Chapter 1: The Alchemist of Oblivion
“Nii-san, let’s make it a ceremony so good that it’ll be a memorable day for both of us, okay?”
“Our dear mother and father have finally given their approval too, right? I can’t wait for our kissing vow.”
“Ageha, today’s just our high school matriculation. Don’t get ahead of yourself and turn it into a wedding.”
Mikado Kamui was on his way to school while he dragged his little sister Ageha along, clinging to his arm.
They had been showered in strange glances ever since they left the house, but he couldn’t help it.
It had already been 12 years since he came to the Mikado House and taken on the role of Ageha’s older brother. He knew all too well that once Ageha clung to him, there was nothing that would make her let go.
Her black hair was so glossy that it made him wonder whether it was emitting its own light. It was tickling him as they walked, but he had gotten used to that too.
“Nii-san, please take care of me in the academy as well, okay? Please protect me when scary people pop up, okay?”
“There’s no one who could hold a candle to you.”
“Ageha’s still frail. Only our sister’s strong.”
“Maybe, strictly speaking… But on the surface you look super-strong.”
“But it’s Tenei Academy, there should be top level Sorcians.”
Right now, ahead of the street the two were walking on, they could see the clocktower of the high school.
The private Tenei Academy—— It had everything from an elementary division, that equaled an elementary school, to a high division – the countrywide sole Sorcian Special Educational Institution.
If one graduates from this academy with excellent grades, you could say that one’s prosperous future was guaranteed. Tenei Academy graduate Sorcians were a strong brand. All of them had graduated into careers in the ministry of defense, the police, and so on.
The parallel universe Sorcia, on the other side of Japan—— It had been half a century since it was officially discovered. A boundary tunnel had been found, which made it possible to visit each other’s worlds. At the time they had been made official, they were only in the Japanese domestic.
The human beings in Sorcia—— The Sorcians, were a kind of magic users.
Most of them were able to use unique powers. They conjured fire and ice as if it was the most natural thing, all kinds of mysterious phenomenons lied in there.
The other world wanted such power. Sorcia itself seemed to be diverted into several authorities which entertained a continuing dispute, but that had nothing to do with the other side. The Sorcians living on the front kept increasing and so an educational institution was made eventually.
“Somehow… there aren’t many people on the way to school, huh?”
The road was so deserted, that he wondered whether he had mistaken the time.
“Nii-san, almost no one starts from senior high school onwards. Normally, Sorcians have to train starting from their childhood already, or they won’t be strong.”
“But at the time of the test I had the impression that there was quite a bunch of people, right?”
“Only 10 out of the 300 people that applied succeeded, you know? The combat ability examiners are actual students, right? To win against someone who’s receiving training all the time in the academy, one needs to benefit from the influence of a little sister like Ageha and has to be as sneaky as Nii-san.”
“Don’t call me sneaky… I know, I know, just… put it differently, alright?!”
Her words seemed to be the same like when he back-door’ed into the school.
“Ageha, this is also for you.”
“Ah, Nii-san. Can you please repeat that once more?”
“…………Ageha, this is also for you… Could you catch that when you’re glued to my like this?”
He had a bad feeling, but for now, Kamui met his little sister’s demands.
“Nii-san… You’re not just telling a big lie here, are you…? For Ageha’s sake… For Ageha’s sake… For Ageha’s sake Nii-san picked the academy…?”
The force Ageha clung to him with increased.
Her head was red like an apple. No, there was nothing that could turn that red.
Her expression, too, turned so adorable, as if she hadn’t ever known any greater bliss.
“T-That’s right… Surely it won’t be a problem… I’ve decided to enter Tenei Academy, for Ageha…”
Like a baby, with a smile of innocence, Ageha was bathing in her joy.
“Ageha is really lucky to be the Nii-san’s little sister!”
Ageha leaked an enthusiastic sigh while she closely hugged Kamui’s arm.
The eyes of the passers-by hurt. However, even if he was dealing with an Ageha who was flirting noisily, pulling apart from that gentle her would make him feel bad.
“With that tone, it’s only a matter of time until Nii-san will do Ageha the honor of marrying her, right?! How about in 30 minutes? An hour? Ageha will kindly wait!”
“That’s way too hasty, you know?! At least say something like you’d wait until we’ve graduated from high school!”
Right, right, being told joking matters like these was easier to deal with.
“In other words, we’ll get married after we graduate from——”
“Of course we won’t! I’m not proposing to my little sister!”
“There is no such problem, we’re not related by blood after all!”
“If that comes to light, things’ll get complicated, so hush! Plus, walk with your own legs for a bit!”
“No can do~ it’s Nii-san’s fault for making Ageha so happy~”
Eventually, Kamui arrived at Tenei Academy while dragging along his little sister, Ageha.
The school entrance ceremony was performed in a dome-style stadium. As expected from a private school, the inside of the stadium was fully equipped. It was likely also used for school assemblies as you couldn’t even get wet by rain in here.
