SLASHDØG Volume 2 Chapter 1

Restart/New Life

Part 1

That place——was darkness.

Without any light, it was a jet blackness without any impurity where not a sound could be heard——.

His eyes should be open and yet it was dark, he should have been carefully listening and yet not even the smallest sound could be heard.

Even if he moved his finger he couldn’t feel anything. No, to begin with, whether he was moving his finger, whether his finger was moving, he couldn’t even sense that——.

Noticing that he couldn’t hear even his own heartbeat, he——Ikuse Tobio pondered whether he was hallucinating of his own death but…….

Together with a snapping sound sound like that of having received an electric shock, he was assaulted by sharp pain throughout his entire body along with a feeling like his nerves were being scrapped.

Shutting his eyes in pain, when he next opened them——light had spread before his eyes. A white arm reached out from in front of him.

It seemed to him that the arm was of someone familiar. The arm of someone holding out a hand to him as though to pull him up. To seize it, Tobio stuck out his own right arm but——. His right arm, it was jet black.

The black arm did not appear at all to be that of a human——.  Being covered with black body hair, having the nails of the five fingers be completely sharp, it was like that of a beast’s.

Tobio touched his hand to his own face. For the first time, what he sensed there was something utterly foreign when compared to his own face.

A protruding mouth, ears that rose to a point, and his whole face was covered with hair the same as his arm.

The arm of somebody reaching out from the light——was gradually getting further away. Tobio hurriedly reached out to seize the arm, but there was no indication of it reaching.

As it was, he did not seize that person’s hand. Something, if there was something he could do to reach it……!

Thinking this much, what  crossed his mind was a distorted protuberance. If he were to consider it, it would seem that something would grow out of his arm. With that he should be able to reach that hand.

——That’s no good. If I extend that protuberance, that Blade, I’ll cut that person’s hand.

For shortening the distance with that receding important person, only that disgusting blade——.

Suddenly that voice whispered close to his ear.

‘——Your blade, it reaches just about anything. However, your blade, it wounds everything——’

That voice, it finished speaking by ridiculing him.

‘——After all, you have already ceased being human.’

Part 2

——Morning.

At the time he woke up, Tobio was sweating to an unusual degree.

Raising just his upper body, he meaninglessly took in the view of the room. His breathing was wild, and his heart was also beating violently. He realized his entire body was shivering.

He had surprised the black dog that had been sleeping curled up in the center of the room, namely his partner «Jin».

At first he had been a puppy, however during the incident a few days before he had been a splendid mature large dog. Naturally, this was through quite a different method than the usual one…….

While taking a deep breath, Tobio covered his face with his hand. Drops of water got on his hands. They were tears.

——Just what was that dream…….

A nightmare that was like a vision beyond comparison. Calming his breath, with the beating of his heart returning to normal, he took a single large deep breath.

——Let’s get out of bed.

Deciding this, Tobio started to get up and removed the thin covers. Suddenly his hand touched something. ——It was, squishy.

Hm? Tobio became aware of a mysterious softness being transmitted from his hand. Having a suspicion, he shifted his gaze to the area beside him on the bed.

“Uun……”

…………

In an instant, Tobio’s thoughts soared.

Odd. It was so odd. A girl was sleeping next to him. Her figure was one garbed in only a single white undershirt. What burst into his healthy young male eyes were dangerously white bare legs.

——It was Minagawa Natsume.

She was a girl he was familiar with. However, it was odd. Since she ought to be sleeping in a different room in the same apartment building. Wondering if he was still half-asleep himself, he shook his head. He also rubbed his eyes while he was at it.

Blinking his eyes, for the second time he checked who it was who was sleeping next to him.

“Just a minute heree……, why are you taking iiit……”

Speaking complaints while sleeping, she pulled the thin covers that had been removed back over herself.

No no, you wait just a moment. You entered my room without me noticing? No, that’s not it. The issue is why this girl has climbed into my bed.

Calm down, calm down me! Just take a great deep breath just like before.

It’s no good——. I can’t calm down. Being next to a girl in the captivating form of a white undershirt, for Tobio who is of that age it’s a sight for sore eyes——not that, it’s poisonous. Since the hair that she always wears up has been let down, it gives off a sexy impression. Moreover, it’s somewhat disheveled. It seems she was tossing and turning in her sleep.

Tobio shook the shoulder of the girl sleeping next to him.

