Encounter and Second Coming


Atlas Institute

"Sion Eltnam Sokaris.

Hereby decreed as candidate for Academy Director."

The grim face of the university president reading the edict.

The students and the teachers look at each other, wide-eyed.

Unhushed whispers rise and hundreds of eyes face me.

Surprise. I'm astonished, I never would have thought it.

Blame. Unforgivable.

Denial. I can't believe it.

Other words I can't make out, blending together into sounds as arcane as the syllables of a spell.

"Henceforth, Sion Eltnam will be Sion Eltnam Atlasia.

She will be accorded the privileges and respect of an instructor and have the same status as ambassador-at-large."

The words of the university president are absolute.

Not just because of the authority of his position, but because the words make it clear it is a command.

There is no protest from the audience, only more glares directed at me.


It's not as though I've suddenly changed.

Of all those gathered in the great hall, only the university president and I seem calm.

As for everyone else──the students and even the teachers are dumbfounded with surprise.

I suppose it is natural.

I am now Sion Eltnam Atlasia.

Those given the name of Atlas are chosen to represent this Academy.

No one guessed that out of all the students and faculty, it would be an Eltnam.


Of course, I was calm.

Not that I was informed beforehand I would be given the name Atlasia.

Simply that among the Atlas Association, I was the only one with the requisite power.

Instead of being surprised, it was rather natural to be bored.

...... Just what has changed in my life since then?

I do not look any different in the mirror.

Since I was an Eltnam, a once-noble house, the others treated me with contempt.

I excelled as a student to erase the sin of my ancestor.

The others wanted only to have me removed.

As long as I was the top student in the class, all they could do was ignore me.

Once I became Atlasia, I had the power to remove them.

They were afraid of my retribution.

They probably believed I would treat them in the same manner they treated me.

They did not want to receive any contempt.

I am a noble.

The blood of the sinner Eltnam runs through me, but I am not ruled by my emotions.

In the first place, I do not feel any emotions towards them anyway.

If they wished to distance me, then I will keep them distant.

That will not change from before.

I do not need anyone, so I do not need to associate with them.

I already had the needed laboratory, so I just continued to excel in my studies.

It was eight years ago.

What was correct? What was mistaken?

────Even now I don't really know for certain.

Misaki at night

Sion: "...... Not good. It's already this late."

I open my eyes.

Was it because I was so exhausted?

I saw a meaningless dream.

No, because I was dreaming, you could say I was not completely exhausted.

If my mind were truly burdened, I would not have seen anything.

Sion: "...... Probably because of overexertion during the day. There is something wrong with this much heat."

I had heard that Japanese summers were hot, but I had not thought it would be this bad.

The heat shining back from this town is too strong even for me, a child of the desert.

I thought I would sleep through the heat of the day, but it seems I could not control the time of my awakening.

Sion: "...... A cold night. I must have slept too long?"

Whatever the case, confusion is for certain.

Not sleeping properly and not ordering all this information is setting myself up for failure.

Sion: "...... But before that, I must confirm where the next incident will occur."

As long as I can move, I must finish the preparations.

Fortunately, I have data on this town I downloaded from Tohno Shiki.

I can find the source of all these incidents without needless roaming.

Sion: "Ah, come to think of it...... Tohno Shiki. Securing him is also a priority."

It is before midnight.

There are three possible routes he will take.

It should be easy enough to determine his current location.

Location changes to the Shrine

Shiki: "...... Then, all that's left is this?"

I come out to an unfamiliar clearing.

A small clearing apart from the office buildings.

Until a short while ago everything was another large city park but it now transitions into private property.

Shiki: "Wow. From down here it really looks impressive."

I look up at the building under construction.

I heard the monumental architecture would be finished next spring.

Nobody seems to be sure exactly what it's going to be, but it's something important.

I've heard everything from a big department store to the corporate office of a powerful electronics company.

Shiki: "The area around it is also being landscaped. Maybe I don't have to go this far."

The land all around the building is perfectly flat like a mirror.

The name of the building, Shrine, may be appropriate... but it's going a little too far.

Shiki: "────Well..."

I hold my breath and scan the area.

No sign of anyone else around.

Of course there are less and less people as night falls, thanks to the rumors of the vampire murders starting up again, but...

I can understand why no one would be in the park, or the back alley, but this place is empty of people for another reason.

Shiki: "...... Well, after all, this is private property. The only people around would be trespassing, so why should I expect to see anybody......?"

───And then,

I suddenly get assailed by nausea.

My fingers are numb and my throat is parched.

My pulse quickens.

A feeling like poison creeping from the back of my brain.

Without even realizing it, my right hand reaches into my pocket and soundlessly takes out my knife.

Shiki: "────This... sensation."

...... I've felt these chills so many times before.

Am I just disposed to this?

Before I meet up with something unworldly, I always get assailed by this sensation.

Shiki: "............"

...... I sense someone.

Someone standing right behind me.

Someone (a human?) on this private property where no one should be.

A faint chill.

And...... the vampire has returned────!

Shiki: "...... But, something is......"

It feels a little different.

Are my reactions weak?

It simply feels "different from usual", a discomfort that indicates the presence of an outsider.

Shiki: "──Well, show yourself......!"

Shiki: "Hello? Is someone there?"

I speak with my knife hidden behind my back.

───And then,

Sion: "Good evening. Do you have business with me?"

Even though it was all so sudden, the girl speaks so calmly.

Shiki: "────"

Seeing her, I was startled.

That distinctive dress and hat.

Definitely a foreign look, and I'm almost afraid to say it, but she looks really cute.

Sion: "What is it?"

Shiki: "Oh, ah... well, no, nothing really."

Shiki: "Um──Sorry, I mistook you for someone else. Sorry to be so rude."

Sion: "You do not have to apologize.

But that is not the way to greet someone, is it?"

Her tone is so smooth.

...... Now that she mentions it, it makes total sense.

Lately, I seem to be off-kilter.

Shiki: "...... You're right. It's a little late, but, good evening."

Sion: "Yes, nice to meet you."

Sion: "So, what are you doing here?

Are you looking for something at this hour?"

Shiki: "Eh? ...... Ah, yeah, something like that.

And what about you? You couldn't have not heard about how dangerous it is at night──"

Oh, right.

If she's a foreigner, she wouldn't have heard the rumors circulating this town.

Since she's probably just sightseeing, she wouldn't know anything about the vampire murders last year, either......

Shiki: "It's nothing...... Um, I don't know why you are here, but it's better to not hang around places where no one is around. You never know what might happen."

Sion: "────"

She just stares at me.

...... It's only natural.

There's no way she can understand me if I keep suddenly blurting out all this stuff.

Sion: "No, you cannot say I don't know what will happen. Whatever shape he takes, the vampire will appear. Even you are patrolling in order to find him, are you not, Tohno Shiki?"

Shiki: "W────what?"

Sion: "You could say we are looking for the same thing, Tohno Shiki. ...... Although our reasons are very different."

She speaks devoid of any expression.

Those chills return.

Pain in my temples like a stabbing needle...

Sion: "An irregularity like you throws the equation out of balance. Unless I move quickly to root out any problems, the results this time will also be undesirable."

Her arms swings forth and I hear an unfamiliar click.

She holds a black gun in her hand.

Sion: "────Please, resist if you wish. My name is Sion Eltnam Atlasia. Your freedom now belongs to me."

And with that, she jumps towards me.

This foreign girl I'd never met before attacks me with almost unspeakable speed.

Shiki vs Sion

Shiki loses

Shiki: "sstt......!"

Sion: "Battle finished. Fourth, sixth thought processes halted."

Sion: "Results compiled. Your choices in combat are rated at merely 70. Even if you possess the ability to inflict instant death, your tactics are still easily predicted."

Shiki: "Damn...... What do you want!?"

Sion: "I do not intend to harm you any further. Did you not notice something different? ...... Your intuition was correct. Just as you felt, my method of fighting is entirely different from those you have faced before."

Shiki: "────"

Sion: "You must stop resisting. I have no interest in taking your life. I require you in my calculations, so if you do not resist, you will not be hurt."

Shiki: "Eh───Hey, don't touch people's heads like that!"

Sion: "Please calm down. Did I not say I would not harm you? All I did was connect my Etherlite to your brain."

Shiki: "Huh......? Co−connect to my brain? What the heck......?"

Sion: "The artificial nervous system called Etherlite. In terms you can understand, a filament only one micron thick. Think of it as a thread you cannot see using the naked eye."

Shiki: "......!"

Shiki: "...... No way. I do feel something strange on my temple, but that───"

Sion: "Yes. Upon contact with your skin, it seeks out your nerves and fuses with them. The maximum range is 5,000 meters, so it is a simple matter for it to fill your entire body."

Sion: "No further explanation is needed to understand, correct? I have hacked your mind and body. From now on, I will control your actions. I assume there are no objections, Tohno Shiki?"

