Yokohama Disturbance Chapter (I) is the 6th volume in the Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Light Novel series.

Synopsis

The nationwide All-High Magic Thesis Competition is lauded as a more cerebral and refined contest than the action-packed Nine School Competition.

After seeing more than enough gunfights and magical duels in between classes, this change of pace suits Tatsuya just fine.

Unfortunately, not every spectator is content with simply enjoying the event. With rival students, intelligence operatives, and a foreign assassin all in attendance, Tatsuya might need more than just his wits to keep everyone safe!

Japan Magic Association "National High School Student Magic Sciences Thesis Competition"

Spoiler
The Thesis Competition, held on the last Sunday of October, is the annual platform for Magic High Students to showcase their research results in the fields of Magic Theory and Magic Engineering.

The competition entails a presentation at the venue and is an opportunity for the Magic High Schools to go head to head in the literary field. The top papers are often picked up by professional publications and participation can lead to career opportunities down the line.

The teams consist of a primary writer and two assistant writers. For this year’s competition in Yokohama, First High’s team is led by Ichihara Suzune and the theme is ‘The Technical Possibility of Gravitational Magic Program-Loaded Thermonuclear Reactors’.

Chapter 1

Spoiler
Inspector Chiba Toshikazu and his partner Inagaki engage a group of illegal aliens of an unknown nationality attempting to enter the city at Yokohama Wharf. After suppressing them and disabling their vessel, Inspector Chiba rushed aboard to find the ship empty. After inspection, it appeared the illegal aliens had escaped through the bottom flooding it in the process. 

The 16 illegal aliens that escaped are greeted by Mr. Zhou, who provides them with clean clothes and food.

Tatsuya and company meet in the cafeteria for lunch. Miyuki, Honoka, and Shizuku arrive late due to Student Council work, which worries Honoka because she feels that being late is her fault. The group tries to comfort Honoka by telling her that she just needs experience and she'll grow more accustomed to the work.

With the installation of the new Student Council, Miyuki is promoted to Vice-President with Honoka (replacing her as Secretary), Azusa as President and Isori as Treasurer. Azusa tried to offer Tatsuya the role of Vice-President, but he turned her down. Kanon, the new Chairperson of the Public Moral Committee countered Azusa's offer by claiming Tatsuya's work is vital to the committee. Eventually, they compromise without Tatsuya's consent and he will transfer to the role of VP later in the year.

Tatsuya researches documents on alchemy regarding the Philosopher's Stone in order to discover a catalyst that can store Magic Sequences. He hopes to use this catalyst to develop a way to maintain Gravity-Control Magic without the continued presence of a magician.

Tatsuya is invited to represent First High in the National High School Magic Theory Thesis Competition by Suzune Ichihara. Ichihara tells Tatsuya that he was the most suitable candidate because his personal research happened to be the topic of their thesis (She knows this from overhearing his and Mibu's conversation back during the Blanche incident). She continues to tell him that her topic is the 'possibility of developing a Gravity Control-Type Magic thermonuclear fusion reactor'. Under the guidance of Professor Tsuzura, the team now consists of Ichihara as the writer and Isori and Tatsuya as assistant writers.

After he accepts, they discuss the schedule and constraints of the competition.

Chapter 2

Spoiler
Tatsuya and company meet up at one of the cafes they frequently visit and discuss his invitation into the team for the National Thesis Competition. After a short conversation on Tatsuya's status of being a genius, Tatsuya explains his role on the team and the topic of the thesis. Most of his friends are impressed and concerned that they are taking on the challenge of one of the Three Great Puzzles.

The siblings is confronted by their step-mother Shiba Sayuri when they returned from their meeting at the cafe. Sayuri requests Tatsuya's assistance down at the FLT labs which would also require him to drop out of First High. He flat out refuses her offer claiming that he has done plenty to benefit the company and needs to act as Miyuki's Guardian. After failing to recruit him, Sayuri asks him to at least analyze and duplicate a rare Magatama class relic. Tatsuya claims it may not be possible, but proposes to analyze it at either the R&D Third Division lab or at his house.

After hearing this proposal, Sayuri storms out of the house. Tatsuya decides to follow her since he fears that danger may befall her as she is carrying a very valuable specimen, one which interests Tatsuya due to its possible Magic Storage abilities.

On her way back to the station, Sayuri is unknowingly followed by Tatsuya and an unknown black car. The black car cuts her off causing her vehicle to activate the emergency stop while Tatsuya speeds up to engage them. After Tatsuya catches up, he incapacitates the perpetrators from in the car, who appear to be some of the missing illegal aliens. Afterwards, he is unexpectedly shot from afar by a skilled sniper. While locating the sniper by reading the information body using the variables of the impact, the incapacitated bodies are magically lifted back into the black car. Tatsuya prioritizes eliminating the sniper instead and decomposes him on the spot while the illegal aliens make their escape.

Tatsuya inspects the car and finds Sayuri fainted inside of her vehicle, most likely due to the mental shock caused by the attack. After her car reactivates, Tatsuya follows her closely until they reach the station. When they arrive, Sayuri forces the relic onto Tatsuya and leaves.

In order to cover his tracks and protect his identity, Tatsuya calls Major Kazama to delete the footage on any cameras that may have captured him using his powers. He also tells him to investigate the missing illegal aliens.

Tatsuya returns home to Miyuki waiting for him with dinner in her new apron. During dinner, they discuss Sayuri's visit and Tatsuya's acquisition of the rare relic and its possible usage to store Magic Sequences.

