"Umm——...... Though it will be the second time this month, we have another transfer student——"
Students who waited for the lecture in the classroom were dumbfounded after being told such a thing by the teacher.
Everyone's line of sight was directed towards the discouraged girl standing next to the platform.
The girl wore an AntiMagic Academy uniform, but she also wore a hat and a muffler on her neck despite being indoors. Her expression was rather sullen, as if everyone in front of her was enemy.
"This is Nikaido Mari-kun. Please do get along. Well then, introduce yourself."
The teacher encouraged her to introduce herself.
Mari stepped forward after glancing at teacher without moving her head.
"Nice to meet you."
After facing completely other way and lowering her head slightly, she took another step forward.
Hearing that overly-short self-introduction, students gave her a questioning look.
Being called by the teacher, Takeru stood up from his chair in a hurry.
"The Chairman said that you're the one to take care of Nikaido. That's why she's going to sit next to you."
The talk about Lapis had already turned into harassment.
Now eyes of the surrounding boys turned dark.
Why do only you get all the preferential treatment.
You can't do anything else than swordsmanship, so why?
That eroge bastard.
The gazes accusing him of such false charges weighed heavily on Takeru's shoulders.
But that wasn't all.
From two people in the back... emanated resentment far surpassing that.
He cowered after casting a mere sidelong glance. A small blonde animal, and a human with sunset-colored hair, they were watching him with tremendous intent and their hair stood up defying gravity.
Prompted by the teacher, Mari still acting discouraged with a hand in her pocket came over. She stopped in front of Takeru who was shedding tears and she looked towards Ouka who was in the back seat.
When their line of sight met, sparks appeared in mid-air.
With an unpleasant disagreeable attitude Mari moved her gaze from Ouka and sat down.
Because of the quarrel next to the vending machine, Ouka and Mari's rivalry was blooming.
They spent two periods acting as guides, and all platoon members came back to participate in the third period.
Third period was a basic physical fitness test. Running and high jump.
*kyaa* *kyaa*, screams and noise came out from the women's group. Ouka wearing gym clothes glanced at Mari.
Mari, a little bit away from where student's gathered gave Ouka an annoyed look.
Ouka who was glaring at Mari faced towards the front.
At the same time as the teacher's whistle sounded, Ouka began to run at high speed.
And, beautifully like a mermaid that shot out from the water surface's she jumped over the bar with a high jump.
Bright cheers resounded, there was an uproar among female students.
Ouka fixed her hair and got up from the mat with a cool look on her face.
"Next, Nikaido Mari."
After being called, Mari came out in front.
Everyone's attention gathered. Other students' gazes all concentrated on her, she even felt the gaze of male students looking from behind the distant fence.
Mari fixed her hat again and got in position.
Her appearance looked quite good. She looked like a cool girl. Her movements looked very proudly, especially with her boyish get-up.
The moment the teacher sounded his whistle, Mari started running. Cutting through the wind
She rushed forward towards the bar. And——*gachin*.
As Mari tried to jump back she smashed the back of her head into it without leaping at all and sank into the mat. Students that saw this scene fell silent altogether. Everyone's eyes betrayed disappointment.
Mari tried to get away by crawling down from the mat while rubbing the back of her head, she had watery eyes.
And she noticed someone's foot in front of her.
The one looking down on Mari who was on all fours, was Ouka.
Ouka smiled from ear to ear mockingly.
Mari made a frustrated expression, and growled.
After one hour of exercise, Mari's lack of motor senses was exposed.
Fourth period, anti-magic science class.
"Let's talk about magic attributes that witches carry. First, attributes are a tendency the phantom instrument has when it produces magic power, like fire element or water element. Magic power, unless converted into a spell by using a magical procedure, isn't just energy. Well, in human language, it's flowing within them like blood."
On top of the platform, the teacher had teaching materials in each hand.
"Type A is methodical but indecisive, Type O is a slob, but he has good leadership, an unclear character assessment isn't it? It's completely baseless, it's the same as that, a fire attribute is magic that is suitable for fire magic, its compatibility with water magic is poor. However, that doesn't mean that witches cannot use a water attribute magic because she's a fire element. Everyone, I want you keep this in mind when you oppose witches. Magic is also called a flexible material, it can be applied to any type of material, particles or operation, no matter what attribute it is. It becomes a much more complex magical procedure than normal though, no matter what attribute it is. Even with bad compatibility, opposite attribute magic can be used. Don't drop your guard just because you know your enemy's attribute."
