Slash Spell -Gram-Slash- [Gram-Slash]
Non-systemic magic, which is just like "Gram-demolition" or "Gram-dissipation", is classified as countermagic.
It is a subspecies of "Gram-demolition". Neutralizes magic by "cutting" the magic sequences in the information dimension with the psionic blade.
It allows you to neutralize the enemy without inflicting injuries on him, so even the main police department of Tokyo saw it as the most optimal way to pacify wizard criminals.
Magic created by reworking the "Shadow Beast" - Zhou Gongjin's favorite magic, attacking the enemy with a "transformed object" in the form of a beast.
The addition of electroshock magic made it possible to summon a beast from the "command plate", literally wrapped in lightning.
The "beast" itself is an imaginary, non-existent "vision", but the electricity that covers it is quite real and has a high voltage.
The air, through which the "Thunder Beast" passed, is ionized, and can serve as a conductor of electric current.
Using "Thunder Beast" in combination with electroshock magic makes it possible to hit the target without using concentration / induction magic.
Contact Interrupt Spell
Magic that creates a thick (about 50 cm) homogeneous layer of high-density psion, completely enveloping the user's body. This kind of "armor" repels all psions arriving from outside.
As if covering your body with "Interrupt Spell", you can neutralize any magic directed at yourself by pushing back psiones arriving from outside.
Tomitsuka Hagane can use this magic due to his predisposition to it. Tatsuya is also capable of putting this into practice, as he possesses advanced psion control techniques.
Chapter 1 (Preview)
Sunday, August 4, 2097 AD.
The newest island belonging to the Izu Islands was attacked by foreign armed group.
The island’s name is "Miyakijima".
The armed group that had hit the island was a mixed group of the USNA navy, deceived by a false dispatch order by an agent from the New Soviet Union. The agents' intended purpose for this group was of sabotage.
Even if it were true, the fact remains that the ships and soldiers belonging to the USNA navy attacked Japanese territory. As it is, not only the relations with the other nations in particular, but also the evaluation of USNA in the international community will be aggravated as "an unreliable country that cannot prevent their military from being misled".
First of all, the USNA officially dispatched a big figure, the Secretary of Defense, to Japan in order to control this situation.
Certainly, reconciliation with the Japanese government was one of the purposes of Secretary of Defense Liam Spencer's visit to Japan, but in reality it was hard to say that it was the main purpose. For that matter, Spencer wasn't the star of the visit.
Five days after the incident. The secretary talks had begun quietly between the US Secretary of Defense and the Japanese prime minister, creating a harmonious atmosphere in front of the press.
Friday, August 9th. Early this morning, Tatsuya returned to Tokyo from Miyakijima for the first time in twenty days. In order to answer the invitation of USNA Secretary of Defense's assistant, Jeffrey James.
Two days ago, Tatsuya received a letter from the White House through Lina. To put it better, it was an offer of reconciliation to Tatsuya. At worst, it was an attempt to pull Tatsuya into the USNA's side and use him.
Tatsuya accepted the USNA offer. Whether you mean it well or not, it means the same thing: making friends because it is worth having and using. It was the same on Tatsuya's side. Irrespective of Japan's foreign policy, Tatsuya has hit the Great Asian Union and the New Soviet Union with a serious blow, so it's natural to be seen as hostile. If he can build a friendly relationship with USNA, even if it's bare-bones, To him it's a big win.
Tatsuya said his reply on the spot where he received the letter and had Lina deliver the letter yesterday, in the morning of August 8th. And yesterday evening, she received a phone call from Lina saying, "The Secretary of Defense's aid wants to see you tomorrow."
The interview location designated by Jeffrey James was in a hotel room where the Secretary of Defense was staying. It's a room with a fairly high grade, though not as much as the suite used by the Secretary himself. It is a treatment that shows the actual position of Jeffrey James.
In front of and inside the room, security agents who seemed to be former members of the special forces or active personnel were firmly guarding it. One can see that they're doing a good job. However, Tatsuya showed no fear and entered the room while being guided.
At that time, no body check was performed. Tatsuya is not the only one with confidence. He didn't know as far, whether this a sign of their confidence in their fighting power, or confidence against his position.
"Nice to meet you, my name is Jeffrey James. Please call me JJ. You don't need to use "Mr.""
