usual at
ho$e attire- changed into her outside clothes to "ace their sudden guests(
/+iyu#i1oneesa$a- pardon our intrusion(0
%ndaunted by +iyu#i- 'ya#o deliberately stood up and politely boed(
<er classical ide "loing dress "luttered elegantly ith her $o!e$ents(
<is elder sisterAs display o" her co$petiti!e spirit caused 5u$iya to loo#
aay ith a T$y head hurtsA loo# on his "ace 3by the ay- 5u$iya as
dressed in nor$al $ale clothing and asnAt earing a ig4( 8atsuya
atched the pair ith a$used eyes(
@ust as 'ya#o sat don again- +ina$i placed the tea on the table(
/Please "orgi!e us "or co$ing so late at nightH- but- to$orro $orning-
e ha!e to be bac# in <a$a$atsu(0
5u$iya bro#e the ice ith his introductory re$ar#s- at last cal$ing the
/8he hour is not so late that it can be called late at night(0
'ctually- the late hour as :ust about a"ter dinner ould be "inished(
De!ertheless- the pairAs late night !isit did not "eel troubleso$e( 5u$iya
and 'ya#o ere the relati!es closest to 8atsuya and +iyu#i in age- and
so$e o" the !ery "e relati!es that they #ne ere not their ene$ies(
/7o$e to thin# o" it- I ha!enAt said it yet( 7ongratulations "or getting into
5ourth <igh &chool(0
/9ith the abilities o" you to- itAs a natural outco$e- though(
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7ongratulations- 'ya#o1san- 5u$iya1#un(0
8a#ing her cue "ro$ 8atsuyaAs re$ar#s- +iyu#i o""ered her
congratulations( It as ell past the announce$ent o" the e)a$ results and
it had been about a ee# since the ad$issions cere$ony- but it had been
about three $onths since they had direct contact(
/8han# you( 8atsuya1san- +iyu#i1oneesa$a(0
/'ctually- I considered going to 5irst <igh &chool- but0
'ya#o1san o""ered her than#s- and 5u$iya "olloed a"ter his sister ith a
pained s$ile that had $ore pain than s$ile(
/I as told that it asnAt good "or too $any o" us to be in one place(0
/Cou $ade a re*uest to 2ba1sa$aB0
'ya#o nodded in response to +iyu#iAs *uestion(
/9e didnAt recei!e a reply "ro$ the honored clan leader directly- though(0
/<er instructions ere passed to "ather by <aya$a1san- gi!e up on 5irst
<igh &chool(0
9hate!er she actually "elt- 'ya#oAs "ace did not sho any upset about it at
all- but 5u$iya appeared to regret it deeply(
/I" 2ba1ue "orbade it- nothing can be done(0
8atsuya responded ith a tone o" generali;ed sy$pathy to co$"ort 5u$iya
and then casually changed the sub:ect(
/2n the grounds o" de"ending $agiciansA hu$an rights- they are going to
"irst critici;e the use o" $agic in $ilitary a""airs( De)t- they ill use the
"act that "orty percent o" the graduates o" the national $agic uni!ersity :oin
the $ilitary as the basis to spin the "antasy that the $agic education syste$
and the $ilitary are colluding ith each other- and in the third phase o"
hat I recently learned is their plan- they ill target 5irst <igh &chool
hich sends the $ost graduates to the national $agic uni!ersity ith an
appeal- T&a!e the children "ro$ being used by the $ilitaryA(0
5u$iya et his throat ith tea a"ter his long e)planation( 9hen he loo#ed
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up again- 8atsuya as gi!ing hi$ a loo# o" praise(
8he Furoba "a$ily as a branch "a$ily o" the Cotsuba clan that gathered
intelligence( 8hey did not li$it the$sel!es to $agical $eansQ they used a
!ariety o" in"or$ation gathering $ethods such as iretapping- hac#ing-
and traditional hu$an in!estigation( <oe!er- no $atter ho capable the
people and e*uip$ent they are paired ith- i" you did not $anage the$
ell then you could not e)pose a plan concealed ithin isolated e!ents( >y
not con"ining hi$sel" to e!ents that already happened- 5u$iya had pro!en
that he had $astered ho to use the poer o" the Furoba organi;ation(
/5u$iya- you ha!e done ell to unco!er this $uch- itAs i$pressi!e(0
/%$- noH 8han# you- Diisan(0
5u$iya ho had spo#en so $uch ithout stopping once had beco$e
te$porarily incoherent( I" you loo#ed closely- you could see his "ace
getting red( I" you loo#ed that closely it $ight see$ as i" 5u$iya had
so$ehat unusual inclinations- but that ould be a $isunderstanding(
5u$iya as si$ply happy(
/5u$iya really li#es 8atsuya1san(0
De!ertheless- right no 5u$iya as ith so$eone ho as in the $ood
to tease hi$ about it e!en though she understood that(
/DeesanP ,onAt say things that can be $isconstruedP0
/2h $y- IA$ $ista#enB Cou donAt li#e 8atsuya1sanB0
/8he ay Deesan as putting it had a di""erent $eaningP0
/<$$B I onder hat $eaning you heard(0
/8hat asH0
8he thoughts o" the trio atching the play"ul siblings1118atsuya- +iyu#i
and +ina$i111ere in agree$ent on the point that Tthe tins sure get along
ellA- but the loo#s they displayed all shoed di""erent e$otionsN
8atsuyaAs s$ile had a bitterness to it- +iyu#iAs as a$used and +ina$iAs
"ace as apathetic(
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'ya#o and 5u$iya ga!e the$ $ore details a"ter they in"or$ed the$ about
the propaganda ar 5irst <igh &chool as "acing then ent to a hotel
ithin the city( In the end- they did not re!eal their in"or$ation sources or
their in"or$ation gathering $ethods- but such things ere closely held
secrets( 8atsuya did not intend to critici;e the$ "or not being TopenA( <e
did not reco$$end to the pair TItAs late so you should stay here tonightA
$ore than once- so they ere both guilty o" that(
>esides- e!en though they had heard nothing about the $eans or sources
"or ac*uiring the in"or$ation- they understood( 5u$iyaAs details had
included that &aegusa Fouichi and Fudou Eetsu ere conspiring to do
5u$iyaAs or rather 'ya#oAs intelligence gathering abilities ere
un$ista#ably i$pressi!e and the the abilities o" the Furoba organi;ation
ere probably the $ost pree$inent in the Cotsuba clan( <oe!er- the head
o" the &aegusa clan as not so$eone they could easily put a tail on( I"
their opponent as +ayu$i then e!en 'ya#o $ight ha!e done it so$eho-
but &aegusa Fouichi as still too $uch o" an ad!ersary "or 5u$iya and
'ya#o to ta#e on( Perhaps- this could be intelligence their aunt procured by
her un#non $ethod(
1118atsuya pondered that in bed in his on roo$ lying ith his hands
"olded behind his head on his pillo(
>elie!ing that he $ight be dancing on the pal$ o" Cotsuba +ayaAs hand
as not a pleasant "eeling- but there as no ay he could ignore this( 9ith
5irst <igh &chool "acing an attac# "ro$ the $edia and the politicians
under the in"luence o" the anti1$agicians in the near "uture o" only a "e
ee#s to less than a $onth aay- #noing as $ore bene"icial than not
#noing( 9hile he had these unsatis"actory thoughts- 8atsuya constructed
a plan on ho they $ust respond to this(
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Chapter 10
8he Dational +agic %ni!ersity as "ounded on the old Deri$a =arrison(
2n the sur"ace- this land as e$pty a"ter the e)pansion o" the 'sa#a
=arrison absorbed the Deri$a =arrison- hoe!er- appro!ing the
construction plan "or the +agic %ni!ersity also played a part in co$bining
the Deri$a and 'sa#a =arrisons(
9ith this de!elop$ental process- the +agic %ni!ersity shared a close
relationship ith the $ilitary( 't least 40I o" the +agic %ni!ersityAs
graduates chose to pursue a career in the $ilitary or related to one( 9hile
there as so$ehat o" a $isguided "eeling here- once societyAs needs "or
+agicians ere ta#en into account this ceased to "eel unnatural( Precisely
because o" this- one ould thin# that the at$osphere at the uni!ersity as
:ust as disciplined as that o" a $ilitary acade$y . and :ust as rigid- hich
as not actually the case( 5or e)a$ple- the dress code as entirely up to
the students and e!en the $ore incredible or casual garb as e)cused so
long as they did not in"ringe upon any $orals( 'ny arning as only
restricted to $utual arnings beteen students( In !arious areas- the sense
o" "reedo$ as e!en greater here than the $agic high schools( 8hat as
ho +ayu$i "elt in the past hal" a $onth(
&pea#ing o" hich- today +ayu$i as dressed in a so"t- '1style dress that
le"t the shoulders e)posed ith cardigan seater ith slee!es( 8he
cardigan as thinly #nit ith large holes and hile the dress ran to her
#nees- the lace only e)tended 15$$ donards- enough to allo her
shins to pee# out "ro$ the thin stoc#ings( <er ardrobe as "ar $ore
re!ealing than a high school uni"or$- but neither the students nor the
"aculty sent any disappro!ing ga;es her ay(
7urrently- she had been as#ed to co$e to the bu""et( <er presence had been
re*uested by a $ale student ho also happened to be a "resh$an at the
+agic %ni!ersity( In spite o" this- it as plain that there asnAt a hint o"
an)iety or e)cite$ent about her( 's "or the reason hy- that as because
the indi!idual ho in!ited +ayu$i as so$eone she as ell ac*uainted
%pon arri!ing at the ca"O- +ayu$i suddenly "elt a little di;;y- and not
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because she as "eeling unell( 8he o!erhel$ing a$ount o" couples
present ga!e a shoc# to her ner!ous syste$( Eather than being "ri!olous-
+ayu$i #ne that they ere all *uite serious about their relationships- but
that #noledge as little co$"ort to the single +ayu$i( &he too bore
drea$s o" lo!e li#e any nor$al person( 9hen seeing close couples- ideas
li#e /en!y0 or /go aay0 ould "loat across her $ind( Daturally- she
re"used to ac#noledge the "act that she ould thin# this ay and didnAt
plan on any sel"1re"lection- :ust li#e $ost people(
8here as also the possibility that this "eeling as a$pli"ied because the
person she as contacting today as in no ay- shape or "or$ related to
lo!e( In reality- he asnAt holly unrelated- but on so$e le!el- such a close
pro)i$ity caused +ayu$i to unconsciously e)pel this possibility beyond
her sight(
/@uu$on:i1#un- sorry "or the ait(0
8he $o$ent +ayu$i opened her $outh to spea#- $any eyes ere dran
to her table( 't the +agic %ni!ersity- no one as ignorant o" the $eaning
behind the na$e /@uu$on:i0- though $any did not #no hi$ personally(
8he e)pression that graced $any an onloo#erAs "ace signi"ied /so thatAs
/<ardly- I :ust arri!ed 5 $inutes ago(0
<e didnAt :ust arri!e- but as here a $ere 5 $inutes be"ore( +ayu$i
s$iled a bit at these ords that ere :ust li#e FatsutoAs style(
/+y apologies "or speci"ically calling you here- &aegusa1san(0
9ith FatsutoAs response- the nu$ber o" prying eyes gre e!en $ore(
&ensible students ho had not turned their heads at the na$e /@uu$on:i0
ere unable to sit still hen the /&aegusa0 na$e dropped( 8his year-
practically e!ery student #ne that +ayu$i as attending the +agic
%ni!ersity( &o long as they ere not her$its ho renounced the orld- no
one could ignore the nes that &aegusa +ayu$i as attending- regardless
o" gender( .5urther$ore- it does need to be said that the $ale students
cared a hole lot $ore(
's "or +ayu$i- she ignored the do;ens o" stares sent her ay as i" it as
per"ectly natural as she sat across "ro$ her guest(
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/Pay it no heed( @uu$on:i1#un isnAt the type o" person to call $e i" there
asnAt so$ething i$portant to discuss- rightB0
+ayu$i laughed lightly as she caught FatsutoAs ga;e(
/'lso- in such a populous place too(0
+ayu$i #ne o" the ru$ors that cast her as one o" the potential $arriage
candidates "or Fatsuto( 2n the sur"ace- their relationship as de"initely not
hat people on the outside belie!ed it to be( In "act- people $ore in the
#no about +agicians ould actually "ind that ru$or to be preposterous(
In truth- the &aegusa and @uu$on:i 5a$ilies had discussed this $atter(
7urrently- hen co$pared to the @uu$on:i 5a$ily- it as the Itsua
5a$ily ith their 201year old head o" house that see$ed $ore elco$ing
to that idea( &etting aside the @uu$on:i 5a$ily "or the $o$ent- the
&aegusa 5a$ily had no plans to put in $otion any real union beteen
+ayu$i and Fatsuto- but the ru$ors ould be correct in ter$s o" the ord
+ayu$iAs $ischie!ous allusion /in such a populous place0 $eant that they
ere "eeding the ru$or $ill( +ayu$i as :o#ing o" course- but i" as#ed-
she ould be hard pressed to deny that she ne!er had such an in#ling(
2nce she beca$e a potential candidate "or $arriage- it as hard to re$ain
:ust "riends e!en ith the person currently in 2nd place(
/I "eel that this is "ar better than intentionally going so$ehere no one
8his response could initially be interpreted as /gentle$anly0- but as
actually an /obtuse0 reply- causing +ayu$i to "eel that she as the only
one ho cared( Fatsuto ore a casual suit ithout a tie or any other
articles o" "ashion- so it as easy to tell at "irst glance that this thought
ne!er crossed his $ind e!en at this point( &till- once she thought about
such peace"ul things- she could only notice the nes article "littering
across FatsutoAs pal$(
/HH9hat an irritating topic(0
2n the table- the electronic nespaper as headlined ith topics such as
/truth behind +ilitary +agicians0- /@&,5 using youths as eapons0-
/@&,5 do$inated by +agicians0- and /pre"erential treat$ent "or $agic
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o""icers0( 6)tre$ists on both sides ere either bla$ing the @&,5 "or using
the +agicians or co!ering "or +agicians- but both sides ere si$ilar in
that they censured the connection beteen the @&,5 and +agicians(
/9hile pretending to act as ci!il rights ad!ocates "or +agicians- they are
actually trying to discri$inate +agicians "ro$ society( ,onAt you thin#
such hypocritical nes is incredibly !ileB0
Fatsuto didnAt respond to +ayu$iAs co$plaints and s$oothly began
operating the cellphone1shaped 7', he re$o!ed "ro$ his belt(
7arrrying 7',s as not "orbidden on the +agic %ni!ersityAs ca$pus and
the standards around $agic use ere also $ore rela)ed hen co$pared to
the streets( 6specially dangerous $agic as blac#listed and prohibited
"ro$ use in the labs and e)peri$ental o""ices- hile a large nu$ber o"
$agic as alloed in general areas that had nothing to do ith research
labs or e)peri$ental roo$s( Eight no- the soundproo" area o" e""ect
$agic that Fatsuto as constructing as also alloed on school grounds(
/Is it so$ething that i$portantB0
Deedless to say- a soundproo" barrier as needed "or pri!ate tal#s- but
there as no secret beteen +ayu$i and Fatsuto that they "eared ould
be o!erheard( 6!en so- a *uic# glance at FatsutoAs e)pression con"ir$ed
that the sub:ect $atter as not so$ething that could be sol!ed by nor$al
/&ince the beginning o" the ee#- anti1$agic senti$ent has been on the
rise in the nes(0
's he said this- Fatsuto used the "ilter on the electronic nespaper to
display the articles he as tal#ing about(
/I concur(0
Fatsuto eyed +ayu$i as she replied bac# ith a serious e)pression(
/'nd- hat o" itB0
&eeing those serious eyes that could appropriately be described as sole$n-
+ayu$i as#ed ithout any atte$pt at a :o#ing $anner(
/8he reason hy the $edia has ta#en to stances is because each has a
di""erent sponsor(0
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/&o there are to "orces behind the$B0
/'s you #no- e- the @uu$on:i 5a$ily- are not adept at gathering
Fatsuto didnAt directly respond to +ayu$iAs *uestion- but his ords hinted
that hat he as about to say ne)t as the result o" the in!estigation "ro$
the @uu$on:i 5a$ily(
/I ha!e no concrete proo" "or hat IA$ about to say- but neither is it
entirely groundless( I pray that you ill re$ain cal$ and listen to $e(0
/2" course( ?etAs hear it(0
Eeali;ing that this as not going to be a pleasant topic "or her- +ayu$i
subconsciously straightened hersel"(
/2" the to dialogues- the bac#ers o" the group bla$ing the @&,5 $ight
!ery ell be the &aegusa 5a$ily(0
<oe!er- the nes that ca$e "ro$ FatsutoAs $outh surpassed +ayu$iAs
tolerance le!el(
/8here $ay be other conspirators as ell- but at the !ery least- the &aegusa
5a$ily plays a large role(0
/8hatAs i$possibleP0
+ayu$i sla$$ed her hands on the table and :u$ped to her "eet( 8han#s to
the soundproo" barrier- no one as able to hear her !oice "ro$ the outside-
but that $agic as unable to bloc# the light- so +ayu$iAs sudden
ele!ation to her "eet dre a lot o" stares "ro$ across the ca"O( &eeing the
astounded loo#s co$ing "ro$ all around her- +ayu$i sat don in sha$e(
Donetheless- +ayu$i raised her eyes a"ter ta#ing a seat and stared directly
at Fatsuto(
/ItAs true that $y "ather is a strategist ho li#es to plot behind the scenes-
so it is true that e!en as his daughter- I a$ not alays aare o" hat heAs
<er eyes ere burning ith a "la$e that as enough to repel the pressure
o" FatsutoAs ga;e(
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/Cet- no $atter hat the reason- he ill ne!er "orget his duty as a $e$ber
o" the 8en +aster 7lans( <e de"initely ouldnAt do so$ething that ould
bring $is"ortune to the @apanese $agical co$$unity(0
'"ter recei!ing +ayu$iAs heated ords- Fatsuto *uietly replied bac#(
/8hen- &aegusa1sa$a $ust belie!e that this $ust be bene"icial to the
@apanese $agical co$$unity(0
8here as the sound o" a hea!y eight dropping and re!erberating in the
depths o" her consciousness(
/,onAt be ridiculous( 6!erything they tal# about ill end ithHH0
's she said this- +ayu$i pointed at the nes article on the table sur"ace(
/' better orld here +agicians ha!e disappeared( ,id you thin# that this
blatantly ob!ious :ibe at protecting the hu$an rights o" +agicians ould
be enough to "ool $y "atherB 6!en i" itAs @uu$on:i1#un- I cannot ignore
this le!el o" slander(0
/I ne!er planned to o""end(0
FatsutoAs reply to +ayu$i- ho stood there ith her teeth clenched in
"ury- as de!oid o" any e)cuses( 5eeling the poer"ul con"idence behind
his attitude- +ayu$iAs head slightly cooled don(
/&o youAre saying that abo!e the discri$ination against +agicians- there is
an ulterior $oti!e in actionB0
/'s to hat that is e)actly- I ha!e no idea( 8he only thing I do #no is that
&aegusa1sa$a appears to be engaged in $edia acti!ity that runs counter to
the 8en +aster 7lans(0
+ayu$i pinned Fatsuto ith a particularly "ierce ga;e(
8hat ga;e "ailed to con:ure any "altering in FatsutoAs eyes(
/HH5ine then- Fatsuto1#un( ,o you ha!e any plans tonightB0
/8hen please co$e to $y house( 9hether it is truly as @uu$on:i1#un said-
I hope you ill $a#e your decision a"ter directly as#ing $y "ather(0
/I understand( In doing this- you actually help $e *uite a bit(0
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6!en i" they ere the 8en +aster 7lans that represented @apanese
+agicians- that did not $eant that they ere "a$ous lineages that ent
bac# se!eral hundred years( Dor$ally- !isiting the ho$e o" a college "riend
did not re*uire a speci"ic appoint$ent ith the "a$ily( <oe!er- Fatsuto
and +ayu$i had co$e today speci"ically to see the head o" the &aegusa
5a$ily- &aegusa Foichi( 's the acting head o" the @uu$on:i15a$ily-
FatsutoAs re*uest to see Foichi as granted a"ter setting 8p$ in the
e!ening as the designated ti$e(
*ednesday, April 1'th, +,"pm$ ' pitch blac# li$ousine stopped be"ore
the threshold o" the &aegusa household( 5ro$ the bac#seat- a giant o" a
young $an dressed in a "or$al suit ith a tie opened the door hi$sel" and
dise$bar#ed( 8he reason hy the young $an appeared colossal as the
o!erhel$ing personality he carried that did not be"it his age( ' special
e)istence e!en a$ong students ho graduated "ro$ high school recently-
he as the acting head o" the @uu$on:i 5a$ily- @uu$on:i Fatsuto(
8he one ho greeted hi$ as the eldest daughter in the &aegusa 5a$ily-
&aegusa +ayu$i( 9earing a dar#ly colored "or$al gon that e)tended to
her an#les- +ayu$i curtseyed to Fatsuto be"ore shoing hi$ the ay( 't
precisely 8p$- Fatsuto set "oot in the &aegusa household(
/Cour in!estigation as !ery thorough(0
'"ter con!ersing ith Fatsuto in the guest roo$- &aegusa Foichi readily
ad$itted to the in*uiry regarding hether he as one o" the bac#ers
behind the anti1+agician $edia inciters(
/2tou1sa$aP 9hat ha!e you donePB0
5aced ith her bra;en "ather nodding his head- +ayu$i "uriously
repri$anded hi$(
/Eela)- +ayu$i( 9hy are you so e)citedB0
6arnestly tilting his head at his daughterAs !ibrant reaction- Foichi cal$ly
scolded +ayu$i(
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/<o can you tell $e to rela)PB 9hat 2tou1sa$a has done is blatant
betrayal to the 8en +aster 7lans- no- to the @apanese $agic co$$unity as
a holeP0
Per"ectly cal$- Foichi easily too# in the stern ga;e le!eled at hi$ by his
on daughter- ho had leaped "ro$ her seat on the so"a(
/8his is no betrayal( +ayu$i- youAre thin#ing in the rong direction(0
/9hat isL/
+ayu$i anted to #eep pressing her "ather- but as halted by the still
seated Fatsuto by her side( Eecalling that they ere not the only to
people sitting here- +ayu$i reluctantly closed her $outh and too# a seat(
&ensing that +ayu$i had regained her co$posure- Fatsuto loo#ed toards
/I do not #no hat you are thin#ing- so I hope you are illing to e)plain
Foichi slightly bent "orard at the aist to loo# upon Fatsuto(
/Is this a re*uest "ro$ the @uu$on:i 5a$ilyB0
/'s a *uestion le!eled by the @uu$on:i 5a$ily(0
Foichi alloed his "orard posture to rela) along the bac# o" the seat
be"ore lightly hea!ing a long sigh(
/'s e are both o" the 8en +aster 7lans- I ill honestly anser the
*uestion the @uu$on:i 5a$ily has "or the &aegusa 5a$ily(0
Foichi adopted the sa$e proper posture- de!oid o" panic- that Fatsuto had(
/5irst- in order to dispel any $isconceptions- I ill "irst declare that this
propaganda as started by "oreign anti1$agic "orces( Dot only ha!e they
pro!ided in"or$ation to the $edia- they ha!e $ade "unds a!ailable as
/In the "or$ o" in!esting in the $ediaB0
/8he reasons $ay be as donations or $ar#eting- though the ostensible
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purpose can be hate!er they dee$ "it(0
In regards to the *uestion Fatsuto posed- Foichi serenely replied bac# in
"ull con"idence( In ter$s o" acting behind the scenes- Foichi as "ar abo!e
Fatsuto( Fatsuto also reali;ed that there as no point in as#ing about
unnecessary details(
/&o &aegusa1sa$a inter!ened in the $edia as a counter$easureB0
/Fatsuto1#un- do you #no the $ost e""ecti!e ay to counter /public
't Foichi suddenly adopting a pedantic tone- Fatsuto shoed no hint o"
ansering( <e as aare that FoichiAs *uestion as rhetorical(
/In the "irst place- /public opinion0 is both an opinion and a :udg$ent(
8hat is- so$ething that so$eone said and so$eone accepted( 2pinion
belongs to the one ho ca$e up ith it- :ust as the originator $ust bear the
8here as no ay to tell hether FoichiAs change in tone as intentional(
8he di""erence in age beteen Foichi and Fatsuto- the head o" house "or
one o" the 8en +aster 7lans and the acting head ho as only the son o"
the current head( 8a#ing into account all these di""erences- FoichiAs tone
as not lecturing- but $ore o" a natural turn o" e!ents(
/2nce the /source0 behind the opinion is #non- then re"uting it beco$es
easy( ,irect your *uestions to toards that indi!idual- "ind the gaps in their
logic- and cause the$ to ac#noledge their error( 8here is also the
possibility o" a co$pro$ise here both sides point out the lac#ing areas
lur#ing in each otherAs argu$ents(0
8his as hy +ayu$i as the only one ho ore a "urious e)pression at
FoichiAs high and $ighty tone hereas Fatsuto didnAt "ind anything out o"
/8his is hy re"uting /public opinion0 is so di""icult( I" pressed "or a
reason- it is because there is no opponent to counter hen it co$es to
public opinion(0
8his as the sa$e e!en though Fatsuto "ound FoichiAs ords to be *uite
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/6!en i" public opinion is :ust an opinion- the $o$ent so$eone says it-
their ad!antages and disad!antages beco$e re!ealed( <oe!er- the ones
ho ca$e up ith this opinion are /citi;ens0 and the ones ho hide
behind this /public opinion0 ne!er ta#e the stage( 8he $edia only re"lects
the citi;ensA ishes- acti!ists present the citi;ensA de$ands- and politicians
open their $ouths to adhere to their citi;ensA opinions( 9hen so$eone
says it- their stance and purpose beco$e re!ealed( De!ertheless- under
unclear circu$stances- acting as the spo#esperson o" public opinion and
describing the opinions o" the originator grants the$ i$$unity to the duty
o" ta#ing any hits(0
&till- Fatsuto began to suspect FoichiAs true intent a"ter he beat around the
bush so long(
/Public opinion also contains a side that bene"its hoe!er stri#es "irst(0
8here as a possibility that FatsutoAs dire !ie o" Foichi as painted all
o!er his "ace( Foichi s$iled slightly as his tone returned to a $ore polite-
gentle one(
/8he "irst public opinion to achie!e $a:ority beco$es :ustice at that ti$e
and place to bring pressure on the dissenters( 6!en i" the dissenters ha!e
logic on their side- e!en i" public opinion is ri"e ith childish holes- logic
is unable to stand against a "laed public opinion( 's "or the reason hy-
that is because public opinion is not e*uipped ith so$eone to hold a
discussion ith- so no discourse could be reached(0
/&o youAre saying that the anti1$agic supporters are /stri#ing "irst0- 2tou1
+ayu$i ore a displeased loo# hile obediently listening to all this
be"ore "inally inter:ecting in an agitated !oice(
/8he seeds o" anti1$agic senti$ent ere son o!er a year ago( 8hey sa
through the "act that e ere unable to act against the$ on that stage(0
7asually handling his daughterAs i$pulsi!ity- Foichi i$$ediately turned
his eyes bac# to Fatsuto(
/7ountering public opinion ould achie!e little( &o- Fatsuto1#un- ho
ould you act against public opinionB0
/&cattering their opinion ould do(0
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9ithout pu;;ling o!er it or being o!erly theatrical- Fatsuto replied bac# in
a "ran# $anner( 6!en i" it asnAt hi$- anyone reared to carry the burdens
o" the 8en +aster 7lans ould logically arri!e at an anser( 8his as not
the only anser nor the absolute anser- but a possibly correct anser(
6!eryone #ne that this as not the one true anser- though Foichi
continued to lecture(
/&i$ply agreeing ith the basics o" the a"ore$entioned public opinion
re$o!es the possibility o" being hunted as an in"idel( 8hen- s$all
di""erences in dog$a ill easily cause public opinion to unra!el( '
scattered public opinion ill then lose its $o$entu$ and ulti$ately
beco$e "orgotten( &o long as there is no one ho holds the course- o"
/,oesnAt that run counter to &aegusa1sa$aAs de"inition o" public opinionB0
<earing FatsutoAs point- Foichi s$iled in satis"action be"ore nodding(
/It is as you ha!e said- Fatsuto1#un( &o long as he continues to obscure
hi$sel"- there is no ay to $aintain public opinionAs lost $o$entu$(
6!en i" he continues to hide hi$sel"- once he tries to reignite the "la$es o"
public opinion- the citi;ens ill see through hi$ and bite bac#( 8hatAs
because the public contains the "oolishness to be $anipulated once- but the
isdo$ to pre!ent the sa$e tric# "ro$ succeeding tice(W
W&o thatAs hy you intentionally changed the direction o" the publicAs ire
hile conducting anti1$agic propaganda(0
/8hatAs :ust a !ent- Fatsuto1#un( 8here is nothing e can do about people
ith no talent being :ealous o" those ho ha!e talent( 8hat is the sa$e
hen it co$es to $agic( 8rying to suppress aroused en!y e!en once ith
hips or candy is i$possible( 8he only thing that can be done is to allo
the$ to !ent so$ehere( >e"ore they con!alesce into an in"erno-
scattering the spar#s into nu$erous s$all "ires is a $uch easier ay to
pre!ent a catastrophe(0
Foichi "inally closed his $outh( 'lthough unilling to accept his ords-
+ayu$i ore a con"licted e)pression because she as unable to counter
his ords( 9hereas Fatsuto-
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/7o$pared to an in"erno- a s$all spar# is pre"erable( I do agree that $ight
be true(0
'"ter spea#ing in a sole$n !oice- Fatsuto turned a "iery ga;e on Foichi(
/<oe!er- there are still people ho lose their li!es because o" s$all "ires(
I" the indi!idual- scattered spar#s are not put out in ti$e- then the s$all
spar#s are no longer s$all and $ay !ery ell beco$e an in"erno that
de!ours li!es(0
/8hat is a hypothetical situation(0
/8he pot calls the #ettle blac#(0
'"ter crossing ga;es ith Foichi- Fatsuto rose upon seeing that his
opponent as not going to spea# any "urther(
/6lder &aegusa(0
%sing the title e)clusi!ely used at the clan $eetings beteen to e*uals-
Fatsuto called out to Foichi(
/8he @uu$on:i 5a$ily deeply regrets the &aegusa 5a$ilyAs actions in
regard to the $edia and petitions that you i$$ediately cease and desist
any anti1+agician propaganda(0
/8he &aegusa 5a$ily re*uests that the @uu$on:i 5a$ily deli!er their
protest in riting( ' reply ill be prepared a"ter an o""icial protest has
been $ade(0
Foichi also stood and slightly raised his head to loo# at Fatsuto be"ore
/I understand( 9hen I return ho$e- I ill get the$ to agree ith $e(0
/I a$ sorry that you ca$e all this ay out here today( +ayu$i- see
@uu$on:i1sa$a out( 7are"ully see hi$ to the door(0
Fatsuto silently boed to Foichi- to hich Foichi :ust as silently returned(
+ayu$i hurriedly $o!ed in "ront o" Fatsuto as he as about to turn
around and led hi$ to the threshold(
9hen +ayu$i returned "ro$ seeing Fatsuto to the door- Foichi as still
in the guest roo$( 9ith a stern e)pression on her "ace- +ayu$i stood
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be"ore her "ather here he as rela)ing on the so"a(
/9ell- +ayu$i( 7o$e- sit( 8hereAs no need to be polite(0
&eeing Foichi leisurely lean bac# on the so"a ith one "oot on top o" the
other- +ayu$i sat don ithout saying a ord(
/I $ore or less #no hat you ant to sayHH >ut you $ight as ell say
it anyay(0
/+uch li#e 2tou1sa$a thought- I belie!e that @uu$on:i1#unAs opinion
$a#es sense(0
&eeing the intense e$otions arring ith the steely deter$ination in her
eyes hile his daughter $aintained her decorous sel"1control- Foichi
s$iled and nodded(
/It is only to be e)pected that you ould thin# this ay( '"ter all- Fatsuto1
#un and I ere only spea#ing super"icially :ust no(0
<earing her "atherAs bra!ado- +ayu$iAs hands tightened their grasp(
/&o thereAs $ore than $eets the eye(0
/Cou didnAt understandB Fatsuto1#un see$s to ha!e noticed already(0
+ayu$i slightly shoo# her head and hid her discontented- teeth1clenched
"ace "ro$ FoichiAs !ision(
/'s e)pected- Fatsuto1#un has $uch higher tolerance than <iro"u$i1#un(0
<iro"u$i re"erred to the oldest son o" the Itsua 5a$ily- /Itsua
<iro"u$i0( 8he Itsua 5a$ily ished "or +ayu$i to $arry <iro"u$i(
Foichi had intended to co$pare <iro"u$i ith Fatsuto- but "ortunately
such ords ne!er reached +ayu$iAs ears(
/+ayu$i- 6lder Fudou is already aare o" this( +ister did not disappro!e
o" $y plan(0
In place o" the $ur$urs that didnAt reach her ears- Foichi dropped a bo$b
into his daughterAs ears(
/&ensei- heHHB0
's Foichi had planned- +ayu$i as be"uddled into silence- but +ayu$i
as not about to go aay so $ee#ly(
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/I ha!e no idea hat is on senseiAs $ind( 9hat I do #no is that playing
ith the li!es o" people ho are o" the sa$e country and are also
+agicians is rong(0
&eeing his daughterAs une)pected "eistiness- Foichi as not "eigning but
honestly surprised(
/8his ill only last a $onth at $ost( I ha!e no plans to allo this to
de!elop to such a point that it could i$pact daily li"e(0
/6!en i" itAs a $erely a $onth- a ee#- it can still bring about a per$anent
$ar# on so$eoneAs heart( +aliciously ielding a pen can lea!e a "ar
deeper $ar# than the ound le"t behind by a sordHH I belie!e the pen
is $ightier than the sord- and that is not :ust restricted to positi!e
8he nor$al +ayu$i ould ha!e boed out long ago( &eeing this sterner
attitude that did not be"it his daughterAs style- a *uestion suddenly "loated
across FoichiAs $ind(
/+ayu$i- on hose behal" are you so angry "orB0
'lthough this as a spur o" the $o$ent *uestion- it had deli!ered a
surprisingly telling blo against +ayu$i(
/Is this "or Fatsuto1#unB 2r is it "or so$eone a$ong your underclass$en
at 5irst <ighB0
/I didnAtHH(0
6!en Fudou EetsuAs na$e as not enough to coer +ayu$i- and yet-
here she as- a!ering to the point that she tre$bled ith terror(
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Chapter 11
8he a!e o" anti1$agician senti$ent in the orld gre stronger on a daily
basis- but a school is so$ething li#e a sel"1go!erning "ie"do$( It doesnAt
ha!e the independence o" an e)traterritoriality- but it is un$ista#ably- to a
certain e)tent- an isolated society( Inside the grounds o" 5irst <igh-
tran*uility as also preser!ed( De!ertheless- 8atsuya had been certain that
this as the cal$ be"ore the stor$ since he had heard 5u$iyaAs story(
April 1"th, Thursday ni-ht$ 't last- the announce$ent o" hen the stor$
ould arri!e tra!ersed the phone lines to reach 8atsuya(
Z8atsuya1san- than# you "or your hospitality to us so ell the other day
despite the suddenness o" our !isit([
/CouKre elco$e(0
6!en though she called it hospitality- all they had done as set out tea and
snac#s( 8atsuya #ne 'ya#o as using polite phrasing hen she said that-
but he asnAt one "or e)changing "lattery and protestations o" hu$ility(
/+ore i$portantly- hat #ind o" nes do you ha!e "or $e todayB0
Z8atsuya1san- ouldnAt it be nice i" e chatted "or a hileB[
/De)t ti$e(0
&hould she be angry or shoc#ed 1 the to loo#s "luctuated on 'ya#oAs "ace
but in the end she chose to be resigned(
Z9ell-H thatAs "ine "or today( 7ertainly- I ha!e i$portant nes to i$part([
/?et $e hear it(0
8atsuyaAs $ind as concentrated on the Ti$portant $atterA e!en be"ore he
spo#e( >eing e)a$ined by a ga;e strong enough to cross the screens- no- it
as strong enough to cross the open space beteen the$- $ade 'ya#o
a!ert her eyes in sha$e(
Z'bout the $atter you heard about "ro$ 5u$iya the other day- the
schedule has been essentially set([
De!ertheless- the e$barrassed 'ya#o stead"astly did her duty( 7oncerning
such things- 'ya#o as not the "ri!olous girl she appeared to be(
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Z2n 'pril 25th- 9ednesday o" ne)t ee#- a $e$ber o" the national diet
ill !isit 5irst <igh "or an inspection([
/8he 7i!il Eights PartyAs congress$an FandaB0
Z8hatAs right( =ood guessor#([
/IsnAt it rather a lac# o" unpredictability(0
7ongress$an Fanda- a young politician and a $e$ber o" the ci!il rightsA
branch o" the opposition party hich as ell #non to be e)tre$ely
critical o" the national de"ense "orce- had rapidly recei!ed increased $edia
e)posure this ee#( 'nd his ords and deeds ere being circulated by the
$edia- hich- hile super"icially pro1$agician at a glance- as actually
"or the e)clusion o" $agicians "ro$ the $ilitary- hich anyone ho paid it
a little serious attention understood(
Z8hatAs true([
Perhaps because she thought 8atsuyaAs point as only natural- 'ya#o
chuc#led as she s$iled(
Z&o that 7ongress$an Fanda ill in!ade 5irst <igh ith his usual
entourage o" reporters([
/9hat ill he do hen he in!adesB0
Z9ho #nos- I ha!enAt thought that "ar([
/&o he hasnAt prepared so$e big tric#(0
8atsuya didnAt e!en bother pretending to consider 'ya#oAs beha!ior and
si$ply nodded ith an understanding loo#(
ZI thin# you $ight be interpreting this in so$e #ind o" tisted ayHH[
8his con!ersation as being held beteen 8atsuya and 'ya#o only(
+iyu#i asnAt near 8atsuya and 5u$iya asnAt ne)t to 'ya#o( Perhaps
because she as so rela)ed o!er not being atched- 'ya#o loo#ed
"labbergasted in a ay that as appropriate "or her young age(
/I" so$ething large scale as prepared "or that stage- thereAs no ay you
ouldnAt #no- 'ya#o- rightB0
ZH((I accept your ords o" praise([
/CouA!e been praised- so enough o" that(0
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9hile he su$$ed it all up in those ords- 'ya#o barely $anaged to gi!e a
cool reply 3at least she thought it as4Q hoe!er- as could be e)pected o"
8atsuya- he too# up the chase $ore seriously- $a#ing her genuinely at a
loss "or ords(
Z8atsuya1sanH((are you perhaps doing this #noinglyB[
ZCou are such aH((no- enough([
'pparently 'ya#o as $a#ing a sho o" being hounded but the girl
salloed the ords she as going to say- "aced ith the po#er "ace ith
no hint o" e$otion peeping out "ro$ it as i" it as an iron all( 'nd also
"or the reason that she "inally re$e$bered that she had not $ade the call
"or that purpose(
Z's you ha!e said 8atsuya1san- I donAt #no hat they are going to do
ith that too large stage( +aybe- itAs the usual per"or$ance- right(
<oe!er- the :ournalists ho acco$pany hi$ are going to be $any ti$es
the nor$ so he probably intends to $a#e a big "uss([
