Chapter 3 - Red Glare

After shaking off Inquisitors pursuing him, Hayato reached his destination on foot.

The location was an underpass near the border. The tunnels under the border were dug in a rush during the war and turned into a wide labyrinth, not even Inquisition had grasped it fully.

It was a perfect escape route and a hiding place for criminals.

Hayato has memorized its map. The location he was in was used for transportation of goods using trolleys during the war. The closed space and moisture felt in the air would normally wear away anyone. It was unthinkable anyone would set a foot here.

Not bothered, Hayato proceeded while brushing away spider nests.

After walking on the old rails for about an hour he finally found it.

It could be called a small station, there was a small space next to the rails. It was the underpass the witches' army had arbitrarily used. Surely, it must have been used as a waiting space. Fifteen years ago a witches troop used magic of Earth property and have managed to launch a surprise attack from under the ground at speed unthinkable to happen with the current mining technology.

Since it was something last used fifteen years ago it had aged severely, but given the years it was still firm and wasn't near collapsing.

Hayato stood on a small platform and opened iron door in the back.

With flash light in one hand he looked around the room. Rather than station's staff room, it was a goods depot. The documents and magical circles drawn by hand required for instant charms generation have remained intact.

While there was evidence of being ravaged, but there was lots of things left intact like a purchased magic teaching certificate and such.

Hayato looked around the room once and had lit up the floor under a bookshelf.

On the floor with dust piled up on it there was a faint sign of something being dragged.

He put a hand on the bookshelf and casually he pulled it to the left side. The bookshelf on the wall was a classic hidden door.

"............"

After using a keypick Hayato intruded inside in about three seconds.

Without even a scowl from feeling the moist and dusty air he checked the hidden room.

There was a table and a number of documents on a small bookshelf.

On top of the table there was a single letter and a lantern, as well as something which looked like liquor bottle.

Something like a pale blue liquid was placed in the bottle.

Hayato picked up the letter and read it under the light.

In there, was the will written down by his former boss.

 

——Kurogane, head to Critical Point. I hid the truth about Ootori Sougetsu in there. However, resolve yourself if you wish to know it.

In the end, I who have a family don't have the resolve required to challenge that man.

The liquid filling the vial is used to release a Relic Eater from Ootori Sougetsu's supervision. It's a substance from another world. Use it as you please.

If you are prepared to turn the entire world into your enemies to enforce your law, head forward.

Mineshiro Kazuma.

 

After reading the entire letter written in short sentences, Hayato,

"...Hmph."

Snorted mockingly, appalled.

"You act quite self-importantly despite not enforcing your beliefs..."

Muttering so, he turned over to the second page of the letter.

On the second page was something like a short postscript.

 

I really hated you.

That's why you're the only one of my co-workers I involve in this.

 

Hayato made a distorted smile.

While it was distorted, in his squinting expression there was something like nostalgia.

——The human called Kurogane Hayato was born broken. At the same time he had a sort of talent. However, for his broken spirit this talent was too great.

Even now, Hayato thought that his past self was not qualified to hold that power.

The one who gave him the qualification, was Ouka's foster father, Mineshiro Kazuma.

 

***

 

It was a story from about ten years before, when Kurogane Hayato had become an Inquisitor.

The top student who had graduated from AntiMagic Academy and the youngest "Dullahan" at the time... that was Hayato.

Hayato was enlisted in the Zeroth Extermination Riot Police "EXE" and met its captain, Mineshiro Kazuma.

『"I wonder why... you smell to me like a shitty bastard."』

That was the first thing Mineshiro Kazuma said after meeting Hayato.

Kazuma disliked Hayato right from the start. He acted in that manner to everyone, but it could be said that it was more intense towards Hayato.

Shitty bastard.

Being told that, Hayato didn't show neither a positive nor negative reaction and saluting, he kept his calm.

After living a life of being abused, it was something he was told by a lot of people so it didn't inspire any feelings of anger or frustration in him.

That he doesn't have many emotions, that he shouldn't have been born, it wasn't that. Just simply, their feelings could be summarized as if he was a "hindrance" to them just by living, he understood that well.

It was like that since his childhood.

He only thought of efficiency in everything, considered what was needed and acted upon it.