JJ, or Jeffrey James, who invited Tatsuya, welcomed him with a very friendly attitude. Tatsuya did not feel intimidated, despite the fact that he was two meters tall, had wide shoulders and a thick chest.
"I'm Tatsuya Shiba. I'm fine with only Tatsuya. Needless to say, neither "san", "sama", or "dono" is necessary."
This kind of familiarity is not something that Tatsuya would prefer. However, at this place, Tatsuya returned the self-introduction according to the style of the opponent.
"Okay, Tatsuya. Thank you for accepting me in spite of the sudden invitation."
"It's only natural for me to visit because, otherwise it would take precious time from the Secretary of Defense's aide. It's not a big distance either."
The expression of JJ moves lightly. Specifically, the right eyebrow went up and down slightly. However, JJ did not let Tatsuya read what kind of feeling it reflected. It looks like he's thirty years old at best, but maybe he's actually older. Or is the apparence much older than the actual age?
"I'm sorry for the inconvenience. Tatsuya, do you have any requests for a drink?"
This time, a clear surprised expression passed JJ's face. Wasn't the attitude of making a request without reservation against the stereotypical image of Japanese people? Or was it the daringness that showed he wasn't preoccupied about drugs?
Although not what Tatsuya intended, the short time JJ spent to regain his pace was a good interval for Tatsuya. Coffee for two people arrived, and the conversation resumed in a flat atmosphere where neither party had the initiative.
"Now, Tatsuya. Let's get into the main subject."
"JJ, my intention is as I clarified in the reply I sent through Miss Shields. Was there anything difficult to understand?"
At the invitation of JJ, Tatsuya returns with a light jab.
"No, thank you for your willingness to agree with this offer. To be honest, it was more than we expected."
JJ responded to Tatsuya's lines with a lower profile than expected. If such an attitude is taken, Tatsuya cannot say anything careless.
Tatsuya was even more cautious and carefully selected the words.
"I don't even want to antagonize your country. I think this is an individual responsibility of Edward Clark."
"... Can you think of it that way when it comes to the Dione plan?"
Tatsuya and JJ watch each other silently for about 3 seconds.
"That's good. It wasn't worth coming to Japan just because we knew there was no serious misunderstanding in our question."
JJ naturally exhales and shows.
"It was worth the effort just to understand that I didn't have any hostility towards me."
"We want to strengthen our friendship with you."
Tatsuya urges JJ to continue with his eyes.
"Tatsuya... Would you mind coming to America?"
It is impossible to think of such a suggestion. Tatsuya did not expect that he would make such a bold offer.
Tatsuya asks back without hiding the surprise.
"We will provide the best research environment. And use your wisdom for the nations who love freedom and democracy."
JJ's tone was not shameless, contrary to the lines.
"I'm not saying that it's for the sake of humanity"
Tatsuya asked JJ, who was enthusiastic on the fervent speech, in a funny voice.
"Did you like it?"
JJ replies with an uneasy tone. His tone was uneasy, but his lips had a smile on both ends.
"No, I think it's good that the purpose is clear."
Tatsuya answered JJ's question with a similar look. And at the same time, they erase their smiles and turn their gaze toward each other. Among them, empathy and disgust were born at the same time.
“I am sorry to say that I cannot leave Japan until the project on Miyakijima is complete.”
"That's right. That's a shame. For that reason, I'm afraid there's no way."
JJ withdrew quickly after Tatsuya declined.
"So what about the alternative? Can you accept a technician's dispatch?"
The alternative was presented immediately. Given this speed, it seems that this request was the intended one.
"Do you want to send me an engineer? For training?"
"Yes. I was told that you could provide stellar reactor technology, so I would like to learn not only data but also hands-on."
Tatsuya did not give an immediate answer because he thought that the acceptance of the engineer could be used to infiltrate an operative.
"Okay. I can't decide on my own, but I'll try to veer that way."
However, he immediately reconsidered that it would be meaningless to keep out the technicians even though the media was allowed interviews.
"Thank you very much. If you have any conclusions, please let me know at this address."
Saying so, JJ presents a business card-sized piece of paper with a long string and color code printed on it.
Tatsuya read the string and understood that it was a highly encrypted virtual leased line. Not an ordinary network. Probably only open to limited agents of the Pentagon.
