Revenge Magia of the Magic Breaker Volume 1 Chapter 1

Revenge Magia of the Magic Breaker Volume 1 Chapter 1

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After arriving at the academy, Haruna  first went to the headmistress' office. She sat on the sofa for guests and was met with a smiling voice.

After arriving at the academy, Haruna  first went to the headmistress' office. She sat on the sofa for guests and was met with a smiling voice.

"Welcome to my academy, Miss Tsuchimikado. Allow me to greet you as the headmistress."

"Welcome to my academy, Miss Tsuchimikado. Allow me to greet you as the headmistress."

She was dressed in a tight, crimson suit, with her slender legs, clad in black tights, freely displayed. Her plump lips curved into a charming smile. She, with her lustrous silver hair swaying through the air, was Salem Witches Academy's headmistress. A magician known as an authority on witchcraft, the Origin Witch Margaret Marie.

She was dressed in a tight, crimson suit, with her slender legs, clad in black tights, freely displayed. Her plump lips curved into a charming smile. She, with her lustrous silver hair swaying through the air, was Salem Witches Academy's headmistress. A magician known as an authority on witchcraft, the Origin Witch Margaret Marie.

"I thank you for your gracious greeting, headmistress. Unfortunately, however, I  do not intend to remain here for long. I plan to solve my problem and return to the Bureau of Onmyou not a moment later." Haruna folded her arms and gave a thin smile, answering calmly without a hint of timidity. If she were silent, she'd draw eyes as a traditional yamato nadeshiko, but as soon as she opened her mouth, her high-handed manner of speaking struck a sharp contrast with that. "My aim is to solve the issue at this academy — the disappearance of multiple students." The moment Haruna said that, she felt the mood inside the room grew tense, but she cut straight through to the main issue, not intending to give any mind to the atmosphere. "I looked over the documents you sent… Students have been going missing for about half a year, but their school years, ages, and courses are all over the place. There's no common factor at a glance. I see, I can agree that the investigation will be difficult." Looking at the documents on the table, Haruna continued disinterestedly.

"I thank you for your gracious greeting, headmistress. Unfortunately, however, I  do not intend to remain here for long. I plan to solve my problemproblem and return to the Bureau of Onmyou not a moment later." Haruna folded her arms and gave a thin smile, answering calmly without a hint of timidity. If she were silent, she'd draw eyes as a traditional yamato nadeshiko, but as soon as she opened her mouth, her high-handed manner of speaking struck a sharp contrast with that. "My aim is to solve the issue at this academy — the disappearance of multiple students." The moment Haruna said that, she felt the mood inside the room grew tense, but she cut straight through to the main issue, not intending to give any mind to the atmosphere. "I looked over the documents you sent… Students have been going missing for about half a year, but their school years, ages, and courses are all over the place. There's no common factor at a glance. I see, I can agree that the investigation will be difficult." Looking at the documents on the table, Haruna continued disinterestedly.

As has been stated, the witches academy they were currently in had had about a dozen students go missing over the past half a year.

As has been stated, the witches academy they were currently in had had about a dozen students go missing over the past half a year.

"If you were to go along the route of deserters, there have been some in the past, but the academy has a protective wall to hinder them, someone sufficiently talented could overcome that though. Of course, those skilled enough that desert are a rare case."

"If you were to go along the route of deserters, there havehave been some in the past, but the academy has a protective wall to hinder them, someone sufficiently talented could overcome that though. Of course, those skilled enough that desert are a rare case."

"However, the latest doesn't have the ability to overcome the wall?"

"However, the latest doesn't have the ability to overcome the wall?"

"It's possible that they were hiding their abilities… but surely that's not the case for all of them."

"It's possible that they were hiding their abilities… but surely that's not the case for all of them."

"A wall that those without strength cannot overcome… how cynical."

"A wall that those without strength cannot overcome… how cynical."

Students who couldn't keep up with the curriculum couldn't even leave the school, and vice versa,the high achievers were treated preferentially and not let go. That was the reason this school had few deserters. Then, if they weren't deserters?

Students who couldn't keep up with the curriculum couldn't even leave the school, and vice versa,the high achievers were treated preferentially and not let go. That was the reason this school had few deserters. Then, if they weren't deserters?

"They were abducted by someone, or murdered—"

"They were abducted by someone, or murdered—"

"The possibility seems high."

"The possibility seems high."

"But until now, you haven't found any strong leads?"

"But until now, you haven't found any strong leads?"

"Of course, I've increased the night guard over the past few months, mobilising the student council and the morals committee, and they're searching even now, but the results aren't good."

"Of course, I've increased the night guard over the past few months, mobilising the student council and the morals committee, and they're searching even now, but the results aren't good."

Marie gave a somewhat tired, pained smile and answered with a small sigh. This was a situation that, being the headmistress, she could not overlook, and Haruna could imagine her efforts.

Marie gave a somewhat tired, pained smile and answered with a small sigh. This was a situation that, being the headmistress, she could not overlook, and Haruna could imagine her efforts.

"Disappearing suddenly, with no forewarning — it's enough to make you want to say they were spirited away."

