Date A Live:Volume 5 Chapter 1
Chapter 1: DEM's Plans
"------so, I am going to announce your punishment."
The voice of a man with a calm but heavy tone resounded in Origami's ears.
Right now, in one of the JGSDF garrison's room, a few men were sitting in a row, and were staring at Origami, who was in the middle of the room. It seemed as if they were blaming Origami for something.
But, that was only natural.
After all, an interrogation was being held now, so that Origami could defend herself from her previous deplorable actions.
The man sitting in front of her----General Kiritani, continued to speak in a dignified manner.
"Master Sergeant Tobiichi will be reprimanded and punished. Think of it that you will not be touching the Realizer a second time."
These were the words she expected. Without changing her expression, she made a weak sigh.
The outcome was something that had already been decided long before the interrogation even began.
Through pro forma, even though the defense direct supervisor superior Kusakabe Ryouko was attending, she had not been giving a lot of proposals. This was, in the end, one of the processes that she was following on punishing Origami.
But even so, that was how messy the situation Origami had caused. This was only normal. Rather than that, the action Origami made had been done despite knowing the consequences.
Even if it is that Spirit. If Origami was able to bring down the fire Spirit <Ifreet> that killed both her parents, she would no longer care if she doesn't have to fight anymore and pulled the trigger of the annihilation soldier clothing.
Origami's miscalculation………………<Ifreet>, Itsuka Kotori, was not her target of revenge for her parents.
No-------that fact had not been confirmed yet. But Origami also couldn't throw away the words Shidou told her after risking his own life as a total lie. If by any chance what Shidou said was true, that 5 years ago at that place, there was one more Spirit present, then Origami would lose the chance to chase to real culprit right here and now.
Because of that fact, Origami who did not get agitated to anything thoughtless, felt like her heart was being pressed tightly.
But------at that moment.
Suddenly, the room door opened, and all of the men sitting in a row in the room poured their sights towards that direction.
"What is it, there is an interrogation being held now. Who told you to enter-------"
At the same time as Kiritani said that while frowning, he also turned his face to look at the intruder, and stopped his words midway.
Seeing the face of discomfort and his puzzled voice, Origami turned behind and took a glance.
Over there, a man was standing, accompanied by a girl who appeared to be a secretary.
He was a tall man wearing a jet black suit. His hair was dark ash blond, and he had a pair of sharp eyes as if a knife was used to cut a slit on his face. His age should around 30 years old, yet, he was a mysterious man that gave off a feeling that of being an experienced veteran.
Seeing that man's face, and hearing Kiritani saying that person's name, Origami moved her eyebrows a little.
DEM Company's managing director, Sir Isaac Ray Peram Westcott.
He was the substantial top of the manufacturers who were the only ones that could produce the Realizer in the entire world.
"-----aah. Looks like all of you were in the middle of something. Sorry for the rudeness."
As Westcott looked around the room, he shrugged his shoulders a little while saying that in fluent Japanese.
"Wh, why is someone like you in a place like this……………..?"
Kiritani said that in a flustered manner and turned his eyes towards Westcott's direction.
"Well you see, although I managed to give you all a present, the <White Licorice>, I heard that Mana is down. And since I planned to come to Japan too, so while I am at it I thought I would come to give some encouragement to all of you but……………………something interesting reached my ears along the way. "
When Kiritani tilted his head, Westcott nodded exaggeratedly.
"Is the AST member who activated the <White Licorice> and fought with the Spirit in here?"
From Westcott words, Kiritani gulped.
That was probably a normal reaction. DW-029 <White Licorice>, the annihilation soldier clothing that Origami used recklessly, was DEM's experimental unit. It was the crystallization of concealment technology. Before the talk of saying it was difficult for practical use, the said equipment was only permitted for DEM's transferred employee Mana to activate only.
Westcott probably guessed Kiritani's thoughts and swung his head in a manner as if he was in a play.
"You should not hastily jump to conclusions. It is not like I was planning, to blame you or use this deplorable act as a shield to make someone forcibly follow my demands."
"…………? Then why?"
"It is just pure curiosity. Although she was able to ride it for just a few moments, I was curious on what type of a person that Wizard, who was able to ride that crazy thing, would be. Well-----"
While saying that, Westcott turned his sights towards Origami.
"I didn't think it would be a cute and lovely lady like you."
In his sights, Origami felt a weird and creepy feeling and *Gulp* she drank down the saliva in her throat.
He probably thought that by doing that he had transmitted his thoughts, and made a dry smile while shrugging his shoulders.
And, as if to interrupt that exchange, General Kiritani purposely coughed.
"Please let us properly apologize later regarding on this matter. I was also planning to give the punishment to the First Lieutenant."
"What do you mean by punishment?"
"We came to the conclusion that it would be proper to give her a disciplinary discharge following past treatments."
When Kiritani said it clearly, Westcott made a huge sigh.
"What are you saying? There aren't many Wizards out there that are in that level to be able to control that thing, you know?"
"…………That is not the problem, Mister. This is law within the squads."
From Kiritani words, Westcott made a pose by exaggeratedly placing his hands on his forehead, and made a thin sigh.
And then pointed his hands at Kiritani's desk, and brought his face forward without hesitation before opening his mouth.
Do you still not understand, even though I am saying this much?"
From Westcott words, all of the military officers sitting in a row gasped at the same time.
It was certain that he had that much impact but-------that was not all.
Isaac Westcott was the DEM Company's managing director. Which means, even though he was the man that controls all the Realizers in the world, he was not a man to talk much.
30 years ago, a few people gained the technology of miracles.
A fragment of [Magic] that could make daydreams manifest into reality.
Although it was not officially announced to the public, the Realizers were already deployed to each country's major organizations.
If by any chance, by the whim of the DEM Company, the situation turned into them not supplying the Realizers to specific countries, there might be a chance that those countries might suffer a huge reduction in their powers.
The sound of General Kiritani gulping down his saliva could be heard. In addition to that, the JGSDF right now had made a huge debt with the DEM Company. If he were to make a mistake in his judgments and make a mistake concerning Westcott's mood, then there is probably no mistake that things would be troubling.
But, when Kiritani clenched his teeth, he hit the table with his fist.
