Four days after Takeru was transferred to the inside world.
In the outside world the Inquisition's interrogative committee had been held.
In the courtroom only the defendant's seat has been lit up, the judge executives' faces were shrouded in darkness and not visible.
The Inquisition's executives seats were installed in high positions and surrounded the defendant's seat, the accused was standing with handcuffs on her hands.
The accused, was Ootori Ouka.
She was charged with jailbreak and obstructing Inquisitors as well as assisting fugitives.
"Then, during the uproar you have acted arbitrarily by yourself?"
As one of the executives asked Ouka, she stretched her back muscles.
"Yes. The one who proposed the jailbreak was me. The captain was in opposition to it, but it could be said that I have forced it through. Other 35th Test Platoon members have only acted in accordance to my orders."
"I am the main culprit... is what you're saying."
"Yes. All the responsibility lies on me, that is what I mean."
As Ouka stated that clearly, one of the executives has laughed appalled.
"Don't be stupid. The captain is Kusanagi Takeru. You have no authority to give such an order. In the first place, your subordinates wouldn't follow it."
"As you might know, the 35th Test Platoon has grown a great deal after I have enlisted in it. It's a shame to say so while being one of his comrades, but Kusanagi Takeru cannot be called a good student even as flattery. It could be said that the subordinates trust me more."
Ouka spoke undaunted even in front of the executives.
"That's some rebellious behavior towards your Captain."
"Test Platoon members are students. There is no ranks, and the hierarchy is only a formality, disobedience is not a crime."
In response to her attitude, one of the executives sigh echoed.
"Watch what you say. You won't get off with just imprisonment. Normally, you should have been sentenced to death you know?"
"I am aware. Do not worry, I intend to accept any sentence given to me."
"...I know that you are trying to take all the sins upon yourself. We won't tell you, a minor, to compensate with your death. However, there is something like joint responsibility——"
"You will not kill me because I am the Chairman's daughter."
As she spoke rudely, a commotion broke out among the executives.
Ouka didn't withdraw. A real interrogation wasn't this relaxed. She realized it was just a farce long ago. After all, the executives are mere puppets. A while ago there were people from the so-called dissident group as well as the Ethics Committee in here.
However, they have been picked out during the unrest that happened over the past few months.
Right now in here, there were only henchmen of the Chairman, Ootori Sougetsu.
Even the way this interrogation committee will proceed was already decided by Sougetsu. The underlying motive was to post-process the matter of Kusanagi Kiseki and the battle with Valhalla confidentially. Speaking of what Ouka could do, it would be ensuring that responsibility does not fall on her comrades.
"You sure talk well miss, as expected of Chairman's daughter."
She stared at the executive on in the center of the interrogator's seats.
In there, was a figure of Sougetsu desperately trying to stop himself from laughing by placing his hand on his mouth.
Ouka directed her blade-sharp glare at him.
"Did I make a mistake in your upbringing... no, not at all. It's the result of looking up huh."
Sougetsu placed his legs on the desk and rest his chin on his hand.
As if looking at an ant under his feet, he looked down on Ouka.
"Ouka, what they are saying is reasonable. They aren't trying to bully you here."
What Sougetsu meant, was that even if she's the Chairman's daughter they won't show her sympathy, as if that was an actual fact.
One of the listening executives cleared his throat, in response to that Ouka snorted loudly.
"Just as Ouka says, it is a fact that I don't want to sentence my own daughter to death, but as the Chairman I cannot let her go free of charge. Covering up the criminal acts of my relatives wouldn't be allowed by my Inquisitor's pride."
Hearing the word 'pride' from his mouth, Ouka frowned in annoyance. Seeing her expression, Sougetsu drew a disgusting arc with his mouth.
"With that said, I have no time to preoccupy myself with a mere test platoon. You have been told already weren't you, Ouka... the enemy has already invaded our domain."
Ever since Takeru disappeared Ouka was confined in a solitary cell, there was no way she could know the current situation.
She was told that fact only a few hours earlier.
Sougetsu's smile disappeared, and he carefully spoke of it.
"Currently, the Grey City and the border have temporarily fell into the witches' grasp. Both the Spriggans and the Dullahan are devoting themselves to city defense. The forces on the front aren't all that numerous."
"...how great are the enemy forces?"
"Over 2000. Magical weapons have been confirmed. The number might be small, but each of them being a witch changes everything. The threat is considerable."
"With only that much, we should be able to overwhelm them with our numbers. Instead of waiting, we should assault them before they prepare their formations. It's not time to fear the sacrifices is what I think."
"The enemy has developed transfer magic, they use teleportation to move instantaneously. Considering that fact, it's possible that they will transfer their troops directly to the forbidden area and Inquisition's facilities. It is not possible for us to weaken the defenses of the city and the academy."
While what Sougetsu said sounded reasonable, Ouka speculated something different from that. The failure of Kiseki's convoy operation was without doubt orchestrated from the very beginning. In the first place, it was weird for Kirigaya Kyouya to be appointed to the role of Kiseki's escort. Sougetsu should have been able to foresee in advance what actions he would take. He must have also predicted Valhalla's assault.
She didn't know yet what was the reason for inviting such large-scale destruction into the city, but the following raid of troops claiming to be "Pureblood Party" was too convenient for him.
The overlapping issues of witch forces and Kiseki's matter were processed as terrorist acts. By calling these occurrences terrorism Inquisition used them to obtain support and materials.
So he won't finish the enemy forces quickly in order to prolong the fight? Is he trying to divert the public attention from something...? There's definitely something happening behind the scenes.
A crackling sound could be heard from her clenched fist.
The more she thought about it, the more the shadow of this man called Ootori Sougetsu's has been cast upon it all.
It was always like that. The more she tried to explore it, she could understand less and less what's hiding behind that disgusting smile of his.
Ouka was puzzled about it ever since she was taken in and welcomed as his adoptive daughter.
She didn't know why he would pick up a orphan completely unrelated to him.
She was grateful to him for giving her an opportunity and the strength for revenge.
However, she could only think that there was something behind every single move of his.
"That's the current situation. We can't afford to put anyone in the prison or anything like that."
Sougetsu leaned forward, placed a hand on his chin and smiled.
"Therefore, you 35th Test Platoon members will be undergo a special punishment."
"What, don't brace yourself like that. I think it will be quite beneficial punishment which will help you grow. Experience, if anything."
Ouka watched Sougetsu and listened to his judgment.
Still smiling, he opened his mouth.
"From tomorrow onward——you will join Spriggans and Dullahans on the frontlines and suppress the enemy together."
That order was beyond Ouka's imagination.
"The equipment and ammunition limit of the test platoon is lifted. I don't mind if you use whatever you want, anything you request will be provided to you."
"Impossible! That can't be! It's unheard of a test platoon made up with students to go on the frontlines!"
"Not really? The students have helped to defend during the Hero terrorism, this time too, we allow those who volunteer to defend the city to do so."
"There should be enough forces even without using the students!"
"Of course. That's why I said it from the start, this is the punishment imposed upon you. With this, your sin... and Kusanagi-kun's sins can be written off, that's quite cheap isn't it?"
In response to Ouka who was at loss for words, Sougetsu responded with a cool expression.
"I look forward to your activities. Do your best and survive. That too, is for Kusanagi-kun's sake you know?"
The light disappeared, and Sougetsu's figure turned invisible.
Ouka clenched her fist and tried to withstand the chagrin, imagining the crisis that will befall the platoon in the future, she cemented her determination.
Until Kusanagi Takeru comes back... I will protect the 35th platoon no matter what. She thought.