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Pursuit Chapter (I) is the 28th volume in the Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Light Novel series.

Synopsis

Minami has been kidnapped and needs to be rescued! Tatsuya goes full-speed approaching the demonic hands of assassination――

Miyuki allowed for Minami to be captured by Minoru―― Tatsuya takes-off from Miyaki Island in response to Miyuki's voice asking for help.

Miyuki regrets not being able to cast her magic on Minoru. In front of Minami who is most loyal to her, Minoru blames her for Minami being harmed.

As the two people passed each other, with a sense of responsibility, they couldn't help but worry.

Thus, each having their own motives, Tatsuya, the Ten Master Clans, and the popularly named "Sword Corp" are trying to kill the enemy of Kudou Retsu. The great pursuit of Minoru begins!!

At such time, a demonic hand approaches Tatsuya who is wearing a Freed Suit going full-speed in the sky.

Chapter 0

Spoiler
Arcturus wakes up in the transport plane he used to infiltrate Japan, feeling as though he’d had a long dream. He is confused to find he is detached from his own body and can no longer hear the voices of the other parasites.

Arcturus’s parasitification didn’t completely take over his spiritual organism and the control between him and the parasite was bidirectional. His humanity was lost but he was still Alexander Arcturus, the continuity of his consciousness remains as did his memories both before and after being infested.

The parasites are individuals but are connected on a deeper level that goes beyond Telepathy, and over time their consciousnesses align into a single whole and their group thoughts become indistinguishable from the thoughts coming from the individual itself.

Arcturus realizes that he has been freed from this group pressure and was more afraid than joyful. Arcturus turned his mental resources to analyze what is happening to him and realised he is still half asleep.

Awakening suddenly came on July 28th, 2097 at 14:07.

A stream of excess Psions caused by Ichijou Masaki’s ‘Ocean Blast’ overwhelmed him in an instant and his consciousness awoke. He realised he was sealed within his own body by Ancient Magic. Although a modern magician, he also inherited the Ancient Magic of the natives of the American continent, so he could understand the seal but not break it. Arcturus prepared magic with just his spirit although with some difficulty.

The magic invoked was Astral Projection, a magic that projects the spiritual body outside of the body.

Upon breaking free Arcturus established his own identity as a USNA soldier and decides to complete his mission to destroy Tatsuya Shiba’s Stellar Furnace plant and make a situation where he can’t refuse to participate in Project Dione.

Magic can be used even in an ethereal body and although there were limitations there is no problem in invoking magic that interferes with fluids and electromagnetic waves and Mental Interference Type techniques can be used rather smoothly in a ethereal body.

About one hour passed between Arcturus waking up until he arrived at this decision but it was too late at this point, his comrades’ attack on Miyaki Island had ended in failure, and the bodies of Regulus, Vega and Deneb were decomposed and erased by Tatsuya and their spiritual bodies sealed.

Chapter 1

Spoiler
Minami was taken by Minoru. After Miyuki called for help, Tatsuya immediately flew off to the hospital. It takes twenty minutes to arrive while flying the Air Car. On the way Tatsuya contacts Yuuka’s guardian Chiho Okazaki and asks for an explanation of the situation.

After hearing the explanation of the Parasite Dolls and Minoru, Tatsuya was able to guess how everything happened. Tatsuya concluded that Miyuki had used Cocytus to make some of the Parasite Dolls powerless. What he couldn’t understand was how Minoru was able to leave with Minami. Miyuki’s Cocytus could easily defeat Minoru. Even if he tried to prevent it with Parade, he would never be able to use Parade again. His magic power would also decline temporarily.

Miyuki has no real motive to kill Minoru nor does she feel the need to take away his magic, she probably doesn’t see Minoru as a threat either. Along with the parasites that are a menace to society, they are nothing but fragile creatures that can be destroyed by Miyuki at any time.

Tatsuya figures that Miyuki wants Minami to be happy and to support her love of Minoru, but the current Minoru should not be allowed to have Minami. There is never a guarantee when it comes to a fight either. While Cocytus could win the fight in an instant, there is always the chance of Minoru catching Miyuki off guard and defeating her in a fight.

Tatsuya is always monitoring Miyuki, so he would be aware if Miyuki ever received any sort of injury. This was something that Tatsuya would never forgive. However, Miyuki never received any kind of attack from Minoru. So Tatsuya deduces that something must have prevented Miyuki from stopping Minoru in the hospital.

Tatsuya still hasn’t decided whether or not to kill Minoru. He would like to capture him and try to extract the Parasite and Zhou but capturing is much harder than killing for Tatsuya. With the information given to Tatsuya by Chiho, Tatsuya believes that Minoru used a lot of his magic in this attack. Minoru should have a hard time using Parade at full power, so after Tatsuya checks on Miyuki he will immediately go after Minoru.


◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya arrives at the hospital in about 20 min in the Aoba Clinic after Miyuki call for help.

Miyuki ran in an unacceptable manner showing her distress. Juumonji Family has already set out to pursue Minoru only the Yuuka and the Tsukasa Family were left. The Tsukasa Family realizes the Miyuki distress but they haven't comment anything on it.

