After changing her clothes and being coached on proper etiquette by everyone, Usagi escaped the classroom to prepare for a dinner.
"A-at this rate by being over there... my maiden's heart won't be able to withstand it."
Disheartened, she walked unsteadily down the hall.
Because her comrades were doing their best, she made a promise with Ikaruga saying that she'll wear any costume, but it was a mistake. She didn't expect it to be that extreme.
Usagi smiled wryly and took out a photo from her breast pocket.
It was a photo taken during the dropout alliance's photo session. Although they had to take multiple shots to capture everyone, Usagi decided to take the very first; the failed photo.
Rather than the photos taken later in which everyone took a pose, the first one looked lovely to her. Everyone had such a lively expression.
"......it was fun."
She spoke out in secret and smiled. Although she did her best alone to be acknowledged by the Saionji household, being with her comrades was not only encouraging, but also fun.
Being needed by someone, and being in a place she was needed at. A place that made her feel at ease, a fun place.
If she's there, she can be herself. Usagi was very, very happy that she entered this school... and that she was placed in the 35th test platoon.
Even if Father and Mother don't recognize it, I... will stay in this school.
She decided to stop accepting whatever they said and decided to resist from now on. No matter how terrified she is, no matter how her body trembles in fear, she will no longer stand back and accept it.
Otherwise, she could never look her comrades in the eyes again.
And if Saionji house tries to lock her away, she will run away from home or whatever and defy them. Many ways of doing so (defying) have entered her head.
There's no need to be bound by anyone; Saionji Usagi doesn't belong to anyone.
"Now that I decided that, let's treat everyone to a delicious dinner! Fufufuu, I'm not just an exceptional sniper right? I'll have them taste my delicious cuisine made from common ingredients."
*oh ho ho*, Usagi laughed loudly and went outside heading to the cafeteria to purchase ingredients for dinner.
The day was already coming to an end, and the hallway was dim.
The hustle and bustle made by students immersed in preparations could be heard in the distance.
"...weird, isn't it."
Usagi noticed something unnatural.
It was too quiet. No, to be exact only the school building Usagi was in was shrouded in silence.
Both the day before, and today, students should have been moving all around the place preparing things and causing a lot of noise.
When she heard a familiar-sounding voice, Usagi's heart froze.
She quickly hid the photo in her breast pocket, and despite not wanting to turn around and look back, she couldn't help but to do it.
The fear that she was scarred with, resurfaced.
"You seem quite happy don't you. Did something good happen to you?"
Dyed by sunset, a smile that denied her hopes appeared in front of her.
It stirred a memory from the past. Back then, it was also sunset.
Her breathing clogged, she started to feel unpleasant and her body trembled.
"You didn't come back home yesterday? I've been waiting all this time. Mother was furious."
Reima's eyes narrowed as his fingers played with Usagi's hair.
"What a bad girl... maybe you need to be punished?"
Usagi's body shook as if she was hit with a whip.
If she loses here, it will turn back to how it was back then.
As if I'd lose, Usagi bit her lips and tried to disperse the fear with pain.
"Do you want me to break your heart again? Just like back then."
"...I-I will.. no longer..."
"No longer——do as I'm told by you!"
With her body trembling, and with a trembling voice.
For the first time in her life, Usagi stood against those who tried to chain her down.
"......is that so. I get it."
However, that disobedience of hers, plunged her into despair once again.
Reima squeezed the hair he was playing with and raised his arm with it.
"The rebellious age eh? Can't be helped. I didn't want to say such a thing either."
As Usagi's face distorted in pain, Reima glared at her.
"Hee, so you can make that kind of expression. Nice. I've never seen it before, that's quite fresh."
He ridiculed how she looked like as she desperately tried to resist him. No matter how much she tried to resist it, fear was dwelling in Usagi's eyes and Reima didn't miss that fact. There is no way he would miss it. For this man, his greatest joy was to look at Usagi's frightened expression.
"You said you won't do as I tell you to, but what do you intend to do? It can't be that you intend to run away from home like yesterday? You think you can escape from Saionji house and me?"
His pupils shined as he narrowed his eyes to look at Usagi's suffering.
"Did you maybe beg your comrades for help? Kusanagi, Ootori, Suginami and the witch called Nikaido. They're all working for the Chairman... that's no good, what is going to happen if these illegal activities are publicized?"
