A few days after Elizabeth was killed by Mistilteinn's contractor, in the European Shelter's Magical Academy there was an emergency meeting performed in the parliament building's dark room between East Side and West Side.
"All responsibility lies on the East Side! You were supposed to monitor Mistilteinn and its contractor, preventing them from escaping! How are you going to make up for that?!"
The one exploding with anger face-to-face against Mother Goose was one of West Side's executives.
There was a total of twenty West Side's executives, almost all of them glared at Mother Goose.
On the other hand, the only executives of East Side were Mother Goose and Orochi. It might be different in other shelters, but East Side in the European Shelter was weak. Moreover, after a series of turmoils East was forced into an even more dangerous position.
Mother sat down with a calm and cool expression, and Orochi threw his legs on top of the desk and picked his ears.
That attitude fueled the West bunch's anger even further.
"We're here to do your process confidentially and with consideration, and what's with your attitude here! We gathered here despite it being a bother and we were busy...!"
When the man said so 'that's right that's right!' the other West Side's executives raised their voices as well.
Since it suddenly became noisy, Orochi hit the desk with his leg with abandon.
Not only being instructor of Double-Edged style, Orochi who had vampire cells transplanted into his body did a heel drop onto the desk and easily broke it in half.
Then he stared coldly at the mob in front of him.
"The ones who should be having a process is you... Elizabeth abused her private army and arbitrarily invaded the outside. It's you bastards who're in a poor position, ain't that right?"
"In the first place, if that old hag didn't assault Mistilteinn, this wouldn't have happened."
"...there's no evidence of that yet! Don't speak as if you know that!"
"If you investigate the magical property on the Colosseum construction site you'll find out what was used immediately. The thing about Ancient Wizards is that if they do a crime, they'll be found out after using a single spell. Even more so if it's "Almighty", even if you search the entire world you won't find anyone with it other than Eliza."
When the bunch of executives fell silent, Orochi's mouth arced.
"Even if you're in a rush to hide it, it's futile. We have already harvested soil samples in the epicenter. When the test results come, there'll be no way for you to win."
"Ya won't be able to push all the responsibility on Eliza alone. On the other hand, you West Side executives can't say that you knew nothing of the plan. You didn't think Eliza would die, right? What a shame, the "Godslayer" was better than her."
As Orochi chuckled, the executives stood up, shouting and gritting their teeth.
"...you bastards, you knew it'll turn out like that from the beginning...!"
The East Side had dealt with the turmoil this time way too quickly. It was as if they had anticipated in advance it would happen, and were already moving ahead of West Side.
In fact, there weren't many executives who knew of Eliza's actions and among those who knew, there were those who tried to stop her atrocities. Even so, if Eliza's atrocities were to be exposed, the executives couldn't talk their way out of it. Just as Orochi said, they wouldn't be let off even if they didn't know.
Looking at Orochi's bright smile, they realized.
This is a blackmail. Orochi and Mother Goose used Eliza's going out of control in order to take full control of the Magic Academy from the very beginning.
"...please do not worry. We have no intention of reporting you West Side's blunder to the senate. Elizabeth's death will be treated as an assassination done by dissidents."
Mother who was keeping silent opened her eyes.
"In exchange, from now on you will not interfere with our activities. Keep your mouth shut and do not make your move until things calm down."
If you don't want to take responsibility, you are to keep quiet.
Mother's request was very simple.
"...you say we're to stay quiet! What's your goal?! Mother Goose... "White Witch of the East"...! What on earth are you?!"
When an executive shouted in anger, Mother narrowed her eyes in response to his question. Even in the darkness her eyes were beautiful. Feeling an inhumanly mighty presence, the feet of the executives were struck by a pressure and they were unable to move.
The West Side has been investigating Mother Goose's past for a long time. When and where was she born, how did she grow up and how did she raise to her current position. They investigated it in a rush.
However, there was practically no information regarding her. What was known, was that she suddenly appeared out of nowhere during Witch Hunt War, then she fought the Inquisition beside Elizabeth, Orochi and Haunted.
Other than that, nothing was known. This unidentified existence lingered eerily at the very core of Valhalla. From the complete darkness, she stared at them like a beast making the West Side feel she is different from a human.
The witch called Mother Goose was completely shrouded in secrecy.
"Our goal is to stop the war between witches and humanity from happening again. I won't lie about that."
The darkness Mother Goose was wrapped in grew darker, and her shining-red pupils shimmered.
"However, we won't tell you not to go to war. Our enemies aren't those whom you call Empties."
At the same time as Mother rose up, Orochi put a hand on the sword by his waist.
In response to the executives' questioning gaze, Mother said.
"The one we are warring against——is Ootori Sougetsu alone."
Leaving just that, as if dissolving in the darkness Mother and Orochi disappeared from the parliament seats.
Three days after the West Side had been threatened by Mother Goose, AntiMagic Academy's Chairman's room.
Ootori Sougetsu entrusted his weight on the chair's back deeply and spoke a question to the handset.
The other party was Mother Goose.
