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Cygnus Maidens Volume 1 (新・魔法科高校の劣等生 キグナスの乙女たち) is the first light novel of the second spin-off series for the Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei series. This spin-off moves away from the Yotsuba family and its members and follows the story of Juumonji Alisa, the illegitimate daughter of the Juumonji family as she begins her high school life at First High. This volume also includes the three chapter prequel, previously released as a web novel.

Synopsis

Magic, youth, and love. The wind of a new wind blows through the Magic High School!

It has been a year since the legendary magician, Shiba Tatsuya, and his sister, Miyuki, graduated. Two young girls now enter the magic high school.

Juumonji Alsia and Tookami Marika.

Although raised as real sisters from an early age, Alisa was entrusted to the Juumonji family for two years due to ‘certain’ circumstances. After enrolling at First High School, they will meet again for the first time in a long time.

Innocent and defenceless Alisa and Marika. Studying magic, club activities, friendship, youth, and love ―― With many heart throbs pounding in their chests, the pair's life at the magic high school begins!

Prequel

Prequel Chapter 1

Spoiler
Sunday, February 24th of the year 2097.

Juumonji Katsuto, arrives at the New Chitose Airport that was still surrounded by snow alone with a small travel bag. He takes the Cabinet from the airport towards the Tomakomai area. He then switched to a private rented car and drives inland along the river. Katsuto got off the main road which was clear of snow and proceeded along a snow-covered side road for about ten minutes. Finally, he got off the car in front of a veterinary clinic.

Hanging on the house next to the clinic was a nameplate with the name Tookami.

Katsuto had announced his visit in advance and received confirmation, so he quickly enters, but it is obvious he was not welcome. Sitting across from him is the head of the household who isn’t hiding his annoyance, but Katsuto hides a sigh with a poker face as he doesn’t blame them for their attitude as this is the Juumonji Family’s fault.

Tookami Ryoutarou remained silent after his formal greeting, which Katsuto had to endure until the one he was waiting for appeared as he lacked the conversation skills to tease the tension. Fifteen minutes passed like this.

Two voices announce their return home from the entrance, one cheerful, one quiet.

Katsuto wonders which of the two is the one he’s waiting for, though he suspects it’s not the cheerful one.

The two voices ask to enter and upon seeing the one he’s waiting for, Katsuto’s poker face is crushed. Katsuto could not hide his surprise at the appearance of the girl who sat diagonally to him, next to Ryoutarou. Not her looks as he was expecting the light golden hair and green eyes as his father had told him her biological mother was a blonde Russian. What caught Katsuto’s eyes was the dense magical presence the girl irradiated.

Not because she was emitting a lot of power, but because he felt a strong energy condensed into the small body.

This is a trait that is seen in magicians of the ‘Ten’.

If his intuition is correct, this girl is hiding within her the talent of a magician comparable to the ‘Ten’ and this shook him.

Ryoutarou prompts the girl and she greets Katsuto.

“Pleased to meet you. I am Iba Alisa.”

Katsuto immediately introduced himself in response to the girl’s first greeting.

“My name is Juumonji Katsuto. I am your half-brother.”

But the way he expressed himself, as if it was someone else’s business, was entirely inappropriate for the relationship between them.

◇ ◇ ◇

This event began on Saturday, February 23rd of 2097. The weekend after the incident, which began with Hakone terrorist attack targeting the Master Clans Conference, ended with the death of Jiedo Heigu. The current head of the Juumonji Family, Juumonji Katsuto, was summoned by his father, the former head, Juumonji Kazuki, to his study. Katsuto may be the new family head, but the family’s business is still run by his father.

Katsuto reports on the clean-up of the terrorist incident but is stopped as he’s about to leave, but his father struggles to tell Katsuto what he needs to talk about. After being prompted by Katsuto several times, Kazuki tells Katsuto he has a half-sister.

Katsuto asks if his father means Kazumi, his half-sister by Kazuki’s second wife, Katsuto’s mother being his late first wife. Due to the age difference and Katsuto’s training, he isn’t close to his siblings.

Kazuki clarifies that he means a girl called Iba Alisa, who is turning fourteen in September, and lives in Hokkaido.

Hearing this Katsuto confirms this means she was born the year after Kazuki married Keiko, his second wife.

Kazuki remarried when Katsuto was five, fourteen years ago in December.

Kazuki tells Katsuto he broke up with Darya before he remarried.

Tatsuki turns fourteen in February, meaning he’s in the same year as Alisa, but half a year younger.

Katsuto says if this means Kazuki was cheating on Keiko, then it’s not an excuse. Saying this Katsuto has switched from a from the formal speech used for the previous family head, to a casual one used for speaking to one’s father.

Katsuto goes on to ask if Darya was a partner in an affair.

Katsuki reluctantly admits it was an affair and tells his son that Darya is a defected Russian. His current wife, Keiko, was carefully selected by Kazuki’s late father, the founder and head of two generations of the Juumonji Family, Juumonji Gai, though at the time Kazuki was already the current family head. Kazuki and Gai had no blood relation. Kazuki being a test tube baby born from an artificial womb, couldn’t reject the wife chosen by the man who had raised him as a son. Katsuto doesn’t condemn Kazuki and asks why this was hidden until now.

Katsuki explains that he didn’t know that Darya had been pregnant and that she had disappeared after the breakup and he had respected her wishes. After stepping down as family head, Katsuki looked into Darya to check she was well, but discovered Darya had died eight years earlier and their daughter was being cared for by a couple who helped her after she’d defected.

Katsuto asks if Kazuki plans to take her, and Kazuki tells Katsuto the decision is his, explaining that the girl has likely inherited the magic of the Juumonji so it’s the decision of the family head.

Katsuto decides immediately, as those who inherit the magic disposition of the ‘Ten’ must learn how to use it well, or they may lose their life if the ability of the ‘Ten’ runs rampant. The decision made, Katsuto asks for the details of his sister’s home so he can negotiate.

Katsuto had decided to go himself as the family head.

Kazumi tells Katsuto he’ll provide a map later, but the families name is Tookami. Katsuto recognises the name and Kazuki confirms they are the Toogami family from the Extra Families, who were chased out of the Tenth Research Institute.

◇ ◇ ◇

Alisa was not disturbed at hearing she was Katsuto’s half-sister and explains that her mother told her that her father lives faraway and is a great magician who loved my mother, but they had to separate due to circumstances beyond their control.

Katsuto explains that their father is the former head of the Juumonji Family of the Ten Master Clans.

Alisa tells Katsuto she doesn’t know if she can use magic. Ryoutarou explains they avoided having Alicia experience magic and Katsuto should understand why.

Of the magicians developed at the former Tenth Research Institute, only the Juumonji Family were granted ‘Overclock’, a technique to surpass the limits of the Magic Calculation Area. And this ability is why they are considered the strongest of the Tens. However, the trade off is that using Overclock burns out the Magic Calculation Area, shortening their lifespan as magicians such as happened to Juumonji Kazuki, forcing him to retire as a magician.

Katsuto explains that if Alisa doesn’t study the magic, she inherited the risk overheating is far worse due to the synergy with Overclock. As she doesn’t understand, Katsuto explains that ‘Overheating of the Magic Calculation Area’ is a disease unique to magicians and can be life threatening and because she’s the daughter of the previous family head, the risk of serious symptoms cannot be ignored. When Alisa asks if she’ll die, Katsuto explains they understand why Juumonji magicians tend to overheat and have countermeasures and if she learns the Juumonji techniques, she won’t die even if she loses her magic due to overheating.

Katsuto then tells her this is what he wants to teach her but not the main reason for his visit and then invites her to join the Juumonji Family.

Alisa turns to Ryoutarou and he tells her she should do what she wants to.

Alisa asks why now.

Katsuto explains that they only learned about her existence the other day when the retired former head looked into her mother as, now free of his responsibilities as family head, he wanted to deal with his biggest regret, what happened with Darya.

Alisa asks if they were abandoned.

Katsuto explains it was an affair and she’s free to hold a grudge against Kazuki.

When Alisa gets upset by Katsuto’s detached attitude, Ryoutarou steps in and explains Darya courted Kazuki three years before she was born and just after Katsuto’s real mother died. That they’d urged her not to date Kazuki but she didn’t listen.

Katsuto steps in and states all the blame lies on his father, Kazuki.

With Alisa calmed down, Katsuto goes on to say she has a legitimate reason to hate their father and a right to collect on his debt to her, and so should meet him at least once. If she doesn’t want to live with them, he’ll prepare an apartment for her in Tokyo. That once she’s learned to control her magic she can return here. Katsuto ends pay promising he doesn’t intent to force her to live as a member of the Ten Master Clans.

Ryoutarou is so surprised it shows on his face. Alisa is also surprised to receive such a convenient offer.

Alisa turns to Ryoutarou and he tells her to meet her father once and then decide. Katsuto confirms this is ok.