Listening to the teacher's long speech, Takeru started dozing off and his head hit the desk.
"Now, a problem. Between magic attributes, there is one attribute that cannot be used by any other type of magic. What's the term describing that special type of magic... does anyone know the answer?"
As the teacher asked a question, all students looked up. Takeru lifted his head up in a hurry pretending to be calm.
No one raised their hands, it's not like they didn't know the answer to the teacher's question. The problem is not having that knowledge before enrolling in school.
However, this teacher is known for being nasty. The students that are caught with a simple question are going to be challenged with a next ones in succession.
Ouka seeing that no one else raised their hands, reluctantly raised hers.
"Okay then, Ootori."
"It's the Ancient Attribute."
"Is — that — so."
It came, everyone thought.
"Do you know why is it called ancient?"
"It's an attribute witches of old once held, but it's characteristics are fading due to repeated crossing with other attribute holders, it either disappeared or became something else. That means, its holders only appear due to mutations."
"Oh... correct. And what's its alias?"
Alias, as he said that, Ouka's body subtly trembled.
Other student's had all reacted to "The alias.", and had it all over their faces.
As everyone's gazes gathered, Ouka had a difficult expression on her face. The alias of ancient attribute, there was no reason to remember about it. All knowledge possessed by Ouka was used for "Vlad's" usage and investigation. It's not knowledge suited for practical every-day use.
In the first place, this maniacal problem isn't part of the material handled by students.
"...s-sorry, I don't know."
Ouka closed her mouth, and looked down frustrated.
"Hmph. Is there anyone else who can answer it?"
Everyone fell silent, seeing them like that he was about to start preaching again. That's when...
"Yes! Yes yes!"
The student who sat next to Takeru, Nikaido Mari raised her hand before that.
Quite desperately, the teacher pointed at Mari.
"! Hoo, That's correct. You know a lot of things that aren't in the teaching materials."
Students raised their voices in admiration.
"It's still not over—— in that case, name all the Ancient Attributes that you know."
"White flame, Void, Azure, Chaos, Dragon, Gravity, Bloodstone, Crystal, King... Sun and Moon maybe? They're supposed to be fairy tales but... though, there's a lot of others, there's not enough time to name them all."
"And the Tower?"
"Ancient attribute of the tower can be reproduced with two people of earth and two of fire attribute, it takes time, but it can be reproduced. Meaning it's not strictly an ancient attribute?"
"...hmm, that's all, sit down."
Oooh〜〜 voices full of admiration resounded throughout the classroom. Even the teacher let out a small happy laugh.
Mari tried to sit down in her seat without a mishap, she looked back vigorously towards Ouka's seat during the moment she was sitting down, and showed her a smile.
Ouka made a regretful expression, and grumbled.
The morning class ended, it was a lunch break.
All of the Small Fry Platoon members headed to the cafeteria, though everyone gathered in their usual seats and prepared their lunches......
"Such an amazing honor student〜, is there a reason you couldn't answer that problem?"
"What about your reflexes? It was like watching a smelly turtle."
"Turtle?! Y-yy-you, isn't it obvious you can do such a thing because you received military training?!"
"I-Isn't that the same for you! The only area you're specialized in is magic!"
Ouka and Mari stood face to face against each other letting out loud and imposing voices again.
Takeru at that time was pinched in between them and at a loss.
Despite Takeru's anguish, Usagi was glaring at some fliers with a serious expression and Ikaruga was reading a BL novel.
"Umm you guys, I'm not going to tell you to get along, but try to restrain yourselves a bit..."
There fury which was like a raging fire was directed at Takeru who tried to meddle.
"There's no way to get along with this muffler woman!"
"My muffler has nothing to do with it?! I refuse to get along with this muscle-brained woman! She's just jealous of me being so smart!"
"I'm not jealous! I just hate you, that's all!"