“H-Hey. Wake up I say.”

“……Uh. Come on, just a bit more……. After all, yesterday was munya munya……”

Yesterday was what!? Did I do something yesterday!? No matter how many times I wrack my brain, I can’t remember a thing. ……Let me just get changed and then held to the apartment building’s communal for. Let’s do that.

Slipping out of bed ever so slowly, Tobio moved to in front of the closet.

Taking off his sleep wear while letting out a sigh, it happened just as he was taking out his clothes.

The intercom made a ‘pin pon’ sound. ——And, at the same time, without missing a beat, his ears detected the door to the entranceway opening with a clank.

“Yoo, Ikuse, you getting up?”

Samejima! It was Samejima Kouki who was living in the same apartment building. His great voice could be heard from the entranceway. All at once unpleasant sweat was spurting out of his entire body.

“Hm? What, so you haven’t gotten up yet. So be it. Then I’ll start by waking you up.”

Together with Samejima’s voice, the sound of loud footsteps advancing could be heard from the corridor.

“I came together with Shark since you are being slow.”

Even Lavinia’s voice could be heard! Somehow or another, the magical girl Lavinia had also come to visit Tobio’s room along with Samejima.

“Hey, is Minagawa Natsume not in her room or something? Rather than that, why do I got to do kid’s errands……”

Even the silver-haired boy——Vali had come!?

Wait! Just wait there! This is bad! Minagawa Natsume is sleeping in my bed! Moreover, it’s at the precise moment when I’m half naked from changing out of my sleep wear!

If this spectacle were to be seen, I wouldn’t know what to say about it!

“For Tobio, it’s rare that he has problems in the morning.”

——!! T-This voice is the voice of his childhood friend Sae!! Not just Samejima and Lavinia, even the one person who mustn’t see this had come along as well!?

“Uun……. Fuhaa……. Geez, don’t raise your voices so much in the morning.”

As though it was the final blow, the voice of the one who had woken up was heard from behind him.

In his current state of having removed his sleep wear——the half-naked Tobio turned his head, and his gaze met with that of Natsume who had raised only her upper body from the bed.

As Tobio’s facial expression was twitching,

“……………”

Natsume’s state was one of a frozen expression from being unable to swallow the present situation.

She visually compared the half-naked Tobio with the state she herself was in. Slowly returning to the clothes she had slept in, her face gradually turned red. Suddenly, grabbing the thin sheet, she covered half of her face. Ever so fleetingly glancing in Tobio’s direction, she hid her face with the thin sheet in embarrassment.

Eh? What’s with that reaction…….

If it had been the her he usually sees, he would expect her to have raised an angry voice and thrown a pillow at him. At the unexpected reaction from Natsume, Tobio was also perplexed.

“So this is, a sleep assault……”

Natsume let out a slightly disappointed chuckle.

Nononono.

“T-That’s not it! That is——”

“No. I don’t blame you Ikuse-kun. You are of that age after all. I’ve heard after all that, for a boy, there are some things they just can’t control……”

This young woman, she had managed to completely misunderstand……. This was an extremely awkward development.

“Just a, no no. That’s not it I say——”

Wanting to explain, Tobio unconsciously approached Natsume while in his half-naked state.

“Yo—! Tobio—!”

The boy who with the appearance of a delinquent who opened the door with a vigorous bang——Samejima Kouki, had his smiling face solidify upon seeing the situation inside the room.

She whose face was blushing while on the bed, and him who was approaching her who was on the bed while half-naked.

From a third-person perspective, they’d all think the same thing when shown something like this.

“……Ah. Ah—, did I interrupt?”

The expression of Samejima, who was using polite speech that usually his mouth never uttered, was so idiotic as to be unsuited to his aggressive look. As for the one who entered after him——.

“What’s the story with Ikuse Tobio? I’ll be needing breakfast soo……”

It was Vali, but the moment he tried to see the current situation, the person who was standing behind him——Lavinia covered his eyes with her hands.

“? Hey, I can’t see anything?”

“A scene like this is too soon for Vaa-kun.”

“What? It’s no good even for I who carry the blood of a Maou? Is that so……”

And then, the last one to enter——.

“……Tobio?”

It was Sae——.

……Ah, aah, aaaaah……. The number one person who shouldn’t see this situation had seen it. Tobio covered his face with his hands. He couldn’t come up an excuse.

——For Tobio’s first day, this was the worst possible start.