Shiki: "...... No objections!? Like hell there aren't, you idiot! I don't know who you are, but are you crazy!?"

Sion: "How rude. I am trying to hold a civilized conversation. Tohno Shiki, please correct yourself."

Shiki: "Correct myself? Are you stupid!? First you attack me and now you want to control me!? If you're sane, then that makes me the crazy one. Seriously, you're as ridiculously random as Arcueid. No, you're even worse of a random bastard!"

Sion: "Ra−random────!?"

Sion: "You are calling me random!? How superficial your knowledge must be for you to proclaim the actions of an alchemist like myself as random! No, to use the term random so senselessly is evidence of that probability! Yes, as you say, I cannot but think that you are the one who has gone crazy!"

Shiki: "Eh────huh?"

Sion:"Correct yourself! I am Sion Eltnam Atlasia, an alchemist of the Atlas Academy where all knowledge is accumulated and stored! What an insult. There is no one who can match my speed of thought and rational knowledge acquisition! Do you understand, Tohno Shiki? I am not a man, but a woman! In your rough terms, you should not call me a random bastard, but a whore!"

Shiki: "────────"

Sion: "Let me warn you, is your behavior not unnatural? I have gathered information from the past year from you and all you have done is proceed from one engagement of low victory probability to another! It is so amazing, it is enough to almost make one cry! How Tohno Shiki has been able to survive this long... it can only be a miracle────"

Shiki: "────────(Whoa)"

Sion: "Ah────────"

Sion: "───Back to the main topic. Tohno Shiki, I will have your cooperation with my research. I respect your right to choose, but please do not consider refusing. I now have control of most of your nerves, so if you disobey, I may be forced to hurt you."

Shiki: "Eh, well────(WHOA) uh, what do you mean?"

Sion: "Do you not understand? I am saying I will fry your nerves if you do not listen. I have no qualms about sending electricity along this Etherlite to fry your brain."

Shiki: "...... (Stupid. In that case, all I have to do is cut it. I may not be able to see it with the naked eye, but if I take off my glasses......) ......"

Sion: "I advise against it. If you cut the Etherlite, your entire body will burn. The Etherlite is now a part of your nervous system. ...... Yes, while this may not be effective against the True Ancestor, it is quite effective against humans. Before nerve damage ensues, you would probably die from the pain."

Shiki: "What────just now, what did you──"

Sion: "I read your thoughts. The Etherlite is connected to your brain, so no matter what you think, I can read it. Well, I am able to read subjects and verbs minus the conjunctions, at least."

Shiki: "...... Uwaa, that's amazing. Then, this──" (Um, why do I always get involved in things like this?)

Sion: "Do not misunderstand me. I do not intend to force you. Our goals are the same, so I propose a mutual relationship to achieve our objectives."

Shiki: "......? Work together to achieve our objectives......?"

Sion: "Yes. Our goals overlap somewhat. Otherwise, we would not be negotiating like this."

Shiki: "...... Speak for yourself. You can't call this negotiation."

Sion: "I only chose the method with the best chance of success. This was the most suitable method to achieve your cooperation."

Sion: "Well, you must be well−rested by now. My method of fighting is to chip away the opponent's fighting strength, not like the method of chipping away the opponent's body that you all employ."

Shiki: "...... You got a point. If it wasn't for that strange string, I would have run away by now."

Sion: "I do not mind. Once connected, it cannot be removed except by me. Wherever you go, it will follow."

Shiki: "Yeah, yeah. That's what I thought."

Shiki: "Well? What's this about us cooperating?"

Sion: "It is as it sounds──have you changed your mind? You were disparaging me earlier, so for you to listen to me attentively now......"

Shiki: "All I can do is listen, right? And, well, your methods are a little rough, but you have been polite. I guess I can hear you out. You didn't finish me off, and you do seem sincerely interested in talking it over. ...... And, well, you don't seem like a bad person."

Sion: "I did not attack you while you were down because you might have used a very strong counterattack...... But if you wish to view it that way, it is just as well. It is meaningless for me to offer another point of view."

Sion: "Then, I will be concise. My goal is to discover a cure for vampirism. I wish to obtain data from the vampires in this area. Such as a member of the True Ancestors, the origin of the Dead Apostles."

Shiki: "Eh...... True Ancestor... you mean Arcueid?"

Sion: "Yes. She is the last of the True Ancestors. ...... Correction, there may still exist some lower members of the True Ancestors, but what I need is the data of True Ancestor royalty from Arcueid Brunestud."

Shiki: "Data from Arcueid...... you want to make her into a guinea pig or something?"

Sion: "Of course not. You of all people know full well that is not possible. I seek only the aid of the True Ancestor. I wish to examine her blood, body and fluids to understand more about the vampiric impulse. If possible, I would like a full week, but that may be more difficult than finding a cure. If she does help me, it would only be because you are cooperating with me."

Shiki: "? Why do you think she would help me if I'm with you?"

Sion: "That, that is───because you are the one the True Ancestor is the most...... interested in."

Sion: "At any rate, I wish to approach vampirism from a medical standpoint. Consequently, I need data from many vampires. Once bitten by vampires, people become no longer human. Until now, it has been impossible to save them. I challenge that impossibility. It has to be in line with your goals. Because, you know someone who became a vampire."

Shiki: "────"

Sion: "────What is it?"

Shiki: "Nothing, really. You just have a way with words."

Sion: "I am pleased at your correct evaluation, but what makes you say that?"

Shiki: "Oh, nothing. But the next time you speak so lightly of her, I'll have no choice but to fight you."

Sion: "────"

Sion: "...... Certainly I was not considerate enough. What I said was not good."

Shiki: "...... It's fine. If you say your goal is to cure vampirism, then it's alright. It definitely is something I see as very important."

Sion: "Then, you will help me, Tohno Shiki?"

Shiki: "Yeah, but I really don't get you. If you knew so much about me, you should've known talking it over from the beginning would've been fine. If you said that was your goal, I wouldn't have refused."

Sion: "...... So it seems. I was mistaken. I did not have a complete understanding of you."

Sion: "However, this may be for the best. Verbal promises are one thing, but if you do not put a high priority on our cooperation, I have means of ensuring you listen to me."

Shiki: "Yeah yeah. The loser must obey the winner, right? That's fine, but I'm not exactly swimming in free time. I have my own reasons for walking around late at night."

Sion: "Searching for the rumored vampire? I have not said anything about that, but I also have an interest in finding it."

Shiki: "? You, you know about that vampire?"

Sion: "Yes. Upon arriving here, I heard the rumors. The atmosphere in this town is strange and I knew something unusual was going on."

Shiki: "...... I see. If an outsider like you thinks that way, then that rumored vampire probably does exist."

Sion: "I cannot say that is absolutely true, but the True Ancestor seems to be pursuing it. It is her responsibility to dispose of Dead Apostles. She could not turn a blind eye towards any in the town she lives in."

Shiki: "────! You even know about Arcueid hiding her whereabouts!?"

Sion: "You are thinking it now. About how she is evading you because she is worried over you and wants to settle it herself. So if we find the rumored vampire, we should find the True Ancestor. At that time, she may listen to me if you ask her to."

Shiki: "...... I see. That's why you want my help."

Sion: "Yes. I wish for you to mediate our negotiations. For the time being, that is your first priority."

Shiki: "...... I see. That's pretty simple, but saying 'for the time being' makes me a little uneasy."

Sion: "But of course. You even said before that the loser has to obey the winner. Because I defeated you, I have the right to use you. Is that unsatisfactory?"

Shiki: "Yes, but I'll keep quiet. Since you're looking for the rumored vampire, I won't be doing anything different. I'll help you out until we find Arcueid."

Sion: "Very prudent. After concluding negotiations and business with the True Ancestor, I will leave this country. Staying in one place too long is dangerous. As for negotiation, that will be my problem. If negotiations break down, I will remove the Etherlite. Is that acceptable, Tohno Shiki?"

Shiki: "Yeah, no complaints. But what do you want me to do? Help her to see things your way?"

Sion: "No. If I need you to, I will let you know. All you have to do is ask her to listen to me."

Shiki: "I see. Then, lead on, My Lady."

Sion: "First is investigating in town. I am unfamiliar with the area, so I ask you to direct us."

Alchemist of Atlas

Extra Alchemist

That is how our patrol began.

Shiki: "So, you are different from the magi Senpai was talking about?"

Sion: "I am different from the majority of magi. There are factions of Magi Associations that guide the practice of rituals and the revelation of knowledge. Please think of alchemists as not practicing rituals, but discovering them."

Shiki: "Discover? You mean, like making new magic?"

Sion: "Most types of magic are already identified, but we discover new methods. As the name alchemist implies, we try to create precious metals from base metals, for example."