"Oh, what a coincidence, I hate you as well!"
After gaining their attention with much effort, the two of them faced off against each other shortly after. Seeing them so obsessed with each other, Takeru started to think if they actually aren't getting along well.
"I told you that you don't have to get along. Ootori, what is our mission? Guarding Mari, right? What are you doing by vying with the target you're supposed to guard."
"...ugh, that's true... but..."
As expected of the serious Ouka, after being reminded by the Captain (for the time being). It was quite a sound argument from Takeru.
"You too, Mari. It's fine if you're unwilling to be together with us. But don't provoke people too much. Also, if you want to go somewhere, just tell either of us."
"I-I don't really provoke anyone... I-I get it. I'll be nice and quiet."
Takeru was somehow quite relieved hearing that.
Seeing Mari's reaction who suddenly became obedient, Ouka gave a questioning look.
"Wait a moment...... Kusanagi...... why are you calling that woman by her first name...?"
"Mm? There's no deep meaning there. She said that's fine——"
He was unexpectedly poked, as Mari suddenly clung to his arm while grinning and laughing.
"Th-that means, it's th-this kind of thing."
Mari's and Takeru's arms were crossed like lovers.
"W-ww-we are on terms like t-that so we call each other b-by first n-names, a-aren't we r-r-right?! Ta-Takeru〜〜?"
Although she pressed her glossy body towards him, she was stuttering as she spoke. The strong heartbeat that he felt from the valley of her small chest went *baku* *baku*, and her face was as red like an apple.
Why does she have to cling to him forcefully, the answer was simple. It was just to anger Ouka.
After seeing their hands intertwined Ouka's face twitched and she slowly drew close to Takeru.
"Kusanagi... you're a bastard like that after all! I'm disappointed with you! To think you would lose to the witch's temptation!"
"It's a misunderstanding! I'm just calling her by first name because it's easy to say!"
Denying his words frantically, Mari pressed her chest against him even further. Unexpectedly, Takeru felt a pleasant sensation with his arm.
"Jealousy? Isn't that unsightly——. Ah, right. Come to think of it, doesn't Takeru call you 'Ootori.'?"
"S-so what about it! I was called with my first name by him before too!"
"I-in middle of battle... just once... however."
"Heeeee, fuun, is that sooooo, just once, pfftt hahaha."
Mari looked down on Ouka with a triumphant look on her face.
Ouka somehow felt like she lost, *guhhh* she growled.
What are those two fighting about now... Takeru had completely no idea.
"But I have a promise with Kusanagi! Kusanagi promised that he will walk together with me!"
"...wha-what's that about! Takeru, Did you make such a promise?! Or did you indirectly——"
"GAAAAH!! Don't involve me in your pointless quarreeellllllllllllllll!!"
In the first place, he didn't know what was up with their outrageous demands. His relationship with Ouka was that of comrades who trusted each other, and with Mari, they just went to the point of introducing themselves. He didn't raise any flags with either of them.
Honestly, he didn't want to be involved in those two's quarrel, which became an extended, pointless dispute neither of them wanted to lose no matter what.
Just as he thought that.
"Please give it a rest already——!!"
Suddenly, Usagi who was glaring at the leaflets she held stood up raising a loud voice.
It was so forceful, all platoon members focused their attention on her.
"...w-what is it, Usagi?"
Usagi took a deep breath to calm herself down and, *glint*, she glared at Takeru.
"The thing we should be thinking about right now is neither getting along nor the way we call each other!"
She said, while being unusually serious. Takeru wondered why he was being unreasonably blamed for everything.
Ikaruga closed her BL novel, and lightly hit Usagi's head who was puffing her cheeks.
"Well then, what does Usagi-chan want to talk about——?"
"Don't! Call me! Usagi-chan! Obviously, it's about what Small Fry Platoon is going to do next."
"Next? Aren't we in the middle of an escort mission? Albeit unwillingly."
"There's something more important isn't there!"
While saying something like that about the mission the Chairman himself gave them, Usagi hit the desk.
"A month has passed ever since Ootori Ouka enlisted. Even though just a bit, but we've gotten some points. But the situation is still terrible."
