This news reached Japan at about 7 am on April 1, 2097.
Tatsuya and Miyuki arrived yesterday from Okinawa, watched an emergency news release sitting at the dinner table.
"This is not an April Fool's joke?"
"The usual third-rate jokes would be more appropriate."Frowning, Tatsuya answered Miyuki, who asked in a frightened, unbelieving voice.
Using the remote control, Tatsuya divided the monitor screen in the dining room into 4 parts. Each part of the screen showed news with subtitles on different channels. Everywhere it was talking about the same bad news.
"...Apparently, it's still not a joke."
The area of Santa Cruz in the territory of the former Bolivia in South America, local time on March 31, 17:00. In a battle between the Brazilian army and independent armed guerrillas, which continued uninterruptedly for three months, the embattled Brazilian army used Strategic Class Magic "Synchronized Linear Fusion".
"The scale of the explosion is estimated at several kilotons? ...The problem is, in what situation was the magic used. If around a mountain or a desert, then the damage was limited only by the fighting forces."
"What if they used it near urban areas or refugee camps ...?"
"In this area there are often fights, therefore there should not be many civilians."
Immediately after Tatsuya answered Miyuki, the news showed an official message from the Brazilian army.
"...The epicenter of the explosion was in the center of the ghost town, in which guerrillas were based. About 1000 dead, only members of the armed partisan organization became victims."
Tatsuya read the text from the screen with a grim face. His face was not pale, but his eyes expressed despair. Under the fixed gaze of Miyuki and Minami, who are looking at this uneasy expression, Tatsuya continued his evasive tone in an uncharacteristic manner. "I did not think that
"Synchronized Linear Fusion" would be released for such a quantity of enemy."
"...Then, the actual number of victims..."
"At the moment I can only say that there are more of them. However, there is no doubt that among the victims there are not only the guerrillas of the battle."
"How so!?" Miyuki was indignant at Tatsuya's suggestion. Sitting opposite, Tatsuya stretched out his right hand and laid it on Miyuki's left hand. Miyuki did not become enthusiastic, as usual in such a situation.
But to some extent the anxiety passed.
"Because the division of guerrillas combat forces and civilians in this case is ambiguous. For example, in the regular army, supply teams are also considered to be a combat force, but people providing partisan supplies are generally classified as civilians." Having said this, Tatsuya raised his hand from Miyuki's hand to her head.
"Even if we worry about them, there's nothing we can do now." Tatsuya slightly patted Miyuki's hair. It was a rough movement with such a gentle hand. Fixing her hair, Miyuki looked at Tatsuya relaxed and clearly was happy. Seeing that Miyuki had calmed down, Tatsuya again looked at the monitor showing the news.
"Despite everything, Brazil seems to have easily recognized the use of Strategic Class Magic..." Tatsuya muttered, talking to himself. It was just an expression of doubt, but for Miyuki it sounded like an ominous prediction that "an era is coming when Strategic Class Magic will be used quite often." Miyuki felt the chill run over her back growing into a small tremor all over her body.
9 am. Tatsuya, Miyuki and Minami came to school, despite the fact that there were spring holidays. Although Tatsuya was worried about getting further information about the use of Strategic Class Magic, but, unfortunately, they had a planned schedule. Because of their stay in Okinawa until yesterday, the meeting to prepare the entrance ceremony for the school was postponed.
With the graduation of previous high school students, and with the start of the new academic year, in a few days Tatsuya and his peers will become pupils of the third, final year. In October of last year, the new school board of First High was, as usual, assembled from the most well-known and top-ranking students on the list of pupils.
But this did not mean that Tatsuya had strong emotions about this. He did not have to suffer a sense of responsibility, like Miyuki. He could only hope as much as possible that there would be no problems.
When they entered the school board room Tatsuya, Miyuki and Minami were already expecting Izumi, Kasumi and a first-grader who will represent the newcomers of this year. Kasumi was as a replacement for the head of the disciplinary committee, who could not come.