Always having an extraordinary situation judgment ability and an outstanding instinct allowing him to avoid risk.

The most noteworthy thing was his physical ability that was hard to believe to be that of a human. Even though the person himself didn't try as hard, his athletic abilities were much higher than those of a human's. He didn't train his body nor had any knowledge. And yet when it came to moving his body he could demonstrate outstanding skills.

In short, he was able to do anything without putting any effort.

Because of that he was despised as a psychopath or a robot. To top it off he creeped out his parents and was forced to live alone from an early age.

Even so, that didn't make Hayato sad in the least.

To him, it was a good thing since it was more efficient to live alone.

Since he had a talent, he took advantage of it to the fullest. He wanted to try how far would it take him. If there was the bottom of it, he wanted to reach it.

Thinking so, Hayato frequented the library and accumulated knowledge.

In the process, he learned how were humans like him called.

The legendary existences in history called "Heroes" had all without exception abnormal bodily and intellectual specs. Despite not possessing any magical power, an existence surpassing others in every field. That was a hero.

Aberrant individuals like that seemed to have been called "Hero Vessels".

I see, I'm probably that. Hayato thought without feeling anything special.

And then he thought of what would be the environment and circumstances for him to live to the fullest.

After picking out things that interested him, he ended up with two.

To involve himself with evil and rule over this world.

To become a guardian of the law and protect this world.

Hayato didn't mind doing either, he was interested in both of them.

Once he decided on one he just had to carry through with it.

Honestly perform the role.

That's what he decided.

And Hayato made his choice——by flipping a coin.

『"Caligula's contractors are never guys any decent. They all have a problem with their mentality. Will you be no exception?"』

After becoming a Dullahan and contracting with the Relic Eater "Caligula" on the first day he was told that by Kazuma, to which Hayato responded with.

『"Ever since I was born I have adhered to the law."』

Kazuma looked at Hayato with darkness in his eyes, wanting to hit him from the bottom of his heart as blood vessels appeared on his temple.

Since then, Kazuma and Hayato clashed many times.

It seemed like Hayato's straightforward personality that focused on key points was apparently irritating Kazuma. He didn't move as ordered because he gave priority to efficiency, questioned Kazuma's captain's orders, he was an extraordinarily cheeky rookie beyond help.

Hayato was rash and brilliant, he has had many achievements immediately after being enlisted but he often went against instructions. From Hayato's perspective, he thought that Kazuma was inferior to him and a hindrance he regarded as a failure.

His excellence could be seen through the number of arrests, but the cases Hayato had undertaken ended up having many victims among civilians. While Kazuma had no mercy for the enemy and was given a nickname of "Red Glare", he strove to minimize damage among the civilians.

The two similar yet conflicting people clashed desperately.

Although EXE members often moved independently, Kazuma appointed Hayato to act as his support. Hayato didn't understand his true intentions, but he thought that Kazuma as the captain intended to crush Hayato's inquisitor self.

In the end, Hayato didn't change. He just straightforwardly continued to protect the law, not having any consideration or sympathy to the victims from general public.

 

Half a year had elapsed since the two started working together.

The arrest target seemed to have had a phantom instrument emerge, basically it was a girl who had become a witch. Her phantom instrument was cracked and she released magical power outside as a result of having Overflow Complex.

The one who had arrived on the scene first was Hayato.

In the hotel's front lobby there were countless civilian corpses lying around. In the center of it, there was a female high school student crying, unable to restrain her magical power.

Hayato told her what are her rights and that he is going capture her.

Triggered by fear, more magical power overflowed from the frightened girl who was unable to anything.

Hayato shot the girl without hesitation.

He didn't kill her. Hayato determined that at this level there was no need to kill her.

With his gun he shot through all of her four limbs, the girl, crying from pain had lost her consciousness.

And when Hayato was handcuffing the girl, Kazuma who had come late punched him and sent him flying. Hayato didn't know why was he hit nor he had any interest in knowing.

Kazuma looked like anger incarnate as he grasped Hayato's chest and lifted him up.

