Chapter 1: Magian Society
April 24, 2100 AD.
On this day, Tatsuya was in the Indian Ocean. He had flown from Japan in a private jet, and now, he is aboard the British Royal Navy aircraft carrier "Duke of Edinburgh" which was anchored on the high seas.
The small jet used by Tatsuya is a hypersonic aircraft that uses hydrogen produced by the stellar reactor plant as fuel and achieves a maximum speed of Mach 7 using magics of airflow control and inertia control. The flight time from Japan was less than two hours, including take-off and landing time. The civilian application of magic was also being attempted in this regard.
Asha Chandrasekhar, the highest authority on magic in the Indo-Persian Union (IPU), her escort, the unofficial Strategic-Class Magician Arya Krishna Shastri and the British National recognized Strategic-Class Magician William McLeod were waiting aboard the Duke of Edinburgh, where the small jet deck-landed aboard the Duke of Edinburgh without the use of arresting wires, by means of inertial control magic. ??Yet, Tatsuya was alone. He has neither guards nor secretaries with him.
"Did I keep you waiting?"
They still have more than enough time until the appointment, but Tatsuya asked as a courtesy (in the Japanese sense).
"No, you arrived early"
At Tatsuya's words, Chandrasekhar shook her head with a smile. Tatsuya honestly didn't understand the meaning of the gesture, but he didn't mind, and considered it a cultural difference.
"But we don't have to stick to the schedule, so let's get started"
"Yes, if everyone agrees"
At Chandrasekhar's words, Tatsuya looks to MacLeod.
MacLeod nodded and declared, "Then we will begin the signing ceremony".
If the other party was a strict bureaucrat, they would have to wait until the scheduled time even if all concerned parties were present. This kind of rationalism is very welcome for Tatsuya.
MacLeod declared the opening because he was the witness to today's signing ceremony.
The process of establishing the Magian Society, an international mutual aid organization for those with magical talents, is now underway. The preparations have been completed down to the last detail, and all that is left is for Chandrasekhar and his deputy, Tatsuya, and the witness, MacLeod, to sign the charter.
There is already an international organization for magicians, the International Magic Association. However, the Magic Association is an organization for magicians with magic on practical level. This practical level is as close to, if not exactly the same as, "a level of military significance". Also, the Magic Association is more like an organization that uses "magic as a deterrent against nuclear weapons". Even if they have magical qualities, if they aren't useful to the military or have characteristics unsuitable for military use, they aren't protected by the Magic Association.
If that would be pointed out, the Magic Association staff would probably deny with "There is no such a thing". But Tatsuya and Chandrasekhar recognize that the Magic Association is an organization that bases magic on its military use.
And based on this recognition, it was necessary to establish a mutual aid organization to protect the human rights of Magians ??which they defined as those who possessed the gift of magic regardless of whether they were militarily useful or not?? other than the Magic Association. They decided to take it upon themselves to set up an organization for that purpose, rather than to change the Magic Association to their liking. They decided to act on their own instead of imposing it on someone else.
The Magian Society's headquarters are located in Galle, a city on the southern tip of the island of Sri Lanka. Prior to the establishment of the society, the IPU relinquished its sovereignty over the island of Sri Lanka yesterday and, along with the United Kingdom, recognized Sri Lanka as a neutral and independent country.
Since the very beginning, this Sri Lankan independence was premised on the establishment of the Magian Society. The IPU could expect the Society's headquarters in their own backyard, in the island of Sri Lanka, to curry favor with Tatsuya, the person who individually holds more military power than of a nation, and close interaction with the International Magic Association. He valued this merit more than the benefits of claiming the island of Sri Lanka.
MacLeod is responsible for testifying to the world that the Magian Society established in Sri Lanka as an agent of the British government, which was the first to recognize Sri Lanka as a state, is a private international organization independent of any government and not under the control of the IPU or affiliated to the Japanese government.
MacLeod himself has no immediate plans to join the Society. But he is willing to support the Society from the side. That is why he has accepted the role of witness.
Britain has been diplomatically critical of continental European countries that restrict ?or violate? the human rights of magicians in the name of protecting the rights of ordinary citizens. The UK government's support for the Magian Society's pro-human rights fits with this diplomatic strategy. There is also the intention to keep the International Magic Association based in London in check, since it refused to share the British government's condemnation of the continental European countries.
With the support and assistance of the IPU and the UK, the Magian Society was officially launched on Tatsuya's twenty-first birthday.