"Is that okay?"
Tatsuya unintentionally asks JJ so.
"What else can I do?"
But when asked back, he realized that it was a meaningless question.
"No, I understand."
"I look forward to a positive reply."
After this, Tatsuya talked with JJ for about five minutes and left his room.
The discussion between Tatsuya and Jeffrey James ended at 10 am. Tatsuya left the hotel used by the Secretary of Defense and returned to his home in Chofu.
The house was being maintained by home automation while Tatsuya and company were away. However, when he came home, the empty dust peculiar to a vacant house was completely absent. It must have been because Miyuki and Minami, who came home a while ago, did their best to clean up.
"Welcome home, Onii-sama."
Immediately after he opens the door of the room, Miyuki's voice greets him.
Tatsuya made eye contact with Miyuki in order to respond, and lowered his gaze to remove his shoes. There he notices that there are already three pairs of shoes resting on the entrance.
"Lina is coming?."
"Yes. Because it is almost time for lunch."
Up until this point, Miyuki answered with a serious expression,
"She already cleaned her room? That's a pretty good performance from Lina."
Miyuki couldn't stand Tatsuya's lines and gave a small laugh.
"Oh. Onii-sama, you are a bit mean."
"That's right... so what is it really like?"
"Lunch is coming soon."
Tatsuya too, laughed a little as if he was caught.
"I'll help you later."
Miyuki added that he should follow along with a smile on his face.
After having lunch together with Miyuki, Minami and Lina. The four of them headed to Yakumo Temple "Kyuuchouji".
The new four seater air-car was parked in the temple's parking lot. And they climbed the stairs leading to the mountain gate.
There was no rough welcome today. Considering the purpose of Tatsuya's visit, Yakumo must have weighed the situation. From the precincts, a tingling sign could be heard.
Beyond the stairs, Yakumo was waiting on the other side of the mountain gate.
"Master, thank you very much for welcoming us."
Tatsuya bows in a formal manner. He was truly thankful, not pretending at all.
"Don't worry, the barrier would have reacted even if I didn't come here."
However, when he heard Yakumo's words, Tatsuya blew away the magic about courtesy. His facial expression tightens rigid. No, it may be more appropriate to describe “severe” than “rigid” and “strengthen” rather than “tighten”.
"Let's talk about the details inside."
Yakumo intercepted Tatsuya's lines and guided the four to the soubou (priests' temple quarters), not the main hall.
Yakumo and the other four sit down on the cushions laid inside the room. Yakumo is in Goza, Tatsuya, Miyuki and Minami in Seiza. At first Lina tried to sit properly, but after moving her hips, she opened her toes slightly outside so as not to stand out.
When everyone sat down, the windows were closed from the outside. Tatsuya still does not know whether his disciple closed it or it was due to his technique. Since there was no sign of people or magic, it may be a mechanical device contrary to the old-fashioned appearance of the building.
The room, which had a high degree of airtightness, became dark in spite of it still being noon. However, it was not hot and humid. Rather, a cold air is beginning to drift. It's strange to think about it in the current season. The possibility of using air conditioners without wind is not zero, but the four visitors felt that they were not mechanically cooled.
Candles are lit all over the wall. Obviously, the ignition is the work of Yakumo's magic. The smell of perfume oil drifting with twilight was different from what Tatsuya and Miyuki had previously experienced. It must be something that helps build the barrier, but Tatsuya feels that the barrier formed is a magical "field" of the nature of confining the inside rather than keeping the outside out.
Yakumo's voice catches Tatsuya's attention, who had been diverted to the barrier.
"First of all, let me see. Sakurai Minami-kun, come forward."
At the prompt of Tatsuya, Minami, who was sitting on the right edge of a horizontal line, headed for Yakumo. Waiting for the Minami to settle down, Yakumo forms the hand seal. Tatsuya and the other two hold their breath and stare at Minami and Yakumo.
The priests' quarters are filled with high tension. Sweat runs on the forehead of Miyuki and Lina. Tatsuya keeps his poker face, but his hands are tightly closed.
About five minutes passed in silence.
Yakumo stops the hand seal and exhales a little.
The tense air inside the room loosened a bit.
"In conclusion, I don't think there's need to worry about it for the time being."
