Tobio welcomed the morning in one room of the ‘hideout’. It was a modest room with only one bed and a desk. Seeing the black puppy curled up asleep at the foot of the bed, he recognized anew the truthfulness of yesterday’s events. While lying in bed, Tobio exhaled.
……He had also found a ray of hope amid the despair. No matter how, in spite of having been attacked by a reality that was hard to accept, he still wanted to save everyone……to save Sae.
Tobio again hardened the resolve in his heart. Having obtained a strong determination, Tobio went over in his mind what today’s goals were.
——Go to meet one of the delinquent students of Ryoukuu High School named Samejima Kouki.
Still in bed, Tobio recalled what he knew about Samejima Kouki. The last time he’d seen him, it was at the joint funeral for their classmates. That would have been a few weeks after the “Heavenly of Aloha issue” maritime accident——.
It was sunny that day Tobio remembered. During a cloudless blue sky the joint funeral service was solemnly performed. It had become unknown whether the 233 students of Ryoukuu High School were alive or dead, however their survival became seemingly hopeless.
The remains of the teachers, as well as the crew of the “Heavenly of Aloha”, were found, and were included in the joint funeral.
Outside of the funeral home, the area was overflowing with the media who’d returned, having sniffed out the information, which was also reported on TV.
The funeral ceremony was held on behalf of all the bereaved parents. The funeral was still held under circumstances where it remained unconfirmed if they were alive or dead. The bereaved families were grieving, but Tobio had been curious as to the skill that allowed the funeral service to proceed so smoothly .
The seats for students who like Tobio had survived without having participated in the school trip numbered less than ten seats. There were some vacancies. There was a colleague standing in front of the microphone, saying words of farewell. Listening to them, sobbing leaked out from the bereaved families. But, it was strange. Absolutely, there was this feeling as though the funeral was just being acted out. From the bereaved families, especially those who were parents of students, their sadness gave off a feeling that this was similar to a staged performance. The bereaved families of the students, excluding their crying, didn’t appear like those who were genuinely sad, and despite the situation did not have the appearance of haggardness. At that place, he visibly felt as though it was only the appearance of emotions of sorrow covering up indifference.
At least at the time of his grandmother’s funeral, there wasn’t such a strange feeling of discomfort. It harbored only the sadness that comes from parting with a loved one.
Despite Tobio’s doubts, the funeral had progressed. Thinking back on it now, that “discomfort” that had been there at that stage was seemingly tied to the present incident.
The funeral had progressed and already the time for it to conclude was approaching. Then the door was vigorously thrown open by someone entering. About the same age as Tobio, he was a boy whose hair had been dyed a light brown. Everyone in attendance had focused on his appearance. Clasped in the boy’s hand was a bouquet of flowers.
A delinquent had briskly intruded with extreme rudeness. With an expression of surliness in the presence of the deceased, he stood and looked upon a certain memorial portrait. The figure in this portrait, that person was a fierce looking boy with hair dyed brown.
Then, he softly placed the bouquet he had brought upon the altar.
Without even joining his hands, he said as much, and then immediately turned on his heal to leave. Having appeared like the wind, the delinquent went and left like the wind.
For Tobio, what left the greatest impression on him from the joint funeral, was this very scene.
It was Samejima Kouki. The most feared delinquent of Ryoukuu High School.
Looking up at the ceiling, *fuu*……letting out a deep sigh, Tobio again sank his head into the pillow.
“……Ryoukuu’s number one delinquent……Samejima.”
——Even if he had no prior memory of Minagawa Natsume, he could still distinctly remember Samejima Kouki.
With such self-derision, he covered his eyes with his arm. In the case of that young man in high school, since he carried such a title of delinquency it was only that he remembered him, or so he thought. It was the one type of person that one must avoid during everyday school life.
“Shark isn’t a bad person.”
Such a voice was heard from nearby. It was a girl’s voice. Tobio leapt to his awake and began examining the bed. He pulled back the comforter and there was——
Wearing a single white button down shirt was the figure of a blonde haired girl——it was Lavinia.
Tobio was unable to enunciate when faced with such an excessive occurrence. During his life, something like being in the same bed as someone of the opposite sex had never happened (to be precise that had happened when he had taken a nap together with Sae when they were young, but because they were young children it doesn’t count) so this was especially a great surprise.
What had now burst into his vision——was the visibly snow white skin of her thighs and her voluptuous breasts. Since it was just a single dress shirt, Lavinia’s legs were almost completely exposed. A scene that is poisonous to a healthy high school boy, yet also medicinal. With the sunlight flowing in from the window, the white dress shirt appeared to be transparent……
With his cheeks dyed red, Tobio turned away while asking her.
“W-why are you here……!”
He noticed that his own voice sounded nervous, and furthermore he felt very much ashamed.
Without bearing any mind, Lavinia spoke while rubbing her eyes while half asleep.
“……Last night I got up to go to the toilet. The next thing I noticed I was in this bed.”
The next thing I noticed I was in this bed——. There was no way Tobio could believe something so excessively ambiguous, nor was there any way to know how long her body had been here.
“Is something the matter?”
As Lavinia conversely inclined her head and enquired, Tobio retorted, “You’re asking me that!” and the two began to bicker.
Tobio, having concluded the current mood was too maddening, changed the subject.
“……So Shark, that’s Samejima?”
Earlier, Lavinia had said ‘Shark’. At that time he had muttered the name of Samejima. ‘Same (鮫) = Shark’, it’s simple but that’s how it seems to be. (TN: The first character of Samejima (鮫島) means shark. Lavinia uses the English word.)
Lavinia answered right after one yawn.
“That’s right. Shark is Shark. Because his mood is really shark-like I thought it was perfect.”
Samejima has a shark-like mood…… Is it because he’s a delinquent and is thought of as aggressive? Still, when Samejima was at Ryoukuu, despite being a delinquent, he was the type whose popularity with girls was considerably good. It was the so-called good-looking bad boy type. Still, flirtatious speech was never once to be heard from him, only talk of his heroic face entered one’s ear.
Lavinia continued speaking.
“Shark it seems did not return to this apartment building last night. In all likelihood, I think he was outside exterminating Utsusemi using his Sacred Gear.”
……Outside exterminating Utsusemi, huh. To call that extremely daring, that exceeds reckless behavior. He probably also possesses an animal sacred treasure, something like an independent avatar type, just like Minagawa Natsume’s. So it should be possible with Utsusemi for opponents, but what’s most surprising is the mental fortitude. ……Something like fighting those monsters all day long, is he able to manage that? For himself at least, it was unlikely Tobio would be able to use calm judgement. Just considering the degree of mental and physical fatigue, such an approach seemed to be very haphazard.
……It took strong determination to be able to go out like that, but would Samejima’s possession of such an unshakable purpose would be enough? For him to be facing the likes of such battles alone with only the unusual temperament of a simple delinquent, that was difficult to imagine.
Moreover, there was one troublesome special characteristic of the “Utsusemi”. Tobio was remembering the information on the “Utsusemi” he’d received last night.
Utsusemi——the monsters they are utilizing, once they’ve memorized the smell of their opponent from the blood of their prey, they can transmit knowledge of that scent to their fellow Utsusemi. For Tobio, this happened when the Utsusemi employed by his friend Sasaki cut his cheek. Apparently it seemed to have memorized the smell from his own blood that was spilt at that time. The Utsusemi would then pursue their targets by tracing the scent of the opponent that had been memorized on that one occasion. And thus, the Utsusemi had invaded Tobio’s home.
Was there anywhere could he have found relief where he might not be discovered.
Since they broke into his home he hadn’t thought to return——yet. But, contrary to his desire, it was extremely easy to attack that place. The shock was immeasurable.
As he had heard it, Natsume was also already attacked at her home, and told him that she had ended up here. She currently lives in another room in the same condominium.
The condominium this “Governor General” had prepared, it was located on the outskirts of the city. It seems it was composed of some special structure, which made it a place the Utsusemi couldn’t find easily.
……Since earlier at his house, he had since gained an understanding of the other party. Tobio and company had already obtained amounts of information on the existence of something like an organization that was manipulating the Utsusemi. ……Though he hadn’t understood why those people couldn’t seize this condominium. It seems he had no choice though, that in order to those who had made to become Utsusemi, they would have to find the other party’s stronghold before such a result was achieved.
……There’s not much time, he thought. Within this limited time, how he should live, how strong must he become, that, Tobio was able to understand, was the current dilemma.
Abruptly, Lavinia inquired while looking at the black dog.
“……Toby, there’s one thing I want to ask.”
“Wh-what’s the problem?”
While gazing at the black dog with her blue eyes, Lavinia stated her question.
“——This Doggy-san, did it hatch from the ‘egg’? That is, originally, it did emerged from breaking out from inside that ‘egg’ by shattering it, right? I’m concerned about whether or not it was born that way.”
……Tobio could find no words to reply with. The egg——it had been broken, but it was empty. The dog——it had emerged from his own shadow. The scene she had described, in which it emerged from breaking out from inside by shattering it, he’d never seen it.
“……How did you hear about that?”
Gulping, Tobio answered as such.
Lavinia–—stared intently at the puppy. The blue eyes of the young girl and the red eyes of the puppy.
“……This Doggy-san, it evidently has a different ambiance than what Natsume and Shark possess.”
……Minagawa Natsume’s Griphon had a different ambiance……. Tobio had not given voice to such feelings at the time, but the only thing that he intuitively understood was that there was something suspicious about the puppy’s existence.
“Toby, if this Doggy-san is also a Sacred Gear, there’s a simple rule relating what form it takes, its ability, and how it manifests its power.”
Lavinia said it straight while placing a hand on his chest.
“——The power of desire. The sacred treasure——Sacred Gears become strong from strong desires, responding to the possessor. It is almost certain that that Doggy responded to Toby’s strong desire.”
……The power of ‘desire’. That is to say that the black puppy would become powerful in response to his desires……?
Tobio was also staring at the puppy, the person in question wearing nothing but a blank look.
