Prologue

A few days after the attack during the tournament.

 

"What do you want?"

After coming to Chairman's office Ikaruga asked Sougetsu with an expression that displayed fatigue.

Ikaruga was the only student who spoke that way to the Chairman. Sougetsu was accustomed to it, this time the situation was different and he didn't respond with laughter.

Sougetsu sat behind the desk quietly and cast Ikaruga a questioning glance.

What increased the tension even more, was presence of Kurogane Hayato on the side. He had no expression on his face, only his sharp eyes looked as if he was in front of an enemy.

An ordinary student would be standing upright after seeing that scene, but Ikaruga was different.

Not feeling a sense of urgency, her fingertips played with her hair and she had a relaxed look on her face.

"I'm sorry to call you all the way here. It might be abrupt, but as not to waste time, I'll ask you briefly."

"That'd be helpful."

"In short, I want you to answer briefly and above all, honestly."

"It already turned long."

"...the thing on this photo, are you familiar with it?"

Sougetsu slid two photos across the desk to Ikaruga.

Ikaruga picked them up while slightly narrowing her eyes.

In the photograph, there was chest of a Dragoon destroyed by some kind of cannon.

It was a part of it. Its original form was hard to determine, but Ikaruga thought its internal equipment, external part of the core unit.

"It's the wreckage of Dragoon that received magic interference from the Necromancer during the tournament a few days ago."

"I can see that."

"Although I think you know of it, but Inquisition's Dragoons are covered by armor made of anti-magical material like mithril or better, that is to prevent takeover by the enemy. If the internal instruments were interfered with, it would make it easy for a high ranking witch to take over the system."

"That's common sense isn't it."

"But there's evidence that the Dragoons used in the tournament already received magical interference beforehand. And it allowed Necromancer to take control of them remotely."

How the hell did that happen, Sougetsu added.

"The Hero who attacked the school, King Arthur was summoned into an artificial body, his soul was simply attached to a golem. That golem was really strange, for some reason Dragoon technology was employed in it. And the Magical Heritage... the Excalibur, didn't it strike you familiar?"

"It was basically a prototype of a railgun. Slightly improved, but it was almost the same. Anyone who reads magazines can tell that. Speaking of which, rather than being roundabout, why don't you say it briefly?"

Rather than saying it strongly, it was more likely she was really annoyed.

Although Sougetsu would normally respond with a joke, this time he narrowed his eyes while being serious.

"...you, do you know anything?"

In front of Chairman's inquisitive gaze, Ikaruga was already fed up.

"What do you mean?"

"You're a Suginami. Weren't you studying with Alchemist until you were eleven year's old?"

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

"The Designs Children... Because you're one of them, I called you thinking you might know something."

"Designs Child", being told of that Ikaruga heaved a sigh.

It was said that the founder of Alchemist appeared several hundred years ago. It was the early days of Inquisition and the time of crackdown on witches was in full swing. Fearing being arrested Alchemist, experimented in secret. While the punishment was reserved for the witches, they aimed for a mix of science and magic, since it was relatively close to science, Inquisition and Alchemist began cooperating. That's how it was written down in history books.

Alchemist developed closer towards science and were a prominent part of the current industry

However, the problem was that the public view of them was still unchanged, they were criticized for inhumane research.

One of them, among the ones that weren't public was Design Baby.

In order to produce excellent researchers, they have been working on genetic engineering for a long time. Suginami's last name, rather than a family name it was for those that implied being part of, or engaged in special Alchemist research, it strongly implied being part of "Designs Children".

Ikaruga was one of those "Designs Children".

"Anything is fine. If you know anything I'd like you to tell me."

"Didn't I tell you everything? ...I provide you with all information I've got since Inquisition works as a shield for political reasons, doesn't it?"

Weighting the losses and gains in her mind... Ikaruga spat curses in her mind.

"It seems like I've an earache. But I, I feel like there's something important you still haven't told me."

Sougetsu who had a serious look on his face until now made his usual smile.

Unintentionally, Ikaruga almost clicked her tongue.

"What I know about... is pretty much nothing. Excuse me."