She wanted to do the chores that Tatsuya was supposed to do, but after their discussion, Miyuki starts to work on her homework in her room. As she struggles with the math portion she considers asking Tatsuya for help, but she doesn't want to bother him in his work. She begins to think about Tatsuya and her awareness that she's very dependent on her brother. She also internally describes Tatsuya's role as her guardian.

Chapter 3

Spoiler
Tatsuya decides to go to the library to research about the relic and prepare for the Thesis competition. While searching for a seat, he stumbles upon Mayumi, who was studying for her college entrance exams and offers him a seat in her reading booth. He accepts, and then Mayumi begins to explain Suzune's interest in the Sustained Gravity Control-Type Magic Sequence Thermonuclear Fusion Reactor and her dream to change the social standing of magicians with this device. Tatsuya admits that he was contemplating a similar goal which leads Mayumi to bring up Tatsuya's interest in women. He responds with carelessly thought out answers which make Mayumi slightly nervous, but nevertheless she decides to stay in his company. 

An unknown party unsuccessfully attempts to hack the Shiba Family's home server, though they cut out before Tatsuya could trace them. The next day, Tatsuya confronts Haruka about information concerning the identities of the hacker group and she informs him that illegal aliens have infiltrated Yokohama and there have been several thefts on the major CAD companies. She also suggests that Tatsuya and the thesis group submit a hard copy of their thesis report rather than an online copy due to the possibility of it being stolen.

Tatsuya informs Isori about the current situation at the Public Morals Committee HQ. They discuss the hackers, their intent, and their possible relations to the competition. During their discussion, Kanon and Mari interrupt and change the focus of the conversation.

Mari asks Tatsuya about how Kanon is handling her new responsibilities as Chief, to which Tatsuya begins to tease Kanon about her organization skills. When their small-talk was over, Mari brings up the issue of security during the Thesis Competition. She suggests that they set personal bodyguards for the team members and report materials. Tatsuya also asks about the possibility of hackers, though Mari doubts they would directly hack for the information as it is a serious felony and not worth the risk, which confirms Tatsuya's suspicion that the hackers were specifically looking for the relic.

Tatsuya, Isori, and Kanon go to the store to purchase some 3D slides that was not available on campus. On their way, Tatsuya detects an unknown presence watching them from the shadows. When they arrive at the store, Tatsuya decides to stay outside to keep an eye out on their observer. Tatsuya tells the others about it after their shopping. Kanon alerts their stalker, scaring them off. She dashes after them and when she catches up, she realizes that their stalker is a young girl. The girl activates a flash bang blinding everyone nearby and takes off on a scooter. As the girl tries to escape, Isori stops her scooter using magic, though the girl unexpectedly flies off in a rocket propelled seat, quickly escaping the scene.

After the young girl escaped, she meets up with her collaborators in an unmarked van. While driving to an unknown destination, she ponders over her reckless behavior and her reasoning for ending up in this mess. She arrives at the conclusion, to blame the man who ruined her sister's career at the Nine Schools Competition.

While watching the girl in the van, Mr. Zhou asks his subordinates about the situation concerning the location of the relic, whose location still remains unknown. He decides to order surveillance on First High, the Shiba siblings in particular, and arm the young girl for her next task.

Chapter 4

Spoiler
Today was the deadline to turn in the thesis, presentation draft, and materials to the school. Ichihara, Isori, and Tatsuya have finished their thesis the day before and they are having a final meeting just to double check the submission standards over lunch.

They discuss about the girl who was spying on them and escaped on the bike. Ichihara suggests checking the school database but as no one saw her face clearly, they agreed that all they could do at this point was to remain on guard.

◊ ◊ ◊

When Tatsuya returns to class, he notices Mizuki seems on edge, so he asks her what’s wrong. Erika informs him someone is watching her. After some discussion, Tatsuya concludes that someone is targeting the school, not just a specific person.

Mikihiko arrives and agrees with Mizuki that someone is probing the school. Mikihiko mentions that a Shiki appears to be in use and Leo confirms he means a Shikigami.

Tatsuya picks up on Mikihiko, commenting its different to his magic and they conclude the magic being used to probe the school is most likely foreign. Erika immediately asks if it’s related to foreign spies and criticises the police for allowing this to happen.

◊ ◊ ◊

Meanwhile, Inspector Chiba and Sergeant Inagaki are currently investigating the illegal entry incident at the Yokohama Harbour. After many days of recording testimonies, they received no new information on those who penetrated the border.

"Of course there are witnesses, it's just that they choose to remain silent."

"Inspector, you mean......"

"Hey, don't scare anybody."

"I think the Inspector is the terrifying one. Did you notice something?"

"Relax, I didn't do anything off the book. Well, they say snakes go through snake paths, so let's take a look at the snake's den.”

"Backdoor dealings are still against the law......"

"I think this still falls within acceptable parameters, right? Not like this is the time to worry over small details like that."

"Uh...... Is that so?"

As Inagaki was nodding and looking for a counter argument, Chiba had already taken a seat in the driver's seat of the plainclothes police car parked in the free parking area. After verifying that his partner had climbed on board, Chiba took the car towards the high-class residential sector dominated by foreigners.

◊ ◊ ◊

The destination for the plainclothes patrol car carrying Inspector Chiba and confused Sergeant Inagaki was the Roter Wald Café. Upon arrival, Chiba sat in the second chair in one corner of the counter and ordered two cups of coffee.

