Chapter 4 - I, And The Place For Me To Be In

The next day, the second day of school festival preparation.

"A move we thought of to ensure our victory——its name is, cosplay cabaret... cosplay social meet!"

It had been a day since the platoon members had stayed in Takeru's room, all the members of the allied platoons had aligned and shouted with a loud voice as instructed to by Ikaruga.

Silence... the classroom was dead calm. Takeru's mouth convulsed violently as well.

Just now she... said cabaret...

They were planning a cosplay event, and truth be told he knew about it. But a cabaret was unexpected.

"You just clearly said cabare——"

"It's a social meet! A watering hole! It's not some kind of shady shop!"

"...should we do a café after all?"

"Haa?!"

Hearing Ikaruga's serious voice, Takeru involuntarily stepped back.

"What's fun about having a girl dressed in cosplay bring you a tea?! The only thing that would differ from normal cafe would be the clothes and stupid rock-paper-scissors games right?!"

"No... I don't get it."

"I'm not interested in such a piss-easy business! Listen okay!? The target are men who normally have little contact with women! They want some 'Kyaa kyaa ufufu'! It's a place for people who look for something like that!"

"Don't arbitrarily pick a target... but if that's the case ain't cosplay unnecessary...?"

Mari protested against that decision.

"You must be joking! What you need to earn money——is ERO!"

It seemed like cosplay led straight to eros, thought Takeru.

"Iiit's all righttt. Touching is strictly prohibited, if you happen to be touched we can overcharge them. Talk with them, drink tea with them! It's only watching!"

Ikaruga held her hand up triumphantly.

The interim leader's glasses flashed and he raised his hand.

"There are a lot of problems, however... there's one, the most important thing."

"What. Go on and say it."

An intense atmosphere filled the classroom, and sparks appeared between the two in question.

"——Taking photos, is it allowed?"

*ching*, the interim leader's glasses flashed again.

"——Of course it's OK. However, we're gonna charge for them! The price is going to depend on the pose!"

"——Win, gentlemen we're gonna win this! It's an ingenious plan utilizing the SAGA of men!"

After reaching a mutual understanding, Ikaruga and the interim leader shook hands.

Takeru couldn't keep up with it, but the boys from the other platoons reluctantly agreed with wry smiles.

"If the girls are fine with it... but isn't this a bit high level?"

"I guess. But we can attach photos to the advertisement leaflets... and if it isn't high level customers won't come right? For a variety of reasons, not many people want to enter this school."

"But it's amateur cosplay. What about make-up and clothes, we don't have any knowledge about that kind of thing right?"

While everyone agreed, they all voiced their worries about it too.

But Ikaruga wonderfully dispelled their doubts.

"——Who do you think I am?!"

As she said so, she extended a hand towards a platform that held a simple dressing room hidden behind a curtain.

After hearing the state of inside, she opened the curtains vigorously.

""""""WOAAAAAAAAAAA?!""""""

There, were the spectacularly transformed figures of girls.

"Su-Suginami! Don't open it suddenly like that! I still haven't given an OK to this dress-up!"

The first one in front was Ouka.

First thing that they saw, was red color. The costume that matched the hair color of Ouka's was made of delicate silk.and was sticking closely to her skin. It emphasized the form of Ouka's breasts even more, and they was clearly visible.

And just as eye-catching were her beautifully curved legs.

An oddly short skirt and slits cut around the chest and her waist.

That costume was exposing so much of her skin and her figure that everything was 'almost' visible. It was a wickedly modified china dress.

"Her chest is good, but Ootori's main attribute are her legs. To make the most out of it, I thought of this!"

"D-d-don't decide on people's worth like that!"

"The skirt's length and the slit is almost an overkill, but it's not supposed to show everything. Having a bit of it hidden adds more ero to it. It's very deep. Look at these thighs. Don't they make you want to snuggle them?"

"You bastards! Stop ogling me like that!"

After pushing aside Ouka who yelled at the group of male students, Ikaruga said "Yes, next one." and pulled another person in front.

"〜〜〜〜! Come on...! You know very well that I'm small at various places...! No matter how I look at this its a no go... Suginamiii!!"

It was Mari's advent, a cheer was raised from the men's group again.

Mari was wearing a swimsuit, but it wasn't a normal one. It was a traditional swimsuit handed down from the ancient times of old Japan. A swimsuit which had a sad history and disappeared before anyone noticed, a precious heritage.

A school swimsuit. Also, 'Mari' was carefully written on the name tag at her chest.

It wasn't all. At her head, and her buttocks, there were cat ears and a fluffy tail. Moreover, both ear and tail were moving as if they were real.

"Okay, this is what some people who aren't interested in legs nor big tits want——is that right?"

"Drop that smug face of yours—!!"

"Even the lack of something can be a good point. Why is it a school swimsuit? Because it promotes immorality... and tempts you to perform mischief."