"Disappearing suddenly, with no forewarning — it's enough to make you want to say they were spirited away."

"Publicly they left the school of their own accord, but… I can't leave the offender be any more than that, so I requested aid from your Bureau of Onmyou."

"Publicly they left the school of their own accord, but… I can't leave the offender be any more than that, so I requested aid from your Bureau of Onmyou."

She could once again see why the investigation was so difficult. However, Haruna's expression grew even more closed off.

She could once again see why the investigation was so difficult. However, Haruna's expression grew even more closed off.

"However… I can't understand that. Why did you call for aid from Eastern Mystics rather than your own?"

"However… I can't understand that. Why did you call for aid from Eastern Mystics rather than your own?"

"Oh, the reason is simple. After all, you have no connection with the criminal."

"Oh, the reason is simple. After all, you have no connection with the criminalyou have no connection with the criminal."

Seeing Marie answer with a smile, the corners of Haruna's lips raised slightly in a cynical smile.

Seeing Marie answer with a smile, the corners of Haruna's lips raised slightly in a cynical smile.

"Hah — then, are you any different, headmistress?"

"Hah — then, are you any different, headmistress?"

"The students, the staff, the townspeople, are all suspects, even myself. But you aren't."

"The students, the staff, the townspeople, are all suspects, even myself. But you aren't."

In this closed environment, everyone was equally suspect. The only exception was Haruna, who had come from the outside. She could be considered as the only one guaranteed to be innocent to all of those jumping at shadows.

In this closed environment, everyone was equally suspect. The only exception was Haruna, who had come from the outside. She could be considered as the only one guaranteed to be innocent to all of those jumping at shadows.

"…I see. However, you seem to be overestimating onmyouji a fair amount."

"…I see. However, you seem to be overestimating onmyouji a fair amount."

"My, you don't need to be modest you know? Reading the heavens, predicting fortunes, those are what the Orient's secret techniques are famed for, you onmyouji are skilled at reading the traces, no?"

"My, you don't need to be modest you know? Reading the heavens, predicting fortunes, those are what the Orient's secret techniques are famed for, you onmyouji are skilled at reading the traces, no?"

"I'm impressed you know that."

"I'm impressed you know that."

"If I didn't, I wouldn't have put in a request. Besides, I've had an interest in onmyouji for a while."

"If I didn't, I wouldn't have put in a request. Besides, I've had an interest in onmyouji for a while."

Even as she spoke cynically, Marie's smile didn't vanish.

Even as she spoke cynically, Marie's smile didn't vanish.

"I've no interest in playing detective… but if that is the role I have been alloted, I shall resign myself to it. I shall fulfill  my role in order to avoid shaming the names of the Teachers."

"I've no interest in playing detective… but if that is the role I have been alloted, I shall resign myself to it. I shall fulfill  my role in order to avoid shaming the names of the Teachers."

"Indeed, I look forward to it. You were recommended by the head themselves."

"Indeed, I look forward to it. You were recommended by the head themselves."

Haruna was affiliated with the Bureau of Onmyou that gathered the Onmyouji and mystics of the Yamato Empire. The head was one of the 'Four Professors' that were above even those Teachers. At her young age of fifteen, Haruna had been appointed to that section.

Haruna was affiliated with the Bureau of Onmyou that gathered the Onmyouji and mystics of the Yamato Empire. The head was one of the 'Four Professors' that were above even those Teachers. At her young age of fifteen, Haruna had been appointed to that section.

"This kind of networking is well liked, you're here anyway, so why not get along? I thought we'd take this as an opportunity and improve the ties between the Witches Academy and the Bureau of Onmyou."

"This kind of networking is well liked, you're here anyway, so why not get along? I thought we'd take this as an opportunity and improve the ties between the Witches Academy and the Bureau of Onmyou."

"Good relations, right… Well, I'd prefer this to go smoothly."

"Good relations, right… Well, I'd prefer this to go smoothly."

The world of magicians was exclusive. Different systems mixing was hated, and they had faith in their own teachings. That was true of the educational institutions too. The Witches Academy, open to all regardless of race, creed, or religion was an otherwise unprecedented thing. On the contrary, they preserved their neutrality, but —

The world of magicians was exclusive. Different systems mixing was hated, and they had faith in their own teachings. That was true of the educational institutions too. The Witches Academy, open to all regardless of race, creed, or religion was an otherwise unprecedented thing. On the contrary, they preserved their neutrality, but —

"Let's get along, enough so I'm not killed in my sleep."

"Let's get along, enough so I'm not killed in my sleep."

"It's okay, I'm sure we can get along well."

"It's okay, I'm sure we can get along well."

It was a great stroke of luck that the Witches Academy requested aid from the Bureau of Onmyou. A connection to the ever-neutral academy was something they wanted greatly as well. It was for this reason that they had sent Haruna, they planned to use her performance solving this to demand gratitude from the academy, and depending on the conduct after that, an alliance was possible.