Shiki: "Ah, that makes sense now. Like... making gold out of lead?"

Sion: "...... Yes, but that refers to the Central Association of Alchemists. I am part of a different organization of alchemists, the Atlas Academy. We have no interest in the transmutation of elements."

Shiki: "I see. So there's even different kinds of alchemists."

Sion: "Not kinds, but factions. We are considered somewhat heretics. Among the three main branches of the Magi Associations, Atlas is considered somewhat of a tumor."

Shiki: "Ah, that word again. Is Atlas a place?"

Sion: "A place? Yes. There is an association based on an academy located in the Atlas mountains...... The magi of London call it The Pit. Well, it is surrounded only by desert, so it may not be too inaccurate."

Shiki: "Desert......? Then, where are you from?"

Sion: "It is said to be a land where much magic originates. But simply, it is a place with a lot of history."

We speak of these mysterious and complicated things as we patrol.

She isn't wordy, but she isn't close−mouthed, either.

In fact, she answers most of my questions and asks me some in turn.

She doesn't start any unnecessary conversation, but if it is necessary, she goes really deep in detail.

Shiki: "...... (I think this girl just loves to talk)......"

Sion: "Do you have any other questions?"

Shiki: "Oh, uh...... I was just wondering what kind of studying your alchemy involves."

Sion: "Human research. You could say it is more science than alchemy."

Shiki: "Human research? You mean, not magic or sorcery?"

Sion: "Yes. The alchemists of Atlas were originally a gathering of those with little magical ability due to having a small number of Magic Circuits. They decided for themselves to take a completely natural approach and proceed forward as humans to achieve their goals. The result of that is the present Atlas Academy. We use above all else our own intellect to make a blueprint for the future."

Shiki: "Make───the future?"

Sion: "It goes without saying that the future is not something that occurs, but is something that is made. With the ingredients of the present day, we make the future for better or worse. We analyze these ingredients to measure the future. We dramatically shift probability to make a perfect model from the ingredients. Magic Circuits are paths connecting to the 'Root' called 'The One'. Magi use these to bring their ideal future closer. However, those of us with meager Magic Circuits must rely only upon our own intellect to make that ideal future."

Shiki: "To make an ideal future......? That means those of the past, they......"

Sion: "They failed. At some point, the alchemists of Atlas stopped predicting the future and devoted themselves to excel at making various things. Another view has it that at some point, an Academy Director constructed a weapon to deny and resist the 'answer' that was discovered. But as a student, it is not something that I know of."

Shiki: "Wh−what......? You mean, you all..."

Sion: "Now we craft weapons. But our foundation is a fusion of rituals and science. You could say the alchemists of Atlas specialize in those techniques."

Shiki: "Oh... like that Etherlite you have?"

Sion: "The Etherlite is a technique handed down in the Eltnam family. The foundation techniques of Atlas are Thought Acceleration and Thought Partition. After that, acceleration and conversion alchemy is acquired."

Shiki: "??? Thought Acceleration just means thinking really fast... but Thought Partition is......"

Sion: "As the name implies. The alchemists of Atlas are able to partition their thoughts to form multiple thought processes. Think of it this way. Normal people have only one 'room' in their brain, so they can focus on only one thought. Thought Partitioning adds partitions inside the one room to create multiple rooms. Alchemists of Atlas must be able to partition their thoughts into three rooms, and five is on the level of genius. It is said there was an Academy Director in the past who was able to achieve eight."

Shiki: "...... Hmmm? So, it's like having two or three calculators in your head?"

Sion: "That is meaningless. There may be multiple thought processes, but only one goal. While the multiple thought processes work on differing problem sets, they work together to generate one overall solution. If it was simply calculation, would not current machines be on the same level? Rather, it is for problem solving, so nothing else even compares."

Shiki: "Wow, then you're incredibly smart. ...... That's right, I remember thinking no matter what I did, you were reading my moves───"

Sion: "I already simulated all of your patterns, so it was only logical that you were defeated. Any situation can change within a second. It is like a wire diagram showing all possibilities. From this sea of possibilities, we calculate the most likely outcome of events and act according to that outcome. Consequently, events occur in that same manner. ...... We do not see the future in combat, but are simply one−step ahead. The possibility for defeat still lay everywhere in our previous fight. Incorrectly choosing a branch of possibility would render everything useless. If you acted completely outside of predictive behavior, out of whim like you normally do, it would not have been surprising if I lost. But, that is the nature of using Thought Acceleration and Thought Partitioning."

Shiki: "Wow, that's pretty amazing. It did feel that way."

Sion: "If there is no predicted 'future with victory', the alchemists of Atlas will not fight. ...... Between you and I, you are undoubtedly superior at fighting. Therefore, I have to use alternative methods to obtain victory. For us, fighting is assembling the proper ingredients ahead of time. However, that only makes us equal. Neither strong physically nor in magic, we predict the future to steer it away from the worst outcome. We invest everything in guiding events towards the single opportunity where the future can be reversed. We fight not the enemy, but our own minds. We can trust only ourselves and wager our lives on a moment of thought───that is the way of the alchemists of Atlas."

Shiki: "Wow. All this talk of calculation and prediction makes it almost sound like gambling."

Sion: "That is not mistaken. That is very close to what we do. Those who gamble must wager calmly while still being very passionate."

Shiki: "(I see. That's how it is.)"

While we talk, we pass by the most prominent part of town.

It's been two hours since we started walking.

The whole time, the town was very quiet and we passed by no one.

There is none of the frying heat from during the day.

The night town is quite cool and suitable for walking.

Sion: "There is no one in the police box. They may be on patrol, but we have not come across them."

Shiki: "Eh───Ah, that's right, now that you mention it. Patrols are meaningless if you do not meet anyone.... Well, maybe that is a good thing."

Sion: "? A good thing? What do you mean?"

Shiki: "Well, if someone saw us, we'd make a strange pair. Don't we stand out a lot?"

Sion: "...... Stand out......? We do?"

Shiki: "We? Dressed strangely like that, if some policeman saw you, he would start to ask questions."

Sion: "...... Ask questions......?"

She starts to look at her clothes strangely with her head tilted to the side.

...... I knew it.

She really does think that her appearance is normal.

Sion: "Perhaps I look strange?"

Shiki: "Yeah, you really stand out."

Sion: ".................."

Ah, she seems a little dissatisfied.

Sion: "We will deal with that when the time comes. If I am asked questions, I will just have to lie."

Shiki: "Okay. So, if asked, I'll say you are my friend, so make sure you match that story."

Sion: "───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"

We seem to have made our way back. Our feet have returned us to the tall skyscraper.


Sion: "Shiki."

Behind me, she suddenly calls my name.

Shiki: "Eh────"

Sion: "Um, please call me Sion. If−if we are friends, we must match the way we call each other."

She───Sion says that and just stands in the road.

Shiki: "────────"

Sion: "────────"

Shiki: "────────"

Sion: "────────"

Shiki: "...... Alright. Well then, Sion, shall we head back?"

Sion: "Yes, I was thinking the same thing."

───My patrol with Sion ends uneventfully.

Without saying why, Sion says we will patrol once more tomorrow.

"Tomorrow at the same time, here."

Saying just that, Sion left.

Until she removes this weird Etherlite, I have no choice but to stay with her.

...... Well, in the first place, even if she didn't coerce me I'd probably go patrolling with her, so it isn't like I'm doing anything different.

That night, the air was maddeningly hot.

It happened in a mountain village.

In that small village that seemed frozen in time, it happened.

It started with a legend.

There was an old story about a woman from another town who had triplets. It was an unfortunate story, as there were two stillbirths.

Certainly, the baby drank the blood of its brothers, became a vampire, and brought evil to the town.

An eternal curse.

The unwritten law permeated the village without notice.

In the words of this country, tatari.

In any case, the legend became real.

The child grew up and became a vampire.

Of course, fearing the curse, the villagers executed the child before that could happen.

Three days later.

The town was annihilated by the vampire.

The dispatched Knights of The Church were also annihilated.

I run, and run, and run.

I run out along the mountain path.

I run until dawn.

But there is no way out.

The curse rebounded on itself.

I curse myself, I cannot escape from myself.

And, before my eyes,

"Something" appears, black as night.


Dawn is too far away.

The vampire who could exist for only one night drank the town dry.

The legend became real.

The curse proved itself real by bringing complete destruction to those who brought it into being───

...... Hot.

It is unnaturally hot and there is no wind.

Even though I am used to the desert, I cannot bear the heat of this country.

My throat is incredibly dry.

Is it because I slept outside? My skin has become very dry, almost like a shell.

Sion: "Water───I want, water."

My mouth runs without thought as my mind starts to awaken.

Sion: "...... Right. At this time, of course it would be at its worst."

It is noon.

Last night, I parted with Shiki and slept here.