Hearing Usagi's frank opinion, Ouka placed a hand on her chin and nodded remorsefully.
"Hmm... certainly, there was Kusanagi's hospitalization so we couldn't focus on platoon activities recently. I wasn't in a good condition either because of my injuries."
With that said, "Sorry.", Takeru apologized.
Usagi folded her arms, and soundly puffed her cheeks as she continued.
"The past is irrelevant! The problem is the future! At this rate, we might not be able to graduate!"
"Isn't that fine?"
"That's it! That way of thinking is the problem! We have to absolutely do our best starting tomorrow."
Usagi pointed at Ikaruga, and harshly criticized her.
"Got it?! We have no more time. I said this before, but it's all or nothing. We have to use appropriate measures!"
"? What measures? Do you have anything?"
In response to Ikaruga's question, "Fufufun", Usagi laughed fearlessly.
Then she lifted the flier she's been glaring at before and clapped her hands soundly.
"Please look at this."
After hearing her say so confidently, everyone including Mari looked at the leaflet.
Written with huge letters was "AntiMagic Academy's Mock Battle Tournament".
Under those words was written a time and date, the date written was tomorrow.
The three of them looked at each other, and suspiciously stared at Usagi again.
Usagi opened her eyes, making a face as if she couldn't believe it.
"A-are you guys really AntiMagic Academy's students?!"
"I knew about the tournament, but what does it have to do with our future?'
The mock battle tournament was a competition anyone could participate in that happened twice a year, in autumn and spring. The leagues were divided by grades, and platoons participated together. The platoon which won the championship could enter the national competition.
A general audience is allowed to watch it and it's very popular because of its extreme content. It draws a crowd every year.
"Fufufufu... look over here. Here."
Saying that, Usagi pointed at the tournament table.
First years. From left to right, 4th platoon, 2nd, 6th, 10th, 35th test platoon.
"I have taken it upon myself——and have entered us!"
"Fufufun", Usagi puffed her chest
"Did you know? Even if you don't advance to the national competition, if you pass the qualifications you can get 100 points all at once? And if you win at the national championship, you qualify for Inquisition unconditionally. Hey, wa-wa-wait a second! Why did all of you lose interest all of a sudden!?"
She noticed the other four stopped looking at her, and were eating their lunch.
Takeru who looked away and munched on his anpan said
"No. it's probably unrealistic to think we can win."
Ouka who also munched on her anpan,
"Mmm. I don't have confidence to win that together with you guys. Also, I hate that tournament. Outrageous, for combat techniques to be used as entertainment. Being a subject of gambling in the back... how deplorable."
Ikaruga, who wrapped yellow noodles that were heavily covered in mustard pasta around her fork,
"We will obviously lose, only doing normal platoon activities is still realistic. Also, why did you enter us without consulting us. Withdraw our application."
She crushed her hopes as she bit into the noodles.
And Lapis who sat next to Takeru——just stared at the milk bottle.
Usagi lost her motivation, and soundly sat down on her chair.
"T-this platoon is no good... fast... need to do something..."
"Such a unrealistic idea is rejected. Going steadily is the best."
Ouka told the depressed Usagi.
Usagi who was in a situation where she had no allies, suddenly looked at Mari. Wearing a bored expression, Mari was putting fried rice in her mouth as she noticed Usagi's gaze.
"...what is it."
"What about you? Do you have any suggestions on how to overcome the current situation?"
Usagi puffed her cheeks as she stabbed a knife into the hot cake and asked her.
"Why do I have to do something like that. It's your platoon, do something about it yourselves?"
"Y-you are also a student of AntiMagic Academy. You could cooperate a litt——"
As Usagi said that, *kachari*, Mari put a spoon on her dish.
"I think you're misunderstanding something. I have no obligation to cooperate with you guys."
"Wha... if we don't earn points we won't be able to graduate?! Is that still fine with you?! It's not an issue of being obligated to or not!"
"Something stupid like that doesn't matter to me. Because I'm getting special treatment as a witch. I don't have to participate in platoon activities, isn't that a new school rule?"
Certainly, just like Mari said, something like that was written.
"Hmph, it's unfair! Why are you getting special treatment just because you are a witch?!"