——Then, as Tobio and Lavinia were staring fixedly at the puppy, there was a knock on the door that had been left open.
“Good mornin—. The door is open—?”
Natsume appeared in the room saying as much. Having been certain he’d securely locked the door the when he entered last night, the surprised Tobio immediately arrived at the thought, “Incidentally did Lavinia unlock it when she came here?”
“It’s morning already. Get up quick-like, everything’s rea—dy! Waaoh! What are guys doing?”
Natsume was horrified by the situation she saw here. That is to be expected. It had become the same as a room where a man has taken a woman to bed.
“N-no, this is……!”
This was Tobio standing up offering an unsatisfactory excuse.
“How disgraceful? Such things are said in Japanese Manga at times like this.”
Such indifferent words issued from the mouth of the expressionless Lavinia. One would be tempted in their heart to insert a Tsukkomi (TN: Roughly speaking, this is retort, usually comedic in nature) of, “What kind of manga is that!?”
“Hey, oy oy oy oy oy! I didn’t do anything!?”
While pointing her finger at Tobio, who could do nothing but frantically try to explain, Natsume called him out.
“Ikuse-kun! Although it is wonderful to deepen one’s relations with a new comrade, wouldn’t this be deepening them too much!?”
“T-that’s, this is……!”
Natsume issued her objection as she approached until their faces were in close proximity——she was smiling broadly.
“Ju-ust kidding. I got you. Anyway, Lavinia wandered in here in the middle of night while half asleep, am I right? She’s always entering my bed in the same way. Besides, in my judgement, Ikuse-kun is very sincere when it comes to girls.”
……Looking over at Lavinia, there was a blonde maiden saying, “That is so” in agreement. ……The misunderstanding was likely cleared up, but this in no way caused Tobio’s mind to be fully satisfied.
In the room where they’d watched the video the previous night, the trio of Tobio, Natsume, and Lavinia had a late breakfast.
——Regarding said breakfast, what had been laid out before Tobio’s eyes was a kettle and cup ramen. Natsume and Lavinia began to prepare, hastily pouring the hot water.
Seeing that there was only one thing Tobio could say.
“……Cup ramen in the morning, huh.”
Tobio would never have subsisted on ready-made food and junk food if given a choice. Since his grandmother had died, the daily three meals she had once so accurately prepared with excellent balance had become something he could no longer experience. Yet for there to be a case the likes of him not being able to prepare proper food, discounting when he was out associating with friends or running an important errand, such a thing had never happened. However, when he was cooking alone after his grandmother died, before he began receiving food prepared by his childhood friend Sae, he had become much too familiar with such poor prepackaged meals.
As the two girls, showing no particular mind, began pouring the hot water, Tobio addressed the two of them while standing.
“Incidentally, I had brought some canned goods and some spices when I was leaving my house. I’m also capable of cooking them. So, errr, what ingredients do you two have that I’m lacking?”
Hearing Tobio’s——no, a young man’s declaration about unexpected food, Natsume was flabbergasted——
“Y-yeah, in the supply room there’s some bread and some milk, and there should be some eggs.”
——She answered so.
“The supply room is jointly available to all the residents living here. There should be some ingredients you can use in the refrigerator that’s in there.”
From Lavinia who’d raised her hand, he had received excellent information.
“I understand. Then would you just wait 20 minutes? I’ll just prepare breakfast.”
Telling the two of them that with a smile, Tobio went to collect the ingredients.
——20 minutes later.
Lined up on the table, the menu consisted of a plastic cup filled with vegetables sticks dipped in mayonnaise, tuna sandwiches, and French toast garnished with jam for desert.
Seeing this, the openly fascinated Natsume clamored, “Amazing, amazing!” Lavinia’s facial expression appeared to remain unchanged, but her eyes were glued to the French toast.
Tobio spoke while folding the apron.
“My apologies, both the tuna sandwiches and the French toast overlap in their use of bread, although for the time being, I was able to prepare this meal that has an impression of being makeshift.”
Given the state of affairs, in order to get the girls to eat it, Tobio had prepared something that was only a bit tastier, supplying a menu that was simple and could be eaten quickly.
But, Natsume, one of the girls in question, seized Tobio’s and hand and rapidly shook it up and down in extreme delight.
“It’s amazing, Ikuse-kun! F-For certain, I had no idea you were the kind of young man who can cook! Iya—, I may have come across a good find.”
……Find, huh. Tobio was a little troubled by that response, but, since things seemed to have ended pleasantly, he thought that there must have been a good meaning behind it.
Lavinia, who had started eating, let out “Ottimo” from her mouth as she chewed.
Ottimo——it’s the Italian word for “delicious”. Based upon that, would that mean Lavinia is from Italy? Speaking of which, Tobio recalled there being a famous Italian painter with the same name as Lavinia.
“Since the cup noodles have already had the lid removed, I’ll take it up to Vaa-kun afterwards.”
Lavinia says so while looking at the container of cup noodles.
Tobio posed a question having heard an unfamiliar name. Natsume let out a sigh.
“……He’s the cheeky brat who lives in this apartment building I mentioned last night. The reason we have been eating only cup noodles, that child is the one who gave us those cup noodles. He’s going through a much too unhealthy growth period. But now we are being treated entirely to Ikuse-kun’s cuisine!”
……One can’t help but wonder, what kind of people reside in this apartment complex? This better than expected response had Tobio feeling just a bit nervous.
Natsume began eating from the meal Tobio had finished preparing.
“Well then, in regards to today’s plans, we are going to meet up with Samejima-kun as I explained last night.”
“That’s fine, but do we know where he is? Or else, perhaps, have you contacted him and he’s coming back here?”
In response to Tobio’s question, Natsume took out her phone.
“Contacting him……is no good. Just in case, I did make certain to force Samejima-kun to input his number, but I can never get through because he never seems to turn it on. I can’t help but wonder if he didn’t just provide me with a fake number.”
Or perhaps he’s ignoring all phone calls. In other words, there’s no way to contact him from here. The result, he apparently does whatever he wants without anyone else knowing about it.
Then, that would mean Samejima Kouki’s whereabouts were completely unknown. Does that mean that the Utsusemi already……. Even though the worst assumptions suppositions were emerging within Tobio, Lavinia said.
“It’s okay. Since I placed my magical equation marking on Shark, his position can be specified.”
Natsume’s voice cried out, “As one would expect from a magical girl.” Until recently, Tobio would have furrowed his eyebrows at anyone professing to be a “magical girl”.
Lavinia produced a small wooden stick from her breast pocket, which began to emit a blue light from its tip.
Words failed Tobio with this phenomenon. As much as he would like to believe that the light on the end of the stick was some kind of trick, bearing in mind the circumstances around him it didn’t necessarily seem that this so-called magical girl was a practical joke.
Lavinia immediately stood up, and rotated around once. Thereupon, the stick was observed to emit much more light when pointed in a specific direction.
While pointing in that direction, Lavinia spoke.
“Shark is over there in this direction. However, it was a somewhat bad reaction. Probably, it’s a place that’s difficult for my magic to reach……perhaps the enemy has set up a force field that I don’t know how to penetrate.”
Hearing that Natsume inquired.
“In other words, Samejima-kun charged into someplace alone against swarms of enemies?”
Lavinia nods in silence. Natsume wore an abject look on her face.
“……That Yankee, becoming so engrossed with defeating the enemy, he probably just went straight into the opposing encampment without invitation, didn’t he……!”
Natsume, while grinding her teeth, had trembling fists. While wearing a half smile, her eyes had changed to a look of rage. She headed towards the entryway while making especially noisy footsteps.
“I’ll get that Samejima Kouki! In spite of our combat readiness, that’s no reason to leave him out there alone!”
Linking up with Samejima——. It meant the resumption of battle against the Utsusemi——our classmates.
Having left the apartment building hideout, when they had arrived downtown, Minagawa Natsume handed Tobio a single micro SD card.
“That contains certain data that was prepared by the ‘Governor General’. The app can be freely installed by inserting the card into a mobile phone. Quickly now.”
While being rushed by her, Tobio took out his own mobile phone. It was still powered off from the previous night. Having received Natsume’s explanation about not contacting the police, and there being no benefit to involving anyone else, he had voluntarily turned his mobile off.
……Had he left it on, and he were to receive a call from a friend, he wouldn’t be able to say anything with his current mental state. From this day and for the foreseeable future, he was unable to attend school. He had no expectations of attending. This was in order to not involve any of the current students, since it seems like there was a high probability of them being caught up with the enemy if he were to go to school. Until this incident was resolved, he could not return to his usual routine.
The moment he inserted the card he’d received from Natsume into his mobile phone, it began installing automatically, and the app booted up.
Photos of young people appeared on the screen. It was a photo roster of the two hundred thirty-three students who had become Utsusemi.
“For the sake of future countermeasures, there’s nothing to lose by memorizing the faces of our opponents.”
Natsume said so.
People he knew, people he didn’t know, they were all displayed successively on the screen.
——There were also many unfamiliar fellow students.
Among the two hundred thirty-three Ryoukou High School second year students who had become Utsusemi, there were classmates of his he was familiar with, and there were those from other classes that he knew by appearance alone. But the majority were people who he could not match a name to their faces.
That was how it was. Since he wasn’t a teacher, such a thing as matching all the names and faces of his fellow students was something he was unable to do.
However, he was thankful for this app. When the time came, it would serve as a reference. When it came to those who appeared to be strange suspicious people, if they can be permitted to approach them, they could then be able to make a good assessment.
Lavinia was making the tip of the stick glow. If one were to see such a spectacle downtown, with her wearing a pointed hat, they would think it was a blonde girl cosplaying with a glowing toy stick and donning a cloak. In order to avoid additional unwanted attention, they found a taxi on the way with Lavinia’s guidance, hastening to their destination.
Would the black puppy be able to ride in the car, he had worried, but the puppy that had been with him just a moment earlier had disappeared without him being aware. Noticing its disappearance Natsume said.