Alisa asks for time to think so Katsuto agrees to return in a weeks’ time. And everyone agrees.

◇ ◇ ◇

Immediately after Katsuto leaves, Marika, also thirteen, rushes in to see Alisa. The atmosphere between the two is more like that of sisters than friends. After been scolded for leaving the door open by Ryoutarou, though not registering him at all, Marika asks what Katsuto wanted. Alisa explains Katsuto told her she’s his half-brother and invited her to live with them in Tokyo. Hearing this, Marika becomes emotional and grabs Alisa, telling her she doesn’t want her to go, getting very close.

Alisa kisses Marika on the nose.

[Illustration]

In response, Marika slides out of the room like a cat, she’s completely flushed.

Alisa teases Marika a little, such playful flirting being common between the two up until recently.

Alisa then explains that she doesn’t want to leave Marika’s side either, but she is unlikely to live long as is. Ryoutarou corrects, stating it’s not certain Alisa will die, but it is possible so Katsuto intends to teach her how to prevent it.

Marika asks if that means Alisa has to move to Tokyo and when she affirms it, Marika gets really upset.

Ryoutarou tells the pair to leave it for now and discuss it properly with Serika, his wife, later after the pair have changed.

Alisa, wanting some time to think, agrees immediately. Marika agrees as well, albeit reluctantly.

◇ ◇ ◇

Marika went back to her room and starts to get changed.

Her room was originally her elder brothers, having previously shared with Alisa in elementary school. When her brother Ryousuke went to a non-magical university in Tokyo, she got the room. And then in January last year, when Ryousuke went to study in Vancouver he disappeared. Despite being missing for over a year the family aren’t worried as those with magicians cannot study abroad unless it’s an exchange program. As the Tookami are from the Extras, they cannot expect to work as magicians in Japan without hiding their special magic and former number which isn’t possible for the Tookami. So the Tookami chose not to live as magicians. However, if you can escape Japan you can open other paths in life. Ryousuke sent a letter saying as much which is why they believe his disappearance was voluntary.

Despite this, Marika lamented his absence right now.

He was a great elder brother who pampered her, but Alisa liked him even more and if he were to be against her leaving, Alica would stay.

No, she corrected herself, Alisa might go to be close to Ryousuke and then return with him to Hokkaido.

Their parents wanted him to succeed the veterinary clinic and marry Alisa and Alisa isn’t against the idea and she is already aiming to become a veterinarian. And given that Marika is poor at studying and Ryousuke was studying engineering, Alisa could well have been the one to succeed Ryoutarou even if she didn’t marry his son.

Of course, neither Ryoutarou nor Marika will force Alisa to take over the clinic. Marika simply doesn’t want Alisa to leave, leaving her conflicted as she understands it would be wrong to stop Alisa leaving, especially if it reduced the chances of something bad happening to Alisa.

The Tookami know Alisa has a genetic component that causes premature death, including Marika who had been warned in case of an emergency. This element comes from her mother Darya, who has a modified body made in the New Soviet Union. The NSU’s techniques are more advanced but are weaker in the aspect of magical factors making them less stable than those from the USNA and Japan as the mind has to be magically skupted to match the modified body as an embryo.

Alisa’s mother, Darya Andreevna Ivanova defected nearly two decades before, so obviously she received no such treatment and so suffered from abnormalities, ultimately ending in her death. As a second generation, this treat looms over Alisa as well. Do if there is a chance to lower the risks added by the Juumonji genes, it has to be taken.

But still Marika doesn’t want to part from Alisa.

Overwhelmed by her feelings, Marika stops getting changed and sits down having only removed her uniform.

◇ ◇ ◇

Alisa separated from Marika in front of her room and sat down on the desk in her own room. She simply sits there for a while exhausted by the conversation with Katsuto.

Eventually she manages to motivate herself into getting changed while she thinks about the situation.

Though she felt death through the experience of losing her mother who she was close with, Alisa is only 13 years old. Her own death is an event that is still far away.

But even if she doesn’t feel herself dying, Alisa understands what death is. Death. Bereavement. It means that she will become a memory. It means she’ll never meet her family, the Tookami again

That she didn’t want to die was the conclusion like that that Alisa came to.

◇ ◇ ◇

The subject of Katsuto’s proposal came up at the Tookami Family table after eating and cleaning up.

Ryoutarou takes the lead in the conversation and lays everything out first.

That Alisa’s half-brother Katsuto wishes to take Alisa.

That the Juumonji didn’t know of Alisa until just recently. This angers Serika, not as a Tookami, but as a woman sympathetic to Darya.

Ryoutarou adds that Katsuto wishes to teach Alisa techniques to prevent a magic illness characteristic of the Juumonji family, explaining ‘Overclocking’ to the others and how it overworks the Magic Calculation Region in exchange for reducing the duration the can be magicians for, though Marika struggles to follow the explanation of the Magic Calculation Area and Alisa has to give an analogy.

Ryoutarou pauses to ensure his daughters understand magicians aren’t superior to normal humans, but neither girl harboured such views.

Ryoutarou continues his explanation of the Magic Calculation Region and gets to the point, that the Juumonji can increase its activity beyond the it’s limits, overclocking it. The meaning being the same as the computing term.

Alisa asks if doing this reduced one’s lifespan.

Ryoutarou didn’t hesitate in confirming this, saying it’s referred to as overheating and can happen to any magician but Overclock increases the risk of it.

He then explains that if the Magic Calculation Area stops working, the person won’t be able to perceive the world normally and if they’re lucky, they’ll just go insane as the original role of the Magical Calculation Area is to split the world into pieces of a size people can process and recognize.

Ryoutarou goes on to explain that Overclock is innate from birth and to prevent it running wild, you need to learn to control the ability.

Alisa asks if this means Katsuto was correct and Ryoutarou confirms Katusto was telling the truth about Overclock and confirms only they can teach her to control it.

Serika asks why Alisa can’t learn the skill and then return and Ryoutarou says that Katsuto affirmed she could do so, which shocks her. Seika then says they should take the offer.

Roytarou however, states that is isn’t so simple as taking the secret techniques of a family won’t be readily accepted by others even if Katsuto agrees. He also points out they want to take responsibility for a blood related daughter so they can only interfere so much.

Marika asks Alisa if she’ll be ok, and Alisa assures he it’s still Japan so they will see each other again and can call each other, though both end up crying.

Prequel Chapter 2

Spoiler
Sunday, March 3rd.

Just like last week, Katsuto was driving a rental car manually to the Tookami household. The snow has been cleared but as a result, visibility is poor due to the walls of snow so Katsuto is driving slowly.

A person suddenly appears on the road ahead.

Katsuto stops the car without an accident thanks to his slow speed.

Katsuto wonders who it is but from the face realises that she’s a middle school girl glaring at him though he knows not why. The pair are currently over ten meters apart. Katsuto decides to get out of the car to see what she wants.

At the same time as he opened the door, the girl walked to the car and stops two meters away from him.

The girl first apologises and then confirms he is Katsuto and then introduced herself as Tookami Marika.

◇ ◇ ◇

As the time for Katsuto’s planned visit drew near, an unsettling atmosphere filled the Tookami household, though it’s the adults that are restless, Alisa is studying at her desk as she’s aiming to become a veterinarian.

Serika calls out to ask Alisa if she knows where Marika is. Alisa says she doesn’t and Seika comments that she appears to have gone out. Alisa confirms Marika doesn’t have club and apologises for not being able to help. As Alisa was being entrusted to him, the family intended to show the minimum of family manners to Katsuto. Though Serika comments Marika’s absence is likely a good thing as Marika would likely be rude.

◇ ◇ ◇

Katsuto tries to be gentlemanly as he talks to Marika and she comes out and asks directly for a favour, though her tone makes it clear it’s a demand.

Katsuto tells her he’d rather discuss it at the home where he’s heading.

Marika declines so Katsuto reluctantly agrees to hear her out then and there.

Marika asks Katsuto not to take Alisa to Tokyo.

Katsuto points out Alisa will be in danger if she doesn’t learn to control the magic she inherited.

Katsuto was feeling guilty, having properly investigated the Tookami family’s circumstances this past week he understood Alisa and Marika were like sisters. In fact, he didn’t want to split them up but Alisa was in danger so he couldn’t give in to her plea.

Marika admits he heard about the risk from her father but still doesn’t want to be separated and asks why they can’t just send a tutor.

Katsuto is moved by how pure Marika is, but states he cannot agree to have their families magic leave the family.

Marika tries to appeal to Katsuto with emotion, but it doesn’t work, and he explains he can’t just do it because he’s the family head, it doesn’t work like that.

Hearing this Marika steps back to a distance for a running jump and declares she’ll make Katsuto listen with force and psion light surges from her body.

◇ ◇ ◇

Ryoutarou and Serika suddenly call out to one another and confirm they both felt powerful magic being released and can both tell it’s their daughter even at this distance.

