Mahouka Koukou No Rettousei - Volume 17
Master Clans Conference Chapter (1)
Illustrations by Ishida Kana
ASCII Media Works / Dengeki Bunko • Tokyo, Japan
Copyright © 2015 by Satou Tsutomu
Illustration © 2015 by Ishida Kana
All rights reserved.
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei / Satou Tsutomu ; [illustrations by
Ishida Kana] — digital ed.
Summary: The story follows Tatsuya Shiba, a bodyguard to his sister
Miyuki Shiba who is also a candidate to succeed the master clan,
Yotsuba. They enroll into First High School which segregates its students
based on their magical abilities. Miyuki is enlisted as a first course
student and is viewed as one of the best students, while Tatsuya is in the
second course and considered to be magically inept. However, Tatsuya s
technical knowledge, combat abilities, and unique magic techniques
causes people to view him as an irregular to the schools standardized
[1. Romance-Magic—Fiction. 2. Magic-Engineer—Fiction. 3. School —
Fiction.] I. Title. II. Series: Tsutomu, Satou. Mahouka Koukou no
ePub by Roah Nosh. Visit the “Oniisama” page for details.
Translation by oniisama-TL.
[Leader (Recruitment, PR): M.R Editors: C KA M N W S (MIA) N Anon
Proofreader: L Y Translation checkers: D MW K KA Translators: Y T R ]
All materials’copyright reserved by their respective authors and the
associated publishers. Please respect their rights.
Works will be deleted upon request by copyright holders.
If you like the book buy it once localized in your area. Support the
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^ ° o
January 2 ncl , 2097 A.D., the news that had spread from the
Magic Association early into the New Year had produced a big
shock among related parties.
The person who made such an announcement was one of the
Family Heads of the Ten Master Clans, Yotsuba Maya, from the
The included contents were the chosen heiress of the Yotsuba
Family, as well as the engagement of the next Family Head.
It meant that the Yotsuba Family was moving forward to the
next generation. Shiba Miyuki was named as the next Family
Head of the Yotsuba, and unexpectedly, Shiba Tatsuya was also
chosen as her fiance. Both pieces of news became a major
announcement for the next era of Japan’s Magic Community.
However, this news didn’t just place expectations on the “New
Anxiety and shock rippled through those who knew about
Tatsuya and Miyuki. Leaving out the fact they were both related
to the Yotsuba Family (in some way) which they had hidden up
until now, it was revealed they were also not real siblings. The
emotional rivalry among the girls and boys had, perhaps, seen
this as a “bolt from the blue”, which was a natural outcome with
the events as they were.
Among those to be jarred from this was the Ichijou Family’s
eldest son from the Ten Master Clans, Ichijou Masaki.
< — >
January 2 ncl , 4 P.M., Masaki came back from the New Year’s
Ritual and went to his father’s parlor after being summoned.
It was rare for Masaki s father to be around the house at this
time. He was usually moving around the seabed looking for
resources for his mining company, as that was the official family
business. Otherwise he would be overseeing the training of
Magicians under the Ichijou Family, hence he wouldn’t return
home before dinner. However, during the first three days of the
New Year, he had to receive greetings as the Head of the Ichijou
Family of the Ten Master Clans. For better or worse, his
obligation as a Family Head required him to stay put in the
The Ichijou Family’s Mansion has a Western-style partitioned
structure, and the room to greet the guests was located at the end
of a long hallway attached to a parlor which was designed
according to japanese-style architecture, like a Samurai-styled
Masaki arrived in front of his father’s parlor, and knelt down in
the hallway before knocking on the door rather than suddenly
barging into the room.
“It’s me, Masaki.”
He received a rough response from the other side of the sliding
The voice was unlike Masaki’s who had the tone of a young
nobleman, but it was not an uncouth voice. Rather, it had a wild
vibe to it that you could feel in your belly regardless of the
He opened the sliding door while kneeling down, and soon
after entering the room, he knelt down again. It might appear as
excess politeness between parent and child, but it suits the good
behavior and sensibility of Masaki.
On the other hand, his father, Gouki, who was wearing a haori
hakama with the family crest hanging on his chest, broke his
posture by attaching his elbow to his foot. He looked like a
“Lord” in a popular drama which was set in the late Showa Era,
but Gouki was spared from scrutiny for his rough attitude.
Masaki sat in front of his father. They didn’t resemble each
other well for a parent and child. The Ichijou Family’s son and
daughters take after their mother, and that was a widely known
Gouki was 42 years old this year, and if he was to be described
in one word, it would be “manly”. His whole body was overly
tanned, and on his head was short and cropped hair, all acquired
due to the long time he spent under intense sunlight. His
appearance suited his dignity quite appropriately for his age. In
contrast, his body did not appear to age as much, his muscles
were firm, albeit not voluminous, but toned and edgy.
Despite his harsh features, he left a strong yet tasteful
“Well, don’t be so uptight.”
That was the first sentence he offered to his son, who was
sitting with an upright attitude from the very beginning.
“Then, I won’t hold back.”
He was dressed up throughout the New Year-with his
student uniform-so Masaki followed his father’s
recommendation and relaxed his posture. Gouki did not like
formal manners, but he still exercised some degree of distinction.
Whoever it may be it, as a member of the Ten Master Clans, or as
the Ichijou Family Head, any human being must exercise the
appropriate behavior. Now, as soon as he asked his son to “not be
uptight”, he was acting as Masaki’s father, instead of the Head of
the Ichijou Family.
“Masaki. It’ll be hard to answer this question honestly to your
parent when you’re at this age, but please make your best effort.”
“What happened? Is it something serious?”
It was unusual for Gouki to give such a prelude. He was
usually a cut-to-the-chase, blunt-to-a-fault kind of person.
Especially towards his own son. Masaki was naturally mystified.
However, Masaki also decided to go along with him, since he
was already there.
“You really need to answer honestly. Do you know a girl named
“Wh-why are you asking such a thing!?”
Masaki spoke in a panicky voice, which indicated that he had a
positive answer to the question given.
“Do you, Masaki?”
However, Gouki wanted a clearly worded answer, so he asked
Masaki again straightforwardly.
“.. .1 know her.”
He still didn’t know what his father was thinking. After being
persistently asked, Masaki decided to answer obediently.
“When and how did you meet her?”
Masaki almost shouted “Why do I need to answer a question
like this for my father?”. Although he had it on the tip of his
tongue, Masaki held back, realizing the act would be
meaningless. His father may have an assertive personality, but he
wouldn’t say something like that without reason.
‘At the Nine Schools Competition, two years ago. I’ve known her
since the Opening Ceremony. I got to know her during the
Celebration Party when I got to be her dance partner.”
“So you had an eye on her first. Since she didn’t reject your offer
to dance, at the very least you weren’t disliked by her.”
He didn’t have enough information from just that, and his
frank guess of the situation made Masaki’s face grow hotter.
However, this was still just testing the waters.
“Then, do you like Miyuki-jou?”
In the following instance, an intense stare emitted from Gouki,
and Masaki seemed to skip a heartbeat.
“Wha-what are you talking a-!?”
“I asked you, are you in love with her?”
“Why do you need to ask me such a question!?”
His tongue was tied due to his agitation, so Masaki’s speech
didn’t come out well and was similar to a scream. This time, he
was unable to suppress his feelings.
‘Approximately 30 minutes ago, I received a message from the
Yotsuba via the Magic Association.”
Gouki answered his son’s question with a grave tone. He would
never, ever, tease his son about love, and neither would he
“From the Yotsuba?”
He immediately told Masaki about it. The word “Yotsuba”
which came out of Gouki’s mouth made Masaki disrupt his cool
“What business does the Yotsuba have with the Ichijou?”
“It’s not only between the Family Heads. The Yotsuba Family
announced to the Ten Master Clans, the 18 Assistant Houses, as
well as the Hundred Families. It is some sort of a greeting
towards the major houses of japan’s Magic Community.”
“Greeting? How amusing, for that unfriendly Yotsuba Family to
do such a thing... What exactly is happening that would make
them send such a greeting?”
Masaki and Gouki stared into each other’s eyes for a while.
Masaki made sure that there were no lies in the information that
his father was about to deliver, and he confirmed that Gouki was
prepared to tell Masaki the truth.
“The Yotsuba Family has named their next Family Head. She is
a First High sophomore student, Shiba Miyuki.”
“Shiba-san is, from the Yotsuba, the next Head...?”
Despite keeping his polite tone, Masaki was deeply shaken. The
fact that Miyuki was a Member of the Yotsuba Family, on top of
the fact she was of a close lineage that would be appointed as
the next Family Head. A fact that he’d never dreamt to hear
rocked Masaki’s heart hard.
Gouki kept his strong gaze upon Masaki while continuing to
retell the story upon Masaki’s drifting consciousness.
Soon after, a bigger bomb was dropped on Masaki.
“Masaki, the Yotsuba named Shiba Miyuki as the next Family
Head. Additionally, it was announced that Shiba Miyuki is
engaged to her cousin, Shiba Tatsuya.”
“Shiba-san is engaged...?”
Masaki was stunned in surprise. However, he only needed a
short time to realize the details of the fact.
“Cousin, you said? Shiba-san and Shiba Tatsuya are supposed
to be siblings!”
Gouki nodded lightly to his son’s words.
“I have also confirmed about that fact. Certainly, they were
supposed to be siblings up to now. However, the truth seems to
point out that they are cousins.”
Despite his overflowing upsetness, his father’s words were still
a problem. He recognized an unnatural part.
“Shiba Tatsuya is Yotsuba Maya’s son who was born via
artificial insemination from her egg. Please read carefully, his
family registry data was modified at the end of last year.”
Gouki was also displeased about this fact.
“Certainly, it is a plausible tale. At the very least, there is no
evidence that Yotsuba-dono did not tell a lie. However, there is
no evidence that what Yotsuba-dono said is the truth either.”
“Dad, do you think... that the Yotsuba are lying?”
Masaki’s voice came out sounding like he was almost sniveling.
“That’s not the main problem right now.”
However, Gouki shook off his son’s accusation.
“Whether they are siblings or cousins, it’s still no good for close
relatives to marry each other. The genes of Magicians in this
country are at stake. Marriage between close relatives might
compromise their genes, so it must be avoided. It’s a natural
responsibility of the Ten Master Clans towards the nation.”
Masaki changed his legs’ positioning, and broke his posture
“This was a one-sided decision by the Yotsuba Family. Even so,
they can’t ignore that the possibility exists. That’s why I asked
you. Masaki, do you like Shiba Miyuki-jou? Are you in love with
Gouki stared hard at Masaki. He has strong eyes, which might
even stay open without blinking even in the midst of a raging
ocean. However, Masaki had no reason to be afraid of them.
“Yeah. Pm in love with Shiba-san. It was love at first sight.”
Masaki had no reason to feel guilty about his feelings.
Gouki nodded in satisfaction after eliciting a confession from
“Then, as a parent, I should assist with realizing your feelings.
Oh, don’t worry. The Ichijou Family can still be inherited by
Akane. You are free to go as the son-in-law without refrain.”
Masaki was confident that his love for Miyuki was earnest. He
was convinced his feelings were real.
“First of all, we must force the current engagement to stop. To
do so, shall we express the wish from our side now?”
“Wait a minute, Dad!”
However, for his parent to convey his feelings before he had any
chance to say it by himself simply felt wrong to Masaki.
“There’s no time to wait. The other party has announced to the
world that they have been engaged.”
However, after seeing the “don’t be a loser” look in his father’s
eyes, Masaki was unable to say anything to his father’s
<~ — — >
January 3 rcl . The previous day, the Yotsuba Family sent an
engagement announcement to the main Magic Families of Japan,
and the Ichijou Family made an objection via the Magic
Yet, the one who felt the most intrigued was not the Yotsuba
Family, but rather the Head of Saegusa Family, Saegusa Kouichi.
Ichijou Gouki sent a written rejection to the Magic Association
as displayed on the electronic paper, and Kouichi read it with a
(You’re bold as usual...)
Kouichi and Gouki have been old friends since they were
Although they didn’t have a very close relationship, they didn’t
particularly hate each other, either. Since they have completely
different personalities from the other, it was natural for them to
be distant. They were more suited to be called acquaintances.
Furthermore, the age gap between them was adding to the
reason that the relationship between them didn’t turn hostile.
Kouichi was six years older than Gouki. When they first met,
Kouichi was a university student while Gouki was still a middle
school student. Perhaps, that was the reason why Kouichi
couldn’t shake off the image that Gouki was “a time consuming
naughty little brother”, and did not feel any hostility towards
him. Even with this objection, Kouichi felt like saying “You’re
doing another reckless thing again”.
(One wrong step and the Ichijou Family will be exposed to
The Ten Master Clans was set to be of equal allies to each
other, and not in any position that could interfere with the
internal situations of the other families. There is likely to be
damage to valuable genes due to close-relative marriages, so
regardless of the justification, it was not allowed to deny the
engagement of other families.
However, if the situation affected himself, then it was a
different story altogether.
This time, the ones who opposed this engagement of the
Yotsuba’s next Family Head was not just the Family Head of the
Together with his opposition of the engagement between
cousins who have monozygotic twin mothers, he also proposed to
engage the eldest son of the Ichijou Family, Ichijou Masaki, to the
Yotsuba’s next Family Head, Shiba Miyuki.
Proposing an engagement to a party who had already decided
on a fiance would normally be seen as a hint towards illicit love.
However, in this case, the main underlying reason was to avoid
the risk of impairing the genes of excellent Magicians.
The fact that the Ichijou Family was interfering with the
Yotsuba Family’s next Family Head due to Gouki’s support of his
son’s love was unknown to Kouichi. It would impossible for
Kouichi to come out with such a gamble for the love of his
children, but the Gouki he knew of from the past would be able
to do so.
(However, it doesn’t really matter with this kind of timing.)
The fact that Shiba Miyuki was going to be named as the next
Head of the Yotsuba Family, and that Shiba Tatsuya would be
chosen as her fiance were already deduced by Kouichi.
Despite being a freshman, Shiba Miyuki had mastered high-
end magics like “Inferno” and “Niflheim”, and she also exercised
an unknown deadly magic during the Yokohama Disturbance.
The range of that magic and the effect of which were unknown
as an interpersonal magic, but its power was comparable to the
“Meteor Shower” from what the Saegusa Family Researchers
Then, Shiba Tatsuya, who holds the strongest counter-magic
and unidentified Decomposition Magic as well as a miraculous
kind of magic. Kouichi also received a report that Tatsuya was
likely to be the Strategic-Class Magician who caused the
“Scorched Halloween” incident. Moreover, he was closely related
with the JSDF 101st Battalion, which was said to be the worlds
first Flight Combat Independent Magic Battalion.
Kouichi also knew beforehand that the two were related to the
Although he didn’t know that Shiba Tatsuya was Maya’s son,
he only knew that there was no concrete evidence that Shiba
Miyuki was a daughter of Miya. When these two individuals
become the center of the Yotsuba Family, the other 27 Houses
constituting the Ten Master Clans— 18 Assistant Houses might
become useless in terms of suppressing the Yotsuba Family, even
as a group. It was not known to Kouichi, but Kudou Retsu had
Regarding the appointment of Shiba Miyuki as the next Head
of the Yotsuba Family and that Shiba Tatsuya was chosen as her
fiance, Kouichi was responding impatiently to this news. He
thought that Tatsuya and Miyuki were siblings (although they
are siblings), and if one of them were to leave the Yotsuba Family,
perhaps it would be Tatsuya. Although it wouldn’t be enough to
completely weaken the Yotsuba Family, Kouichi thought that it
would keep the domestic power balance of persuasion power over
time.-Of course, it also meant that he would set a trap to get
that persuasion power.
That was why when Maya announced that Shiba Tatsuya was
not Shiba Miyuki’s brother, and that the both of them were
engaged, Kouichi was taken aback by his complete
miscalculation. It didn’t matter whether they were real siblings
or not since he couldn’t extort such a precise inspection of them,
since published news is the truth. If they do get married in the
future, Shiba Tatsuya would become an unwavering pillar of the
Yotsuba, together with Shiba Miyuki. Kouichi was afraid of the
time when that reality would be realized.
When that happened, there wouldn’t be any more ways of
stopping them. The fact that they already sent out an
announcement through the Magic Association regarding the
formal engagement meant that they could no longer be stopped.
Kouichi was chewing bitterly, but-
(There is still that method, huh.)
Although Gouki’s reaction was rude, it was not reckless. He
knew that Gouki had calculated at least that much. Yet, given
Gouki’s nature, Kouichi concluded that the greater possibility
was that Gouki did it based on his intuition rather than thinking
However, there was no doubt it was a valid move.
Kouichi immediately called his daughters to the living room.
Kouichi was wearing a suit while his daughters gathered
wearing glamorous, long-sleeved kimonos. Although they were
not wearing the furisode willingly, the three of them nevertheless
wore the clothes. It wasn’t due to their parent’s preference either.
Such a factor wasn’t nonexistent, but their getups were primarily
done to entertain the visitors.
While the eldest son of the Saegusa Family had the role of
entertaining the guests, the three daughters had the role of
guiding guests. On a side note, Mayumi’s mother was estranged
with pretext of medical treatment.
“Otou-sama, what’s the matter?”
Mayumi suddenly asked Kouichi who sat across from her.
Although she was dressed up in a furisode every year during this
time, she was not so amiable this year despite the kimono that
she put on.
“I haven’t told you about this, but yesterday I received an
announcement from the Magic Association, from the Yotsuba
Family to the Ten Master Clans, the 18 Assistant Houses, and the
“Not only the 28 Houses, but the Hundred Families as well?
Was it such an important announcement?”
With Kouichi’s suggestive words, Izumi did not show any tense
response in contrast to her sister, and showed up as per her
Looking at Izumi who got quite interested in the topic despite
her reluctance to listen to her father’s story, Kouichi nodded with
satisfaction. His youngest twin daughters were cute, even Izumi
when viewed from an adult’s point of view, and seemed to
sweeten Kouichi as well.
“It is important. To the Yotsuba Family, and to you all as well.”
“To us as well?”
Mayumi raised her question with a louder voice. Kouichi paid
no heed to her.
“The Yotsuba Family’s next Family Head is named to be First
High Student, Shiba Miyuki-jou.”
The one who raised her voice was Mayumi. Izumi, on the other
hand, widened her eyes while holding both of her hands tightly.
Kasumi remained relatively calm, although she had a hard time
believing the news so suddenly.
Mayumi, who had the closest relationship with the Shiba
siblings in her family, originally had the notion that Tatsuya was
from a Family as an “Extra with the Number Four” at best.
However, the three of them never imagined in their wildest
dreams that Miyuki was a Member of the Yotsuba Family.
‘Also, it was announced that Shiba Miyuki-jou is engaged to a
student from First High, Shiba Tatsuya-kun.”
“It can’t be!”
“Even if they’re from the Yotsuba Family, siblings still can’t
marry each other, right?”
Izumi remained speechless, while Mayumi started to sound
like she was screaming, before Kasumi asked her to remain calm.
“They are actually cousins.”
Kasumi was not as upset as her sisters due to her calm
personality, but she had little fondness for Tatsuya and Miyuki.
Kouichi, who understood his daughters’ temperaments, was able
to understand this.
Kouichi also knew that Izumi is attracted to Miyuki’s beauty.
That was why the point of Kouichi’s interest was Mayumi’s
“Shiba Miyuki-jou’s mother is Yotsuba Miya-san. Shiba
Tatsuya-kun is the son of the current Family Head, of Yotsuba
Maya-san who was born from a frozen egg cell of hers.”
“Tatsuya-kun is... the son of the Yotsuba Family’s Head?”
Kasumi decided to focus her sight downward rather than to
watch her sister stunned. The twin sisters seemed to have
decided to leave them alone for the mean time since they had
nothing to say as well.
“On the contrary,”
However, the sharp tone in Kouichi’s voice continued, and
Kasumi was aware of the voice of her father.
“The Ichijou Family’s Head, Ichijou Gouki-dono, has
challenged the engagement of the two from the Yotsuba Family
through the Magic Association.”
“The Ichijou Family has?”
Mayumi made a confused face after listening to her father.
“That’s right. He didn’t only go against the engagement, but he
also proposed the engagement between his eldest son, Masaki-
kun, and Miyuki-jou to Maya-dono.”
“Is that so?”
Mayumi seemed to have overcome her upsetness. She tried to
mull over some behind-the-scene speculation of the engagement
of the eldest son of the Ichijou Family and the Yotsuba Family’s
next Family Head.
“Mayumi, has some idea come to mind?”
There was no evidence seen that Mayumi was shocked to the
unexpected “new facts” about Tatsuya and Miyuki anymore. Her
speed of regaining her composure was evaluated as an
advantage for Kouichi.
Rather than taking an interest in what Mayumi knew, Kouichi
asked the question to get her comments on the matter, as he
wanted to know what she was thinking since she was able to
regain her composure in such a short amount of time.
“No, it’s nothing important. I was simply reminded that Ichijou
Masaki-kun has a strong favor towards Miyuki-san.”
“I see. Mayumi, I wonder, when did you notice that?”
“The Nine Schools Competition from two years ago, during the
after party. I am pretty sure I’m not the only one who has noticed
However, unexpectedly, the content of what she said was
helpful for Kouichi. Apparently, the motive of the Ichijou Family
Head seems to be helping the romance of his son.
“I see. Hence, rather than acting from the political arena, he
chose to consider his son’s feelings.”
Kouichi couldn’t consider the same thing as Gouki. He would
never take any action that would disadvantage the Saegusa
Family for the sake of his daughter’s love. However, he
understood the principle behind Gouki’s actions well, more than
“By the way, how do you see Shiba Tatsuya-kun? Mayumi,
what do you think about him?”
Being questioned by Kouichi, Mayumi’s eyes began to show a
hint of anxiety.
“Even if you ask me... I think he’s an excellent junior.”
Kouichi did not miss the fact that his daughter was slightly
blushing when Mayumi tried to answer him blandly.
“How about you, Kasumi?”
“I have very little contact with Shiba-senpai so my knowledge
is only on the surface. I only know that he is someone who excels
greatly in Magic Engineering.”
Kasumi said so in a vague manner, before she turned her eyes
“I think Izumi knows better than I, since she’s working with
him in the Student Council.”
Kouichi moved his eyes towards Izumi.
“Izumi, what do you think of Shiba Tatsuya-kun?”
Izumi changed her hollow eyes instantly when her name was
called. She understood what the question was about, so she was
not pretending to answer seriously, but had a naturally firm
“...I think Shiba-senpai... is someone who can’t be measured
by normal standards.”
The one who showed a hint of surprise was not only Kouichi.
Kasumi revealed her surprised look to Izumi, while Mayumi
turned her body to Izumi with rounded eyes.
Without flinching from the attention she brought on herself,
Izumi continued her words and returned a straight gaze to
“I believe you remember that the First High conducted a Stellar
Furnace experiment last April.”
‘Ah, if I remember correctly, Shiba Tatsuya-kun was the one
who had the initiative to do so.”
It was an event which overturned Kouichi’s plan to damage the
Yotsuba’s reputation in the public’s eyes. He wouldn’t easily
‘At the last Nine Schools Competition, Shiba-senpai
contributed greatly as a member of the Technical Staff. Even
during the previous year’s Nine Schools Competition, Shiba-
senpai also introduced Flight Magic which had just been
published just before the Nine Schools Competition had started
for the Mirage Bat event.
Kouichi also knew about this, but he directed his sight to
Mayumi for confirmation.
“It’s true. He did implement the Flight Magic to the specified
CAD. He also developed a new magic which has been recorded
in the Magic Index.”
“This year, he was selected to improve high level magics such
as Invisible Bullet and Phonon Maser.”
Mayumi further added to Izumi’s testimonies.
“Thats something else.”
What his daughter said were all known to him, yet he looked
naturally surprised, as if he was hearing this for the first time.
“However, what I find unfathomable about Shiba-senpai, is
that on the surface he doesn’t appear to see any of his actions as
Izumi did not end her comment there.
“Shiba-senpai... and us, are seeing a different world... While
he lives here, he’s fundamentally living in a different world...
Sometimes, I get this kind of feeling.”
“Is that because he has a similar special vision like Mayumi?”
“...I don’t know. Sorry, Otou-sama, it’s just a vague feeling.”
Izumi looked down as she was not able to explain her feelings
Kouichi stared at Mayumi.
Mayumi also shook her head, hinting that she had no idea.
Although Izumi’s impression of Tatsuya had piqued Kouichi’s
interest, she missed a fact in her conclusion. Kouichi decided to
temporarily shelve his curiosity.
“Then, what do you think of him as the opposite sex?”
Izumi turned her face up due to the unexpected question, while
opening her eyes wide due to the surprise.
“He’s not someone that I could lay my hands on! ...It’s
regrettable, truly regrettable.”
“Izumi, what do you mean?”
Suddenly, Izumi’s calm and collected appearance crumbled
down, Kouichi looked rather anxious than worried at this sight.
“From my point of view, Shiba-senpai seems to be very
manipulative... Even if he’s rather suitable for Miyuki-senpai,
“Izumi, do you know what you are trying to say? Even for me,
this is quite a surprise you know?”
It seemed like Kasumi had forgotten that her father was
watching her, she involuntarily turned to Izumi with a surprised
With an uncomfortable face, Kouichi cleared his throat.
Kasumi and Izumi shivered as if shocked by electricity, and
aligned their downcast heads shyly.
“Mayumi, how about you? How do you think of Shiba Tatsuya-
kun as a member of the opposite sex?”
Kouichi went about without scolding Kasumi and Izumi-
who were now, hesitant to continue their comments-then
proceeded with Mayumi.
“Even if you ask me.
Even though it was expected that she would be asked this,
Mayumi’s eyes wandered around in a panic. However, despite her
nervousness, there wasn’t a hint of dislike to be seen.
There wasn’t even a tinge of a troubled expression either.
“Shiba Tatsuya-kun is two years younger than Mayumi, but
that much shouldn’t cause any significant problems. Especially
considering his position as the son of the current Head of the
Yotsuba Family, the age gap is balanced out.”
‘About that, he has a very mature air around him...”
If everything fell in place neatly as Kouichi planned, this might
Aligned with Gouki’s pace, he might be able to destroy Maya s
“Mayumi, if you have such feelings, you should officially date
Kouichi told her so with respect to his plan,
Kasumi raised her objection.
“Kasumi, restrain yourself.”
Not only did she disturb him in an untimely manner, it was
also a behavior unsuitable for a high school student. This time,
Kouichi reprimanded her instantly.
“...I’m terribly sorry.”
Kasumi was also aware that her attitude was inappropriate.
Although she was unhappy, she did not rebel against her father.
“Otou-sama, if Onee-sama has such feelings for Shiba-senpai,
I would suggest for her to have a proper relationship with him,
but Pm also against this.”
“Izumi. Do you have any reason?”
Kouichi, though serious in dealing with Kasumi, did not intend
on immediately reprimanding Izumi but instead wanted her to
Although Izumi’s polite manner of speaking was part of the
reason, the main reason was Kouichi doted on Izumi more.
“For a female to actively approach a male who has already
formally announced his engagement to the public, if news got out
of this, it would be absolutely unacceptable. The Ichijou Family
can only do what they’re doing because Ichijou-san is a male.
Shiba-senpai is a male so he can just laugh it off if his love gets
snatched away, but for Miyuki-senpai, it would very likely hurt
..Is that so?”
When it came to such unique female sensibilities, even Kouichi
could not refute them. In fact, just asking such a thing already
pushed him to his limit.
The one who exclaimed thus was Mayumi.
“To ask a guy who has just announced his engagement, if word
got out it, that would be unacceptable. Not to mention Tm older
than him. I don’t want to spread rumors that Tm a senpai who
tempts her kouhai or that Tm lacking in morals.”
“Is that so.”
Kouichi could only leave things in such a disadvantaged
Henceforth, Kouichi never again brought up the issue of the
Yotsuba Family announcement of the engagement. From this
point out, he had to fully focus on matters concerning Miyuki and
Tatsuya since they were now known to be from the Yotsuba
Family. Kouichi dismissed his daughters after that.
< — >
After 8 P.M. in the evening, visitors to the Saegusa household
had all but left. There were no more prior engagements to any
dinner banquets before tomorrow. Kouichi and his daughters,
changed out of their kimonos into normal clothes, and he
finished dinner before settling himself in his study.
This did not differ much from his normal routine. Although
having dinner with his daughters was a rare sight, retiring back
to his study after dinner was a perfectly normal occurrence. After
completing the work required of him as a Head of the Ten Master
Clans and that of a businessman, as well as reading the reports
of clandestine operations, the call that Kouichi had been waiting
for finally arrived.
[New Year’s greetings, Saegusa-dono.]
“Happy New Year, Ichijou-dono. Apologies for having you
specially make this call.”
Ichijou Gouki was precisely the person Kouichi was waiting for.
[No, I’m the one who made you wait, sorry.]
“I didn’t have to wait long at all.”
It was two hours ago when Kouichi sent his request for Gouki
to give him a call when Gouki was free. Hence, to say that he
didn’t have too long to wait really was too subtle.
[Then, what you wanted to discuss, is it about the Yotsuba
Although, in terms of age, Kouichi was older than Gouki by
seven years, the one speaking to the other in familiar terms was
Gouki. However, there was an unwritten rule when it came to the
Heads of the Ten Master Clans owing to their equal standings
and it was Kouichi’s attention to formal speech that was
Kouichi was probably the only one from the Ten Master Clans
who was such a stickler for those kinds of details.
“Yes, but to be accurate it’s about the request Ichijou-dono
made of the Yotsuba Family, specifically about your son.”
While Kouichi said so with a smile, Gouki started frowning.
[Please, don’t pretend as if you know everything, will you?]
As Gouki’s response was within his calculations, Kouichi
“I am considering supporting your son’s pursuit of love.”
Perhaps complaints about Gouki’s highly unreasonable act had
already started to show. To move the conversation forward,
Kouichi clearly stated his intentions before Gouki got annoyed.
[Is that so. Thanks.]
Gouki thanked Kouichi while trying to guess at his true
intentions, causing Gouki to reveal a weird expression.
"I, too, am saddened by the engagement announced by
Gouki’s expression changed from one of surprise to agreement.
Compared to feeling sorry for his own son, objecting to the next
Head of Yotsuba Family’s engagement was a more palatable
[Then, I’ll assume Saegusa-dono feels that the marriage
between two close relatives that the Yotsuba Family is proposing
is too dangerous?]
“Yes, exactly. I also frequently hear of the next Head of the
Yotsuba Family, Shiba Miyuki-jou’s outstanding qualities from
This was a lie. Kouichi and his daughters didn’t even hold
conversations “frequently”. Intel on Miyuki and Tatsuya had been
entirely obtained through private investigations.
If he was honest about it, however, the question of how Kouichi
knew about Miyuki and Tatsuya despite the Yotsuba Family
covering up the two’s relationship would arise. Whether or not
Kouichi had been secretly conducting investigations would also
rise into suspicion, so it was more convenient to simply say he
had heard it from his daughters.
“It’s impossible to overlook the possibility of her talents not
being passed on after all.”
Kouichi’s words were meant to echo Gouki’s intentions.
Unexpectedly however, Gouki bit his lips unhappily, which was
outside of Kouichi’s calculations.
[-Not only Miyuki-jou, Shiba Tatsuya-kun, too, is a
Magician who has achieved victory over my son. Although I
might sound like an idiot for saying so, but I think those that win
over Masaki are pretty valuable.]
“Yes. It is as you say.”
Kouichi immediately corrected his stance. Though Gouki might
think himself stupid just now, winning over Masaki was
definitely a huge accomplishment. In actuality, when the Third
High team led by Masaki lost to the First High team led by
Tatsuya in the 2095 Nine Schools Competition, the shock was so
great that the Magic Association almost convened an online
meeting via its direct line to discuss their response.
“Shiba Tatsuya-kun’s abilities must be treasured as well.”
Kouichi’s was not merely paying lip service with his immediate
agreement with Gouki’s words.
[Then, Saegusa-dono, what do you want to do? Is it to plead
with Yotsuba-dono to dissolve their plans for marriage, or to
support my son?]
Although Kouichi appeared to support him on the surface,
Gouki revealed an unhappy face, obviously suspecting that
Kouichi was trying to make use of his son.
That was beyond Kouichi’s calculations, or rather perhaps, it
was even within his calculations.
“In truth, I am considering having Shiba Tatsuya-kun become
Here, Kouichi had revealed that he was acting humble while
bowing down his head.
Gouki couldn’t help but waver for having arrived at the same
conclusion as Kouichi.
[...Isn’t your Mayumi-jou currently dating the young son of the
Gouki probed Kouichi with expression and tone speaking of his
inability to hide his surprise.
“Yes, putting aside the lack of progress between Mayumi and
Hirofumi, the two do not seem to intend on continuing the
relationship, to the extent that they might be going back to
[If it’s Shiba Tatsuya-kun, are you saying that Mayumi-jou
thinks that way too?]
“For Mayumi, Shiba Tatsuya-kun is also a Kouhai, but for her
to feel that way should not be a surprise. Mayumi is already
twenty now, and as a father, she is approaching the age when I
wish she would start making plans for marriage.”
Gouki’s intuition was telling him that Kouichi wanted to make
use of the Ichijou Family, but his level of understanding failed to
allow himself to understand this. Kouichi’s words contained
absolutely nothing to arouse anything suspicious, and it helped
that he was approaching Gouki at this point in time.
“I’m embarrassed to say this but I’m still at the stage where I’m
negotiating with my daughter, and still not at the stage when I
can propose a marriage. Hence, in place of a proposal I’m hoping I
could add my name to your voice of dissent.”
Gouki felt that he was slowly slipping into an ingenious trap.
[Then as the Family Head, it’s something I should feel grateful
However, he was now only considering whether to accept
[If you could give me a reply as soon as possible, I would be
very grateful. As a Family Head, I plan to contact others who
also consider Yotsuba-dono’s plan dangerous, what do you
“If such people really exist, please do introduce them to me.”
It wasn’t really a request made of Kouichi, but rather Gouki
trying his best to maintain his position as the main party
involved. However, in the current state of affairs it was all Gouki
[Oh, of course.]
Kouichi while smiling, nodded. Gouki understood from the
start that to see through Kouichi’s real thoughts on the phone
was impossible, so he gave up.
[Then, I’ll send you the original document sent to the Magic
“In case of any errors I’ll send the co-signed document back to
you first, so please do a thorough check.”
“That’s concluded, then. Ichijou-dono, thank you very much.”
[No, I should be the one feeling thankful. I’ll take my leave
The conversation with Gouki over the phone ended
satisfactorily for Kouichi.
As Tatsuya and Miyuki brought Minami home, it was already
Friday, January 4 th .
Those who knew of Tatsuya and company’s relationship with
the Yotsuba Family were only limited to those at the top of the
magical community. However, it would not take more than a few
days for this intelligence to proliferate through the people
connected to magic. The existence of the location of their house,
too, was only a matter of time.