“That seems to be how our partners are. Incidentally, taking Griffon-chan for instance, I expect he’s flying up in the sky by now.”
She cheerfully replied in such a way. According to her, fundamentally the Sacred Gear hatched from the egg——the puppy and Natsume’s Griffon differ from the Utsusemi of their fellow students in that people who are unrelated, from their perspective, remain unaware of their existence. They will also become visible to other people if the possessor wishes for them to perceive them. So long as he doesn’t desire for them to see the puppy, they won’t be able to see it unless Tobio authorizes them to do so, Natsume explained.
The puppy had been trotting after him since he left his house. Having escorted him up until the moment the taxi left, the puppy had obstinately refused to be separated from Tobio.
That was the sort of existence they were, these so called independent-avatar type Sacred Gears. For those who are unrelated, their existence is unrecognizable——. However, when the possessor is in a pinch they will without fail come running when called upon.
Natsume unexpectedly spoke.
“It might be good if you were to give it a name. For when you wish to call it, since I think it’d be inconvenient if there’s no name.”
……A name, huh. Due to all that had occurred since the previous night, he hadn’t considered such a thing until now. ……This black puppy, in spite of being a supernatural power of his, it has its own will, so a name may very well be necessary.
Riding in the taxi, Tobio watched the scenery outside as he gave thought to the various issues on the matter of the dog, a matter that’d be ongoing from this point forward.
Riding in the cab, while being concerned of being targeted by the Utsusemi, they made good progress during the day, with the taxi having passed through two towns peacefully. After they arrived at the entrance to a public park, they began the search for Samejima Kouki with Lavinia’s guidance. On the way, they were vigilant of every resident they happened to meet though none of them seemed to be Utsusemi, since in general none of them appeared to be close to student age. Naturally though, it’s not possible to be certain. Now though, students should be in the middle of classes at this time. If a student were to be seen by themselves in a residential area at this time of day it seems they’d be quite conspicuous.
Continuing to progress, the three of them arrived——at an out of business department store at the edge of the residential area. The story of how this department store had gone out of business had reached even Tobio’s ear. Having been beaten out by an aggressive shopping mall in the next town, the neighborhood was considering having it demolished. It had been decided that a comprehensive sports gym equipped with an indoor pool would be built on the site.
Tobio and Natsume prepared themselves in front of the deserted department store. Presently, it was nothing other than a dangerous place, in spite where it was established. At any rate, with the interior of the building being devoid of any signs of life, the conditions were just about the worst for being attacked by the Utsusemi.
Nevertheless, even an amateur could see that the light from Lavinia’s stick was glaringly shining in the direction of the department store’s interior. ……It would seem Samejima Kouki is inside.
Having determined what this meant, Natsume spoke.
“I wouldn’t be strange at all if this place has become a den of Utsusemi.”
The black puppy that had been gone had also imperceptibly reappeared at his feet. ……In other words, that would seem to be the situation. Since there was a high likelihood of the master’s body being at risk——. To an extent, it exists within said body and was called upon by current situation. Considering the scale of the department store, it was impossible to know if perhaps the number of Utsusemi who had broken in isn’t just one or two people.
“Let us enter.”
Without showing particular hesitation, Lavinia did so while facing behind at them invitingly. It was not possible to enter through the front gate due to the shutter having been lowered. Since Samejima was currently inside, one would wonder from where he gained entry. Tobio pondered whether the staff use entrance might be open.
The three of them sought out the staff entrance.
“In any event, it sure is gloomy……”
Natsume’s murmuring in a low whisper resounded lightly through the store’s interior.
After that, they had discovered the entrance by going around back. As expected, the staff-use gate had been forcibly wrenched open by someone, making it easy to trespass.
Within the department store, it was naturally unilluminated, since after all the shutters had been closed, so the store’s interior was nearly pitch dark. Natsume produced two pencil lights from inside her bag, and passed one in his direction. Since the tip of Lavinia’s stick was shining, she didn’t seem to need a light.
The trio advanced through the first floor while keeping a set distance from each other. Natsume spoke in a whispering voice such that Lavinia could hear but which the enemy would probably not be able to detect.
(……That Yankee, which floor is he on?)
(I do not know. Due to the force field making it difficult to utilize my magic here, there’s somewhat of a restraint on the marking I placed on Shark. However, I’m positive he’s in here.)
As she declared that, the light from the tip of her stick repeatedly flickered irregularly. It seemed there was something inside this department store which was having an adverse effect on Lavinia’s supposed ability to use magic.
Natsume quietly whispered a suggestion.
(Let’s search floor by floor. It would be troublesome if we rushed up to the top and happened upon a large crowd of people. Lavinia, can you use some kind of communication magic?)
Lavinia nodded to Natsume’s query, and drew something in midair with her stick. Together with the movement of the stick a circle was emitted from the light at the tip. Moreover, strange characters were inscribed in the circle’s design, forming a small magic square that had appeared before their eyes.
……It seemed similar to the kind of magic circle that appeared whenever the Utsusemi vanished……no, there seemed to be a difference in the design. When the small magic square vanished, there were glowing crystals about the size of a grain of rice floating in the air. The glowing crystals started moving on their own, entering the ears of Lavinia, Natsume, and himself. Tobio was scared by the abrupt occurrence involving his body……especially since it had gone into his ear.
While accidentally letting out a small chuckle at Tobio’s reaction, Natsume whispered while holding her ear with her hand.
‘(Can you hear me?)’
——!! At the same time as Natsume’s voice was heard from in front of him, Tobio was shocked to also hear it directly from inside his ear.
(By holding your ear your voice will be transmitted to us. This is one of Lavinia’s magical spells.)
…….Such an impossible remark. The slightly proud Lavinia was next to her making a peace sign, but magic——supernatural phenomenon truly does exist…… Was that combustion phenomenon also real magic then? ……However, one must wonder whether he should be so surprised at this late hour. After all, he had been continuously confronted with such phenomenon since last night——.
……If that’s the case, then is there also a magician involved with the magic circle that shows up when the Utsusemi vanished? Just like how Lavinia was assisting them, by any chance, could that the cause of it? Although such varied guesses circulated Tobio’s thoughts, for now the search for Samejima was most urgent, so he left behind such references to Lavinia until after this was resolved. ……It would be good to ask after they have once again returned alive from this place.
Natsume utters a confirmation.
(We’ll temporarily split up to search. We go one floor at a time. We’ll each attempt to contact the others when we reach the second floor, and we’ll decide from there. Should you find Samejima-kun, contact the rest of us in due course afterwards.
Nodding their accent, the trio temporarily distanced themselves to begin the search.
Walking through the interior of the closed department store that was completely devoid of people, Tobio’s heart was beating ominously. From the interior of each shop every piece of merchandise had been removed, leaving only plastic sheets and ladders inside for demolition use, with not a single forgotten shelf of merchandise to be found. This was a blessing in the sense that there were only a limited number of places to hide.
……With classes having ended, that those who had left school weren’t present brought such eeriness, as did the lack of anything befitting a department store that people would want. Furthermore, within this building, there were fellow classmates accompanied by monsters like those that had been attacking them last night. This was something that Tobio found hard to endure considering that he’d been an ordinary high school student until yesterday.
Nevertheless he was somehow able to temporarily maintain a strong will, with the mighty existence of the black puppy trotting along earlier helping him to not lose his mind in this situation. A sharp protuberance was coming from the dog’s head——a blade like object was growing there, it having already had done something similar to making good preparations for battle.
……What had enabled him to gain this strong will, when he had previously been so terrified, was nothing other than believing in the rescue of his fellow classmates——and reuniting with Sae.
If it’s the case that Sae would be there from now on——.
Tobio found strength in that thought alone, resisting his fear as he advanced forward.
(Anything over there?)
The voice of Natsume was heard directly in his ear. Tobio also whispered while holding his ear.
(Nothing in particular. What about on your end?)
(Still nothing. Although Griffon went ahead earlier, nothing in particular has shown up.)
……So when it comes to the first floor, there is nothing of particular interest?
Where Tobio had now arrived, there was an escalator that was stopped. Should he ascend from here? Or perhaps it would be better to take the stairs. The decision was that they would all link up——this was the main thing to consider.
The puppy sensed something and started staring at a specific point. Tobio gulped as he aimed the penlight in that direction. What the puppy was staring at, was a pillar. ……Was there something hiding behind it? Even with the light he couldn’t make out anything, so perhaps it was prudent to gather the others at least temporarily.
From behind the pillar, a single white cat appears. The cat had a pure white coat. Its long tail was swaying from side to side.
……A stray cat that had entered the department store? ——However, he immediately revised that thought. The Utsusemi those guys possess, those are monsters that imitate the form of animals. If one accepts that, then this cat as well is……?
As Tobio was tensing up, there was the shape of another silhouette that then appeared from behind the pillar. Exposed by the penlight, there was a tall youth with dyed brown hair.
——It was Samejima Kouki.
The youth——Samejima lowered his gaze while using his hand to protect his eyes from the light shining from the penlight. He seemed to be looking at a mobile phone. The puppy was also staring at the cat accompanying him while not moving an inch. Just a little, Samejima sighed.
“……It would seem that this guy doesn’t resemble those on the list. So, is he from the group of survivors? Geez, that such a kid would come to place like this.”
Samejima gave such a complaint while grabbing the back of his head with his large hand.
With them mutually no longer posing a threat to each other, Samejima spoke.
“You there, did you come here together with Natsume and that witch girl?”
“……Yeah, they’re also searching the first floor.”
“……The one who grasped my movements—, would that be that witch girl, or was it that conceited silver haired son of bitch who determined where I was? ……Geez, even though they said I could do as I pleased for the time being. I finally seized upon a clue to the mastermind behind everything—and now this.”
Samejima cursed as he spoke.
——Then, Samejima directed his gaze towards the escalator ahead as though noticing something. Similarly, the white cat and black puppy stared in the same direction. Tobio was also prompted to gaze in that direction……he wasn’t able to make out anything in the darkness, but the feeling that something was there persisted.