Part 3

That day’s breakfast was something unpleasant.

In a vacant room in the apartment building that anyone could enter, Tobio was sighing with his face having been dyed a deep red, and meanwhile the appearance of Minagawa Natsume was similarly one of having a flushed face.

Natsume in particular was feeding the falcon that was perched on her shoulder. Her falcon was named Griffon.

Sitting opposite the pair, Samejima, while sinking his teeth into the bread that was for breakfast, was alternatingly comparing the pair of Tobio and Natsume.

On Samejima’s lap, a white cat was curled up asleep having already finished its meal. His cat was Byakusa.

Lavinia was quietly sipping her soup while Vali——was stuffing his face with a loaf of bread that had been filled with ham and eggs that had been mixed with sauce, mayonnaise, and ketchup.

When i had been the morning of a holiday, everyone had been wearing household clothing. For Tobio it had been a T-shirt up top with shorts down below, for Natsume it had been a camisole and hot pants, Samejima had also been in shorts like Tobio, but had had a tank top on his upper half. Natsume had let down her hair from its usual up style she always wore. According to Samejima, this had given her a “birdish looking head.” She had raged against this saying “Are you saying I’m birdbrained!?” though……

Lavinia had been in casual clothes, and Vali had been dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, with the same muffler as usual on his neck.

Specifically for Lavinia and Vali, their appearances were currently the same as their usual ones. It seemed that they had stockpiled several identical sets of clothing.

A period of strange silence continued for those five. The clattering of spoons and forks was greatly audible.

Perhaps being unable to endure this atmosphere, Samejima opened his mouth as his temple was twitching.

“Isn’t this good enough already. It seems that it was a misunderstanding. Isn’t it the case that nothing happened in Ikuse and Minagawa’s room?”

Samejima had already been given an explanation for that scene.

As a result of regularly seeing Natsume an absent mindedly hurried young woman, the diligent Tobio had understood with just the single statement of “It’s a misunderstanding.”

Uncomfortably, Natsume——sent a fleeting gaze over towards Toujou Sae.

“……That’s not the problem. I think it was truly abominable for Toujou-san……”

Sae and Tobio’s gazes——met. Immediately both their faces were blushing. It seemed that Natsume was being considerate of Tobio and Sae, but despite being childhood friends, as it was the two of them weren’t facing each other and were simultaneously feeling embarrassed.

Samejima chewed on his cheek.

“Well, for a man, isn’t one or so affairs just fine? Even you, Ikuse, wouldn’t you want to get close with several girls?”

Like so, he readily replied.

DOGAH! That was the sound of the chop of Natsume, who had been leaning against the table, striking the top of Samejima’s head. As Samejima was grasping his head that had been chopped, Natsume stammered with her head in her arms.

“ARE YOU A FOOL! Goodness, you went and said that in front of these two! Uuh! It’s not like that, I swear it’s not like that Ikuse-kun, Toujou-san! Yesterday, I got up to go to the toilet late at night! The next thing I knew, I was in Ikuse-kun’s bed——”

Having spoken to that extent she covered her face with both hands in embarrassment.

“Now I can’t be a bride!”

“W-Wait. Doesn’t that completely make it seem as though I’m the bad guy?”

As one would expect even Tobio objected to this.

“Then again, going to the bathroom, only to then slip into the bed of a guy in a different room, that ain’t no ordinary feat. Furthermore after today is when we start attending that mock school.”

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While rubbing the place where he’d been chopped, Samejima who was feeling on edge spoke.

“Shut up shut up shut uuupp! You who rides around on his bike all year round can’t talk!”

“Whazzat you say!”

Somehow or another, today also started with an early morning battle between Natsume and Samejima. Moreover, they didn’t even take heed of Tobio’s objection.

Tobio sighed as a result of feeling astonished. As he looked over in Sae’s direction——she, watching Natsume and Samejima’s argument, laughed ever so slightly.

……The misunderstanding had been resolved then. Well, their relationship was one of having spent time together since they were kids. With Sae, Tobio could be relieved since she understood him better than anyone.

At Tobio’s feet, the large black dog——Jin had just finished his meal. He had slurped down one kilo of boiled chicken tenderloin that had been prepared for him. Since he was a large dog after all, it was normal that he’d be able to eat a meal of this quantity. Furthermore he would have this amount twice between the morning and evening. ……Tobio understood that a meal of such a size was abnormal but…….