Both are confused as their daughter has received no training to use magic. Not just because formal training starts in High School, though there are prep schools and private ones that teach the basics, but because she wasn’t taught at home.

Ryoutarou realises it might be from her inadvertently learning the basics in her martial arts lessons. Alisa then jumps into the kitchen to see what’s going on, intuitively knowing Marika is involved, and wanting to go save her. Ryoutarou rushes to grab his car keys, more worried about what will happen to Marika’s condition after using such strong magic without training than what caused her to use the magic.

The three get into the car and Alisa tells them where Marika is and they realise it’s the direction Katsuto is coming from.

◇ ◇ ◇

Along with a torrent of surplus Psion light, a magic barrier formed around Marika’s body, the Toogami’s single-body armour magic, ‘Reactive Armor

37 years ago, the Toogami family were exiled from the Tenth Research Institute as “Extras” because the goal of the Tenth Research Institute was to develop magic for the defence of the capital city and important people but the Toogami could only make barriers around themselves.

But there was more than meets the eye.

Clad in invincible armour and capable of rushing deep into enemy territory, the military leaders saw the potential use for suicide attacks and assassinations, at least unofficially.

But the version Katsuto was seeing didn’t look strong enough for that.

Marika flies at Katsuto with a kick.

He blocks with the Phalanx and Marika’s barrier shatters.

And then an enhanced version rebuilt in a moment to meet the strength of the Phalanx. The barriers struggle until Marika’s movement magic expires and she’s thrown back by the repulsion of the barriers. Marika somersaults to land on her feet.

But what catches Katsuto’s eye, is that the rebuilding of the barrier was unintentional and automatic. Katsuto realises the Toogami’s Reactive Armor has the same basic theory as the Phalanx but differs in that the Phalanx ‘continuously recreates barriers’ while the Reactive Armour ‘forms stronger ones’. Katsuto wonders what the upper limit is and realises that if this limit is low that would be the reason it’s used for suicide attacks, as they’d be left defenceless amidst the enemy.

While Katsuto is thinking this, Marika attacks again, this time trying to ram him using serval magic types in parallel. Though her instincts are great, her skills and abilities are not normal.

Marika is sent flying again when her support magic expires.

She charges again, using a flurry of punches. But the Phalanx doesn’t break. She can’t breach the barriers fast enough and her own start to shatter.

When it shatters for the seventh time Marika withdraws to a distance of five meters, her barrier gone.

Normally a magician will prepare another magic to cancel out the active one, but Marika didn’t do this so Katsuto concludes it was done unconsciously as she’s near the limit where her life will be in danger. Katsuto concludes the true limit for Marika’s barrier is likely eight or nine times.

The barrier renovation limit for Phalanx, which follows a similar system, differs between users, but Katsuto’s limit is 999 times in the lab, though may be higher in a fight.

Katsuto turns his attention to the more pressing matter of Marika who still intends to fight which was risky.

There’s a reason why formal education for magicians starts in high school. It is said that for two years before and after puberty, with two more years after that as a safety margin for girls, it is better not to put too much burden on the Magic Calculation Area. It is an established theory in Japan that magic harms physical growth during the period of 9 to 13 years old on average for boys and between 8 and 14 for girls. During this period, magic training requires especially attentive care.

– Though the USNA has not adopted this standard as the basis for it is weak.

The girl in front of Katsuto’s eyes is right in the ‘period when you shouldn’t use magic’.

Katsuto decides he has to settle this quickly before she harms herself by just blowing away the magic barrier and its reconstruction mechanism with the Offensive Phalanx. Though Katsuto isn’t good at such delicate work, he can’t afford to be picky.

◇ ◇ ◇

Ryoutarou senses the psion wave produced by the clashing barriers. All three of them in the car could ‘hear’ the barriers clashing as a sound resembling the echo of a gong ringing.

Alisa asks if it’s Marika.

Ryoutarou confirms it seems to be her and Katsuto, though Katsuto is just taking the attacks at the moment but even just that is dangerous for Marika, so they need to stop here.

Ryoutarou has lost all composure and is stomping on the accelerator despite the car being at its top speed, though it will still take nearly five minutes.

Alisa closes her eyes and at that moment sees Marika’s back. This surprises her and when she opens her eyes again, she sees the inside of the car.

Serika asks what’s wrong, but Alisa isn’t calm enough to answer and simply closes her eyes again.

Alisa sees Marika again as psionic light is released from her body and Katsuto raises his hand towards her.

“Don’t!” Alisa yells as she unintentionally releases powerful magic.

◇ ◇ ◇

Marika is about to attack again and Katsuto realises her Magic Calculation Region must be under a heavy burden as she’s ignoring protocol and if she isn’t stopped, she may never recover. In order to end it there, Katsuto increased the output of his Magic Calculation Area and prepares to use the Offensive Phalanx, carefully configuring it to counter Marika’s barrier.

Katsuto fires just before Marika has chance to jump.

At that moment Alisa’s shout echo’s in his heart and Marika is protected by a dome shaped barrier, blocking his attack.

Katsuto cancels his magic.

Moments later, the dome barrier disappears, and Marika’s dumbfounded expression makes it clear it wasn’t her. Though Katsuto already knew as the dome was a Defensive Phalanx.

Marika’s barrier disappeared when she lost the will to fight when faced by this unexpected situation.

As if to announce the end of the fight, a tall off-road vehicle came up from behind Marika and stopped.

Ryoutaro gets out of the car, while Serika helps an unsteady Alisa.

Seeing Alisa’s state affirms to Katsuto that she used the Defensive Phalanx and that her talent was on or exceeded his level and that not starting her training immediately would be dangerous. Aptitude that is way too high also means that she’s likely to run wild, like a girl who was his junior in high school who had extremely strong phenomenon interference power and often unintentionally froze reality.

Alisa’s risk is even higher than that junior’s. If she doesn’t learn techniques to at least control her magic activation, she’s very likely to destroy herself and it’s too dangerous to wait.

Alisa rushes to check on Marika while Serika scolds her daughter and Ryoutarou apologises to Katsuto.

Katsuto accepts the apology and asks if Marika has been trained. Ryoutarou says no and when Katsuto begins to suggest it, Ryoutarou tells him Marika will be educated immediately. This incident having been enough to let go of any emotional baggage and put the children first.

Prequel Chapter 3

Spoiler
After the small fight between Katsuto and Marika, Alisa and Katsuto had a meeting with the Tookami Family.

Here too Marika heavily opposed Alisa travelling to Tokyo. But when it was brought up that she too was one step away from her magic running out of control, she finally was unable to disagree on Alisa being taken in by the Juumonji Family.

Alisa will go to Tokyo during spring break and will attend a middle school in Tokyo for the next year.

Sunday the thirty-first of March.

Alisa has arrived at the New Chitose Airport’s lobby and is leaving Hokkaido for the Juumonji Family household in Tokyo.

Alisa and Marika have a very emotional and tearful farewell. Serika has to pull the pair apart and though they’ll be in touch in the meantime, Marika reaffirms their promise to see each other in two years.

◇ ◇ ◇

March 2099.

Today is the day the nine Magic University-affiliated High Schools hold their entrance exams nationwide.

At Hachioji’s First High School a large number of students also gathered to take the exams. Most of them are basically middle school graduates from Kanto, but some of the students who have come to take the exams in hopes of making it in are from further away.

From as far south as Ishigaki and as far north as Hokkaido.

Despite there being schools closer to home, the people who are aiming for First High are not few, and a big reason for this is because this is the alma matter of Shiba Tatsuya. Still only 20 years old, Shiba Tatsuya has become well known not just in Japan but around the world, not just in the military field but also in technology and academic fields, he has become a magician young people strive to be like, especially for those aiming to be Magic Engineers.

Seeking to be like him, many boys and girls from around the country gather here, greatly raising the competition at First High.

Despite this, Alisa’s looks make her stand out making it easy for Marika to find her and make good on their promise to attend the same high school.

To the students around them, these two are their rivals in these exams. But any middle school student watching these two close friends heading to the school building, whether they were male or female, found themselves smiling.

(Maidens of Cygnus – Prequel End)


Cygnus Maidens

Chapter 1

Spoiler
Thursday, April 2nd 2099.

Alisa, now Juumonji Alisa, is taken to Haneda Airport to pick up Marika by her second eldest brother Juumonji Yuuto, who has a driving licence through the family business.

Yuuto will be starting his second year at First High this year and is Alisa’s biological cousin who was adopted into the main Juumonji family by Kazuki after both his parents died, his father being Kazuki’s younger brother.

Marika arrives and the two has a heartfelt reunion, though Marika is both cold yet polite with Yuuto due to still being upset that the Juumonji took Alisa away from her.

◇ ◇ ◇

Marika is planning to live alone while studying at First High with Alisa. Yuuto arranged the apartment via the family business. The reason being he is the family member who cares for Alisa the most due to their similar circumstances.

