Chance Encounter
Illuminated shops, flickering billboards, the light of streetlamps, they all force back the darkness that descends from the night’s sky.
A nightless city.
By appearances it can be branded a prosperous city, yet there also exists a shadow.
Not a perfect darkness, but by no means bright.
Who’s over there?
Artificial light wasted on pleasure. That underside that continues in the faint light of twilight. Like a witching hour where strange things occur again and again.
No miracles or special rituals are necessary, you can simply walk and arrive at this different world.
Different from the world ruled by law, a lawless space.
In the great city’s shadow, ruled by violence, tonight there strides a befitting beast.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Nuts to you!”
Looking down at the young man that had collapsed to the ground of a dimly lit back alley, a young girl utters this short English sentence in a ridiculing tone.
Normally you could interpret such as phrase as ‘saying something foolish’ or ‘stop joking around’, but the old usage of the term means ‘drop dead’.
You might say ‘go to hell’ is more appropriate in a situation like this, but to the young girl saying, ‘Nuts to you!’ was a kind of rule.
The katakana pronunciation is difficult to say fluently.
However, the young girl’s English aside, the young man collapsed on the ground that the remark was aimed at obviously bears a fatal wound.
From the torn throat of the young man, a massive quantity of blood is flowing out.
In the young girl’s hand, is a knife dripping with blood.
However, had a person been present to witness this scene, they would have certainly interpreted it thinking;
——Has this young girl really killed him?
The height of the man who has become a corpse, certainly exceeds 180 centimetres. And his muscle mass appears appropriate for his size.
On the other hand the young girl is at most 140 centimetres. Jeans covering her slender legs. Even with her arms concealed by a leather jacket, from her narrow shoulder width you can judge that they’re surely delicate.
Despite holding a deadly weapon, you wouldn’t think she could kill the man with such a vastly larger build.
However, there is only one girl standing in this place.
She is unaffected by the corpse her eyes were looking down to examine, as she nimbly swung her knife.
With a specially processed knife blade, the blood comes off easily.
The girl folds the knife and pushes it into her right pocket, turning her back on the corpse.
And she immediately quickly walks away at a brisk pace.
From the pedestrian alleyway that’s closed to vehicles, to the two-lane road.
This area is also covered by the traffic control system but parked on the hard shoulder are four wheeled vehicles with the control system disabled through illegal modifications.
At night this area is a kind of lawless zone. The police have no desire to allocate manpower for parking violations. So instead, when the whimsical police decide to appear, no youth is reckless enough to voice complaint when the tow truck removes their vehicle. By not making trouble for each other, the great city’s light and shadow are able to coexist.
The girl surveys the row of cars once, and immediately steps up to the grey box wagon, opens the passenger seat door and gets in without hesitation.
“Good work Nuts, how did it go?”
At the same time as the door closed, the man sitting in the driving seat, who going by appearances you would think is in his thirties, starts talking to the girl.
“The ‘main dish’ didn’t appear.”
The young girl called Nuts, complained in a boyish voice at odds with her adorable outer appearance.
“The leader’s boy has entered into the establishment.”
Began the man in the driving seat, showing her the name of the club.
“The boy looks old”
The girl’s response was not intended to be biting, and she listened intently to the information the man delivered.
“There’s a metal detector in the store, isn’t there?”
Said the young girl, folding the knife and handing it to the man.
The man took the folded knife, and then replaced it with a barrette set containing an ornate Kanzashi hairpin which he presented to the girl.
Attached near the end of the Kanzashi is a fan shaped ornament, decorated with a further tiny folding fan dangling from by a string.
“The Kanzashi is made of resin so it won’t trigger a response from the metal detectors. Pull on the decorative string, and the outer resin will peel off revealing a ten-centimetre blade.”
“Only ten centimetres?”
“Why don’t you think of it was a push dagger?”
“I don’t think I’m broad enough to wield this.”
“If it’s you Nuts, I’m sure you’ll manage. Oh, after you pull the string it will begin to decompose after ten minutes so be careful.”
At the man’s irresponsible words, a frown formed on Nuts’s young face. However, the man didn’t take back the Kanzashi hairpin.
“……If you don’t use it, you’ll have to go barehanded.”
Grimacing she unfastens her hairband, then first unfastens her braided hair before skilfully collecting it up, pinning it into place with the barrette hairclip and inserting the Kanzashi hairpin.
Without a moment’s delay a hand-mirror is presented to her from the driving seat, changing the angle of the mirror several times, the girl and said, “It suits me……” letting out a sigh.
“Here you go.”
This time the man presented her with a pouch containing make-up and related instruments.
“That tunic, I think would be just right for the atmosphere.”
And he points at the wagon’s rear seat.
The rear seat has been laid flat, hanging from the ceiling are no less than ten sets of clothing. All of them are women’s clothes, different outfits meant for the young girl’s benefit.
“These don’t suit me……”
The girl unenthusiastically grumbles at the situation.
Nevertheless, the girl understood the necessity of adjusting her outward appearance for the sake of sneaking in.
She rotated her seat to face towards the rear, took off her leather jacket and picked up the floral tunic.
◇ ◇ ◇
It was a popular nightclub for young people.
Into an alleyway devoid of life, a man and a woman exited.
The young man possessed a tall build with a silhouette like a reversed triangle.
The young girl had a small build and was wearing a Kanzashi —— Nuts.
The young man’s gait is unsteady. Intoxication, or possibly drugs are showing their effects.
Even so, or possibly, for this reason the hand roused by lust was restraining the girl and stopped them from parting.
The right arm behind the young girls back, was pulling her petite frame close.
His hand is lowered to her waist as to turn her into an embrace, but due to the height difference he cannot reach. Irritated the young man brings his hand up at a crawl and grasps the young girl’s chest.
“It hurts…… Don’t be so rough……”
Escaping the girl’s mouth, a sweet petition.
The young man was cruelly stimulated by this addition, his left hand took hold of the girl’s head and forcibly drew it closer.
“Wait……! Please, wait!”
“What is it?”
The young man was trying to forcibly steal her lips, his poor mood undisguised in his voice as he reproached the girl.
Wrinkling her brow, the girl complains of pain.
The young man clicks his tongue as his hand releases the girls head.
The girl raised both hands behind her, unfastening the Kanzashi barrette.
Her long straight black hair flowed down like a waterfall.
The young man narrows his eyes with a lustful look.
By letting down her hair the girl’s outward appearance gives the impression of regressing by 2 or 3 years, which appears to be to suit the young man’s taste.
Unfastening her hair spread a floral scent.
The young man’s intoxication was becoming increasingly intense.
This time the girl wrapped both arms around the young man’s neck.
However, even standing tiptoe and stretching, there is still no less than a head of difference between them.
The young man made up for it by wrapping his right arm around her waist to raise her, pulling her face close.
The young girl appears to tease by turning her face to escape his lips.
The young man grabs the girls chin with his left hand and turns her face forward.
The girl gives a charming smile.
Unwraps her right arm from around the young man’s neck, pulls the decorative string on the Kanzashi, exposes the blade, and instantly thrusts it into the young man’s neck!
From an insecure posture using the strength of only one arm.
Was the blade extremely sharp, or else the girl’s physical strength extraordinary?
The blade is buried inside the young man’s neck.
The young man screams and thrusts the girl away.
It was no different to a reflexive action.
But for all that force, the girl held onto the thin blade and tore the artery in his neck.
The young girl took a step back from the young man.
The blade that had been built into the Kanzashi falls out of the young man’s neck, and the blood gushed out with growing force.
The young girl scrubbed her lips clean with the left sleeve of her tunic.
She escaped just before the kiss, but her mood was ruined.
It may be surprising to know she had not lost her innocence.
—— A pure hearted professional killer, if such a thing exists.
The young man pitches forwards and collapses.
“Nuts to you!”
These hateful words she spits out, are they a signal to herself that the job is completed?
The girl throws the Kanzashi away, turning on her heel to leave.
The girl however, her steps stop as her body stiffens.
Her eyes meet those of a boy standing at the entrance of the alleyway.
(I was seen!?)
The boy appeared to be very mature, a high school student, or maybe even a middle school student the girl judged.
However, despite that.
The young boy’s eyes turned to the scene of the murder, are calm.
Too calm or rather, cold.
Not only surprise and fear, not a single emotion is showing, eyes like glass, no eyes of steel.
The boy removed his gaze.
Not to avert his eyes away from the terrible spectacle, he simply lost his passing interest, such was his bearing.
With that impression, the boy started to walk.
His figure vanished behind a building.
Finally at her limit, the young girl’s stiffness loosened.
She cannot leave any witnesses.
Spurred on by such natural impatience, the girl begins to run.
In such a situation, no one will wait if asked to wait.
Rather they’ll assume they’re being pursued, hastening to escape.
That thought, made the girl increasingly impatient.
The street the boy passed through, was a back street with little pedestrian traffic.
But there isn’t much distance dividing here and the main street.
Impatience accelerates the girl.
Leaving the alley, the girl turns to face the direction the boy walked in.
Contrary to the girl’s expectation, she immediately finds the boy.
He’s just walking down the back lane at an ordinary pace.
Not running, a fast pace in of itself but with no sense of haste.
The boys attitude made the girl feel uncomfortable, but she had no intention of prying into the boy’s background.
Afterall she’d be bidding farewell to the other party soon. ——Permanently.
No specialised weapons on hand. But for the girl, taking her eyes of the boy for the purpose of resupplying her weapons wasn’t an option.
The girls build is small for a woman, based on her clothes you’d judge that her arms are thin.
The boy on the other hand, though he has yet to grow into the body of an adult, is taller than the girl, and his body weight clearly beats hers. The way he carries himself is also sharp.
Nevertheless, the girl was confident she could kill the boy with her bare hands. ——She’s not the powerless girl she appears to be.
The girl maintains a constant distance from the boy, focusing her consciousness inside herself. A mental image of a door sinking into a world’s sea.
She stretches her hand into the water, takes hold of the doorknob and twists, pulling towards herself.
Showing some resistance, the door opens.