“……As I suspected, there does seem to be something here.”
Samejima was glaring at the escalator in front of them.
“Identifying such a presence, it would be good of you to memorize how to do it. By sharpening your senses with the sacred treasure, even an amateur at fighting should be able to memorize it instantly.”
Samejima spoke as such as he moved to Tobio’s side, facing towards the escalator. Having found Samejima, he had thought of to report to Natsume and company while going up to the second floor——but at that moment he heard the girls’ voices in his ear. Simultaneously a large sound echoed through the first floor.
‘Ikuse-kun! Sorry! We’ve been attacked! Lavinia and I are supporting each other right now! And on your end!?’
Attacked!? The opponents had suddenly appeared on the first floor! They must have come down the stairs from up top.
Holding his ear, Tobio spoke to Natsume and company.
“I found Samejima Kouki over here! Is there anything we can do!? Should I bring Samejima and head over to you !?”
At this suggestion Tobio had made, Samejima only chuckled.
“So it seems the witch girl is there? If that’s the case, shouldn’t there be little reason to worry about that birdbrain? It’s too bad, but they’ll have to wait for me to finish my business upstairs.”
Saying that, Samejima picked up the white cat, placed it on his shoulder, and proceeded to ascend the escalator.
As Tobio tried to call him back, Natsume’s voice was transmitted.
‘Ikuse-kun! That voice just now, was that Samejima-kun? In any case, please go after him for me!’
“But! Are you truly alright over there?”
‘Don’t be putting down my Griffon-chan. Besides these run of the mill Utsusemi opponents can’t resist the magical girl over here.’
At that moment, there was a crashing sound heard from the interior accompanied by a flash of red light gleaming in the darkness.
As Natsume had said, Lavinia had instantly defeated the monster with the Ustusemi last night with that combustion phenomenon. Even the pair of Natsume and Samejima shouldn’t be a cause for such concern, he thought, because that’s just how powerful they are.
“……My bad! I will follow Samejima! You absolutely cannot die on me, Minagawa-san! Lavinia-san!”
‘It is understood.’
The spirited reply of the two girls reaches his ears. Though there was a desire to go to where the girls were……Tobio shook it off and proceeded up the escalator in pursuit of Samejima.
Ascending to the second floor, they immediately discovered the lights were on. The sudden brightness dazzled Tobio and Samejima. But thanks to the light, the entire floor was visible to them.
And then, waiting for them on the second floor——were gigantic monsters. A mantis, a stag beetle, a crab, a turtle, a herd of monster with appearances similar to such things——. There were also varieties of the frog and spider he’d fought last night. Beside them were boys and girls. It was the Utsusemi who were their fellow classmates. From a glance there were roughly no more than ten people spread out before them.
……In this single case on his second day of being involved in such experiences, he really shouldn’t have to face so many opponents.
For Tobio, this first taste of this amount of violence sent chills down his spine.
——However, that guy went “Kukuku” in amusement, wearing a fearless smile.
Samejima, without hesitation, advanced step by step towards the enemy line.
“Byakusa, let’s go.”
This he said to the cat sitting on his shoulder. Thereupon, the cat’s long tail stood up straight like a pin——and then split in two. The two split ends of the tail steadily extended, one of them wrapping around Samejima’s left arm. The white tail that was wrapping itself around its master’s arm began to steadily change its shape——it transformed into an enormous cone shaped lance.
“——My cat’s lance can pierce anything. Come now, come and be pierced by this guy.”
With the lance that had grown on his left arm, Samejima issued a declaration of war to the Utsusemi.
Right after that starting signal for the outbreak of war, the spider monster charges from the front. By lowering his posture, he pierced the spider monster with his left arm’s lance by bringing the upper point to an extremely low altitude!
Samejima lifted the spider he had pierced and held it above his head in the air, and then swung his lance down tossing towards the enemy as though discarding it! At that moment the annihilated spider was released from the lance and was sent flying forwards! The monsters dispersed from the spot. Samejima turned to the crab that was attacking from his right, and with his right hand signals directions to the cat.
“Aim at the gaps in the hard shell!”
One of the white cat’s two tails windingly stirred, and shot out at high speed! The crab monster was unable to avoid as a part of its shell completely gave way to the blow from the tail! The white tail was like a thin sharp rapier, having pierced the body of the crab, and was preventing it from moving. The tail was moving freely, having previously pierced its body, and Tobio understood that it was destroying the nucleus. Samejima’s lance, with the cat’s manipulation of the sharp thin tail, bore into it. Samejima and the cat had matched their breathing in order to unleash two attacks.
——And, at this time, a monster was coming to attack Tobio. Just like last night, the frog monster, its tongue dripping, was leaping at him. Tobio pointed his right hand in the frog’s direction, and sent an order to the black dog. The puppy rushed out at a speed the eye couldn’t catch, charging through the frog with the blade on its forehead bisecting it.
Seeing this scene Samejima *Huuu* let out a complimentary whistle.
Subsequently, Samejima evaded the mantis’s twin arm blades while piercing its abdomen with the lance, then jumped to evade the charge of the stag beetle that was flying low to the ground.
He aimed the lance downwards using the energy of his jump, and thrust into the stag beetle from above. He then extracted the lance, which had pierced through the floor of the second story, and respectively mowed down the beetle horizontally. The stag beetle monster whose appearance had completely changed from the force was left discarded upon the floor.
Off to the side, Tobio was also cleaning up a monster’s body. In this situation, Tobio truly felt the power.
Even though this was still only his second day since plunging into this strange world, the puppy’s power was the real thing. And then, the power of Samejima beside him was overwhelming the other Utsusemi.
……This is, could this be the difference between genuine Sacred Gears and artificial ones? Thinking in such a manner, Tobio and Samejima, naturally, effortlessly avoided taking even a single blow. The Sacred Gears themselves, it seemed, exhibited greater power than user would have assumed.
And yet, there was an opponent Samejima’s attack couldn’t penetrate. It was a turtle monster. Its hard shell repelled his lance. The turtle monster was focusing on defense by hiding its head and limbs inside its shell. Samejima was clicking his tongue. ——But, the puppy jumped in unconcerned.
How incredibly sharp would the dog’s blade have to be cause harm to that shell——.
But the dog’s behavior exceeded Tobio’s expectations. It used the blade that had grown to assault the spot where the head had previously retracted.
Approaching the spot where the head had previously retracted——it pushed the extending blade from its forehead forward. Although the turtle had hidden within its shell, the part where the head had been retracted was not covered by the hard shell. Making use of its small body and the blade, the dog aimed there. The sharp blade extended, skewering the turtle monster that had withdrawn into its shell. From the pointed end of the turtle’s head that was hidden in the shell, it pierced straight through to its tail. The turtle’s life had been ended.
“If attacking the shell is no good, attack where there is no shell. Didn’t I do something similar with Byakusa?”
Samejima commented as such. Indeed, when the white cat defeated the crab, it did so by targeting the gap in its hard shell. ……Having seen that, did the black puppy immediately learn such a thing? Assuming that’s the case, it can be determined that the puppy’s intelligence is higher than he had thought.
Two people had come up to the second floor, and had completed their first battle in just a few minutes——.
Ten Utsusemi had been completely annihilated. The fellow classmates whose monsters were defeated collapsed on the spot after losing consciousness. While ensuring that all the fellow classmates were vanishing through the magic circle, Samejima enquired of Tobio.
“There’s one thing I’d like to ask.”
Tobio nodded in silence.
“When you came here did you suppress your desire to flee? What for? For what incomprehensible reason, born from some absolutely ridiculous silly ideal that fills your mind, did you chose to act? What is your motivation for fighting? That dog, what is it that you see when you fight with it?”
In front of Samejima’s gaze, the black puppy’s eyes were emitting a fiery red glow. Something so powerful that it would likely stimulate one’s courage.
Being questioned by Samejima, Tobio looked at the ceiling.
“……I’m also scared. But——“
Looking ahead Tobio spoke to Samejima.
“There are people I wish to save no matter the cost. Friends I want to help no matter the cost. ……Even if I’m the only one with the power to fight, then I will die standing up.”
Hearing that, Samejima for the first time softened his normally aggressive expression and showed his emotions.
“……Heh. Seems you’re not just some ordinary indecisive person.”
Samejima turned his feet towards the escalator and began ascending to the third floor. Tobio also followed in due course.
As the two of them were climbing the escalator, Samejima inquired without looking back.
“……A woman is it?”
That single word came as a complete surprise. Even though Tobio had only spoken of “people I wish to save”, Samejima had apparently seen through that.
As a result of it being comprehended, Tobio became flustered while his face turned red.
“Eh! N-no, that’s……”
Samejima laughed as Tobio spoke while stuttering.
“Haha, a woman, huh. Isn’t that great. Putting on such strange airs of justice, that’s quite good.”
Looking back, Samejima extended his hand.
“I’m Samejima Kouki.”
Tobio, in spite of his surprise, immediately reached out and accepted the handshake.
“Ikuse Tobio, I’ll be in your care.”
This was Ryoukou High School’s former number one delinquent——Samejima Kouki. But, it seemed that he was a much more decent guy than rumored.
Ascending through the third floor, and again through the fourth, they then finally reached the fifth floor.
Whereupon, waiting for them——was a swarm of Utsusemi, surely no fewer than thirty of them. There were all sort of varieties of grotesque monsters, all glaring at them with an ominous glint in their eyes. Being watched by no fewer than thirty monsters like that was quite simply an astounding spectacle. It was his first time seeing something with a body that seemed similar to a gigantic plant.
Samejima’s sight was focused on a single point. Tobio followed his gaze, and there was the figure of a man who was obviously out-of-place.
It was a man in the latter half of his twenties wearing a business suit.
While showing a fearless smile, the man approached. He spoke while wearing a sarcastic smile.
“Yah, this is all there is. Only two people. Or else, is there some third person down below as well?”