It seems that the representative of the newcomers, Mitsuya Shiina, was familiar with Izumi and Kasumi for a long time, because they were talking lively when the three entered, headed by Tatsuya.
"Miyuki-senpai, we have not seen each other! Ah... Today you are beautiful, as always... No, you have become much more beautiful..."
But at the same moment, when Izumi noticed Miyuki's appearance, she jumped up from the chair she was sitting on.
"Good morning, Izumi-chan. Thank you for doing various things in my absence." Miyuki was taken by surprise by the enthusiastic greeting of
Izumi, but she could skillfully reply with gratitude with a smile on her face.
"Miyuki-senpai, these are undeserved words of praise! Ah, is it true that such happiness happened to me?" These were not just words, Izumi was literally ready to faint.
"Izumi-chan, you're exaggerating." Miyuki smiled and lightly rebuked Izumi. Miyuki knew already from personal experience, that she will not stop, until she herself says a couple such words.
"Kasumi-chan, and good morning to you. Thank you for your work on replacing Yoshida-kun."
"Good morning, President, Shiba-senpaii, Sakurai-san." Unlike the twin sister in the clouds, Kasumi responded with a polite greeting to the proper junior high school student. After Tatsuya's and Minami's answer, amidst the awkward silence that arose, Miyuki drew attention to the new one.
"Good morning. It's nice to meet you, Mitsuya-san. I am Shiba Miyuki, the president of the school board of First High."
"Good morning. My name is Mitsuya Shiina. Nice to meet you." Shiina with a strain on her face bowed to the wide-smiling Miyuki. Dark brown lush airy hair slightly jumped, and it became clear that she was wearing headphones. Raising his head with a face expressing the cry "A ~ ...!", Shiina tried to remove her headphones in panic. But Miyuki took the initiative.
"All is well. I know about your situation."
"...Sorry. I will make sure that this does not stand out at the inauguration ceremony." She looked shyly, looking at the floor. However, not only Miyuki, but also Tatsuya and Minami did not blame her for being impolite for wearing headphones before the high school students she had just entered. Not even talking about Kasumi and Izumi, whom she had known before, everyone here knew about the "situation" of Shiina.
Shiina does not listen to music or radio. Her headphones are some kind of earplugs. These "headphones" were made in the style of a head hoop with ears covering the ears. However, unlike the usual closing ears from the external sounds of the headphones, these had built-in microphones on the outside of each cup, and the speakers inside. She used this device because she was not able to withstand loud sounds.
It was slightly different from hypersensitivity. In her case, the rumor was really beyond the limits of just sensitivity. Shiina will hear in the form of sound, even the smallest air swing, which can never be heard by ordinary people.
Like Mizuki's hypersensitivity to pushions, her "symptom" manifested itself with the development of magical power, so it is believed that it is associated with magical susceptibility.
However, unlike Mizuki, Shiina perceives not psion or pushion waves, but a real physical sound.
She does not have problems with controlling magical feelings.
The magic scientists who diagnosed her came to the conclusion that "she is constantly unconsciously using magic that amplifies hearing," but there was no sign of magic. And attempts to suppress the amplified hearing magically ended with side effects, like blocking all magical perception.
Such a solution would be suitable for normal daily life, but for a magician this was a significant drawback.
Eventually, having received sound isolating headphones, which with the help of a microphone and a speaker automatically adjust external sound to an acceptable level, Shiina was able to combine everyday life with the life of a magician.
When Shiina goes to official events, she uses headphones hidden in her hair with a neck strap. However, the built-in microphone and speaker still have a certain weight and load their ears for a long time, so using headphones with a head hoop is still easier for her.
"At the admission ceremony it will be better to wear something that is not striking. But for the usual daily wearing at school, I think, is quite suitable. In our school there is no person, including teachers, who would reproach you for this. So do not worry, including right now."
"Yes ... Thank you very much, Shiba-senpai."
Tatsuya picked up the words to smoothly translate the conversation to the topic of the meeting. He also had a goal to say that you can use headphones "permanently". Since this was a delicate topic, which, if the words were not chosen correctly, could sound too harsh, he decided not to let Miyuki say it.