While waiting for the coffee, he glanced around the place. Off to the side of the counter, a coffee mug that had just been used sat there likely because the customer had just left in a hurry, but the customer, a young woman, soon returned.

At first glance, she didn't possess incredible beauty but upon closer inspection, she possessed delicate facial features and an outstanding figure.

The owner continued to silently prepare the coffee and Chiba could only sit there and wait until an unexpected laughter from the woman broke the silence. She then goes on to introduce herself as Fujibayashi Kyouko, an elite of the Magician community.

◊ ◊ ◊

It had been while since Tatsuya's party of eight had passed through the school gates together due to Tatsuya being busy with the Thesis Competition. Discussing about the competition preparations, Tatsuya confirms that they are working on the models and he is to calibrate the magic being used during the presentation. The conversation quickly turned playful as the group discuss who Tatsuya would be in an RPG and upon settling on him being a Demon King, the group continues on with a vibrant conversation.

Even though they were walking along and bickering as students do, Tatsuya never let down his guard. After reaching the intersection that leads to a few small stores, the group stop in Café Einebrise.

As coffee is being served, the owner strikes up conversation with the group about the Thesis Competition. After downing her coffee in one gulp, both Erika and Leo make excuses to step out while Mikihiko pretended to write some notes. Tatsuya warns him to be subtle and continues sipping his coffee like nothing happened.

◊ ◊ ◊

"Old man, want to have some fun?"

The man, standing in an alley with sparse traffic, almost dropped the drink upon hearing these words. Turning, he found a young girl with a ponytail that could be described as "beautiful" , standing at the intersection where he was keeping an eye on the cafe's backdoor. Recognizing her face, the man became anxious for a wholly different reason, she was one of the people close to his surveillance target.

"Don't mock adults. Now stop messing around and go home."

He was mentally sweating buckets, so all he could do was put on his game face and continue to act like ‘an adult annoyed by a child's antics and about to leave’.

"The sun is about to set. If you stay in a place with little traffic like this, you risk running into the phantom killer."

As he said this, the man turned his back on the young girl. Only to stop dead in his tracks.

"...By phantom killer, you mean someone like me?"

Directly in front of him, a bulky youth chuckled while smacking his fist that was covered with a black glove into his other hand that also wore a black glove. The man began to feel increasingly uneasy and turned around again to find the young girl wielded with a retractable police baton.

Although confident in his abilities, the man calls out for help in an attempt to avoid a fight but there is no one nearby as a barrier has been erected.

Realising that he was out of options, the man attacked Leo with a high level of skill although neither he nor Erika was surprised by this. Matched with incredible power and most importantly, the ability to move at a speed that surpassed human physical abilities without a trace of magic usage. He had launched dozens of punches in seconds without leaving any room for retaliation until he handed a clean blow on Leo’s face. Without wasting any time, the man immediately whirled around and flung a flying dagger towards Erika. Erika used her police baton to deflect the dagger, leaving an opening in her defences. The man attacked but Erika pulled back her baton to defend so he jumped backwards. In the next instant, the man’s back took a direct hit from a powerful shoulder tackle and he went face first into the ground, pinned by Leo.

"Stay down. We don't want your life. We just want to know why you're following us around."

After he admits defeat, they let the man sit up on the ground and begin interrogating him. They learn that he is Jiro Marshall, a free lance operative tasked with monitoring the magic high school students and prevent cutting edge magic technology from falling into the hands of the East and take action if necessary, to assure the West's supremacy isn’t threatened.

When he stands up, he quickly pulls out a gun and forces Leo and Erika to back down and they tell Mikihiko to drop the barrier. He gives them a final warning to be careful even on campus, as he removed a small canister from his coat pocket and threw it. Erika and Leo both leaped backwards at the same time as the canister released a dense, white smoke. When the smoke cleared, Jiro Marshall was long gone.

◊ ◊ ◊

At the Roter Wald Café in the Yokohama Hills, Inspector Chiba and Fujibayashi were still deep in their conversation when Fujibayashi's cell phone rang. After perusing the message and excusing herself, she headed for her car that was in the parking lot.

Taking a seat behind the wheel, Fujibayashi switched the smartphone display over to the dashboard screen. Fujibayashi's personal vehicle was equipped with a computer system several levels higher than normal with the same processing power as that of a combat command vehicle.

"Looks like Tatsuya's friends ran into a little bit of trouble."

Using her magic in conjunction with the computer system, she altered the records to hide the use of magic by Tatsuya’s friends. This was the emergency mission that Fujibayashi was currently tasked with as it was integral that the people surrounding Tatsuya didn't stand out too much as Kazama and company were using Tatsuya as bait.

◊ ◊ ◊

The operative Jiro Marshall stopped running after a short distance to avoid drawing attention to himself. But felt something was following behind him despite his speed. Marshall tried to sense the pursuer but was surprised to find the enemy was standing in front of him in silence.

"The Man-Eating Tiger! Lu Ganghu......"

Marshall raised his right hand to aim the gun at Lu Ganghu. However, Marshall's finger never clicked the trigger. Faster than even his reflexes, Lu Ganghu's fingers had already pierced Marshall's wrist and the handgun slipped from Marshall's hand to the ground. Before Marshall could grasp the situation, he was dead.

Lu Ganghu swiftly retracted his right hand from where it was embedded in Marshall's throat. Using his left hand that was free of any blood, Lu Ganghu removed a stack of paper from his chest pocket and carefully wiped away the bloodstains on his right hand.