After seeing that Miyuki was safe and said that 'I'am glad you are not hurt' which makes Miyuki surprised and hung her head slighty in embrasssment.

But Miyuki said that she doesn't care what happens to me as she was kidnapped by Minoru.

After seeing Miyuki safe, Tatsuya decides to go after Minoru. Miyuki requested but Tatsuya didn't allow it as there is a lack of equipment present.

Miyuki was able to use Flight Magic as same as Tatsuya but without a suit assisting her she would only be a burden to Tatsuya.

After Miyuki understands this she then said to Tatsuya to take care of Minami. After this, Tatsuya then decides to go after Minami.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya uses the Freed Suit to begin his pursuit.

◇ ◇ ◇

Minoru is using escaping with Minami in a vehicle heading down the highway. Minami is feeling guilty over her actions.

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Arcturus is flying through the air as a ghost, and recognizes Tatsuya.

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While tracking Minami, Tatsuya runs into Arcturus.

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Minoru who realizes that Tatsuya is following them senses Arcturus heading towards Tatsuya.

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Tatsuya fights Arcturus and has a difficult time figuring out how to defeat him. He eventually comes up with a strategy and defeats Arcturus. Arcturus is forced back to his body.

[1st B&W Illustration]

◇ ◇ ◇

Arcturus loses consciousness after returning to his body.

◇ ◇ ◇

Delayed for 15 minutes, Tatsuya decides to stop his pursuit of Minami.

◇ ◇ ◇

Katsuto is pursuing Minoru as well, however he was delayed when the parasite dolls took hostages.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya meets Katsuto and checks the position of Minoru. They decide to continue the pursuit.

◇ ◇ ◇

Minoru’s car enters a peculiar house.

◇ ◇ ◇

When Minoru’s car entered the house’s premise, Tatsuya lost the signal in his visor of the Freed Suit.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya explains to Katsuto that he lost the whereabouts of Minoru, and that a powerful illusion has been used. Tatsuya attempts to touch some trees around him and his hand goes through it.

[2nd B&W Illustration]

Chapter 2

Spoiler
Tatsuya and Katsuto return to the hospital. Tatsuya explains to Miyuki that he failed to get Minami. After returning home Tatsuya is depressed that he couldn’t keep his promise to Miyuki.

◇ ◇ ◇

Minoru is sitting at the dinner table, while Minami is cooking. This hideout is one of Zhou’s old places. Minoru asks Minami if she wants to become a parasite, and Minami says she needs time to think.

◇ ◇ ◇

[Color Illustration]

Miyuki visits Tatsuya’s room and says she can’t sleep. They talk for a while about Minami and the hospital incident, until Miyuki falls asleep.

Chapter 3

Spoiler
Miyuki wakes up in the same bed as Tatsuya, she didn’t want to leave Tatsuya last night so she slept in his arms.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya is in his training suit, while Miyuki is in her negligee. Tatsuya invites Miyuki to train with him since they don’t have the 9SC this year. Miyuki teases Tatsuya by opening her negligee slightly and asking if he thinks she is not exercising enough.

[3rd B&W Illustration]

◇ ◇ ◇

Minoru wakes up to Minami serving him breakfast. They don’t talk much and Minoru says he is going to look around a bit.

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Minoru is thinking about Minami’s condition and how he can help her recover her magic. He also is thinking of ways to prevent Tatsuya from finding them.

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Minami is washing dishes and is wondering how she can ever apologize to Miyuki for her behavior and betrayal.

◇ ◇ ◇

Mari and Naotsugu are with the Sword Corps when they receive information about Minoru’s attack on the hospital. With this new information they restart their search.

◇ ◇ ◇

It wasn't only in the west of Tokyo that had a significant change in the situation.

Almost at the same time, there was movement in the sea east of Kanto.

The USNA aircraft carrier "Independence," which should have left port from Yokosuka returning home, had returned from the open sea to Boso.

In accordance to the US-Japan military alliance, they joined that battle against the invasion of the New Soviet Union. This was the main point of the message brought to the Japanese government from the Independence.

The offer of support to fulfill their obligation as per the alliance wasn't incorrect. Though having not expressed their intention to enter the conflict as of the day before is said to have been a violation of the alliance treaty.

In the government, there was a tendency to question whether the offer of reinforcements was a serious offer. Though the most important concern was to avoid being isolated by war. The days of "glorified isolation" exist in the far past. Based off Japan's current national strength, it is unable to adopt a policy of isolationism. The other party they are currently battling is a major power, the New Soviet Union. There was no option in trying to refuse war.

The day before, the reason for such thoughts, was the outrageous attack by vessels affiliated to the American Navy on the Japanese territory of Miyaki Island.


The opinion of seeking an apology from the USNA attack on Miyaki Island, those with such a belief weren't even a minority in the National Defense Force. Even the leader of the hawk faction didn't seek an apology.

Territorial aggression, it isn't something that can simply be forgiven by with an apology.