Yuuto takes Alisa and Marika to Marika’s new apartment and leaves to let the pair catch up, although he later returns with lunch. He remains until the movers arrive and then leaves, deciding he’d be in the way, telling Alisa to call him to pick her up later.

◇ ◇ ◇

Alisa and Marika unpack while chatting until early evening. To avoid a lecture, Alisa calls the Juumonji household for Yuuto to fetch her. Kazumi, her younger half-sister, answers. Kazumi is about to start her second year of middle school and she and Alisa have a cordial relationship. See calls Yuuto and he heads out to collect her.

Seeing Alisa’s face after the phone call, Marika gets a little jealous about Alisa and Yuuto’s relationship, but Alisa is quick to assure her it is platonic. Seeing Alisa’s displeasure of the subject, Marika retracts her jealousy.

◇ ◇ ◇

Yuuto arrives to pick up Alisa 8 minutes after the call. He invites Marika to dinner, but she declines, saying she’ll order in.

◇ ◇ ◇

Neither Yuuto, nor Alisa are the talkative type, so they walk home in silence to the Juumonji mansion, which is connected to the site of the former Tenth Institute.

As the pair arrive Tatsuki, Alisa’s younger half-brother by six months, is leaving for a walk. Yuuto asks if he is ready for tomorrow but Tatsuki gives a rather cold reply with his confirmation. Alisa interjects out of concern for Tatsuki’s mother, Keiko, who has been looking lonely due to his impending departure and asks him to come home soon. A family dinner is planned as a farewell and Keiko has put her all into it.

Chapter 2

Spoiler
Friday, April 3rd 2099.

Juumonji Tatsuki is going to Third High. The reason is Alisa. He is the only one in the Juumonji family who did not welcome Alisa due to seeing her as evidence of his father’s betrayal of Keiko, his mother. Fortunately, his feelings of animosity have been directed at his father, Kazuki, rather than Alisa to whom he has at least been civil but makes it clear he wants nothing more to do with Alisa than is strictly necessary. Tatsuki does however respect his father and Katsuto, who brought Alisa into their home, so has not acted out and condemned them as a result of that respect. His behaviour is simply caused by not knowing what to do with his feelings.

For Alisa, it is painful when faced with Tatsuki’s attitude as she blames herself for bringing conflict into the home.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuki’s flight is early in the morning and he is leaving alone by choice. His sister openly shows her disdain for his choice to leave for Third High. His emotions in a mess, he is essentially running away from the situation.

◇ ◇ ◇

It took one hour to reach Komatsu. There Tatsuki is met by Ichijou Masaki. Tatsuki has been told someone was meeting him from the Ichijou family to act as a guide, but had thought it would be an employee, not a member of the actual Ichijou family.

Masaki is currently a second year at the Magic University and has to come home as much as possible to fulfil his position as Japans second official Strategic-Class Magician and act as a deterrent, so it no surprise he would be here while the university is on spring break, especially when the nations magical combat forces are more heavily situated in the south, with only the Ichijou in the north.

Tatsuki asks if Masaki really has the time to be here, thinking he should be busy with the national defence forces, but Masaki points out he is a civilian and is on spring break so has plenty of free days to meet a new kouhai. Tatsuki ensures Masaki he will be a kouhai Masaki can be proud of while giving an honest smile his elder brothers and father have not seen in two years.

The pair get in the car Masaki is driving and he comments Akane will be joining him at Third High. Tatsuki comments he had hear of her exploits in the Magical Martial Arts tournament despite her age, though Masaki is less than pleases by how tomboyish Akane is becoming.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuki is staying in a student apartment near Third High, for its male students, that his brother Katsuto arranged. As Masaki leaves, he tells Tatsuki he’ll be in Tokyo once the term starts so to rely on his family should the need arrive. Now alone Tatsuki reflects on his newfound independence.

After cleaning up there is a knock on the door and Tatsuki cautiously answers it to be met by Ikura Samon, a fellow freshman. The pair exchange greetings and Tatsuki invites him inside. Samon tells Tatsuki he is from Nagaoka and upon confirming Tatsuki is from the Juumonji family, carefully broaches the reason Tatsuki would be studying at Third High rather than First High. Tatsuki simply puts it down to family circumstances.

Chapter 3

Spoiler
Saturday, April 4th 2099.

Alisa drops by Marika’s apartment in the afternoon for the second day in a row, the third if the day she arrived is counted, trying to make up for the time lost even though they spoke every night on the phone since Alisa came to Tokyo.

Marika asks if Alisa has had lunch, which she had for her stepmother’s sake. Marika is aware it is a complicated situation at Alisa’s home. As Marika had not eaten yet, Alisa makes her lunch as an apology.

[ILLUSTRATION]

Marika scoffs the meal down and asks if Alisa cooks at the Juumonji house whilst showing some terrible manners in the process. Alisa scolds Marika for her manners and confirms though they have maids, she and Keiko both cook twice a week.

Initially the Juumonji family thought Alisa, as an illegitimate daughter, was trying to appease Keiko but they realised within about a month she was fine with chores and liked to cook.

The speed the Juumonji came to terms with this surprises Marika who expected it to take longer, and Alisa explains that she’s not on bad terms with Keiko, though it’s clear it’s complicated, and goes on to explain about Tatsuki and tells Marika he went to Third High. Marika tells Alisa that getting on with three out of the four is better than expected, and that Tatsuki is likely leaving to sort out his feelings and just needs time.

◇ ◇ ◇

The pair head out to go shopping for clothing and accessories, heading to Asakusa, which is within walking distance. Marika is understandably very excited.

They discuss shopping in person verse shopping online and the benefits of having proper fittings, leading Marika to decide to make some purchases to celebrate their first ‘date’ in Tokyo together.

The pair have a lively trip, from window shopping and trying on numerous outfits to making some matching purchases along the way. Even making it as far as Ueno, before returning to Marika’s apartment by 6pm.

After Alisa calls home to double check the sleep over is still okay, and upon receiving confirmation, the pair cook dinner together.

After eating, Marika takes her bath and changes into the new underwear she bought and then insists Alisa don her matching pair, which she does although Alisa is concerned Marika will catch a cold if she does not cover up.

Alisa passes Marika her pyjamas and gets her own but Marika pulls her in front of the mirror so they can compare how they have grown and discuss how they have matured, with Marika still having a complex about her thighs. Sensing the conversation is heading in a dangerous direction, Alisa changes the conversation topic.

The pair put on their pyjamas and head to bed, though they are sharing a single bed. Marika snuggles up to Alisa to make it more comfortable, though Alisa makes it clear Marika has to behave.

[Coloured Illustration]

Chapter 4

Spoiler
Monday, April 6th 2099.

The new students are gathering in First High’s auditorium for the opening ceremony. As of 2098, Course 2 has been abolished due to Shiba Tatsuya’s overachievements but the time he graduated bringing doubt onto the entire system after he overshadowed all the other students by the time they graduated.

However, not all the confusion as to the change has subsided.

◇ ◇ ◇

Alisa and Marika sit through the opening ceremony as model students, with only the surprise of seeing the freshman representative wearing glasses causing Marika to slip in surprise. The girl sitting on Marika’s other side comments they might not be glasses and introduces herself as Nagatomi Koharu, before explaining the glasses might be an AR terminal as the representative does not have a script with her. Alisa cuts the pair off here as the speech is starting.

After the ceremony, the three queue for their student cards, ironically in order of descending height. Alisa is in Class 1-A and upon discovering she is in Class 1-B, Marika’s reaction makes a rather dramatic scene.

[Illustration]

Alisa reassures Marika that it is only temporary, reminding her that under the new system the class compositions can change monthly depending on grades. This immediately cheers Marika up and Koharu tells them she is in Class 1-B as well, acting as though nothing happened.

Marika notices Alisa is being a bit formal towards Koharu but Koharu backs Alisa by pointing out she herself is just over-familiar by nature and Alisa is the more normal. Noticing Marika calls Alisa Asha, Koharu asks for permission to call her that too, but is firmly told no. Alisa explains as she is half-Japanese and half-Russian, being called Asha makes her feel even less Japanese, especially when coupled with her looks. Alisa does give Koharu permission to use her first name though. She asks if Marika has a special nickname and they confirm it is Mina, explaining Alisa’s mother used to call Marika that and she would not realise it was her if someone else called her that, so Alisa is a special case. Koharu comments the pair are very close, which Marika immediately confirms though Alisa doesn’t answer.

Their chat is interrupted at this point when a boy comments to Koharu her communication skills are impressive as ever. The boy introduces himself as Kagari Jyoui, Koharu’s childhood friend, and tells them he is in Class 1-A, though Koharu denies it. Alisa and Marika are left confused, unsure how to react.