Samejima asks in a threatening tone.
“——You could say that I am one of them. My name is Doumon Kazuhisa. I am someone who is participating in the current ‘Four Fiends Project’. Since it seemed fun, I came to inspect this scene.”
“……Four Fiends? The hell’s that?”
Samejima asks again regarding the phrase that Tobio as well had never heard before. ……‘Four Fiends Project’?
Seeing that reaction, the man then put on a puzzled expression.
“Hou, did that one from the ‘Gang of Fallen Angels’ not yet mention that? Well whatever.”
The man beckoned with his finger. ——At that moment, the monsters that had been on standby behind him simultaneously began to move.
The man who had called himself Doumon spread his hands, as he spoke to Tobio and company.
“In any case, I will be taking you guys back with me. Since we are in need of the cat and dog you guys carry. The ‘Utsusemi’ and such, that was no more than a minor experiment for the sake of this.”
Despite hearing that, Samejima, without backing away at all from the situation, boldly spoke up.
“The genuine sacred treasures——the Sacred something or other was it? You involved them in this for such an incomprehensible reason. Since this is a good chance, why don’t you release my pal?”
“For sure, your friend was the Maeda Nobushige I believe. Yeah, he has been changed into an Utsusemi.”
With those few words, Samejima’s expression became one of rage. Tobio was struck a feeling of unusually intense fighting spirit from beside him.
Tobio had a memory of that name. Maeda should have been one of the few comrades of Samejima. Often, he would catch sight of the two of them hanging out at Ryoukou High School.
“In that case, let me reply like this. I’m going pummel you, you damn bastard!”
Again the lance forms on Samejima’s left arm. He was at full combat readiness.
“Truly, how vulgar.”
The man immediately spat such words from his mouth.
Taking a stance, Samejima inquires of Tobio.
“……Have birdbrain and the witch girl not come up yet? This guy will likely be difficult despite all the trouble spent trying to capture the mastermind.”
With a nod Tobio held his ear and began to question those two.
“Minagawa-san, Lavinia-san, how are things over there? We’re battling with a large crowd upstairs here.”
Such was his report, but what was heard was Natsume’s frantic voice.
‘Here as well, we’re caught up in the middle of hostilities with Utsusemi invading from outside and can’t get away! In spite of Lavinia both burning and paralyzing them there’s no end to it. I’d say, perhaps, about forty of them are approaching.’
——Forty! That’s not much different than here, not at all!
It seemed there was a fierce battle on the first floor as well.
‘If it has become like this, I will just “freeze” them then.’
‘P-Please save that as a last resort! This whole place might become frozen over! You hear me! Indiscriminate Ice Princess!
Something that appeared to be a trump card……though it seemed that nothing had changed as reinforcements would not be arriving at their location.
“……Understood, we will persevere at least so that we will not die here.”
‘Eeh, us as well, we will survive!’
Having been listening to this communication going on beside him, Samejima sighed.
“……Well, that’s just like birdbrain, so unreasonable. Goodness, we just need to do what must be done to attain victory.”
Samejima spoke to Tobio.
“That bastard called Doumon or whatnot must not be allowed to get away, since I have various questions about this case for him.”
“Yeah, I know.”
The two of them having confirmed to that extent with each other, each of them took a step forward with their partner——the puppy and the cat. Additionally the large crowd of Utsusemi began to move in response. The forms of the monsters began making agile movements. Assaulting the figures from the front, the black puppy and Samejima’s lance cut down the gigantic centipede and grasshopper monsters, piercing them to death. This was easily accomplished with those that merely charge at the opposing party. ——However, for the type that extends things like ivy or tentacles to engage from a distance such an approach was not very effective. Ultimately, this meant that Tobio and Samejima were not able to deal with opponents that were anything other than short to mid-range.
In order to advance the two had no choice but to cut through the tentacles of the reptile types and the ivy of the plant types. This promised to be a hard fight since it seemed to be inevitable that an arm or a leg would get entangled even once. As they scrupulously took care to clear the way, Tobio’s puppy and Samejima wielding the lance severed each of them one by one.
The duo were feeling puzzled. Why didn’t they gather all of that large number of people together and attack all at once? Only a group of about four from the numerous monsters would attack at any one time…….Samejima aside, for Tobio who had possessed his awakened powers only for yesterday and today, it would probably be possible to subdue him if about ten people attacked him at once, yet those guys made no attempt to do so whatsoever.
The reason——was apparently due to that man named Doumon. The man, his hand on his chin, was directing his gaze towards them seeming very interested. Without any exaggeration he would issue instructions to the Utsusemi, simply directing them with just a few tiny moves with his index finger. Seeing that Tobio arrived at a single conclusion.
Most likely, Doumon is observing the battle. Purposefully, he was only using a set number of Utsusemi at a time, all so that he can experience watching the development.
Like Tobio, Samejima it seemed was also suspecting the same, as he clicked his tongue.
“……Being a spectator is he? That’s a good social status. ——A total waste!”
Doumon’s behavior it seemed had had dangerously affected Samjima’s mood.
It was just as Tobio and Samejima had defeated a wasp and dragonfly monsters that had come flying in. While nodding his head at that moment, Doumon inserted his hand into his breast pocket.
“Yes yes, it’s become clear. As before, the genuine ones are different. I have become aware of the fact that continuing to display the difference with the artificial ones is seemingly unnecessary. Particularly, the condition with which Samejima Kouki handles his sacred treasure is top notch. As one would expect of the one who carries one part of the ‘Four Fiends’. ——That is to say, shall we switch things up next?”
What the man took out——were several scraps of paper similar to talismans. These objects, which had magical characters written on them, were something for which Tobio knew nothing of their significance. With the talismans in his hand, Doumon began muttering something like a spell in an undertone.
“……That which is born out of earth, whose spirit was cast out of iron, by means of water purified, hasten forth before me.”
The man released the talismans——and the talismans drifted through the air as though possessing a will, taking the form of a pentagram. After all the talismans gave off an ominous radiance, a large shadow was born on the floor. The shadow bulged forth, taking on a visage.
……What had appeared before Tobio and Samejima, was a seemingly three meter tall human-like mass of clay. It was so tall that it head was close to hitting the ceiling. Like a faceless ghost it had neither eyes, nose, mouth, nor ears, and simply the sight of the arms that were nearly as thick as telephone poles filled one with a chilling sensation.
“This, though, is my family’s prized lineage. Come now, my clay doll will capture you.”
Responding to the man who then snapped his fingers, the clay doll slowly came to life.
While taking a stance with the lance, Samejima spat out in response.
“……It’s good enough for that witch girl’s magic, it’s good enough for the monsters summoned by a little shit like you, so it should do for absolutely anything.”
“Nevertheless, if they were to be compared, that which you guys possess might as well miniscule. Truly, such an unpleasant state of affairs.”
The clay doll sent out a large punch. The force of it caused the air to vibrate. A direct hit——no, even being just grazed by such an attack would cause massive damage. Samejima jumps back to take some distance, and then immediately thrusts with the lance. ——However, only a dry note reverberated off the floor, the lance having been completely repelled by the clay doll’s body! It seemed to be the case that the hardness of the clay doll exceeded the offensive ability of the lance Samejima possessed. At this point the black puppy slashed at it with a pair of blades it had grown from its back like wings——but only that same dry note was produced as it seemed have not inflicted any damage on the clay doll.
Seeing that result Doumon sneered.
“As it would seem, presently my doll is surpassing you. ——Well then, shall we finish this.”
The man, once again, uttered a spell while producing talismans. The talismans flew through the air, spreading out behind Tobio and Samejima to summon a second clay doll. Reinforcements had appeared at their back. From the front the clay doll from before was also approaching.
Before long, Tobio and Samejima were being completely subdued by the clay doll——.
“Well then, how should we do this?”
Due to Doumon’s clay doll, Tobio and Samejima had been subdued on the floor. The clay doll was pinning Tobio with its right arm and Samejima with its left arm respectively. Tobio could feel the atrocious power being given off by the arm of the clay doll that was pinning him. He was able to understand from this that he couldn’t slip out using only his own strength. The puppy and the cat were now being held in the hands of the other clay doll, snatching away any chance of freedom.
Doumon again stroked his jaw with his hand, calmly pondering something as he looked at a handheld mobile device. The hand operating the mobile device stopped moving. Sending a repulsed look at Tobio, he said this.
“Right, it would seem you were leading that person to the vicinity of this place.”
The man told the Utsusemi on standby behind him.
“Get going before that person following from behind gets here.”
Thereupon, from those at the front of the group behind him came several people who could not be identified.
A friend of Tobio was among them.
Indeed, it was the friend that he had reunited with yesterday. On that occasion, when the lizard monster he had been leading was slain, the magic square transported him away……. Sasaki was once again leading the lizard monster at this place as part of the group.
“Yesterday, this child was defeated by you, right. However, with the technology here, we are able to resurrect them with even a single body part. It would be impossible if it had been the child as well that was slain, but it was his good fortune that his case was the type where resurrection was possible. Therefore, he is once again able to lead his partner.”
……Rather than the description of Doumon, Tobio was experiencing a confused mental state due to once again encountering the figure of his friend.
“Stop it Sasaki! It’s me, it’s Ikuse!”
That time he wasn’t able to——. Tobio desperately appealed to him. However, Sasaki didn’t reply at all. He merely stood there expressionlessly.
Samejima frustratingly narrowed his eyes and said.
“……It’s useless. As long as you don’t take down the company manipulating these guys, they won’t fucking stop attacking.”
While Doumon was enjoying this reaction, he made Sasaki stand in front of the clay doll that was holding the puppy and cat. Doumon, his grip on Sasaki’s neck, made him draw even closer ahead. Just ahead——the puppy still had a sharp blade showing on its forehead.
“Still, I suppose you wouldn’t slay a human would you? What would happened if the ‘Four Fiends’ that serve as your sacred treasures were to memorize human blood, how could I not look forward to something so truly interesting?”