I have been asleep for around eight hours.

Sion: "I overslept. It is dulling my mind."

Rubbing my pained temples, I take a deep breath.

Sion: "...... Amazing. Even though I said intellect is our only weapon, Shiki still does not understand."

In the first place, I doubt how much he listened to our conversation last night.

Sion: "...... Well, there certainly is no need for him to understand, but......"

To explain it, first explain it to yourself. Even if I have no more ties to Atlas, I will still be an alchemist my entire life.

───Thought Acceleration is our magic.

Fast thinking is only a prerequisite.

Thought Acceleration itself is applying that ability to multi−expansion diagrams.

And furthermore, superior alchemists must have multiple sectors in their brains.

If Thought Acceleration is proof of an alchemist, then the number of sectors is proof of their facilities.

Through Thought Partition, a superior alchemist can create between three and five rooms.

I gave the example of dividing one 'thought' into rooms to Shiki, but that would be the limit of a strictly average alchemist.

Superior alchemists may perform first−order tetrations of their 'thought' into rooms.

These 'rooms' are synergistic.

Four Thought Partitions allow 256 thought processes.

But, that does not simply mean 256 alchemist calculations can be achieved.

The 256 accelerated intelligences do not work independently, but constantly cycle towards the same goal.

The pinnacle of alchemy is creating a miracle.

That is the magic of alchemy.

We are weak.

Our bodies are hereditarily frail and our Magic Circuits are below average.

The source of alchemy as derived by our ancestors is different from what we practice.

Seeking to avoid the final end, we created various weapons.

However, the truth is, all we do now is make weapons to protect ourselves.

Not for results; just to make weapons.

Consequently, our Academy has only one rule.

"Nothing is forbidden except the release of creation secrets."

Do not associate with Atlas.

That was the line from the Central Association.

Before we knew it, we were treated as a tolerated cancer.

We do nothing.

We are the magi who descend into the pit solely to create phenomenal weapons.

Our exposure would be nothing less than tearing open the seal on every weapon we created and unleashing their destructive force on an unsuspecting world.

That is why we were given our name.

───The alchemists of Atlas.

The name of the giant who silently supported the heavens.

Sion: "...... A fitting name for the clueless, secluded alchemists at the Atlas Academy."

───It is not very surprising to feel this way.

I am still young, so I still have dreams.

As years pass, I will no longer be able to see them.

Sion: "...... There is still time before nightfall. Perhaps I should gather some information."

Shiki is helping me reach my goal, so I should also help him find the vampires.

After all, he is───

Sion: "My partner."

Furthermore, he is the same age as I.

It is strange, but I was never able to envision those of the same age as I until I left.

In other words, I never knew what it was to be with someone my own age.

With him being the opposite gender, it makes it even farther beyond my understanding.

Sion: "...... Hm. I have gathered enough data on Shiki. There is nothing I do not understand."

Therefore I can trust that he is helping me.

The command to 'betray' is not even present in his operating logic, so even without a contract, he could not betray me.

Sion: "───That is why I have to match his efforts, at least just a little bit."

I stand up as I speak this excuse.

...... And then it occurs to me.

Is this not the first time I ever had to give an excuse?────

Misaya at day

The appearance of the town has not changed.

The streets are still empty.

The heat radiates off them like smoke.

Even though people pass me by, if I look behind me, no one is there... only a strange emptiness.

Sion: "────────"


The clear sunlight melting everything white.

I quickly enter a large building to draw information from the minds gathered there.

My two names are Spirit Hacker and Sion Eltnam.

That is why I have this monofilament, Etherlite, to allow forceful intervention in the nervous system.

Because the intent is not to destroy the mind, you cannot call it cracking.

...... No, that is not right.

That is not even necessary.

I am only gathering information about the vampire which has returned.

That is something I can find quickly.

Sion: "............ Ah."

This tiredness will not go away.

My throat is painfully dry, and my tired body creaks and groans in protest.

Sion: "Ah────ahhh"

I expel the air from my lungs.

It is like breathing fire.

Sion: "Can't...... breathe."

I feel slightly dizzy.

If I do not rest, if I do not sleep properly, I will be defeated.

I have two or three days left.

Sion: "But, I can still take action."

If I can move, I'm still alive.

I'm still injured from last night's battle, but it won't slow me down.

If I return to my hastily prepared bed, it will soon be night.

Information collection ended easily enough.

It does seem that most of the citizens have heard of the second coming of the "vampire."

But it is only thin rumor, not too different from the information that Shiki knows.

Sion: "...... All the same, no one denies the rumor. Even if the credibility is nonexistent, it is a rumor accepted naturally."

Everyone seems to feel something bad is going to happen.

The emptiness of the town has crept into their hearts.

The town will bake in the heat today, and probably tomorrow as well.

The stage is set, a town under attack by fierce heat of record high temperatures.

The spawning of strange paradoxes of unknown origin.

Terrible ideas, ill omens, visits to the temple portend bad luck.

Dreadful thoughts, feelings of misfortune, ill omens.

Coincidence? The dark night where "uneasiness" fed by anxiety becomes reality.

Even though not one murder has occurred, everyone says it "happened", and the vampire has returned.


During the deep night in the empty town, a lurking shadow which wanders the streets.

Sion: "...... Soon the moon will form a perfect circle in the sweltering night, which seems itself to be in agony. Until then, I..."

I must guide this loose 'rumor' into a definite shape.


Sion arrives according to schedule.

Sion: "You are right on time, Shiki."

Shiki: "Yeah, I managed to sneak out of the mansion. Akiha was acting strange and pacing back and forth in the lobby...... Maybe she found out about me leaving at night."

Sion: "I do not think so. According to the data I took from you, Tohno Akiha does not seem to be one to have such devious surveillance."

Shiki: "...... Hey. That's exactly how it is."

Sion: "That is entirely your affair, it does not relate to me. More importantly, how are matters with the True Ancestor?"

Shiki: "Ah, about that, I couldn't catch her. I left her a note in her room, so something may happen tomorrow."

Sion: "Because she is chasing the vampire out of worry for you, she may not come near you until everything is settled."

Sion: "There is a possibility we should consider. What if the rumored vampire is not the one from last year, but is one who has been in this town since then?"

Shiki: "───Sion, you..."

Sion: "In the first place, the True Ancestor is the strongest of the vampire race. It is stranger for her to live in a human town for a year without anything happening."

Shiki: "That's wrong. Arcueid doesn't drink human blood, you just don't know that. Arcueid───"

Sion: "Is not a vampire? You may say that, but that is what a True Ancestor is."

Sion: "Would it not be strange for a vampire to return to this town while the True Ancestor lived here? There must be a model for all these rumors."

Shiki: "A model......? Isn't that the incident from last year?"

Sion: "That is not the model, but the origin. For this rumor to emerge, there had to have been an eye witness. Putting aside what is true or false, does there not have to be some 'shadowy figure wandering the night' on which to base these rumors?"

Shiki: "......?"

Sion is a little hard to understand.

Sion: "Whether a rumor is true or not, the model for it has to have existed. The True Ancestor is probably searching for that model now. It is good even if we just find the model. I can meet Arcueid, and you can meet the rumored vampire. I think it is very simple."

Shiki: "...... I see. Now that you say it, it does make sense."

Sion: "Doesn't it? Then let us begin patrolling. I collected information earlier today, so we can search the areas where the origin of the rumors is most likely to be."

Misayaa at night

Shiki: "Next is the alley? That's a pretty bad place to be."

Sion: "It is better to say that the conditions are ripe for it to be the place. It is a dead space in town, so it is ideal for────"

Shiki: "Sion? What's wrong, did something happen?"

Sion: "The smell of blood."

Shiki: "Eh......?"

...... Sion brings a hand to her face which is clearly resisting nausea.

She may think it smells very thick, but I don't feel it at all.

It may be because I am somewhat desensitized to the smell......

Sion: "You are simply able to distinguish between what is fake and what is real. This is the scent of artificial blood, somewhat fitting for this town────"

Shiki: "Where are you going, Sion!?"

I chase after Sion.

She enters the alley.

Shiki: "It really does smell like blood───"

There is nothing different in the alley.

Maybe it's because of the rumors about this place.

But the image of the blood−stained alley floats in my────

Shiki: "────!?"

Sion: "Who is there!?"

Shiki: "!?"

Something quick.

Whatever was hiding in the shadows runs from the alley without a sound.

In that instant, I see long hair fluttering in the air.

It reaches far down to the back. Long, long red hair.

Without a doubt, that is───

Sion: "Shiki, follow!"

Shiki: "Y────yeah, got it!"

The town is silent.

Only our footsteps echo in the air as we chase it.

Akiha: "Ni, Nii−san......!?"

Shiki: "Akiha──what are you doing here?"

Akiha: "That, that is my line! Lights out has long since passed, so what are you doing outside of the mansion!?"