"Try it and I'll fucking kill you! And don't call me a loli just because I don't have breasts! I'm NOT loli and NO touching!"

"Both tail and cat ears were created with use of magic investigation equipment and can move in response to the magic in her body. A cosplay only a witch can do, isn't that innovative? Another option would be a red randosel. With it a smell of a crime and immorality would spike up! And we can charge extra for it."

"I'm definitely not putting it on! I will NEVER put that thing on okay?!"

Yes yes yes, move aside. Ikaruga pushed Mari away.

"Next one is an unofficial participant and a special guest〜. A very poor one who has nothing left. The following is very simple."

With that said, next girl moved in front, it was...

"…........."

Takeru snorted unintentionally. It was Lapis.

《"——I've been told there's not enough participants."》

《"I was wondering why haven't I seen you for the past few days, why have you come out at such a time?!"》

《"I've been undergoing a routine adjustment in the facility. When I came back I was called out to by Suginami-sama."》

As they spoke through magic resonance, Lapis stared at Takeru expressionlessly.

The members of the other platoons stared at Lapis with puzzled expressions and were asking "who?".

And her appearance, was maniac too.

She was wearing a large shirt on top. And nothing below. Although it was a so-called boy's shirt on naked body, the problem was that the shirt was wet and semi-transparent.

"A white shirt after coming out of bath... a man's romance, isn't it. It suits her childish figure, a super cute loli in too-big and dripping wet clothes. This shirt, even though it seems to be wet, it's actually made of see-through material. And yes, you there, no matter how hard you look you won't see her breasts. It's made so that those areas aren't visible. Ah, but, she's not wearing anything below. It's literally a see through naked shirt getup."

?! Some of the men opened their eyes wider.

"I know what you want to say. Just this much is quite plain. That's why I'm going to say what options are there."

And there, she hit Lapis shoulder while saying 'come on'.

After being tapped on the shoulder, she tilted her head while remaining expressionlessly.

"——Can I sleep together with you today Onii-chan?"

*gofuoo*! Some boys from the alliance fell down and started vomiting blood.

And after that, Ikaruga showed off the cosplay girls one after another.

All the other boys raised a ruckus from excitement, Takeru felt sorry for his platoon members. Normally he would have hit Ikaruga, however, he couldn't do it because there was the matter of Usagi, even though he was anguished he had to approve it.

He felt like crying when he though about his comrades' feelings.

"Calm down right now. The next one is the last. My masterpiece."

Ikaruga laughed fearlessly.

"In this world, things that cannot be either classified as big or small exist. There are those who are both small and big at the same time, at first it might look unbalanced, but this is the final form that takes all these elements to extreme. The figure which shines as the one that has the best and miraculous style——is this."

Prompted by Ikaruga, a girl came out timidly.

Takeru was watching the girls with feeling similar to sympathy, but this time he blushed.

"...u-umm... this... is properly covering... is it...?"

Hesitantly, the girl went in front with flushed cheeks.

It was Usagi. On top of her head were huge rabbit ears, they were made of a fluffy material. A bunny girl. However, that's was the only orthodox part.

"Uuuuu... uuuuuuuu..."

The majority of Usagi's skin was visible. What she was wearing was no leotard nor tights. It was no longer clothes.

The essential parts were hidden, and what was hiding them——were medical patches.

There were patches, that were fluffy like feathers pasted all over her.

Moreover, they weren't covering much. The very limit indeed.

The patches were affixed into important parts of her body, and although they were looking like a pattern, the fact was that it was no different from being naked.

"T-this is the worst... being in such an outfit... in front of gentlemen...!"

Looking as if she was about to cry any moment, Usagi looked down.

Even so, she tried to put up with it because her comrades were doing the same for her. She couldn't be the only one who said no.

But, it was still... too much.

...that's too erotic...

Even as Takeru criticized Ikaruga in his mind, his eyes were glued to Usagi.

Usagi looked at Takeru as tears started to flow from his eyes.

"I-I... can no longer... be a bride..."

Feeling shameful and stained, Usagi raised a hand to her mouth.

After enjoying Usagi's appearance, everyone looked towards Ikaruga.

With a face that made it seem like they ascended, they gave her a thumbs up.

Ikaruga also returned the thumbs up to them in a dignified move.

"Wonderful! Perfect! I'm really glad we invited the Small Fry Platoon to the alliance!"

"The variations are amazing Suginami! No, let me call you Suginami-san!"

In response to the applause and praises, Ikaruga said "Of course!" and puffed her chest while looking smug.

"Tell us whatever you need! If we can do it, then whether its chores or anything, we'll do it all!"

"Girls just need to display their bodies! We will do all the rest!"

A question mark appeared above Ikaruga's head.

"What are you saying. You guys are going to dress up as well?"

Dress up...? Men will cosplay as well?