Speaking cheerfully the man’s eyes——were dyed with insanity.
……He was going to murder Sasaki with the puppy’s own body……!!
Tobio was left speechless by such startling conduct, yet he continued to struggle to slip free of the clay doll’s hand. ——However, against such robust brute strength, Tobio couldn’t even budge.
“…………Tch!!! You bastard, such a cowardly act……!!”
Samejima cried as he struggled the same way, but the man just let out a sigh.
“What are you saying? Speaking of the origin of all this, it’s you guys who are at fault for not boarding that luxury liner. Well, I believe that it was that the Sacred Gears you possess sensed the peril and induced your fever. Moreover, as a result of the involvement of that annoying group of those who fell from heaven, we weren’t even able to realize your abstentions beforehand. Thanks to that we weren’t able to make drastic alterations to the plan. How dare they forestall us by manipulating information like that, those black winged people!”
The man completely switched to a bitter smile.
“Well, due to such reasons, it seems they are called the those who watch over the children of God. Fumu fumu, the Sacred Gear is a gift from God after all.”
Sasaki was——looking his way, his mouth was shifting.
Heartrending emotions overwhelmed Tobio.
That’s right, if that was the case, then it seems he was a traitor. By not participating in that trip, he had gotten them involved. Having been thrown into this abnormal situation merely due to something so absurd, he had started fighting with his fellow students who were leaders of monsters.
Was this some kind of exception to treachery……!?
Suddenly Tobio’s mind recalled a conversation scene he had with Sasaki before the trip.
After school, while returning home Sasaki spoke with an embarrassed mood.
‘Say, Ikuse. I’ve been thinking, about conveying my feelings to Morose from class C on the upcoming school trip……’
Sasaki would often speak of the issue with Morose. Although Tobio was ignorant when it came to romance, he was at the very least aware that Sasaki yearned for her. Sasaki thumped Tobio of the back.
‘Supposing I get completely rejected, you’ll definitely be there to console me! Please I beg you!’
An ordinary student. Sasaki was just an ordinary senior high school student.
He would study, he would exercise, he laughed, he got angry, he cried, he loved. Yet all of this was typical for a young senior high school student.
As Doumon was bringing Sasaki close to the puppy’s blade, Sasaki let out a muffled voice.
——! ……That was, his name…..?
While still expressionless, Sasaki was shedding tears.
He shouldn’t have been conscious. His fellow students——his classmates had all been remade into beings that simply commanded monsters. Even just earlier, they had come at him trying to kill him. Because right now, his consciousness was stolen, and was functioning under the control of Doumon and his group.
And yet, Sasaki had……called out his name. He’d asked for help.
Due to this occurrence, Tobio——had tears pouring down his cheek.
Seeing this series of events, Doumon began trembling.
“This is……magnificent! So he was still partially conscious to this extent! This is quite interesting! Seize them, this absolutely must be immediately reported to the staff! Since the data on artificial Sacred Gears thus far is insufficient, obtaining something like this is valuable!”
……To the end, as this man regards them, Sasaki, the students of Ryoukou, they were nothing but objects to him……? How can it be that he should be capable of such cruelty? How could such an inhuman individual possibly exist?
Tobio——could not hold back his rage.
“Don’t fuck with me……!! Why, why don’t you bastards stop having Sasaki and the others assist with your research if they aren’t any good……!?”
“It’s you guys who are at fault for not having participated. No, it would be that group of those who fell from heaven who concealed you. Due to that, since we couldn’t contain ourselves, do you think we had any choice other than to resort to plan B? For said plan, naturally it was necessary to have an abundance of young people serve as experimental bodies for the ‘Four Fiends Plan’. Their cooperation was entirely necessary.”
I don’t care. The way that things should be, they shouldn’t be involved! Because of them——they were unable to live ordinary lives! Even if they could receive that kind of power, not one of them would have asked for something like this! They should just be living life as always!
Recalling something, Doumon spoke with amusement.
“Ikuse…..huh. Aah, speaking of which, I’m sure there was data saying that you were intimate with Toujou Sae. That seems good, you should meet her. She’s become an excellent Utsusemi. I remember her!”
Having seen Tobio make react strongly when he heard that name, Doumon sneered even more offensively.
“She cried out so many times in the middle of the experiment. ‘Tobio, Tobio’——she said. Indeed, she was calling out to you. Surely you get it.”
Tobio, lacking any words to say——violently ground his molars, overflowing with frustration and anger, as tears endlessly poured down. His eyes glared at Doumon full of murderous intent.
……Aah, it’s like that huh.
……These guys……are ‘evil’……!!
……These guys, there isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for their greed, whether it’s to me, to Sasaki, to Sae, my desires——they’ll do anything to satisfy their evil intentions.
——I won’t allow it.
I won’t allow them to do as they please……!!
These shitty guys, I won’t just let something like this be overlooked……!! To rescue Sasaki, his friends, Sae! These people, he would absolutely rescue the people important to him from their demonic hands.
It was at that moment. His mind recalled the words of Lavinia.
——The power of desire. The sacred treasure——Sacred Gears become strong from strong desires, responding to the possessor.
—— It is almost certain that that Doggy responded to Toby’s strong desire.
He looked over at the black puppy that was being restrained.
Hey, you were born from my shadow. Can I lend you my feelings, my desires? For my sake can you become that 〈Blade〉?
While the puppy was being restrained by the monsters, its red eyes began to shine red.
From within him something gently pulsed. There was a sense that he and the dog were connected, even stronger than it was last night.
In that case, for my sake, become that 〈Blade〉——.
Kill those guys by becoming that 〈Blade〉!
Something inside of Tobio vigorously burst open——.
——Kill. Kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill!!
Completely annihilate those guys!!! Slaughter them!!!
“I’ll lend you my desiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeee!!! You will be my 〈Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaddddddddddddeeeeeeeeee〉!!”
The puppy responded to Tobio’s scream, which spread and resounded throughout the floor.
In an instant——something dark was produced from the puppy’s body, which then spread. It also came out of Tobio’s body finally enveloping the clay doll. Tobio slowly began to get up. Regarding the powerful strength of the arm of the clay doll that was restraining him, it was dissolved little by little, until at last he was released upon the gigantic arm’s destruction. This unbelievable power of his had originated from within his own body. Gradually swelling up within him, there was a feeling that it was completely consuming him. The number of pulsations kept increasing. Acting in concert the black puppy had grown countless blades from its body which had destroyed the arm of the clay doll.
Together Tobio and the puppy had been freed from their restraints, while Doumon who was ahead stood completely erect. Enveloping the bodies of Tobio and the dog, there was something like a black aura.
Tobio wasn’t affected by this ‘power’ from within himself——he was simply able to recognize how to use the ‘Blade’.
Extending his hand in front of him, Tobio muttered a few words.
Much more intensely than before the black aura enveloped the puppy’s body. An instant later, the Utsusemi on standby behind the man——countless blades appeared from the shadows beneath the feet of the monsters accompanying them, successfully skewering them!
Looking over, by means of gigantic blades that were born from the shadows beneath their feet, the two clay dolls restraining Samejima and the white cat were vertically bisected.
Indeed, this was one ability of the puppy. The ability to deliver attacks from shadows. So long as it was within Tobio’s field of vision, the puppy’s blades could be grown from any shadow. This way of using the ability had just now appeared within Tobio’s head.
“……Wh-what, what is this!? Blades from shadows!? Countless numbers of swords!? How can this be!?”
With such an intense scene Doumon was extremely confused, and as he gazed both forward and behind, what he saw was abject chaos.
Tobio spoke while the puppy stood ready at his side.
“……It suddenly struck me, what your name should be.”
Natsume had said it. It was necessary for their partners to have names. Tobio, at this moment, was certain as to which name to choose.
“——〈Jin〉[?]. You’re Jin. My blade for the sake of killing everything.”
And so, this was the name he had generated for his other self——.
Tobio commanded the puppy——Jin.
The puppy’s blade rushed forward at what could be said to be god speed. The speed was so excessive that the monsters of the Utsusemi were being cut down without being able to respond at all. It closed the distance once again getting underfoot of the monsters——or else countless blades would rise up from the shadows, and, utilizing penetration techniques, they were subjected to being minced. The floor of the fifth floor was being turned into a strange space in which countless distorted blades had sprouted.
Flustered by the dramatic sudden reversal, Doumon’s face was twitching as he shook his head from side to side.
“Ridiculous! Cleaning up scores of them in an instant!? What! What’s, that sacred treasure!? It isn’t one of the Four Fiends, is it!? Blades that appear from the shadows!? Such an ability was completely unknown!!”
Tobio approached the man. He had no plan on forgiving him. Since this assuredly was one of the ringleaders——.
Doumon produced fresh talismans from his breast pocket, and tossed them at Tobio after reciting a spell. ——But, as a result of Jin emerging from out of the shadow at Doumon’s feet, they were completely turned into trash. He had been transferred through the shadow. He had already learned how to use that transfer ability from before. So long as it was within his field of vision, he was able to freely transfer Jin from within shadows. Jin thrust his forehead’s specialized weapon at Doumon. His partner Jin did not provide Doumon even a single break.
“You’re all that’s left.”
What was seen before Tobio’s eyes, regarding the man who had fallen on the spot on his rear, he was creeping to try to get away. The composure from a little while ago was not present in the slightest.
“Hii. Stay away! Stay away from me!”
The man’s eyes were corpse-like in appearance.
As Tobio was raising his hand, a dazzling brilliance was appeared horizontally on the floor. As he watched, a magic circle-like thing appeared, from which the figure of a person emerged.
A man who was about forty appeared from the center of the magic circle and approached the shrieking Doumon.
“Kazuhisa!! Retreat from here!”
Doumon recognized him.
“Section Chief Himejima!”
——Himejima. Himejima was it?
Tobio had a reaction to that name.
……No, by no means, such a thing couldn’t be.