Compensation. Resource concessions. Unfair and adverse trade conditions, the acceptance of diplomatic conditions. Those kinds of things, they are things the victory imposes upon the loser ── it requires a request for an apology through something of monetary value. If the party that was invaded doesn't seek it, further territorial invasions, that now come from another country in turn, would lead to an invitation.

In order to publicize the truth of such a territorial invasion and to criticize the other country, it is necessary to prepare for hostilities against that country. In the end the only option was to resign themselves against starting a war ── without such preparedness, there is nothing they can do.

Also for Japan, they must avoid becoming hostile against the USNA during the current ongoing international situation. At least, on the surface.

In the National Defense Forces, there aren't any executives who don't not understand this. The most humiliation a soldier can feel is when their sovereign territory, not the airspace or territorial waters, but when their territory is invaded and they can't let it be known, though if you're able to withhold your personal feelings for practical benefits, even if you can't bear the military of a single country.

For that reason most of the National Defense Forces felt embarrassed and regrettable, for some soldiers felt a sense of impunity from a realistic point of view when the offer from the Independence came.

It's known that it was a Parasitized agent who tried using Zama Base for an invasion; this information was kept close by officers to the Commander of the 101st Brigade, Major General Saeki.

The transport ship that attacked Miyaki Island was in contact with the Independence while at sea. Though they weren't able to confirm things until they got in touch, it wasn't irrelevant that it was the transport ship Midway from the Independence that opposed Japan.

All of the U.S. soldiers who landed on Miyaki Island from the Midway, the small boat that was launched, were all Parasitized. Between the agent who was trying to use Zama Base as an invasion point and the unit that attacked Miyaki Island, it was natural to doubt any thoughts of a close relationship.

"──Well Your Excellency, do you think that the participation of the Independence in the war was an excuse for the agent to infiltrate?"

In the Commanders room of the National Defense Army's 101st Brigade. In front of the Major General Saeki's desk, who is the owner of the room, is Lieutenant Colonel Kazama who is confused at the Major General who is wearing a serious look.

It's in the form of a question, but the answer is already known. This is the customary format [I see] used in following along in a conversation.

"They'll fight as a reinforcement. Even if they don't intend to open fire, they are still a form of pressure on the New Soviet Union military."

"However, it isn't that alone?"

"Precisely."

After nodding, Saeki let out a sigh. It wasn't because of what Kazama had just said.

"An attack on our territory is by no means acceptable. Even if it's a remote island. However..."

Saeki showed hesitation.

"However, what is it."

Kazma urged for Saeki to continue on since she didn't show any signs she would stop speaking.

"On this side, it's hard to deny that there's an element that's stimulating America. Recently, his behavior is too much even from my point of view."

"Special Officer ── do you mean Tatsuya?"

To the senior officers "he" is a blurring object of a target, Kazama identified him as such without hesitation.

Saeki sent Kazama a criticizing gaze. However she saw no signs of unpleasantness in Kazama and sighed again.

"...That's right."

After sighing, she admitted that what Kazama pointed out isn't wrong.

"I think Tatsuya has a good point."

"That's right. I'm having difficulty trying to follow that line of thinking."

To Kazama's advocation, Saeki returned with a stunned voice.

"Though, no matter the reason, it isn't forgivable that an individual in private, can hide a nationally certified Strategic-Class Magician who has escaped."

"It's like someone helping a missile submarine escape."

Kazama made a customary [I see] voice with no emotion.

Does he really agree with him, or is this just what he shows on the surface. Saeki tried reading Kazama's expression, but she couldn't see through it.

"That's why, I think we can't afford to overlook letting agents jump about.

"Precisely, Lieutenant Colonel."

Saeki nodded to the sound argument Kazama made with a real expression.

"When I put forth a request, the Intelligence Department was in the process of preparing surveillance on the Independence."

"Are you trying to be squared with the Intelligence Department."

"Your concern is unnecessary. I can't afford to make things even with them at this level."

If Kazama were a poor soldier who despised discipline, then he would be blowing the whistle.

"What is it a minor official should be doing."

The reaction that Kazama actually showed was to look over the contents of the mission after lightly taking a look.

"If it becomes clear that the agent has landed, then in private, you should quietly and gently incapacitate them."

"Gently, that is."

Kazama didn't say that "it would be difficult."

"I understand. However, I think that there will be some intervention on the part of the Intelligence Department."

"If you can handle things from the Intelligence Department, then its best to not let things get out of hand. That's what's most important."

The chief cut him off and asked with her eyes, "Do you understand?"

"──Don't let Tatsuya out of your hands."

"More than this, I don't want relations with the U.S. to worsen because of the views of private citizens."

What Saeki meant by "private citizens," it wasn't just Tatsuya alone. She held a strong desire that dwelled in her eyes not to forgive any selfishness from the Yotsuba Family.

Chapter 4

Spoiler
Tatsuya begins his search for Minami, similar to the way he found Gu Jie. Miyuki is with him.