/I see- that see$s to be it(0
't this point- 8atsuya appeared to ha!e sun# into thought in "ront o" his
second cousin "or the "irst ti$e that e!eningQ hoe!er- that as only "or
about "i!e seconds( 8atsuya returned his ga;e to 'ya#o and ga!e her a
slight s$ile o" than#s(
/8han# you "or contacting $e( 8he in"or$ation is orth considering(0
ZI ill loo# "orard to you displaying your s#ills([
8atsuya responded to 'ya#oAs a""ectation ith a s$ile and a"ter the polite
niceties- the call as ended by her(
The .ollo/in- day, April 2!th, 0riday$ 8atsuya called ';usa and Isori to
the student council roo$ be"ore class started(
/<ey- thatAs a !ery serious $atterP0
9hen she heard about opposition party 7ongress$an FandaAs inspection-
';usa stood up #ic#ing her chair- raising her !oice in distress(
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/H((is it so$ething to get that upset aboutB0
&tic#ing to Isori li#e glue as usual- Fanon presented the *uestion TarenAt
you going o!erboardA(
/Do- this is a gra!e situation- Fanon(0
Isori rebu#ed his betrothedAs opti$is$(
/I" you loo# super"icially- 7ongress$an Fanda appears to ad!ocate "or
$agicianAs rights( <oe!er- his arbitrary reasoning is that $agicians being
inducted into the $ilitary is decidedly rongQ beneath the sur"ace is his
concealed intention to obstruct the relations beteen $agicians and the
/6!en I understand that so$ehat( >ut FandaAs target this ti$e is the
relationship beteen the $ilitary and education- rightB Dot us(0
Perhaps- Fanon disli#ed Isori siding ith ';usa and 8atsuya and not
hersel"( &he directed a slightly displeased loo# at Isori as she ansered(
/6!en i" it da$ages our "reedo$B0
FanonAs "ace $ade an AehBA at IsoriAs retort( Fanon still had not hit upon
hat Isori as orrying about(
/I" people ho belie!e that the practical application o" $agicians by the
$ilitary should be stopped ta#e poer- they ill certainly prohibit both
$agic high school students li#e us "ro$ choosing to enroll in the de"ense
college upon graduation and graduates o" the $agic uni!ersity "ro$
:oining the $ilitary as ell(0
/Cou $ean theyAd e$ploy thought control(0
Fanon as#ed ith a loo# o" disbelie" to hich Isori turned his head aay
"ro$ so he could close his eyes( 8his as not a re:ection o" her spo#en
*uestion- he as re:ecting the loo# on her "ace hen she as#ed the
/5unda$entally the principle o" paci"is$ doesnAt e!en accept the analysis
that de"ensi!e ar$a$ents are needed to deal ith $ilitary threats to oneAs
on nation( 8heyAll suppress "reedo$ o" speech by "orbidding slightly
positi!e assertions about the e)istence o" the ar$y( 5or that purpose not
e!en !iolent $easures ould be "orbidden( 8o the$- there is probably no
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reason to hesitate using thought control on us( 9hile they preach about the
hu$an rights o" $agicians- they ta#e aay a $agicianAs right to choose
their on e$ploy$ent ithout concern(0
It as an une)pectedly ic#ed diatribe( &ince Fanon ho should #no
Isori better than anyone else see$ed so$ehat daunted- it $ight be natural
"or 8atsuya to "eel surprised( Perhaps- Isori had so$e #ind o" bad
$e$ories about the T"unda$ental principles o" paci"is$A(
/H(("or that reason- e canAt pretend that it is so$eone elseAs concern-
Fanon( &o- &hiba1#un- ho do you intend to resist the$B0
Perhaps e!en hi$sel" "eeling that he had gone a little o!erboard- Isori
changed the topic ith an a#ardly a$iable s$ile(
/Cou called us here because you had so$e #ind o" idea- rightB0
8atsuya ga!e a brie" anser to Isori- and turned around to e)change a loo#
ith +iyu#i( 5ro$ the ti$e ';usa and the rest had co$e- +iyu#i had been
hanging bac# behind 8atsuyaAs bac#- but no she passed the electronic
blac#board she had been carrying in her hand o!er to ';usa and Isori(
8atsuya sa their ga;es drop onto the electronic blac#board and
i$$ediately began his e)planation(
/8hey are conde$ning +agic <igh &chools as sites o" $ilitary education
and clai$ing that the schools are directing students into $ilitary related
"ields( &o then- ouldnAt it be great to sho that the "ruits o" $agic
education are $ore than things related to $ilitary purposes(0
8atsuya spo#e in a "ran# tone anticipating the conclusion( Do one
responded to his ords ith sounds o" co$prehension- ob:ections or
/&o I thought e ould ant to hold a slightly shoy de$onstration that
coincides ith 7ongress$an FandaAs !isit to the school(0
/H slightlyB0
/H thisB0
';usa and Isori "inally $ade these responses( 8heir shoc#ed "aces ere an
indirect "or$ o" protest( <oe!er- their !oices did not e)press their shoc#
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as ell as the loo#s on their "aces so it ga!e o"" a super"icial i$pression(
/It ill need large1scale preparations- but the de$o itsel" ouldnAt be all
that di""erent "ro$ nor$al electrical discharge e)peri$ents- i$plosion
e)peri$ents and the li#e( 8he outard appearance is superior- though(0
/+aybe e could only $a#e a sho o" it(0
'lthough ';usa protested in a ea# !oice- 8atsuyaAs ry s$ile ith hich
he as enduring this did not change(
/I" e $ade so$ething only si$ilar in appearance the $eaning ould be
*uite di""erentH and so this ould be e$inently e""ecti!e( >ut- &hiba1
Perhaps he "inally got o!er the shoc#- Isori a"ter !ocally persuading
hi$sel" to agree ga!e 8atsuya a so$ber loo#(
/7an you really do itB 2ne o" the 8hree =reat Pu;;les o" 9eight &yste$ic
+agic- 8he =ra!ity 7ontrol18ype +agic ther$onuclear "usion reactor(0
IsoriAs *uestioning o" the $ost essential part o" the plan $ade 8atsuya
$a#e a slightly hesitant "ace(
/I canAt $a#e the actual thing yet(0
<oe!er- this did not indicate a lac# o" con"idence regarding the
practicality- he as pondering ho he should anser the *uestion(
/I did not say an e)peri$ental reactor( Dot in the "or$ o" an reactor( >ut-
e can produce so$ething ith the potential to i$ple$ent nuclear "usion
in a shoier and $ore easily understood ay than the thesis e did "or last
yearAs co$petition(0
/H((Aa stellar "urnaceAB0
';usa- ho had ne!er ta#en her eyes o"" the electronic blac#board
throughout the con!ersation- $ur$ured that- still in the sa$e posture(
/8he =ra!ity 7ontrol18ype +agic ther$onuclear "usion reactor( I thin#
this concept is the opposite o" &u;une1sanAs proposal o" an inter$ittent
style o" nuclear "usion(0
';usa as staring at the electronic blac#board as i" boring into itQ she
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didnAt loo# at either 8atsuyaAs "ace or IsoriAs "ace(
/8he *uantity o" energy that it is capable o" producing per unit o" ti$e is
inco$parably larger than &u;uneAs syste$H(( I" &hiba1#unAs stellar
"urnace is i$ple$ented- there ill be no distinction beteen day and
night- it ould be possible to supply energy that is una""ected by the
in"luence o" eather conditions( 5actories also could operate ithout
orrying about the electrical supply and it ould put an end to "ear o"
another radical te$perature drop( 8here is probably no other
de$onstration superior to this "or shoing $agicAs use "or peace"ul
';usa bro#e o"" her $onologue1li#e hispering and turned to "ace
/Is this an original plan o" yours- &hiba1#unB0
/ItAs not a uni*ue idea in by any $eans- but certainly- this is so$ething I
a$ or#ing to create( 8he $ethod is still "ar "ro$ practical since the
$agic s#ill le!el needed is so high- but i" our schoolAs students ha!e the
ability and i" itAs "or a short period o" ti$e- then there is potential to
operate an e)peri$ental reactor(0
's 8atsuya ansered ';usaAs *uestion- he nodded "ir$ly and deliberately(
It as li#e he as saying the =ra!ity 7ontrol18ype +agic ther$onuclear
"usion reactor as the su$$it o" his a$bitions( 8he stellar "urnace as
nothing $ore than the $ain co$ponent "or reali;ing his on original goal-
but at this point o" ti$e- 8atsuya did not intend to $a#e that ob!ious(
/Is that soHHunderstood(0
';usa also returned his nod ith uncharacteristic boldness( 8atsuya hadnAt
told the$ e!erythingQ hoe!er- his "eelings about $a#ing the stellar
"urnace a reality ere genuine( 'nd- ';usa sensed 8atsuyaAs sincerity and
';usa turned to "ace Isori(
/I ish to cooperate ith &hiba1#unAs plan( <o about you- Isori1#unB0
/I ill also cooperate( ' public stellar "urnace e)peri$ent( Dot :ust a
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counter$easure to 7ongress$an FandaQ as so$eone ai$ing to be a $agic
engineer- I a$ all "or doing it(0
's he ansered ';usa( Isori also shoo# his head up and don(
2n the noon brea# o" that day- 8atsuya ent to the sta"" roo$ to !isit
Pro"essor @enni"er &$ith( 8o hold e)peri$ents not in the course
curriculu$- a ritten application $ust be sub$ittedQ i" it is part o" club
acti!ities then to the club ad!iser- i" it is an independent e)peri$ent not
part o" club acti!ities then to the class teacher- i" there is no class teacher
due to being in the second course then to the sta"" roo$Q no e)peri$ents
are alloed ithout the schoolAs per$ission(
9hen @enni"er loo#ed at the list o" $agics to be used at the beginning o"
the ritten application- she suddenly raised her eyebros(
/=ra!ity control- 7oulo$b "orce control- 5our Phase &hi"t- =a$$a ray
"ilter- and a Deutron >arrierB &hiba1#un- do you intend to do a high output
laser cannon e)peri$entB0
/I do not intend to do so$ething li#e that(0
8atsuya artlessly replied to his pro"essorAs *uestion in a traditional style(
8here as no need to gi!e his anser a strange aspect- but perhaps his
choice o" a clichO phrase he didnAt ha!e to thin# about as due to the sheer
une)pectedness o" the *uestion( 9hile he co$piled the list o" $agic
co$binations he had o""ered- he had not been aare o" the potential "or
their use to co$plete a laser de!ice that uses a nuclear "usion reactor until
@enni"er had pointed it out to hi$(
<oe!er- @enni"er as not e!en listening to 8atsuyaAs anser- so they
$ight be e!en( <er *uestion had been a #ind o" a $onologueQ @enni"erAs
eyes ere glued to the ritten application(
/8he sub:ect o" the e)peri$ent is e)tre$ely a$bitiousHH0
@enni"er loo#ed up "ro$ the electronic paper displaying the ritten
application and turned her eyes to 8atsuya ho as standing to the side(
/7an you guarantee the sa"etyB0
/'ccording to $y calculations- I can guarantee it(0
8atsuyaAs anser could be thought o" as irresponsible- but @enni"er did not
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chide hi$ about it( It as the role o" an e)peri$ent to deter$ine hether a
theoretical possibility as an actual possibility( /&topping an e)peri$ent
because it as un#non hether it as actually sa"e0 as in a sense
putting the cart be"ore the horse( &he as a scientist ho ouldnAt ha!e
anything to do ith that #ind o" "oolishness(
/In this schoolAs presentation at last yearAs 8hesis 7o$petition- a proton to
proton chain reaction as used to a!oid e)posure to neutron radiation(
9hy does this e)peri$ent use a hea!y hydrogen reactionB0
2" course- that did not $ean she did not consider the ris#s( 8hat ris#s
should be $ini$i;ed by calculations as so$ething @enni"er naturally
#ept in $ind(
It goes ithout saying that 8atsuya also considered that point( 8here as
no hesitation in his anser(
/8he conditions "or using the original proton to proton chain reaction ere
too strict "or the energy source( 8he techni*ues in Ichihara1senpaiAs
e)peri$ent ere li#ely to guarantee the success"ul control o" the reaction-
but i" the utility o" the energy reactor is ta#en into account- I belie!e the
returns are too little to :usti"y the in!est$ent o" the techni*ues( >esides-
ith the proton to proton chain reaction- isnAt the danger o" e)posure to
radiation only slight i" the neutrons donAt brea# out(0
@enni"er silently considered 8atsuyaAs anser "or a hile ith her ar$s
/HHunderstood( I cannot gi!e per$ission at $y on discretion( 8he
ritten application ill circulate( ' decision should be $ade by the end o"
the schoolday(0
/8han# you( 5urther$ore- please #eep the e)peri$ent secret "ro$
8atsuya had not thought that he ould recei!e i$$ediate appro!al to use
the Eadiation e)peri$ent roo$ and the ca$pus( '"ter a "e additional last
ords- 8atsuya boed a goodbye to @enni"er(
/&o- did you get per$ission "or the e)peri$entB0
'"ter school in the &tudent council roo$( 8atsuya- ho as posed this
*uestion by ';usa- o""ered the ritten application ith the principalAs
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electronic signature stored on that had been sent to hi$(
/' condition has been attached- but it as appro!ed(0
<earing IsoriAs *uestion to 8atsuya- ';usa loo#ed up "ro$ the electronic
paper displaying the ritten application(
/ItAs only natural- a teacher ill super!ise( 8hat is the condition(0
/I see( &o- hich teacher ill or# ith usB0
@ust as Isori as as#ing "or a $ore detailed anser "ro$ 8atsuya- the
chi$e rang signaling a !isitor(
/8su;ura1sensei( <e has thought"ully co$e here "or the $eeting(0
+iyu#i- ho chec#ed the $onitor- turned around to anser Isori(
I;u$i pro$ptly stood up( &he didnAt see$ the least bit energeticQ hoe!er-
as the only "irst year a$ong upperclass$en- it as proper "or her to go to
the door to greet Pro"essor 8su;ura(
&tudent council acti!ities te$porarily ceased ith the co$ing o" 8su;ura(
I;u$i- ho as in the $iddle o" training in student council procedures-
also stopped her hands and ent to the table "or the $eeting( 8su;ura sat
don in the seat the student council president usually sat in- and the
student council roo$ *uic#ly changed into the e)peri$ent $eeting roo$(
2" course- 8atsuya- ho had planned this e)peri$ent- had also planned on
helpers beyond the student council $e$bers here( <e had as#ed the$ to
$eet hi$ here ithout telling the$ the reason(
/IA!e gone o!er the protocol "or the e)peri$ent( I thin# itAs an interesting
'"ter $oistening his throat ith the tea Pi)ie ser!ed- 8su;ura as the "irst
to spea# up at the $eeting(
/&o- &hiba1#un( <a!e you considered ho to assign to hich dutyB0
9hat he $eant by duty assign$ents as ho ould per"or$ hich $agic(
8he $agic that as to be used in thisN =ra!ity 7ontrol- 7oulo$b 5orce
7ontrol- 5our Phase +o!e$ent- =a$$a Eay 5ilter- Deutron >arrier(
/5irst- I ant +itsui1san to ta#e charge o" the =a$$a Eay 5ilter(0
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'bruptly designated- <ono#a spo#e out hysterically( &he hadnAt e!en
heard the particulars o" the e)peri$ent until this stage- so it as
WIn $agic in!ol!ing controlling the "re*uency o" electro$agnetic a!es- I
#no o" no one ho is superior to you- <ono#a( 9onAt you underta#e it-
/I understandP I ill do $y bestP0
De!ertheless- in the end- <ono#a- a"ter hearing no $ore than 8atsuyaAs
/please0- shoo# her head in agree$ent( 7onsidering her "eelings- this as
probably "airly ine!itable(
/Isori1senpai- please ta#e 7oulo$b 5orce 7ontrol(0
Perhaps they had already discussed this- as Isori :ust silently nodded(
/5or Deutron >arrier- there is a "irst year I #no o"- I thin# she can ta#e
care o" this(0
't this state$ent o" 8atsuyaAs- I;u$iAs "ace titched(
/' "irst yearB Is that o#ayB0
8he unease as probably insuppressible e!en "or 8su;ura( It "elt li#e he
interrupted ithout thin#ing(
/Ces( 8he girl possesses genius le!el talent "or barrier $agic against
/9ho is itB0
/<er na$e is &a#urai +ina$i( +y cousin(0
/I see(0
<oe!er- hearing 8atsuyaAs e)planation- 8su;ura rela)ed to his "or$er
posture ith a relie!ed loo#( 8atsuya thought 8su;ura changed his attitude
a little too easily( +aybe- it asnAt because she as his cousin that
8su;uraAs orries easedQ 8su;ura as probably con"ident because she as
+iyu#iAs cousin- 8atsuya e)trapolated(
/I ha!enAt deter$ined ho to as# to handle the 5our Phase +o!e$ent- yet(
'nd- I belie!e $y sister ill handle the necessary =ra!ity 7ontrol(0
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't the sa$e ti$e as 8atsuya said that- +iyu#i $ade a s$all seated bo(
/I belie!e that is a suitable personnel selection0
8his ti$e- 8su;uraAs "ace shoed understanding( 7urrently- in 5irst <igh
school- the student ith the highest le!el o" $agic poer aside "ro$ the
third years as +iyu#i( 8su;ura naturally #ne this(
/9ith all that done then- the only thing undecided in the "irst order o"
business is ho to as# to handle the 5our Phase +o!e$ent(0
's he spo#e- 8su;ura turned his eyes to ';usa(
/Is there any i$pedi$ent "or Da#a:ou1sanB0
8he one ho replied to 8su;uraAs suggestion as 8atsuya- not ';usa
/I belie!e the president should o!ersee the o!erall operation(0
/I see( 7ertainly- that ould be appropriate(0
9ithdraing his on suggestion- 8su;ura once again loo#ed lost in
thought( 't that point- I;u$i raised her hand(
/%$$- i" it ould be all right i" that tas# ere le"t to usB0
8his proposal should ha!e been so$ething unanticipated- but- ithout
letting hat as going on in the bac# o" his $ind sho- 8atsuya as#ed in a
businessli#e tone(
/>y us- do you $ean the to o" you- Fasu$i and yoursel"B0
/Ces- I $ight not ha!e enough poer $ysel" to do it- but i" Fasu$i1chan
and I do it together- I thin# e ould surely be use"ul(0
?istening to I;u$iAs ords ere the other si) people 38su;ura- ';usa-
Isori- 8atsuya- +iyu#i- <ono#a4 here- a$ong ho$ "our had a pu;;led
loo# on their "aces(
/H((I can understand 8su;ura1sensei #noing- but I didnAt thin# e!en
&hiba1senpai ould #no(0
Daturally- I;u$i hersel" "elt ha!ing doubts as $ore natural- so she had
not e)pected to be easily accepted( 8here as no ay an upperclass$an
ho had been chosen as an engineer "or the Dine &chools 7o$petition and
as a representati!e to the 8hesis 7o$petition ould not #no hat it
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$eant "or to people to be in charge o" one se*uence( 5urther$ore- he had
not shon any surprise( 8here could be no other reason than that he #ne
o" the scope o" their poer(
/?etAs go into that topic at another opportunity( &uch an opportunity $ight
ne!er co$e though(0
8atsuya easily sloughed o"" I;u$iAs searching stare to loo# at the $odel o"
the e)peri$ent re"lected on the screen in the sur"ace o" the all(
/8su;ura1sensei- +itsui1san and &aegusa1san do not #no the particulars
o" the e)peri$ent( &o I thought going through the e)planation ould also
con"ir$ the details(0
9ith 8su;uraAs agree$ent- 8atsuya ent o!er the details o" the e)peri$ent
ith the student council $e$bers( ';usa- Isori and +iyu#i already #ne
the contents but no one loo#ed bored(
/H((the stellar "urnace syste$ "ro$ a technical point o" !ie is still
underde!eloped( <oe!er- i" e cooperate and "unction as a tea$- then
ithout a doubt e can succeed in this e)peri$ent concerning hat is one
o" the so1called three great proble$s(0
't last he su$$ed it all up and 8atsuyaAs Tstellar "urnaceA as turned into a
s$all stunt(
8he stellar "urnace e)peri$entAs actual preparation period as "ro$ 'pril
21st to 'pril 24th- a "our day period( I" the ti$e spent cra"ting the
e)peri$ental de!ices "or the 8hesis 7o$petition is considered then it as
a hopelessly insu""icient period( <oe!er- this ti$e there as not going to
be a "ull school $obili;ation( In the "irst place- 8atsuya and the others ere
not supposed to #no o" 7ongress$an FandaAs "orthco$ing inspection(
8his e)peri$ent $ust appear unrelated to the !isit o" 7ongress$an Fanda
and the $edia( It asnAt necessary to conceal the &tellar 5urnace
e)peri$ent itsel"- but it as te$porarily con"ined to !olunteer acco$plices
and the student council o""icers(
<oe!er- "ro$ the start 8atsuya and +iyu#i hadnAt been pessi$istic about
the situation( 's he had said to Isori- this ti$e they ere not going to build
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the structure o" an energy reactor( 8hey ere only going to display the
structure( 8his e)peri$ent as "unda$entally a per"or$anceN they ere
not constructing actually "unctioning e)peri$ental de!ices li#e they did
"or the thesis co$petition( 8atsuya as !ery conscious o" the di""erence(
2n the other hand- +iyu#i could not loo# on anything 8atsuya atte$pted
8he preparations steadily ad!anced to the goal and begun to loo# li#e the
real thing- and the "aces o" the other participants in the e)peri$ent began
to loo# less i$patient( 5ro$ the "ace o" Fasu$i- ho seriously or#ed on
the e)peri$ent deter$ined not to do less ith her e""orts than that darn
+iyu#i ith a "roning e)pression that all but said she as unilling as
ellQ "ro$ the "ace o" <ira#aa 7hia#i- hose attitude displayed the
*uestion- Tho did this happenBA- but ne!er let her hands rest "or a second
eitherQ and "ro$ the "ace o" 8o$itsu#a- ho had innocently dragged in
7hia#i ith good intentions and hose "ace ent bac# and "orth "ro$
letting his unease disappear to loo#ing resistant( 111a$ong the$ as a
sil!er haired "irst year ho had intended to only ga;e at his hero- 8atsuya-
but hose hole body spo#e o" his delight at helpingQ &u$isu Fento had
$anaged to slip in despite being an outsider(
And April 2)th, Tuesday$ '"ter school the day be"ore the $ain e!ent- in
the radiation e)peri$ent roo$- the "inal rehearsal as being held( ' 50I
hea!y ater and 50I light ater $i)ture had been poured into the globe
shaped ater tan# $ade "ro$ a highly transparent- pressure resistant resin(
8he large *uantity o" hea!y ater had been pro!ided by 8su;ura( It as
possible to industrially $anu"acture hea!y ater "ro$ ordinary sea ater-
but securing a large *uantity o" hea!y ater as o" course di""icult "or a
si$ple high school student( 8he abundance o" hea!y ater that they ere
able to get as the result o" 8su;ura e)ercising his connections to the
/2#ay- letKs start( +iyu#i(0
5irst- =ra!ity 7ontrol $agic as in!o#ed(
/Fasu$i- I;u$i(0
/5our Phase &hi"t- go(0
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8he tin sisters spo#e as one and e)ecuted the 5our Phase &hi"t $agic(
/<ono#a- +ina$i(0
/=a$$a Eay 5ilter in e""ect(0
/Deutron >arrier- in place(0
<e did not rely on the girlsA reportsQ 8atsuya used his on TeyeA to con"ir$
that the steps o" the e)peri$ent had been cleared(
/5ocus point established(0
8atsuya called out +iyu#iKs na$e once again- in"or$ing +iyu#i that all
the preparations ere $ade(
/6lectro$agnetic repulsion "orce neutrali;ation- start(0
'nd hen the last sa"ety !al!e as released- the !oices o" the $e$bers in
position in "ront o" the gauge "luttered about doing the chec#list(
/,egree o" =ra!itational "ield &tability- no issues(0 /=a$$a rays-
$easure$ent ithin sa"ety li$its(0 /Deutron rays- $easure$ent ithin
sa"ety li$its(0 /(((((((0
8atsuya serenely ga;ed at the "irst step o" his drea$ hile listening to
those !oices(
8he last rehearsal ended ell( I" this as a si$ple e)peri$ent then they
ould ha!e been satis"ied ith the conclusi!e results they recei!ed today(
<oe!er- this e)peri$ent as being held as a de$onstration against anti1
$agician ad!ocates( 8o$orro as the crucial $o$ent( 8he participants
ere #eeping their e)pectations *uiet as they departed the e)peri$ent
,ue to ';usa and Isori ta#ing on the cleaning up and closing up- the other
participants $o!ed to the student council roo$( It as nearly ti$e "or the
gate to close- but $aybe they "elt they had entered so$e #ind o" state o"
continuous e$ergency( 8atsuya pondered that( &till- the other participants-
+iyu#i and <ono#a ho "olloed 8atsuya- I;u$i and +ina$i ho
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"olloed +iyu#i- and Fasu$i ho "olloed I;u$i- "or$ed a #ind o"
chain( Fasu$i and +ina$i ere not $e$bers o" the student councilQ
hoe!er- no one here right no as bothered by that(
/9elco$e bac#(0
&hi;u#u greeted 8atsuya and the rest( &he asnAt a $e$ber o" the student
council either- but- li#e the boss3a#a( +ari/7hiyoda4 o" the public $orals
co$$ittee- she "re*uently used the stairay that connected the student
council roo$ and the public $orals co$$ittee roo$( 5ro$ her taciturn
e)terior- it as hard to i$agine that &hi;u#u actually had a pretty laid bac#
personality( 6!en so- her sense o" responsibility as abo!e a!erage- so-
since she as as#ed to loo# a"ter things in their absence- she diligently did
the duty li#e this(
/&orry "or $a#ing you ait- &hi;u#u( Cou really helped us out(0
/Dothing special happened(0
+iyu#iAs ords o" than#s ere $et by a TdonAt orry about itA headsha#e-
and a"ter in"or$ing the$ that nothing unusual happened- &hi;u#u turned
to "ace her best "riend(
/<ono#a- about thatB0
Instantly- <ono#aAs "ace displayed an Tur#H((A "linch( Perhaps discerning
the anser to her *uestion "ro$ $erely that- &hi;u#u :ust shoed an Toh-
ellA loo#(
Eising up and $o!ing behind <ono#aAs bac#- &hi;u#u grabbed both o" her
"riendAs shoulders( <ono#a as taller by hal" a headQ hoe!er- paying that
no $ind- &hi;u#u "orcibly changed the direction <ono#aAs body as
"acing- so <ono#a as directly opposite 8atsuya "acing hi$ head on(
8a#ing her hands o""- lea!ing <ono#a there- she loo#ed here and there in
the !icinity until she "ound <ono#aAs bag and reached in to get a s$all bo)
rapped in pretty paper( Pressing that bo) into <ono#aAs hands- she ent
behind her "riendAs bac# again to gi!e her a strong sho!e in the bac#(
<ono#a stopped hersel" a"ter one step and loo#ed up at 8atsuyaAs "ace that
as closer than be"ore( 8here as still too $uch space beteen their
positions to enact a ?o!e &cene( 2" course- ith this $any onloo#ers- no
$atter ho easy it as "or <ono#a to constrict her !ision- it ould be
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di""icult "or her to act boldly( 8he atte$pt she as going to $a#e as
going to be a !ery innocent occurrence(
/%$$- 8atsuyaP0
'"ter that state$ent- <ono#a s*uee;ed her eyes shut and o""ered the bo)
ith both hands(
/8oday is your birthday- 8atsuya1sanP0
?ea!ing no roo$ "or 8atsuya to anser- <ono#a continued spea#ing( &he
as tal#ing so "ast it as doubt"ul that she as ta#ing the ti$e to breath-
but it de"initely asnAt hard to understand hat she as saying(
/ItAs not $uch- but I or#ed hard at pic#ing it outP Please accept itP0
Fasu$iAs !oice saying so$ething li#e T,o +itsui1senpai and &hiba1senpai
ha!e that #ind o" relationshipA reached 8atsuyaAs ears "ro$ a corner o" the
roo$- but <ono#a undoubtedly didnAt hear her(
/2" course- I ill accept it(0
8he $o$ent 8atsuyaAs hand touched <ono#aAs present- he "elt not a
piercing but a penetrating ga;e( <oe!er- hen he too# "leeting sidelong
glances behind hi$- all traces o" that sord1li#e stare had disappeared(
/8han# you(0
/D1no- itAs nothing( %$$- please unrap it hen youAre alone(0
/<$B 'h- got it(0
8atsuya nodded ith a slightly $ysti"ied loo# and <ono#a let out a big
sigh( &he see$ed li#e she as :ust about ready to collapse ha!ing used up
so $uch o" her strength- but "ortunately all she did as stu$ble( &hi;u#u
decided by the TI adore 8atsuyaA loo# on <ono#aAs "ace that she as not up
to anything else and too# charge "ro$ ne)t to <ono#a(
/8atsuya1san- are you "ree ne)t &undayB0
's usual- &hi;u#u suddenly started spea#ing( 8atsuya as *uite used to it-
but he couldnAt #eep "ro$ being instantly con"used(
/9hat ti$eB0
2" course- he as only con"used "or a $o$ent( 'nd he continued the
con!ersation ithout $issing a beat(
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/8he e!ening( 'round si) oAcloc#(0
/HHthatAs "ine(0
<e had a $eeting on de!eloping a co$pletely thought controlled $odel o"
7', on &unday ith 5?8As E\, section three- but si) p$ in the e!ening
le"t hi$ plenty o" ti$e to return( Deither the $ain o""ice or E\, section
three ere in the habit o" letting their $eetings run o!er(
/It ould be a little late- but I ant to hold a birthday party "or 8atsuya at
$y house( Is that o#ayB0
8his Tis that o#ayBA as pac#ed ith three di""erent $eaningsN TIs it o#ay
to count on your participationBA- TIs it o#ay to ha!e it at $y houseBA and TIs
it all right that I :ust ent and planned a birthday party "or youA(
/ItAs co$pletely "ine( 8han# you "or in!iting $e(0
8here ere no ulterior $oti!es beneath &hi;u#uAs proposal to gi!e 8atsuya
a birthday party out o" her on good ill- he #ne that ithout e!en
chec#ing( 8atsuya nodded ithout e!en pretending to thin# about it and
&hi;u#u ansered ith a slight nod( 9hile she loo#ed e)pressionless-
there as a slight hint o" s$ugness in the shape o" her $outh(
/+iyu#i and +ina$i1chan too(0
9ithout a $o$entAs delay she spo#e to +iyu#i and +ina$i- needlessly
hiding her e$barrass$ent(
/Ces- itAs "ine(0
/8han# you "or your in!itation(0
%nrelated to +iyu#iAs s$iling anser and +ina$iAs $ore di""ident
anser- Fasu$i as loo#ing at 8atsuya ith an appraising eye( Fasu$i
hadnAt thought 8atsuya as the type to be popular ith girls- but that
$ental e!aluation as sha#en(
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Chapter 12
2n the ay bac# "ro$ school- as the three o" the$ parted "ro$ their
"riends and boarded the 7abinet- +iyu#i see$ed strangely agitated(
8here as nothing noticeable on the sur"ace( 6!en close "riends ould
probably only onder Kis she considering so$ethingBK( >ut in 8atsuyaKs
eyes- his sister as "retting considerably( =etting o"" at the station closest
to ho$e- her condition only orsened as they approached the tic#et gate(
W%h$- 2nii sa$aW
't the sa$e ti$e 8atsuya tried to call her na$e- +iyu#i ti$idly raised her
W'h- hat is itBW
't 8atsuyaKs in*uiry +iyu#i didnKt reply i$$ediately- but instead $o!ed
aside so as not to bloc# the other passengers and stood still(
W8hat((((((ell- could- you please acco$pany $e shopping "or a little
WI donKt $ind at all- but((((((W
@ust hat in the orld is the $atter- 8atsuya salloed ithout saying(
+iyu#i asnKt the type ho en:oyed going out shopping as entertain$ent
on ee#days( I" there as so$ething they really needed to buy sheKd order
it online and itKd arri!e the !ery sa$e day( >esides- she asnKt as#ing
W+ina$i chan- sorry but could you go bac# and prepare dinner yoursel"BW
W7ertainly- +iyu#i Deesa$a( 8atsuya Diisa$a- I ill be going on ahead(W
9ithout shoing any concern toards +iyu#i- +ina$i bris#ly headed
toards the co$$uter hall( 8his also in!ited suspicion( 'lthough not as
astute as 8atsuya- +ina$i should ha!e also percei!ed +iyu#iKs state( I" the
reason as because +ina$i as con"ident in 8atsuyaKs abilities as an
escort- this ould be so$ehat understandable( >ut 8atsuya could not
help but "eel so$ething as o""(
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&eparated "ro$ +ina$i- 8atsuya led +iyu#i toards the nearest ca"e( <e
thought itKd be best to hear her out "irst(
6ntering the store- +iyu#i see$ed relie!ed( 8his "urther increased
8atsuyaKs suspicions( +iyu#i had said she ished to shop- but no that
they ere in the ca"e she as "or so$e reason $a#ing hat see$ed li#e a
K$ission acco$plishedK e)pression(
9hen the aitress ca$e "or their order 8atsuya had a hot co""ee- and
+iyu#i under so$e stress ordered not a cup- but a pot o" tea( It appeared
they ouldnKt be lea!ing the ca"e anyti$e soon( 7ould it be that +iyu#i
had si$ply anted ti$e alone to tal#- 8atsuya ondered(
Increasingly orried- 8atsuya spo#e up to +iyu#i be"ore their drin#s had
WCes- 2nii sa$aW
+iyu#i as she replied as her usual sel"( &he s$iled happily as she spo#e
his na$e( <er distress earlier see$ed li#e a drea$( <oe!er- :ust because
o" that he couldnKt lea!e $atters unsettled(
WIs there so$ething upBW
8atsuya decided to try the straight"orard route(
W6h- oh no( ItKs "ine no(W
It see$ed +iyu#i hersel" as also aare o" her pre!ious state( &he shoo#
her head *uic#ly- but 8atsuya percei!ed there as yet so$ething
un$entioned in her heart(
8hey bro#e o"" the con!ersation hen the aitress ca$e ith their drin#s(
+iyu#i chec#ed the tea lea!es by opening the pot lid- then a"ter closing the
lid and aiting a hile poured into a s$all cup( <er care"ul $o!e$ents-
$ore polite than necessary- could only be described as gradual(
+iyu#i too# a s$all sip o" the tea- then ordlessly added hal" a spoon"ul
o" sugar( 8ice- three ti$es- "our((((((upon the 20th 8atsuya could #eep
*uiet no longer- and spo#e to +iyu#i in a coy tone(
W's unli#ely as it is- could it be that you too# <ono#aKs present((((((W
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8he spoon clanged as it bounced o"" the cup(
WDot at allP I ould ne!erPW
W&orry- o" course not( I ne!er considered it "or an instant( 5orgi!e $e(W
's +iyu#i desperately denied it ith a "lushed e)pression- 8atsuya
a#ardly apologised(
W2h no((((((IK$ not unhappy or $ad at all- itKs :ust IK!e been preoccupied-
and((((((itKs :ust a co$plete $isunderstanding( &o u$- 2nii sa$a- thereKs no
need to bo your headW
Do upset- +iyu#i appealed to 8atsuya to raise his head( Pushed by her
!igour 8atsuya loo#ed up- but the *uestion lingered in his $ind( 's he
said- he had not seriously thought +iyu#i consternation as due to
:ealousy( 8he reason "or her suspicious beha!iour re$ained unaccounted
"or( <e decided hoe!er that pursuing it any "urther ould be a#ard
and ga!e up(
&eeing 8atsuyaKs unsure e)pression- +iyu#i tilted her head an)iously( 's
their con"used eyes $et- they both began to laugh(
'"ter that- they did a bit o" indo shopping "or an hour be"ore heading
bac#( 8atsuya also put out o" $ind +iyu#iKs KorriesK( It asnKt that he
re$e$bered the$ no $ore- but rather he si$ply didnKt bring it up since she
see$ed alright again(
@ust hat had she been su""ering( 8he $o$ent he "inished changing and
stepped into the dining roo$ ha!ing been called !ia the co$$unication
unit- he "ound out(
8he sound o" crac#ers elco$ed hi$ in( ' shoer o" colour"ul strea$ers
bloc#ed his sight- be"ore "alling at his "eet(
W2nii sa$a- happy birthdayPW
<a!ing ta#en o"" her uni"or$ :ac#et lea!ing only the nec#tie- +iyu#i stood
in her one1piece( 8he dress as slee!eless and pure hite- co$pli$enting
+iyu#iKs slender "igure( It as the "a$iliar uni"or$ she ore e!eryday- yet
the i$pression a"ter re$o!ing the :ac#et as signi"icant( It as li#e it had
been designed "or her alone(
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>ehind +iyu#i as +ina$i in her usual highnec# one1piece and apron(
%pon the table ere the !i!id $aster"ul results o" her coo#ing(
W&o- you ere stalling $e "or the preparations((((((W
8atsuya raised an eye as he loo#ed toards +iyu#i( &he shrugged
nonchalantly as she glanced aay(
W9ell((((((IK$ really happy( 8han# you(W
In short- they had anted to surprise hi$( 7ertainly- this ould ha!e not
been possible hen it had been :ust the to o" the$ be"ore( It $ay ha!e
see$ed slightly childish- but 8atsuya as deeply aare that it had all been
"or hi$(
W2nii sa$a- please ta#e a seat( 9eKre aiting on the ca#e right no(W
's 8atsuya s$iled- +iyu#iKs "ace shone as she "ired up and busied hersel"(
9ith a slight loo# o" resignation +ina$i approached carrying a ca#e-
inserted candles- placed a #ni"e and "or# in "ront o" 8atsuya- and lit the
candles be"ore turning the lights o"" and sitting don(
W2nii sa$a- please(W
's he atched +iyu#i bustling around- ithout saying a ord- 8atsuya as
re*uested ble out the 17 candles in one breath(
%ne)pectedly treated e!en to +iyu#i and +ina$iKs singing !oices- the
birthday party ended !ibrantly despite only three people being present( <e
had been dragged along "ro$ beginning to end by his sisterKs e)uberance
and e!en $ade so$e noise o" his on such as clapping- but no he as
rela)ing in his roo$ by hi$sel"(
Preparing "or the e)peri$ents to$orro- it as a good change o" pace( <is
sister had li#ely thought o" that too- 8atsuya thought( <e then suddenly
re$e$bered that he hadnKt e!en untied the ribbon "ro$ the gi"t heKd
recei!ed "ro$ <ono#a(
<e too# a long- thin bo) "ro$ his bag( ,espite the si;e- it as rather hea!y(
6)pecting it to be so$e technological product- he re$o!ed the ribbon and
care"ully peeled o"" the rapping paper( 9hat as re!ealed as a
lu)urious ooden bo)( 2pening the lid- he sa a spring loaded anti*ue
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poc#et atch(
W9asnKt this e)pensi!e((((((BW
+uttering subconsciously- hen he chec#ed the $anu"acturer engra!ed
inside he s$iled subtly( 7ar!ed ithin as the $ar# o" the corporation run
by &hi;u#uKs "ather( In other ords- this had co$e "ro$ &hi;u#u(
8he bac# o" the lid here a photograph ent as e$pty( &hi;i#u ould
$ost li#ely ha!e placed a photo o" <ono#a there- but <ono#a hersel"
see$ed to ha!e been less than enthusiastic(
I$agining the scene playing out in his head- 8atsuya let out a chuc#le(
8hrough the sound o" his laughter- he heard a #noc# on the door(
WItKs +iyu#i( 2nii sa$a- $ay I co$e inBW
<er !oice barely reached inside the roo$- it as so *uiet( 9hate!er her