『"What is anti-magic to you?"』

『"In what meaning?"』

『"What is ours, Inquisitors objective."』

『"Capturing criminals who use magic. Seizing Magical Heritages. Catching witches and sorcerers who have magical power in their bodies and are a threat to the general public."』

『"Then I'll ask, is that girl a criminal?"』

『"No. It's an ex-civilian who had become a witch just now."』

『"Then why did you shoot?! You shot a civilian with your gun!"』

As the angry voice resounded, Kurogane tilted his head.

『"Self-defense. If she was left as is she would cause a magical disaster and increase the amount of victims. I have also given priority to my own life and have firmly taken action."』

『"With your strength it should have been easy for you to arrest her! Where do you see a need to shoot her limbs! That girl is a victim!"』

『"A victim... that is wrong. That girl is the arrest target. Not a victim. Shooting her limbs saves us time."』

『"......!!"』

『"It can be also found among the law regarding our duties. Article 7, if the target is a witch or a sorcerer, if the target is considered dangerous Inquisitor is allowed to fire regardless of whether the target has any intent to kill."』

『"............"』

『"I adhere to the law."』

Indifferently saying that, Hayato attempted to shake off Kazuma's hand.

He thought it was getting tiresome.

However, still grasping Hayato's chest and raising him up, Kazuma moved his face right in front of Hayato's.

『"Those who don't have law in their heart aren't qualified to be Inquisitors...!!"』

Then just like that Kazuma let go of Hayato, pushing him forward and called Seelie reinforcements.

At the same time as he was released, Hayato fixed his roughened collar and returned to his duties while maintaining his calm.

However, Kazuma's words have mysteriously remained in his head.

Kazuma's back, who has turned around on his heel had engraved itself in Hayato's mind.

 

A year after that, there was an incident.

Something has happened during the investigation of a professional witch trafficking organization "Red Butterfly's Insect Cage" they had been pursuing for many years.

Kazuma and Hayato requested Banshees to go infiltrate while undercover and put an effort towards resolving the case.

In the course of the investigation some suspicions have surfaced.

There was a possibility of Inquisition and Insect Cage having a collusion.

Rather than aim at destroying of Insect Cage, Hayato insisted on following the trail leading to Inquisition, but Kazuma has decided to continue normal investigation.

『"Why?"』

『"What we should prioritize now are the trapped, innocent witches. If it's known that we're looking into the trail leading to Inquisition, the information will be relayed to Insect Cage and the witches will be killed to conceal everything."』

『"I think it's obvious which one should be given a higher priority."』

『"I didn't ask you for opinion."』

Hayato knew well just how stubborn Kazuma was since he was his subordinate for three years already. Rather than go against him, Hayato who listened to orders and always thought of best solutions didn't say anything else.

A week later.

Information was leaked somewhere and before EXE could rush in all the captured witches have been disposed of. After getting rid of the remaining members of Insect Cage who purchased the stock, Hayato found Kazuma's figure kneel in front of one of the corpses.

『"............Captain?"』

Seeing Kazuma hunch over and tremble, Hayato was slightly surprised.

Beside him lied a girl's body. Used as a tool in order to birth humans with magical power, she was one of the witches used as a commodity.

It was the person who had cooperated with EXE during the investigation.

A fragile girl with a striking sunset-colored hair.

『"............"』

Without saying anything Kazuma crouched in front of the girl.

His back looked so small, Hayato laughed through is nose.

『"I've told you. If this was to happen, we should have changed the investigation policy."』

『"............"』

『"Instead, everything was in vain. The situation is worse than expected. The executives have escaped, all witches were killed. Since products would have been disposed off anyway, we should have gotten any information possible on collusion."』

It's your fault.

It was because of your immature, irrational decision——

『"It wasn't in vain."』

Kazuma stood up and said so.

He turned around and slowly walked towards the exit.

On his chest there was a baby that was born not long ago. Judging from the little of growing hair's color, it was the child of the dead girl.

Smiling sadly, Kazuma passed by Hayato's side while holding the baby.

『"This is the law I believe in, the way of an Inquisitor I believe in. Kurogane."』

When they passed by each other, that's what Kazuma said.

Hayato turned around and looked at Kazuma's back.

That back of his looked very big. Burdened with various things, hurt, troubled and yet it was a back of a man who lived according to his firm and noble beliefs.

