Smelling the scent of burning flesh, Takeru woke up once again.
His vision was hazy, distorted, and it wouldn't focus.
Just what on earth happened? His memory was vague.
Certainly, he separated with Ouka and went to persuade Kiseki... and what happened then?
Takeru couldn't remember 30 minutes worth of events in here.
When he looked at his body, it seemed like he was lying on a piece of rubble.
Between his right shoulder to his flank, he could see a horrifying amount of damage.
It was no wonder he wasn't able to breathe for a while now.
Somehow, he felt like he tasted a situation like this before. Vaguely, he thought such a thing.
"——Geez, I didn't think ya would drop the sword and hug your little sister in the end. So, at the very last moment love has triumphed eh."
A voice came from the front and Takeru looked up. With his blurry sight he could see a figure clad in kimono.
His eyes were very unfocused and he couldn't see the face clearly.
"But well, it was correct answer. You've grown a little, my disciple. That sword will only grant you destruction... for that, your wish is just an excuse to do so."
The figure has closed onto him wobbly.
That attitude, making fun of people.
He remembered it... there was no way he could forget it, it was engraved into him like a trauma, this guy,
This person was——
"Yo, Takeru. Ain't it been four years eh? Been real a while. Lookie how big you've grown! Can't see ya though!"
The man carrying a sword on his shoulder laughed cheerfully, looking nostalgic.
When Takeru's consciousness was about to shut down, his eyes focused, and he could see the man's face.
The only one existing in the modern times, Kusanagi Double-Edged style instructor.
A heretic who stopped being a human and decided to live as a demon.
The monster which had beaten Double-Edged style into him said he came to see his disciple he hasn't seen for years and stood there casually.
"...geez, I'll go change the world〜you jumped out and left in a moment, and soon enough you pull out something as bizarre as twilight-type. Can't be helped."
Stroking Takeru's head strongly, Orochi smiled wryly to him.
His disciple who was hit by the secret art looked like he was about to die, but his heart was beating and he could breathe properly. Mistilteinn was probably giving priority to his life support, still, happy that his disciple was able to withstand his secret art, Orochi was slightly satisfied.
Beside, a buzzing has resounded and a blue-haired girl returned to his side.
Her right arm seemed broken since she was holding it with her left one.
"Hey, Diluted... ain't you all beaten up."
"............it's this guy's fault."
"So you didn't lose to little sister, but to this guy?"
The girl frowned and glared at Takeru who was sleeping.
"...it couldn't be helped. I didn't even turn into Hero form. It's obvious that I'll lose."
"Oh, excuses eh. Rather, haven't I told you not to pull it out? You know well how serious it might turn out when twilight-types collide against each other, don't ya?"
Orochi started hitting his shoulder lightly with the back of his sword.
"Don't be unreasonable."
The girl started inflating her cheeks, her expression turning into more and more pouty one.
Good grief, shaking his head Orochi sheathed his sword into a cane sheath.
"Perfect, it's time for the mission to finish. Transfer magic will activate in two minutes. Don't forget to pay atten——woaahh!"
After Orochi said that much, several bullets landed at his feet.
"Dangerous! Heyy! Who the hell was that dammit!"
Exaggeratedly showing his surprise, he yelled in the direction the bullet was fired from.
The one who shot with her gun——was Mari.
"Get away... from Takeru!"
Breathing roughly, she aimed her hostility towards Orochi.
Mari entrusted Ouka to Usagi and Ikaruga, and came chasing after Takeru alone.
She promised the two to definitely bring Takeru back.
On the way, she was caught up in Takeru's battle and was in danger under the rubble, but she endured somehow by using magical defense until this moment.
Orochi raised his hands exaggeratedly, trying to show her he has no intention of doing harm.
"Don't worry. This guy is my disciple. I won't do anything bad to him."
"I don't get it but it's a no. I won't give Takeru to you guys... he's our captain, and he belongs to us!"
Seeing Mari's serious expression, Orochi was slightly surprised and he looked at her and Takeru alternating between them.
I see, he understood the situation and turned towards Mari again.
"Talking about it would take too long. I intend to to take this guy to a certain country. How about it, want to come too? Judging from the collar you're a witch right? We'll welcome you."
"Come you say... you're Valhalla right?! I have no intention of involving myself with you any longer!"
"...that so. But I'm going to take this guy with me at any cost. I can't leave him in Inquisition any longer. If he keeps staying there, he'll just be used and eaten up."
Saying something meaningful, Orochi made a thin smile to Mari.