Saying that, she threw the photos on the desk, and attempted to turn on her heel.

That's when,

"——It's not over yet. Look at the photos of this handsome."

Sougetsu instructed her to check the photo he pointed at with a fingertip.

Completely fed up, Ikaruga turned her line of sight towards the photo on the desk.

"...what is this? It's all beat up, I don't really recognize it."

"Sorry about that. Because it's from the backup of Banshee's infiltration network taken in a hurry so image quality may be horrible. The person himself died while collecting it... but that's a meeting."

Sougetsu placed a hand on his chin, and while tilting his head slightly he stared intently at Ikaruga.

"——"Lost Matrix" You must've at least heard of it? The historically known Magical Heritages."

Ikaruga nodded slightly.

"Basically, it's a body part of mythological organism, the intact cells are held in special black anti-magical material which stops ageing and spreading of magic. But it cannot stop the flow of time, so it cannot maintain integrity of Lost Matrix for a long time."

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

"It used to be favored by wealthy fanatics some time ago. It was a luxury goods of considerable value. But times change, modern technology has advanced... it became a top class hazard."

After moving his hand over the photo, he hit the Lost Matrix with a finger.

"This is a Lost Matrix of a Dark Elf. It was in Alchemist's fifth weapons development factory, stored in the level 6 research facility."

"Alchemist are a weapons manufacturing company. It's been like that for a long time, biotechnology isn't its specialty."

"Is that so? In that case, they're trying to make a weapon and use it. They are reviving the elves and intend to use them as weapons. This is clearly a violation of the law."

It was a ridiculous idea.

Fantastical organisms called elves were confirmed to be extinct after the Witch Hunt War 150 years ago.

The elves. Magical circles, chanting, they were able to use magic without them, it was as easy for them as breathing.

Even the large spells it took humans hours to activate, they were able to use them in just a moment. They were magical organisms probably considered as dangerous as dragons.

It was the same as Hero summoning, witches captured dark elves and subjected them to brainwashing in order to have them attack humanity, it was a very famous story.

In the end, the dark elves died out during the Witch Hunt War and the damage humanity sustained was also immeasurable.

Because of a single creature, New York, Indonesia, Paris, Hokkaido, the places called by those names completely disappeared.

Reviving such a monster was an extremely dangerous act.

"It was information Banshees paid for with their lives, the Alchemist experiments to restore elves are nearing success. Its just..."

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

"...the cells remain in perfect condition, it doesn't seem like its their doing. Although they worked hard to collect them, they couldn't find any. Nothing, until four years ago. Lost Matrix in a pretty good state was taken out by someone, and there was a talk about the documentation on it being lost."

Sougetsu glanced at Ikaruga's face.

As if saying, "do you know anything?".

Ikaruga shook her head with a face saying she has given up.

"It's a ridiculous story. There was no successful example of restoring biological restoration of fantastical organism. It's impossible from scientific point of view. The Lost Matrix is dangerous because the amount of magic accumulated inside of it is enormous. I'm tired... my tongue's sore. It's enough, right?"

Saying that, Ikaruga left Chairman's room without permission.

Sougetsu and Hayato were left behind, after staying still for a moment they closed their eyes.

"Black, isn't it."

"Indeed. She still communicates with Alchemist without a doubt. That shield she prepared for Ouka during the tournament attack... that isn't something an Inquisitor can make."

"Alchemist monopolizes processing technology of blue crystal. Collecting such rare materials is impossible for students. In the first place, the students who use illegal materials or illegal modifications... I suggest to you to immediately capture them."

Hayato advised Sougetsu after looking at him.

Ignoring Hayato's advice, Sougetsu leaned on his chair and put his legs on the desk.

He placed his hands on the back of his distorted mouth and started to grin.

"Aah, no way, to find a traitor among my students. It makes me quite sad as the Chairman."

"...I apologize for my rudeness beforehand. Are you possibly having fun?"

"Eh?! That's not true. There's a traitor among the students I love? There's no way I'd be happy."

"I can't imagine you doing a double suicide, but we can't show any mercy. I propose we conduct a thorough investigation to clear the doubts."

"What do you think is the right thing to do?"