Water gushes out from the other side of the door, filling the world of the girl’s mental image.
Information pours from the unconscious areas, overwriting the girl’s abilities and filling her body with power.
The twenty-first century, the century when progress accomplished turning magic from superstition into science.
The scientific study of magic, it began with the study of extraordinary abilities called superpowers.
In the process of establishing magic technology, the system of superpowers was clarified.
All the phenomena in the natural world leave behind information.
The recording medium, nonphysical particles called Psions.
Psions, a particle dictating a substance composition, a particle serving as an intermediary for the nature’s energy, any kind of elementary particle and composite particle that alone don’t display reciprocal action. But when Psions form into an organised structure, that structure can take action on a person’s neuron cells and potentially cause changes to the rules.
That phenomena was not only observed taking effect in the cerebral cortex of living humans, or chemically synthesised nerve cells, but also observed in a set of nerve cell bodies to which a crystallization treatment had been applied.
The results of this observation, a close corresponding relationship was proven to exist between Psions and natural phenomena.
Substances that are similar, have structures which are similar.
Substances which are similar, have structures that are similar.
The higher the resemblance between the material phenomena, the higher the resemblance in the Psion structure.
The materials energy itself, that could induce a variety of phenomena, that variation —— caused phenomena to take form to satisfy the Psion’s structure, was named the ‘Psion Information Body’.
Normally, accompanying changes in phenomena, the Psion Information Body takes form. The Psion Information Body doesn’t change, moment by moment new constructions are made, and build up over the course of time.
However, at the moment when extraordinary abilities —— superpowers give rise to paranormal phenomena, it was observed that the Psion Information Body it caused takes priority.
The construction of the non-physical particle, distorted natural phenomena.
Namely, the information of the phenomena was overwritten.
Modern magic is based on this discovery.
This is the theoretical basis of magic, and the basic principle of superpowers.
From the depths of the young girl’s consciousness, on the other side more and more, taking information from her unconscious, into her own body, not altering the structure of the tissue but enhancing its functions.
An extraordinary ability to enhance the body. A physical-boost superpower.
The girl was the owner of this extraordinary ability, a superpower user.
The girl’s body enhancement didn’t raise the body’s strength, it elevated a person’s athletic ability. Deflecting bullets and jumping down from the roofs of multi-storey high-rise buildings without dying, that isn’t the form of superhuman ability she possesses, it’s a paranormal ability to elevate the athletic abilities and perception faculties. Moving at the speed of a bullet or bending a steel frame, it doesn’t reach such flashy levels.
Nevertheless, it had the force to hold someone down comparable to that of a bear or gorilla, the speed and power to kill a tiger or lion without the use of firearms, bows and arrows or other projectile weapons. ——Not that she’d done such things.
This ability, this was the basis of her judgement she could kill someone without a specialised weapon.
This simple ability was her pride, but she didn’t boast of her speed. Wielding techniques installed into her body she increased her bodies abilities.
That wasn’t something to be conceited about.
“!! What……What was that!?”
But despite the girl attacking the boy from behind, in the next moment, she found herself thrown to the roads surface.
The boy’s cold eyes look down on the girl.
Like steel, that gaze. The girl couldn’t read any emotion at all from those eyes.
Enduring the pain, the girl stood up. She had grown accustomed to pain. Laying down and saying it hurts, you’d become unable to experience pain ever again. Instead of paralysing the nerves, it meant you’d die. She lived in a world where ‘if you don’t fight back then you’ll lose your life’.
The girl retreats in a half-bent posture as she recovers from her sorry state, the boy watches on expressionlessly.
The boy, he appears to have no intention of attacking.
In her mind the girl muttered ‘this isn’t good……’. Her miscalculation, she failed to judge him. The boy is standing casually, but she cannot find an opportunity to take advantage of.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.
She just commenced the attack, and the only mental image she can deliver is of her crawling on the road. The girl has power and speed, but she lacks sharp claws. She can’t smash a concrete block with her fists.
——This wasn’t an opponent she could defeat barehanded.
Run away, is what the girl’s survival instincts were screaming.
The witness’s mouth must be silenced, resisted the girl’s sense of self-preservation. The girl was caught in a trap of her own making.
A little while ago she at least had the Kanzashi. Even if she regrets it now, she threw it away previously so it’s too late. Even if that wasn’t so if her partners words were correct —— the chance of a mistake being non-existent —— it’ll have begun to slowly decompose. Even if she obtained the weapon, it wouldn’t be unusable.
Too close to draw back, no opportunity to attack, she can only taste regret as the boy glares. This stalemate, it didn’t last long.
The boy’s consciousness also seems to have inclined in the direction he won’t be able to leave the girl be.
The boy casually steps towards the girl.
The sound of a small motor, a grey box wagon rushes in.
The station wagon tries to kill the boy by running him over, the boy evades by lightly jumping. He doesn’t appear to put much force into his foot, yet the boy’s body leaps nearly ten meters into the air —— away from the girl.
The box wagon’s tire grinds to a sudden stop.
“Nuts! Get in!”
Without sparing the time to reply, the girl automatically opens the door and leaps into the passenger seat.
With the girl riding inside the station wagon abruptly takes off.
The boy didn’t interfere as the grey frame faded into the distance.
◇ ◇ ◇
In the station wagon’s passenger seat, the girl exhaled loudly. The back of the seat she was leaning on, its surface was damp with cold sweat.
The time the girl and boy spent glaring at each other, it was less than a minute.
Counting from when she realised the boy had seen her work at the crime scene, not even five minutes had passed.
In that short time, the three hours the girl spent preceding this—— the time it took for the girl to make contact with the target in the nightclub and kill him —— the fatigue she felt had doubled.
“Nuts, what was that boy from before?”
The man in the driving seat asked the girl as he drove the car manually, not automatically.
“He saw the crime scene”
“You failed to kill him!?”
The man’s voice, it’s full of genuine surprise. He has a good understanding of the girl’s skills and her extraordinary ability.
It had been four years since the pair teamed up. During that time since the girl began working her prey had exceeded fifty people. Among them, they understood that included changing the fates of fellow murders. And the failures, they could be counted on the fingers of one hand. Even if they didn’t get the opportunity to set a trap, they never failed to kill the target or left behind evidence. Going by results or ability, you’d say she was one of the most prominent and resourceful people in the organisation.
That she failed to silence someone. Moreover, a high school student at best, and a middle school boy at worst. For the man, what she said was astonishing.
“……Perhaps, was he a magician?”
The one explanation he could think of, the man’s questions piled up.
In this world, magic exists. This century, the existence of magic has clearly been proven. It’s not possible to say that it’s become an everyday skill anyone can use, but it’s use has become a valuable weapon to the army, police and people belonging to society’s underworld.
A grade school student possessing a gun can shoot and kill a strong giant of a man, a person who can use magic —— if a magician, it’s not strange a middle school student could fight off a professional killer.
“I don’t know.”
The girl sullenly spat the words out with resignation. From when she was struck by that first counterattack, she considered that possibility. However, whether the boy was a magician, or possibly even a psychic like herself, she couldn’t be sure.
The girl was ashamed of herself, and also irritated.
“Croco, can you investigate his identity?”
The girl asked the man. ‘Croco’ is the man’s codename. His real name is Wanizuka. Wani = Crocodile abbreviated to ‘Croco’. Also thrown in is the meaning of someone who works behind the scenes such as the assistants in a Kabuki (Japanese Drama), the ‘Kurogo,’ (a black robed stage assistant).
“There should be a record of his face in the cars driving recorder, if the targets face is unclear……”
For the sake of protecting privacy, the images from a driving recorder images automatically masks the faces as required by law. But if the recorder is isolated form the network, then illegal modifications to remove the masks aren’t difficult.
“Just where to find them is good. Find out.”
“Are you going to kill him?”
“In this situation proceed to ensure their mouth is silenced, that’s what I expect the President will say.”
The man, he also understood they weren’t able to let the boy go. But the cause of his hesitation wasn’t because of feelings of guilt that the victim he was hunting down was a member of the general public, but at recalling the ominous impression of the boy.
Really, a good partner would set up a simple action to erase the witness.
The girl is the organisations killer, the man is the person that supports her. Should they not at least seek a decision from the President, the organisations top manager.
However, that would coincide with confessing a serious failure on the job to their superiors.
The positions of the organisation’s killers are not guaranteed. Let alone their positions, not even their lives are guaranteed. Under the pretext of having been seen working, it may come to light that the lizard had been caught by the tail. In that case, he and the little lady would share the same fate.
That possibility is by no means small.
Investigating to confirm the boy’s identity. If it becomes clear he has a dangerous background, at that time, it’ll be a good idea to consult the organisation.
The man considered how to escape the situation.
◇ ◇ ◇
The moment the boy could no longer see the box wagon, all interest in the girl was lost.
He attends a private middle school in the metropolitan area, but he isn’t an ordinary middle school student. In some ways, he’s the same as the girl murderer.
At a fast pace, he resumes walking. At an elevated pace from before, the aim being to recover the time lost being pointlessly entangled with the girl.
The boy’s pace didn’t slow, advancing no matter how many times the complicated roads twisted. His manner of walking had not a moment of hesitation to be seen.
Before long, at the backdoor of an old worn out building he came to a stop.
The iron door was painted entirely grey, with no information being displayed. Not only the door, from where the boy is standing you can’t tell what the building is even for. However, there are traces of people coming and going. It indicates the people connected with the building really make use of it.
The door’s automatic electronic lock is locked. But the door itself is an old-fashioned door opened and closed by hand, the dead bolt lock built into a western style doorframe to stop it from moving back and forth.
As the boy approached the door, he displayed some strange movements.
Extending the index finger of his right hand, moving it along the boundary of the door and doorframe.
Directly next to the lock.
He didn’t touch the door or the doorframe, he had no tool in his right hand. Nor was anything concealed in the fingertips of his black gloves suddenly pop out.
The act seemed to have no meaning.
But when the boy pulls on the knob, the door that should have been electronically locked readily opens.
Inside the backdoor is a gloomy staircase.
The boy doesn’t hesitate to go towards the basement.