Afterwards, he flung the papers soaked in Marshall's blood onto the corpse which ignited, destroying all traces of the body. Lu Ganghu then silently left the scene.

Chapter 5

Spoiler
The next day, Erika is still upset about the fact that Marshall escaped but she is more worried about the warning that it is not safe on campus. This implies that some of the students are working with other spies. She is concerned that there may be a repeat of the incident that happened in April.

Tatsuya manages to convince her not to act on her own but she’s unhappy having to wait to react rather than act. Tatsuya goes on to assure her and Leo that precautions have been made, forcing them to stand down as they had no counter-arguments to his points.

◊ ◊ ◊

Compared to the 52 representatives selected for the Nine Schools Competition, the Thesis Competition only had three. Even so, the Thesis Competition is seen as an important event that rivaled the Nine Schools Competition itself. Apart from being a chance to compete with the other schools, it also allowed many students to participate beyond the selected three representatives.

For the production of the equipment for the presentation, a fully functional magic device was required to display the actual manifestation of the magic. As such, the campus is brimming with activity.

Tatsuya is in the middle of an experiment in the Quad when Erika and his other classmates arrive. Erika brazenly interrupts, annoying the seniors, Kirihara included who is standing guard with Mibu. While Mizuki, who was called there to apologise to her senpai, Miyuki pulls Erika into the crowd so the experiment can be restarted.

After a few moments, the experiment is activated and the system runs smoothly, earning cheers from the audience. The helpers that congregated for the experiment dispersed back to their stations, but Erika noticed Sayaka was staring in a certain corner and suddenly burst into a run, with both Erika and Kirihara quickly following and Leo only a half a step behind them. Wide-eyed with shock, Miyuki could only watch them leave until she noticed the female student with twin ponytails that Sayaka was chasing.

◊ ◊ ◊

Realising that she couldn't outrun the pursuit, she came to a halt on the grass in the courtyard and turned to face her pursuers. Mibu pressed her for her name and she introduced herself reluctantly as Hirakawa Chiaki of 1-G, as Erika and the others caught up. Calling her out on the wireless password decoder she was holding, Mibu attempts to reason with Hirakawa to stop working with the spies but it comes to no avail.

Realising that they must stop her, even if it requires a more forceful approach, Mibu made her decision to act and closes in with Kirihara to arrest the girl, but she throws a flash grenade to stun them before firing a dart at them. Erika deflects it but the dart emits smoke. Erika covers hers and Mibu’s faces but Kirihara, still dazed from the grenade is too slow to react and collapses to the ground. Leo suddenly rushes towards Hirakawa. She was not able to react in time and she gets tackled to the ground, knocking her unconscious.

◊ ◊ ◊

After hearing about the incident, Chairperson Kanon hurries to the infirmary and sighed when she found an unconscious Year 1 student in bed and a pair of Year 2 students seeking treatment.

Criticising the use of excessive force, Kanon requests an explanation. Erika counted with hostility that Hirakawa was engaging in illegal activity and pulled out a hidden weapon. Leo diffuses the situation by leaving with Erika in tow.

With Erika and Leo gone, Kanon turns to the nurse to ask about Hirakawa. The nurse confirms that she’s not hurt and she should wake up soon. Asking to be notified when she wakes up, Kanon led Sayaka and Kirihara to leave the infirmary.

◊ ◊ ◊

Kanon was both the Public Moral Committee Chairperson and Isori's bodyguard at the same time so she returns to the courtyard where the experiment was ongoing while she waited for Hirakawa to wake up.

There she finds Erika in an argument with Sekimoto, currently the only third-year student in the Public Moral Committee. Asking Tatsuya what was happening, he advised that Erika and Leo’s presence had incurred Sekimoto’s displeasure. Confirming that more people were angry at Sekimoto than Erika, Kanon approached the bickering duo.

Confirming that Sekimoto was just reprimanding them for being present, Kanon advises that if there are any issues, the people on guard duty will handle it and he isn’t the one to leave it to them. She then requests Erika and Leo to leave for today given the earlier incident. Erika agrees and as the pair leave, Kanon gets a message to return to the infirmary and Isori joins her. Sekimoto peers with interest at the terminal monitor that Isori abandoned but it’s quickly turned off by Ichihara.

As the pair begin to bicker about their views on magical theory, Tatsuya realises Sekimoto was rejected as a member of the team by Ichihara because he’s too argumentative and hoped his enmity wouldn’t become bothersome.

◊ ◊ ◊

After leaving the school gate, Leo and Erika head to the station when she suddenly asks if he is free. After Leo confirms he is, Erika requests some of his time.

◊ ◊ ◊

Kanon entered the infirmary to find Hirakawa Chiaki pinned by the doctor. After sitting her down, Kanon questions her as to what her motives are, which Hirakawa reveals that she’s specifically trying to sabotage Tatsuya. At this point, Isori confirms that she is the little sister of Hirakawa Koharu because he was the engineer of the girl whose CAD was sabotaged in the Nine Schools Competition. Chiaki blames Tatsuya specifically for the incident as he didn’t intervene. Isori refutes this, pointing out none of the team saw the sabotage so would all share the blame equally.

"Don't be ridiculous......"

