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Thread: Lord El Melloi II Case Files

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    Beats By Matthew ft. Dr. Para Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    Gray's only been with Waver for a few months? Damn, I figured it was at least a year.
    Supports:


    Quote Originally Posted by Arashi_Leonhart View Post
    canon finish apo vol 3

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    鬼 Ogre-like You's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rafflesiac View Post
    Gray's only been with Waver for a few months? Damn, I figured it was at least a year.
    Quote Originally Posted by vol 1
    On an early Autumn morning, my master called for me.

    It was the first time he had called for me since I came to London two months ago, so I was a little surprised. Informing the dorm supervisor Krishna, I left the dormitory behind. I expected him, who was obsessed with helping people, to come along, but in the end he declined with an apology.
    Adra happens 2 months after she gets to London.
    Though abandoned, forgotten, and scorned as out-of-date dolls, they continue to carry out their mission, unchanged from the time they were designed.
    Machines do not lose their worth when a newer model appears.
    Their worth (life) ends when humans can no longer bear that purity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ticeexcenny
    In my opinion you are not right. I am assured. Let's discuss it. Write to me in PM, we will talk.

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    死者 The Dead juuasdf's Avatar
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    I'm new here, but thanks for the translation of this novel, TwilightsCall (and everyone behind this project!)

    Looking forward for this

  4. #1164
    Presia messe noce yor tes mea TwilightsCall's Avatar
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    This is called, "Biting off more than you can chew, and then chewing it anyways."

    Chapter 2 Part 1



    Chapter 2


    Part 1


    That night, the fog was especially thick.

    Silvery light from a slightly less than full moon was the only thing attempting to penetrate it. This late at night there was no sign of others coming and going, lending a kind of frozen calm to the night air.

    Three days had passed.

    The invitation had led us to an old station in the suburbs.

    Thanks to a number of routing changes, it had long ago lost its function as a train station. And while it had obviously been shut down to the outside, it still maintained the 'form' of a station. My master had paid no mind to the blockade shutting the station out from the outside, stepping over it without hesitation.

    I, however, had come to a stop.

    Though it was nothing more than an abandoned station, this night alone it seemed like a gateway into purgatory itself, like it was the maw of a great beast, waiting to devour anyone who carelessly stepped inside.

    "Master..."

    "It's alright," he responded shortly.

    Steeling myself with his words, I also jumped over the fence.

    "Umm..."

    One more person called out behind us.

    In the darkness of the night, was a boy wearing glasses, working himself up over something.

    "Thank you! For bringing me along with you!"

    Caules Forvedge.

    The student my master had taught about Atram's Primeval Battery. Though he was supposedly 18, perhaps because of his freckled face, he seemed oddly childlike.

    "Bringing you along? Your the one who demanded we take you," my master replied with a cold sigh.

    Caules, in turn, dropped his shoulders despondently

    "...I'm sorry for eavesdropping."

    "It's not like I'm mad at you. After all, it's technically Flat's fault anyways."

    When my master had worked together with Flat to recreate the Primeval Battery, apparently Flat had taken the opportunity to set up a spell for spying. Since Flat forgot to dismantle it, Caules happened to come across it, and thus happened to hear the conversation between my master and myself.

    To have set something like that up and then forget about it and return to his homeland with it still in place, it really lent credit to his title of "Idiot Genius."

    "Whether he's around or not, he's always causing some sort of trouble, isn't he?" my master said with a bitter scowl.

    That alone reminded me of the master I knew. It felt like there was a bit more bitterness in those words than normal, but I decided let that slide.

    "I'm sorry. But I definitely heard something about the Rail Zeppelin," Caules said, apologetic. Usually the apologies I heard were done with chests puffed out proudly and not a shred of contrition to be seen, so in a way this was a fresh sight.

    "...why, though?" I suddenly felt the need to ask.

    In response, Caules scratched his cheek, troubled.

    "I always thought, there was no way I could become a magus."

    "Really?"

    "My sister was always just too good. I was never anything more than a spare. Since she had health problems, I was a spare for that one in a million chance something happened to her."

    His words rang with self-derision.

    But, as much as his words dripped with bitterness, so too did his eyes shine with something like pride.

    "But in the end, my sister couldn't continue the family line. Though she definitely would have succeeded if she came to the Clock Tower, she threw it all away and ran...and in the end, I'm the one who ended up with the Magic Crest. Haha, though I say that, even without my sister's refusal, the Forvedge family is already well on its way into decline." He shrugged with a bitter smile. "So no matter how small it is, I want to learn whatever I can. I don't have the kind of money it would take for a Mystic Eye transplant, but if the Rail Zeppelin really exists, I want to see it for myself."

    He spoke without hesitation.

    Just because it's there, I want to learn about it.

    (...unexpectedly magus-like...)

    So I thought.

    I'm sure the reason my master was unable to refuse him was that overflowing enthusiasm. Or perhaps, the underlying sense of inferiority he had was something my master couldn't bear to throw away.

    ...that was a feeling I could understand, too.