In less than five minutes, the shape of the boy reappears.
They boy’s outward appearance, it hasn’t changed from before he descended into the basement. Not a scratch on him, nor was his attire disturbed.
We passed through the backstreet with the same composed manner of walking until he exited ‘outside’.
To the bustle unacquainted with the night, the nightless city.
Not to be confused with the other word ruled by lawlessness, this is the world ruled by law and order.
As he slips into the flow of people and proceeds along the main street’s sidewalk, a compact white sedan stops besides the boy.
A common colour, a common design, not a car that blends into the darkness but one that blends into the street, the boy doesn’t panic, and doesn’t hesitate to get into the car.
“Special Officer, no, today I should have called you Tatsuya-kun. How did everything go?”
“The entire spy unit has been erased. The Data the agents of the New Soviet Union had has been deleted, the storage recovered. It should be good enough so can you reconstruct the data please?”
Into the hand extending from the driving seat, the boy places a cartridge with a built-in electronic data storage device.
“However, why is Second Lieutenant Fujibayashi here?”
The boy asks the young woman in the driving seat. Today’s job had been mandated by the main house. Not an illegal mission from the military. She’s a soldier so for her to come to meet him, it’s unexpected.
“Captain Sanada called me, he really wanted to come himself, unfortunately he wasn’t available to handle this.”
The female officer in plain clothes replied as the sedan departed. She had a bittersweet smile as if to say, ‘not enough human resources.’
This female officer’s name is Fujibayashi, just as the boy had called her. Her rank is Second Lieutenant. She’s attached to the National Defence Army’s 101st Brigade Independent Magic Equipped Battalion. The ‘Captain Sanada’ she mentioned is a technical officer in the same Independent Magic Equipped Battalion.
At the Second Lieutenants remark, understanding floated across the boy’s facial expression ‘to an extent’.
“Trident functioned without any problems.”
“Then, can I take that as both the CAD and activation sequences worked as designed?” “Yes.”
The boy nods.
C.A.D. —— Casting Assistance Device. Hardware for assisting with magic activation. The software records magic activation sequences.
The C.A.D. outputs the magic activation sequence in a form the magician can use.
The magician reads activation sequence and converts it into a magic sequence, based on this magic sequence —— the magic’s structure is assembled.
The boy who has the ability to use magic = a magic technician, a magician.
Trident is the latest C.A.D. produced by a private corporation, it is the name of the boy’s personal C.A.D. which the Independent Magic Battalion’s Captain Sanada had remodelled, and also the name of the magic only he is able to use using this C.A.D.
“Really. The Captain is going to be delighted.”
That escaped the female officer’s mouth, she didn’t appear to wholly agree.
The white sedan follows the traffic control system, becoming part of the flow of cars. The boy rides in the car, escaping Shibuya’s unchanging night.
During the night of Wednesday the 7th of April, 2094AD.
The Shibuya Shopping Ward was hit by a sudden outbreak of serial murders.
The victims were members of a street gang operating in the Shibuya area, underlings of organised crime who appeared to be involved with the buying and selling of illicit substances.
There are no witnesses to the incident. Information was obtained, one of the men was observed with a small female middle school student just before the murder, but high school and middle school students are often patrons of street gangs in the buying and selling of narcotics. And so was disregarded as too weak to be related to the murder.
The police put the incident down to a dispute with another street gang, or possibly a hostile
Yakuza organisation who decided to give a warning, and so established a full-time investigation team. Violence between youths may be commonplace in the district, but they judged serial murders were not something they were able to ignore.
That same night, from among the asylum seekers who fled from the Great Asian Union, ten people who were active in the Shibuya area disappeared. Recently, they had been marked by Public Security as a group of interest due to contact with agents of the New Soviet Union, and because there was no one to report their disappearances, the case was never handled by the police.
No longer a legend or fairy-tale, magic’s existence has been reliably validated since its first confirmed occurrence during the incident in the year 1999A.D.
That year, the destruction of humanity was prophesised —— according to the description in an old book if interpreted at one’s own convenience —— a reality that might have been brought about by a group of religious fanatics whose nuclear terrorism was prevented by a police officer possessing a special ability.
This incident, thereafter, became the first confirmed example of magic in modern times.
However, in the beginning it wasn’t called ‘magic’. At first, that special ability was called a ‘superpower’. The police officer who stopped the fanatic’s terrorism didn’t carry a staff, talisman or a magic spell book, nor understand any magic words or battle techniques. He just strongly pictured in his mind one thing, stopping the nuclear fission reaction from reaching critical mass.
The extraordinary ability to make nuclear weapons powerless = superpower. Initially the major powers that relied upon nuclear deterrents, they feared that ability. Before long however, they considered the matter of its applications. If in a position to monopolise that power, then you could use nuclear weapons without fear of the enemy’s retribution. ‘Weapons we possess but cannot use’ transformed into ‘weapons we are actually able to use’.
America, the U.S.A. in those days, it’s government dispatched agents to search throughout the world. To assemble superpower users who could neutralise nuclear weapons, and also, to stop them falling into enemy hands.
Regrettably, nobody was found possessing the same superpower as the police officer. But during the course of the search they discovered superpower users in far greater numbers than expected. Many of them only possessed weak abilities, but the power to alter the laws of nature with the power of the mind was not a mutation but rather a talent which humans did possess.
Most humans don’t reach the level where they can actually do it. The research institution in charge of the investigation at the time, came to that conclusion.
If the power is weak, it will be beneficial to strengthen it. If it’s latent, then it’s ok to forcibly draw it out. In the name of developing humanity’s latent powers, many human experiments were performed. Alongside experiments utilising natural and chemical stimuli, occult means were also mobilised.
In the process, the history of magic appeared on the public stage.
Magic believed to be the product of fiction, became a real technology and was incorporated into the development of military technology.
As a result of scientific analysis of the techniques of real ‘wizards’ who slipped straight out of folklore, magic and superpowers were proven to be essentially the same power. Analysing the knowhow concealed in the shadows of history, improving it, and putting it to practical use, the development of general techniques from superpowers was achieved.
Superpower users, they are able to interfere with a very limited number of natural phenomena.
But these newly developed techniques, although a certain level of talent is needed to use them, make it possible for one person to alter a diverse range of various phenomena. Even the extraordinary ability to neutralise nuclear weapons, became established as one such technique.
This generalised, modern technology to interfere with natural phenomena with the power of the mind, alongside the ancient techniques once believed to be the products of fiction combined became known as magic.
This initial stage of magic research was performed around the world, not just by America. The dispatching of agents around the world, caused the information to spread.
The governments of many nations poured resources into nurturing talented people who could use the power of magic technology, ‘magic technicians,’ abbreviated to ‘magicians’.
Many superpower users acquired ‘magic’ themselves and became ‘magicians’.
It’s now the end of the twenty first century, magicians are an important part of a nation’s war potential —— they have become precious weapons.
However, not all users of extraordinary talents are under the management of the state.
Not all superpower users were able to become magicians.
◇ ◇ ◇
It’s morning in the residential district and a young boy and a young girl in uniform are walking together. The scene of commuting to school hasn’t changed since olden times. Working from home, commuting to satellite offices and flexible time have popularised and benevolently caused the ‘rush hour commute’ to become a thing of the past, but the times to commute to school are still centred around eight in the morning.
For most of the previous half of the century the shape of trains has changed, with the image of the ‘crowded train packed shoulder to shoulder’ being erased. One thing that hasn’t changed from long ago is that it won’t be necessary to commute by train or bus for the average public elementary and middle schools.
This private middle school is located in the suburbs of Tokyo, because it is a short distance away from the nearest station, the scene going to school remains unchanged from that of a public middle school.
Identical uniforms and the same apparent age.
However, the appearances and physiques of the two are different.
Some students are conspicuous, and some aren’t conspicuous, it appears to be like any other school.
But at this school there exists a ‘summit’ that others aren’t permitted to follow. On that point it might be a little special.
A beautiful schoolgirl, who’s graceful manner of walking suits her physical appearance as she advanced on her commute to school.
The other students walking the same road, both boys and girls stopped for a moment, and before long, followed at a respectable distance without joining her.
It happens every morning, never changing.
—— You’ll get used to a beautiful woman after three days, that’s unmistakably a lie.
Every student at this middle school, will think no different. In reality, many of the students have said something similar.
In these minds that have yet to reach maturity, one truth has been engraved.
In this world, there exists beauty you can never grow accustomed to.
Real beauty, before longing or lust, brings shock.
The moment you see the beautiful girl named Shiba Miyuki, very seldom is there a person who won’t remember it.
(What, is that……)
The young lady masquerading as a middle school student and disguised in the same sailor uniform as the surrounding girls, was no exception. While the girl’s body wouldn’t stand out in the least, she was involuntarily stupefied in amazement. For the girl it was fortunate that her body type was by no means rare.
She panics, moving her stilled feet. Not wanting to stand out she moves her eyes left and right, confirming she hasn’t drawn attention to herself she breathes a sigh of relief.
(……That girl, is she a human being like me? How can a living thing like that exist in this world?) She resumed walking, but she had as yet still not recovered from the shock.
She glances to steal a look of the exceedingly beautiful girl, and unintentionally shakes her head.
However you look at it, she is not a living thing of this world. Something like a heavenly nymph, goddess or some other beautiful lifeform, you can’t wipe away the suspicion she’s such a fantastical superior being. Seeing her yourself, you would become caught in the suspicion your mind had gone crazy.
(……That, can’t be real!)
She harshly rebuked herself in her mind, then forcibly moving her gaze, turned to the point next to the girl.
Next to the overly beautiful girl, a single male student appears in her shadow accompanying her.
He has a mature appearance, though yet to reach maturity his body has been excellently forged.
Yet, strangely inconspicuous. His presence is so weak it seems unnatural.
He’s not trying to conceal himself and yet, even the girl working as a professional hitman, will lose sight of him the moment she takes her mind off him.
(Invisibility magic, or……?)
The technique to hide one’s presence, is something the girl has also learned. Only three years ago, it was a technique that was beaten into her without understanding how, and since three years ago she consciously trained this technique.
