"——I won't forgive you...!"
Nikaido Mari's patience was growing thinner, she snapped and stepped forward with murderous intent.
She was inside a decayed, run-down house on the outskirts. After the battle with witch-hunters, she realized that the priest was lying.
Inside the church, a carefree young man with a book in his hands stood beneath the stained glass.
Haunted the Necromancer. Valhalla’s executive. In addition to being a necromancer, he was an alchemist, a summoner, a former priest of the church, and a sorcerer designated as a S-Rank risk.
"Can't forgive what? Mari-san."
Seeing his eerie smile, Mari's hair ruffled in rage.
Magic power flowing from Mari's body shook candlesticks and chairs around her.
"You didn't keep your word... you lied to me about not involving the civilians, it was one of the conditions for my cooperation."
Haunted closed his book and started walking towards Mari, his hands folded behind him.
Taking eerie steps, chilly like a ghost, he moved closer to her.
"I didn't lie. In this world, there's no such thing as innocent bystanders."
Voicing his ridiculous theory, Haunted made a cheerful smile.
"Also, it would be boring without a big audience right? It was a Hero summoning right? A great man's summoning, right? Even though I invited a guest from the country of Hades, it would be too bland if Inquisition was the only audience. From what I think, you should be praise me lots? It doesn't seem like I'll forget this sweet fragrance for a while."
His body trembled with delight.
While his body was convulsing, he breathed out recalling the screams of the people as the Hero terrorized the city.
A single tear ran down Haunted's cheek.
"...I can't stop remembering it. That manifestation of emotion. That's pure humanity. You think so too, right?! Their shine as they're caught between life and death... a traffic jam's etude is all right as well, but the requiem is the most wonderful after all! And above all——"
Haunted cried out in ecstasy; his figure worth being called a madman's.
Mari's eyes were dyed crimson, her magical power exploded. Candlesticks and chairs flew around, phosphor ran along the walls instantly.
"I wanted to see that look of yours! Aah, I saw something really good! That expression fits you well!"
Before the squirming man, Mari closed her eyes and made her decision.
Believing in this man was a mistake in the first place.
This guy shouldn't live any longer. Everything about him was evil.
She arrived at a single conclusion.
Annihilation. Giving him an ultimate end where not even a single cell remained.
"——Don't fuck with me!"
Suddenly, a magical square appeared in the vicinity of Mari.
The color of Mari's magic was difficult to describe, if one had to say it, it would be like seven colors flowing at once.
Just like an illusion reflected in the north sky.
While seeing an image of the slaughter, she prepared a formula inside her brain, magic overflowed from her body.
In that moment,
Mari fired a beam about two meters thick, attacking Haunted.
The pillar of light like the sun breaking through the clouds in the sky swallowed Haunted.
The church was filled with that pillar of light, which escaped towards the sky.
Mari put a hand on her knee, breathing roughly.
She cursed, after confirming with her eyes that her attack had failed.
The church was partially destroyed and clouds of dust rose up, but standing in the moonlight was Haunted, who was perfectly fine.
While deploying a black barrier around his body, Haunted's mouth distorted as he grinned.
He spoke out a magic name. Immediately afterwards a part of the black shadow changing into thorns jumped at Mari from her feet, wrapping around and restraining her.
A contract summoning magic. An aggregation of magical creatures in the form of swamp thorns that follow it's owner's will and captures his prey. If it was only a single 《Belladonna Garden》, it was not very risky, but a collection of them was a menace. Summoning aggregation of magical organisms required a non-standard witch who possessed a large amount of magic power.
"You shouldn't use offensive magic in a place like this. You're an ancient wizard same as me. You should know that using a magic like that can result in the destruction of the city."
Haunted preached to her while putting his hand on his priestly garb.
"Without saying the magic's name nor chanting, to be able to unleash such destructive power. As expected of the aurora witch."
"You're impulsive, but I think that's one of your charms, is it okay? Attacking me, that is. It's a betrayal of the entire Valhalla. Your family that's protected here... the children might not be let off safely okay?"
