Nine Schools Competition VII is the fourteenth episode of the Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei anime.
The Nine Schools Competition proceeds without further incident until a number of students are seriously injured under suspicious circumstances and Tatsuya is tasked with assembling and leading a team to compete in their place.
Ichijou Masaki and Kichijouji Shinkurou introduce themselves and Tatsuya returns the introduction and asks what the Crimson Prince and Cardinal Joji want before the match. Shinkurou tells Tatsuya he’d never heard of his name but will remember it as he is likely the most prodigious engineer in the history of the Nine School Games. Shinkurou acknowledges it was rude to do so before a match, but he wanted to see what Tatsuya looks like. Tatsuya replies he is humbled to be called a prodigy by the boy genius who discovered on of the Cardinal Codes at age thirteen, but he is correct that their conduct is unorthodox. Tatsuya tells Miyuki to go ahead and get ready and she does so, completely ignoring the pair from Third High, though Ichijou watches her leave. He returns his gaze to Tatsuya to be hit by a completely indifferent state as Tatsuya reminds them that they have a match to attend. Shinkurou brings up Monolith Code but Tatsuya tells him it’s not one of his events. Shinkurou replies it’s unfortunate as they’d have liked to go up against one of his players, though they themselves would be sure to win. As they leave Masaki advises he’ll be looking forwards to the next time, but Tatsuya doesn’t respond at all.
Erika is waiting for Honoka’s Battle Board match to begin and comments on all the players wearing shades. Mikihiko states it’s to counter Honoka’s optical magic, but Erika points out that’s just playing into Tatsuya’s hands doing so and she can’t believe they’d be so cheap in countering Honoka’s magic. Mizuki asks if she things the plan will be to bliond them with spray but Mikihiko counters he doesn’t think Tatsuya would do something so simple.
The match begins and the other contestants whiz past Honoka, though she keeps pace. As they approach the turn the shadows on the course change and she misjudges the turn, allowing Honoka to overtake her. The audience wanders what happened. As they approach the next turn the same thing happens with the opponents taking the turns at a wider angle due to shadows while Honoka takes the inner course. After the second turn Mikihiko figures it out and explains that the shades are darkening the opponent’s field of vision, so they are being tricked as to where the water’s edge really is, so they try to avoid the darker areas. Erika is amazed, having not realised illusion magic could be used like this. As a result of the strategy, Honoka gets a massive lead.
After the match, Mayumi congratulations Miyuki, Eimi and Shizuku for sweeping the podium and taking all three spots for the Ice Pillars Break finals. Mayumi tells them that the Tournament Committee has offered to let them skip the final and share first place since the points won’t be affected. Eimi admits she was thinking of withdrawing anyway as she’s exhausted. Shizuku however wants to compete as this her chance to go all out head to head with Miyuki. Mayumi asks Miyuki her stance and she replies she has no reason to refuse Shizuku’s request for the match.
The match between Miyuki and Shizuku is about to begin and the pair take the field. The moment the match begins Miyuki launches Inferno whilst Shizuku defends with Data Fortification. Shizuku tried to attack but Miyuki’s defence completely blocks her out but her own pillars are starting to melt from the heat. Shizuku decides to go to plan B and pulls out a specialised CAD from her sleeve and casts Phonon Maser which manages to damage one of Miyuki’s pillars. In the audience Mayumi is shocked to see such a high-level spell. In response Miyuki gets serious and launches Niflhiem, which further shocks the audience including Mari. Niflhiem creates liquid nitrogen around Shizuku’s pillars and when Miyuki reactivates Inferno all twelve are obliterated in an instant, ending the match in Miyuki’s favour.
After the match, Honoka visits Shizuku in their room. Shizuku congratulates Honoka on winning, in a rather melancholic manner. Honoka sits next to Shizuku and hugs her as she commiserates her loss. Shizuku admits she thought she’d probably lose but is upset by how completely overmatched she was. Honoka suggests they go get some food.
Tatsuya returns to his room for a rest. The thinks back to meeting Masaki earlier that day and recalls how when the New Soviet Union invaded Sado three years earlier, Masaki joined the military as a volunteer solider and used Rupture to massacre the enemy troops. Making him a magician with live combat experience and is where he got the nickname the ‘Crimson Prince’. He then thinks of Shinkurou, a prodigy who discovered one of the Cardinal Codes, thought to exist only in theory, and so famous that no researcher in the field of ‘fundamental magic sequences’ won’t know his name. The fact the pair enrolled at the same school in the same grade is a near criminal coincidence and should be peerless at the rookie level, the only saving grace for the competitors being that Rupture to lethal to be used in the competition. Think of their own team in Monolith Code, Tatsuya thinks about how they won the first match and are up against Fourth High, who are in last place, for the second.