When they’d first met, Jin had been quite small, but in such a short time he’d become this big——. Tobio had stopped feeling that what had befallen him was such a bizarre experience.

Since the preceding incident——the battle against the ‘Utsusemi[1] Agency’, two months had passed. The four of them, Tobio, Sae, Natsume, and Samejima, who had been wrapped up in that incident, after it suddenly ended, they met again in this apartment building, and a new life had started for them.

For Tobio and the others, having come into contact with this country’s darkness, not to mention the world of the supernatural and fantastic, they couldn’t expect to return to their original lives. Relying on the organization that was currently looking after them——the ‘Watchers of the Children of GodGrigori‘, Tobio and the others had dropped out of the schools they had been attending.

For about two months since then, while living on standby in the apartment building, they had been engaging in self-study.

Sae and Samejima had borne injuries from that incident, however, also due to the support of the Grigori, they had displayed favorable resilience——no, resilience that was beyond expectations, and they had already become capable of conducting themselves in their daily lives without issue. For Samejima, due to being a possessor of an independent avatar type Sacred Gear, it seemed that his resilience had been bolstered by conforming with Byakusa, or so they’d been told by the organization.

As for Sae’s case……from previously having the the black lion dwelling in her, they had been informed that there may have been some kind of influence on her physical body. They weren’t aware of any side effects resulting from the techniques the ‘Utsusemi Agency’ had employed on the other participants, and so it was still necessary for her to be examined daily by the Grigori. It would be nice if it remains uneventful but……such was Tobio’s sole desire for tranquility.

In the midst of this, it had been decided that today Tobio and the others were going to be brought by someone from the Grigori to the institution——referred to as ‘The Fallen OnesNephilim‘, an institution attended by children who possessed Sacred Gears, where they would shown around.

This apartment building itself was also a student dormitory for students of that this institution. Tobio hadn’t yet seen any residents aside from themselves. However, from the way the comunal floor was being used, there were clearly people other than themselves living there.

As they had been informed in an earlier conversation, it had been decided that Tobio and the others would be enrolling a class called ‘Barakiel Classroom’.

He met Sae’s gaze. Sae, at the look from Tobio, felt uneasy about her own appearance.

“……As expected, these clothes are a bit strange.”

Regarding what Sae, who has spoken such words, was wearing——it was the Nephlim uniform provided by the Grigori. Not just Sae, Tobio, Natsume, and Samejima had also dressed in the Nephilim uniform.

It was a uniform with a considerable design style. The underlying color was blue……but rather than that, what concerned Tobio and the others was how the design was a slight departure from the norm.

Rather than a school uniform, it was more like the of uniforms of boys and girls belonging to  special countermeasure organizations like those middle and high school students seen in manga and anime. At a glance, it looks like nothing more than cosplay.

For this even Natsume and Samejima stopped their quarrel to voice their opinions. Standing up from her place, Natsume held the hem of her skirt.

“Certainly, the skirt is a little bit short.”

Catching a glimpse of the healthy thighs of a female high school student that the skirt offered a peek of, Tobio ended up averting his gaze.

Also putting a finger into his uniform’s collar, Samejima acted all bothered.

“Geez, so casual wear just ain’t no good huh. This is extremely formal for me.”

Everyone seemed to feel the same way. For Tobio……though he would also have prefered an ordinary uniform, rather than that he had felt delight at being able to study even after falling down to such a level as this.

In this supposed ‘classroom’ of Nephilim, it was possible to study normally like students——or so he was informed. For that he was grateful. Even if their lives as ordinary humans had been snatched away, he still wanted to obtain an education like an ordinary human. With this his knowledge to drop below the average compared to that of other children the same age as him.

However, what they’d be learning wasn’t limited to just that.

——According to what he’s been told, they’d be learning about the proper way to make use of Sacred Gears, as well as ways to battle supernatural power users and irregular beings.

Having been bestowed with such irregular powers themselves, this wasn’t something they could ignore. Unless they could master them, even this current lifestyle could be destroyed. This alone they wanted to avoid. Since they had finally overcome that kind of experience to obtain tranquility——.

Indeed, by surmounting so many obstacles and tragedies, Tobio and the others were here now.

Since then, the remnants of the Utsusemi Agency and those magicians cooperating with them——’The Wizards of Oz’, hadn’t come to attack them. However, that this was the end……was not what it seemed to be.