『"Law isn't there just for itself."』

『"............"』

『"Law is there to protect people. I believe so. I think it would be good if a time was to come when you understand it."』

Opening the door, Kazuma left the Insect Cage's hideout. Looking at the strong and big back bathed in the sunlight, for the first time Hayato had become interested in the human called Mineshiro Kazuma.

Or rather, an interest in his beliefs has sprung up.

He thought of making sure.

How far does the law he believes in can go.

 

Since then, Hayato became more reckless than ever when fulfilling his duties. What changed, is that he didn't go against Kazuma's orders and refrained from independent action, he also cooperated with his comrades. Although the essence of what he did hasn't changed, but by moving accordingly to orders he thought he would be able to understand Mineshiro Kazuma.

He wanted to know the meaning of the words Kazuma said when he was turned with his back to Hayato back then.

Although he was a problem child, Hayato had gradually adapted and was accepted by comrades from EXE.

The line between those who could be saved and those who couldn't was obscured for him, he learned that if he discards efficiency and uses all his strength he can get unexpected results.

By learning that, the number of those he was able to save had naturally increased further and further.

Little by little, he felt he was starting to understand Kazuma who was his aim. A few years after the case of Insect Cage, Hayato had rose up to the position of EXE's vice captain.

However, on the other hand Kazuma often left Hayato in charge of EXE. Other members have speculated that he was probably busy with a different investigation, but Hayato knew that wasn't the case.

That was because he was asked by Ootori Sougetsu to investigate Kazuma.

『"It seems like he's hanging out with a strange bunch. The so-called dissidents. They're dissatisfied with the current situation in Inquisition and are something like terrorists dealing with espionage... he seems to work with a bunch like that."』

『"...so it's still uncertain, isn't it."』

『"Yes, it just 'seems'. That's why I want you investigate him. This is the Chairman's direct order, you cannot refu——"』

『"I humbly accept."』

Hayato decided immediately.

In his mind, he was glad to be the one to receive the request. In the first place no one else other than him was able to find out what Kazuma was hiding and he didn't want anyone else to get in the way of witnessing the fate of Kazuma's law. It was better to go by himself and investigate it.

Since then, Hayato continued to tail Kazuma. If he really did aid the terrorists,

"So that's how far your law goes." is what he would say right in front of him.

He had an idea why did Kazuma joined the dissidents. The collusion of Insect Cage and Inquisition changed his suspicions to confidence and he had turned to the enemy in order to overturn the current system.

If in spite of being guilty of betrayal Kazuma tries to make excuses, Hayato won't hesitate to execute him on spot for a crime of leaving the side of law.

However, Kazuma had suddenly called Hayato to the old base of the Insect Cage and when they finished speaking of old times, he abruptly said.

『"I'm retiring. I think of leaving the EXE to you."』

He had already submitted his resignation to Inquisition and nominated Hayato to be the next captain. With just that, Hayato opened his eyes wide in shock.

『"Why?"』

『"Hmm. I have a wife and children, I think I'm approaching the limit. I'm not young any more. I want to live the rest of my life with my family."』

Even though Kazuma always spoke in a strong tone of voice, just this time he spoke leniently.

Hayato, who normally hadn't displayed any emotions and discarded them as a hindrance for some reason had his vision stained red, he was overflowing with anger.

『"——Stop screwing around. You betrayed Inquisition and intended to join the dissidents haven't you. I've already found you out."』

He didn't notice that he had spoken emotionally.

Hayato felt betrayed. Kazuma continued to preach him about the way of an Inquisitor and the law, Hayato didn't think he was the person who would betray his own way and law.

Back then, what was that prideful back of his Kazuma showed.

Kazuma was slightly dumbfounded, then made a bitter smile.

『"So you are able to make that kind of expression now. You really changed, Kurogane."』

Hayato took out a gun from his pocket and pointed it at Kazuma.

『"Don't change the topic. Answer. Do you intend to betray us?"』

Although Hayato fired the gun to intimidate him, Kazuma answered quietly without any agitation.

『"It's true that I'm a member of the dissidents. However, I'm not quitting Inquisition because of the dissident faction. It's true that I leave for my own family."』

『"............"』

『"I knew that Inquisition has taken notice of my movements. If I continued, I would become a criminal. I can't afford to inconvenience my family."』

『"............"』

『"That's how it is. Shoot, if you want to."』

Kazuma's words made it seem as if he was confident Hayato won't shoot.