(……I’m beaten. He’s better than me.)
Having an abundance of experience, she was able to understand the boy’s ability.
(He’s not only powerful physically……)
If it’s only barehanded hand to hand fighting, it’s not unusual for people other than a professional to be powerful. Training is considered beneficial but the layman only has to win against the opponent in front of them, what makes up the situation as far as the professional is concerned, that escaping safely is a larger part of success than a person’s skills or rather it’s essential.
That boy however, it doesn’t seem like he’s only physically strong.
Inside the girl, her vigilance level rises.
(His name if I recall correctly, is Shiba Tatsuya.)
The girl pulled the information she had about the boy from her memory.
Her support personnel were by no means incompetent, yet despite this, they were able to establish far too little of the boy’s circumstances.
His name. His home address. The middle school he attends.
That was all.
The investigation time was insufficient given the circumstances, but it’s not a mistake.
Her partners investigation began yesterday morning. And working until last night, his name, address, and school were confirmed.
Were this a normal job, they would carefully collect more of the targets information before taking action. But this time the target was a witness to a murder case, the criminal was herself.
Originally if that’s the case, you don’t have a choice and must get rid of the other party on the spot. The more time it takes, not only the girl herself but the organisation is jeopardised. She isn’t permitted the luxury of carefully examining the weak points in the opponent’s movement patterns.
The girl instructed her partner Croco to keep looking into the investigation, she herself came to directly evaluate the target.
The girl age is in the late teens. A little older than her outward appearance, which has not yet moved beyond the age you’d brand her a teen.
Her experience as a professional killer, since becoming one barely three years have passed.
Nevertheless, assessing the true strength of an opponent, observing it herself she could surmise she’d become conceited.
Opponents stronger than yourself, you don’t fight directly. That is the ironclad rule of the professional killer.
Once you receive a job, you aren’t able to avoid the confrontation if you say they’re stronger than you. For a freelancer the solution may be the case to pay a substantial default penalty, that’s impossible if you belong to an organisation.
Therefore, the insight to see through you opponent’s strength, is an indispensable ability for the professional killer. The professional killer without this proficiency, whatever the extent of physical power, guns or knife or whichever skills they excel at, will prove to be trouble and inevitably made to leave before long. For three years, she’d survived in this industry, though excellent support could be said to also be a factor, it’s no mistake that the girl’s good sense at personally perceiving an opponent’s strength had brought this about.
Right now however, the girl had become bewildered.
Shiba Tatsuya, how much power this boy two years her junior is concealing, she can’t even make an estimate.
She can only say that he is clearly strong. That had been confirmed that night.
She can’t win unarmed. She understood that.
——So, can I win with a knife?
——Or else, should I not prepare a gun for this occasion?
——Should I kill him directly?
——Can I bring him down if I catch him off guard?
From experience, what she’d expect to understand after a ten second observation, she can’t make sure of at all.
That was the reason she’d stared at the boys back continuously, the girl herself hadn’t realised.
More than a few students were staring at the beautiful girl walking next to the boy, she shouldn’t have stood out. However, there was a single person who noticed the girls unnatural gaze.
The boy looked back over his shoulder.
A chill ran down the girl’s spine.
She looked down in an instant, in that instant, their eyes had met, and the girl been recognised. The boy’s gaze quickly returned to the front. He has no intention to challenge her here at the present time.
Thinking of such a situation herself, the girl felt laughable.
This can’t be natural? The opponent’s a young boy, Shiba Tatsuya is a middle school student, in the middle of going to school. Furthermore, the girl accompanying him is a middle school student. My partner told me his little sister is in the same school year, that beautiful girl it seems.
In this situation, he shouldn’t be expecting to start an exchange of lives with a professional killer. Like an infant becoming scared of their own shadow, the girl felt ashamed of herself.
However, the reality was unaffected no matter how she tried to disguise her existence. The girls plan today was to infiltrate the middle school Tatsuya attends, given the circumstances she changes the plan and decides to pull out.
They planned to infiltrate the school, but there was no plan to suddenly launch the assassination within the school. Today was a preliminary investigation to the end. Even if they decided to set up inside the school, the day had to be properly planned.
She was carrying a weapon just in case, an entirely ceramic knife that wouldn’t be detected by a metal detector. That boy being her opponent, she was honestly thinking she couldn’t rely on it. Considering her unfamiliarity with the layout inside of the school, it wasn’t known if she could get home safely if he chose an unpopular spot to counterattack.
From the beginning the girl didn’t view Tatsuya as an ordinary middle school student. She was thinking he was an inhabitant of society’s darkness the same as her. Killing a person in a school, if it was decided then they possessed enough means to at least deal with the corpse. Infiltrating the middle school, she didn’t think it was valuable enough to face that sort of risk. So, she discontinued the plan to search for the target’s weakness within the school. The opponent’s abilities, that she can’t confirm the extent of them at a glance she realised it can only mean that they are excellent.
The girl decided to stop the plan, not hesitating a moment she turned on her heel and ran. The student’s suspicious gaze saw her off, both parties ignoring the teacher’s voice telling her to halt as it was nearly time for the bell, she didn’t stop running until she reached the station.
◇ ◇ ◇
With the plan to infiltrate the target’s middle school ending in failure, the professional killer girl returned home. A small single person dwelling from the organisation’s service, a cheap apartment building with reliable soundproofing, she was having a meal before thinking about the procedure after this.
——Smearing ample honey butter on pancakes produced by an automatic cooker.
They are not able to let the witness go free. The middle school student named Shiba Tatsuya needs to be gotten rid of on principle. It also needed to be completed urgently.
——She added another pancake smeared with honey butter atop the previous pancake.
However, what time specifically, and what place would be sufficient?
——To the pile of pancakes smeared with honey, she pours maple syrup on top.
If another person were at the scene of the crime to witness the erasing of the witness would be mistaking the insignificant for the essential.
——Cutting the pancake and bringing the exalted mass of sweetness to her mouth, Yuki smiled happily as she chewed.
Some place that middle school student habitually visits that escapes the public gaze. That sort of location from the target’s living habits, we don’t have very much time, seduction techniques may be a weakness we can grasp to lure him out if necessary.
——She herself in her simple-mindedness, failed to notice the childlike smile that appeared on her face as, two, three mouthfuls of excessively sweet pancakes were heartily eaten. As it is, her facial expression didn’t suit the savage thoughts she’d devoted her consciousness too.
Ordinarily gaining such information would be the aim of the investigation, the work of the support personnel. However, usually it takes one day for her partner to possess the necessary information, this time said, ‘it’ll take time’ and on top of that fact, raised a white flag.
In the case of an ordinary target they can take their time. But, sealing a witness’s mouth didn’t permit such luxury.
Therefore, she decided to test approaching with the appearance of a middle school student. But, was quickly recognised.
Specifically, the time spent preparing things such as the middle school uniform.
That middle school’s girl’s uniform is the orthodox type of sailor suit ——Sailor suits being middle school uniforms isn’t orthodox, meaning it’s the sailor suit’s shape is orthodox.
——It was easy to make. Using an automatic sewing machine, it was made in one hour.
Only the reality of having her sizes measured before the cutting and sewing…… After they were finished, trying the cloths on to confirm no adjustments were necessary.
Recalling the natural warm smiles turned towards herself by the female employees in charge of preparing clothes for a usable disguise, made her want to punch a hole in the wall. “What about these next?” one of the employees said taking out a ribbon with a frilly edge and a hairclip with a deformed cat attached, she really wanted to strangle her to death.
She actually was a middle school student up until two years ago, a male employed had said that while laughing, so she actually struck him to shut him up. Yuki knew the man had no ill intentions. You could call it a general comment, she didn’t consider it to a mistake by any degree.
But Yuki, hates been seen as childish. Her feelings for her inferior physical growth notwithstanding, would a person desire this childish shape for themselves of their own free will?! That could be said to be her real motive. She knew it was the case the disguise was necessary to get in for the job, she understood but agreeing was another thing.
And yet somehow holding down these resistant emotions to the disguise, and even thought she tried to infiltrate, this time she failed before the gate.
——Before she realised it the fork in her hand stopped moving, the face that had relaxed due to the excessively sugary pancakes, warped into a sour look.
“Nuts, the company president is calling.”
As the girl finished, she received a call from her partner Croco summoning her.
Yuki belonged to the organisation named ‘Abousha’, which takes the form of a public company. Naturally, it’s a private workplace. Officially it’s a business in foreign trade. It could be said at one’s own convenience, that ‘Abousha’ is an abbreviation of ‘Aiji Boukei’ (Asian Foreign Trade), to cause misunderstandings. In reality there is truly no relationship between the names, the reason most people in the organisation don’t understand this is because the origin is too twisted.
Yuki also knows what ‘Abousha’ is, and she pays it no mind at all. To her it’s nothing, she didn’t decide to become a member of the organisation because of the name. Since becoming a member of Abousha, Yuki’s results were perfect. This also is not unusual. The way professional killers become attached to organisations is providing the best ‘results’ out of the many.
Abousha may be small, but the building is owned by the company. Yuki had changed out of her disguise uniform and into the look of a young female worker in trousers, using the train to come to the building for work.
As of the 2090’s, a girl going to work instead of entering into high school is a rarity but is not such a strange thing to the extent it will turn heads.
Since the 2070’s, national and public schools became exempt from tuition fees for Universities. Not just direct tuition, support for living expenses also became courteous. Choosing to go to school now, when there is no economic burden on going to high school, those entering higher level education such as high schools and high-class speciality schools are a little over ninety percent and rather lower than the pre-war days of World War Three.
Not due to economic reasons, but due to a decline in people’s desire to go on to higher education. Love of learning hasn’t gone out of fashion, but belief in the academic background has faded.
In recent years, the state has implemented the certification examination for high school academic ability, which businesses have adopted using in conjunction with University graduation certificates to assess those looking to attain employment. Because the means of learning had become diversified, even without entering high school, the age of being able to return to do it later had arrived.