This was a temporary reprieve. On this everyone’s opinions were in agreement.

There were also the other surviving students other than themselves——the Four Fiends. By chance, it was possible they were fighting the enemy even right now.

Thinking that way, they couldn’t help but to feel guilty about the tranquility even if it was temporary.

However, Tobio had cherished this calm period. That which he had lost had been immense, but that he had obtained was also immense. It was certainly because of this situation that he had met Natsume, Samejima, Lavinia, and Vali. More than anything else he was even once again laughing with Sae. He wanted to cherish this environment.

As Tobio was thinking over this once again, Sae raised her hand.

“Though I was thinking of making curry for this evening, are there any ingredients everyone wants added in, or else something you can’t handle?”

Sae had started living here together with Tobio and the others. She had been living separately from her parents who had been rescued.

Since Sae’s family had also taken part in that incident they were in the position of not leading ordinary lives. Receiving the Grigori’s cooperation, they were living new lives under altered identities in a remote region untouched by evil influence.

This was also done for the other students and their family members who were rescued from the research institution. Under the supervision of the Grigori, they were now living peaceful lives somehow. The Grigori had altered a portion of their memories but……what’s most important is that they’re living without issues, is what Tobio thought.

From among them, Toujou Sae had wanted to accompany Tobio and the others. She was still living while relying on a cane, however she was healthy aside from that. For the group of Tobio and the others, she was the primary person in charge of cooking.

Natsume raised her hand.

“Ah, I’d like fukujinzuke[2] and rakkyou[3] for a garnish if it’s not an issue.”

“Apart from the standard I’d say it’s fine with nothing else,”

So said Samejima. For him, rather than exquisite cooking, he prefered familial flavors. On this point he was quite compatible with Sae’s cooking (as well as Tobio’s cooking). As a juvenile delinquent, he hadn’t complained even once about Sae’s cooking.

Lavinia also raised her hand.

“Something sweet is fine by me.”

Sae collected everyone’s opinions.

“Yes, I got it. Something sweet for Tobio as well right. We always end up making two pans simultaneously.”

Vali suddenly spoke after having drank his milk.

“Curry’s not anything to fuss over in particular, but I would at least like you to stir in some medium-fine Chinese noodles.”

Natsume retorted at Vali.

“Even though it’s curry, just how do Chinese noodles fit in?”

“Fuh, it seems you are unaware, Minagawa Natsume. When add curry to medium-fine boiled noodles it becomes curry ramen. With the curry powder mixing with the curled noodles, it is considerably appetizing.”

“For Vaa-kun, he puts noodles in even in stew.”

It was Lavinia who said this.

……So Vali puts noodles in even in curry and stew huh. Come to think of it, Tobio had experienced him having asked “Are there no noodles?” when they had previously made curry or stew.

Samejima blew out a ‘bufuh’ sound. Lucidra-sensei is consistently on about noodles noodles noodles. Because of the strange nutritional balance, that must be why he’s so small.”

Vali was dissatisfied with this.

“Mumuh! Samejima Kouki, I should have told you to stop saying Lucidra already.”

Natsume also shrugged her shoulders at Vali’s taste.

“No no, udon with leftover curry, spaghetti with leftover stew……if it’s those sorts of things I’m aware of it.”

“A connoisseur would throw in Chineses noodles.”

Throwing out his chest with an ‘ahem’, the silver haired boy was continuing to speak of noodles……but suddenly sensing a presence behind him he raised some gossip without even turning his head around.

“Well well, it’s unusual for you to come here in the morning. ——Azazel.”

Everyone’s gaze converged on a single point.

Without anyone realizing, a man in a suit had come in and had willfully opened the room’s refrigerator. The appeared to have been of the worn-out expensive sort. As for the man, popping the lid on a carbonated drink PET bottle that had been in the refrigerator, he was gulping it down.

Sitting down at an empty seat at the table, he surveyed everyone present.

“Yo, young ladies and gentlemen.”

“Governor-General Azazel!”

Natsume had been surprised at the entrance of the man——the Grigori’s Governor-General Azazel. Since his entrance had been sudden, not only Natsume, Tobio, Sae, and Samejima had also been surprised.

As for Vali and Lavinia, they showed no sign of surprise and appeared to be calmly accepting Azazel…….

Azazel inquired of Tobio and the others.

“How’s the flavor? Excuse me, if I may request two slices of bread, Toujou Sae.”