In the world there was something like a butler café. However, inviting women into a shop that mainly targeted men was impossible. There was only one classroom they could use, and they couldn't do both of them at once.

Then, what clothes were they supposed to change into?

Just as everyone thought of that,

"We still don't have a cross-dressing boy here."

———Something outrageous came out of Ikaruga's mouth.

"N-no, Suginami-san... as expected, that's impossible."

"Y-yeah. As you can see, we're far from being beautiful... there's no baby face here, right?"

The boys urged Ikaruga to think calmly.

"Rest assured. My make-ups are perfect. No matter how manly you are, you'll be a pretty girl when I'm done with you"

Seeing the grin on Ikaruga's face, everyone froze.

And then everyone turned into enemies to one another, all the men looked at each other. They looked for a sacrifice. There was no need for two cross-dressing guys. One should be enough.

A hot guy, where's the hot guy. Where's the baby face. If there's a guy like that, we'll be saved.

And everyone's line of sight——was directed towards Takeru.

"No, that's impossible right!? Why are you glaring so scornfully at me guys! Also, I've quite a bit of muscles?!"

"A slim macho. No problems."

Ikaruga's eyes were sparkling and she showed an 'okay' sign with her fingers.

"L-look at my face, isn't it manly?! I-if I get in a drag with my face that looks like that of a criminal's, won't the customers run away?!"

"Certainly you have mean eyes, but you've got quite a baby face, Kusanagi. Aren't you aware of that?"

"N-no way, spare me——"

The moment Takeru tried to escape towards the exit, his shoulders were strongly grabbed from behind.

It was Ouka dressed in a china dress and Mari in a swimsuit.

Their eyes started glowing like that of a beast and they were surrounded by a red aura, the two performed a nelson hold on Takeru.

"Let go! I don't want to! Thinking normally it's impossible!"

"We had to go this far, and you, the captain think you can escape alone...? We can't let that pass, Kusanagi...!"

"Even I had to throw my pride away to go this far? You said you'll carry half of the burden right? Why don't you carry it now, Takeruu...!"

Ouka and Mari forcibly moved Takeru's face as he tried to escape and made him face towards Usagi.

"...Ku-Kusanagi."

Usagi was so embarrassed she was crying.

Even that nervous and shy Usagi was doing her best. Usagi had a lot of pride and yet she exposed herself in public while looking so shameless.

That Usagi did it.

——Aren't you ashamed, as a captain?

"U...gghhh."

Tears accumulated in Takeru's eyes and he clenched his teeth.

He gave up on many things, and opened his eyes which were full of tears.

And in his mind, he apologized to his parents. I am sorry father, mother.

Takeru will... Takeru will become a girl.

"Ku...Kusanagi Double-Edged style... initiate! Kusanagi...Takeru! Shall discard——his manhood for today!"

Kusanagi Takeru threw away his pride as a man, as well as many other things.

Ten minutes later.

"Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha."

"Kyahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha."

"...ppfu... kufu..."

In front of Takeru who was dressed up, Ikaruga and Mari laughed. Even Ouka looked away and held her mouth trying to desperately stop herself from laughing.

"............I don't care any more."

Depressed, Takeru stood in front everyone while tears flowed from his eyes.

His appearance, he had a dress laced with a lot of frills attached to it, a frilled headdress and knee-socks. It was the so-called gothic fashion.

"Not bad not bad, not bad at all. Kusanagi, you should have more confidence. That'll definitely earn some money."

"Yup, you're soo cute! Takeko-chan!"

"You're more... of a maiden than me... bffuu!"

"What's up with your tone?! Want me to draw it?! Want me to draw my sword?!"

His get-up which was a gothic fashion, the attached sword could only be seen as a gag now. Next to the three who broke into laughter was Lapis who stared at Takeru.

《"Matching."》

*bzz* she spoke to him through magical resonance.

《"It's what they call a pair look, is it not."》

《"At least you don't say things like that...!"》

《"If I am to objectively state my impressions, I think it doesn't look weird. Thanks to Suginami-sama's ability, your look is completely like that of a woman."》

《"That doesn't make me happy!"》

Takeru retorted to Lapis while crying.

However, certainly Takeru's appearance was that of a girl. Although his shoulders were quite broad and he had a stern look on his face, thanks to Ikaruga unleashing all of her skills, he turned into a slightly tall and sharp-eyed girl in gothic fashion.

As a proof, all the boys who saw Takeru's transformation said in unison,

"""""Lovely..."""""

"——You're all out of your minds!"

In the end, Takeru's photo in a drag was added into the advertisement leaflet.

The time passed rowdily as he was being teased by the guys from the alliance.

After Ikaruga's cosplay showcase was over, everyone rushed to start to decorate the classroom,

"Ah—wait wait〜! Don't change yet—! Look what the girls from our platoon found in the warehouse!"

The captain of the 23rd platoon, Ishida slipped back into the classroom.