Tatsuya arrived at the aircraft carrier Duke of Edinburgh at 10:20 a.m. Indian time. The signing ceremony ended in an hour and they attended a luncheon on the carrier, hosted by McLeod. It was 2:00 p.m. Indian time and 5:30 p.m. Japanese time when he boarded the jet on the deck of the carrier for the return trip.
"Thank you for your hard work, Tatsuya-sama"
"Sir, everything is ready for takeoff. "
The former was Hanabishi Hyougo, his butler who had been waiting on board the ship; Hyougo hadn't accompanied Tatsuya on board because he would have been an encumbrance in case of an emergency.
And the latter, who greeted Tatsuya, calling him his Excellency, is the pilot of this plane, Yotsuya Tetsu  . He had been a fighter pilot for the Japanese Defense Air Force, known as Aitani Tetsu  until three years ago. But he was disappointed with the National Defense Forces, that remained as an idle spectator during the invasion of Miyakijima by the U.S. military in August 2097 and the attack on Miyakijima by the new Soviet Union, so he retired from the army and joined Tatsuya's side.
Hyougo can also fly a normal private jet. Even if he doesn't have the qualifications, he is technically skilled at flying large airliners as well.
But Tatsuya's personal airplane is a hypersonic jet. It's difficult to handle even for expert pilots. In addition to the high level of skill necessary to just fly the plane, it also requires magical skills to handle the airflow control and inertia control magic systems built into the fuselage.
In this regard, Yotsuya comes from the Aitani family from the Hundred Families. he changed his name to indicate that he had severed ties with the Hundred Families when he became a Yotsuba family's magician, and his magic itself is on the level of skill appropriate for a numbered family.
That's the reason why Yotsuya is flying Tatsuya's private plane and not Hyougo.
Tatsuya nodded at Yotsuya's words and ordered, "Please depart at once".
Yotsuya responds with a raised hand bow and hurries to the pilot's seat.
Just as Tatsuya and Hyougo took their seats and fastened their seatbelts, the twin hypersonic turbojet engines began to roar.
The hypersonic plane carrying Tatsuya and his crew arrived back at Miyakijima just after 7:00 p.m. (JST).
The development of Miyakijima has been progressing at a rapid pace over the past three years, and the landscape of the island has changed significantly. The fact that the island is practically owned by the Yotsuba family did not change. But a lot of capital for the development of infrastructure is flowing in from other sources than the Yotsuba family.
The "Western Pacific Marine Airport" for example, isn't an expansion of the short runway on the northern part of the island, but a marine airport built on an L-shaped mega-float on the southeastern coast of Miyakijima, a joint venture of Japanese and American companies. There are two perpendicular runways, both of which are 4,000-meter class. At present, only small and medium-sized aircraft take off and land here, but large passenger planes could fly here if necessary.
Across the suspension bridge connecting the seadrome to the island is the airport building that was just completed six months ago.
There, Miyuki was waiting for Tatsuya's arrival.
"I'm back. Nothing did happen, right?"
Miyuki answers Tatsuya's question meekly as usual.
"I don't think it's possible for a serious incident to happen in just half a day"
But there was someone who disturbed this pre-established harmony. Lina was there.
Until a few days ago, Lina's official position was of an officer on loan from the USNA to Tatsuya, but she has really been working as Miyuki's bodyguard since the summer of three years ago.
On January 4th of this year, Lina was adopted by Toudou Aoba, one of the masterminds of Japanese politics and the sponsor of the Yotsuba family, and became a naturalized citizen of Japan, at the same time as she turned 20 years old a step ahead of Miyuki. As a result, at least on paper, she is no longer a USNA officer and is now a Japanese civilian. By the way, her current official full name is "Toudou Rina  ".
However, she still usually refers to herself as "Angelina Kudou Shields", and by the nickname "Lina". Tatsuya and Miyuki also still refer to her as Lina.
Two years after graduating from high school has passed. As a remarkable transformation Miyuki and Lina have changed from beautiful girls to beautiful women.
Their height and body shape are the same as when they graduated from high school. Their faces were more mature to begin with, but there wasn't a place with a substantial change that could be pointed out.
But without a doubt, they have become more mature. Their hairstyle and make-up have also changed, although it would be more fitting to say the changes in their hairstyles and make-up are in line with their new, more mature, impressions.
While Miyuki's straight long hairstyle hasn't changed, she has changed her bangs from straight to slanted hair and parted her head to show her white forehead. Her shapely eyebrows are now exposed again, accentuating her elegance.