Hayama had mentioned of preparations being made in Tokyo
for a second Yotsuba Family Residence; Tatsuya mused that
considerations will have to be made about a possible move to
Even if such a move was made, however, Tatsuya anticipated
that it would only happen in one to two months’ time. He had to
take care of some errands first before that.
If it was the end of the last century, that would mean cleaning
up the house, clearing out everything together with everyone. For
homes in the modern age where domestic chores have become
highly automated, however, it was no problem leaving the
cleaning up to automatons. After finishing lunch at home,
Tatsuya and Miyuki left for Yakumo’s Temple— Kyuuchouji
Temple, leaving Minami behind.
Tatsuya changed into a suit while Miyuki changed into a
kimono. Riding Tatsuya’s motorcycle was out of the question; the
skates didn’t even need to be mentioned. Fortunately, both
Tatsuya’s house as well as Kyuuchouji Temple were within the
public transportation grid where driver assistance AI could take
them there automatically. Hence they used their private car
instead of a public one.
The trip to Kyuuchouji Temple only took around ten minutes. A
call made before leaving ensured they didn’t show up with no
one not being home.
Nonetheless, Tatsuya who had arrived punctually was instead
asked to wait. Yakumo was definitely in the temple. However, an
earlier visitor was in fact present. Arriving just before Tatsuya,
the individual had suddenly appeared without having made any
Looking like he was a visitor, who Yakumo simply could not
One of Yakumo’s most talented disciples who was close to
Tatsuya apologized to him profusely.
Tatsuya was deciding if he should pay a visit on another day
though ultimately was stopped by that disciple, and so the
decision was made to wait longer. Tatsuya didn’t have anything
important on his schedule today and he was in no mood to work
anyway, so with the thought that it was fine, Tatsuya continued
When Tatsuya was finally summoned, it was already 30
minutes since he arrived.
Leaving the lecture hall for the main hall, Tatsuya passed the
courtyard when he saw the back of the previous visitor at the
It was a bald old man. Perhaps he was from the same Buddhist
sect, Tatsuya thought, but he immediately dismissed it. Although
the bald head suggested the visitor was a monk, what he was
wearing however was a high-end suit and coat. Although monks
who wore suits probably still exist, the old man was definitely
not one, Tatsuya’s intuition told him such. At the very least he
wasn’t a monk, and he gave off the impression of being one in a
position of authority.
Probably feeling Tatsuya’s stare, the old man turned his head
around from the left.
The old man’s left eye, it was cloudy white.
The old man’s movement caused Tatsuya great unease. If the
sight of one’s left eye were impaired, one would usually turn his
head from the right.
In that eye, contained an extraordinary sight...
The old man immediately returned to his previous position,
then he left walking away through the temple gate.
Hearing Miyuki’s call, Tatsuya instantaneously regained
himself. His attention was drawn to that old man by such a
Being unsure of what he was afraid of, Tatsuya shifted his
Kneeling in front of Yakumo, Tatsuya did not inquire as to the
old man’s identity.
“Sensei, we’ve visited at such a late hour. Happy New Year.”
Tatsuya was at the moment considering if he should investigate
his other visitor. Though he had no reason to think so, asking
would probably yield no answers.
Miyuki formally bowed, in harmony with Tatsuya.
“Congratulations. I already understand the situation so let’s not
care too much about that.”
Receiving Yakumo’s answer, the pair of siblings raised their
“To already know, as expected of you.”
To Miyuki’s admiring look filled with respect, Yakumo smiled
while shaking his head.
“No, no. This is nothing worthy of admiration. Because news of
Miyuki-kun being made the next Head and the marriage
between you two is spreading fairly quickly.”
“...Do so many people already know?”
To the vexed Tatsuya who asked so, Yakumo melodramatically
widened his eyes in surprise in an act.
“Of course. For people related to magic, this is big news. Plus,
it’s intelligence related to the Yotsuba Family that’s surrounded
by mystery and doubts, receiving attention is expected. In
addition to that, it’s almost time for the Ten Master Clans
Conference. Especially since this year’s the quadrennial Ten
Master Clans Selection Conference? Events that happen just
before it would be impossible to keep a lid on.”
Tatsuya furrowed his brows while Miyuki appeared distressed.
Although the notice was limited to the 28 Houses and the
Hundred Families, news would rapidly spread once the Magic
Association made the announcement. This news was originally
meant to let third parties know of Tatsuya and Miyuki’s
existence. To let the majority of those related to magic remember
this was another intention of the Yotsuba Family.
That was at most only Maya’s plan, though. Tatsuya did not
wish for things to be done this way. Putting aside the rumors on
the street, how First High’s students would react during the new
semester, was more than enough to depress the two.
“Speaking of which... To think that you two were not siblings
but cousins, and engaged to each other.”
Yakumo laughed nastily.
“Even I was completely cheated. Congratulations.”
Hearing Yakumo’s congratulations, Miyuki blushed while
shifting her line of sight.
However, Miyuki’s expression froze at Yakumo’s next sentence.
“Well, where does the truth end?”
“We heard that it is all true.”
As Yakumo revealed a smile filled with interest on one side,
Tatsuya, immediately turning expressionless, replied without
“Hmm, so you heard, huh.”
“Since I have no memories on this matter, I can only learn from
“Is that so, is that so. Even if it’s Tatsuya-kun, you wouldn’t
remember what happened immediately after you were born. Not
to mention things that happened before that, you will only be
able to know of them by hearing from others. You have a point.”
Yakumo smiled while glaring coldly at Tatsuya.
Tatsuya, as if saying “It’s just as you’ve said”, lowered his head
After this, only small talk took place and after about 20
minutes had passed Tatsuya and Miyuki stood up.
Yakumo as if naturally, stood up as well, following behind the
Under such circumstances, regardless of any misgivings they
might have had, Tatsuya and Miyuki understood that it was
meaningless to Yakumo.
The two, thus sandwiched between the disciple tasked with
leading the way and Yakumo, proceeded towards the gate
heading to the parking lot.
At the gate, Miyuki and Tatsuya stood properly once more,
preparing to say their greetings once more.
However, the one faster to speak was Yakumo.
“Tatsuya-kun. Tomorrow, I will give you a more rigorous
training, you would better prepare yourself mentally.”
Tatsuya, unprepared, widened his eyes. Yakumos words just
now implied that Tatsuya need not mind this matter and should
come here to train as before. Yakumo meant this, despite
Tatsuyas identity as being someone from the Yotsuba Family
going public, getting along like how they used to, is just fine.
“Please take care of me this year as well, Sensei.”
Although Tatsuya did not reveal any indication that he was
“Sensei, thank you.”
Though in Miyuki s eyes, tears welled up.
< X V ->
On the day after Tatsuya paid his visit to Kyuuchouji Temple,
he left Miyuki at home to head to the jSDF 101 Brigade Base
situated in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki to pay a visit.
The destination was the Independent Magic-Equipped
Battalion Headquarters. It was not for training but rather to greet
Although Tatsuya was in a normal suit, the ID card he held
was no less different than that held by a regular soldier. He only
needed to pass through a card scanner and a bio-scanner before
Tatsuya easily passed through the gate, after which he walked
towards the building that the Independent Magic-Equipped
Battalion was in. Tatsuya initially planned to go straight to
where Kazama was, but in the sturdy plaza spanning three floors
both above and below ground, he saw a familiar figure, so he
walked towards it.
“Happy New Year, Special Lieutenant Ooguro.”
“Happy New Year and congratulations, First Lieutenant
As they saluted one another, Tatsuya and Fujibayashi
exchanged New Year’s greetings. Tatsuya, though, appended his
congratulations not only for the New Year’s well wishes.
“Thank you, Special Lieutenant. The increase in salary at this
point really sincerely makes me happy.”
Fujibayashi replied in a joking manner. Tatsuya felt that her
words contained some complex undercurrents, but did not point
them out right then.
“I also wish to give my New Year’s greetings to the Lieutenant
“Of course, the Commander is waiting for us as well. Let’s go.”
Fujibayashi gave a bright smile before turning around.
Tatsuya followed behind her.
Kazama gave his permission to enter the room, in response to
Fujibayashi’s knock on his door. There was only one person in the
“Excuse me. I brought Special Lieutenant Ooguro along.”
“The two of you, stand there and wait a moment.”
As he was speaking, Kazama operated the end of the desk. At
the wall near the entrance, a part came down to the height of his
hand, and stopped as it became parallel to the ground to form
the seat of a chair.
Tatsuya and Fujibayashi sat down on the chairs that were
There were cushions placed on the seats, so it didn’t feel
uncomfortable sitting on them.
Kazama continued repeating movements using his stylus on the
monitor reclined at a 15-degree angle, as if signing documents,
before raising his head.
Fujibayashi and Tatsuya stood up together in front of the table
where the monitor was stowed away. Tatsuya moved forward
half a step before saluting Kazama.
“Commander, New Years greetings to you. Also,
congratulations on your promotion this time.”
“Well. Special Lieutenant, I’m looking forward to your being
active this year as well.”
“Yes. Thank you very much.”
Kazama loosened his expression, then stood up.
Behind Tatsuya and Fujibayashi’s backs, appeared a sofa that
came up from underneath the floor.
“Well, sit down.”
While saying this, Kazama sat down on a simple inflatable
sofa. Tatsuya then sat down on the sofa by the door as well.
The ceiling descended between the two, forming a suspended
coffee table. A teapot, teacups and saucers had already been
prepared on the table.
Fujibayashi, still standing, picked up a kettle, filled the teapot
up with hot water, then poured the tea into the teacups after a
while. She then placed the two teacups, on saucers, and teapot in
front of Kazama and Tatsuya. Smiling in response to Tatsuya
who thanked her, Fujibayashi started moving to the left of
‘Although I don’t think you have any matters which you
specifically need help with, you didn’t come here today just for
New Year’s greetings did you?”
Kazama asked Tatsuya as he picked up the teacup. Although
the cup was not filled with boiling hot water, the teacup made of
thin celadon should still have been pretty hot, Kazama however
did not reveal any reaction to it.
“I heard the Commander received a promotion, so of course I
can’t pretend I didn’t know about it.”
In response to Kazama’s direct question, Tatsuya answered
while smiling. Although it was just to be civil, the smile was not
accompanied by any emotions. Instead of a sincere expression, a
smile was chosen instead.
‘Although it’s called a promotion.”
Kazama responded to Tatsuya’s faked smile with a smile of his
However, Kazama’s was a forced smile.
“My salary hardly increased and compared to my
contemporaries, I’m already one of the last. Well, even though I
feel better that I was promoted, it’s a good thing that situations
where my subordinates will be put under pressure will
just as Kazama had said, in the official routine orders sent out
on January 1 st , the promotion list wasn’t limited to just Kazama.
As Tatsuya pointed out, Fujibayashi was promoted from a
Second Lieutenant to a First Lieutenant, Sanada and Yanagi were
both promoted from Captains to Majors, their military ranks
When Kazama was younger, in carrying out some of his
missions, he once displeased the Central higher-ups, causing his
records and deeds, strength, reputation and position to be
suppressed, inconsistent with his accolades. After becoming the
Commanding Officer of the Independent Magic-Equipped
Battalion, it was thanks to the efforts of the Brigade
Commander-Major General Saeki that he finally became a Field
Officer, but the Bureaucrats in charge of Military Affairs and
Politics did not plan on allowing Kazama to get promoted again.
However, the results achieved in the Yokohama Incident was
not something that the Ministry of Defense could overlook.
Instead, reasoning that the Independent Magic-Equipped
Battalion was a secret unit, the excuse that immediate
promotions would expose them as the operatives of the Battalion
was given. Thus the promotion that should have been decided in
January and July of the previous year was delayed, but they
could not keep ignoring the protests of those who had achieved
victory and had not been given what they deserved. Hence, they
could only send out the routine orders that Kazama was among
the ones being promoted.
He was accompanied by Sanada, Yanagi and Fujibayashi, the
three of whom received similarly delayed promotions by one
‘A raise in rank shouldn’t be a bad thing. Even if it’s just a little,
if there’s an increase in income, nothing beats it.”
“You have a point. Speaking of the matter on the Special
Lieutenant’s income, my feelings are a little complex.”
“The difference in my income isn’t that great. Since CADs are a
product of the budding Magic Engineering sector, its market
remains very small.”
Tatsuya and Kazama both smiled at the same time. After
which they simultaneously tightened their expressions.
“Lieutenant Colonel, how are the anti-spy measures?”
“They are complete.”
In response to Tatsuya’s question, Kazama nodded while
Tatsuya took in a small breath of air.
“Lieutenant Colonel, has the structure of the Independent
Magic-Equipped Battalion changed?”
“There are no changes this time. Because our Independent
Magic-Equipped Battalion is positioned as a secret unit, the
Major General feels that it’s not a problem even if the ranks and
the job scopes don’t match up.”
Tatsuya was deployed with the Independent Magic-Equipped
Battalion as a Special Forces Soldier and his identity was closely
related, in a personal way, with Kazama or Sanada. If the head
changed, then considerations had to be made if he would be
affected as well.
Those words just now were not just polite remarks, rather they
were instead sincere in respect to the interests of the Yotsuba
Family. If he must be placed under the command of someone
who couldn’t be trusted, he would have to re-examine if he
should cut ties with the military. This time however, it looked like
this worry was unwarranted.
“Tatsuya, we can be just like how we were before, so do you
think we can receive your support?”
This time, Kazama questioned Tatsuya with a nervous
Tatsuya lightly nodded his head, indicating assent.
“Weren’t you entrusted with a new identity by the Yotsuba
“That does not conflict with the interests of the Independent
Tatsuya replied not with “the JSDF” but with “the Independent
Magic-Equipped Battalion” in response to Kazama’s question,
after he consciously thought about it.
‘At least, for now.”
The meaning of then adding “for now”, Kazama clearly
“Is that so.”
In this way, Kazama quickly accepted it.
“We predict that in the coming months, the international
situation will start to escalate rapidly, including within Japan.
Even if it doesn’t reach the scale of another World War, the
possibility of mid-level military conflicts happening in the near
future, specifically within a year, in the East Asia region is
‘Are we referring to the Army Staff’s views? Or the General
Leading up to World War III which lasted for 20 years, the
]SDF as an organization changed on a massive scale. The
Ministry of Defense was shuffled into the consolidated Joint
Staff, which now included the General Headquarters of the
Defense Army, Defense Navy and Defense Air Force. The Joint
Staff became affiliated with the Joint Staff Office and reports
directly to the Chairman of the Joint Staff, that now, at the same
time, assumed the position of Director of the Joint Staff Office.
The function of the Joint Staff Office was to convene during
emergencies to act as the JSDF’s highest decision-making body.
For example, during last year’s Yokohama Incident, within two
hours of the start of the invasion, the Joint Staff Office convened
and subsequently decided for the authorization and use of
Within the current system, under the Army, Navy and Air
Force, each had set up their own respective General
Headquarters responsible for managing intelligence, combat and
deployment. Their difference from the consolidated Staff Office
was that they were only responsible for analyzing military
intelligence as well as providing suggestions.
Tatsuya’s question was asking about which level of analysis
Kazama’s earlier statements had passed.
“No, it’s Excellency Saeki’s analysis.”
Kazama’s answer was not one Tatsuya expected. Looks like it
was, at most, the 101st Battalion’s informal internal analysis.
However, Tatsuya’s trust in the prediction of military conflicts
It came from an excellent and experienced expert without
considerations of politicians’ judgment, without considerations
for popular opinion or political bias. It could be said that it was
the result of pure analysis.
Although Tatsuya did not at all want the prediction to be
realized, he didn’t have the confidence to optimistically
pronounce it as baseless.
‘Although the Ten Master Clans is an organization for the
protection of Magician’s rights, they will not shy away from the
duty of National Defense. Based on this, the Yotsuba Family and
the jSDF share the same interests.”
“I won’t involve you with matters unrelated to National
Defense, meaning I won’t impose upon you any obligations.
Tatsuya, I’m looking forward to working with you this year.”
With the same phrase that started it, Kazama ended the
conversation with Tatsuya.
After greeting Kazama, Tatsuya had originally planned to greet
Sanada, Yanagi and Yamanaka. However Yamanaka was not in
the base at the moment, while Sanada and Yanagi were currently
occupied. In a dilemma as to whether he should wait somewhere
or go straight home, Tatsuya was invited to the officer cafe by
Fujibayashi, who helped ascertain the three’s status, instead.
The time now was 10:50 A.M. Although it was still too early to
be having lunch, it was just right to have a cup of coffee.
Especially since it was still the New Year period, the Brigade as a
whole had not started training in earnest, causing the use of the
cafe by officers making it crowded and rather lively.
Although it was the New Year period, the personnel were still
on duty, and the officers were all in uniforms. Fujibayashi, too,
was wearing the female logistics personnel uniform. Conversely,
Tatsuya was wearing a three-piece suit. If he had been holding
his coat in one hand he might not have been feeling so
indisposed, but in the present situation, he was subtly
conspicuous in the cafe.
Fujibayashi looked on in interest at Tatsuya who was taking
his discomfort calmly.
“.. .So Tatsuya-kun you can be shy like this too.”
Since Tatsuya was trying to preserve his dignity, he didn’t say it
aloud but looked at Fujibayashi helplessly.
“I don’t really like attracting people’s attention.”
Hearing Tatsuya’s reply, Fujibayashi almost burst into laughter.
“Then, this time could be said to be a catastrophe for you.”
“There is nothing to be done about it. Especially since the choice
to refuse doesn’t exist.”
Fujibayashi, as if attempting to probe Tatsuya’s innermost
feelings, gazed at Tatsuya.
“Is this about the marriage?”
“Do you hate it?”
“It’s only that there is no other way. Being ordered to get
engaged to someone who has always been your sister, my brain
can’t switch tracks so quickly. Especially understanding that
Miyuki must have a fiance, makes it harder to resist...”
Tatsuya’s reply was merely a polite remark. It wasn’t because
he was required to be the fiance but probably rather because he
absolutely could not let go of Miyuki.
If anybody who knew the sibling’s feelings for each other could
think of it, it wasn’t difficult for Fujibayashi to see through
Tatsuya. However, out of Fujibayashi’s mouth didn’t come words
of teasing Tatsuya.
‘A fiance is necessary, huh...”
Tatsuya looked at Fujibayashi, surprised.
However, he didn’t ask about it. Because considering
Fujibayashi’s age, it was easy to infer that her relatives must
have demanded she get married.
“...Recently, it’s been irritating. Speaking of which, I’ve been
told I should be getting married too.”
Although Tatsuya wanted to avoid the topic at hand, it was
instead brought up by Fujibayashi.
“Even though I also know that I’m already at this age...”
Considering the modern trend of Magicians being required to
marry early, it wasn’t difficult to imagine that Fujibayashi was
under enormous pressure from her family. It was because of this
that Tatsuya didn’t say anything to Fujibayashi.
Precisely because of knowing Fujibayashi’s reasons for not
wanting to marry, it was even harder to say heartless things.
“I know. IPs about time to properly straighten out my state of
mind. If I keep being stuck on that person, he probably won’t be
Today, unexpectedly, Fujibayashi stepped on a landmine even
Tatsuya wanted to avoid. Compared to the other Officers’ curious
eyes, listening to Fujibayashi’s words now, instead, made Tatsuya
even more uncomfortable.
In the Defense Battle in Okinawa in the year 2092, Fujibayashi
lost her soon-to-be-married fiance. Even though it was one
arranged by their parents, she was still never able to forget him.
Her fiance was new. He was killed-in-action in his first
Fujibayashi, who was previously a researcher, also became a
uniformed military personnel because of the death of her fiance.
She didn’t hate the military for losing him, but perhaps because
in his place, she wanted to fulfil his dreams. Tatsuya had not
heard the details to this degree.
What Tatsuya understood was that Fujibayashi was unable to
forget her fiance who was killed-in-action, and the people
surrounding her could not forgive that.
‘Ah, sorry! I really... To make you listen to my complaining, it
would only annoy you Tatsuya-kun.”
Sensing Tatsuya’s difficult position, Fujibayashi was
embarrassed and hurriedly apologized.
“No... I think your family is only worried about you.”
To the Fujibayashi of now, Tatsuya could only say something to
x x —>
Just as Yakumo had said, rumors of Tatsuya and company had
speedily spread among the Magicians.
“Shizuku, that, is it true!?”
“...There’s no mistake.”
Moving her line of sight away from the Honoka who was
standing on the other side of the table, Shizuku replied with
“Miyuki is the next Head of the Yotsuba Family!?”
As if losing her strength, Honoka lightly sat back down.
In front of the two were bite-sized cakes and red tea.
Today was Sunday, January 6 th . Shizuku and Honoka were in
the Kitayama household’s dining room enjoying desert time after
-Although the atmosphere was turning anything but
With Honoka, who rarely came over to play (to be precise, it
was Shizuku who invited her), talking about this topic made
Shizuku herself uncomfortable, but compared to telling her
suddenly after meeting her again in the future, she felt it was
better to tell her right from the start.
As Shizuku had thought, Honoka did indeed suffer a serious
blow, and she was now sitting in the chair, in a listless state.
“Miyuki is... So it’s like this...”
However, the listlessness persisted for a surprisingly short time.
Honoka muttered, as if accepting it, then resolutely looked at
‘Although it gave me a fright, I can accept this. If it’s the Ten
Master Clans and even one of the Yotsuba Family, it feels like
having that kind of ability and power is understandable.”
Although Honoka’s expression was tinged with loneliness, she
looked at Shizuku with an understanding expression.
“Well, from who did you hear that from? Auntie? Or from
“The Yotsuba Family contacted the Heads of the Main
Members of the Hundred Families through the Magic
Association. It was one of my Moms contacts from the old days
that told her.”
‘Ah, if Papa were home he might have told me.”
Honoka’s dad was a subordinate of a strong member of the
Hundred Families. Because the news was not specially
designated a secret, the possibility that the source of the rumors
came from the workplace wasn’t low.
Initially, Shizuku was feeling slightly lucky at the fact that
Honoka’s dad was not home. Honoka’s dad did not know about
her being in love. Just bringing up anything related to Tatsuya
and Miyuki to her dad might have caused him to warn her to
stay away from the two.
“Yeah, what is it?”
However, for Shizuku, it was not easy to properly handle this
Especially knowing she wasn’t good with words, the trouble of
exactly how she should tell her started growing heavier.
(But... I really must tell her.)
Honoka might cry. No, she will definitely cry. At that time, the
only one able to let her cry out honestly was herself, and
Shizuku’s sense of duty began to well up.
If she didn’t do so, it would feel like running away from the
‘Actually, there was a follow-up to what I heard from Mom.”
“Follow-up? Exactly what is it?”
Shizuku took a small breath,
“It’s that Miyuki and Tatsuya-san are not actually siblings but
rather cousins. Also, it looks like even Miyuki and Tatsuya-san
did not know this. Following that, Tatsuya-san has also been
chosen to be Miyuki’s fiance.”
Finished in one breath.
“It cannot be...”
Honoka’s face tried to remain strong, then immediately broke
into a smile.
“Rea-aaa-lly, Shizuku. Just stop with this type of cruel joke.
April Fools is still three months away.”
Honoka waited for Shizuku to smile as well. Waiting, for
Shizuku to reply with something like “I’ve been found out” with
an expression without malice.
However, Shizuku only looked into Honoka’s eyes with a calm
“Hey, Shizuku. Stop joking.”
Fear appeared in Honoka’s eyes. Even so, maintaining a smile,
she implored Shizuku with a half-joking tone to tell her that this
was a joke.
However, Shizuku’s tone wasn’t what Honoka was waiting for,
but was a sincere tone.
Honoka asked, while shaking.
Shizuku affirmed painfully.
Honoka stood up, wanting to run out of the dining room.
While her back, was tightly hugged by Shizuku.
“Let go of me!”
Honoka struggled with slightly rough actions. She was not in
fact conscious of who it was that hugged her. More importantly,
even where she herself wanted to go, no, what she wanted to do,
she did not know.
However, a type of survival instinct to escape from what she
feared made her want to run with all her might, away from the
With the hands pushing away, their strength was totally
A wail. As well as the sound of a body hitting the table. The
sound of the grinding of table legs. The sound of chairs flipping.
The sound of forks being strewn across the floor, and of utensils
Followed by a moan suppressing the pain, which pulled
Honoka s consciousness back to the present scene.
What she saw upon turning her head in panic, was Shizuku
lying beside the flipped chair. While on the floor behind her, were
fragments from all the broken utensils.
“Shizuku!? S-Sorry! Are you alright!?”
Forgetting what she was crying about-changing into a face
like she was about to cry about something else, Honoka hurriedly
ran to Shizuku s side.
Lightly holding onto the hand that was trying to help her,
Shizuku stood up almost with her own strength.
“It was only a light bump. There’s no injury.”
This sentence was not said only for Honoka’s benefit, but at the
same time also for the maids who had rushed in upon hearing
Shizuku stood up as if wanting to prove her point, not revealing
a single sign of pain. However, upon looking down at the skirt of
her dress, she frowned slightly.
“Spilt on myself as expected. Let’s change in my room.”
The skirt of the dress, was ruined by the milk tea that was sent
“That, let me help-”
The speech of one of the maids, was cut off by the
“No need. Compared to that, I’m sorry to bother you with this
However the maids, knowing that this family’s “Ojou-sama”
did not like people helping her enter the bath or change clothes,
no longer brought up the above-mentioned request and
immediately attended to Shizuku’s request.
“Honoka come with me.”
Shizuku got slammed onto the table and the floor-although
slightly exaggerated-the shock that Honoka had received just
now was overshadowed by the shock of pushing her to the
ground, and she agreed to Shizuku’s words without even
thinking about it.
“That, Shizuku... I’m sorry, I was so violent against you...”
Upon arriving in Shizuku’s room, Honoka looked like she had
already calmed down. In the room with only the two of them,
what Honoka said, was an apology to Shizuku.
“Don’t mind it. There were no injuries, and it doesn’t look like it
will leave any scars.”
As she was replying, Shizuku who had already taken off her
dress, dropped it to the ground. After which she let Honoka
examine the left side of her waist, shoulder and elbow that were
hit. Indeed, Shizuku’s snow-white skin showed some redness,
but it was apparent that it wasn’t to the degree that it would
“Honoka, sit anywhere you like.”
Having changed into a maximum-length one-piece dress made
of thick cloth, Shizuku told Honoka while standing.
Honoka looked around the room, then sat down on a side of the
“I’ve kept you waiting.”
Shizuku who had finished changing sat down beside Honoka.
The fact that Honoka was taller, was reflected in their height
when sitting down.
Naturally, Shizuku’s peeking from below, collided directly with
“Honoka, are you okay?”
This sentence became the trigger, causing the sorrow in
Honoka’s heart to awaken.
Tears welled up in Honoka’s two eyes.
Shizuku straightened her back, putting her hands around
Honoka’s shoulders, hugging her.
“Tatsuya-san and Miyuki are cousins, is it really true?”
“Tatsuya-san and Miyuki, it’s confirmed that they’re
While sobbing, Honoka asked.
In response to the question she had already answered once,
Shizuku tightly hugged her friend as an answer.
“How could this be... It’s too cruel...”
Just like a dam breaking, Honoka started crying continuously.
“Tatsuya-san said before... Clearly that they were siblings...
Miyuki too... Said that we were friends...”
Shizuku, without saying anything, put one knee on the bed and
hugged Honoka’s head tightly against her chest.
As the sounds of Honoka’s crying started to weaken-not
stopping, but rather tiring from crying-Shizuku remained
hugging Honoka tightly against her chest while moving her lips
towards Honoka’s ear.
“Honoka, you have three paths to choose from.”
Honoka’s body, revealed a reaction different from sobbing.
Confirming that her words had indeed been registered, Shizuku
“The first path would be to give up on Tatsuya-san. I’m afraid
this is the option that will hurt the least.”
Honoka did not react. She was waiting for the next option.
“The second path would be to still not give up, continue to go on
the offensive against Tatsuya-san. Tatsuya-san views Miyuki as
a sister, I am pretty sure this point is true. For Tatsuya-san, and
for Miyuki, the matter of them not being siblings should be very
“...Is that so.”
Honoka’s voice was mixed with crying.
Shizuku specifically did not use words such as “probably” and
“I think”, tersely making a stronger statement.
“Miyuki probably saw Tatsuya-san as a love interest of the
opposite sex from the start but Tatsuya-san’s feelings are at most
love for a sister.
Hence, to suddenly confirm their engagement, Tatsuya-san
should be confused as well.”
“But, they’ve already confirmed their engagement...”
“They’ve only yet to reject it. It doesn’t mean he has accepted it,
hence, the chances are not zero.”
Shizuku did not say “there was a chance” but rather “was not
As for its meaning, to the Honoka of now was rather easy to
“...The third path is?”
Shizuku briefly sucked in a breath of air, and then said so
“...The third is, the matter of becoming Tatsuya-san’s mistress.”
Perhaps it was too much of a surprise. Honoka raised her tear-
stained face to look at Shizuku.
“Of course, it doesn’t need to be right away. Miyuki might not
immediately become the Head of the Yotsuba, either, and I think
the marriage is something for the future. Becoming his mistress is
a matter for after Tatsuya-san and Miyuki get married.”
“Being a mistress.”
“Honoka, you can’t bear to not have Tatsuya-san all to
“This! ...maybe a little, but, compared to not being able to be
Honoka, blushing and lowering her head, was hugged by
“Tatsuya-san possesses a rather special magical disposition.
The matter of having his hereditary genes being inherited by
more people, is something the Yotsuba Family should consider as
Against Shizuku’s chest, Honoka tightly clasped her hands.
“...The one that will hurt Honoka the least is the first path.
Giving up on the second path at the time when it becomes
untenable will stop you from being hurt again as well. With the
third path, however, even if everything is smooth sailing, you will
have to live on while bearing irreparable wounds. Not only for
you Honoka but even for Miyuki as well.”
‘As for me, I would actually prefer you to take the first path.
However, the choice is yours.”
Shizuku knew that the problem was very cruel. However, if
things were left as they are, Honoka would only drown in the
abyss of sorrow, unable to float up. Shizuku was rather afraid
that it could become like this.
If she was left to continue like this, Honoka’s sorrow was far
too close to extinguishing her dreams. Shizuku was even more
afraid that this would happen.
Shizuku no longer said anything, awaiting Honoka’s reply.
“...I can’t give it up.”
That was Honoka’s answer.
“I, as of yet, I am still unable to give up. However, I hate that I
am not the one that he loves the most. Miyuki and I have the
resolve to hurt each other, but to hurt her over and over again, I
definitely can’t do it.”
Shizuku started feeling heartache. Somewhere in her heart
however, she breathed a sigh of relief.
“I will choose the second path. Until the possibility reaches
zero, no matter how many times it takes, I will approach him. ...
Although, I can’t do anything right now.”
To the last part of what Honoka said, Shizuku did not know
how to reply and furrowed her brows.
“...Abit of rest is a must.”
‘A rest in love?”
“The rest of a heart in love.”
Honoka lightly laughed against Shizuku’s chest.
Shizuku let go of Honoka then sat down properly, before
revealing a shy smile.
January 8 th , the first day of the new semester. Tatsuya’s group
of three people went to school 30 minutes ahead of the usual
It wasn’t because of some sort of opening ceremony. Even
though the three of them were members of the Student Council, it
wasn’t because they needed to make preparations for an event
related to the beginning of the new semester either.
The reason they were going there earlier was because they had
received a direct message from school. Yesterday, Tatsuya and
Miyuki received an email asking them to come to the Principal’s
Office before the school opened.
The email had arrived in the afternoon. At the time, even
though Miyuki was still in the house, Tatsuya was already
headed towards FLT.
Therefore, it was only after dinner that they had a chance to
talk about it, they immediately understood the reason behind the
It would be hard to think of any other reason than the recent
confirmation to the Magic Association about Tatsuya and
Miyuki’s positions about being a part of the Yotsuba Family.
A mix of questioning, and reprimand for reporting false
information about their identities to the school and pressure to
ensure that, despite the fact they were engaged, they would still
act with moderation within the school grounds. These kinds of
things were expected.
This prediction would prove to be spot on.
In front of Tatsuya and Miyuki was the Dean Yaosaka, and
deeper into the office, behind an imposing desk, was the
Principal himself, Momoyama Azuma. Meanwhile, Minami was
in her classroom. The mail had been addressed to Tatsuya and
“Then, you’re saying that you never intended to report false
information to the school?”
“Indeed. Since it was even recorded in the Family Registry, up
until now, I too believed it.”
Momoyama could have been frowning due to the militaristic
tone of Tatsuya, or it could have been because of his composed
attitude, devoid of any tension, that he felt was bordering on
Yaosaka had become quite perceptive of the Principal’s mood
changes over the years and he was starting to get nervous himself
as he continued to interrogate Tatsuya.
“Then that means the Family Registry was falsified? In the
eventuality that your custodians intentionally falsified official
papers, there is a possibility of you being erased from the School
‘About that, I have heard that you have already received a
letter of apology from my father as well as documents explaining
this whole affair.”
“I certainly received such a letter. That there was a writing
error from your departed mother on your birth certificate and
that you had never noticed until now, was that it. However, I
question the idea that it is impossible not to notice such a
mistake for as long as 17 years.”
“My father holds no interest in me. Now that I think about it, it
might have been because I was never his biological son.”
Even after hearing of a parent never caring about his son,
Yaosaka’s expression didn’t particularly waver. That’s because
these sort of stories, whether in the present or the past, were not
Therefore, he did not think of Tatsuya’s excuse as a lie.
“Principal, I do not think that Shiba-kun’s explanation has any
particularly strange points.”
Momoyama did not return an answer immediately.
“The Public Data, including the Family Registry, has already
been corrected. If we take their family’s special circumstances
into account, I do not think that there is a need for punishment,
what do you think.”
“I understand the circumstances.”
Momoyama was solemnly nodding. On the other hand,
Yaosaka was showing clear signs of relaxation.
“Indeed, neither of you is responsible for this. It is not the place
of the educational team to inflict punishment on the innocent
party. However, even if your revocation from the school registry
will be canceled this time, do not forget what such errors can
bring about. Please transmit this important reminder to your
In order to match the bowing Tatsuya, Miyuki made courteous
bows as well.
“From here on, even though you are engaged, I will require that
you act with moderation within the school’s premises. With your
special circumstances in mind, I don’t plan on opposing your
“Thank you very much.”
The siblings bowed to Momoyama once again.
“...Up until now there were a lot of things that were excused
because you were siblings, however, do not forget that from now
on you will be seen as engaged.”
After Yaosaka brought this fact to their attention, the
questioning and admonition in the Principal’s Office came to an
c —X * >
The “sermon” from the Dean and the Principal ended much
quicker than expected. Still, compared to the usual time Tatsuya
was a little late in going to Class 2-E.
‘Ah, there he is.”
That was probably the reason why Erika had been waiting by
the window until he arrived.
“Yo, Tatsuya. Been a while.”
It seems like Leo, after learning that Tatsuya hadn’t yet arrived,
had went back to his own classroom for a while. Leo greeted him
from behind when he passed by Class-F.
“Erika, Leo, long time no see.”
Tatsuya stopped in the hallway and answered them like this.