Azazel asked Sae for the bread. Unconsciously replying “Y-Yes,” Sae placed two slices of bread into the toaster.

Vali inquired of Azazel.

“For you to expressly show up at the meal table, is that to say that you have some sort of business?”

While gulping down the carbonated drink, Azazel spoke.

“Well, that’s also the case, but it’s merely you allkimitachi——that’s seems unnecessarily distant. ‘You guys’omaetachi should be fine[4]. There’s also me wanting to have some skinship with you guys. Hey, isn’t today the day you move in? Well, I am in the position of running this institution. Isn’t it fine to have such morning interactions with transfer students?”

Azazel came into contact with them in a friendly manner.

He wasn’t a hateful person. The guidance given to Tobio as well as to Natsume and the others, as well as the students of Ryoukuu, it was undoubtedly the kindness of this man. This being the case, even eating with Sae who was living, it was because of Azazel’s cooperation.

However, he couldn’t perceive it——. His true motivations was the one truth he still couldn’t grasp. For him to have come here like this, perhaps their was something behind this “skinship”. This man’s true motive was completely imperceivable.

Azazel had produced a booklet from his breast pocket. It was familiar to Tobio and the others. For checking out ‘Nephilim’, it seemed that this was the so-called ‘enrolment guidebook’.

Azazel flipped through the guidebook with one hand.

“Just in case, have you looked it over?”

Tobio, Sae, and Natsume nodded. Samejima had averted his eyes…….

To summarize what was written in the guidebook, it was about the kind of place ‘Nephilim’ was, the kind of people who attended it, and what was taught there. After that, it was also written there about the oath to be followed by those living in the institution, as wekk as the penalty for breaking that oath.

Having been listed in excessively other-worldly language, though it wasn’t Vali, it ended up seeming like the literary work settings listed by a boy with second-year-of-junior-high-sickness. However, that place was now their everyday world——.

Compared with the lives they’d been enjoying until just a short time before, this was like being plunged into a world that was completely cut off from their earlier lives.

Having acknowledged the response from Tobio and the others, Azazel displayed a grinning smile.

“If so then fine. Well, you can ask a staff member if there’s anything you don’t understand.”

There was a sound that the bread in the toaster had been baked. Sae delivered it to Azazel.

Azazel spoke while chewing it.

“Once I’ve eaten, I’ll teach you the way to get to ‘Nephilim’.”

Like that, breakfast (with a strange atmosphere swirling about) continued along with Azazel.

Part 4

Having finished breakfast, Tobio and the others, carrying their bags, had made preparations for the school commute.

Following Azazel who had been waited for them on the first floor of the apartment building, on top of not exiting the building, they were heading towards the apartment building’s elevator.

Despite feeling suspicious, the travel group of Tobio and the others continued following Azazel.

Before entering the elevator, Azazel handed over something like black colored ID cards.

“These are ID cards exclusive for authorized personnel……well, if it from the perspective of you guys they’re your student cards.”

Tobio took one. While the black card had no picture, it did have letters on it that were unreadable to Tobio.

Azazel, before embarking on the elevator, prompted Tobio and the others to get on. The Sacred Gears of Tobio and the others——their partners Jin, Griffon, and Byakusa also accompanied their masters. Jin was at Tobio’s side, Griffon was on Natsume’s shoulder, and Byakusa was at Samejima’s feet.

However, Lavinia and Vali didn’t board the elevator.

Lavinia spoke.

“Since I’m not a student there, we will not be going there together. However, I will be coming together with Vaa-kun later to observe.”

“Well, it would be good if you were to become accustomed to the strange area before we come.”

Vali spoke with his usual ‘fufun’ as part of his impertinent attitude.

“Well then, see you later.”

As soon as Azazel had said his farewell to Lavinia and Vali, the elevator door shut.

Without pressing any of the buttons inside, Azazel held the ID cards from earlier in front of a certification device that was below the buttons. Subsequently, without delay the elevator——was going down.

When they had boarded, they’d been on the first floor. For them to be descending even with that being the case——.

“This apartment building actually has a basement.”

Samejima was smiling bitterly.

Somehow or another, there were plenty of devices in this apartment building that they were unaware of.

However, even Tobio had been aware of the existence of the certification device in the elevator. Each and every time he rode the elevator it had concerned him. He couldn’t possibly have imagined that it was for the sake of going to the basement.