intent- it see$ed she didnKt ant to disturb their house$ate( 8atsuya
li#eise opened the door silently ith this in $ind(
<is sister stood there resplendent- regally dressed ith a touch o" $a#eup(
<er one1piece dress as a robe decollete o" pale cherry- ith plenty o" lace
and boldly e)posing the chest and bac#( <er "loing blac# hair had been
tied bac#- re!ealing her ble$ishless s#in- and itKs co$ple) co$bed out
"or$ shone against her pearly bac#( 8he s#irt hich reached her an#les
as co$prised o" strips o" cloth o" di""erent length- and the shape o" her
"laless legs pee#ed out "ro$ the thigh don( <er char$ no as e!en
greater than in the $orning hen she had ao#en hi$- and he as lost in
her beauty "or an instant(
W%$- 2nii sa$aBW
W'h- sorry( 7o$e in(W
8atsuya had been entranced by her $o$entarily( ,a;ed and bloc#ing the
entrance- at +iyu#iKs pu;;led !oice he ca$e to and $o!ed aside- letting
her in(
+iyu#i had not co$e e$pty handed( <er right hand held a bottle- a
handbag dangled "ro$ her le"t elbo- and in her le"t hand ere to
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&eeing both her hands "ull- 8atsuya so"tly closed the door( +iyu#i lightly
bent her #nees in than#s- then placed the bottle don side by side ith the
glasses on 8atsuyaKs des#(
WIs this <ono#aKs presentBW
+iyu#i spotted the poc#et atch still on his des#(
WItKs a !ery elegant design isnKt itBW
WIt is(W
+iyu#i hersel" probably held no ill intent- but 8atsuya "elt bad so$eho-
and stoed <ono#aKs present aay in a draer(
W&o- hatKs all thisBW
Eetrie!ing a spare chair "ro$ the all storage "or +iyu#i- then sitting
don in "ront o" the des# hi$sel"- 8atsuya glanced o!er the bottle and
glasses( +iyu#i $o!ed her seat- a heeled stool ithout a bac#rest- ne)t
to 8atsuya and sat a distance aay- s$iling shyly(
W2nii sa$a- do you re$e$ber 'pril 24th last year(((((((BW
W2" course(W
<er *uestion had absolutely nothing to do ith his *uestion- but it see$ed
that i" he didnKt anser this he ouldnKt get an anser hi$sel"- so he
thought bac#(
WCou had suddenly appeared in a #i$ono(W
<e had been stunned then as he as no by this dress11not that he said
that aloud(
WEight- that happened too(W
+iyu#i $ur$ured as she shi"ted hersel" out o" sight slightly( &he had been
earnest bac# then but loo#ing bac#- it see$ed e!en she as e$barrassed(
W%h$ besides that((((((last year- 2nii sa$a- it had been :ust the to o" us(W
@ust hat +iyu#i anted to say- 8atsuya already #ne by this stage( 's he
s$iled ith lo!e- +iyu#i also returned a clear s$ile(
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W8he year be"ore- as celebrated ith :ust us to as ell(W
WI re$e$ber(W
W+ina$i chan is ith us this year- so e celebrated together but((((((W
Pausing- +iyu#i loo#ed don in e$barrass$ent(
WIn the end- I really((((((ant so$e ti$e alone too( 5or a little hile- could
e celebrate 2nii sa$aKs birthday ith :ust $e((((((BW
?eaning "orard in his chair- 8atsuya reached "or +iyu#iKs "ace(
<is hands brushed her chee#(
+iyu#iKs shoulders ere tre$bling(
=ently held in 8atsuyaKs hands- +iyu#iKs head as brought up(
8heir eyes $et(
+iyu#iKs eyes ere $oist- and her "ace red(
&uddenly- she turned aay(
8o a!oid her brother disco!ering the heat no e$anating "ro$ her chee#s(
W2nii sa$a- a toastBW
8atsuya *uietly loered his hands- but his eyes re$ained "ir$ly "i)ed on
WCes- but itKs alright( 8hereKs barely any alcohol in it(W
W'h- IKll open it(W
Perhaps the cor# as in tightQ 8atsuya too# the bottle "ro$ +iyu#iKs
tre$bling "ingers( ,e"tly re$o!ing the cor# ithout sending it "lying- he
returned the bottle to his sister(
W8han# you((((((please go aheadW
&he placed a hal"1"illed glass in "ront o" 8atsuya( Pouring into her on
glass- +iyu#i held it up ith her right hand(
8atsuya too# hold o" his glass ith his le"t hand- and held it near +iyu#iKs(
' clear sound rang out(
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W2nii sa$a((((((happy birthday( IK$ than#"ul that 2nii sa$a is ith $e(W
W8han#s( IK$ than#"ul that I could be your brother(W
8he to o" the$ tilted their glasses at the sa$e ti$e(
2n a side note- the present +iyu#i had prepared as in the handbag(
9ithin the bo) as a so$ehat o!ersi;ed loc#et pendant- e)*uisitely
engra!ed ith $oti"s o" the sun- $oon and stars( ' 3, photo o" +iyu#i in
the dress she ore no had been placed inside( 6arlier +iyu#i had been
regretting Kletting <ono#a ta#e the initiati!eK- but in these ter$s it see$ed
+iyu#i as still in the lead(
11'nd 8atsuya unable to "atho$ his sisterKs intentions- orried continually
"or o!er an hour(
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Chapter 13
Tuesday, April 2)th( 8oday- &hippou 8a#u$a spo#e pri!ately ith the
ally ho shared his goal o" /a ne order0- &aa$ura +a#i- at the usual
ti$e be"ore heading ho$e(
8he ti$e as already 2300 hours( In order to a!oid troubling people at
ho$e 3including the ser!ants4- he had dined outside and called ahead to
in"or$ his "a$ily that they didnAt need to ait "or hi$( 8he ser!ants li!ing
at his house should ha!e already turned in "or the night- so 8a#u$a slipped
in through the bac#door ithout ringing the doorbell(
's he as re$o!ing his shoes- a young $an a "e years his senior called
out to 8a#u$a(
/&ensei is aiting "or you in the study(0
&ensei re"erred to the head o" the &hippou 5a$ily- &hippou 8a#u$i( 8he
young $an ser!ing as his "atherAs assistant $ust ha!e recei!ed orders "ro$
his "ather to ait here "or 8a#u$a( ,espite thin#ing /ho irritating0-
8a#u$a couldnAt ignore this( '"ter replying /=ot it0 to the young $an-
8a#u$a headed "or the study(
2n the sur"ace- the &hippou 5a$ily or#ed as in!est$ent ad!isors-
especially in the "ield o" eather deri!ati!e instru$ents( 's a particular
type o" ris# $anage$ent tool- eather deri!ati!e instru$ents ere broadly
used to predict atypical eather ha;ards( 's a "inancial tool- the !alue o"
eather deri!ati!e instru$ents as deter$ined by !arious eather !alues
such as te$perature- hu$idity- condensation- etc( 9hile industriali;ation
o" the "ood industry has decreased the e""icacy o" eather deri!ati!e
instru$ents- the rise o" solar energy as the principal pro!ider o" electricity
in $ore de!eloped countries has rendered the esti$ated ti$e "or sunshine
a $a:or indicator "or earnings pro:ections used by corporations( 8he reason
hy &hippou 8a#u$i as re"erred to as /sensei0 as because he as
publicly ac#noledged ithin the nation to be the authority on annual
eather predictions(
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<oe!er- right no 8a#u$a as "acing the head o" one o" the 18
Eeplace$ent 7lans- a +agician hose $agical proess ri!aled that o" the
8en +aster 7lans- &hippou 8a#u$i(
/7o$e in(0
8his phrase as spo#en to 8a#u$a as he entered the study- shortly be"ore
he sat on the set o" so"as that ere separated "ro$ the thic#- hea!y des#
that his "ather used(
8a#u$i rose "ro$ his o""ice table and sat don hile "acing 8a#u$a(
/8a#u$a- hoAs high schoolB 're you en:oying itB0
,id you call $e here at this hour to tal# about this nonsense- that as hat
8a#u$a thought on re"le)( 8hough he #ne !ery ell that this as :ust
s$all tal#- 8a#u$aAs in"uriated e$otions ere about to eclipse his
/5ather- I should ha!e said this a countless ti$es( 5or $e- high school isnAt
a place "or "un and ga$es(0
In response to his sonAs ords- 8a#u$i ore a /&eriouslyB0 e)pression(
/<o stubborn you are( 8hereAs no need to o!ere)ert yoursel" to this
/5ather- youAre the one ho is too rela)edP0
&eeing 8a#u$iAs placid attitude- 8a#u$aAs agitation "inally e)ploded(
/9e ob!iously only ha!e one $ore year until the ne)t 8en +aster 7lans
&election <earing( 't this rate- those &aegusa all"loers ill once again
sei;e our place in the 8en +aster 7lans hile the &hippou ill again su""er
the indignity o" being in"erior to the$P0
/8he &election <earing is so$ething that selects 10 "a$ilies out o" 28
8he !oice 8a#u$i spo#e toards 8a#u$a as interlaced ith a sense o"
/5i)ating only on the &aegusa 5a$ily is absolutely pointless( 6!en you-
8a#u$a- should be aare o" that le!el(0
8his as not the "irst ti$e 8a#u$i said these ords( Eather- sa!e "or the
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days that he ne!er interacted ith his son- 8a#u$i had the "eeling that he
said this to his son on a daily basis in the past year(
/8here is a point(0
5urther$ore- there as ne!er an instance here 8a#u$a ca$e around to
his "atherAs ords(
/8he &aegusa 5a$ily is nothing $ore than one "a$ily a$ong the 28(0
/8hose guys are di""erent(0
8oday- 8a#u$aAs attitude as as stubborn as e!er(
/8heyAre not the sa$e( 8he &aegusa are di""erent(0
8a#u$i hea!ed a sigh "illed ith e)haustion(
/9ho as it ho i$planted such a deeply rooted obsession in youB0
/It doesnAt $atter ho it isP It is true that the &aegusa betrayed the na$e
/30 and used the stolen /70 to in their place a$ong the 8en +aster
/8a#u$aHH 8he days here they ere the /&aegusa 3340 instead o" the
/&aegusa 3740 preceded the establish$ent o" the 8en +aster 7lans( 9hen
&ensei proposed the 8en +aster 7lans syste$- the &aegusa had already
beco$e the /&aegusa 3740( 5urther$ore- they do indeed possess the
strength that toers abo!e others in the 28 "a$ilies(0
/In ter$s o" the strength that toers abo!e others- thatAs only the result o"
the$ secretly de!ouring the research results "ro$ the 3rd and 7th Eesearch
?abs( Plainly the "inal e)peri$ental body ca$e "ro$ the 3rd Eesearch ?ab
and bro#e aay "ro$ the 3rd Eesearch ?ab be"ore stealing the /<erd
,e"ense0 that as originally conceptuali;ed and de!eloped by the &hippou
5a$ily :ust as e ere on the last phase prior to co$pletion entirely "or
their on bene"it( Dot only our &hippou 5a$ily- but the +itsuya-
+i#a;u#i- 8anabata- and Danase 5a$ilies ere all duped by the &aegusa
5a$ilyP 5ather- ho are you so cal$ e!en hen this is clearly ho the
situation asPB0
/8a#u$a( ?i#e us- the +agicians "ro$ the &aegusa 5a$ily are also
e)peri$ental bodies(0
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<earing the sentences uttered by 8a#u$i in such a bitter tone- e!en the
e)citable 8a#u$a "ell silent(
/8hey are beings ho ha!e been constructed( 8he only di""erence is that-
unli#e the other 27 "a$iliesHH no- the other 26 "a$ilies content ith
their lot as e)peri$ents- they ha!e chosen their on path( 8his is not
so$ething to rue- but is instead praiseorthy(0
/H((&o in essence- 5ather- you are saying that treachery and stealing a
$arch are praiseorthy thingsB0
8a#u$a $anaged to $uster a response(
/'renAt you trying to steal a $arch on the 8en +aster 7lans right noB0
<oe!er- 8a#u$aAs retort as li#e a boo$erang that $issed its target and
ca$e bac# to its throer(
>e"ore his son- ho had "allen silent ith a sullen e)pression on his "ace-
8a#u$i sighed slightly(
/5orget it( I #no you erenAt going to accept this regardless o" hat I
8a#u$aAs /accusation0 and 8a#u$iAs /persuasion0 had not started today(
Including this instance- "ather and son had retread the sa$e con!ersation
se!eral do;en ti$es( In spite o" this- they still couldnAt help but argue ith
one another- hich only pro!ed that their bond as "ather and son could not
be sundered(
/I called you here today because I had so$ething else to say(0
/HH't such a late hourB0
8a#u$a thre in as $uch sarcas$ as he could in his response(
/8hatAs because it as absolutely necessary to tell you this today(
&eriously- i" I #ne you ould return so late- I ould ha!e arranged a
$eeting ith you be"orehand( 8his ay- I could ha!e spo#en ith you
hen you returned ho$e "ro$ school(0
De!ertheless- this as a sel"1destructi!e gesture on 8a#u$aAs part(
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/Cou do not ha!e to apologi;e to $e( <oe!er- you do need to as# your
$otherAs "orgi!eness( &he should still be aa#e(0
&nap- ithout trying to hide his e)pression- 8a#u$aAs eyes dri"ted all o!er
the place as 8a#u$i cut to the chase(
/8a#u$a- ta#e the day o"" "ro$ school to$orro(0
/5atherB 9hat are you saying all o" a suddenB0
8a#u$aAs shoc#ed e)pression as not "eigned( <e as truly beildered by
his "ather(
/8o$orro- 7ongress$an Fanda "ro$ the opposition party ill be touring
5irst <igh(0
8a#u$i had predicted that his son ould "ind this peculiar- so he directly
started to e)plain his reasoning ithout asting any ti$e(
/7ongress$an Fanda "ro$ the opposition party- as in Fanda the hu$an
rights proponent and anti1$agic supporterB0
/7orrect( 's ell as his $edia underlings(0
/5or hat reasonB0
6!en though 8a#u$a as#ed this- he really already guessed the anser(
'"ter ta#ing into account 7ongress$an FandaAs recent state$ents that
ere highly publici;ed by the $edia- his purpose behind !isiting 5irst
<igh as nigh apparent( 8a#u$aAs *uestion as $erely "or !eri"ication
/<eAs putting on a sho about protecting adolescents "ro$ being "orcibly
stripped o" their "reedo$s by $agic(0
/7i!il rightsPB0
6!en #noing this- 8a#u$a couldnAt help but spit that out( /Do need "or
you to orry0 as ritten clearly across his "ace(
/I understand hat youAre trying to say- but our opponent is a national
congress$an( 7ausing an incident ould be !ery proble$atic(0
<is "atherAs ords caused an irate e)pression to appear o!er 8a#u$aAs "ace
"or an entirely di""erent reason than be"ore(
/6!en i" itAs an irritating opponent- IA$ not going to pic# a "ight ithout
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
paying attention to the conse*uences( IA$ not that childish(0
/6!en i" they are pic#ing a "ight ith youB0
/HH%h- o" course( 9ould I be pro!o#ed that easilyB0
8a#u$i rela)ed and leaned deeply bac# into the so"a(
/=ood( &ince you spea# so resolutely- then be prepared to bear
responsibility "or your ords(0
/I #no thatP 8hatAs all you ha!e to say- rightB0
&eeing these o"t1repeated ords and belligerent attitude- e!en so$eone
other than 8a#u$i ould onder i" 8a#u$a as truly /beyond
/8a#u$a- the situation is being handled by &aegusa1sa$a( %nder no
circu$stances are you to do anything unnecessary(0
Cet- this particular phrase "ro$ 8a#u$i as not spo#en out o" concern "or
his sonAs attitude- but care"ully ti$ed instead(
's e)pected- 8a#u$a displayed an intense reaction(
/,o not do anything unnecessary( Cou $ust bear responsibility "or your
on ords(0
Donetheless- this as already a"ter they had reached an accord(
/8he &hippou 5a$ily ill not inter"ere ith this incident( Cou heard $e-
8a#u$a( 8hat is the decision(0
ItAs not li#e he could recant a"ter all this-
/LI #noP0
&o 8a#u$a had no choice but to reply in this "ashion(
8hey ere une)pected !isitors "or practically e!eryone at 5irst <igh-
though they ere probably also unelco$e !isitors "or e!eryone a""iliated
ith 5irst <igh(
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8en $en and o$en dise$bar#ed "ro$ three pitch blac# li$ousines(
8hey ere co$posed o" 7ongress$an Fanda- his secretary- reporters
or#ing "or the congress$an- and bodyguards(
,uring 4th period- the "irst class a"ter noon- they suddenly de$anded to
$eet ith the principal( 2" course- no appoint$ent as $ade ahead o"
ti$e( =enerally spea#ing- they ould be graciously rebu""ed and sent to
the door- but the status o" a national congress$an as such that they ere
able to do so$ething tyrannical li#e this( In this regard- things had changed
little "ro$ the pre!ious century(
9ith 7ongress$an Fanda holly ignoring decoru$ and de$anding an
audience- the ,ean Caosa#a o" 5irst <igh could greet the$ ith a sour
e)pression on his "ace(
/7ongress$an Fanda- I ha!e already said that Principal +o$oya$a is
aay on a business trip to 8o#yo today( Please- ould it be possible "or
you to co$e again hen the principal is hereB0
/<o( 're you trying to dis$iss I- Fanda- li#e a child and co$ing againB0
/I dare not dis$iss you li#e a child(0
/8hen the dean is "ine as ell( I ish to !ie the classes o" your illustrious
school in action(0
/8his is not so$ething I can grant by $ysel"( 's I thought- you need to
spea# directly ith the principal(0
Fanda and Caosa#a ere both in their "i"ties( 't "irst glance and ith a
$ind toards tele!ision appearances- Fanda appeared to be younger
than#s to the e""orts o" $a#eup artists and plastic surgeons( <oe!er- upon
closer inspection- Fanda also carried sy$pto$s that be"it his age( 8hough
the to $en ere o" the sa$e age group- the sight o" one o!erbearing side
spea#ing ith greater and greater "er!or hile the other side seated and
"retted aay ithout daring to retaliate $ade "or a hilarious sight despite
its rather co$$on "re*uency(
&pea#ing o" hich- Fanda #ne "ro$ the !ery beginning that the principal
as absent( Eather- it ould be $ore precise to say that he in!ited hi$sel"
speci"ically during the principalAs absence(
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8he principal o" 5irst <igh- +o$oya$a 'su$a- as 71 years o" age(
&ince ta#ing o!er as 5irst <ighAs principal until no- a "ull 11 years had
elapsed( 8o the outside orld- he as idely #non "or contributing
greatly to the establish$ent o" higher education "or +agicians( <oe!er-
at the sa$e ti$e- he as also critici;ed "or neglecting the di""erences
beteen 7ourse 1 and 2 students- thus alloing the resulting negati!ity
beteen the to ca$ps to "ester and gro( &till- the criticis$ le!eled
toards his responsibility in alloing the gap to gro only stayed at the
le!el o" hispers behind his bac#( Dot :ust in $agical education-
+o$oya$a 'su$a as also considered an authority in higher education-
and his connections spanned across $ultiple "ields( 5or 7ongress$an
Fanda- he as not so$eone he cared to cross sords ith directly(
9ishing to success"ully put on a per"or$ance hile +o$oya$a as
aay- Fanda argued ith Caosa#a- ho as trying to pre!ent $edia
co!erage hile the principal as aay- as ti$e gradually tic#ed aay ith
Fanda holding the ad!antage( 8he dean ould li#e nothing $ore than a
result here ti$e had e)pired( 5or 7ongress$an Fanda- that result ould
be synony$ous to /inning the battle and losing the ar0( @ust as Fanda
started to beco$e agitated and as about to "orce the issue- a sound that
i$itated piano $usic resonated "ro$ the principalAs o""ice(
'cco$panied by the sudden chi$e o" a cloc#- the $onitor on the all
co!ered ith a "a$ous I$pressionist painting began running secretly(
&i"tly- the i$age as trans"or$ed into a clear- real1ti$e picture(
/PrincipalPB 'renAt you in a $eetingB0
8he one ho appeared on the screen that could "orcibly e)change
broadcast signals "or recei!ing signals as Principal +o$oya$a- ho
should ha!e been in a $eeting ith the +agic 'ssociation(
/I as able to $a#e a little ti$e a!ailable(0
2nly sparing a single sentence toards the deanAs *uestion- Principal
+o$oya$a turned his ga;e and stared at Fanda(
8he i$age shon by the ca$eras installed at strategic locations at the "our
corners o" the $onitor ga!e the $isconception that an actual person as
standing there( %nder +o$oya$aAs piercing ga;e- Fanda began to "eel a
little uneasy(
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/&o- 7ongress$an Fanda( 9hat is your business todayB0
In the i$age- +o$oya$a #ept his hite hair groo$ed in the chon$age
"ashion and the botto$ hal" o" his "ace as co!ered by a pure hite
$oustache and goatee( %nobscured by hite hair- the area surrounding his
eyes as sun#en- rendering his e)pression di""icult to decipher( 6!en so-
the piercing ga;e e$anating "ro$ the depths o" those sun#en eye soc#ets
per"ectly con!eyed the utter "ury caused by this rude !isitation ith no
roo$ "or $isinterpretation(
/'h- no- I hu$bly apologi;e "or bothering you ithout $a#ing an
appoint$ent ahead o" ti$e(0
8hough this as $ore or less the sa$e ay he treated Caosa#a- this ti$e
Fanda tightened his abdo$en hen he replied(
/&ince you are already aare o" that- could you please change your !isit to
another dayB0
&ei;ing hold o" FandaAs ords- +o$oya$a stepped his de$and as i"
co$pletely co!ering his ords( 7o$ing "ro$ the highest authority in the
school- the ords /!isit another day0 had e!en $ore eight than i" he as
here personally( 8hough FandaAs re"le)es al$ost pro$pted hi$ to nod- he
barely $anaged to stop in ti$e than#s to the reporters in his e$ploy
urgently hispering /congress$an- congress$an0(
/2riginally- I ould ha!e done as the principal had re*uested- but no I
ha!e a thought o" $y on(0
+o$oya$a $aintained his sole$n ga;e as he urged hi$ to spea# "urther(
6!en through the ca$era- Fanda as still clearly being o!erhel$ed by
+o$oya$aAs aura- but his tongue as barely able to "unction(
/Eecently- there ha!e been so$e ugly ru$ors "loating around society in
regards to the curriculu$ here at the $agic high school( <a!e the students
at the nine $agic high schools been brainashed into beco$ing soldiersB0
/9hat a ridiculous notion(0
<is e)pression highly incensed- +o$oya$a "ired bac#( <e as :ust the
principal o" 5irst <igh- so he had no authority to co$$and all o" the $agic
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
high schools- but the i$pro!e$ents he had $ade to the $agic high school
curriculu$ had all been adopted as the standard by the other 8 $agic high
schools( 's an educator- +o$oya$a as "iercely proud o" the +agician
de!elop$ental pro:ect that he had personally de!ised(
/7ongress$an Fanda- are you aare o" our schoolAs graduation statisticsB
5or e)a$ple- 65I o" our graduates last year chose to attend the +agic
%ni!ersity( ?ess than 10I o" the students chose to attend 7ollege o"
Dational ,e"ense(0
+o$oya$a retaliated against Fanda ith clearly de"ined $etrics(
<oe!er- Fanda replied bac# to the retaliation ith a delighted s$ile as i"
he had been aiting "or that $o!e "or *uite so$e ti$e(
/Cet- a"ter researching the ad!ance$ent o" the +agic %ni!ersity
graduates- 45I chose a :ob related to the @&,5( I" co$bined ith the
students ho enrolled in the 7ollege o" Dational ,e"ense a"ter graduating
high school- $ore than hal" o" the students educated in the $agic high
schools beco$e a""iliated ith the @&,5(0
&eeing Fanda earing an e)pression that "airly croed at unleashing his
trap- +o$oya$a ne!er a!ered(
/8hatAs $erely the paths they ha!e chosen "or the$sel!es( In the "inal year
at +agic %ni!ersity- they are $ature adults capable o" $a#ing their
decisions( 6!en s$all inter:ections "ro$ the ayside cannot cause any
$eaning"ul e""ect(0
/2" course(0
5or so$e reason- Fanda nodded gra!ely at +o$oya$aAs argu$ent(
/+y thoughts are per"ectly aligned ith hat the principal said( Precisely
because o" this- I ha!e co$e to inspect the school in order to erase the
irresponsible i$pression that $agic high schools are nothing $ore than a
de!elop$ental ca$p "or the $ilitary(0
FandaAs unspo#en ords ere that he as going to spread propaganda
about the $agic high schoolAs i$pression in the $anner o" his choosing(
5or the ily +o$oya$a- a ploy on such a le!el as ne!er going to slip by
/9hat a headache( 8echnical &#ills classes "or $agic are e)tre$ely
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
delicate( ' sudden !isit $ay cause a disturbance a$ong the students(0
/I de"initely onAt cause you any trouble(0
't this point- FandaAs attitude hardened( Eather than hi$ recapturing his
original pace- it as $ore appropriate to say this "eeling as as i" he had
gron stubborn because he couldnAt beat +o$oya$a(
/H(((I" you say it li#e that then I ill grant you per$ission to obser!e(0
'"ter $a#ing the $otions to pretend that he had considered this "or a
hile- +o$oya$a adopted the stance o" appro!ing FandaAs re*uest(
<eedless o" the openly thunderstruc# and beildered ,ean Caosa#a-
+o$oya$a continued spea#ing in a tone that broo#ed no re"usal(
/<oe!er- you are only alloed to obser!e "ro$ the "i"th period onard(0
/8hatHH Do- thatAs "ine(0
Fanda as about to ob:ect to the une)pected condition out o" re"le)- but
since he had already said that he /de"initely onAt cause trouble0- he as
in no position to $a#e any ob:ections(
/,ean- hich classes are scheduled "or 8echnical &#ills classes during
"i"th periodB0
5eigning ignorance to FandaAs internal battle- +o$oya$a as#ed this
*uestion to Caosa#a(
8he $i)ed "eelings o" surprise and beilder$ent in Caosa#a ere
e)changed "or co$plete a$a;e$ent( 8hat as because e!en ithout
Caosa#aAs reply- +o$oya$a usually had a per"ect grasp o" the class
schedules "or e!ery class across all years(
/8here is no class scheduled "or 8echnical &#ills during "i"th period(0
6!en so- his current situation did not allo hi$ to *uestion this and only
alloed hi$ to anser the *uestion posed( Caosa#a replied bac# to the
*uestion as#ed o" hi$(
/<oe!er- e)cluding o""icial class schedules- the students "ro$ Cear 2
7lass 6 ha!e re*uested to conduct an e)tracurricular e)peri$ent in the
school *uad(0
/ItAs :ust as you heard- 7ongress$an Fanda( It loo#s li#e youAre better o""
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
co$ing another day(0
/8hat cannot beP 8hen at the !ery least- allo $e to obser!e hal"ay
through "ourth period(0
'cco$$odating their schedule on another day ould allo +o$oya$a to
$a#e all the necessary preparations ahead o" ti$e( Principal +o$oya$a
also had close connections ith the opposition party that Fanda as a part
o"( 7learly- their "orced !isitation today as a surprise attac# because he
"eared +o$oya$aAs in"luence- hich as an ad!antage he ouldnAt ha!e
i" he ca$e another day(
Fanda had bac#ed don because he had this in $ind- but no he had
already agreed(
/7ongress$an Fanda( In the $iddle o" an e)peri$ent- students ill lose
their concentration and be distracted by $icrophones and ca$eras( In the
orst case scenario- students can e!en su""er irreparable har$ due to
"ailure in $agic( Dor ould any teacher ish "or so$ething li#e this to
't the end o" the day- Fanda as an outsider hen it ca$e to $agic( <e
had no basis to re"ute +o$oya$aAs ords( @ust as Fanda used students as
an e)cuse- he didnAt dare to cause a ruc#us that $ight ruin a studentAs
/HHI understand( In the case- e!en i" itAs an e)tracurricular e)peri$ent-
please allo $e to attend(0
/I see( ,ean- su$$on &$ith1sensei and ha!e her guide 7ongress$an
<ighly "rustrated- this as the only thing Fanda could say( 9ithout
betraying any glee- Principal +o$oya$a ga!e these orders to ,ean
Caosa#a and cut the connection(
'"ter "i"th period began- one o" the reporters in FandaAs e$ploy began
hispering to hi$ hile @enni"er as leading the$ to the radiation lab that
as being prepared(
/7ongress$an- donAt you thin# so$ething is oddB0
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
/9hat are you re"erring toB0
8he !oice Fanda responded ith as lo ith displeasure- but the
reporter paid no $ind as he continued(
/8he "act that there as not a single 8echnical &#ills class( ItAs al$ost as i"
they #ne e ere co$ing(0
/DonsenseHH ItAs :ust a coincidence( 8hey should ha!e no idea about our
$o!e$ents( '"ter all- I didnAt e!en report this to the party(0
/>ut- this co!erage as a little strange "ro$ the get go( %sually- any $edia
co!erage related to $agic ould i$$ediately dra inter"erence e!en
during the planning phase- but no one spo#e up this ti$e(0
@ust as Fanda as about to reply that this as natural- he suddenly
*uieted( 8he reason hy the +agic 'ssociation didnAt inter"ere today as
because steps ere ta#en at the highest le!el ithin the association(
8hough the helping hand re$ained anony$ous- Fanda as $ore or less
able to guess their identity( 9ith that in $ind- it as true that se!eral
points beca$e suspicious(
8hough Fanda as acting as an anti1$agic supporter- he asnAt o" the
belie" that +agicians ere inhu$an creatures( In reality- he ac#noledged
the bene"its +agicians posed( <is political agenda in!ol!ed cha$pioning
anti1$agic senti$ent in "ront o" the $edia( 9ith a little "iery rhetoric that
as popular ith the $asses- +agicians could co$e under serious "ire(
8he one acting behind the scenes to ensure that todayAs co!erage 3the
political propaganda ith this as the goal4 re$ained "ree o" inter"erence
understood this- hence Fanda as tacitly appro!ed by this $ysterious
bene"actor to engage in this de$agogy to pre!ent politicians ho truly
hated +agicians "ro$ sei;ing poer(
Cet- as this reason su""icient to allo the$ to turn a blind eye to his anti1
$agic de$onstrationB I" it as truly that person- then it as highly li#ely
that he ould use hi$ as a political tool to the "ullest( <oe!er- that did
not guarantee that e!eryone in the 8en +aster 7lans sa eye to eye in this(
9hile he as ru$inating on this and reporters ser!ing as his underlings
"retted- their group ith @enni"er in the lead arri!ed at the radiation lab(
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
's Fanda and co$pany stepped into the radiation lab- they abruptly ca$e
to a halt hen they detected un"riendly eyes on the$( 8he icy ga;es
directed toards the$ "ro$ the students $a#ing preparations in the lab
ere al$ost as i" they #ne that they ere co$ing( Cet- that only lasted
"or an instant as the students see$ed to co$pletely "orget about the
politician and his coterie and directed all o" their attention to the tas# at
hand( Do $atter i" it as Fanda or the reporters- they all got the "eeling
that the earlier cold ga;es sent their ay see$ed to be $isconceptions(
/&$ith1sensei- these people areB0
8he one ho spo#e up . the only one ho shoed any sign o" caring 1 as
8su;ura- ho as currently o!erseeing the students(
/7ongress$an Fanda and se!eral reporters on tour o" the school(0
/' national congress$an is one thing- but hy are there reporters
acco$panying hi$B +edia co!erage on ca$pus re*uires per$its appro!ed
ahead o" ti$e( I ha!e heard absolutely nothing about this(0
FandaAs "ace al$ost cru$bled hen the handso$e $an ho- e!en at "irst
glance- carried hi$sel" ith a scholarly air sept a surprisingly sharp ga;e
o!er hi$(
/8he principal has granted per$ission(0
5ortunately- Fanda had no need to anser 8su;uraAs *uestion as @enni"er
replied "or hi$(
/I thought the principal as aay on business(0
/<e $ade so$e ti$e and co$$unicated this o!er the phone(0
/I see(0
>oth Fanda and the reporters under his e$ploy ere $ildly dissatis"ied
ith ho easily 8su;ura accepted such a si$ple anser( &till- co$pared
ith groundless en$ity- this as a "ar easier ay to go about their
business( 7on!incing hi$sel" to accept this- Fanda struc# up a
con!ersation ith 8su;ura(
/I apologi;e "or interrupting your class(0
/<ardly- this isnAt $y class actually(0
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
>ut ha!enAt you set your sights on usB 8hough they heard the sound o"
so$eone unable to hold bac# a snort o" laughter- by the ti$e they turned
their eyes toards the students- they ere all or#ing aay ith serious
e)pressions on their "aces- lea!ing no ay to tell ho laughed( Fanda
dre deeply ithin hi$sel" to suppress the $ounting rage that had
nohere to go as he spo#e to 8su;ura again(
/I heard this is an e)tracurricular e)peri$ent( 9hat are they planning to
/8he students ha!e !olunteered to conduct an e)peri$ent that is not
co!ered by the curriculu$(0
In response to 8su;ura playing du$b 3in FandaAs eyes4- Fanda had to ta#e
deep breaths to control his "rustration(
/9hat #ind o" e)peri$ent is itB0
8his *uestion as posed by one o" the reporters( 8he reason hy 8su;ura
turned a disappro!ing loo# on that reporter as because he had "ailed to
present hi$sel"( <oe!er- no response to the reporterAs *uestion or
*uestion directed toards the reporterAs na$e as "or$ulated here(
/&ensei- e ha!e "inished our preparations( +ay e $o!e the
e)peri$ental de!iceB0
's the leader o" the e)peri$ent- Isori contacted 8su;ura and happened to
interrupt the con!ersation beteen the reporter and 8su;ura(
/HH<$- you $ay(0
%sing an in"or$ation ter$inal the si;e o" an '4- 8su;ura !eri"ied the
chec#list that Isori passed along and ga!e his appro!al( In response- the
$e$bers o" robotics club responsible "or support only replied bac# that
they had been aiting "ore!er be"ore beginning to operate the controls on
the all(
8hroughout all this- FandaAs e)pression re$ained unchanged- but his
underlingsA eyes bulged in shoc#(
8he all o" the radiation lab opened ithout a sound(
8his as :ust a tunnel used to transport large $achines- but seeing one
all o" a indoless lab soundlessly yaning open ga!e o"" !ibes usually
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
"ound ith a secret base(
&till- this "eeling only ca$e "ro$ personnel "ro$ the outside- as the
students had long since tired o" this sight and began pushing a pedestal
holding a spherical sin# $easuring 2 $eters in dia$eter that as hal" "illed
ith a co$bination o" hea!y and light ater 3the other hal" as "illed ith
stea$4 be"ore the all opened co$pletely( ,espite using the ord push-
the pedestal as e*uipped ith a $otor- rendering $o!e$ent a piece o"
ca#e so long as the proper direction as pro!ided( 2ne by one- the
students le"t "or the school *uad- ith 8su;ura "olloing a"terards(
/?etAs go(0
9ith those ords "ro$ @enni"er- 7ongress$an Fanda and the reporters
"rantically hurried to catch up(
/&pea#ing o" hich- hy isnAt an o""icial e)peri$ent being conducted
during class ti$eB Is this co$$onB0
In response to the *uestion co$ing "ro$ the reporter ho hurried to catch
up- 8su;ura ga!e a cold reply( <oe!er- he $ust ha!e "elt that such a reply
as too inhospitable and i$$ediately e)panded his e)planation(
/>ased on the original plan- this e)peri$ent as supposed to be conducted
a"ter school( <oe!er- since *uite a "e "aculty $e$bers ho #ne about
the details anted their on students to participate- e te$porarily put a
hold on all 8echnical &#ills classes so that all the interested students can
"reely participate( <olding the e)peri$ent on school grounds also ca$e
"ro$ the sa$e reason(0
/Is this an e)peri$ent proposed by the studentsB0
'nother reporter as#ed in disbelie"(
/'ctually- this e)peri$ent ill be highly $eaning"ul "ro$ both the
theoretical and practical perspecti!es(0
/In ter$s o" practical- you are tal#ing about so$ething li#e the secret
eapon used during the /&corching <alloeen0 that could one shot an
entire ene$y "leetB0
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
8su;ura cast a chilly ga;e on the reporter ho ore a $oc#ing s$ile as he
as#ed this(
/8his e)peri$ent is intended to challenge one o" the three =reat Pu;;les o"
=ra!ity18ype +agic(0
'"ter lea!ing this anser- 8su;ura al#ed toards the students gathered
beneath the spherical ater sin#(
8he reporter atte$pted to in*uire "urther "ro$ @enni"er- but she beat hi$ to
the punch(
/ItAs starting(0
+aybe due to their pro"essional instincts as :ournalists- all o" their
attention as dran toards the e)peri$ental de!ice "astened in the
school *uad by the school buildings to the side(
8he e)peri$ental de!ice #non as the &tellar 5urnace as co$posed o" a
si$ple design that had a spherical ater sin# on top o" a pedestal( 8he
ater pu$p had already been re$o!ed in the radiation lab( +etallic cups
15c$ across ere attached to the e*uator o" the ater sin#- to hich "our
rods e)tending "ro$ the pedestal supported these $etallic cups( 8he ater
entry point directly abo!e as stoppered by a circular pan 30c$ across the
dia$eter and a si$ilar pan as a""i)ed on the other side(
8he e)peri$ental de!ice attracted the attention o" $any a student standing
in the indos o" the school dor$( Practically all the classroo$s had
abandoned any pretense o" actually studying( Predicting that this ould
happen- $ost o" "aculty had halted 8echnical &#ills classes and sitched to
ter$inal lectures(
&tudents ho ere unsatis"ied ith standing by the indos also ca$e
donstairs to the *uad( 6ntire Cear 2 7lass 6 as ell as the &tudent
7ouncil $e$bers ho ere not part o" the e)peri$ent ere all in
attendance( ?i#eise- pre!ious $e$bers o" last yearAs Cear 1 7lass 6 as
ell as all the "e$ale participants "ro$ last yearAs Dine &chools
7o$petition ere all present as ell( >eyond the students- *uite a "e
teachers ere also here(
/7o$$ence the e)peri$ent(0
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8he one on the $i#e as 8atsuya( 'll the students gathered in the *uad "ell
silent ithout another ord( &alloing hard- the students and "aculty
loo#ed on in onder as 8atsuya ga!e the signal(
/=ra!ity control(0
+iyu#i acti!ated =ra!ity 7ontrol18ype +agic( ' gra!itational "ield
"or$ed in the interior o" the ater sin# as the $i)ed ater that as hal"
hea!y ater and hal" light ater beca$e hollo in the center- pushing the
ater outard toards the inside o" the ater sin#(
Fasu$i and I;u$i acti!ated &hi"t +agic . ,ispersal18ype +agic(
8rans"or$ing li*uid into the "ourth phase- hich as essentially ioni;ation