Yakumo announces in a tone of lack of sense of crisis. If you're really worried, that's fine, but with the "immediate" condition. Moreover, I do not understand the meaning of "time being". Is it okay to keep it as it is, or is it likely that it will worsen even if it is fine now?
The answers for both are so different that they can be called opposites.
Miyuki, Lina and the concerned party, Minami silently look back at Yakumo.
And only Tatsuya raised the question.
"Even if you didn't ask it, I would explain it properly."
Under the reproachful gaze of of Tatsuya and Miyuki, Yakumo smiled.
"It is the subdued parasite that holds Minami-kun's magic skill under control. By sinking the parasite that was sealed into the depths of the consciousness, you can say that it's barring the magic calculation area."
Tatsuya wonders whether such a thing is possible.
"Can you do it too?"
Yakumo responded by saying, "What are you saying?"
"The basic principle is the same as for "seal spheres". It does confine it, so that it cannot move freely. The technique used on the parasites possessed by Minami-kun is more skillful."
"Sensei, aren't you worried about the seal breaking?"
Miyuki asks in a pleading tone.
"It's not just a seal... This parasite is in a state of being bound by the command "Do nothing, stay there. Don't move.". Unlike the seal that forces it to confine itself by ignoring the demon's will, I think it's okay, as long as the controlling subordination relationship continues.''
This answer was not for what Miyuki asked for.
"How long will this relationship last?"
There is magic that causes irreversible changes, but no magic that has a permanent effect. For example, Miyuki's "Cocytus" irreversibly inactivates the mind, but does not continue to force the frozen state.
"When the effect is to expire, I think the caster will come to fix it."
"...Don't that mean that it won't hold it for much long?"
Nervous, Miyuki asks.
"So Minoru will come after Minami?"
Before Yakumo answers Miyuki's question, Tatsuya asks another question.
"I think that's what he intends to do. Once the seal is released, the parasite will start eroding Minami-kun. If he allows it to happen, he wouldn't use such a troublesome technique from the start. Otherwise, isn't is better for Kudou Minoru's purpose to disregard Minami-kun's will and fully make a parasite.
"What is Minoru's purpose?"
Lina directs a question to nobody in particular. No one answered it.
Tatsuya and Miyuki know that Minoru said "I just want to cure Minami's disease." At first they both believed it. However, now Tatsuya and Miyuki suspect that Minoru's true intentions are different.
And, in Miyuki's thoughts, she was afraid that was also "The real desire that Minami's harbored", and Tatsuya was afraid that Miyuki would be hurt when Minoru's true intentions were revealed.
After returning to their home in Chofu from Yakumo's Temple, Tatsuya and his companions, including Lina, were gathering together in the living room with a serious expression.
"Um, there is no problem in my daily life so far. So you don't have to worry about me..."
Perhaps she couldn't stand the heavy atmosphere, so Minami quietly broke the silence.
"...There isn't a magician in the Yotsuba family who is good at outer-systematic magic?"
Ignoring Minami's words, Lina asked Tatsuya and Miyuki.
"That kind of magic is the speciality of the Tsukuba family, but if it's something that Sensei can't handle. I don't think even the head of the Tsukuba family nor Yuka, the next head, can manage to do something."
Miyuki weekly shakes her head.
After the diagnosis, Tatsuya and the others naturally asked Yakumo whether he could remove the parasites inside Minami. However, Yakumo's answer was not good.
Yakumo is a magician who specializes in Ancient Magic. Unlike the "Traditionalists school"ーwhose are only "traditionalists" in the nameー, which Tatsuya confronted when he pursued Zhou Gongjin, he has inherited the real tradition as a practitioner.
Since ancient times, the most important mission of magic users is to protect the people from the demons and spirits. For that reason, Yakumo has mastered magics of a high level that defeats demons. Even then, Yakumo could not remove the parasite from Minami.
According to his words, the parasite inside Minami is sealed. No, is it more nuanced to say that "parasites are sealed inside Minami"? Yakumo explained that the parasite is sealed using Minami as a vessel, and the sealed parasite serves as a lid to suppress the activity of Minami's magic calculation area.
