The next day. AntiMagic Academy's mock battle tournament; second round.
It was sunny weather, the climate was good as well. It was a great day for the tournament, that's when acoustic feedback from announcer's microphone resounded.
All of Small Fry Platoon's members had already gathered and sat on the bench in front.
Three girls were sitting on the bench, Ikaruga on the right side, Mari in the center, Usagi on the left, even Lapis was sitting in the corner of it.
Takeru was preparing equipment behind the bench, he glanced at the field.
Currently, there was a ceremony being performed on it.
While on the first day, there was a concert of a famous pop idol, on the second day it was the unveiling of the newest model of heavily armored infantry exoskeleton by the alchemists. These were unlike the one Takeru and the others encountered during the "Trackless Psalms" incident, they were the newest state-of-art models.
Seeing Dragoons maneuvering while gliding at high-speed, Ikaruga who was sitting on the right responded with a "Haa haa" panting.
"Ohho! T-thin layer of orichalcum throughout the body... high frequency vibration blade?! That should cost as much as an aircraft right?! And those human-like movements thanks to the soft actuator, that's not something you can mass-produce! Nonsense!! I-i-i can't hold it in, this state-of-art design is so arousing..."
With drool hanging from her mouth, she looked excitedly at the body that was displayed on the field.
"What's so interesting in it...? Isn't that just a doll."
Mari complained as she watched the Dragoons, finding it boring.
"Not knowing the wonderfulness of Dragoons, Mari loses 12% life."
"Isn't it fine not to know about it..."
"That form, that sound, that form and its luster! Robots have their own eros that cannot be imitated by humans!"
"...what a pervert."
She responded at full power, looking at Ikaruga, Mari put some distance between them.
Mari shifted to the side, her shoulder hit Usagi who was there.
And Usagi was...
She was embracing her rifle while shaking. Her face was blue, her lips purple.
"I heard about your fright before, but you really did well to survive up until now."
"S-ss-sss-shut up. R-r-rright now, I-I'm searching for s-spiritual unity. D-ddon't talk to me."
"If you mean that's mental concentration, I'm going to get angry."
"I wonder if it's really alright... this platoon... well, as long as I am here, aiming for victory isn't impossible——hey Takeru, you think so too, right?-"
She poised weirdly with her machine gun, and turned the muzzle to Takeru who was behind.
However, Takeru who was asked the question was looking around fidgety. He didn't look at Mari at all. Being ignored after making a cool stance with a lot of effort, Mari pouted with displeasure.
"......why are you looking around like that."
"No, it's just that I heard from Ouka that she might be a little late, I thought it's getting late already. That fellow didn't come to school this morning, I'm a bit worried."
"...what's with that 'Ootori, Ootori'. Are you dissatisfied with me?"
Takeru stood up after finishing his preparations, and he swung his arm around a few times.
"I'm not dissatisfied but, Ootori is our ace. Our fighting strength decreases by 80% if we don't have her."
Including him, and the three others it's just 20% of their fighting strength.
Mari moved closer and leaned towards Takeru who was still rotating his arm.
"What's with that! Are you really a captain? Trust your members more!"
"Y-you're too close. I do trust you, but I think being realistic is also necessary."
"Why are you talking about realism despite being a swordsmanship idiot."
Mari pointed muzzle of her gun at Takeru's chest.
Closing one eye, she laughed happily.
"Since I'm doing this, I want to win this. I'll be relying on you, mr. Captain."
Hearing Mari's words, Takeru made faint smile.
Because of various things happening, Mari's tension has been pretty high ever since she woke up. It didn't really matter for her whether they lost or won, definitely.
But since she was already participating, she wanted to win. Seeing her having fun like this, Takeru was the same. At first he reluctantly participated, but seeing Mari laughing like this, he thought it was good to participate.
"But she really is slow, that woman. Maybe she's scared?"
"There's no way that'll happen, no matter what."
Takeru smiled wryly at Mari's distrust.
At the same time, as if it was timed on purpose, the door behind them was opened.
"...sorry, I'm late."
The one who appeared, was Ouka, just as expected.
Ouka was dragging very large gun cases with her, and she moved in front of Takeru. Mari looked at Ouka's figure, and provocatively glared at her like usual.
"Oh my, the honor student sure is different from the normal executives. And here I thought you were scared and bailed."
Mari provoked her, Ouka glared at her sharply.
"Wha... what is it... I was joking. Don't take it seriously."
Ouka removed her gaze from Mari, this time she looked at Takeru.
"Sorry, Kusanagi... we need to talk a bit."
Being suddenly told there's something to talk about, Takeru wondered what was it about.
Ouka stood there with a serious expression. Looking closely, her hair lacked luster, and dark circles could be seen under her eyes.
Fatigue could be clearly seen almost bleeding out of Ouka.
"What is it, Ootori... what happened?"
"There's no time. We'll be back as soon as possible."
Takeru was confused, and Mari made a question mark with both of her hands.
Ouka whispered directly as he was wondering what is it about.
"——It's about Nikaido Mari."
Being told that in a low voice, Takeru looked at Mari.
"? What is it?
Being stared at by two people, Mari had a questioning look.
Takeru felt an unexplainable anxiety, told the other platoon members to wait a while and followed Ouka.
After opening the door, they moved to hallway.
Ouka after leaving the room rested her back on the wall and folded her arms.
"...saying you want to talk about Mari, what the hell is that about?"
Takeru asked her fearfully, Ouka closed her eyes in response.
Ouka quietly told him about Mari.
After Takeru listened to everything she'd said. all expression disappeared from his face.
AntiMagic Academy's colosseum tournament's audience seats.
In the middle of the crowd, Kurogane Hayato was sitting quietly in seats for the audience.
Instead of the Inquisition's uniform, he wore a black suit. He didn't want to be noticed by enemy's surveillance.
But he didn't look like a respectable human being.
"...all Spriggans, report on the situation."
《"There're no problems at the main entrance for visitors. No problems with bringing hazardous materials either up until now."》
《"At the closed back gate, the outer wall, sealed tower with magical heritages or contraindicated area, there are no abnormalities. We also have patrols in the school building, but there were no reports so far."》
Hearing reports from his subordinates from the earphone microphone, Hayato squinted.
"Continue cautiously. This is the day. Today is the day the forgetting magic will expire. The enemy will definitely come. Don't lose focus."
Hayato finished confirming the situation, and his attention moved to the colosseum as he linked his arms.
His right hand was touching the Relic Eater at his chest at all times, he was ready to shoot at any time.
"——Well, Kurogane-kun. How are you feeling?"
A voice sounded from the side, Hayato cast a gaze at the source of it.
Standing there was a person in a white suit and popcorn in one of his hands... it was Ootori Sougetsu.
"This place is dangerous. Please return to the chairman's room. I'll report remotely."
Sougetsu without regard to Hayato's advice sat down next to him.
"You're as rigid as ever. Isn't it fine to be a bit more rough?"
"If you think so then please increase the number of personnel. If that's the case I'll be more comfortable as well."
"There's no one else other than you from Inquisition that can be used. So that'd be difficult."
Munching on popcorn, Sougetsu laughed quietly.
"By the way, do you have anything to report?"
"Chairman, your daughter seems to be aware of truth on Nikaido Mari, she was sniffing around the crime scene last night."
"Oh, is that so? Hmm... well, it should be fine. Even if Ouka told Kusanagi-san the truth now, he won't be shaken."