...... Akiha shakes visibly.

Does she have something to hide?

Her normal calm and cool manner is nowhere to be seen.

Shiki: "...... What am I doing? I'm searching for the rumored vampire. I'm not doing anything bad, so that should suffice for explanation."

Akiha: "Eh...... yes, that is...... certainly an easily understood explanation."

Shiki: "Alright, your turn...... What are you doing out this late? I know it was a misunderstanding earlier, but what was that all about?"

Akiha: "Ah───no, I have...... have nothing to hide, so, nothing, um......"

Shiki: "Um?"

Akiha: "It is hard to explain, so I do not wish to......"

Akiha fidgets with her fingers.

...... I don't know if that really was her in the alley, but it is clear she is hiding something.

Shiki: "Hey. If you're that suspicious, then I know something's going on. It's okay, so just say it."

Akiha: "────"

Sion: "Shiki, we are wasting time. She does not seem inclined to tell us. And if she is possessed, she may not have any memory of it, so she may not be able to answer."

Shiki: "Sion......? What do you mean by possessed?"

Akiha: "...... Wait. Who is that woman, Nii−san?"

Shiki: "Who? Well────"

As I answer, a chill runs through me.

Akiha: "────────"

I don't know what happened to her disarray from earlier, but Akiha stares at me harder than usual.

Shiki: "A−Akiha, she's────"

Akiha: "Yes, I understand, Nii−san."

Liar! You don't understand at all!

Akiha: "Of course I trust you, Nii−san. But what to do now? Walking around late at night with a girl, you can't complain even if you are misunderstood, can you!?"

Shiki: "..............."

The Lady Akiha chooses a rather roundabout way of saying, "I will not hear any excuses."

This is pure intimidation.

Shiki: "No, you have it wrong! There's a reason for this────"

Sion: "Shiki, that is your sister, right?"

Shiki: "Yes, but please be quiet for a bit. I'm a little busy."

Sion: "That can wait until later. I wish to examine her, so please catch her. If she resists, you can use force."

Shiki: "Whaaa────!"

Akiha: "────"

Shiki: "Wha, what are you saying, Sion! Akiha isn't joking around, so please don't say such ridiculous things!"

Sion: "Shiki. You know you have no right to refuse me."

Shiki: "Yeah, I know, but I can't! Even if you fry my brain, I can't do that to her!"

And what Akiha will do to me will be far, far worse......!

Sion: "...... It cannot be helped. Well, certainly I must show you how things stand at least once."

Sion twitches her finger.

And then, my body starts to move on its own......?

Shiki: "Eh────Ehhh!?"

Sion: "Did I not say the Etherlite is connected to your nerves? This is its original purpose."

Shiki: "Uwaaa, stupid, stoooooopppp! This, this is a breach of human rights, this is heartless, do you enjoy doing this to others? Don't think this is over you idiiiiooooot!!!!!"

Sion: "...... Wonderful. Thanks to your insults, I do not feel guilty. Thank you for your help, Shiki."

Shiki: "Waaahh────! No way, no way! Give me another chance!"

Sion: "I decline. If you insult me like this again, I do not think I could be calm enough to continue."

Sion's fingers move again.

Totally controlled, Tohno Shiki grabs his knife.

Shiki: "Gyaaaa────! Don't make me do this!"

I scream.


Vermillion Akiha: "────"

...... With her red hair swirling, she smiles fearlessly.

...... That is anger. Unbelievable anger.

It is a great offense to the Lady Akiha for me to not refuse Sion's order to capture her.

Vermillion Akiha: "...... Oh? I do not quite know all the details, but..."

...... Oh, please just let me explain everything.

Vermillion Akiha: "It seems you are in dire need of a rough awakening, Nii−san."

Akiha cracks her knuckles.

This, this isn't an awakening, it's a punishment〜〜〜!

Shiki vs Akiha

Shiki wins

With a crash, I knock Akiha down.

Akiha: "Ahh......!"

I────I did itーーーーーー!

Foolishly caught up in the moment, I begin to wonder if I might be able to repay her endless bullying like this!

Akiha: "Kuh... so, it seems you really intend to dispose of me, Nii−san!"

My high spirits fade away;

Akiha still seems to completely misunderstand the situation.

Shiki: "No! You, you don't understand, Akiha! I didn't want to fight you, but Sion just────"

Akiha: "I understand; I'm just a nuisance to you. If I were not in the way, the Tohno family would pass to you as the eldest son; I had hoped Kohaku's fears were unjustified."

Shiki: "Wow, that Kohaku−san... still messing around and spreading rumors for fun...?"

Akiha: "But it won't be that easy, Nii−san! If you want the Tohno family, you will have to get through me first!"

"Huhuhuhuhu!" With a chuckle like a battle cry, Akiha turns and flees.

Her destination is of course the Tohno mansion.

Shiki: "────────"

Sion: "What are you waiting for, Shiki? Follow her!"

Shiki: "Eh? Sion, are you serious?"

Sion: "I am serious. I do not know why, but I strongly feel we should follow that girl right now."

Shiki: "A feeling, huh....... that doesn't seem like you. Don't you usually base your actions on more precise information?"

Sion: "You don't have to tell me that! That feeling was just a feeling! Now, let's hurry up and chase her!"

With dashing footsteps, Sion runs off.

Shiki: "You know, I'm beginning to get a bad feeling about this......"

Complaining won't do any good.

As long as I'm connected to Sion's thread, I've no choice but to go along with her.

What is This?

dead end love song!

Tohno Mansion

The Tohno mansion is always so biiig.

I think my house is big, but compared to here I think it's just teeny.

Miyako : "────────"

I go up on tiptoes to press the doorbell.

But, after thinking a little bit, walking straight in is a bad idea.

Miyako : "...... This is the enemy camp. If I'm not careful, I'll definitely get hurt."

Whatever the School might think, today isn't a duel, so I'm not being cowardly.

Anyway, if we're talking about cowardice, the people who've imprisoned Onii−chan here for so long are much worse!

Miyako : "Ah, I can get in here."

I squeeze between the railings.

Although my hand goes through easily, my cheek gets stuck. "Mugyuu..."

Miyako : "Ehehe, I messed up."

Yeah, the School is right after all; straightforward use of force is best.

Miyako : "Should I bend the railings or jump over them...?"

"Teya!" I punch the railings.

...... Disappointing. The next round will certainly be jumping, as soon as my fingers stop hurting.

Miyako : "...... Hmph. The enemy's strength is three times greater than mine."

I look up at the tall railings.

A master would just be able to leap over these no sweat.

Miyako : "Eyaaahーーーー!!"


Thinking is a weakness, so just act.

I fall to the ground with a crash.

Miyako : "Owwww....."

I stand up, rubbing my butt.

To my amazement, I see the wonderful mansion before me.

Miyako : "...... Hey, that wasn't so hard."

My eternal confusion helped out here, too.

Miyako : "Uhm... the entrance has to be over there, right?"

I gradually edge over.

...... Even though going in uninvited is wrong, I don't feel bad about it at all.

After all, the people here are the bad ones! Onii−chan is my onii−chan; I think it's weird for him to go off with a strange woman.

After that, Onii−chan didn't come to eat watermelon in summer any more.

I spent so long taking out all the seeds so it would be perfect to eat, but this year he didn't eat at the dojo with us.

Miyako : "Onii−chan, I'm sure you've been locked up. Mother says this house is full of scary people."

Huh? Wasn't it Onii−chan that said that?

Cautiously, I peek in through the window.

..... In the castle−like entrance, there are three women.

The first one's Akiha. Onii−chan says she's the strongest person in the household.

I've met her loads of times. She's person−I−have−to−beat number one.

The second one's Kohaku. Onii−chan says she's the craftiest person in the household.

She seems to always be wearing a kimono.

She has all sorts of medicine, and it seems like she always manages to take the spoils for herself at the very end.

When I got Grandpa Sougen to talk about it, he said something about her being a step away from human experimentation.

When I asked what "human experimentation" was, Grandpa told me it's like what nurses do.

...... I'm not sure why, but I feel she will be the most formidable enemy.

A master can sense another master.

Anyway, she's person−I−have−to−beat number two.

The third one's Hisui. Onii−chan says she's the most determined person in the household.

...... She doesn't look very strong, but I'm sure she's built like iron. I'm not sure how my usual punch will do against her...

Anyway, she's person−I−have−to−beat number three.

Miyako : "What are they talking about..."

The three of them seem to be arguing about something.

Akiha's shouting at Kohaku and Hisui, Hisui's shocked, and Kohaku's smiling.

Now that she's angry at them, the usually−scary Akiha is even more scary.

............ Huh?

With a thump, the floor opens and Akiha falls through.

Akiha: "You planned this, didn't you, Kohakuーーーー!"