That was why Hayato has become increasingly frustrated.

『"What are you hiding... you aren't a man who would throw away your beliefs just like that. There has to be something more decisive. In the first place, didn't you think of telling me about the dissidents?"』

『"I wouldn't do that. While your nasty personality didn't change, you aren't your old self any more."』

Kazuma stared straight at Hayato.

Hayato was furious. His hair almost stood up from anger, the muscle on his cheek convulsed and the his facial expression was distorted.

There wouldn't be a problem if he killed a traitor. He would be able to kill two birds with one stone, he would at the same time eliminate a man who had evidence of Inquisition being connected to Insect Cage.

And yet, he didn't shoot.

Killing him, would be going against the law that was now inside of Hayato.

Looking at Hayato who didn't shoot, Kazuma smiled lightly.

『"I leave EXE to you."』

Then, he lightly his Hayato's chest with a fist, turned around on his heel and walked outside.

Hayato lowered his gun and spat out his indecisive feelings.

『"Mineshiro Kazuma! Was your belief only this much?! What about the law inside of you?!"』

Kazuma didn't stop.

『"If your law is to protect people, then prove it to me! I still haven't acknowledged you!"』

And yet, Hayato continued to call out to his back.

『"——!! What about EXE?! Are you leaving us behind...?!"』

His fist trembling, he shouted as if he was spitting blood.

Just for a moment, still turned with his back Kazuma stopped.

『"...if it's the current you, everyone will follow you."』

Kazuma left like that and never came back.

It was the last time Hayato saw Kazuma alive.

 

『"——He's clean. He had nothing to do with the dissidents."』

For the result of the investigation of Mineshiro Kazuma, he said so.

He wasn't really covering for Kazuma.

Hayato just didn't see a need to chase a person who had left the Inquisition.

After being appointed the captain Hayato continued to steadily amass achievements. Since he served as the school's student council president, he was used to being in command.

He didn't try to imitate Kazuma. Hayato intended to lead the EXE in his own way.

And yet, his comrades trust him very much.

Hayato didn't know if something has changed inside of him.

Five years after he had taken up the duties as the captain, he was suddenly contacted by Kazuma.

A single e-mail had arrived in his mobile phone.

『"If something was to happen to me, I leave my daughters and wife to you."』

That was all the content in the mail.

Kazuma wasn't being himself if he requested such a thing.

There was nothing that could be done with Kazuma and his family. At the moment they were busy with the skirmish against Valhalla, lost some comrades at times, which had pushed EXE into a critical situation.

However, he didn't think in the least that judgment would give birth to such a tragedy.

 

In the early morning of the next day, Hayato visited Kazuma's home.

A premonition. Foreboding. The word didn't matter. While he was fighting against Valhalla's Haunted, he had a premonition that something was happening behind his back.

Immediately after arriving at the home Hayato noticed an anomaly.

It was too quiet. There was no signs of living.

Hayato pulled out the gun and stood in the entrance, vigilant.

He opened the door.

The moment he entered inside he could smell blood in his nostrils.

There were bloodstains on the floor. Following them, he went to the living room.

He flung the doors open and rushed in holding a handgun.

『"———"』

With eyes wide open, Hayato was at loss for words.

A scene worth being called a tragedy had appeared in front of him.

Two bodies lied in front of the TV as if embracing each other.

A corpse of a young child fallen in the middle of the living room.

And, soaking in the light of morning sun, lying on her knees a stunned girl watching this sight.

Hayato slowly lowered his gun, then got on one knee to check the pulse in the bodies.

Kazuma and his wife were dead.

He stood up and went to the living room's center.

The girl with sunset-colored hair overlooked the child's body.

Her hair was familiar. That hair was the same as that of the girl used by Insect Cage in order to give birth to products. This girl must have been her child.

Hayato heard that Kazuma had adopted a child from his co-workers.

He didn't think it would be the child from back then.

It was very much like Kazuma, it could be said it was so much like him it made Hayato appalled.

He could see at a glance that the child in the center was no longer breathing.

The girl with sunset-colored hair was alive.

She was alive.

That was all.