However, Chiaki didn’t believe anyone could have seen what her sister could not except for Tatsuya because ‘that man’ told her he could but didn’t bother as it didn’t pertain to Miyuki. This leaves Isori and Kanon confused at her almost adoration yet also hate for Tatsuya. Chiaki continues her rant until the nurse intervenes and advises them that she’ll inform her parents and send her to the university hospital.

◊ ◊ ◊

Leo and Erika are sharing a commuter in awkward silence until Erika asks him if catching Chiaki, the day after being warned, seemed too simple and discuss the incident.

Upon agreeing that Chiaki was a decoy and leaving the detective work to Tatsuya, Erika tells Leo his skillset has potential but is lacking. In discussing this, Erika goes on to ask if Leo has the resolve to kill. Leo confirms he has the resolve, so Erika offers to teach him the Chiba Secret Technique - Usuba Kagerou.

◊ ◊ ◊

The sun had already set as Tatsuya and company head home with Leo and Erika replaced by Kanon and Isori. Kanon fills Tatsuya in on what they learned from Chiaki. The group has mixed reactions, with Honoka and Shizuku angry and Mikihiko and Mizuki being more understanding.

Tatsuya decides to leave things alone but Isori suggests asking Hirakawa Koharu to persuade her sister. Tatsuya declines, saying it’s not her fault so she shouldn’t be involved which shocks Kanon. Tatsuya points out that it could become more problematic as Chiaki isn’t the only one lurking around. Isori asks about a bodyguard but Tatsuya declines as someone of Saegusa Mayumi’s level would be needed.

◊ ◊ ◊

In a Japanese restaurant in Yokohama, a meeting between Zhou Gongjin, Captain Chen, and Lu Gang Hu is taking place to discuss Hirakawa Chiaki’s failure. Captain Chen is concerned but Zhou points out that she knows nothing so no information can leak. Captain Chen is unconvinced however.

Chapter 6

Spoiler
Miyuki and her classmates join Tatsuya, Mizuki and Mikihiko in the cafeteria for lunch. They discuss Leo and Erika being absent together again and speculate on why they’re off together again and the possibilities of romance.

◊ ◊ ◊

Meanwhile Erika is giving Leo strict Kenjutsu training. Leo is struggling to master the technique Erika is teaching him, which involves using magic to turn fabric into a sword. They discuss asking Tatsuya for help, but Leo declines and decides to persevere with the training.

◊ ◊ ◊

Today was Saturday and the Shibas are visiting Yakumo’s temple for training before school, using live ammunition, since neither Tatsuya nor Miyuki can bring their full might to bear at school. Miyuki is in the middle of practice and is in a disheveled state.

The practice involves with targets on three walls and only a second to hit the target before they disappear and retaliate with shots of their own. Although Miyuki was blocking those shots, she still has to hit the ground to switch from offense to defence.

Yakumo gave the signal to stop the training device, and Tatsuya confirms that she is unhurt. While she catches her breath, he now takes position for his turn. Without waiting for Miyuki to leave the platform, the training session began without any signal given.

Tatsuya completes the training without a single retaliatory shot being fired, only moving to avoid debris. This leaves Yakumo annoyed and he says that even this difficulty isn’t enough, despite hiding targets in blind spots. Miyuki comments that Tatsuya can now hit 36 targets at once, whereas she can only target 16 (anything past a single digit was extremely difficult for most magicians).

Afterwards, the siblings meet with Yakumo in his private quarters. He subtly mentions someone is targeting the relic and that he should return it sooner rather than later.

◊ ◊ ◊

There were 8 days until the Thesis Competition and the school is bustling with activity. At the outdoor training facility, Mikihiko hides his presence and watches the upperclassman who was his training partner. During this Thesis Competition, Katsuto served as the supreme commander for all security personnel from the nine schools. In the beginning, there were ten against one. Thirty minutes later, seven had already been defeated.

Juumonji steadily advanced to Mikihiko's location. Mikihiko pressed his right hand into the earth and casts a surprise attack using ‘Earth Pit’. Against an inferior opponent, this would be enough to capture them but Mikihiko wasn't optimistic enough to believe that he could achieve anything beyond buying time against Juumonji so Mikihiko fled at full speed. This was a correct judgment from him as the attack was completely blocked by Juumonji’s shield.

Monitoring the training are Mari and Mayumi who are both impressed that Mikihiko can last so long. Mari comments that the more interesting first years seem to be in Course 2 this year and on how Mikihiko has made vast improvements.

◊ ◊ ◊

Leo is skipping school to receive training from Erika at the Chiba dojo and had been training for 6 hours, twice the training time a normal swordsman could do, which had amazed Erika. Deciding its time to change the training phase to teach him proper cutting techniques, Erika gives him a real sword and leaves him to cut some straw targets to take a break.

Leo completes the training in around ten minutes and thinking he made an error he, as per instructions, goes to fetch her but is unsure where she went. He bumps into Erika’s sister and asks for directions and is given a map to the lounge. Following the map, he finds the door within five minutes but no one responds to his knocks. Thinking the room is empty, Leo uses the terminal to open the door, to find Erika in only a bath towel, leading Leo to face a hurricane of feminine fury.

Angry at her sister’s prank, Erika decides to give Leo more intense training to take his mind of what he just saw and had him stay over so she can drill in basic sword techniques as well as the Usuba Kagerou technique.

◊ ◊ ◊

Even in the evening, First High's campus was still filled with the vibrancy of student activity, rivalling that of a school festival. After the training with Juumonji, Mikihiko and the other participants were gathered in the second gym, where the second years on the security team are still training, wanting to thank Sawaki for the opportunity to train with the others and gets invited to stay for dinner.