2n the sur"ace o" the ater ith a hollo center "or$ed by +iyu#iAs
=ra!ity 7ontrol18ype +agic- +iyu#i de"tly $anipulated the $i)ed ater
ithin the in"luence o" the gra!itational "ield to create deuteriu$-
hydrogen- and o)ygen ions(
/Deutron >arrier( =a$$a Eay 5ilter(0
+ina$i added the Deutron >arrier beteen the $agic area o" the =ra!ity
7ontrol18ype +agic and the $agic area "or$ed by the &hi"t +agic( 's its
na$e i$plies- Deutron >arrier as a type o" $agic that generated a "ield
that pre!ented neutrons "ro$ rebounding(
2n top o" that- <ono#a inserted the =a$$a Eay 5ilter beteen the
Deutron >arrier and the 5ourth Phase &hi"t 5ield( =a$$a Eay 5ilter as a
type o" $agic that gathered the heat energy "ro$ ga$$a rays and
e)pressed it as !isible light(
>oth =a$$a Eay 5ilter and Deutron >arrier ere classi"ied as ,ispersal1
8ype +agic( ,ispersal18ype +agic as de"ined as $agic that inter"ered
ith the $o!e$ent and interaction o" ele$entary and co$posite particles(
+agic that $anipulated ga$$a rays as categori;ed as ,ispersal18ype
+agic because the $agic inter"ered ith light particles- but on so$e le!el
this as a later classi"ication( 8hese to $agics ere originally de!eloped
to neutrali;e the danger o" nuclear "ission eapons and the to o" the$
ere researched together in $ost situations( 5or ease o" research- =a$$a
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Eay 5ilter and Deutron >arrier ere both categori;ed together(
/=ra!ity 7ontrol(0
+iyu#i began acti!ating the second =ra!ity 7ontrol18ype +agic( In the
center o" the spherical ater sin#- a hea!y gra!itational "ield that as
10c$ in dia$eter appeared( 8o be precise- a ne gra!itational "ield as
created ithin the spherical area that as 10c$ across and acted against
the original =ra!ity 7ontrol18ype +agic pulling outards by pulling
toards the center- hereby a$pli"ying $atterAs $utual gra!itational
's "or the $etallic cups attached to the e*uator o" the ater sin#- they
ere co$posed o" 60 &peciali;ed 7',s lin#ed together as a sighting
assistance de!ice( 8he cup1shape alloed the sighting assistance de!ice to
accurately translate the physical data and distributed condition in the
e$pty space 10c$ in dia$eter at the center o" the spherical ater sin# into
in"or$ation that aided $agic casting( 8his in"or$ation as passed along
the ires inside the pillars that supported the ater sin# into the operating
de!ice- hich happened to be the large- "i)ed 7', that sat in "ront o"
+iyu#i "or this e)peri$ent(
9ith processing poer that dar"ed $obile 7',s- the "i)ed 7',
aggregated the data "ro$ the 60 sighting assistance de!ices and sent the
'cti!ation se*uence to the caster( 8han#s to this in"or$ation- +iyu#i as
able to de!ise =ra!ity 7ontrol18ype +agic that as able to counteract the
shi"ting energy ithin the gra!itational "ield and i$ple$ent it( 2" course-
this as only possible ith her +agic Poer as a prere*uisite( &till-
ithout the repeated gra!itational "ield techni*ue de!eloped through
5lying18ype +agic and the precise sighting assistance de!ice that
co$bined all 60 data sets- e!en +iyu#i ould not be able to continuously
$aintain such a stable- hea!y gra!itational "ield( 8his sighting assistance
de!ice as the #ey cog "or the /&tellar 5urnace0 e)peri$ental de!ice(
/7oulo$b 5orce 7ontrol(0
8han#s to Isori e)erting control o!er 7oulo$b 5orce- the electro$agnetic
repulsion ithin the "ield as loered to 1/10000( 8he electro$agnetic
"orce a$ong the particles in the nucleus o" the deuteriu$ ato$ as 10]36(
9hen that electro$agnetic "orce as loered to 1/10000- gra!ity beca$e
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100 ti$es greater than nor$al- hereby pre!enting nuclear "usion( <oe!er-
there as enough ther$al energy gathered to spontaneously ignite a
nuclear "usion reaction- $eaning that the #inetic energy o" the ions had
decreased( 5or that $atter- :ust the rise in pressure caused by ioni;ation
as su""icient to $eet reaction re*uire$ents(
' di$ light appeared( ' ordless shout e$itted "ro$ the students
obser!ing the e)peri$ent( 8he brightness gradually gre stronger as the
light continued "or a $inute- then to $inutes(
8he ater ithin the spherical ater sin# began boiling "uriously( 8he
theory behind this e)peri$entally gathered ther$al energy as the sa$e as
$agnetic con"ine$ent ther$onuclear reactors( >y hitting neutrons ith a
decelerator- the #inetic energy o" the neutrons could be con!erted into
ther$al energy( In ter$s o" the design "or this sort o" nuclear "usion
reactor- structural ea#ening due to constant e)posure to neutron radiation
as a proble$ that $ust be o!erco$e in order to directly bathe the ther$al
energy gathering de!ice ithin high speed neutrons( &tructural ea#ening
due to e)posure to neutron radiation beca$e the de"ining threshold "or
creating a practical and enduring ther$onuclear reactor( <oe!er- in this
e)peri$ent- ater as used as the decelerator "or neutrons and the hollo
sphere "or$ed o" ater co$pletely enco$passed energy "ro$ the reaction-
hereby re$o!ing the proble$ o" ha!ing the neutron radiation pass through
a !essel to hit the decelerator( 8his design as also a highly e""ecti!e
counter$easure to the structural ea#ening o" the alls( =ra!ity control
turned the possibility o" creating an e$pty sphere ithin the ater a
8he digital ther$o$eter set alongside the spherical ater sin# shoed that
the $i)ed ater boiling inside had reached 300 degrees( 8he air pressure
ithin the sphere could be calculated to be 100 at$ospheres( 'lthough
gra!ity control could pre!ent the de!ice "ro$ "alling apart regardless o"
ho high the internal pressure rose- the !esselAs endurance as about to
reach its li$it(
/6)peri$ent concluded(0
8hree $inutes a"ter the start o" the e)peri$ent- a declaration announcing
the end o" the e)peri$ent as issued "ro$ 8atsuyaAs lips( 8he 7oulo$b
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5orce 7ontrol18ype +agic and the second =ra!ity 7ontrol18ype +agic
ere halted and the light ithin the e)peri$ental de!ice "aded(
/,isabling =a$$a Eay 5ilter(0
'"ter !eri"ying that the nuclear "usion reaction had halted- the =a$$a Eay
5ilter used to capture the neutronAs ga$$a rays as also disabled(
/,isabling =ra!ity 7ontrol- $aintain Deutron >arrier(0
8he all o" ater co!ering the inside o" the !essel succu$bed to 6arthAs
gra!ity and "ell to the botto$ o" the !essel(
2perable ar$s "ro$ the robotics club connected a cable to the top o" the
spherical !essel( 8he "ront end o" the cable contained a gas analy;er( '"ter
opening the lid- gas ithin the !essel *uic#ly "loed toards the analy;er
on account o" the di""erence in pressure(
/=aseous co$position includes stea$- deuteriu$- hydrogen- and o)ygen(
Do deuteriu$ ions or other radioacti!e co$pounds ha!e been detectedP0
&itting in "ront o" the analy;er- a highly e)cited Fent ga!e a si$ple report
o" the "indings( ,espite calling it si$ple- so long as there ere no
calculation errors- there ould be no chance o" $issing anything( 8his
caused an e)cited ruc#us to ripple through those asse$bled here to obser!e
the proceedings(
/>egin adding ater(0
5olloing 8atsuyaAs orders- a $alleable ater hose as connected to the
cable and began pu$ping cold ater into the receptacle( 8hic# stea$
began to be e$itted "ro$ the inside o" the spherical ater sin#- but the
stea$ si"tly "aded aay to re!eal a ater sin# "ull o" transparent ater(
/,isabling Deutron >arrier(0
8atsuya directed a grate"ul loo# at +ina$i- ho as in the process o"
loering her shoulders- be"ore directing his ga;e toards <ono#a-
Fasu$i- I;u$i- and +iyu#i in that order( 5inally- he and Isori caught each
otherAs eyes and nodded be"ore 8atsuya passed the $icrophone into
'su;aAs hands- as she had been diligently obser!ing the !arious recording
de!ices until no(
&ha#ing her head repeatedly- ';usa tried $ultiple ti$es to press the
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$icrophone bac# to his hands( <oe!er- unable to ithstand IsoriAs s$ile
and 8atsuyaAs ordless pressure- ';usa ore a tear stric#en e)pression as
she accepted the $icrophone(
'"ter ta#ing $any deep breaths- ';usa $o!ed the $icrophone to her lips(
'dopting a deter$ined e)pression . though it see$ed $ore li#e a sel"1
destructi!e e)pression . she $ade her declaration to the asse$bled
students ho had itnessed this entire process(
/8he sustainable ther$onuclear e)peri$ent using continuous =ra!ity
7ontrol18ype +agic as its core has reached the e)pected goal( I hereby
declare the /&tellar 5urnace0 e)peri$ent to be a success(0
>oth the *uad and the dor$s ere "illed ith cheers at the sa$e ti$e( 8he
"er!ent cheers that could be described as a tad !olatile ere also the cries
that heralded both the possibilities and "uture o" /$agic0(
2!erco$e by the studentsA cheers- 7ongress$an Fanda and his reporters
stood co$pletely "ro;en and it as only hen the spherical ater sin# as
being brought bac# into the radiation lab and the students ere "iltering
out o" the *uad bac# to their classes that they "inally reco!ered their its(
/9hat as that :ust noB0
In a !oice *ua#ing ith "ear- one o" the reporters as#ed o" 8su;ura and
@enni"er- ho ere deep in their on con!ersation(
/8hat e)peri$ent as about the continuous =ra!ity 7ontrol18ype +agic
ther$onuclear reactor(0
<oe!er- a literal *uestion recei!ed a literal anser( 8he reporterAs !oice
gre rougher due to his agitation- but Fanda- as e)pected o" so$eone ho
had sur!i!ed the double1dealing orld o" politicians- as not so easily
/9hat is that thingB ,idnAt they gi!e up on a practical ther$onuclear
8hat as FandaAs *uestion-
/9ho said ga!e up onB0
/=a!e up on hatB0
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
'nd those ere replies gi!en at the sa$e ti$e by 8su;ura and @enni"er(
8he to e)changed a glance a"ter their !oices o!erlapped be"ore @enni"er
once again opened her $outh(
/9e ne!er ga!e up( 9e :ust set its priority belo "inishing a solar energy
syste$ "irst( 'lthough research on a large1scale e)peri$ental de!ice as
halted due to budget issues- the topic itsel" continues on e!en in "ields
other than $agic(0
'lthough they heard a snide /<o- is that so0 slip out o" 8su;uraAs $outh-
both Fanda and @enni"er ignored hi$(
/%sing $agic to conduct ther$onuclear research is also a part o" this(
8her$onuclear reactors using electro$agnetic $agic ere abandoned due
to its co$ple)ity- but in co$parison- the ne ther$onuclear reactors
relying on =ra!ity 7ontrol18ype $agic continue to be researched in the
orld o" $agic theory(0
/9hen you say research on ther$onuclear reactors- is that so you can
create a !iable ther$onuclear detonation through $agicB0
/&uch as the one used during the /&corched <alloeen0B0
8he *uestions posed by the to reporters ere "illed ith $alice- causing
@enni"er to rin#le her bro(
De!ertheless- barbed indicte$ents did not "all "ro$ her lips(
/<' <' <'HH0
8su;uraAs insolent laughter re$o!ed @enni"erAs sting and slightly terri"ied
the reporters(
/8her$onuclear detonationB Pray indulge $y *uestion- but hat ere you
:ust obser!ingB0
8he unnatural usage o" the to1"old niceties as an intentionally i$polite
:ab( 6!en an i$percepti!e indi!idual could tell that the ords literally
$eant /are your eyes :ust "or shoB0( 8his $an ho bears the na$e
8su;ura not only had an arrogant attitude but also carried a sarcastic
/7reating a $iniature e)plosion doesnAt e!en re*uire such a co$ple)
$agical co$bination- nor ould the giant e)plosion you guys are tal#ing
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about use one either( 5urther$ore- the only success"ul e)a$ple o" a large
scale ther$onuclear e)plosion co$es "ro$ the >ra;ilian 'r$yAs +iguel
,ia; and his &trategic17lass /&ynchroni;ed ?inear 5usion0 +agic( Do one
else has been able to recreate ,ia;As ability( 6!en ith the countless
talented students at our school- did you really thin# such a thing is
<eightened displeasure had contorted the reportersA "aces( 8hey ere
aare that their opponent as the e)pert and they ere only outsiders( In
addition- they ere co$pletely ignorant on ho di""icult /&ynchroni;ed
?inear 5usion0 as( I" there as only one success"ul e)a$ple in the orld-
then there as no ay they could "orcibly stretch this to include high
school students e!en at the e)peri$ental le!el(
Cet- they had long since gron accusto$ed to this le!el o" sarcas$( 8he
source o" this e)pected displeasure as the dis$issi!e attitude that treated
the reporters li#e co$$on rabble( Dot only 8su;ura- the reporters "elt that
the dean- the principal- the "e$ale teacher standing o!er there- and e!en
the students ne!er bothered to treat these $essengers o" public opinion
ith any sort o" respect(
/8odayAs ther$onuclear e)peri$ent as ai$ed at the energy sources that
are the "oundation o" society( 'lthough there are *uite a "e $ore hurdles
le"t to circu$!ent- i" this &tellar 5urnace beco$es $ore practical- then it
ill probably pro!ide a $ore abundant source o" energy than solar
8su;ura #ept his eyes on Fanda as he said this( 6!en i" they ere
unilling to accept this- the reporters #ne "ro$ the botto$ o" their hearts
that they ere nothing in 8su;uraAs eyes(
/9hat do you thin#- 7ongress$an FandaB 2ur students ha!e a "ine spirit
o" peace"ul- ci!ic contribution- do they notB0
/Cou areHH *uite right( I thin# that their proacti!e attitude toards the
better$ent o" society should be co$$ended(0
+aybe he had a sitch so$ehere- but in the "ace o" 8su;uraAs bra;en tour
de "orce- Fanda could only nod his head unillingly(
In response- 8su;ura re!ealed a "a#e s$ile and boed toards Fanda(
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/8han# you !ery $uch- 7ongress$an Fanda( I ill record the ords you
:ust spo#e( IA$ sure you ill not ob:ect- in the na$e o" "ostering studentsA
/Do- thatAsHH0
/&urely thereAs no proble$B0
/'h- no- there ould be nothing better i" I could help out these children(0
Feeping his eyes a!erted- Fanda politely nodded and le"t this si$ple
sentence be"ore *uitting the "ield( Dot :ust the school *uad- but 5irst <igh
altogether( <e re$e$bered that abo!e all else- it ould be terrible i" he
ca$e out on record ith state$ents that ran counter to his original intent-
so today he ould ha!e to te$porarily retreat(
9ithout a god to orship- one could not re$ain at the "esti!al(
'bandoning the triu$phal parade as the only choice as the reporters
could only bring their co!erage o" 5irst <igh to a grinding halt(
@enni"er atched the congress$anAs party responsible "or this disturbance
lea!e and once they ere out o" sight- i$$ediately spo#e to 8su;ura(
7o$pletely i$$ersed in @apanese culture- @enni"er as in no ay di""erent
than a @apanese person sa!e "or her appearances alone( 9hen re"erring to
her colleagues- she used /sensei0 and not /+r(0(
/,idnAt you go a little too "arB0
&till- putting it so politely as also distinctly @apanese( >eing brutally
honest ould surely be chal#ed up as an '$erican bias(
/6h- sorry about that display(0
8su;ura see$ed to be a little e$barrassed at being pointed out(
/I couldnAt help but get a little angry hen I sa our studentsA good
intentions being $isconstrued(0
/IntentionHH is itB0
It asnAt that she as un"a$iliar ith the $eaning behind those ords( 8o
be honest- @enni"er #ne 8su;ura since +agic %ni!ersity( 8hough @enni"er
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as *uite a "e years older- their position at the +agic %ni!ersity as the
sa$e . they ere research colleagues( 'lso- by the strictest ter$s- they
ere colleagues on an e)cellent "ooting( 8he reason hy @enni"er as
shoc#ed by 8su;uraAs ords as because this asnAt li#e hi$( 8hough
8su;ura as ac#noledged as a eirdo by e!eryone at 5irst <igh- that as
only because his personality as the type that abandoned anything
unnecessary to the e)tre$e degree( %sually- he as not so$eone ho
ac#noledged the !alue o" so$ething e$otional li#e /intention0( 5or the
typical 8su;ura- /$oti!ation0 and /ob:ecti!ity0 ere things to be dissected
and not !alued( It as precisely because @enni"er as aare o" this that her
*uestion slipped inad!ertently "ro$ her lips(
In that regard- 8su;ura hi$sel" as aare( 8he reason hy he as
e$barrassed as because he "elt that ords li#e /intention0 didnAt suit
/9ell- thatHH 5ro$ a technical standpoint- this e)peri$ent is still a little
i$$ature( It as o!erly reliant on the indi!idualsA $agical proess(
&uccess as only achie!ed due to the $e$bers selected- so there are still
$any proble$s that need to be sol!ed prior to actuali;ation(0
@enni"er nodded in agree$ent to 8su;uraAs points( &he held the e)act sa$e
/<oe!er- I belie!e that his illingness to use $agic to challenge the
status *uo o" society contains a !alue that is co$pletely unrelated to this
techni*ueAs co$pletion( I belie!e that the intention to "ace society and
change its perceptions is !aluable beyond co$pare(0
+aybe because he as unable to hide his sha$e any longer- 8su;ura added
the ords /,espite ho unsuitable these ords are "or $e0 be"ore
a!erting his ga;e(
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Chapter 14
Thursday, April 2#th( 9hile riding the train to school- 8atsuya ore a
slight /2hB0 e)pression hen he engaged in his custo$ary practice o"
pulling out the in"or$ation ter$inal and scanning the nes(
/2nii1sa$a- is there so$ething on the nes that dre your attentionB0
8he alteration in his "acial e)pression as $inute as usual- but as usual-
e!en this as not enough to escape +iyu#iAs eyes(
&itting in a seat across "ro$ +iyu#i- +ina$i raised her head( 'ny
e$otional e)pression on her part as $ore cautious and not a true po#er
"ace( 8he ga;e +ina$i sent 8atsuyaAs ay also declared her interest in the
*uestion +iyu#i posed "or 8atsuya(
/ItAs :ust regarding the e)peri$ent you to helped out ith yesterday(0
8atsuya turned his "ace toards +iyu#i sitting by his side and spo#e in a
!olu$e su""icient to allo +ina$i sitting diagonally across "ro$ hi$ to
/I had already anticipated that both positi!e and negati!e nes ould
appear today( <oe!er- I "eel that there are $ore positi!e responses than
+iyu#iAs eyes and e)pression clearly as#ed /9hat is strange about thatB0
as she urged 8atsuya onard(
/&etting aside the national congress$en ho ha!e an ear to the ind- I
didnAt thin# that a de$onstration o" that le!el could cause reporters "ro$
$a:or nespapers to capitulate( <ere I thought they ould stubbornly
continue to co$pose $ore nes ith one1sided appraisal( 8o be honest- I
had planned to use this line as a trap "or those $anipulating public
<earing 8atsuyaAs con"ession- +iyu#iAs eyes idened as i" to say /Eeally0(
/Do that eAre at this pointHH <oe!er- 2nii1sa$a- youAre e!il(0
8hough +iyu#i as not earnestly critici;ing hi$- 8atsuya had long since
co$e to the conclusion that he had no other choice but to chuc#le ryly in
situations li#e these( .2n the other hand- +ina$i see$ed honestly
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/'s I suspected- the riting in these articles is si$ply ridiculousHH0
's he said this- 8atsuya shoed +iyu#i the screen o" the in"or$ation
ter$inal he as holding( 8he headline as /+agic high school students
challenging ater e)plosion e)peri$ents0 and- co$pared to $a:or
nespapers- this s$ac#ed e!en $ore o" yello :ournalis$ ai$ed at
inciting the entire city(
/6!en I could not predict this(0
9hile saying this- 8atsuya re$o!ed the displayed nes article and another
chain o" articles appeared on the in"or$ation ter$inalAs screen(
/L7hallenge o" youth- "acing the 22nd century . ehB ?oo#s be a special
bulletin "ro$ this nesgroup( 're they riting about hat happened
+iyu#i $ust ha!e shared 8atsuyaAs surprise as she tilted her head to as#
hi$( 8his bulletin as organi;ed by sub:ect and contained the positi!e
nes about the re!olutionary underta#ings atte$pted by the youth( 8his
as clearly inco$patible ith the sub:ect o" inciting anti1$agic senti$ent(
/'h( Cesterday- a reporter "ro$ this nesgroup also ca$e- so it should
co$e as no surprise that this as posted( Cet- I recall that this bulletin as
co$pletely co!ered by the anti1$agic $o!e$ent until yesterdayHH0
/<a!e they had a change o" heart than#s to 2nii1sa$aAs &tellar 5urnaceB0
In co$parison to the absolutely beildered e)pression on 8atsuyaAs "ace-
+iyu#iAs tone see$ed to i$ply that this as per"ectly natural(
/HH8hat is a possibility i" this reporter as interested in no!el things or
this resonated personally ith the$( =i!en that this is a bulletin- it does
not necessarily preclude the possibility that e!eryone in the editorial
depart$ent also shares this senti$ent(0
8atsuya understood that organi;ations ere things that could not be closely
united and the greater the organi;ation- the greater the inclination o"
"racturing- and he also had personal e)perience in this $atter( 8here ere
situations here one depart$ent ent o"" the rails in regards to the
co$panyAs policy- so 8atsuya tentati!ely accepted this outco$e "or the
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In truth- things ere not so si$ple( '$ong the $a:or nespapers that ere
uni"or$ly anti1$agic- yesterdayAs e)peri$ent did pro!e to be one o" the
catalysts that caused the appearance o" perspecti!es in support o" $agic(
8he "act that a national congress$an as surprised and ac#noledged the
$agic high school students as also a nesorthy e!ent "or $ore than a
"e nescasters- but o" course that asnAt all that happened(
8su;uraAs recording o" 7ongress$an FandaAs declaration as passed along
to the congress$an hi$sel" than#s to an assistant "ro$ his ti$e at the
+agic %ni!ersity( In addition- there as also a roundabout re*uest to
slightly curb his acti!ities( ' $a:or reason hy this recording asnAt
shon on the nespapers as o" course than#s to the reporters or#ing
"or hi$(
5urther$ore- Principal +o$oya$a lodged a serious co$plaint ith the
upper echelons o" the opposition party in regards to the unannounced
!isitation on ca$pus ith reporters in to- "orcing 7ongress$an Fanda
and other congress$en also in the anti1$agic ca$p to te$porarily loer
the scale o" their acti!ities( 5ro$ a certain perspecti!e- Principal
+o$oya$a $ade "ull use o" 8atsuyaAs little ploy(
In addition- there as also supporting "ire co$ing "ro$ the pri!ate sector(
/<ey- loo#- 8atsuya( 8his inter!ie is still being shon(0
,uring lunch in the ca"eteria- ?eo pointed his inde) "inger at the
reco$$ended nes i$age being displayed on the all $onitor( 9ithout
bothering to loo# in the direction ?eo as pointing- 8atsuya continued to
silently dine(
/ItAs *uite rare "or the Eosen side to !oluntarily appear on the nes in
@apan- 2nii1sa$a(0
<oe!er- :ust because he could ignore ?eo- that didnAt $ean that 8atsuya
as able to deny +iyu#i(
/=i!en that so$eone bearing the Eosen na$e has been assigned to @apan-
a $a:or policy change $ay be a"oot(0
Paying heed to a!oid loo#ing toards 6ri#a and +i#ihi#o- 8atsuya replied
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in a care"ree $anner(
2" the 16 idescreen $onitors on the all- "our o" the$ ere broadcasting
the inter!ie ith 6inst Eosen- 762 o" Eosen +agicra"tAs @apanese
branch( 2n the screen- 6inst Eosen as ansering the nescasterAs
*uestions in "luent @apanese(
/LI ne!er thought that high school students ould be able to ield such
high le!el $agic( I a$ astounded by the le!el o" @apanese $agical
/IsnAt he applauding you guysB0
7o$pletely unli#e her usual "lair- 6ri#a had re$ained silent since the !ery
beginning( In co$parison- though this as not e)actly the right ay to put
it- 8atsuya once again ignored ?eoAs $erry atte$pt to engage hi$ in
/'"ter seeing the success"ul e)peri$ent conducted by students at 5irst
<igh yesterday- I caught a gli$pse o" ho the techni*ues and possibilities
o" $agic can bring about greater prosperity to $an#ind(0
/Incredible( <e e!en said the prosperity o" $an#ind(0
&eeing &hi;u#u "ran#ly e)press- ithout any ulterior $oti!e- her
a$a;e$ent to this recognition- 8atsuya once again blandly replied /8hat
as than#s to e!eryoneAs hard or#0(
/<$- both +iyu#i and <ono#a ere a$a;ing(0
/I- I didnAt do anything that i$pressi!eHH0
9atching the ruc#us breing beteen &hi;u#u and <ono#a- 8atsuya as
caught beteen conte$plating /hat is EosenAs goal hereB0 and surprised
that /they appear to be ise enough to $a#e sure that the na$es o" the
high school students ere not re!ealed0(
8hough une)pected- the !arious positi!e responses garnered by the &tellar
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5urnace e)peri$ent signi"icantly li"ted the spirits o" the students at 5irst
<igh( 6!en i" they ere not the ones responsible- they ere still students
at the sa$e school ac#noledged by society( 6!en i" this as a super"icial
$anner- the desire to be recogni;ed at their tender age as satis"ied upon
recognition being bestoed on the group they belonged to(
,uring 5th period- or shortly a"ter the end o" the last period a"ter lunch( In
Cear 1 7lass '- 8a#u$a as preparing to head "or 7lub 'cti!ities =roup
a"ter class hen an unpleasant con!ersation resounded in his ear "or the
u$pteenth ti$e( 8he topics his "e$ale class$ates ere con!ersing about
ere the 762 o" Eosen +agicra"tAs @apanese branch- 6inst Eosen- as ell
as the co$$ents the 762 $ade yesterday( 2ther "e$ale students in class
ere also cla$oring to :oin the e)peri$ent( 8a#u$a suddenly rose to his
"eet- ithout paying any heed toards $as#ing his agitated $ood(
Doticing 8a#u$aAs sudden- sinister burst- the chatting girls halted their
8he reason behind his attitude as because the classAs at$osphere as too
giddy( Plainly- students "ro$ 7lass ' had not directly participated in
yesterdayAs e)peri$ent( Fasu$i and +ina$i ere "ro$ 7lass 7- I;u$i
as "ro$ 7lass >- and 7lass ' didnAt send any supporting personnel to
operate the $achines( 8hat being said- a"ter recei!ing high $ar#s "ro$ the
cadre o" a orld1"a$ous corporation- al$ost all o" the students ere as
e)cited as i" they ere the ones responsible "or this "eat( 8hat is to say-
e!ery student sa!e 8a#u$a hi$sel"(
,a$n it- hile that thought ran through 8a#u$aAs $ind- he as unable to
"inely control his on e$otions at this ti$e( Praise directed toards the
&aegusa 5a$ily . that as hat he belie!ed . or hate!er it as had
e)hausted all o" 8a#u$aAs patience( 5inally- ithout any ord to e)cuse
hi$sel"- 8a#u$a le"t the classroo$ as i" "leeing(
8a#u$aAs rotten $ood "ailed to dissipate e!en during his ti$e at the 7lub
=roup 'cti!ities <U( <is techni*ues ere a $ess than#s to his lac# o"
concentration- causing his stress to a$pli"y as he "ailed at things that
nor$ally posed no challenge to hi$( '"ter school- 8a#u$aAs agitation had
reached a pea#(
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5or 8a#u$a- today as an unluc#y day(
'"ter retrie!ing his on 7', "ro$ storage in the o""ice- 8a#u$a ran into
Fasu$i earing her Public +oral 7o$$ittee bracelet in the school *uad
on the ay ho$e(
'"ter club in!itation ee#- $e$bers o" the Public +oral 7o$$ittee
returned to duties by shi"t( =enerally- patrols ere conducted by one
person alone- and this as no e)ception e!en "or ne students- thus
Fasu$i as alone( '"ter ta#ing the ti$e into account- she as probably on
her ay bac# to head*uarters( 8his is hy there as nothing odd in
Fasu$i passing a cursory glance o!er 8a#u$a be"ore passing by hi$( In
all li#elihood- hat transpired ne)t as the product o" 8a#u$aAs in"eriority
/?oo#s li#e e!erything is going according to plan- &aegusa(0
8a#u$a belie!ed that Fasu$i as $oc#ing hi$(
/HH9hat are you re"erring toB0
Fasu$i co$ing to a stop and turning around ith a shoc#ed loo# on her
"ace as not an act(
<oe!er- in the eyes o" 8a#u$a and ith all the le"to!er stress "ro$ his
"atherAs care"ul re$inder "ro$ to nights ago- Fasu$i as playing du$b(
7ontinuing along this $isunderstanding- 8a#u$a !ented all o" his
"rustration on Fasu$i(
/IA$ tal#ing about yesterdayAs public e)peri$ent( <a!enAt you e!en on
the attention o" the Eosen branch 762B0
/Public e)peri$entB &hippou1#un- is there a $isunderstanding
Fasu$i as $ost de"initely not a young girl o" genteel personality( 6!en i"
she pretended to be an obedient child- her nature as that o" so$eone ho
got into "ights easily( De!er ta#ing the dar# and treacherous route- she as
so$eone ho al#ed beneath the daylight( <ere- she had no intention o"
hiding her displeasure at the $alice lur#ing ithin 8a#u$aAs ords(
/&top playing du$b( Cou #ne ahead o" ti$e that a national congress$an
hostile to +agicians as co$ing- so thatAs hy you put on a sho
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yesterday- rightB Cou clearly too# ad!antage o" &hiba1senpai and
success"ully bolstered your on "a$e(0
/Cou said too# ad!antage o"B ,onAt e!en thin# o" bullshitting your ay
into this(0
Fasu$iAs response gre coarse( 'lthough 8a#u$aAs point regarding their
"orearning about 7ongress$an FandaAs arri!al as true- 8a#u$a also
"ully belie!ed in his speculation(
/<o careless o" $e( 8hat guyAs reputation goes beyond this school and
e)tends e!en into the 9 schools( 's e)pected o" the &aegusa- lea!ing
nothing to chance( '"ter your older sister- are you the one to seduce hi$B
'"ter all- you siblings are uni$peachable hen it co$es to appearances(0
/&top :o#ing aroundP0
Fasu$i suddenly e)ploded( 8his "orce as su""icient to silence 8a#u$a
"or a hile( &till- blood rushed to Fasu$iAs head "or only a second(
/H(((&educe- eh( 8he &hippou line o" thin#ing is certainly debased( 9e-
the &aegusa- ha!enAt e!en considered so$ething li#e seduction( Cou arenAt
too bad loo#ing yoursel"- so hy donAt you go ser!e as so$e +agicianAs
gigoloB 8hough- anyone ho ould ant a gigolo in this day and age
ould probably ha!e to be a lecherous entertainer(0
8his ti$e- it as 8a#u$aAs turn to color in "ury(
Fasu$iAs $etaphor did not contain a $ore pro"ound $eaning( 8he ter$
lecherous entertainer re"erred to the recent nes heatedly tal#ed about o!er
the porn ebsites about the liaison beteen a certain !eteran actress and a
young $an that Fasu$i heard a passing re"erence to( &he asnAt using the
ter$ /gigolo0 speci"ically because it re"erred to a $ature o$anAs
younger lo!er- but $erely because she anted to borro the ter$ "ro$ the
<oe!er- "or 8a#u$a- that ter$ see$ed to be $oc#ing his relationship
ith &aa$ura +a#i(
/HH're you pic#ing a "ight ith $e- &aegusaB0
/I belie!e it as you- &hippou- ho "ired the "irst shot( 5urther$ore- ha!e
you already "orgottenB I ha!e already said that I ill "ully play along until
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I grind you into the dust- until you ne!er dare to pic# a "ight ith the
&aegusa again(0
8a#u$a and Fasu$i glared at one another( >oth their respecti!e right
hands grabbed their le"t slee!es( >oth o" the$ used the sa$e bracelet1
shaped 7',s( 8he to o" the$ had "ar surpassed the point o" no return(
/Cou to o!er thereP 9hat do you thin# youAre doingPB0
/Cou to- drop your hands noP0
De!ertheless- :ust as the to o" the$ ere about to $anipulate their
7',s- !oices originating "ro$ behind the$ called out "or the$ to stop(
8he !oice behind 8a#u$a belonged to a $ale student(
8he !oice to the rear o" Fasu$i ca$e "ro$ a "e$ale student(
8a#u$a pulled bac# the le"t slee!e ith his right hand as he turned around(
2n the other hand- Fasu$i dropped her right hand and turned(
In 8a#u$aAs "ield o" !ision- a slightly "a$iliar1loo#ing upperclass$an
reached his right hand toards his le"t breast ith a serious e)pression(
<e as planning on pulling out the pistol1shaped 7', stored in the
shoulder holster- 8a#u$a :udged(
8a#u$aAs counterattac# as all re"le)(
<is right hand touched the 7',As poer sitch(
8he upperclass$an ho as his opponent also dre his 7',(
I on- :ust as 8a#u$a thought this-
9obbling "ro$ being struc# by concussi!e a!es "ro$ the "ront and bac#
o" his body- 8a#u$a as #noc#ed unconscious as he "ell to his #nees(
,etecting the signs o" $agic being acti!ated behind her- Fasu$i couldnAt
help but turn around( 9hile she understood that unnecessary $o!e$ent in
her current predica$ent as not a ise choice- she couldnAt ignore the
acti!ation o" co$bat $agic e!en i" the target as not hersel"(
8he ones ho planned on using $agic ere the opponent she as
pre!iously in a stando"" ith- &hippou 8a#u$a- and the Public +oral
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7o$$ittee $e$ber- +orisa#i1senpai . by the ti$e Fasu$i reali;ed this-
$agic had already been acti!ated(
8he "irst one to acti!ate as +orisa#iAs $agic( 'lthough the in"luence o"
8a#u$aAs ,ata 5orti"ication loered the strength *uite a bit- +orisa#i as
still able to acti!ate $agic that caused se!ere sha#ing in "ront and behind
the body- so "ro$ the standpoint o" interrupting 8a#u$aAs attac#- he as
entirely success"ul(
&lightly shoc#ed- Fasu$i in!oluntarily $ur$ured this( It as ob!ious that
8a#u$a as *uic#er at preparing his 7',( &peciali;ed 7',s ere "aster
than =enerali;ed 7',s- but under those circu$stances- 8a#u$a still
should ha!e been "aster regardless o" the speed di""erence beteen
&peciali;ed and =enerali;ed 7',s( 8hat as because +orisa#i should
ha!e had to "ollo the /dra- ai$0 process(
Cet- prior to draing the 7', "ro$ the holster- +orisa#i had already used
his on senses to ai$ the prepared $agic( 8his as a high le!el techni*ue
"or pistol1shaped 7',s #non as /,raless0( &ince there as an
assistance de!ice built in that /acti!ated in the direction that the 7', as
pointed in0- it as !ery di""icult to "ire pistol1shaped 7',s ithout
draing the$( Donetheless- +orisa#i did this per"ectly ithout sacri"icing
the &peciali;ed 7',As ad!antage in speed(
In truth- Fasu$i didnAt rate +orisa#i really highly in her boo#( >oth the
scale o" +agic &e*uences and strength o" inter"erence ere only a!erage-
it as his deploy$ent speed that as "aster- and only that alone( &he once
harbored the doubt as to hy so$eone li#e hi$ ho clearly only
possessed this degree o" talent as selected into the Public +oral
7o$$ittee- but at this $o$ent- Fasu$i could only "ran#ly ad$it that she
didnAt ha!e a good eye "or people(
6!en no- her belie" that +orisa#i only had a!erage +agic Poer
re$ained unchanged( %nrelated to the +agic Poer that one as born
ith- this le!el o" techni*ue should co$e naturally to an upperclass$an-
Fasu$i thought(
3I too need to or# e!en harder(4
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Internally buoyed ith $oti!ation- Fasu$i clenched her "ists-
>ut hen a "lat !oice called out her na$e "ro$ behind her- Fasu$iAs body
i$$ediately tightened as i" she :u$ped(
,irectly be"ore her abashed sel"- &hi;u#u stared at Fasu$i ith a dar#
e)pression on her "ace(
'"ter being brought bac# to the Public +oral 7o$$ittee head*uarters by
+orisa#i and &hi;u#u- Fasu$i and 8a#u$a "elt li#e they ere sitting on
pins and needles( +e$bers o" the Public +oral 7o$$ittee present
included the chie"- Fanon- as ell as +orisa#i and &hi;u#u- ho had
brought the$ here 3&hi;u#u as not on duty today- but as coincidentally
dragged into this4( 8he 7lub 'cti!ities =roup ere represented by the
head- <attori- and the e)ecuti!e o""icer- 8o$itsu#a- as ell as the
representati!e "ro$ the &tudent 7ouncil- 8atsuya- here "or so$e un#non
/Fasu$i- as a $e$ber o" the Public +oral 7o$$ittee- hat the hell ere
you doingB 'nd you ere e!en on patrolHH0
Fanon deeply sighed hereas Fasu$i a!erted her ga;e in sha$e(
/&hippou- you are aare that unauthori;ed use o" $agic is against school
rules- correctB %sing $agic a"ter getting into a "ight is already a serious
enough in"raction- then you ent ahead and attac#ed the Public +oral
7o$$ittee $e$ber trying to de"use the situationHH0
8o$itsu#aAs sigh passed into the ears o" 8a#u$a as he sat there tightly
ith his eyes ga;ing straight ahead(
/'t any rate- I "eel that there is a need to get the hole story "irst(0
'"ter hearing <attoriAs ords- Fanon nodded unhappily(
/&eriouslyHH 'nd here I thought e ould be "ree o" any hassle a"ter
club in!itation ee#((((((0
Fanon rudely scratched her head hile dipping it be"ore raising her head
to ga;e sharply at Fasu$i and 8a#u$a(
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/I ill say this "irst( Fasu$iAs case as atte$pted- so e)pulsion is o"" the
table- there is still the possibility o" suspension( 'lthough also an
atte$pted case- &hippouAs case belongs to the orst o""enses "or 7',
related in"ractions and can result in e)pulsion(0
8a#u$a recei!ed FanonAs declaration ithout $o!ing a $uscle( In order
to pre!ent his body "ro$ tre$bling- he "orced his body to stand(
/I ant you both to #eep that in $ind as you spea#( Do- hat as the