The floor is back to normal. Kohaku giggles.

...... Yes.

I was right. Kohaku will be the most formidable enemy.

We returned to the mansion.

Shiki: "Ahh... Why did things turn out like this?"

I don't understand very well, this seems to be a natural turn of events rather than because of Sion.

...... But, it's a big problem that I beat Akiha earlier, and I have to be crazy to pick a fight by coming back.

Despite knowing that much, I had to come back to this place that drips with a certain atmosphere.

Sion: "Tohno Akiha must be inside. Come on, Shiki."

...... And Sion's personality has changed completely.......

Tohno Mansion - Lobby

Kohaku: "Welcome back, Shiki−san. Oh, we have a guest?"

Hisui: "........................"

Kohaku and Hisui are in the lobby.

...... There's no sign of Akiha.

Also, for some reason Hisui is glaring at me.

Shiki: "I'm home───sorry, but where's Akiha?"

Hisui: "Akiha−sama is not here. She was feeling tired, and so she went to bed."

...... Wow, Hisui really is angry.

Kohaku: "Yes, Akiha−sama was unusually agitated... so, I had to use just a little force to put her to sleep in a secret location"

And, that's a strangely uncouth Kohaku−san.

Shiki: "Uh, I hate to ask, but, did something happen?"

Hisui: "...... We have heard that you raised a hand against Akiha−sama. Furthermore, you have a questionable plot to take the position of Tohno family head. ...... Shiki−sama, this madness has gone too far."

Kohaku: "That's right, Shiki−san! I understand how you feel, but you mustn't have such an obvious plan! Taking over the position of Tohno family head would be a lot of trouble, right? So, isn't it much better to let Akiha−sama be the head, and manipulate her from behind the scenes? Yes, that's my project, the Perfect Tohno House Takeover Plan!"

Shiki: "No, that was just a misunderstanding, but...... Kohaku−san, didn't you just say something crazy?"

Hisui: "Shiki−sama, please do not be taken in by what Nee−san is saying."

Shiki: "Ah, of course not."

Sion: "............ Shiki, these two are of no interest. Tohno Akiha is our priority right now."

Shiki: "But even if you say that, they say Akiha isn't here, so isn't it alright?"

Sion: "No. Tohno Akiha is in this mansion. Are those two not just sheltering her?"

Shiki: "Well, yeah. They are servants of the Tohno family after all."

Kohaku: "Huhuhu... that's just like what was said five minutes ago, you know─"

Shiki: "Wha, what was that...!?"

Kohaku: "Yes? What is it, Shiki−san?"

...... Just my imagination?

For a moment, it seemed like Kohaku became some sort of magical girl... something that definitely shouldn't happen in the real world.

Shiki: "......? Shouldn't happen? Where's all this anxiety coming from?"

Huh? Speaking of which, haven't a lot of incredible things been happening?

No, there's no basis for that... but...

Sion: "───Anyway, I have no use for either of you. Shiki, let's find Tohno Akiha."

Hisui: "...... Please stop. If you are going to look for Akiha−sama, it would be rude to bring a guest."

Kohaku: "That's right! Even if you are planning a Tohno House Takeover, you have a rival. As Akiha−sama commands, we shall punish you here!"

Saying thus, the two strike a pose.

Shiki: "Stupid, what are you saying! I get it, but Sion doesn't understand jokes, if you keep on like this she might really kill...!"

But then again...

Somehow, their posture has no openings... and why do I get the feeling that they're stronger than me...?

Shiki: "Uh... do you two... know martial arts?"

Hisui: "If I may be so bold, I achieved enlightenment quite some time ago."

Kohaku: "Yes, some time ago I too became a shining−backed master with a 'kaching!'. As Akiha−sama isn't without her limits, shouldn't we at least be able to help with fights on the level of driving away burglars?"

Shiki: "────────"

That can't be true.

But then again, maybe it is.

Life has its perfect days, times when everything you do goes well.

Maybe today is that "somehow everything happens according to plan" day for Kohaku−san.

Shiki: "That's a load of nonsense! They're just being weird, Sion, saying stupid things for no reason!"

Sion: "────I see. It seems that somehow, Tatari has replaced these girls."

Sion immediately pulls out her gun.

Hisui: "...... Nee−san, this person is a bad influence on Shiki−sama. Shall we give her a proper welcome?"

Kohaku: "Yeah! Why is Shiki−san with a woman who carries a gun? Let's punish this playboy Shiki−san together right here!"

Saying this, the two strike a pose.

Sion: "...... Hmph. You think there exists the slightest possibility you could approach my level? It seems that I must adjust my calculations."

With a click, Sion releases the Etherlite from her bracelet.

Shiki: "Ahh! Why did it end up like thisーーーー!"

Shiki/Sion vs Kohaku and Hisui

Shiki/Sion win

Shiki: "Crap, I just────!"

Because the two of them were so strong (we're talking double digits stronger than I thought), I wasn't able to hold back......!

Shiki: "Sorry, you two, I'll────"

Give you first aid...... huh?

Hisui: "Uu...... Shiki−sama, how mean......"

Kohaku: "Goodness. You are a boy so you should be gentle with girls, Shiki−san."

Shiki: "......... You're fine?"

Even after receiving attacks which would give Nrvnqsr or Ciel−senpai pause, these two are still very lively.

Just what are they!?

Shiki: "Um...... Are you two unhurt?"

Hisui: "...... Yes. Fortunately, I only seem to have some bruising."

Kohaku: "What are you saying, Hisui−chan!? A bruise is a serious wound for a girl! If you have a bruise, then we have to make Shiki take responsibility!"

...... Hisui has some bruises.

Kohaku−san is miraculously unhurt.

Shiki: "............ This is weird. This is just weird."

Sion: "...... It certainly is abnormal. Why am I in this place?"

Shiki: "Why are you──Sion, didn't you say to come here?"

Sion: "......... Forgive me. As you say, I had a lapse in judgment. Since we have no business here, we should quickly return to town. If we stay here too long, Tatari will truly be determined."

Shiki: "......? Well, it is helpful you see things that way. I don't feel good leaving these two alone, but it's best if we do so."

Alright. The two of us head towards the door.

Kohaku: "Huhuhu. That will just not do, Shiki−san. You must take responsibility for hurting Hisui−chan."

Shiki: "Eh?"

Kohaku: "And that guest over there said she wanted to meet Akiha−sama, so now that we are here we may as well guide you. Yes, everything is my joke〜〜〜〜"

Shiki: "Huhhh?"

The instant I didn't feel any danger from her was the instant I lost.

The sound of something opening at my feet.

Sion: "A trap, a trap door, Shiki!"

Shiki: "Uwaa, You planned this, didn't you, Kohaku−sanーーーー!"



To involve even Onii−chan in her evil plans, this Kohaku must be truly a bad person.

Miyako: "...... But, even if she is an enemy, she is quite good."

It seems like Kohaku and Hisui are plotting something.

...... I wonder what they are saying......

Hisui: "...... Nee−san, this is going too far. Not even generous Akiha−sama or Shiki−sama will allow us to get away with this......"

Kohaku: "Oh my, you are quite weak−willed, Hisui−chan. Once begun we have to see it to the finish, right? We finally have our chance."

Hisui: ".................."

Kohaku: "If you are like that, Akiha−sama will monopolize Shiki−san. I want you to be set up with Shiki−san and for Akiha−sama to be envious of you two. I enjoy watching the three of you. Come on, our goals are the same so sisters have to stick together."

Hisui: "...... That is true...... but, I think something is wrong, Nee−san."

Kohaku: "Nothing is wrong. You have to seize what you want with all your power! Do I not always tell you that if you wish strong enough, what you want will come true?"

Hisui: "..............."

Kohaku: "Now that we have decided, we must hurry. Shiki−san and Akiha−sama are most likely escaping from the basement, so we have to rely on our door guard. Hisui−chan, are you ready?"

Hisui: "............ Yes. If it is that person, then there will soon be a fight."

Kohaku: "Huhu, huhuhuhuhu......! You can't use your usual method to fight your next opponent, Shiki−san......!"

Miyako: "────"


Kohaku is amazing.

'You have to seize what you want with all your power!'

This is the first time I heard anyone say that with so much passion.

Miyako: ".................."

I thought I would defeat Kohaku and then meet Onii−chan, but that can wait.

I want to watch Kohaku a little more.

Tohno Mansion - Underground Kingdom


When I come to, I'm in an earthen hell......

I'm at the bottom of some subterranean cave, some greedy person's forced labor camp......!!!!!

Shiki: "Yeah...... But I do need the money......!!"

...... But,

this isn't the time to be saying stupid things.

Shiki: "...... Crap. Just what is Kohaku−san thinking? There's a limit to playing pranks."

Sion: "I think there is something wrong with you if you take this as just some prank."