It was a great stroke of luck that the Witches Academy requested aid from the Bureau of Onmyou. A connection to the ever-neutral academy was something they wanted greatly as well. It was for this reason that they had sent Haruna, they planned to use her performance solving this to demand gratitude from the academy, and depending on the conduct after that, an alliance was possible.

If an alliance was formed, then unlike those other organisations that wouldn't entertain the thoughts of involving other factions, both the academy and the bureau would be able to surpass the others. To the Bureau of Onmyou, it was the first step to overseas expansion.

If an alliance was formed, then unlike those other organisations that wouldn't entertain the thoughts of involving other factions, both the academy and the bureau would be able to surpass the others. To the Bureau of Onmyou, it was the first step to overseas expansion.

In other words, bridge building was being hidden under the guise of this abroad study.

In other words, bridge building was being hidden under the guise of this abroad study.

"But," Haruna let out a sigh as she understood the political manoeuvring, but Marie had a meaningful smile. The moment she saw the impure and ominous smile, a chill ran down Haruna's spine. "To think such a beauty would come along… what a happy miscalculation." Marie moved to directly in front of Haruna and moved her face in without hesitation. "I'm fussy about looks, but… you're lovely and charming enough that you wouldn't lose to our students. Indeed you are, I just want to eat you all up."

"But," Haruna let out a sigh as she understood the political manoeuvring, but Marie had a meaningful smile. The moment she saw the impure and ominous smile, a chill ran down Haruna's spine. "To think such a beauty would come along… what a happy miscalculation." Marie moved to directly in front of Haruna and moved her face in without hesitation. "I'm fussy about looks, but… you're lovely and charming enough that you wouldn't lose to our students. Indeed you are, I just want to eat you all up."

Her slender fingers touched Haruna's face. The cold fingers traced over the contours of her face, sending goosebumps all over her body.

Her slender fingers touched Haruna's face. The cold fingers traced over the contours of her face, sending goosebumps all over her body.

"Wha-wha-hwa are you doing!?"

"Wha-wha-hwa are you doing!?"

"Mmm, 'what'… Oh my, Haruna, it's rude to say those things, you know?" Still with her grin, Marie gradually moved her finger from Haruna's face to her shoulder. "Ahh, it's alright. Even though I look like this, I'm a bisexual."

"Mmm, 'what'… Oh my, Haruna, it's rude to say those things, you know?" Still with her grin, Marie gradually moved her finger from Haruna's face to her shoulder. "Ahh, it's alright. Even though I look like this, I'm a bisexual."

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"That's not the problem!"

"That's not the problem!"

"Then, what could the problem be?"

"Then, what could the problem be?"

Marie tilted her head in puzzlement with a blank look on her face.

Marie tilted her head in puzzlement with a blank look on her face.

"Don't put your hands on someone you've just met, and a guest at that!"

"Don't put your hands on someone you've just met, and a guest at that!"

"Eh, you're telling me I have a cute girl like this in front of me and I can't touch them, are you sane?"

"Eh, you're telling me I have a cute girl like this in front of me and I can't touch them, are you sane?"

"It's your sanity I'm worried about!"

"It's your sanity I'm worried about!"

Haruna forcefully pushed her aside and retreated.

Haruna forcefully pushed her aside and retreated.

"So this is really the top of this academy, I didn't think witchcraft's influence was so strong…"

"So this is really the top of this academy, I didn't think witchcraft's influence was so strong…"

"My, how rude."

"My, how rude."

Seeing her trembling like a puppy, Marie looked at her fondly as if to say it was a shame.

Seeing her trembling like a puppy, Marie looked at her fondly as if to say it was a shame.

She used to be part of the organisation called the Lighthouse of Alexandria, and was a renowned magician that reorganised witchcraft of times immemorial that were lost to the ages and gave rise to a unique field called 'Modern Witchcraft'. She later became independent and founded the Salem Witches Academy. She gathered those who studied witchcraft, and those who wished to do so, from all over the world and opened its doors to them to guide and nurture the next generation.

She used to be part of the organisation called the Lighthouse of Alexandria, and was a renowned magician that reorganised witchcraft of times immemorial that were lost to the ages and gave rise to a unique field called 'Modern Witchcraft'. She later became independent and founded the Salem Witches Academy. She gathered those who studied witchcraft, and those who wished to do so, from all over the world and opened its doors to them to guide and nurture the next generation.

On the other hand, she was known for being odd in the world of magicians. Because witchcraft was confused with black magic in the middle ages, it shared its reputation and Haruna knew that the dark rumours still hadn't died out.

On the other hand, she was known for being odd in the world of magicians. Because witchcraft was confused with black magic in the middle ages, it shared its reputation and Haruna knew that the dark rumours still hadn't died out.

She had thought they were baseless rumours and laughable dramatisations, but the person in front of her was unmistakably a strange weirdo, she couldn't do anything but admit that.

She had thought they were baseless rumours and laughable dramatisations, but the person in front of her was unmistakably a strange weirdo, she couldn't do anything but admit that.

"By the way," whilst those thoughts were spiralling through Haruna's mind, Marie opened her mouth as if she'd forgotten something. "I'm a dom, Haruna☆"

"By the way," whilst those thoughts were spiralling through Haruna's mind, Marie opened her mouth as if she'd forgotten something. "I'm a dom, Haruna☆"

"Who wants to hear that!?"