cause "or all thisB0
Fanon loo#ed toards Fasu$iAs side "irst(
/&hippou1#un insulted the &aegusa 5a$ily(0
Fanon turned her eyes toards 8a#u$a(
/I recei!ed un"orgi!eable slander "ro$ &aegusa(0
>oth Fasu$i and 8a#u$a re"used to loo# at one another(
/<aHH <attori- ho do you ant to handle this incidentB0
%pon hearing FanonAs ords- <attori opened his tightly closed eyes(
/&hippou belongs to the 7lub 'cti!ities =roup( I do not ha!e the
con"idence that I can $a#e an unbiased decision(0
/I" you say that- isnAt Fasu$i a $e$ber o" the Public +oral 7o$$itteeB0
/8hen letAs ha!e a third party that is not the 7lub 'cti!ities =roup or the
Public +oral 7o$$ittee- the &tudent 7ouncil- $a#e the decision(0
9ith both Fanon and <attori loo#ing at hi$- 8atsuya inardly sighed
loudly( 8his as a sigh that e!erything as happening e)actly ho he had
"oreseen it( 8he "act o" the $atter as that he as only here as the
representati!e o" the &tudent 7ouncil because ';usa "led a"ter getting a
pre$onition that so$ething troubleso$e as on the hori;on( Isori also
secured his on a!enue o" retreat by gi!ing o"" a s$ile that said /the
representati!e o" the &tudent 7ouncil should be the &tudent 7ouncil Rice
President0( 9hile there as one other &tudent 7ouncil Rice President-
8atsuya as unilling to push this tas# onto his sister- so he could co$e
here ith the deter$ination to do his duty( In short- he had $entally
co$posed hi$sel" to handle this ir#so$e business the $o$ent he had
stepped into the roo$(
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/I thin# it ould be better i" they ere alloed to "ight it out(0
<attoriAs bros $o!ed slightly(
/6h- then- eAre letting the to o" the$ goB0
Fanon as#ed bac# in shoc#- but <attori said nothing( 8atsuya had an
in#ling to hat his thoughts on the $atter ere- but that as not
so$ething to be !erbali;ed(
/&ince thereAs no ay to discuss an appropriate solution- then strength ill
decide this( I heard "ro$ the pre!ious 7hie" o" the Public +oral
7o$$ittee that this as schoolAs reco$$endation(0
8o$itsu#a displayed astonish$ent at 8atsuyaAs declaration- but Fanon and
<attori both ore loo#s that all this as natural( &pea#ing o" hich-
&hi;u#u as loo#ing o"" to the side ith a sleepy e)pression- an
e)pression that ished that all o" this ould end *uic#ly(
/9hile unauthori;ed use o" $agic is a $a:or in"raction- there is no need to
penali;e students ho only atte$pted it( IsnAt this a co$$on occurrence
a$ong ne studentsB0
8his ti$e- it as +orisa#iAs turn to a!ert his eyes ith a bitter e)pression
on his "ace- but "ortunately no one "olloed up ith any barbs(
/I thin# that since both sides ha!e put their honor on the line- using
strength to deter$ine the outco$e ould lea!e no cause "or co$plaint(0
/I thin# that the Rice PresidentAs idea is sound- <attoriB0
'"ter listening to 8atsuyaAs opinion- Fanon i$$ediately as#ed <attori
ithout thin#ing about it(
/I ha!e no ob:ection( &hiba- e ill rely on you "or the procedural "or$s(0
8atsuya nodded at <attoriAs ords and al#ed toards the direct staircase
in order to obtain ';usaAs con"ir$ation letter(
>ehind hi$- 8a#u$a spo#e up(
/&hippou- anything youAre unsatis"ied ithB0
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8o$itsu#a as the one ho issued the repri$and(
/DoP >ut i" IA$ going to ha!e a $atch ith &aegusa- I ha!e a re*uest(0
8a#u$a as in no position to dictate ter$s- a "act he as ell aare o"
/=o ahead(0
8hus Fanon urged hi$ to spea# on *uic#ly(
/I ish "or $y opponent to not be &aegusa Fasu$i- but &aegusa Fasu$i
and &aegusa I;u$i both at the sa$e ti$e(0
/&hippou- are you loo#ing don on $eB0
&etting aside hether or not she as using the correct courtesy hile
surrounded by upperclass$en- Fasu$iAs in*uiry as a legiti$ate one(
/Eeason beingB0
&till- hen she heard 8atsuyaAs *uestion "or 8a#u$a- Fasu$i te$porarily
shut her $outh and listened care"ully(
/8his is a $atch that puts pride on the line "or the &hippou and &aegusa
5a$ilies( 5urther$ore- isnAt it public #noledge that /the &aegusa tins
can only re!eal their true strength hen both are gathered together0B0
/&o a !ictory achie!ed ithout both o" the$ being present is not a true
8atsuya $o$entarily stopped spea#ing be"ore turning toards Fasu$i(
/8hat is &hippou1#unAs position( ,o you ha!e any ob:ections i" that is the
case- Fasu$iB0
/Dothing at all( I ill $a#e hi$ regret this dearly(0
/8hen- so shall it be(0
9ith that- 8atsuya al#ed toards the staircase leading to the &tudent
7ouncil Eoo$(
'"ter returning ith the per$ission slip carrying the seal o" the &tudent
7ouncil President- 8atsuya as "olloed by I;u$i and- "or so$e un#non
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reason- +iyu#i and <ono#a(
/7hie"- please press your seal here(0
/6h- the sealB HH9here did I put thatB0
>ehind the panic#y Fanon- &hi;u#u pulled out a s$all bo) carrying
i$portant ite$s "ro$ the boo# cabinet( 7learly hiding her abash$ent
behind a $as# o" courtesy- Fanon recei!ed the s$all bo) and pressed the
seal on the per$ission slip(
's i" to dispel the a#ard at$osphere- <attori coughed loudly(
/9here should e select as the groundsB0
/Please conduct this in Practice Eoo$ ^2(0
<ono#a as the one ho ansered the *uestion <attori directed at
8atsuya( 6!eryone here #ne that she had co$e here ith the pass#ey "or
Practice Eoo$ ^2 ithout any !erbal con"ir$ation(
/Is &hiba1san the re"ereeB0
8his *uestion ca$e "ro$ 8o$itsu#a( It see$ed that "ro$ the !ery
beginning- he as highly curious as to hy +iyu#i as here "or all this(
/Do- IA$ :ust the itness(0
+iyu#i s$iled as she denied 8o$itsu#aAs hypothesis(
/8hen- the :udge ill be 8atsuya1#unB0
&hi;u#uAs *uestion as phrased toards 8atsuya hi$sel"- but Fanon
interrupted be"ore 8atsuya could reply(
/8hatAs "ine(0
/I ha!e no ob:ection(0
<attori "olloed on the heels o" FanonAs ords( Deither o" the$ appeared
interested in 8atsuyaAs opinion on the $atter(
/L?etAs go( 9e donAt ha!e $uch ti$e until the school closes(0
8he one ho proposed this $atch as 8atsuya- so there as no ay they
ould allo hi$ to say /Do0( 8atsuya could only resist the urge to sigh as
he urged e!eryone to $o!e(
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8he ones ho relocated to Practice Eoo$ ^2 included the participants o"
this duel that as "ra$ed as a $atch- 8a#u$a- Fasu$i- and I;u$i( 'lso
present as 8atsuya in the capacity as the re"eree- +iyu#i as the itness-
and <ono#a as the holder o" the #eys 3pass#eys4( Eounding out the 8
people ere 8o$itsu#a "ro$ the 7lub 'cti!ities =roup and &hi;u#u "ro$
the Public +oral 7o$$ittee( .+orisa#i should ha!e been here as a
itness considering the duty shi"t o" the Public +oral 7o$$ittee- but
&hi;u#u !olunteered to be his replace$ent(
5aced ith these itnesses- 8a#u$a "elt so$ehat con"used( >ased on his
#noledge- 8atsuya and +iyu#i ere in the &aegusa ca$p( 9ith both the
re"eree and itness on the ene$yAs side- "orget a stac#ed battle- this as
going to be an uphill battle the entire ay(
2n the other hand- both <ono#a and &hi;u#u ere talented indi!iduals
ho$ 8a#u$a ished to call upon "or assistance in order to regain the
&hippou 5a$ilyAs right"ul place( 8a#u$aAs si$ple line o" logic told hi$
that i" he could i$press the to o" the$ ith his $ight here- they ould be
easier to persuade later don the line( .9ell- this as nothing to #noc# a
15 year old young $an "or- seeing as 8a#u$aAs $ental age $atched his
real age( >roadly spea#ing- it as 8atsuyaAs group that didnKt see$ li#e
youngsters be"itting their age(
' co$pletely un"a!orable position- as ell as the reards in!ol!ed i" he
could beat the odds and obtain !ictory(
5aced ith both &aegusa sisters- 8a#u$aAs con"usion only sharpened his
"ighting spirit(
2n the other hand- Fasu$i and I;u$i erenKt as in!ested as 8a#u$a(
Fasu$i as :ust here because o" 8a#u$aAs one1sided $eddling- though
that as probably a "alsehood- hereas I;u$i "elt li#e she had been roped
along "or the ride( Deither o" the$ bore any particular "eelings "or the
&hippou 5a$ily( 8o the$- it as :ust irritating to be !ieed hostilely- and
so long as he #ept to hi$sel"- they cared not the slightest that he had higher
grades or as selected as the student representati!e(
In essence- neither o" the$ cared "or orldly status or reputation( 8hough
they li#ed to be praised and detested being loo#ed don upon- they ere
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not the type to plot "or their gain( 2n so$e le!el- this could be described as
those blessed by the hea!ens lac# nothing- but this asnKt because they
ished "or it either(
8he to o" the$ ere o" one accord hen it ca$e to /draing a period on
this irritating business0( 5or this- they needed to utterly crush hi$ to the
point that he ould ne!er dare to gi!e pro!ocation again( 9ith this
deter$ination in $ind- the to o" the$ s*uared o"" against 8a#u$a(
Practice Eoo$ ^2 as e!en longer than the Practice Eoo$ ^3 here
8atsuya "aced o"" against <attori one year ago( 8his as a classroo$
designed to use $ediu$1range $agic( 8he area e)tending one $eter "ro$
the alls as colored in red(
8a#u$a stood in the blue area hile Fasu$i and I;u$i stood in the yello
8a#u$a as dressed in his usual school uni"or$ and carried a pristinely
bound boo# under his le"t ar$pit(
Fasu$i and I;u$i had changed into practice uni"or$s that $a)i$i;ed
ease o" $o!e$ent- or# clothes ith long slee!es and pants $ade "ro$
hea!y "abric( 8ypically- a slee!eless :ac#et ith absorption properties
ould be orn on top o" these clothes that ould be orn during 2utside
8echnical 6)ercises at the arti"icial "orest behind the $ountain- but right
no neither o" the$ ore this :ac#et( 8he s#intight or# clothes they ore
per"ectly displayed their delicate cur!es- but 8o$itsu#a appeared to be the
only one present ho had no idea here to loo#(
/8he rules "or this $atch "orbid physical contact(0
8atsuya $ade this declaration as he stood at the di!iding line beteen blue
and yello areas( 5orbidding physical contact re"erred to the rule that
bodily contact as "orbidden during this $atch- a co$$on occurrence "or
$atches beteen those o" di""erent genders unless special circu$stances
ere in!ol!ed 3typically- $atches beteen o$en also adopted this rule4(
/I belie!e both sides already #no this- but I ill go o!er the rules again
right no( >oth sides are not alloed to step outside their colored areas(
6ither stepping into your opponentAs area or the red area ould constitute
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de"eat( Cou are "orbidden "ro$ physically touching your opponentAs body(
8his rule also e)tends to contact by eapons( <oe!er((((((0
's he said this- 8atsuya snea#ed a pee# at 8a#u$aAs "ace(
/%sing long1range $agic to $anipulate eapons does not constitute an
<oe!er- 8atsuya si"tly turned his ga;e to a $ore neutral position
beteen the to sides(
/5inally- "atal stri#es or attac#s that cause irreco!erable da$age to your
opponent are strictly "orbidden( I" I :udge the situation to be at ris#- I ill
"orcibly end the $atch(0
5or an instant- 8a#u$a ore a derisi!e e)pression- hich $ust be because
he thought /bring it on i" you can0( 8hough 8atsuya- +iyu#i- <ono#a- and
&hi;u#u all noticed this- no one scolded 8a#u$a "or his disrespect"ul
/8hen- both sides- prepare yoursel!es(0
Fasu$i and I;u$i shi"ted to the center o" their area(
8a#u$a ne!er $o!ed "ro$ his position near the di!iding line and let the
boo# he held beneath his ar$pit "lutter to the ground by his "eet(
8atsuya alternately sitched his eyes beteen the three o" their "aces( 's
one- all three o" the$ nodded(
Eetreating to the all- 8atsuya raised his right "ist o!er his head be"ore
singing it don "orce"ully(
9ith a "lash o" psions- they released their $agic(
8he ones launching $agic attac#s ere 8a#u$a and Fasu$i- hile I;u$i
as "ocused co$pletely on de"ense ith Sone Inter"erence(
'lone as he as- 8a#u$a as "orced to attac# and de"end hereas Fasu$i
could "ocus entirely on o""ense(
8he conditions clearly "a!ored Fasu$i(
/9hat do you thin#B0
&hi;u#u hispered to <ono#a(
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/8hey appear to be e!en no- I thin#H(((0
<ono#aAs hispered response as not "illed ith con"idence(
Fasu$i pri$arily relied on +o!e18ype +agic- setting 8a#u$a hi$sel" as
the target "or the bloc#s o" air sent "lying toards hi$( 8his strategy ai$ed
at "orcing her opponent out o" bounds to in( 5or de"ense- 8a#u$a relied
on ,ata 5orti"ication and physical obstacles(
2n the other side- 8a#u$a used 2scillation18ype +agic to directly
counterattac#- but once deterred by I;u$iAs Sone Inter"erence- he sitched
strategies to "iring co$pressed air bullets gathered in his hands( 8his as a
popular $agic #non as /'ir >ullet0 and- gi!en its popularity- its
e""ecti!eness as guaranteed( <oe!er- I;u$iAs Sone Inter"erence as
broader than he i$agined and the 'ir >ullet i$$ediately dissipated once
entering her Sone o" Inter"erence- $a#ing it !ery di""icult to land an
e""ecti!e attac#(
/I get the "eeling that Fasu$i1chan doesnAt ant to hurt &hippou1#un(
8hatAs hy the scope o" her attac#s has been restricted(0
/&hippou1#un- on the other handHH ,oesnAt loo# li#e heAs co$pletely
grasped ho to use 'ir >ullet(0
/9ouldnAt it be the sa$e "or I;u$iB0
/Ceah( 9ithout putting the entire roo$ under her do$inion li#e +iyu#i
does- using Sone o" Inter"erence alone is insu""icient to co$pletely bloc#
'ir >ullet( 8he to o" the$ are so inherently talented that they ha!e
neglected to put in the necessary hard or# to per"ect their s#ills(0
/8hey are ne students a"ter all(0
/8hatAs true( 9e ere $ore or less :ust li#e the$ be"ore the Dine &chools
'lthough he as unable to hear <ono#a and &hi;u#uAs con!ersation-
8a#u$a as deeply conscious o" the "act that /this canAt continue li#e
this0( <e "rantically tried to settle his agitated heart and desperately
searched "or an opening hile deploying his $agic(
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<e didnAt "eel that his +agic Poer as in"erior to theirs( <e ouldnAt
lose e!en 21on11 and he had the con"idence that !ictory as his the
$o$ent he played his tru$p card( <oe!er- 8a#u$a as aare that there
as a high ris# o" in:ury to his opponents i" he unleashed his tru$p card(
6!en though he as an upperclass$an at 5irst <igh- he didnAt belie!e that
8atsuya- ho asnAt a $e$ber o" the 28 "a$ilies- could stop his $agic in
ti$e- but there as still the chance o" hi$ losing because he bro#e the
rules( 8his as the source o" 8a#u$aAs hesitation(
3Dot goodP4
<e as trying to thin# hile operating $agic in a co$bat situation( 's
e)pected- this as not going to or#(
<e used /,issipate0 on the bloc# o" air ai$ed at his bac#( '"ter
e)changing blos thus "ar- 8a#u$a had $ore or less grasped the
di""erences beteen hi$ and his opponents( Fasu$i had the edge hen it
ca$e to scale o" $agic- chaining spells- and !ersatility( 8a#u$a as
stronger than Fasu$i hen it ca$e to inter"erence strength- but he as at
an i$passe ith I;u$i in that regard(
&ince his inter"erence strength as stronger and the +agic &e*uence itsel"
as "airly si$ple- 8a#u$a as able to acti!ate /,issipate0 in a short
period o" ti$e and nulli"y Fasu$iAs /9ind <a$$er0 at the last second(
Eegardless- air released "ro$ its co$pressed state bu""eted 8a#u$aAs bac#
li#e a strong ind( 9ind <a$$erAs air co$pression as "ar loer than 'ir
>ullet( 9hile the released air as not su""icient to deal any da$age to
8a#u$aAs "lesh- it as still enough to cause his posture to buc#le(
8a#u$aAs body tilted "orard- causing the accuracy o" his $agic to drop(
8he nu$erous !ariables behind 'ir >ullet included si;e o" the bullet-
degree o" air co$pression- speed o" the bullet as a "i)ed rate once
incorporated into the 'cti!ation &e*uence- direction o" the shot- and
"arthest possible range- all sub:ect to change depending on the a$ount
dictated by the +agician( 'lthough direction didnAt re*uire !eri"ication
ith the na#ed eye- line o" sight as publicly ac#noledged to be the
easier approach to ai$ing(
8his as hy 8a#u$aAs 'ir >ullets began "iring toards a loer angle( '
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lengthy distance aay "ro$ I;u$iAs "eet- one o" the bullets along its
tra:ectory as caught by the Sone o" Inter"erence and released "ro$ its
co$pressed state be"ore i$pacting on the ground and rolling to I;u$iAs
9ith a s$all shrie#- I;u$iAs body as sha#en by the ind( 8he
une)pected ind surge caused her to lose her balance( &eeing this- 8a#u$a
i$$ediately reali;ed his error( It as only no that he reali;ed that the
Sone o" Inter"erence nulli"ied the co$pression o" the air and continuously
applied acceleration- but did absolutely nothing to re$o!e the #inetic
energy o" the air(
8he sphere o" e$pty air that had been neutrali;ed in $id1air e)panded
outards in all directions( In short- the ones near the ground that ere
e)panding $et resistance "ro$ the ground hich li$ited the e)pansion
directions( 8he #inetic energy o" the "orard $otion as incorporated into
the air currents e)panding donards to turn into a surge o" ind bloing
toards his opponents(
3In other ords- I :ust ha!e to #eep shooting in directions that ill only
nulli"y the $agic and not the attac# itsel"P4
8a#u$a "or$ed 7 'ir >ullets in the space in "ront o" hi$( 8hey ere
"or$ed at the points o" a he)agon ith one o" the$ in the center( 8he one
in the center "ired "irst- "olloed si"tly by the other 6 bullets ith nary a
lapse in ti$e(
8he &hippouAs $agic . $agic de!ised by the 7th Eesearch ?ab as called
<erd 7ontrol( <ere- the ter$ herd does not re"er to a group o" biological
organis$s- but instead re"erred to a group that as connected together
ithout any rules( +ultiple independent ob:ects- or e!en pheno$ena- ere
$anipulated together as i" they ere one body(
+ore than :ust causing se!eral hundred ice pellets to land- this <erd
7ontrol could also be used on techni*ues ai$ed at one target( 5or the
eldest son o" the &hippou 5a$ily- causing 7 'ir >ullets to "ire together as
a piece o" ca#e(
8he "irst bullet "ell on I;u$iAs Sone o" Inter"erence and detonated(
<oe!er- the e)panding air as i$$ediately surrounded by the "olloing
6 bullets and pressed "orard again( In the end- the 'ir >ullets gradually
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loered the density o" the air until ind shrapnel rushed toards I;u$i(
I;u$i did not call out because she as struc# by the ind shrapnel- but
cried out a"ter being suddenly pushed to one side( 8he speed that Fasu$i
lunged at I;u$i as ob!iously the result o" $agic( &he $ust ha!e altered
the +o!e18ype +agic originally targeting 8a#u$a to hersel"- ignoring the
increased burden that the body brought on by the acceleration process o"
+o!e18ype +agic( 8his as the sa$e e!en i" it as her on $agic- :ust
as the side being pushed aside ill also su""er the sa$e har$( +y chance
has co$e- 8a#u$a thought(
8a#u$a clapped his hands in "ront o" his chest( 9ithin his area- the nature
o" sound altered( 8he sound o" 8a#u$aAs clapping as a$pli"ied in
!olu$e and the sound a!es ere gathered together be"ore being released
at Fasu$i(
6!en i" the Sone o" Inter"erence nulli"ied the $agic- the a$pli"ied !olu$e
ould re$ain unchanged( 6!en i" the gathered sound a!es ould spread
so$ehat- there should still be enough sound to ri!al a concussion
grenade detonating at close range stri#ing toards Fasu$i( 8hat should be
$ore than enough to render her unconscious- or at least that as the plan(
Cet- 8a#u$aAs sound a!e attac# as se!ered by the !acuu$ "ault I;u$i
'ir had been suc#ed aay by the !acuu$ "ault( 8he rush o" ind
acco$panying the cacophony $ade a $ess o" Fasu$i and I;u$iAs hair(
Fasu$iAs short loc#s ere one thing- but I;u$iAs longer tresses ere le"t
in a chaotic state- yet all she did as lightly co$b a hand through her hair
and all as ell(
/Fasu$i1chan- are you 2FB0
Eaising her torso slightly- I;u$i as#ed Fasu$i- ho as still pressing
don on top o" her(
/8han#s- I;u$i( 8hat as a close one :ust no(0
Fasu$i replied bac# as she shi"ted her body aay "ro$ I;u$i(
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Eight no- 8a#u$a continued to launch his attac#s( 6)changing de"ensi!e
duties- Fasu$i and I;u$i ere barely able to hold hi$ o""(
Donetheless- neither o" the$ betrayed any hint o" unease on their "aces(
/9e appear to ha!e underesti$ated this guy(0
/I donAt #no about the ter$ underesti$ate- but that appears to be the
/8his ill be bad i" it continues on li#e this(0
/<oe!er- you donAt plan on losing- do youB0
/2" course( I;u$i- eAre going to use that(0
/Ceah- Fasu$i1chan( @ust li#e usual(0
/I ill shoot(0
/I ill raise(0
/7ounting don(0
/8hree(0 /8o(0 /2ne(0
/Eoles assignedP0
I$$ediately a"ter Fasu$i shouted out- the "orce o" the $agic roaring
toards 8a#u$a spi#ed e)ponentially(
8a#u$a i$$ediately raised his pheno$ena inter"erence strength around
his bac#- head- and "lan#s( ,etecting the harbinger o" a hitherto
inco$parably poer"ul $agic- 8a#u$a channeled all o" his o""ense into
<e "elt that the $agic targeted air $olecules hile gathering and $o!ing
the$ . so this $ust be a $agic that controlled the air currents- but he had
no ti$e to continue obser!ing( Instinct told hi$ to erect an all directional-
sealed barrier and 8a#u$a as able to "inish his de"ensi!e barrier "irst only
because the design o" the +agic &e*uence "or this $agic as "ar less
co$ple) than the $agic Fasu$i and I;u$i ere about to in!o#e(
In the narro "ra$eor# o" the classroo$- a "urious tornado began
breing( >y the ti$e the ind pressed don on top o" his head and his
entire body- the ind as e!eryhere around his bac# and sides( <e as
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al$ost blon aay along ith the sealed barrier around hi$( 9ith a
barrier around hi$- the sur"ace area i$pacted by the ind gre :ust as the
pressure sustained ould increase as ell( 6!en ith that being said- he
couldnAt decrease the per$eability or loer the si;e o" the barrier( 's a
+agician- 8a#u$a noticed that the le!el o" nitrogen ithin the ind
bu""eting hi$ had increased(
8his as a $agic that raised the le!el o" nitrogen in the air as ell as
$agic that $o!ed bloc#s o" air around( ' co$bination o" =ather18ype and
+o!e18ype +agic- /&u""ocating 8urbulence0( ' single breath o" this air
that as hea!ily de"icient in o)ygen ould i$$ediately render so$eone
unconscious due to lac# o" o)ygen( I" he loered the barrier to pre!ent
being blon aay by the turbulence- then he ould i$$ediately start
running short o" o)ygen(
>eneath 8a#u$aAs "eet here he "uriously sta$ped to right hi$sel"- the
sound o" the pristinely bound boo#As pages being blon "uriously by the
ind could be heard as the pages continuously "lapped in the ind( 8he
boo# itsel" had not been blon aay because the ind "ro$ the $agic
only ble at a height abo!e the #nees( 8he pristinely bound boo# that
8a#u$a carried as a particularly hea!y to$e( 8a#u$a loo#ed at the bac#
o" the boo# that as printed ith the sa$e geo$etric sy$bols "ro$ the
"irst page to the last and decided to use his tru$p card(
/8his isHH &u""ocating 8urbulenceB0
In the "ace o" +iyu#iAs both shoc#ed and a$a;ed *uestion- 8atsuya ga!e a
concise con"ir$ation(
/8o be able to "luently ield such a high le!el $agic- I guess I should say
as e)pected o" &aegusa1senpaiAs younger sisters(0
/&till a little rough around the edges- but i$pressi!e nonetheless(0
2n the le!el o" neutrali;ing an opponent by using $agic to induce a lac#
o" o)ygen- this $agic probably belonged to the sa$e category as
+ayu$iAs anti1personnel tru$p card /,ry +eteor0( Fasu$i and I;u$i
probably de!ised this tru$p card due to +ayu$iAs in"luence( &till- in ter$s
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
o" $agic di""iculty- &u""ocating 8urbulence as "ar $ore di""icult than ,ry
+eteor( 8hough it as a hassle to gather a large a$ount o" dry ice particles
laced ith carbon dio)ide in the air be"orehand- &u""ocating 8urbulence
re*uired constant $aintenance o" the $olecular co$position in the air as
ell as care"ul control o" the air currents- rendering this an e)tre$ely
di""icult $agic(
Fasu$i and I;u$iAs control o" the air currents "or &u""ocating 8urbulence
as "ar too coarse- hich as hy 8atsuya said /still a little rough around
the edges0- but this as de"initely a high le!el $agic that could not be
seen at the high school le!el(
/&o this is $ultiplicati!e $agicHH Do onder people say that /the
&aegusa tins can only re!eal their true strength hen both are gathered
&trictly spea#ing- until this point Fasu$i and I;u$i had been using
"unda$ental $agic and only resorted to high le!el $agic hen pressed
into a tight spot( 's the one responsible "or attac#ing- Fasu$i didnAt use
this spell not because she as unilling or she as going easy on her
opponent- but because &u""ocating 8urbulence as too di""icult "or
Fasu$i to use by hersel"(
&aegusa Fasu$i and &aegusa I;u$i bore the na$e /&aegusa tins0
because o" the special connotation behind that na$e as ell as the uni*ue
characteristic that only the to o" the$ had( It is only through their
co$plete cooperation that they are able to use high poered- and highly
di""icult- $agic that either one o" the$ ould not be able to on their on(
People ho ere not +agicians ould thin# nothing o" this- but this as
an atypical pheno$enon "or +agicians( 8here e)isted large scale- high
le!el $agical techni*ues that relied on $ultiple +agicians casting the
sa$e spell( 8his as especially the case in 'ncient +agic- though actual
e)a$ples ere *uite "e- but certainly not rare hen it ca$e to techni*ues
passed don "ro$ generation to generation( <oe!er- this sort o" $agic
ritual re*uired chanting- orship- dance or si$ilar $ediu$s that used all 5
9hen $ultiple +agicians use the sa$e $agic at the sa$e ti$e- +agic
Poer as not additi!e( In this situation- only the spell o" the +agician
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
ith the greatest +agic Poer ould acti!ate- hile the +agic Poer
"ro$ other +agicians ould actually inter"ere ith pheno$ena alteration(
+agical rituals conducted by $ultiple indi!iduals re*uired consensus
a$ong +agicians to not o!erlap their +agic &e*uences in order cast $ore
co$ple) or e!en gigantic +agic &e*uences( Its $a:or selling point or
de"ining characteristic as allotting speci"ic goals to each indi!idual
+agician- or e!en a tas# to be repeated o!er and o!er(
Cet Fasu$i and I;u$i ere able to increase their +agic Poer si$ply by
using nor$al $agic through usual assistance "ro$ their 7',s( In addition-
the to o" the$ ere not co$ponents o" a +agic &e*uence- but co$bined
to "or$ a single- greater +agic Poer(
Fasu$i lo!ed to hurtle +agic &e*uences at the target and I;u$i ga!e it
inter"erence strength( 8heir +agic Poer as $ultiplied rather than added
together hen casting $agic( 8o be able to acco$plish this- not only did
their bodies ha!e to contain the sa$e hereditary genes- their $entality and
uni*ue $agic calculation area had to be the sa$e( 8a#u$a $ight ha!e
deter$ined that Fasu$i as stronger in in!ocation speed and scale o"
design "or +agic &e*uences hile I;u$i as stronger in inter"erence
strength- that as actually a $isunderstanding( 8he reason he as led to
belie!e so as because thatAs ho Fasu$i and I;u$i ielded their $agic-
so the result ould be the sa$e e!en i" they sapped roles(
8his as purely a coincidence that could not e!en be replicated through
genetic $edication( 8his as the secret behind the poer o" the /&aegusa
<olding his breath and standing "ir$- 8a#u$a "ell to one #nee and closed
the boo# that as about to be blon to tatters by the ind( I$$ediately-
8a#u$a once $ore opened the co!er o" the pristinely bound boo#( In that
instant- e!ery page ithin the boo# too# to the s#ies li#e sno"la#es
"luttering in the ind(
8he boo# 8a#u$a brought contained 720 pages o" "oldable >5 paper( 8he
boo# as 182$$ ide and 256$$ long 3standard >5 paper as 182$$
by 257$$4( 6)cluding the 2$$ on each page co!ered by the boo# co!ers
3here the boo# as bound4- the rest o" the page as cut into little s*uares
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
that ere 4$$ by 4$$( 't that si;e- e!ery to pages 3one sheet4
contained 2880 pieces( 't 720 pages or 360 sheets- there as a total o"
1-036-800 pieces o" paper(
+ore than a $illion s$all paper s*uares "le along the turbulence li#e
sno"la#es toards the tins( Deedless to say- those 4$ by 4$ s*uares
erenAt :ust si$ple pieces o" paper( 'nyone ho could capture those
countless pieces o" paper in their eyes could tell that those pieces o" paper
ere not bending in the ind- li#e nu$erous thin- s*uare1shaped blades
ith the hardiness o" glass( 't "irst glance- the $illion odd blades ere
dancing along ithout any organi;ation hatsoe!er- but they ere truly
gathering around Fasu$i and I;u$i(
Fasu$i and I;u$i- as ell as 8atsuya and +iyu#i- #ne !ery ell that all
o" these paper sno"la#es ere being $anipulated by $an( 8hey ho
#ne the &hippou 5a$ilyAs $agic naturally #ne hat this $agic as(
2ne o" the tru$p cards o" the &hippou 5a$ily- /+illion 6dge0( ' $agic
that used <erd 7ontrol to $anipulate o!er a $illion pieces o" paper that
turned into sharp blades to e!iscerate the "oe(
8he tins continued to control &u""ocating 8urbulence as they e$ployed
another $agic( >y sla$$ing bloc#s o" air ith large a$ounts o" o)ygen
into the paper sno"la#es- they ere using adiabatic co$pression to create
heated ind that surpassed paperAs burning point to ignite the paper
8his as an alternate "or$ o" /<eated 8urbulence0( 8his as a type o"
$agic that as another le!el higher than si$ply creating adiabatic
co$pressed air bloc#s( 8hey had acti!ated this $agic hile &u""ocating
8urbulence as ongoing- but this as still ithin the boundaries o" their
abilities right no( 8he $ain sub:ect o" the 3rd Eesearch ?ab as the
control o" $ultiple $agics at the sa$e ti$e( 8he 3rd Eesearch ?ab
originally intended to test the boundary o" ho $any $agics could be
acti!ated at the sa$e ti$e as ell as raising that boundary as part o" their
+agician 'ug$entation Pro:ect( '$ong the +agician ,e!elop$ent ?abs-
the 3rd Eesearch ?ab as a rarity in that they ere open ith their
"indings- alloing the 10th Eesearch ?ab to also bene"it "ro$ this "inding(
5or the @uu$on:i 5a$ily that had $astered Phalan)- this helped the$
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incorporate $ore $agic and resulted in the ability to use $ultiple $agics(
's "or the &aegusa 5a$ily +agicians ho $o!ed to the 7th Eesearch ?ab-
e!en i" it as high le!el $agic- using to or three o" the$ at the sa$e
ti$e as no di""icult tas#(
8he tornado that disalloed any breathing de!oured 8a#u$a as the air that
as heated abo!e 500 degrees 7elsius as about to burn the paper s*uares
into a crisp(
>athed in the heat that surpassed their burning point- the $illion odd
blades under 8a#u$aAs ill ere protected by $agic as they thirsted "or
Fasu$i and I;u$iAs blood(
't this rate- 8a#u$a ould #eel o!er due to o)ygen depri!ation and
Fasu$i and I;u$i ould be slashed to pieces by the countless blades that
had not been burned up( It as readily apparent that the conclusion ould
lea!e both sides ith per$anent in:uries(
/8hatAs "ar enoughP0
8atsuya $o!ed his right ar$(
In his outstretched hand- a sil!er 7', "lashed brilliantly( 8hat as the
pistol1shaped &peciali;ed 7',- &il!er <orn(
8he +agic &e*uences ere torn to shreds and a surge o" psions scattered
those bro#en re$nants(
's "or 8atsuyaAs !oice declaring a halt to the $atch- ho #ne i" that
tra!eled to the consciousness o" those three in battleB
In the $idst o" the silence brought on by the disappearance o" $agic-
regardless o" hether it as 8a#u$a- Fasu$i- I;u$i- no one could
understand hat had happened as they stood there in a da;e( 's "or
hether e!eryone present as clueless as to hat happened . that as not
the case( In a ord- the only ones ho stood there du$bly ere the three
participants o" this $atch- the three Cear 1 students(
9hile 8o$itsu#aAs eyes had idened- he asnAt earing an e)pression o"
so$eone ho had su""ered a se!ere shoc#( 8hough there as so$e
ele$ent o" astonish$ent- it ould be $ore appropriate to say that as an
e)pression o" ae a"ter reali;ing hat had occurred( 's "or the other three-
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+iyu#i- <ono#a- and &hi;u#u all ore e)pressions that said /:ust as e
e)pected "ro$ 8atsuya0(
In reality- only +iyu#i alone truly understood hat had :ust happened
here( &till- the three Cear 1 students could not e!en co$prehend the "act
that /8atsuyaAs 7ounter +agic had :ust nulli"ied the $agics co$ing "ro$
8a#u$a- Fasu$i- and I;u$i in an instant0(
/8his $atch has resulted in both sides "or"eiting the right to continue(0
's the re"eree- 8atsuya pronounced his :udg$ent( 't this ti$e- the Cear 1
students "inally reco!ered "ro$ their "ro;en status(
/9hat the hec# is going onPB0
8he "irst one to *uestion 8atsuya as Fasu$i(
/I should ha!e said this at the beginning o" the $atch( 5atal stri#es or
attac#s that cause irreco!erable da$age to your opponent are strictly
"orbidden( I" I :udge the situation to be at ris#- I ill "orcibly end the
/8hen- the result o" the $atch isB0
I;u$i as "or $ore co$posed than her tin sibling- but her tone as
harsher than usual as she as#ed her *uestion(
/>oth sides ha!e lost the right to continue- ergo both sides ha!e lost(0
8his as not a dra- but a $utual de"eat( 8atsuya intentionally said it this
ay to i$ply /there ill not be another $atch0- but hether I;u$i and
co$pany ere able to understand the nuances re$ained un#non(
/>ut- &hiba1senpai- I belie!e that &u""ocating 8urbulence is di""erent than
+illion 6dge in that this is neither a "atal $agic nor ould it lea!e a
lingering repercussion(0
I;u$i $eant that /9asnAt &hippou1#un the one ho lost because he bro#e
the rulesB0- a detail that 8a#u$a i$$ediately pic#ed up on( 8a#u$a as
about to reply i$$ediately- but 8atsuya beat hi$ to the punch(
/Indeed- i" the poer is care"ully controlled- then &u""ocating 8urbulence
ill not lea!e any serious repercussions on your opponent( <oe!er-
I;u$i- you to did not ha!e that "ine le!el o" control(0
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9ith 8atsuya !isually interrogating ith a /Is that not soB0 loo#- neither o"
the tins spo#e up(
/8hat is not the caseP0
In place o" the tins- hich as not entirely the case- it as 8a#u$aAs turn
to contest 8atsuyaAs decision(
/9e ould ha!e deter$ined the outco$e prior to that happeningP0
' spar# . not out o" delight- but out o" interest . o" interest "lashed in
8atsuyaAs eyes(
/8hen you are saying that you belie!e you onB0
5earless in the "ace o" 8atsuyaAs cold ga;e- 8a#u$a continued arrogantly
/8he &aegusasA <eated 8urbulence "ailed to stop +illion 6dge( >e"ore the
&u""ocating 8urbulence could ha!e breached $y sealed barrier- I ould
ha!e been able to attac# the &aegusasP0
' trace o" satire slipped into 8atsuyaAs chilly ga;e(
/9hich is to say that had I not inter"ered- hundreds upon thousands o"
paper strips "illed ith burning heat ould ha!e shredded the delicate "lesh
o" a pair o" Cear 1 "e$ale students( Is that the gist o" hat you are trying to
'round the$- there ere at least to people ho ere trying to "ight
don their laughter(
8a#u$a "lushed( 8he redness o" his "ace as so apparent that anyone could
see it(
/In that case- &hippou- this $atch ends in your de"eat due to rules
>e"ore the e)cited 8a#u$a could e)plode- 8atsuya $ade this declaration in
a !oice so cold that it as al$ost cruel( 8his as 8a#u$aAs de"eat( >e"ore
a steely !oice that as cold as ice- e!en 8a#u$a hi$sel" hesitated as to
ho he should argue this(
/I ill not allo you to say that you are ignorant o" hat happens to those
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ho ta#e a hit "ro$ +illion 6dge dead on(0
8a#u$a as about to open his $outh and say so$ething- but 8atsuya
ne!er intended to gi!e hi$ a chance to de"end hi$sel"(
/'lloing an attac# that is co$pletely o!er#ill is synony$ous to alloing
a $utual slaughter( %nder the rules o" this $atch- that is not alloed(0
8a#u$a appeared to be trying to "ree hi$sel" "ro$ the tre$endous
pressure being e)erted on hi$ by 8atsuya and "ired bac# ith $ore "er!or
than as necessary( @ust s*uee;ing out such a si$ple ord plainly cost hi$
a lot o" energy(
/&o you are saying that "ro$ the !ery beginning- once I used +illion 6dge
I ould losePB0
/I" you are unable to control its poer- then that is the sa$e as brea#ing
the rules(0
/<o can that be- thatAs ridiculousP0