Seeing people are leaving Alisa suggests they move long too, but Marika pauses due to a gathering of students nearby. Juumonji Yuuto explains it is recruitment for the Student Council. Yuuto explains the tradition of recruiting the student representative and, after being prompted by Alisa, introduces himself as the Vice-President. Marika asked why he was not recruiting with them and Yuuto explains sending three upperclassmen would be intimidating so he is leaving it to the Student Council President, Mitsuya Shiina.

Izayoi Souma, a friend of Yuuto’s, joins the group and is introduced as a member of the Public Morals Committee, though Alisa and Marika have doubts as he seems a bit shady. Souma embarrasses Yuuto by commenting he should introduce the sister he is so proud of. After some banter he introduces her, along with a warning not to hit on her as Katsuto will act, never mind him. Marika inserts herself into the conversation and after introducing herself, asks if Souma is from the Izayoi family, the strongest of the ‘Hundred Families’ but one with a bad reputation due to being openly discriminatory towards modified bodies and Extras. Souma states he is not.

At this point Koharu asks Yuuto to recommend a coffee shop they can all meet up and at Souma’s suggestion, Yuuto recommends Einebrise, explaining it should be quite as it was frequented by Shiba Tatsuya and his Fiancée, so most students are too awestruck to go. The three girls thank Yuuto and plan to meet there.

◇ ◇ ◇

After going to their classrooms and then finishing for the day, Marika and Koharu arrive at Einebrise, Alisa having arrived alone ahead of them. Marika and Koharu order their drinks via a female robot server, which was a gift from Tatsuya on graduation to the proprietor.

The three enjoy some light banter until another customer arrives, who the three recognise as Isori, the student representative. The girl sees Alisa and comes over and introduces herself as Isori Mei from Class 1-A and asks them if she can join them.

After the three share introductions and then Mei asks Koharu is she is related to the Touhou Tech company, which surprised Koharu as she did not think her family were well known and Mei explains she wants to be a Magic Artificer. Marika cannot follow the conversation however and Alisa asks if it’s ok to explain and then tells Marika the Isori family are experts in Engraving Magic. This surprises Marika who asks why the top student would want to follow that career path and Mei explains Shiba Tatsuya’s exploits made the career path more desirable and respected, and really sounds like a fan girl with her enthusiasm, having literally come to the café as it was his hangout.

[Coloured Illustration]

The proprietor brings her a glass of water and Mei orders a coffee, prompting Mei to apologise for her volume. Looking nostalgic, the manager confirms he knew Tatsuya as he was a regular and hopes he comes back one day though it is unlikely now he is a VIP.

The embarrassment hits Mei at this point

◇ ◇ ◇

In the cabinet on the way home, Alisa and Marika they talk about the café and Marika asks Alisa who Shiba Tatsuya is. Alias explains that he is famous amongst magicians, though not to the general public due to press restrictions and explains his first achievement; The Stellar Furnace Experiment at First High, adding that Mei’s brother Isori also participated. Alisa mentions there are a lot of other achievements but they aren’t publicly known yet as a matter of honour for the adults.

Chapter 5

Spoiler
Tuesday, April 7th 2099.

Alisa and Marika go to school and head for their respective classes. Class 1-A is spilt with 11 boys and 14 girls. Alisa takes her seat, but feels her classmates are keeping their distance, something she has experienced over and over due to her ethnic appearance but figures it will just take a couple of weeks to abate. Deciding to endure, Alisa boots up her terminal when Mei comes over to talk and asks if Alisa is registering for classes. Jyoui arrives and Mei realises she is in his seat and apologises and the pair exchange introductions.

◇ ◇ ◇

Marika enters Class 1-B and is greeted by Koharu. The pair chat and Koharu mentions today is orientation, so they will be able to go around with Alisa, which elates Marika.

◇ ◇ ◇

First period was for course selection and registration. The rest of the morning was for observing the classes of the seniors. Classes 1-A and 1-B are observing Class 2-G have a class on Absorption Type Magic, the task being to purify iron. A teacher, accompanied by several students, is going around observing and giving advice.

Marika notices Yuuto amongst those giving advice. Mei asks for permission to ask questions, but the freshman are careful not to disturb the juniors taking the class. The teacher explains that the school has adopted a coaching system where students with good technical skills can gain extra credits by coaching other students.

◇ ◇ ◇

Instead of classes in the afternoon, there was an event in the auditorium for the students from all years, which had started the year before. It was optional for freshman, but two thirds were still present. The chairman of the Club Management Group, Usui Takemitsu, introduces himself and informs the attending students that the different clubs will offer demonstrations of their activities.

The fifth presentation is for the Martial Magic Arts club by its president Chigusa Tadashige. Tadashige explains what Magic Arts are, and how the FLT completely thought operated CADs have massively impacted the field. Two of the male members then engage in a mock fight, too fast for the eyes to see and in a full three dimensions. Just watching is too much for Alisa but Marika watches passionately. Marika had already practiced martial arts, but after Alisa left Marika switched to Magic Arts and fully intends to join the club.

Alisa was undecided which club to attend and stayed to the end, even after the break for the event to switch over to the cultural clubs. Marika stayed with her.

◇ ◇ ◇

After school, the pair head to the Juumonji mansion and after quick greetings, the pair head to Alisa’s room, which in a one-storey detached building with its own kitchen and bathroom. Marika comments it looks like her apartment and Alisa mentions that she thinks the same people built it. This leads Alisa to comment even their rooms are matching.

Alisa serves tea for them both and they discuss clubs. Alisa admits she is still undecided. Marika however has decided on the Magic Arts Club. Marika says she’ll accompany Alisa on her club tour and Alisa adds you can join more than one club which had been revealed by an overly honest senior who mentioned it was because the non-magic cultural clubs struggle to get enough members.

Chapter 6

Spoiler
Wednesday, April 8th 2099.

It is the second day since the entrance ceremony and the club recruitment week won’t start until the following day. As no one is accepting applications yet, Marika heads to Class 1-A to meet Alisa and head home.

As she is about to enter 1-A, Marika is stopped by Usui, who states he is from 3-B and asks her to call Kagari for him. Marika enters the room and heads straight for Alisa before letting Jyoui know Usui is here to speak to him. Jyoui, realising who Usui is, nervously heads outside to speak to him. Marika follows him out, along with Alisa.

Jyoui greets Usui and asks the reason for the visit and Usui asks Jyoui to join the Club Management Group’s executive division and asks if they can speak elsewhere so he can explain.

Before they can leave, the head of the Public Morals Committee, Urabe Aki, stops them and after a brief introduction, asks Jyoui to join the Public Morals Committee instead, citing his being the runner up in the entrance exam as the reason as she needs people who are good with magic on the committee. She explains she would have liked Isori Mei, but she naturally joined the student council.

Usui interjects, pointing out he gave an offer first and Marika comments the decision is his to Jyoui. Jyoui does not decide there but does decide to hear Usui out first and the pair head off.

Once they are gone, Aki asks Alisa if she will join, making it clear she is not being used as a replacement, explaining she was ranked third, after Isori and Mei. Alisa is a little annoyed by her grades being revealed. Alisa tries to decline, but Aki pressures her until Marika steps in, explaining she is Alisa’s best friend, and that Alisa would have to discuss it with her family first. The discussion ends with them agreeing to give a reply in the morrow.

◇ ◇ ◇

Kazuki does not really interfere with his children as a rule, and this is especially true for Alisa, so she decided to speak with Katsuto and Yuuto about the issue with the Public Morals Committee instead, but not until talking to Marika first.

After school they head straight to Marika’s apartment and discuss the events of the day over tea and cookies. Alisa makes it clear she wants to decline as she could not handle mediating fights but is unsure how. They discuss the options and consider saying she will only join if Marika can, but Alisa is concerned that the condition might b accepted and they’d both have to join, impacting club activities but Marika is fine with it if it means spending more time together, readily declaring Alisa is more important to her than Magic Arts.

Alisa ends the conversation by saying she’ll talk to her brothers, but after losing track of time she didn’t come home until after dark and was scolded by a worried Yuuto and couldn’t ask them in the end.

Chapter 7

Spoiler
Thursday, April 9th 2099.

Almost the moment after classes ended, Aki appeared in Class 1-A to hear Alisa’s answer, going right to her desk. Marika is present and the two stand up in response to Aki. Alisa tries to give her answer but is cut off by Aki who suggests they talk at the committees’ headquarters as the recruitment drive for the clubs starts today and they are really busy. Unable to decline at that moment, Alisa follows Aki, as does Marika but Aki does not notice her accompanying them.

◇ ◇ ◇

The three reach the Public Morals Committee Headquarters on the third floor. Aki did not notice Marika until they had entered the room and having no good reason to send her away after coming so far, allowed her to take a seat with Alisa.

Aki then tries to recruit Alisa, stating that combat skills are not everything anymore and having integrity whilst simply being able to protect themselves is enough as others can handle the rough stuff where necessary. Aki goes on to explain that the positions on the committee are based on recommendation only and Alisa’s name was on the list of recommendations from the faculty, and of the three recommended, Mei joined the Student Council and Kagari the Club Management Group leaving only Alisa on the list, meaning they will be operating a member short if she declines.