However, Shiina seems to have embraced Tatsuya as caring about her, and bowed with an apologetic smile. In Tatsuya's eyes, this bow was, although not the same as that of Miyuki, but still pretty handsome.
And yet, Tatsuya's speech was able to remove some of Shiina's anxiety from the thought "I'm to blame." The preparatory meeting for the opening ceremony, which began after that, was held in a peaceful atmosphere.
"I think that this speech is quite suitable as an official response."
"Good." Shiina agreed with Miyuki's words.
Her expression was hard to read, because she was not used to such things.
"If you are not sure what to remember, then you can take the text with you."
"No, it's okay ... probably."
"Miyuki-senpai, there will be no problems. Because Shiina-chan has a good memory."
She smiled modestly after these words of Izumi. Thus, the meeting with Shiina continued smoothly and ended in two-thirds of the planned time.
Probably because during the absence of Miyuki, Izumi was well prepared. She also had a good grasp of the routine, and did not have to repeat what she had already said.
Apparently, she had already heard in advance from Kasumi and Izumi about what would be discussed at this meeting.
She is also from the Ten Master Clans, but of a different age. Shiina seems to be quite familiar with Kasumi and Izumi, probably because the main houses of their families are located in the same central district of the capital. Shiina has a rather big age difference from the other brothers and sisters of the Mitsuya family, so perhaps she had more motivation for new acquaintances with her peers.
Thus, the meeting with Shiina ended at 11 o'clock. But for Miyuki and other high school students there was still much to do at the school. And for Shiina today's responsibilities are over.
"Shiina-chan, good work. That's enough for today."
"Actually, Shiina and I were going to have dinner together, but it's still a bit early."
After Izumi's words, Kasumi said this with the expression "what a nuisance" and smirked at Shiina. To which Shiina responded with her tense smile.
"Um ... I did something in honor of meeting all of you ..."
Saying this, Shiina took out a picnic basket from the sports bag that was next to her.
Shiina opened the lid of the basket. There lay piled in perfect order
"pancake sandwiches" the size of a palm, each of which was wrapped in a separate sheet of paper. For convenience, so that the contents could protrude and not spoil the hand, round pancakes were folded in half, covering themselves with a filling in the form of cream and fruit.
"Uwaa, today also looks appetizing!" As Kasumi, who was cheered up, noticed, and the shape, color, and swirling smell skillfully evoked the appetite.
"Shiina-chan is really good at making sweets." said Izumi, smiling with a glance in the basket. "Miyuki-senpai, she put so much effort, do you want to try?"
"If you do not mind, of course." After the words Izumi offered Shiina with a timid smile.
"Thank you, Mitsuya-san. Then, if you suggest, I'll try."
She took a pancake and brought it to her mouth.
Seeing Tatsuya showing her eyes with consent, Miyuki said:
"Delicious." Miyuki smiled at Shiina, and there was not a trace of her cream on her lips and teeth from the freshly baked pancake.
"Um, Shiba-senpai, do you want to? Or do not you like sweet things?" A slightly reddened Shiina suggested to Tatsuya.
Tatsuya took a pancake and ate it in two bites. Tatsuya's face which was covered with chocolate cream, had received a napkin from Pixie to wipe his lips, and a drink to wash it down, at least did not show that he was overzealous. Stress from the face of Shiina passed.
"Minami, try too."
After Tatsuya's words, Minami stretched her hand to the basket. And as if at a signal, after that Izumi, Kasumi and Shiina herself had taken from the basket a "pancake sandwich."
Realizing that the anxiety was in vain, and the home-made sweets were unexpectedly popular, Shiina walked from school with an easy gait. Her thoughts, before meeting with Miyuki, filled with tension and anxiety, were now full of optimism in the spirit of "We got along unexpectedly well."