"Who wants to hear that!?"

Seeing Marie's wink, Haruna retorted as if it were a reflex.

Seeing Marie's wink, Haruna retorted as if it were a reflex.

◇2

◇2

The worthless small talk and in-depth questioning of her life with the Bureau of Onmyou continued for several hours, and in the end, the veil of night had well and truly fallen by the time she left the headmistress' office.

The worthless small talk and in-depth questioning of her life with the Bureau of Onmyou continued for several hours, and in the end, the veil of night had well and truly fallen by the time she left the headmistress' office.

"Haahh… I'm tired. Seriously, what's with that woman." Haruna left the school building with an exhausted face and headed towards the accommodation she had been assigned to. "But — there really is a city within the academy."

"Haahh… I'm tired. Seriously, what's with that woman." Haruna left the school building with an exhausted face and headed towards the accommodation she had been assigned to. "But — there really is a city within the academy."

The academy was contained by a wall around the premises, and cut off from communication from the outside. The five metre high wall of easily climbed bricks was strengthened with barrier techniques and stonewalled invaders from the outside world. The town was fully furnished with commercial buildings and agriculture, a self sufficient lifestyle was possible even without going to the outside world. Therefore, it took the name of Academy City.

The academy was contained by a wall around the premises, and cut off from communication from the outside. The five metre high wall of easily climbed bricks was strengthened with barrier techniques and stonewalled invaders from the outside world. The town was fully furnished with commercial buildings and agriculture, a self sufficient lifestyle was possible even without going to the outside world. Therefore, it took the name of Academy City.

"Obstructing deserters, huh… Though, for invaders from the outside, it's the same threat."

"Obstructing deserters, huh… Though, for invaders from the outside, it's the same threat."

The academy didn't generally allow outsiders to enter. The exceptions were those like Haruna, who were allowed to study here by Marie, it was a place where people apart from the students and those related to them would never set foot. This was to protect the hidden techniques of the academy, so they did not shirk on securing against intruders.

The academy didn't generally allow outsiders to enter. The exceptions were those like Haruna, who were allowed to study here by Marie, it was a place where people apart from the students and those related to them would never set foot. This was to protect the hidden techniques of the academy, so they did not shirk on securing against intruders.

The doors were open wide to students, but there was the exact opposite impression that was given to outsiders. However, that wasn't enough to defend against outside interference. They had to be equally vigilant about those taking techniques from inside. As a result, the wall was understandable, and Haruna murmured "What a cynical thing."

The doors were open wide to students, but there was the exact opposite impression that was given to outsiders. However, that wasn't enough to defend against outside interference. They had to be equally vigilant about those taking techniques from inside. As a result, the wall was understandable, and Haruna murmured "What a cynical thing."

"Now then… I should be there soon." She stepped from the central district with the school building into the eastern residential district where the student dorms were. However she passed all the dorms and walked right to the end of the district. "So this is it."

"Now then… I should be there soon." She stepped from the central district with the school building into the eastern residential district where the student dorms were. However she passed all the dorms and walked right to the end of the district. "So this is it."

She murmured, looking up at an apparently old Victorian style building. There was a residence a little removed from the stretching dorms of the district. It was separate accommodation from the student dorms. Originally, instructors invited from outside lived there, but eventually students that graduated took their place, and the original instructors disappeared. Instructors that remained there moved to the instructors district, so the building was inevitably quietly switched to accommodation for outsiders.

She murmured, looking up at an apparently old Victorian style building. There was a residence a little removed from the stretching dorms of the district. It was separate accommodation from the student dorms. Originally, instructors invited from outside lived there, but eventually students that graduated took their place, and the original instructors disappeared. Instructors that remained there moved to the instructors district, so the building was inevitably quietly switched to accommodation for outsiders.

"I expected a ruin when I heard about it… but it's surprisingly well maintained."

"I expected a ruin when I heard about it… but it's surprisingly well maintained."

One of the conditions she gave when coming was that she would be put up in detached accommodations rather than a dorm. For an Onmyouji, a dwelling was a stronghold to defend themselves, and a place to train and study. A single room in a dorm put too many restrictions on her, and meant she might not be able to show her true abilities.

One of the conditions she gave when coming was that she would be put up in detached accommodations rather than a dorm. For an Onmyouji, a dwelling was a stronghold to defend themselves, and a place to train and study. A single room in a dorm put too many restrictions on her, and meant she might not be able to show her true abilities.

However, while the house was small, it had a garden, and fulfilled the minimum requirements.

However, while the house was small, it had a garden, and fulfilled the minimum requirements.

"Now then," Nodding in satisfaction, she put her hand on the door. "Too much happened today… I just really want a nice, hot bath."

"Now then," Nodding in satisfaction, she put her hand on the door. "Too much happened today… I just really want a nice, hot bath."

She'd been followed stubbornly by Marie, and perhaps helped by the unfamiliar environment, she was exhausted.