8atsuya re$ained cal$ and collected hile "acing the enraged 8a#u$a- an
attitude that only ser!ed to "an the "la$es o" 8a#u$aAs "ury( &eeing his
agitated state- not only as his senior at the 7lub 'cti!ities =roup-
8o$itsu#a- orried about hi$- e!en 8a#u$aAs opponent up until this
point- Fasu$i- also shared that concern(
/8hatAs practically denying $e $y tru$p card e!en be"ore the $atch has
startedP IsnAt that an e)tre$ely un"air $atchPB0
/6!eryoneAs conditions ere the sa$e( 5or the &aegusa siblings- high
poered $agic as also "orbidden(0
&till- they ere the only to ho cared to debate the results( 8he Cear 2
"e$ale students . +iyu#i- &hi;u#u- and <ono#a all atched 8a#u$a ith
co$passionate eyes(
/>ullshitP 8hey donAt ha!e $agic that is poer"ul enough to be bannedP0
/&u""ocating 8urbulence carries $ore than enough "irepoer( I didnKt stop
the$ in the beginning because they had controlled its poer to ithin
acceptable para$eters(0
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8a#u$a as struc# speechless a"ter 8atsuya spo#e in a !oice that couldnKt
e!en be called unpleasant by the idest o" $argins( Dot only did he "eel
this "ro$ the cold ga;e le!eled at hi$ "ro$ 8atsuya- 8a#u$a "elt that e!en
the "e$ale upperclass$en ere laughing at hi$( <e "rantically rac#ed
his brain "or a counterargu$ent(
/<oe!er- &hippou- you ere unable to "inely control the strength o"
+illion 6dge(0
/8hatAs bullshit- I had per"ect control o" the spellP0
8a#u$aAs response as co$pletely groundless and as only his re"le)
ill"ully using his e$otions to $a#e his decision( 'll o" the Cear 2
students present #ne !ery ell that 8a#u$a could not co$pletely control
+illion 6dge(
I" 8atsuya ere to not only declare his on decision but also as# +iyu#i-
&hi;u#u- <ono#a- and 8o$itsu#a to all !oice their opinions- 8a#u$a
ould ha!e no choice but to concede( &etting aside 8atsuyaAs people "or
the $o$ent- i" e!en 8o$itsu#a supported 8atsuyaAs decision- then
undoubtedly 8a#u$a ould ha!e a hard ti$e stubbornly stic#ing to his
/I a$ the re"eree o" this $atch- and I ill deter$ine !ictory or de"eat( I
should ha!e said this in the beginning(0
Cet- 8atsuya "ailed to do so( Rictory or de"eat as deter$ined by the
re"eree( 8atsuya "elt that there as no need to change that rule(
/L'h- I get itP &o youAre saying that the use o" +illion 6dge constitutes
o!er#illP 8hen you should ha!e said so in the !ery beginningP I" I #ne
that +illion 6dge as against the rules- I ould ha!e chosen another
8a#u$a as ignorant o" the "act that he as throing a tantru$ li#e a little
8he ga;e 8o$itsu#a le!eled at 8a#u$a changed "ro$ concerned to uneasy(
8he loo# +iyu#i directed toards 8a#u$a sitched "ro$ co$passionate
to piercing(
De!ertheless- 8atsuya continued to use cold logic to deal ith 8a#u$aAs
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/&top sul#ing- &hippou( Cou ere unable to control its poer because
youAre still i$$ature( Eegardless o" hether it as "orbidden- the inability
to "ul"ill the re*uire$ents pro!es that you are still lac#ing(0
/CouAre a 9eed( Cou ha!e no right to say thatP0
8he classroo$ suddenlyHH "ell silent( 8hat silence as su""used ith an
al$ost pain"ul an)iety(
8a#u$aAs originally "lushed "ace no ent deathly pale( <e had ne!er
planned to go so "ar( It as al$ost as i" all o" his blood had rushed to his
head- thus leading hi$ to say so$ething he could ne!er ta#e bac#(
&hi;u#u and <ono#a had turned pale "or another reason altogether( 8hat
as because they ere "ear"ul o" the inter stor$ that as about to ra!age
this entire roo$( 5ortunately- prior to that occurrence- 8atsuya opened his
/'re you displeased ith hat I saidB0
8a#u$a also noticed that his state$ent as inappropriate on to "ronts(
/9eed0 as a ter$ that as taboo on ca$pus( 5urther$ore- 8atsuya as
an /e)ception0 ho had been pro$oted to +agic 6ngineering "ro$ 7ourse
2 due to outstanding talent( 8a#u$a thought "uriously in order to reco!er
"ro$ that blunder- but he had already been pressed into a corner and unable
to restore his cool- so no solution ca$e to his $ind( 6!en so- 8a#u$a still
didnAt shut his $outh(
/<$phHH IA$ displeased only because o" the un"air ad:udicationP 8he
&aegusas ere able to control &u""ocating 8urbulence and I as unable to
control +illion 6dge( IsnKt that too $uch o" a bias i$pression on &hiba1
senpaiAs partB I controlled +illion 6dge per"ectlyP &hiba1senpai is clearly
"a!oring the &aegusaP0
/&hippouHH Cour ords are at odds ith one another(0
8a#u$a alloed his e$otions "ree reign as he alloed his $outh run ild
li#e a child throing a tantru$( 8he stunned !oice that repri$anded the
present 8a#u$a ca$e not "ro$ 8atsuya- but "ro$ 8o$itsu#a(
/I" that situation had continued- your $agic ould ha!e dealt da$age to
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the &aegusa siblings that surpassed the bounds o" this $atch( ,idnKt you
already ad$it thatB0
/8hatAs because the &aegusas used <eated 8urbulenceP0
8a#u$aAs ords ere not entirely illogical( %n"ortunately- in this
circu$stance- these ords only sounded li#e he as shedding
/6nough- &hippou(0
'n e$otionless !oice inserted itsel" into &hippou and 8o$itsu#aAs
8hose ords ere issued "ro$ Fasu$iAs lips(
/8o be unilling to ad$it de"eat to this degree- letAs :ust call it your in(0
/Fasu$i1chan- is that really 2FB0
'$ong those present that "elt !arying degrees o" surprise- the one ho
as#ed Fasu$i this as the one ho #ne her the best- I;u$i(
/CeahM- no that I thin# about it- e shouldnAt get so heated about
so$ething li#e this( Do $atter ho you loo# at it- using $ultiplicati!e
$agic in an uno""icial school $atch along ith a co$bination o"
&u""ocating 8urbulence and <eated 8urbulence is :ust plain o!er#ill(
&hiba1senpai is right about that(0
@ust li#e her ords- Fasu$i appeared to ha!e co$pletely cal$ed don(
Dot only did the loo# they sent 8a#u$a not contain a trace o" en$ity- it
as absolutely care"ree(
/HHI" thatAs hat Fasu$i1chan ants(0
I;u$i easily accepted Fasu$iAs ords( 2riginally- she as only here to
help out her older tin sister( &ince Fasu$i said that as "ine- then I;u$i
asnAt going to be a stic#ler "or the result(
8a#u$a loo#ed li#e he as unable to decide hether to spea# or not(
'lthough he anted to angrily shout /,onAt be ridiculousP0- he also "elt
that as too sha$e"ul( In the end- no shout ca$e "ro$ hi$( 's he "ell
silent than#s to this une)pected shoc#- he as able to reclai$ a le!el o"
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Fasu$i al#ed toards 8atsuya ith I;u$i "olloing behind her(
/&hiba1senpai- IA$ sorry "or troubling you(0
Fasu$i and I;u$i both boed to 8atsuya( 8he "act that 70I o" I;u$iAs
attention as placed on +iyu#i could probably be chal#ed up as her
adorable part(
119hile 8a#u$a gritted his teeth and atched this scene(
/&till- can I say so$ethingB0
2" course- :ust apologi;ing at the end o" it all as not Fasu$iAs style( Day-
it as $ore li#e not "acing o"" against 8atsuya here as not Fasu$iAs
/9hat is itB0
%nli#e the e)pression he ore hile con!ersing ith 8a#u$a- 8atsuya
ore a ry s$ile here(
/I . e ne!er lost control o" our $agic( 5orcibly stopping the $atch there
as the rong call on senpaiAs part(0
'"ter spilling all o" those ords ith a resolute loo# in her eye- Fasu$i
le"t the practice roo$ ithout aiting "or 8atsuyaAs reply(
/%$- ell(0
&itching bac# and "orth beteen Fasu$iAs bac# and 8atsuyaAs "ace-
I;u$i as truly 3and *uite rarely4 beildered(
8hough this as plainly not co$pletely une)pected- I;u$i still :u$ped
and ent ra$rod straight hen 8atsuya called her na$e( I$$ediately
a"terard- I;u$i loered her head in sha$e at being tongue1tied(
8atsuya ne!er teased I;u$i or put on a sole$n e)pression( Instead- he
continued spea#ing ith a gentle e)pression(
/Please send a $essage to Fasu$i "or $e( I" she is unsatis"ied- I a$
alays illing to be the opponent "or the to o" you( 8hatAs all(0
9as this because she as astoundedB I;u$iAs eyes idened( &till- I;u$i
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i$$ediately understood that 8atsuya as saying this because he as
ta#ing Fasu$iAs "eelings into account( 8his departed greatly "ro$ her
pre!ious i$pression o" 8atsuya(
/HHI understand- senpai( 8han# you(0
I;u$i replied to 8atsuya as she boed deeply to 8atsuya ithout going too
"ar or too shallo( 9hen I;u$i raised her head- she re$ained here she
as "or so$e reason(
/9hat is itB0
8atsuya as#ed this *uestion to I;u$i( 5or the "irst ti$e- I;u$i ga!e 8atsuya
a s$ile that ca$e "ro$ the botto$ o" her heart(
/I thin# IA!e changed $y $ind a little about senpai( Cou do ha!e areas that
$a#e you see$ li#e +iyu#i 2nee1sa$aAs older brother(0
8his ent "ar beyond retort orthy and the $ight o" this line ri!aled that
o" a train rec#( In spite o" this- probably because this as "ar too honest
to ield a "or#ed tongue against- 8atsuya said nothing as he atched I;u$i
lea!e ith an /6)cuse $e0 and another short bo(
'"ter Fasu$i and I;u$i le"t the practice roo$- 8a#u$a continued to stand
there ithout a ord( In the eyes o" the Cear 2 students- he had been
abandoned- but 8a#u$a hi$sel" didnAt thin# that ay(
't least "ro$ his perspecti!e- he had hoped to spea# to 8atsuya ithout
anyone else present- hich as hy he stayed behind(
/Is there anything else you ant to sayB0
8atsuya !oice re$ained chilly- but no one called hi$ /i$$ature0( 'nyone
ho heard o" the con!ersation that had occurred in this roo$ ould
de"initely lay the bla$e at 8a#u$aAs "eet( In truth- 8a#u$a also thought
this ay a"ter reco!ering his rationality( Cet- at the sa$e ti$e- he decided
against apologi;ing because he "elt that it as "ar too late to do that(
6)cluding his beha!ioral blunder- he as deter$ined to reclai$ his lost
/I still ha!enAt accepted thisP0
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/&till ha!enAt accepted hatB0
/8hat I lost because I bro#e the rules(0
%nable to hold it in any longer- 8o$itsu#a thundered at 8a#u$a( <oe!er-
8a#u$a #ept his eyes loc#ed on 8atsuya and ne!er spared 8o$itsu#a a
/9hat is your ishB0
8atsuya as in position to seriously deny 8a#u$aAs ob:ection( In the "irst
place- this $atch as designed to protect Fasu$i and 8a#u$a "ro$ the
serious breach in school rules they had incurred( Protection as especially
the case "or 8a#u$a- seeing as he co$$itted the greater in"raction that ran
the ris# o" e)pulsion( 6!en i" this as "a!oritis$ or a $u$$erAs "arce-
8a#u$a as in no position to $a#e de$ands(
6!en so- 8atsuya still in*uired as to the source o" 8a#u$aAs dissatis"action(
Eather than calling 8atsuya a gentle soul- it ould be $ore appropriate to
say that he as the type ho didnAt ant to procrastinate hen dealing
ith troubleso$e issues(
/Please allo $e to pro!e itP0
/Pro!e hatB0
/Pro!e that I can control +illion 6dge per"ectly(0
/'nd ho ould you do thatB0
/Please duel $e( I ill use +illion 6dge and "orce senpai to surrender
ithout har$ing youP0
8a#u$aAs ords caused +iyu#i to li"t a delicate eyebro(
De!ertheless- hite dar#ness "ailed to su""ocate the classroo$(
>e"ore her e$otions could e)plode- there ca$e the sounds o" a "urious
i$pact and a hu$an body hitting the "loor( 8his une)pected turnout put a
hold on +iyu#iAs anger(
8he one ho "ell to the "loor as 8a#u$a(
8he one ho struc# hi$ don as 8o$itsu#a(
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8oards a co$pletely beildered 8a#u$a ho as propping hi$sel" up
ith his hands-
/&hippou- donAt press your luc#P0
8o$itsu#a roared in absolute "ury( +aybe 8o$isu#aAs "ace as originally
unpleasant to loo# at- though not to the degree that he should be described
as ha!ing the "ace o" an enraged ghoul- this ti$e he as truly li!id(
/5ro$ the !ery start youA!e been sprouting these arrogant and
disingenuous ordsHH 9ho the hell do you thin# you areB <uhB 2r are
you saying that the 28 "a$ilies are alloed to beha!e li#e thatB0
/IHH I didnAt $ean that(0
8a#u$a re$ained sitting on the ground as he see$ed to $utter to hi$sel"(
<e $aintained his posture o" only sitting up ith his upper body
undoubtedly because this incredible shoc# had robbed hi$ o" any thought
toards standing up(
8a#u$a truly ne!er noticed( <e ne!er really noticed at all( 5i)ated on a
place ithin the 8en +aster 7lans- he alays loo#ed upards and ne!er
donards( Do- e!en i" he did loer his head he ne!er truly loo#ed(
@ust as 8a#u$a ne!er ac#noledged the !alue o" the &hippou 5a$ily
absent its place a$ong the 8en +aster 7lans- so too did he unittingly
loo# don upon the +agicians ho didnAt e!en ha!e the right to :oin the
8en +aster 7lans :ust as he derisi!ely !ieed his on "ather(
/&hippou( I" you say you ant to pro!e yoursel"- then I ill be your
opponentP 2r are you saying that IA$ not good enough "or youB 8hat
/Eange Sero0- the 8o$itsu#a trash o" the <undred 5a$ilies- doesnAt ha!e
hat it ta#es to be your opponentPB0
+aybe because he as co$pletely o!erco$e by 8o$itsu#aAs i$posing
$anner- but 8a#u$a #ept craling bac#ards on the ground( 9as
8o$itsu#a about to press the attac# ho$e- or as 8a#u$a about to
de$onstrate /ho to "lee ith your tail beteen your legs0B Eegardless o"
hich one it as- the at$osphere in the practice roo$ as "illed e$inent
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/8o$itsu#a1#un- please rela)(0
@ust the situation beca$e touch and go- +iyu#iAs clear !oice caused the
at$osphere to cal$ don(
/9ithout appro!al "ro$ the &tudent 7ouncil President and the Public
+oral 7o$$ittee 7hie"- no duels are to be per$itted( In addition- doesnAt
&hippou1#un also need ti$e to considerB 'nd surely ti$e to prepare the
$ediu$ re*uired to acti!ate +illion 6dge- correctB0
/HH8hatAs true( +y apologies(0
2ing to +iyu#iAs repri$and- 8o$itsu#a as slightly asha$ed o" his
te$porarily in"la$ed passions(
/&hippou1#un- can you standB0
In place o" 8o$itsu#a- ho had retreated to corner- <ono#a al#ed in
"ront o" 8a#u$a( 8hough she as still upset ith 8a#u$aAs rude display
toards 8atsuya- she asnAt going to abandon an underclass$an on the
ground because o" that( >ased on that point alone- one could tell that
<ono#a as "ar too #ind(
/IA$ "ineP0
8a#u$a si"tly scra$bled to his "eet( <is "ace as red because a girl he
as trying to dra to his ca$p had seen hi$ disco$"ited . that as ho
8a#u$a chose to !ie this(
/&hippou- I ha!e no inclination to play along ith you( 8o$itsu#a- i" you
ant to ha!e a $atch ith &hippou- it ould be best i" you spo#e ith
<attori "irst(0
/6hB 'h- youAre right(0
8o$itsu#aAs response started strong but "aded don the stretch( 8a#u$a
stared in sullen silence at 8atsuya(
/<ono#a- IA$ sorry- could I bother you to loc# the doorB0
/2" course- 8atsuya1#un(0
8atsuya as surrounded by an aura o" /donAt trouble $e any "urther0 as he
si"tly departed(
9ith only +iyu#i in to(
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%n"ortunately- 8atsuya asnAt able to escape so easily(
It as appro)i$ately 15 $inutes since <ono#a loc#ed the doors and
returned to the &tudent 7ouncil Eoo$( @ust as 8atsuya got to his "eet and
as about to head "or ho$e- the doorbell to the &tudent 7ouncil Eoo$
/IAll get it( Please co$e in(0
/6)cuse $e(0
'"ter ';usa used the re$ote to disengage the loc#- the one ho ca$e
through the door as the <ead o" the 7lub 'cti!ities =roup- <attori(
Eather than saying he had a bad "eeling- it as $ore appropriate to say
that 8atsuya as sure so$ething terrible as about to happen as he
straightened in his chair(
<ighly displeased- or $aybe ith a bitter scol- <attori al#ed toards
&itting at the des#- there as no hint o" trepidation "ro$ ';usaAs part- a
detail that surprised 8atsuya *uite a bit(
/Da#a:ou- this is !ery di""icult "or $e to say- or $aybe I should say this is
/<attori1#un- hat is the $atterB0
In ';usaAs shoes- that as all she could say(
/IA$ sorry- I need to re*uest another per$ission slip "or a $atch(0
/'gainPB 9ho is it this ti$eB0
%nder these circu$stances- the "act that <attori said nothing de"a$atory
about anyone as a testa$ent to his character(
't the !ery least- he had a better sense o" duty than 8atsuya- ho had
already "oreseen this possibility and had chosen to protect hi$sel" by not
reporting anything(
/ItAs 8o$itsu#a and &hippou(0
/&hippou1#un againHHB0
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8he deep creases in beteen <attoriAs bros indicated that he as o" the
sa$e senti$ent as ';usa(
/HHI "elt that there ere a "e proble$s ith his attitude hen he
re"used to :oin the &tudent 7ouncil( 8his ti$e is the sa$e and- to be
honest- I thin# that he needs a serious beating to help hi$ re"lect(0
+iyu#i and <ono#a both nodded at this- but <attori didnAt see the$(
/&till- itAs a sha$e about his talent( I "eel that i" he as :ust a little $ore
hu$ble- he could be capable o" great things(0
'gain- <attori $issed the !isual con!ersation beteen +iyu#i and
<ono#a that ent so$ething li#e this /9hat do you thin#B0 /%nli#ely0(
/I thin# that in order to ta#e hi$ don a notch- $a#ing hi$ su""er a little
ould be "ar $ore e""ecti!e than cheing hi$ out(0
/&o thatAs the reason behind this $atchHH 9ill 8o$itsu#a1#un be 2F as
the opponentB I" itAs "or that sort o" reason- ouldnAt &aa#i1#un or e!en
you yoursel"- <attori1#un- be a little betterB0
9ith Fatsuto- +ayu$i and +ari graduating- the strongest students on the
sur"ace at 5irst <igh turned into <attori and &aa#i( 3/8urned into0 as
:ust ho the students phrased it- as there as no eli$ination tourna$ent to
deter$ine this(4
/I considered teaching hi$ a lesson $ysel"- but 8o$itsu#a strongly
re*uested "or hi$ to do it( 8hus "ar- 8o$itsu#a has been responsible "or
training &hippou and he is de"initely $ore than capable o" doing this(
8hus- this ti$e I ant to hand it o!er to hi$(0
/Is this really going to be 2FB0
Isori had been sitting *uietly by listening to <attori up until no and lent
his support(
/8o$itsu#a1#un is !ery strong( @ust as <attori1#un said- he is de"initely
$ore than capable(0
2ing to the respecti!e specialties o" the to "a$ilies- there as a
substantial relationship beteen the 8o$itsu#a and Isori 5a$ilies( 8hough
their pri!ate relationship asnAt close- there as nothing strange about
Isori Fei #noing the li$its o" 8o$itsu#a <aganeAs $ight(
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/5urther$ore- 8o$itsu#a1#un has an earnest personality( 6!en under those
circu$stances- his personality didnAt beco$e tisted( I thin# that it is
unli#ely that there ould be an unelco$e result i" e alloed hi$ to
ha!e a $atch ith &hippou1#un(0
';usa #ne about this- hich as hy she easily accepted IsoriAs
/9hat day do you ant to re*uestB 8he school is about to close today so
thatAs out o" the *uestion(0
In response to ';usaAs *uestion- <attori had prepared an anser ahead o"
/8o days "ro$ no(0
/Is it 2F i" itAs not to$orroB0
/8hatAs because I donAt ant hi$ to use continuous battles as an e)cuse(
?ea!ing a day to prepare in beteen ould be better(0
/8o days "ro$ no ould be &aturday( IA$ not sure the practice roo$s
ill still be open a"ter schoolHH0
';usa said this as she opened up the screen regarding "acilities re*uests(
/'h- thereAs an opening at 3p$ in Practice Eoo$ ^3( 9ould one hour be
/7an you #eep to hours openB0
/<$M- no proble$(0
'lthough she as a little surprised at <attoriAs re*uest- ';usa still did as
he re*uested and co$pleted the scheduling re*uest(
/8hen- I ill grant the per$ission slip ahead o" ti$e(0
/&orry "or bothering you(0
<attori nodded to ';usa in than#s( ';usa snic#ered happily(
/HH9hatAs so "unnyB0
/I "eel that <attori1#un is beco$ing $ore li#e @uu$on:i1senpai(0
8o ';usa- this as undoubtedly praise( <oe!er- <attori personally "elt
that he and Fatsuto ere to entirely di""erent types o" people( 5ro$ his
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perspecti!e- this as li#e saying he as i$itating Fatsuto to help bridge
the gap beteen the to o" the$- so$ething that de"initely put hi$ in an
odd $ood(
't the entrance to the li!ing roo$- +iyu#i as atching her brother
sitting on the so"a a"ter he had changed into casual clothes ith orried
2n the ay ho$e "ro$ school- 8atsuya see$ed to be thin#ing about
so$ething( &till- this as :ust +iyu#iAs personal "eelings on the $atter as
8atsuyaAs attitude as no di""erent than usual( <e ould respond any ti$e
he as as#ed( Dot only ould he respond hen pro$pted- he also as#ed
+ina$i "or her thoughts on school li"e as ell as hether todayAs e!ents
ere circulating a$ong the Cear 1 students(
<oe!er- despite e!erything appearing to be nor$al- 8atsuya as
un*uestionably troubled by so$ething- +iyu#i sincerely belie!ed( 8his
as not hether she had obser!ation s#ills- but the idea that her brother
as troubled by so$ething as passed to her heart(
8his $ight be hat they call a heart1to1heart connection(
+iyu#i strongly "elt that this as a recent de!elop$ent( 't ti$es she "elt
li#e this as telepathy- and at other ti$es she didnAt( Do $atter hat the
truth behind this "eeling as- +iyu#i as o!er:oyed at this turnout( @ust
being able to "eel connected to her brotherAs heart "illed +iyu#i ith
5or +iyu#i- to be able to detect her brotherAs troubles as so$ething to be
cheer"ul about( <oe!er- precisely because o" this- +iyu#i paid e)tra heed
to hat 8atsuya as troubled about( &ince she #ne that her brother as
upset- there as no ay +iyu#i ould pretend to be obli!ious(
In the end- +iyu#i elected to as# hi$ directly( 6!en i" their hearts ere
connected- this asnAt telepathy- so there as no ay to read each otherAs
thoughts( Cet- e!en i" she did ha!e the poer o" telepathy- the idea o"
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reading her brotherAs thoughts as so preposterous to +iyu#i that she
ould ne!er do this( 6!en i" there as so$ething she could acco$plish
ith her poer- she could not ser!e as her brotherAs strength i" she did not
#no hat to do( 3's a side note- in the 21st century- research has pro!en
that telepathy can only read super"icial thoughts that had been con!erted
into ords(4
'"ter recei!ing her brotherAs per$ission- +iyu#i sat directly across "ro$
8atsuya and *uestioned 8atsuya ith a *uibbling e)pression on her "ace
3that she as unaare o"4(
/2nii1sa$a- is so$ething on your $indB0
6!en i" this as a direct stri#e- this sort o" *uestioning as probably a
little too direct( 6!en 8atsuya loo#ed at his sister ith a du$b"ounded
e)pression- though that $ight be precisely the reason hy he didnAt try to
$uddy the issue(
/IA$ :ust a little concerned about the circu$stances surrounding &hippou(0
/HH2nii1sa$a( I" you e!er "eel that youAre unable to "orgi!e his
insolence- please let $e #no(0
/9ait- ait- +iyu#i( ,onAt be so hasty(0
&eeing the $alicious glint "lashing in the depths o" +iyu#iAs eyes that
bordered on #illing intent- 8atsuya "rantically a!ed his hand le"t and
/8hough it is true that guysA attitude is !ery rude- I donAt $ind in the
slightest( 5urther$ore- hen it co$es to ta#ing attitude ith our elders-
IA$ in no position to say anything(0
/Dothing o" the sort( 2nii1sa$a is alays the $odel o" i$peccable
'lthough 8atsuya #ne that this sort o" response "ro$ +iyu#i as
practically re"le) no- he asnAt going to debate this point no(
/9hat concerns $e is hy &hippou is pushing hi$sel" so hard( Ee"using
to :oin the &tudent 7ouncil- tangling ith the &aegusa 5a$ily- e!en illing
to antagoni;e upperclass$en(0
/IsnAt this because he ne!er thin#s about anythingB0
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<earing his sisterAs "iery opinion- 8atsuya couldnAt help but laugh e!en
though he #ne that she as being serious(
/Do- that doesnAt appear to be the case( &hippou has a poer"ul dri!e to
ele!ate hi$sel"( &eeing hi$- I "eel that heAs not so$eone ho ould be
hung up about not being part o" the 8en +aster 7lans(0
/HH>ut i" thatAs the case then this doesnAt $a#e sense( Dor$ally- people
ould ant to get into the &tudent 7ouncil to "orge relationships(0
/I also thin# that ould be nor$al(0
+iyu#i see$ed to ha!e a re!elation as she co!ered a corner o" her $outh
ith one hand(
/8hen- do you $ean thereAs so$ething abnor$al in the bac#groundB Is
that hat 2nii1sa$a belie!esB0
/9ell- that $ay be the caseHH0
@ust as 8atsuya as hesitant about spea#ing- +ina$i stepped into the
li!ing roo$ acco$panied by a !erbali;ed /6)cuse $e0(
In her hands- she held a tray holding se!eral co""ee $ugs(
&eeing this- +iyu#i ore an /2h no0 e)pression( +iyu#i darted a
$ale!olent e)pression at +ina$i- but +ina$i naturally a!erted her ga;e
as i" she had not seen it(
/I brought the co""ee(0
/'h- than# you(0
8hough 8atsuya as aare o" the ongoing !isual hostilities- he $ade no
"oolish !enture to proacti!ely intercede on this sub:ect(
/8hatAs right- I also anted to hear +ina$iAs opinion on this( 7ould you
please ta#e a seatB0
8he reason 8atsuya said this as not because +ina$i as better than
+iyu#i at speculation(
+iyu#i had been too hea!ily in"luenced by 8atsuyaAs cogniti!e style( <er
perspecti!e on anything ould share 8atsuyaAs inclination on the sub:ect(
8atsuya highly regarded this as a $ethod to "ill in the gaps o" his on
analysis- but no he anted to hear the opinion "ro$ another perspecti!e(
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/Rery ell(0
,espite saying this- +ina$i "ailed to sit don and re$ained standing by
the table side( In her- 8atsuya sa a rigid adherence to pro"essionalis$- so
he didnAt aste any ti$e pressing the issue(
/+ina$i- hat is your i$pression o" &hippou 8a#u$aB0
/<e is a "oolish person ho is unable to discern his on orth(0
+ina$iAs reply contained no trace o" hesitation(
'cross "ro$ +ina$i- +iyu#i nodded her head ith enthusias$( &eeing
this "ro$ the corner o" his eye- 8atsuya re"lected that /he as#ed the
*uestion poorly0 and treated the ensuing headache as a $isconception 3not
that it as really a physical headache anyays4(
/L'nd the reason hy you thin# this isB0
8atsuya opted to listen to her rationale "irst(
In regards to this *uestion- +ina$i again $ade no hesitation be"ore
/<eAs li#e a $ad dog( <e bites hile co$pletely disregarding the
di""erence in his opponentAs strength or the sta#es( 8hat sort o" uni!ersal
attac#ing stance is al$ost li#e he belie!es that heAs the strongest or he
$ust be the strongest(0
+ina$i appeared to be *uite outraged ith 8a#u$a as she atypically
in!ested a lot o" ords to describe her opinion(
/+ust be the strongest- ehHH0
8hough he had no ay o" telling ho deeply +ina$i had thought o" this-
8atsuya "elt that her line o" thin#ing $ight une)pectedly be the right one(
/&o ho is the one responsible "or inciting hi$ soB0
8atsuyaAs *uestion as directed to neither +iyu#i nor +ina$i( 8his as
only to help organi;e his on thin#ing $uch li#e tal#ing to onesel"- but
+iyu#i $isunderstood hi$(
/InciteHH Is it the educational policy o" the &hippou 5a$ilyB ?i#e the
eldest son o" the &hippou 5a$ily $ust be stronger than anyoneHH 2r
so$ething li#e that(0
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&trictly spea#ing- +iyu#iAs hypothesis as $ore in line ith the CotsubaAs
$odus operandi( <oe!er- the three people present had so long been
i$$ersed in the Cotsuba doctrine that they re$ained unaare o" this
/Do- I heard ru$ors that the head o" the &hippou 5a$ily- &hippou 8a#u$i-
has a personality that is prudent enough to be called a little coardly( I"
this is the &hippou 5a$ilyAs policy- then e!en ignoring their true "eelings
"or the $o$ent- they should be a little $ore "ocused on sel"1preser!ation(0
/8atsuya 2nii1sa$a( I belie!e that rather than saying that &hippou 8a#u$a
has been incited onard- it $ay be $ore appropriate to say that this is the
result o" shoering hi$ ith "lattery(0
+iyu#i as the one ho reacted to +ina$iAs phrase(
/&o thereAs so$eone ho doesnAt share &hippou1#unAs interests and is
trying to use hi$B0
/I ha!enAt thought $uch on this le!elHH >ut I thin# hat +iyu#i 2nee1
sa$a said is correct(0
De)t to here +iyu#i as nodding in agree$ent ith +ina$iAs ords-
8atsuya also nodded internally( ' crueler ay o" assessing 8a#u$a as
that he as being played "or a "ool( 8hat as the sentence that ca$e "ro$
8atsuyaAs heart hen he thought about the series o" e!ents 8a#u$a
/,e"initely so$ething to be concerned about( &o hat is their goalHH
+aybe e should in!estigateB0
/'re you going to as# senseiB0
+iyu#i as#ed i" they ere going to call on Ca#u$o- then-
/Deed to send a line to Furoba1sa$aB0
+ina$i proposed acti!ating the Furoba-
8o hich 8atsuya shoo# his head to both ideas(
/I do not ant to bother sensei o!er such a !ague topic- nor can e as# "or
2ba1sa$aAs assistance( 8hat being said- going solo isHH0
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8atsuya shoo# his head as i" to dispel the cobebs(
/?ea!ing hi$ alone gi!es $e a bad pre$onitionHH 8hereAs nothing I can
do- e can only ait and see "or the $o$ent(0
8hough this as a !ery passi!e conclusion- 8atsuya could not thin# o" any
other alternati!e( I" an act o" !iolence occurred in "ront o" hi$ then he
alone ould be su""icient to handle it- but in!estigations re*uired ti$e and
$anpoer( 8his as another case altogether ith a hac#er o" &anada or
5u:ibayashiAs s#ills- but right no he did not possess such abilities(
8atsuya honestly decided to gi!e up- butHH
8he god 3de!ilB4 o" trouble appeared to ha!e chosen hi$ to be their herald(
@ust as 8atsuya "inished his co""ee and rose to his "eet- the telephone rang(
7hec#ing the caller I, displayed on the $onitor- 8atsuya "urroed his
eyebros in surprise( 8he one ho called as 5u:ibayashi Fyou#o(
/<ello- this is &hiba(0
7ooperating ith his response- the $onitor in the li!ing roo$ began to
"unction li#e !ideo call in action(
/8atsuya1#un- good e!ening( It shouldnAt be ti$e "or dinner yet( ,o you
ha!e ti$e to tal# right noB0
/Ces- thatAs no proble$(0
's he replied bac#- 8atsuya signaled toards the other to ne)t to hi$(
/'h- both +iyu#i and +ina$i1chan are elco$e to listen in(0
8hat as nor$ally the signal "or the to o" the$ to lea!e- but 5u:ibayashi
acted "irst to ha!e the$ stay( 9as she trying to drag the to o" the$ in-
8atsuyaAs $ight be o!erthin#ing this- but he as alar$ed at ho
#noledgeable 5u:ibayashiAs tone as hen tal#ing about +ina$i(
/In reality- this is in regards to the ruc#us caused by the eldest son o" the
&hippou 5a$ily today(0
/Please ait a $o$ent(0
8atsuya interrupted 5u:ibayashi $id1sentence( 8he i$portant nes she as
tal#ing about as not so$ething that he could :ust honestly accept "ro$
her ithout *uestioning(
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/<o do you #no about thisB %nli#e the selection "or the Dine &chools
7o$petition- this asnAt publici;ed at all( ,onAt tell $e you sent an agent
to in"iltrate 5irst <ighB0
<earing 8atsuyaAs *uestion- 5u:ibayashiAs e)pression as that o" so$eone
trying hard not to laugh(
/?oo#s li#e I should gi!e her a reard( '"ter all- 8atsuya1#un hasnAt
noticed that heAs under obser!ation(0
/2bser!ing $e- ehHH0
8atsuya ore a slightly dar#ened e)pression as he as#ed this(
/<$M- actually a little di""erent( Dot obser!ing you- but obser!ing the
people around you( ?oo#s li#e she has "aith"ully adhered to the orders not
to obser!e you or +iyu#i( 8hatAs probably hy she has escaped 8atsuya1
#unAs notice until no(0
/9hyHH Do- because IA$ a &trategic1class +agician- rightB0
/9hy o" course- isnAt that ob!iousB <o could the $ilitary :ust lea!e a
&trategic1class +agician all de"enseless li#e thatB0
7o$pletely "ree o" guilt- 5u:ibayashi readily ad$itted to chec#ing in on
/?etAs :ust assu$e I as#ed ho it is(0
/2" course- thereAs no ay I can tell you(0
8atsuya sighed and ga!e up pursuing this sub:ect( 2riginally- 8atsuya
asnAt e)actly a $e$ber o" the Independent +agic16*uipped >attalion
ith no strings attached( In addition- regardless o" hether they ere
co$panions- he could understand the logic behind ta#ing heed o" a
&trategic1class +agicianAs $o!e$ents(
/I understandHH &o- hat about &hippouB0
&eeing 8atsuya setting aside this con!ersation and earing an e)pression
as i" the con!ersation up to this point had ne!er happened- 5u:ibayashi
adopted the sa$e e)pression she ore hen this phone call began(
/IA$ :ust thin#ing- you ouldnAt happen to ant to #no hoAs their
support- ould youB0
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@ust as be"ore- she said a phrase that hinted that she o!erheard e!erything
8atsuya and co$pany had :ust been discussing(
/H(((9hy ould you thin# thatB0
<oe!er- e!en against 5u:ibayashi- 8atsuya asnAt so la) that he $issed
the bugs planted in his on house( 'nd e!en i" his house had been tapped-
5u:ibayashi and her co$$ander ouldnAt be so stupid as to allo 8atsuya
to catch ind o" this(
8he &hippou 5a$ily as one o" the 18 replace$ent "a$ilies that supported
the 8en +aster 7lans( 8here as so$eone out there hea!ily in"luencing
the son ho ould be inheriting that "a$ily( 8hat e)istence as an
unstable ele$ent that could not be ignored by the Independent +agic1
6*uipped >attalion that sa $agic as a critical ele$ent in national
de"ense( 'lternately- they had already obtained detailed in"or$ation(
In regards to 8atsuyaAs *uestion- she ga!e o" the to ansers he as
/>ecause I a$ interested(0
<oe!er- accepting this anser literally as *uite dangerous( 8his as not
entirely a lie- but at the sa$e- it as not the entire truth(
/8hen- ant to go loo#ing ith $eB I :ust anted to propose that(0
&till- her proposal as e)actly hat he as loo#ing "or(
/&peci"ically spea#ing- hat do I doB0
/?ea!e obser!ing his delling to $e( I as hoping 8atsuya1#un could pay
a !isit to &hippou1#unAs supporter(0
/I as actually hoping you ould $a#e that arrange$entHH >ut hyB0
/>ecause based on our :urisdiction- e should not be inter"ering ith
a""airs ithin the nation( I" itAs 8atsuya1#un- then canAt you use the e)cuse
o" an upperclass$an at school acting out o" concern "or an underclass$anB
<oe!er- e!en under those circu$stances- itAs not li#e e can as# a
student to do so$ething dangerous li#e that(0
>ut IA$ 2FPB ' retort li#e that ne!er $ateriali;ed in 8atsuyaAs $ind(
/I understand( I" thatAs the case please allo $e to o""er $y ser!ices(0
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/I ill contact you i$$ediately i" e detect any $o!e$ent( 8hen +iyu#i-
based on the abo!e con!ersation- I ill be borroing 8atsuya "or a little
<earing +iyu#iAs "labbergasted con"ir$ation- 5u:ibayashi said her
goodbyes to +ina$i as she hung up the phone(
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Chapter 15
/9ho betrayed usHHB0
Shou =ong:in "urroed his delicate eyebros and s#i$$ed o!er the
report that as auto$atically changing pages( 7reases ere appearing
beteen his eyebros( It as !ery rare "or hi$ to display his displeasure
to this degree(
@ust no- the date had changed "ro$ 'pril 26th to 'pril 27th( <oe!er-
this as beneath his notice right no( 8his shoed ho intently Shou
=ong:in as studying the report in his hands(
Shou =ong:in halted the scrolling and li"ted his ga;e "ro$ the in"or$ation
ter$inal( '"ter lightly letting out a breath- he reached "or the ine glass on
the table(
8his as already the third ti$e he re!ieed this report and "ailed to "ind
any errors in its contents( 'lthough he didnAt sincerely thin# that anything
as rong in the report- he needed to call on the assistance o" a little
alcohol to dispel the e)haustion brought on through a reneed !eri"ication
o" this unpleasant business(
8his report as an in!estigation report regarding the progression o" public
opinion( 9ithin- there ere the results o" using illegal $ethods to
in"luence the i$pression non1+agicians held in regards to +agicians(
8he report- *uite the thic# stac# o" papers i" printed- displayed the rise in
negati!e attitudes toards +agicians since the end o" the pre!ious year(
8he situation had noticeably orsened in the current $onth- a clear sign
that his or# on the $edia as reaping reards(
Cet- this result "ailed to hit the e)pected para$eters and clearly "ell short o"
the le!el in his calculations( It as true that 5irst <ighAs sel"1de$onstrati!e
actions played an une)pected role in this- but that degree o" irregularity
should not ha!e caused the de!iation beteen the pro:ected and real
/6!en i" e "actored in Eo;enAs inter!ention that still doesnAt e)plain
thisHH 's e)pected- so the reason is because there are publicity
progra$s that ha!e not "olloed our directi!es(0
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2n the screen- he opened the daily totals "or criticis$s le!eled at
+agicians by !arious nes sources( 8here- it as clear that not all had
"olloed orders( In other ords- a$ong the tele!ised nes industries
responsible "or pushing the agenda that naturally included tele!ision- there
