Nine Schools Competition VIII is the fifteenth episode of the Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei anime.
Tatsuya enters the competition with his friends Leonhard Saijo and Mikihiko Yoshida in the "Monolith Code" event. While watching out for No Head Dragon's interference, Tatsuya makes preparations to confront the two most gifted students of Third High School, Ichijō Masaki and Kichijōji Shinkurō in the final match.
Tatsuya is joined by Mikihiko, Leo, Erika and Mizuki in his room. Tatsuya affirms he’ll be calibrating their CADs so to give up resisting. That said Tatsuya begins a strategy meeting. He asks Leo to stay on defence, protecting the Monolith from the enemy. Tatsuya confirms Leo knows the winning conditions, which Leo states are knocking out the opposition or entering the code inside the enemy monolith. Tatsuya then explains to read the code, the Monolith must be opened with a magic sequence used within ten meters. Leo asks how he’s to fight when physical attacks are banned. Tatsuya hands him the armament device from the other day, explaining that when extended the device isn’t in violation of the rules as the tip is projected by magic. Tatsuya then tells Mikihiko he’s on guerrilla tactics to back up both offence and defence. Mikihiko brings up what Tatsuya said the other day, about the spells being convoluted and tells him that the spell contains elements to camouflage its actual nature of the spell but that is likely causing the redundancies. Tatsuya replies that such tactics were viable in the days of lengthy sequences, but nowadays modern magic is accelerated by CADs. Mikihiko then replies that though Ancient Magic is more potent, it simply can’t compete. Tatsuya corrects him by saying though in a head-to-head battle modern magic has the edge, that’s it whilst in terms of extrasensory surprise attacks, the stealthy and powerful ancient magic has the upper hand. Tatsuya referenced Kudou Retsu’s speech that it’s how you use it that matters. Tatsuya adds that he recommended Mikihiko as he felt Mikihiko’s ambushing skills would be useful. This convinced Mikihiko and he places his faith in Tatsuya.
Tatsuya’s first match is against Eighth High on the forest course. Watching on are Ichijou Masaki and Kichijouji Shinkurou who are surprised Tatsuya has appeared as a player. The match begins and Tatsuya is the first to engage, having run the course at high speed. Eighth High’s defender tries to take aim to Tatsuya is moving too quickly and hits him first, allowing Tatsuya to run past. Eighth High’s defender takes aim at Tatsuya’s back, but he is disarmed and his spell blown away by Tatsuya’s Gram Demolition. Masaki and Shinkurou are shocked at seeing this, as is Mari back in First High’s tent though it’s merely confirmed to Mayumi who already suspected he could use it. Mayumi explains the spell to Mari explaining apart from its short range, it has no real flaws and is the strongest known counter-magic in use but almost no one can use it. This confirms for Mari that it was Tatsuya who blew away the psion storm during the crash on the way to the competition.
On screen the crowd see Tatsuya split the Monolith and Honoka is delighted but Kitayama Shizuku is perplexed by the fact Tatsuya then runs away from the monolith. Miyuki explains even Tatsuya cannot enter 512 characters while under enemy fire easily. As Miyuki says this, Eighth High’s defender has gotten back up and can be seen pursuing Tatsuya. Meanwhile, at First High’s monolith, Leo is standing guard as one of Eighth High’s players closes in from the tree line. The player from Eighth High jumps out and Leo reacts immediately, swinging the armament device and hitting Eighth High’s player in the side, knocking him down, before launching a second vertical strike to knock them out.
The last of Eight High’s players is under attack from Mikihiko and lost in a magical mist and unable to find his assailant.
Meanwhile Tatsuya casts magic to launch himself into the trees and jumps branch to branch to hide from Eighth High’s player in pursuit. Eighth High’s player stops where the magic was and is shot in the back by Tatsuya’s Resonance magic. Watching on Shinkurou names the spell and Masaki calls the match.
The match ends with First High’s victory and the freshmen girls are elated at Tatsuya’s victory and congratulate Miyuki. Meanwhile Masaki and Shinkurou discuss how to take Tatsuya on. Shinkurou states he’s certain Tatsuya is battle-tested and doing by his movements and positioning, they should be wearier of Tatsuya’s combat skills than his magic ones which, except for Gram Demolition, appear weak. So they need to be more aware of not falling into his traps. They conclude that if they can force Tatsuya into a head-to-head fight, they will win and a match on the open plains means victory is all but certain.
Tatsuya’s second match, which is against Second High, is in an abandoned city scape. Tatsuya signals Mikihiko and activates a shiki, which Mikihiko uses to locate the enemy Monolith and tells Tatsuya where it is. Tatsuya runs over and activates the Monolith through the floor. The spell attracts the defender’s attention and her bursts into the room just after and Tatsuya quickly takes cover, while Mikihiko reads the code from the opened Monolith. Back at First High’s monolith Leo and one of Second High’s players almost walk into each other and have a brief standoff. When Second High’s player sees the monolith, they launch the spell to open it but Leo uses magic to hold it closed. Second High’s player turns to attack Leo but is knocked out by Leo’s surprise attack. The siren signalling the end of the match sounds whilst Tatsuya is pinned down by Second High’s defender.