(Perhaps from the very beginning it was not worth it to be afraid that this president of the school council is the heir of the Yotsuba family.) Even entering the same Ten Master Clans, the Yotsuba family was considered exceptional. The world community of the family Yotsuba and Saegusa are regarded as two equivalent pearls of the magical world of Japan, but Yotsuba still outperforms in real magical abilities.
The Saegusa family only looks like it's standing with the Yotsuba shoulder to shoulder because of their ability to solve political issues by numerical superiority. All this Shiina heard from her older sisters and brothers. That's why she was so afraid of the first meeting with Miyuki, imagining what a terrible witch she would turn out to be.
Miyuki's appearance Shiina had seen before. She attended the Nine Schools Competition in the past and the year before.
However, her too beautiful appearance caused Shiina's impression "I don't think she's human." And too strong magic inspired fear of the kind
"she is beyond the limits of humans."
In January of this year, when Shiina learned that Shiba Miyuki actually is directly related with the Yotsuba and is an heiress, she was not at all surprised at this. On the contrary, she was completely convinced of this.
The heiress of the "Demon of the Far East" should be a true "Demonic Princess". This and similar thoughts naturally came to mind.
However, during the face to face conversation this impression seemed completely inappropriate. Not to mention beauty, elegance and greatness were not at all like ordinary people. It was the image of a princess, no, even a queen. Shiina did not feel today any demonic evil, which fear she was prejudiced. Except for incredible beauty and strength, everything else was normal. She was discouraged, not seeing the eccentric characteristic of powerful magicians.
But concern about relations has not completely disappeared. Another person from the Yotsuba, Tatsuya, evoked from her an incomprehensible sense of fear and mystery. However, Shiina felt that he, too, was not a threat to her.
(Until we become enemies.)
(It will be very good if you manage to make friends with them.) (While the Mitsuya family does not commit any foolishness against the Yotsuba family, there's nothing to fear.)
Having come to this conclusion, Shiina relaxed.
After all the anxiety and stress, she was even a little in high spirits.
"Shiina." She almost jumped from surprise when she was called after she left the school gate.
"Saburou-kun...!" She could not avoid the increased tone of voice, although otherwise unseemly behavior was not noticeable.
"Shiina, good work." However, it seems, it did not worry the guy with long hair who called her, which was now a rare phenomenon. At least, he showed no excitement.
"Have you waited all this time?" I told you that you can come home sooner."
"You finished faster than expected. Besides, I, like security, cannot leave you as a mistress, and go home."
"The guards say, despite the fact that ..." Shiina looked puzzled at the looking sullen fellow.
The name of this guy is Yaguruma Saburou. She and Shiina were born with a difference of 2 days and are close friends of childhood since birth. By the way, Shiina was born before.
The Yaguruma family has a lineage of magicians of ancient magic, but for more than 30 years they have been maintaining a mercenary relationship with the Mitsuya family. Because of their birthday, it was decided that the boy Saburou will become an escort for Shiina.
However, this agreement was canceled even before entering the high school of magic.
Because the magical power of Saburou did not develop to the expected level.
Together with Shiina, he became a pupil of First High. However, he entered the second course.
Saburou's parents advised their son to enter another, ordinary school.
Saburou has one older brother and one older sister, but they both did not attend magic high school. The magic of the Yaguruma family from the very beginning did not meet the requirements of the formation of modern magic.
The older brother and sister learned magic from their grandparents, they were allocated a room in the Third Research Institute which is still open for this purpose.
However, in spite of everything, Saburou stubbornly wanted to enter First High to be near and protect Shiina. However, Saburou did not have the most necessary component in this situation - a magical talent. His predisposition to magic was meager not only as a magician of modern magic, but also for a magician of ancient magic.
But still Saburou was able to enter First High . Although he said that "it's because I cannot live like an ordinary person," it was clear to all of his family and the Mitsuya family that it was for Shiina.
As a result, even though Saburou did not receive a duty to protect Shiina, he was even allowed to go with her to the same school. That is, he was allowed to be with her, as before.