By the way, the reason Erika’s name was the first to come out of
his mouth was because otherwise she would enter a bit of a
“Tatsuya-kun, when did you return from Tokyo?”
The moment Erika enquired so, Tatsuya recalled that he had
made a promise to report as soon as his business was finished.
“Four days ago. Sorry about not keeping you informed.”
Tatsuya wasn’t the type to forget things. To be more precise, he
was unable to forget things. However, this once, he didn’t even
have the spare time to remember it.
“It’s okay. It must’ve been pretty tough right?”
“I know right, but anyway, it’s probably going to be even worse
from now on. I’ve already got past the initial shock so, no
problem on my end.”
Tatsuya felt a slight surprise at Leo’s unexpected speech. It was
no surprise at all for Erika to be aware of the latest letter from
the Yotsuba Family to the rest of the Magic Association. The
Chiba Family was included in the list of the various Families to
which duplicates of said letter were sent to after all.
However, Leo’s house had no relationship with the Japanese
Magic Community. As a matter of fact, Leo’s magical genes came
from his grandfather who was a refugee originating from
Germany, he has no blood ties to any other Magician Family that
Japan exploits. That is why he shouldn’t have the means to get
information from the Magic Association nor even hear rumors
from any of the Houses that are part of it.
Has the information about me, Miyuki and the Yotsuba
Family’s relationship already spread that far... The answer to
the question Tatsuya was asking himself was soon afterwards
given to him.
As soon as he entered the classroom, all of his classmates’
stares gathered on him, then immediately turned away.
Tatsuya more or less understood what the others were thinking
of him, still, he greeted Mizuki who was sitting next to him as
‘Ah, umm, good morning...”
As expected, Mizuki immediately averted her eyes after
returning the greeting. It was made obvious that she had heard
about Tatsuya and Miyuki’s situation.
Tatsuya also turned his eyes away from Mizuki and ejected the
terminal attached to his desk.
The two people who had talked with Tatsuya before he entered
the classroom. Erika, who was resting her elbow on the window’s
bottom frame, and Leo who was right behind him, sent anxious
looks his way.
Tatsuya met their gazes and wore an expression that said
This morning, Mikihiko didn’t appear in Class 2-E.
< — >
The morning classes came to an end. It looks like Tatsuya’s
classmates’ way of dealing with him was to ignore him as much
as they could.
Tatsuya typically didn’t talk much with his classmates in the
first place; however, it was the first time not even a single person
addressed him for half a day. Despite the fact he had kept his
distance, it had been a daily occurrence that people asked him
for help when they had problems.
Tatsuya didn’t care about his classmates’ stares, even if they
were filled with ill will or hostility. If they were ready to ostracize
him then he would just have to shut out and deny their very
It’s not as if Tatsuya hated humans.
But at the same time, it’s not like he particularly liked them.
Tatsuya strongly felt that so long as Miyuki was near him, he
didn’t need anything else.
The existence of people other than Miyuki was of no real
importance to him, although it was preferable to have people
around in order to live a pleasant school life, it went no further
than that. For that reason however, he wanted to maintain at
least reasonably good relationships so as not to let them turn into
clear hostile ones.
In the current atmosphere, it would be unpleasant to make the
That was what Tatsuya thought.
“Mizuki, I’m going to the Student Council Room, could you
please relay so if anyone asks.”
Her voice to Tatsuya, Mizuki’s reaction showed signs of fear.
So as to not lose Mizuki completely, it had been necessary to
interact, even at the cost of scaring her.
Tatsuya wasn’t lying when he said he was heading towards the
Student Council Room. However he made a U-turn in front of the
That was because Honoka and Shizuku were inside.
Without opening the door nor using his “Elemental Sight”, he
could understand this much, if they were only separated by a
single door. It would be another story if they could make their
presence difficult to notice like Tatsuya, for him, this had become
an unconscious act, regular students however were unlikely to
conceal their presence on the school grounds.
Since Honoka was a member of the Student Council it wasn’t
surprising that she was present. He was also used to Shizuku
spending a lot of time there as well. However, the fact that the
two of them were present on this particular day was indeed
Contrary to his expectations, Miyuki wasn’t present in the
Student Council’s Room.
Tatsuya left the place as it was.
The reason Honoka and Shizuku were in the Student Council
Room was to escape the curious glances they would be exposed
to in the dining room. It was a pretty well-known fact in First
High that they were close friends of Miyuki’s. The number of girls
in their second year who also knew about Honoka’s feelings
towards Tatsuya were not just a few.
For the same reason, Miyuki avoided the dining room. Even
more so because she was the one who the rumors were talking
about. As the Student Council President, Miyuki often ate her
lunch in the Student Council’s Room. Tatsuya thought it’d be the
case today as well. If anything, Tatsuya thought that the one who
would want to avoid Miyuki was Honoka, but it seems like it was
Keeping in mind what the Principal told to them this morning,
for the time being Tatsuya thought it would be best to avoid
having lunch together. It seems like Miyuki thought this would
be a necessity as well, Tatsuya had come up with this proposition
as soon as they came out of the Principal’s Office, wearing a
dissatisfied expression she had reluctantly accepted.
For that reason, they hadn’t determined any particular meeting
However, by focusing his senses even just a little, Tatsuya
would be able to immediately tell where Miyuki was. It wasn’t
that difficult to imagine what she was up to either, after
confirming her position, Tatsuya headed towards the place she
The door to the rooftop was opened. And without a shadow of
a doubt, Miyuki was there.
Even though snow hadn’t fallen or anything like that, the
temperature was still only in the first half of the single digit
range. If you think about it, there really wasn’t any other student
who would come here with such cold weather. It was a good
place for someone who wanted to be alone.
‘Ah, Onii-sama. I’ve been waiting for you.”
Well, it wasn’t exactly “to be alone” though more like “for the
two of us to be alone”. It seems like that was Miyuki’s plan from
the very beginning.
“If you had told me I’d have come immediately you know?”
Miyuki softly smiled at Tatsuya’s answer.
“There is no way Onii-sama wouldn’t know where to find me.”
Befitting of the smile turned towards him, Tatsuya’s body was
being enveloped in a gentle warmth. It wasn’t just his
imagination. That was Miyuki’s magic.
“Onii-sama, you still haven’t had lunch right? Please sit over
Miyuki offered the seat next to her. She was currently sitting on
a three-person bench, at the right end of it. Since Tatsuya had
originally planned on sitting next to her, he accepted her offer
without any reservation.
Miyuki took out two boxes of varying sizes from the insulated
pack that was resting on her lap. The small one was left on her
lap and she presented the bigger one to Tatsuya. Needless to say,
they were bento-boxes.
“So you even prepared bento-boxes?”
“Yes, I prepared them after Onii-sama went to his morning
training. I thought they would be useful today.”
Now that she mentioned it, Tatsuya remembered that Minami
was carrying a fairly large bag while they were headed towards
the Principal’s Office.
“I see. Thank you, Miyuki.”
Tatsuya thought that it’d have been pointless to not express his
gratitude beforehand. However that’s not exactly what he should
have said, or so he thought. Miyuki most certainly prepared the
bento-boxes because she anticipated what would happen today.
And the reason for keeping silent about them was probably that
she didn’t want him to realize how bad the situation would be.
“Don’t mention it. Still, it looks like we’ll end up having lunch
together after all.”
Tatsuya couldn’t help but turn a wry smile at Miyuki’s words
mixed with a little scorn.
“If you had told me about the bento-boxes this morning I
wouldn’t have suggested we take our lunches separately.”
“Oh my, is that true?”
Despite her dissatisfied tone Miyuki was in a cheerful mood.
Probably because, setting the small details aside, they were
having lunch with only the two of them.
However, in Tatsuya’s eyes, a little bit of bravado might have
been mixed in as well.
‘Alright then. Then, allow me to dig in.”
“Please, do so.”
Receiving the authorization to, Tatsuya opened the lid of the
Showing a mischievous smile, Miyuki held out a pair of
chopsticks for Tatsuya.
‘Anyway, there should be no problem in allowing me to feed
you as well.”
Maintaining her balance so as not to drop the bento-box on her
own lap, Miyuki picked up a piece of Tatsuya s lunch with her
She then brought it near Tatsuya s mouth.
Saying so without any sign of panic, Tatsuya moved his neck so
as to eat what Miyuki was holding with her chopsticks without
Miyuki’s face quickly reddened.
Miyuki rearranged her sitting posture in a panic and opened
the lid of her own bento-box.
In other words, she had just performed a self-destroying move.
“The bento-box prepared by Miyuki is as expected, really
While openly stating so, Tatsuya stole side-glances at Miyuki s
And, he estimated that the teasing should not go any further.
To tell the truth he really wanted to follow up with a “Won’t you
feed me for a bit longer?” but restrained himself.
“...Being just the two of us is nice, however, having only the
wintry sky as a scenery can get pretty depressing. If we could find
a suitable, unused classroom I’d like to relocate there from
Tatsuya didn’t want this little joke to take a bad turn so he
changed the subject, Miyuki, who was hanging her head down,
looked up at him.
“Is it okay for us to... eat together from tomorrow on?”
“I think it might be preferable to do it like this for a while.
Although, the days when the Student Council has a lot of work
will be different.”
Even though that was going in the opposite direction from what
they had planned this morning, Miyuki didn’t object.
“Let’s find one before the end of the day.”
Clenching her hands into fists, Miyuki powerfully declared so.
“I’ll search for one on my own as well, so don’t push yourself
At Tatsuya’s smile, the younger sister’s burning enthusiasm
“-How was Class-A?”
Tatsuya started this conversation after the both of them had
finished their bento-boxes and cleaned up.
“I know it can’t be helped but it’s still uncomfortable. It looks
like everyone is looking at me from afar and it feels like they’re
all talking behind our backs.”
“No one addressed me either today.”
“I wasn’t even able to talk to Honoka or Shizuku.”
Hearing this, Tatsuya slightly frowned.
. .Were they angry?”
‘As long as I was directly talking to them they responded but...
Yes. At the very least I got the impression that they were avoiding
Miyuki seemed a little lonely while answering.
“Won’t it be alright even if we don’t talk to them about it? I
think these two will understand that we had no choice in the
“...It would be great if that was the case.”
Miyuki’s smile had a tinge of sadness mixed in it.
“I think it’ll be alright. There’s no use worrying about
something we can’t do anything about.”
Tatsuya put his hand on Miyuki’s cheek. Miyuki pressed her
own hand against his and shut her eyes.
“Time might settle all of this on its own. For now, it’s not to a
point where we should be pessimistic about it.”
“I see... However, that is the same for Onii-sama.”
Miyuki turned a playful gaze towards Tatsuya.
“Since we’re talking about Onii-sama, maybe your friends are
thinking of leaving you alone ‘until time settles things’ as well? I
think that occasionally, one should step up to solve these kinds of
problems, don’t you think?”
“You got me.”
Tatsuya smiled wryly with a “touche” expression.
< — — >
After returning home, Tatsuya called the direct number for the
Yotsuba Family’s Head.
Even though Tatsuya wasn’t allowed to directly call Maya up
until New Year’s Eve, their current relationship was officially
that of a Mother and Son.
Miyuki was next to Tatsuya. Even though this was usually the
time to start preparing dinner, Miyuki knew this matter took
Tonight’s dinner had been left in Minami’s hands.
[Sorry to have kept you waiting. The timing on Tatsuya-san’s
report is excellent.]
In fact, this call was the second. During the first call it had
been Hayama that appeared on the screen. He asked them to call
back in roughly 20 minutes, instruction that Tatsuya followed to
“Do you have an order for us?”
[Would you let me hear your story first, Tatsuya-san?]
Even though Tatsuya was slightly anxious about what business
she might have with them, he obediently followed her request.
“Today we were called by Momoyama, the Principal of First
Starting like this, Tatsuya reported what had been said during
[Momoyama-sensei is pretty strict...]
Maya let out an amused tone for some reason. Judging by the
way she was talking about him, they were probably
[In any case, thanks for reporting. Tatsuya-san doesn’t need to
do anything in particular.]
‘As you wish.”
Tatsuya and Miyuki bowed towards the camera.
[There is something I need to inform you of, on my side.]
After the both of them looked up, Maya began explaining.
Apparently, they were about to receive a new mission. Thinking
so, Tatsuya adopted the posture of someone listening with
[Regarding the matter of the notification to the Magic
Association about your engagement, it seems like we have
received a formal protest from the Ichijou Family.]
“Oba-sama, why would the Ichijou Family do something like
Even though Miyuki’s voice had remained calm on the surface,
a strong resentment was hidden beneath it. Understanding this
much wasn’t that hard for Tatsuya and Maya.
[It’s not easy to say but.]
While that might have been true, Maya didn’t keep it to herself
and started explaining. It wasn’t because she was sensitive about
Miyuki’s feelings that she hesitated, rather, it seemed like she
was thoroughly enjoying the sight of Miyuki struggling to keep
her emotions in check.
[The Ichijou Family’s argument is that the blood ties are too
close. The talent of a Magician is a property of the Nation, it
would do no good to have the next generation plagued by genetic
“Surely this isn’t all there is to it.”
Interrupting a Miyuki that was about to shout, Tatsuya
presented Maya with a question.
“The prevention of future generations’ gene abnormalities is not
a concern limited to Magicians. That is why the law might forbid
a marriage depending on the degree of kinship.”
[This might not be the only reason but it certainly makes up the
largest portion of their objection.]
“Conversely, the Ten Master Clans shouldn’t have the power to
question the validity of a lawful engagement. Surely the Ichijou
Family had something else to say?”
Hearing Tatsuya’s point, Maya expressed a satisfied smile and
[It’s exactly as you said. As expected of Tatsuya-san.]
Tatsuya on the other hand didn’t express any satisfaction at
“Then, just what exactly did they say?”
[Well, that is... They proposed that their eldest son to become
To Maya’s answer, Miyuki’s voice rose in a flash.
[It’s alright, Tatsuya-san.]
Although Tatsuya was about to reprimand Miyuki for raising
her voice like that, Maya showed tolerance towards her pleasant
[It is natural that Miyuki-san is angered. I also have a problem
with the fact they replied with a notification of marriage with a
marriage proposal of their own.]
“In that case, the rejection answer...?”
Miyuki expectantly asked this.
[No, not yet, Miyuki-san. I don’t plan on answering the Ichijou
Family for a while.]
However, contrary to her expectations, Mayas answer was a
“If that is the case, won’t our position suffer?”
Maya answered Tatsuya’s question with a nod carrying the
meaning of an “I know”.
[I do not intend to leave it as is forever. That’s why the two of
you shouldn’t worry about it too much, alright.]
“No imprudent moves, is it?”
[Indeed. You two just have to happily spend time together as
To Maya’s sentence who emphasized the word “Happily”,
Miyuki looked away with an embarrassed expression.
However, Tatsuya bowed towards the camera while keeping a
Even though it was now the second day of the school semester,
there was no change in the current life of Tatsuya and Miyuki at
The other students hesitated to approach them, yet but they
were unable to hide their curiosity. Oh well, this isn’t the kind of
situation that can get better in just a single day after all.-It
could easily get worse in a single day however.
Originally, Miyuki had a tendency of being idolized in First
Appearance, Ability, just because of those two traits of hers
alone, she was hard to approach. And now, lineage was added to
the mix. Not only her classmates and underclassmen but even
her upperclassmen were nervous in her presence.
On the other hand, the number of people who deep in their
hearts felt “fear” towards Tatsuya were not just a few.
Fear. Horror. Anxiety. The kind of fear, dread and awe that an
exceptional warrior would inspire.
And after they learned that Tatsuya was a part of “the”
Yotsuba Family, these feelings were amplified. Getting closer is
too scary and at the same time, they’re too afraid to completely
ignore him. This contradiction made it look like they were being
cold towards him.
The interest they bore towards them, of course, wasn’t only
because of their youthful High School Student curiosity. Stars
and Idols being the center of scandals was not something new.
They couldn’t help being curious about the story of the siblings
that had too good of a relationship, were later revealed to be
cousins, got engaged and are, even now, still living together.
Before the start of morning classes. Soon after arriving at Class
1-C, Minami was encircled by a crowd of people who seemed to
be mainly composed of girls.
“Like I said already, nothing has changed from before.”
Minami had been repeating this answer many times already
since her arrival. Her responses sometimes varied between “They
didn’t do such a thing” to “I am not allowed to respond to this” or
even “Sorry, I can’t answer.”
“Eeh, but, you are together all day long right?”
“That means, when they’re going to sleep as well... right?”
A high-pitched shriek shot up from the crowd. Minami on the
other hand emitted a discreet sigh.
‘As I said already, Tatsuya-sama and Miyuki-sama never do
these kinds of things.”
Despite the fact that Minami was well aware that they
wouldn’t listen, she kept answering faithfully. She did so because
they might take her silence as consent otherwise.
Maybe her perseverance won out in the end because the next
questions were different.
“By the way Sakurai-san, up until December you were calling
the Shiba siblings ‘Tatsuya-niisama’ and ‘Miyuki-neesama’
right? Could it be, Sakurai-san is also a member of the Yotsuba
The chattering of the crowd that was around Minami stopped
immediately. What would she answer? They were waiting with
bated breath for her response.
“I have been addressing them this way until now because it
was a direct order from Tatsuya-sama. I am, well, I have a debt
towards the Yotsuba Family, so...”
Her original answer would have sounded too much like the
truth that “she is a being dedicated to serve the Yotsuba Family”
so she hurriedly changed it. However, due to this, she stumbled
during her explanation, this really betrayed the given impression
that “she’s hiding something”.
“It is the truth.”
Because it was a fact that she was lying, even the voice that she
used to refute the others’ doubts was pretty weak. If she had
raised her voice and used a strong denying tone, it might have
been easier to deceive the students.
“Eh... So the Yotsuba Family also does these kinds of things.”
There are plenty of dangerous things in a Magician’s work. It
wasn’t that unusual to hear reports of Magician’s sons and
daughters dying while performing their work or accomplishing
their duties. In First High. No, in this very Class-C classroom,
there have been such cases already. That was the reason there
wasn’t any particularly awkward reaction at Minami’s “they
helped me” explanation.
“However, since you actually received help from the Yotsuba
Family, that means you can’t be considered to have no relation
whatsoever with them right?”
“That may be the case but was it natural to investigate by
directly asking the concerned person persistently?”
“No, not really...”
‘Alright everyone, the lesson will begin pretty soon! If you don’t
go back to your seat as soon as possible you might lose a few
points on your evaluation scores.”
The person who had just saved Minami from the very
inconsiderate questions from her classmates was the person who
was pretty much the leading figure of this class.
“Saegusa-san? But we still have some time.”
To Kasumi who had loudly interrupted the questioning from
the back, a single female student had a look at her terminal to
confirm the hour and answer back.
“The lesson will begin pre-tty soon right?”
However Kasumi countered her complaint by repeating the
exact same phrase with a smile.
It wasn’t because what Kasumi said was correct, but rather,
there wasn’t a student who could resist the overpowering feeling
that her smile gave off and thus, Minami’s surroundings slowly
cleared as students were returning to their seats in groups of two
Kasumi folded her arms and saw off the remaining students
before proudly sitting at her own seat.
“Um, Saegusa-san. Thank you very much.”
Minami expressed her gratitude to her back.
“Don’t mention it. I hate these kinds of things too.”
Kasumi turned her head towards Minami and winked.
During recess time Minami managed to avoid being the center
of the usual crowd. However that was only because second
period was a practical class and they couldn’t do that while
moving towards the classroom. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be that
easy to dodge during lunch break. The number of classmates
who thought this would be the best time to talk freely weren’t
just one or two.
More than half of Class-C stood up as soon as the bell rang to
signal the end of the morning classes.
“Sakurai-san, you’re going to the Student Council Room right?
Let’s go together.”
However, the one who was the fastest in inviting her was
In a sense, it was a natural result since the seating
arrangements for the First Year’s was the traditional gender-
based syllabic order. Kasumi’s family name was, of course,
“Saegusa” while Minami’s was “Sakurai”. In other words,
Kasumi’s seat was just in front of Minami. So it was indeed
natural that, given everyone reacted at the same time, Kasumi
would be the first to reach her.
Minami was slightly surprised at this sudden conversation. Her
surprise was understandable, after all, despite the fact they had
been classmates for nine months now, it was the very first time
that Kasumi directly invited her somewhere.
Kasumi didn’t have anything against Minami herself. Since she
was a close acquaintance of Tatsuya’s however, she kind of
avoided her up until now. And suddenly, this happened. Minami
wasn’t the only one who was surprised.
“Come on, let’s go.”
Being urged on by Kasumi, Minami reached the bag that
contained her bento-box in a bit of a panic and stood up from
They were headed towards the stairs leading to the Student
Council Room when Minami matched Kasumi’s pace and started
up a conversation, her expression was that of someone who had a
“Hmm, what is it?”
After stealing a glance at Minami, Kasumi replied with a curt
“Just like this morning, thank you very much for what you did.
However, may I ask why you are helping me.”
Up until now Kasumi never gave Minami any reason to think
she disliked her, but it’s not like she gave her any reason to think
she liked her either. That certainly wasn’t just an impression on
Minami’s part. It was a fact that there had never been any degree
of conversation above the expected minimum between the two
classmates. Minami herself never really tried to proactively talk
to Kasumi, hence why she still couldn’t understand the reason
behind her actions.
“I told you before. That I hate these kinds of things.”
The smile that Kasumi turned towards Minami seemed a little
The reason was that being openly told by someone who you
aren’t well acquainted with to begin with, “you helped me”, was
a little too much for Kasumi, in other words she was shy.
“I know how these sort of things feel like. They likely don’t
have any bad intentions, they’re just satisfying their curiosity, but
they can get pretty insensitive sometimes.”
Minami wasn’t hurt because of the barrage of inconsiderate
questions in itself but by the fact that there were a lot of
questions she couldn’t answer due to her position. Still, since she
also wanted the other side to take her feelings into account, she
couldn’t help but nod at Kasumi’s words.
“Sigh. I also have had quite a few bad experiences.”
Minami understood that she was trying to cheer her up.
Kasumi unintentionally referred to herself using “Boku
something she had never done at school.
Kasumi didn’t notice her blunder.
When it reached her ears, Minami was a bit taken aback, due
to her training as a servant however she managed to keep a
Saturday, January 12 th , it was the first weekend since the
beginning of the new school semester.
Even though the classes on Saturday were only in the morning,
the dining hall was still left open for the students with Club
activities and members of the Committee. Erika, Leo and Mizuki
had Club activities while Mikihiko had his duties as a member
of the Disciplinary Committee, they all gathered in the dining
room to prepare for the afternoon.
Compared to a month ago, the number of people present during
their lunch break had been halved. Since Tatsuya, Miyuki, and
Honoka were members of the Student Council they should be
having lunch in the Student Council Room-though in Tatsuya
and Miyuki’s case, it seems that since the beginning of the new
school semester until yesterday they had taken their lunch in
secret in another classroom. This is what information Erika had
heard from Shizuku.
The reason there wasn’t much of a conversation at their table
wasn’t only because of their decreased number. The usual mood-
maker, Erika, her expression and her every gesture were
practically oozing of irritation.
Maybe Mikihiko thought it was best to quickly disperse, he
finished his lunch in a hurry and was about to stand up from his
“Miki, wait for a bit.”
However, Erika who forced him to sit down again stopped his
movement dead in its tracks.
“What is it.”
In order to hide his trembling due to his escape attempt being
found out, he answered with a strong voice.
“Wait until Mizuki finishes her lunch.”
Of course, Erika wasn’t the type to back down that easily. The
one who tremblingly calmed down the two’s arguing was Mizuki.
In the end, Mizuki put down her chopsticks on her plate which
still had about a third of its original contents left.
Currently, the four of them were sitting in the following order,
Erika and Mizuki were next to each other while Leo was in front
Erika directed a sharp voice towards Mikihiko, who was sitting
diagonally from her.
“Miki, just what are you doing exactly?”
“What do you mean.”
Mikihiko once again answered in a strong tone however, his
voice was unnaturally stiff.
“I see, so you won’t understand unless I say it directly? In that
case I will!”
Erika’s swung her palm down on the table.
She paid no attention whatsoever to the numerous stares that
turned towards her due to the loud sound she had just made.
"I’m asking you why the hell are you avoiding Tatsuya-kun!”
The dining room instantly became silent. Everyone’s gazes were
concentrated on Erika and Mikihiko. While Erika could ignore
the others’stares, Mikihiko didn’t have such composure.
"I’m not really... avoiding him or anything.”
“Huh? So you’re gonna play dumb?”
Mikihiko faltered in the face of the fire that was in Erika’s eyes.
“It’s obvious that you’re avoiding Tatsuya-kun, even to this
idiot over here.”
The person Erika was pointing to with her finger was Leo.
“Who are you calling an idiot! ...Putting that aside, Mikihiko.
It’s just as this tomboy is sayi —”
After having said that, Leo suddenly let out a scream.
“Ouch! You...! You have something on your shoe!”
“Don’t worry, it’s not an iron tip or anything like that.”
If you were to ask what just happened, it seems like Erika
kicked Leo’s leg under the table.
The atmosphere loosened a little. For Mizuki and Mikihiko, this
wasn’t that rare of an occurrence.
“Sigh... Somehow I feel exhausted.”
This allowed them to take a breather before going right back in,
even for Erika, this had been convenient.
“Oh well. Miki, to be honest, I don’t even want to hear why
you’re avoiding Tatsuya-kun. However, if it’s just because
Tatsuya-kun is from the Yotsuba Family, then it’s not a reason to
avoid him like you do. If you think it is, then there is no point in
calling yourself his friend.”
Erika quietly stared at Mikihiko in the eyes. It was because
Erika had been so aggressive that Mikihiko had been obstinate a
few moments before. However, with such sincere eyes turned
towards him, the guilt that he felt deep inside didn’t allow him
to feign ignorance anymore.
“...It’s not because he’s a member of the Yotsuba Family. No, to
be honest that is one of the reasons. Rather I resent Tatsuya for
not telling any of us sooner.”
Despite saying that he was resenting him, the expression that
Mikihiko wore was one of regret.
Erika and Leo instinctively looked at each other.
“Wait a second, Mikihiko. Don’t you think it’s a bit wrong?”
Leo kept on talking to a Mikihiko that couldn’t look at him in
“Don’t you think Tatsuya felt bad being forced to hide this from
us? You should understand better than anyone that this was
some kind of tradition he had to abide to right?”
Erika sent a sharp voice flying towards a Mikihiko that still
didn’t show any reaction to Leo’s words.
“Let’s assume you had heard of this directly from Tatsuya-kun,
what would’ve changed?”
Mikihiko was at a loss for words. No, even if he tried to answer
back he was unable to form a coherent response. Using this
opportunity, Erika pressed even further.
“If you had heard this from Tatsuya-kun directly, do you think
it’d have ended with a simple “Oh, I see”? Do you think you’d
have been able to hang out like before? Looking at the way you
reacted to this affair, I really don’t think that’s the case.”
Mikihiko couldn’t answer back. He couldn’t even come up with
a makeshift lie.
“In other words, Miki, you’re just afraid of the Yotsuba name.”
“...What about you Erika.”
Mikihiko finally abandoned the tough act he was putting on
Taking a defiant attitude, he answered back at Erika with a
somewhat pouting voice.
However, that was a silly question.
“What do you think, of course I’m terrified.”
For Erika, bluffing about her own weaknesses was something
she simply couldn’t do.
“He’s a member of that Yotsuba Family. If we ever found
someone who wasn’t afraid after hearing that, he’d just be a
gigantic fool. We’re way past the limits of the things you can just
hear about for the first time and be done with it.”
“Then how can you just keep going on like nothing happened!?”
“Isn’t it obvious, it’s because we’re friends.”
Erika answered his question wearing the exact same expression
that she had when she admitted that she was afraid earlier.
“The Yotsuba Family is scary. No one knows what they do and
it makes me uneasy. But still, Tatsuya-kun is my friend. Even if I
don’t trust the Yotsuba Family, I trust Tatsuya-kun. And that
holds true even if there are a lot of things he needs to hide.”
Erika was stared at Mikihiko in the eyes and delivered the
“To begin with, there are things Miki hides from us as well, and
they’re not limited to a mere 10 or 20 things either.”
“I won’t let you say that it’s not the case. We’ve been hanging
out for a long time after all.”
“It goes for me as well. Things I don’t want you guys to know,
things that I absolutely don’t plan on sharing with you, there are
Mikihiko looked away awkwardly. The reason was, he actually
had an idea as to what her “things she doesn’t want known” was
“There were things he couldn’t share with us? Well of course,
we’re not married or anything, so isn’t it actually normal.”
Mikihiko looked away dejectedly. As he was right now, he
didn’t have any excuses left.
“How come... Erika and Leo were able to find so quickly the
correct way to deal with all of this?”
Outside of Mikihiko’s field of view, Erika stole a glance at Leo.
“I guess that’s because I’ve never faced a Yotsuba. I don’t even
know how dangerous Yotsuba Magicians are. However, I know
Despite knowing how dangerous Tatsuya can be, I also know
that I can trust him to the end.”
Leo felt embarrassed at his own speech and forced a clumsy
smile before continuing.
“Well, it might be a misunderstanding. Though I figured it out
on my own. I understand why he was keeping silent about it and
above all, I trust Tatsuya because he’s my friend. Letting this
'possibility’ ruin our relationship would be stupid.”
“Leo... you’re an amazing guy.”
Mikihiko wasn’t the only one watching Leo with an amazed
Erika was the same. When she caught Mikihiko’s eyes turning
towards her she hurriedly regained her composure.
“Was it the same for you Erika?”
“Not exactly... Even I wasn’t able to immediately come out with
the appropriate reaction. However, I didn’t need to dwell on it for
three or four days.”
Erika learned about Tatsuya’s lineage in February of last year.
Even if she was aware of that fact, the shock she received was
exactly the same as the others. However, even if their situations
were different, Erika managed to recover from the mental
damage in less than a day.
If Erika hadn’t suffered the same kind of shock then it would
have been impossible for her to understand Mikihiko’s dilemma
to this extent, that’s what he thought. However, he couldn’t come
to terms with the fact that while he had been indecisive, she had
overcome the trauma.
Mikihiko shut his eyes and ceased all movement. His posture
didn’t have the serenity of someone meditating, but the suffering
of an internal conflict.
After opening his eyes, Mikihiko reported so to Erika.
“I also think of Tatsuya as a friend. I will do my best. On
Monday of next week, everything will be settled.”
Mikihiko’s expression seemed a little refreshed.
Erika smiled with satisfaction, she then turned her eyes
towards the nearby Mizuki.
“Mizuki, this goes for you as well.”
Mizuki’s reaction wasn’t that of someone who had just been
suddenly greeted, rather, it was as if she had just dodged a spear
by a hair’s breadth.
“You must stop treating Miyuki and Tatsuya-kun so coldly.
Even Miki said he’d do his best, so you should be able to do it as
“Y-Yes... Understood! I will do something about it!”
Erika forcefully pressed the indecisive-looking Mizuki.
“Shibata-san, I will do my best as well. Let’s do it together.”
To answer Mikihiko’s words of encouragement,
“.. .Yes! Let’s do our best.”
Mizuki cheerfully nodded.
Admonishing Mikihiko in front of Mizuki had been Erika’s
plan. Erika expected Mizuki to be difficult to persuade if she had
tried to do it alone, that’s why she first made Mikihiko promise
to amend his relationship with Tatsuya, to get her to do the
The result was just as she had predicted.
However, as she had planned, faced with the two people who
(mentally held their hands in encouragement, Erika showed an “I
can’t stand this” expression and turned her head away.
< X V ->
Due to Erika’s (and Leo, a little) persuasiveness, Mikihiko and
Mizuki decided to abandon their current attitude towards
Tatsuya and Miyuki.
However, fighting her feelings wasn’t that easy for Honoka.
She had already decided how she would act towards Tatsuya
in the future. However, she had yet to muster the courage to
actually do it, not to mention how she should act towards
Honoka honestly thought of Miyuki as a friend.
However, at the same time, she was a strong rival in love.
Moreover, she was leading by two or three steps already.
After being admonished by Shizuku, she no longer cared about
the fact Tatsuya and Miyuki had deceived her. After all, it
seemed like Tatsuya and Miyuki themselves had been deceived.
Still, it wasn’t possible for Honoka to smile at them like before.
Due to Honoka’s behavior, Miyuki herself didn’t know how to act
and the atmosphere had become awkward between them, it was
a vicious cycle.
Even now, Honoka was running away from the Student Council
Room and was heading towards the Club Management’s
Headquarters. Honoka was the Student Council Treasurer.
Allowing a supplementary budget to the various Clubs was part
of her job. As such, there wasn’t anything strange in her visiting
the Club Management’s Headquarters. However even if the
people in her surroundings didn’t think it was strange-she
herself knew that she was just avoiding Miyuki. The fact she was
actually aware of that fact depressed her even more.
The current head of the Club Management Group was in the
same club as Honoka, an acquaintance of hers since their first
year, his name was Igarashi. A boy whose temperament was a
subtle balance of gentleness and timidity. There was a saying
that went “He’s neither sugar nor salt” though in Igarashi’s case,
you could definitely say that he was sugar.
He wasn’t to Honoka’s taste but in her current emotional state,
he was an agreeable partner. He had become a suitable person to
speak to when she wanted a change of mood.
“Excuse me. It’s Mitsui from the Student Council.”
“Please, you may enter.”
After she reported her visit through the interphone, the answer
didn’t come from the speakers, the door opened and she was
directly invited in.
The student who had come out was the first year Shippou
Even though, at first, there had been a lot of bad rumors about
him from his classmates, his attitude greatly changed near the
end of April.
His self-assertiveness was just as strong as usual, however he
did not feel the need to push it anymore.
His ambitions and desire of taking over leadership was still
present, however taking a good look at him, you could notice that
his former complacent attitude had for the most part, totally
Well, to begin with, his hot-blooded nature couldn’t be easily
changed but he had come to a point where he could honestly
apologize and reflect if you pointed out his mistakes.
Above all, anyone could tell that he was putting in the effort to
“change” and “grow up”, he thus garnered the sympathy and
even trust from his classmates.
It had accumulated to a point where during the Nine Schools
Competition, he had spontaneously become the manager of the
nine first years registered on First High’s team.
Without any arrogance, he steadily increased his abilities. As of
today, not only his classmates but also various seniors openly
recognized his efforts.
Honoka as well bore ill will towards Takuma at first, after the
incident with Tatsuya. However, right now, she didn’t have a bad
impression of him. She could humbly recognize that he was a
“Excuse me, I had an appointment with President Igarashi.”
“With the President? There was a call just a few moments ago
and he had to go out.”
Honoka reported that she would be coming over just before
going out of the Student Council Room. However, it seems like
some sort of trouble had risen. Even though the former President
Hattori’s efforts had been concentrated on abolishing the stigma
that only top students could attain important posts, Igarashi
seemed to have had a negative effect on peoples’ attitudes.
Honoka thought it would be great if that was just a
coincidence. Even though she shouldn’t be one to worry about
others’ situation considering her own mental state, this was
undeniably her good nature speaking. In that respect, Honoka
couldn’t really complain about Igarashi.