Alisa states she will only join if Marika does too as she is not confident enough.

Just as Aki is about to relent Izayoi Souma interjects and suggests asking the school to raise the limit as they know the committee is always understaffed. Aki tells Souma to write the proposal and then tells Marika and Alisa if the proposal is rejected but asks if they will join if its increased. Alisa and Marika agree to join if the limit is raised.

◇ ◇ ◇

Not to thrilled with the result of the negotiation, the pair begin their tour of the clubs. Their first stop is the second small gymnasium where the Martial Magic Arts club is doing its demonstration for Marika, though Alisa is just accompanying her.

After watching the five exhibition matches Marika is ecstatic and Alisa asks if she will join in the newcomer experience, but Marika says she will leave it. Just as the pair prepare to leave one of the second years recognises Marika as Hokkaido’s middle school champion and they all rush over to talk to her and swarm the pair. This is too much for Alisa who shrieks, causing Marika to snap. Marika starts taking down the girls swarming Alisa, with restraint, throwing them to the ground. Seeing the spectacle of the juniors unable to resist was a sight to behold and the boys were enjoying the show as a female third year charges Marika, who involuntarily meets the charge to avoid involving Alisa.

The third year is the club president, Kitahata Chika, who introduces herself and then attacks. After dodging some blows, Marika suddenly jumps back and strips down to her gym clothes which she was wearing underneath, tossing her clothes to Alisa. Chika and Marika then spar, both having lost sight of their original objectives. The fight goes on until Marika starts getting forced onto the defensive more and more until Marika goes in for a grapple. Chika wins out and nearly gets Marika into a strangle hold when her innate magic, Reactive Armour, triggers involuntarily and throws Chika off her and ending the match.

Marika and Chika stand up and Marika apologises for using her magic and trampling on Chika’s win. Chika rebukes her saying Martial Magic Arts are arts that use magic and just because Chika did not use magic does not mean Marika could not. With that said the pair get ready for a second bout, this time with magic.

[Illustration]

Just after exchanging their first blows someone calls out to tell them that their time is up. Alisa erects a barrier to stop Marika whilst Chika is restrained by the president of the men’s division Chigusa Tadashige.

The reason time is up is because the fight was reported and the Public Morals Chief and several others have arrived due to a fight breaking out.

◇ ◇ ◇

Marika and Chika were not taken to the Public Morals Committee Headquarters but to the Club Activities Group Headquarters. As such not only Aki, but Usui and Yuuto are also participating in the questioning. Alisa is not present.

Marika confirms that the fight started due to Marika protecting Alisa and upon being asked Chika confirms it was her club’s fault and she states she’ll take responsibility for both the actions of the second years and the fight after.

Marika objects asking why the bout was being treated as a brawl. Yuuto doubts this and Marika explains she wasn’t just attacked, she was given time to change first, and the initial charge was just a greeting. As the ‘victim’ is saying they are unharmed, Usui suggests they just punish Chika for letting her members run amok. Aki is unhappy with this but Yuuto agrees and so the final decision lies with Usui.

Chika is banned from participating until the end of newcomer’s week and Marika is found to be innocent.

Marika apologises and leaves.

◇ ◇ ◇

After Marika leaves Usui tells Chika that Marika really bailed her out here and Chika admits it. They ask if Chika is still ‘in that mode’ and she confirms it, stating Marika made her blood boil and she could not help it.

Usui asks Yuuto what he knows about Marika as he seems to know her and Yuuto tells them she is from the family in Hokkaido who took Alisa in. All present are aware of Alisa being taken into the Juumonji family as all are close with Yuuto. He adds that Marika is Hokkaido’s middle school champion in Martial Magic Arts, having even beaten the boys champion in an exhibition match at the same tournament. Chika confirms how amazing that is as at that age there needs to be a big gap in technique or magic power for a girl to win.

Hearing this, Aki becomes more determined to recruit Marika, though Chika adds the girl is their club’s hope and Aki simply says that Marika could do both while appearing to be plotting something.

◇ ◇ ◇

Marika meets with Alisa and gets changed. Alisa then asks about the Magic Arts club and Marika states she is still joining and is all the more motivated after that bout and wants another. Alisa jokes about Marika duelling behind the school but is not completely convinced he would not. The conversation turns to Alisa’s recruitment into the Public Morals Committee. She wants to decline just is not sure she can. Marika thinks that the committee is really necessary, though Alisa thinks the reason the students police themselves is largely due to a lack of manpower she agrees on the committees importance.

◇ ◇ ◇

After school Alisa visits Yuuto’s room before dinner to discuss her recruitment by Aki. Yuuto already knows, which makes Alisa uncomfortable. Alisa explains she does not feel she could do it as she isn’t suited to combat, to the point if hating attacking people and having no aptitude for offensive magic.

The psychological lock is to the point even simple movement or acceleration spells fail if used for offense.

Alisa can use the Phalanx defensively better than Yuuto can, but not the offensive version. To the point that even trying to ram into someone with a barrier up will cause the barrier to fail once she realises the target is human.

Yuuto tells Alisa he thinks it could help her work on her weak points.

Alisa feels she is trying hard but does not think of herself as a member of one of the Ten Master Clans and fully intends to return to Hokkaido. She fully understands that there will be times when she must attack in self-defence, or even kill if the situation requires it, which is why she has not shirked her training.

Alisa makes it clear she does not think she could act in a crucial moment when she cannot even during practice.

Yuuto explains the atmosphere of a real battle is different, having participated in the Yokohama Disturbance as a volunteer, though he arrived after the battle was under control.

Alisa however believes she would just freeze up in that situation.

Yuuto realises that may have had the wrong effect and tells Alisa that she can call for help whilst protecting herself, and Alisa excels at defence. Yuuto confirms that newcomer week is the only really busy time and the rest of the year they take shifts, so it doesn’t interfere with studying or club activities. He bolts on that excellent magicians have been associated with the committee for years, including Shiba Tatsuya, Mikihiko Yoshida and Watanabe Mari.

Hearing this, Alisa thought for the first time what she could do as a member of the committee rather than just how to decline.

Chapter 8

Spoiler
Friday, April 10th 2099.

The school courtyard is abuzz with clubs petitioning new members. Alisa grimaces at the sheer volume for a moment and then asks Marika if she is handed in her application yet. Marika says she is waiting to give it to the club president who us suspended for the week. Alisa immediately asks if Marika is planning on another fight before joining. Marika, upset with Alisa’s suspicion, admits it but emphasises it will be a proper match within the rules and not a brawl. After confirming Marika is serious, Alisa apologises. That settled the pair head out so Alisa can find a club.

◇ ◇ ◇

Alisa is fairly athletic, with her track and field scores in middle school being top of the class. The issue for her is a fatal lack of fighting spirt which is a bad combination with wanting a club you can move around in.

The pair head for the First Small Gymnasium since the second is more for combat sports. The first demonstration is by the gymnastics clubs. Marika comments it is more elegant than expected and comments the leotards would suit Alisa, but Alisa is too embarrassed by the mere thought of wearing one. Marika tries to reassure Alisa, but when Alisa gets so red that she was to look down, Marika prompts her to leave.

◇ ◇ ◇

The pair next head into the practice forest behind the school where the SS Board Biathlon Club and the Hunting Club are having their demonstrations. The sun is already well into its decent, but Marika is determined to see both. Wanting to avoid wasting time, Alisa picks the SS Board club.

The SS in SS Board Biathlon Club stand for ‘Skateboard & Snowboard’ and is a game where you shoot targets as you traverse the course, using magic not firearms. The score is based on competition speed and accuracy. Alisa enjoys snowboarding, though Marika prefers skis, and they both learned to use a skateboard when there was no snow. Plus, as the targets were not people, by changing her thinking Alisa could use magic to hit the targets well enough, it was actually Marika who struggled. However, Alisa felt the atmosphere was a bit much as there was too much focus on winning so is not really interested. Marika herself likes winning her matches but is more interested in mastering her skills than techniques to win.

The pair then head to the hunting club. The club has you hunt on the back of a real horse, shooting robot animals called quarry with paint bullets using rifle shaped CADs. Because the Tookami are veterinarians, both Marika and Alisa can ride a horse due to Marika’s parent’s business relationship with a ranch. Marika was even considering becoming a horse trainer before learning magic and has not entirely given up on the dream. The pairs riding impressed but as the guns resembled an attack, Alisa’s magic would not work well. And so, the two declined. Alisa apologises to Marika who had enjoyed the club, but Marika points out there is no point joining a second if Alisa is not there.