"…………Don't underestimate me, you private enterprise. I will not change the decision. First Lieutenant Tobiichi is getting a disciplinary discharge."
He said that, and then glared straight at Westcott.
For a moment, the sound of someone gulping could be heard but----there was no one who wanted to make an objection.
That was a normal thing to do. The precedence of things like the JGSDF executives giving into the demands of a foreign enterprise, couldn't be made in a place like this.
Westcott who was crossing his sights with Kiritani went silent for a few moments, and made a sigh.
He then took out a smart phone from the pocket inside his jacket, and then started calling someone with it.
"---Aah, nice to meet you. Long time no chat. Yes, but in reality there is something I want to discuss with you…………."
And after exchanging some words with the other side, Westcott handed the phone to Kiritani.
"……….? What are you----"
"You will understand if you answer it."
While Kiritani was distorting his expression to doubt, he then took Westcott's phone.
And then, after a few seconds.
"…………Minister of Defense Saeki……?!"
Kiritani rocked his chair with a clank, while his face was dyed in shock.
"Ha………but. -----n, no, there is no way that kind of thing is………"
While sweat was oozing out of Kiritani's forehead, there was a huge wrinkle carved in between his eyebrows.
Kiritani finished his telephone call and threw the phone right back at Westcott.
"Ooototo. Treat it with care please, since this is the latest model."
"Fufu, the Siberian control is really a wonderful system, isn't it. Without using physical strength to pin down an opponent, the whole thing can be settled by being a little intimate with one gentleman."
Westcott then put the phone into his pocket, and send his sights back to Kiritani while shrugging, Westcott then showed his palm of his hands as if to quicken the proposal.
Kiritani groaned, irritated, raised the scroll he hit away and, slammed it on the table.
"…………First Lieutenant Origami, will be dealt with a house arrest for an interval of 2 months……!"
From that announcement, all of the executives that were lined up opened their eyes wide. House arrest----in other words, the prohibition of using the Realizer.
From the things Origami knew about, this was an unbelievably soft punishment.
"General. That is-"
"…………Silence. I already told you what the punishment is. The interrogation ends here. Hurry up and get lost!"
When Origami was trying to say something, Ryouko panicked and grabbed Origami's hand.
She said that and saluted, she then took Origami and walked out of the room in a fast pace.
At that occasion, Westcott raised his hands a little, performing an action as if he was a friend but, Origami replied back by only giving back a glance, she then passed through the door while she was still being pulled by Ryouko.
Ryouko then continued taking Origami and walked a little further from the room, and after reaching a distance where their voices could not be heard, Ryouko then let out her words again.
"………Origami, what were you trying to say just now?"
"………No matter if it was indirect or not, for the JGSDF to give in to the demands of a foreign enterprise is----"
During the time she was saying that, Origami was *SUPAN*!, hit on the head.
"What are you doing?"
"That is my line. What are you going to do if you say something untactful and get punished again!"
"………That is a problem."
When Origami said that, Ryouko scratched her head and sighed.
"Then, isn't it okay like this? Whether or not it is by coincidence, think of it as God sending a angel with a scary face to help you. …………You want to take revenge, for your parents right?"
Hearing Ryouko's words, Origami nodded while gripping on the scroll tightly.
Ryouko face slackened and she lowered her head as if she was satisfied.
At that moment Ryouko suddenly frowned, and sent her sights to the depths of the pathway.
When she turned her back to that something that was attracting her, she found two heads peeking out from the corner of a bend in the corridor.
After exchanging glances with Ryouko, they walked quietly to that spot, and then,
When Ryouko suddenly shouted, 2 of the heads twitched and collapsed onto each other.
"Ou,ouch ouch…………What was that for?"
"Mugyuuu, hea, heavy, Mike, you're heavy!"
The 2 people here were girls that were around their mid teens. One of them was a girl with her hair tied into 2, and was having a Raizen high school uniform covering her body. The other girl, was wearing a slightly bigger white robe over her working clothes and was wearing glasses, she was a girl with blue eyes and blond hair.
Second-class soldier Takamine Mikie and Second-class non commissioned officer Mildred F. Fujimura. They have a difference of a combat personal and a mechanic but, both parties were AST members just like Origami and Ryouko. Since this duo's ages were close to Origami's they were strangely attached to her.
"Mikie and Mily. You girls…………What are you doing in a place like this?"
While folding her arms, Ryouko asked them with half her eyes closed. The two girls corrected their posture, and started hastily swinging their hands.
"Ah, err, Well that is about, ehhh, what was it already, Mily?"
"Ueh!? It's troubling even if you swing it to Mily ---"
Looking at the state of these two, Ryouko made a big sigh.
"It's probably something like worrying about Origami anyway…………seriously."
When Mily and Mikie said it apologetically, they narrowed their shoulders in despondence.
But Mikie immediately raised her face and sent her sights towards Origami.
"S,so……………How did it go, Origami-san!"
When Mikie shouted and said that, Mily followed her and came forward. From looking at these two states, [Seriously] Ryouko again made a face as if she given up and spilled a long sigh. After that, [Answer them] she jerked her chin to Origami as if to tell her that.
After Origami replied back to Ryouko by lowering her head a little, she moved her lips.
"…………I was told and given a 2 months interval of house arrest."
The moment she heard those words, Mikie lost her strength on her knees and collapsed on the ground.
But she immediately swung her head, and took out a brown envelope with the words [Letter of Resignation] from her pocket, and slammed it on the floor.
"No, now that things has ended like this, I will also quit this job~kyuu!"
"Mike, you didn't say it properly."
Mily stroke Mikie's back as if she was calming an animal.
"I mean, calm down and repeat after what Origami said just now."
"Eh………? It's because Origami-san is getting 2 months of house arrest…………Eh? Arere? House arrest?"
Mikie wiped her tears with her sleeves and stood up.
"Hou, house arrest, which means you don't have to quit right!?"
At that moment, Mikie's face which was dyed in despair immediately turned bright.
"Tha, that's great…………!If Origami-san was to get dismissed then I…………I………uh…"
The tears that were wiped away, was once again floating in Mikie's eyes. Mikie, then overpowered with emotions, spread her arms and jumped at Origami.
But Origami did not respond accordingly, and in order to ward off that small physique coming her way, she instantly twisted her body, and because of the height difference, she was able to give an elbow to the back of the incoming target's head.