Protesting against the decision of Haunted, Mari grit her teeth and used her all of her body's remaining strength.
"I like the honest Mari-san. Going out of control occasionally, it's lovely."
"Let's forget about the attack earlier and go back to the headquarters together."
Bathed in the light coming in through stained glass, Haunted extended his arms to Mari.
The thorns that were holding Mari turned into ash, she dropped down after she was freed and tried to push away Haunted's hands.
But, Haunted's fingertips subtly trembled.
"...my apologies, it seems like we have customers."
He suddenly spoke, as Mari wondered what it was about suddenly the door behind her was opened vigorously.
"It's the Inquisition! Place your hands behind your head!"
She looked back at the two Inquisitors, a man and a woman who were holding rifles.
No, the uniforms were slightly different after a closer inspection. Two people from AntiMagic Academy's test platoon.
Mari sensed a battle. Haunted didn't miss the two people.
She tried to kick off the floor, but thorns entangled her leg and she fell in place.
Immediately after. Despair erupted.
As if suddenly becoming moist, the church's interior was stained black, from the floor through the walls to the ceiling. Thorns flew out all at once. Without hesitation, the thorns assaulted the students.
"Uwaa, what is——Guohh!"
The boy was entangled with thorns and his skin couldn't be seen.
"Noo...what is this..."
The girl was frightened at that sight. She was in front of a variant and she stepped back.
However, before she could take three steps, a shadow caught the girl's foot.
Having her leg stuck, she fell off and was swallowed by the bottomless swamp.
"He-help me—— It hurts...? Noo, something went in! ——It hurts, it hurts, it hurts!! Help me! It hurts, hurts, hurts——nnn——"
Heartbreaking screams were interrupted as the girl was swallowed by the swamp completely.
Mari released her foot and ran over to the restrained boy.
The boy has been already turned into shredded meat by tightening thorns, in order to make him suffer they bit into him slowly.
"Don't move! If you don't move the magic won't work!"
"Re-release me... untie... me..."
"I'll help you! Don't move so I can help you!"
Mari tried to process the thorns, however each one of them was a different individual. Her magic was rejected because she tried to undo them all at once.
"Damn it...! Something... something like this!"
If she cast a spell on the boy by mistake, his body would break because of rejection.
A magic formulated to dissolve magical organisms, when used on humans, they couldn't withstand it.
She pulled the thorns desperately one by one.
"It's useless, the plants of this garden will grow endlessly until their magic power exhausts. Even if I died that is."
Haunted said coldly, he flashed a grin while sitting on top of the altar. The thorns had already tore through the meat and reached the bones.
Even so, Mari continued trying to save the boy. Haunted shook his head and sighed.
"Shit! Shit, damn it...!"
"So, "Using magic in order to make people happy"... was it? Sorry, but that's impossible."
"——That's the kind of thing magic is in the first place."
Immediately after Haunted said that, the boy was torn apart in front of Mari.
Organs and blood splattered, staining Mari. She was stunned and stood motionlessly there.
Seeing the boy's blood that stained her hand, a tear fell from Mari's eyes.
Disappointed, Mari slumped down on her knees.
At the same time, the church's door reopened. A new light aggressively entered.
And directing muzzles inside was more than a single figure.
"I'm the Inquisition's "Dullahan". I'm arresting you for murder, caught red-handed."
"Also, you have no rights and you won't get a lawyer. From now on all your human rights are revoked."
Mari looked back at the altar.
Haunted was no longer there.
Mari no longer had any intention or will to resist.
The muzzle was aimed at her head, she was handcuffed and forced to stand.
It's over. She will probably be imprisoned in the innermost prison by Inquisition now.
When she thought that, she felt something from her wallet located in the pocket.
Not an ordinary heat, something based on magic.
While being handcuffed, Mari was terrified.
——This is bad!
She put a barrier in her head, but was a bit too slow.
Inside her head, there was the sound of something being cut and Mari fell where she stood.
"Hey you! What are you doing! what happened?"
As her consciousness was fading, she heard the Inquisitor’s voice and pounding noises.
Mari, feeling that she was losing her memory, quietly passed out.