“Was it urgent business?”
While Honoka thought it couldn’t be helped and started to go
back, she was stopped by Takuma’s voice.
“Yes but since he’s not present I thought I would come back
“Wait a moment please.”
Was Takuma in charge of the communications, rather he took
the wireless headset that had a microphone attached. It was a
device that had integrated brain wave assistance. He put on the
headset and turned towards the desktop terminal.
“This is Headquarters, Shippou speaking. ...Mitsui-san from
the Student Council is here. ...Yes, understood. I will transmit the
Takuma took off the headset and stood up, he then turned
“Mitsui-senpai, the President asked me to tell you to wait, if
possible, as he is on his way.”
“On his way... How long will it take?”
“He wasn’t that precise but if we take past examples into
account, I would say about five minutes.”
Five minutes was roughly the amount of time it would take her
to go back to the Student Council Room. Since she didn’t really
want to go back there yet, Honoka decided to go along with
Takuma’s recommendation and wait.
(Still, these days, I did nothing but out of office work, the desk
work must have been accumulating...) However, it was especially
when she wasn’t doing anything that Honoka unintentionally
cornered herself the most. This too, was because of her nature.
(It would probably end in the blink of an eye if Tatsuya-san
were to help... Though I can’t ask him, it would definitely be
awkward...) (But, Miyuki is sure to handle the task... Even
without me saying anything, and if she was to ask for Tatsuya-
san’s help... Then, won’t they think that I am unneeded!?)
Honoka made her face go pale by herself.
“Um... Mitsui-senpai, are you feeling unwell?”
If you were to look at her from the outside, then eight or nine
times out of ten you’d reach that conclusion. Even if you were
someone as self-centered as Takuma.
However, in her current state, of course the meaning of that
question would fly over Honoka’s head. In the first place, she
wasn’t so much thinking as she was being caught up in intense
delusions, she wasn’t the type to be able to shelve these sort of
thoughts instantly when someone interrupted her.
“Really, it’s nothing.”
Still, this reaction, no matter how you looked at it was just a
Takuma thought so as well.
And in his mind, he even added his own explanation.
“Mitsui-senpai, how should I say this...”
“Um... I fully understand that this is none of my business but,
about the matter with Shiba-senpai...”
“Wait a moment, Shippou-kun? Just what are you talking
A flustered Honoka tried to stop the words coming out of
However, even if Takuma was wrong about Honoka’s condition,
he certainly wouldn’t misunderstand the reason for her
It was precisely because he was right that Honoka was
flustered. What Takuma was about to say, Honoka didn’t want to
“I think you should give up on Shiba-senpai.”
Despite that, Takuma had said it.
“But at this rate, Senpai will suffer from it!”
Takuma had changed his attitude these days, his behavior had
greatly improved. Still, he hadn’t given up on his ambition just
yet. He still had hope that as a promising Magician, by making
Honoka his ally, he could get close to Shizuku eventually.
But above all, Takuma was attracted to Honoka.
It happened the day Takuma and Kasumi had gone overboard,
which ended up with a fight between the Saegusa twins and
himself. A lot of people had rebuked him, Honoka however had
stretched a helping hand towards him. Speaking objectively, the
only thing she did at the time was lean on him and ask “Can you
stand?”, it wasn’t as if she had lent him her hand or anything.
What started with the one-sided embellishment of that
memory hadn’t yet bloomed into fully romantic feelings. They
didn’t really have many occasions to talk to each other either so
that description was appropriate.
Though today, by chance, the two of them were all alone, and
coincidentally, he also witnessed Honoka’s distress due to her
unanswered feelings. You could say that Takuma short-circuited,
he was running wild.
Honoka closed her eyes and covered her ears with her hands.
Takuma stretched his arm towards Honoka’s hands.
“Shippou, what are you doing...?”
However, that was as far as he would go. The voice of President
Igarashi, who had just arrived at the Headquarters, stopped
Igarashi was not alone. Shizuku walked out abruptly from
behind him and stopped in front of Honoka, she buried Honoka’s
head in her chest.
Shizuku gently patted Honoka’s back several times to tell her
that everything was alright now.
The stiffness left Honoka’s body.
Shizuku turned cold eyes towards Takuma while still holding
“What were you saying?”
The tone of her voice was fitting for the look she was giving
Takuma had intended to finish his sentence that started with
“I’m-” by saying “I’m worried about you!”.
“Trying to seduce someone when they’re feeling down, you’re
Shizuku had accused him. Still, it wasn’t entirely wrong.
The reason Takuma wasn’t able to answer was certainly
because he himself was conscious of that.
“Let’s go, Honoka?”
Shizuku took Honoka out of the Club Management’s
No word of protest came out of Takuma’s mouth.
Igarashi, who had come to fulfill his promise, could do nothing
but stand there dumbfounded.
< * * - >
That day, Honoka didn’t return to her house. As usual they
were coming home from school separately from Tatsuya and
Miyuki, when they arrived at the station Honoka was ordered by
Shizuku to stay at her house.
She didn’t even ask if she was okay with it. It was a unilateral
It’s not like staying at Shizuku’s house was unpleasant or
anything. She was aware of her own current indecisiveness and if
she was left alone she would probably feel depressed very
quickly, that is why Shizuku’s invitation was welcomed.
She had dinner with Shizuku’s parents, who had hurried back
home, and as usual they stepped in the bath together. However,
once there, the usual chattering didn’t come out.
What differed from usual was the fact that Shizuku took
Honoka to her room afterwards.
Honoka had her own room in the Kitayama Family’s house.
Although it was just a guest room on paper, the reality was that
this was a room for her use only. The interior matched Honoka’s
tastes and you could even find her underwear in the closet.
Though aside from that, there wasn’t much Honoka herself
used in this room. When Honoka stayed overnight, she would
usually hang around in Shizuku’s room, and even sleep there in
fact. Today however, Shizuku took her towards “Honoka’s Room”.
Honoka obediently sat on her bed, compared to just a few
moments ago however, while she had been wearing a happy
expression during dinner, a grim, painful one now floated on her
Shizuku sat in front of her.
She kneeled on the floor seiza-style.
Of course, sitting on the bed, Honoka’s face was higher.
Shizuku looked at the downcast, pained face of Honoka directly.
Honoka tried to escape Shizuku’s look by looking even more
“You’re probably pitying me right now...”
With a trembling voice that threatened to turn into sobbing any
minute, Honoka said so.
“Even though I’m completely fine.”
“But, you’re making such a face.”
Honoka lifted her head.
Shizuku’s stare hadn’t changed from the time she sat on the
floor, it was still fixed on Honoka.
“Honoka, this entire week you wore such an expression.”
“What kind of expression...?”
‘A crestfallen one.”
Honoka couldn’t help but gape in shock.
“It can’t be...”
“Even worse than Shippou’s.”
Without holding anything back, Shizuku pointed that out.
“Everyone in your surroundings who’s looked at you has said
“I don’t want that! I don’t want others to take pity on me!”
“It doesn’t matter what Honoka thinks. They’re thinking like
that for their own good.”
Shizuku, firmly grasped both of Honoka’s hands away from
covering her eyes, and she stared straight into her eyes.
“They’re showing sympathy because they pity you, but doing
so, they can reassure themselves that they’re not miserable.”
“I’m... I’m not miserable!”
Shizuku nodded at the words Honoka managed to squeeze out.
Honoka matched Shizuku’s gaze by her own volition.
“I know that Honoka isn’t miserable. It’s just that everyone else
doesn’t know that.”
Shizuku had been looking at nothing but Honoka this entire
“They don’t know about Honoka’s determination. They don’t
know that Honoka is strong.”
Honoka nodded with her eyes.
“That’s because Honoka didn’t show them that she wasn’t
Shizuku released her hands and stood up.
This time, it was Shizuku who was looking from above.
Honoka inhaled with a serious expression on her face.
“Show me that there’s no reason for anyone to pity you.”
Without waiting for either a “Yes” or a “No” from Honoka,
Shizuku left the room.
< * * >
Sunday, January 13 th . Tatsuya was going to FLT. The CAD
Development Center, in other words the Third Division, wasn’t
particularly different from usual despite today being a holiday.
Even though as its name suggests, this place is mainly about
CAD Development, Tatsuya wasn’t currently working on
developing a CAD nor a software related to CADs.
He was working on his Stellar Furnace, the energy providing
resource, the design for the model plant of non-military Magic
The company wasn’t aware that Tatsuya started making such a
Mainly because he didn’t report about it. After all, Tatsuya
wasn’t exactly an employee of FLT, he was a researcher currently
under contract. Meaning, aside from confidentiality clauses he
had to respect, he had quite a bit of freedom.
Due to his position, Tatsuya benefitted from a private room at
his disposition in the Third Division, so if he really wanted to do
things secretly it was doable. Even Ushiyama, who is considered
the second half of Taurus Silver, wasn’t aware of it yet.
Nevertheless, the other members’attitudes never changed.
‘Ah, good morning Young Master.”
“Young Master, good morning.”
While heading towards his private room, many people greeted
They were already aware of his identity as a member of the
Yotsuba Family. That was because Tatsuya had already gathered
all of them and publicly made that revelation known earlier this
Still, their attitude didn’t change and they addressed him as
usual “Young Master”. It seems like positions in the Third
Division attracted people who turned their backs on authority, so
it’s not surprising that learning he was part of the Yotsuba
Family didn’t trigger any reaction beyond the “What of it”.
Thanks to that, he could concentrate on his plans for his own
The non-military Magic Usage Project (Extract both useful and
harmful Substances from the Coastal Area of the Pacific using
Electricity generated by the Stellar-generator), construction plan
“ESCAPES”. It was the “means of escape” for Magicians from
their fate as living weapons.
At first, this Project was made as a means to “escape” from the
Yotsuba Family’s influence and provide him with the means of
Even though his motives were now slightly different as a part
of the head family of the Yotsuba, it didn’t change the fact that it
would be a large advancement for the non-military applications
of magic. With the nuclear fusion reactor operated by magic,
stable electricity and fuel can be produced. Moreover an
important position in the industrial society can be secured just
with the by-product of supplying mineral resources from the Sea.
As a result, Magicians will be able to provide for themselves
without being forced into the Military. That was the baseline
thinking behind his project.
The current sources of electrical power were natural energy
such as the heat from sunlight, the force of the wind, the
biomass.-As a result of increased reliance on such renewable
energy, modern industries had become extremely dependent on
Of course, this was much preferable to a society dependent on
fossil energy and nuclear fission energy. Especially for long-term
development, it was crucial for mankind to actively protect the
environment. However, it was undeniable that this provoked an
unstable fuel delivery situation. The system behind orbital
satellites equipped with photovoltaic solar panels was also one of
the projects destined to lower this reliance on weather conditions
for energy supply.
The rough outline of Tatsuya’s Stellar Furnace was composed of
four crucial points: The furnace itself produces Electricity. It then
uses this electrical power and from its high temperatures creates
hydrogen gas by electrolysis. Thus again using the electrical
power of the furnace, fresh water is produced using reverse
osmosis on sea water. The leftovers from the previous operation
are thus highly concentrated sea water, in which useful resources
as well as toxic substances can be extracted.
Although, Tatsuya’s knowledge of industrial technology stayed
at a High School Student level. It wouldn’t do any good to not
cooperate with specialists for matters other than the Stellar
Furnace itself. Even though the manufacturing of hydrogen gas
and collection of all usable resources in sea water could be done
directly with Magic, the responsibilities of Magicians would be
too consequent. Using Magicians as part of the engineering
process itself would be mistaking the means for the end,
moreover it wasn’t what Tatsuya desired.
(The ones who should approach the non-Magic Community
should be the Magic Community itself. It will be easier to find
partners if the Yotsuba name is used, moreover the opposition
from the Magic Association will be avoided. So the problem will
lie in making concrete arrangements.) The groundwork was
already completed. The conceptual plans for the Stellar Furnace
should be ready within 3 months, the baseline design could be
expected within half a year. From then on, even Tatsuya had to
admit that he would need cooperation.
(It might be a little too fast considering I’m still only a High
School Student...) He wouldn’t be able to find anyone willing to
participate due to his young age. That was Tatsuya’s greatest
cause for concern at the moment.
Wednesday morning, the second week of the new semester.
Having entered Class 2-E, Tatsuya received the mornings
greeting from Mizuki, who sat beside him as before.
“Good morning, Mizuki.”
Mizuki answered Tatsuya s reciprocation with a smile. Except,
her smile was a bit awkward.
It would have been rather suspicious if she gave a natural
smile, Tatsuya thought without a hint of doubt.
He felt blessed that his friends would strain themselves
nonchalantly trying to smile.
There’s no mistaking, from Mizuki s perspective at least, that
she would prefer to keep her distance from a suspicious
character such as himself, Tatsuya thought. Mizuki is not privy
to the World of Magicians. She’s bound to dread the infamy of
the Yotsuba Family more than one normally should. On top of
that, here’s a suspicious character who’d been covering up his
real identity for close to two years now. Even then, a normal girl
like Mizuki has been trying to connect with him as a friend.
Tatsuya is not irritated about this, rather he’s come to think it’s
He approached his own seat while wearing a faint smile on his
A sound echoed from the windows to the hallway that were
right beside Tatsuya as he took his seat.
“Good morning, Tatsuya-kun.”
“Good morning, Erika.”
It was Erika who spoke to him from the other side of the
window. She wasn’t with Leo today, but Tatsuya didn’t point this
out. He remembered the last time when Erika had gotten mad at
him for treating them like a couple. Besides, it’s not like Erika
and Leo were dating.
Them not being together was not something strange in
“Good morning to you as well, Mizuki.”
“Good morning, Erika-chan.”
Erika gleefully nodded her head with a satisfied smile akin to
a bright day in spring, no less than what Mizuki would normally
With that smile alone, Tatsuya could tell that Erika’s meddling
was intended to cheer Mizuki up. Even so, “What’s the matter,
Erika? You seem energetic.”
Tatsuya dared to ask.
“Eh, it’s nothing.”
Erika returned an answer that Tatsuya had expected.
< — >
With the afternoon classes having ended, Miyuki got up from
her seat and turned toward the Practical Building where Tatsuya
The Practical Building also had a meeting room for mass
And so, a week passed with them having lunch at a specific
time to try and avoid attention. It had been pleasant for Miyuki
to be alone with Tatsuya, but she felt lonely when she reminded
herself of their relationship.
Miyuki suddenly heard her name called from behind her, and
she dashed onwards thinking she shouldn’t make Tatsuya wait.
“Honoka, what’s the matter?”
Honoka let out a noise.
Her face was stiff with tension.
Miyuki, despite wearing an unchanging expression this whole
time, was also tense. It had been almost a week since her last
exchange with Honoka that didn’t have to do with work.
No, tense would be better applied to the state of Class 2-A who
had fixed their eyes upon the two girls, making no sound.
“Oh, this must be about that thing later this afternoon, right?
Shall we go to the Student Council Room?”
Miyuki had been unable to instantly craft a response. She
wanted to make amends with Honoka, but she didn’t fathom
that Honoka would meet her halfway.
“Would it be alright if I went along with you?”
Shizuku raised her voice from the side before it turned into an
awkward situation where Miyuki’s silence could be interpreted
as her refusal. That single utterance from Shizuku was
hospitably received by both Miyuki and Honoka.
‘Alright, go ahead.”
Miyuki wore a small yet bright smile and nodded to Honoka
Miyuki, Honoka and Shizuku had already made it to their
seats by the time Tatsuya, who was contacted through his mobile
terminal, had entered the Student Council Room.
Neither of the girls had picked up their chopsticks yet. Miyuki
hadn’t opened the lid of her bento box; Honoka and Shizuku
hadn’t gotten anything in front of themselves yet either.
“Onii-sama, thank you for waiting.”
“Tatsuya-san, go ahead. Please, over here.”
Miyuki and Honoka stood up to guide Tatsuya to his seat. It
was located beside Miyuki’s and in front of Honoka’s. Shizuku
also stood up, but she went to the dining server and took out
trays for two which had been warming on standby.
The four congenially started to eat. It was just Honoka and
Shizuku who offered topics for conversation at the dining table,
while Tatsuya and his sister never brought themselves to break
the ice. It felt like Honoka and Shizuku were avoiding having a
conversation about the Yotsuba Family.
It was Tatsuya and Miyuki returning their bento boxes to their
valises that broke the calm atmosphere. This was after Honoka
and Shizuku had returned the trays to the dining server’s inlet,
and Miyuki distributed tea to everyone.
Standing up, her voice and expression betraying her stress,
Honoka raised her voice.
“What is it?”
Miyuki, too, shed her smile and looked up at Honoka with a
Shizuku gazed at the two of them intently from Honoka’s side.
Tatsuya, too, silently observed the situation from Miyuki’s side.
“Umm... Umm... I...”
Honoka was wringing out words with a frantic expression.
Miyuki, while waiting, had never averted her eyes from
“I won’t give up!”
Miyuki, Tatsuya and Shizuku turned to Honoka. To ascertain
Honoka’s intentions, and to see Honoka’s resolve with their own
“I will not give up on Tatsuya-san!”
Honoka successfully spoke her feelings without faltering, even
with everyone’s eyes fixated on her.
“I will not yield.”
Miyuki responded without a moment’s delay.
She then courtly stood up and held her right hand out to
That hand was in a position that demanded it be shaken.
“I will definitely not be defeated.”
Honoka gripped Miyuki’s hand. Her competitive spirit was
showing through her face.
Miyuki showed a smile. Though it was much more than just a
“smile”, it was the manifestation of her aggression and
Tatsuya tried to put on a bitter smile, but it failed miserably.
The two women in front of him just declared rivalry over his
affections. It was only natural that he would be dumbfounded in
regards to what expression he should make.
Shizuku, on the other hand, was more expressionless than
usual. No, since she was always bereft of changes in her
expression, we can’t say she was “now” expressionless. Rather,
this time she deliberately rid herself of expression.
Speaking of one’s true feelings, Shizuku hoped Honoka would
immediately give up on Tatsuya. But Honoka chose the path of
battling it out with Miyuki on her journey to Tatsuya’s heart. She
frowned at the thought that Honoka would choose such a harsh,
thorny path—a frown which Shizuku endured for dear life.
< — — >
After school in the Student Council Room, things were
progressing with the friendly attitude that existed before the
announcement. Izumi and Minami noticed this minute change,
but neither wanted to investigate into the reason why. They were
relieved that the tense atmosphere had abated, which showed
through their facial expressions and actions.
However, they weren’t the type of people that would just act
That would put them in the minority in High School.
“Hey, Izumi. Doesn’t the atmosphere feel sort of different from
Kasumi had come up the stairs since it was nearly time for the
school gate to close. She had stealthily gotten close to Izumi-
and asked in a fairly loud voice.
“Is that so? Everything seems normal to me, Kasumi-chan.”
With a calm expression on her face, Izumi responded with an
intensity that was difficult to oppose.
Sensing that she had somehow angered Izumi, despite not
understanding why, Kasumi nodded lightly and dropped the
“Huh? ...Uh, yeah.”
Having also just come up from the Public Morals Committee
Headquarters, Mikihiko’s reaction was slightly more guarded
“What’s the matter?”
His reaction was even greater when hearing Tatsuya’s voice,
“No, it’s nothing.”
He was responding in the same way he had prior to Winter
Break.-It was different from last week.
Tatsuya had thought that Mikihiko got yelled at by Erika.
Tatsuya thought so, but of course he didn’t say this.
Despite that, he couldn’t help the fact that his lips were
“What’s the matter, Tatsuya? Did something good happen.”
“Yeah. But, it’s nothing important.”
Yes, it was nothing important. It was definitely a “good thing.”
For Miyuki, and for himself.
Having reached that conclusion, Tatsuya decided to change the
“Moreover, show me today’s report.”
‘Alright. It’s no problem if I show it to you while we’re at
Tatsuya quickly looked over the e-reader that Mikihiko gave
him, and entered his hard key for the Student Association
“Has some kind of trouble started outside of the school?”
Tatsuya asked as such when he returned the e-reader to
Mikihiko had agreed to show him “at school” which had
drawn Tatsuya’s attention.
“Yes... after those candid photographs, the number of students
following us has increased.”
Unaware, this was the first time Tatsuya had heard of it. His
hands had been full lately and he had eyes only for what was
directly around him.
“You could call them stalkers... it seems to be a ‘Humanist’
“You’re saying the students at this school have become the
target of an anti-Magician organization?”
Tatsuya’s eyes glimmered sharply.
Mikihiko had also drawn the attention of Miyuki and Honoka
as they were preparing to head home.
“It looks like no students have been threatened or assaulted yet.
That being said, ever since the group formed, some students have
reported being verbally abused.”
Mikihiko answered Tatsuya’s question in a provocative tone.
Returning to her designated President’s seat, Miyuki spoke to
Minami stood up and moved to stand in front of Miyuki.
However, Miyuki stopped her in place with her gaze.
“Regarding the case we heard from the Public Morals
Committee Chairman, has the Student Council noticed it?”
“One moment please.”
In response to Miyuki’s question, Minami hit the switch on her
desktop terminal that she had already shut down. Contrary to
how information systems from half-a-century ago worked, it
booted up near-instantly.
The operating system appeared on the screen immediately.
Minami entered a search term and then read out the results
that were displayed.
“The number of people and events discussed at the Student
Council includes 24 people spanning a total of 38 events. They’re
already reporting these to the police, but there are no reports of
any concrete crackdowns being reported.”
“They’re ignoring it!?”
Honoka had raised her voice as if to say “I can’t believe it” in
response to the facts Minami had read out loud.
“They may be speaking rashly, but a crackdown would be
Shizuku replied with a sigh.
“Despite the candid photographs, it’s difficult to present
evidence of stalking.”
Mikihiko muttered irritably.
If it had been like the obvious enemy in the Yokohama Incident,
they could easily counter-attack and crush them. But they had
no way of counter-attacking a divided, vague attack coming from
among the otherwise virtuous townspeople. If they raised a
finger, they would be branded criminals. To begin with, they had
no idea who the enemy was, or even how to defeat them.
“We should likely urge all students to be careful. Be on the
lookout for any direct assaults and also be careful not to
overreact at risk of appearing to be in the wrong. Or rather, so
that you are not branded a criminal.”
“Understood. I will handle it immediately.”
Tatsuya had shown concern in response to Miyuki’s reaction.
Saturday, January 19 th . The end of the second week of the new
Morning lectures were over, and now it was time for club and
Kasumi and Izumi had previously dropped by the dining hall
to replenish their energy. Izumi had wanted to eat lunch with
Miyuki in the Student Council Room, but she couldn’t resist
Kasumi who had insisted on a whim “We should eat together
once in a while.”
Kasumi and Izumi were both popular among the Year 1
students. No, they also boasted high popularity with the Year 2
and 3 students, but they were especially popular people to the
Year 1 group. The twins weren’t the type to be very helpful so
they couldn’t form factions like the “Kasumi Army” or “Izumi
Guard”, but at the same time they were unrelated to any
factional disputes so they were adored as though they were
“Everyone’s Idols”. It left a stark contrast compared with Takuma
who steadily formed the “Shippou Group” because of his
Kasumi and Izumi didn’t normally have anybody in particular
who followed them around so it wasn’t difficult for them to keep
to themselves. On the other hand, when it came to lunch, they
had continually accumulated a group of Year 1 students with
their lunch trays in hand.
What stood out about the two was that the students who came
close to them were mostly girls. That said, boys weren’t
intimidated by them like they were by Miyuki, so the boys could
express affection for them much like they would for a mascot.
For that reason, although they constantly had lots of people
around them, not a single one would interrupt them when they
were talking. Under these circumstances, the two of them
engaged in unrestrained conversations while slurping their
Izumi ate, true to her proper image, but Kasumi also ate
carefully. She slowly cut her kakiage into bite-sized pieces and
ate them with good manners. She never talked with food in her
mouth which meant her pace was fairly slow. Without a doubt,
this calm lunch scene made it hard to guess what they were
“In these last two or three days, the atmosphere at school has
become really gloomy, hasn’t it.”
“Those rumors about Shiba-senpai and Miyuki-senpai? It’s
going to be a real problem if senrou people like them run around
making a fuss all the time.”
“...What’s does 'senrou’mean?”
“It means abject.”
‘Ah, you mean they should keep their lowly curiosity in check
and not make a fuss all the time, right?”
“If you want to be direct about it, yes.”
“Then you should have said that in the first place.”
“I don’t even call my classmates ‘lowly’, much less an
upperclassman. I believe every student at this school are proper
gentlemen and ladies.”
“I said the same thing you did, but you need to be less cruel,
“That isn’t true, Kasumi-chan. I simply think while nobody’s
true character is ‘lowly’, occasionally they become delusional
when obsessed with such base things.”
Izumi, having said that with an unruffled expression, picked
up the rice bowl that she had placed on her tray. (Inside: the
lunch menu has small/medium/large sizes for lunches.) “Well, I
don’t think you should hide your real feelings with complicated
Kasumi had quietly muttered this while Izumi was focused on
If she didn’t let off any steam during conversations with Izumi,
even though she knew her twin sister’s true character, things
would become too tense for her.
“Kasumi-chan, did you say something?”
But her timing had been a little too quick, and Izumi raised her
face as she was putting her chopsticks in her rice bowl.
“No, I didn’t say anything.”
Kasumi said so, while picking up her rice bowl as Izumi had
Kasumi slurped her soba with a little more enthusiasm than
Izumi. With her brows furrowed at her twin sister, Izumi also
moved her chopsticks.
Having used her manners as a shield to redirect the
conversation, Kasumi set her bowl down and spoke to Izumi as
though nothing had happened.
“By the way, how do you feel about the Student Council Room?
I only had a glance but it looks like they’ve made it peaceful
‘Although they are only slightly different from us, I believe all
involved parties are adults.”
Izumi had answered Kasumi’s question in a not-entirely-
complimentary tone of voice.
“I think Mitsui-senpai in particular has a lot of good things
about her... Miyuki-senpai and Shiba-senpai are both excellent
at behaving themselves as well.”
“Hmm... Well, the President has reined in how clingy she is
with Shiba-senpai, and it looks like she’s finally paying attention
to other people.”
Izumi had knit her face at the words “clingy”, but Kasumi was
“No matter how close you are as friends, ignoring each other
will cause you to drift apart for sure.”
“Even close friends have to be courteous, right?”
“Correct. Disregarding the fact that plenty of people lack that
level of intimacy, rather, they look down on it, and prefer to
amuse themselves by spreading irresponsible rumors. It can lead
to an inevitable drop in the overall relationship.”
Izumi stopped for a moment, then added as though
‘At the utmost, that’s a general rule.”
Kasumi and Izumi’s classmates all hung their heads and
< — >
Around the same time-well, it was actually a fair amount
of time thereafter-the Magic University’s cafeteria was
thronged with students.
Mixed among them are students who are visiting from the
National Defense Academy’s “Special Warfare Research” course.
Out of all these students, two girls were facing each other, a
normal student and a magical officer trainee. There wasn’t a real
difference in how the two students looked, just glancing them
over wouldn’t help. The officer’s brilliant smile was making it
difficult to tell if she was a normal or Magic University student.
“Hey Mari! You don’t have to laugh like that, do you?”
“Sorry. But still, him and you...”
Watanabe Mari, a visiting student and the former Chairwoman
of the First High School Disciplinary Committee, apologized as
she continued to suppress her laughter. Opposite of her was
Saegusa Mayumi, the former First High School Student Council
President, her face blushing red and her eyes glaring into Mari’s.
The blush on her face was not out of anger but of
embarrassment. She glowered at Mari with teary eyes, yet they
did not feel threatening at all.
“No, I’m really sorry.”
In the end, it was Mayumi’s sulking and turning away that
made Mari stop laughing.
‘Are you seriously telling me that the Head of the Saegusa
Family wants to make you and Tatsuya-kun marry?”
“It’s an engagement! Not marriage!”
Keeping her face averted and her arms crossed, Mayumi
snapped at Mari’s statement.
Mari suddenly asked herself how that was supposed be
different, but she decided to keep those words to herself.
“Well then, why are we even talking about Mayumi and
The Magic University is more flexible in regards to breaks and
lunches than the National Defense Academy. At the same time,
it’s not like the students can have lunch as long as they want.
Mari decided to move on to the main topic.
“You heard about it as well, Mari?”
This conversation was originally started by Mayumi, who
wanted to voice her idle complaints. Still sulking, she realized
that their respective breaks were almost over, and her face
regained a serious expression.
“Is this about the Yotsuba Family? Well, I can’t say I expected it,
but it’s also not that surprising.”
In this case, expecting and being surprised are two completely
different things, but Mayumi did not press her to make up her
mind. She felt the same way as Mari after all.
“How much did you know about this, Mari?”
“How much... Those siblings are actually cousins and direct
descendants of the Yotsuba Family. And wasn’t Shiba appointed
as the next Head of the Yotsuba Family and hasn’t Tatsuya-kun
been engaged with Shiba? Isn’t that all there is to it?”
Mayumi closed her eyes and shook her head to Mari’s doubtful
“That’s all that was publicized. There’s more to the story, you
Mayumi leaned toward the table.
Having lured Mayumi, Mari brought her face closer.
“The day after the Yotsuba Family announced Tatsuya-kun
and Miyuki-san’s engagement, the Ichijou Family raised their
objection to the engagement.”
“Objection to the engagement?”
It was as if Mari’s face was asking, “Can they do that?”
Mayumi hinted a forced smile.
“They said they’re too related by blood that there is a risk the
marriage would harm magician genetics, which is an invaluable
resource of the country.”
“They said ‘resource’ now?”
Mari looked stunned. This way of thinking, which is quite
contentious even within the Ten Master Clans, would sound like
a suspicious excuse by the Hundred Families to Magicians not in
Mari’s conclusion is most likely correct. Rather, it’s spot on.
“Resource”, in this context, is being used synonymously with
property. Calling a person’s genes “property” makes that person
no different than livestock.
One wrong step could lead this whole situation into a
dangerous political mess of placing genes above all else.
“I can never find myself to like that aspect of the Ten Master
“If I were to choose between saying whether I like it or not, I’d
go for the latter, but this decision is for the greater good. Even so,
I won’t consent to them meddling with my private life, such as
this whole engagement business.”
“Is there anything else?”
As the topic approached the climax, Mayumi let out a sigh.
“The Ichijou Family raised their objection, citing close blood
relations as their grounds. At the same time, they proposed
Miyuki-san’s engagement with their eldest son, Masaki-kun, to
the Yotsuba Family.”
“I don’t know whether they’re just shameless, or insensitive...”
hooking at Mari who had turned speechless, Mayumi shrugged
“But surely a marriage between Miyuki-san and Masaki-kun
would be more preferable than one between Tatsuya-kun and
Miyuki-san. They just have to ignore the feelings of the people
“So, this would be what they call a marriage of convenience,
which the magical community is celebrated for.”
Mari thought of it more as the mating of thoroughbred
livestock more than a marriage of convenience, but she hesitated
describing it as such.
“That’s true, but... I don’t think it’s purely out of the
convenience for the families. I mean, Masaki-kun is the eldest
son, so normally he would be in the position to accept a bride.”
Having gone as far as to say it, Mayumi turned her eyes away
for some reason as if a little embarrassed.
“The Ichijou Family’s display of bravado is because Masaki-
kun likes Miyuki-san, I think.”
Mari, who was frowning just earlier, grinned wilily as if she
had just discovered something groundbreaking.
“So that’s it. ...Your Father is trying to make you marry because
you like Tatsuya-kun. Is that it?”
“No, it’s not!”
Mayumi’s face turned red as she hit the table with both of her
There was no mistaking the disruption field in place around
them was the only thing preventing the entire school cafeteria
from looking at them. Mayumi’s reaction had been that fierce.
“That sly dog just got it wrong! He’s just trying to use me to
annoy the Yotsuba Family!”
“Why do you look so unconvinced!? I’m really the one being
“So you would rather not?”
Mayumi was rendered speechless, without her even realizing it,
by Mari’s quick questioning.
Mari raised both ends of her lips as if to show she had got it all
according to plan.
Impelled by the sense that she is in danger of actually
acknowledging Mari’s words, Mayumi forced her frozen tongue
“It’s not that I would rather not, but... But I just can’t see
Tatsuya-kun that way. I can’t imagine being engaged to Tatsuya-
“Why is that?”
Mari attacked without delay.
“Why you say — ”
“Surely Saegusa Mayumi won’t make a good match with Shiba
However, the story changed when he became a direct
descendant of the Yotsuba Family. He is not unqualified to
become the husband of the eldest daughter of the Saegusa
Family, both in terms of blood relations and power.”
“I mean, Tatsuya-kun is even two years younger than me!?”
“I don’t think an age difference of just two years would be a big
problem though. ...Does he even look younger than you to begin
with? You look younger than Tatsuya-kun from my point of
“How rude! If you’re going to say that, then you don’t look any
much older than him, you know!”
“In what universe do I look younger than Tatsuya-kun?”
“ ‘Oh, I can’t do this,’ ‘Oh, the terminal isn’t working right,’ ‘Oh,
it won’t print out a report.’ You’re always just cozying up to
Tatsuya-kun! Actually, isn’t it you who likes Tatsuya-kun
“I have Shuu, you know!”
“That’s not a reason to like or not like Tatsuya-kun, now is it!”
Mayumi and Mari glared at each other face to face, then
immediately averted their eyes.
Both their faces were red. Normally, this would be the scene
where they would exchange empty smiles, and move on to a
completely different topic from their petty argument.
However, that didn’t happen this time.
Mari ended up flustered from their exchange of inflammatory
words, but she immediately recovered her serious composure. A
smile could be seen on Mari’s face as her eyes once again fell
“Mayumi, what do you really want to do?”
Mayumi, surprised by Mari’s unimaginably serious voice,
looked back at Mari.
“What’s with you all of a sudden?”
Mari stared at Mayumi fixedly. That face could not possibly be
“It doesn’t benefit Tatsuya-kun’s sister, but is also holds no real
downsides for you, Mayumi.”
“What’re you getting at? I mean, I don’t think of Tatsuya-kun
as anyone special...”
“You don’t have to say any more, just shut up and listen.”
Having heard Mari’s strong words, Mayumi stopped making up
“I intend to know why you haven’t had a boyfriend up until
now. Regarding your lacking pursuit of a relationship between
you and the eldest sons of the juumonji or Itsuwa Families, I
understand that it’s a modest protest against the future that was
decided for you.”
Mayumi didn’t object to Mari’s statement. It wasn’t that Mari
hit the mark with her words, but Mayumi wanted to listen to
everything Mari had to say first.
“Didn’t you always tell me you never looked at juumonji as a
possible boyfriend? Is that because he’s the type of partner who
would notice right away? Juumonji has always been a fellow
Magician from the Juumonji Family to you, not even a fellow
student. That’s why he sees you as Mayumi, the eldest daughter
of the Saegusa Family, not someone who came from an all-girl’s
Mayumi listened to Mari’s words without saying a word nor
showing a reaction. Her expression was reminiscent of a Noh
“You’re looking at him to see if he’s suitable as a member of the
Ten Master Clans, not if he’s suitable as a partner. There’s no way
feelings of love would arise like that. Respect, maybe, but not
Mari continued to speak, not paying attention to Mayumi’s lack
“But Tatsuya-kun is different, isn’t he? You were first
introduced as someone older than him, and gradually came to
like him, and then found out he was from the Ten Master Clans. I
would like to consider my usage of like to mean affection
towards the opposite sex, but I wouldn’t go so far as to imply it.