"Hey Missy... you, are a witch from outside right? Do you want to know the truth about this world?"
At first, Mari didn't understand at all what Orochi was talking about.
However, inside of Orochi's eyes there was a power which seemed to attract her, and charm.
She could tell at a glance that he wasn't lying.
"If you want to know, come with me. You're Takeru's comrade right. My disciple has been in your care, let me welcome you as thanks."
Feeling no hostility in his words, Mari hesitated to squeeze the trigger.
"You have thirty seconds, decide before then."
He said so, and looked at the girl with blue hair.
"Diluted, recover little sister's head. It should be lying somewhere here."
"...is that all right? If it's just a head, she'll go berserk again. Her power stopped going out of control but... it didn't disappear. If we hold it it might turn into another disaster."
"She's been hit by my secret art right on verge of being killed by her brother. She won't be able to reactivate that fast. We'll make it in time if we seal her right after the transfer."
"...Orochi, it's dangerous nearby.."
"Shut up dammit, stop talking back! It'll be too late if you don't hurry!"
The girl made an angry expression and approached Kiseki's head lying on top of the rubble.
Kiseki's head continued to have blood flowing out of it and she shed tears from her closed eyes.
She was alive. The girl stretched her hand out to it fearfully, trying to recover the head.
However, the moment she reached out, a gunshot sounded from somewhere.
At the same time, the place Kiseki's head was in has exploded
The girl jumped back in a hurry, and a shadow slipped through beside her at high speed.
Not good, she was horrified. But it was too late.
Grasping Kiseki's head, there was a shadow with a gun in there.
The strongest Dullahan——Kurogane Hayato.
"You bastard again...! Ain't you fucking persistent after I've fought you a bunch already!"
Orochi clicked his tongue in irritation.
Hayato was grasping Kiseki's hair with one hand and aimed the gun at Orochi.
"Release Kusanagi Takeru and surrender right now. As long as you do so, I won't take your life."
"Thanks for that but I refuse. Sorry, but it's my win. I can settle this in a minute, that's the difference in ability between my great self and you."
"Let's go with the painless option. We'll be taking Takeru. Your side can protect little sister... both sides will end up with a satisfying result, all right?"
Hearing Orochi's proposal, Hayato wasn't shaken at all.
Hayato put his finger on the trigger and released a stronger killing intent. Orochi too, sighed and put a hand on the sword-cane.
"——Stop that, Kurogane-kun."
A voice came from a different direction. Everyone looked towards it.
"If we're pulled into combat again... Kiseki-chan will wake up. That would be very troublesome... Mistilteinn's awakening has stopped, fighting is pointless."
Ootori Sougetsu has abruptly appeared, and he looked at everyone indifferently from the top of rubble pile.
His line of sight intersected with Orochi's and he grinned.
"Heya, Orochi-kun. Truly, it's been 150 years hasn't it. Been healthy?"
Orochi displayed his anger for the first time.
A glimpse of his fangs could be seen in his mouth and he displayed endless anger towards Sougetsu.
"...bastard, you used Takeru, and tried to repeat that again!"
"Are you, who have plunged the world into despair qualified to say such a thing?"
They seemed acquainted, the atmosphere around both of them collided incompatible.
Seeing Orochi's anger, Sougetsu laughed wryly.
"Even if you've obtained Kusanagi Takeru, that doesn't mean you have obtained Mistilteinn. We have the means of deterring Kusanagi-kun. His little sister and... his comrades are on this side, surely, that boy will come back to us."
Sougetsu stood there, lit up by the moonlight.
"You can struggle at best... you have already pulled the trigger of war. To make sure what you wish for won't happen, that hell will repeat once again."
"And then, finally, magic will disappear from this world——the god-slayer will accomplish that."
At the same time as Sougetsu said that, a crystal-type instant charm started to shine in Orochi's pocket.
The transfer magic has activated. Under Orochi and the others' feet a magical circle has appeared.
"Let's meet again, Kusanagi Takeru-kun... it's because your soul is not that of a human, that you are our trump card."
After saying that to sleeping Takeru, Sougetsu walked away with his back turned to Orochi.
Orochi sent off Sougetsu by glaring at his back, and turned his face towards Mari.
"...it's time. Missy, what will you do?'
To his question, Mari clenched her first and looked back only once.
There was nothing behind her. However, Mari could clearly see the platoon room's door.
...I promised that I'll come back with him.
She envisioned spending time after school sitting on sofa with her comrades like she always did.