Lina has dropped the twin-tails that were originally a disguise to hide her military look and make her look more like a high school student, in favor of a semi-long one that doesn't fall over her chest. Her bangs are in a cool see-through bang. It gives her a more urban image than before.
"How was it in Tatsuya-sama's case?"
Faster than Tatsuya could respond to Lina's interjection, Miyuki questioned him back.
Miyuki neatly passed over Lina's statement, who could now be considered her close friend.
"The signing ceremony went off without any trouble"
Tatsuya followed Miyuki's lead. In other words, he ignored Lina's reasonable point.
Lina didn't interrupt the conversation between them.
The fact that she didn't start fussing about them ignoring her here is proof that Lina is also growing up properly… Maybe she's simply fiddling with it, though.
"Was there anyone who was acting insolent? I'm sure there are some in the Royal Navy who would not be happy with the establishment of a Society"
Given they dispatched a witness, the British government was informed of the details of the secretive progression of the Magian Society. Only the UK, the IPU and a re-independent Sri Lanka knew at the governmental level that the scope of the "Magian" society would be expanded to include "Magians" and that its purpose was to protect the human rights of Magians. In fact, the Japanese government did not know either.
The crew of the aircraft carrier that served as the venue was more likely composed mainly by non-magicians. The military is an organization with a higher ratio of magicians than others, but even so, there are absolutely few magicians, so it's not surprising that most of the crew would be non-magicians.
And the crew knows the purpose of the voyage. There isn't a sailor who doesn't miss the interest in the purpose of the voyage, even if they haven't been formally informed by the captain or other officers. Also, ships are a closed world. In some cases, with the lives of the crew at stake, the purpose of the voyage cannot be kept completely under wraps.
Even now, with an extensive amount of automation, the number of crew members on an aircraft carrier is still high. Some of them had to have harbored hatred or animosity towards magicians concealed in their minds.
The Society's purpose is to protect the human rights of those who possess magical qualities, including magicians. Since the rights include "freedom to choose a profession", the expansion of the Society's activities will open up non-military avenues for Magicians, which in turn will weaken the military. This must have made some soldiers wary of this. Miyuki thought so.
"No, there was no such behaviour at all"
But Tatsuya cleanly dismissed Miyuki's concerns.
"See, it's like I said"
Lina interjects from the side to reinforce Tatsuya's answer.
"But I was worried. I don't think my fears were unfounded"
This time Miyuki didn't ignore Lina's words, but instead replied with a less-than-logical rebuttal.
"No, you're worrying too much. Britain sent the Duke of Edinburgh to the Indian Ocean because of a political agenda. It would be not the British government, but the King of Britain, who would be disrespectful and embarrassing to Tatsuya. The Royal Navy isn't going to act in a way that would rub the King's face in the mud"
"…Somehow you make it sound like the Royal Navy is more trustworthy than the US military?"
At Miyuki's point, Lina frowns, as if she was stabbed in a sore spot.
"……they don't lose in terms of pride and sense of duty, but in loyalty. The royal navy's loyalty to the king is honestly higher than that of the navy to the president. The loyalty of a States soldier is directed to the state, not to the White House…"
"Isn't that the right way to be an army of a democratic nation?"
Lina gave a speech in an attempt to remove the concerns that were casting a shadow over Miyuki's mind, but Miyuki had encouraged her to do the opposite. However, Lina wasn't uncomfortable with it.
"Anyway, things are going well for the Society"
Tatsuya returns to the topic, perhaps to correct the atmosphere that was deviated to a weird direction.
"Company is next, Tatsuya-sama"
Miyuki's line takes the topic in a different direction with Tatsuya's intentions.
"The establishment is on Monday, right?"
Lina also gets in on the subject. However, this wasn't a question, it was a kind of a backchannel response.
It was a schedule that didn't need to be confirmed, but Tatsuya answered aloud with an affirmation.
When they returned from the airport to their secondary house in Miyakijima, Tatsuya was asked to wait for a while in his room. At this stage he had a pretty good idea of what was in store for him.
Ten minutes later, Miyuki calls Tatsuya through the extension to the dining room. There was a whole cake with a candle on it. And today is the 24th of April. Needless to say, this was a birthday cake for Tatsuya.
"Happy birthday, Tatsuya-sama!"
"Happy Birthday, Tatsuya!"
While Tatsuya was waiting, Miyuki and Lina changed into dresses in order to congratulate him. Reaching below the knee, the dresses revealed a large amount of the shoulder, and had very mature variations in color. Their smiles were more glamorous than the shimmering dress, and more glittering than the jewelry in the necklaces and rings they wore.