"Usagi... you are too loud."
Takeru cut in to stop her. Fortunately, the cafeteria was already noisy, and none of the students were paying attention to Small Fry Platoon.
"Do as you want. I have no intention of cooperating with you. It's unrelated to me."
She returned to her meal with an obnoxious attitude.
Then, Ouka who was eating her anpan closed her eyes.
"It's useless, Saionji. Don't expect advice from such a person."
"In the first place, she's using the fact that she's not human to get preferential treatment. Shouting stuff about equality, yet in fact seeking preferential treatment. There's no need to involve people like that."
"——I'm not using anything! It's the school rules that make it so!"
Mari hit the desk as she stood up, opposing Ouka's statement.
Ouka unfazed, just stared at Mari.
"It's the same thing. If you really want to join Inquisition, you should participate, even if you're told you don't have to. And you're accepting the pampering you get as a witch."
"There are things you shouldn't say...! You don't know what kind of treatment witches usually get...! Using my position? That's more like an insult!"
"If you think so, don't say 'Because I'm a witch' ever again. That's not language of a human who seeks equality."
Hearing Ouka's words, anger dwelling within Mari stirred.
"What, want to go at it? I don't really mind. I'm accustomed to fighting witches."
"...isn't that perfect..."
Because the situation was critical, Takeru was about to enter and stop them.
But, that's when.
"——Isn't that fine guys, just participate then."
Suddenly, someone grabbed Mari's shoulders from behind.
Lifting their faces, they saw a suspicious person.
A white haired man was standing behind Mari with a suspicious smile. Students fled as the Chairman entered the dining room, suddenly the whole cafeteria was empty and only Small Fry Platoon members remained.
Sougetsu who softly pressed Mari's shoulders greeted everyone.
"Oh-ho, seems like everyone is getting along well. Is everyone eating their lunch? I wonder if i can join!"
Hearing Ikaruga's frank reply, Sougetsu laughed.
"Your participation in the tournament is welcome as well. Deepen your youthful camaraderie. Mari-kun is also enlisted, isn't it the perfect chance to deepen your ties."
"? Is it fine for Mari to participate? The school rules..."
"Don't mind the rules. I'll overlook it. Temporarily, that is. She's one of our students after all."
"...can it be... that you heard our quarrel before?"
"I wasn't eavesdropping? Just happened to hear it. Also, the things Ouka said, and the things Mari said, I've thought of them before."
Sougetsu tapped Mari's shoulders with both hands.
"Sorry, I've made misleading school rules. I apologize as the chairman. In the board there's opposition to admitting witches. I had no choice but to incorporate it... I've already intended to revise it before. Leave the matter of school rules to me, don't hesitate and take part in the tournament together."
"...e-even if you say that..."
"Just because you're a witch, you won't be separated from your comrades."
Smiling gently, Sougetsu tapped Mari's shoulder again.
Takeru who was looking at him, had a strange feeling of discomfort as Sougetsu spoke.
After the platoon activities had ended, platoon members who had part time jobs left early. Takeru arrived at the shoe lockers.
He put his slippers in the locker room's shoe rack and sighed.
"...this is not good at all."
Platoon activities in the afternoon were a disaster.
They decided to train for the sake of tomorrow's tournament and headed towards the training grounds, but...
The result was the same as usual for Small Fry Platoon.
They were defeated by holograms set on low difficulty. First, Ikaruga's weapon broke. The moment Usagi fired, the gun had an extractor failure, the gun clattered loudly and the bullet exploded inside.
Followed by Takeru who thought he was fighting one-on-one with a hologram, but somehow followed it to the place where another four were hiding.
Mari the newcomer, who was to support Ouka...
Had started a screaming match in the middle of cooperation, thus it ended with them shooting at each other.
『"Youu!! Betraying us after all!"』
『"That's unjust accusation! The one who shot first was you——!"』
It was just like their usual operations, his tears wouldn't come out anymore.
"Yeah... we can stop thinking we can win."
Clenching his fist, his pupils held a mysterious sense of mission as he left the locker room.
The day was coming to an end, a beautiful mix of orange and azure has spread.
Takeru was amazed by the beautiful twilight sky, then suddenly,
A threatening voice with a threatening sounded from the front.