At that instant, Doumon took advantage of the chance from his spirit being shaken to retrieve a cylinder-like object from his pocket, and fired it his way. Instantly, a flash spread through the floor, depriving Tobio and company of their sight. With their vision dazzled, only the voice of the man who had appeared from the magic circle could be heard.
“——Interesting. To have met you. 〈Dog〉.”
By the time their eyes had recovered, it was too late as the men were vanishing from the floor. Similarly, the Utsusemi had also completely gone. By means of that magic circle, they had seemingly fled from this place.
“……Heh, they got away huh.”
Samejima sighed as such while short of breath.
The black aura around Tobio disappeared and he suddenly seemed tired, immediately sitting down. Due to the effort of having been exploding with anger, it seems that he burned through his stamina all at once.
From a short distance away, two sets of footsteps were ascending the escalator.
“Ikuse-kun, Samjima-kun! Are you safe!?”
It was Minagawa Natsume and Lavinia. Given the uncleanliness of their clothes, it could be inferred that there was a fierce battle down below.
“You’re late, birdbrain.”
In response to Samejima’s shocking statement, Natsume angrily scolded him.
“Who are you calling birdbrain!? You’re the cause of this due to having plunged in here as you pleased, right?”
As those two started an argument somewhere else, Lavinia spoke while approaching Tobio.
“……Toby, you desire reached that child, right.”
The puppy——Jin was wagging his tail beside him. Seeing that Tobio smiled.
“Aah, thanks to you.”
Indeed, thanks to Lavinia’s advice, Tobio had expressed strong thoughts, strong desires. Through that, Jin had gained power.
Smiling, Lavinia simply said, “That’s excellent.”
Natsume, who had finished arguing, let out a deep breath behind him saying
“Well now, since all the members have now been gathered, it’s time to once again meet with the ‘Governor General’. Last time he did not explain things in detail.”
Samejima’s stern eyes offered no objection. He as well had things about the current situation he wished to hear about from this supposed ‘Governor General’.
After a short break, the foursome slipped out of the department store, and advanced towards the location of the ‘Governor General’.
The afternoon of that day, having disembarked at the designated station, Tobio and company, following Natsume’s guidance, were walking hastily.
From the station it was about a fifteen minute walk to the multi-tenant building that was their destination. This was the location designated by the ‘Governor General’ where Natsume could establish contact.
The presence of the man could not be felt from outside. In order to check the interior, Tobio had entered the multi-story building. The room of concern was on the fourth floor. The elevator was broken though, and was therefore unusable. Thus they all ascended the stairwell, with the fourth floor as their destination.
Having ascended, there was a dim light coming from a certain door. They turned the doorknob, and while making a *kii* sound, they opened the door. The room was arranged like that of a cram school classroom, with who knew how many long white desks and chairs lined up. They were able to confirm a something like an enormous screen.
Even though it was daytime, there was a black curtain hanging over the window. If it were not for the light on the ceiling it was likely the room would be pitch black.
At a short distance, the room was installed with a speaker that began to make noise.
<<……Hello, ladies and gentlemen, those who formerly were second year students at Ryoukuu High School.>>
Abruptly, there was a male voice heard through the speaker. Tobio and Samejima responded to the spoken words ‘Ryoukuu High School’. As for Natsume, being the only one who was acquainted with this voice, she remained composed.
<<It would appear, Minagawa Natsume, that you have diligently accomplished your goal.>>
“It would seem so. So, as promised the three of us have gathered, so aren’t there various things we should be informed of?”
<<So it would seem.>>
At Tobio’s feet, Jin was seated. Griphon was near Natsume. The white cat was on alert on chair immediately next to Samejima.
<<First let me introduce myself. I am the leader of an organization that studies supernatural abilities like those of the Sacred Gears. The name of this organization is ‘Grigori’. Beyond the study of Sacred Gears, we also do things like safeguarding the owners. That condominium where you all have been hiding, that is one such hiding place for people with such powers.>>
……‘Grigori’. Speaking of which, the name the man has spoked was also named by Doumon. In that case Tobio’s memory was certain of one thing, that that name should be something that appeared in the records of the Bible.
Tobio turned to face in the direction of the speaker.
“There are numerous questions, and I would like to hear the answers to them.”
<<Aah, even if I’m in a position of superiority, though I can get in contact at a moment’s notice, I am not in a position to discuss confidential information……but, it’s good that you all seem to have decided to take the next step any time now.>>
“We understand that we carry these things called Sacred Gears. This power which by common sense is unimaginable. Those guys, who are colleagues as part of a certain agency in this country, attacked the ship, and it was our power that was the goal of that mayhem——.”
<<That’s about it, Ikuse Tobio. Before we speak about that agency, I want you guys to hear about those guys’ plot. From the underside of this country, since ancient times, there has been numerous groups of people who had been waging war against evil spirits. That was the power of the man you all encountered. Onmyoudou[?], or possibly magic, such a method is used to call supernatural power to appear in one’s hand——. It is exceedingly similar to the witchcraft practiced by Lavinia, but also extremely different.>>
……So supernatural powers wasn’t limited to just witchcraft, but even extended to include Onmyoudou as well. The heck, how did we get ourselves mixed up in these things? The minds of Tobio and company were unsettled.
The ‘Governor General’ continued.
<<From among these Inou Tsukai [?] there are five families that possess especially potent power, who are known by those in this country as “The Five Principal Clans”.>>
“The Five Principle Clans?”
To Natsume’s words, the ‘Governor General’ explained further.
<<Doumon, Kushihashi, Shinra, Himejima, and lastly Nakiri. These are the “Five Principal Clans”. Those descended from these were evil spirit eradication specialists who have protected this country from the shadows, possibly even giving their lives in the intimate fulfillment of their duties. ——Nevertheless, people on the fringes of each of these clans have been rampaging. This is the group is presently attacking you, and they are the masterminds behind this affair.>>
Samejima, while sitting in a pose of poor manners with his feet propped up on top of the desk, spoke.
“Now that you mention it, when Ikuse and I were attacked by that guy this morning didn’t he call himself Doumon?”
Right, the man who had displayed that offensive smile had named himself as ‘Doumon’. And then, the man who came as his relief who appeared through the magic circle, he had called him ‘Himejima’.
<<They discovered the owners of the sacred treasures in which the evil spirits known as the “Four Fiends” have been sealed. Those ones possess top class abilities among the independent-avatar types. Minagawa Natsume, Samejima Kouki, there seems to be no mistake that you possess “Four Fiends”.>>
Natsume and Samejima looked at the falcon and cat respectively. Tobio turned towards Jin.
……This is one of ‘The Four Fiends’? To begin with, we haven’t even been informed about these ‘Four Fiends’. I understand that, for some reason or another, they are called evil spirits. These animals, there exists plenty enough for one to perceive that they aren’t exactly ordinary animals.
……But, that this would be related to the ‘Four Fiends Project’ Doumon had previously spoken of.
<<The Four Fiends, consisting of Húndùn[?], Táowù[?], Tāotiè[?], and Qióngqí[?], they are legendary monsters that appear as bringers of ill fortune. They were exterminated in ancient times, and were turned into Sacred Gears. Those have been passed down until today, and have now become your power.>>
……One could sense something eerie from those names.
Samjima was taking out his mobile phone, and was searching for information on the ‘Four Fiends’.
“……And like poof after lazily searching for these incomprehensible things, I’ve learned that those aforementioned names seem to be associated with something called The Four Divine Beasts or such. Something Black Tortoise and Vermilion Bird or whatnot. Is there some relation to these ‘Four Fiends’?”
<<——There is. Each family from the Five Principal Clans respectively governs one of the Four Divine Beasts and the Yellow Dragon. When a person is born within the family possessing this almighty power there’s a rule they be bestowed with the name of the ability such as Suzaku or Genbu. The ones involved this affair at this time are the reverse, they are all from among those who did not inherit the name of their household.>>
“……Somehow, it’s become strongly reminiscent of fantasy. It was all one could handle with magical girls and Sacred Gears, but even so from the underside of this country there’s things like exorcists and people with supernatural abilities and whatnot……”
Natsume was pondering while holding her hand to her forehead. As one would expect of Natsume she was struggling to understand the situation. Tobio was the same way. What with monsters, Sacred Gears, witchcraft, and now the Four Divine Beasts, considering they had all been ordinary high school students until quite recently, such things greatly exceeded their degree of comprehension.
“……Those guys who are attacking us, by saying they desire the Four Fiends, that is to say it’s our sacred treasures they’re after?”
<<Ahh, that is so. Those guys acting from the underside this time——those who are affiliated with the ‘Utsusemi Agency’, from the start, they were forcibly expelled from their households as a nuisance so they are nothing more than outcasts. Those people have gathered together, and they bear a severe grudge against those heads of households that completely cut ties with them. They are in need of power to triumph over them. Accordingly, they mobilized to obtain the power of the ‘Four Fiends’.>>
“——So that’s the reason behind the attack on the luxury liner. They seek to utilize the Four Fiends in opposition to the Four Divine Beasts and such.”
To Samejima’s statement, the ‘Governor General’ affirmed with ‘That is so’.
<<Those guys attacked during school trip merely to retrieve all of the students. It was beneficial for those guys, the fact that half the ship sank deep underwater the way it did. Beneficial since it seemed to save them time arranging for the several missing human corpses. After that all that remained was dealing with the bereaved families. At any rate, for that they used hypnotism so that the relatives would mourn for the children whose survival was unknown. It should be that those of you who were in attendance at the funeral service had a feeling of discomfort. To some extent, that funeral service would have appeared to be an act. Those guys smothered any hope for their children that existed in the minds of the parents. All for the sake of achieving their ambitions——>>
……In that way, the ‘Governor General’ had explained the origin of the uncomfortable feeling from the joint funeral service. Those people who were now targeting them, they had been controlling the minds of the students’ relatives……!!