While the already enrolled students were seated in the stands, the freshmen were lined up in alphabetical order without regards to their school year and crosswise on the lawn court.
Because of that, it had turned out that Ageha was in front of Kamui. When he had taken it lightly that she couldn’t possibly plan to cling to him even in school, he had to forcefully separate from her as she was still clinging in the end.
“Ageha wants to be in the same class as Nii-san.”
“That’s too bad, huh. I’m a second-year, you’re a first-year.”
“Ageha wants to be registered in the family register with Nii-san.”
“Stop spouting those weird lines without second thought!”
Their sibling relationship never crossed the line, but the direction in Ageha’s case wasn’t for the better.
“By the way, when do they announce the classes? I haven’t heard anything yet.”
Tenei Academy was a school which thoroughly enforced a true ability doctrine, so classes were divided by student abilities, starting from the top into class A, B, and C. But classes were fluid and instantly changed according to result changes. They were actually closer to batallion 1, 2, and 3.
And even on the school entrance day itself classes still hadn’t been announced.
“It has to be a flag that signals Ageha and Nii-san to be in one class, right?”
“What’s with this forced interpretation?!”
“Ah, looks like an important person will talk.”
A single female student was entering the stage in the back of the stadium.
She seemed small in stature, the ribbon which was fasted on top of her head was jumping up and down, just like the ears of a small animal. She had silver hair, which looked like a chilled sword, that reached up to her waist.
And she flapped a folding fan with her right hand. Overall, she had a self-important atmosphere to her.
“I welcome you all. My name is Hoshinomiya Haruka, I am this academy’s student council president.”
Her name caused a small commotion among the freshmen.
Speaking of Hoshinomiya, they were one of the five reigning families in Sorcia. And not just Sorcia, they were holding considerable connections into the other world – with Japan – too.
So to say, she was somewhat a country’s princess which had come to Japan for ‘oversea study’. Many should’ve already heard that she was the student council president, but they were voicing their wonder nonetheless.
“Everyone, I congratulate you on your matriculation—— that’s what I’d like to say, but if I were to speak my true opinion, you’re pitiable.”
Considering it was the school entrance ceremony, the meeting hall stirred all the more towards this sudden, inappropriate speech.
However, the student council president herself didn’t show any sign of remorse, she chuckled instead.
No, it wasn’t just her, even a portion of the enrolled students’ stands were laughing like her.
We look like gladiators gathered in the Colosseum, Kamui thought.
“Shall I give you the reason? You’ve passed a harsh selection test and enrolled into this academy. The examiners were students of last year’s class C, so you appear to have power as Sorcians that are sufficient to beat someone from class C who went easy on you. However——”
The student council president stared across the freshmen.
“What’s waiting for you from now on are days and days filled with sheer endless competition. Unfortunately, many people who’ve moved here from high school drop-out, not being able to adapt to the harsh training. And if you fall behind, future glory will be nothing but an empty dream. That’s why you’re pitiful.”
Ageha complained, “She seems to be a bit creepy, right?”, in a voice so small that only Kamui could hear it. “I want Nii-san to make her take lessons from Nii-san.”, “Give it up.”, “Rather, Ageha wants to take lessons from Nii-san.”, “Give it up even more.”
It wasn’t the most graceful of speeches, but Kamui spontaneously agreed with the student council president’s points.
“It’s a fair argument. Only the chosen ones can rise to the top of the world.”
“But Nii-san has the self-confidence to be one, so Nii-san picked this academy, right?”
Ageha, full of expectations, fixed her eyes on Kamui.
“Yeah. I’ll definitely obtain the Sorcian voyage rights.”
For 300 years Sorcia had continued to be in a state of war. Because of that, Sorcians, which had been born on the front, could generally not come from and go to Sorcia as they pleased. It was the same for Sorcian people coming to the front.
Let into that world were only people, who had been recognized to have the talent to get away from danger—— people, who had the voyage rights. They could enter Sorcia from a gate called Boundary Gate, of which five were situated in Japan.
Usually, one couldn’t even apply for the voyage rights exam until they were 25. People weren’t permitted to visit the dangerous world of Sorcia until they had reached an age where they had acquired the wisdom and mature judgement of a full-fledged member of society.
However, it goes without saying, that there were exceptions.
“If you manage to be among the top 5 of this school for even a second, you’ll be granted the rights, won’t you?”
Kamui nodded lightly.
Tenei Academy’s ranking counted the same as an actual Sorcian’s achievements. Maybe for that reason they were granted the voyage rights despite of their age.
Originally, there seemed to be a bypass, in which inexperienced people accompanied investigations in Sorcia that were carried out by the other world, but that didn’t matter now. Going for the top of the academy was the fastest way to get to Sorcia.
Because of that, Kamui had chosen this high school.
“Ageha, I’ll acquire those voyage rights and turn your body back normal again. I’ll make Nee-san my enemy for that.”
“Nii-san, I am counting on you.”
Ageha took Kamui’s hand in a gentle manner.
