Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Behind her obsidian eyes there was a light of strong conviction. Mikoto knew that she had a seemingly strong sense of justice, but for it to be actually so strong?
(The spirit of self-sacrifice and the urge to help…… huh?)
Mikoto could feel that Masumi’s string sense of justice was beginning to slowly seep into her.
After school, both Mikoto and Masumi went to the roof of the main school building and stood at its west end, overlooking the pool.
“Someplace…… like…… this……?”
Masumi clings to Mikoto’s arm, averting her gaze from the roof’s edge and shivering all over. It seems that she wasn’t good with high places. The wind suddenly blows and her long black hair dance on it.
“It’s so dangerous…… Did we really had to come here?”
“Well, yes. It’s to prevent youmas from hurting you.”
Mikoto leans back to the roof and smiles bitterly. Last night she failed to notice it, but this building was pretty high. This was also the place where she separated from Takeru, and that decision cost her her dear little sister’s health. She couldn’t forgive herself for that.
(No matter how I look at it, it was stupid of me……)
She needed to calm herself down. Otherwise, if she won’t do that, Takeru’s life is going to get in even more danger.
“So, umm…… Those demons, they are called youma……?”
“Yes, and they managed to defeat Takeru. Frostbites, aqua bullets…… Umm, this means that the element of that youma was ‘Water’ while Takeru uses ‘Wind’….. Wait a minute, no, Fujisawa-san doesn’t need to know this much for now.”
“No, please, we don’t know whether we might find some clue. Please, tell me everything you know.”
Said Masumi with an innocent look on her face. She was surprisingly diligent. She wanted to learn new things, and every time she learned something new she would have tons of questions. Hoping that Takeru wouldn’t get mad at her afterwards, Mikoto began speaking, producing a torrent of words from her mouth.
“Let’s see, there are five basic elements theory. It says that everything in this world can be derived from one of the five basic elements: fire, wind, earth, water and lightning. These elements can be combined with each other, but some of them are compatible, while som others are not……”
She was also going to teach her about other instruments helpful in performing a successful exorcism, like salt, ofudas and chopsticks, however, she had to give up on the idea seeing in Masumi’s eyes that she was already having trouble in keeping up with all that new information.
(Right, but from here on out I must work extra hard……)
She took Masumi with her, but it was as far as she would let her help –– without proper specialist knowledge it would be impossible for Masumi to perform even the shred of work that Takeru normally did.
They went back into the school building, while Mikoto was talking about basic concepts of magic used in performing exorcisms.
“So, I guess magic was your little sister’s specialty?”
Masumi was asking Mikoto question after question. Her curiosity knew no bounds.
“Oh, yeah, about that…… Ah, that’s right. Take a look at this.”
Mikoto stopped at the landing in between the flight of stairs, and took a small pieces of paper out of her pocket, the like of which were placed all over the walls here and there. These Shinoto charms would stand out in this Academy way too much, that is why Takeru placed aspell on them, one that would hide them from the eyes of normal students.
And since Masumi had no clue about magic, in her eyes, the paper slip appeared mostly out of thin air. She looked at the paper with utmost curiosity, and then back at Mikoto.[This is an ofuda. See those red and black lines and symbols? Their main purpose is to let us know if the evil spirits were passing through the points at which they were placed.]
Mikoto explained with proud, feeling somewhat better for some reason. She lets go of the paper and lets it fall onto the ground, where a few small red stains appear on the paper a few centimeters from its edge.
“The more youmas pass through a certain point, the more stains you get and the bigger they become. Here we can see that a few youmas were passing through here somewhat recently.”
Takeru was using those detectors to measure the level of demonic infestation in the Academy. So it was only natural that Mikoto wanted to do the same.
Next they began to walk around the school, replacing old detectors with new ones, while Masumi was keeping count as to where the detectors activated and how many stains were on each of them. It took Takeru almost a week to set them all up, whilst Mikoto was staying out of it, not wanting to get in her little sister’s way.
Replacing the detectors they went down to the first floor and crossed the courtyard covered in green grass, and then they went back into the school building. Going from there, they were tailing the trail left by youmas, that was going back and forth.
“Let’s see…… Three stains here. There was had two stains, and over there there is only one.”
They reach the top of the stairs, and went to the place where the corridors were crossing one another. It was there that Mikoto saw a huge stain form on the charm’s surface and twisted her neck in the direction from which it was coming from. If it was Takeru she might have noticed that immediately, but it was hard for Mikoto, who never did any kind of sorcery or scouting herself.
Mikoto then felt someone pulling on the sleeve around her elbow. When she looked down, she saw Masumi’s cute face. She looked as if she wanted to say something.
“Umm…… I know that this is only an idea of a complete amateur, but will you listen to me?”
She presented Mikoto with a piece of paper with lots of arrows, numbers and symbols written all over it. Mikoto stared at the paper for a while before finally noticing what it was and saying “Ooh!?” quite loud.
“Judging by the layout of the corridors here, and the placements of the detectors as well as the directions from which youmas are coming from, there may be more of them coming from the top, don’t you think?”
“Uh…… Yeah, you’re right. That’s right, you’re absolutely right!”
It was so obvious of an answer now that Mikoto thought about it. But she must have been so preoccupied with the idea of youmas coming from below that she never thought that they may be coming from above as well.
(To think that an amateur like Fujisawa-san was so sharp-minded, ugh…… Even though Takeru was the one who used to teach me about that stuff……)
Her pride as a hard working Exorcist was hurt just a little bit by that, but that didn’t matter right now. Their top priority for the moment was to find youmas nest as soon as possible.
“From the top, huh…… Fujisawa-san, is there anything to the north-east? Anything at all?”
If they had their nest somewhere nearby, they would probably emerge from the north-east. It was a good strategic location. If only they thought about that sooner, Takeru wouldn’t have…… No, thinking about it isn’t going to get her anywhere right now. She needed to go there fast, without overthinking things.
“To the north-east, that would probably be the eastern side of the special classrooms building!”
Masumi dropped her gaze on the sketch in her hands, her black hair swaying gently. But then she suddenly shivered heavily. There was no way, but, it looks like, those symptoms: shivering, coughing, staggering…… No matter how you look at it, something was wrong with this girl.
“What’s wrong, Fujisawa-san?”
“No, umm…… A, anyways, let us go!”
Masumi said while walking up the stairs. More than anything, she seemed as if she was running away from something. Mikoto looks behind one last time before going after her.
The eastern hallway of the third floor of the special classrooms building turned out to be a dead end. There was nothing there on both sides of the hallway. No windows, no door, only a lone statue of Virgin Mary. To the south there were stair leading to the lower floor, and on the other side of the hallway, instead of stairs there was a small balcony.
(Maybe it has something to do with this statue?)
Mikoto thinks like that while looking at the statue of Virgin Mary while cocking her head slightly. For all of the students here at the Seisen Girl’s Academy, the Virgin Mary was someone they were all deeply admiring. It would be a huge shock if it turned out that she was the source of this malevolent aura.