"?! Why... why do you know that!"
"That's because it's about you. I investigated it all. The Ethics Committee's political strength is already equivalent to that of Inquisition Board's. No matter how stupid you are, you surely can imagine what is going to happen."
Reima moved his mouth right next to her ear.
"You will never get away from me."
"A murderer like you, leaving everything behind and escaping, there is no way you can be forgiven. Did you forget your own sins?"
Usagi's breathing accelerated.
Murderer. Her own sins, Usagi tried to deny them. She thought 'there is no way I would do such a thing'.
"It's too late to feign ignorance. Because of you, your family died. Your brother, your sister and also your grandparents. You killed them all."
"I'm not wrong. Despite being a murderer, you have comrades now and enjoy your school life. Seeing you like that, I wonder what would your dead family say?"
"Anyway, even those comrades of yours will eventually die because of you, won't they? What kind of sniper are you to make mistakes and shoot your own comrades? You haven't changed from back then at all, you kill everyone that surrounds you under the guise of an 'accident'."
"Even you yourself don't want such a thing to happen right? I get it. That's why you should quit school and become my possession."
Usagi vision shook, her breathing was irregular and her shoulders rose and lowered repeatedly. It felt like the hope she has finally managed to grip in her hands was spilling through her fingers, the world seemed like it had lost all its colors.
"It's all right. If it's me, I'll accept you as you are. I'm different from the other guys. The only one who will love someone so disgraceful and hideous like you, is me."
"You won't get away. I'm doing all of this for your sake."
Her lungs could no longer process the oxygen, and her vision started to flicker.
She could no longer stand, and collapsed on the spot.
Reima embraced her body after she fell, and this time he spoke gently into her ear.
"It'll be all right, Usagi... be at ease. You, unlike the others aren't going to become my slave. I will make only you stay by my side unaffected by magic."
As she was about to lose her consciousness, and it felt like her heart was dying, Usagi heard Reima's words. I won't let you run away... that's what those words of his meant.
"I mean, you're my important toy aren't you? Right... Usagi."
With just these words, Usagi's heart easily shattered.
Because she had comrades, she did her best.
Destroying Usagi's last hope was easy for Reima. The wound in her heart, was very deep.
The poison seeped in during the years they were together, it was not something that could be detoxified so easily.
"Noow then... what should I do about your comrades."
There was something in his wide smile as he gently stroke Usagi's cheek.
Takeru returned to the classroom and after opening the door he approached Mari.
"Is Usagi here?"
"? If it's Usagi-chan, a while ago she left to buy ingredients for dinner."
Mari was preparing decorations in the classroom, she furrowed her eyebrows and looked at Takeru with a serious expression.
"What happened? You seem angry?"
"......no, nothing much."
In order to suppress his anger, Takeru took a deep breath.
"Did she go alone?"
"Yeah, she went out saying that if she'll stay any longer she'll get stained by Suginami."
"That insensitive woman was called over to the student council. I wonder what's more important to her, Usagi-chan or the student council."
As Mari puckered her lips, Takeru placed a hand on his chin and thought.
"Sorry, I'm going to look for Usagi. Was she headed to the cafeteria?"
"...I don't get what's going on, but I'll come with you. Explain the situation properly to me as we move."
Not knowing what happened, Mari hit Takeru's chest with her fist,and offered to go with him.
"If you're making such an expression, it means something nasty is going on. It shows on your face too much."
"But aren't you still working..."
"Although we're participating in the Witch-Hunting festival for Usagi-chan, that not going to help when she's in a crisis because that would be putting the cart before the horse."
She exhaled loudly and put a hand on her hip.
"...that's a big help. It's reassuring to have you with me."
"Somehow, it felt as if I was told that it makes no difference whether I'm here or not though?"
"You're digging into it too much."
Takeru said so with a wry smile and left for the dining room together with Mari.
She entered the kotatsu in the second student council room, Sendou drank tea and reported to Nagaru, the student council president listened to Sendou's words with her usual relaxed expression.
"...is that so〜, you were unable to catch him alone yet〜."
"Yes. However, he will probably start moving alone during the night, as he seems accustomed to it. The movement of other students should also be dulled, it's a perfect time to aim for him."
"I leave the arrest timing to you. About Ouka-chan too, even though she's a prodigy, tell her to be careful〜"
Sendou's attitude was indifferent, Nagaru looked down with a slightly apologetic feel.