◇ ◇ ◇

Minoru could sense Tatsuya’s magic and realizes that he is searching for Minami and not himself. He quickly casts magic on Minami to block Tatsuya from finding her.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya could tell that Minoru is trying to stop him from finding Minami. Miyuki guesses the reason as well, but Tatsuya continues to try.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya is attempting his magic again but this time with more power. Minoru realizes this and counters again with more magic power.

◇ ◇ ◇

Minoru has misunderstood a few things about Tatsuya’s Eyes of the Spirit. (There is a long explanation on Elemental Sight and how Minoru is trying to counter it).

◇ ◇ ◇

Minoru is hit with immense pressure from Tatsuya’s magic and realizes that Tatsuya is trying to undo his magic with Gram Dispersion. Minoru pours more power into his counter magic.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya realizes that Minoru is countering his magic again. He decides to make another attempt.

◇ ◇ ◇

Minoru believes he can win the war of attrition because Tatsuya’s magic isn’t infinite.

◇ ◇ ◇

Miyuki suggests to Tatsuya that he should stop, she can see that Tatsuya is struggling and is starting to lose a lot of magic power. Tatsuya tells her that he wants to attempt it one more time.

◇ ◇ ◇

Minoru struggles to keep Tatsuya from discovering their whereabouts.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya feels that he is very close to breaking through but he is beginning to strain his MCA, Miyuki tells him to stop because he is more important to her than Minami.

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Minoru realizes that Tatsuya has stopped, he then passes out from exhaustion.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya was about to narrow down the search of Minami to a 100 meter radius.

Chapter 5

Spoiler
As of July 9th, the New Soviet Union military vessels remained stationed in the Noto Peninsula off the coast. The military threat had yet to pass.

However the 12 enemy warships from yesterday, although they were only small ships, destroying them in combat boosted the moral of the Japanese people. Since the main enemy force including an aircraft carrier are alive and well the tension has yet to ease up and optimism has yet to be achieved, but it is certain that the feeling of "being scared of the New Soviet Union" was fostering within the country.

The people want to know the reason behind what brought about the outcome of war, it had thus become natural for the mass media to press for an answer.

If not for the flocking, the people's unrest would be further reduced. The government also judged the situation as such. The fact that enemy warships were sunk by a Strategic-Class Magic had been widely reported the day before, although by speculated information. The government had decided to officially recognize Ichijou Masaki as a nationally certified Strategic-Class Magician.

At ten o' clock in the morning, in the meeting room at the Ministry of Defense. In response to questions from reporters who were gathered, the Defense Minister announced the existence of "Ocean Blast" that destroyed the small-sized New Soviet Union warship unit, along with the name of the magician who used it was announced.

"──Do you mean its Ichijou Masaki-san, who is from the National Magic University Affiliated Third High School?"

A female reporter asked the Defense Minister with a sharp look. When looking objectively Masaki's looks aren't like Minoru's. However unlike Tatsuya, him being thought of as handsome is generally accepted. He is known as the "beautiful young magician."

"Ichijou Masaki-kun, he is currently a third-year student at the National Magic University Affiliated Third High School. The government has recognized him as Japan's second nationally certified Strategic-Class Magician."

The Minister of Defense affirmed with a positive expression to the reporters question.

◇ ◇ ◇

At 10:15 A.M. The mass media had already located where Masaki was, it had therefore become crowded at Komatsu Base.

"Why am I..."

"Don't say that! Aren't you my friend. George are you not used to press conferences?"

Kichijouji complained as he was being brought to the stage of the press conference from backstage, and gave up in a calm tone.

"The reporters came to interview you Masaki. I don't think they're asking for me."

"There's no such thing. 'Ocean Blast' is the magic George created for me. We've all decided to listen to the developers story."

"...Huh..."

Masaki wrapped his arm around his shoulder and Kichijouji sighed.

A female staff member at the base called out that, "it's time" and Masaki urged Kichijouji to go out in front of the microphone at the center where the podium was.

After that Kichijouji's previous expression was gone.

Together the both of them walked out in their Third High uniforms, and then all at once came a flood of flashes. ──Even with the sensitivity of today's camera's, no light-emitting devices were necessary, but at the press conference electronic flashes were used just as if it were "preordained."

Due to the light being too bright, Masaki's eyebrows grimaced. On the other hand, Kichijouji had a stoic face. Masaki's statement about "being used to press conferences" was certainly not a mistake.

As soon as Masaki and Kichijouji sat down in the seats that were provided for them, the press conference had begun.

──Take your time. The people are greatly encouraged by Ichijou-san's military merits.

──I am honored to serve all of you.

──Did you yourself volunteer to intercept the New Soviet Union Fleet.

──Yes. I chose to be a volunteer soldier for the National Defense Force through my father.

──Was it because you were confident in being able to defeat the enemy fleet with the new Strategic-Class Magic.

──Yes. That's because 'Ocean Blast' was created by Kichijouji who is right next to me.

As soon as he said that, the reporters interest went straight to Kichijouji.

──Kichijouji-san. IS it true that you developed the new Strategic-Class Magic 'Ocean Blast'.

──Yes.