She'd been followed stubbornly by Marie, and perhaps helped by the unfamiliar environment, she was exhausted.

The past few days, she had travelled from the eastern lands by boat, so hadn't been able to soak for a while, which meant she was desperate for a warm soak.

The past few days, she had travelled from the eastern lands by boat, so hadn't been able to soak for a while, which meant she was desperate for a warm soak.

However, she hadn't noticed that the lights inside were on.

However, she hadn't noticed that the lights inside were on.

3

3

"W-welcome home, mistress!"

"W-welcome home, mistress!"

Upon opening the door, she was greeted by a maid. The girl was wearing a black-based maid uniform, and gave an awkward curtsy. However, her expression was a somewhat stiff smile.

Upon opening the door, she was greeted by a maid. The girl was wearing a black-based maid uniform, and gave an awkward curtsy. However, her expression was a somewhat stiff smile.

"…"

"…"

At the sudden occurrence, Haruna couldn't help but stop moving and fall into silence. But in the next moment, she walked straight by the girl as if nothing had happened.

At the sudden occurrence, Haruna couldn't help but stop moving and fall into silence. But in the next moment, she walked straight by the girl as if nothing had happened.

"W-wait! D-don't just ignore me!"

"W-wait! D-don't just ignore me!"

"…Who are you?"

"…Who are you?"

"Ummm… I-I'm Titch Maleficuum. I've been appointed to help you with your personal needs during your stay, Tsuchimikado-sama."

"Ummm… I-I'm Titch Maleficuum. I've been appointed to help you with your personal needs during your stay, Tsuchimikado-sama."

The girl timidly gave her name as her eyes darted back and forth. Haruna looked at the girl that called herself Titch as if appraising her.

The girl timidly gave her name as her eyes darted back and forth. Haruna looked at the girl that called herself Titch as if appraising her.

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The first thing to draw her eye was the girl's flaxen hair, that sparkled in the electric light. Her skin was dark, she was probably from what was commonly called 'the dark continent', the Middle East, or descended from people from that area. She was slight for a woman, but her well built body was visible beneath her maid outfit. Particularly her chest and backside had womanly curves to them, and were emphasised despite her clothing, giving an unbalanced charm with her young looks and slight stature.

The first thing to draw her eye was the girl's flaxen hair, that sparkled in the electric light. Her skin was dark, she was probably from what was commonly called 'the dark continent', the Middle East, or descended from people from that area. She was slight for a woman, but her well built body was visible beneath her maid outfit. Particularly her chest and backside had womanly curves to them, and were emphasised despite her clothing, giving an unbalanced charm with her young looks and slight stature.

"It's fine, I don't need an attendant."

"It's fine, I don't need an attendant."

After finishing her observation, Haruna gave an emotionless, flat refusal.

After finishing her observation, Haruna gave an emotionless, flat refusal.

"Ehhh!? I-I…" It was an unforeseen response, and Titch cried out hysterically, "T-t-that's a problem! If you send me away and the head maid finds out… I-I'll be punished!!" Titch shook in a panic, looking at Haruna with imploring eyes, "I-I'm sorry if I did something to offend you! I apologise! I'll redo it right now! Please…!!"

"Ehhh!? I-I…" It was an unforeseen response, and Titch cried out hysterically, "T-t-that's a problem! If you send me away and the head maid finds out… I-I'll be punished!!" Titch shook in a panic, looking at Haruna with imploring eyes, "I-I'm sorry if I did something to offend you! I apologise! I'll redo it right now! Please…!!"

"It's nothing to do with you, so calm down a little. I don't know if the headmistress was told, but I can look after myself… That's all it is. There's no meaning to it."

"It's nothing to do with you, so calm down a little. I don't know if the headmistress was told, but I can look after myself… That's all it is. There's no meaning to it."

Haruna explained calmingly with a large sigh.

Haruna explained calmingly with a large sigh.

She's almost like a stray dog. She thought painfully while looking at Titch.

She's almost like a stray dog.She's almost like a stray dog. She thought painfully while looking at Titch.

"Eh, umm… but—"

"Eh, umm… but—"

"Don't worry, I'll explain to the headmistress. So you can return with pride."

"Don't worry, I'll explain to the headmistress. So you can return with pride."

"R-really? T-thank goodness…" Those words seemed to erase her anxiety as she let out a sigh of relief. "Ah… but I prepared dinner, so please enjoy the meal."

"R-really? T-thank goodness…" Those words seemed to erase her anxiety as she let out a sigh of relief. "Ah… but I prepared dinner, so please enjoy the meal."

Speaking as if she just remembered it, Titch gave a wide smile.

Speaking as if she just remembered it, Titch gave a wide smile.

Seeing Titch's natural smile for the first time, Haruna felt somewhat uneasy.

Seeing Titch's natural smile for the first time, Haruna felt somewhat uneasy.

"If that's what it is, I guess I will."

"If that's what it is, I guess I will."

She was sure if she bluntly rejected it, she would give another troublesome reaction. With that surety, Haruna simply agreed.

She was sure if she bluntly rejected it, she would give another troublesome reaction. With that surety, Haruna simply agreed.