Although it was not like she had the intention to attack her but, the feelings that were carved right into her body, was just an overreaction to the opponent that was coming right at her.
She raised a strange shout, *Slam*! Mikie got her face vigorously hit to the ground.
"……………I will get surprised if you come like that so suddenly."
"N,No way………Just now, wasn't that a nice emotional scene……"
Mikie was rubbing her red nose and forehead while, slurping her snot.
And, while looking at that Mikie with a sidelong glance, Ryouko bent down and picked up the brown envelope that was on the corridor floor.
"Fu-un………………So you want to quit the AST. I guess there is no choice. Although it hurts since we are running out of help, since you were polite enough to prepare something like this, I guess I can't coldly reject the offer huh."
She made an exaggerated gesture and shrugged her shoulders, then showed a sigh as if it was done on purpose.
The one that raised that hysteric voice was obviously Mikie. Her eyes turned swirly with circles and then ran to Ryouko in panic.
"Ah, err! That was……!"
"Hmm---? Yes~. What's wrong Mike? ………… Aah, sorry for calling you in an overly familiar way, Takamine-san. Don't worry, if it is you, you will most likely do well in your life from now on.
"Captain, tha-that's a mistake! That's a mistakeee!"
Mikie extended her hands to take back the resignation letter. But, just when she was about to take it, Ryouko held the resignation letter high up with her hand.
"Tha-that was some kind of a misunderstanding! That was a plot of an evil organization!"
"Misunderstanding huh………………Even though this was written by you."
*Hop**Hop* Mikie matched the timing to jump, while Ryouko was held the resignation letter further up each time she jumped to avoid it being taken.
It was clear that she was playing. Although it was a rare action for the overly serious Ryouko but………There might have been accumulated stress from just now, so she was just releasing all of it by teasing Mikie with her whole body.
And, when Origami was staring at Ryouko as always, *ahaha* Mily made a cheerful laugh.
"Well, both of you, it's a happy thing that Origami didn't have to get fired……………but it's amazing how you managed to get only a 2 month house arrest. Honestly speaking, I didn't think of anything else is possible other than a dismissal."
Origami, wondering where to start, had a problem explaining it. Mily immediately started trembling.
"!,Do-dododododon't tell me…………"
Thinking that she was strange, Origami called her name. But Mily completely did not realize that and blushed; sweat was then running down her forehead.
"Thinking normally, that act is a punishable class deplorable act………………but, what was sentenced to Origaimi was a house arrest…………that punishment is unnaturally light…………in a dark room…………and the lustful smiles of the superior officers…………[You don't want to be fired right? Then you should know what to do to avoid that right?]……………Ah~, Origami is then made to wear humiliating clothes and to grovel on the ground, and then her maiden part where no one has ever seen-----"
*Bam* And Ryouko's fist swung down on Mily's head.
"Wha, what was that for! Mily's brain is everyone's treasure you know!"
"Shut up! All of the things you were thinking about were leaking out of your mouth."
"I, it was leaking out……………Don't tell me you're forcing that maniacal play on me!?"
One more time, Ryouko's fist swung down on Mily's head.
"Ouch ouch ouch……………mouu, is Ryouko going to take responsibility if I get dumb---!?"
"It's already festered you Mimidoshima[5A 1]."
When Ryouko was in a given up state and opening her fist, Mily was rubbing her head.
And at that moment, from the corridor, the sound of 2 person's footsteps echoed.
When they turned their sights towards that direction, they saw a man with a black suit, and a girl wearing sunglasses. She was Isaac Westcott's secretary.
*lower* Origami lowered her head. Looking at what Origami was doing, the others seem to have realized Westcott's existence. At that moment, they shut their mouth, stopped fooling around and stood upright.
Westcott realized the gang and moved his eyebrows, and the moment he passed Origami's side, he placed his hands on her shoulder.
"I have expectations for you, young Wizard. If it is you, you will definitely shoot down the Spirits."
It was not like she felt hostility or killing intent. But, Origami's heart was unbelievably contracting over and over again which was thought to be impossible. It was like------she felt something like fear from the man that passed by her a moment ago.
"Give her that."
When Westcott said that, his secretary took a small piece of paper out of her pocket, and handed it to Origami.
She took it without saying anything. Over there was the name I.R.P.Westcott, a list of numbers that looked like phone numbers and a mail address was written there.
"If you have anything that is troubling you, you can call us anytime you like. ------DEUS.EX.MACHINA , will not spare any efforts in helping your cause."
"…………I am thankful."
She took the business card and replied softly. But eventually, she could no longer stare back at him.
Whether or not he realized what Origami's state was going through, after Westcott made a smile, he then accompanied his secretary and walked away.
"E,errr………Who was that person just now?"
Mikie and Mily was, tilting their heads exactly at the same timing. Ryouko who was making a nervous expression was now scratching her head as if she'd given up, she then faced to the both of them with half her eyes closed.
"That's the DEM Company's Mr.Westcott. Haven't you seen him on television or magazines?…………It's still understandable for Mikie but Mily, Didn't you transfer here from DEM? How come you didn't know that?"
The DEM Company is the only one in the world that could manufacture the Realizer, the CR-unit's vital part.
Due to that, the countries' police organizations or the army which are supplied with the Realizers, would have supervisors or maintenance officials deployed by the DEM company. Mily is also one of those personnel.
[Ah] Mily touched her chin with her fingers from hearing Ryouko's words.
"Now that I think about it, there might be someone like that---"
"Now that I think about it………………Isn't he your boss from your place?"
"Ahaha, that's because there rarely are chances for mechanics and managers to meet face to face--. Anyone would be satisfied if the management ranks were keeping quiet while sending out money to Mily and the others anyway---"
"You made a dangerous remark so easily."
Ryouko made a dry smile, but Origami did not hear much of that conversational exchange.
She looked at the business card that was left on her hand as if glaring at the words and numbers printed on it------then moistens her throat with her saliva, once more.
Westcott was making echoes with his footsteps in the corridor, while making a soft sigh.
"----Did you see that, Ellen? Everyone there did not see how grave that matter was. All of the incompetent fools joined together, were weird enough to put the blame on a genius that is 1 in 10,000."