"Since I would just get in the way as you carry it out, and I'm unable to do anything... sorry for always asking you to do such dangerous things, Shizuka-chan."
Towards the concerned Nagaru, Sendou briefly smiled.
"...it's all for President's sake. I don't mind throwing away my life for you."
As Sendou placed a hand on her chest and spoke her true feelings, her face was lightly stained red. Nagaru stared at her fondly and then lowered her eyes with regret.
"...I see. You will throw your life away for my sake."
"Yes. You believed in me and invited me in. It's because of that I'm here."
"Shizuka-chan, I'm sorry... I couldn't help you."
Because of the sudden apology, Sendou tilted her neck, puzzled. But Nagaru ignored it and continued.
"With this I have lost all my subordinates〜... it feels so lonely."
"Unfortunately, I'm unable to feel sad but... I know the feeling of having fun. I really enjoyed myself when I worked together with Shizuka-chan and the other members of the student council."
"It's a real shame I won't be able to taste this kind of fun any more. Especially with Shizuka-chan, with whom I knew the longest."
As she stared at the cup filled with liquid in daze, she muttered.
"That girl was never honest. Although I've noticed her feelings a long time ago, she did her best to hide how she truly felt... whenever I said "sorry for troubling you", she always responded like this."
She raised her face, and stared at her with a lonely expression.
At the same time, she pulled out a small handgun from the kotatsu, and pointed the derringer at Sendou.
"'I intend on become a banshee after all...', ...is what she said."
"I'm only being protected... a shameless student council president... I am really sorry."
The moment Nagaru put strength into the finger on the trigger, Sendou clicked her tongue and pulled out a handgun from her waist.
Two gunshots sounded in the second student council's room, and soon after that happened.
The sun had already set completely, Ouka arrived at the meeting place she agreed on with Sendou.
"Sorry to make you wait, Senpai."
As Ouka raised her voice, Sendou who was checking her gun looked up and made a thin smile.
"Sorry to contact you this late. The target didn't seem like he would be left alone."
"No... rather than that."
Ouka told Sendou about the large-scale magical circle drawn on the school and the magic name of the spell as well as scale of the damage it will invoke.
"...let's hurry. If we miss this opportunity, we don't know when the next chance to catch Tenmyouji alone will be."
"Understood. I will go ahead, Senpai will go after me."
"Ara, isn't it time to let the senior go first?"
"I have a Relic Eater. Worst comes to worse, it's power can be used to protect the owner's soul. If I was to be touched by enemy by any chance, use that opportunity to shoot."
"I understand. Then, I will follow after you rush in. Be careful."
While responding with a smile, Sendou started to move up the stairs while holding a gun. Ouka followed her.
At the very end of the hallway, at one of the empty classrooms. Sendou stuck to the wall on the right side of the door.
Ouka was sticking to the left side, and prepared to rush in.
Although it seemed like a simple empty classroom, it was clad in a strange atmosphere, it was heavy and suffocating. So gloomy it seemed as if a scream would sound from inside, it made Ouka feel sick.
It's here. Her intuition was confident of this place's abnormality, he was definitely there.
Ouka rushed in at the same time as Sendou opened the door.
She raised her gun and turned around the room while lowering her waist.
Front first, then she checked the left and right sides.
When she turned the muzzle to the left——she saw the person who was her target, he was standing in front of the blackboard.
"...Tenmyouji Reima. You're arrested for unauthorized use of anti-magical tools and the embezzlement of Magical heritages."
"Bastard, you're suspected to be a witch. Surrender quietly. There's no way you will escape this academy."
Ignoring Ouka's advice, Reima didn't answer and grinned instead.
Reima also had a gun in his hand. Ouka thought he was intending to fight, but the muzzle wasn't pointing at her, but towards his feet.
Seeing that mysterious behavior, she looked at what his muzzle pointed to.
From between the desks two white legs were seen... and familiar-looking blonde hair.
Under Reima's feet lied Usagi.
It didn't seem like she was dead, but she had trouble breathing and was unconscious.
"What did you do!"
"As expected. It's good that you're predictable, Ootori Ouka."
"That's dangerous, you shouldn't point such things at other people. I still haven't done anything. Well, but it seems like I'm going to from now on?"
He provoked her and shrugged.