──While Kichijouji-san is enrolled in Third High, as well as working at the Kanazawa Magic Science Institute, is it the policy of the institute to develop new Strategic-Class Magic.

──No. We do not conduct military research at the Kanazawa Magic Science Institute.

──Did Kichijouji-san independently develop 'Ocean Blast'.

──Yes.

──Thus, was it done in anticipation of the invasion of the New Soviet Union.

When asked this question, Kichijouji showed a little confusion.

──As you said, 'Ocean Blast' was developed in preparation for the invasion of the New Soviet Union Navy.

──In developing the new Strategic-Class Magic alone, Japan can be proud of its genius 'Cardinal George'.

After hearing this line spoken by the reporter, it was at this time clearly, that Kichijouji's expression dropped.

Thus after a short while, in order to be sincere to person himself, he chose to speak up against the inconvenient words just spoken.

──No, 'Ocean Blast' wasn't developed by the power of a single person alone.

──I received the base part of this magic from Shiba Tatsuya-kun of the First High School.

◇ ◇ ◇

"That was unnecessary..."

Tatsuya who was watching the press conference of Masaki and Kichijouji on the television, involuntarily showed a scrunched bitter expression.

Miyuki who was next to him, didn't refute his soliloquy.

Other than in this case she would make the statement, "it's great the Onii-sama's achievements are being properly appreciated," though this time Tatsuya's true motive was just to send the base part of the new Strategic-Class Magic to Kichijouji.

It was Kichijouji's confession that ruined Tatsuya's expectations.

"Honesty won't always bring about the best in life."

Tatsuya continued to complain, saying things such as the play on the English proverb "Honesty is the best policy." Although he didn't intend to say, "lies are expedient," he might have thought about things like "speech is silver, but silence is golden."

"For Kichijouji-kun, I guess he didn't want to owe you Onii-sama."

Miyuki deeply complimented Tatsuya as she offered him iced coffee.

"...That's right. I misjudged his personality."

Reminding himself that there was no use complaining to the television, Tatsuya stopped complaining with those last words.

Miyuki took care of turning off the television.

Tatsuya turned away from looking at the display showing the news on the wall.

"Onii-sama, how is the scone?"

For Tatsuya who had just put down his glass, Miyuki had recommended him freshly baked scones on the side for afternoon teatime. ──It goes well when served with ice cream during the summer to stay cool.

"Sure. Lets have a little."

"Absolutely."

It was too early to be having lunch or morning teatime, but the battle with Minoru in the Information Dimension fatigued Tatsuya's body. He decided to accept Miyuki's gratitude.

◇ ◇ ◇

Masaki and Kichijouji's press conference, it was aired for the Japanese domestic audience. Although no particular scramblers were applied. The belligerent countries couldn't have not been interested in information about the Strategic-Class Magic.

Of course, that doesn't mean that the New Soviet Union government or military high officials are watching the subtitled news in real-time. The duty of being in-charge of gathering information. It is the job of the upper echelons to consider the results of the information provided by their subordinates.

However Bezobrazzoff who is a substantial executive of the New Soviet Union government, had been staring at a monitor showing the intercepted press conference from the beginning of the conference, while at a luxury lodgings in Khabarovsk.

(Again...)

(It's that guy again!)

(It's that guy who stole my magic!)

He suppressed his raging emotions, by holding down his heart with all his strength.

◇ ◇ ◇

Minami was watching the conference. She went to find Minoru, but found him collapsed outside. She carries him inside.

[4th B&W Illustration]

◇ ◇ ◇

──The recent hot topic is, that the co-developer of the new Strategic-Class Magic that was used to defeat the invading enemy Navy is Taurus Silver, also known as Shiba Tatsuya.

There was no way that the mass media would let go of such material that could boost their ratings and PV.

"They really want you to make a comment Tatsuya-san. The mass media is crowding around FLT Headquarters and the house in Fuchu."

"...I'm sorry for the inconvenience, I apologize."

On the screen of the video phone, Maya was laughing as Tatsuya had lowered his head while making a meek expression.

Maya was amused. Otherwise she wouldn't be acting in such a way during the phone call.

"I'm truly impressed by your quick footwork. All I have to say is that the diligence of the mass media is to be commended. Though interviews are a nuisance."

Tatsuya was in agreement with this opinion, but also agreed that those on the scene should be scolded. The reason being that they are being troublesome at FLT and the neighborhood of their former residence.

"Yet, it seems that His Excellency, Buddhist Priest is satisfied with this result. I received words of compliment from him."

"Excuse me."

Who Maya meant by "His Excellency, Buddhist Priest," refers to Toudou Aoba, the most powerful sponsor of the Yotsuba Family. Tatsuya promised to be a military deterrent as the price for gaining support from the old man for the Stellar Furnace Plant of Project "ESCAPES".

If the agreement were to be strictly enforced, then it would have been Tatsuya who would have been made to face off against the invading New soviet Union Fleet. However even his indirect support in providing another magician with a Strategic-Class Magic, seemed sufficient enough for Old Man Toudou.

Maybe, it all worked out this way since Tatsuya's involvement became clear.