"Thank you, both of you"
Tatsuya expected that Miyuki would be preparing for the celebration. No, anyone who knew Miyuki could have seen it coming. There was no ounce of surprises there. Tatsuya's composed reaction didn't mean that he didn't like celebrating his anniversary or that he didn't care about it.
Naturally, the party dinner went on in a harmonious manner. There were only three people around the table. This is also the usual.
To tell the truth, last week, Shizuku offered to hold a birthday party for him. However, the date for the Magian Society's signing ceremony had been set more than half a year in advance, so he was forced to decline the offer.
"Miyuki's 'Tatsuya-sama' has settled very well "
Turning to Miyuki, who was cutting the cake, Lina said such.
"Why bring it, all of a sudden?"
Miyuki doesn't look away from her hand as she cuts the cake and asks back in a quizzical voice.
"Why bring it….. somehow?"
"What's that? It isn't since today or yesterday that I've been calling Tatsuya-sama by his name"
"Yes, but for some reason, I have a strong image of Miyuki calling Tatsuya 'Onii-sama'"
Perhaps many might agree with Lina's opinion.
"He is my fiancé. I can't call him 'Onii-sama' forever. I don't want the outside world to make it difficult for me… If I don't keep that in mind on a regular basis, it might accidentally slip up, right?"
Miyuki admits that it's so natural to call him 'Onii-sama' that it almost comes out of her mouth unconsciously. Putting down the knife and picking up the cake server, Miyuki's lightly frowned eyebrows wavered with a hint of melancholy.
"Unlike me, though, Miyuki doesn't seem to be careless"
But, at Lina's line, the gloom that had fallen on Miyuki's face cleared, and was replaced by a dumbfounded look.
"You said it yourself…?"
"……No, no, it's not like I deny that part"
Lina must have meant it as a joke. Her expression turned sour in disapproval.
There was not only a cake on the table, but champagne as well. There were glasses for all three of them.
Miyuki had celebrated her birthday last month and had turned twenty years old. It means that she was able to be a part of the celebration. To tell the truth, the preparations for establishing the Magian Society were almost complete six months ago, but they had to wait until Miyuki came of age to make her official entrance.
"Then, with Tatsuya-sama's birthday"
First, Miyuki opens the toast.
"Congratulations, Tatsuya, on your appointment as Vice President of the Magian Society."
And Lina followed suit,
Miyuki and Lina raised their glasses high in unison.
The two of them, who had turned twenty years old, had transformed from the most beautiful girls in the world to the most beautiful woman in the world, while still keeping lively and youthful. No, it might be more appropriate to express that they had stepped up in class.
This situation where he was receiving congratulations from those two with a big smile on their face, a normal man would not be able to speak properly in this situation.
But Tatsuya smiled calmly and responded to their congratulations in his normal tone of voice.
He drank the champagne in one go and put his glass on the table. Then Miyuki and Lina put their champagne glasses back on the table as well.
Before the toast, Tatsuya's flute-shaped glass was three-fifths full, while Miyuki's and Lina's glass was about a third full of champagne.
Now, after the toast, Tatsuya's glass is empty, and Miyuki's is also empty. Lina's glass has about a quarter full of champagne.
Lina wrinkles her brow at the sight of the three glasses. She brings the freshly placed champagne glass on the table to her mouth and empties it in one breath.
Lina coughs violently.
"Lina, are you okay?"
Miyuki hurriedly rubbed Lina's back from the seat next to her.
"You don't have to show your competitive spirit here with anything…"
Lina gave Tatsuya a sharp look as he whispered to himself.
"I just choked a bit. It's not like I was trying to compete!"
Miyuki and Lina are close friends who constantly act together, but they also consider one another as rivals. And both of them are surprisingly strong-minded. Lina denies it, but even though Miyuki came of age later than she did ??though it was only a difference of two months?? it was obvious from the sidelines that seeing Miyuki chug a glass of champagne and look composed caused a pointless sentiment of rivalry of "Me too".
"Tatsuya-sama, I'll pour you some."
But avoiding going out of her way and pointing it out, Miyuki tipped a bottle of champagne into Tatsuya's glass.
"How about you, Miyuki?"
Tatsuya followed Miyuki's lead and reached for the bottle she'd set down.
"No, I'm already……"
Miyuki shook her head apologetically. This was actually Miyuki's first time drinking. She had no idea what her limits were. It was only natural for a lady to weigh herself.