Taking that into consideration, suspicion of a teenage girl in plainclothes walking the street during the day on a weekday has disappeared.
Inside the building is arranged to look like a respectable business, with men and women facing their desks doing clerical work. Although, the work they are performing is sorting the information and providing the tools necessary for killing. They are the actual work force behind the support personnel for the professional killers. Yuki’s partner is one of the people among them.
“The president is waiting for you in his office.”
“Ahh, I see,” nodding her head to her partner who was facing his office terminal, Yuki turned towards the stairs. The president’s office is upstairs on the second floor. It wasn’t for the sake of her health, but an unconscious choice to avoid rooms with no escape wherever possible. Still only in the latter half of her teens, it seems the mentality of the professional killer has completely taken root.
“It’s Hashibami. In accordance with your invitation, I came to visit.”
Finding herself before the wooden door, Yuki knocks and then informs them she’s here.
Hashibami is Yuki’s family name.
Her full name is Hashibami Yuki.
“Hashibami? Who’s that?” Within the company she was only at the level where her code name had already permeated, at this time only the company president used her real name. This wasn’t limited to Yuki, you could say this was common for the organisation’s members.
In accordance with the voice, Yuki opens the door. The company president’s room was surprisingly cosy.
Behind the desk that can be seen immediately on entering, is sitting an old man wearing a haori and a hakama (formal Japanese clothing). This man with an excellent physique and who governs the professional killers like Yuki is the company president of Abousha, Morozumi Kuruma.
Yuki politely closes the door, before standing in front of the desk. The company president dislikes ill-mannered behaviour.
To her, he’s not really frightening. She’s confident in her skills but doesn’t consider herself to be the strongest in the slightest. If she ruined the company president’s mood then he’d send a group of employees, and Yuki understood there would be no tomorrow for herself.
“Well…… Hashibami-kun. You understand why I summoned you here?”
She wasn’t going to be able to feign ignorance. When the call was received, it was obvious they knew the previous task had a poor result.
“I put you through trouble he day before yesterday. Your performance is splendid as usual, is what I want to say, it’s unusual for you to experience such a blunder.”
“I have no excuse.”
She replied as her usually petite body became even smaller. The reason wasn’t because the company president was being particularly threatening, she personally, was self-conscious of her part in committing an error that could be connected to a fatal wound.
Really, it’s ‘committed’ not ‘committing’. Not just being witnessed doing the job, as yet the witness’s mouth has yet to be sealed. The more time passes, the risk of herself being exposed as a professional killer rises. It’s not a question of one person, there is concern that the organisation’s true nature will also become exposed.
“Even if we say it was a back street in the centre of the city. With no means to avoid potentially being seen. But for what reason weren’t you able to clean up afterwards?”
“……I have no excuse.”
“Hashibami-kun. I don’t want an apology. Why were you not able to finish things and clean up? An excuse is fine so just give me an explanation.”
For Yuki this was nothing but humiliating, remaining silent however wasn’t an option in this setting. So she honestly explained the incident, how at the present time she had confirmed her opponent’s identity, when she was observed at the scene she tried to take him out but only had her hands and feet, when she proceeded to scout him out she was quickly discovered.
The company president’s reaction, it was neither scorn nor abuse.
He folded him arms and pondered.
“……I understand your skills. That middle school student definitely isn’t an ordinary person.” The company president is feared not only by Yuki but by the rest of the company employees, but he’s not a tyrant. He has a proper grasp of the abilities and personalities of every one of his subordinate professional killers, sure punishments or rewards, and making no mistakes in having the right person in the right place. The money paid is also excellent. Whist simultaneously a target to be feared, he is also someone you can trust and rely upon.
“We’ll have the investigation team investigate. But it’s not necessary to wait for the results. Await your own chance Hashibami-kun. The necessary equipment will be prepared.”
“——Thank you very much.”
The organisation would work to support, but the meaning is that Yuki must perform the disposal thoroughly by her own hand. No exemption of responsibility, more of a postponement of execution.
Nevertheless, Yuki is thankful to narrowly escape her death for the meantime. Coinciding with this, the cornered young boy to be purged is one step ahead himself —— Shiba Tatsuya is soliciting help against the hostility.
◇ ◇ ◇
Shiba Tatsuya who observed the professional killer girl’s work at the scene of the crime, the boy who has been targeted, has three faces.
The first, he is a third-year middle school student attending a private middle school in the metropolitan area.
The second, he is a Special Duty Officer in the National Defence Army. In this case ‘Special Duty Officer’ doesn’t mean he’s treated as a Military non-commissioned officer, but a civilian who collaborates with the military and is given the treatment of an officer. This position does not exist in the official system. This is assigned to include Tatsuya’s power in army, a measure to make a special exception to give him the qualifications of a warrior. A kind of extra-judicial status.
The third, a magician of the Yotsuba Family. The Yotsuba Family are an example of one of the distinguished families in Japan’s magician society, and a group feared around the world. Within that family he has the reasonability’s of a combatant with the designated role of ‘Guardian’.
On the matter of the professional killer girl appearing disguised in a middle school uniform during the morning commute to school, Tatsuya reported it to the Yotsuba main house that evening.
“That young lady, she’s unrelated to the agents of the New Soviet Union?”
“I didn’t pick up on the situation behind the scenes so can only a guess, but it’s likely unrelated.”
That evening on some kind of whim, Maya personally appeared on the videophone screen. It’s April 2094AD and at that time the other party Tatsuya spoke to would usually be the butlers Hayama or Hanabishi. Unexpectedly, Maya had more time than she knew what to do with today.
“What do you think that child’s objective is?”
Maya, in a clear tone attempts to question him through the videophone.
“I think they’re trying to keep my mouth shut.”
Tatsuya’s bearing doesn’t show any hesitation when answering.
“It would appear so. For a professional killer, a witness at the scene of a murder is a most serious matter.”
Maya turns a meaningful gaze towards Tatsuya.
“Because of that…… Tatsuya-san, are reinforcements necessary?”
Tatsuya’s reply, it was an instant this time also.
“So…… You’ll deal with this yourself.”
“I understand. I’ll respect your intentions. Act in accordance to the instructions you receive from Hayama-san on this matter later.”
No intention to send any assistance from the onset, at Maya’s words prior to vanishing from the camera such a thought seemed plausible.
Maya’s replacement, her trusted retainer Hayama appeared on the screen.
“Tatsuya-dono, I think you understand, your primary duty is protecting Miyuki-sama. Your carelessness has invited danger to Miyuki-sama’s person, this shouldn’t have come about.”
Tatsuya doesn’t prowl the nightlife of Shibuya. Dealing with the agents of the New Soviet Union, that was a directive from the main house. You could say the reason the professional killer is aiming for Tatsuya is because the Yotsuba main house used Tatsuya for work other than his primary task.
“I am aware of the seriousness.”
However, Tatsuya didn’t advocate discontent at that reason. Protecting his younger sister Miyuki always took the most priority, this matter wasn’t something that needed to be pressed.
“It’s fine so long as you understand. Because of that, have you decided on a concrete plan to settle things?”
“To erase them if necessary.”
“At the present time, you don’t think it necessary?”
Hayama questioned doubtfully with knitted eyebrows.
“I will be able to erase them at any time, in my case there is no trouble as cleaning up afterwards is unnecessary.”
Tatsuya’s ‘erase’ isn’t jargon for ‘killing’. That meaning is also included, it also literally means the corpse is also annihilated and nothing left behind.
“……Is that so. That decision, we will entrust to you.”
Not having to arrange to deal with a body was also beneficial, for Hayama this was convenient as it avoided any unnecessary costs. At his own discretion, gave Tatsuya permission to use magic to erase a human body completely.
“Is there anything else to report?”
“There is not.”
“Is that so. Then, with this.”
Hayama concluded with a light bow, and the videophone screen became dark.
◇ ◇ ◇
“I beg your pardon for having kept you waiting.”
Confirming Tatsuya’s video call with Hayama had concluded, Maya moved from in front of the desk and migrated to the reception set. She sat down on the opposite side of the sofa to where two men were sitting.
One is a man of about forty years. The other person is a petite middle school boy. The adult gentleman is Kuroba Mitsugu, the boy’s name is Kuroba Fumiya. As it may appear from the names, the two are parent and child.
But the impressions of their outward appearance are very different. The gentleman father, orderly and prepared, not quite to the point of Dundee, who others would feel is a courteous and handsome man. In contrast the petite son, has is a pretty boy that looks like a sweet young lady.
“No, not at all.”
The father Mitsugu dramatically shook his head and hand. Fumiya next to him moved slightly in embarrassment seeing this, Maya’s smile didn’t sway in the slightest.
“Was that telephone call just now from Tatsuya-kun?”
In response to Mitsugu’s enquiry, Maya looked back at his face in silence.
“Oh, no, under no circumstances would I strain my ears.”
As Maya’s pointed gaze reproached him for listening in, Mitsugu panicked and gave an excuse.
“I just happened to overhear and in no way meant for it to happen……”
Maya gave pardon with a sigh.
“Yes, it was a report from Tatsuya-san. He disposed of agents of the New Soviet Union that were prowling around Tokyo.”
“Because of that you’ve been saddles with trouble with an unrelated professional killer, and Tatsuya-kun is also troubled. Could we not have received the order the beginning and finished it without such a troublesome incident? Wouldn’t it be fine to stop using that person?
From Mitsugu’s speech his malice towards Tatsuya, a boy the same approximate age as his son, leaked out without being concealed.
“There wasn’t enough work to trouble Mitsugu-san.” Maya bluntly parried.
“Will it be fine to leave that professional killer be?”
Maya obviously had no intention of finding fault with Tatsuya, but Mitsugu insistently tried to overturn her intentions.
“Tatsuya said he’d settle things himself, it’s fine to leave it to him.”
“Is that so. If that’s the case, I’ll also take a look at his skills.”
However, at the sound of Maya’s voice with slight sharpness mixed in, Mitsugu obediently withdrew.
“……No, that’s right.”
But, to overturn Maya’s previous remarks took the next approach.
“This is exactly right for Fumiya’s teaching materials.”