ere opponents ho bro#e the agree$ent(
/8o thin# they ould do so$ething so "oolish li#e brea#ing our
contractHH Riolence does not align ith $y interests- butHH0
Shou only engaged in dealings on the blac# $ar#et- here no legally
binding contracts e)isted( 8hat as hy he had to personally ensure that
contractual obligations ere "ul"illed( 6!en i" it as only a !erbal
agree$ent- no- precisely because it as a !erbal agree$ent- he needed to
e$ploy a "e tric#s o" his on . rearding those ho upheld their end o"
the bargain and punishing those ho did not(
/&pea#ing o" hich- e ha!e already entertained the cousins o" +r( &unAs
nephe "or hal" a year noHH ItAs about ti$e to as# hi$ to do a "e
things "or us(0
's "or the traitorsA punish$ent- Shou elected to as# a "riend to lend his
0riday, April 2+th$ 8oday- 8a#u$a as absent "ro$ school(
<e as still this yearAs ne student representati!e- thus $a#ing hi$ *uite
a "a$ous person a$ong the Cear 1 students( +any o" his peers had heard
about the incident that happened yesterday( 9ith hi$ absent the second
day- all sorts o" ru$ors "le through the "loors o" the Cear 1 students(
11<e huddled don at ho$e a"ter losing to the &aegusa siblings(
11Do- no- heAs huddled at ho$e because he as censured by the
119hile in:ured- the shoc# o" the de"eat caused hi$ to shut hi$sel" at
11<e on the $atch but had to ta#e responsibility "or causing the ruc#us-
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so he chose to stay at ho$e to re"lect on his actions(
11In the end- he as sent ho$e to "or sel"1re"lection as punish$ent- and
no heAs ho$e plotting his !engeance(
'$ong the ru$ors- the negati!e ones ere in the $a:ority- but so$e o"
the$ s#irted close to the truth(
/8atsuya 2nii1sa$a( 8a#u$a is also absent today(0
In light o" this- a"ter recei!ing +ina$iAs "aith"ul report !ia e1$ail about
this- 8atsuya correctly sur$ised the reason behind this(
8he truth o" the $atter and not the ru$or as that 8a#u$a had not been
sent ho$e to re"lect as punish$ent( 8he 3supposedly4 correct portion o" the
ru$ors as that he as going to ha!e a $atch ith an upperclass$an(
Fnon as $agic e)clusi!e to the &hippou 5a$ily- +illion 6dge as a
<erd 7ontrol +agic that could be acti!ated ithout a 7',( In essence-
"ro$ the !ery beginning- the $agic as a delayed se*uence set in a state
:ust short o" acti!ating and hich used the casterAs psions as #eys to
unloc# in!ocation( &etting aside the di""iculty o" <erd 7ontrol "or the
$o$ent- the concept o" using delayed $agic to bypass the 7', process
as not a rare pheno$enon( 5or e)a$ple- the /+agic >ullet 8athlu$0
ielded by the Fennedy 5a$ily in 6ngland as a $agic "ounded on the
sa$e principles(
+illion 6dgeAs uni*ueness lay in the $ethods in!ol!ed in creating the
delayed state( @ust short o" acti!ating- the techni*ue as recorded don as
't "irst glance- this as the sa$e $ethod as replication techni*ues- but
replication techni*ues re*uired psions to "lo into the incantations be"ore
constructing the +agic &e*uence to achie!e pheno$enon alteration( In
co$parison to that- the &hippou 5a$ilyAs $agic as a conditionally
acti!ated delayed se*uence that did not re*uire a +agic &e*uence( 9hen
"acing an ene$y- there as no need to allot ti$e toards that process(
2n the other hand- this re*uired that the $agicAs delayed se*uence be
recorded ahead o" ti$e( Eeplication only re*uired the necessary
in"or$ation to construct the +agic &e*uence- so e!en a $achine could
record the incantation( 8hat as because it inherently shared the sa$e
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properties as a 7', recording the 'cti!ation &e*uence(
In addition- this record ould be discarded a"ter use( 8hat as only natural
gi!en that it as a $agic held prior to its in!ocation being released- hich
"unda$entally di""ered ith the /repeatedly usable $agic record0 that
8atsuya sought( In short- +illion 6dge as a sort o" $agic that re*uired
intense a$ount o" preparation be"orehand(
In order to prepare "or to$orro- 8a#u$a should be hard at or#
preparing the acti!ating $ediu$ "or +illion 6dge( &ince he as planning
on inning the $atch to$orro- he couldnAt be bla$ed "or not co$ing to
school today(
&pea#ing o" hich- the reason hy +ina$i passed along 8a#u$aAs
$o!e$ents as because 8atsuya had elected to :oin the in!estigation
regarding 8a#u$aAs supporters in the shados( +ina$i as concerned
that hile 8atsuya as tied don during school- 8a#u$a could be $a#ing
contact ith his supporters- but 8atsuya belie!ed otherise( 8oday as
5riday( 8his as a ti$e that e!en teenagers ho ere not $agic high
school students should be attending class( 6!en i" he as not caught-
andering about on the streets ould be a"ully conspicuous(
3&upposedly4 Plotting so$ething ne"arious- 8a#u$a ould probably pre"er
to re$ain beneath the radar( 8atsuya belie!ed that any contact ith his
shadoy support ould be during the night( +ore i$portantly-
5u:ibayashiAs cre that as $onitoring the situation ould naturally
contact the$ about any $o!e$ents(
8hus- until night "ell- 8atsuya played the part o" the high school student
intent on his studies(
/8he reprisal target is &aa$ura Coshio( <e is the 762 o" 7ulture
7o$$unication Detor#- or 7ulture Det "or short(0
Shou spo#e to the young $an sitting on the other side o" the table- Eobert
&un- as he put a leather brie"case on the table(
Eobert opened the lid o" the brie"case( Inside- he "ound an auto$atic
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pistol- a large dagger- plastic e)plosi!es ith a ireless detonator- and a
bron;e ring(
/Cou ant $e to ta#e care o" that $anB0
In response to EobertAs e$otionless *uestion- Shou rue"ully s$iled and
shoo# his head(
/8hat as the original plan- but un"ortunately &aa$ura Coshio is in Paris
on business(0
's he said this- Shou handed a large- paperbound noteboo# to Eobert(
Eobert "lipped through the rarely seen paperbound noteboo# at ill( 8here-
a picture o" a young o$an along ith her Personal ,ata ere "ound(
/&o you pic#ed the daughter as the substitute(0
/I thin# that ill send the proper $essage across(0
Pah- Eobert closed the paperbound noteboo# and turned his eyes bac# to
the brie"case( <is ga;e as "i)ated on the bron;e 'ntinite the ring as
"orged ith(
/,oes she ha!e +agicians as bodyguardsB0
/9ouldnAt call hi$ a bodyguard- but so$eone usually by her side( &till a
child- but heAs so$eone "ro$ the 18 Eeplace$ent 5a$ilies(0
/Is that soB0
EobertAs $outh turned into a !icious s$ir#(
/+agicians created by the @apanese $ilitaryHH0
&trictly spea#ing- EobertAs understanding here as "aulty( 8he 8en +aster
7lans and the 18 Eeplace$ent 5a$ilies included ithin the 28 "a$ilies
ere all +agicians created by the +agician ,e!elop$ent Eesearch ?abs
and not actually created by the $ilitary( <oe!er- Shou had no plans to
correct such a tri!ial detail( 5or Eobert- +agicians "ro$ the @apanese
$ilitary oed his "a$ily a debt in blood( Shou asnAt "oolish enough to
dash the $anAs rarely "ound- but burning- $oti!ation(
/8he preparations are detailed ithin( 8hough I can only pro!ide rings "or
to- "irear$s and #ni!es can be "ound "or any nu$ber(0
/8hatAs enough( ?ea!e it to $e(0
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Shou =ong:in s$iled idely as he atched Eobert &un stand up ith
cellphone- brie"case- and notepad(
'"ter returning ho$e- 8atsuya as engaged in a rare study session hen
he loo#ed toards the ringing alar$ cloc# on the corner o" his des#( 8hat
as 5u:ibayashiAs signal( 9hile he had not heard "ro$ her ho she as
obser!ing the target- gi!en that the Independent +agic16*uipped >attalion
as perpetually short on $en- $anpoer as not a li#ely solution( +ore
li#ely than not- she had in!aded the personal identi"ication progra$ ithin
the &treet 2bser!ation &yste$ and as atching "or 8a#u$a to lea!e( I"
so- he as an acco$plice to illegal use o" public progra$s to in!ade
pri!acy- but 8atsuya "elt no guilt hatsoe!er( It asnAt li#e they ere
pee#ing in on the household- 8atsuya rationali;ed(
Eather than setting $orals aside- it ould be $ore appropriate to say that
sort o" "eeling ne!er registered ith 8atsuya as he stood "ro$ his chair( 2"
course- this as in order to rende;!ous ith 5u:ibayashi( '"ter lea!ing
+iyu#i and +ina$i to atch the house and gi!ing strict orders "or the$
not to "ollo- 8atsuya got onto his belo!ed electric $otorcycle(
>e"ore the eyes o" 8atsuya and co$pany- 8a#u$aAs silhouette !anished
into a $ediu$ si;ed building "illed ith upper class condo$iniu$s( <e
re$ained unaare that he as being "olloed( 't the !ery least- he too#
heed to a!oid being tailed- but his ability to detect hidden presences as
*uite ra(
/?oo#s li#e the head o" the &hippou 5a$ily chose not to send his son
through $ilitary training(0
/9e $ight call it $ilitary- but it really only co!ers training "or intelligence
operati!es( &pea#ing o" hich- hy is 7aptain &anada here ith
?ieutenant 5u:ibayashiB0
8atsuya par#ed the $otorcycle at the train station and as currently sitting
in the bac# seat o" a large li$ousine here they ere obser!ing 8a#u$a
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enter the apart$ent( De)t to hi$- 5u:ibayashi had an in"or$ation ter$inal
the si;e o" a s$all calculator on her lap hile &anada as in the dri!erAs
seat $anipulating the large touchpad(
/8alented but on rotten "ooting ith the 8en +aster 7lans( 9ouldnAt he be
a per"ect "it in our unitB0
&anada turned his head "ro$ the dri!erAs seat to anser( &o$ehat
surprised- 8atsuya raised an eyebro(
/'re you planning on in!iting that guy into the Independent +agic1
6*uipped >attalionB0
/'ra- is 8atsuya1#un against itB I" you donAt li#e &hippou1#un- then I guess
e ill :ust ha!e to abandon that idea(0
8atsuya scoled in irritation at 5u:ibayashiAs ords(
/9hat is thisB CouAre tal#ing li#e I ha!e the poer to decide that(0
/'"ter all- /&pecial ?ieutenant 2guro Eyuga0 boasts the greatest "irepoer
ithin our unit( 9e can hardly a""ord to ruin your $ood(0
8his as o" course a :o#e on 5u:ibayashiAs part( &till- getting upset here
ould get hi$ nohere- 8atsuyaAs instincts told hi$(
/HHItAs not li#e I disli#e &hippou( &o long as he does not cause trouble- I
do not care hat he does( 8hose are $y "eelings on the $atter(0
/&o- youAre not the type ho is interested in "ostering disagree$entsB0
8atsuya ignored 5u:ibayashiAs $eaningless inter:ection(
/HH&o hy did you lend your assistance "or this in!estigationB0
8a#ing o!er "or 5u:ibayashi- &anadaAs *uestion as per"ectly legiti$ate- so
this ti$e 8atsuya bro#e his silence(
/I" the ones behind hi$ are si$ilar to the guys "ro$ >lanche "ro$ be"ore-
then e!en settling &hippou ould only cause another proble$ child to
<al"ay through 8atsuyaAs ords- 5u:ibayashi burst into laughter( &he as
probably thin#ing /ho is the real proble$ child hereB0 . 8atsuya didnAt
$ind that o!erly $uch(
/I see( &hippou1#un being naughty ould actually be ithin acceptable
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para$eters- but a second- third- or "ourth ould be de:ecting(0
/+aybe not de:ectingHH >ut thatAs ho it is(0
8he !oice that 8atsuya used to anser &anada see$ed to be laced ith
/'h- loo#s li#e theyAre starting to tal#- ant to listen inB0
5u:ibayashi as#ed 8atsuya ith headphones o!er one ear( It appeared that
the $onitoring de!ice planted on 8a#u$a as beginning to catch his
con!ersation ith his /partner in the shados0(
3Pretending to be a passerby- 5u:ibayashi planted the $onitoring de!ice on
8a#u$a as she al#ed by hi$(4
/Ceah- please do(0
<earing 8atsuyaAs response- 5u:ibayashi laughed in delight as she sitched
the !olu$e o!er to the carAs spea#ers(
In general- 8a#u$a usually ore a displeased e)pression( 't least in
&aa$ura +a#iAs eyes- 8a#u$a as :ust that sort o" young $an( 6!en
hen he as tal#ing about ta#ing the top score on the entrance e)a$ and
beco$ing the ne student representati!e- he ne!er ore an e)pression o"
so$eone in a /good $ood0(
<oe!er- today his $ood as e!en orse than usual( 'lthough he as
trying to adopt his usual e)pression- +a#i sa right through hi$( 8here
as no ay he could "ool a pro"essional actress trained to "a#e
e)pressions- not to $ention this as +a#i- ho- along ith her natural
beauty- as also ^1 a$ong ne actors "or her /"ace0 that could act out
e!ery e$otion possible on the sil!er screen(
/8a#u$a( I ha!enAt dined yet today( 9ould you li#e to acco$pany $eB0
I" they cut right to the chase- she ould probably ha!e to listen to hi$
co$plain until he had !ented all his "rustration( 't present- +a#i planned
to use /dinner0 as the $eans to buy so$e ti$e "or hi$ to cool don(
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/'t this hourB 9ouldnAt that har$ your appearanceB0
/8hatAs hy it ill only be a light one( ItAs al$ost done- so IAll go get it
+a#i $entally aarded 8a#u$a bonus points "or not saying so$ething
i$polite li#e /get "at0 and al#ed toards the dining roo$(
&he brought so$e snac#s ith thinly cut strips o" bread ith ha$- sal$on-
to$atoes- and a!ocados on top( 8he $eal certainly loo#ed light- but there
as no guarantee that the calories ere also light(
8a#u$a had already eaten dinner- but he still too# part in the snac#s +a#i
$ade ithout hesitation( <e as still at a groing age- so there ere no
orries about any disposition toards groing chubby(
5or the ne)t "i!e $inutes or so- 8a#u$aAs $outh as engaged in eating
and drin#ing( In order to sallo the slightly salty snac#s- 8a#u$a as
greedily consu$ing :uice that he as unaare as tinged ith alcohol(
Dor did he notice the $inute a$ount o" seet ine added into the snac#s
9hen the /light $eal0 on the plates had :ust about been cleaned aside by
8a#u$a- +a#i used the !oice o" an /openhearted older sister0 to stri#e a
con!ersation ith 8a#u$a( 3's a side note- this as hen 5u:ibayashi
sitched o!er to the spea#ers(4
Dor$ally unilling to re!eal his ea#er side- 8a#u$a as particularly
chatty tonight "or so$e un#non reason(
/HH&o- thatAs hat happened( 8a#u$a- you $ust "eel li#e that as a lost
+a#iAs $elodious !oice ould ha!e caused any "an to soon as she
co$"orted 8a#u$a( Eight no- she as sitting ne)t to 8a#u$a on the 3
person so"a as she laid a hand on his shoulder hile scooting her "ace ne)t
to his hile they ere spea#ing(
/5orget lost opportunityP 8hat as an un"air outco$e "ro$ the !ery startP
I" that continued- $y !ictory as guaranteedP0
&ince beginning to spea#- 8a#u$a had already repeated this se!eral ti$es-
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but +a#i hung around ithout any sign o" irritation(
/9hy o" course- 8a#u$a( In reality- you ere the one ho on( Cou
should ha!e on the respect and accolade that goes to the !ictor( 8he "act
this as not so as si$ply because you ere unluc#y(0
/Indeed( 'lthough so$e people say that luc# is also a talent- they are
rong( 8hose ith true strength ill ulti$ately pre!ail regardless o" luc#(
<oe!er- a tiny $atch li#e this is !ery $uch sub:ect to luc#( 8here ere
also a "e ti$es here I unluc#ily got handed the poor roles(0
+a#i #ept one hand on 8a#u$aAs shoulder hile her other as laid on top
o" 8a#u$aAs "ingers(
&o"t "lesh gently caressed 8a#u$aAs s#in hile the scent o" honey
sti$ulated his sense o" s$ell(
/&o thatAs hy youAll be "ine- 8a#u$a( Cesterday as :ust bad luc# "or
you( &uch a s$all de"eat ill not i$pact your "uture(0
,espite repeating these ords $ultiple ti$es- 8a#u$a "inally e)hibited a
di""erent reaction( +entally sighing in relie"- +a#i "elt that she only
needed one $ore gentle push(
/2" course( &o you need to get bac# on your "eet(0
+a#i dre 8a#u$aAs hand to her on #nee( 'lthough seduction as
against her principles- seeing 8a#u$a so ea# li#e this roused +a#iAs
teasing side(
8a#u$aAs hand gradually slid "ro$ +a#iAs #nee to her thigh- all according
to +a#iAs plan( &he ore a loose gon that opened "ro$ the "ront( 8hough
the slee!es ere long- her boso$ as ide open as the "abric as thin
enough to allo hints o" "lesh to pee# through( 8hrough the dress- the "eel
o" +a#iAs "lesh as trans"erred to 8a#u$aAs hand- "urther chipping aay at
his sel"1control that as already unra!eling due to the alcohol that loered
8a#u$a "lung aside +a#iAs hand and retracted the hand on her thigh(
In the ne)t instant- his hands grabbed +a#iAs shoulders(
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+a#i only $ade to#en resistance to the strength that as pushing her
/'ra ara- no e ha!e a sho(0
In response to the plainly interested 5u:ibayashi- the "labbergasted loo#
8atsuya sent her ay . "ailed to happen( <e as neither du$b"ounded by
her beha!ior nor did he send a condescending loo# her ay( &pea#ing o"
hich- 8atsuya ore a co$pletely uninterested loo# that as a "ar cry
"ro$ blushing ith e)cite$ent(
/8his $ight be a good opportunity(0
's he listened to the sonorous !oice co$ing across the $onitoring de!ice-
8atsuya spo#e in a chilling tone(
/<$- did you thin# o" a ploy o" so$e sortB0
9ith a highly entertained loo# on her "ace- 5u:ibayashi as#ed 8atsuya ith
deep interest(
/Eecently- hasnAt the $edia been in an uproar about an actress soliciting a
younger $anB0
8atsuya spo#e in the ob:ecti!e tone he nor$ally used(
5u:ibayashiAs s$ile "inally turned a little sti""(
/2n occasion- e should use the $edia to our ad!antage(0
/HH7anAt belie!e you ere able to i$$ediately $a#e that sort o"
&anada could de!ise the $ost !icious traps hen it ca$e don to his on
techni*ues- but here his e)pression see$ed to spas$ as he e)pressed his
on "eelings( &till- he placed e$phasis on the ord /i$$ediately0- so he
probably ould ha!e co$e up ith this idea gi!en su""icient ti$e(
/'ctually alloing hi$ to go through ith that ould da$age the schoolAs
i$age and $ay not be useable as a bargaining chip- so letAs act hile this
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is still in the real$ o" atte$pted(0
De!er "altering e!en in the "ace o" 5u:ibayashi and &anadaAs reactions-
8atsuya lightly $ade this proposal(
'"ter being pressed into the so"a by 8a#u$a- +a#i cal$ly obser!ed hi$
"ro$ this position( 8he delighted e)pression she ore asnAt entirely
"eigned( 8hough still less than 8a#u$a- the alcohol in her on body had
also dulled the bra#es o" logic( <oe!er- e!en though her eyes ere
slightly drun#- she as still soberly sur!eying the da;ed young $an
pressing don on top o" her( +a#i had long since de!eloped the s#ill to
separate her bodyAs "eelings ith her $ental e)hilaration(
8hus +a#i noticed the oddity e!en i" 8a#u$a re$ained obli!ious( 8he
screen door leading to the porch opened ith a slight sound( Deedless to
say- the door as clearly loc#ed but had no been pried open( >e"ore all
that- the porch as protected ith a security syste$ that had the greatest
"irepoer per$issible ithin the boundaries o" the la- but had apparently
been penetrated(
8here as no sound o" the alar$ going o""( 8he bodyguards ere
co$pletely unaare(
/<elpP 8hie"P0
,eeply regretting her o!erreliance on the security syste$- +a#i screa$ed
as she pushed 8a#u$a aside(
Eolling on the "loor- 8a#u$a reacted to her cries(
<e loo#ed in the direction that +a#i as atching a"ter "rantically getting
to her "eet( <oe!er- "aster than he could identi"y the thie"- his "ace as
sub:ected to light contact( >y the ti$e he recogni;ed that so$eone had
thron so$ething at hi$- the irresistible +orpheus stole o!er 8a#u$a as
he once $ore "ell to the "loor(
2ing to a burst o" an)iety- her slee!e co!ered the corner o" her $outh-
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causing the despairing cry to beco$e $u""led( &he as !ery clear as to
hy 8a#u$a "ell unconscious( 8hat as a tric# o" "il$$a#ing- and she had
seen the real deal hile inspecting the props( 8he ite$ that struc# 8a#u$a
on the "ace as a so"t ball soa#ed in highly e""ecti!e sleeping $edication(
8he duration o" the $edicine as !ery short- but that being said- he ould
be co$pletely out o" it "or the ne)t 5 to 10 $inutes(
8rying to #eep a lid on her terror- +a#i loo#ed toards the porch( 8he
screen door and indo had already been closed( >e"ore the door stood a
"igure earing a blac# $as# dressed entirely in dar#ness as he or she as
"olding up the ings attached to their bac#( . 8hat silhouette as
practically straight out o" the old "il$s that used a bat as an inspiration( I"
only the $as# had had /ears0 on top o" it then it ould ha!e loo#ed
e)actly li#e it( In "act- this garb as $ade "ro$ the ca$ou"lage $aterial
that absorbed electric a!es- but o" course +a#i didnAt #no that(
/+ilady- are you alrightPB0
Do the to bodyguards burst into the li!ing roo$( 8his as precisely
hen the stranger dropped the "olded ings to the "loor( 9ithout !eri"ying
the strangerAs posture- the to "e$ale guards sa hi$ as a burglar and
rushed hi$(
+aybe this as all because only one ball soa#ed in sleeping $edicine had
been prepared( 8he thie" in blac# ne!er $o!ed "ro$ their location and $et
the charge( 8he bodyguards held police batons used "or indoors co$bat(
8hese ere not si$ple rods- as police batons had handles $ade o" elastic
$aterial and the sharp end rapped in plastic had increased eight so the
eapon could be used li#e a club or short rods(
8he stranger easily caught the bodyguardsA donard blo o" the police
baton( 9ithout using the ar$- the stranger used a glo!e1co!ered hand(
2ne diagonal step aay- the other bodyguard had to loop around to the
indo in order to a!oid obstructing the "irst one and as no in a
position here only one o" her to police batons could attac#( In that case-
only one eapon as in position to be a threat( 7atching that baton ould
i$$ediately restrict their $o!e$ent- so he sung his "ist toards the
bodyguard ho could not escape(
8he "e$ale bodyguard as sent "lying(
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&eeing the "ighting poer o" so$eone on an entirely di""erent le!el- the
other "e$ale bodyguard couldnAt help but sha#e a little(
>ut the stranger as utterly $erciless(
<e once again sung a blac# "ist(
9ithout being able to a!enge hersel"- +a#iAs bodyguard as neutrali;ed(
&tanding be"ore +a#i- ho as so terri"ied that she couldnAt sit up
straight- the stranger spo#e in a !oice that +a#i "elt she had heard be"ore(
/,o arrange your attire(0
It as only a"ter he said this that +a#i re$e$bered she as partially
unclothed( 8he dress had been pulled don so only the slee!es ere
unhelp"ully co!ering her body( 8han#"ully her underclothes ere still
playing their part- but traces o" her earlier acti!ities could be seen all o!er
her e)posed "lesh(
/'h- $ind i" I co!er $ysel"B0
+a#i put in all o" her e""orts to #eep her body "ro$ sha#ing and put on a
per"or$ance "ro$ early in her career that garnered ra!e re!ies "ro$ her
producer regarding her /grace"ul poise(0 I" the stranger be"ore her as a
young $an li#e she i$agined- he ould ha!e pounced on her i$$ediately(
'lthough she had no idea hat he as here "or- so long as they de!eloped
that sort o" relationship then she had the upper hand(
Cet- all o" her plans ere stu$ped at the !ery "irst step( Day- she couldnAt
e!en reach the "irst step(
/2" course( 6h- i" you "eel that youAre "ine as you are- I donAt care in the
+a#i "elt li#e so$eone doused her in cold ater( 8he da$age to her pride
caused a cold "ury to press don her "ear( &he arranged her clothing ith
an enraged loo# on her "ace(
/HH8hatAs better( &pea#ing o" hich- ho long are you planning to ear
that thingB It doesnAt suit you at all- &hiba 8atsuya1#un(0
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8he ite$ +a#i spo#e o" hen she used a tone that arned 8atsuya not to
ta#e her "or a "ool as the blac# $as# he ore hile posing as >at$an .
that as actually a nely de!eloped hel$et $ade o" so"t $aterials(
<oe!er- the part she really anted to drop as the /&hiba 8atsuya1#un0
portion( In other ords- /I #no your real identity0- e)cept that +a#i as
cogni;ant o" the "act that e!en hidden beneath the $as#- 8atsuyaAs
e)pression didnAt "linch at all( +ore li#e he as doing this to let her #no(
/8hen let us begin negotiating(0
8atsuya ignored +a#iAs pro!ocation as i" it as per"ectly natural(
/DegotiateB 8o hat endB0
+a#i did not insist on respect due to her( Eight no- she as "ir$ly
standing in the ea#er corner( >ased on the earlier scene- !iolence as out
o" the *uestion and "e$inine iles had no e""ect( +a#i #ne that her
options ere li$ited(
/5irst- please listen to this(0
+a#i as a little uneasy hen his choice o" ords beca$e polite(
<oe!er- that thought "led "ro$ her $ind hen she heard the !oices
e$itting "ro$ the in"or$ation ter$inal in 8atsuyaAs hand(
8hose ere the !oices o" her and 8a#u$a as they ere entined on the
/Cou ere ea!esdroppingPB Cou per!ertP0
+a#ii couldnAt help but deli!er her outrage despite ho dangerous her
state$ent as in her situation( 8hough she i$$ediately thought /2h noP0-
she as unable to control her in!oluntary reaction(
/IA$ sure this ould pro!e to be a $a:or proble$ i" lea#ed to the $edia(0
<oe!er- once she heard 8atsuyaAs ords a"ter he stopped the recording-
+a#iAs "ro;e in a ay that as "ar cooler than cal$ness(
/Eecently- there as a si$ilar "irestor$ all o!er the nesHH 'pparently
e!en a "or$er idol past her pri$e can cause such a ruc#us- not to $ention
a beauti"ul actress in her pri$e(0
/9hat are your de$andsPB0
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+a#i curtailed 8atsuyaAs ords as she screa$ed hysterically( In
co$parison to the young $an standing be"ore her ith his !ile threats-
+a#i as "ar $ore "urious ith her on carelessness(
/I ha!e to conditions(0
In co$plete contrast to +a#i- 8atsuya $ade his declaration in a placid
tone( <is light baritone continued to trigger +a#iAs unease(
/5irst- brea# it o"" ith &hippou( 'h- and I donAt $ean that ay so donAt
play coy ith $e(0
/I understand(0
&he as shot don :ust as +a#i as about to lead the topic into that
direction- to hich she could only nod ith a sullen !oice(
/&econd- please stop your acti!ities ith high school students and belo(0
/HH9hat do you $eanB0
+a#i asnAt "eigning obli!iousness here( &he as honestly con"used as to
the intent behind 8atsuyaA re*uest( 6!en i" she could understand his
$eaning- she still re$ained in the dar# as to hy he ould $a#e such a
/I a$ unaare o" the details behind your little plan( +aybe there is so$e
bene"it to +agicians- but I a$ entirely uninterested( <oe!er- can you
please stop ta#ing action in $y i$$ediate surroundingsB0
7o$pletely du$b"ounded- +a#i ga;ed bac# at 8atsuya behind his $as#(
/'nyone in college and up is already an adult- so I do not plan on
inter"ering regardless o" hat you do( <oe!er- that is all under the
prere*uisite that you are not acting against $e( 9ill you accept these
/6h- h$HH I" thatAs all there is(0
&he suddenly "elt drained( 5or :ust this- he as illing to act li#e a bandit-
she thought(
2n the other hand- she "elt terror claing at her( Illegal entry- battery-
blac#$ail( 6!ery one o" the things he did as un*uestionably a "elony in
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the eyes o" the la( Cet- he ne!er hesitated in per"or$ing these acts "or
$ere tri!ialities(
8his young $an cared not a hit "or the las or authority o" the
+a#i suddenly ca$e upon a re!elation(
/9ho the de!il are youHHB0
&he as#ed in trepidation( ?ogic told her that not as#ing ould be the right
choice( &till- she couldnAt be bla$ed "or being unable to sallo that
*uestion( 8onight- "or the "irst ti$e- she truly understood ho terri"ying
people ith un#non bac#grounds ere(
/I ill erase these "iles based on the degree o" your cooperation in regards
to $y conditions(0
&he did not recei!e a $eaning"ul anser(
/8han# you "or :oining $e in this highly $eaning"ul negotiation(0
8atsuya once $ore put on the /things that loo#ed li#e "olded ings0 be"ore
dropping these arrogant ords and stepping out onto the porch(
+a#i "rantically "olloed right behind hi$(
8he "igure o" the young $an in blac# had co$pletely !anished "ro$ the
5ro$ abo!e- 8atsuya !eri"ied +a#i loo#ing don "ro$ the porch be"ore
$o!ing his body bac#( 7urrently- he as standing on the buildingAs roo"(
8he original plan called "or hi$ to use the glider he ore on his bac# to
descend to ground le!el- but that plan as no sub:ect to change a"ter
detecting a suspicious shado in the s#y(
8he shado belonged to a s$all "lying boat( 5or an instant- 8atsuya
thought this as related to the incident "ro$ to $onths ago regarding a
certain in!isible "lying ship belonging to one o" the Intelligence
,epart$ents "ro$ the @&,5- but he #ne he as $ista#en upon ta#ing in
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the shape o" the hull( 8his shape o" this "lying ship denoted that it as the
type used by nes agencies or "il$ co$panies to ta#e aerial photographs(
<oe!er- surely they ere up to no good a"ter painting the entire !essel
blac#( I" this blac# ship belonged to one o" the "il$ co$panies- 8atsuya
as sure that their goal ould be to ta#e co!ert photography(
/?ieutenant- do you see the "lying ship on direct approach "or &aa$ura
+a#iAs apart$ent buildingB0
/Ces- I caught the$( I as atching the$ since 8atsuya1#un !isited the
young actressAs roo$( &till- ne!er thought that they ould be descending(0
/,o you #no ho they belong toB0
/>ased on its "light plan- it should belong to one o" the tele!ision
8he corporate na$e that ca$e "ro$ 5u:ibayashiAs $outh as an
entertain$ent station "ro$ the southern Fantou area( 'pparently- they
ere listed as the co$petitor o" one o" the co$panies purchased by the
group run by +a#iAs "ather(
/&o theyAre probably loo#ing "or dirt on &aa$ura +a#i(0
/8he probability is not ;ero(0
5u:ibayashiAs !oice as "illed ith disgust- li#ely a reaction caused by
co!ert photography(
/?ieutenant- can you turn o"" the psion radar around this areaB 5i!e
$inutes ill be enough(0
/Cou plan on halting the co!ert photographyB0
2n the other hand- 8atsuya planned on inter"ering ith the co!ert
photography because he didnAt ant to aste the ti$e and e""ort spent
negotiating ith +a#i( I" 8a#u$a as co!ertly photographed in +a#iAs
roo$- that ould be enough "or a scandal e!en i" they erenAt caught in
the act(
/=i!e $e three $inutes and IAll ha!e it done(0
It as &anadaAs !oice that con!eyed that to 8atsuya(
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8atsuya used his right hand to pull out his "a!ored eapon- the custo$
&il!er <orn /8rident0 and peered at the "lying ship :ust as the ship opened
a door to let don a rope ladder(
&o not only are they engaged in co!ert photography but illegal entry as
ell- 8atsuya $entally $ur$ured to hi$sel" hile co$pletely
disregarding hat he :ust did earlier and acti!ated ?eaping $agic toards
the opened dooray on the "lying ship(
8atsuya as unable to understand the angry retorts co$ing "ro$ the "lying
ship a"ter he charged in( 'lthough he "elt it didnAt sound li#e any language
"ro$ 6ast 'sia- 8atsuya as not so$eone ho spo#e >ei:ing or =uantong
<oe!er- he understood i$$ediately that the situation as not hat he
had i$agined it to be( 8he "act that the $en pointing guns at hi$ ere not
"ro$ the tele!ision co$panies as blatantly ob!ious(
2" course- 8atsuya did not per$it the$ to "ire since his right hand as
holding the ready1to1"ire 8rident( &itching deco$position targets barely
too# hi$ any ti$e(
8here ere "i!e $u;;les pointed at 8atsuya(
'll o" the$ lost their shapes as guns be"ore clattering to the dec# o" the
"lying ship(
'"ter getting hit by 8atsuyaAs ,eco$position +agic- the $en reacted ith
surprising speed(
8he to $en standing to the le"t and right o" 8atsuya sung their "ists( 2n
their $iddle "inger- they each ore a bron;e ring that shone ith light(
I$$ediately- the interior o" the "lying ship as su""used ith psion noise(
8hat as the sign o" 7ast @a$$ing brought on by 'ntinite !ibrations(
8o $en on the inside brandished daggers as they closed in on 8atsuya
across the obbly dec#(
8atsuya s*uee;ed the "inger around the 7',As trigger tice(
I$$ediately a"ter the $agic that deco$posed in"or$ation structure iped
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out the noise "ro$ 7ast @a$$ing-
'll "i!e $iscreants "ell to the dec# ith holes in their to legs(
<oe!er- the situation as not "inished( 8atsuya sa that the $an in the
center had his le"t hand tightly clasped around so$ething be"ore he "ell(
'"ter being "lung through the open door in the "lying ship- 8atsuya "ell
through the s#y(
In the ne)t instant- a "lash erupted ith the sound o" an e)plosion as the
"lying ship as co!ered in "la$es(
8atsuya #ne that "alling don at such a height as no :o#e- but right no
there as so$ething "ar $ore pressing than sa"ety( 8here ould be a $a:or
accident i" that "lying ship crashed onto the streets outside the apart$ents(
'$id the bu""eting ind- 8atsuya turned his body around and pointed the
7', 8rident at the "lying ship ith a bro#en balloon(
5alling "ro$ the s#y- he acti!ated +ist ,ispersal(
&eeing the re$nants o" the "lying ship "ade aay into dust- 8atsuya
re$e$bered to use inertia control $agic( I$$ediately- 8atsuya "elt a
poer"ul i$pact stri#e his bac#(
8he place here 8atsuya "ell as the roo"top o" a building that did not
belong to +a#iAs apart$ent( 8he height o" the building loered the
distance o" the "all- partial acti!ation o" inertia control $agic co$ing into
e""ect and the glider on his bac# ser!ed as a bu""ering cushion( 'll three
"actors co$bined to pre!ent 8atsuya "ro$ su""ering a "ull body "racture(
&till- i" not "or /Eestoration0 acti!ating- 8atsuya ould probably ha!e
spent the rest o" his li"e ithout e!er getting to his "eet again(
/8atsuya1#un- hat the hell :ust happenedPB0
6!en 5u:ibayashiAs !oice co$ing across the interco$ had turned "rantic(
/IA$ not sure( <oe!er- I thin# eAll "ind so$e clues at the tele!ision
co$pany( 8hat "lying ship appeared to ha!e been hi:ac#ed(0
8atsuyaAs unhappy !oice also added that /though it $ight not be a
hi:ac#ing and that the tele!ision co$pany as their acco$plice0 be"ore he
erased any trace o" his "all and stood up on the roo"(
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8he nes that the attac# on &aa$ura +a#i that Eobert &un as
responsible "or had "ailed *uic#ly reached the ears o" Shou =ong:in( I" this
operation had succeeded- then the subordinate responsible "or passing
along the pictures o" a daughter co$pletely sa!aged beyond all recognition
to the un"ortunate "ather ould ha!e reported this to Shou(
38o co$pletely erase an en"la$ed "lying ship as it "ell "ro$ the s#yHH
8he only one ho could do so$ething li#e this((((((4
%n"ortunately- no pictures ere ta#en( 8here as nothing that could be
glea$ed "ro$ his subordinateAs report- but based on the piece o"
in"or$ation about disappearing "ro$ the s#y- Shou correctly in"erred the
identity o" the $an ho inter"ered ith their operation(
3HH,a$n hi$( ItAs that $an again(4
8hough they #ne o" hi$- all they #ne about hi$ as the "igure o" hi$
earing a hel$et to co!er his "ace along ith na$es li#e /,e$on Eight0
and /+ahes!ara0(
,uring the /Co#oha$a Incident0- the in!asion "orce he had pro!ided
assistance to had also su""ered terribly at the hands o" this un#non
+agician( 8he tre$endous resistance co$ing "ro$ /+ahes!ara0 as
literally one o" the $a:or reasons hy the in!asion plan "ailed(
8he losses incurred by the =reat 'sian 'lliance during the Co#oha$a
Incident erenAt e)actly a loss "or Shou( 2riginally- he had hoped that the
@apanese and =reat 'sian 'lliance "orces ould bleed each other dry( 8he
@apanese "orces inning there ran counter to his e)pectations- but the
ea#ening o" the =reat 'lliance ent according to his ishes on so$e
<oe!er- this ti$e Shou couldnAt :ust laugh it o"" so easily(
3?oo#s li#e there is a need to unco!er ho he is(4
's Shou thought along these lines- he also "elt that it as ti$e "or a
change in direction in regards to the $edia operation currently ongoing(
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3In the end- the +asterAs true "eelings on the $atter are to ha!e his re!enge
against the people responsible "or bringing out =reat <an(((((( 8he real
target is not such a !ague organi;ation li#e /@apanese +agicians0- but that
clan in particular(4
'nd Shou had an in#ling as to ho a$ong those in poer bore special
interest toards /that clan0(
38hough this isnAt so$ething outrageous li#e dri!ing a edge beteen the
to- this $ight be orth trying(4
Shou loo#ed at a ine glass that didnAt ha!e a bea# as he began to plot in
his $ind(
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Chapter 16
Saturday, April 28th, 3pm sharp.