"So, how did it go?" Saburou asked his childhood friend, ignoring her words meaning "do not need to be guarded" (in fact, she did not mean it, but Saburou understood them so.)
"How did it go?"
However, Shiina could not understand what this rather abstract question was about. Although they were friends of childhood, it was not always possible to understand each other with a half-word.
"Well, it's ... the most."
However, it seemed that Saburou thought that it would be quite natural to understand him even without details. For the first time, wondering what exactly he should ask, Saburou looked terribly irritated.
"Uh ... I meant how a meeting with people from the Yotsuba family was.
Shiina, I've been so worried about you all morning."
"Oh, then it's all right. Apart from Shiba-senpai, President Shiba herself is a kind person."
"Not to mention? Is everything alright?"
Saburou more alarmed, about the words about Tatsuya than worried about Miyuki. After all, Shiina is a beautiful innocent girl. In Saburou's opinion, there is no man who does not take an interest in such a beautiful girl, no matter how beautiful his lover is. So the words, like
"apart from Shiba-senpai," inevitably caused him anxiety.
"What's okay? Are you talking about Shiba-senpai?"
"Yes. If he looks dangerous, it's better not to meet him alone..."
For Saburou it was a very serious conversation.
However, Shiina laughed a little, as if she heard a silly joke.
"Saburou-kun, I would not go to a meeting, where I will be alone with any man, not just with Shiba-senpai."
Saburou wanted to say "I did not mean it" in protest. However, Shiina continued in a whisper earlier than he had done it.
"But you are so worried about me, are not you? Thank you."
"N-Naturally, I'm worried about Shiina. I'm your guard, after all.
Saburou shyly looked away, and responded in a quarrelsome tone. She smiled secretly, when Saburou could not see. However, aloud she did not comment on this self-imposed assignment of herself as an escort.
Because of the unexpected morning snack from Shiina, dinner was late, and Tatsuya ordered Pixie to include news on the monitor about the use of "Synchronized Linear Fusion".
Kasumi and Izumi did not object. It seems that everyone was interested in this major incident. When the wall display, usually divided into small parts, began to display the full news on the whole screen, all four except Tatsuya, involuntarily stopped their chopsticks.
"On other channels • About the same • content." Pixie did not speak with the telepathic voic~e of Parasite, but through the speaker of the robotic body, and her speech was intermittent. Unlike magical engineering, in this area Tatsuya was, after all, an amateur, so the way of communication was so imperfect.
But this was quite enough for understanding the communication. Tatsuya nodded in response to Pixie and looked again at the screen.
But even if you did not look at the screen, the necessary information came through your ears.
The latest data on the victims, voiced by the news anchor, were about 9,000 dead and 3,000 wounded.
This was significantly different from what was said in the morning news release. In the morning they said that there were only about 1000 victims, such differences are common in almost every case, when the number of victims increases as the situation becomes clearer. Such a big difference clearly shows an attempt to hide the truth, as well as the fact that this attempt failed.
The true meaning of using weapons of mass destruction should be in suppressing the desire to resist a large number of victims. Therefore, the understatement of the number of victims is a rather contradictory act, which may indicate that people in the Brazilian government are not united in their opinions. Or, perhaps, they will expose this as "counted victims of the implicit type"?
Recently, it is rare to see that the scale of the damage reached 12,000
people (unless you consider "Scorched Halloween," of course), but, regardless of this, Tatsuya was concerned about the poor balance between the killed and the wounded.
Tatsuya did not know what kind of magic it was - "Synchronized Linear Fusion", and how it is arranged. But he knew what it looks like and what effect it has.
Heavy Metal Burst. Leviathan. Tuman Bomba. Army of Terra.
Thunderclap Tower. Abyss. Synchronized Linear Fusion. Agni-Down-Burst. Ozone Circle. Bahamut.
Of the 10 types of Strategic Class Magic used by thirteen different magicians, only the "Tuman-bomb" of Igor Andreivitch Bezobrazzoff from the New Soviet Union has unknown effects and appearance. For the others it is known how they look when activated and what effect they have (for some, only one of these two points is known).