As everyone's line of sight gathered, Ishida raised a square device she had in her hand.

"A polaroid camera! It's vintage, but can't we take everyone's pictures with this?"

"Agreed! Memories, memories!"

"It fits with like something of an ordinary school. Why not."

"It's not like we gather like this often."

"This dropout alliance is something formed for a limited time right?"

"By all means! The Small Fry Platoon in the middle if you could! I'll turn it into a family heirloom!"

While the folks from other platoons were in favor, the Small Fry Platoon members looked at each other.

"I'm not quite satisfied with a polaroid, but I want my art to remain for the future generations."

Ikaruga showed her support with 'it can't be helped' feel.

Mari's eyes shined, she raised her hand and agreed with it.

"I also agree! We don't have many chances to take photos〜."

"...t-taking pictures in such an outfit...? A-as expected, this is a bit..."

"Since there'll be lots of pictures taken on the day itself, just give up already."

"However... this is extremely shameless."

"It's fine, come on! Let's go!"

Mari pushed Ouka's back and they moved to the center of the shooting.

Takeru followed them with a bitter smile as well.

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

Only Usagi looked at their backs and stood behind.

Is it really all right for me to be there. That's the thought that entered her mind.

The reason the Small Fry Platoon participated in the Witch-Hunting festival seriously was because of Usagi's circumstances. That was why Usagi intended to do her best, endure the shame and embarrassment and do her best as well.

That was why she was unsure whether she belonged in that circle.

She was receiving their help, so she wasn't supposed to have fun.

As she thought that way.

"Come on〜 Usagi-chan! Hurry up and comee! What are you doing!"

Mari pointed in the middle and gestured Usagi to come.

"Saionji, don't dawdle. Also, stand in front of me. I don't want my legs photographed."

Ouka frowned with a discontent face and also beckoned her.

"Usagi, make haste and come. You've the leading role in this project."

Ikaruga encouraged her to take a place alongside others as she obsessively adjusted the camera.

In the end,

"Captain's orders, hurry up and come here. You're embarrassed, so am I and everyone else. It's our joint responsibility. That's why, hurry up."

Takeru, dressed in a gothic lolita fashion stood with dignity, it seemed like his composure was restored as he called Usagi.

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

Happy after being accepted, Usagi started to cry lightly.

"I-I don't need you to remind me to come. Don't rush me please."

Despite being dressed in an embarrassing manner, Usagi proudly puffed her chest and briskly ran towards where everyone was waiting.

As expected, she was placed in the very center.

"Aaa〜〜...... this is e-embarrassing after all..."

As she shrunk in shame, *pop* Takeru placed a hand on her head.

"Well, it's just for today right. It should be fine."

"H-however..."

"Also, it really suits you. Though, it is way too erotic."

"Whaat?! Ero—?!"

Flustered, Usagi looked at Takeru's face. He looked down at her and made a mean smile. It made her angry.

"Kusanagi is erocute as well. If you shave all the body hair no one would ever think you're a man."

"Nghh.... don't say it."

"Hmph."

Seeing Usagi puff up her cheeks, Takeru laughed merrily.

"All right, it's perfect... in 5 seconds!"

That's when Ikaruga finally set up the camera and set the timer before running over to join them.

And like that, she threw herself at and tried to embrace the whole Small Fry Platoon.

"Wai—! Suginami, it's dang——gyaa!"

"Howaa?!"

"Dumbasss——doahh?!"

TMG_v04_0005The Small Fry Platoon lost their balance and everyone, including Lapis hugged Usagi.

Everyone who stood behind them also shouted and opened their mouths raising an "Aa—."

That moment, the camera's shutter sounded and a photo came out of the polaroid camera.

It looked very strange, the Small Fry Platoon embracing each other as they lost balance, it was a very misshapen photo.

However, all the boys and girls caught in the picture all had smiling faces appropriate for their age.

 

After the photo-shoot was finished, Ouka left the classroom and walked through the courtyard alone.

She was contacted by the student council's secretary, Sendou Shizuka who cooperating with her in the Tenmyouji Reima investigation.

"During the month he was here, the number of Magical Heritage Tenmyouji Reima has seized does not match the report. The Spriggan didn't look up the details of seized goods on the inspection and he passed by easily. What is the most unnatural, is the astounding amount of goods he seized in just a month."

《"So it's like that after all... with the body of an ordinary human body which doesn't have a phantom instrument, he can't use magic. That's why he's bringing Magical Heritage to school, in order to use it as a weapon."》

Ouka frowned while holding her cellphone next to her ear.

"Also, some of the seized Magical Heritages and adamantium that were stored in safe-boxes disappeared."

《"The recovered Magical Heritages should've been stored in safe-boxes to prevent leakage."》

"...I apologize, that's all I have."

《"We've harvested something as well. We were monitoring Tenmyouji Reima but, please look at this photo."》

Sendou sent an image to Ouka's mobile phone.