As the sun was setting, the pair plan to head home of the day and cut through the middle courtyard where they see a spider like robot at the Bike Club. They spot Koharu there and head over to say hello. They ask if she joined the club and Koharu admits she likes tinkering with machines, so she has. The enquire why the Bike Club and not the Robot Research Club and Koharu explains she like motorcycles and has been riding since she was little. The reminds Alisa that Touhou tech started as a bike manufacturer and Koharu adds their biggest product is robot bikes.

Chapter 9

Spoiler
Saturday, April 11th 2099.

Right after classes end, Alisa is asked by Jyoui if she is decided on a club. Mei joins them and asks Jyoui if he has chosen, and he tells them he joined the Mountaineering Club. Mei is surprised due to his build, but he explains being lighter makes climbing easier. Jyoui asks Mei her choice and she tells them she joined the Track and Field Club, explaining the running high jump is her speciality. Alisa was slightly surprised they both chose non-magical sports despite taking first and second place in the entrance exam. Alisa was also jealous of the pair and Marika of having something to devote themselves to whether they win or lose.

◇ ◇ ◇

Alisa and Marika tour the clubs again, this time heading to the sports grounds. Alisa is thinking that maybe a competitive club with a friendlier atmosphere might be better.

The first demonstration is for the Lacrosse Club, a women-only club. After the demonstration Alisa decides it is not for her.

Next is the Tennis Club. The lax non-competitive atmosphere suits Alisa but the apathy for practice is putting her off so she left.

As they are leaving, a second year call out to them. The girl, who introduces herself as Hattori Hatsune, is the club president for the Crowd Ball Club and asks for their time. Given her demeanour and attitude, Alisa decides to hear Hatsune out.

Hatsune leads the pair to the café attached to the cafeteria and buys them both a drink. Hatsune then confirms their names and shakes their hands. Hatsune then gets to the point and asks what the pair know about Crowd Ball. Alisa states it was an event in the Nine Schools Competition similar to tennis. Hatsune confirms this and tells them it was an event four years ago but was never reinstated after the competition was revived last year. As such the club is not getting new members and currently there are only four second years so they might have to disband before long.

Marika points out there should be other competitions, so it seems weird if there have been no scandals. Hatsune explains there have been no scandals, the issue is inconvenience. As the sport uses a very specialised court which they have to rent off campus, but because the sport is no longer in the competition and has lost a lot of members, they no longer get a subsidy for transport to the court and have to use electric kickboards which compounded the issue.

Hatsune goes on to explain as a result of the situation they can no longer compete externally, but all train hard as the focus is on self-improvement of their magic, not winning. Hatsune comments on how half-hearted the tennis club is, admitting she saw Alisa’s expression watching. Marika picks up on this and asks if Hatsune was watching Alisa and she admits it, saying Alisa stands out, and having seen her data, she could not take her eyes off Alisa.

Hatsune ends by asking Alisa to come see then practice just once and gives her a card with the time and venue for tomorrow’s practice and tells her it is fine not to wear a uniform.

◇ ◇ ◇

In the cabinet on the way home Marika comments that no clubs seemed to click and Alisa comments that she is thinking of going to the Crowd Ball Practice tomorrow. Marika says she will go with her. Alisa welcomed Marika’s company.

Chapter 10

Spoiler
Sunday, April 12th 2099.

Alisa arrives at Marika’s apartment at 8am. The pair drink some tea and Marika asks Alisa why she is in her school uniform and Alisa explains she was not sure what to wear and felt it was the safest choice. Marika finds this funny, much to Alisa’s annoyance. After drinking their tea, the pair head out.

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Arriving at the station closest to school, the pair head to the venue and realise that it is about a thirty-minute trip from the school, so transportation really is needed and seeing the transport restrictions on the roads, the use of electronic kickboards made all the more sense to the pair.

The pair arrive at the facility and enter the room reserved for First High. They are greeted by Hatsune. Marika makes it clear she is just an escort and Hatsune says she is free to observe. The three take a seat with Alisa in the middle and Hatsune explains the rules while two of the other members have a practice match.

While discussing the rules, it is brought up that there was a rule change three years earlier, limiting the size of any barriers used to a third of the length of the court. Alisa is surprised it was not restricted prior but Hatsune comments on the difficulty of activating two barriers of a specific size when normally you would just use one larger one. Alisa notes it is the surface of the barrier that is counted so her spherical shields would be an issue and Hatsune confirms the settings would likely need adjusting in her CAD. The variety surprises Marika despite her specialisation.

They return to discussing the match and Alisa comments on how they have not had a chance to rest and Hatsune explains that because the balls cannot go out of bounds, the sets last for the full three minutes and that stamina has become all the more important since the rule change.

After the match comes to an end, Hatsune asks Alisa if she will try a match and feeling she cannot refuse, Alisa agrees, and they go to the changing room.

Alisa and Hatsune get ready for the practise match. Alisa is concerned about her CAD but Hatsune says it is fine for today as it is not an official match. Alisa had not played tennis before but has been playing racket ball for fitness training. As such she was able to keep up and the score remained zero/zero for the first three balls but when the fourth comes out Alisa creates a shield which is too big, and the match is ended by the foul. Hatsune offers to turn the senser off for the trial match but Alisa asks her to keep it on.

[Illustration]

Alisa’s trail with Hatsune enters the fifth match, the prior four all ended due to rule infringement. For this match, Alisa resolves to only use a barrier against one ball at a time and use different spells for the rest. But doing so allows Hatsune to rack up points, this leaves Alisa frustrated but she is unsure why as she still does not care about winning. The match ends after the full three minutes.

The match over Alisa heads over to Marika who was impressed by Alisa’s performance. Hatsune comes over and comments she should not have played like that against someone inexperienced, having just been scolded by the other members.

Alisa goes to take a shower and change and then watches the matches until midday.

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After midday, the pair leave Hatsune and company, have lunch and then head home. In the cabinet they discuss the club and Alisa explains she feels frustrated but does not know why as it is not because she lost. Alisa then tells Marika she is joining the club. This isn’t what the Alisa that Marika knew would have done which leaves Marika feeling a little lonely as she wasn’t there to share it.

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After dinner, Alisa goes to see Katsuto in the study. Since learning magic, Alisa has come to find Katsuto intimidating due to the strength of his magic, her nervousness is something she feels guilty for and so only sees him when necessary.

Katsuto asks if something is troubling Alisa at school and she asks for permission to attend a club, offering to intensify her training to compensate for the time lost. Katsuto gives her permission and tells her not to worry about the training as she should reach the required level before graduating. Alisa asks if it is okay when she still cannot attack even after six months. Katsuto dismisses this by saying she likely does not need to learn offence, so it is fine.

This leaves Alisa a little offended.

Katsuto goes on to explain her objective is not to use too much power. He goal is to master her control to avoid her Magic Calculation Area overheating, attack skills are secondary. As she has no plans to become a combat magician there is no need to master offence. Katsuto goes on to say club activities should take priority over these as well as it will allow her to foster physical strength. Additionally, he said it will allow her to make friends outside of her class and year, something Alisa learned first-hand in middle school where she was part of the go home club and so only knew members of her year.

Hearing this reminds her of Yuuto telling her the Public Morals Committee would allow her to make connections, something important to members of the Ten Master Clans, and she realises just having her friendship with Marika will not be sufficient in that regard.

Chapter 11

Spoiler
Monday, April 13th 2099.

Club Recruitment week is only halfway through but as they have already decided on their clubs, Marika and Alisa head straight to Alisa’s apartment after school until Alisa has to go home to take her magic lesson. Mei and Jyoui are not so lucky and have to work on their committees right away while Koharu is voluntarily helping her club recruit.

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While other students can enjoy themselves, the Student Council and Public Morals Committee are too busy. At 4:30pm the Public Morals Committee submit an interim report, with the final report for the day being due at lunchtime the following day. Though this means the Public Morals Committee has to come in early and the Student Council have no time for lunch it allows the two to avoid excessive overtime afterschool. The system was introduced by Mitsuya Shiina and Aki this year.

However, the committee’s head doesn’t need to deliver the reports personally and Shiina finds Aki hard to deal with though the two do get along reasonably well. Aki tells them straight, the Public Morals Committee is shorthanded. Yaguruma Suburou, the Treasurer and a member of the Magic Engineering department, interjects by saying they should have the list of candidates already so there should be no issue unless they themselves have failed to recruit them. Aki explains that nine people is not enough and requests the cap be raised. Suburou counters that the overall level of discipline has not worsened and asks if there are any signs it is.

Shiina points out they would need the principle himself to approve it regardless. Aki then asks Shiina to accompany her to see the principle right now. Yuuto points out it would be discourteous to just show up without making arrangements. Aki agrees to his point and then asks him to see when the principle will be available, and seeing the look of supplication Shiina give him, Yuuto agrees.

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5pm. Unfortunately for Shiina, the principle was free and summoned her and Aki.  Confirming Aki’s request, Momoyama gets straight to the point and points out they have not filled the last vacancy yet and will personally make new recommendations for the faculty if the current ones have not worked out, he also points out the workload is due to the time of year and that the issue of a personnel shortage has not been raised since the committee was established ten years prior.