However, you at least like him. Am I wrong?”
“You are not wrong. I don’t think my liking of Tatsuya-kun is
love, but everything else is as you said.”
Mayumi answered disinterestedly; Mari nodded.
“Incidentally, the person that you like is the person that they
allowed to date the eldest daughter of the Saegusa Family. This
would be your first experience.”
“Hmm, that’s right.”
“Well then, what’s your first step? No, wait, that’s not how this
should be asked. Mayumi.”
“Do you just want to wait without doing anything? Or do you
actually want to do something?”
“I don’t want to be passive, but what can I do?”
“I want to tell you, ‘Find the answer yourself,’ but yeah. Well,
here’s an idea; you have the chance to confirm how you really
feel about Tatsuya-kun.”
Mayumi said, “I know,” then she stopped.
“What do you mean by that?”
“If you know if you have feelings for Tatsuya-kun, you can
align your interests with your father’s. You can act like you are
being used by your father, but in reality it’d be you who’s
actually using him.”
“Using that sly dog, you say... That’s tempting.”
Mayumi stopped short of hinting at an evil smile without
“...But that would involve a lot of work.”
“You’ll know that once you actually try dating him, now won’t
“Date someone I don’t like? Rather, someone I’m not sure I like
Realizing they had almost gone full circle with the denial,
Mayumi surrendered and spoke her thoughts.
“That wouldn’t be too weird, would it? Isn’t that a common
saying? ‘Let’s start by being friends,’ or something along those
“That’s not what you’d say to someone you don’t really know.
We’re bound to start out as friends with our current relationship.
And just what do I do when that fails? Say I dated him, and we
went straight to being engaged. I can’t back off with just ‘Turns
out being lovers won’t work out’after going through all of that!”
“So that’s how it is?”
“I see... Well then, it seems your only choice is to date Tatsuya-
kun without his sister finding out.”
“How did you even reach that conclusion!?”
“Didn’t you want to confirm it for yourself? How you feel about
“I told you that wasn’t the case...”
“Well then, why are you discussing this with me?”
Mayumi’s expression froze.
“Haven’t you always come to me when you’re troubled? Even
though it may be your first time dating someone who’s already
engaged, isn’t being unable to solve this on your own the
problem? If you think hard enough, shouldn’t you have just
declined the proposal? Since he’s already engaged, the situation
is borderline impossible as it stands.”
“...I did decline. But that sly dog would keep bringing it up
again and again.”
“Your father probably has seen through that, you know. The
fact you don’t really object to it.”
“Mayumi. At this rate, you’d just end up going with the flow,
indecisive until the end.”
“Even if you say that...”
Mayumi was stumped. She might break down if she went any
further than this. Mari pretentiously turned her eyes to the
multifunctional military watch wrapped around her left wrist.
“-Our time’s up. Mayumi, you should properly think it over.”
“Yeah. ...Thank you, Mari.”
Mari stood up while Mayumi also nonchalantly left her seat.
< — >
Tatsuya who had just arrived at home saw he had mail, which
was unusual and forced a frown out of him. It wasn’t an email,
but rather a discrete communication using the message board for
First High’s students and alumni.
The sender was Mari.
Tatsuya thought that she might have sent it to the wrong
person, but he couldn’t check that without opening the letter. He
also thought of opening it using a trick to prevent the read
receipt, but it would lead to a more cumbersome after effect. He
wouldn’t mind if he didn’t have to meet Mari afterwards, but
that didn’t seem to be the case.
Even though he had a hunch this would lead to a meddlesome
situation, he opened the message.
The first thing he concluded was the message was, indeed, for
The message started out as a simple seasonal greeting, asking
about his recent condition, and how he had been doing as of late.
It was unexpectedly written in a polite manner. It was probably
the result of her military education.
The heart of the mail was very simple.
It was merely a question of whether they could meet the
It would be a good idea to keep this a secret.
Well, normally that would be the case, but now that he had a
fiancee, he needed her permission to meet a girl alone.
Without sending a reply, he knocked on the door leading to the
room next to his.
“Watanabe-senpai said she wants to meet with Onii-sama?”
Tatsuya saw abundant suspicion in Miyuki’s expression. If it
was just a little flicker of doubt, he would write it off as an
inevitability, but being distrusted to this extent was totally
“I’m as surprised as you are about this sudden invitation. The
last time I saw her was during the graduation ceremony.”
Tatsuya was nonchalantly playing the innocent.
“Then what is her intention with this?”
Miyuki didn’t think that Tatsuya was cheating on her, it was
actually Mari who she was doubting.
Tatsuya (in Miyuki’s perspective) is a very attractive man. Even
though it was known that Mari has a boyfriend, Tatsuya would
be a very desirable partner to have in an affair (again, in
“It isn’t a love affair.”
He wasn’t only aware of what his sister was thinking, but he
also frankly expressed that he saw through her.
Miyuki’s face quickly became red.
While observing his innocent sister, Tatsuya feigned ignorance
and continued speaking.
“Chiba Naotsugu-san is a good lover for Watanabe-senpai.”
“...She might have had a fight with him.”
Miyuki hid her embarrassment by stating her opinion with a
“If she just wanted to grumble, she would have called Saegusa-
Miyuki’s easy to understand behavior made Tatsuya chuckle
during their exchange.
“...No, actually, it’s the opposite.”
Taken by surprise, she put on a serious, albeit dazzling,
“The opposite... So that means Saegusa-senpai vented to
Tatsuya put on a completely serious expression and nodded
back to Miyuki’s question.
“It isn’t limited to just Watanabe-senpai. If a First High alumni
had something to discuss, considering what’s happened recently,
it would most likely be about the Yotsuba Family matter.”
‘Ah, that’s right.”
There are also people who give suggestions without considering
the time or place, and merely say it for their own convenience.
Miyuki’s first thoughts went to that by reflex, but she also
understood that there are some exceptions to this.
“Even if you think about it, I’m going to ignore the exceptions
we can’t do anything about.”
Miyuki’s thoughts were plainly seen through again by Tatsuya.
Miyuki’s white skin became vermillion again.
Without concerning himself with her looking at the floor,
Tatsuya continued his reasoning.
“If I were to guess as to who will take action regarding the
notification given by the Yotsuba Family, the most likely culprits
would be those from the Ten Master Clans. I assume that
Saegusa-senpai was dragged into a scheme conceived by the
Head of the Saegusa Family. Then, the puzzled Saegusa-senpai
went to Watanabe-senpai for advice. Considering their
relationship, this invitation isn’t a mystery at all.”
“It can’t be!”
Miyuki vigorously lifted up her face which still had a tinge of
red to it.
Intense anxiety surfaced on her face.
“Why are you panicking like that?”
He couldn’t understand why Miyuki got panicked, because of
that Tatsuya paused his reasoning and asked why.
“Could it be that... the Saegusa Family is scheming to make
Onii-sama Senpai’s fiancee?”
Miyuki’s thought took Tatsuya by surprise. This would
definitely warrant her concern.
“...No matter how you look at it, isn’t that progressing a little
Of course it wasn’t an impossibility, but Tatsuya was of the
mindset it wouldn’t happen even if the chance was there.
Mayumi’s nature wasn’t one that would be obediently married as
a political piece.
Miyuki and Mayumi shared that trait, neither would readily
become a puppet of their own parent. But if Mayumi shared her
father’s decision-it would be a whole different story.
“No, it isn’t like that.”
To shake off her anxiety, she spoke words of denial to herself.
“So then Onii-sama, what are you going to do with Watanabe-
“I don’t have the luxury of ignoring it. Plus, I’m curious about
why she went through so much trouble to contact me.”
Tatsuya nuanced his words to mean “there is no other way” so
he could avoid distressing Miyuki.
< — >
The next day, in the afternoon at 5:55 P.M., Tatsuya visited a
cafe near the National Defense Academy’s Special War Skills
Research Department’s auxiliary building.
To make it brief, the Special War Skill Research Department is
a course with a curriculum for Magicians focused on research
and also training for combat Magicians. They conduct a lot of
joint research and also have a secondary building near the Magic
The Special War Skill Research Department’s students have
been exempted from a dormitory lifestyle. Even so, Mari made
the location for their appointment to be near the school building
due to military drills they have on Sunday.
Tatsuya arrived 5 minutes before the meeting time. Then at 5:59
P.M., he saw Mari’s figure.
“Hey, sorry to make you wait. It’s been a while Tatsuya-kun.”
“Yes, it has.”
Under the coat, Mari was wearing plain clothes. Her pants-suit
combo wasn’t rare in the university, nor in government or
Chances are that she got it from the National Defense
Academy, and it was a uniform.
“I rented a room in this area.”
Mari gave an explanation when she noticed Tatsuya gazing at
her clothing. It seems she picked this place not because of being
near the school, but rather that it was conveniently close to her
“That’s right, we also had a drill today too... I feel bad for
calling you out at this hour.”
“Let’s ignore that for now. What’s your business with me?”
Tatsuya wasn’t trying to push Mari away. Just like she had
said, it was quite late for a man and woman to be meeting. Since
they were close to the National Defense Academy, it wasn’t a
strange sight to see students visiting this place... But to avoid
misunderstandings, they decided to finish their matters quickly.
“That’s right. We both have classes tomorrow, so let’s save the
idle chatter for next time.”
After stating her piece, she ordered a hot coffee from the
terminal on top of the shop’s desk.
“But I’d rather not leave with just having water. Please wait a
Just as Mari said, she didn’t say anything until her drink
arrived. She was planning her words during the lull.
By happenstance, the shop they were meeting at wasn’t an “old
school” shop. It didn’t even take a minute from ordering for the
completion ring to sound out. Mari came back from the counter
and sat in front of Tatsuya, suddenly moving her face close to his.
“Tatsuya, what do you think about Mayumi?”
Without any preface, she whispered a question.
“I think she’s a great Magician. She has talent, and also
experience. As for her life and stature, she can separate them
well. I have a good impression of her because of that.”
In spite of that sudden question, Tatsuya answered it without
“.. .You know, I hate that part of you.”
Mari glared at Tatsuya with an annoyed expression. She could
tell that he knew what she was getting at, even if he put on a
face feigning ignorance.
Tatsuya reacted to Mari’s glare without faltering. She didn’t
even put her drink down.
“Why do you want to know about something like that?”
Tatsuya’s expression changed to a frown as he fired a question
Mari didn’t answer Tatsuya.
“I’m gonna ask again. What do you think of Mayumi as
someone of the opposite gender? Do you like her? Do you dislike
her? Please answer seriously.”
‘As someone of a different gender, it can’t be explained in such
black and white terms.”
“Even so, I want to hear it.”
Tatsuya didn’t have any obligation to answer Mari’s question.
With Tatsuya’s current situation, answering would bring him
more trouble than merit.
“I will say that I like her.”
But he still answered. Not because of the pressure the girl in
front of him was putting out, but rather out of curiosity as to
what would come next.
‘As someone of the opposite sex right?”
Tatsuya didn’t have any sensibility on the feeling of “liking
someone from the opposite gender.” It wasn’t within the extent of
his limited emotional processing. Affection for a member of the
opposite sex was of far lower priority than his fondness towards
Miyuki. But he didn’t have to explain any of that to Mari.
“Is that affection considered love?”
“It is not. If I must say it, these feelings are more like sexual
Tatsuya showed no embarrassment when delivering that line.
Mari, on the other hand, was blushing.
“Y-you have that kind of desire as well, huh?”
“Mari was quite inexperienced on this topic,” Tatsuya thought.
Even though premarital sex was a taboo in this generation, her
reaction was very innocent for someone who had been in a
relationship for a long time.
Of course, Tatsuya had the common sense to not sexually
harass Mari with those words.
“Of course I have it. It’s a primordial desire to preserve one’s
That wasn’t a lie. But Tatsuya didn’t share the whole truth that
his upper sexual limit was predetermined. It has no capability to
rule over his actions or thoughts. Miya’s Mental Interference
Magic ensured this.
Because of that, Tatsuya’s matter of “sexual desire” isn’t about
to entice him to make out. This had no need to be said either.
“Watanabe-senpai. You asked me about how I feel towards
Saegusa-senpai. What do you plan to do with this information?”
Mari hadn’t recovered from the shock she originally got from
Having the main subject of their meeting suddenly brought up,
she consoled herself to stop her flustering.
“Tatsuya-kun, would you want to try going out with Mayumi?”
“...By going out, you mean like that, right? Does Senpai not
know about Miyuki and I?”
Tatsuya’s cold glare disheartened her, but she gathered her
courage and continued.
“I know that your little sister is actually your cousin, and you
both are engaged to each other.”
“So you should understand that Saegusa-senpai and I
shouldn’t be going out.”
Tatsuya’s gaze became even more frigid.
Cooling magic should be his little sister’s domain, but Mari felt
his look could freeze her to death. She was screaming internally
at herself to stay awake, for some reason she had started
hallucinating that falling asleep could cause her to die from
“Your engagement is being contested by the Ichijou Family. Isn’t
“You are quite informed. Did you hear that from Saegusa-
The formal objection made by the Ichijou Family shouldn’t
have reached her ears. The engagement between Tatsuya and
Miyuki was legal-though, if the actual link between Tatsuya
and Miyuki got leaked, they would be punished for forgery of
official documents-, the Ichijou Family had already caused a
scandal in the world of magic. With that in mind, this whole
topic has been kept more or less private.
“Oh yeah. Also, Mayumi is in the same situation as well. Hmm,
saying this the wrong way will cause misunderstandings...
Mayumi is in the same boat as the Ichijou Family’s eldest son.
They’re both being ordered to fill the same role.”
The iciness in Tatsuya’s glare vanished. It was replaced with a
chill that made Mari shift uncomfortably in her seat.
“That... is a shocking story.”
Tatsuya’s remark was his evaluation of the Saegusa Family’s
decision, but his heart was different. He shuddered in
amazement at the revelation that Mayumi was made to be a
fiancee candidate for Tatsuya. He was awed at Miyuki’s intuition
being so spot on. Even though she is still considered a young lady,
a female’s intuition is scary... that was the only thought in
“I think so too.”
Mari’s casual remarks were welcomed by Tatsuya’s sharp
“Do you really understand what will happen?”
“The one who will be slandered by the public won’t be me, but
Saegusa - senpai.”
Mari’s eye suddenly tinged with soft light.
“How kind of you.”
“This amount of concern is normal.”
Tatsuya’s gaze didn’t relax.
“If Mayumi didn’t have feelings for you, I would have dropped
this a long time ago. I told her she didn’t have to suffer from this,
but she doesn’t understand her own feelings.”
And then? Tatsuya asked back with his eyes.
“Mayumi doesn’t comprehend how she feels about you. She
doesn’t know the depth of her affection. No, it’s more like she
doesn’t want to admit it. She’s running away from her emotions.”
“Isn’t that because she understands her position in this
“She does. Mayumi isn’t able to just choose someone based on
love interest. Having a lover and being married are different
things, so falling in love is pointless. That’s how she feels about
‘Are you sure you aren’t overthinking this? There’s certainly a
tendency to prevent high level magicians from being single, but it
isn’t to the point where you can’t pick your marriage partner.”
“How about you? Your little sister?”
This time Tatsuya stayed silent.
Mari didn’t pursue any further for information about those two.
“I want to make her experience love. It may be an unneeded
and meddlesome thing to do, but after thinking about her
situation, I don’t want her to just throw in the towel. You’re a guy
so you probably don’t understand what I’m getting at.”
“You’re right. I don’t.”
“Ok... well at least just understand this; Mayumi has
recognized that she has feelings for you. You might be the first
and last love that she has.”
Mari’s words were full of sincerity. She was only thinking about
her friend’s feelings.
“You’re overthinking it again.”
But Tatsuya threw that sincerity aside with only those words.
“I don’t know her as well as you do, but Saegusa-senpai doesn’t
seem like she’d be that weak.”
Mari’s enraged tongue was stopped by Tatsuya’s objection.
“Give up on this matter. Abandon it. She won’t be seen as an
obedient child if she pursues this road. Even if I don’t return her
feelings, she would eventually find someone. Right?”
Tatsuya stood up, looking down at Mari who was at a loss for
‘And above all else, it’s impossible because I am Miyuki’s
The payment for Mari’s drink had already been taken.
And like that, Tatsuya left the shop.
Raymond S. Clark. He’s currently a high school sophomore
located in USNA Berkeley, California. He had been one of
Shizuku’s classmates during her foreign exchange student
The high school he attends differs from a Japanese Magic High
School in that it isn’t a facility that specializes in Magic Training.
In this school, Magic Studies and Magic Practice are optional
subjects. However, even the USNA can’t escape from the cruel
lack of teachers related to Magical courses. Since the number of
student applicants vastly outnumber the amount of teachers,
each and every school comes up with its own entrance exam to
select future students. Objectively speaking, Raymond’s school
had turned into a “Magic High School”.
That wasn’t implying he was a poor Magician. Among his
peers, Raymond was at the top of his class. Still, it wasn’t enough
talent to enter the Stars or something similar. His value and
talent lay in another area.
That’s how they’re called by the USNA’s Intelligence Agency. In
reality, they aren’t so much an organization as they are a group
of unaffiliated individuals with the same special ability.
“Hlidskjalf” is the hacking system concealed within the USNA’s
worldwide communication interceptor “Echelon III”. Only seven
“operators” have access to it. That’s the ability shared between
“The Seven Sages”, using Hlidskjalf, which greatly surpasses
Echelon Ill’s legitimate operators, to gather information from
anywhere in the world, earning them this title.
Among the seven operators of Hlidskjalf, there was only one
person who actually used the title. This person, on a whim, gave
information to the USNA about an anti-government organization
and introduced himself as one of “The Seven Sages”. This was, of
course, none other than Raymond.
Today as well, Raymond was swimming in the sea of
information brought to him by using Hlidskjalf. He was a person
who was zealous about acquiring knowledge. He also liked to
investigate about specific things here and there, but amassing
information without a specific topic was closer to being a hobby
of his. For Raymond, Hlidskjalf was the greatest of his toys.
That being said, in order to actually use Hlidskjalf, one has to
define search parameters first. That is because the nature and
the function of Hlidskjalf is to answer questions.
Rays of light became characters as the search conditions were
being specified. The terminal of Hlidskjalf was operated by the
user’s brain waves and gestures in a VR (Virtual Reality) like
environment made possible by the HMD (Head-mounted
Display). The camera caught the movement of his fingertips, rays
of light were projected in the virtual environment. The operator
inputs the search criteria with characters of light, determining
the settings with the assistance of their brain waves.
Right now, Raymond was using the broad “Scandal of the
USNA Army” terms for his research. A massive amount of
information opened in the sky, being displayed in various
“windows”. The window in the distance displayed only the titles
of articles while the window close-by was displaying their
contents. Another window was composed of diagrams with their
accompanying text, another contained images, and another was a
video. If you directed your eyes on a window, it would come
closer, while looking away would send it away. As far as the eye
could see, there were innumerable windows in every direction.
Speed reading and memorization were Raymond’s forte. Tens of
windows queued up as he progressively carved their contents
into his head. However, he unexpectedly stopped this operation.
A certain window’s content attracted Raymond’s attention.
(The contents of an old depot for small missiles went
It would be no surprise if this fact had made headlines. Sadly,
it wasn’t unusual to hear that old weapons that were planned to
be scrapped had up and disappeared.
The missiles that went missing were using C-20
(cyclotrimethylene trinitramine) as the main explosive ingredient
for an infantry-usable anti-aircraft missile. Even though it had
been used quite a bit during the war that lasted until 2020, the
progress on nanotechnologies allowing explosions to surpass the
previous limits had forced these weapons into obsoletion.
(Still, it’s a well-tried warfare tool... I can’t think of this affair
as just a matter of control negligence.)
Raymond licked his lips at the perspective of having found
something suspicious. His forte was his fast reading speed and
good memory, but he also had some kind of sixth sense for
detecting fishy affairs.
For Raymond, the events occurring in the real world were like
the grandest shows. The more substantial and serious the event
was, the greater his interest became.
He knew full-well that he was no superman. Even if his
magical talent was first-class, it wasn’t anywhere near the
world’s finest. He knew that he would never be an influential
Magician. Nor will he ever become a hero travelling the world.
-No matter how much he wished for it.
Raymond looked at his potential that way. That is why, by
lending his power to real heroes, he could feel like he shared in
their adventures. He could then enjoy watching the events unfold
on the stage he had set.
Thats what he thought, and Hlidskjalf made this a possibility.
It was like Hlidskjalf had been made to allow him to do so.
(Should I start by examining this from the management
situation of the depot?)
Even if he finds out where the missing missiles went, he wasn’t
sure that this whole thing would end there. No matter the affair,
it was always a human’s hand that caused it. Who could’ve put
those weapons on the black market? Raymond started a search
with a now all too familiar procedure.
Before Raymond noticed the disappearance of the old missiles
-two days before in fact-this matter had become a
problem for the USNA Army. This wasn’t a matter that could
remain within the base’s jurisdiction, so the Joint Chiefs of Staff
of the USNA’s Intelligence Division had begun an internal
The reason this matter wasn’t entrusted to the gendarmerie
was because they suspected a terrorist organization was
involved. Those missiles could be put on the black market and
end up in the hands of terrorists. If that disaster became reality,
it would mean that once those missiles had been used and their
origin discovered, it would provoke a worldwide scandal. The
Department of Defense was ready to do anything to prevent that.
However, the investigation had already started six days ago,
but it was now January 27 th and things had hardly progressed.
Despite the fact that it was a Sunday, the Number 2, Colonel
Virginia Balance, was present in the office. She had a grim
expression as she read the presented report.
There were almost no clues whatsoever that would help in this
She understood from the very beginning that the perpetrators
must’ve received inside help. To begin with, it was practically
impossible to steal weapons from the military, as old as those
weapons were, without the cooperation from the inside. However,
even if they somehow managed to bribe the captain of the unit
charged with guarding the warehouse, there was no way they
could’ve taken the weapons without leaving any trace
The comings and goings of weapons are double, if not triple-
checked. In addition to an RFID tag, the warehouses are
equipped with biometric sensors, and moreover, it is impossible
to open or shut the accesses if you are alone because the need for
two people cannot be bypassed. They were investigating if there
had been any anomalies in those systems, to no avail.
Virginia was reminded of a point that was particularly
perturbing her: how did they notice that something went
The loss of the missiles was noticed by the people responsible
for checking stocks. However, if this theft was performed by an
organization capable of completely bypassing the security of the
warehouse, why didn’t they also falsify the stock records? These
were obsolete weapons awaiting disposal. If they had modified
the data to make it seem like they had been disposed of, no one
would have noticed.
It was as if someone had stolen them and allowed them to
notice on purpose. Colonel Virginia genuinely felt that this was
(But then, who could ’ve done that, and for what purpose? No,
to begin with, who even has the capability to pull something like
The lack of information made it impossible to reach a
Knowing so, Virginia was lost in unnecessary thoughts.
Virginia collected herself at the sound of her phone’s ringtone,
signaling a new email. It wasn’t an ordinary email either. It was
a communication using a code that only top-level members of the
Intelligence Division knew about.
With practiced, machine-like movements of her hands, she
transferred the contents of the email to an offline decoder as per
procedure. It wouldn’t be readable on a device available due to
the masses to prevent sharing information in plain text. When
she saw the deciphered message and spotted the name of the
sender, Virginia wore an amazed expression.
“The Seven Sages”.
Her eyes glistened as she read the contents. Forgetting to
breathe as the pored over the contents, it took a few moments for
her to compose herself after reading the email.
‘Are these kinds of things even permitted?”
The secret information received from “The Seven Sages” stated
that the President’s Assistant of the Deputy Chief of Staff took
part in the matter.
And even worse was the motive. If what was written here was
true, then all of this was part of a much larger-scale plan that
vastly exceeded Virginia’s expectations.
Virginia stretched her hand towards the visiphone when her
She was hesitating about who exactly she should call. No, to be
more precise, she had no idea.
To whom she should share this information with, and if she
can even trust anyone with this, Virginia was at a loss.
< — - >
Angelina Sirius, High Commander in direct command of the
USNA Armys Magician Force, Stars, was enjoying a rare
Of course, she currently wasn’t walking around as the
“Strategic-Class Magician Angie Sirius” but as the 17-year-old,
Instead of going to the nearest town Roswell, Silvia Mercury
First, nicknamed Silvie, who was accompanying Lina, strongly
recommended that they extend their travel to Albuquerque.
Since their mission last year in Japan, these two have been
spending quite a lot of time together. Despite their age difference,
Silvie treated Lina as if she was her younger sister. Lina’s utter
lack of what could be called a normal girl’s common sense
provoked a swirl of emotions inside of her, and she simply could
not leave Lina alone.
Today, like prior ones, was Silvie playing dress-up using Lina
as the doll. However, Lina was also enjoying herself. Even though
her fashion sense was on the questionable side, she like dressing
up. To be fair, if the subject’s tastes were fine, there wasn’t much
need to improve them.
In this case, Lina didn’t have someone to look pretty for in
comparison to Miyuki, which lead to a huge gap.
But putting all of that aside, Lina was going back to the base’s
lodging house in a very good mood, carrying her spoils of war.
You could say that those were very fulfilling holidays. Even
though she didn’t receive any mobilization orders as Sirius, a
harsh session of training was waiting for her tomorrow. Today
had been pretty refreshing, Lina was quite satisfied.
However, her cheerful mood was immediately blown away by
the mail she received on her room’s terminal.
‘An encrypted mail!?”
It wasn’t that unusual for her to receive an encrypted mail
containing secret orders. However, that a mail using the special
encryption code only known of the High Commander, the Chiefs
of Staff and the Captains of the Stars, arriving directly on her
room’s terminal was a first.
Could it be an emergency? In a mix of impatience and
nervousness, Lina was waiting for the decoder to transcribe the
contents of the mail.
Shocked feelings surfaced in her expression as she started to
“The Seven Sages...?”
The name of the sender was “The Seven Sages”.
‘A joke?” was Lina’s first reaction but she dismissed that
thought as quickly as it came. There is no way a mere hacker
could access the Stars special encryption code. To begin with, the
title of “The Seven Sages” wasn’t known by those outside the
direct control of the joint Chiefs of Staff HQ.
Lina hurriedly resumed her reading. A few events without
seemingly any relation to her duties were recorded.
“Eh!? The mastermind behind the Parasite event!?”
However, as she reached the end of the mail, information that
was strongly connected to Lina started to appear.
Lina had been sent to Japan due to the event that occurred on
October 31 st , 2095 A.D. She had been sent to uncover the identity
of the user of the Strategic-Class Magic that ravaged the
southern tip of the Korean Peninsula, the “Great Bomb” (this was
the name given to Material Burst by the USNA). However, once
the Stars Members possessed by the Parasites started to desert
and flee to Japan, as a part of her High Commander ’s duties she
ordered their “Disposal”.
Lina was told that the Parasite outbreak was the result of an
Due to that fact, it was supposed to end with the deaths of the
affected people. However, if this source was to be trusted, then
the Parasite Affair had been purposely started and the
perpetrator was responsible for the comrades that Lina was
forced to kill. The added despair from her assassination duty
would also be the instigator ’s fault.
This was definitely something that couldn’t be forgiven.
“...The Mastermind of the Parasites is going to try to perform
acts of terrorism in Japan by using old missiles he stole? This
can’t be real!?”
After she finished her reading of the mail, Lina found herself
instinctively shouting about.
This was information coming from a dubious source. There was
no guarantee that it held any truth.
A profiler working for the USNA Army had analyzed “The
Seven Sages” and came to the conclusion that they most likely
enjoyed the reactions provoked by their whimsical acts. Even if
that mail truly came from “The Seven Sages”, Lina couldn’t shrug
off the possibility that this was all part of an elaborate plan to
play some kind of trick on her.
Despite that, Lina believed this information.
During the last stages of the Parasite Affair of last year, just
like today, Lina had received information from someone using the
name “The Seven Sages”. At that time, she didn’t have any reason
to believe the information given either. But even still, she had
believed it was the truth.
This time was the same. Her believing it had no basis. There
was no real reason for her to believe it.
However, if she ignored this information and something
happened afterwards she would deeply regret it.
Being tricked, being manipulated and becoming a
laughingstock wouldn’t compare to that.
If the conspiracy recorded in the mail was the truth and
became reality, then the USNA would have a great debt towards
japan. Considering japan’s current state of tension, if USNA-
made weapons were used in terrorist acts... Then it wouldn’t be
surprising if japan accused them of instigating terrorism on their
If you think about the difference in power between the two
countries, the possibility of a war happening was rather small.
However, that is if we’re only taking conventional war potential in
account, and not something like the Strategic-Class Magic
responsible for “Scorched Halloween”. If the range of that magic
can extend even further than the Pacific Ocean-as another
user of Strategic-Class Magic, Lina’s common sense denies the
possibility of... the worst could happen.
That is why she believes the information.
Lina was convinced she had to stop this plan from reaching
fruition. Not just obstructing, but actually killing the mastermind
behind it as well.
However, according to the information provided by “The Seven
Sages”, the Mastermind “Jiedo Heigu” had already left the USNA
Indeed, it would be difficult for Lina to act outside of her
country, let alone in Japan.
Lina decided to consult about this entire scenario with the only
person she thought could help.
Virginia extended her hand towards the ringing visiphone.
Her posture crumbled for a moment. She quickly recovered and
pressed the button to accept the call.
[Colonel, forgive me for calling unannounced.]
Lina appeared on the screen, saluting in her purple-black Stars
Seeing Lina’s appearance, as if she had just changed in her
fresh, tight uniform, Virginia felt slightly nostalgic.
“Major Sirius. Weren’t you on leave today?”
Lina’s expression betrayed her surprise. She struggled to
understand why Virginia was aware of her schedule despite the
fact that she is not even under her direct command. From
Virginia’s point of view, it was part of the course for her to know
everything about the movements of a Strategic-Class Magician,
one of the “Twelve Apostles”, the strongest magician of the USNA
and High Commander of the Stars, Angie Sirius.
“Don’t pay attention to what I just said. So, do you have any
business with me?”
Sincerely apologizing for the idle talk, Virginia enquired about
the reason of her call.
[Yes. Being blunt I require assistance from the Colonel about a
report I received.]
Being urged on by Virginia, Lina began exposing the matter.
[Understood. To tell you the truth, in the period of time ranging
from 0900 hours to 1632 hours when I was out, I received an
encrypted message from someone who claimed to be a member of
“The Seven Sages”.]
“When you say the Seven Sages, are you talking about Those’
Hiding the shock, she received behind a poker face, Virginia
[It was indeed the sender’s name. Although, I have no way of
knowing whether it is the truth or not.]
Virginia nodded and urged Lina to continue through the
[Assuming that the source of information is indeed “The Seven
Sages”, the report stated that weapons stolen from our army are
going to be used in a terrorist attack. The target would be Japan.]
“What kind of weapon?”
[Infantry-Carried Anti-Aircraft Missiles.]
“...Major, do you think such a case of theft actually occurred?”
[I don’t have a definite answer. However, there are indeed
rumors about weapons awaiting disposal being stolen from us.]
Virginia uttered a sigh. If someone like Lina who was pretty
much isolated from the regular military troops...
If the information leaked so far that even a “Sheltered Official”
such as her was aware of this matter, then that means it wasn’t
just the staff in-charge of the weapons’ surveillance whose
discipline was lacking.
A worried expression started to appear on Lina’s face. Knowing
her, she might be thinking that she offended Virginia in some
Virginia herself interpreted it so anyway. For her, this was
“No, it’s nothing. Please go on.”
[Understood. Even though there was no mention of a specific
target, there were references concerning a Mastermind. The name
was jiedo Heigu. He became a political refugee following
Dahan’s ruin, his Chinese name is Gu jie. His estimated age
would be between 60 and 90 years old. Black eyes and white hair,
it appears that despite his Eastern Asian lineage, he possesses
dark skin. There was a special note mentioning that he might be
a survivor of the Kunlunfang Institute.]
“The Kunlunfang Institute? Isn’t that the Magic Research
Laboratory of Dahan that was exterminated by the Yotsuba?”
[I think that is indeed the case.]
They couldn’t possibly be thinking of taking revenge on the
Yotsuba by using the missiles, could they? Virginia thought, but
she immediately dismissed that hypothesis as nonsensical. If the
Yotsuba could be dealt with as simply as that, they wouldn’t be
feared as “Untouchable” throughout the world.
While Virginia was lost in her thoughts, Lina continued her
[It appears that Jiedo Heigu was the Mastermind behind the
Virginia had a look of understanding.
“I see, so this was the main reason of your call.”
Even if her intention was discovered, Lina didn’t cower.
[Colonel. Even if the information about ]iedo Heigu’s relation to
the Parasite Affair is the truth, I would like to know his degree of
involvement. The deserters might have had no relation to the
Parasite Outbreak, and could have been mere pawns. However, if
this ]iedo Heigu has even the slightest link to this affair, I cannot
overlook it. If I don’t pay him back with my very own hands, I
won’t be able to get over it.]
“Major Sirius. Are you telling me you want to go to japan once
Virginia frowned as if taken by a sudden headache.
Allowing Lina to leave the country was a difficult matter. Even
under the best circumstances, dispatching magicians to other
countries should be done carefully. The degree of difficulty
increases by several orders of magnitude if they were talking
about the Strategic-Class Magician “Sirius”. One of the Strategic-
Class Magicians of the USNA, Roland Bart, had been placed in
the British territory of Gibraltar, but even then, there was almost
no record of him going out of that base. To the extent that he is
purposely called back to the USNA during his vacations.
Having sent Lina in japan last year was an exception among
Lina herself probably understood all of this very well. That is
why Virginia also understood what this was about when Lina
decided to call her. Moreover, Virginia fully understood Lina’s
desire to take revenge on Heigu with her own hands.
“...At this time I cannot give you an answer. Major, you will
have to give me some time.”
Lina couldn’t hide her surprise in front of the camera. For her,
who thought that she would be immediately rejected, Virginia’s
response was going in a surprisingly good direction.
[Yes, I’m counting on you, Colonel.]
The call ended with Lina’s appearance saluting on the screen.
< — - >
Meanwhile, Jiedo Heigu, or Gu jie, was at sea.
Even though up until a few days ago he had lived on the
USNA’s West Coast, he didn’t possess USNA citizenship.
Gu jie’s homeland was Dahan, a country that had already
He used to belong to the Magician Development Institute of
Kunlunfang. In the eventuality that Dahan would collapse, the
USNA’s government would grant him refugee status, and as such,
his social status was currently that of a normal refugee.
However, at the time Gu Jie arrived on the North American
continent in 2054, the country’s name was still the USA. Dahan’s
collapse occurred in February of the year 2064 A.D., merely a
single year after the destruction of the Kunlunfang Institute.