《"Yes. The Border's invasion by the Pureblood Party was something done arbitrarily by one person. Please do not think it's something done with the consensus of us witches. To resolve the misunderstanding, I would like to meet face-to-face."》
"...do you mind if we carry it out through formal procedures?"
As if reading it out in monotone voice, Sougetsu asked indifferently.
《"...no, I would like for this meeting to remain secret."》
Hearing Mother's answer, Sougetsu laughed loudly.
"You've got guts there! You're doing pretty well in the role of East Side's executive spitting out pretty words like poison and trying to impose your requests here, Gungnir. Or maybe I should call you 'Goddess'?"
When Sougetsu asked, Mother paused for a moment and answered indifferently.
《"...do as you please."》
Sougetsu didn't miss the anger that could be heard from these words.
He tapped the desk with his fingers and suppressed his laughter.
"There's no use putting up a façade in front of me. For a while now you haven't contacted me and I wondered what's going on but... peace talks huh. Instead of covering it up as that crap, simply say "come out alone let's slaughter each other"."
《"Unlike you, I at the very least try to adapt to this world. My clumsy self loves this world. That's why I'm looking for a method whereas I do not have to fight against you."》
Sougetsu squinted and snorted in response to Mother's words.
"You're adapting you say? Hearing that from the main culprit makes me laugh. Did you forget that the reason for this plight and chaos is that you have waged a war on us?"
《"Rather than of the previous world, I'm speaking of the world we're currently in. I just want to protect this world from you, that is all."》
《"You just want to destroy this world, right. Destroying magic means just that."》
In response to Mother Goose's sharp words, Sougetsu shook his head and sighed.
"Well, fine. I wanted to meet with you at least once and talk it out carefully. I'll join you in that farce. As for time and place, it's up to you."
《"Then, tomorrow at three o' clock in the afternoon, the location... is the last location we saw each other fine?"》
"...there huh... you have quite good taste too."
While laughing, Sougetsu snapped his fingers as if he remembered something.
"——Oh right, can you switch with Orochi-kun? He should be beside you, listening right?"
Hearing his request, Mother went silent.
After a while,
《"............what do you want, shithead."》
An extremely displeased voice full of murderous intent could be heard.
Sougetsu made a happy smile.
"Hello there, sorry for not being able to properly greet you last time. You're unexpectedly healthy. I didn't think that naughty brat from back then would grow so mature. You've even grown a beard, I was honestly surprised at how dignified you carried yourself."
《"Hurry up and get to the main point."》
In response to Orochi's frustration, Sougetsu made a distorted crescent smile.
"I've told you right? That boy... Kusanagi Takeru will definitely come back to me."
《"I don't know what'cha acting all triumphant about, I already know that much."》
"That so? I was sure you wouldn't want him to go through the same you did and would continue to shelter him in the inner world."
Go through the same. Sougetsu said those words to Orochi intending to provoke him.
But Orochi strongly warded it off.
《"——Don't underestimate Kusanagi. He descended of my blood. Be careful or he might just cut your head off. The Kusanagi clan won't go down while being utilized by you."》
"That's not convincing when heard from you, used by that woman. Orochi-kun, are you assisting Mother Goose knowing well what is she conspiring? Cooperating with her, is betraying this world. Don't you think I'm somewhat better since I try to return this world to how it was supposed to be?"
When Orochi fell silent, Sougetsu grinned.
"Even now it's not too late. You should come over to this side——"
《"——I'm fine as long as you die and Mikoto comes back."》
Despite being rejected by Orochi, Sougetsu was unfazed. His smile intact, he opened his eyes thinly.
"If he heard that... don't you think Kusanagi-kun would become your enemy?"
《"It doesn't matter. If he tries to get in my way, that's where our skills will clash."》
Changing into a wry smile, Sougetsu sighed.
"Can it be——that you want Kusanagi-kun to stop you?"
Abruptly, the call ended.
All that came from the speaker were inorganic, electronic sounds.
Sougetsu raised his hand to his mouth and laughed. It was just like laughter of a child bullying someone weaker than them. "Ihihihi", his throat twitched and his belly rocked strongly as he rested his back on the chair.
Seeing him like that, a single boy leaning with his back on the wall looked at him with amazed expression.
"Chairman... that's too much laughter there. You act like a vile adult, yet your reactions are like that of an evil brat."
The boy moved away from the wall and raised both of his hands, chewing on a gum he moved towards Sougetsu.
He was short, and his youthful looks made it seem as if he was a middle school student. With his light brown hair and androgynous features, he looked more like a student of AntiMagic Academy.
He was an EXE member, moreover, a vice-captain. His age was over twenty.
His name was Magnolia Scarlet.
No matter how one looked at it, it wasn't a man's name. In other words, it's not "he" but "her". Not "boy", nor "girl" but an adult woman.
"There's no way I won't laugh at this...! Although he discarded a lot of things compared to how he was back then, he's still weak to provocations. Pff, kufufu, he got off the phone immediately because I hit the bulls-eye! Did you hear that, Mag?!"
"Yes yes I get it, I heard it. Geez, what is this old man finding interesting in that..."
"Mag, you should learn to understand the pleasure of having others panic at what you say. Having these pill bugs on the palm of my hand strike a guts pose with a pale expressions has already turned into a hobby of mine."