Akiha: "That is true. It is because Nii−san is like this that Kohaku and Hisui think they can do such things."

Shiki: "...... What do you mean? Kohaku−san is always mischievous. It doesn't have anything to do with me, Akiha──── Wait. Whatーーー!? Why are you here, Akiha!?"

Akiha: "Is it not obvious? I was also made to fall down here by Kohaku. There is no other reason to be here."

Shiki: "Oh, I see. But for you to fall down here means Kohaku is being pretty indiscriminate."

It may be her revenge on Akiha.

Or maybe, she really is raising the flag of rebellion.

...... No, let's not think of such scary things.

Akiha: "How come Kohaku made you fall down here? I was told I was put here under your orders."

Shiki: "Don't be stupid. I was told it was because they were protecting you."

Akiha: "....................."

Shiki: "....................."

Sion: "In other words, this girl named Kohaku plotted to remove the both of you."

Shiki: "......... Ah, it really is that, then?"

Akiha: "You have no problem saying difficult things, do you?"

Sion: "Because it is the truth. It is my assessment that she has also changed dramatically rather recently."

Akiha: "Hmm? Kohaku is always strange... do you know anything special about all this?"

My little sister jumps to the heart of the matter.

Sion: "Yes. She is acting as if possessed by the vampire Tatari. ...... No, it is more accurate to say she is benefiting from Tatari."

Shiki: "Vampire... the rumored vampire!?"

Sion: "Energy without a vessel that can become a vampire. Tatari is something which resides in the 'form of people's anxiety', and may sometimes reside in those humans who share the same wavelength. In those cases, the ones possessed exhibit no outward change, but everything proceeds along according to their thoughts. ...... Although this is only an extension of their abilities."

Shiki: "............ Uh, what does that mean, exactly?"

Sion: "For tonight, the one known as Kohaku will be an expert at mostly everything she does. You saw how she fought earlier, right? That is also the backing of Tatari."

Shiki: "Wha───so, if Kohaku−san wanted to snare Akiha, then───"

Actually, she already did.

Shiki: "Then she can?"

Sion: "...... This will not do. I have been treated poorly by Kohaku. I only told them I did not need their opinion on this affair, and that they were not useful and should just be quiet... And that if they disagreed, they were free to quit... but if they did quit, I wouldn't introduce them to another mansion for work. ...... I only said that because I was worried about them. I do not think Kohaku should be holding a grudge."

Shiki: "────────"

No, she holds one.

She definitely holds one.

Sion: "I do not know what she is thinking, but there is approximately one hour before she completely becomes Tatari. At midnight, Tatari will appear and will not end until morning."

Shiki: "...... Akiha. Don't we have to do something about Kohaku? If she becomes Tatari, the Tohno family will be in deep trouble."

Akiha: "Yes, it would mean certain doom for Misaki Town. I will question you later about this woman here, but for now, let us work together to stop Kohaku."

Her hair flashes red and Akiha becomes full of fury.

It is exactly what we need, but the problem is who she will direct that fury against.

...... Yeah.

I have to make sure it's not against me for being with Sion.

Sion: "That is correct. ...... It has become the worst−case scenario, so I will also help."

Shiki: "Oh, I can see above ground now. What's this? That was pretty easy."

Akiha: "Look out, Nii−san!"

Shiki: "These are ...... Black Keys?"

Akiha: "Show yourself, Curry!"

Ciel: "Tohno−kun, return to jail."

Shiki: "Senpai!? ...... Although you seem a little different. Hey."

Ciel: "Tohno−kun, return to jail. I repeat. Tohno−kun, return to jail."

Akiha: "It seems you are being manipulated. It appears to be Hisui's work...... but it is still pretty surprising. Even though you talk so big, you seemed to be easily used, Curry−senpai."

Ciel: "Tohno−kun, return to jail. I repeat. Tohno−kun, return to jail. I need to speak with you, Akiha−san. Tohno−kun, return to jail. I repeat. I need to speak with you, Akiha−san."

Akiha: "───Oh? It seems you are brainwashed to use any means against anyone except for Nii−san. Very well, shall we settle this once and for all!?"

Shiki: "S−stop! Shouldn't we be more worried about Kohaku−san instead of Senpai!?"

Sion: "It is useless, Shiki. Until we defeat that agent, we cannot move forward. Leave it to me and her. Please go on ahead, Shiki!"

Sion/Akiha vs Ciel

Sion/Akiha win

Shiki: "...... I managed to escape ahead of them, but I wonder if Akiha and Sion are going to be okay...... what is this killing aura......!?"

Kohaku: "Eiii, administering anesthesia."

Shiki: "Uwaa, that was close!"

Kohaku: "Oh no, you escaped...... You were right in front of me, but I failed. It's a little embarrassing."

Shiki: "...... Kohaku−san, that isn't what you should be embarrassed about."

Kohaku: "Oh, now what? Since I have been caught like this, I just have to give an even stronger injection?"

Shiki: "Uh, no, that's not it either."

Kohaku: "Um, sorry, Shiki−san. This will hurt a little bit, so please bear with it......!"

Shiki: "Hey! Please stop it with the needle attacks!"

Shiki vs Kohaku

Shiki wins

Shiki: "Got you. Kohaku−san, I know you're desperate, but I don't think you can win against me all by yourself."

Kohaku: "Oh...... Shiki−san, it is not like you to not hold back......"

Shiki: "It all depends on the circumstances. You might not realize it, but you've been possessed by something dangerous.

So even if it takes getting rough, you have to be calm tonight.

Kohaku: "...... That is too bad...... If you joined with me we could have destroyed this world that Akiha−sama controls together...... boo hoo."

Shiki: "Uh───that certainly is a fascinating offer, but......" (It's best to avoid fights you have no chance of winning, you know......)

Akiha: "The fight is over, Kohaku. It is not like you to directly try and dispose of us, but this is fate. Give up."

Akiha: "Well? Since you are so smart, you have to know what punishment awaits for traitors."

Shiki: "(That Akiha, she's serious...... I even feel sorry for Kohaku−san......)"

Kohaku: "(Here's my chance!)"

Shiki: "Ow......!"

Kohaku: "Huhu, in attention is your enemy, Shiki−san! And Akiha−sama, the fight has not yet begun!"

Akiha: "You still insist on resisting? I understand that Nii−san did not hold back since you were possessed by a vampire. You must understand that I will be even harder on you. You and Hisui cannot win against us."

Kohaku: "Mayyybe〜. But I completed the ultimate weapon just in case this happened〜!"

Shiki: "Hey, she escaped."

Akiha: "Go after her, Nii−san! This is our chance to thoroughly beat it into her just who is the master around here!"

Shiki: "...... Akiha, you should hold back at least a little......"

Sion: "...... Strange...... when did things become like this......?"

Tohno Mansion - Lobby

Kohaku: "Huhuhu, you have come far, Shiki−san, Akiha−sama and somebody I do not know!"

Shiki: "────Who, huh?"

Kohaku: "But, you are a little too late. While you were walking around clueless, I completed the ultimate weapon for the Tohno House Subjugation Plan!!"

Shiki: "Wha──? 'Ultimate weapon'......!? Kohaku, don't tell me you have biochem weapons......!?"

Kohaku: "Huhuhu, I will not use those kinds of methods. 'Medicine is for helping people.' Please remember that unwritten law of mine〜"

Akiha: "Heh. Enough, hurry up and use your ultimate weapon or whatever. It's probably some muscle enhancer, so even if you become slightly stronger, you cannot────"

???: "──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Firing Laser."

Shiki: "Uwaaa, look out! That was a laser, a laser!"

Sion: "You look like you are having fun, Shiki."

Shiki: "But it's a laser! There's no guy out there not excited by cameras or fighters or optical weapons!"

Sion: "Enjoy it all you want, but you should take a look at that."

Shiki: "That? ────────Tha────whaaaaaaaaaaaat!?"

Mech Hisui: "Three targets, confirmed. Initiating attack program."

Shiki: "Hi, Hihihi, Hisuiiiiiiii!?"

Kohaku: "Wrong! This is the Latent City Subjugation Weapon, Pleasant Type, developed in secret from Akiha−sama by the Tohno Group Weapons Division. It is also known as Mech−HISUI−chan! Hey, Mech−HISUI−chan."

Mech Hisui: "Discard your weapons."

Kohaku: "Kyaaaa, lovelyーーーーー!!!!! Okay, okay. All systems go! Please inflict an amount of pain that will not be fatal!"

Mech Hisui: "Executing."

Shiki/Sion/Vermillion Akiha vs Mech Hisui

Shiki/Sion/Vermillion Akiha win

...... It's over.

It was a very (physically and mentally) taxing battle, but it's finally over.

The Pleasant Type Weapon Mech−HISUI−chan kneels in the lobby as black smoke rises.