After the collapse of Dahan, rather, the destruction of the
Kunlunfang Institute, Gu Jie didn’t seek asylum from North
America. He ran away from Dahan.
The Kunlunfang Institute predated the division between the
Great Asian Alliance and Dahan, and one could think of it as the
main Modern Magic’s research laboratory of the old Eastern
However, that wasn’t the entire truth.
The Kunlunfang Institute had earned quite the renown as a
laboratory developing Modern Magic. But that wasn’t the only
thing they had been working on.
Both Ancient Magic and Modern Magic were being researched.
However, just like the other countries, those two “factions”, so to
speak, were at odds.
Originally, the Ninth Institute in japan was supposed to use the
know-how of Ancient Magic to develop Modern Magic. That
being said, it wasn’t researching both Ancient Magic and Modern
Magic simultaneously. In the end, the Ancient Magic Users
revolted, and the rebels also took over the Ninth Institute after
Both groups turned into something similar to organizations,
competing for leadership. Ancient Magic and Modern Magic
users argued about each and every policy for the Research
Laboratories, including objectives, budgets, and human resources.
Even in the Kunlunfang Institute, both Ancient Magic users and
Modern Magic users fiercely competed for control.
Despite the fact that the Kunlunfang Institute was the main
laboratory of Dahan, the internal dispute continued. No, rather, it
intensified and this escalation would bring about a catastrophe
before long. The Modern Magic side ended up winning the power
struggle and banished the Ancient Magic users from the
Institute. This happened in the year 2054.
It was at that time that Gu jie, as an Ancient Magic User, fled
to North America along with his apprentice Zhou Gongjin. That’s
why, under normal circumstances, Gu jie shouldn’t have any
grudge towards the Yotsuba nor japan’s Magicians. The Yotsuba
were the ones who crushed the Modern Magician sect, the ones
who had taken over the Kunlunfang Institute. They should have
been something similar to a “the enemy of my enemy is my ally”
existence to Gu jie.
However, after Dahan’s collapse, Gu Jie decided that the
Yotsuba and the Japanese Magic Community were targets for
revenge. Exactly what kind of mental thought process led him to
that conclusion, no one really knew.
Was it patriotism?
Did he feel like his own revenge of Dahan had been taken
away from him?
Was an enemy simply needed to maintain his subordinate’s
The only thing that was certain was that Gu Jie constructed a
criminal network made up of Dahan’s deserters, that he exerts a
powerful control over them and that his only known objective so
far is revenge. As for the person in question, nothing else is
When he was still alive, Zhou Gongjin had apparently
compared his obsession to that of a “vengeful spirit”.
Due to the lack of apparent reason behind his acts, it was
impossible to convince him to stop. Having lost his last
apprentice, Zhou Gongjin, he decided take matters into his own
However, Gu jie’s direct, immediate fighting potential was low.
Even though he was also a user of Ancient Continental Magic,
the Magic that he possessed wasn’t suited for direct
confrontation. If we’re talking strictly about duels, Zhou Gongjin
was his superior. This was something Gu jie himself was willing
Gu jie was proficient in techniques that used human organs or
parts to create magic devices, like with the case of “Sorcery
Boosters”, that is, to turn a human into a tool functioning
similarly to a “Generator”, and magic for controlling corpses.
He was the practitioner of the side of Magic that concentrated
all of its vilest aspects, but ethical questions aside, he really
wasn’t the type to fight head on. Actually, he had kept himself to
just being a manipulator until now.
For Gu Jie himself to come to japan was proof that he had been
cornered, and had no other choice.
The international Anti-Magic Political Organization that he
had been supporting, “Blanche”, had been considerably
weakened by the pressure and measures taken by the
governments of several nations. As the leader of the criminal
syndicate “No Head Dragon”, he had also tried to spread rumors
in both Japan and the USNA (with the cooperation of the Great
Asian Alliance) but his plan ended in failure as well.
Finally, he lost his envoy in Japan, Zhou Gongjin. Zhou Gongjin
had been under Gu Jie’s command for more than 40 years, the
last remaining person who had fled Dahan with him. With this
loss, Gu Jie was forced to act by himself.
Zhou Gongjin had been killed in October of last year.
It was slightly past mid-January when Gu Jie left from the Los
It wasn’t because he was mourning the death of his apprentice,
nor because his plan had failed that Gu Jie took more than two
months to make his move. It was the result of him waiting for the
most appropriate time. Truth be told, he wanted to leave for
Japan immediately and retaliate, however, if he failed to, then
things would be over once and for all. He was conscious of that
With his magical skills, being too aggressive was impossible.
That isn’t to say that his magical skills are nonexistent, but
against a first-rate Magician, it was nowhere near sufficient.
That was why he first needed weapons.
If Blanche and No Head Dragon had been in a better state, a
simple word of his would have done the deal, and a single month
would’ve been more than enough to gather the materials.
That would include the arrangements required for a ship that
would cross the Pacific Ocean. As things are, he had to set up all
of that himself. To be more precise, he found a random punk that
he used as a disposable puppet, but since he had to go through
the trouble of preparing him as well as giving him various orders,
it was basically as if he had done all the work himself.
Furthermore, to make it so that this puppet wouldn’t be traced
back to him, he embarked it on the boat to get rid of it in the
“Sir Gu. We can be expected to enter the port of Yokosuka
The captain of the freighter reported so to a Gu Jie who was
looking at the sea in front of him. The deck of the freighter was
completely covered by solar panels.
“Just as planned.”
Without any trace of exhaustion from the long journey, Gu Jie
answered in a firm voice.
Gu Jie is currently 97 years old. His outward appearance
however was barely that of someone in his fifties. His hair was
completely white, however, the wrinkles, sagging and age spots
that one should normally find on someone of his age were
‘And also, umm... Sir, my reward.”
“I understand. Tomorrow at the morning twilight, I will apply
“Thank you very much! Even after this journey ends, I promise
my unwavering loyalty to you, Sir.”
Gu Jie nodded with a pleased expression. Behind this mask
however, he had nothing but contempt for the captain.
The reward this captain was talking about. Longevity and
It was the truth that Gu Jie’s “surgery” could maintain a
perpetual youth, his very own face was the proof of that.
However, even if he could guarantee a physical youth, longevity
was out of his reach. He couldn’t give genuine immortality.
This surgery of his was a magic developed in the Kunlunfang
Institute, and it was the very reason of his presence in the
Unsurprisingly, coming from humans with power, the Leaders
of Dahan longed for perpetual youth. And while the Modern
Magic Users in the Kunlunfang Institute replied that it was
impossible, Ancient Magic Users assured them of the opposite.
For the Ancient Magic Users whose position had fallen behind
Modern Magic in the race of arms that the Kunlunfang Institute
advocated, it had been a godsend.
The one who was developing the most promising magic among
the Ancient Magic Users group was Gu Jie. Of course, it was his
surgery of perpetual youth.
It was in the year 2049 that he used his magic on his own body,
like a test subject.
To ascertain whether this magic could be used safely or not, he
used it on nine apprentices in the year 2050.
After 5 years had passed, it was confirmed that Gu jie’s aging
had come to a stop. His apprentices didn’t develop any side-
effects either, and it was then thought that a magic of perpetual
youth had been achieved.
However, there was a drawback in this Magic. Certainly, this
“Surgery of Perpetual Youth” appeared to stop the aging.
However, if the person the magic is performed on doesn’t have
the aptitude, the compensation for staying young is to consume
their life force. In other words, one’s lifespan. There had been
some cases of sudden death after three to six months.
A magic that acts for eternity is impossible. This holds true for
both Modern Magic and Ancient Magic. The surgery of perpetual
youth consists of implanting the magic inside of someone who
then continually applies it.
This magic had been made specifically for Ancient Magic
What would happen if a Magician tried to perform a magic
that he has no aptitude for?
What would happen if this magic was used on someone who
isn’t even a Magician?
The surgery of perpetual youth gave the one answer to those
When the men of influence from Dahan, who had already
received the “Surgery of Perpetual Youth” presented it to their
kinsmen, Gu Jie explained to them the flaws in his Magic.
The ensuing result was the purge of the Ancient Magic Users’
Quickly learning the failure of his experiment, Gu J ie took his
apprentices and fled to North America.
20 years later, Gu Jie realized that his magic also didn’t prolong
one’s longevity either.
He realized it with his own apprentices’deaths.
In the end, the surgery that he had developed could only stop
the degradation of one’s outward appearance. The only reason
Gu J ie lived up to this age was that he originally had a long life
ahead of him.
It was this kind of imperfect Magic that the freighter’s captain
From Gu Jie’s point of view, it was quite a laughable matter.
The one who told the captain about the surgery of perpetual
youth was none other than Gu Jie himself. To earn the captains
cooperation, he had told him “there is a secret art that allows one
to conserve his youth until the day of his death”. If you cooperate
with me, I will apply this magic on you.
It wasn’t a lie. Without a doubt, this captain will conserve his
current youth until his death. Which will probably happen
within half a year.
Gu Jie himself was aware that his own time was getting
“I will be pretty busy from tomorrow onwards.”
“I will also help you once we land on Yokosuka. Please, feel free
to ask me anything, sir.”
Without any knowledge about his real intentions, the captain
stated so in an elated manner.
< — - >
Even though Virginia had asked Lina to give her some time, she
went into action pretty quickly.
She left her office the morning of the following day and made
arrangements for her journey. Her destination was the Stars
Headquarters situated in the city of Roswell, New Mexico.
Wrapping up all the urgent deskwork she had to do for the day,
she used the encrypting device at her home to safely transmit the
data via email.
This encryption machine had been a gift from Kuroba Ayako,
and the recipient of the email was Yotsuba Maya. The content of
the email was basically the same as what Lina had reported to
her, that an act of terrorism had been planned in Japan using
stolen missiles and that the possibility of the mastermind, ]iedo
Heigu, being a survivor of the Kunlunfang Institute was high.
Virginia didn’t include the secret information that Lina had
shared with her however. That is, an information related to the
scandal on the USNA government. Even though Virginia formed
an alliance with the Yotsuba Family she did not completely trust
them. She had no reason to hesitate on cooperating with them,
however, she couldn’t endanger national interests.
The reply from Maya arrived when Virginia was eating. The
content of the letter had simple words of gratitude for the
This kind of message had no real importance for her, but she
didn’t particularly mind. That was because this mail’s purpose
was simply to seal the deal regarding their alliance.
Finally, after reconfirming the schedule of each Stars
Commander, she headed for the bathroom.
< X V ->
Maya had received Virginia’s mail at 8:00 A.M., Monday,
January 28 th , Japan standard time.
“Hayama-san, it appears that remnants of the Kunlunfang
Institute are plotting an act of terrorism here in Japan.”
“That is quite the important matter.”
Hayama’s answer was rather neutral. Of course, he was aware
of what Maya had gone through in the Kunlunfang Institute.
Taking her feelings into account, it was perfectly natural for him
to not return a proper answer at once, even if neither anger nor
hatred could be felt from Maya’s voice.
‘An important matter? A mere stray dog who lost his home?”
However, it wasn’t like Maya was completely emotionless. You
could hear slight disdain in her voice.
“Mistress, if there really is a survivor from the Kunlunfang
Institute then that means he managed to escape from the
previous Head of the Family.”
Hayama lightly reproved her. Maya’s pride, to be more precise.
“We have no idea what sort of unusual talent he might possess.
I strongly recommend we stay vigilant.”
Despite responding so, Maya’s lips curved into a smile full of
“Still, what are they hoping to achieve with small missiles?
Japan is not a zone of conflict after all. Moving around carrying
these is practically begging to be captured, don’t you think?”
“During the Yokohama Incident, the guerillas who had
concealed themselves in town beforehand had managed to
prepare quite a few missiles.”
“That was thanks to the camouflaged warship they had as
backup, wasn’t it?”
Objecting on reflex, Maya retorted.
“...Yet, it’s true that there is no guarantee that we will be able
to successfully prevent this planned act of terrorism.”
“Even a Magician would die if hit by a missile while in a
defenseless condition. Moreover, depending on their objective, we
might have to deal with danger in another form altogether. There
is a possibility of them dismantling the warheads and using
them as bombs too. Back during the times of war, these kinds of
suicide bombing attacks were regular occurrences.”
Faced with Hayama’s numerous examples, even Maya couldn’t
deny the necessity of dealing with it.
“Understood. Then let’s look for this Jiedo Heigu. A lot of our
workforce is focused on the preparation for the Master Clan
Conference, however, so we won’t be able to field too much
The Master Clan Conference will take place next month, in the
beginning of February in 2097. In particular, this period was the
reunion of the Ten Master Clans which happens once every 4
The Conference will decide the members of the future Ten
Master Clans for a duration of 4 years. There were 28 Houses
which had the qualifications to become a Member of the Ten
Master Clans, and everyone was in a hurry to perform the final
tasks in order to have an advantage for the selection.
The selection will be decided by internal voting, and since only
28 Houses can participate, it will be nothing like large-scale
elections or anything. However, it was necessary to make various
arrangements as well as finding faults in other Houses to have
the best possible odds.
“Should we talk about this matter with the other Houses?”
Maya pondered for a few moments before shaking her head
from left to right at Hayama’s suggestion of asking for the
cooperation of the other Clans.
“I would rather not be a subject of gossip. Let me think...
Alright, spread the rumor that terrorists targeting magicians
have infiltrated the country. With this, we should expect them to
make the necessary moves.
Could you work on this until lunch?”
“Understood, Mistress. They will be ready in two hours.”
Search and Information Manipulation, giving his words this
double-meaning, Hayama politely bowed.
< — >
9:00 A.M., Japan standard time, January the 28 th , Gu Jie’s
freighter entered Yokosuka’s port.
Immediately after landing, Gu Jie started to collect the required
personnel for his plans. That being said, the arrangements had
already been done beforehand. Despite losing the No Head
Dragon Organization, Gu Jie had gathered quite the extensive
know-how to make deals with the obscure sides of modern
society during his days as a mastermind. As long as quality
wasn’t a crucial factor, it wasn’t that difficult to gather personnel.
No matter how prosperous a society is, unfortunate people exist.
The target had been confirmed even before the landing. Of
course, the location for the Ten Master Clans Conference had only
been shared between the concerned. However, using Hlidskjalf
would allow one to easily uncover that information.
The super-hacking tool, Hlidskjalf. Gu Jie wasn’t the type to
qualify anything as 'super”, but the fact of the matter is, there
wasn’t really any other expression strong enough to describe it.
Hlidskjalf’s information gathering capability was effective
Gu Jie was aware that it was impossible to access information
which only exists offline, however, in this day and age,
information that couldn’t be found using the network was
practically nonexistent. No matter the complexity of the
encryption, Hlidskjalf would decipher it.
Even quantum encrypted transmissions that "cannot be
intercepted without possessing the correct decryption key” can be
completely overturned and rendered powerless.
Who exactly invented this system? Who, and for what purpose,
did this person send me this terminal? Even Gu Jie had first
approached it with caution. Especially, when he discovered the
hidden drawback in the system after having made a random
This drawback became clear all too soon.
Hlidskjalf records everything that the user investigates. The
other Operators can also see it.
Still, they have no way of understanding who exactly made the
What they know is 'what has been searched” and that’s it.
Gu J ie remembered the disappointment he felt back then. That
the system’s creator would be able to see what exactly he
searched for had been within his expectation. Even though the
identities of the seven operators was supposed to remain a
mystery with this system, Gu J ie wasn’t the kind of person to take
someone’s words as gospel (At least, that’s what he thought of
himself). The administrator of this system, the person who most
certainly sent this terminal to him, could probably understand
who did what. If you were to acknowledge this fact and still
wanted to use the terminal, then the fact that other operators
could also search your history shouldn’t matter that much.
Gu J ie didn’t have any hesitation in using Hlidskjalf.
Of course, he always had in mind the possibility that the
system could be lying. He didn’t use it for every piece of
information he wanted, however. There have been plenty of times
where he collected information without relying on it, for the
reasons stated above. But still, Hlidskjalf was an extremely
The problem he faced this time was that the Ten Master Clans
might have predicted an attack if they had heard rumors of
someone making investigations on the conferences location. Gu
Jie didn’t underestimate the power of the Ten Master Clans. It
was also possible that if a person among the Ten Master Clans
also had access to Hlidskjalf, an ambush would be waiting for
him. Of course, he was extremely careful as to what keywords he
used during his search, and just because things went smoothly
up until now didn’t mean that this time would be the same.
Taking this into consideration, he had prepared various plans
in the eventuality of an ambush.
Gu jie’s purpose wasn’t to assassinate the Heads of the Ten
Master Clans. Socially ending the Yotsuba Family that destroyed
the Kunlunfang Institute was his goal.
While seeing off his dolls who were heading towards the town
of Hakone in freight vehicles, Gu jie sneered at the dark pleasure
swelling from within himself. These dolls had been made from
various poor citizens of Yokosuka.
< — >
Even though Lina was slightly surprised at her training’s
interruption, she obeyed the orders and headed towards the
base’s control room.
Her companion was the Commanding Officer of the Stars First
Unit, Benjamin Canopus. He was the person Lina was relying on
the most, Stars’ Number 2.
“Ben, what do you think this is all about?”
Canopus shook his head at Lina, whose voice betrayed a
“Truth be told, I have no idea. However, nothing in particular
has happened recently so I doubt this is going to be a scolding or
anything of the sort.”
It wasn’t that rare for Stars Members to break things during
their training. Things like training equipment, vehicles, and even
Considering the Stars were training for combat situations, a
certain degree of destruction couldn’t be helped, and this was
even more valid when Commander-Class personnel were
training. Lina had heard various complaints about the budget
from the base’s commander.
“I-I guess so.”
Canopus looked at Lina with a smile while she was mumbling
to herself words of encouragement. He had a daughter who was
only 2 years younger than Lina, and because of that, he’d sort of
developed parental feelings for her.
Without knowing that her subordinate was pointing such
warm eyes towards her, Lina tightly clenched her fists and was
psyching herself up.
-Lina was unaware that her childish, cutesy gesture was
further prodding Canopus’ feelings.
Somehow successfully managing to put her uneasiness in a
corner of her heart, she straightened her posture and adopted
-or at least she thought she had-a proper expression for
someone of the military, then knocked on the door of the
Commander’s Room. With a voice signaling her to come in, the
lock of the door disengaged. Opening the door for herself, Lina
instinctively raised her voice at the unexpected person in the
Right next to the commander of the base, who was behind his
desk, was Colonel Virginia Balance sitting in a chair.
“Major, what are you doing. Come in.”
Ordered by the irritated voice of the base’s commander, Walker,
who also had the rank of Colonel, Lina moved in front of the
desk in a hurry.
Canopus followed Lina with a composed attitude.
“Major Sirius, Major Canopus, at ease.”
Walker talked to the two people who saluted in front of his
Lina and Canopus both adopted the resting pose
“Colonel Balance has something to tell to the two of you.”
Saying so, Walker stood up.
“Then, Colonel Balance.”
Virginia stood up from her seat slightly after him.
“Colonel Walker. Thank you for allowing us to borrow your
room for a few moments.”
Walker and Virginia saluted each other, then Walker went out
of the room.
Locking the door using the remote control, Virginia finally
“Major Sirius, even though I think you already figured out the
reason for my presence, it’s about yesterday’s matter.”
As she said, Lina had guessed that this could be related to the
request she had formulated yesterday.
“It is unfortunate, however, that the Major’s request cannot be
And the answer was as Lina had expected.
“We cannot carelessly allow the High Commander of the Stars,
a Strategic-Class Magician to leave the country.”
Even though she had become accustomed to this reason, she
still couldn’t accept it deep in her heart. Despite the fact that she
fulfilled her duty when she was sent to Japan last year, it didn’t
change the fact that she really wasn’t fit for such a task.
Thinking about it, dealing with a terrorist threat in a friendly
nation that was allowed to exist due to her own army’s blunder
was, in fact, considered an obligation of Stars. At the very least,
those were Lina’s thoughts on the matter. Even more so
considering the chances of the Mastermind being a Magician
were exceptionally high.
“-That is the official reason on the matter, anyhow.”
However, Lina’s displeasure at hearing this was about to
“The truth is, higher-ups are starting to wonder if the Major
holds excess sympathy for japan. Some are even fearing that the
Major would consider exiling herself to Japan. In other words,
there is an issue of trust.”
“Wait a moment! I have sworn loyalty to this nation, haven’t I?!”
Virginia nodded with a calm expression at a Lina who
“I am not doubting the Major’s loyalty. However, the fact you
have Japanese lineage, and that you are still only a 17-year-old
girl are causing them to doubt your allegiance.”
Lina was mortified. For her, having mostly an Anglo-Saxon
face, experiencing what basically amounted to racism was a first.
Furthermore, considering it wasn’t face-to-face discrimination
but instead being whispered behind her back, her head was
starting to boil from rage.
“I can’t really find any other word than utter stupidity to
However, it is specifically because such fools exist that we must
avoid giving them any chances. Major, you are our nation’s
Still, despite her enraged state of mind, Lina wasn’t so far gone
that she forgot her etiquette training and completely ignored the
words of a superior. Those remarks had been spoken for her sake.
“It is impossible to send Major Sirius to japan. However, it isn’t
like we can just leave this matter unattended.”
Virginia took in a breath and put power in her next sentence.
“That is why, we will send Major Canopus. Major Sirius, is this
“...Understood. I will be on standby for further orders.”
Swallowing her dissatisfaction, she saluted Virginia.
Virginia slowly nodded with a “very well”.
“In that case I will start to explain in more detail the mission to
Major Canopus. Major Sirius, you may leave.”
“Yes. Then, pardon me, Colonel.”
Even though a part of Lina had wanted to explain things
directly to Canopus, she had no confidence that doing so
wouldn’t generate jealousy, and that was why she obediently left.
“-The situation is as stated above. Major Canopus, do you
have any questions?”
After having explained to Canopus everything, from the stolen
missiles to “The Seven Sages” information, Virginia inquired so.
“No, I don’t, Colonel.”
It is unknown if there will indeed be an act of terrorism in
japan, and their only source of information had been the
suspicious “Seven Sages” as well. Is there any dissatisfaction to
being given a mission based on such ambiguous intelligence?
That had been the nuance in Virginias earlier question, but
neither a question nor a complaint came up from Canopus.
“I see. In that case, Major Canopus, there is something I would
like to ask you.”
“Yes, what is it?”
Even though Virginia carefully scrutinized Canopus’expression,
not even a brow of his twitched. Feeling relief more than
disappointment, Virginia carefully continued.
“Major Canopus, no, allow me to call you Major Benjamin
In the middle of Virginia’s question, Canopus’ eyebrows moved
ever so slightly.
“The Major is blood-related to the Assistant of the Deputy
Chief of Staff, Mr. Kane Lowes, right?”
“Yes. I think the Colonel is already aware but the Assistant of
the Deputy Chief of Staff and my father are cousins, and he is my
In other words, he is connected to the Lowes’ Family both by
blood and marriage, and with this kind of close relationship it
wouldn’t be exaggerated to say he’s part of the upper echelons of
“To tell you the truth, the information brought to us by ‘The
Seven Sages’ isn’t limited to what I talked to you about earlier. I
wish it was some kind of mistake but...”
Seeing Virginia hesitate, Canopus’expression moved a little.
His expression had a faint “It can’t be?” feeling to it.
“It would appear that both the acquisition of the missiles and
the terrorists leaving the country with them has been
accommodated by the Assistant of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr.
“...Are you saying that the Assistant of the Deputy Chief of
Staff has been corrupted by the terrorists?”
To Canopus’ question, Virginia shook her head with a gloomy
“If that was all there was to it, it wouldn’t be so complicated.”
“So that means there are other points of concern?”
Virginia frowned before opening her mouth to answer.
“Truth be told, the possibility that he and the Deputy Chief of
Staff decided to make use of ]iedo Heigu is higher than the
While Canopus couldn’t hide his shock, Virginia decided to ask
him something seemingly unrelated to the matter at hand.
“Major. What do you think about the Humanist Ideology?”
A popular opinion was that “humans have to live only using
human abilities”, or at least that is the doctrine that the anti-
Magician Catholic cults go by. Again, this was a mere excuse to
agitate the anti-Magician sentiment.
However, Canopus’ answer would be even more concise.
“Mass hysteria. Still, to effectively use this, it would require
influence as well as extreme prudence, I think.”
‘As a Magician yourself, don’t you feel threatened by all of
“If it seemed like it was about to escalate then I do think some
measures should be thought of. We Magicians have no reason to
bow down to false charges after all.”
“...You seem to possess pretty radical opinions.”
“Colonel, you’re misunderstanding something. I only think that
it would be dangerous for the citizens if society didn’t allow them
Those calumnious would-be victims incite racism and
discrimination, something that has a high risk of breaking down
any country, ours included, so we shouldn’t take it lightly.”
“I understand your stance. But that is not the problem at hand.”
While saying this, Virginia had an unpleasant expression.
“Lowes, the Assistant of the Deputy Chief of Staff, has a
different thought process but appears to have arrived at the same
conclusion as you.”
Even though Virginia was peering into Canopus’ expression, he
kept a cool, if somewhat brazen, expression.
“However, this is the country of freedom. It is a necessity to
guarantee freedom of speech. No matter how good the cause, we
cannot suppress it. At the very least, politicians think so.”
“I agree with this, Colonel.”
“...That is where the group Lowes belongs to decided to act,
and they planned on giving the Humanists a target other than
them, another country.”
“So that they can perform their act of terrorism in Japan, and
feel satisfied enough to not do it here as well?”
“Your sarcasm is unneeded, Major. This is something I don’t
Virginia reproved with a sour look, a Canopus that was
wearing a smile full of derision.
“Forgive my rudeness, Colonel.”
Thinking that he had gone too far, Canopus genuinely
Seeing Canopus apologizing, Virginia realized that she might
have been too high-strung herself and decided to resume the
“Putting that aside, if the information given by The Seven
Sages’ is to be trusted, Lowes’ group’s objective isn’t even the
terrorist act itself.”
“In other words?”
“It is nigh-impossible to limit the damage of a terrorist
bombing to only the planned targets. Citizens will also
unfortunately get involved in this.”
It was the first time since entering this room that Canopus wore
such an expression.
“With this kind of weaponry, it would be impossible to harm a
Magician unless they were taken by surprise. However, if you
were to prepare a bomb using tens of those missiles’ destructive
power, it would be difficult even for Members of the Ten Master
Clans of Japan. Although a high-ranked Magician could
definitely survive the explosion with a heatproof barrier, the
civilians who happen to be in the area wouldn’t have a chance. If
the explosion came from all directions, then even protecting the
innocent would be next to impossible. As a result, only the
civilians would suffer casualties. This was the scenario
envisioned by The Seven Sages’.”
‘And since Magicians of Japan let innocent civilians die under
their very eyes, the Humanists would take them as their new
target. Their energy would be concentrated on Japan, thus, the
anti-Magician movement in our own country would weaken.
Moreover, the risk of Humanists resorting to radical measures
out of frustration would decrease, is that it?”
Canopus’eyes had a sharp light to them.
“In that case, my mission will be to restrain ]iedo Heigu’s act of
terrorism before it happens?”
“What I ask of you is in fact much more than that.”
Virginia took a provocative stance.
‘After last year’s Parasite Affair, the Japanese authorities
definitely won’t see us in a good light. It will probably be
impossible to capture Heigu on Japanese soil without alerting
them. That will lead to an inquiry as to why we captured Heigu,
and then they’ll discover the weapons he planned on using had
come from us.
However, if this act of terrorism actually succeeds, the origin of
the used weapons will probably be discovered as well. I think
that it would be much more disadvantageous to not stop it
The difference between losing weapons and having them
purchased from a black market by a terrorist versus letting a
terrorist steal our weapons is quite vast.”
“...So we’re going to let innocent Japanese citizens be
“I have already secretly warned Japanese Magicians about
Jiedo Heigu’s group of terrorists.”
It wasn’t as if Canopus could completely agree with Virginia.
However, he couldn’t dispute the fact that there was a need for
the USNA Army to cover their position. Before being a Magician,
Canopus was a military man. This fact was one of the biggest
differences between him and the virtuous Lina.
“Major. Your duty is not related to the execution of Jiedo
Heigu’s act of terrorism, whether it is before it happens or
afterwards, your mission is to assassinate him. His plans will
probably still be realized even if he is killed, but you need not
worry about that. According to ‘The Seven Sages’, Heigu doesn’t
seem to be using aerial transports. If he is on the sea, you may
use ‘loud’ means to get the work done. Do not allow the Japanese
to capture him.”
Faced with the image of a saluting Canopus accepting the duty
bestowed upon him, Virginia couldn’t help but feel guilty.
“Forgive me, Major. Even though we understand this kind of
dirty work isn’t part of your duties, considering the possibility of
our opponent being a peculiar Magician is high, we need to meet
him with an eminent Magician of our own.”
Canopus stopped saluting and without putting on a tough act,
shook his head.
“You need not worry yourself, Colonel. If anything, I would like
to express my gratitude for choosing me. I do not want the High
Commander... I don’t want Lina to suffer the pain of
assassination work, as much as I can help it.”
Saluting once again, Canopus left the commander’s room.
< -— >
Canopus arrived at the Japan-USNA Joint-Base of Yokosuka on
January 29 th , 1800 hours, Japan standard time.
Due to the frequent wars throughout the world over a 20-year
period, most countries decided to call back all their troops to
their respective territories, thus, things like the U.S. Forces’ Bases
in Japan had disappeared. However, after the U.S became the
USNA, the alliance between them and Japan had continued, but
changed. Each country installed bases on their lands, bases that
could be used freely by the other nation. The base of Yokosuka
was one of those. (That being said, those bases’ activities were
close to nonexistent).
Of course, the fact that the Stars First Unit Commander,
Canopus, came to Japan remained a secret. Immediately after
arriving, without even going out of the base, he went on a
destroyer ship towards the sea.
The warship that Canopus was on headed south, towards the
Sagami Bay, and it passed by a small cruiser of 20 meters in the
middle of the sea area between the Boso Peninsula and Oshima.
Canopus jumped from the destroyer to the small cruiser when
the two were close enough. This boat had been camouflaged
using Optical Magic which could reflect even infrared rays.
Although a faint shadow would probably appear on
stratospheric surveillance cameras, discerning its identity should
be impossible. With this, Canopus could be smuggled into the
This small cruiser was originally something that the USNA
embassy possessed for leisure purposes, thus, to use it for
information gathering, its power output and the hull’s outer
armor had been reinforced. Of course, cutting-edge sensors had
been installed as well. Despite the fact that this cruiser didn’t
have many weapons, so long as Canopus was on it, this wouldn’t
be a problem at all.
Canopus turned the cruiser towards Sagami Bay. The cruiser
went south, following the Izu Peninsula, then at Cape Irozaki
turned north towards the Suruga Bay. Due in part to the slow
speed at which he sailed, it was already nearing midnight when
he found the target ship.
It was a small freighter which had its deck entirely covered
with solar panels. When sailing, the arms on each of the sides of
the hull would open up, like a Tobiuo’s wings, and the thin solar
films would then increase the power generation. This auxiliary
power source uses a photocatalytic hydrogen production model
built into a regular fuel cell, and with nearly all the energy
required coming from the sun, this type of freighter had become
the main transport model in the latter half of the 21st century.
This freighter had been mentioned along with the presumed
date at which ]iedo Heigu left the USNA. However, this ship was
supposed to arrive yesterday in Japan. That is why the ship’s
inspection was unnecessary, so they decided to search the port at
which it had anchored.
“Major, is it that ship?”
The captain of the ship who served as an officer in the USNA’s
Marine Corps talked to Canopus with a mix of awe and fear in
his voice. As a temporary subordinate under his command for
this mission, he had been told about Canopus’ background. The
Stars were already a unit whose reputation was close to that of
legendary, and factor in that he was now talking to one of its best
field officers, and you get that result. Albeit, this captain wasn’t
aware that “Canopus” the Number 2, was right behind “Sirius”,
so he didn’t need to be that tense. If he had been aware of
Canopus’ rank, it was quite possible that he wouldn’t have been
able to focus on his work to begin with.
To the captain’s question, Canopus expressed a bitter smile.
Seeing this smile without an ounce of intimidation or malice, the
captain’s tension softened a little.
“My apologies but ships really aren’t my forte. You guys should
have much more expertise on this subject than I do, right?”
Understanding that Canopus implicitly asked “Isn’t this
something you of all people should bring answers to?”, the
captain straightened his spine.
“Pardon me, Sir. There is no mistake that this is the ship in
“Of course, I will trust you on this matter.”
Canopus adopted a serious look and nodded, and a breath of
relief escaped from the captain’s lips.
The captain answered with a tone fitting of the serious
expression Canopus was wearing.
“Keep that ship under surveillance. Since Heigu brought this
ship all the way from Yokosuka to Numazu, he might be tempted
to use it again to escape.”
“Understood. I will immediately contact local agents.”
“We will continue observing the vessel tonight.”
“Major, aren’t you going to the mainland?”
“We’re already past the planned time for landing. If we are to
successfully complete this mission, we must avoid drawing
attention as much as possible.”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
Nodding silently, Canopus turned his attention towards the
Persuaded by Virginia, Lina graciously decided to give up on
going to japan. She thought that sending Canopus wasn’t a
mistake. Thinking about it, if they were to exclude Heavy Metal
Burst, he might even be stronger than her, Sirius, since he was a
veteran combat Magician. Lina kept repeating to herself that he
never failed his duties.
Still, Lina had come to a point where it was unbearable to not
“...It’s true, I cannot do anything. I have to obediently remain
However, if it’s about warning a fri... an acquaintance, then
there should be no problem!”
Despite the fact that no one was listening to her monologue, she
felt the need to hurriedly correct herself before she could utter
the word “friend”.
Looking left and right with a red face, no matter how you
looked at it, it was her excessive self-consciousness.
Was she aware that her actions were a bit childish? Lina
cleared her throat-which was quite a cutesy act in and of
itself anyway-and looked towards the vision console.
It was currently two hours past midnight. In other words, that
meant Lina had been worrying until that time, but it also meant
that it was just six o’clock in Japan. Even though that wasn’t
planned at all, it was just what she hoped for.
Although she had decided to phone them, if she gave herself
the time to hesitate, it would have been too late. Lina psyched
herself up in front of the console and dialed Miyuki’s number.
After five blips, the screen’s light turned on. Looking at the
display, her rival appeared, and compared to a year ago, her
beauty had even further increased.
[My! Lina, it’s been a while.]
Neither envy, fear, reverence nor admiration transpired from
her gaze, and she was only looking at the person named
‘Angelina”. Lina remembered the illusion of the water concealing
her heart melting away.
“Hello, Miyuki. It’s been awhile indeed. Is everything going
[Yes, thanks to you. Did you lose some weight I wonder? Are
you alright? Aren’t you busy with your work?]
Calling her role as the Stars’ High Commander, the duty of the
Sirius, as just “work”. This spontaneous boldness gave Lina
“My weight actually increased you know? Maybe I became
[Hmm... It looks like you did shape up a bit. I’m a little
“Miyuki... I told you that when someone such as yourself talks
like that, it sounds like sarcasm. Moreover, what’s up with you?