『"............"』

Hayato holstered the gun and walked up to the girl.

He didn't know what to do, since he was born it was the first time he experienced something like this.

She must have continued to cry all day. She had remainder of tears on her cheek. Dried up lips, eyes of a cloudy color and a broken heart.

What was happened in this place was something he could roughly guess.

Magical circles burned in the room, a bloodied knife, blood splashed all over.

Mineshiro Kazuma, his wife and daughter... were killed by this girl.

The arrangement of the magical circles was for something similar to mental contamination magic.

This girl was manipulated by a witch to kill her family. He could tell judging from the magical circles that the magic didn't take over her consciousness. It only deprived her of ability to move her own body and killed her family while having her retain consciousness intact.

It was an experience too heavy for a young girl to bear.

『"............"』

His head cooled off. Hayato automatically organized information and discarded emotions that got in the way.

Nothing could be done after it had already happened. A retired inquisitor being killed is something that happens often. Much less Kazuma who had cooperated with the dissidents. Prepared for that, he still formed a family.

Whether was it Inquisition that killed him, dissidents or maybe someone who had a grudge on him was something Hayato would definitely investigate.

First, I'll contact headquarters for support, let forensics examine the scene and then——

 

——Those who don't have law in their heart aren't qualified to be Inquisitors.

『"............"』

Unexpectedly, Kazuma's back has crossed his mind.

His hand that was about to pull out the mobile stopped and Hayato narrowed his eyes.

Hayato walked up to the girl and lifted her up.

He didn't know how to hold children, only imitated it. Just like Kazuma had held her when she was still a baby.

Doing this is for the best, that's what he had judged.

The girl just continued to stare in the air with darkness in her eyes.

Hayato said.

Thinking it is right, his own words.

『"...it's all right now."』

『"............"』

『"It's all right."』

He didn't know any smart words he could say.

However, the words that hardly could be taken as consolation certainly have seemed to reach the girl. A moment after the girl looked up at Hayato with darkness in her eyes, she fainted as if her threads were cut.

The weight on his arms had increased.

He wondered if Mineshiro Kazuma had felt this weight on his arms back then.

No... the weight Kazuma felt, was weight of a life he saved.

The weight Hayato was holding now, was the weight of life he didn't save.

If he rushed here faster, the result might have changed. If it was himself from the past, he would treat Kazuma's life and the girl's spirit as a trivial problem in comparison to chasing the Valhalla.

Right now, he regretted this situation.

The fact, that if he came faster he might have been able to save them.

『"............"』

In the past he thought of feelings like this as of a hindrance. Right now, he thought of regret as of a necessary emotion.

He was unconvinced by the fact that he was convinced of that.

To be precise, the fact that he was influenced by Kazuma hurt him a little bit.

Even now he couldn't acknowledge Kazuma overall. He was a human full of shortcomings. He involved himself with dissidents. Casually adopting this girl, having a family in the first place despite being an inquisitor, all of it wasn't an example to follow. Troubled by many things, being hurt, his stubbornness and conviction that he was right was all annoying.

And yet.

『"...I have learned a lot, Captain."』

He was grateful to Kazuma.

Hayato was grateful for making him notice emotions are by no means a hindrance. For making him notice the law inside of him.

He thought of 'saving everything' as pretentious.

And hadn't personal attachments like Kazuma.

However——he will save lives even if he has to discard efficiency and give his all.

In order not to taste this regret again... that, was the law of Kurogane Hayato.

 

——In a certain prefecture, in a certain mountain village.

A first-type contamination alert had been announced, all the EXE members have been called in a certain event some time after Mineshiro Kazuma's death.

An unidentified witch or a fantastical creature had appeared and was said to have swallowed an entire village whole.

After looking down at the scene from the helicopter in the sky, Hayato jumped down.

A sea of screaming, red meat. Nestled in the center of it was a white figure.

Although he had no idea what was it, without a doubt it was an immeasurable threat.

Hayato continued rapid fire from Caligula as he dropped and ensured a landing point by blowing away the red meat, then landed in it without a parachute.

Making a hand sign he had the helicopter evacuate and faced the figure.

In the center of the red meat that had eroded the village, she was there.

She looked at Hayato, shedding tears of blood.