At this mutter, Maya’s eyes turned to Fumiya.
Fumiya’s muscles tensed in response to Maya’s gaze.
In contrast, Maya turns a relaxed smile to Fumiya.
“Investigate the professional killer aiming for Tatsuya-san. Just investigate, meddling is unnecessary.
The reply Fumiya’s returned was full of fighting spirit.
“Don’t play a role in Fumiya-san’s practice, if possible Mitsugu-san don’t provide any assistance.
In contrast, the two adults lacked this earnestness.
To Maya the identity of the professional killer aiming at Tatsuya was of no interest. Maya understood a professional killer at the level of a civilian wouldn’t succeed as Tatsuya’s opponent.
The phrase ‘teaching materials’ may have left her mouth, but it didn’t possess the literal meaning.
Tokyo, in a residential area some distance from the city centre.
There two ghost lights were burning.
No curse, no screams, no time to beg for one’s life.
Two human bodies were destroyed by fire, no, they ‘vanished’.
◇ ◇ ◇
A professional killer’s employment means varied and significantly unsteady. One month you can have no time to rest, conversely you can go two, three months without a drop of work. Severing the head of a sleeping person in the middle of the night, boldly faking an accident in the middle of the day to settle things. Making use of the continental expression it’s the work of ‘The Black Society’. You can also say black work is work where you have no say.
However, make no mistake there is a tendency for a lot of night work. On top of that it’s necessary to approach each case differently, so usual life tends to become nocturnal. Codename ‘Nuts’, real name Hashibami Yuki, she also, has a living pattern of leaving bed after noon has passed on days she doesn’t have to work.
Today, she also intended to stay in bed until just past noon. Yesterday she had to rise early to match going to school at the same time as a middle school student, that job was necessary for the gathering of information, moreover for the end result she found herself standing at the batter’s box and missing. So, she decided not to get up early today, with the nuance of staying in bed out of spite.
“……What, too loud……”
However, her telephone was ringing, calling for her to wake not less than an hour earlier than she planned to get out of bed.
Yuki put a handset dedicated to voice-only communications to her ear. Never give your name or stand before a camera, this is basic knowledge of a professional killer.
As a fresh greeting poured out of the receiver’s speaker, Yuki’s face sprouted a frown.
“Croco……what time do you think it is. It’s not even eleven o’clock yet.”
Her poor mood exposed, Yuki’s remark attaches a complaint with her partner Croco, also known as Wanizuka.
“Nuts, in society people say ‘already’ not ‘not even’.”
“What would you know about respectable society?”
At Yuki’s remarks sent forth with abandon in a casual tone, Wanizuka let out a strained laugh with no objection.
Taking such an attitude, it may appear Yuki’s being treated like a child when nothing can be done when she becomes irritated. But were the position exchanged, she herself recognises she’s acting like a child.
“……So, what is it?”
As a result, since Yuki’s bad mood cannot be cancelled as it is, she changes the subject.
“The aforementioned situation with the middle school student. At least we think it’s probably related.”
“What!? You’re not being clear.”
Yuki’s partner, you can’t say he has a very serious nature. But it’s not in his character to bring practical jokes into work. This roundabout way of talking has been caused by the influence of his bewilderment.
“This morning, two men from the company were sounding out the targets movements.”
“Some company employees were watching the targets house last night. The last contact was at six o’clock local time, their current whereabouts are unknown.”
“……Did the target get rid of them?”
Yuki’s voice couldn’t contain her sense of surprise as she asked. The middle school student witness, Shiba Tatsuya, is definitely skilled enough. When looking at the scene of an actual murder, he wasn’t perturbed at all. He’s definitely somebody who engages in some kind of illegal activity behind the scenes, Yuki surmised.
But Yuki, couldn’t understand how you could kill someone in the middle of a residential district in the early morning when you didn’t know who could be said to be watching, and getting out of there without having been seen.
“I don’t know, no corpses have been found.”
“No bodies? The police?”
Even if you can’t buy a police officer, you are able to collect information using reporters coming and going from the police. The Police have a give and take relationship with the mass media on the surface, though they are not in a position to deny a tendency for communications to become half-hearted compared to that of civilians from other industries.
“That information doesn’t exist.”
“Back to Shiba Tatsuya, do you think he might be connected with a big-shot beyond what we’ve anticipated?”
The occurrence of a murder cannot be established if you don’t leave a body. The only exception for the prosecution to build a case is with the testimony of the murderer or an otherwise related individual. But normally dead bodies will be discovered, beginning an investigation into the murder. Or possibly, a disappearance case will convert into a murder case.
Not just pro hitmen, that’s also when amateur killers killing people over grudges or on impulse get discovered.
Nevertheless, the truth is every year many murder cases come to light, indicated by the difficulty in disposing of the dead bodies.
Even though a number of hours have passed since the company associates ceased communicating, during the day in an average neighbourhood two of the organisations people’s whereabouts are unknown, it’s not a simple matter that something took place.
“The target is not necessarily involved.”
“What do you mean?”
Due to his poor manner of enunciation, Yuki closely questioned her partner.
“To tell you the truth, the neighbourhood the two disappeared is the territory of Kyuuchouji Temple……”
From Yuki’s mouth, an unintentionally out of tune voice escapes.
“Kyuuchouji Temple, that Kyuuchouji temple? I mean the one that Kokonoe Yakumo is the head priest of?”
She wasn’t consciously aware she’d done it, but Yuki repeated ‘that’ twice. Not because of its importance, no, it was the consequences of receiving that big of a shock.
“That Kokonoe Temple.”
“Are they idiots!?”
Yuki unintentionally started shouting. If it wasn’t for the rooms reliable soundproofing, then the neighbours in the neighbourhood would likely have been dropping in complaints.
Even the girl also thought it appeared unpleasant, restraining the volume of her speech.
“Those guys, you’re not saying they were carrying pistols, are you?”
“It looks that way.”
“Are they idiots!? No, they are idiots! Kokonoe Yakumo’s dislike of guns is famous isn’t it!? Or else, didn’t they understand they were in that priest’s territory?”
“Well I guess they didn’t know.”
Yuki let out a big sigh as she scratched her head. You could say as she lives alone there’s no one who will see, yet her manner is unsuitable for a girl of her apparent age.
“……Say. Is it ok to assume that the information the organisation possesses is reliable?”
“It’s safe to trust my information.”
“Ah, I had to ask……”
For the second time, Yuki let out a sigh.
“However, since it’s in Kokonoe’s Temples territory, it’ll be difficult to set up near the home.
“It hasn’t been decided that Kokonoe Yakumo is the cause of the employee’s whereabouts being unknown, to begin with we don’t really know if the target of Kokonoe Yakumo are involved at all……”
“How much of the cause can we be certain of, one middle school student and the modern era’s strongest ninja, it simply doesn’t seem likely there is a link binding them…… Sigh, does it seems like the hurdles are steadily rising, or is it just me that feels that way?”
Regrettably, her partner Wanizuka didn’t offer any words to overturn the girl’s remarks.
◇ ◇ ◇
It’s just past three o’clock in the afternoon on Saturday April 10th when Kuroba Fumiya arrives at Tokyo station.
At present he is currently a second-year middle school student, with both public and private middle schools having six-day weeks, Saturdays being half-holidays (half classes).
His parents wouldn’t allow him time off school even if it was for the purpose of a directive from the head of the Yotsuba family, so Fumiya immediately grabbed his luggage on coming home from school, and going, proceeded by express linear train from Toyohashi to the capital via Nagoya City. ——Furthermore, his parent’s zeal wasn’t the only reason he wasn’t taking time off school, this time Fumiya’s father Mitsugu is displeased with the duty bestowed upon him this time.
The Yotsuba family are more feared by those connected to magic than the mafia, but internally the head of the family’s rule is not absolute. Even if none will oppose the family head face to face, passive sabotage cannot be entirely purged. The Yotsuba family, put nicely the powerful few, put badly there is a shortage of hands.
This time, the one most angry at Kuroba Mitsugu’s resistance was not the family head Maya, but rather his son Fumiya. He wanted to begin the investigation he was ordered to do as quickly as possible. He considered is reasonable to be absent for about half a day of middle school for that purpose.
He was in high spirits, but not because he’d been given a mission by the family head. It’s not possible that that factor hadn’t been an influence, but it’s not the main reason.
It was because he wanted to become Tatsuya’s support.
Kuroba Fumiya is Shiba Tatsuya’s second cousin. Magicians have a tendency to prize consanguinity, the bonds between kin are stronger than those between members of the general public (meaning non-magicians).
An elder cousin of the same generation, a second cousin he views as the elder brother he adores, not uncommon perhaps but it doesn’t go without saying. Still Fumiya admires Tatsuya no less than his true sibling. That deep and profound affection, were gender discarded, could even be called love.
On hearing a professional killer was aiming for Tatsuya, Fumiya’s anger flared up. An insolent person was aiming at Tatsuya’s life, it could be said Fumiya’s real motive was that he wanted to personally exterminate them by his own hand.
But no matter what you say about the Yotsuba family, they aren’t able to murder as they like just because they feel like it. The opponent is also from a criminal organisation. Be that as it may completely erasing a person and leaving not a single trace, at Fumiya’s level he will need to borrow the aid of other people to clean up afterwards.
It is beneficial to be able to keep the destruction of evidence entirely within the Yotsuba family, still the cases when external collaboration must be depended on is not a few. At least without Maya’s support and instructions, he wouldn’t be able to take the plunge and exterminate them.
This time, the order handed down to Fumiya was to investigate. It wasn’t what he had hoped for, but it was still several steps better than not doing anything. Or so Fumiya told himself, as his fighting spirit was filled to the brim.
Nevertheless, he was dispirited abruptly at the start by his henchmen.
The man in a black suit that spoke to him, Fumiya scolded harshly in a low voice.
“Don’t address me like that in this crowd! What will you do if we stand out strangely!?” “Sorry.”
A black suit of one of the Yotsuba branch families, a retainer of the Kuroba family, Fumiya’s father’s subordinate. The man more or less had enough common sense and appeared to understand, and took off his sunglasses, immediately understanding the pretext causing Fumiya to be cautious.