By the time Mikihiko took a seat, the compensatory squad was practically finished with their duties. After accepting a bento box from Mizuki, the two begin eating in an embarrassed silence, much to the amusement of the people around them.

Getting flustered, Mizuki tried to get up but she stumbles. Mikihiko catches her but he grabs her inappropriately by accident. Realising the two panic and Mizuki falls, flashing the boys in the room. As she is seriously upset, she runs out in tears and after prompting from the other girls, Mikihiko chases after her.

Chapter 7

Spoiler
There is one week until the Thesis Competition. Tatsuya is riding his motorcycle to FTL with Miyuki to return the relic specimen. Shortly after leaving the city proper, Tatsuya stopped at a café and after ordering drinks, he warns her that they are being pursued by a crow familiar. Realising that it’s not a Japanese technique, the pair decides to deal with the situation before reaching FTL.

By holding hands, Tatsuya transfers the target data to Miyuki, who then neutralises the crow. The pair then continue on to FTL with Tatsuya now convinced that the target is the relic.

◊ ◊ ◊

Chen was furious when they lost the Shibas position. Suspecting that the destination is the FTL Research Labs of R&D Division 3, Chen orders a cyber-attack on the lab at the estimated time of arrival.

◊ ◊ ◊

The research lab was in chaos when the Shibas arrive. The staff are in a frenzy to stop a cyber-attack. Ushiyama tells Tatsuya that it must be a team, but they seem to have no specific target. Nothing has been stolen when the attack suddenly stops. After telling the staff to stay on high alert for further possible attacks, Ushiyama hears Tatsuya’s explanation of the situation with the relic.

◊ ◊ ◊

Chen ordered the cyber-attack to stop when FTL began to counter. The aim of the cyber attacks was to shake Tatsuya’s faith in the lab's security in order to stop him from leaving the relic there.

Chen comments that they may need Lu to act. He then recalls Zhou is visiting Chiaki today and he orders Lu to make her disappear first.

◊ ◊ ◊

Before heading to school, the siblings headed home to change into their uniforms. There they receive a message from Chiaki’s older sister asking them to call her. Tatsuya calls her immediately.

Hirakawa Koharu first apologises for her sister’s behaviour. Tatsuya accepts the apology but Koharu believes it’s not enough and she then gives him her sister’s phone logs, including the contact with the criminal organisation that was using Chiaki, before ending the call. Realising that Koharu had also hoped that the information would be used against the criminals, Tatsuya calls another number to give the data to an expert.

It was raining when the Shibas arrive at the school. Tatsuya heads off to the Robotics Club to do some calibrations while Miyuki heads over to the Student Council.

◊ ◊ ◊

The Robotics Club has a small lab and it was in this room that the computer for debugging the device for the Thesis Competition is located. His assignment for today was to calibrate the Activation Sequences. He greets Pixie, the robot maid guarding the room, and after setting her to stand by, Tatsuya gets to work.

Tatsuya works for roughly an hour when suddenly, he feels drowsy. When Tatsuya tries to get up but struggles, he realises that something is wrong.

Then his Regrowth ability activates.

Realizing that it was a gas attack, Tatsuya ponders on how to remove it without using Decomposition and decides to leave. After locking the computer, he turns to leave when Pixie gives him a mask to block the gas. Tatsuya orders Pixie to vent the room and to go into a monitoring mode and then he pretends to go to sleep at his console.

The culprit arrives quickly and tries to ascertain if Tatsuya really was asleep before attaching a hacking device into the testing device.

"Sekimoto, what are you doing?"

Surprised by the sudden interruption, Sekimoto turns to see Chiyoda Kanon. He tries to talk his way out of the situation but in replying in panic, he slips up and comments on that the alarm should have been disabled.

Realising that he is guilty, Kanon readies her CAD. Sekimoto continues in trying to talk his way out of the situation but Kanon, who knew he was awake, confirms the truth with Tatsuya. Kanon asks Sekimoto to surrender but he tries to fight back and is knocked out unconscious for the trouble.

Reinforcements arrive and Sekimoto is taken away for interrogation. After they leave, Tatsuya orders Pixie to upload the recordings to a memory cube and then deletes all the original data. Putting the evidence that even Kanon doesn't know about into his shirt pocket, Tatsuya orders the feminine robot to stand down again.

◊ ◊ ◊

During visiting hours at the hospital affiliated with the national magic Zhou, in a business suit with a bouquet of flowers in his hand, made his way to Hirakawa Chiaki’s room. Outside the door, however, was Lu Ganghu, realising that he had been sent by Chen, and not even hesitating for a second, the young Zhou presses the alarm on the wall.

Watanabe Mari and Chiba Naotsugu arrived in the patients wing just as Zhou was reaching the fourth floor. The two of them were in the middle of a date. Mari apologises for asking Nao to accompany her to visit Chiaki, even though he ships out to Guam tomorrow. He is also concerned that it will upset Erika, but Nao points out that she’s training a classmate instead. As they were bantering, the alarm rang out. Realising that it’s the riot alarm on Chiaki’s floor, the pair race up the stairs.

Amid the alarm, Lu Ganghu tries to enter Chiaki’s room but fails to do so as the riot alarm has caused the doors to be locked. Just as he was about to break down the door, Nao arrives and demands to know Lu’s identity on reflex. He immediately realises that Lu is the GAA’s ‘Man-eating Tiger,’ just as Lu recognises Nao, the ‘Illusion Blade.’ The moment their eyes caught one another, a battle for supremacy began.