In the school yard stained in orange, were several figures. They looked familiar to Takeru.
A leader-like male student brought five other students with him.
"Yoo Kusanagi...... you've got a really horrible expression today."
The boy floated a sarcastic smile as he hung a gun on his belt.
He was an acquaintance of his from middle school.
Kirigaya Kyouya, he was in the same class and had good results.
"Kyouya huh, it's been a while."
Even though Takeru said it in a way he would refer to a friend, and in relatively friendly way, the eye of the guy called Kyouya twitched and he clicked his tongue.
"...don't call me by my name, you blunt bastard."
He smiled in a haughty manner and shouldered an assault rifle.
"How's the condition of Small Fry Platoon? I've heard the rumors you've got an excellent helper? Makes me jealous."
"Well... it's hard in a way."
"I see. I see. Well it's impossible for you. Being a captain."
Kyouya laughed looking down on Takeru as if he was an ant on the roadside.
Takeru wasn't even slightly bothered.
"How's the 15th platoon? In the top three as usual?"
"Obviously iiidiot. I'm the captain, don't lump me together with you."
He wondered about it before, but where does this guy's confidence come from... Takeru was a bit jealous of that.
"Well, with a bastard like you who can only use a sword as a captain, the result is obvious. I sympathize with your members quite a bit."
Kyouya insulted Takeru. Also, he took out a piece of paper from his pocket.
"By the way, Kusanagi... looks like Small Fry Platoon has entered the tournament, am i seeing things? Ha?"
What Kyouya showed him was the print of the mock battle tournament Usagi showed them during the day.
"Ah... no, well, we're going to participate only once."
"Retards like you? The tournament? Hey guys, did you hear that?"
As Kyouya asked the question, the other five members of the platoon burst into laughter.
"You've really got guts! Your brain must've gone bad!"
"Shut up... I know that even if you don't tell me. I didn't intend to enter it either. Also, are those guys your members? You were hated before weren't you."
From his middle school days Ikaruga was also Kyouya's classmate and knows him.
Takeru mentioned Ikaruga's name causing Kyouya to become openly suspicious.
He looked nervously around checking if Ikaruga is around.
This guy is as bad with Ikaruga as usual...
It's been like that ever since middle school, this man called Kirigaya Kyouya was very weak against Ikaruga for some reason.
Also, Takeru didn't hate Kyouya. It was quite refreshing that he hated them so straightforwardly, it was easy to understand. And above all, he was the only boy who talked to him.
In a way, he was quite rare.
"............oh well! I won't stop you from participating in the tournament. By the way, do you know you bastard and 15th platoon meet in the second round?"
"Is that so? Sorry, didn't know that."
Saying that with a straight face, on Kyouya's temple blood vessels appeared. He didn't mean to offend him, but Takeru was famous for being unable to read the atmosphere. And to the extent he can't say anything to Ouka.
Kyouya was furious hearing Takeru's words, to the extent of almost hitting him. That's where,
"Ummmmmmm, let's leave it at that, right, captain?"
A female member of 15th platoon interrupted Kyouya and Takeru. That girl is in charge of health for the 15th platoon.
Her name was Yoshimizu Akira. A girl hoping to join Seelie, she didn't look like anything special, but she always stopped fights between Kyouya and Takeru.
Clicking his tongue Kyouya lowered his shoulders.
"Second round, look forward to it Kusanagi...!"
Kyouya said that strange line and left. His figure from the back looked like a thug's.
Even so, Kyouya was quite talented. He wasn't particularly outstanding at anything, but his performance was good enough to be called almighty. Same as Usagi, the type to work diligently in secret. The fact that his members followed him despite his overbearing personality proved he was excellent.
Akira apologized to Takeru while clasping both of her hands
"Mm—— sorry, Kusanagi-kun. Captain is in a bad mood today."
"It's the same as usual, I'm not really bothered... why is he in a bad mood today, did something happen?"
Takeru asked, Akira gave a sad smile and scratched her head.
"No, just before, one of our members quit."
"Can it be, after the terrorism last month...?"