"The only thing I'm worried about is Miyuki-san... Whether it's a good thing for her to be going to school."

"──Yes."

As far as this matter goes, Tatsuya has no room to refuse Maya.

The mass media are being modest compared to from before the war. The authorities seem to be scared, but people who aren't even relevant to the matter whether they be from the same neighborhood, a colleague or even a student from the same school, they are coming out in front of the microphone.

However the fact that Miyuki is Tatsuya's cousin and fiancée, is something that can be discerned by looking a little at the situation. It's inevitable that such information will come out light exposing Miyuki.

To Tatsuya it is unforgivable for the mass media to be bothering Miyuki. However its even more worrying that there is a possibility of assassins or kidnappers who would appear pretending to ask for an interview.

To him Miyuki's worth is immeasurable. However in the current situation, there are plenty who would like to acquire Miyuki and user her in order to neutralize Tatsuya. Tatsuya is absolutely intolerable when it comes to allowing Miyuki to be exposed to such risks because of him.

"Tatsuya-san, Miyuki-san, this is but just a suggestion."

Though Maya was the other party talking to Tatsuya who is seen on the screen, Miyuki had also been standing right next to him. The reason Maya dared to call out to Miyuki, was because of the plan that she was about to present had to do with the other party.

"Miyuki-san, please allow for a new female escort to follow you to school."

"An escort...?"

Miyuki having asked back. Her voice seemed to passively reject the idea.

It was just yesterday that Minami had been taken away by Minoru. Then on the next day, to have a decision made to be given a new escort. It seemed, to Miyuki at least that, that Minami was simply being discarded.

"It's only a temporary measure, that is until the current situation settles down."

What Maya added on when she spoke was meant to appease the feelings Miyuki had in her heart. "Thank you very much."

Thus Tatsuya couldn't oppose Maya's proposal.

While Miyuki was feeling a sense of surprise overcoming her, "that she couldn't believe it,"

"Though will we be able to get the right person ready so soon."

Tatsuya asked this in order to find out the concrete details of Maya's proposal.

"I think that I will have Ayako-chan transferred to First High."

Tatsuya didn't think that it wasn't a bad idea.

Ayako's magic, it would be able to mislead the eyes of the mass media and those of the enemy as well.

"I don't think that it should be Ayako."

Be that as it may he didn't not agree with the proposal. The reason being is what he just said. Tatsuya thinks that Miyuki is the most important, but that Ayako is as well ── he thinks of her as an important friend. If there is an alternative, he would prefer not allowing someone close to him, that person being a friend, be sacrificed.

"Oh... I wonder if Tatsuya-san has any other suggestions?"

To answer Maya's question,

"Yes. How about we have Angelina Kudou Shields whom the family is protecting, be placed beside Miyuki."

Tatsuya answered without any hesitation.

"Angelina-san..."

Maya who had been pondering for a moment lifted her lips into a small smile.

"She is a user of 'Parade.' Even though she is no Kudou Minoru, she seems to be skilled enough to deceive the eyes of an assassin."

Actually, before Maya had even mentioned the proposal of an escort, Tatsuya had already been thinking of using Lina as a guard for Miyuki.

Specifically, it came to him immediately after listening to Kichijouji's interview.

It would be a waste not to have Lina be doing something. In the future, as a result from political transactions, it may be necessary for her to return to the USNA, though until then he would like to have her be of use while in Japan.

Having the combat skills to compete with Miyuki, along with special skills that could even fool high-level magicians, Lina is a rare talent that would allow Miyuki to live in peace. ──Though he has some worry about her as a person on the surface, she must be used to provide support to Miyuki as a guard.

"I wonder if it's safe for Angelina to return back to Tokyo."

"When she repulsed the invasion on Miyaki Island, her presence became known to the U.S. military. If left on the island, wouldn't you say that the risk would be too great."

What he meant is that the risk Lina herself brings isn't that dangerous, but his decision has to do with the security of Miyaki Island and it being threatened.

"Fufu, that's right."

Maya let out a small laugh, but simply because she saw through the intentions Tatsuya didn't state.

"...It should be alright. I'll allow for Angelina-san to be Miyuki-san's escort."

"Thank you."

"I'll deal with her getting transferred to First High through our family. However, it would be best if Tatsuya-san would lower his head directly to Momoyama-sensei."

Needless to say, who Maya meant by "Momoyama-sensei," is the Principal of First High, Momoyama Azuma. Even the Yotsuba Family doesn't have the power to make a man like Principal Momoyama listen to what they have to say.

"I understand. I'll go to Lina, and ask her."

"You can go and bring Angelina-san over tomorrow. It would be a good idea for her to live on the same floor, right?"

Among the top most floors of the apartment where Tatsuya lives, besides Tatsuya's and Miyuki's home, there are three rooms provided for employee's. One of the rooms belongs to Minami, but the remaining two are vacant.

"Of course."

"I'll arrange for some house cleaning."

A concrete schedule had been decided between Tatsuya and Maya.

For Miyuki who was next to Tatsuya, she was simply taken aback.