Getting even more beautiful like that. When are you going to feel
satisfied and stop?”
[I could say the same to you, it really sounds like sarcasm
when you say such things... If it seems like I look beautiful, then
it’s only because of Onii-sama.]
Lina suddenly had dejected feelings. Really, if the situation had
been different... such thoughts wandered in Lina’s head, feelings
“...Ah that’s true, Miyuki is now engaged to Tatsuya, right.
[Thank you very much, Lina. Still, the news spread pretty fast it
“Well, we’re talking about the ‘Princess’ of the Yotsuba. It’s
normal to bear an interest.”
[Is that true? Then could it be that Lina called to congratulate
Lina was taken aback by Miyuki’s happy smile. And with this
she remembered the purpose of her call.
“Umm, no, sorry. It’s not really for that.”
Hearing Lina’s apology, Miyuki slightly cocked her head to the
side, but rather than being ill-humored, she was puzzled.
[Oh my, in that case, is it an important matter?]
Lina wanted to ask why Miyuki would show her such a cutesy
face, but refrained from doing so and swallowed her retort.
“Indeed. It’s probably a very important matter.”
[...Would it be better if I called Onii-sama I wonder?]
Thinking for less than a second, Lina nodded her head at
“Yes. It would be better for Tatsuya to hear this as well.”
[Please, wait for a moment.]
The screen entered suspension mode.
It took roughly three seconds for the display to turn on again,
and for Miyuki’s beautiful figure to reappear.
[Lina, long time no see.]
“Yes, Tatsuya. It has been a long time.”
Tatsuya was sitting next to Miyuki. To Lina’s surprise, the
distance between Tatsuya and Miyuki wasn’t zero.
[I guess this would be the time where we slowly talk about
how things have been going around each other, but you seem to
have important business to talk about. Let’s leave the friendship
talk for the next time, then. What did you want to consult us
“You haven’t changed, Tatsuya. I must say, I like that
straightforward personality of yours.”
Immediately after saying this, Lina thought “Damn it”. Using “I
like” to qualify an aspect of Tatsuya while Miyuki is right next to
him, isn’t that like pouring fuel on the already lit fire that is
called “Miyuki’s jealousy”.
However, once again unexpectedly, Miyuki remained calm and
This was incredibly eerie to Lina.
“Umm... Miyuki. Aren’t you angry?”
[Eh, about what?]
Miyuki replied with a face that explicitly told she had no idea
what Lina was talking about.
From Miyuki’s point of view, it was natural that other women
would be attracted to him, or at least find likeable points about
him, so there was no reason to get angry about such trivial
matters. Lina wasn’t aware of that fact however.
“Well, let’s forget about it.”
If she doesn’t care about it then there’s no reason to press the
Thanks to that, Lina was able to get down to business.
“Tatsuya, Miyuki, do you remember about The Seven Sages’?”
Tatsuya and Miyuki looked at each other.
The one who answered was Tatsuya.
[Have you received some information from those Seven Sages?]
While picturing Raymond Clark’s face, Tatsuya asked Lina this
question. There should be no way for her to know about “The
Seven Sages” identity. Never mind that Raymond was one of
As Lina didn’t have any telepathy or unusual mind powers, she
couldn’t see what image went through Tatsuya’s mind at the
moment. Lina also didn’t have observation powers on a level
where she could see through Tatsuya’s poker face.
‘According to the information we received from them, remnants
of Dahan have planned an act of terrorism in Japan.”
Having received an answer to her own question, she answered
“The Mastermind is someone named Jiedo Heigu. His Chinese
name is Gu Jie. He is a presumed surviving Magician from the
Kunlunfang Institute... What’s wrong Miyuki?”
Miyuki was about to raise her voice but quickly held it in, and
having seen that, Lina inquired for the reason of her response.
[The name Kunlunfang Institute holds a very special meaning
for us... Forgive me for interrupting you.]
The truth was that they had heard this name already from
Raymond, that he was another member of “The Seven Sages”,
Miyuki quickly covered up with a lie as Tatsuya didn’t have any
‘Ah, I see...”
Lina knew about the connection between the Yotsuba and the
Kunlunfang Institute. Considering it normal for the Yotsuba
Successor to react vividly at the mention of a “Kunlunfang
Institute Survivor”, Lina didn’t press the issue.
“You might have already guessed, but we think that the
possibility of the Yotsuba being Heigu’s target is pretty high.”
[I see. Indeed, this line of thought seems to be the most
plausible. Is that the reason Lina contacted Miyuki?]
“W-well, yeah, that’s how it is.”
Hearing Tatsuya say “I think the same”, Lina started to blush
without any particular reason.
[It’s true that both Miyuki and I are related to this matter.
There is also the possibility that Miyuki would be directly
“Tatsuya... Don’t talk as if it’s someone else’s problem. There is
a possibility that you could become a target as well.”
To a Lina who stated so with an amazed voice,
[It would be convenient if I was their target.]
Tatsuya answered with a fearless expression.
“...Well, I guess so. If they make you their target, I guess things
would be wrapped up in short order.”
Hearing his answer, Lina instinctively consented.
Even Lina didn’t understand the extent of Tatsuya’s true power.
Even though, at first, she had thought that he was a Magician
skilled in Mental-Interference Magic, she came to doubt that
assessment during their final battle with the Parasites.
In a word, Tatsuya was, and still is a mysterious Magician.
However, if anything, Lina couldn’t question his ability. Lina
couldn’t even imagine how Magicians who had no choice but to
rely on the little missiles they stole would go about dealing
[Lina, what’s wrong? You have the face of someone who just
lost all her worries.]
Lina violently jumped up at Miyuki casually revealing her
Why was she feeling so relieved after confirming that Tatsuya
wouldn’t be done in so easily.
“No, well, you know.”
Hampered by the noisy sound her heart was making, she
couldn’t form a proper sentence.
“You see, how should I say it...”
Looking at the wry smile of Tatsuya, Lina remembered how
irritating it could be.
‘Ah, geez! See, to sum up, I just wanted to.”
To tell you about Heigu, was what she was about to say, but
she managed to seal her lips right before saying it.
[I see... In other words, you were in such a hurry to tell us
about Heigu that once you did what you called for, you felt
relieved, is that it?]
“Yeah, that’s right!”
Lina showed quite the grand reaction to the figurative lifeboat
that Tatsuya sent her.
While Lina was rapidly getting redder,
[I see. Lina, thank you very much.]
Tatsuya ignored it and expressed his thanks to Lina.
“Y-you don’t need to thank me! I just thought that if I didn’t
tell you guys I’d have trouble sleeping, that’s all! Well then,
Tatsuya, Miyuki, good night!”
Forgetting the time difference between their countries, Lina cut
off the transmission after rapidly saying her goodbye.
She violently took off her clothes and slipped between the
sheets without even putting on her pajamas.
A week had passed since Tatsuya and Miyuki had received that
phone call from Lina.
Lina’s communication had been last Tuesday, and since today
was Monday, six days had passed. There were still no clues about
the terrorist attack or Heigu. This was the case not only for
Tatsuya, but also Maya and Canopus as well, none of whom had
made progress in the search for Heigu.
Furthermore, today was February 4 th . The Master Clans
Conference would be held in two days’time.
The Master Clans Conference is the summit for the Japanese
Magic Community. Even for Ancient Magicians who didn’t even
accept the Ten Master Clans as the Leaders of Magicians, they
couldn’t deny the influence of the Master Clans Conference.
Especially this year, the Ten Master Clans Selection Meeting
would be held on the second day. It would decide the next Ten
Master Clans for the next 4 years, which heightened the
Magician’s concerns even more.
The students of First High, too, were restless since early
Though they were only High School Students, being Magicians
themselves, they couldn’t help being concerned. Especially for
people who are related to the Ten Master Clans and the 18
Assistant Houses, or people associated with the Ten Master
Clans whose probability for selection was low, were anxious to
the point of being incapable of concentrating in school.
As Miyuki entered Class 2-A, the students reacted by freezing
in shock, and silence fell upon the room.
“Good morning, Shizuku, Honoka.”
Miyuki greeted Shizuku in the seat in front and Honoka
standing adjacent to Shizuku. With a greeting, she removed the
spell on her classmates.
“Miyuki!? Why did you come to school!?”
Honoka let out a voice similar to a scream. With that, Class 2-A
was filled with the loud buzz of commotion.
“Why... Isn’t today a weekday. For a High School Student to
come to school is a given, isn’t it? Or since when have I been
ostracized by my friends? Or could it be bullying?”
Miyuki tilted her head with one hand on her cheek, making a
In response to the unexpected counter-attack, Honoka was
Shizuku too had a face which indicated that she had no idea
as to how she could assist her.
However, the troubles of the two did not continue for long.
“I apologize, that was a joke.”
A quick smile slipped out of Miyuki that turned into a giggle.
“I thought you would be absent? Today’s the Master Clans
Conference after all.”
Honoka who followed-up, anxiously drew closer to Miyuki.
“Miyuki, is it fine to not go to the Conference? After all, this
time, they’re holding the selection meeting, too? Since you’re the
Honoka covered her mouth with her hand, showing an
expression that she messed up.
The classmates who heard this, turned away all at once.
“Even though I would prefer it if you weren’t so bothered about
Miyuki put on a smile of embarrassment. But the classmates
who, until recently, were concerned about her, couldn’t help but
worry about her attendance.
“So Miyuki, is it okay to not go?”
Following Miyuki’s statement, Shizuku asked a rather bland
question to break the sour mood.
“Well, I wasn’t invited to go.”
As Miyuki answered while smiling, gazes which seemed to say
“Eh?” gathered around her.
“I wonder if Honoka and Shizuku don’t know this. The venue of
the Master Clans Conference is a secret to everyone except the
attendees. For the 18 Assistant Houses attending the Selection
Meeting, as of today, they are only informed about the
approximate location, with the specifics about the room being
used still unknown.”
“But Miyuki is...”
To Honoka revealing her surprise, Miyuki pleasantly smiled.
It paralyzed Honoka’s tongue and throat.
“I wasn’t invited. Thus, I don’t even know where the meeting
will take place. It’s not that I take no interest in the contents of
the meeting but if I don’t even know the general location, there’s
no way I can go, right?”
In place of Honoka who had started blushing quietly, Shizuku
nodded in agreement to Miyuki’s words.
At the same time, something similar was happening in Class 2-
“Hmm? Tatsuya-san, why did you come to school?”
“Good morning, Mizuki. To greet me with such a question in the
“Eh, ah, no, about that... I’m sorry.”
It wasn’t that Tatsuya particularly felt uncomfortable but for
him to say such a thing was natural. Tatsuya had never taken
long periods of absence from school, so to be questioned, “Why
did you come to school”, on a Monday, the question coming out of
nowhere was nothing less than a rarity.
But on this day, it wasn’t just Mizuki who seemed to have
forgotten her common sense.
“Tatsuya-kun, is it alright for you to come to school!?”
Opening the window noisily, Erika cried out loud without any
“Erika... why do you all want me to be absent?”
The sight of Tatsuya frowning in displeasure, beside an
embarrassed Mizuki entered Erika’s sight.
Realizing her attitude to be a little senseless, she revealed a
Some things were impossible, even for her.
“But still, Tatsuya. Isn’t today the start of the Master Clans
Conference? Is it fine to not go there?”
Fortunately for Erika, she wasn’t the only one who dared to
venture into the minefield.
“Why would you want to know?”
In response to Leo’s question, without trying to play the fool,
Tatsuya curiously asked a question of his own.
“I think that to not be interested would be strange.”
As Erika replied to Tatsuya’s question, Leo nodded his head in
“These two are really getting along now,” Tatsuya thought
while putting out another question.
‘As I said, why? Well, it does seem the amount of interested
people is rather numerous but...”
While saying that, Tatsuya glanced backwards, and his
classmates hurriedly averted their eyes.
“If you think that my relation to the Yotsuba Family is a good
enough reason, then you would be mistaken. Just because a
person is blood-related to the Ten Master Clans does not mean
he or she can participate in the Master Clans Conference. For
example, as the successor of the Juumonji Family, Juumonji-
senpai attending is a given but, Saegusa-senpai is unlikely to be
“.. .So that’s how it works?”
Leo wore a face that lost interest. Conversely, Erika had an
expression that seemed to express her content.
“Therefore, even if I did know the location of the conference, I’m
not interested in going. In the middle of the conference, rather
than to be bored waiting, it would be more beneficial to go to
school and take lessons.”
“But still, aren’t you interested in the contents discussed in the
Master Clans Conference?”
“I’m not allowed to attend, so even if I wanted to go now, I have
no way of doing so. All the results of the conference will be
publicized. There’s no way for me to know the process of the
“Haa... in the end, we only need to follow the announcement
“That is indeed the case.”
If the discussion ended here, it would have been resolved under
the category of small talk.
“In the end, powerless small fry Magicians can only follow
something you decided? That sounds like something Ten Master
Clans-sama would say.”
A loud monologue resounded throughout the quiet classroom
which had been listening to Tatsuya.
The source was diagonally behind Tatsuya. More accurately, it
was diagonally behind Mizuki.
“What? You have something you want to say?”
Using her sharp eyes, Erika glared at Hirakawa Chiaki, the
student who had voiced such words.
Chiaki didn’t answer Erika’s question. If that was the extent of
her reaction, it would have ended fine. But, Chiaki looked away.
Erika’s eyes twitched upwards at the provocation.
Erika, who was at the window, walked in through the door.
Then, she headed towards Chiaki.
“Wait a moment! Chiba-san, calm down!”
The one who hastily blocked Erika’s way was a male student.
Not yielding to Erika’s spirit, he tried to resolve the situation
peacefully as if he was the class rep. The student in question was
Tomitsuka, a man who fit the definition of a worry-wart.
“Tomitsuka-kun, could you stand down? I have something to
say to that girl.”
“No, that will definitely end badly!”
Tomitsuka, who certainly understood what Erika meant by
“something to say”, tried desperately to dissuade Erika.
But, as if to ruin his efforts, Chiaki stood up behind Tomitsuka.
“Isn’t it true?”
Over the shoulder of Tomitsuka, the two girls glared at each
“Chiba-san, err, lessons will be starting soon...?”
Acting like a shield for Chiaki, Tomitsuka still tried to arbitrate
“There’s still 5 minutes.”
But was tragically shot down.
“So, Hirakawa-san, answer me?”
The intensity of Erika’s gaze was such that it could even cause
a grown man to shudder.
Chiaki’s knees were currently trembling, but she still bravely
“The fact he’s related to the Ten Master Clans! Are you telling
me I’m wrong?!”
‘And? It may be true that Tatsuya-kun is related to the Ten
Master Clans, so what? Even if someone’s parents are from the
Ten Master Clans, the children aren’t necessarily involved as
“Sophistry. Chicanery. Being a member of the Yotsuba Family
behind our backs, he hid it and deceived us!”
“Perhaps a young girl who was fortunately brought up in a
normal household may not know, but children who do not take
their parents’ surnames is not a rare occurrence in the Magician
Chiaki’s tongue was tied and she was unable to reply due to
the fact she knew Erika was telling the truth. That fact was
“Nn? If you have something you want to say, just be out with it.”
Erika’s contemptuous tone angered Chiaki. Rage broke any
reason left in her.
“Chiba-san, why are you getting angry because of that guy!?
Do you like him or something!?”
The classmates who had been spectating the argument
frowned. This was because Chiaki’s reasoning was sorely lacking
in dignity for a High School Student. To put it crudely, “Whether
someone likes someone or not, what does it matter? Aren’t you
being an idiot?” was what they felt.
‘Are you an idiot?”
Erika spoke those thoughts aloud.
“Do I like Tatsuya-kun? I’m not so reckless.”
Hearing Erika’s objection the students of Class 2-E tilted their
necks in puzzlement.
“To be a love rival against Miyuki, I’ve seen the horrors it can
bring. I’d rather not risk my life in such a dangerous scenario for
If Miyuki had heard her, the situation wouldn’t have ended so
Even sympathizing with that statement would be dangerous.
But, excluding Tatsuya, Chiaki and Tomitsuka-In short the
spectating students of Class 2-E-deeply nodded in agreement
at Erika’s words.
‘Ah, to seriously argue against such a dolt, I must look like
quite the fool.”
Saying that, Erika briskly walked out.
“Tatsuya-kun, I’ll be returning. See you next time.”
‘Ah, see you next time.”
Returning a wave to Tatsuya, she smiled and left Class 2-E.
The end result was that Chiaki successfully drove off Erika.
But Chiaki was left standing and trembling in embarrassment.
< — >
For High School Students, the conference might seem like
something casual, but for the participating adults, the Master
Clans Conference is nothing less than a serious duel, which
concerned their very lives.
The venue was in Hakone, held in a rented conference room in a
luxurious hotel. As the start of the meeting approached, the seats
of the round table were filled.
Casually dressed in a copper brown sweater, that wrapped his
tall and sunburnt body, was the cutthroat Head of the Ichijou
Family, Ichijou Gouki. Residing in Kanazawa, he had recently
celebrated his 42 ncl birthday a few days ago. His occupation was
being a Seabed Mining Company President.
With her hair tied up, and donning an elegant kimono, was the
Head of the Futatsugi Family, Futatsugi Mai. Residing in Ashiya,
55 years old. She was a major shareholder of a Food Industry
Wearing a jacket on top of a polo shirt, coupled with a rough
look, was the petite yet athletic middle-aged Head of the
Mitsuya Family, Mitsuya Gen. Residing in Atsugi, 53 years old.
He, for lack of a nice way of putting it, was an International
Enveloped in a wine red formal one piece was the beautiful
Head of the Yotsuba Family, Yotsuba Maya. No matter how one
looked at it she looked to be only 30 years of age, but she is
actually 47 years old.
Neatly dressed but also having a plain appearance, like an
unrefined businessman was the Head of the Itsuwa Family,
Itsuwa Isami. Residing in Uwajima, 49 years old. He was the
director and the owner, of a Shipping Company.
Short, yet straight, brown hair, and wearing a pantsuit, the
glamorous woman was the Head of the Mutsuzuka Family,
Mutsuzuka Atsuko. Residing in Sendai, 29 years old. She was the
owner of a Geothermal Power Plant Excavation Company.
Somewhat old fashioned and reminiscent of the elite
businessmen of the 1980’s to 1990’s, was the Head of the Saegusa
Family, Saegusa Kouichi. Residing in Tokyo, 48 years old.
Wearing lightly colored spectacles, even indoors, was a
characteristic trait of his. He is a Venture Capitalist.
Wearing a three-piece suit without a tie and his hair gathered
up, was the Head of the Yatsushiro Family, Yatsushiro Raizou.
Residing in Fukuoka, 31 years old. He was a lecturer in at a
university and a major shareholder of a Multi-Communication
Dressed in an overseas brand three-piece, the white-haired
gentleman was the Head of the Kudou Family, Kudou Makoto.
Residing in Ikoma, 64 years old. He was the shareholder, investor
and creditor of various Military Industrial Companies.
The bald man in full formal Japanese attire, a haori hakama,
was the Head of the Juumonji Family, Juumonji Kazuki. Residing
in Tokyo, 44 years old. He was the owner of a Civil Engineering
and Construction Company that has a connection with the
National Defense Force.
These were the current Ten Master Clans, and their respective
Heads. In addition, only Juumonji Kazuki was accompanied by
his son, Katsuto.
Once all the members were present, the door closed. The one
who locked the door was the youngest of them all, Katsuto.
“Juumonji-dono, has your condition improved?”
The first to speak was the eldest, Kudou Makoto.
All Families were equal within the Ten Master Clans. There
was no hierarchy of any sort. Such a belief was obvious due to
the usage of a round table in the hotel.
But to carry out a meeting without a chairperson was
unconducive. So among the Family Heads, it had become an
unwritten law that the eldest would have the role of facilitating
Makoto inquiring about Juumonji Kazuki’s health condition
was due to the fact that previously he had been absent from the
Master Clans Conference, with Katsuto going in his place. For the
other Heads, it had been actually 3 years since their last meeting
“In regards to that, I have an announcement to make to
Hearing Makoto’s words, Kazuki stood up. Speaking while
seating was the standard in the Master Clans Conference so his
attitude seemed to give the feeling that it was an important
“This may be sudden but, I, Juumonji Kazuki, will use this
meeting as a means of handing over the seat of Head of the
Juumonji Family to my son Katsuto. With that in mind, I would
like all of you present to bear witness.”
Exchanging glances with surrounding members, while staring
at Kazuki, each Head had varied responses but, not one of them
“That is quite a brash thing to say.”
Makoto said on behalf of all the other members present.
“I have been considering this for quite some time. Having
reached adulthood, I believe Katsuto has also been thinking
about it. Occupying the seat of the Head and having no ability as
a Magician... such a thing, not only speaking for the Juumonji
Family, but for the Ten Master Clans, would not be desirable.
Thus I’ve made such a decision.”
“You mean to say, you can no longer use magic?”
The person who asked this was Ichijou Gouki. In the Master
Clans Conference, difficult topics that had to be broached were
“Since 3 years ago, I have been suffering from a disease that
has caused a decline in my magic power. 2 years ago, I was at the
stage where I could no longer fight, as such virtually left all the
duties of being Head to Katsuto. And then 3 months ago, I lost
all use of my magical abilities.”
Kazuki’s explosive message reverberated amongst everyone.
‘A sickness that causes a decline in magic? This is the first time
I heard of such a thing. I know this is impolite but, as a Magician
this is a big problem. Do you have more information? Are there
The person asking was Saegusa Kouichi. For him, when in the
Master Clans Conference, talking came first and the debate
“Saegusa-dono, such a worry is unnecessary. For it is unique to
the Juumonji Family.”
“Unique only to your family? Are you sure?”
As Kouichi tried to question further, he was softly chided by
“It would be better if you refrain from asking anything more
“That is true. Do not pry into the business of other families.
That is a rule not only followed by the Ten Master Clans, but the
Magic Community as a whole. It is as Yotsuba-dono says, shall
we cease such questioning? Juumonji-dono has already said that
Magicians of other families will not catch such a disease, isn’t
that good enough?”
Futatsugi Mai followed up on Maya’s opinion. After Kudou
Makoto, as the next eldest, she held the role of being the
arbitrator during the Master Clans Conference.
“Very well, I understand. Juumonji-dono, I apologize for my
Kouichi withdrew quietly. Let alone Maya, he had no reason to
be stubborn towards Mai.
“No, I don’t really mind it.”
As Kouichi replied as such, Kazuki faced Maya and Mai and
showed gratitude with his eyes.
“Now then, everyone. Are there any opinions about the
About Kazuki’s question,
“Even without our presence, I know it would be fine for the
Juumonji’s Family matters to be settled internally, but... I have no
objections. I would happily bear witness to the succession of
“I too have no objections. Rather, I think it’s quite an honor. I
would happily be a witness.”
As Maya raised her volume, Mutsuzuka Atsuko continued.
Atsuko had an admiration for Maya, so often when disputes
broke out, she would often take Maya’s side. One of the Yotsuba
Branch Families, the Shibata Family’s eldest son, Katsushige
commuted to Sendai’s Fifth High School. Such a thing was
partially due to the friendliness of Atsuko to Maya.
“I have no intention to protest against other family’s succession
matters. I wish Katsuto-dono the best of luck in his future role
as the Head. It’s unfortunate for Kazuki-dono, but, for putting
forth so much effort for the Japanese Magic Community, thank
you for your hard work.”
Perhaps because of what happened earlier, Kouichi actively
showed his support.
With both Maya and Kouichi accepting Kazuki’s proposal in
concert, the remaining Heads congratulated Katsuto, and gave
words of appreciation for Kazuki.
“Now Katsuto-dono. As the new Head of the juumonji Family,
please sit in that seat.”
Fastly, Makoto prompted Katsuto, recognizing him as the Head
of the juumonji Family.
Sent by Katsuto to this room, Kazuki left the room, Katsuto sat
in the seat for the Head of the Juumonji Family. With that
adjustment, the Master Clans Conference began.
“The mountain recesses of the Hokuriku-San’in regions have
seen no movement that might become a problem. There have
been no signs observed that the New Soviet Union and the Great
Asian Alliance are working on an intrusion.”
Prompted by Makoto, Gouki made a report on the observations
of the activities of opposing governments.
“The Tohoku region has seen no irregularities.”
“Hanshin is as usual. Should there be any eyesores, I will
immediately set out to clean it up.”
“...Futatsugi-dono, be careful. Itsuwa-dono.”
“No movements have been observed in the Shikoku region.”
“Much like the Hanshin region, the Kitakyushu region is as
“Is that so? Keep a look out and be careful.”
This report was in regards to the activities in the areas which
each family was in charge of. The Hokkaido, Ogasawara and
Okinawa regions were under the jurisdiction of the Magicians
from the National Defense Forces, even the Ten Master Clans
could not raise a hand so easily.
Other than those areas, the mountain areas of the Hokuriku-
San’in region is under the Ichijou Family, Tohoku the Mutsuzuka
Family, Hanshin-Chugoku the Futatsugi Family, Shikoku the
Itsuwa Family, the Kyushu area excluding Okinawa was under
the Yatsushiro Family, and Kyoto—Nara-Shiga-Kii the Kudou
Family. Furthermore, the Mitsuya Family actively provided the
know-how to the Magicians of the Defense Forces and of the
applications of the Third Research Laboratory, while cooperating
with the other Houses of the “Three”.
The Saegusa Family as well as the Juumonji Family were in
charge of the Kanto region, including Izu, while the Yotsuba
Family is in charge of Tokai as well as the Gifu-Nagano
“The Kanto region has had an increase in anti-Magician
activities. It’s not at the level where interference is necessary, but I
think sooner or later we will have to make a move. Also, there
was some suspicious activity in Yokosuka. Perhaps they are
“Does Juumonji-dono share the same thoughts?”
“In regards to the anti-Magician movement, the (uumonji
Family and I share the same opinion as Saegusa-dono. In
regards to the saboteur, it is unfortunate, but we couldn’t catch
“Hmm. Regarding the so-called Humanists, let’s discuss this
later. Then, Yotsuba-dono.”
“While absent in Kanto, the Humanists have begun
encroaching upon Tokai. Now then, Saegusa-dono, Juumonji-
“Yotsuba-dono, what is it?”
Addressed by Maya, Kouichi answered with a smile. In that
smile, elements other than sociability were slightly mixed in. The
only time Kouichi would show a fluctuation of any emotion was
when the other member of the conversation was Maya.
For Maya, she had never directed a gaze of concern towards
No matter what, she would always return a look that seemed
to say whatever.
“There is suspicious activity in Izu. We propose tighter
Now was no exception. Glancing coldly and uninterestedly at
Kouichi, the eye that seemed to ask why are you looking at me,
then only gave a perfunctory reply.
“I understand. If you don’t mind, could you explain a little as to
what kind of activity it was.”
The one who said so in a dignified voice was Katsuto. Though
surrounded by seniors, he seemed to be indifferent to such a fact.
“I don’t mind. Last week, a small cargo ship that arrived at the
Yokosuka Port via the North American route is currently
anchored at the Numazu Port. We were observing that cruiser
owned by the USNA Embassy. As of now, the embassy’s cruiser
disappeared but, our surveillance of the cargo ship is still
“Yotsuba-dono, do you know of the whereabouts of the
Kouichi posed another question towards Maya.
“I don’t know. Perhaps it is at sea.”
Though it seemed like Maya gave an irresponsible reply,
originally it was supposed to be Kouichi that was responsible for
investigating. The Juumonji Family is better suited for combat, so
even though both were in charge of the Kanto-Izu region, the
Saegusa Family was in charge of the investigation work.
“Very well, our family will investigate this issue. With the
increase in anti-Magician activity... if that cargo ship has
humanist passengers, then the USNA authorities might chase it
as well. Numazu is Yotsuba-dono’s territory but, the issue is that
ship entered the harbor of Yokosuka. Our family will continue to
pursue this as well.”
Obviously understanding that, Kouichi summarized the
“Eh, I look forward to working with you.”
Nodding, Maya did not further discuss the topic of Heigu’s boat
and Canopus’ cruiser.
As the regular reports concluded, the conference room’s
“Kudou-dono. Firstly, I have something I would like ask about
The remark which heralded trouble was made by Kouichi.
“Saegusa-dono, go ahead.”
With a sighing expression of patience, Makoto prompted
Kouichi to go ahead.
“Very well, thank you for sparing me some time.”
Saying that, Kouichi faced Maya.
Once again, a certain mood drifted from Mutsuzuka Atsuko to
Yatsushiro Raizou. Kouichi (with a gentlemanly attitude) turned
to Maya, something that could be said to be a familiar sight in
the Master Clans Conference.
“Yotsuba-dono, congratulations on your decision about your
Both Kouichi and Maya had fake smiles plastered on their
Beneath the facade, Kouichi had a provocative glimmer in his
eye, while Maya returned a cold gaze. No matter how one looked
at it, both seemed ready to fight.
“But, regarding your son’s engagement issue, I’m afraid I cannot
agree to that.”
“Why? If I remember correctly, personal issues like marriage
have no necessity to seek approval from the Master Clans
Conference. Am I wrong?”
Before any voices of approval could be interleaved, Maya
“Indeed if it was only a marriage, I wouldn’t be saying this. But
when the possibility of ruining potential talent exists, it’s a
With the exception of Kouichi and Maya, everyone’s eyes
focused on Ichijou Gouki.
Gouki’s mouth was twisted into a bent shape, with arms
folded. His face seemed to voice his thoughts “In such a place
How does consanguineous marriage impact a Magician’s
quality? Such research has not made much progress, and thus is
a topic yet to be concluded. Some researchers have claimed it is
harmful, while some have claimed it beneficial. But, above the
fact that the risk of genetic abnormalities is assumed, it is
considered that it is better that marriages with blood
relationships too close be avoided. Actually among the Numbers,
the law tends to discourage even marriage among cousins.
Kudou Makoto interlaced his fingers on the table, closing his
eyes. From the side, he looked like he was deep in thought.
“It’s just an inclination, it is not forbidden. There are real
The one who refuted Kouichi in a weary voice was not Maya.
“Eh. just as Yatsushiro-dono said, even among the 28 Houses,
there are sanguineous couples. But in that case, they have
different mothers. Considering Yotsuba-dono’s current case, it
cannot be discussed on an equal basis.”
“Even if they weren’t cousins, you can go back to the
grandparents and find the father is related by being cousins with
the other’s husband. Even when the blood relations are distant,
the element of risk still exists in sanguineous marriage, doesn’t
This time it was Mutsuzuka Atsuko who refuted Kouichi’s
“The risk is never zero. The only question is to what degree,
But, Atsuko’s remark could not cause Kouichi to falter.
“The reason I object to the Yotsuba Family’s Successors’
engagement, is that they are monozygotic twins, with very close
blood ties. No different from a marriage between half-siblings. Is
that not the case?”
Atsuko did not reply. Kouichi ignoring his emotional intention,
his logic held persuasion.
‘A marriage between cousins may be recognized by law. But if it
becomes a marriage between half-siblings, then it could even be
called a circumvention of the law.”
“Saegusa-dono, that is going too far.”
Futatsugi Mai gently restrained the extreme phrase,
circumvention of the law. But, Mai didn’t seem to show any
intention to oppose Kouichi’s claim.
‘Apologies. I’ve indeed gone too far. Please forgive me, Yotsuba-
Maya ignored Kouichi’s apology.
“So in the end, what do you want to say Saegusa-dono?”
Ignoring everything, she cut straight to the point to seek what
Kouichi’s request was.
Stopping even Kouichi’s smooth tongue, Kouichi’s face in the
direction between Itsuwa Isami and Mutsuzuka Atsuko, staring
“What I seek is very simple. I believe the successor to the
Yotsuba Family, Shiba Miyuki-dono, and Shiba Tatsuya-dono’s
engagement should be cancelled.”
Maya returned Kouichi’s stare.
Both Maya and Kouichi’s line of sight met.
Hidden beneath his light colored lenses, the emotion that
crossed his remaining left eye was either joy or hatred.
“My apologies. May I add in something?”
The person who cut into the high tension between the two was
“Yotsuba-dono, though our family has yet to receive an answer
from yours, I should admit that what Saegusa-dono has said
was influenced by us. As such, could you please consider our
“The issue regarding the request for the engagement between
your family’s Masaki-dono and Miyuki?”
Returning a face of fortitude, Maya languidly sighed deeply.
“Masaki-dono is the Ichijou Family’s successor is he not?
Miyuki has also been confirmed as the successor of our family.
Even if I put aside the fact that it is inappropriate of you to
request an engagement when a prior one has been confirmed,
what you speak of is impossible.”
Maya clearly sought to offend Gouki-or so was her guise
Gouki replied in a chilly tone.
“I apologize for being rude. But we too are making a serious
request. It is not a joke of any sort.”
‘A serious request? To seek the hand of my niece who’s already
engaged to someone, what part of that is a serious request?”
“My son genuinely hopes to tie the knot with Miyuki-dono. If
you were to accept our proposal of marriage, then we intend to
give Masaki to the Yotsuba Family.”
The round table was astir. Carrying the title of “Crimson
Prince”, Ichijou Masaki demonstrated a degree of power that’s
combat worthy of that title even at the age of 13, also during the
2095 Yokohama Incident, even now as a 17-year-old youth, his
reputation as a first-class combat magician is well known
throughout the Ten Master Clans.
For Gouki to say that it would be fine to let go of such an heir.
No matter how one looked at it, the deal was very much
favorable to the Yotsuba Family. Since there was no amount of
deception in Gouki’s words, even Maya had to recognize the
“Is that so? But I still cannot accept your request.”
Although the discomfort disappeared from Maya’s expression,
her attitude did not turn cold.
“...The reason, may I hear it?”
“For Ichijou-dono, as a parent, to hope to fulfill your child’s
wishes, that is something I understand as well. But if Ichijou-
dono has considered your child’s feelings, then as an aunt, I must
also consider my niece’s feelings.”
“Yes. My niece, Miyuki, likes my son Tatsuya. I believe that
Tatsuya too cares for Miyuki. I wish to respect both their
To Maya’s words, Futatsugi Mai and Mutsuzuka Atsuko both
deeply nodded. Such words after all resonated more easily with
the female gender.
‘Are Miyuki’s feelings unmovable? Could you perhaps give
Masaki a chance?”
“Miyuki-dono likely does not know much about Masaki yet.”
“Is that not the same for Masaki-dono? Aside from appearance,
your son likely does not know much about Miyuki.”
Subtly saying “Masaki was only attracted to her looks” made
Gouki feel very ashamed. Despite it being the truth, he was
“Thus, I hope you would give them a chance for them to become
acquainted. If both of them get to know each other well, and still
she refuses to choose Masaki, then we will give up.”
“Ichijou-dono... Are you aware that since earlier, your family
has been rather disrespectful to both Miyuki and Tatsuya?
Especially towards my son, Tatsuya. What Ichijou-dono is saying
can only be interpreted as calling Tatsuya inferior as a man in
comparison to Masaki-dono.”
Gouki was at a loss of words. He had no intention of saying so
but, he may have spoken out as a doting parent.