“For the time being, lets proceed to the office.”
Fumiya didn’t want to hand around and tediously scold him further, instructing him to move. If they hung around the station platform without moving, he thought it would be considered suspicious.
“I will guide you. Shall I carry your luggage?”
Fumiya ended the dialogue and began walking.
◇ ◇ ◇
Yuki left her room in the apartment building; it was evening and sunset was approaching. The sky would have been tainted red were there no clouds in the sky, but because of the heavy clouds it was already becoming dark outside.
Five hours have passed since talking to her partner Wanizuka on the telephone, and in that time, twice she had laid down but was unable to indulge in inactivity. Finishing the cleaning and laundry, that was what she was able to do in this time.
Her home was in a cheap apartment building as arranged by the organisation. For work, just close the doors and the soundproofing was reliable, and it was furnished with only the truly minimal home automation. Even so the burden of domestic chores has been greatly reduced compared to one hundred years ago, you normally wouldn’t make the effort to do cleaning and laundry yourself, so that was all the time it took to tidy up after only one person.
“……Ready right on time.”
Exiting outside she pulled the doorknob, and confirming she’d locked the door, Yuki let out such a murmur. It was true it was the planned time but were a third party she knew to hear of today’s actions they would sense the explanation was suspicious.
In the street in front of the apartment building, a familiar type of box-wagon quickly pulled ahead of her and stopped. It’s been repainted from grey to light brown, it’s the car her partner uses for business.
Yuki quickly runs up to the station wagon and pulls passenger seat door by hand. The door isn’t locked. She gets into the car’s passenger seat as is.
As one might expect, the driver was her partner Wanizuka.
“Let’s take them out.”
Wanizuka flipped the driving stick and put it on automatic. This neighbourhood was within the domain of the traffic control system. The destination had already been input. The box wagon made no noise as it departed.
“On that note, where are we going?”
This question of Yuki’s could be considered comical. It wasn’t Wanizuka that invited Yuki on this outing, it’s the reverse, Yuki was the person who called out Wanizuka.
“The plan is to stand watch over the targets house.”
But given the circumstances Wanizuka didn’t appear bewildered or show amazement on his face as he replied to Yuki’s question. Wanizuka had a good understanding that given her current mental state his partner could not sit idly.
“Will it be all right? Isn’t it Kokonoe Yakumo’s territory?”
“It would be foolish to start anything in that area. However, we can’t go in without getting our hands on some information.”
“We also can’t go in and set up at our leisure.”
It’s not rare to have to work hastily even if there is not a mouth to silence. It may sound detestable when you hear it said abruptly, but one criminal technique is to shadow and strike when there is an opportunity.
Saying nothing further, Yuki nimbly lowered the seat and leaned back.
Currently, concerning the witness Shiba Tatsuya, only his full name, address and the school he is attending is known. In other words, we’ve confirmed the location of his home.
The station wagon carrying Yuki and Wanizuka, slowly passes in front of the targets home and stops two blocks away.
Yuki got out of the car using the rear seat’s door rather than the passenger seat’s door. She was wearing tsunagi work clothes and a baseball cap low over her eyes to disguise herself. Her long hair is concealed inside the tsunagi. It was a very simple disguise, but it was better than not wearing one.
Besides, Yuki didn’t think she needed to be concerned about being recognised. In relation to that murder, there’s no evidence that the witness passed on the criminal’s information. Shiba Tatsuya hasn’t spoken to the police about Yuki.
He shouldn’t have failed to recognise that Yuki is a criminal in that situation, even if it wouldn’t be clear from her looks and physique.
This middle school student, there’s some reason he can’t talk to the police.
Yuki has reasoned as much.
Therefore, if she were seen, she needn’t worry about being reported. Rather, she’s be able to put pressure on the target. That’s what she thought.
Although, it would be better not to be discovered and put him on guard. Yuki doesn’t have a suitable place to conceal herself, she looked left and right trying not to appear conspicuous.
Even if the driver is aboard, they can’t stop the car on the road for a long time. If Yuki can’t locate a place to conceal herself, then after a certain time has passed it will be necessary to move. In that situation, Yuki will have to be left behind for the moment, but in this case the goddess of fate smiled upon Yuki and Wanizuka.
From the targets house, a sedan type self-driving car emerged.
In the passenger’s seat was an exceedingly beautiful girl.
In the driver’s seat was the target middle school student, with a glance Yuki confirms that it was Shiba Tatsuya aboard.
“Croco, that sedan!”
Yuki hurriedly jumped into the passenger seat as she instructed her partner.
At that time Croco, Wanizuka, had already begun preparing to turn.
The station wagon rotated around on the spot. The driving force of four wheels, this spinning turn was brought about by means of the wheels on the left and right turning and spinning in opposite directions. Four wheels with independent motors is the driving force behind this behaviour of modern electric self-driving cars.
“Nuts! Was the driver aboard that car?”
“No, not that I could see.”
As far as Yuki could see, aboard the sedan were only Shiba Tatsuya and his little sister.
“I see, it’s an automobile.”
Previously when someone called a car an automobile it meant a vehicle that could move under its own power, now you’d call one a ‘self-running car’. The use of the term ‘automobile’ has come to mean ‘self-driving vehicle’.
However, here Wanizuka’s use of the word ‘automobile’ didn’t merely mean ‘self-driving vehicle’ but rather ‘self-driving personal car’.
In the case where you want to drive automatically in the middle of a traffic control area, as a general rule the driver sitting in the driving seat must possess a driving licence. But with a restricted private self-driving car which doesn’t possess a manual operation mechanism, riding with a possessor of a driving licence isn’t necessary.
Though these robot taxi ‘commuters’ have become the representative means of transport for citizens, it can’t be said that it’s the rare case to own a personal robot car. Those not wealthy enough to employ a human driver, a household like those reasonably said to belong to the upper classes, will make use of a custom-made robot car.
Yuki’s thoughts towards owning a private ‘automobile’, typical of the masses, was that of the common person.
These thoughts became all the more powerful on reaching the destination.
“What! That building?”
Yuki muttered in the driving seat, gazing at an extremely stylish western style house in the distance.
“An etiquette school. Coaching for daughters of high-class families.”
Yuki’s remark was a monologue, which Wanizuka mistook for a question and so turned his head to return an answer.
“Coaching school? What do they teach?”
“Various things. Piano and also tea ceremonies, flower arrangement, social dances and table manners…… What it means is that it’s a place for ‘developing daughters of high-class families’ to consolidate their family’s ‘lessons’.”
“Huh? Is she a celebrity?”
“Real celebrities wouldn’t attend places like this, I believe they have home tutors.”
Yuki laughed through her nose as Wanizuka replied in a sarcastic tone. A criminal organisations execution unit was liable to do the same, these two clearly didn’t appear to have any good will for rich people.
“Eh? Finished already?”
Agreeable to her preference —— you could say Yuki affected it —— a sedan appeared and passed through the gate, exposing Yuki’s surprise to Croco.
“No, that can’t be right. Ah! Young men are prohibited from that place. At the end of the lesson, he’ll come back again to retrieve her.”
Wanizuka repudiated with a smile, having noticed Shiba Tatsuya was the only person aboard the robot car.
“Young men are prohibited?”
“It’s not just the students, the lecturers, office workers and security guards are also female. Excluding special occasions even the father would only be allowed entry into the lobby.”
“Seriously?……The twenty first century is almost over isn’t it?
Extreme anachronism. It was written on Yuki’s face.
“Having status is like that. It’s pointless thinking about it, but it’s convenient for us.” Wanizuka pushed the driving lever forwards.
The two people aboard the station wagon, began to pursue the sedan type robot car.
◇ ◇ ◇
Around that time, Kuroba Fumiya was running a little late as he headed towards the etiquette school Miyuki was attending.
Fumiya was given a mission by the head of the Yotsuba family, to investigate the professional killer prowling after Shiba Tatsuya, Fumiya’s second cousin and Maya’s nephew. And was prohibited from doing more than that.
However, Fumiya was unable to silently watch on as Tatsuya plunged into a place where he knew assassins were lying in wait.
As mentioned earlier, Fumiya strongly adores Tatsuya. Not just as his older second cousin, but maybe equally with his twin sister, or possibly more than that.
Distance, his sister was closer.
But the strength of the affection, was difficult to discern.
Devotion. Aspiration. Adoration. Worship.
Every word seemed to apply, but only a little, none seem quite appropriate.
Knowing that they were aiming for Tatsuya, who he had such strong feeling for, Fumiya couldn’t be expected to remain motionless.
Even knowing they couldn’t harm Tatsuya.
The black suited employee wearing white gloves and sitting in the driving seat of the large sedan, turned his head and to the rear seat and raised his voice.
A young girl with a bob cut was sitting alone on the rear seat, an annoyed expression was turned towards the driving seat.
This girl is Kuroba Fumiya wearing a disguise. Wearing female clothing, that was absolutely not his hobby. He dressed obediently as he understood the effective benefits of hiding his identity, but Fumiya was reluctant to be treated as a female.
In truth he wanted to immediately stop him calling him ‘ojou-sama’, but they don’t know when his true identity could be exposed and so have to speak and behave in accordance with his outward appearance. Only discomfort showed on Fumiya’s face as he swallowed down the stress.
Low for a girl but, Fumiya asked back in a tone of voice that couldn’t be said to anything but a girl’s. His voice and movements matched his outward appearance without him consciously doing it, Fumiya had been trained thoroughly. —— It can’t be said to be perfect as the tone and speech wasn’t ‘girlish or ladylike’, but there are many cases of genuine middle school girls not using feminine speech. If it’s to this extent, then it’s within the permissible range.
“Tatsuya-sama appears to have left the etiquette school.”
The magician subordinates of the Kuroba family, they attach ‘-sama’ to Tatsuya’s name when before Fumiya. They know they’ll sour his mood if they don’t do so.