◇4

◇4

"Oh, yes," after finishing the food, Haruna suddenly thought of a question. The food that Titch had prepared was such that even a Japanese person like Haruna was satisfied. So in no time, her mood was much better than it had been, but she herself didn't realise. "Why are you pretending to be a servant?"

"Oh, yes," after finishing the food, Haruna suddenly thought of a question. The food that Titch had prepared was such that even a Japanese person like Haruna was satisfied. So in no time, her mood was much better than it had been, but she herself didn't realise. "Why are you pretending to be a servant?"

Judging from her appearance, Titch was probably around the same age as Haruna. That being the case, it would be normal to think she was a student, but she was dressed in a maid outfit and acting as a servant. To hear her talk, she hadn't been employed long, and the one to clean the house was probably her.

Judging from her appearance, Titch was probably around the same age as Haruna. That being the case, it would be normal to think she was a student, but she was dressed in a maid outfit and acting as a servant. To hear her talk, she hadn't been employed long, and the one to clean the house was probably her.

"Uh…mm"

"Uh…mm"

Washing up in the kitchen, Titch was uneasily evasive.

Washing up in the kitchen, Titch was uneasily evasive.

"I'm, umm, a 'quasi-student'."

"I'm, umm, a 'quasi-student'."

"A quasi-student?"

"A quasi-student?"

Haruna had a puzzled expression at the phrase she hadn't heard before.

Haruna had a puzzled expression at the phrase she hadn't heard before.

"In this academy, there are two types of student. There are general students that are regular students that passed the entrance exam. If in the exam you have no aptitude for witchcraft, you can't pass it. Of course, if you were unfamiliar with the world of magicians, you would be turned away," Titch explained, with a somewhat self-depreciating, pained smile. The mental energy known as mana was required to use magic, but not all humans can refine mana to the same degree, and magic was largely hereditary. People like Haruna, who were born into families that studied magic were better off, and while average people could hold the latent potential, it was only a small percentage of the population. "But, even without a grounding in magic, it's possible to enter the academy. The quasi-student system, though you're charged much more for the matriculation and tuition fees than the general students."

"In this academy, there are two types of student. There are general students that are regular students that passed the entrance exam. If in the exam you have no aptitude for witchcraft, you can't pass it. Of course, if you were unfamiliar with the world of magicians, you would be turned away," Titch explained, with a somewhat self-depreciating, pained smile. The mental energy known as mana was required to use magic, but not all humans can refine mana to the same degree, and magic was largely hereditary. People like Haruna, who were born into families that studied magic were better off, and while average people could hold the latent potential, it was only a small percentage of the population. "But, even without a grounding in magic, it's possible to enter the academy. The quasi-student system, though you're charged much more for the matriculation and tuition fees than the general students."

"I see, in other words, it's a nice way of calling you an 'investor'." She murmured, seemingly understanding everything from Titch's explanation. "Studying and learning magic requires vast sums of money. Equipment, materials, catalysts… the examples are endless, but the scope here makes it a fortune. So they invite those who want the brand of the Witches Academy, and raise money. Hmph, it really is a nice way of calling you a source of money."

"I see, in other words, it's a nice way of calling you an 'investor'." She murmured, seemingly understanding everything from Titch's explanation. "Studying and learning magic requires vast sums of money. Equipment, materials, catalysts… the examples are endless, but the scope here makes it a fortune. So they invite those who want the brand of the Witches Academy, and raise money. Hmph, it really is a nice way of calling you a source of money."

"But people like me that were brought up in normal families can't afford that much money… so, we work for the academy like this to earn our tuition."

"But people like me that were brought up in normal families can't afford that much money… so, we work for the academy like this to earn our tuition."

"Hahh, it's really like slavery. I can't understand why you'd cling to witchcraft like that."

"Hahh, it's really like slavery. I can't understand why you'd cling to witchcraft like that."

"I… no matter what, I need witchcraft." Even in the face of Haruna's ill will and cynicism, Titch's troubled smile didn't falter. "I actually have my mom back home, who suffered from an illness. She saw so many doctors, but it seems that modern medical science couldn't cure her… Then I heard of this academy."  Her gaze dropped to the floor, and her words continued with her tears. "There's a pharmaceutical department here, so I want to save my tuition and study there first. When you take away the living expenses, I don't have much saved up though… But when I think of my mom waiting at home, I can keep going through the tough jobs!"

"I… no matter what, I need witchcraft." Even in the face of Haruna's ill will and cynicism, Titch's troubled smile didn't falter. "I actually have my mom back home, who suffered from an illness. She saw so many doctors, but it seems that modern medical science couldn't cure her… Then I heard of this academy."  Her gaze dropped to the floor, and her words continued with her tears. "There's a pharmaceutical department here, so I want to save my tuition and study there first. When you take away the living expenses, I don't have much saved up though… But when I think of my mom waiting at home, I can keep going through the tough jobs!"

As her speech finished, her demeanour suddenly brightened. Seeing that resolute smile that would bring someone to their feet in tough circumstances, Haruna quietly opened her mouth.