"I guess that's true."
She was walking behind a few steps before Westcott while the girl----Ellen replied back quietly.
"But, for an unpurified Wizard to move the <White Licorice>.... If by any chance that Kiritani still does not want to withdraw Tobiichi Origami's punishment, it might have been better if I invited her to my company. The meaning of that, it'll be a little regretful to give up on her."
"To the DEM?"
"Aah. If a magic treatment was carefully conducted, compared to Mana or Artemishia, she might even become a Wizard that could surpass the world's strongest Wizard, Ellen Mathers.
Westcott said that while narrowing his eyes while the world's strongest Wizard kept silent. Although he planned it to be a joke, she might have turned a little sullen at it. Westcott thought that she was unbearably cute, and shrugged his shoulders.
But Ellen immediately remembered something and raised her voice.
"--------Speaking of which, there was one report."
She said that, Ellen opened the file she was holding with her hand.
"Yes. The AAA Spirit code-name <Princess> that often appears in the Kantou vicinity, has stopped being confirmed appearing since 3 months ago, I told you this before a few days ago."
"Aah, I heard, but that isn't really rare right?"
"Yes. But, look at this."
Ellen took a photograph, and showed it to Westcott.
There were two girls in the photograph. One of them was First Lieutenant Tobiichi Origami they met earlier. Thinking about now, he heard that she was a reserve member for the AST while half of her time was spent going to school.
But-----the problem was the other girl.
She was girl with a slender figure, wearing the same uniform as Origami. She had a beautiful appearance, with night colored hair reaching to her hips. A pair of fantasy like crystal eyes, that if anyone were to see it once, would probably never forget about it for the rest their lives.
There was no mistake. There is no way to mistake it. That was,
While Westcott was regulating his heart that has been beating fast, he made a soft voice and said that.
Yes. The person being shown there was, the Spirit <Princess> that they were talking about.
"What does this mean? Are you saying that Spirit is using a high level skill to attend school?"
When Westcott said that while frowning, Ellen opened her mouth.
"This girl's name is Yatogami Tohka. It looks like she is a female student who transferred to the Metropolitan Raizen High school, around the period when <Princess>'s figure faded."
"What was the JGDSF's action?"
"It looks like First Lieutenant Tobiichi reported a female student that resembled the Spirit but because the observation results show no Spirit readings from her, she was classified as a normal person."
"How was she observed?"
"An outside observation from the DS-06."
Hearing the name of the observation machine used, Westcott placed his right hand on his forehand and made a sigh.
"They used the low accuracy vehicle type DS-06 once and they decided that she's just another person that just resembles the Spirit, just like that?"
"Looks like it."
"Ellen, with this I am certain. A peace-loving idiot is much scarier than anyone with dementia."
"I'll urgently request for a re-investigation."
But, Westcott extended his hands to restrain Ellen from doing so.
"If we leave it to those kind of JGSDF VIPs, the best they could do would be a physical examination with the same results."
"----Yeah, we are going take this matter into our own hands. With us doing it, we can definitely solve this quickly and easily."
He stopped Ellen from saying anything further. He understood what she was going to say.
As long as Miss Yatogami Tohka has a chance of being a Spirit, it is necessary to prepare the required battle potential to oppose her if she shows her true colors.
But, to have enough personnel and equipment to oppose an AAA rank Spirit and use it on the scene, is unbearably difficult hide from the AST.
The point is, the situation now was like having a feast placed in front of you, but your hands cannot reach it. He was also thinking of re-requesting the AST to let Ellen enter the JGSDF again.
"…………Could you let me see that for a little longer?"
Westcott pointed his fingers to Ellen's hands, and after making a short reply, she handed the file to him.
He then flipped through the book and-----------the side of Westcott's lips distorted.
"Houu………Isn't this a great timing…………Hey Ellen, did your body turn dull recently for not having any Spirits be your opponent lately?"
He said that, and Ellen twitched her cheeks.
Spirits appear in unexpected places and in unexpected moments by their whims. There is a limit on preparing the strongest battle potential when it appears whenever it likes, if by any chance they get to drive a Spirit to a corner, it'll be meaningless if it goes [Lost].
But, if they know about the whereabouts of the Spirit, the way to do it was simple.
"I'll leave this matter to you Ellen. ------Ellen. Ellen Mira Mathers. The strongest Wizard that is second to none. If it is you, you'll definitely be able to accomplish it. No matter whom the opponent is, even if it is the being that causes the atrocity of destroying the world."
Ellen made one clap before answering.
"That is a given. No matter who the opponent is, I will never lose."
It was an expected answer that fit his expectations. *hmhm* Westcott made a pleasant smile.
Taking a short breath, Takamiya Mana slowly opened her eyes.
It might have been because she had not been using her eyes for a long time, but her vision was blurry like a mosaic.
She could not properly exert strength with her body, and her whole body ache with a dull pain.
In one moment, the voice she made with her throat, sounded like someone she didn't know. Her dry throat and the buzz in her eardrums. Those factors were enough for her to not recognize her own voice. The only other thing left was her own brain, which could probably could not recognize her own voice. That type of stupid thought passed through her head.
Taking a few seconds, Mana came to her senses, and confirmed the situation that she was in.
A white room. A large bed. Her whole body was wrapped in bandages, her left arm had drips attached to it and her mouth was attached to an oxygen mask.
There were electrodes stuck onto her chest, and the Electro-Cardiogram matching with Mana's heartbeat was ringing regularly.
Mana unintentionally made a dry smile. No matter how she looked at it, she was a patient in a critical condition.
"Why am, I, in such a………..?"
She said up to there, and Mana opened her eyes wide. She tore off the oxygen mask, and raised her pain stricken body.
She then turned her neck, and turned her eyes to the digital clock placed on a shelf.
---14:00 7/5 WED.
Looking at the date displayed on it, Mana gasped.
Either the clock was broken or someone wanted to deceive Mana by intentionally changing the date, if that is not the case.
Almost a month had passed from the day Mana fought with <Nightmare>-----Tokisaki Kurumi on the rooftop of Raizen High school.
Yes. At that time, Mana was defeated and driven away by the real Kurumi whom had manifested her angel.