She regretted not having live ammunition with her now. Even at this distance, she was confident that she could put a bullet in his brain before he squeezes the trigger.
But with anesthesia bullets, there would be a slight delay before he loses consciousness.
"I know your identity! Mephisto... I told you that I won't let you escape! Even if you kill Saionji, I'm going to arrest you! Before you sin any further, surrender yourself!"
Ouka no longer doubted that Reima was a witch.
Soon after, she realized she made a mistake.
"...I'm Mephisto? Who told you such a thing?"
"Don't think you can talk your way out of it, there's multiple evidences against you. You took over Tenmyouji Reima's body and devoured his soul, I already know about everything...!"
"Hahahaha, you're so stupid I'm at loss for words. My soul is my own. I was human all along. Why don't you use the filter and and check it? If you do that, you'll immediately understand that I'm not a witch."
She put strength into her body. If he says so with so much confidence, she had to consider another possibility.
If Reima wasn't Mephisto, then where was he?
No, maybe he didn't exist in the first place?
Mephisto was a fake, and this guy was simply a human who——
" I'm right here? "
*zssht*, a chill ran down her spine.
Warned by her inborn senses about a crisis, Ouka immediately lowered her body and turned her muzzle around.
At the same time, a bullet passed by where her head was just a moment earlier.
A surprise attack. It's not like she didn't expect one.
Ouka returned rapid fire towards her back.
It hit. Four anesthesia bullets struck the ambusher's chest.
But the person in question plunged on to Ouka without any care for them.
——A bulletproof vest!
She regretted not aiming for the head. Also, she couldn't leap in such confined space and in consequence, she fell on her back and slammed into the ground.
She raised her neck and attempted to aim her gun at the ambusher... however.
Ouka froze. She visually confirmed the enemy's identity.
The ambusher raised her face while binding Ouka's arms behind her back.
The ambusher's identity was the person who hunted Mephisto together with her, it was Sendou Shizuka.
"Nice to meet you... Ootori Ouka-chan. I'm Mephisto."
An eerie voice intermingled with that of Sendou's and Mephisto laughed.
She climbed over Ouka's body pinning all of her limbs, and made an inhuman smile.
"Your comrade... Kusanagi... was it. When that child got close to Reima, she tried to help Kusanagi-kun. That's when I've eaten her up with pleasure."
"The fact that you mistook Reima for Mephisto is what caused your defeat.... you sure are an outstanding child, but because of Kusanagi you lost your chance. This girl had a possibility of a surprise attack in mind, but despite the risk she tried to protect Kusanagi-kun... since that's what she promised you."
What a sad story isn't it, Mephisto added sorrowfully.
Ouka couldn't talk back to Mephisto who seemed to know it all nor hide her surprise.
"Mephisto inherits the memories and emotions of the possessed person, that's what this girl told you, isn't it? What were you two doing... and the fact that she desperately tried her best to keep her promise, I know all about it."
Mephisto rolled up her sleeves with her teeth and stuck out a long tongue.
Sendou's arm that appeared from the sleeves had countless scars on it.
The tongue seemed to be chewed and bit as well, blood was oozing out.
"Look at this. Ouch, it hurts. This girl's loyalty to the student council president was amazing. While writhing in pain as she was being killed and her soul devoured, she tried to commit suicide by biting off her tongue just to protect you guys and the student council president."
"But in the end, she wailed just like everyone else. President〜 President〜 and such. Heh, love comes in various forms. Love that's deemed to be unrequited... such a sad story, is it not."
With Sendou's face, Mephisto laughed at Sendou herself.
"Well, the President in question should be lying down in a pool of blood and dumping her own internal organs! I killed her! I killed this girl's beloved President with her own two hands! Ahihi!"
"——I'll slaughter you! I'll never forgive you!"
Her anger burst, Ouka tried to free her arms from the constraint and move the muzzle towards Mephisto.
However, that's when Mephisto pulled out a piece of paper that looked like a bill and placed it on her strangely long tongue.
A specialized piece of paper that had a operative procedure and a magical circle engraved as well as imbued with magic, an "Instant Charm". Although as the name implied, it was a disposable thing and a substitute, it could also be used by normal humans who don't have any magic in their bodies.
She was careless. Ouka was already been touched by Mephisto.
What was input in the charm was without a doubt 《Install》.