"I'll take it."
Lina, on the other hand, asked for a refill in a strong tone.
Tatsuya didn't say anything and poured the champagne into her glass.
"……Lina. If you're sleepy, why don't you take it easy and go back to your room?"
Miyuki recommends Lina to go to her bed, who looks like she's about to start dozing off with her glassy eyes.
"I'm okay. I'm okay."
Lina's tone of voice was surprisingly firm as she answered. But her tone was the only thing firm. Her eyelids were half-closed.
"It's a celebration."
Was Lina trying to say that it was rude to leave the table before they celebrate? Or that it was a waste not to enjoy a long-awaited celebration more? It could be both. Maybe it's both, and it's possible that the person in question doesn't even know it.
"……You don't have to take it too far, you know."
Tatsuya's voice sounded even more concerned than Miyuki's. Maybe he feels responsible for pouring himself a refill at Lina's request.
"I've already said that I'm okay"
With a good articulation, Lina answers by slowly swinging her head from side to side instead of shaking her head from side to side. It isn't impossible to interpret the gesture as imitating the gesture of a certain cultural sphere. But frankly speaking, it didn't look like she was okay.
"Anyway, tell me about the signing ceremony. How did you feel?"
"Even if you say 'feel'….."
There was confusion across Tatsuya's face.
"Everything was as planned, though."
The signing ceremony was, after all, a ceremony. Every detail of the agreement had been agreed upon in advance. If a third party had interfered in the details, that might be a different story, but Tatsuya and Chandrasekhar were the involved parties. There was no cause for dispute at the signing ceremony.
"Not the content of the arrangement. What was the mood? Was there any harassment from John Bull  ?"
"What are you talking about?"
Tatsuya has a dumbfounded look on his face.
"Didn't you say earlier that 'The Royal Navy is not going to act in a way that would rub the King's face in the mud'?"
"That's right, I don't think they are going to harass you, frown or act in the open. But just not showing it on the surface does not mean that you're not in an unwelcome mood, right?"
"Oh, I see that's what you mean."
But if explained, it wasn't such a strange question.
"They certainly didn't show any behaviour like it, but there was an unwelcome atmosphere. It wasn't hostility, though, it was a feeling of being avoided."
Miyuki's eyebrows cloud over at Tatsuya's answer.
"Is it antipathy…..?"
"I think it's more like indifference. There was a glimpse of frustration about why we're being driven to do this kind of work……"
Miyuki lets out a faint sigh.
"The world's interest in Magicians, no, Magian's rights is still low….."
Miyuki quickly used the new name 'Magian'. This word is a broader concept than magicians. And since Tatsuya and Chandrasekhar were going to spread the word around the world, Miyuki decided to take the initiative in using the word as long as it was one that Tatsuya was trying to promote. The word corresponding to the narrower meaning of 'Magician' is 'mageist'.
"It can't be helped. Magians are in the absolute minority and are misunderstood as being strong regardless of whether or not they have actual battle level abilities. Groups that are successfully viewed as socially vulnerable are more likely to garner public sympathy, but once they're assumed to be powerful or politically privileged, people don't want to acknowledge that fact, even if the reality is that their rights are being violated. We have no choice but to do something about it with our own efforts."
"I don't think we, Magians, who are restricted in various rights, are ever the powerful people in society…."
Miyuki didn't deny Tatsuya's sarcastic remarks, but merely retorted modestly.
"I guess the majority of people don't know the situation in which Magians are in. It's hard to get people to care about something that isn't directly related to them. I'm even only reminded of the struggle of the people in divided Africa when a big news comes out. Thinking about that, I can't blame them for their indifference."
"Sure, we may not be active in the problem of poverty in Africa, but at least we're not intentionally trying to make it worse. However the Magician's rights are deliberately being restricted, aren't they?"
Then Lina's indignant voice interrupted her.
"To the Majority, the part that talks about the possibility that a high level magister has the power to harm them is more important than the reality of the Magians."
Tatsuya responds in an apathetic voice. The word "majority" used here means "those without magical qualities", and it’s based on the understanding that Magians are a minority. In external and official documents, so far, it’s supposed to be listed as "the majority of citizens with the exception of Magians".
It's just that the term "citizens with the exception of Magians" has always been too long and inconvenient. From now on, they'll be using the term "Majority" in private.
"Seriously, that pisses me off!"
Suddenly, Lina bashed the table with her palm. Her indignation did not subside.