The only other people that were at that place with Kurumi and Mana were, Shidou, Tohka and Origami only these three. She thought that, there was probably no one that was able to overturn that situation. Namely to say that means…………….
Mana forcefully pulled out the electrodes stuck to her chest and the drip that was poking into her left arm. The second she did that, the Electro-Cardiogram disordered and *Piiiiii*, and such a sound rang.
And finally at that moment, Mana realized something basic.
"Why am……………I, not dead…………..?"
It was certain that her body hurt. Her vision was hazy. It was hard to say that her whole body's senses were in perfect condition.
But-----She was alive.
She was exposed, defenseless, to that man-eater <Nightmare>, yet she still survived.
Which means, the situation became unnecessarily incomprehensible. By the time Mana lost consciousness, the battle situation was at it's worst possible state.
On top of the school's rooftop, inside the deepest part of Kurumi's duplication, her Angel that controls time was enshrined there.
It was a despair-like situation that anyone can see from just one look. There is probably no battle potential that exists in this world, that can defeat that monster.
But if that was the case, it still does not explain why she is still alive.----Unless that perverted woman decided not to exact her revenge, with a reason like it was her own whim that chose not to do it.
Mana placed her hands on her aching head. Even if she was still alive, she didn't not know, whether or not the others were out of danger. What on earth happened to everyone there?
And-----Mana, who was immersing herself in her thoughts, made that unexpected noise while raising her eyebrows.
The door of the sickroom opened, and a few of people wearing black suits entered.
"--------Takamiya Mana, right?"
"…………..Who are all you people? You people are a little dark for a doctor or a nurse."
Mana made a sharp gaze, and the men in black did not move an inch.
"You will come with us. Although we do not want to resort to violence, if you were to resist, we would have no choice."
Mana distorted her face in a bad mood, and glared at the man that said that.
"Do you know who you are talking to? Resort to violence? Against me? Haa, Try it if you like."
She said that and stood up, and shaking her wrists to get accustomed to her body.
"Takamiya-san, is there something wrong?"
The nurse opened the sickroom door ----and froze in her place.
She saw some problems with Takamiya Mana's Electro-Cardiogram and came to check but…………the room right now, was empty.
On top of the disarranged bed, the removed oxygen mask and the electrodes, the drips from the needle were scattered around, and a small impression was left on the bed as if someone was just sleeping on it just a few moments ago.
But, whether she turned her head to the left or right, or even looked under the bed, she could not find the supposedly unconscious patient in the room.
The nurse rushed over to the pillow side of the bed, and pushed the button to call the nurse.
The same time when chime of the bell that he was used to hearing echoed in the school area, Itsuka Shidou fell onto the table as he used up all his energy. There is probably smoke coming out of his head.
But that was only normal. That is because Shidou was right now, he has just finished his end-term exam, one of school-life's formidable enemies.
"Okay Okay, don't slacken up yet. Please stack the answer sheets starting from the back."
*clap* *clap* the teacher with glasses standing at the teacher's desk raised her voice and clapped her hands. She was the class' homeroom teacher, Okamine Tamae, nicknamed Tama-chan.
The students raised their bodies like zombies and passed their sheets to the seats in front of them in sequence.
Although Shidou felt that the zombie modes of the other classmates were stronger than average but, that was also normal.
In addition to the fact that this was an exam with a wide variety of topics, just a few days ago all the students in this school were sent to the hospital at once.
At the end of last month, there was a case where, the students and staff members that were in the Raizen school, all collapsed into unconsciousness.
After a thorough investigation from the schools gas pipes to building materials, and the foreign substance that was released from gas, the school's temporary closing was called off but…………….mercilessly, the schedule for the end term examination's did not move even one day.
And, during the time he placed his answer sheet onto the stack of other answer sheets and passed it to the front, he happened to see the girl who was sitting to his right. Just like what Shidou did a few moments before, *fell* on the desk, she threw herself on top of the table.
"Tohka, are you okay?"
When Shidou tried to talk to her, Tohka raised her head dizzily.
"How did it go?"
"mu…….muu, it's just alright"
With an exhausted face, Tohka fluttered her hand.
In the mid-term test before, she was the girl that only scribbled in the answering sheet (Reine made preparations in secret to make sure Tohka didn't get a red mark) but, after hearing the meaning of a test, she said that she was willing to do her best and started studying. It seemed like, she didn't like the fact that Shidou was studying while she did nothing at all.
It seemed that in on the <Ratatoskr> , they also wished that Tohka would voluntarily take that action, there was a study meet planned in the Itsuka house before the test but………………….as expected she had most of her energy drained from doing something she was not used to.
In reality, one hour into the study meet she started getting a fever. It was a real fever that brings an intellectual growth spurt.
"Okay, now then, all the subjects in one end-term examination, are now over. Good work everyone"
Tama-chan raised her voice. And the sound of cheers and breaths of relief came from inside the classroom.
"But, since there are some things still left for today, all of you must not go back?"
Tama-chan said it to make sure and arranged the stack of answer sheets before leaving the classroom.
And, matching with that, Tohka wobbly stood up from her chair all and dried up.
"shidou………..let me drink, some water"
"O,Ou. Are you okay?"
"Umu………..don't worry about it. I'm just a little tired"
Tohka said and stumbled to the classroom door with tired footwork, she then opened the door and walked into the corridor.
"Haha……..well, she did try hard after all"
Shidou sighed after seeing off Tohka's back, and then leaned back in to his chair---------*twitch* he then twitched his eyebrows.
The reason was simple. The image of the female student sitting at his left side entered the side of his view.
It was a girl with white colored hair that stopped and tickled the tip of her shoulders. And because her head was turning left-----and looking at towards the windows, although he couldn't catch a glimpse at her face but, he could imagine that there was not a single sign of expression on her face.
Tobiichi Origami. She was Shidou's classmate and a member of AST; an organization that hunts down Spirits.
Although he did not do anything at all, there was a creaky pain on his heart. He unintentionally distorted his face.
After the end of last month's events, Shidou had not spoken to Origami at all.
Somehow, if he were to let this chance get away, he felt that he would miss the chance to have a conversation with her.
He gathered his resolve and opened his mouth.
When Shidou called her name, Origami twitched her shoulders a little before turning towards him.
And then, with her usual soft and accent-less voice, she replied.