"No, at that time we weren't in school. It's an unrelated matter, it's a result of violating rules, he charged head on against a witch and got done in. We tried to stop him but he didn't listen to us..."
"...is that so."
"Captain was also bothered. He was too reckless. It's not good to be reckless after all. Going steady is the best〜"
Akira made a brave smile, Takeru also smiled.
She's a good girl, that's what he thought. She was definitely the mood maker of 15th platoon. Laughing without a care at times like this... she must have a hard time.
"Well Captain already said it, looking forward to meet you in two days. There will be no mercy for you, we'll go at full force."
"...r-right. Well before that happens, getting through first round might be a problem."
"Come on—— You'll pass through someone as weak as that——"
She hit his back, causing Takeru to give a wry smile.
Akira said "I wish you luck in battle!" and saluted before leaving Takeru.
"...she's a good girl."
Takeru narrowed his eyes and muttered heartily.
It would be good to have a girl like that with us... if that were the case she would heal him up... he got to the school gate while thinking like that.
Suddenly, his name was called out.
Next to the stone pillar with the school's nameplate on it, a silhouette with a muffler wrapped around her neck.
"Mari? Didn't you go back early?"
"...I was waiting."
She held a student bag, Mari's moderate figure was strangely graceful and girly causing him to skip a beat.
Mari lively closed in on Takeru, and looked up at him as she bent her waist down.
"Let's go home together."
With a deadly smile, causing Takeru to almost stop thinking.
What's this. His heart was pounding really hard. He had a bittersweet feeling.
Twilight. Going home from school. Hustle and bustle in the distance. Autumn wind stroking his cheek.
Let's go back together. Just by being told that, his youth obtained something unexpected...
"I-I don't really mind... which direction are you going? Our directions might be different."
He blundered and scratched his cheek almost blurting out the fact that he can't read the mood. Calm down, calm down. me, he repeated to himself.
Perhaps because of the setting sun and the current situation, but Mari looked strangely cute.
"What are you talking about? Isn't it obvious we're going the same way."
"I-is that right?"
"That's right, because."
Mari turned back with a twirl, and only faced her head his way.
"Because I'm going to Takeru's house now."
Takeru was in shock and was about to answer to her invitation,
Suddenly, someone grabbed the head.
Not Takeru's. But Mari's head.
"It hurts! Wha- what are you doing!"
"You, why don't you explain, why are you tempting Kusanagi......!"
It was Ouka. While her body emitted a red aura, she decided to iron claw Mari's head from behind.
"What is it! I'm just teasing him a little! There are often situations like this in manga!"
"Don't lie. Magical power must be leaking from somewhere without doubt. A seduction magic... I can't leave Kusanagi alone with someone as lascivious as you......!"
"L-lascivious?! I didn't use any magic! No matter how you slice it, it was a healthy approach, no?!"
"Shut up. Kusanagi is a hidden pervert so he's in danger even with this much charm."
"This much? Did you say 'this much'?! Who do you think you are!"
Forgetting about Takeru, Mari and Ouka started bickering again.
Why is the affinity of those two so bad. Takeru felt that whether it's a normal person or a witch, such a thing shouldn't matter to relations. And more than anything, he was shocked that he was already certified as a closet pervert.
When Takeru and the others finished the platoon activities, and went back home with Mari and Ouka.
Relic Eater, Lapis Lazuli walked alone through the school.
No one else was around. The location was by the incinerator behind the school.
Lapis's azure-colored hair released a faint magic.
《”Scanning started. Magic reaction's around the school——none."》
She was currently detecting magic in the vicinity. She wasn't too good at it, but as a Magical Heritage she could search just by herself.
《”Shifting to wide-area scanning. Constructing FM pit——diffusing."》
She discharged magic particles dwelling within her.
At the same time, azure light like fireflies appeared in Lapis's vicinity, and momentarily spread.
One by one particles are racing through the academy, looking for sources of magic power.
All of the information sensed by the particles flowed back to Lapis' body.
《"Forbidden area, tower with sealed Magical heritage none——school's gymnasium none——No reaction. Teacher's building——target practice field——combat training grounds——no reaction from either of them. Schoolyard and first year lockers——"》
The moment one of the particles was close to the colosseum, Lapis blinked.
