Flipping through the pages, Jin let out a sigh. Field officers and higher ranks were given an official office in the main branch of the Libarium. In a short while, the organisation was set to publish a new book entitled “Biographies of Heroes”. It covered heroes both past and present from the Libarium, as well as exploits of these heroes compiled into an omnibus format and written in an autobiographical style. As Jin was one of the top heroes still alive in the present age, not only did his face adorned the front cover, but a fair amount of the book was devoted to his introduction and exploits.
The one that was in his hands was just a manuscript. “The person himself should confirm all the facts” was a duty Jin was ordered to do, which was why he was even bothering to skim through the book.
There was nothing to confirm—— The introduction chronicled his life from the day he was adopted into the Kisaragi household, and the climax covered his activities during the Ikaruga Civil War. However, there were a lot of portions that differed from the reality as it had happened, and several parts were heavily dramatised. If everything was written the way it had really happened, then a lot of the book would have to be cut.
As he was about to sign off “No Problem” on the manuscript's first page, there was a knock on the office door.
“... Come in.”
It was a command given without even raising his head from his desk. With an “Excuse me”, the door opened. A young female officer respectfully bowed and entered. Jin's posture remainded unchanged, his vision still focused on the book on top of his desk, and he spoke.
“... What do you want?”
“ —— 2nd Lieutenant Noel Vermillion reporting. It's been a long time, Major.”
“... Noel... Vermillion?”
A name he had heard before. Jin knew this girl. It wasn't the first time they had met. During his time at the military academy, they had numerous conversations before.
—— Why is this girl suddenly back at my side? She's pissing me off...!!
Jin hated this girl's face. To the point where just imagining it would fill him with disgust. Noel stepped forward and presented something to Jin. Jin stretched out for it with only his hand—— it appeared to be a letter. He examined the letter, then broke the seal.
He grew dizzy. From it's contents he thought that it might be the higher ups all ganging up on him with this unknown scheme. It said Noel Vermillion was “to be appointed as a special solo soldier tasked mainly with intelligence and assasination, to be place under direct supervision of a division commander.”
It wasn't as if she had come from a special family line. If you looked at her grades they weren't excellent. The only thing that could be considered for special mention was her remarkably high armagus aptitude scores. She had little experience, and possesed insufficient knowledge. Jin went through the various information and details in his head, trying to mesh his speculations into coherent thought. However, no matter how hard he thought about it he couldn't recall any special reason for this girl to be appointed as his direct subordinate.
Once again, he grew dizzy. Just what kind of torture was this... He gritted his inner teeth.
—— This woman is the same.
At that point Jin raised his head for the first time. Her cheeks stiffened, a nervous look upon her face as she stood there. The Libarium's orders were absolute. Even a hero like Jin could ill-afford to go against them without severe consequences. This moment was another example of him always being unable to go against the Libarium's implicit laws, and it annoyed him immensely.
“... Congratulations on your new appointment, Lieutenant Vermillion. Further instructions will be issued to you in another room. Look for the person in charge. That is all; you're dismissed.”
Drowning the girl under all the instructions given in one shot, Jin hurriedly chased the newly appointed female officer out of his office.
Once he had confirmed that the girl had left his office, Jin let out an irritable sigh, and slammed his fists on his desk.
“Why... Of all things... That girl is...!!”
His irritation grew. As he exhaled and calmed down, Jin noticed an unusual feeling and turned around. Placed on a sword rack was the ice sword Yukianesa, and some kind of weird air seemed to be seeping out of it.
“... Bastard. What do you want to say?”
Jin directed his query at the sword of ice. However, there was no response.
◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
The next day, the Libarium's main branch was in ahuge uproar. Recently, a certain individual had been breaking in, destroying, and killing the personel in succesive Libarium branches in Hierachical cities. Reports that last night, a person thought to be the same criminal with the same M.O had destroyed the entire branch of the 9th Hierachical City, had filtered into the main branch.
As an aftermath of that incident, on that day Jin was swamped in paperwork coming in from all the other branches, and by the time he managed to finish up all the documents, it had already become dark outside. As he finished up the last of his paperwork and was contemplating putting down his pen, there was a knock on his door and at the same time a girl's voice could be heard.
“Excuse me Major. 2nd Lieutenant Noel Vermillion reporting.”
Ignoring her wasn't possible, so faced with no alternative Jin responded.
The massive doors slowly opened. Jin's vision remained firmly on his desk's surface. He paid no attention to Noel and resumed his work, until she handed him a letter.
“... What is it?”
With a suspicious expression Jin took the letter. Noel's hard expression remained unchanged. The letter had been sealed with a high level armagus. A level S-class code—— which meant a highly classified document. Only division commanders and higher ranks had the nessescary cipher and the the aptitude to use such high level armagus. Without both the letter could not be opened.
Noel took a step back and stood rigidly at attention. Although he wanted to tell her to leave if she was done, it was likely that the main branch had issued other orders to her. Furthermore the fact that she had specially hand delivered this letter to him probably meant that there was some further mission concerning her in it. Jin irritatedly glanced up from reading the letter, his eyes resting on Yukianesa, which was resting on the sword rack. Just like before, it was showing some kind of reaction. Bit by bit it seemed Yukianesa was transmitting some sort of pulse.
—— Is it this girl?
He glanced at Noel for an instant, but it seemed she wasn't paying any attention and was looking elsewhere. Jin began to chant the armagus code to decrypt the letter. The invisible letters appeared in quick succesion. Jin skimmed through the text.
—— The Grim Reaper again?!
Somehow the letter's contents were mainly about the rumored “Grim Reaper”. He had heard of a solitary person's criminal behaviour, but to think that such an individual could destroy several Libarium branches...
“—— In accordance, Noel Vermillion is to head to the 13th Hierachical City “Kagutsuchi” to investigate into the matter of the “Grim Reaper”. Also, detailed information of the “Grim Reaper” will be announced to the public, and the vigilantes will be informed accordingly. In addition, the name of the “Grim Reaper” is “Ragna the Bloodedge” ——“
The words flowed naturally out of his mouth. In that instant, with a loud and flashy bang the scenery that Jin was seeing suddenly warped and distorted. When the broken pieces finally patched themselves together, the scenery was a totally different colour. Something from deep within him started to stir, as if in a hurry to be let out.
Once more, he spat out the name. He couldn't be stopped. It was repeated over and over again. As if a bind had been loosened, blood rushed throughout his body properly for the first time, to him it was a great feeling.
—— Why, how could I have forgotten it till now. This, this rush of emotion!