That was a scenery of a classroom prepared for Witch-Hunting festival.

However, on the edge of the photo was Reima speaking with a girl.

As she zoomed in, she saw Reima retrieve something that looked like money and stuffing it in his pocket. As she increased the resolution further, she saw some kind of pattern on the center of it.

"A magic circle... that's a charm magic enchantment."

《"Yeah. This confirms that Tenmyouji Reima is Mephisto."》

"As expected of you... but tailing him must've been incredibly dangerous, my apologies."

《"We're the ones who's relying on your help. We should be the ones to apologize."》

"Still, as a member of the student council, you should've been in a safe place together with President."

《"...fufu, worrying about me? That's unexpectedly gentle of you. President said so before, but I intend on joining the Banshee."》

When she said that, Ouka was convinced.

Banshees be killed after being discovered.

Still, they still entered the jaws of death without fear, they understood that gathering information was the cornerstone of investigations and took upon it themselves to fulfill that mission.

They were even willing to sacrifice themselves for information. That was the Inquisition's Banshee.

"I was unable to obtain any useful information, my apologies."

《"There's no such thing. Also, it's all right as long as we know. Although it's part of enemy's plan, I think the Witch-Hunting festival system is interesting. Make sure you earn a lot of points and help Saionji-san. By the way, the china dress looked really good on you."》

Sendou changed her tone, and laughed gently.

"Wha... why do you—?!"

《"I'm a Banshee applicant. No need to worry. As promised, if Tenmyouji tries to get close to your companions, I'll protect them even at the cost of my life. You do want to protect your wonderful comrades, don't you."》

As she was told that, Ouka growled slightly.

When she decided to lend them a hand, Ouka asked Sendou to tail Reima and told her to immediately attack him if he was to do anything to her comrades.

However, she didn't expect their circumstances to be known. Surely, it wasn't just Tenmyouji Reima, but Ouka and the others were monitored as well.

They placed transmitters on everyone... she doesn't trust me this much? That lazy woman!

It's all for the sake of protecting you folks—. She heard Nagaru's faint voice.

She swallowed the anger and tried to calm down.

《"Let's aim at the moment during which Tenmyouji is alone. We'll probably arrest him in the evening, I'll contact you again later."》

"Understood."

《"Let me say so in advance, please proceed with caution. The most terrifying thing about that guy, is the fact that he inherits the memory of the people he is in."》

"...memory?"

《"That's the reason he was able to take down the student council. He keeps the memory, he had access to the extensive list of exchanges and relationships as well as information known only to the student council. Even if the soul changed, the brain remained the same. Since he has all the memory of the possessed target, he can imitate that person and easily prepare an alibi. That's why, turn a deaf ear no matter what that guy says."》

If what Sendou said was true, then he was truly a menace.

Even if the soul changes, the person is still the same. It's different from mimicry and disguise. The memories inside of the body are the same as original. There was no way to differentiate.

《"For Mephisto to possess someone, he probably needs to touch the other party, so avoid approaching. Try to put him to sleep with anesthetic bullets, and if that's impossible - shoot to kill."》

"Understood."

After finishing the call, she folded the mobile.

She made a tired sigh and walked through the crowded school grounds that were in middle of preparations.

Somehow, Ouka was a bit lonely. The truth was that she wanted the 35th platoon to help out with this mission, but there was a possibility of them being targeted if they engaged in it. The enemy is a monster that consumes the souls of people he touches. She couldn't allow her comrades to engage against someone like that.

Just this time, it was the best to do these things alone.

Thanks to the research they did over the last two days, they confirmed Reima's guilt. If she arrests him, it will also help with the matter of Usagi's engagement, it was killing two birds with one stone. "How about a trade-off?" that's what she said to the president, asking her to have Witch-Hunting festival continue after Reima was arrested. Nagaru had a weird look on her face, and agreed with something that simple.

The reason she asked Nagaru about that, was because if Reima is arrested and Witch-Hunting festival is cancelled, they won't be able to earn points. Even if the engagement were to be cancelled, it didn't mean Saionji house would cancel Usagi's drop out.

In any case, it was all for Usagi's sake.

...however, somehow.

Ouka thought about how she, herself has changed.

The Ouka from before would turn deaf ears to her comrade's family circumstances and wouldn't have participated in Witch-Hunting festival no matter what.

She has realized that she's been enjoying the Witch-Hunting festival.

I don't hate this kind of atmosphere, is what she thought.

Of course, she didn't want to dress in such a shameful costume but doing things with other people of the same age that weren't related to battle wasn't bad. The feelings she has never tasted before in her life were itching.

How foolish I am.

She smiled wryly reminded of her own miserableness. The times when she was being called Calamity seemed like a lie. She hasn't been called that way recently.

Ouka sighed and shook her head when she thought of her own change.