%nder <attoriAs guidance- 8o$itsu#a and 8a#u$a "ound the$sel!es in
Practice Eoo$ ^3 at the appointed hour(
<attori as the re"eree "or this $atch( Possibly out o" curiosity regarding
the casual relationship or si$ply a natural turn o" e!ents- 8atsuya as also
present "or 8a#u$aAs $atch as a itness(
&till- "ro$ 8atsuyaAs perspecti!e- 8a#u$a see$ed to be "ree o" any
lingering side e""ects- both physically and $entally( 8he actress $ust ha!e
rapped things up *uite ell on her end( Cet- at the sa$e ti$e- it as only
reasonable to assu$e she had not "or$ally /bro#en o""0 "ro$ hi$( 5or
no- 8atsuya belie!ed that additional obser!ation as necessary(
2thers present included +iyu#i "ro$ the &tudent 7ouncil- &aa#i and
+i#ihi#o "ro$ the Public +oral 7o$$ittee- Firihara "ro$ the 7lub
'cti!ities =roup as ell as other elites( Firihara e!en brought his bo##en
and had recei!ed per$ission to bring his 7',(
8hey ere here to "orcibly inter!ene i" necessary(
8hat as because this $atch carried a "e special rules( 8o be precise-
special e)ceptions li#e /unrestricted use o" +illion 6dge0 ere added into
the rules( In regards to +illion 6dge- usage ould be per$itted regardless
o" ho poer"ul the spell beca$e( Inter!ention into the $atch ould only
occur hen the opponent ould blatantly su""er in:uries as a result(
De!ertheless- the one ho proposed this ruling as 8o$itsu#a- 8a#u$aAs
opponent "or this $atch(
It as possible that 8o$itsu#a had a tric# up his slee!e to co$pletely
neutrali;e +illion 6dge( <ighly put out- 8a#u$a had also rationali;ed
along those lines( 8his as practically saying that the &hippou 5a$ilyAs
tru$p card as orthless( &till- this $atch as the result o" 8a#u$a
protesting his de"eat !ia dis*uali"ication- ith the reason being his use o"
+illion 6dge( <ence 8a#u$a elco$ed the current rules ith open ar$s
and had no cause "or co$plaint(
7urrently- 8o$itsu#a and 8a#u$a stood "acing another across a broad
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stretch o" space(
8oday- 8a#u$a also ore the uni"or$ designed "or outdoor e)ercises(
2n the other hand- 8o$itsu#a ore the uni"or$ "or the +agic +artial 'rts
7lub( 8he top hal" contained a long tunic ithout buttons that had padding
around the "orear$s hile the botto$ hal" had pads around the #nees as
ell as loose pants that only tightened around the an#les( 2n his "eet- he
ore so"t snea#ers used during "ighting co$petitions( 9ith protecti!e
glo!es o!er both hands- all 8 "ingers besides the to thu$bs ere earing
thic# rings that ser!ed as the &peciali;ed 7', input de!ices "or the +agic
+artial 'rts 7lub( 6ach ring corresponded to one button and hen the
"ingers $o!ed 3pressed by the thu$b4 or psions gathered around his
"ingertips- the signal "or the 'cti!ation &e*uence selected by his "ingertips
ould be passed through the glo!e to the connecting 7', around his
rist( In other ords- 8o$itsu#a had prepared hi$sel" !ery seriously(
&tanding beteen the to o" the$- <attori re!ieed the rules( Dot that
there as anything in particular he had to e)plain as this as :ust a
Uuieting the to- <attori raised his hand(
8ense an)iety suddenly spi#ed here( 6!eryone present could "eel the
"urious clash o" nonphysical a!es- not psion a!es- beteen 8o$itsu#a
and 8a#u$a(
8o$itsu#a slightly "ell into a crouch( 8a#u$a placed his right hand on the
boo# ser!ing as his $ediu$ that as being carried in his le"t hand(
>esides the to in *uestion- no one $o!ed a $uscle or e$itted a sound( In
the utter silence o" the classroo$- e!en <attori breathing deeply in could
be heard(
<attoriAs !oice shattered the stillness and *uiet(
8he "irst one to $o!e as 8a#u$a(
2r rather- 8o$itsu#a neglected to act(
8a#u$a opened his /boo#0 and used the "ingers on his right hand to pinch
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se!eral do;en pages( 8a#u$a proceeded to rip those pages to shreds(
&cratch that- in the process o" applying "orce- he as turning the pages into
paper sno"la#es(
8here ere appro)i$ately 80-000 paper blades that $easured 4c$ by 4c$(
Eather than choosing to unleash +illion 6dge in its entirety- 8a#u$a chose
the "inesse strategy and only ielded a s$all portion o" his blades(
In response- 8o$itsu#a re$ained $otionless as he atched the paper
s*uares gradually close in on hi$( >ased on his posture- he appeared to be
gathering poer( 8hat appeared to be an accurate assess$ent(
8he hite paper s*uares dipped and soared as they ad!anced- li#e "our
giant sna#es craling through the clouds( 8he targets "or their "angs ere
the le"t and right ar$s along ith both legs( 8a#u$a planned to "irst
da$age 8o$itsu#aAs li$bs to i$$obili;e hi$(
8he current o" paper dre closer to 8o$itsu#a as the paper sno"la#es
decreased in length and gre in density( 8he attac# stalled brie"ly be"ore
i$$ediately pic#ing up speed( 8he stor$ o" paper blades rapped around
8o$itsu#aAs li$bs ith the intent o" shredding his "lesh(
't the sa$e $o$ent(
8o$itsu#aAs entire body "lashed ith an e)plosi!e psion light( '$id that
blinding light- the paper blades "aded bac# to being nor$al paper( 'll
80-000 paper s*uares lost their $agic poer to "loat in $id1air be"ore
returning to true paper sno"la#es and "alling to the ground(
&aa#i- Firihara- +i#ihi#o and co$pany couldnAt help but raise an ar$ to
bloc# the light( 8atsuya- +iyu#i- and <attori all narroed their eyes(
8hey #ne e)actly hat that light signi"ied(
/9as that =ra$ ,e$olitionHHB0
+i#ihi#o $ur$ured in an astounded !oice(
/&o so$eone other than 8atsuya is able to use that in our schoolHHB 'nd
so$eone in the sa$e grade le!el at thatHHB0
=ra$ ,e$olition as percei!ed to be a rare ability that only a "e users
had access to( 8his asnAt +i#ihi#o :u$ping to conclusions- as this as
both the truth and general consensus( <e could hardly be bla$ed "or his
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shoc# that there ere to such indi!iduals at the sa$e school in the sa$e
/8o be precise- I belie!e the ter$ 7ontact18ype should be added be"ore
that phrase(0
+iyu#i as the one ho supple$ented +i#ihi#oAs ords(
/Cou are e)actly rightP 's e)pected o" &hiba1san- to be so #noledgeable
on the sub:ectP0
&aa#i nodded o!ertly hen he heard her ords(
/&pea#ing o" hich- 8o$itsu#a see$s e)ceptionally "ired up today(0
's his senior "ro$ the 7lub 'cti!ities =roup- &aa#i #ne that 8o$itsu#a
ould use hat +iyu#i ter$ed /7ontact18ype =ra$ ,e$olition0( 8his
techni*ue neutrali;ed any $agic that ca$e into contact ith his body( 5or
a spell li#e +illion 6dge that used $agic to continuously alter pheno$ena
in order to con!ert plain paper into blades dancing in the ind- this as
practically its ne$esis(
&aa#i understood !ery ell that 8o$itsu#a proposed these rules because
he had co$plete con"idence in hi$sel"( &aa#i hi$sel" as ary against
8o$itsu#aAs =ra$ ,e$olition- but today 8o$itsu#a see$ed e!en $ore
!ibrant than usual( 8his "act brought considerable :oy to &aa#i( . 's
such- &aa#i also had a youth"ul aspect to hi$ as ell(
<oe!er- unli#e the upperclass$en in attendance- 8a#u$a had no ti$e to
"eel i$pressed( <e #ne !ery ell the $eaning behind that earlier
e)changeN +illion 6dge as useless against 8o$itsu#a(
<e only needed one attac# to understand that(
311Do- itAs true that direct assaults are uselessP >ut to days ago- I :ust
learned that di""erent applications o" the sa$e $agic ill achie!e di""ering
8o$itsu#aAs eyes ere pinned on hi$ as 8a#u$a bolstered his on
con"idence( 7urrently- there ere openings all o!er 8a#u$a( I" 8o$itsu#a
intended to- he could end the $atch in an instant( <oe!er- that ould be
pointless- as 8o$itsu#a #ne that he couldnAt "inish this $atch in such a
si$ple $anner(
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5inally- 8a#u$a adopted a ne pose( In response- 8o$itsu#a also raised
the psionsA acti!ity le!el( 8a#u$aAs hand pretended to "lip the pages as it
surreptitiously stretched toards the 7', on his rist(
8he $agic he acti!ated as 'ir >ullet( 8a#u$a sent se!en 'ir >ullets
shooting toards 8o$itsu#a at high speeds(
9ithout aiting to see the result- 8a#u$a acti!ated the ne)t $agic(
8a#u$a ne!er e!en considered that 'ir >ullets alone could de"eat
8o$itsu#a( 8his attac# only ser!ed as a s$o#escreen( 8a#u$a used
personal 'cceleration +agic to loop around to 8o$itsu#aAs "lan#(
Cet- 8o$itsu#a as already aiting "or 8a#u$a at his intended destination(
/Fuh- oo"P0
<e directly too# the co$bination o" a hea!y punch and a le"t hoo#( %nable
to #eep his "eet- 8a#u$a "ell to the "loor( It as only out o" sheer obstinacy
that he still clung to the boo# that ser!ed as his $ediu$( 8a#u$a called
upon his "ighting spirit to dispel his blurred !ision as he searched "or
8o$itsu#aAs "igure(
8o$itsu#a didnAt "ollo up on his attac# as he loo#ed donards at
8a#u$a( Dor$ally- this nice guyAs "ace see$ed a tad childish- but it no
ore a derisi!e e)pression as he loo#ed upon hi$ li#e one loo#s upon a
$ad dog . loo#ing at hi$( In 8a#u$aAs eyes- that as the current situation(
8he sudden "lare o" heightened e$otions surpassed his "ear "or the
$o$ent( 2ne #nee on the ground- 8a#u$a used his le"t hand to "lip
through the boo#(
8he "irst attac# on 8o$itsu#a contained tice as $any paper s*uares as the
pre!ious assault( 8his ti$e the s*uares erenAt split into "our groups but
gathered into one sar$( 8he greater the nu$ber o" the /herd0 in <erd
7ontrol- the loer the inter"erence strength( >y gathering the +agic Poer
"ro$ all "our portions into one- 8a#u$a as going to challenge
8o$itsu#aAs =ra$ ,e$olition directly(
119hich as actually a "eint- as the true blo as the ne)t attac# that as
acti!ated a $o$ent later(
>athed in the light released by 8o$itsu#a- 16-000 paper s*uares turned
into paper sno"la#es and "ell to the "loor(
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's i" bursting through the clouds- the 20-000 paper blades that ere
released a"ter a $o$entAs delay roared toards 8o$itsu#aAs "eet li#e a
=ot hi$- 8a#u$a thought( =ra$ ,e$olition as an ability that released a
$assi!e a$ount o" psions at a ti$e( Dot only ere they released- pressure
su""icient to blo aay a +agic &e*uence as also re*uired( 8here as no
ay he could use this repeatedly in such a short ti$e(
<oe!er- 8a#u$aAs theory as in error( 8he $o$ent that he reali;ed that
this as ish"ul thin#ing instead o" a theory as *uite a long ti$e "ro$
8enty thousand blades ere rendered into 20-000 paper scraps the instant
they ca$e into contact ith 8o$itsu#aAs body(
In regards to 8a#u$a- ho had :ust gotten bac# to his "eet- 8o$itsu#a
bestoed upon hi$ the deciding blo o" the $atch(
/8hatAs enough( 8he !ictor is 8o$itsu#a(0
'"ter <attori announced the innerAs na$e- 8o$itsu#a boed slightly(
'"terards- he "ell to one #nee ne)t to 8a#u$a lying prone on the "loor(
/&hippou- are you aa#eB0
8a#u$a groaned in hat see$ed li#e considerable pain- signi"ying his
conscious state( 8hat as because 8o$itsu#a intentionally struc# hi$ in
such a $anner and all ent according to his plan(
/8han# you(0
'"ter coughing a "e ti$es- 8a#u$a "inally ansered the *uestion(
/8hen- go ahead and sit against the all to rest a hile(0
/L=ot it(0
2!erco$e by the $agnitude o" his de"eat- 8a#u$a obeyed 8o$itsu#aAs
instructions ithout co$prehending the reason behind the$( 7lutching the
area around his abdo$en here he had been struc#- he tottered and
staggered to the all opposite "ro$ here the itnesses stood( ?eaning
against the all- 8a#u$a gradually slid to the "loor(
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'"ter !eri"ying that 8a#u$a had reached that side- 8o$itsu#a al#ed
toards 8atsuya(
/HH9hat is itB0
'"ter 8atsuyaAs *uestion- the hitherto taciturn 8o$itsu#a "inally opened his
/&hiba1#un- I ish "or a $atch against youP0
,raing bac# to sur!ey this article that as so di""icult to !erbali;e-
8atsuya tilted his head and thought /hyB0(
&urrounded by an array o" shoc#ed loo#s- 8o$itsu#a uneasily a!erted his
eyes( &till- as i" $a#ing the decision to cross the Eubicon . that $ight be
an e)aggeration- he ore the deter$ined loo# o" so$eone about to ta#e a
bungee :u$p as he endured 8atsuyaAs ga;e(
/I ant &hippou to itness your poerP0
8o$itsu#a atched 8atsuya ith burning eyes( In his $ind- he $ust ha!e
en!isioned 8atsuya resonating ith his $anly display and nodding in
a""ir$ation( <oe!er- this only deepened 8atsuyaAs be"uddle$ent(
/IA$ not sure I understand hat you are tal#ing aboutB0
8he $o$ent he told hi$ so- 8o$itsu#a beca$e slightly harried in a rather
"ascinating $anner(
/8hat- ell- as #ind o" out o" the blue( In other ordsHH0
/9ould it be possible "or &hippou to see a $atch beteen people o"
outstanding caliberB0
8he one ho too# o!er the e)planations "ro$ the panic#ing 8o$itsu#a
as <attori( .&till- :ust these ords alone ere insu""icient to dispel
8atsuyaAs $ysti"ication(
/In order to sho hi$ a $atch beteen people o" su""icient caliber-
ouldnAt a $atch beteen 7hair$an <attori and &aa#i1senpai be $ore
/&hiba- this only beco$es $eaning"ul i" he sees ho poer"ul you are(0
<attoriAs e)planation re$ained inco$plete to the end(
/2nii1sa$a- isnAt this a onder"ul ideaB0
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De!ertheless- the strongest supporting "ire "or their cause ca$e to aid
8o$itsu#a and <attori at this $o$ent(
/I belie!e that pro!iding a "ra$e o" re"erence "or underclass$en is also
one o" the duties "or &tudent 7ouncil $e$bers(0
5or so$e reason- all the upperclass$en and her peers 3e)cluding 8atsuya4
ho ere present $entally translated /&tudent 7ouncil $e$bers0 into
/I also "eel that itAs about ti$e to display 2nii1sa$aAs abilities(0
+iyu#iAs $oti!e as both blatant and not entirely in accordance ith
8o$itsu#a and <attori( 8here as signi"icant "rustration and an)iety
lur#ing behind her s$ile- to the point that 8atsuya "elt that /lea!ing it
alone ould be a bad idea0(
/HH&ince you put it that ay- !ery ell(0
8atsuya changed his $ind- or $ore li#e decided- and this should be e)actly
hat 8o$itsu#a had desired( In spite o" this clear turnout- "or so$e reason-
8o$itsu#aAs $ood couldnAt help but soar(
8his "eeling as not restricted to hi$ alone(
<attori had e)tended the appoint$ent in this roo$ precisely "or this reason
"ro$ the !ery beginning( 'll o" the Cear 3 students present #ne about this
plan( 9ith the per$ission slip already obtained- they could begin at any
ti$e a"ter clearing the practice "loor(
/Please lea!e it to $e(0
+iyu#i !olunteered to clean up the paper scraps scattered all o!er the
"loor( '"ter $anipulating her 7',- there as hardly an instantAs delay
be"ore air currents gradually began to $o!e( 8he currents co!ered the
entire "loor in a co$plicated sirl and gathered all the trash into a pile in a
"e *uic# $o$ents( %sing the !acuu$ cleaner pro!ided "or the roo$-
+iyu#i disposed o" the paper scraps(
&eeing her naturally per"or$ a co$plicated and pristine $agic ith
surgical s#ill- the Cear 3 students atched her ith i$pressed loo#s-
+i#ihi#o and 8o$itsu#a let out a$a;ed breaths- hereas 8a#u$a once
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again su""ered a blo( .6)cluding the process used to harden the paper
scraps- the $agic +iyu#i :ust ielded "ar surpassed the technical di""iculty
"or 8a#u$aAs +illion 6dge(
/&hiba1#un- do you thin# this is su""icientB0
/'h- itAs "ine(0
8atsuya passed his coat to +iyu#i be"ore ta#ing the "ield in his uni"or$(
/9ould it be better i" I re$o!ed $y shoesB0
/Do- youAre "ine as you are(0
8hat sentence i$plied that 8atsuya ould be "ine e!en i" struc# by #ic#s
"ro$ thic#1soled shoes(
5olloing that- 8atsuya and 8o$itsu#a "aced one another at the center o"
the "ield(
<attori re$ained the re"eree( <oe!er- he s#ipped the e)planation this
/'re you to readyB 8hen- beginP0
8he instant <attori ga!e the signal- both 8atsuya and 8o$itsu#a stepped
o"" "ro$ the "loor(
,i""ering "ro$ the earlier e)change- 8o$itsu#a aggressi!ely charged
toards 8atsuyaAs position(
Cet- 8atsuyaAs retreat as e!en "aster( 2ne leap too# hi$ to the other end
o" the practice roo$ as 8atsuya pointed his pistol1shaped 7', at
8he $agic 8atsuya e*uipped as ,eco$position +agic- +ist ,ispersal(
<eedless o" +iyu#iAs shoc#- 8atsuya pulled the 7',As trigger(
11'nd nothing happened(
3's I thought(4
7o$pletely opposite "ro$ the pale "aced +iyu#i co!ering the corner o"
her $outh ith one hand- 8atsuya ore an e)pression that signi"ied that
this as ithin his e)pectations as he :u$ped to the side in order to a!oid
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8o$itsu#aAs punch that had been enhanced by personal acceleration $agic(
8his as not hi$ putting on a bra!e "ront- as he had already predicted that
+ist ,ispersal ould be nulli"ied(
In 8atsuyaAs !ision- 8o$itsu#aAs pro:ection as co!ered by a thic# clouds-
turning it into a "u;;y outline( 8hat as ho he beheld 8o$itsu#aAs "igure
through the Idea(
8he dense cloud surrounding 8o$itsu#aAs body as the psion ar$or that
co!ered his personal in"or$ation(
=ra$ ,e$olition as a 7ounter +agic that relied on psion pressure to
strip the +agic &e*uence "ro$ the target(
<oe!er- 8o$itsu#a asnAt using the psions li#e a cannonball to blo
aay the +agic &e*uence( 8he thic# layer o" psion ar$or surrounding his
/body0 denied any in!asion "ro$ +agic &e*uences(
I" =ra$ ,e$olition as artillery- then 8o$itsu#aAs 7ontact18ype =ra$
,e$olition as a all o" steel( 5urther$ore- that all as not built "ro$
in"or$ation and as only a $assi!e a$ount o" psions hapha;ardly
rapped around hi$( 6!en "or 8atsuya- brea#ing through this line o"
de"ense to directly a""ect 8o$itsu#a ith $agic as no easy tas#(
In that regard- using the pheno$ena brought on by $agic to attac# could
not be stopped by psion ar$or(
Cet- so long as 8atsuya still held onto the handicap o" not utili;ing attac#s
through the Idea- then he as a de"icient +agician ho could not use
$agic that directly in"luenced physical pheno$ena(
'"ter his charge had been e!aded "or the 5th ti$e- agitation began building
in 8o$itsu#aAs heart(
<e ho as #non as Eange Sero had no long range $agic abilities( 2n
the other hand- he as con"ident that he as tice as capable as the
a!erage person hen it ca$e to close1*uarters $agic(
De!ertheless- his attac#s had been easily dodged(
<e as not being a!oided through $agic- but by a co$bination o" $agical
and physical techni*ues(
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3'lthough I had $y on suspicions- to thin# that heAs capable to this
In all honesty- his ae as groing than#s to the caliber o" his opponent(
Cet- at the sa$e ti$e- his $orale surged(
3>ut IA$ not going to lose( I de"initely canAt lose at this rangeP4
&hippou !anished "ro$ 8o$itsu#aAs consciousness( 8he purpose behind
this $atch as ell as the role he as supposed to play also "aded ithin his
$ind( <is entire ill had been sub$ersed in the dri!e "or !ictory(
/8heyAre both pretty da$n goodP I #ne about 8o$itsu#aAs s#ills a long
ti$e ago- but I ne!er i$agined &hiba1#un as :ust as capable(0
/IA$ actually $ore surprised that 8o$itsu#a can #eep up ith the elder
&hiba in a "ight(0
<earing the con!ersation beteen his seniors- +i#ihi#o could only "eel
astonish$ent( <is opinion $irrored FiriharaAs on( <e ne!er thought that
one o" his peers ould be a $atch "or 8atsuya in a "ight( +i#ihi#o "elt li#e
this as the "irst ti$e he had e!er seen 8atsuya as being pressed in battle(
8atsuya had long since been able to :ust a!oid 8o$itsu#aAs attac#s( Do-
he had been "orced to the point that he had to counterattac#( 8atsuya
holding the 7', in his right hand as a clear sign that 8atsuya
surrendered that point( 'ccording to the rules o" the $atch- using the 7',
to stri#e an opponent as "orbidden( 6!en e)cluding that detail-
8o$itsu#aAs "urious attac# as pressing ho$e on 8atsuya(
&uddenly "eeling a little concerned- +i#ihi#o directed his ga;e to one side(
8here- +iyu#i ore a co$pletely in!ested e)pression as she concentrated
all o" her attention on her brother(
&itting against the all- 8a#u$a as blon aay by the battle un"olding
be"ore his eyes(
5ro$ a cursory e)a$ination- this as nothing $ore than a plain bral( Do-
than#s to the occasional #ic#- this appeared to be a $i)ed $artial arts
$atch( <oe!er- high le!el $agic as behind e!ery single blo( It as
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only because he had the talent to recogni;e this that the $ental shoc# as
8o$itsu#a closed the distance at a speed that the na#ed eye as unable to
"ollo( 'lthough he as using personal acceleration $agic to raise the
physical bodyAs speed- this as nothing so coarse as /as "ast as possible0(
9ithin the real$ o" conscious control- he held his speed at the upper li$it
o" here his consciousness as able to "ollo(
Eegardless- here 8o$itsu#aAs pace gre ragged( 8he instant he stepped o""
to $o!e "orard- there as the $isconception that the ground he stepped
o"" "ro$ see$ed to !ibrate( 2" course- this !ibration as created by
8atsuyaAs $agic( In spite o" this- e!en i" !ibration a!es appeared here
8o$itsu#a as standing- they ere o"ten nulli"ied by 3hat appeared to
be4 occasional acti!ations o" =ra$ ,e$olition( 8a#u$a had personally
encountered this "irst hand( Donetheless- the a"tershoc#s that acco$panied
these !ibrations ere pure physical pheno$ena and could not be dispelled
by =ra$ ,e$olition( I" this as on $uddy terrain or concrete- the
a"tershoc#s ould probably not be strong enough to be detected( <oe!er-
the "loor in this practice roo$ as designed ith the appropriate hardness
and "le)ibility to cushion "alling ithout disrupting $o!e$ent( 8a#ing this
into account- 8atsuya used $agic to inter"ere "ro$ this angle(
<is body had already ta#en e!erything into consideration until this
disruption presented itsel"- so 8o$itsu#a paused brie"ly to $a)i$i;e the
"luidity o" his bodyAs $otions( %sing this brie" opening- 8atsuya ai$ed the
7', at 8o$itsu#a and pulled the trigger( 't the sa$e ti$e- 2scillation1
8ype +agic rushed toards 8o$itsu#a at such speed that 8a#u$a didnAt
e!en ha!e ti$e to co$prehend the deploy$ent o" the 'cti!ation &e*uence(
>ased on the a!ering psions- this $agic contained both 2scillation18ype
and Donsyste$atic $agic(
8his $agic did not possess the poer to stri#e don 8o$itsu#a( 8a#u$a
hypothesi;ed that this $agic probably placed $ore e$phasis on speed than
strength( 8a#u$a supposed that he as unable to recogni;e the 'cti!ation
&e*uence because it had been tuned this ay or this as the 7',As e""ect(
8hat being said- not possessing the strength to stri#e don 8o$itsu#a as
not the sa$e as ha!ing no e""ect( '"ter being struc# by the psion a!e- the
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psion "ield around 8o$itsu#aAs body also shoo# slightly( 8urning into
noise and s$o#e- the psion a!e brie"ly dulled 8o$itsu#aAs senses(
8he ne)t blo as the real attac#( %sing his le"t pal$- 8atsuya thre a
pal$ stri#e at 8o$itsu#a( 8a#u$a detected that so$e sort o" $agic as
being held in his le"t hand(
2nce again- 8atsuya displayed a di""erent attac#( 8his ti$e- 8o$itsu#a
adopted a de"ensi!e stance( %sing the right ar$ rapped in 7ontact18ype
=ra$ ,e$olition- he bloc#ed 8atsuyaAs le"t pal$ holding 2scillation18ype
+agic( In the "ace o" a $yriad di""erent attac#s- 8o$itsu#a only used one
shield to continuously de"end hi$sel"(
't this point- 8o$itsu#aAs le"t hand :abbed toards 8atsuyaAs abdo$en(
,odging $ade di""icult because his earlier attac# had been bloc#ed-
8atsuya barely $anaged to slide across the bloc#ing right ar$(
8o$itsu#a acti!ated 'cceleration +agic /6)plosion0( In the $iddle o"
casting this $agic- 8atsuya used =ra$ ,e$olition to destroy the $agic
that as being acti!ated(
In order to a!oid the "ollo up attac#- 8atsuya :u$ped "ar to the side(
8a#u$a $o$entarily "orgot to breathe as he atched this( <e as unable
to belie!e the sight un"olding in "ront o" hi$ and as terri"ied that his
"eelings as a +agician ere "altering(
8o$itsu#aAs 'cceleration +agic had been nulli"ied during the cast( %sing
the interrupted pheno$enon as a stepping point- 8atsuya acti!ated his on
'cceleration +agic(
3Is that sort o" thing e!en possiblePB4
8a#u$a anted to shout out loud( I" his internal shoc# as any lighter- he
undoubtedly ould ha!e called out( It as true that "or the sa$e type o"
pheno$enon alteration- the latter $agic could be cast ithout su""ering
inter"erence "ro$ the pheno$enon alteration strength o" the "or$er( &ince
6)plosion as an acceleration !ector that e)panded outard "ro$ the
point o" acti!ation in a se$i1spherical $anner- accelerating to the side did
not !iolate this principle(
<oe!er- that as $erely not !iolating the principle( 8a#u$a had ne!er
e!en considered the possibility o" using another personAs $agic to create
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ne pheno$enon alteration by $o!ing in accordance to the physical rule
o" least resistance(
9hat as being displayed be"ore his eyes as indeed the sa$e /$agic0 he
hi$sel" as using( 8hey ere techni*ues that belonged to the sa$e
category( Cet- his on $agic as "ar beneath the le!el o" the $agic be"ore
hi$( 8a#u$a had been co$pletely de"eated by the otherorldly duel
erupting be"ore his eyes(
3+y attac#s arenAt landingP4
8o$itsu#a as gradually groing $ore agitated(
8he battle had not gone on "or !ery long( >arely 10 $inutes had elapsed
since the beginning o" the $atch( Cet- unli#e his physical sensations-
8o$itsu#aAs $ental "atigue "elt li#e he had been in co$bat "or do;ens o"
8he current situation "a!ored hi$( 9ithout a doubt- his side held the
ad!antage( 8o$itsu#a had co$plete con"idence in that assess$ent(
'lthough he had yet to land the decisi!e blo- 8o$itsu#a could "eel that
his attac#s ere beginning to tell e!en though they "ell upon his
opponentAs de"enses( 8o$itsu#a sensed that "ro$ contact(
<oe!er- 8atsuya as not the only one sustaining da$age( 8o$itsu#a
hi$sel" could detect the accu$ulated ear and tear building on hi$( 9hile
he had success"ully bloc#ed his opponentAs attac#s- the da$age he
incurred ca$e "ro$ $isconceptions and not his physical body( Cet- it as
precisely these $isconceptions that ere steadily causing his shield to
cru$ble( 6ach o" the !aried attac#s sent his ay ere uni"or$ in the sense
that they all contained Donsyste$atic 2scillation18ype +agic( 8he
oscillation ould rebound o"" the shield and dissipate- but in that instant-
the !ibration ould carry o!er to the shield itsel"( 8hat !ibration ould
sha#e the psions- causing the psion "ield to e)pand as i" heated- alerting
8o$itsu#a that the density dropped during those $o$ents(
8o$itsu#a hi$sel" as unable to "ire psions at distant targets and could
only $aintain a "ield tightly surrounding his on body( 8his de"iciency
as precisely the reason hy he as unable to use long distance $agic(
8he $agic scholar su$$oned by his parents e)plained that this
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pheno$enon shoed that his /core0 hea!ily attracted psions- hereby
restricting psions that nor$ally "loed out o" the body "ro$ doing so( 2n
so$e le!el- the 7ontact18ype =ra$ ,e$olition that +iyu#i and &aa#i
spo#e o" as the byproduct o" his cursed physical disposition(
8o$itsu#a had long since co$e to ter$s ith his condition( '"ter
e)pending considerable e""ort to beco$e so$ehat able to use long range
$agic- he had turned this uni*ue condition o" his into a close co$bat
eapon that could not be "ound on any other +agician( 9hen "acing
purely physical attac#s co$ing at hi$ li#e the shoc#a!e e$itted by
&aa#iAs accelerated "ists . the "act that the president o" the +agic +artial
'rts club bestoed upon it the e$barrassing title o" /+ach 5ist0 re$ained
a secret only #non to club $e$bers . this only o""ered a /slightly
higher0 le!el o" de"ense- but in regards to co$ing into direct contact ith
$agic- 8o$itsu#a had absolute con"idence in hi$sel"(
In spite o" this- the psion "ield that should only be able to contract as
gradually e)panding under 8atsuyaAs attac#s(
8his detail struc# 8o$itsu#a in a $anner that as beyond e)pression( 8his
as not si$ple "ear or coardice- but the shoc# that ca$e upon so$eone
ho pee#ed into PandoraAs >o)(
8he psion "ield that could not spread out as e)panding( 9asnAt this that
long cherished- but i$possible drea$B
8o$itsu#a hurriedly stilled his leaping heart(
8he one standing against hi$ as not an opponent he could de"eat hile
orrying about "ri!olous $atters(
In order to settle this- he decided to use his tru$p card(
8o$itsu#aAs entire body as co!ered in psions( >eyond 8atsuya- e!eryone
here to atch the $atch could "eel the$(
8o$itsu#aAs body accelerated at an e)plosi!e rate( .8he only to ho
reali;ed that this as not caused by personal 'cceleration +agic ere
8atsuya and &aa#i(
8he psions that rapped around 8o$itsu#aAs body li#e a "or$less cloud
suddenly gre organi;ed( 8hey ere dri!en into place by 8o$itsu#aAs
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5ar $ore precise than be"ore- 8o$itsu#a deli!ered a $id1#ic#(
8he +agic &e*uence "or /<eating0 co!ered his leg( I" struc# by that #ic#-
the da$age ould be e*uitable to being bathed in $icroa!e
electro$agnetis$( %sing his elbo as the "ocal point "or =ra$
,e$olition- 8atsuya planned on bloc#ing the #ic# "ueled by <eating
Cet- 8o$itsu#aAs right leg ca$e to an unnatural stop an instant be"ore
co$ing into contact ith 8atsuyaAs le"t elbo(
8he <eating +agic as nulli"ied by the =ra$ ,e$olition co$ing o"" the
elbo- but "or 8o$itsu#a- this as the e)pected outco$e(
5ro$ his current position ith the right leg e)tended- 8o$itsu#a used a
right hoo#( Do- that asnAt a right hoo#( <e asnAt leading ith the "ist
but the "ingers instead- $a#ing this a pal$ stri#e( &till- his current bent
posture as usually unable to deli!er a stri#e ith any "orce behind it(
,espite this- 8o$itsu#aAs pal$ stri#e as both si"t and !icious( >ending
at the aist to bloc# the #ic#- 8atsuya as in a position here he as
unable to a!oid this attac#(
Pah- a li"eless sound rang out(
'long ith a $ourn"ul shrie#(
8atsuyaAs body rolled along the "loorboards(
?oering his right leg and retracting the right hand hile standing there
only on his le"t leg- 8o$itsu#a blin#ed in shoc# as he stood there li#e a
/HH8o$itsu#a is surprisingly de!ious( 8hat rascal as ai$ing "or the
older &hibaAs eardru$(0
Firihara sa that 8o$itsu#aAs pal$ stri#e actually cur!ed the pal$ to
concentrate the air pressure on the point o" contact(
/<o- and he $anaged to :u$p aay hi$sel"P 7anAt belie!e he $anaged to
neutrali;e 8o$itsu#aAs /&el" +arionette0 e!en under those conditions(
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&hiba1#un- nicely doneP0
>y the ti$e the to Cear 3 students "inished dissecting the e)change-
8atsuya had already reco!ered his "ooting( &aa#i correctly caught
8atsuya rolling aay to iden the distance(
8o$itsu#aAs astounded e)pression ca$e "ro$ the lac# o" any physical
resistance that he belie!ed as ine!itable( I" 8atsuya had sti""ened his nec#
to pre!ent the head "ro$ sha#ing- then any sti""ening in his leg and aist
should ha!e resulted in physical pushbac# on his hand( I" he rela)ed to
:u$p bac# in accordance ith the "orce o" the blo- then naturally the
contact ould "eel so"t( In other ords- 8atsuya rela)ed at the sa$e ti$e
that he applied "orce(
8o$itsu#a hurtled any shoc# "ountaining "ro$ his heart into the bac# o"
his $ind as he acti!ated &el" +arionette again( 8his as a type o" $agic
that only used +o!e18ype +agic to $o!e his physical body( 8his +agic
&e*uence atte$pted to suppress the "leshAs $agical resistance as $uch as
possible hile prudently ta#ing heed not to surpass the e)tents o" the
:ointsA $o!e$ent(
8his as not a $agic that could be used hapha;ardly( In ter$s o" design-
$odern $agic could only $i$ic $o!e$ents( De!ertheless- this could still
create attac#s li#e the pre!ious one that should ha!e been i$possible
according to hu$an anato$y and physics(
8o$itsu#a turned hi$sel" into a puppet $aster that ielded his on body
li#e a doll and attac#ed 8atsuya in a $anner that ran counter to $artial
theory( .'nd 8atsuya sa through the $o!e$ents o" the psions
surrounding 8o$itsu#aAs body(
8o$itsu#aAs entire body had been co!ered by a single +agic &e*uence( It
as an e)ceedingly co$ple) +agic &e*uence that e!en a high1class
+agician ould be hard pressed to recreate( +aybe it as because he
didnAt ant the$ to inter"ere ith the +agic &e*uence- but the disorderly
psions that surrounded his body ere no neat and orderly- recreating an
untouchable 6idos that only su""ered &el" +arionette to pass(
8he disorderly chaos had trans"or$ed into an orderly orld(
2rder as both "or$ and design(
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8atsuyaAs /,eco$position0 could destroy designs( 'lthough he as unable
to destroy "or$less ob:ects- he could deconstruct anything ith a "or$
e!en i" it as the 6idos(
8he "or$less cloud o" psions rapped around 8o$itsu#a no had a "or$
created by 8o$itsu#aAs on $agic(
8hrough /6le$ental &ight0- 8atsuya understood this i$$ediately( <e also
sa that this as an incredibly opportune $o$ent "or !ictory(
8atsuya directed psions into his 7',( <e as not pretending to use his
7', but actually using the 7', "or ,eco$position +agic( 8he $agic he
chose as /=ra$ ,ispersal0(
8atsuya pulled the trigger(
9ith the "or$ in hand- 8atsuyaAs $agic that destroyed in"or$ation
shredded 8o$itsu#aAs ar$or(
8he e)posed "ighting $arionette closed in on 8atsuya(
8atsuya held a concentrated bloc# o" psions in his le"t hand(
8he solid bloc# as so sturdy that it could ha!e bro#en through
8o$itsu#aAs ar$or e!en i" it had reco!ered(
8his as not hiding his strength- but to achie!e !ictory( Eather than
choosing the $agic he as $ost co$"ortable ith but hich still $ight be
bloc#ed by the inco$plete ar$or- 8atsuya chose the $agic bullet that
ould de"initely pierce through the inco$plete ar$or(
,esigned and honed to clash against inhu$an ob:ects- the high pressure-
high penetration 5ar &tri#e na$ed /Penetrating +agic &hell0 3by Ca#u$o4
shot "ro$ 8atsuyaAs hand and pierced through the "ighting $arionette
na$ed 8o$itsu#a(
8a#ing a shot "ro$ the cannonball that had no physical "or$- 8o$itsu#a
"le bac#ards( 8his as &el" +arionetteAs side e""ect( 2nce he su""ered a
poer"ul blo directly- this i$pression ould rerite the !ariables "or the
+agic &e*uence( %sing a +agic &e*uence that did not ha!e a co$plete
co$$and inter"ace caused the theoretical $iscalculation that ulti$ately
ended ith 8o$itsu#aAs de"eat(
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
&ent "lying by his on $agic- 8o$itsu#a laid there ith his li$bs
e)tended outards and not $o!ing a $uscle( &ince he as unable to
restore strength into his rela)ed $uscles in ti$e- he had su""ered a $ild
/Rictor- &hiba(0
'"ter !eri"ying 8o$itsu#aAs condition- <attori announced 8atsuyaAs
'"ter $ur$uring /2nii1sa$a0- +iyu#i loered her head( 5orgetting
hersel"- she as about to pounce on 8atsuya hen she reco!ered her its
at the last second(
8atsuya s$iled gently at +iyu#i hen she raised her head(
Dodding at the brilliant s$ile co$ing "ro$ his sister- 8atsuya turned his
body around(
<e put the 7', in his right hand bac# into the holster and al#ed toards
here 8o$itsu#a as lying on the ground(
/8o$itsu#a- can you standB0
&till lying on the ground- 8o$itsu#a used his right hand to tightly grasp
8atsuyaAs e)tended right hand(
=etting a li"t "ro$ 8atsuya- 8o$itsu#a "inally got bac# to his "eet( <e
appeared to be a little sha#y- but his concussion didnAt appear to be too
serious( 8o$itsu#aAs "ootsteps *uic#ly returned to nor$al(
/'s I thought( CouAre really strong- &hiba1#un(0
/Cou as ell- 8o$itsu#a( 8hat hurt a lot(0
5aced ith 8o$itsu#a honestly pulling o"" his hel$et- 8atsuya s$iled bac#
ith his reddened "ace(
De)t to the$- a silhouette dashed by(
/'h- hey- &hippouP0
9ithout turning his head- 8a#u$a "led Practice Eoo$ ^3(
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't the end o" the Eobotics 7lubAs garage- an e$pty area ne)t to the
outdoors practice "acility had beco$e a sparsely populated location "or
pri!ate con!ersations(
Cet- 8a#u$a had not co$e here "or this reason( <e happened to chance
upon here a"ter running aay "ro$ the eyes and ears o" other indi!iduals(
>e"ore the si;eable tree that incidentally didnAt ha!e a /cursed0 legend
attached to it- 8a#u$a stood there nu$bly "or a long $o$ent( <oe!er-
$aybe because he as unable to control the agitation elling up inside
hi$- he suddenly began punching the tree ith his right hand(
/,a$n it- da$n it- ,'+D I8P0
<e lost count o" ho $any ti$es he punched the tree(
/&top it- &hippou( CouAre starting to bleed(0
9hen his curses gre ragged- a !oice called out to hi$ "ro$ behind(
8a#u$a si"tly turned his head(
8here- he "ound Fasu$i staring at hi$ in astonish$ent(
/&aegusa- youP0
&eeing 8a#u$a glaring at her "uriously- Fasu$i raised both hands and
shoo# the$ so"tly(
/'h- donAt $isunderstand( I asnAt "olloing you( I :ust happened to be
here by coincidence(0
'"ter saying this- Fasu$i al#ed toards the "roning &hippou( &he
pulled out a hand#erchie" and "olded it into a bandage be"ore grabbing
8a#u$aAs hand hile he as glaring at her the entire ti$e(
/9hat are you doingPB0
/'hHH 8he s#in peeled o""(0
Fasu$i rin#led her eyebros at the blood and rapped the hand#erchie"
around the hand o" the "altering &hippou(
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
/&orry- I ha!enAt been gi!en per$ission to use <ealing +agic( Ee$e$ber-
youAre better o"" going to the in"ir$ary later(0
8a#u$a as unable to anser Fasu$iAs ords( <e could only stare at the
hand#erchie" stained ith his blood(
/2h- and you donAt need to return the hand#erchie"(0
&tanding in "ront o" the co$pletely $otionless 8a#u$a- Fasu$i sighed
/Cou $ust ha!e been soundly beaten(0
/'s e)pected- the upperclass$enAs bar is really high(0
8a#u$aAs eyes re$ained on the ground(
/<$- hy hatB0
5inally seeing a reaction- Fasu$i played along ith another sentence(
/9hy are those guys so strongPB0
' pain"ul outcry( 8his cry $ust be hat they $ean by spitting blood-
Fasu$i thought( .'s "or ho /those guys0 ere- Fasu$i instincti!ely
#ne already(
/8heyAre high school students li#e us- arenAt theyPB 8hereAs only one yearAs
orth o" di""erenceP 6!en so- ho are those guys so incredibly strongPB0
/9hy does there ha!e to be a special reasonB0
/9hat did you sayHHB0
Fasu$i "inally "elt li#e they ere ha!ing a con!ersation- but she as
"oolish enough to say that aloud(
/8hey $ust be strong because they are( 8rue enoughHH I" you ha!e to
"ind a reason- then they $ust ha!e or#ed hard to get to here they are-
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven

/I alsoHHP0
/Ceah- you $ust ha!e or#ed hard too( I did as ell( Cet- surely those
guys are stronger because they put $ore e""ort into it- rightB0
/IA$ not denying your talent here- 2FB I too belie!e that a large
proportion o" $y on poer co$es "ro$ $y talent(0
/>ut- a le!el o" /$ight0 that is enough to stagger e!en $eHH &urely that
ca$e "ro$ a di""erent place than talent- donAt you agreeB0
8a#u$a raised his head and loo#ed Fasu$i in the eye(
5ro$ 8a#u$aAs eyes- a tear o" regret tric#led don(
/9ell- IA$ not e)actly interested in so$ething li#e /$ight0( &ince you
ant to get stronger- then that is your proble$( Ee$e$ber- &hippouAs
strength is so$ething that belongs to &hippou(0
@ust as she said- Fasu$i easily turned around and !anished "ro$ 8a#u$aAs
2nce again- 8a#u$a !ented his rage on the tree- this ti$e using his pal$
instead o" his "ist(
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
'"ter splitting o"" "ro$ the 7lub 'cti!ities =roup $e$bers ith <attori at
their head- 8atsuya returned to the &tudent 7ouncil Eoo$ and sat at his
on des# be"ore opening the co$$unicator( 8yping aay at the #eyboard
at a speed that could not be captured by the na#ed eye- the recipient o" the
$essage he typed as also so$eone currently in the &tudent 7ouncil
33Ces- +asterB44
&etting the target as 8atsuya- Pi)ie began co$$unicating !ia telepathy(
33<a!e you "inished changing the recordsB44
'!oiding the ritten docu$entation o" the other &tudent 7ouncil
33It has been done as you ordered( ' "alse recording has been uploaded
<e recei!ed the anser he desired(
33+aster- ha!e I been o" assistance to youB44
33Indeed you ha!e( 8han#s "or your hard or#(44
<e bestoed ords o" than#s to the $onster that as #eeping the secret(
33Cou can rest "or today(44
33Ces- +aster( 6ntering &tandby +ode(44
'"ter gi!ing orders "or the doll to rest- 8atsuya erased the con!ersation
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
/8hat "lying ship as actually stolen property( 'ccording to the tele!ision
agency- the code used in the "light plan re*uest as stolen as ell(0
7urrently- 8atsuya as con!ersing ith 5u:ibayashi o!er the phone
installed in his on roo$(
8he sub:ect as the "lying ship they encountered during that night( 8his
as an in!estigati!e report on hether the ones responsible "or the suicide
attac# on 8atsuya that led to his pain"ul e)perience ere terrorists or part
o" a cri$inal organi;ation(
/%n"ortunately- the only #non *uantity is that they are a""iliated ith a
7hinese cri$inal organi;ation(0
Cet- :ust as 5u:ibayashi said- the results o" the in!estigation ere not
/' 7hinese cri$inal organi;ation( ,oes that i$ply you already #no their
/<$- but not all o" the$( <e as an opponent that had a history ith you-
/HHCou donAt $ean Do <ead ,ragon- do youB0
/L8he re$nants- yes( Eobert &un as a cousin o" the nephe o"
Eichard &un- the leader o" Do <ead ,ragon( <e has been con"ir$ed to
ha!e led a helicopter :ac#ing in the past(0
/' nepheAs cousinHHB0
8atsuya salloed the ords /asnAt that practically a stranger0 that ere
on the tip o" his tongue( 8hat as because he recalled an e)a$ple o"
so$eone ho constituted a blood relation e!en on this le!el ho happened
to be right ne)t to hi$(
/9ell- thatAs practically an outsider( 8hatAs probably hy only a "e
underlings "olloed hi$ here a"ter Do <ead ,ragonAs collapse(0
De!ertheless- it see$ed that anyone thin#ing along the sa$e lines dre
si$ilar conclusions( <oe!er- this as not the ti$e and place to consider
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
such tri!ialities(
/2" course- last nightAs incident ould be beyond the $eans o" such a
$iniscule "orce( 9hether they ere conspirators or the ones plotting
behind the scenes- so$e degree o" support $ust ha!e been in!ol!edHH0
/'nd re$ains un#non- correctB0
8he situation appeared to be "ar gra!er than 8atsuya had i$agined(
2riginally- an atte$pted terrorist attac# in the heart o" 8o#yo as already a
serious enough $atter- and no they ere supported in the shados by
so$eone e!en 5u:ibayashi could not catch ahold o"( 2" course- they had to
ta#e into account that they had no e!idence at the $o$ent( 6!en so- this
as not an opponent they could a""ord to underesti$ate(
&till- the thought that "lashed across 8atsuyaAs $ind as not /hope"ully
this onAt beco$e an issue0- but a $ore sel"ish ish li#e /hope"ully this
troubleso$e issue onAt i$pact +iyu#i and I0(
<ere as a bustling street at night( &lightly a ays o"" "ro$ the street- a
certain s$all store stood in an alley(
Da#ura used the ea# light o" a "lashlight to !eri"y the na$e o" the store(
8his as indeed the $eeting place that as arranged ith the current head
o" house- &aegusa Foichi(
I" he had not #non about this store- Da#ura as certain he ould ha!e
al#ed right past here( 2pening the doors $ade o" $anu"actured alloy that
only held the distinction o" sturdiness- Da#ura too# the stairs to the second
"loor( '"ter being led into the roo$ by an e$otionless $ale e$ployee- his
opposing nu$ber "or the appoint$ent had been aiting "or his arri!al "or
so$e ti$e(
/<a!e I caused you to ait !ery longB0
/<ardly at all( I :ust got here $ysel"(0
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
8he one spo#e as he rose "ro$ the chair as a "air young $an ho ga!e
o"" a charis$atic and !ibrant air that Da#ura could ne!er hope to $atch(
/+y na$e is Da#ura(0
/I a$ Shou( Please- ta#e a seat(0
%nli#e the $ale e$ployee ho led the ay here- there as a cute and
attenti!e young o$an standing in the roo$( 5olloing ShouAs !erbal
cue- the beauti"ul o$an in the aitress uni"or$ pulled bac# Da#uraAs
seat across "ro$ ShouAs chair ith a practiced $otion( &eeing Da#ura ta#e
a seat ithout a second thought- Shou returned to his on seat(
/9ould you li#e so$ething to drin#B0
/8hatAs true( <o about so$e hite ineB0
ShouAs eyebro arched in surprise( 8o ShouAs #noledge- !ery "e guests
actually too# hi$ up on that custo$ary o""er "or a drin# by ordering
/HH9ould a nor$al bottle o" $aotai ine su""iceB0
/'s you ish(0
8he ine Shou ordered as si"tly obtained( '"ter the s$all glass cups
ere "illed ith ine- Da#ura and Shou atched each otherAs breathing
and doned their drin#s at the sa$e ti$e(
&etting the e$pty glass in the center o" the table- Da#ura care"ully
scrutini;ed ShouAs ga;e(
8he one ho spo#e "irst as Shou(
/+y $aster ishes to "or$ a "riendly relationship ith Da#ura1sa$aAs
/+y $aster said that there ould be no proble$s agreeing ith Shou1
sanAs proposal(0
<earing Da#uraAs response- Shou re!ealed a de!ilish s$ile(
/2h dear- your con"idence "ills $e ith dread( 8hen- shall e proceed to a
"e $ore concrete detailsB0
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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - Volume 12 - Double Seven
/2ur side has already proposed our basic conditions(0
/2" course- I a$ ell aare o" that( 9e ould ne!er do anything that
ould har$ &aegusa1sa$a( '"ter all- e do not share the =reat 'sian
'llianceAs interests(0
/'nd hat o" the $edia operationB0
/8hat too e understand( 9e ha!e already gi!en the order to curb the
propaganda or# directed uni!ersally at +agicians(0
/I see( 8hen let us discuss the "iner details(0
Shou once $ore used his eyes to gi!e an order to the "e$ale e$ployee(
8he beauti"ul o$an ser!ing as their aitress boed deeply be"ore
lea!ing the roo$( >esides Da#ura and Shou- no one as pri!y to the
discussion that ensued in the roo$(
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