《"Detecting a small amount of magic——. Converging all pits, focusing scan on one point."》
Ordered by Lapis, diffused particles gathered in the schoolyard and locker room.
The gathered particles spread out in the air again. They rose up in the air from the schoolyard, and ran through the gate.
《"...the reaction is lost. Exploring thermal reaction———Schoolyard, ten general students, 15th platoon's members, Kusanagi Takeru, Ootori Ouka, Nikaido Mari, Inquisition's "Dullahan" - two people——Commencing face recognition operation with campus database——No authentication problems observed. Leading the pit, there is a possibility of false positives and naturally occurring magic——perceived information is within margin of error. Adopting. Threat not recognized. Ending scan."》
Lapis indifferently finished probing the school grounds and abolished the diffused particles ending the day like that.
On the ground of a downtown street, writing a magical circle on the ground with his leg Haunted wiped sweat exaggeratedly.
"That was dangerous. Not bad, that azure-colored girl. It was found immediately even though it was connected only for a short time."
《"I don't like it. That wasn't a level of magic leakage that can be normally sensed, I've a hunch, a suspicion. She was like a machine, disgusting."》
Haunted stood up and laughed passionately.
"That girl is good. She has sharp intuition for something inorganic. I want her a bit."
"Is it jealousy? Nacht!"
《"I'll slaughter you."》
Sensing murderous intent from Nacht, Haunted was all smiles.
"However, the guard is firm indeed. Not just the test platoon, Dullahans disguised with optical camouflage always sticking to them. I hoped for some luck, because I wanted to avoid dealing with Kurogane Hayato."
As Haunted mouthed Kurogane Hayato's name, a Dullahan's, Nacht let out a displeased aura.
《"...Kurogane... that guy."》
"When it comes to people I don't want to fight with ever again, that guy is a prime example. He's a formidable foe, an opponent that's no fun fighting against."
Completing his evaluation, Haunted placed a hand on his chin.
《"From the front you'll get caught right away. They brought Mari out of the taboo area all the way to where students are on purpose, I wonder if they are underestimating you."》
"If I can, I want to aim at the moment when the guard is as thin as possible..."
Hmmm, Haunted continued to think, troubled.
However, after thinking for a moment, with insane half closed eyes, he suddenly laughed.
"——Let's make it flashy. Yeah, yeah, we'll do that, such a plan will be good."
Extremely happy, he repeated it many times.
《"Didn't you intend to do that from the beginning... It's not that I don't trust you, you excel at laying traps and interference, ambush or infiltration would be good, but you're weak when it comes to head on attack right? What will you do if it becomes a battle?"》
"I'm not weak, I just hate it, it's barbarous."
《"I think being barbarous is better than being tasteless."》
Nacht spoke her opinion loudly, Haunted narrowed his eyes with confidence.
"I hate attack magic, that's why I need you right?"
Being told she's needed, Nacht fell silent.
《"It can't be helped."》
Hearing Nacht's embarrassed voice, Haunted laughed disgustingly.
"The timing of the attack will be... during the flashy mock battle tournament. Looks like Mari is participating as well."
《"No matter how you look at it, it's a trap."》
"Choosing between a trap, or a decoy. What to do. I want it to be flashy... I don't have time to prepare corpse eating demons this time, and don't even have time to call a Hero..."
Haunted wondered about the nasty plan. cheerfully like a kid.
"Hmm, I hope that person will cooperate."
《"Aah, that regular customer?"》
"It's a give-and-take relationship. The client has lots of Mari-san's information from the other side, cooperation is inevitable."
Haunted looked in his priestly clothing's sleeves, and took out a square machine.
It was a mobile phone, unbefitting a witch.
He cleared his throat twice, and pushed a button.
"——Oh, is that miss Alchemist? Ah, I am, my name is Haunted from Valhalla〜. Thank you very much for the last time〜. Yes... yes indeed——. Sorry to trouble you, but could you connect to the development department? I want to ask you to show off the new prototype of Dragoon at AntiMagic Academy's mock battle tournament, it's a very urgent matter and I want it done as soon as possible."
Haunted made an incredibly good salesman smile as he left the town's back alley.