『"...kill me..."』

She plead to Hayato.

Please kill me, she said.

Hayato squinted and pulled out two revolvers.

Then, he aimed the muzzles at it.

As if in peace, she made a smile while shedding tears.

『"Kill...Kiseki...I don't care...whatever...whoever...put me to rest. "』

As if she wished to be saved.

To her, death must have been a salvation. In order not to kill any more people, in order not to hate the world any longer, she wished to be killed.

Just these words of hers were enough to relay the entirety of her tragedy.

However, Hayato didn't intend to listen to what she wished for.

From inside of himself, he squeezed out the correct choice.

He asked the law inside of him.

Is she a victim? A perpetrator?

Whether she was to be killed.

Whether she was to be saved.

 

There was no need to think about it.

 

Hayato aimed his gun and put a finger on the trigger.

『"I refuse. That would go against my law."』

The one to be killed wasn't the girl, it was that.

The red meat that was eating into her.

Worthy of being called evil itself, a crystallization of heresy.

Hayato furrowed his eyebrows and had a magical circle appear under his feet.

Then aiming the silver and black guns, he said.

Desiring with supreme ardor——

 

***

 

"............"

His equipment was prepared.

After disassembling the guns and coating all their parts, Hayato had holstered "Caligula" and "Maximilian".

Then he spread oil lantern on the floor, As he was leaving the room he had thrown a lighter inside.

With flames climbing up behind him, Hayato walked forward with resounding footsteps.

"He hid it in a troublesome place..."

The place he headed to, was Critical Point in the Grey City.

To recover the documents left there by Mineshiro Kazuma.

Written in the documents was everything about Ootori Sougetsu.

Even if he tried to punish that man, his power and position were in the way. To drag down Ootori Sougetsu from the position of Inquisition Board's chairman, the truth about him was required.

In order to punish Ootori Sougetsu who had decided to use Kusanagi Kiseki as a weapon, despite the fact she was a target that was supposed to be saved, Hayato all alone had thrown himself into the midst of chaos.

Even if he had to oppose the Inquisition, in order to protect the law of an inquisitor that was inside of him, Hayato decided to fight.

Like blue flames, the anger inside of him had burned quietly.

 

***

 

《"The troop in pursuit was annihilated by Kurogane Hayato... my apologies."》

In response to the news from the newly remade EXE, Sougetsu hit the railing of his chair with fingers and laughed with an appalled expression.

"Well〜, I think it can't be helped with Kurogane Hayato as the opponent. But to be beat so hard by a flesh-and-blood opponent despite having a permission to use Relic Eater, EXE's name will cry, you know?"

《"Everyone has serious injuries but... there's no casualties. The third troop that was on standby is going to continued trailin——"》

"Since all the Riot Police was integrated into EXE drop the troop number calling. Above all, I don't care whether there were casualties or not. With Kurogane-kun as the opponent I think that serves as no excuse."

《"M-my apologies..."》

Seeing the subordinate immediately apologize, Sougetsu got fed up with him.

"As I thought, having many senior inquisitors was a huge blow... continue tailing him and continue to convey what's going on the field."

《"Tail him? He has already noticed our mov——"》

"It's obvious right from the start that you'll be noticed. The two old EXE members are heading there, you can just cling to them until they find Kurogane-kun's location. At the very least they should put up a better fight than you."

《"The two from old EXE... Jougasaki and Himemiya, is it...?"》

"That's right, the two of his subordinates."

Sougetsu sighed deeply and hung up.

Even though Riot Police was integrated into EXE, it would take some time until the chain of command is complete.

On top of that, the personnel's jobs and title changes were also enforced. A large number of senior inquisitors have been integrated into the newborn EXE, in particular the captains have submitted requests for transfer or resignation notifications. It wasn't limited to the inquisitors, but in organizations like this there were factions and groups that were at odds.

It's all trivial now that I have Hyakki Yakou but... it's getting more and more a pain in the ass.

I wish they were as easy to use as they used to be〜, thinking so, Sougetsu searched for Relic Eater's response.

The location of Caligula and Maximilian was——

...? There's no response? Was the link cut?

Furrowing his eyebrows a little, Sougetsu put a hand on his chin and thought.