The school was still very lively. There were those who assembled the tents. Those who prepared food ingredients. Whether it was decorations, people who drew pictures on grounds and walls, it was a fresh, unusual sigh.

However, at the same time. She felt something uncomfortable.

"......?"

She stopped her feet and looked towards the middle of the school yard.

The placement of stalls. The idea's for decorations. Regular intervals and the people who were leading others. There was a hidden harmony in their careless movements. The drawings on the walls and the ground turned into an unnatural pattern.

She hasn't noticed it until now, but something was... weird.

Ouka approached the students who were drawing a pattern on the ground.

"You guys... what are you doing?"

Proceeding with caution, she asked one of the female student.

The student was puzzled and looked up at Ouka casually.

"...decorations... preparing for the Witch-Hunting festival."

"Why are you drawing such a thing on the ground?"

It was just as Ouka said, it's position was too irregular to be called a decoration, it was a pattern that had an unknown meaning. Looking closely, the pattern continued and climbed the walls of the school building up to the roof. The students gondolas and hanged from the windows to paint the school's wall.

Weird. What are all of them doing?

"A different platoon proposed us to join a bigger project."

"Project? Is this a part of some kind of play?"

"Its rude to refer to Reima-sama's plan like that!"

When she heard Reima's name, Ouka was horrified.

"Since you're in the way, could you stop talking to me?!"

The female student went back to work, displeased. Other students were looking at Ouka strangely.

Ouka backed away slowly, turned on her heel and distanced herself.

"...Vlad, are you listening?"

While walking through the school grounds at a brisk pace, she questioned her Relic Eater.

《"What is it, my tentative master. I have no intentions on keeping you company for a sideshow."》

"You must've heard it. It's not a sideshow, it's already confirmed that this is a case."

《"At this level, it is still a sideshow. Its not a level that would allow usage of Relic Eater."》

"I didn't say anything about summoning you! I just want to examine the entire school so lend me power!"

《"I am not a search-type. Sensing magic is out of my specialty."》

"Is it not possible for me fly in the sky? I need to take a good look at entire school from there."

《"Hmm... let's see."》

As she heard Vlad's reply, Ouka closed her eyes.

That moment, an experimental video came back. As if she was a bird, she looked down on the ground and vigorously rose up to the sky.

《"Although it's not part of my duties, I tried to imitate vision of a crow. How is it?"》

"So that's how it is after all."

Ouka's suspicion turned into conviction.

"It's a magical circle."

The paintings that were drawn by the students looked like geometric patterns. The unnatural positioning of the stalls. Although they were all meaningless by themselves, they all were small parts of something bigger, it could be easily recognized after looking from the sky.

Similar to the Nazca lines, a circular shape formed the magical circle.

《"Ohh. This doth seem they hast thought of something huge."》

"Do you know anything about the magic that's going to be invoked from this circle?"

《"For this current Master, I have no duty to serve in this manner. Fulfill the contract."》

"I get it, I'll do it myself."

Ouka focused on the scene Vlad showed her and began analyzing the magic.

She mobilized all the knowledge of magic she hoarded in order to use Vlad, she explored all magic whether it existed or was lost. The form, color, pattern, and the minor details in the characters.

After compiling all the information finding the magic she was interested in, Ouka started to panic.

"...what a thing...!"

《"Indeed, this magical circle is one that seizes the psyche. It's something beyond comparison to something like charm magic, it's dangerous."》

It was just as Vlad said. Charm magic depended on the caster himself, and it couldn't completely subjugate the target. Other spirit interference magic too, made it possible only to force them to do one action and the enchantment couldn't be maintained, they were at the level of hypnosis.

However, this was different.

Magic that dominated the psyche "Master-Slave" forced those who were caught in it into absolute obedience. It made them recognize what they are ordered as something that's correct to do, and move accordingly. Were they told to die, it would instill no doubts in their hearts, they would do it as if it was something perfectly normal.

Just by being caught in it once, there was no way to defy it.

It modified both emotions and the memory, it was impossible to cure it after being caught in it.

"If they manage to use magic on this scale, there's going to be a lot of damage...!"

《"The "Master-Slave" can only be used by a few people and requires an excessive amount of magic. However, if the caster can adapt it and use multiple sacrifices, the damage can go beyond the extent of school and extend to the entire city."》

Ouka took out her mobile phone and bit her lip.

The enemy's purpose wasn't killing the student council president.

It was to sacrifice the school, and all the people in the city——and use them as the advance attack.

 

At the same time as Ouka found the magical circle.

The second day of the Witch-Hunting festival preparation period, the evening came safely. Since it's become quite dim, there were lights affixed in the vicinity.

Since it was decided on suddenly, there could be only two days for preparation.

It was quite harsh, but considering all the circumstances it has been OK'd by everyone, and the school was busy be it day or night.

Takeru went to discard the unneeded goods to the incinerator, and left the classroom.