Tatsuya returns to First High’s tent to find it in a panic, leaving him wondering if there was an accident. Miyuki and Shizuku run up to him and inform him that it was no accident, but a blatant illegal over attack. Tatsuya looks across to see one of the buildings collapsed. He asks how the team are, and Mayumi informs him they are critically injured as they were subjected to a Battering Ram attack while inside a building and got buried under the rubble. Tatsuya replies in that situation the spell has an A-Ranked Lethal rating and is way beyond reckless surfing in Battle Board, it’s an outright violation. Mayumi says although not a complete disaster all three are bedbound for the next three days. Tatsuya thinks it seems suspicious and asks if all three were inside at the same time. Shizuku states they were blitzed right after the match started which would be impossible without investigating their location before the match began. Tatsuya responds saying the staff must be in a panic as a direct cause could be said to be that the starting point was set inside a decrepit building, to the point the event might be cancelled. Mayumi reports that it was discussed but the event will go ahead as planned without First High and Fourth High for now. Mayumi also reveals that Katsuto is negotiating with the staff to avoid having to forfeit the event. Mayumi then asks Tatsuya to speak alone with her for a moment.
In a separate room Mayumi starts to get to the point but Tatsuya realises what she wants and asks if she wants to ask if it was sabotage. Mayumi confirms it and brings up Tatsuya’s theory that Mari’s accident was sabotage. She tells Tatsuya that Fourth High swear they didn’t equip the CADs with Battering Ram either. Mayumi asks Tatsuya what he thinks the motive behind the sabotage is, wondering if it’s related to the Blanche incident in April. Tatsuya confirms it’s unrelated and tells her about the intruders who tried to break in the night before the tournament. Mayumi is shocked as she knew nothing. Tatsuya explains he was sworn to secrecy but does know the men were related to a crime syndicate based in Hong Kong who appear to be making moves on the competition. Mayumi asks Tatsuya not to do anything too dangerous. Tatsuya responds if anything he’s the one getting dragged into these things.
In Yokohama’s Chinatown, the leaders of the No Head Dragon branch have met and one of them reports that things went off without a hitch so First High has no choice but to withdraw from Monolith Code, the event with the most points.
It’s time for the Mirage Bat finals and Tatsuya gives Honoka and Subaru a pep talk, telling Subaru not to waste her stamina and Honoka to stay calm and pace herself. He finishes by telling them so long as they play to their strengths then the one-two finish is in the bag. The Mirage Bat final begins and Honoka reacts to the light orbs appearing faster than the others, scoring the first point while Subaru’s magic activates faster than the other competitors. In the crowd Azusa overhears the engineers of another school lamenting, unable to grasp how Tatsuya gets such tiny activation sequences to function and comments it’s like he’s Taurus Silver himself. Hearing this Azusa thinks back on all she’s seen and the realisation the only way Tatsuya could do what he does if is he actually was Taurus Silver. Azusa is still stunned by this realisation when the match ends with Subaru and Honoka’s win.
That evening Tatsuya is lead to First High’s meeting room by Mayumi, where Takeaki, Mari, Kei, Katsuto and the entire student council, excluding Miyuki are waiting. Mayumi begins by thanking Tatsuya for his efforts and part in the days results, though he again dismisses it as the competitor’s achievement. Mayumi goes on to tell Tatsuya in terms of points, First High is in the lead overall, and by 50 points in the Rookie Event, meaning if they withdraw, they are only guaranteed second place in the Rookie Event. Mayumi then states that she wants to win the Rookie Event as well. She asks Tatsuya if he’s aware Masaki and Shinkurou are competing. Tatsuya confirms he does. Mayumi states with those two competing there is little chance of and Third High losing and as such asks Tatsuya to compete in the event. Tatsuya asks two questions in response, the first he has Mayumi confirm the remaining matches were confirmed until the following day, and the rule not allowing substitutes has been suspended given the circumstances. His second question is why him. Mayumi states it’s because he has the best chance of winning and Mari adds in terms of live combat experience, he is likely number one amongst the first years. Tatsuya points out choosing him when other actual competitors are available could have long term psychological damage. This silences most present but Katsuto tells Tatsuya he is part of the team, one of twenty-one first years selected and he’s been called upon in this crisis, and as a member of this team, Tatsuya should do his duty and make it clear Tatsuya has no right to refuse. Tatsuya reluctantly agrees at this point and asks who his teammates will be. Katsuto tells Tatsuya it’s up to him. Tatsuya asks if he can select from outside the team. Mayumi is about to react but Katsuto agrees. Tatsuya nominates Yoshida Mikihiko and Saijou Leonhard from his class. Mari asks why them and so Tatsuya explains he doesn’t know about the abilities of the male competitors so there isn’t enough time to research them and then strategize and fine-tune whereas those two he knows well and they are both capable.