Naotsugu activates his CAD as Lu charges at him barehanded. Nao swings but Lu blocks the ‘Pressure Slash’ with his hand using Steel Qigong. The melee fight continues with a series of attacks, feints, blocks and parries. Nao is slowly getting pushed back by Lu until his back was against the wall. At this point, Lu attacks in earnest but is blocked by a karate chop as Nao switches his sword hand, and counter attacks the off-balanced Lu, landing a solid hit to the abdomen.

Despite the deep cut, Lu becomes more ferocious and attacks far more aggressively, forcing Nao back on the defensive. After the fourth charge, Lu is attacked from behind by Mari and is forced to flee. With Lu gone, Mari fusses over Nao’s injury but is he insists that it will be fine and since it’s work related, he won’t be in trouble. He then tells Mari who Lu is and gives her a stern warning that he will see her as an enemy now.

Lu was currently sitting in the passenger seat of Zhou’s car and as they left, Lu ask’s which technique was sued to help him escape but Zhou smiled without a care as he avoided the question.

◊ ◊ ◊

After returning home from school, Tatsuya immediately calls Fujibayashi. After some banter, he reports about the attempted burglary at school and that he is sending her the video recording that contains an image of the hacking tool. Fujibayashi reports that the Captain is wanting to get things resolved so it should all be dealt with in a couple of days.

◊ ◊ ◊

After finishing the call with Tatsuya, Fujibayashi lets Inspector Chiba Toshikazu and his sergeant back onto the car. Apologising for making him wait outside the car and confirms that she now has a recording of the collaborator and his tool.

Fujibayashi asks Chiba to help her find the base of the criminals are using by checking the cameras to track where the collaborator made contact and advised that they have narrowed it down to 32 possible locations.

◊ ◊ ◊

Two days after the attack at the hospital, Lu returns to the GAA base. Chen was surprised by the injury but had already received a report. He decides to leave Chiaki alone for now due to Sekimoto’s capture and detainment in the Hachioji Special Detention Centre. As he had contacted Chen’s group directly, he was a bigger risk, so Lu was given the mission to silence Sekimoto first since he was the higher priority.

◊ ◊ ◊

Monday. As Miyuki was disembarking at the station near school, Leo and Erika arrived together. As they chat on the way to school, Tatsuya tells them he was here over an hour early due to the Thesis Competition being a week away. After some teasing from Miyuki, Leo lets slip Erika woke him up this morning much to her embarrassment.

Tatsuya arrives at the classroom just before the start of the class to find Mizuki frantically trying to comfort the sulking Erika. After giving her a drink, he tells her that he knows she was training Leo magic and that’s all it was, just by looking at Leo’s Psion fluidity. Mikihiko brings up the incident that happened the day before with Sekimoto.

Tatsuya tells them that he was arrested and it's now resolved. Erika, Leo and Mikihiko were not convinced as the perpetrators were likely backed by a group. Tatsuya dissuades them from doing anything rashly by pointing out that they can get permission from the school to visit him for questioning, much to Erika’s dismay.

After school, Tatsuya visits the Public Moral Committee HQ and Kanon stubbornly refuses to allow Tatsuya permission to visit Sekimoto. Tatsuya pushes the issue as she won’t give a reason, despite it being the school's decision. Kanon eventually states that it is because Tatsuya is a magnet for trouble, and she doesn’t want the extra work.

At this point, Mari rebukes her for going too far and points out that Tatsuya is involved anyway. She goes on to say that she and Mayumi are visiting anyway so he can accompany them tomorrow, to which Kanon reluctantly agrees.

◊ ◊ ◊

Chiaki, although not badly injured, is still in her hospital room as she was treated more as a prisoner rather than a patient. She was bored and due to the riot alarm the day before, visiting hours were cancelled. She realises that she was the target and resigns herself to her fate.

There was a knock on the door and when Chiaki unlocked it, Zhou came in. It was Zhou who had pushed her towards getting payback for her sister. She apologises for failing but is cut off when she is mesmerised by the bouquet of flowers he holds in front of her face. Zhou tells her to forget everything, and with her consciousness being under his domination, she agrees to forget everything.

◊ ◊ ◊

After school on Tuesday, October 25th, Tatsuya, Mari, and Mayumi went to the Hachioji Special Detention Centre where Sekimoto was held. Mayumi and Tatsuya both entered the hidden observation room whilst Mari would be the only one to face off against Sekimoto. At the sight of her, Sekimoto began to panic as Mari used scent-based mind control magic on him, with the scents acting as a truth serum for the interrogation.

As Mayumi and Tatsuya watched on, Sekimoto revealed that he was to steal the research data then search on Tatsuya for the Magatama Relic, which Tatsuya denies when Mayumi asks if he has one. Just as Tatsuya was let off from this lie, the alarm sounded for the Hachioji Special Detention Facility.

The reactions from all three of them upon hearing the alarm were incredibly swift and all three exited the rooms. Due to the assault at the hospital, the Centre staff and police were on high alert. Tatsuya checks the map of the building and deduced they’re attacking via the roof on the east side.

Mayumi checks the location with 'Multi-Scope' and confirms that there are four intruders with high power rifles and the security forces are holding them at the stairs. Looking at the map again, Tatsuya concludes that their target is Sekimoto.