"What did we do to them? Don't be afraid of me without reason!"
Tatsuya and Miyuki look at each other.
(She is drunk)
(She is drunk, isn't she?)
The two of them agreed through eye contact.
(What do we do?)
Miyuki asks with her eyes.
Just let her drink herself to sleep.
Tatsuya answers with his eyes. This is the exact communication. There is also embarrassment in the telepathy.
"I'll get you a refill."
Miyuki stands up and gets the third bottle of champagne from the kitchen.
"I'll open it."
Tatsuya took the bottle and opened it so that the cork would not fly off.
He then pointed the mouth of the bottle at Lina.
"……Yeah, we didn't do anything."
Tatsuya said with a serious, gloomy look on his face and poured a glass of champagne into Lina's glass.
"Thank you. You should drink it too, Tatsuya."
Lina snatched the champagne bottle from Tatsuya and overflooded his glass.
"Oh, I'm sorry."
"No, don't worry about it."
Tatsuya laughed and shook his head, and drank the glass, filled to the brim with champagne, in one breath, as if showing off to Lina.
"Mwah. I'll take your challenge!"
Lina also emptied her glass in one go.
Tatsuya laughed and filled his own glass again, serving Lina a refill.
When the third bottle was empty, Lina plopped down on the dining table.
Sunday night, April 25th.
Tatsuya, Miyuki and Lina were at a prestigious hotel in the center of Tokyo.
They were not there to stay overnight, nor were they there for the hotel's famous restaurant —although it could be said that dinner was part of the objective.
Tatsuya was in a tuxedo, Miyuki and Lina in cocktail dresses. They've been invited to a standing buffet party for a hundred people at the hotel.
They drew attention while walking down the corridor of the hotel to the venue. Considering the number of guests, they didn't mind using a smaller room, but what was arranged was a large reception hall.
The women at the reception desk knew Tatsuya well. They were all members of Kitayama Ushio's secretarial team, whom he had met several times in the Stellar Reactor Plant project. The organizer of the party is an investment company of which. Kitayama Ushio is the president.
This company is the largest single investor of Miyakijima's Stellar Reactor Plant. Tonight's party is to celebrate the next stage of the stellar reactor plant project, and although Tatsuya is a guest of the party, he is practically the organizer of the party.
As Miyuki and Lina walked through the doors of the reception hall, their beauty drew admiration from all over the room. There was still more than enough time until the opening of the event, but the reception hall was filled with good vibes. Most of the invited guests seemed to have already arrived. The presence of white and black people are also quite noticeable.
Miyuki and Lina attracted a lot of attention, but it was Tatsuya who was first to be approached.
Honoka came running up to them in spite of her high heels. Behind her, walking at a normal pace, is Shizuku's figure.
"I know I'm a day late, but happy birthday to you!"
Even at twenty years of age, Honoka is still lively as ever.
"Thank you, Honoka"
Honoka and Shizuku are also, like Tatsuya, third year students at Magic University. But they rarely have a chance to see each other. Because Tatsuya is often absent from the university. Also, it is difficult for them to take the same classes as each other since the subjects are divided into different specialties, and Honoka wanted to study in the same department as Tatsuya, but it was not possible for her to do so due to her work schedule.
Honoka was hired by the Kitayama family as Shizuku's bodyguard upon entering university. This was at the insistence of Honoka and her parents, who felt that "it would be uncomfortable if she was indebted to them all the time". At first, it was still treated as a part-time job and Honoka lived on her own as she did in high school, but after turning 20 years old, she was officially hired and now she is living and working in the Kitayama family. She's here now, in fact, as Shizuku's bodyguard at the party.
Honoka is majoring in "Self-Defense Law" at university. It's a practical and cross-disciplinary course that teaches everything from magical skills for self-defense to the laws and regulations for the use of magic for self-defense. Not only bodyguards, but also the people being guarded have a lot to learn in this field, and Shizuku is also majoring in it. On the other hand, Tatsuya's major is the "Principles of Magic Theory", which studies the principles of magic itself. In the university, the lecture halls, let alone the classrooms, were divided into different buildings.
Shizuku spends her time at Magic University as an ordinary student, but outside of the university, she has already been helping her father with his work. She mainly worked on the stellar reactor plant, attending various meetings and parties as an agent or assistant to her father ('s company), the biggest sponsor of the project.
The work related to the Stellar Reactor Plant was a chance for Honoka to meet Tatsuya, with whom she had few chances to meet at the university. Also, the fact that Shizuku had been entrusted with this job reflected her desire to support her best friend in this regard.