Aki counters by pointing out that previously many seniors gave up their free time to meet the demand, sacrificing Club activities and possibly even time which should have been spent on their studies.

Hearing this Momoyama agrees club activities are an important part of High School life and asks what Aki specifically wants. Aki states she wants the way the students are counted to be changed, with freshman only counting as half a member as it takes time to guide them but also need to be included to learn from the seniors. Momoyama confirms she means the policy is to promote the appointment of freshmen while compensating for the time needed to train them. Aki confirms and Momoyama agrees to the change. Aki thanks him. Momoyama then states the actual recommendation system will remain the same and she should speak to the faculty if she wishes to appoint anyone.

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Seeing Shiina’s face on her return to the council room, Yuuto asks if the meeting went badly. Suburou asks if Aki was abusing her power again, but Shiina simply states she felt like she might as well have not been there. Hearing this, they all inferred what happened.

Chapter 12

Spoiler
Thursday, April 16th 2099.

Newcomer week ended yesterday and after meeting in Alisa’s classroom and heading to the main entrance, she and Marika head to the clubs they respectively chose.

Marika arrives at the small gymnasium and is greeted by the Magic Arts club. Kitahata Chika acts as the club’s representative and comes to ask Marika if she is joining. Marika replies she intends to but first she would like some instruction on am move. Chika realises she actually means a second serious bout. Chika is elated by this and has a second year take Marika to the locker rooms.

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As Alisa arrives at the preparations building, she bumps into Jyoui. She tells him she is joining the Crowd Ball Club. He wishes her luck and gives her directions and heads off. Alisa passes the Magic Arts clubroom and is amused at the thought of Marika carrying out a ‘Dojo Storm’ as she hands in her application.

Alisa arrives at the clubroom where she is greeted by Hatsune and a red-haired student she does not recognise. Alisa gives Hatsune her application form. Hatsune is elated to have gotten two new members at once. The red-haired girl introduces herself as Sengoku Hiyori from Class D.

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Marika is wearing a formal Martial Magic Arts outfit to face Chika this time, with join protectors and headgear. Only the headgear and CAD are the clubs, giving Marika a real ‘Dojo Stormer’ vibe.

Chika tells Tadashige she needs some room, and he has the boys stop and make room for an exhibition match between the girl’s president and the middle school champion and instructs them to watch while stating he will be the referee.

When Marika and Chika have the same reaction to how they are addressed, Tadashige lets slip his lamentation of having two Chikas to contend with now and asks Marika not to imitate Chika too much. Marika I usure what he means but advises she will be careful.

The two take their positions and the match begins, and a fierce martial arts battle begins between the two. After the initial exchange the pair get serious and move so fast that they leave afterimages while kicking becomes impossible. They continue until Marika is lured into a trap and Chika takes control of the fight, knocking Marika down with a number of attacks. However, Marika stops the barrage of attacks when she activates Reactive Armour when getting back up and then charges Chika.

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In the Crowd Ball Club’s room, Alisa and Hiyori get to know each other over tea since the other members rarely come. When asked Hiyori tells Alisa she has dabbled in the sport, but mostly she has played tennis so is basically a newcomer too.  Alisa feels Hiyori is someone she can get along with.

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The bout between Marika and Chika is nearing the ten-minute mark and the effects of fatigue are starting to show in them both. Though there is no set limit, bouts rarely last more than ten because of the fatigue and Chika is clearly suffering the most, likely as she is used to her bouts ending earlier. Marika starts to get the upper hand, but the fight is still fierce until Chigusa calls the match, declaring Chika’s victory by Technical Knockout.

There are four ways to with a Magic Arts match. The first is a ten-count knockout, the second a stranglehold making the fight unable to continue, the third is surrender and the final way is a technical knockout by point difference. The technical knockout is there to account for users using a barrier and works by counting blows which would have knocked out someone without one until the ten-point threshold is reached.

Chika comes over to Marika and takes her hand while advising her that by over relying on her shield, explaining that while good in a real fight, in a match she makes a technical knockout more likely as she cannot feel the blows. The pair agree to fight again some time.

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It is nearing 5pm when Hatsune decides they should wrap up for the day. The club only rent a court three times a week so Hatsune gave them an introductory lecture though the second half was actually just girl talk. The three clean up and Hiyori leaves first.

Hatsune tells Alisa she is surprised she joined as Alisa seemed to be struggling with her magic in the match and people usually chose a club that suits their skill set as it would be many times harder to do something they are not suited for.

Alisa explains that she does not play sports to win and is actually bad at sports focused on that. Alisa goes on to say she found losing frustrating not because she lost but because she both lacked the skill to make Hatsune get serious and mostly because she could not control her magic properly. Alisa explains she is a defective magician as a Juumonji as she cannot use magic to attack and so gave her all to learning defence, but she still lacked the necessary fine control and that is what bothered her.

Alisa ends by stating she is joining to polish her skills in a Club which requires fine control to meet the rules and asks if that is okay. Hatsune, finally understanding, says using a sport like that is closer to the sports essence so it is fine.

Chapter 13

Spoiler
Friday, April 17th 2099.

After classes, Marika is visiting Alisa in Class 1-A as usual when Aki arrives to see them both and asks them to come to the committee’s headquarters. Alisa immediate agreement surprises both Aki and Marika.

Alisa had been against the idea initially but given how well Katsuto’s advice about clubs had been, Alisa is more enthusiastic about making the ‘connections’ Yuuto had commented on. Alisa still does not plan on staying in the world of magic but feels staying in a narrow world is a disadvantage to the self.

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At the headquarters, Aki confirms they both joined clubs and then informs them the request for more members was approved by the principle, explaining the new system and that they were both approved by the faculty so she can welcome both to the committee.

Marika frowns but Alisa calmly accepts so fast it was disappointing. Marika asks if she is sure, and Alisa confirms and so the pair agree to join the committee. Alisa asks Aki to take their club activities into account, especially Marika’s as she will have competitions and Aki readily agrees. Izayoi Souma queries if it is okay to agree to that and Aki comments it was the grounds for increasing the cap in the first place. Aki asks why Souma is there and he tells her he was going to help her recruit the pair, but it seems he was not needed. Both Alisa and Marika are wary of Souma but have no basis for it.

Chapter 14

Spoiler
Saturday, April 18th 2099.

The school day has just ended at Third High. In Class 1-B the home room teacher Maeda Keito stops Tatsuki from leaving. Tatsuki already has a reputation of being an honour student, Third High having a different class system to First High, so the other students are interested in the reason Keito wishes to speak with him, but quickly leave when the teacher orders them to.

After they are alone, Tatsuki asks what she wants, and Keiko appoints him to the Public Morals Committee. Tatsuki asks why when tradition has the top student join and not the second-place student. Keiko agrees stating the top student is Ichijou Akane, but explains she has circumstances preventing her from joining despite their best efforts, so the position has fallen to second place. Tatsuki asks the reason but Keiko cannot elaborate. Tatsuki accepts the position and Keiko tells him to report to the headquarters on Monday. As Tatsuki joined the Cross Field Club he needs to eat lunch so heads for the cafeteria.

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Tatsuki arrives in the cafeteria and greets his classmate Ikura Samon and tells him he was appointed to the Public Morals Committee. Samon comments it makes sense since Akane could not join. Tatsuki asks if Samon knows the reason and Samon explains that it is likely because of Akane’s cousin who enrolled, Ichijou Reira. Tatsuki is confused as Gouki’s siblings only have sons. Samon goes on to explain it is only a rumour but Reira is likely the Great Asian Union’s Liú Lìlěi. Tatsuki is shocked by this and they theorise that if it is true then the circumstances are that Akane has to monitor Reira. Tatsuki finds this a little strange as Akane joined the Magic Arts Club but Samon points out Reira also joined.

Though Samon seemed to think it was just a rumour, Tatsuki felt it was highly likely. He contemplates why Katsuto sent him here and if it is related.

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At First High, Alisa and Marika are eating lunch with Mei and Koharu. Mei asks if Alisa has club and Alisa tells her she has Public Morals Committee duty instead. Marika bolts on she also joined. They discuss their committees and clubs. The arrangement between Aki and Chika comes up and Mei lets on the pair are close, which surprised Alisa.

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On the way to the committee headquarters, Alisa and Marika discuss Aki and Chika and Alisa asks why Marika was not surprised they were close. Marika explains that when she and Chika got taken in Aki seemed to be blaming Chika while her tone and wording was gentle and seemed to say there is nothing that we can do about this.

The pairs conversation is interrupted by Izayoi who makes them jump. He asks what they are talking about, but Alisa says it is just girl talk and the pair enter the headquarters. Souma lets slip a monologue to himself saying she will be hard to befriend even if it is for her own good, buts on an amicable smile and enters after them.

[Illustration]

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