"We should arrest Suginami, interrogate her with the use of torture until she spits out information. Then use it as a negotiation material."

Sougetsu looked at Hayato and laughed mockingly at his words.

Hayato continued to look at Sougetsu just as he was before.

He wasn't stupid enough to believe he can get anything from observing Chairman.

Sougetsu dug out the relevance of Ikaruga and the matter of elves, it's been a good material to use as a threat to establish an agreement with Alchemist.

Because the matter of Valhalla has become the crucial, they should take hold of Alchemist's weakness and create a situation where they have to stick to their side.

...no.

Hayato frowned, assuming the worst case.

Possibly, Sougetsu won't hesitate to wage a war with Alchemists.

Crushing the Alchemist with a head-on assault, have the researchers move to their side and incorporate their technology.

Rather than maintaining the agreement, the real purpose was an invasion.

If it was this man, that wasn't impossible.

"That proposal, it's incredibly boring and ugly, isn't it."

Shaking his head, Sougetsu ignored Hayato's suggestion.

"This is where we let someone off isn't it? Suginami-kun has learned about the elf experiments, it should work soon enough."

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

"Put her under observation. Ask the best personnel possible."

Hayato examined what Sougetsu said about letting her off.

Obtaining threatening material, conducting a criminal investigation, or invading the Alchemists in the name of searching for dangerous materials, was it.

Proceeding to war with Alchemists, there was a possibility of this side losing, and the enemy was a company.

This side had only a few overwhelming advantages. However, even if the benefit from the war was huge, Hayato won't allow any sacrifice of ordinary people.

If he was really trying to start a war, Hayato's choice is to stop him.

"Yes. Then, I'll do it myse——"

"You're Dullahan's top, so mind your position. It'll become a pain otherwise."

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

"Also, Suginami-kun has a promising future. Artificial genius or not, she's someone whom I really want to become a Regin. I have been rejected once, it might go better if I grasp a weakness this time. I want to be as gentle as possible."

"............ Then, I will arrange personnel from Banshee."

"Ah, and——"

Sougetsu pulled the chair, and made a shady smile while raising his index finger.

"Leave it to Kusanagi-kun and the others, if those kids are involved Suginami-kun might be willing to remain in Inquisition. Their bonds are somewhat strong."

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

"It'll be like a spy movie y'know? A development where one of the deployed agents falls in love while infiltrating... I hope for something like that."

Hayato stared at the grinning Sougetsu.

Blankly, like the darkness itself. But Sougetsu didn't stop smiling.

Imagining something, Hayato slowly closed his eyes.

"You mean taking 35th platoon as a hostage to make sure Suginami stays with us."

"That's a horrible accusation."

"You're scum."

Accused of that, Sougetsu continued to smile like usual.

Even if hell breaks loose, this man's posture never changes.

"Weeell then, it's going to get busy."

Said Sougetsu happily while rubbing his hands.

 

After leaving the Chairman's room, Ikaruga walked down the corridor at brisk pace while facing down.

Restoration of Elves.

Ikaruga didn't expect that it would take this long for Inquisition to learn of such an outrageous action.

"Four years, that was short."

She grabbed herself while facing down.

Her bangs cast a shadow hiding her expression.

But her feet rapidly moved, that was clearly because of her interaction with Chairman.

It was herself, so she knew it well. So she stopped walking.

Exhaling deeply, her long hair hanging down, she looked up at the ceiling.

What came to her mind was, the thing she cultivated over the last four years.

The things called memories, Ikaruga shook them off.

"...I knew right from the beginning. There's nothing that can be done now."

When she said that after raising her face, it was already her usual self.

After changing into lab coat, she started to walk slowly.

"——Let's begin."

Ikaruga placed a hand in the center of her chest, and faced forward.

In order to begin the battle of "Suginamis".


The Glossary

Designs Child (デザイナーズチヤイルド) - Written as (作られた天才) which means "Artificial Genius", or "Artificially-made Genius".
Lost Matrix (ロストマトリクス) - It's written written as (亜人結晶) meaning "Ajin's Crystallization". Ajin is mythical demi-human, google for more.


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