The student council president’s speech continued on the stage:
“Well then, you all know that in this academy, you will be divided into class A, B, and C going by your results. These results will be decided by the [Hashasen] ranking, which consists of sham battles within this school. Simply put, the top 33% students among the first-years will be placed into class 1-A.”
Tenei Academy’s high school section had one definite difference from the middle school division.
And that was the [Hashasen]; one-on-one battles between Sorcians of this school.
They decided the order of seats and hence the order of strength. A world ordered through sheer strength.
“And every year in this academy, immediately after matriculation, we let you have your first [Hashasen] experience. Since this is also a tradition in this academy, it’s most suited.”
——Freshman Mikaido Kamui, please come to the stadium’s venue #1.
The announcement, including his own name, was transmitted into the stadium and Kamui was startled.
“This first match will also count and officially decide the class. Now, this match will be carried out between the person with the lowest results on the matriculation test and an enrolled student.”
Laughter leaked out from the other freshman too.
“Haa, I’m the lowest rank after all. Figures.”
He only held out the three minutes with the examiner without even attacking for the most part, so it was only natural.
However, Ageha was quickly irritated, “They’re being rude to Nii-san!”
“The fight will be watched closely by all the students, so good luck.”
Smiling with a kind gaze, the student council president, Hoshinomiya Haruka, left the podium.
“I get it. You take your own place. By yourself, by winning. Isn’t that right?”
Kamui leaked a smile, too. This easy-to-understand system wasn’t bad.
An announcement was made which told the other freshmen who were not fighting to go into the waiting room for now.
The stage for the [Hashasen] would be this very lawn.
——First match – Freshman Mikaido Kamui VS Mitsurugi Kaguya.
When the competition card was displayed, the students in the stands began to stir.
“Oi, just like this?! the academy’s number 1?!”, “They wanna publicly execute him, huh? Mitsurugi didn’t lose even once last year, right…?”, “Her record of consecutive victories will keep growing, won’t it?”, “I know we’re doing this every year, but that’s just bad taste, isn’t it?”, “Don’t they throw them at someone real strong on purpose to make ’em feel their own powerlessness or something?”
Such were the various outcries that reached Kamui’s ears.
“Eh…? Suddenly selecting the undefeated number one. Education’s just an excuse for bullying here, isn’t it…?”
As one would expect, Kamui’s face also grew a bit pale from this way too extreme development.
“Furthermore, the Mitsurugi Family’s one of the five reigning families, right? Why are those people all over the place?”
“Oh, only rank 1? Nii-san, this’ll be an easy fight.”
“No, there’s no one stronger than rank 1. There’s no 0.5 or 1.5.”
“But Ageha’s Nii-san couldn’t possibly lose~ It’s fine~ Let’s hit the bullseye right away~”
Saying that without any particular foundation, Ageha went to the waiting area.
Now only Kamui was left on the spot.
That’s why whoever’d come now, would without mistake be his opponent.
“You really are an unfortunate freshman, aren’t you?”
The one turning up was a girl with strawberry-blonde hair that almost seemed to burn.
She wore a uniform not different from the other students, but it stood out like the dress of a goddess nonetheless. Maybe it was because a necklace in the shape of a crescent moon caught his attention? If he didn’t know that she was something like this school’s strongest Sorcian, then he wouldn’t be able to see her for anything but a lovely girl which seemed to need someone to protect her.
But her expression certainly said that she wanted to fight.
“Nice to meet you, I’m Mitsurugi Kaguya. You might not know what to do with this sudden match-up, but no need to worry, it’ll be over in a flash.”
Her words were kind, but in her eyes lingered the hostility of an oncoming match.
The girl named Mitsurigi was showered by all the gazes from the stands.
The enrolled were probably curious about seeing a match of their number one.
“I wonder if you… if you could go easy on me… I’ve got no combat experience…”
“Don’t be afraid. You’ll be unconscious before you can even feel the pain. My [White Heat] will fry you in an instant. Or perhaps burning you to a crisp would be better?”
Kamui tried to draw intel on the five commanding families out of his head.
The five commanding families. After the Hajikami House, which had reigned Sorcia before them, had diminished, they splitted Sorcia into five parts for each of the five families, Hoshinomiya, Hinoharu, Hadzuki, Mitsurigi, and Manami. They were all considered to have already been in this world when it was born. This kind of origin myth existed in Sorcia.
God, ancestor of the Hajikami House, had created everything. He had taken out a dagger named [Shourin] from its scabbard. Thereupon, he first of all gave birth to the sun, moon, and stars in this world. The sun became the Hinoharu House’s ancestor, the moon the Hadzuki House’s, and the stars the Hoshinomiya House’s. From the sun, the moon, and the stars, light and darkness were born. The light grew to be the Mitsurigi House’s, and the darkness the Manami House’s ancestor.
When the world had been created thus far, God sheathed the [Shourin] back into its scabbard. He had decided to create the world based on this. And last he turned towards the world and announced this: ‘If the time comes, that this world is turned into nothingness, this dagger shall be unsheathed from its scabbard once again.’