The magic Fumiya uses doesn’t harm the flesh but rather bestows pain. And freely controls the level of pain. As it leaves no injury behind when struck in anger it’s better not to get on his bad side.
“Too late?……Can we follow to the destination?”
“We can trance him through the traffic control system.”
The robot car Tatsuya is aboard is controlled wirelessly by the traffic control system. Calculating their current location using just an ID is a service that’s offered, it’s not illegal hacking unless you obtained the ID illegally.
The automobile Tatsuya is using to drop off and collect Miyuki has a privately configured ID, that information is shared within the Yotsuba family. If the radio waves are obstructed, as long as Tatsuya doesn’t completely switch his location information to private, then Fumiya won’t lose sight of his whereabouts.
But all that can be discovered from the system, is just the location of the car transmitting the ID to drive autonomously. The existence of a manually driven car won’t be discovered. Within the domain for the traffic control system, for the time being, you’re obligated to travel by means of automated driving equipment. Travelling manually however, won’t be cracked down upon unless you are in violation of other traffic laws.
That the professional killer’s car is following Tatsuya, is unknown to Fumiya at the present time. It’d be a different story if you hacked the street cameras, the quick and easy method is to close the distance until you’re in visual range if you’re close by.
Fumiya shakes his wigs hair as he looks into the map data provided by the control system.
Tatsuya’s sedan is still on the road up head, not very far away from them. Travelling according to the rules under the systems control and not exceeding the legal speed limit.
Travelling manually, they should catch up quickly.
“Shorten the distance. I don’t care if we’re discovered by Tatsuya-niisan.”
Following Fumiya’s instructions, the driver pushes down the large driving lever.
Fumiya presses his back against his seat, watching the flow of the scenery accelerate outside the window.
◇ ◇ ◇
The robot car being pursued by Yuki and Wanizuka, entered the carpark of a restaurant not far from the manners school.
It’s a casual restaurant chain that expanded from the Kantou region, with an adjacent self-run two story parking lot. Ensuring there is space to accommodate several dozen cars.
The targeted boy parked his car at the end of the first floor. The target then disembarked the robot car and, whilst not appearing to show his surroundings and particular vigilance, entered the restaurant.
“Nuts, what do you want to do?”
Wanizuka asks Yuki, parking the station wagon a short distance from the restaurant.
“There are too many people inside the store……”
The inside of the store can’t be seen from inside the box wagon, but the number inside an be guessed from the number of cars in the parking lot, there are no less than ten people visiting the store.
Assassinating the witness at this scene, there are too many people to witness it to take the risk. In this situation it’s be getting the priorities backwards.
Besides, they can’t proceed with the intention to involve unrelated people.
Yuki is a professional killer, and she belongs to the Abousha crime association.
But Abousha isn’t the sort of organisation that will accept killing anyone as long as there is money.
Contractors of political murders. To remove from society ‘bad people’ based on ‘social justice’. That was the ‘ideology’ of the organisation Yuki was attached to.
That perhaps, is a bad quality since a criminal association’s only goal is making money. Even Yuki who is still in her teens understands this for one reason or another.
However, a villain that preys upon the virtuous citizens, requires the acquisition of a surplus of resistance to killing. That sort of aspect certainly exists. The previous young men who were killed, were circumventing the law by getting teenage girls addicted to drugs, the garbage then coerces them into what’s in reality prostitution.
The girl didn’t request money, without demanding, the girl would accompany the man on a ‘date’, and another would pass her the drug to circumvent the law. Moreover, by not clearly informing them ‘going on a date and you’ll receive drugs’, appearing to introduce them to a man who possesses the drug is the trick to circumvent the law, making it difficult for the judiciary to build a case.
Therefore, the girl is judged.
For that reason, it was decided it was a job for the organisation ——for Abousha.
In fact, the task ordered of her was to erase various people whose nature was nothing but garbage.
However, Yuki doesn’t swallow that official stance. No matter how much things are glossed over she is being dispatched to commit crimes which goes against people’s morals, it’s also understandable that the organisation won’t be able to persevere just glossing things over.
Besides, after all —— in this way, they are going to kill a person for their sake of selfpreservation.
Afterall, she herself is a murder.
Afterall, she herself is a serious criminal.
Yuki tells herself that, to deceive her doubts.
“Enter the parking lot. The second floor.”
Wanizuka without asking the reason, followed Yuki’s instructions.
In the driver’s seat of the parked station wagon, Wanizuka turned his head to Yuki with an expression that said, ‘what are we doing next?’.
“Go inside Croco, keep an eye on that guy.”
“Ready to notify you when he leaves the store?
“That’s right, talk fast.”
“I’m to be your accomplice. Thereupon you’ll ambush the target here Nuts?”
“Yes. I’ll commence depending on the situation.”
At that moment, the public’s gaze was non-existent in this attached parking lot. Yuki decided looking around.
◇ ◇ ◇
“It’s that store.”
Not listening to the subordinate (of his father) dressed in a black suit, Fumiya had already grasped the location of Tatsuya’s robot car from the display installed on the back of the front seat.
“Enter the parking lot.”
“……However, you’ve been prohibited from interfering.”
Prompting caution is another black suit sitting in the passenger seat.
“I won’t make contact.”
But Fumiya didn’t lend an ear to the voice restraining him, and without waiting disembarked the car on the first floor of the parking lot.
Entering the restaurant without changing.
Fumiya gathered gazes.
That may not be obvious, but it might be natural.
Fumiya right now, is wearing makeup for the sake of wearing a reliable disguise. Put worse, it’s heavy makeup.
The result attained isn’t just affect his gender, it also makes him appear three, four years older.
But still just a high school student, maybe a college student that has only just entered school at most.
The time might only be 7 o’clock in the afternoon, but its already completely dark outside. It’s not a time for a young girl of her apparent age to be visiting a café restaurant alone.
That made Fumiya look all the more like a beautiful girl.
Even Wanizuka (code name Croco) who had entered the shop previously was no exception.
And now Tatsuya turned his eyes towards Fumiya.
A boy his age catching sight of a beautiful girl, would ordinarily look.
Tatsuya turned his eyes towards Fumiya for a moment. The so called ‘glancing look.’ ——Or possibly, the movement appears to be a ‘glancing look’ to other people. Averting his eyes away from the form of a beautiful girl Fumiya had taken, turning them to the coffee cup on his table. Earphones buried in both ears. It’s a gesture that makes it appear his consciousness has turned to the music he is listening to.
That’s what Wanizuka thought as he stealthily observed Tatsuya.
At the moment of that subtle gaze, Fumiya was casually observing as he sat down at a table seat.
A suspicious man who made no attempt to see Fumiya’s charming figure.
The visage of a man who didn’t cautiously turn towards a beautiful girl.
(——At any rate he’s watching excessively!)
The man not giving Fumiya ‘glancing looks’, is Wanizuka who is just watching Tatsuya. So that Tatsuya won’t suspect, sometimes he turns to glance at Fumiya.
It goes without saying, the situation is not what Fumiya would hope for. However, he can’t behave in a way that would expose his true identity. The feeling of sinful gazes of the same sex on him—— except for Tatsuya’s gaze —— he must endure with a clear face.
Enduring the situation for two hours as it is.
Fumiya’s mortification, the time for it to end finally approached.
Tatsuya got up from his seat.
Simultaneously Fumiya saw the man, Wanizuka, appear to send an email.
Fumiya finishes settling the account on the table terminal, heads for the bathroom before swinging around and leaving the store through the back door.
Not the professional killer’s companion nor the employees, nobody, noticed that Fumiya had erased his presence.
◇ ◇ ◇
It had been two hours since she’d sent her partner Wanizuka into the restaurant. Yuki was in the rear seat of the station wagon, concealing herself and keeping her breath low. —— No, it’d be more accurate to say she’s trying not to make any sound while she conceals herself eating strawberry macarons.
So as to not be seen from outside, with the exception of the driving seat and passenger seat all the windows are in opaque mode. When travelling inside a vehicle you are only allowed to have it in semi-permeable mode, parked in a parking lot you won’t be challenged.
But seeing someone secluding themselves inside a car in a restaurant parking lot, will without a doubt raise a sense of suspicion. Depending on the other party it is possible she could be reported. For passers-by and the shops people, it was better she wasn’t noticed as time passed.
Yuki has a small build for a woman, the inside of the box wagon is spacious compared to that of a sedan or coupe. It doesn’t feel cramped inside the car, but she is becoming anxious and irritated at being kept waiting longer than anticipated. She’s putting strawberry crème filled macaroons into her mouth, according to the person herself the sugar content is for the sake of preventing her insecurities affecting her mental condition. ——Perhaps, it’s no more than an excuse.
Then finally, the signal email arrives.
Swallowing the macaroon inside her mouth, Yuki got out of the station wagon.
The floor of the second storey was made of steel plates, but she stood up without a sound. Quiet as a cat, she rushed to the stairs.
She descended to the first floor continuing to conceal her footsteps.
Immediately after she placed herself in the shadow of a pillar, the targeted boy appeared in the parking lot.
The boy went directly towards his robot car.
Yuki thought so.
She raised the scarf coiled around her neck too just below her eyes, lowered her baseball cap over her eyes to conceal her appearance.
Focusing her consciousness on her extraordinary ability, increasing her body’s abilities.
—— Jumping out from the shadow of the pillar while killing the sound, boldly taking three steps.
——Jumping low as to avoid the ceiling, swinging the knife through the air.
That was the mental simulation inside her head, preparing her backhanded grip on the knife, Yuki started by taking the first step. At that moment, the boy, he looked over his shoulder.
The powerful glint in his eye, pierced Yuki’s eyes.
She was reflexively paralysed.
Tearing the darkness, a young lady’s scream.
Naturally, it didn’t surge out from Yuki’s throat.
Yuki reflexively turned her head.
There was a figure with a small build wearing a knee length dress.
Her face couldn’t be seen due to the light behind her, from the silhouette of the clothes and hairdo you could judge her to be a middle or high school girl.
She’s screaming, so she must have seen the knife in Yuki’s hand.
Yuki abandoned the strike on her target, did a full spin and quickly walked away from the scene.