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

He was now in a school building with multi-purpose classrooms lined up.

As he passed by the second-year's classroom, he toured it while listening.

Everyone put on a puzzled expression, and the students spoke reluctantly.

Takeru walked down the quiet hallway. Although other school buildings were crowded with students, only this one was strangely quiet.

However, it didn't mean there were no signs of life, there must've been gold diggers in this school building as well. That's what his intuition told him.

That's when Tenmyouji Reima came out from the anti-magic medicine lab. He immediately noticed Takeru.

"Oh, Kusanagi, is it? What's up, coming to a place like this."

He had his usual refreshing smile on his face. Reima closed the classroom's door and put a key into the lock.

"...what about this place?"

As Takeru asked, Reima finished closing the door.

"I was looking around the unused classrooms. Some fellows wanted to make use of this classroom, but they weren't allowed because there are particularly dangerous chemicals in this laboratory. I checked it just in case."

This is also part of work of mine as executive committee member, said Reima.

"What about you? Don't tell me you're trying to use a classroom without a permission?"

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

"That's no good. As a member of Witch-Hunting festival executive committee I can't overlook this... is what I want to say, but if there's anything you need then just tell me. Although I can't give you permission, I'll allow you to sneak around here a little."

Reima played around with the door's card key and smiled mischievously.

Seen in this light, he wasn't a bad person. On the surface he seemed like a good guy.

However, Takeru was skilled in sensing others' true nature. It wasn't an ability to sense someone's feelings but an intuition similar to that of animals' that told him whether the other person was harmless or not on their first meeting.

"Senpai. I have a question."

"Nn? What is it, you're so formal."

"——What did you do to Usagi?"

Abruptly, Takeru directed a question as sharp as a knife towards Reima.

Reima was dumbfounded, he blinked two, three times.

"...ehh, umm... what? Nothing really."

"She was scared of you, Senpai. In front of you, she started hyperventilating. That's not normal."

"...oh, is that so. But, Usagi must've been nervous meeting me after such a long time——"

"You're wrong. It's never been this bad. I've never seen her be that frightened as she was at that time."

Answer me, Takeru threatened him with his gaze.

At first, Reima scratched his cheek troubled, after a while he looked down quietly.

"...you got me there. I shouldn't have talked with you, who's taking care of Usagi. I didn't intend on keeping it from you, okay? It's just... difficult."

And, with a distant look on his face, Reima started to talk about the past.

"A long time ago, when I first met Usagi, I've been treating her badly. Although I was just a brat, but that's not an excuse for doing such horrible things. And it seems like it caused Usagi's trauma."

Admonishing himself, Reima clenched his fist.

"She... lost her brother and sister in an accident. With the two who were candidates for succeeding family's death, the responsibility of Saionji house's survival fell on her and Usagi needed to shoulder it."

Reima was indifferent, but he wasn't lying.

All of that, was true. That's what intuition told Takeru.

"As the second son of Tenmyouji, I was jealous of Usagi. My brother was outstanding, and my family saw only my brother, my family had no expectations of me as I grew up... when Usagi became the heir after her older siblings died... I was envious of her."

I said a lot of horrible things, Reima confessed again.

"Usagi was being pressured by responsibility, and while she was like that I made her hit rock bottom because of my jealousy. That's the truth... I can't deny it."

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

"I... want to atone for it. You might have heard about it, I'm engaged to Usagi. It's something our parents have decided but... I'm serious about it."

Reima acting gentlemanly put a hand on his chest.

"From now onward, I'm going to give her everything. As my wife... I'm going to take care of her as her husband. She is my precious thing, that's why——"

"——That's it."

Sharply, Takeru stopped the flow of Reima's words. Reima responded with a puzzled expression and tilted his head slightly.

Takeru directed a sharp gaze that didn't change a bit ever since the beginning at Reima.

"I've been always pulled in by that. That's why I wanted to confirm it... but it's just as I thought, Tenmyouji Reima."

"...wait, what are you saying?"

"Stop lying. Peel off that disguise of yours."

In an instant, Takeru grabbed Reima's collar.

"Usagi is not an object. If you really though of her as someone important, you wouldn't treat her like an object. Also, I feel nothing from your words."

Takeru Understood. Even if it was like this guy said, and he fancied Usagi a lot, people don't reflect on their mistakes so easily. If he really was sorry about it, why did he leave Usagi alone up until now?

If he thought of Usagi as precious, he wouldn't ever call her a 'thing'.

Tenmyouji Reima continued to wound Usagi deeply in her mind. If she were to be trapped in Saionji's house and grow accustomed to living with this guy, she would break.

He absolutely couldn't allow that to happen.

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

Reima looked surprised at first, but he gradually revealed his true nature.

Before Takeru noticed, Reima looked down at him haughtily.

"You got me... Kusanagi's a pretty sharp guy eh."