The procedure necessary in order to permanently remove the parasite, is to remove the seal in Minami and then eradicate it, but at the release stage, there is a risk of erosion by the exposed parasite. Parasites are submerged in an area deep inside the mind, between the conscious and the unconscious, and if erosion starts, Minami's mind will inevitably suffer great damage, even if assimilation could be avoided.
In Yakumo's conclusion, the technique of submission rather than repulsion is necessary to take out the parasite. In other words, it is a technique to subdue and manipulate the parasite. I can only destroy parasites or seal them. Yakumo smiled bitterly as he said so.
"....Is there no choice but to find Minoru and dispel the technique?"
Neither Tatsuya nor Miyuki nor Lina, had expected Minami's dismayed response.
"After all, is there only that?"
"But how will you find him? Isn't there's no clue about Minoru whereabouts "
Miyuki nodded to Tatsuya's words, and Lina pointed out the problem.
She had no intention to be mean to Minami. On the contrary, she was really worried about Minami, so she could not stop herself voicing what she was feeling anxious about.
"There are not many places where Minoru could escape to."
"What do you mean?"
Unable to understand what Tatsuya was trying to say, Lina asked with a big question mark above her head. Miyuki also cannot hide her confusion.
Of course, Tatsuya did not waste time in this situation.
"No matter how good he is with magic, Minoru is still a second year high school boy. Because he was often ill, he had no opportunity to expand his personal connections outside the school."
"But, Onii-sama. Didn't Minoru absorb the knowledge of Zhou Gongjin?"
Nodding for Miyuki's counterargument, Tatsuya continued, "That's why".
"I believe that the escape route that Minoru choosed will be limited to what Zhou Gongjin knows."
Lina doesn't know much about Zhou Gongjin. Naturally, she recalled the question, "What kind of person is Zhou Gongjin, and under what circumstances did Minoru get that knowledge?" However, Lina, who presumed that it would be a complicated story if she asked about it, thought that there was no need for urgency, she held her curiosity and asked Tatsuya for only the conclusion.
"The Far East part of Asia and North America are places that Zhou Gongjin has connections."
"Isn't that too wide?"
Lina looked dumbfounded.
That was a good point, but Tatsuya didn't look like he was concerned by it.
"The criminal syndicate, No Head Dragon, who had been in Far East Asia two years ago, was crushed by the collaboration between the Japanese Police Forces and the Great Asian Union. In addition, I've heard that the route that was used as an escape route was in a ruined state due to severe exposition.''
"You don't think East Asia is where he's escaped to, right?"
Tatsuya nods toward Miyuki.
"Minami, tell me one thing."
Tatsuya looked at Minami, which had until then been ignored by Tatsuya and the others.
"Yes, what can I do?"
Minami didn't show any displeasure. Actually, he probably didn't remember her exhibit signs of discontent nor displeasure. She dutifully responded.
"Wasn't there a parasite companion with Minoru when you were taken out of Japan?"
This is the first time Tatsuya inquired Minami about when she escaped. Up until now, even if Minami fell in urge to confess, Tatsuya and Miyuki evaded the topic. They didn't let Minami talk.
"Do you know who he really is? Just the name is fine."
"Minoru called him "Raymond"."
Minami replies promptly to Tatsuya's question, without pausing to remember.
"Isn't a caucasian young man, fair-haired with blue eyes that is refined, but gives a childish impression?"
"That's right. Do you know who he is, Tatsuya-sama?"
"Onii-sama, that is..."
Without answering Miyuki and Minami, Tatsuya resumed the explanation.
“East Asia is no longer a candidate for a getaway,
North America, especially California, is the region where Jiedo Heigu, the boss of Zhou Gong, was hiding until half a year ago. And now, it is certain that the american parasites will accompany Minoru, who fled the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as Minami has told me. I think the most likely hiding place for Minoru is the USNA West Coast.''
"I think it's still too wide... How can we find him?"
Lina, who knows the size of her home country, asks in a tone that doesn't hide her insecurity "is it really possible to find it?"
"I think it's too wide for an individual to search for. I also think it would be difficult to fully mobilize the information network of the Yotsuba family. But what about the USNA federal government? I think it's not impossible to find a parasite that has been smuggled in the area around for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or the CIA counterterrorism center."
Lina frowned lightly at Tatsuya's answer to her question.