◇ ◇ ◇

Things were settled in a peaceful atmosphere among the aunt, nephew and niece of the Yotsuba Family, but it wasn't just for the New Soviet Union that Kichijouji's "confession" caused new tension for.

The elite magician military unit of the USNA is Stars, who's headquarters is located in the outskirts of Roswell, New Mexico. The base headquarters at this base is kept separate from the headquarters of Stars, where the Commander is whom is neither affiliated to Stars and isn't a magician. Although the Base Commander doesn't have command over Stars in terms of a traditional command structure, since Lina has a poor career as a soldier as the Head-Captain of Stars, beyond the range of assisting her Colonel Paul Walker, the Base Commander, manages Stars on a practical level rather than in actual combat.

In particular, with the absence of Major Canopus the No. 2 of Stars, he had also been acting as the Commander of Stars, but now Walker is effectively the Commander of Stars. The direct cause of this situation was the mass of Parasites inside the base, but Colonel Walker himself hadn't become a Parasite. As far as they could confirm, the proliferation of Parasites had stopped at this point in time. There was no evidence of Parasite contamination in the White House or the Pentagon.

At his desk, Walker was staring straight up at the ceiling. A little while ago he had his hands over is head down on his desk with his elbows. Even though it wasn't a habit of his, he couldn't help stop his worrying thoughts.

He was at a loss. The cause of this, was because of the order pushed upon him by the General Staff Headquarters. Since he's a soldier, he has to act accordingly and issue the command to his subordinates. Surprisingly the order received earlier, it lacked any strategic planning and thus Walker had to throw something together.

The upper echelons of the USNA military ── but also the government ── is in a serious confrontation with the factions who seek peace with Japan and the anti-Japanese hard-liners. More specifically, the conflict is between a faction who is advocating for the Strategic-Class Magician Shiba Tatsuya to either be used in an American global strategy, while the other one argues that he should be regarded as a threat and be eliminated.

Walker himself isn't neutral in the dispute. Colonel Walker believes that Tatsuya should be eliminated, and it couldn't be denied that he was influenced by the Parasites that infiltrated Stars.

However to Walker, a non-magician soldier has continued to monitor the activities of Stars on the side; he feels threatened by the Strategic-Class Magician who equals an entire military themself. On that basis he's judged Tatsuya as too dangerous.

Other than for that reason, Walker holds no ill will towards Tatsuya as an individual. From when Lina left the American military, at that time he felt that Bezobrazzoff whom they are cooperating with behind the scenes, should also be eliminated in the same way.

Therefore today, Walker felt sorry the excessive hardships the General Staff Headquarters hardliners must be dealing with. When they learned of the threat the new Strategic-Class Magic poses, it became a good idea for the user Ichijou Masaki and Kichijouji Shinkurou who completed the magic to also be targets. It was also known that Shiba Tatsuya provided the technical aspect. Since also, Shiba Tatsuya is Taurus Silver.

Even though it became clear that Shiba Tatsuya was involved in the development of the Strategic-Class Magic that held off the invasion of the New Soviet Union Fleet, the order to "develop and execute a plan to eliminate Shiba Tatsuya within a month" was something Walker believed to be excessive. It wasn't "to have a plan within a month," but "executing it within a month."

Though, Walker wasn't complaining about having a deadline.

"...For the time being I should expect some results from the Illegal MAP."

Unfortunately, destruction of the Stellar Furnace plant failed though other operations have already been planned since then. Even if he hadn't been ordered by the hardliners from the General Staff Headquarters, Walker has already been making steady progress in eliminating Shiba Tatsuya.

──A single month wasn't necessary.

──Shiba Tatsuya must be eliminated as soon as possible.

Colonel Walker had intended to take the shortest time possible, even before he had received today's order.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya ventures out to check out the 100 meter area where he last sensed Minami.

◇ ◇ ◇

Minoru wakes up to the alert of an intruder in the area. He realizes that Minami is looking over him in bed and was confused because he was last outside. He can tell the barrier is still working and is thinking of a plan.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya thought that by being closer to the barrier that he might be able to find Minami easier. He wishes that he studied up more on Eastern Ancient Magic but has no time due to ESCAPES. In the end he couldn’t find the hiding place.

◇ ◇ ◇

The Sword Corps who were also looking for Minoru, while searching a larger area were also unable to locate Minoru.

◇ ◇ ◇

Minoru was in the study of Zhou’s old room which contains communication equipment used back when the Great Asian Union infiltrated Japan. Only certain families in Japan were aware of Zhou’s death. The Great Asian Union reached out to Zhou (aka Minoru) to help them smuggle in some operatives that included Lu Ganghu.

Chapter 6

Spoiler
Tatsuya visits Yakumo to try and learn a way to counter Minoru’s magic. Yakumo refuses.

◇ ◇ ◇

The Independence has arrived at its destination in Japan. With the New Soviet Union threat over for now, all normal forms of transportation have resumed in Japan. The IMAP agents sent by the USNA have now infiltrated Japan.

◇ ◇ ◇

The Yotsuba have come to pick up Lina and take her to the Yotsuba residence in Tokyo.