"Synchronized Linear Fusion" magic, the nature of which is fairly well known among all the published Strategic Class Magic. On the active demonstrations conducted by the Brazilian army, one can understand that the activation state can be easily recognized. In other words, the activation process is so noticeable that it's hard to hide.
"Synchronized Linear Fusion" accelerates high-density hydrogen plasma clouds, separated horizontally by a distance of several kilometers to several tens of kilometers, are accelerated towards each other. The clouds collide in the middle of the region, which is the target of the attack, which causes a nuclear fusion reaction there, as a result of which the target is destroyed by thermal and shock waves.
In order to obtain power comparable with the Strategic Class, each of the innumerable protons of a plasma cloud must collide with another proton almost simultaneously. Although fundamental information is not known about how this accuracy is achieved, it clearly has the same effect as a pure hydrogen thermonuclear bomb. The destructive force is inversely proportional to the cube of the distance to the epicenter. In other words, as the distance from the collision point of the plasma cloud increases, the destruction power drops sharply.
But in this case, the number of dead significantly exceeds the number of wounded.
Usually, in areas with a low population density, the wounded should be much greater than the dead. It's not a question, if it was aimed at the accumulation of enemy forces.
Although there is a problem of humanity, there should be no claims to the magician who applied it for military purposes.
But what will happen if you aim it at the center of a large refugee camp?
This time the battlefield was the Santa Cruz area in the territory of the former Bolivia. Mired in a global conflict, also known as the Third World War, once Brazil occupied this territory, there was a strong armed guerrilla movement. Even at this time, irregular battles between the Brazilian army and guerillas continue, and as a result, many people become refugees. That is, refugees could potentially become victims of this battle. In the fight against enemies who are guerillas, this is inevitable. Unfortunately, it was a possible strategy. And if such an uncompromising mass slaughter was intentional, then not only those who ordered, but also the performers will not be able to avoid conviction.
It will be fortunate if in this situation the target for criticism will only be the Brazilian military Strategic Class Magician, Miguel Diaz. However, there is also the possibility that all magicians will be labeled as "enemies of humanity" as a whole. Tatsuya felt that the realization of such an opportunity made him dejected.
Despite the fact that the dinner was over and the news was off, the school boardroom was shrouded in a gloomy mood, but the work on the preparation for the ceremony was progressing without delay. Not only Tatsuya and Miyuki, but also Kasumi, Izumi and Minami demonstrated their steadfastness.
"Let's finish this for today." When Miyuki announced the end of work for today, the time was about 16 hours.
"Um, Miyuki-senpai." Preparing for home care, Izumi hesitantly spoke with Miyuki.
"What is it, Izumi-chan?"
"Is everything okay with Mitsui-senpai? Maybe you should go and see her..."
Honoka was absent today due to illness. She caught a cold immediately after her return from Kumejima to Tokyo. No matter how southern the Okinawa archipelago is, it was too early to go there in a swimsuit.
"She must get better if she's alone all day. Also, a message came with a request to refrain from visiting her."
If Honoka said this herself, then Miyuki would be worried that she
"pretends to be strong." However, this message was from Shizuku. Since Shizuku will never do bad for Honoka, Miyuki thought that you can trust the words that she will be cured in one day.
Besides, if Izumi goes to visit, then naturally Miyuki will go with her, and this will mean Tatsuya's inevitable presence with her. Miyuki thought that she would not want Tatsuya to see her, lying with an inadvertently caught cold, as if she were lying with a serious illness. She was sure that Honoka had the same opinion.
"That's how it is..."
"I think if tomorrow it does not get better, then let's go visit her. Izumi-chan also wants to go?"
"I can go with you!?"
"Yes, of course."
"I understand! I will certainly go!"
Although in the end, almost nothing has changed, but Miyuki felt relieved that Izumi could be distracted by this. As a result, Izumi's gloomy mood, caused by news of the massive victims of Strategic Class Magic, has been slightly improved.