Tatsuya and Mari go on guard. At that point, Lu Ganghu appears before them, and some form of technique was already active, which blocks awareness. Mari recognises him immediately. Tatsuya tries to take part but Mari states that she will handle and asks Tatsuya to protect Mayumi instead.

Lu falls into a combat stance after Mari pulls out her Sword CAD. The person who was first to act is Mayumi by firing dry ice bullets at him from the walls and ceiling. More than half of the bullets hit him but Lu wasn’t injured at all and he decides to charge at Mari. She met the attack with the sword and a second blade on a string swing at Lu, but he was able to dodge back to evade Mayumi’s second barrage.

Confused by the skill, Lu switches to pure combat and drops his awareness block, strengthening his defences so Mayumi cannot penetrate them with a stronger third barrage. Lu charges Mari again but he suddenly disappears, she decides to swing to the right on instinct but the reaction is too slow. Lu was able pass her, as he was aiming for Mayumi.

However, he comes face to face with Tatsuya, who uses Gram Demolition to destroy Lu’s defences. Lu manages to reactivate Steel Qigong as Mayumi’s next attack hits, but it wasn't able to fully block them, and this brings him to a stop.

Mari attacks with her sword from behind and throws black dust in his face, thinning the air as she attacks using Pressure Slash with all three blades of her sword, bringing Lu down.

The security forces arrived after Lu was subdued and they secured him. The three left without being questioned and they didn’t speak until they were outside.

Mari asks Tatsuya to keep her technique a secret, when he asks to confirm which, the weapon or Dojigiri, both girls sigh in unison that he knew about it.

Confused as he thought it was a well-known technique, he agrees to keep it secret. Mari explains that she is from a low-ranking branch of her family and wasn’t taught about it, so he having learned it from reading ancient texts could be problematic with the main Watanabe family.

◊ ◊ ◊

Friday evening, two days before the Thesis Competition, Tatsuya receives a phone call from Fujibayashi. She reports that the spies, bar the leader, were captured and Tatsuya’s intel had been a huge help. She goes on to tell him numerous companies had been targeted and that it was a leak from the Military’s accounting department that caused them to be targeted.

Ending the call on the note that they may need Tatsuya’s help again, given how bold the enemy are being. Thinking it was just an isolated spy incident, both Fujibayashi and Tatsuya took their enemy too lightly.

◊ ◊ ◊

Having returned to the living room, Tatsuya collapses onto the couch. Being on guard for a whole week, on top of the Thesis Competition has worn him out. Truthfully, it was very rare for him to show fatigue such as this. Emptying his head for a moment, Tatsuya leaned back on the sofa. Sitting next to him, Miyuki was not irritated by him shutting down for a moment as leaving himself defenceless to this extent was something he reserved for her presence alone.

However, Miyuki couldn’t recall the last time Tatsuya so honestly let his weariness show so she carefully came across to him to check if he was ok, with her right hand pressed onto the sofa supporting her weight. Seeing from up close, her brother’s complexion wasn’t as bad as she had feared, and she continued to check for anything amiss.

After a few moments of being this close, her mind went blank she began to forget what she was thinking and doing, as her face slowly crept closer to his. Immediately becoming aware of that situation, Tatsuya snapped open his eyes. Tatsuya and Miyuki’s eyes met. Time stopped. Not just Tatsuya, Miyuki also froze as if paralyzed as they stared at each other. Suddenly, no longer able to sustain her unnatural position, Miyuki fell forward. Just before they accidentally kissed, Tatsuya caught her, and she sank to her knees on Tatsuya’s lap.

The two froze again. Once again close enough to kiss, Miyuki and Tatsuya stared at each other. Tatsuya’s hands were wrapped firmly around Miyuki’s shoulders, and Miyuki was straddling Tatsuya on her knees. This time, the ice melted quicker. Realising the state she was in and with amazing speed, Miyuki apologised and ran out of the room.

Diving into her own room, she locked the door and collapsed to the floor, back against the door. Slowly, she regained her faculties and realised what she nearly did to Tatsuya and was utterly overwhelmed, nearly in tears.

There was no way Tatsuya would leave Miyuki alone, and comes to her room. Miyuki opens the door and steps aside for him, but he doesn’t enter. Miyuki looks away until the heat building up inside her becomes unbearable and she looks up at him as her tears start to fall.

Miyuki tries to raise her hands and dry herself, but Tatsuya beats her to it. His hands cradles her cheeks as he gently wipes the tears from her eyes. Apologising for making her worry, Tatsuya tells her he’ll clean up so she should rest. After he leaves, Miyuki goes to bed, unlike before, she seems to be really happy.

◊ ◊ ◊

It was already midnight. Tomorrow is the Thesis Competition in Yokohama. Among the stores of the Yokohama’s china town, one of the larger restaurants appeared to be closed for the evening on the outside. Yet within it, two men sat there facing one another.

The older man, Chen, thanks Zhou for his help and tells him that he has contacted the fleet so that the next mission will proceed as planned. Chen then brings up Lu’s capture and asks for assistance in freeing him. Zhou advises that Lu will be transferred to the prison in Yokohama and that he has obtained the schedule.

In exchange, Zhou asks that this area should be untouched in the coming battle. Chen agrees to advise the field officers to avoid this area if possible, but the target is the Magic Association.

There is still one day until the Thesis Competition. Regarding the oncoming storm, Tatsuya remains to be in the dark.

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