◇ ◇ ◇

Lina arrives at Tatsuya’s apartment and is asked to bodyguard Miyuki while attending 1st High. She agrees to it.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya, Miyuki and Lina arrive at 1st High to talk to Momoyama in disguise.

[5th B&W Illustration]

He agrees to let Lina join 1st High due to his stance that education is for all and that her grandfather was a major influence in starting schools for magicians. Lina has to take the entrance exam the next day in order to attend 3rd year classes.

◇ ◇ ◇

Miyuki drags Lina to her room to study. Tatsuya is working on analyzing Minoru’s magic to find a way to break it.

◇ ◇ ◇

While Tatsuya was analyzing the magic, he had attempted to find Minami again. However, it was stopped by Minoru again. Minoru was relieved that it wasn’t a full out attack this time.

◇ ◇ ◇

The Sword Corps receive intelligence that the Great Asian Union have infiltrated Japan.

◇ ◇ ◇

Mari talks with Naotsugu about the situation with the Great Asian Union.

◇ ◇ ◇

At the same time as when Mari and Naotsugu were talking in a small room, Tatsuya received a call of protest from Kazama.

"──Tatsuya, I'll say it again. I want you to stop it with the foolish behavior of having Angie Sirius exposed to the public by attending school."

"As I've mentioned countless times before, it's Angelina Kudou Shields and not Major Angie Sirius who has been entrusted to our family."

"Do you honestly believe you can use such an excuse?"

"Do you mean to say I'm joking around?"

Tatsuya responds in a dignified tone, to Kazama's harshly voiced question.

"Major Angie Sirius has a very distinctive appearance, with a height of less than 170 cm, dark red hair and golden eyes. It's unusual to see such a combination whereas Lina has blue eyes and blonde hair; I've heard that it's actually less than others with such ethnic features, for they don't match the appearance of Major Angie Sirius. The color of her hair and eyes aside, they're physiques differ."

"Has the USNA government admitted to such a thing? That Angelina Kudou Shields is Angie Sirius."

"...I can't think to admit it or not."

"Have there been any requests from the embassy for the protection of their own people. Perhaps, could it be because she's a criminal who should be handed over?"

"...There hasn't been."

"Well then, Shields-san isn't Major Sirius, and therefore there is no need to hand her over to America."

"Tatsuya... are you seriously going to be hostile towards the military? To you, is Angie Sirius worth it?"

"Lieutenant Colonel, please don't misunderstand. I don't intend to be hostile towards the military."

After Tatsuya denied with an immediate response,

"at least myself towards you."

he added.

◇ ◇ ◇

Lina is living on the same floor as Tatsuya and Miyuki. However, she is always with Miyuki.

Chapter 7

Spoiler
Students are surprised at the appearance of the new student Lina. The IMAP were watching from nearby.

◇ ◇ ◇

Miyuki introduces Lina to Izumi.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya is researching in the basement of his home when Fujibayashi visits him. She gives him information about the magic Minoru is using to counter his magic. She also tells him that the Fujibayashi family along with the Kudou family will be searching for Minoru together. Tatsuya asks to participate.

◇ ◇ ◇

Lina finishes her exam and meets up with Miyuki and her friends. Miyuki explains the reason for her disguise due to the media.

◇ ◇ ◇

George and Masaki are also hiding from the media by not attending school. Liu is told about the infiltration of the Great Asian Union to Japan.

◇ ◇ ◇

Lina and Miyuki were walking with her friends when they detect someone watching them.

◇ ◇ ◇

The agents of IMAP discuss the group of high school students, they know that Lina is there and they are cautious of Erika.

◇ ◇ ◇

The Great Asian Union begin to make their move against Liu. Mari notices something going on and informs Naotsugu. They begin their pursuit.

◇ ◇ ◇

Lu Ganghu along with the New Soviet Union agent Lin use hypnosis to control some of the guards protecting Liu and make their way into the compound.

◇ ◇ ◇

The guards are panicking while wondering why Lin is accompanying Lu Ganghu. Liu tries to go after Lin but isn’t allowed.

◇ ◇ ◇

Naotsugu clashes with Lu Ganghu. Mari captures Lin. In an evenly matched battle Naotsugu kills Lu Ganghu.

[Last B&W Illustration]

◇ ◇ ◇

Liu is devastated over Lin betraying her. Mari tries to comfort her.

◇ ◇ ◇

Minoru is upset that Lu Ganghu didn’t create enough of a conflict to help him move to another safe spot. He is very cautious of Tatsuya now. Raymond then reaches out to Minoru and says that he will help him and Minami escape to the Independence. He also says that the IMAP is currently working on assassinating Tatsuya.

◇ ◇ ◇

Tatsuya, Miyuki and Lina are relaxing at their apartment, when Tatsuya receives a call from the Fujibayashi family head. They will allow Tatsuya to join them in their pursuit of Minoru.

◇ ◇ ◇

After the conversation is over the head of the Fujibayshi family and Makoto share a few words about Tatsuya joining the pursuit.

Gallery

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