Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Mikoto sets one detector behind the statue, where no one would be able to see it. She let Masumi rest on the chair that she procured from the nearby science classroom.
“Alright, so now…… You can rest assured, Fujisawa-san. It seems that this statue has nothing to do with it.”
Although there were some stains on the detector, they were rather blurred, not clearly visible. If this statue was the source of youma infestation, the detector would be almost completely covered in stains.
However, Masumi did not reply. She was standing at the north end of the corridor, looking at the stairs with a pale face. No, not the stairs. Rather, the balcony right next to them?
(Is something there?)
Mikoto walked to Masumi, and followed the girl’s gaze, looking onto the balcony opposite of the stairs. There was nothing of interest there ––––– at that moment.
The detector was covered in many thick black stains. Although it was coming from the place way over the handrails, the further Mikoto pointed the paper the dirtier it was becoming.
(From above here……?)
She looked up, but there was nothing there, not even stairs to go up. The source of the youma couldn’t be in a place that defies laws of physics, so she thought it might be somewhere on the wall, but it wasn’t. These youmas were of low class, so they were unable to fly. They could technically use their tentacles to scale up walls, but that was making them much slower and easier to pick up and destroy.
(But even so, the detector shows that there are quite a lot of youma somewhere around here. Just look at the speed at which the stains appear……)
She then imagines a landslide of youmas falling down the stairs. But there were no stairs here to speak of. If they were really on the wall, it would be way faster to fall to the lower floor instead of emerging on this one, but considering the detector here and the one at the statue, they were recently passing through the very point where Mikoto was standing right now.
“…… What is going on here?”
She mumbled that to herself, and in that exact moment Masumi, who was still shaking right beside her, says in a cracking voice.
“…… It’s one of the Seven Mysteries of this Academy.”
Mikoto took Masumi to the empty classroom where she put her hand on her shoulder and waited until the girl eventually managed to calm herself enough to speak.
“Yes…… It a superstition, not much different from a children’s fairy tale.”
Her words were difficult to understand and hard to hear. Mikoto thought she would be able to do something for her, but she was wrong –––––– she could only watch her collect herself on her own. It looks like she wasn’t only cute, but also strong.
(I’m sure she’s trying to live her life to the fullest, despite all the problems she may have……)
Even though their age was about the same, she was so different from Mikoto –– she thought it was truly amazing. She suddenly felt embarrassed that she was feeling jealous of her not so long ago. She placed her hand on Masumi’s blazer again.
“Superstitions, like that…… It’s something I absolutely cannot forgive.”
Feeling encouraged, Masumi managed to squeeze out her voice again.
“This here is the sacred place of learning bestowed upon us by God, so superstitions in a place like this are just…… That is why ever since I enrolled in this Academy and became the Student Council President, I worked together with the teachers to root out this nonsense about the Seven Mysteries. That place…… The thirteen stair of the special classrooms building’ east side staircase is one of them.”
“Thirteen stair? As if, the stair that appears only in the specific location at the specific hour?”
Masumi’s facial expression turned into that of a complete astonishment as she looked up on Mikoto.
“How did you know?”
‘Umm, I didn’t know about this particular case. But it is a rather famous ghost story pretty much everywhere you go.”
Mikoto answers, feeling her cheeks becoming bright red for some reason. It was as Masumi have said –– it was nothing more but a childlike play.
“We used to go to a lot of different places for work, and you could hear that story or some variations of it pretty much everywhere.”
It was a typical ghost story: should you appear at the staircase alone at a certain hour, you would be able to see and additional stair for a short amount of time.
(It gets really scary when normal and well-behaved people starts to talk about things like that.)
Even someone like Mikoto, who was well versed in knowledge regarding magic and demons, would sometimes fall victim to scary stories like that. Oh well, it didn’t mattered that much at the moment.
“To be honest, because of that policy of yours, Fujisawa-san, our job got way more complicated. Because of your restriction on Seven Mysteries, nobody really wanted to tell us anything……”
“I know…… I’m sorry. I never would have thought that a story like this would be……”
Seeing just how serious Masumi was about that, Mikoto couldn’t help it but to burst into laughter.
“Ahaha, you’re overthinking this way too much, Fujisawa-san. Even if you didn’t forbid it and we heard about the Seven Mysteries right after we got here, we wouldn’t be able to do much about that right off the bat.”
“I just said it, didn’t I? Stories like that are pretty much everywhere you go. If it is passed around like that, no one would really use them for anything, since they would be immediately found out.”
It wasn’t a lie. No matter just how much the teachers and the Student Council would try to get rid of it, the Seven Mysteries couldn’t possibly be erased from existence just like that. Takeru probably knew about them already, since she was doing extensive research almost every day. And if she didn’t tell Mikoto about it, it probably means that she deemed that information to be unrelated to the case.
“Yeah, that’s right. There’s nothing for you to feel guilty about, Fujisawa-san. For now, it is important that we focus on identifying the one who is behind all this.”
“So…… Does that mean that I was of some use after all?”
When Mikoto pats her back in a friendly manner, Masumi blushed slightly and smiled in a cute way.