As her speech finished, her demeanour suddenly brightened. Seeing that resolute smile that would bring someone to their feet in tough circumstances, Haruna quietly opened her mouth.

"…What are the symptoms?"

"…What are the symptoms?"

"Eh—"

"Eh—"

"What are your mother's symptoms? That's what I'm asking."

"What are your mother's symptoms? That's what I'm asking."

"Umm… Her fever won't recede, her body always seems to be lethargic… it looked like a light illness like a cold at first, but she grew weaker and weaker, and now she can't even stand…"

"Umm… Her fever won't recede, her body always seems to be lethargic… it looked like a light illness like a cold at first, but she grew weaker and weaker, and now she can't even stand…"

"Does she have nightmares? It doesn't have to be someone specific, but does someone appear in your mother's dreams?"

"Does she have nightmares? It doesn't have to be someone specific, but does someone appear in your mother's dreams?"

"Eh, how did you know…? Someone does, they strangle her in her dream… but, I'm sorry, it's like a black shadow, she can't tell who it is."

"Eh, how did you know…? Someone does, they strangle her in her dream… but, I'm sorry, it's like a black shadow, she can't tell who it is."

Titch's eyes widened in surprise at her surety.

Titch's eyes widened in surprise at her surety.

"I see…"

"I see…"

"U-uhmm… do you have an idea what it could be, Tsuchimikado-sama?"

"U-uhmm… do you have an idea what it could be, Tsuchimikado-sama?"

"No, it was my imagination. Forget that last question."

"No, it was my imagination. Forget that last question."

"I… I see…"

"I… I see…"

Titch grew visibly disappointed at the quiet denial.

Titch grew visibly disappointed at the quiet denial.

"Sorry I couldn't be of help. Now, I can deal with the rest myself, so you can go home."

"Sorry I couldn't be of help. Now, I can deal with the rest myself, so you can go home."

"N-no, I should be apologising for bringing up a strange topic…!!" Titch frantically shook her head in apology and answered with exaggerated actions. "T-then, I will be leaving. The daily necessities are where I explained earlier. If there's anything else you need, feel free to ask me!"

"N-no, I should be apologising for bringing up a strange topic…!!" Titch frantically shook her head in apology and answered with exaggerated actions. "T-then, I will be leaving. The daily necessities are where I explained earlier. If there's anything else you need, feel free to ask me!"

"Yeah, got it. If… I you wish, I can escort you to the dorms?"

"Yeah, got it. If… I you wish, I can escort you to the dorms?"

"I-it's okay! I couldn't have you go that far for me." With that final confirmation, Titch gave a quick, respectful bow and left. "Good night, Tsuchimikado-sama."

"I-it's okay! I couldn't have you go that far for me." With that final confirmation, Titch gave a quick, respectful bow and left. "Good night, Tsuchimikado-sama."

"Yeah, take care on your way back."

"Yeah, take care on your way back."

She watched her until she was out of sight, before letting out a weary sigh.

She watched her until she was out of sight, before letting out a weary sigh.

"Seriously, what am I doing?" Haruna had a fair idea of what Titch's mother's illness was, and with that, of how to treat it. That was why her heart wavered. It wavered. She was driven by the urge to hold out a helping hand for something she could do. "I came here for my goal, right? What gain is there in letting myself be swayed by a fleeting sentimentality and involving myself in other's business? I don't have that freedom now."

"Seriously, what am I doing?" Haruna had a fair idea of what Titch's mother's illness was, and with that, of how to treat it. That was why her heart wavered. It wavered. She was driven by the urge to hold out a helping hand for something she could do. "I came here for my goal, right? What gain is there in letting myself be swayed by a fleeting sentimentality and involving myself in other's business? I don't have that freedom now."

However, she laughed self-deprecatingly. The person called Tsuchimikado Haruna was a selfish person. She had made enemies of people, no matter who they were, and mercilessly kicked others down for herself and her success. Becoming one of the Teachers at her age was proof of that.

However, she laughed self-deprecatingly. The person called Tsuchimikado Haruna was a selfish person. She had made enemies of people, no matter who they were, and mercilessly kicked others down for herself and her success. Becoming one of the Teachers at her age was proof of that.

"Me, helping another person? Don't make me laugh, that's not my personality."

"Me, helping another person? Don't make me laugh, that's not my personality."

Recognising her own naïveté, she murmured as if to cut through it.

Recognising her own naïveté, she murmured as if to cut through it.

"To fulfil my goal, I happily cut others down, both in the past, and in the future."

"To fulfil my goal, I happily cut others down, both in the past, and in the future."

According to Haruna's judgement, Titch probably wouldn't be able to grant her heart's desire by being accepted into the pharmaceutical department. After she had saved up for the huge tuition fees, her mother would most likely already be dead.

According to Haruna's judgement, Titch probably wouldn't be able to grant her heart's desire by being accepted into the pharmaceutical department. After she had saved up for the huge tuition fees, her mother would most likely already be dead.

"So what? What does it matter if a stranger lives or dies?"

"So what? What does it matter if a stranger lives or dies?"