He wondered why, but he was a little relieved looking at Origami's state.
But, after she stopped talking, there was silence between Shidou and Origami.
It can't be helped if she wants to keep quiet like this. Shidou was trying to ask her about what happened after the last event that occurred.
But, as expected he could not have that kind of conversation in the classroom where the other classmates could overhear them.
Fortunately there was some time left until homeroom started, and Tohka had stepped out of her seat. After Shidou swallowed the saliva in his throat, he once again opened his mouth.
"Origami. Can we go to a place where both of us can be alone for a bit?"
At the time Shidou said that, Origami moved her eyebrows.
"A place, where both of us-------- can be alone?"
And for some reason, she said it with the words separated from one another.
"Aah. Look, even on the stairs where we had our last talk would be oka------"
Origami stood up straight, and just like that she grabbed Shidou's hand with all her strength and walked out.
Even if he called Origami's name she didn't reply. Without even looking at the stairs that lead to the roof, their footsteps echoed in the deepest part of the school building where no one was around.
And then just like that, Origami walked towards the girls' washroom located at the end of the school building.
"No, stop for a bit!"
By the time Shidou finished talking and swung his hands, Origami tilted her head in curiosity.
"Since this place is quite far from the classrooms, there won't be anyone coming here during test time"
"No, that might the case but even so!"
"Do not worry"
"Wai, Sto-------no seriously, where are you planning to bring me!?"
There was no point in resisting. With Shidou hands being pulled, he was then brought to the furthest toilet cubicle just like that, and *Kachin* the door was locked.
He was facing Origami in this space that was obviously not supposed to be for more than 2 people, Sweat dripped down Shidou's cheeks. And, at the edge of his vision, it seemed that Origami had starting to move around.
"Origami, what are you-----"
He said, and gasped.
But that was only normal. When he thought that Origami used both her hands and inserted them into the inside of the sides of her skirt, and just like that she pushed her white underwear halfway down her legs.
"Wai, Wait a second! STOP! I'll wait outside if you are planning to do your business!"
But Origami tilted her head and made a face that Shidou's reaction was out of her expectations.
And then *Pon* she clapped her hands together, and pulled back her underwear back up, this time she crouched down. And then extended her hands towards Shidou's waist, *Kachin**Kachin* she then unfastened the metal fittings of his belt.
Hii! He gasped, and grabbed both of Origami arms in a panic to stop her.
"What are you doing! What are you doing!"
"………….? Then, why did you bringing me to a place like this?"
"You're the one that brought me here Origami-san, right!?"
He was shouting while almost crying, but somehow he managed to adjust his breathing.
"I………just want, to talk about the matter regarding last month"
When Shidou said that, it was as if Origami came to terms with that but, and for some reason she made a regretful face.
"…………What did you thought I was going to do?"
"As expected you don't have to say it, I'm sorry"
Origami stood up straight and looked at Shidou's face, and quietly opened her mouth.
"----the results of the interrogation, I have been sentenced to 2 months of house arrest"
"It is about the thing after that event"
"House arrest………….which means, you don't have to quit the AST!?"
When Shidou spoke in a surprised voice, Origami tilted her head to the front in silence.
"I see………….you didn't get fired huh"
He placed his hands on his chest, and made a sigh of relief. When he did that, Origami rocked her eyebrows.
"Why did you react like that?"
"Ah, no……………….it's certain, that it is true. I wonder why too"
Shidou said that, and scratched his head, troubled.
Shidou supposedly didn't want Origami to fight the Spirits. If it was possible, he wished that she would pull out from the AST, but even so.
For some reason, the moment he heard those words from from Origami's mouth, he was a little relieved.
"---------it's not like I have come to terms with it"
Hearing Origami's words, he gasped.
It was probably because he guessed what she was going to say in an instant.
"The fire Spirit, <Ifreet>. You said that she was not the Spirit that killed both my parents. -------However, there is no, definite evidence that proves it"
"……………., that is………"
To kill the Spirit that killed her parents, Origami enlisted in the AST.
Last month. She finally faced the Spirit that she thought was the target of her revenge. It was Shidou's sister---Kotori.
And of course, Origami threw everything away and even violated the laws and regulations, just to attack and kill Kotori.
But at that moment, Shidou remembered his past. The memories he had from 5 years ago. The image of the city being covered in flames. And the---the presence of another Spirit.
"It is true that it might be that case. But……….I want you to believe me. I will never lie to-----"
"Don't mistake me. It's not like I don't believe what Shidou said. I want to believe, in what you said. ----and also, if I had to say then, I think I want what you said to be true"
"If possible I also don't want to kill your sister"
After Shidou opened his eyes wide in an instant, she gripped his fist hard and he lowered his head a little.
"--------Thank you, Origami"
"That is, my line"
Origami, once again averted her eyes, and said that. Not knowing her intentions, Shidou made a faint frown.
After Origami slowly adjusted her glance back to its normal place, she moved her mouth with a bit of hesitation.
"I'm thankful. …………..for, you talking to me normally"
"I'm the human that tried to kill your sister. ------No, even before 3 months ago, I was almost about to kill you"
Shidou made a sour face as if he was chewing something, and scratched his head in a mess.
"Don't worry about it………………and I can't say something like that. But-----even so, Origami, is the thought of talking to you like I always do-----is it no good?"
When Shidou asked that, for a moment, Origami showed something like hesitation before, *Swing**swing* swinging her head to the side.
Shidou folded his hands together and once again tilted his head forward.
"Well then, how about going back to the classroom soon. Homeroom is going to start soon too"
"-----wait. There is one more last thing that I want to confirm with you"
"Hmm, what is it?"
When Shidou adjusted his posture by turning to face backwards and said that, Origami stared at Shidou.
"-----Shidou. Are you, human?"
He unintentionally shortened his words. ------but, he had pretty much predicted that question.
"From before, I felt it was a little weird. At that time, there was no mistake that I shot you. …………….however, after a few days, you came to school with not even a single scratch. And also----- during that time at the amusement park"
Yes. On the day that Origami assaulted Kotori. Shidou sealed Kotori's Reiryoku, and on top of showed Origami his regenerative abilities, he also told her that.
---Kotori now is human, and <Ifreet>'s power is with me.
---That's why; if you are going to target someone, then target me instead.