"Would you mind giving me a few minutes of your time after this party? I have something to give to you"
The difference from the past is that Honoka is now able to say lines like this without hesitation.
"??Honoka, good evening."
"Good evening, Miyuki, and Lina too."
Her habit of shrinking before turning over to face Miyuki is also ??but not completely ?? gone.
"By the way, Honoka, what is it after the party?"
"Oh, don't worry about it, I'm sure Tatsuya-san will return home pleased tonight."
"What? Honoka, could that mean……?"
Honoka's suggestive line caused Lina to blush and widen her eyes.
"……I'm sorry, Honoka, I didn't quite get the point."
Miyuki, on the other hand, narrowed her eyes and gave a frigid smile.
Tension rose between Miyuki and Honoka.
"Don't worry, Honoka is all talk. Since she doesn't have that kind of experience either."
However, the woman's fight ended before it began when a monotone voice interjected from behind Honoka.
"T-that's not true!"
"It doesn't fit you, Honoka."
As Honoka's attitude suddenly turned childish, Shizuku gave her a lukewarm gaze, like she was looking out for her younger sister, who standed on her tiptoes trying to look older.
"Good evening, Shizuku, thank you for inviting me."
Then Tatsuya interrupted.
"Good evening, Tatsuya-san. Miyuki and Lina, too. Thank you for coming. "
While Miyuki, Lina and Honoka wore below-the-knee dresses, Shizuku's was a long dress. It was a cocktail dress with sleeves, but the design was more like an evening dress, so it was almost a formal dress.
Although the event was sponsored under his industry alias, the actual host was Shizuku's father himself. He must also be attending this event as an organizer.
"Tatsuya-san, I'd like to have a quick meeting before the opening of the event."
Tatsuya must have been expecting Shizuku's request.
Without asking back "about what?", he agrees with Shizuku.
"Can Miyuki and Lina come too?"
"Yes, that’s fine."
Miyuki answered and Lina nodded.
"Then, this way."
Honoka lined up next to Shizuku as she walked out, followed by Tatsuya behind Shizuku, Miyuki next to him, and Lina behind Miyuki.
As the party began, Shizuku's father, Kitayama Ushio, led the toast. Ushio then announced that the Stellar Reactor Plant project had already made a return to profitability and that it was moving into a new phase.
"-The Stellar Reactor Plant has been operated as a joint venture of several companies. However, in order to further develop the business, we have decided to establish a new entity, which will build and operate the Stellar Reactor under a unified management intent."
A large English logo is displayed on the wall behind the stage, which has been temporarily installed at the back of the venue.
The string of letters drawn in a simple 3D typeface 'STELLAR GENERATOR'.
"The name of our new company is STELLAR GENERATOR, Inc.!"
At the same time as that word with an external flavor, the alphabetic logo was replaced with 'Stellar Generator'.
A non-descriptive applause erupted from the entire party hall.
There was no surprise.
Not all of the guests were aware of the new company's establishment, but everyone involved shared the understanding that a permanent management entity, rather than a temporary joint venture, was soon to be necessary for the development of the stellar reactor business. The establishment of the new company is a response to their expectations.
"The new company has completed all preparations for its establishment on May 1. This person will be the president of Stellar Generator. There will be no need to introduce him again to you all."
Kitayama Ushio extends his hand to the side of the stage.
"This is Shiba Tatsuya, the developer of the Stellar Reactor!"
Tatsuya was invited to the stage by his voice.
This time, sporadic voices of surprise leaked out from all over the hall. A stellar reactor plant is different from a venture company's startup project. A large amount of money has already been invested and a number of companies are involved in this project, and large profits are expected in the future. There are many stakeholders who are looking to take the initiative. In a sense, it was an obvious reaction to question and worry about whether Tatsuya, who is still a University student just past the age of 20, would be able to take the helm.
"Although Shiba-san is only twenty-one years old, he is not only the developer of the stellar reactor technology, but also the deviser of the business scheme."
This time, the people expressed their surprise sporadically.
Everyone knows that Tatsuya is the developer of the stellar reactor ??the stationary gravity-controlled magic thermonuclear fusion reactor?? technology. But some believe and others doubt that he is the designer of the business scheme of the stellar reactor project. Even among those involved, the number of people who believe seems to be about half.
Surely the plan for the utilization of the energy produced by the Stellar Reactor was devised by such specialists as management consultants, who acted as ghostwriters. Even the business people gathered here ??no, perhaps it's exactly because they're so familiar with the business, but that's how about half the people perceived it.