"What's with that exemplification... I get it, you're a shitty bastard aren't ya..."
Narrowing her eyes, Magnolia made a gum balloon.
At the same time as it popped, Sougetsu stopped laughing.
Resting his chin on his arms, he erased any expressions.
"So, did you get a grasp on dissident's current status?"
Asked that, Magnolia shrugged.
"I just burned my hands. They have slipped a spy even among the Inquisition's inner circle... Oonogi Kanata whom we confirmed to be one of them went missing and is out of our grasp. Hoshijiro Nagaru whom we suspect to be the top has been witnessed on the Grey City's battlefield, but we have lost the sight of her. Kurogane Hayato is... pure white. His innocence is a sight to behold."
Seeing him convinced and smiling, Magnolia appealed dissatisfied, clicking her tongue.
"But well, thanks to disassembling brains of the suspicious guys, we've had some results. Most of them were falsely accused, but some of them were article genuine. Although, there weren't any of them who knew their home's location."
"...so they predicted that and didn't tell them huh. Interesting, what's the scale?"
His eyes shining with curiosity, Sougetsu leaned towards Magnolia.
"Honestly, can a collective this secretive really exist? That's my honest impression, their number is unknown, probably even Hojishiro doesn't have a full grasp on them. Those guys, they aren't just dissidents from Inquisition. Valhalla, Ethics Committee, West Side, East Side, authorized religious groups, unofficial religious groups, various magical criminal organizations... I've no idea about the overseas, but they must've slipped a few people in there as well, but heck, they have organizations that are at odds with each other cooperating. It's not unreasonable to get a grasp on their actual situation with this."
Seeing Magnolia raise her hands in a gesture of giving up, Sougetsu opened his eyes wide.
"Was that organization we can't even get a grasp at really gathered by that red-haired girl?"
"If she's the top, that's what it means. Whether they really have a base is the question though."
"Of course they have one."
Hearing his words cut in like guillotine, Magnolia shut up. The emotion dwelling inside of Sougetsu's pupils wasn't anger nor fear, it was joy.
"Probably, there isn't that many formal members of dissident group. There should be just a few of them. And the organizations that are at odds with each other are merely being used."
"And their objective?"
"They intend to start an 'invisible civil war' at the same time in the entire world by using those organizations. By making existing organizations collapse from the inside, their ultimate goal is to build an organization that would replace Inquisition and Valhalla... or rather, they want to take over those two organizations from the inside."
"...so they're a revolutionary army, huh. But if they're moving with that intention, wouldn't it be more efficient for them to act by the end of the war? Both Inquisition and Valhalla can afford it with their forces, didn't the war barely start?"
Sougetsu narrowed his eyes at Magnolia's question and gloated with a hand on his chin.
"...they know that it'll be too late by the end of this war."
He rotated on the chair happily and looked at the landscape outside the window.
"Honestly, I didn't think that girl would be this good. I thought she was quite interesting when I saw her take over the student council, but I didn't think she was such an interesting talent."
"So you let her free?"
"It was my miscalculation. I just mistook her for something else. After all, there's a lot of children who overdo it trying to rebel against the adults..."
With a happy expression, he took a big breath.
"Still, for that girl to be the same type as me... an unexpected irregular, interesting. There's finally some fun in this war."
Remaining turned with his back towards Magnolia, Sougetsu scooped up his hair.
"Valhalla is not a threat outside of the military force. The top priority opponents we should deal with is that dissident bunch. Possibly, they hold more information than Valhalla does."
"What shall I do?"
As Magnolia requested orders, Sougetsu snapped with his fingers.
"——You are to lead the EXE and chase the 35th test platoon. Hojishiro is together with them without doubt."
"How to treat her after capture?"
"No need to capture her. Crush her at full strength. That'll be my courtesy to her who's the same type as me."
"Roooger. Nice, I'm lovin' Chairman's orders, they're always so simple."
After receiving orders, Magnolia turned around on her heel and left the Chairman's room.
Left behind, Sougetsu indulged himself in emotions while looking at the school's scenery.
No one knows how much time has passed since Ootori Sougetsu has dominated the Inquisition, no one except for himself.
The time when the system called Inquisition was established dates back to middle ages.
Originally, Inquisition had been cracking down on the pagan religion. Although there are records of its beginnings as part of Catholic Church, right now, even the Catholic Church was branded as 『Magical』 and its concept was prohibited by law. The religions authorized by Inquisition in modern times were weak and vulnerable or fake.
There were only a few who knew his objective. The amount of people who knew his identity was only a handful.
And there were only a few people who were questioning this man of unknown age who reigned as the top of the world's largest organization.
In front of the sight that could be said to have been built by him alone, Sougetsu was intoxicated but didn't laugh, instead letting out a deep, deep sigh.
"So many years spent to get this far. It took much longer than expected."
He moved his gaze up, looking at the cloudless sky.
What filled his field of view gave him peace of mind, the smile Sougetsu made was also cloudless.
And he said,
"...it's a good day to break the world."
As if looking at the empty summer sky, he spilled that happily.