Thinking about it, Shidou was quite reckless at that time.
Although there was no other choice but to persuade Origami, he had just exposed his secret to her, a member of the AST which opposes the Spirits.
Origami probably guessed his thoughts by looking at his expression; she opened her mouth without waiting for Shidou words.
"Relax. I did not report that to the higher ups."
"Uh, is that so?"
When he asked her, Origami was mostly nodding at that moment.
"But, why would…………."
"I can't just leak out uncertain information and cause confusion among the team members. And also, if by any chance you are confirmed as a Spirit, there is a chance that there will be a suppression order against you"
*Heartbeat*His heart made a huge beat. Suppression order. There is only one thing that word meant. Which means-----the AST will, the modern day Wizards covered in mechanical armor will, using their entire powers come to kill Shidou.
But, that was a reasonable matter. That's because, he can seal the Spirits' power, and although it was just a little portion of it, he was able to use some of that power. It is not surprising that would conclude that he is a Spirit.
"I………..am human. At the very least, I think I am."
Shidou unintentionally expressed what Kotori usual said but, there was no other way to say it.
"…………..you don't doubt it?"
"I told you before, I want to believe the words you say"
She turned her neck a bit to peek at Shidou's face, and then continued.
"Someday, if the time comes where you feel like telling me the truth, I hope you would tell me in better detail."
When Shidou said that, Origami opened the cubicle door and then exited the washroom.
A moment later, Shidou realized that he was left alone in an unbelievably dangerous zone, while relentlessly looking around to examine the surroundings; he hurried and ran out of the washroom. But, when was about to return back to the classroom, he followed Origami and walked in to the corridor,
Hearing the sound of a doubtful Tohka coming from behind, Shidou twitched his shoulders out of surpirse.
It seemed like Tohka had finished getting a drink and was suspiciously alternating between looking at Shidou and Origami, she continued talking while making a grim face.
"…………………Why did shidou and Tobiichi Origami, come out from the female toilet?"
In an instant, sweat gushed out of his face. They had been completely discovered.
"N,no, that is……..errr…………"
Shidou tried explaining the situation to her but; there were already stares from the other students appearing around them. He can't say anything untactful.
And, while being silent, Origami gave a meaningful eye signal to Shidou.
"What was that just now! What on earth did the both of you do!?"
"Not telling. This is a secret between the two of us"
"Wha,What did you say!?"
Origami stood one of her index fingers up and brought it to the front of her nose. Looking at that comical gesture that was unusual from Origami, Tohka widened her eyes and shouted. Immediately, she shot a sharp gaze in Shidou's direction.
"Shidou! What were the both of you doing!"
"Eh!? No……….errr, it's about"
Shidou uncomfortably scratched his head. Although he didn't mind sharing it with Tohka but…………having 40 weak students gathering at the classroom windows, he was reluctant to continue with the conversation just now.
"………..Sorry, I'll see you later"
With no other choice Shidou lowered his head, and Tohka made a shocked expression and collapsed to the ground after a dramatic [GAN!] effect appeared behind her.
"Uu,uuuuuuuuuuuu………………why is it, why is Tobiichi Origami okay, but I'm not…………."
She groaned in frustration, and clenched her teeth.
"Ca,calm down! Later! I'll tell you all about it later!"
Her legs folded and fallen on her knees, when he appealed to her by having his hands in panic, he somehow managed to raise Tohka's anxious face up, but.
"…………can't say. It's because I was made to do something like that"
From Origami words, Tohka's eyes widen in shock.
"shi,shidou…………..? What on earth, did you………."
At the same time, he could hear the sounds of whispers coming from around him.
[Ee--………….Itsuka-kun's the worst] [It's the first time I saw Tobiichi-san make that kind of face……………..] [What are you doing in the school in this clear afternoon] [Although you have someone like Tohka-chan you still………………..] [Damn it…………damn it………….] [Hey was poison in the acidic group or the chlorine?] [Hurry up and request hymn number 13]
"No, I didn't do anything to her! And the second half! What are you trying to do!"
He raised a voice filled with excuses. However, the persistent stares coming from around did not completely stop.
And, at that moment, he heard the sound of the classroom door opening coming from behind him, and Tama-chan appeared.
"Okay, okay, please get back to your seats. Homeroom is about to start"
"!, Loo,look Tohka! Go back to your seat for now! Okay!? Everyone too!"
It was a help from the heavens above. Shidou made unnecessary loud shouts, and took the initiatives by himself before sitting down on his chair.
Everyone had something to say but, it couldn't be helped since the had teacher arrived, so they returned to their respective seats.
Tohka [………….you have to fill me in on the details later] was saying that before sitting on her spot.
After looking at the situation, Tama-chan let a giggle leak out.
"Ara---, looks like you were having fun. What were you doing with everyone?"
"Nothing, don't worry about it…………….."
Shidou was saying that with sweat oozing out, Tama-chan [Ara ara] made a happy laugh before standing at the teachers' seat.
"Well then, I am going to start the returning homeroom now. But before that, there is something we have to decide first"
"Yes~ what are going to be deciding?"
Tonomachi raised his hands up high, and threw a question. Tama-chan made a small nod before continuing.
"Assigning the class groups for the school trip, and the seating arrangement in the airplane"
The moment Tama-chan said that, Shidou raised his voice.
Speaking of which, the middle of July was-----just before summer holidays, there was the school trip to Okinawa waiting for them.
From the mass unconsciousness incident to the end-term examination. And because of various matters regarding the Spirits, he had totally forgotten about this school life's greatest event.
Nonetheless, it looked like Shidou was not the only one. Around one third of the class, [Ahh--……….now that you mention it] nodded just like Shidou.
"fufufu, everyone's so forgetful huh~. Now, let's hurry and-----oh, yeah"
And, Tama-chan, folded up her eyebrows as if she remembered something, and took out a printout that was placed in the attendance book.
"Before that. -----the location for school trip this time has been changed"
The voices in the classroom beautifully piled up.
That was only normal. That's because there was only half a month left before the school trip. To suddenly change the location of the trip at the last minute was unheard of.
"Hmm…………well it seems that would be the case"
"errrrr, so, what did they change the location to?"
Once again, Tonomachi threw a question.