However, that assumption has now been rejected by the great entrepreneur Kitayama Ushio. It was an unexpected turn of events in two directions.
The first was that Tatsuya was not just a young man who was solely focused on technology. It was a surprise to find that he was not only skilled in theory and technology, but also had the economic sense to match it with reality.
Secondly, it was surprising that Ushio Kitayama was willing to give his full support to Shiba Tatsuya, even to the extent of reinforcing the fabrication that Tatsuya had drawn up the management scheme in order to give him charisma.
Either way, it was enough to dispel some of the apprehension about Tatsuya's appointment as president. If he had any business sense at all, he would not be so foolish as to destroy a promising business, especially if he had the full support of Kitayama Ushio.
The audience greeted Tatsuya with a favorable look.
"I'm Shiba Tatsuya, and I would like to thank you again for your support of the Stellar Reactor Project.
Tatsuya bowed politely. This behavior seemed to impress them in several points. Perhaps it was the reaction of those who hadn't had much opportunity to see Tatsuya in person.
As the president of the new company, Stellar Generator, I will do my utmost to work hard, and I would like to ask for your continued support in the future."
A courteous applause followed. It was far from enthusiastic, but it wasn't dry either.
After bowing, Tatsuya raised his head.
Contrary to the expectations of those looking up at the podium, Tatsuya's speech didn't end there.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to inform everyone of two matters."
There were no reproachful or annoyed glances.
Rather, many of them showed strong interest.
"Yesterday, the Magian Society, an international private organization headed by Dr. Asha Chandrasekhar of the Indo-Persian Federation, was established to expand the traditional concept of a magician to Magian to include those who have the gift of magic, both formal and informal, whose rights as a person are restricted. The Magian Society is an organization that works to protect the human rights of those with magical abilities. Whereas the existing Magic Association primarily targets owners of magical skills that are military oriented, the Magian Society also addresses the rights of owners of magical abilities who aren’t involved in civilian work or who do not work with magic at the military level."
A small buzz arose. The idealistic stance of protecting even magicians who weren't at the actual level of battle was unexpected, but even more than that, it was too unexpected that he had partnered with the IPU to set up an international organization other than the International Magic Association.
"To make sure there is no misunderstanding, the Magian Society is an international NGO that is separate from any nation, including the IPU."
As if seeing through the confusion, Tatsuya adds.
"It cannot be denied that we have received various forms of assistance in establishing it, but we have received assurances in the official documents that the IPU won’t interfere with the operations of the Magian Society."
There is another stirring.
"It has been ensured by a representative of the British government, who was present as a neutral third party, that said document has legitimate validity."
The stirring changed to a commotion
"The Society's headquarters is in Galle, Sri Lanka. As I'm sure you are all aware, Sri Lanka has become a neutral republic after seceding from the IPU as of the twenty-third of this month."
The murmurings next to each other filled the reception room. It was a little out of control.
Rather than forcing himself to continue, Tatsuya waited on the stage for the atmosphere in the hall to settle down.
"Would you allow me to ask you one question?"
Just as the chaotic whispering was about to die down, a voice rose up, hoping to ask Tatsuya a question.
"Yes, what is it?"
Tatsuya gave a polite smile and urged them to continue.
"Is Sri Lanka's independence part of the IPU's support for the Magian Society?"
"I understand that this is a sign that the IPU is serious about protecting Magian's rights."
Once again, the commotion spreads.
"Does the Japanese government know the facts about Sri Lanka's independence?"
"I don't know. At least I am not making any personal guesses on my part about the government."
There were still some people who seemed to want to question Tatsuya, but they seemed to weigh themselves regarding the time, place, occasion.
As the atmosphere in the room regained a superficial composure, Tatsuya continued to speak.
"The Magian Society is a mutual aid organization to achieve the protection of human rights for Magians, who have been subjected to tangible and intangible restrictions from the government and society. We are establishing an entity in Japan that will do more tangible work towards the realization of this objective."
Then Tatsuya extended his hand to the backstage.
Invited by the gesture, Miyuki stepped onto the stage.
"The name of the new organization is Magian Company, a general incorporated association. Shiba Miyuki right here will take over as President and I, Shiba Tatsuya, will also have the right to represent it as Executive Director. The establishment is scheduled for tomorrow, April 26."
Miyuki bowed politely and Tatsuya briskly.
The audience's applause was mixed with not so small amount of confusion.