Mech Hisui: "System Shutdown. Executing kamikaze function. Default target−lock, Akiha−sama. Self−destructing."

The Strongest Enemy


Shiki: "Akihaーーーー!?"

Sion: "Shiki, it was only a flash grenade. Tohno Akiha is safe───"

Kohaku: "Eii! Secret injection!"

Akiha: "Wha────eh......?"

What speed!

Kohaku sneaks behind Akiha and plunges a needle into her neck!

Akiha: "H───huh...... I feel, hot...... Kohaku, what, did, you────"

Kohaku: "Huhuhu, you two are really strong. I did not think I would have to use this final backup plan."

Sion: "......! Shiki, get back! That injection was some sort of strengthening drug. The waves emanating from Tohno Akiha are increasing......!"

Shiki: "Ko, Kohaku−san, what in the world did you do to Akiha......!"

Kohaku: "My final backup plan. You and Akiha−sama are both strong, right? My strategy is to have you two face off and bring the winner to my side."

Sion: "...... To your side... you are thinking it is easier to bring Tohno Akiha to your side than Shiki, are you not? But Shiki is weak against Tohno Akiha, and my siding with Shiki would make things more difficult. So you decided to strengthen Tohno Akiha───"

Kohaku: "Correct answer! Mech−HISUI−chan was merely the opening performance! And now for the climax, Shiki−san!"

Akiha: "Do...... don't, be ridiculous Kohaku...... why do I have to fight, Nii−san───"

Kohaku: "Huhuhu, well, you knowー"

Kohaku−san grins like a mischievous cat.

There's a strange noise coming from Akiha as she breathes painfully───

Shiki: "Huh?"

Sion: "What?"

Giant Akiha: "Eh...... wait, this can't be happening......!?"

Shiki: "Eeeehーーーーーーー!?"

Sion: "──────────(dizzy)"

Kohaku: "All done! It's a success! The solution to the 21st century's hunger problem!"


Giant Akiha: "Wha────Ko, Kokokoko, Kohaku, just what did you inject me wiiiiiiith!?!?!?!?"

Akiha's voice booms throughout the lobby.

It doesn't sound very human.

Well, it's so loud, it's only natural.

Kohaku: "Oh, this? Its sample name is Makikyuu X. It is a rare item made from a mixture of wormwood, brandy, scallops, shrimp, and various leftover chemical substances from these past five years and then divided in half. It is used to enlarge living things, as if magnifying them. Akiha−sama is now a giant, with everything given a 10x power up!"

Shiki: "Ah, I get it now. That's why her clothes got larger too."

Giant Akiha: "......! Don't just casually accept things, Nii−san! In the first place, I cannot approve of such an omission where only the upper half of my body appears onscreen......!"

Shiki: "That can't be helped, can it? If your entire body was shown, this would turn into more of a shooting game rather than a fighting game."

Kohaku: "Yesー. It is unfortunate, we cannot show how poorly you walk now. But please rest assured, Akiha−sama. As you are now, your chest and below has to be in the basement, right? In this position, no one can point out your chest proportions!"

Giant Akiha: "───Hu. Uhuhu, huhuhuhuhu......!! Kohaku, have you prepared your will yet......!?"

The giant Akiha roars.

From now on, let's call her G−Akiha.

Kohaku: "Oh my, that will not do, Akiha−sama. The effects of the drug are somewhat permanent. Because of the Makikyuu X, you will remain as G−Akiha−sama. However, I do have an anti−Makikyuu X, called Tonamin Z!"

G Akiha: "Hmph...... what are you trying to say, Kohaku."

Kohaku: "It is best for you to listen to my request if you want to return to your original body. No, you can say that if you wish to remain as G−Akiha−sama your entire life, you can just bake and burn me right here."

G Akiha: "Grr────grr, gr────"

Grind Grind

Akiha grinds her teeth with incredible chagrin.

Amazing.Even the grinding of her teeth is overwhelming───wait, this isn't the time to be a spectator.

Shiki: "...... (Well, in other words, I'm going to have to end up fighting that.)"

Shiki: "────Alright, let's run away. Sion, while Akiha and Kohaku−san are talking, we can────"

Sion: "......................................................................................."

...... It's useless.

The sheer absurdity of the situation has fried Sion's brain.

She neatly crumbles to the floor.

Kohaku: "Now let's go, G−Akiha−sama! Unless you beat Shiki−san and lock him in the dungeon, I will not give you the antidote to return you to normal!"

G Akiha: "───Enough already, I have no choice......! Nii−san, I have no ill will against you, but I will have to beat you up!"

Shiki: "Uwaa, are you serious......!! Stop it, Akiha! The house will break, the house will break!"

G Akiha: "Uhuhuhu────In that case, you should just surrender without resisting!"

Is she serious now? G−Akiha attacks.

Sion is still unconscious behind me.

Shiki: "Dang, all I can do is fight......!?"

Shiki vs G Akiha

Shiki wins

G Akiha: "...... I bore so much shame and fought, yet to be defeated by Nii−san when he is so small────"

Shiki: "That's not it, sister. You were simply in a bad position to begin with. Well, I think you're probably strongest when you're normal."

G Akiha: "Hmph───What kind of power up is this, stupid Kohaku...... you will, regret this────"

Kohaku: "Eh? Huh? H−hey Akiha−sama, if you are going to collapse, do it forward, forward! Please collapse on Shiki−san......!"

G Akiha: "Quiet...... You are coming with me, Kohaku......!"

Kohaku: "Kyaーーーー! Stーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー Oーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー Pーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー!!!!"

With a large crash, G−Akiha comes tumbling down.

The fleeing Kohaku−san gets pinned underneath.

Shiki: "...... It's over. It's all over."

It may be over, but how does one cope with this?

Sion: "...... Shiki. What is this rumbling......?"

She must have woke from Akiha collapsing.

If she shamelessly awoke from that, then she probably never lost consciousness in the first place.

Shiki: "That was the end of the person pulling the strings."

Sion: "...... I see. Then it was not a dream after all...... Yes, it is said the Night of Tatari is a nightmare, but it was quite the extraordinary nightmare."

Shiki: "I agree, but what do we do? Can it be fixed?"

Sion: "It is not possible. I deal with the unknown, and I am unsure I wish to know."

Shiki: "Oh man. Then we have to help Kohaku−san, then...... hm?"

With the sound of something like air escaping from a balloon, G−Akiha returns to just Akiha.

Sion: "....................."

Sion seems to be having a massive headache.

...... I understand how she feels, but this is all for the best.

It wouldn't be good to leave something that big just sleeping in the lobby, and having Akiha return to normal size does help out Kohaku−san who was trapped underneath.

Kohaku: "Ah, Ahhhh...... I can't breathe...... Akiha−sama, please forgive meeeeee......"

Akiha: "...... Kohaku, I hope you are prepared...... first, I will begin by throwing away all those suspicious things in your room......"

Kohaku: "Ah, anything but that...... next time, I will learn from this failure and perfect a breast enhancement drug..."

Akiha: "How many times must I tell you, I do not need that...... well, I will not be fooled again......"

Kohaku: "Oogh, next time it'll be perfect〜〜〜......"

Shiki: "....................."

It seems the fight between Kohaku−san and Akiha is still going on.

Shiki: "...... Sion. Kohaku−san is okay now, right?"

Sion: "Yes, she is no longer acting as Tatari's antenna. In the first place, she was only a receiver, as a third party believing she was a witch was necessary. ...... And with her defeat, that also fades away. Unfortunately, Tatari will no longer occur in this town."

Shiki: "??? Unfortunately? What do you mean, unfortunately?"

Sion: "I meant for me. ...... With Tatari gone, I cannot gain any results. I have no more reason to stay in town."

Sion: "Shiki, I have removed the Etherlite from you. With this, we are no longer connected. Let us say goodbye."

Shiki: "Eh───but Sion, you still have to fulfill your goals, right?"

Sion: "It is not a matter of fulfilling, as I am now no longer able to fulfill them. ...... It is meaningless to say I am unsatisfied. Time is precious, so I must be going. Even if it was only for a short time, I thank you for your help."

Shiki: "Eh────wait, Sion!"

Sion does not stop.

Along with the enigmas of this summer, she disappears without anything being brought to light.

Shiki: "...... It's a shame, but if she says she has no business here..."

I see the girl off that I spent only a short time with. And, behind me,

Kohaku: "mumble mumble ...... how is this, Akiha−sama? With this, you can defeat that insensitive blockhead Shiki−san......"

Akiha: "ZZzz...... I said, I will not be taken in by your words, Kohaku......"

The two of them hold a conversation as they talk in their sleep in the ruins of the lobby.

Shiki: "...... What a nightmare."

I make a wish.

When they wake up, I hope they try and forget everything that happened.

Well, in the end,

this too is

a midsummer night's dream─────