Yes. Although he was a little curious as to why the location was changed so suddenly but…………..the most important matter to everyone was the location.
That's because the original destination was Okinawa. Travelling to a welcoming paradise with coral reefs, blue sea and white sandy beaches, and while munching on Okinawa sweets and Saatandagi[5A 2] . There were probably many girls that had bought brand new swimsuits for this occasion. If the location was changed to a non-beach area in Japan, jokes aside a riot might occur.
Probably feeling the unrest from the atmosphere with her skin, Tama-chan continued with a nervous voice.
"Do,do not worry. The changed location is also, a fantastic place too"
"That's why in the end, where is that location?"
"Err……….it's Arubi Island"
When Tama-chan let out that name, around half of the class went [ahh----……..]And raised an "I see" voice, the other half tilted their heads.
"Speaking of Arubi Island…………….. That's towards Izu's direction right?"
"The heck, it became a nearby area. It's a Grade down huh"
"No, you can't say that's true. It's not that bad if its sightseeing"
"Okay, okay! Please keep quiet"
In order to silence the suddenly noisy classroom, Tama-chan clapped her hands.
In every corner of the class, [Well let's just say that the ocean disappeared for now………………] under such ideas, everyone followed the teachers instructions quietly.
"You can read the revised guidelines with the explanations for the minor details by yourself after it is done, for now let's decide how the class will be separated. Please make groups of 4 to 5 with the people you like"
When Tama-chan gave that order, everyone shifted their sights and examined the surroundings before, *Gata gata* standing up and making a group with their closest friends.
In Shidou's case too, Tonomachi was walking to him.
"Ou Itsuka, the class group----"
But Tonomachi's voice was, drowned out by the shout coming from Shidou's right.
Tohka leaned forward from the desk with her eyes sparkling.
"That class group or something, lets group together!"
He unintentionally frowned, and accidentally let out a hysteric voice. But Tohka, tilted her head in curiosity, not knowing why Shidou was shocked.
"Nu? What's wrong?"
"No, as expected that is kind of bad"
"Why is that? 5 people in a group right? Then there isn't problem at all"
"Y,you can't Yatogami-san. Please group the boys separately from the girls!"
Probably hearing the conversation, Tama-chan shouted from the teacher's desk.
"Muu……..why is that? I'd prefer to be with Shidou though"
"W,why is it……….err"
Tama-chan's face turn as red as a ground cherry and *Mumble**mumble* mumbled something.
Shidou made a sigh and then fixed back to Tohka.
"Don't trouble sensei too much. Anyway, it's no good if the group is not separated to boys and girls"
Tohka's shoulders drooped down in disappointment. But, she immediately raised her head.
"! I know!"
Tohka said that, and ran out of the classroom. And after closing the door with a slam,*Gata**gata* the sound of a locker from the corridor being fiddled with echoed.
After around one minute, the classroom door opened again, and Tohka entered.
---Tohka wore a jersey as a substitute for the skirt, and her hair was tied up.
"Wrong. I------I am, To…………ou, yes, Touru"
When Shidou called her name for some reason Tohka replied back with an intentionally low voice.
He guessed what Tohka's intentions were, it was……………….
"So because of that. Tama-chan sensei. I'm a boy from now on. There's no problem with that right?"
"Yes there is!"
Tama-chan shouted with the feeling of not accumulating enough.
"Muu……….this is still no good huh………….."
With an exhausted face Tohka curled her back disappointed. And,
And at that moment an unexpected person came to help Tohka. It was Origami.
"I wish you would approve Yatogami Tohka's excuse. Please be flexible and support her"
From the remark of the person that had such a strained relationship with Tohka, the teacher Tama-chan made a shocked expression. No, sensei was not the only one. The other classmates that were used to seeing them bicker, also made shocked faces.
"You………..whats your goal?"
"I have learned the deep impression of your unyielding spirit. You have the right to enter a boys group"
For a moment, Tohka was looking at Origami with her eyes half closed to be alert but, after few seconds, *Fuun* she blew her nose and looked away.
"…………..i,I won't say thanks"
"Wai,wait wait! Why are you two continuing with this conversation! That's no good right!?"
The teacher Tama-chan immediately slammed the teachers' desk, to control the situation.
But, Origami continued on without showing much attention of bothering about that.
"----However, as long as you are attending the school trip as a male, you have to properly follow the rules"
"Yes. Whether it's the toilet or entering the bath, all of it you will be together with the boys"
Tohka gasped and her face was beet red, the same time with that the guys all together started getting excited. To those guys, the other female groups were quietly looking at them.
"Of course, whether if your body is being stared at or, you were to stimulate something, that is the law. That's because you are a boy"
Tohka's hands trembled, and glared at Origami with her face being close to crying.
But, Origami payed no heed to that, and shifted her glance to Shidou's direction.
"------However, since one girl has become a boy this has caused a serious irregularity. There is a clear need for a replacement"
"Huh……? What do you mean by…………."
"Since there the number of boys has increased, there is no one else but Shidou to be a girl"
"No I don't understand the meaning of that!"
"Let's wash each other, Shidomi"
"Is that my name!?"
Shidou could not take it and shouted. The surrounding classmates that were making the face, since honor student Origami is saying this so it should be true, as expected [Hmmm?] they as also tilted their heads in wonder.
And at that moment Tohka, for some reason was placing her hands on her chin was swimming in thoughts, opened her eyes wide.
"Wait a sec! If Shidou becomes a girl, doesn't that make us unable to make a group!"
"You can go on living your life strongly as a boy. I'll cheer for you"
"U, Unuuu, you tricked me, Tobiichi Origami!"
"Ah calm down already! Anyway, boys and girls are in separate groups! Gender switching is also forbidden!"
When Shidou made the loudest voice he has done, the both of them finally kept quiet.
After seeing them calm down just in case, the teacher Tama-chan pat her chest in relief. But-----
"We,well, although you can't be in the same group but, the arrangement for the airplane seats is free. If that is case, it's okay for you to sit together?"
The moment Tama-chan said something unnecessary, both Tohka and Origami's eyes shone again.
Translation Notes and References
- (耳年増)which means: a young woman with a lot of superficial knowledge about sex, etc
- (さーたーあんだぎー)is a type of fried tofu in Okinawa
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