……From the story he had acquired a fury towards their extreme selfishness. The people of that agency, the ones who’d been exiled from the Five Principal Clans, all for the sake of triumphing over the ones who’d expelled them, had attacked the students of Ryoukuu High School. It wasn’t that the power he, Minagawa Natsume and the rest possessed was the cause, but rather wasn’t it the case that such situation, namely one where they had not been targeted to begin with, would never have transpired in the first place?
For him and Sae to have peacefully and ordinarily spent everyday together, would appear to have been a highly unlikely situation——.
“So then, what is the reason you are cooperating with us ‘Governor General’? Even though I realize that you have arranged things like following up with strangers like us at this place, how do I know if you’re not a good person?”
That is what Tobio was also feeling. There doesn’t seem to be a reason to give them so much care, is there? Naturally, he was entrusting the fighting to them, but with the exception of his face, he was supplying them with this much information at this time.
<<Regarding the Utsusemi, the technique that was being used to develop them is from within my organization——they are a result of a leak of information relating to artificial Sacred Gears. Information regarding you all and the matter of the Four Fiends was also leaked to that agency by an informer within the organization. From the beginning our organization effectively caused this calamity. In this case, essentially, it can surely be said that we should be the ones who set out to stop it……but there are complicated circumstances related to this world, so we cannot readily interfere. Even though we’d be supporting you, from a different perspective there’d be no choice but to view it as a scandal. Our organization wishes to obstruct the current experiment on artificial Sacred Gears, and also to seize the one who has become a traitor.>>
……They completely lost it at his words. Only Lavinia, who had been aware of the circumstances, acted composed, but Tobio and company couldn’t hide their shock.
As his expression changed to one of anger, Samejima violently struck the desk.
“Njya, so we had to go through such things because of your incompetence!? The hell’s up with that!”
Samejima was unable to conceal his rage, and Tobio as well was only managing to not succumb to his fury, it was just so completely outrageous. Lavinia raised her hand.
“Shark, please don’t just blame the Governor General. To be honest, on this occasion, given that my organization——the magician’s association has also been pursuing a group that’s participating with those people, it is therefore not just a deficiency on the part of the Governor-General’s organization. While there are some bad factors, we are all tied to the current scandal. Despite this, the ‘Grigori’ and I are cooperating, and have planned to pursue those people, and so here we are. Until now I haven’t discussed this with Shark and the rest and I believe that is my responsibility. If you’re angry, then I ask you to be angry at me. But, I simply wanted you to be aware of this. Had we had this extraordinary discussion all at once, surely Natsume, Toby, and Shark would have all felt as though their heads were going to burst, so as to have you all come to grips with the hard facts little by little, we choose to explain things gradually.”
Lavinia rapidly bowed her head in apology. Her tone of voice had seemingly dropped to some extent.
……So it wasn’t just the traitor in the ‘Governor General’s’ organization, there were also some suspicious people that the magician’s association was pursuing, and both were collaborating with the ‘Utsusemi Agency’, and were taking part in both the Utsusemi——the artificial Sacred Gear experiment as well as the ‘Four Fiends Project’……?
Samejima put on a complex expression in response to Lavinia’s apology, as he scratched his head and, with no place to go, “Ah, damn it!” he cursed.
Forcibly suppressing his rage, Samejima cut off the conversation in order to inquire of the ‘Governor General’.
“At this late hour, it’s fine even if the incomprehensible keep on increasing. It’s good enough that we’ve come to annihilate all of those bastards. Other than that I have just one more thing to ask of you.”
Samejima turned and glared at the speaker.
<<What is it?>>
“Those that were changed into Utsusemi by those bastards, can they be returned to how they once were again?”
That question, it was also one harbored by Tobio and Natsume.
<<——They can be restored. I personally guarantee it.>>
Hearing that Samejima struck the palm of right palm with his left fist. His expression was full of energy.
<<Maeda Nobushige——. He was your friend. If he can be safely brought back, I promise to restore him to his original state. The same for the friends of Minagawa Natsume and Ikuse Tobio.>>
Hearing that Tobio and Natsume’s expressions brightened.
“Seeing as you’re someone I know nothing about, as of yet I can’t believe what you say, don’t you agree? I cannot consent to how you guys brought about this current affair……but for restoring my buddy to how he was, in that case I’m willing to give you a shot, so this is your chance to repay your debt. Because after what that agency did I didn’t feel alive at all. For the sake of annihilating them you have my support.”
<<What I did was unforgivable. I would like to apologize for not showing my face at this time. But, I promise that we will without fail meet face to face someday.>>
The voice of the ‘Governor General’, until the end he responded with complete sincerity.
Natsume whispered to Tobio, “That attitude of Samejima-kun, that’s what you would call a tsundere,” and gave a chuckle.
The present matter, it would be some time until they got to the bottom of it. There were secret maneuvers that likely exceeded their imaginations. But, there was at least one piece of excellent news. Hope——could now be clearly seen!
——He would take Sae back.
As of yet he had not been able to meet his childhood friend. But, now he had comrades with whom he would be taking her back.
He would save her without fail. Without fail——he would reclaim those ordinary days.
Natsume asked about a different matter.
“Say, ‘Governor General’. The other children——the rest of those who survived, what has become of them?”
Indeed, it’s as Natsume said. In addition to themselves there were others who had not participated in the trip. Themselves included, there were nine altogether——. That they would be caught up in the present scandal, due to obtaining the same abilities as them, that shouldn’t be the case, right?
The ‘Governor General’ spoke.
<<While there were nine people who didn’t participate in the trip, there is no mistake that there are only four people that are ‘Four Fiends’. However, for the others, there are those who are normal humans, and also those who possess other Sacred Gears. It is presently known that seven of the nine have Sacred Gears——they’re people with special abilities. Among them, four of them are ‘Four Fiends.>>
“So the remaining two are ordinary humans?”
To Natsume’s query the ‘Governor General’ answered, “Uhuh.”
<<For those who were ordinary people, they have been removed from this affair, and are living ordinary lives that are unchanged. But, as for the Four Fiends and the three others with special abilities, they are being pursued by those guys. Regarding the Four Fiends who are not among you guys, they have refused to cooperate with us and are rampaging on their own. Regarding the three remaining, our side is already concealing their location.>>
It’s possible to say that such inquiries for information of the other survivors are quite precious. If possible I would like for everyone to fight together……but since among those who survived were students who had an ominous ambience, I’m hesitant to contact them. ……I pray that, for those student who don’t possess abilities, they may continue to live ordinary lives, Tobio thought strongly.
<<Regarding the “Four Fiends”, naturally it is often the case that the four of them are all drawn to the same place. Since ancient times, whenever they awaken, this has been the unique invariable principle of the “Four Fiends”. Whether fortunate or unfortunate, that is the reason you have all assembled in one building. Sooner or later, you are bound to come across the remaining two people.>>
……Two people? The threesome of Tobio, Natsume, and Samejima all felt puzzled. Regarding the Four Fiends——wasn’t there only one left? Speaking of which, when the ‘Governor General’ made his assertions some time ago he did not include Tobio among them. The ones he designated as such——were only Natsume and Samejima.
The ‘Governor General’ spoke to Tobio.
<<——Boy of the black dog, Ikuse was it. That dog of yours I would guess did not hatch from the ‘egg’, right? It appeared next to you by itself——. Isn’t that the case?>>
……Right, Jin was not hatched from that egg. He arose by himself from the shadows.
……Having been guessed correctly, Tobio gulped.
“……How, regarding that……?”
He timidly asked in return.
<<I dare say, you are an existence that exceeded the present scheme of those guys. You an irregular one, much in the same way as Lavinia I would guess. Those guys introduced a foreign element into process of stealing the ‘Four Fiends’. Ikuse Tobio, that dog you possess——seems to be an existence from an entirely different dimension.>>
Looking over at Lavinia, she was narrowing her eyes curiously.
“Probably, Toby is a foreign element that was beyond all expectations of theirs.”
……That black aura-like thing, that wasn’t the power of the Four Fiends? If so, regarding its true strength……Jin’s true identity, what was it? Just a short while ago, he had said that the three who had special abilities who were not among the ‘Four Fiends’ were being concealed……that is to say, he was one of those that comprised those he’d spoken of.
It would appear that Lavinia and the ‘Governor General’ had somehow or another discerned the truth behind Tobio’s power…….
<<Ikuse Tobio, is your grandmother still around?>>
“Not anymore. She passed away around the time I was in middle school.”
Why bring that up? ——Though feeling puzzled Tobio spoke with no lies.
<<Is that so, I wonder if you wouldn’t inform me of your grandmother’s former surname.>>
“……It was Himejima.”
……When Doumon had named the man who appeared at that time as Himejima, Tobio had been momentarily surprised. It wasn’t by chance, since it was the same name as his grandmother’s former surname.
Hearing that the ‘Governor General’——began laughing.
“……Governor General? Did something happen?”
Natsume spoke while having a question mark floating over her head.
<<……No, not really. It’s just that that punch of sarcasm was so effective that for the first time in a while I have nothing to say. ……No matter how much you try to purify the darkness in that family, it seems that there’s nothing that can be done about this generation, Chief-dono. Kukuku, so the “dog” is only a “dog”. (TN: ‘Dog’ can be derogatory so I think that’s what’s being said) You who hated the feathered lightning, will now go as far as to purify the “dog”?>>
Amused the ‘Governor General’ chuckled himself like that. No one could fathom his true meaning.
“……By some chance, what you were saying earlier about the ‘Five Principal Clans’, is there some connection between his Obaa-chan and that guy?”
Apparently Samejima was thinking of the same thing as Tobio, as he was voicing such an inquiry.
But the ‘Governor General purposefully said nothing about it.
<<No, don’t mind that now. If it’s true that everything has already been determined, then I guess everyone is related to it. But, youth of the black dog. You have other things to occupy your mind outside of the matter of “Himejima”. Regarding that name, it is part of a very weighty affair involving things with the underside of this country.>>
As of yet Tobio did not understand.
They had a rendezvous with the ‘Five Principal Clans’, where they would be defying their destiny——.