Towards Maya’s harsh words, even Mai, who’s role as the
stopper, did not say anything to chide her. This was to say that
the majority of the Family Heads felt that Gouki should be
accountable for what he said.
Then Kouichi who did not think so, once again dredged up his
“However if one were to shelve their romantic feelings and look
at it objectively, I think an engagement between Masaki-dono
and Miyuki-dono would be a good match. More than anything, it
would avoid any harm that could come from a sanguineous
“Saegusa-dono... Are you saying that Miyuki-dono’s feelings
are not worthy of consideration?”
Mitsuya Gen, who had been silent until then, reproved Kouichi
in a bitter voice.
But Kouichi did not withdraw.
“Suppressing one’s emotions to a degree is necessary, especially
as a successor to one of the Ten Master Clans. Is that not the case
for everyone here?”
No voice of objection gave rise. What Kouichi said, everyone
‘Also, Miyuki-dono is still young. If she were to get to know
Masaki-dono, she may change her feelings.”
“Is that so... chemistry between a man and a woman, if they do
not get to know each other, one will never know.”
The first voice who supported Kouichi, was Itsuwa Isami.
But the one who was most surprised at Isami’s words was most
likely Kouichi. Though not apparent in his expression, Kouichi
doubted Isami’s intent in his heart.
“I too thought it was a good pair, requesting for an engagement
with Saegusa-dono’s daughter, but... Mayumi-dono and
Hiroshi’s character didn’t mix well, and in the end it did not go
As Isami said, right before the Master Clans Conference, the
Itsuwa Family broke off talks of marriage.
“Kouichi’s claim that an engagement between the Ichijou
Family’s Masaki-dono and the Yotsuba Family’s Miyuki-dono is
reasonable. Their marriage will bring more and more
development to Japan’s Magic Community. Not to mention
Ichijou-dono has said he is willing to give the Yotsuba Family
Masaki-dono, I don’t think it’s such a bad deal to Yotsuba-
With Isami’s support, the winds began to change. In that
instant, the tail wind was definitely blowing for Kouichi and
But that wind was about to be broken in an instant.
“Itsuwa-dono. Our family does not consider or seek benefits
from Miyuki’s marriage.”
Isami awkwardly looked down. Having realized his intention
to induce discussion about short-term gain and loss, Maya flatly
“I understand your stance; Miyuki is still young. I cannot say
that the possibility of her feelings to change is zero. But that is as
far as I can say, I think Masaki-dono should put in his own effort
to move Miyuki’s heart. If Masaki were steal Miyuki away from
Tatsuya, then even I wouldn’t tie up Miyuki. To the Yotsuba
Family, we will serve any command from Miyuki, but we may
yield regarding the seat of the son-in-law.”
“So the engagement is not annulled?”
“In exchange, you would not mind if Masaki-dono were to go
Makoto and Mai confirmed Maya’s meaning.
“That interpretation is fine. In the first place, dare I say, that
Miyuki and Tatsuya’s marriage is a legitimate thing recognized
by the law. It’s not anything that must result in accepting any
objection by the law, is it?”
To Maya’s words, Mai nodded.
“It is certainly as Yotsuba-dono said. Sanguineous marriage
does indeed carry some risk. That said, Saegusa-dono’s claim
exceeds the scope of decisions that can be made in the Master
Mai then moved her gaze from Kouichi to Gouki.
“Ichijou-dono, is that fine? Yotsuba-dono has said that despite
Miyuki-dono’s engagement, she will allow your son to interact
with Miyuki-dono. The parents will not interfere with anything
“...I understand. I will convey that to my son.”
“I too, am fine with that.”
Both Gouki and Kouichi decided to lay down arms.
“By the way, the allowing of one to date while they have a
fiancee also apply to Tatsuya-dono?”
Of course, Kouichi was not of the type that would raise the
white flag without conditions.
Under the gaze of Maya and Mai, Kouichi made a smile.
‘As Itsuwa-dono has said earlier, the talks for the engagement
between Itsuwa Family’s Hirofumi and our Mayumi have broken
down. If it goes well, I was hoping for Mayumi to marry Tatsuya-
Kudou Retsu had been once referred to as a “Trickster” due to
his magic, but perhaps in terms of personality, Kouichi possessed
As everyone was tired from the miasma thrown by Kouichi, the
Master Clans Conference had a break.
Then ten minutes later, this time it was Maya who began with
Not an iffy thing like Kouichi’s claim, but a big scandal.
“Everyone, I have something I would like to say.”
“Oh. An issue raised by Yotsuba-dono is indeed rare. What
would it be about.”
Encouraged by Makoto, Maya smiled at Kouichi.
A shudder ran down the spines of the rest of the Ten Master
Clans Heads’. The extent of their antagonism was such that even
Katsuto who had yet to see it felt the same.
Maya slowly opened her glossy red lips.
“Has everyone heard of a man that goes by the name of Zhou
The moment Maya said that, Makoto’s body stiffened. Though
Kouichi did not show any reaction but non-reaction was the
same as saying that he indeed had knowledge about the subject.
“Yotsuba-dono, isn’t that the famous Zhou Yu of Wu from the
Romance of the Three Kingdoms?”
Maya shook her head while smiling in response to Mutsuzuka
Atsuko and Yatsushiro Raizou’s questions.
“Basing his headquarters in Yokohama’s Chinatown, he’s an
Ancient Magician born on the continent. Taoists, I believe they
were called, correct, Kudou-dono?”
‘A, aah. Ancient Magicians from the continent are often called
Makoto used all his strength to suppress his body from
“Kudou-dono, what happened? You seem to have a bad
“No, it’s nothing, Mutsuzuka-dono.”
After tilting her head at the suspicious attitude of Makoto, she
turned back to Maya’s direction.
“So, what about this Zhou Gongjin?”
‘Anti-Magic International Political Organization ‘Blanche’.
Hong Kong based International Crime Syndicate ‘No-Head
Dragon’. The sabotage forces of the Great Asian Alliance that
caused the Yokohama Incident. And then the incident that took
place in the heart of Tokyo, the Vampire Incident which took the
world by storm: ‘Parasites’. He is the man who helped orchestrate
all of this, the mastermind that brought chaos to our country, or
should I say, the mastermind designated to cause trouble in
The conference room had a bustling atmosphere.
It wasn’t that there was an increase in chatter, there were
barely ten people in the room. It was not a topic one could freely
discuss with those next to them.
But even so, the shock that took away the calm and composed
attitudes of the Heads of the Ten Master Clans stemmed from
Maya’s short speech.
Facing Maya, Raizou softly raised his hand. It seemed to be an
unintentional habit from university.
“Just now you used the word ‘designated’in past tense, which is
to say he has already been disposed of? Or that he has fled the
‘Assisted by Ichijou Masaki-dono, and Kudou Minoru-dono,
Zhou Gongjin was killed by Tatsuya last October.”
Makoto expressed a feeling of surprise. He had heard the report
from Masaki but he didn’t hear from Minoru.
However, the change in his facial expression was not noticed by
the other Heads. This was because all eyes were concentrated on
Maya, excluding Kouichi, Gouki and Makoto, the Heads were
nodding in admiration.
“Minoru-dono, which is to say, Kudou-dono’s youngest son?”
Makoto barely faked a smile while nodding to Raizou’s
“The Ichijou Family’s Masaki-dono, the Yotsuba Family’s
Tatsuya-dono, and the Kudou Family’s Minoru-dono... how
Mitsuya Gen broadly complimented.
“That’s right. It really brings me joy to hear the next generation
is growing up so splendidly. I can believe that the future of
Japan’s Magic Community is secure.”
Futatsugi Mai accompanied.
“Both Juumonji-dono and I feel that, even though they will only
be juniors in the next generation, they are indeed reliable.”
Mutsuzuka Atsuko’s words invited laughter from the seniors.
However the peaceful atmosphere was shattered by Maya’s
“Saegusa-dono. Were you in collusion with Zhou Gongjin?”
The round table returned to silence.
“...Yotsuba-dono, does that claim have a legitimate basis?”
Itsuwa Isami squeezed out in a hoarse voice.
Kouichi remained silent.
“Saegusa-dono. You used your subordinate, Nakura Saburou,
to establish contact with Zhou Gongjin, indirectly using Civil
Rights Party’s Congressman Kanda to instigate the anti-
Magician movement. Do you have any objections?”
Kouichi slowly opened his mouth.
“Yotsuba-dono, I too, would like to hear the basis of this.”
Kouichi and Maya coldly glared at each other.
“If I may speak.”
In that tense moment, it was the youngest, Katsuto, who spoke
In spite of the gazes focused on him, Katsuto began his
testimony in a calm tone.
“The fact that Saegusa-dono instigated the anti-Magician
movement is the truth. I heard it from Saegusa-dono himself.”
All the gazes on Katsuto, shifted to Kouichi.
“Saegusa-dono, do you have any excuses?”
Atsuko sharply cross-examined Kouichi.
Kouichi had a smile that had a feeling of complacency and
“What Juumonji-dono said is true. What Yotsuba-dono said is
somewhat true as well, just that the order is somewhat
“The order? What do you mean?”
Gouki spat out. But Kouichi’s smile did not falter.
“My subordinate established contact with Zhou Gongjin, only
after the anti-Magician movement was more stable after First
High’s Stellar Furnace Experiment. Aah, now that we’re on this
topic, that too was the achievement of Yotsuba Family’s Tatsuya-
dono. That experiment was highly evaluated by Rozen’s Branch,
and radically changed the winds. What a spectacular son.”
“So, what about it?”
Gouki irritatedly rebuked Kouichi.
Kouichi did not delay the conversation any longer, or do
anything that could irritate Gouki.
“When I established contact with Zhou Gongjin, it was to stop
the Mass Media’s attempts to target Magicians as a whole. Of
course, I had to give something in return, something that would
be disadvantageous to Japan’s Magic Community.”
‘Aa, you’re right. You joined hands with Zhou Gongjin after the
instigation of the anti-Magician movement.”
Maya frankly admitted Kouichi’s claim.
“But the fact that Zhou Gongjin caused so much harm to our
country is an indisputable fact. To collaborate with someone like
that, is very inappropriate for someone from the Ten Master
Clans. Everyone, is that not the case?”
The reason Maya wasn’t overly respectful with her words was
due to this.
Ichijou Gouki expressed his consent briefly.
“It is as Yotsuba-dono said.”
Mutsuzuka Atsuko, “Unfortunately, it is as she said.”
Yatsushiro Raizou, “Saegusa-dono, at the time, I too said that it
would have been better for you to stop.”
Juumonji Katsuto, “Saegusa-dono may have had his own ideas
Itsuwa Isami, “I cannot defend Saegusa-dono.”
Mitsuya Gen, “Saegusa-dono. No matter what your intents
were, you crossed a line you should never cross, and collaborated
with someone you never should have.”
Futatsugi Mai, everyone supported Maya.
Kouichi, who was still smiling, was now cornered.
Gouki, Atsuko, Raizou, Katsuto, Isami, Gen, Mai’s eyes, all
pointed in Kudou Makoto’s direction, who had yet to express his
But what Mai said to Kouichi at the end applied to Makoto as
Though it could be said that his circumstances were different
from Kouichi, he too had been in collusion with Zhou Gongjin.
Makoto’s worries were interrupted by a knock on the door.
“Would you mind if I enter?”
The voice that likely came from the other side of the door was
from an old man that all the members knew very well.
Sitting closest to the door, Katsuto stood up and looked at the
Though there were others who agreed, no one was shaking
Katsuto walked to the doorway, and opened the door.
Standing behind the door was the retired Kudou Retsu.
“Sensei, I haven’t seen you in a long time. Even so, what
business do you have today?”
Mai invited Retsu in cordially. Katsuto tried to offer his seat
but, Retsu smiled and waved his hand.
‘Apologies but, I overheard the topic at hand.”
Retsu immediately cut to the chase.
Though there was nobody who would call it into question, it
was a rule that the topics of discussion during the Conference
were to remain absolutely confidential. The Kudou Family wasn’t
the first to use methods to leak the general basis of the
“For everyone to hold Kouichi accountable is obvious. But, I
would like for that to be put on hold.”
Retsu referred to Kouichi not as “Saegusa-dono” but by his first
By doing so, he made it clear that his intent was not to speak as
a former member of the Master Clans Conference but as the
Patriarch of Japan’s Magic Community-the speech of an old
man who held no authority.
“Instigating the anti-Magician movement was something I too
discussed with Kouichi. And I did not stop Kouichi.”
Glances were exchanged in a flurry across the round table.
Excluding Maya, Kouichi and Makoto; Gouki, Mai, Gen, Isami,
Atsuko, Raizou, and Katsuto were all contemplating Retsu’s real
intentions. Makoto wasn’t even aware of his father’s intentions.
The only people who had guessed Retsu’s motive were Maya and
‘Also, if you’re talking about relations with Zhou Gongjin, then
the Kudou Family is not innocent either. Although we did
discuss this plan, we hadn’t take any concrete actions. I took the
magic provided by Zhou Gongjin to use Parasites as non-human
magical weapons, with innocent young people as guinea pigs. If
Maya’s son did not stop it, then something irreversible might
As Retsu faced Maya, she nodded and faintly smiled. She had
intended to strike Kouichi firmly, but she wasn’t driven by that
goal. If Retsu wanted to cover for Kouichi, she had no intention of
ruining the student-teacher relationship.
“If you compare the actions we took, Kouichi’s do not exceed
mine in severity.”
Retsu turned towards Gouki’s direction and signaled for him to
“The Kudou Family shall retire from the Ten Master Clans.
With that, could you consider this case concluded?”
Makoto looked up at his father with a shocked expression.
As Retsu made his suggestion, he directed a harsh glance
towards his son.
“Makoto, you are guilty of directly accommodating Zhou
Gongjin. The incident caused by the Taoists sent by Zhou Gongjin
has greatly inconvenienced Yotsuba-dono’s son, and Ichijou-
dono’s son. For this kind of outcome, you should be speaking up,
“Makoto, Pm disappointed in you.”
“Sensei, would that be okay with you?”
The one who soothed Retsu was Maya.
“If the Kudou Family takes full responsibility for this, then the
Yotsuba Family shall consent. It would be fine if Saegusa-dono
makes amends with future contributions.”
Retsu did not cover for Kouichi just because of their teacher
and student relationship. Makoto, his son, would hold higher
priority in that case.
Currently, the magic group with the most power in japan isn’t
the Nation Defense Force, but actually the Yotsuba Family
followed closely by the Saegusa Family. These two Families are
the two greatest authorities in the Japanese Magic Community. If
the Saegusa Family was to be excluded from the Ten Master
Clans, it would be a very undesirable outcome. For the sake of
maintaining order, they must remain a part of the Ten Master
To ensure the Ten Master Clans that he created would survive,
Retsu covered for Kouichi. Maya seeing through his intentions
“If Yotsuba-dono says so.
“It’s certainly true that if the Saegusa Family were to be
removed from the Ten Master Clans, the hole left behind would
be too great.”
Atsuko and Raizou agreed with Maya successively. Yet
Kouichi’s only eye still remind cold.
There were no voices of objection.
Kouichi looked at the circumstances with a poker face that
lacked a smile.
Maya faced such a Kouichi and gave a smile.
“Makoto, let’s go.”
Ordered by Retsu, Makoto stood up tardily from the Ten Master
“Everyone, excuse us.”
Retsu lightly nodded and left the meeting room.
Makoto followed behind with drooping shoulders.
The door shut with a pattern sound.
“Very well then.”
As the stopped time began moving, Itsuwa Isami started with a
“We must decide on a family to replace the Kudou Family.”
“Tomorrow is the Selection Meeting. Why not do it then?”
Mitsuya Gen objected, “In the event where a vacancy occurs in
the Ten Master Clans, a replacement member will be chosen to
fill in that role. Even if it would only be a day, the Ten Master
Clans should not be in a state where it’s missing any members.”
In replacement of Makoto, Futatsugi Mai supported Isami’s
suggestion as the next eldest.
“Is that so. Who would be a good choice? Any candidates?”
Gouki questioned with a helpless expression.
As Maya said that, all eyes were on her.
“How about Shippou-dono? The Head, Takumi-dono is wise,
though they have few disciples, they have considerable economic
Gouki, Katsuto and Isami glanced at Kouichi’s face. Though it
was well known by the others that the Saegusa Family and the
Shippou Family had a bone to pick, Kouichi showed no sign of
“Shippou-dono... Any other recommendations?”
There were no Heads who answered Mai’s question.
“Very well, the new member of the Ten Master Clans is decided
to be Shippou-dono. Though it will only be for a day but, who
shall convey it to Shippou-dono?”
“Very well, I shall do so.”
Katsuto raised his hand, and exited the conference room to
make the call.
“Wait a moment, |uumonji-dono.”
Mai voiced out when his back was to her.
“We shall be taking a break for a while. How about resuming in
There was no objection to Mai’s words.
< — * * >
The next day, February 5 th .
Right after entering Class 2-E, Tatsuya was visited by Shippou
“Shippou, is something wrong?”
Faster than Tatsuya could ask, a voice filled with curiosity
greeted Takuma, and the owner of said voice was the Club
Activities’ senior, Tomitsuka.
“No, it’s just... I wanted to express my gratitude to Shiba-
Takuma uncomfortably replied so.
Well, such feelings of discomfort were perfectly understandable.
It was a well-known fact that Takuma had caused quite the
commotion back in April with his series of duels.
His recent change of attitude was unanimously acknowledged
by not only the freshmen, but even the upperclassmen. Even so,
his rudeness to Tatsuya was still fresh in their memory. This was
made evident by the numerous inquisitive looks that people gave
him whenever he talked to Tatsuya.
In addition to this, Erika and Leo also gave him gazes of ill
Although Mikihiko had come to Class 2-E today, his look bore
the same unfavorable feelings as Erika’s and Leo’s.
“Gratitude? I don’t remember doing anything worth being
What saved Takuma was that Tatsuya apparently didn’t hold a
grudge at all. It was quite the opposite in fact, having seen
Takuma’s efforts during the Nine Schools Competition, he now
had a better opinion of him.
“Umm... I heard that Yotsuba-dono recommended my family
as a replacement for one of the Ten Master Clans...”
“My apologies, but this is the first I’ve heard of it.”
Tatsuya wasn’t pretending, he genuinely wasn’t aware of it. To
begin with, the fact that a “replacement” was needed meant that
one of the current Ten Master Clans had stepped down from their
seat. Just what kind of incident had occurred? Tatsuya couldn’t
help but wonder.
“Even if it’s just as a replacement until a proper selection is
made today... I’m still extremely grateful. Thank you very much!”
It had probably been extremely embarrassing for him, after
immediately finishing his sentence, Takuma went back to his
own classroom at full speed.
Tatsuya was vaguely aware of the fact that Takuma was
sensitive about everything related to the Ten Master Clans.
However, to think that it brought him such a level of
Tatsuya was reminded once again of the fact that every person
had a different sense of values, and of what was important.
< — >
Today was the day of the Ten Master Clans Selection Meeting,
an event that only took place once every 4 years. Along with the
Ten Master Clans, the respective Heads of the 18 Assistant
Houses could be seen.
Aside from the Kudou Family, everyone was present.
“Well then, the Ten Master Clans Selection Meeting can begin.”
Following Futatsugi Mais declaration, all the members stood
“First of all, as per the tradition, if anyone present here has an
objection or feels dissatisfaction at the current line-up of
Members of the Ten Master Clans, please remain standing. If you
don’t have any, sit down within the next minute.”
The primary voting is a peculiar tradition of the Selection
Meeting. Even if only one person remained standing, then papers
would be distributed and the ballot would move on to the actual
voting. The vote would decide who would become the 10 Houses
that would be the most suitable to hold the title of Ten Master
Clans, and the counting would be done under the supervision of
3 Members of the current Ten Master Clans as well as 3 Members
of the 18 Assistant Houses for a total of 6 Members.
However, this would be a 'signed vote”. The criteria for
choosing the next Ten Master Clans would be the power carried
by each House at this point in time. However, “Magical Power”
wouldn’t be the only factor in this, for the ability to support the
Nation would also be required.
Even if you were to vote for an unsuitable House, you wouldn’t
lose your Number. However, the following 4 years would have
your House bear the penalty, or rather, stigma of not having
Following Mai’s instructions, the first 10 Members around the
table returned to their seat.
The current Heads of the 18 Assistant Houses also started to sit
one by one.
When the second hand of the clock had done a 180°, the
The Heads of the Kuki Family and the Kuzumi Family sat
Those two had been expected to vote for the now dismissed
Kudou Family’s inclusion in the new Ten Master Clans, so this
action struck a blow to the other members of the 18 Assistant
Houses who hadn’t foreseen this turn of events.
The members who were still standing up looked at each other.
One by one, people sat down as if stopped dead in their tracks.
When 50 seconds had elapsed, there was no one left standing.
When the one-minute mark was reached, Mai stood up once
“Then, for the next 4 years, the Ichijou Family, Futatsugi Family,
Mitsuya Family, Yotsuba Family, Itsuwa Family, Mutsuzuka
Family, Saegusa Family, Shippou Family, Yatsushiro Family and
the Juumonji Family will be known as the Ten Master Clans.
Everyone, I expect your continued cooperation.”
The other nine members of the table stood up, and following
Mai’s words, bowed.
The 18 Assistant Houses who were surrounding the new Ten
Master Clans joined in a round of applause.
Once the selection of the new Ten Master Clan ended, it was
part of tradition that the 18 Assistant Houses leave to allow the
Ten Master Clans to discuss about their new organization and
structure. However, when the Heads of the Kuki, and Kuzumi
Families tried to leave, Mai called them to a stop.
“Kuki-dono, Kuzumi-dono, please wait for a moment.”
“Is something the matter?”
“There is something I would like to ask of you two. Would you
mind giving me a little bit of your time?”
The Heads of the Kuki and Kuzumi Families nodded. When
the other Members of the 18 Assistant Houses finished retiring,
only the Ten Master Clans’ remained, as well as two families
bearing the Number “Nine”, for a total of 12 names.
“What did you want to ask of us?”
“Futatsugi-dono, allow me to take it from here.”
The one who stopped Mai had been Shippou Takumi, the
newest member of the Ten Master Clans.
“Kuki-dono, Kuzumi-dono. Even though my family was
bestowed the honor of being part of the Ten Master Clans, quite
frankly, we don’t have the numbers that would be required to
fulfill our duties. Normally we would have to take the
supervision of the Kyoto area in Kudou-dono’s stead, but this is
too big a duty for my family in its current state.”
“In that case, why don’t you ask for Yotsuba-dono or
Futatsugi-dono’s help? If Kyoto is a problem, then Ichijou-dono
also has responsibilities towards this area.”
Takumi shook his head with a smile at the proposal by the
Head of the Kuki Family.
“That is also an idea. However, I want the Kudou Family to
continue to watch over the Kyoto-Shiga and the Kii Peninsula. Of
course, the Shippou Family doesn’t plan on only making
demands. I would like every one of the ‘Nine’ to lend my family
After a moment of wide-eyed surprise, the Heads of the Kuki
and Kuzumi Families smiled broadly.
“I will consult about this matter with Makoto-sama, we will
definitely have a positive answer.”
“I’m counting on you.”
Takumi bowed deeply, the Heads of both the Kuki and the
Kuzumi Families also bowed politely.
After their departure, a somewhat relaxed mood drifted in the
“Well then, let’s continue the Master Clans Conference.”
‘A counter-plan to the Humanist ideology right?”
Mai’s words invited this question.
“No, before that we have to talk about this suspicious ship
spotted near Izu.”
The one who had interrupted was Gouki.
“Ichijou-dono... There’s no hurry now is there?”
Although Isami reproved him with a shocked expression,
“If it is a terrorist ship, I can’t imagine the other side will keep
Gouki didn’t yield.
“I don’t mind, Itsuwa-dono.”
The one who answered with this was Kouichi, who had
regained his usual composure overnight.
“Then let’s hear more about this matter.”
Although Kouichi’s attitude was the same as ever, it appeared
that Gouki didn’t want to associate with him anymore. For
someone like Gouki, secret communication with the enemy was
an inexcusable act.
“There was no reaction when searching for a Magician on the
freighter Yotsuba-dono gave us coordinates for. Neither weapons
nor ammunition were found on board.”
“Did you find anything?”
“There is a possibility that explosives were being transported.
Since it’s also possible that the ship will be used for escape
purposes, we plan on keeping it under observation.”
“How about the USNA’s movements?”
Taking Gouki’s momentum, this time it was Katsuto’s turn to
‘An agent has been dispatched. In other words, the group that
has betrayed the USNA has been found out, but they’re not being
that tactful about things. It’s quite possible that this duty wasn’t
an order from the USNA Government itself.”
“In other words, a favorite hunter of theirs is on the prowl,
“The cruiser that Yotsuba-dono received information on was
confirmed as outside of territorial waters. He could unexpectedly
be hiding out there.”
Hearing Kouichi’s answer, Isami wore a pensive expression.
“If its at sea, should I go and poke around? It should be
possible to camouflage it into an accident using the natural
“The problem isn’t so much the hunter from the USNA, but the
terrorists that have infiltrated our country.”
At Isami’s proposal, Atsuko brought forth a diametrically
“That is certainly the case. We have no evidence of their
presence at the moment, but we also don’t have any evidence of
their absence. It’s really worrying that we don’t even know if
they’re lurking about.”
Raizou was supporting Atsuko’s argument.
“They might even be targeting this very Master Clans
Conference for all we know.”
This must have been a pure coincidence.
However, it was the truth.
Immediately after Raizou had said this, an overpowering sound
accompanied by powerful vibrations invaded the conference
February 5 th , 2097 A.D., 10:33 AM
It was currently break time between second and third period at
A buzzing sound came from Tatsuya’s pocket as he was
heading towards the Practice Room, it was an emergency signal.
Taking out his terminal and confirming the contents, you could
read on his face that something terrible had just happened.
“Sorry, go on ahead without me!”
Tatsuya left his classmates, among which was Mizuki, and
dashed towards the Practice Room.
Tatsuya, who had received his teacher Jennifer Smith’s blessing
to leave early, met Miyuki on the way towards the main gate.
“Onii-sama also received the emergency signal?”
Miyuki, whose face had lost all trace of color, asked Tatsuya
with a short sentence.
Tatsuya answered with an even shorter sentence.
Although Miyuki had nodded and was about to hasten her
pace, a voice called her from the behind.
Minami came out of the entrance, accompanied by her
classmate Saegusa Kasumi, as well as her sister Izumi and last
but not least, Shippou Takuma. All of them were related to the
Ten Master Clans. All of them, with the exception of Minami,
were blood-related to the Ten Master Clans.
Izumi ran towards Miyuki.
“So it wasn’t a false alarm then!”
Miyuki nodded to her question.
Izumi started to tremble uncontrollably.
“We’re going to see what happened for ourselves. What about
all of you.”
Tatsuya, who was just a step away, asked the freshmen.
“I’m coming too.”
Takuma immediately answered so.
“We’re going as well.”
Kasumi grasped her trembling sister’s hand.
Minami came closer to Miyuki. So that she could shield her at a
Leading the group, Tatsuya and the five other people hastened
towards the station.
< — >
During the same time, at Third High.
“Masaki, what happened!”
Masaki had dashed out of the classroom after having asked
permission to leave early. Kichijouji, who had run after him until
he was out of breath, asked such.
“My old man has been attacked.”
Regretting even the time spent looking back, Masaki answered.
‘An attack? But... Right about now it should still be in the
middle of the Master Clans Conf.
“I’m saying that the Master Clans Conference was the victim of
a terrorist attack.”
“What did you say!”
Seeing Kichijouji at a loss for words, Masaki turned around.
“I can’t be sure about what exactly happened from the
emergency signal alone. I only know that he’s still alive. I’m
heading there by helicopter. I’m counting on you to watch over
Akane and the others.”
‘A-alright, I get it! Be careful, Masaki.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Masaki wasn’t heading home, he was heading towards the
Simultaneously, at the Magic University.
“Saegusa-san, something the matter.”
During a lesson that was in the form of a debate, the female
teacher called out to Mayumi.
“My apologies, Sensei. Could I borrow your ear for a moment.”
With a dark expression floating on her face, Mayumi walked
with quick—steps towards the teacher’s desk.
She discreetly showed the teacher her terminal which was still
displaying the emergency signal.
Just as the teacher was about to raise her voice, she managed to
keep it under control with a gesture, she then brought her ear
“I recall the people in my family were rather anxious. My older
brothers might even attempt to go on-site, I would like to go back
home and try to have everyone settle down.”
The teacher nodded with a serious look.
Not letting her classmates feel any ambiguity, Mayumi
announced with a smile and a slightly apologetic expression that
she had to leave for familial business.
< * * >
The explosion had occurred right behind the conference room’s
doors, crimson flames licked the walls.
However, those flames were extinguished at once.
Not a single member of the Master Clans Conference had a
bruise. Both the heat and the impact were completely hampered
by Katsuto’s heatproof shield.
“Mutsuzuka-dono as well, as expected.”
The erasure of the flames was caused by Mutsuzuka Atsuko’s
Heat Manipulation. For the Magicians of the “Six”, putting out a
flame that couldn’t even melt steel was child’s play.
“We should probably head towards the exit. If we get buried
alive, it’ll be too much of a bother to escape.”
While Futatsugi Mai was prohibiting the oxidation of the
structure from the heat so there would be no spreading of
poisonous fumes, she made that comment with a composed voice.
‘Agreed. It seems like a considerably large-scale suicide¬
bombing operation has begun.”
While Mitsuya Gen had several magics’ on standby, he nodded
to Mai’s words.
“Puppet terrorists! Such a terrible thing they’ve done.”
Gouki clicked his tongue intensely upon seeing the suicide
bombing continue. Puppet terrorism was basically suicide
bombing using humans as puppets to perform the act. Using
Magic or drugs to make human dolls out of human beings, there
were also ways to deprive someone of self-control with magic.
What Gouki sensed was the latter, a magic that controlled the
flesh. He felt slow-moving presences in the first floor’s lobby, as
well as the corridors of every floor, it seemed to be going
Although the Ichijou family and the Magicians of the “One”
were skilled in Magic that interfered with the flesh and body,
magic that manipulates the movement of the body has always
been forbidden. There have been examples of “losing one’s
number” for those who ignored that law. That is why even if
Gouki understood what exactly was happening, he didn’t know
how to stop this wicked thing known as Puppet Terrorism.
“This is bad.”
Sensing that the floor was about to collapse, Yatsushiro Raizou
executed Gravity-Control Magic. It wasn’t comparable to the one
used for Flight Magic, and lifting an area of this size which lost
all support required tremendous effort.
“Let’s make haste.”
Everyone nodded to Kouichi’s words, Maya, Mai and Atsuko
left the room, the ten Magicians aimed for the outside as a group.
Aiming at the bombers who were roaming around in the
corridors, Ichijou Gouki unleashed “Rupture”.
“They aren’t suicide bombers. They’re just manipulated corpses
The flow of insults that Gouki, who had just blown off a
corpse’s arm to obstruct the detonation procedure, was spitting in
an angry voice, surpassing the others’expectations.
To prevent getting buried due to the crumbling floor, the leaders
of the Ten Master Clans decided to go to the rooftop and jump off
from there while disposing of the occasional corpse bomber they
It was Mitsuya Gen and Saegusa Kouichi who were the fastest
in taking action towards the bombers. There was a technique
that originally allowed one to perform up to a maximum of nine
different Magic Sequences at the same time, then store them to
allow a simultaneous, instantaneous release of all of them.
“Speed-Loader”, using Kouichi’s “Octet” allowed him to maintain
8 different Magics from 4 different Systems on standby and select
which Magic he needed to deal with a wide variety of situations
instantly. The walking corpses could not even hope to approach
The odd time an explosion couldn’t be prevented, the multi¬
layered defensive wall “Phalanx” was the perfect tool.
Raizou’s Gravity-Control Magic was there to prevent the
ground from suddenly falling under their feet.
Atsuko’s Heat Manipulation Magic could erase any fire.
Futatsugi Mai would remove the poisonous fumes, Maya was
acting as a flashlight in those lightless corridors once the flames
were put out.
Itsuwa Isami and Shippou Takumi didn’t have a chance to do
It was impossible for those bomb-carrying corpses to kill or
even wound any of them.
The Family Heads had already noticed this fact.
“It’s going to be tough finding a countermeasure to the Media.”
Gen complained all the while making Swiss cheese out of the
“I guess we have no way of deceiving them at all.”
While putting out a wall of flames, Atsuko made a comment
with a tone of resignation.
‘Although we managed to get a photograph of the fact that it
was corpses who were holding the bombs... I think revealing this
to the public would have quite the negative effect.”
Isami, who had given up on any hope of getting a turn at doing
anything, he agreed while taking photos.
“Still, I doubt purposely injuring ourselves would help much, if
Hearing Maya s point, Raizou shrugged his shoulders.
“Shall we hide until the flames of their fury cool down.”
Raizou s comment which might have been either a joke or a
serious statement, no voice of objection came.
< — >
February 5 th , 2097 A.D., 10:30 A.M.
The number of victims of the Hakone XXXX Hotels terror
bombings came out to be 22, and it became a disaster with as
many as 34 casualties.
Furthermore, the number of uninjured people was 33. The
number of Magicians among them was 27.
The harshest criticism came from the public opinions of those
who claimed that the Magicians had prioritized their own well¬
being above that of others.
(Electronic version of the newspaper dating from February 6 th
Have you enjoyed, “Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei” Volume 17
“Master Clans Conference Arc”
? This time around action
wasn’t a factor, instead I tried to introduce plenty of love-hate
components. (Lie) Not all of the men and woman are pessimistic
about the establishment of the Class One couple. I think the
majority is rather ‘glad” and would congratulate the two of
them, and those who are on the side of “They are stuck together
willfully” will think that it’s common. As for the couple
themselves, if people think about them living as an established
couple later on, it would probably be best to have them give their
But due to people being friends, acquaintances, and perhaps
something that should be expected from a rival’s grief, it isn’t
rare for “lover” relationships to be formed. They’re certainly
present within today’s world. Surely the majority lies in this
direction for fictional worlds.
However, speaking of established couples who were urged by
their parents... How’s this: I think the author himself should
become engaged before they officially become a couple. Well with
the case (Refrained due to Spoilers), the person himself might be
thankful since he has a clear mind to do as such. There are tons
of late-bloomers though.
But I think (Refrained to due Spoilers) is an extreme nuisance.
One’s true feelings get set aside.
Although it was slightly different from the previous
illustrations, Lina had appeared in the storyline for around one
year now. She is an easy character to write so I really want to
include her a lot more... as of now, she has yet to depart from
America. Even though she’s appeared on stage for a while,
perhaps it will take form this time. Too bad.
Well, the next book will be “Master Clans Conference (II)”. This
section will be made up of three parts just like the “Visitors Arc”.
The content will be similar to that of the “Visitors Arc”. You
might say that the games “Out of Order” and “Lost Zero” are
...Since I won’t try to “not spoil anything anymore”, please look
forward to enjoying the next book “Master Clans Conference Arc