"It wouldn't be difficult if you motion the FBI's National Security Department."
Apparently Tatsuya's use of "not impossible" seems to have been an understatement for Lina.
"So? Ask Senator Curtis to "look for Minoru?" Or maybe I should request the secretarial office to ask the Secretary of Defense?"
Tatsuya grinned a bit to Lina's slightly helpful lines.
"The White House dispatched me. Let's ask for a task immediately."
What was ironic to Tatsuya is that in the USNA presidential office's letter to him said, "Lending Colonel Angelina Shields for free and indefinitely."
Lina left the USNA army and came to Japan. She will be later naturalized in Japan. In a sense, this is a "peaceful asylum" and it can be said that USNA had let an nationally certified strategic wizard escape. However, there's no way you can accept such a blow in your honour. Therefore, the USNA government and the army received the resignation from Major Angie Sirius and that they did not allow Angelina Shields to retire. Lina decided to argue that Angie Sirius' true identity, "Lieutenant Colonel Angelina Shields," was the result of her being put into a secret work mission in Japan.
And that secret mission is "surveillance and placation of Tatsuya Shiba, a strategic magician," which appeared as "free of charge and unlimited loan".
Of course, Tatsuya wasn't able to reveal the underlying circumstances. The only thing he has been told by the USNA government is the "grant/indefinite loan" part. The rest is just Tatsuya's reasoning. But right now, it doesn't matter if his reasoning is right or wrong.
"Lina ask the federal government to search for Minoru."
"Okay. Okay. I was lent to you, right?"
The fact that one of the people present who acted as a messenger was enough.
Waiting for the morning on the eastern coast of the United States, Lina dared to call Colonel Balance Pentagon's phone directly and didn't use any special code.
In a normal non-special code call meant "for the military", Lina asked Balance to search for Minoru..
"Minoru. It looks like the federal government is starting to move."
It was still early in the morning on the west coast, but Minoru and Raymond were awake.
No, it would be better to say they're still awake? It seems that the vampires of these days have a routine of going to sleep in the morning and awake at dusk.
"The federal government? Not the army?"
Opening the window curtains on the second floor a little bit, Minoru, who was watching the city that had just begun his activity, addressed Raymond's voice
They don't have to speak aloud, but parasites are not the only ones in this hideout. Rather, there are more human magicians. The main reason why they try to talk in voice is because that's inherently natural to both of them, but there was also a reason that is to not raise unnecessary suspicion in peoples from "organizations".
The two are in a corner near the harbor in Los Angeles. Minoru and Raymond were concealed at a hidden base of a radical organization made up of magicians..
"It was the only military that received the request, but I think the FBI and CIA will also move."
"Wasn't the CIA responsible for matters from outside the country?"
Raymond shook his head with a smile to Minoru with his head tilted sideways.
"When dealing with terrorists, there is no distinction between domestic or international measures."
"So we are terrorists? Well... I guess that can't be helped"
Immediately before coming here, Minoru annihilated a federal military base. The USNA military attached the blame of the destruction of the Pearl and Hermes base to Tatsuya, but it was Minoru who killed all the soldiers who remained at the base. Looking back on this fact, it cannot be denied that he is called a terrorist.
"Tatsuya requested the search. It was much faster than you expected."
Minoru frowns at Raymond's point. It was not an expression of discomfort, but an expression that worried about unexpected bad things.
"So what will you do? It's been half a month since I've been here, but I think it's only a matter of time before I encounter an FBI or CIA associate."
"I will go back to Japan"
Raymond's eyes widened to Minoru's answer.
"Isn't it dangerous? I'm sure that Tatsuya is waiting."
"I have to settle this."
There is a firm determination in the eyes of Minoru. Raymond understands that it's impossible to make a conversion without using telepathy.
"Then, I'll go too"
Instead of persuading, Raymond said in a tone that lacked a bit of seriousness.
"What are you saying!? I have to go back to Japan because I need to do that. It's pretty early, but I intended to return home eventually."
Minoru changed his complexion and looked at Raymond with serious eyes.
"I have a reason to come back. Raymond, you don't have to risk it."
"Is it because of Minami's treatment?"
Raymond's light tone did not change.
"Didn't I say it? My desire is to see the story of you two until the end."
"For that reason, I wouldn't miss such a life."