You two... I leave Ootori Ouka to you.
Mari sent the message to her comrades in her heart and turned towards Orochi.
"Take me with you. But remember this... I will definitely come back to this place."
She placed a hand on her chest and while staring directly at Orochi, she,
"——I will take Takeru, and definitely come back to where everyone else is."
As a member of 35th Test Platoon, she took a step forward.
——Then, Mari and Takeru have learned the truth about this world.
One month after Hyakki Yakou incident.
When Takeru woke up, he saw a pure white ceiling, surrounded by pure white curtains, it was a pure white room.
Is this a hospital. Were I fighting against something and injured again, I wonder.
The inside of my head is still blank... I can't think of anything... also.
Somehow, he had a feeling he woke up because of pain. Strangely, both his cheeks were hot in touch.
He blinked several times and his vision cleared up.
In the center of his field of view, right in front of him was a human face.
It was a girl with blue hair and long ears, she was looking down at him.
Seeing a peerless, beautiful girl at a distance where he could feel her breath his eyes turned into small dots.
The girl frowned with a dissatisfied expression and glared at Takeru.
As he was greatly confused, the girl's face loomed even closer to his.
He noticed it this late, but the girl was currently straddling Takeru's entire body.
"Wai... eh, wha... too close, you're too close!"
Pushing her away frightened, he loudly asked the question.
The girl, still having a sullen expression has opened her pale pink lips.
"Kanaria. My name."
"...o-oh. Kanaria huh. N-nice to meet you?"
Just briefly saying her name, the girl with long ears... Kanaria jumped down from on top of Takeru's stomach; getting off the bed.
"Orochi, Takeru woke up."
Kanaria moved near the curtain and muttered towards the other side.
Then, from the other side of the curtain a voice saying "'aight" could be heard.
Even as his brain was still in a daze, hearing the name 'Orochi' Takeru's consciousness was awoken forcefully. Orochi. There was only one person Takeru knew to have that name.
The curtain has opened, and that guy showed his face beside the bed.
"Oh, you're up... hey, what's up with your face. Mumps?"
Kusanagi Orochi. Takeru's master.
The culprit who beat Double-Edged style into Takeru. Probably, in modern times he was truly the strongest swordsman there was.
"Ho, indeed. I certainly am your master?"
At the same time as Orochi answered, Takeru jumped down and hid under the bed.
Seeing him way too panicked, Orochi frowned in puzzlement.
"This guy, he's still confused... rather, Diluted, how did you wake him up?"
"Hit his cheeks. Plenty."
"Hey, ain't that horrible."
"Just as Double-Edged style teaches."
"Don't make misunderstandings like that..."
Orochi smiled wryly to Kanaria who passed him a cup of water from the other side of curtain.
With a pale face, Takeru peeked out with half of his face from behind the bed, trembling.
"'Ain't any need to be that frightened is there. Well I indeed was strict when I was teaching you, but I didn't raise you so that you act like a scared chihuahua in front of me."
"W-why is Master? W-where's dis?! W-what 'appened to me?!"
In front of confused Takeru, Orochi strongly rubbed his head feeling it to be a pain in the ass.
"Hm, well... rather than explain it to you, for now, it'll be faster if you see for yourself."
"Open the window's curtain and take a look."
Told so by Orochi, Takeru stood up. Timidly, he put a hand on the window's white curtain.
When he opened it all at once, a dazzling light of the outside has entered his eyes.
That light, was not the light of sun. It was night outside. However, it was as bright as if it were a middle of the day.
That's because it was——
"Wha...t... this place..."
Seeing the scenery spreading outside the window, he lost his voice.
In front of his eyes, something akin to that of a city has spread.
Wrapped in colorful lights, it was a large and bustling city.
However, it was clearly different from the one he's been seeing up until this moment.
There were magical circles emerging everywhere.
People flying in the sky on brooms and talking with each other.
Floating in the air, there were large buildings.
Particles of magic were traversing the sky like fireworks.
Walking on the ground along with people were fantastical creatures that were supposed to be extinct.
——This place was flooding with magic that should have been cracked down upon by Inquisition.
As if it was part of the daily life.
As if it was perfectly normal.
In this city, an impossible spectacle has been spread.
As Takeru stepped away from the window, a hand was placed on his shoulder.
When he turned around, he saw Orochi who smiled as he said.
"Welcome to the inner world——and, to Magic Academy."
In response to this astonishing reality, Takeru's consciousness grew distant once again.