It had been tens of seconds since they had gotten on. The elevator was still descending. Even Tobio realized that it this wasn’t the level for a basement. The number that showed the floor, it had stopped functioning as a result of not knowing there exact position.

From among those onboard, Natsume spoke to Azazel.

“Hey, Governor-General! Is it alright if I ask a question?”

“Sure, Minagawa Natsume-kun, what it is?”

You, the Governor-General, you name is Azazel correct? Isn’t that also the name of a fallen angel that appears in the Bible?”

Indeed, that had been something Tobio was also concerned about. He——Azazel had introduced himself as an angel who had fallen, a fallen angel. Based on Tobio’s repeated investigations, the name Grigori was written in myths——which were related to the Old Testament. In there, it was written that the Grigori leader was also named Azazel.

“Yeah, that’s right.”

Azazel calmly confirmed it.

……The man before their eyes, he was an existence on the mythological level, and the boss of the fallen angel organization……. Natsume gave a delighted “Whoa”, but Tobio felt an indescribable fear.

Even as they were having that conversation, the elevator finally arrived.

What was there as the door opened——was an open white space. The ceiling was high, it was horizontally long, and its depth was considerable. Subsequently, the floor at Azazel’s feet opened, and somekind of machine rose up from below.

It resembled an automatic ticket machine like those from station ticket barriers.

Azazel spoke while waving the card in his hand.

“This is one of the gates leading to ‘Nephilim’. Watch closely. I’ll go through first, so you head through by copying me.”

While speaking, Azazel held his card in front of the machine. A green lamp on the machine displayed an arrow. Azazel went past the ticket machine——and disappeared while enveloped in a faint light!

Azazel, who had been there until just a moment ago, had completely vanished! They immediately realized that is was a special power of the ticket machine…….

“Heh, how interesting.”

Natsume was full of glee at this phenomenon that had occured before them. Heading in front of the ticket machine, she unhesitatingly imitated Azazel from just before and held her card in front of the machine. After that, as she passed by——as before, Natsume also vanished while enveloped in light.

“Guess we just gotta go huh.”

While exhaling, Samejima proceeded after Natsume.

Nodding to each other, Tobio and Sae pursued Natsume and Samejima——.

|

Passing the ticket machine, he was awaiting being enveloped by the light from before——.

What appeared before Tobio’s eyes——was someplace inside of a building.

Different from the space from before, what appeared to be the building’s interior had a lustrous black interior design. He checked in front of him, where there was a long passageway leading deeper inside. As he looked to the side, there were ticket machines lined up to the left and right, and when he glanced behind, there as well was a long passageway stretching deeper inside. With a high ceiling, he could tell that the buildings interior occupied a huge space.

“Alright, everyone’s here then. Welcome to ‘Nephilim’.”

Having finally arrived, Azazel spoke these words welcoming Tobio and the others.

Natsume, Samejima, and Azazel, having passed the ticket gate machine first, were waiting……and there was one other, a tall man who was standing there. He had a good physique and muscular features. Even Tobio and the others could perceive from his presence that he was no ordinary person.

Having noticed their concern over the man’s presence, Azazel introduced him.

“You’re thinking he’s the one put in charge of your guys’ training huh. That’s exactly right, I requested that of this person who is presently an off duty member of my staff. This guy is a part of the Grigori management, and his name——is Barakiel.”

The man——the man referred to as Barakiel, took a step forward.

“I’ll be in your care if you’ll please.”

It was a simple greeting. ……But, the man was staring fixedly at Tobio.

It was bothering Tobio but……the man named Barakiel,

“Sorry, your face was a little like someone I’m familiar with. Pay it no mind.”

He gave such a two line apology.

However, this person was ‘Barakiel’……. Given the name ‘Barakiel Class’, this person would be Tobio and the other’s…….

Slapping Barakiel’s back, Azazel spoke to everyone.

“So with that, for the near future starting from today you’ll be looking to Barakiel here for your instruction. Since you’ll also be depending on him for guidance within the institution, well, you should get used to the lifestyle here pretty soon.”

Like this, the new lifestyle——or perhaps ordeal of Tobio and the others had started.

References

[1]Utsusemi means cast-off cicada shell

[2]vegetables pickled in soy sauce

[3]Japanese leeks

[4]Azazel changes the word he uses for ‘you’. Best as I can tell, the former is a somewhat familiar way of addressing people while the latter is a more coarse or rough form of address

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