Takeru was not surprised, he expected this to be the true nature of Reima's.

"Can I ask you something? Kusanagi, what kind of relationship do you have with Usagi?"

"...ha?"

"The 'captain and subordinate' answer is out of question. I'm asking you what relationship do you have with her."

Completely looking down on him, Reima asked.

Without even thinking about it, Takeru said the truth.

"She's an important comrade of mine."

"——Pff... ku-kuhahahahahahahahaha."

Suddenly, Reima laughed.

"Comrades! And you even threw in "important"! Indeed, certainly a miserable misshapen like you will get along well with other bastards!"

After laughing so much until tears appeared in his eyes, Reima hit Takeru's shoulder.

"Like I said before, I'm her fiancée. We're going to marry, Usagi and I. I'm glad. If she's just a comrade of yours. If you were lovers I wouldn't know what to do. From now on for a life time, I'm going to indulge myself in her OK? Well, it's not like I'd take a no for an answer."

"You bastard...!"

Takeru went back to his original demonic manner and drew closer to Reima.

Reima didn't run away, he just put on a rude smile.

"No matter how much you deny it, Usagi belongs to me, she's my thing. Only mine."

"...!!"

"She's pretty pitiful. Not recognized by the members of her own family, no matter how much she does her best she won't get praised. Moreover, she has killed her own brother and sister with her own hands, can it get even more pathetic?"

After Reima revealed that, Takeru opened his eyes wide.

Usagi killed her brother and sister? What does that mean?

"The thing about it being an accident was a lie. The truth is... that she killed them."

"Say no more of this bullshit...! Or I'll——"

"Don't heat up like that. Well, She didn't intend to kill them. I know that she doesn't have that much courage. But all the folks over at Saionji think that Usagi killed them."

Reima happily said that Usagi's pathetic.

"She has no allies in that household. So don't just get on my case. That's why if Usagi becomes mine and gives them a kid, Saionji will be celebrating. That's when they'll sever their relation with Inquisition and get a post in the Ethics Committee."

"Usa...gi is not anyone's thing... nor a tool!"

Seeing Takeru's rage, Reima looked down at him with a relaxed smile.

"But it seems like you're misunderstanding. Even so, I love her. Her courage in stacking a wasted effort, or not ever being rewarded. That kind of thing seems irresistibly lovely to me. Don't worry Kusanagi, I'm going to properly protect her. I won't have anyone hurt her nor make her cry ever again. You have my guarantee."

"————"

"That's because she's my belonging! The only one who can hurt her or make cry is me! I have no intentions of giving her to anyone! That includes you!"

Reima's lips distorted with pleasure and madness appeared in his eyes.

Takeru's fist creaked. Truly, he didn't expect the man called Reima to be this broken. He absolutely couldn't pass Usagi to him.

"What's up, not going to hit me? Come on, what is it. I'm not going to resist."

Reima held out his cheek towards Takeru.

However, Takeru didn't hit him. And Reima withdrew.

"...I didn't come here to beat you up. Only to check how things are."

While staggering, Reima ridiculed Takeru.

"Hee, so you know what will happen to Usagi if you hit me, the son of Ethics Committee's Chairman. I'm impressed. You're surprisingly calm, aren't you?"

"Calm? Don't talk crap. I will use my full strength to stop you from taking Usagi. No matter what."

"Then, I'll use all my strength to take her away. I too, won't be picky when choosing the means."

After showing his tongue, Reima laughed atrociously, like a hypocrite. Takeru glared at him, and turned away.

"Nobody can sever my fate! In the near future, both Usagi and this school, all of it will be mine! Do your best and struggle!"

Takeru turned deaf ears to the crap Reima was spouting and went back to his own classroom.

 

"...don't get cocky. Know your place, trash."

When he was unable to see Takeru's back, Reima shook his head and sighed.

"After all, your life is going to end tomorrow. If you can't even grasp the current situation, you can't do anything. Kusanagi."

He fixed his uniform that was crooked after he was grabbed and opened the medicine laboratory with the card key once again.

The curtains were closed, and the lab was enveloped in darkness, it was barely visible.

However, the light coming from the corridor lit it up.

It resembled a female student, there were the two white legs of a Japanese girl.

These legs didn't move, they were dangling like that of a doll.

"...now then... although this place was nearly exposed, I somehow managed to fool him."

Reima placed his hand on the door and happily stared into the darkness of the laboratory.

"——Isn't it about time for you to change your body? Hey, you listenin'?"


The Glossary

Master-Slave (マスタースレーブ) - It's written as (奴隷の歌) meaning "Song of Slavery" .


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2 thoughts on “Chapter 4 - I, And The Place For Me To Be In

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  1. slumberknight

    suggestion for improvement
    charge for it extra." > charge extra for it
    that's was the only orthodox part. > that
    The paints that were drawn > paintings
    made them to recognize what > remove to

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