Mistilteinn removing herself from under my management aside, Vlad and Nero have been in a similar condition for a while now. On top of that, now it's Caligula and Maximilian...

He stood up and whistling merrily, he continued to walk around in the chairman's office.

A Relic Eater that is a part of myself cutting off its link is practically impossible. Even if it's inside of the sanctuary, it cannot escape from being sensed by me. If by any chance they managed to cut off their link from me... that would mean they are in another world or...

He stopped his legs and dropped his line of sight at the floor, paved with red carpet.

They covered Relic Eaters with a substance that doesn't exist in this world, it's impossible without at least that much.

Inside of Sougetsu's head words have come afloat and faded away.

Relic Eaters, Kurogane Hayato, 35th Test Platoon, Heretic Alliance——and Mineshiro Kazuma.

He snapped his fingers soundly and returned back to his chair.

Sitting deep, he narrowed his eyes forming a crescent shape.

"Hmm... there's no proof, but, should I take a little look?"

From the profile, it looked like was having a little fun.

16 thoughts on “Chapter 3 - Red Glare

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  1. Jay

    It seemed like Hayato's straightforward personality that focused on key points was apparently irritating Kazuma. He didn't move as ordered because he gave priority to efficiency, questioned Kazuma's captain's orders, he was an extraordinarily cheeky rookie beyond help.
    ", questioning Kazuma captain's orders,"

    Then, he lightly his Hayato's chest with a fist, turned around on his heel and walked outside.
    "Then, he lightly [hit] Hayato's chest with a fist"

    Reply
  2. Bareus

    "A Relic Eater that is a part of myself cutting off its link is practically impossible." - now I really want to know what Sougetsu is... gnaaaaarf why did you had to try to spoil me krytyk q_q
    =======================
    Hayato stood on a small platform and opened iron door in the back.
    Hayato stood on a small platform and opened an iron door in the back.

    With flash light in one hand he looked around the room.
    With a flash light in one hand he looked around the room.

    While there was evidence of being ravaged, but there was lots of things left intact like a purchased magic teaching certificate and such.
    While there was evidence of being ravaged, but there was lots of things left intact like a purchased magic teaching certificate and such.
    While There was evidence of being ravaged, but there was lots of things left intact like a purchased magic teaching certificate and such.
    -> not sure, but it sounds wrong to me to use "while ..., but ..."-structure ...

    He put a hand on the bookshelf and casually he pulled it to the left side.
    He put a hand on the bookshelf and casually he pulled it to the left side.

    Hayato told her what are her rights and that he is going capture her.
    Hayato told her what are her rights and that he is going to capture her.

    What was happened in this place was something he could roughly guess.
    What has happened in this place was something he could roughly guess.

    Reply
  3. Tigre

    "『"Then why did you shoot?! You shot a civilian with your gun!"』

    As the angry voice resounded, Kyouya tilted his head.

    『"Self-defence. If she was left as is she would cause a magical disaster and increase the amount of victims. I have also given priority to my own life and have firmly taken action."』"

    I assume having the name Kyouya there is a typo of some sorts?

    Reply
      1. Tigre

        It happens to the best of us occasionally, at least the mix-up was another male character. I don't need to repeat some of the awkward stories I had to write for school where I mixed up characters of different genders.

        Reply
  4. Otto.Tre-K

    Krytyk uses "4 chapters in a week"! It is super effective!

    ... Please forgive me, I had to do it. With that said, I would like to thank you for the new release and also for the work you have done (and will do) on the older volumes of AMA.
    I read the reviosened chapters of the first volume and was astonished by the amount of changes and by how rewarding they are to read now. Really a great work. Thank you.

    On another note, correct me if I am wrong, but Ouka should be a witch, right? At least that is what it looks like from the flashback. I would like to re-read the part when they talk about her past, but I cannnot remember if it was in the first volume (It seems unlikely) or in "Revenge to Madness", anyone would like to help me here? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. krytykkrytyk Post author

      No, she was born without magical power, something like a reverse mutation or anomaly as compared to people from normal families being born with magic.

      Reply
      1. Otto.Tre-K

        Ah, great, thank you! So that should be how the author wants to explain how she is able to remember all those magic procedures ( Or whatever they are called), right? It makes sense.

        Reply

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