Watching the match in a coffee lounge, Yamanaka Kousuke comments that he can understand Tatsuya not using Decomposition but thinks Tatsuya is holding back too much by not suing Flash Cast or Elemental Sight. Fujibayashi Kyouko says he must have a reason for hiding those abilities, though she’s sure Tatsuya will have to use them in the finals when he goes up against Ichijou Masaki.
Miyuki and Tatsuya get off the elevator and Miyuki tells Tatsuya he should rest while he was some time until the next match but Tatsuya tells Miyuki he wants to watch Third High’s match. As they are walking they overhear Erika arguing with her brother Chiba Naotsugu and Mari. Erika demands to know why Naotsugu is here when he should be abroad. She then accusing him of abandoned his duties to meet up with a woman. Mari points out calling ‘her this woman’ when she’s a senpai at school is rude but is completely ignored. Erika goes on to say Mari has corrupted Naotsugu as he’s forsaking his Chiba training for cheap magic tricks. This angers Naotsugu who points out that honing one’s skills means constantly incorporating new techniques and as such Mari is unrelated to that. He then tells Erika he is here was concerned when he heard Mari was injured and tells Erika she is the one who should be ashamed and apologise. Erika refuses and storms off, running straight into the Shiba siblings.
The three go to a vending machine to talk and Erika complains about her brother getting seduced by Mari. Miyuki comments he’s a world-class swordsman so she shouldn’t be insulting him so. Erika is surprised Miyuki knows and she says Tatsuya told her. Erika says that makes sense Tatsuya would know of her brother. Miyuki teases Erika at this point by pointing out her nickname of Naotsugu and joking says Erika has a brother complex. In retaliation Erika says she doesn’t want to hear that from the bro-con queen.
Third High’s first final match is underway and Ichijou Masaki marches alone towards the enemy Monolith. The enemy launches a barrage of attacks but nothing can get though Masaki’s Interference Armour, which Tatsuya, in the audience, notes is a technique resembling the style of the Juumonji. As Masaki walks past one of Second High’s players, they decide to charge for the monolith but are promptly shot in the back. The reaming two launch more attacks at Masaki but they all fail, and he takes them out in an instant, winning the match.
Back at First High’s tent Mayumi comments the style is similar to Katsuto’s. Katsuto states he’s unsure if Masaki is deliberately imitating him but it’s definitely a challenge to Tatsuya to fight him head-on, and that Tatsuya will take the bait. Meanwhile Tatsuya has also noticed and concludes Masaki intends to deliberately open himself up for the final match, but taking the bait is the greatest chance of victory. Tatsuya says tells the others that Masaki’s got us and Mikihiko comments that not seeing what the others can do is a major blow. Tatsuya tells them he can predict Shinkurou’s techniques, telling them he’ll likely use Invisible Bullet magic, given it’s based on his Cardinal Code and that he competed in Speed Shooting. Leo is confused by this but Mikihiko realises who Shinkurou is. Tatsuya ends by saying they need to win their next match before worrying about Third High.
Tatsuya’s semi-final match is against Ninth High in a forest canyon. The entire course is covered in mist that’s inhibiting Ninth High, but Tatsuya is running through without issue. He reaches Ninth High’s monolith and opens it from a tree without the defender spotting him and Mikihiko reads the code using spirits without Ninth High being able to respond at all. In the crows Erika is really pleased to see Mikihiko is back to his old form.
After the match Mikihiko comes to the roof and finds Erika there. Erika asks why he’s there and Mikihiko says he came to see Mt Fuji. He asks Erika why she’s there and she says she wanted to be alone. After a moments silence looking at the mountain, Erika asks Mikihiko if he can feel it, the energy he came to suffuse himself with. After a moment of basking he smiles, confirming it. Erika then asks if he’s noticed he can use magic again like before the accident, back when he was called a prodigy, if not stronger. She congratulates him and as she leaves says he has nothing to fear anymore from Third High.
Outside the venue, Tatsuya meets with Ono Haruka who has a package from Kokonoe Yakumo. She complains about being used as an errand girl and Tatsuya affirms it’s not her job and if she’s unhappy with it asks if she’d like a tax-free windfall. Haruka asks what he wants, and Tatsuya asks for the location of No Head Dragon’s base. This shocks her and she closes in to make sure they are not overheard and ask how he knows of them. Tatsuya replies it’s a no-brainer to investigate an enemy that means you harm. She asks Tatsuya his plan and he tells her nothing at the moment but would be uneasy not knowing where they are if the time to strike back arises. Haruka confirms it’s just for insurance and Tatsuya says she free to make that inference. She agrees and asks for a day, Tatsuya commends that it will be so quick.
Masaki and Shinkurou discuss the upcoming final and Masaki affirms that it will be on the open plain as Shinkurou predicted. Masaki says that all that’s left is for Tatsuya to take the bait and Shinkurou confidently says Tatsuya will as there are no obstacles on that course it’s Tatsuya’s only chance of winning so his only option will be his Gram Demolition trump card