Because I have something I need to accomplish.

Because I have something I need to accomplish.Because I have something I need to accomplish.

Reasserting the reason she came to this faraway land, she stood and left the living room behind. For a moment, Titch's face went across her mind, but—

Reasserting the reason she came to this faraway land, she stood and left the living room behind. For a moment, Titch's face went across her mind, but—

"I will have my revenge on the Tsuchimikado family, that is all."

"I will have my revenge on the Tsuchimikado family, that is all."

Shaking that off, she murmured to herself.

Shaking that off, she murmured to herself.

5

5

"Phwah."

"Phwah."

Haruna let out a big sigh, entering a bath for the first time in a while, lying back so the water reached shoulder height, and felt the heat permeate every muscle.

Haruna let out a big sigh, entering a bath for the first time in a while, lying back so the water reached shoulder height, and felt the heat permeate every muscle.

"Ah, this is better than I thought." Came out unbidden out at the comfort, and the expression on Haruna's face naturally loosened. "Baths really are great… It's like I'm washing my heart."

"Ah, this is better than I thought." Came out unbidden out at the comfort, and the expression on Haruna's face naturally loosened. "Baths really are great… It's like I'm washing my heart."

Today had been a hectic day for Haruna. Stress had built up from travelling to the academy, compounded with being followed around the office by Marie, and being greeted by a maid when arriving at the house.

Today had been a hectic day for Haruna. Stress had built up from travelling to the academy, compounded with being followed around the office by Marie, and being greeted by a maid when arriving at the house.

"Honestly… all this right after getting here, I'm worried what's next."

"Honestly… all this right after getting here, I'm worried what's next."

A big, weary sigh welled forth. On top of declaring that it would be finished quickly and that the school would soon be left to return to the Bureau of Onmyou, on the very first day there had been no progress with the investigation.

A big, weary sigh welled forth. On top of declaring that it would be finished quickly and that the school would soon be left to return to the Bureau of Onmyou, on the very first day there had been no progress with the investigation.

"Well, there won't be any interferences tomorrow. So I can do as I want."

"Well, there won't be any interferences tomorrow. So I can do as I want."

Muttering with a daring smirk, Haruna stood from the bath. As if looking forward to the hardships waiting, that smirk widened as the bathroom was left behind.

Muttering with a daring smirk, Haruna stood from the bath. As if looking forward to the hardships waiting, that smirk widened as the bathroom was left behind.

However —

However —

"Ah—"

"Ah—"

"Wha—"

"Wha—"

The moment the door was open and a towel was in hand, a semi-familiar voice was audible. It was the voice of someone who shouldn't be there. Someone that would cause issues being there.

The moment the door was open and a towel was in hand, a semi-familiar voice was audible. It was the voice of someone who shouldn't be there. Someone that would cause issues being there.

"Ky-kyaaah!!"

"Ky-kyaaah!!"

"U-uwaaahh!?"

"U-uwaaahh!?"

After a moment of silence, both of their screams resounded in the bathroom. Haruna quickly grabbed the towel and hurriedly covered themselves.

After a moment of silence, both of their screams resounded in the bathroom. Haruna quickly grabbed the towel and hurriedly covered themselves.

Despite just being out of the bath, all of the blood rushed from Haruna's face.

Despite just being out of the bath, all of the blood rushed from Haruna's face.

"U-uh, uh uh… I forgot to put out a spare towel… so, I…"

"U-uh, uh uh… I forgot to put out a spare towel… so, I…"

The one who saw Haruna, was a girl in a maid uniform, her face pale —

The one who saw Haruna, was a girl in a maid uniform, her face pale —

Titch, they had met earlier.

Titch, they had met earlier.

From the towel in her hand, she probably had indeed realised that she hadn't put a towel out after she had left and so returned. So she had changed places with Haruna and come to the bathroom.

From the towel in her hand, she probably had indeed realised that she hadn't put a towel out after she had left and so returned. So she had changed places with Haruna and come to the bathroom.

There was no problem with that itself, she was simply doing her job.

There was no problem with that itself, she was simply doing her job.

However, the problem was —

However, the problem was —

"U-uhmm, err—"

"U-uhmm, err—"

Titch was desperately trying to speak, seeming on the verge of tears. Her gaze was focussed on Haruna's lower body, covered by the towel, and something that was there that shouldn't have been. She had personally seen it.

Titch was desperately trying to speak, seeming on the verge of tears. Her gaze was focussed on Haruna's lower body, covered by the towel, and something that was there that shouldn't have been. She had personally seen it.

"T-Tsuchimikado-sama, are you possibly… a man?"

"T-Tsuchimikado-sama, are you possibly… a man?"

The moment those words came from her mouth, Haruna's mind went white, as if he had been struck in the back of the head.

The moment those words came from her mouth, Haruna's mind went white, as if he had been struck in the back of the head.

Ahh… how did it end up like this anyway?

Ahh… how did it end up like this anyway?Ahh… how did it end up like this anyway?

Like a revolving lantern, the events of coming to this school passed through his head.

Like a revolving lantern, the events of coming to this school passed through his head.

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