    "Are you done introducing yourselves?" my master called out.

    Apparently he had at some point pulled out a cigar, waiting for our conversation to end. He was truly conscientious in a way I found hard to understand.

    "By the way," I continued with more questions. "Why are you wearing glasses, Master?"

    "These are Mystic Eye Killers. I had to get them at a moment's notice, so I paid far more than I should have for them, though," he said in a miserable voice, lifting the glasses up to look at them.

    If I recalled correctly, Mystic Eye Killers were a specialized Mystic Code for defending against Mystic Eyes.

    "There's no way I can go somewhere like the Rail Zeppelin without at least this much preparation though. Even having my heart stopped at a single glance is one of the better possible outcomes. If I were hit by something like a Compulsion or Contract spell, I wouldn't even be able to cry if I wanted to."

    When it came to Mystic Eyes, regardless of what mechanism they used, it seemed they could ignore the preparation required for other spells and just deliver their effects directly. It appeared my master's glasses were a countermeasure for that.

    At any rate, the sight of my master wearing glasses was out of place enough that I found it hard not to stare.

    Regardless of my staring, however, he quickly made his way into the station.

    On the dimly lit platform inside, a number of other figures were scattered about.

    (Were they all invited too...?)

    Somehow, a couple lights were set up within the station that should have been completely abandoned.

    Under a cloak of dense fog, the ghostly lights illuminated a series of stone arches, and the figures of people standing around them. It gave off the impression of a scene one might see a hundred years ago. I wonder what those people thought back then, laying eyes on those enormous steam engines?

    As we entered the platform, one of the figures took notice of us, and immediately began walking over.

    "It's been a while, Lord El-Melloi II."

    "...you are...!"

    Without realizing it, my breath caught.

    Brightly drawn flowers decorated the plainly eastern style of clothing - there was no mistaking the characteristic long-sleeved kimono she wore. The bespectacled beauty greeted us with a bright, gentle smile.

    "...I had a feeling we'd cross paths again sooner or later," my master replied.

    "If you're here, does that mean the Faculty of Law has taken an interest in the Rail Zeppelin auction?"

    "Faculty of Law...!"

    Behind us, I could feel Caules going stiff.

    It was hard to fault him for it. Among the twelve research divisions of the Clock Tower, they were the Faculty that belonged to none of them. From the outside, they monitored and managed the Magic Association as their primary purpose. The First Principle Enforcement Division - the Faculty of Law. Different from the magi that pursued Mystery, they existed to manage and regulate them.

    And she was one of them - Hishiri Adashino.

    The woman we had met at the Castle Adra was before us again.

    "No, today I'm here for entirely personal reasons," she said with a shake of her head.

    Not that we could trust her. In the previous incident, in a way it could be said she was the mastermind on a level even above that of the culprit. And even if that wasn't the case, the Faculty of Law operated with a completely different set of goals and principles than other magi. It felt like she was the kind of person that could slip poison into your drink at any time.

    However, we had no time to pry into that now.

    Another clear voice echoed down the abandoned platform.

    "-not just a rat from Law, but a Lord too. And who would have thought it would be the famous Lord of Norwich?"

    Turning around, I dropped my gaze a little.

    She looked eleven, maybe twelve years old. With an impudent set to her jaw, the silver haired, amber eyed girl was quite pretty, despite her glare.

    "Well well," my master seemed surprised. Returning his cigar to its case, he politely bowed his head. "It's been a while, Miss."

    "Hmph. Even the trophy husband of Norwich remembers me, huh?" she spoke, a venom to her voice surprising coming from one her age.

    Though she was entirely correct, I had never seen someone speak with such blunt offence to my master before.

    "...who is she?"

    As if offended at my whispered question, the silver-haired girl put a hand to her chest.

    "Olgamarie. Olgamarie Asmleit Animusphere."

    It sounded like a somewhat familiar name.

    My master added to her introduction.

    "Animusphere. She's the daughter of the Lord of the Faculty of Astrology."

    "The daughter of....!"

    Keeping from shouting in surprise was surprisingly difficult.

    The Faculty of Law, and now the daughter of another Lord.

    Just with these two, it felt like we had entered another world. The one thing that kept me from feeling dizzy from the shock was seeing how much worse Caules had taken it. No matter how infamous the Rail Zeppelin was, I had never expected such a list of visitors.

    "I know, by the way. That you're just a scapegoat that's wormed his way into the El-Melloi faction to replace the previous Lord - Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald."

    Despite her spontaneously biting comments, my master didn't respond in kind.

    "You're awfully straightforward, aren't you? Not like the Clock Tower at all. I'm also surprised. It's pretty rare to see someone so young from the Animusphere family coming down from the mountains."

    "Not really. Just like you, even if this is all a waste of time, we can't avoid coming. So, are you here after some set of Mystic Eyes too?"

    With a sharp gaze, Olgamarie pressed for answers.

    In response to her thoughtlessly wilful interruption, Hishiri was content to watch from the sidelines, not cutting in at all.

    My master, however, was not so straightforward with his answers.

    "...I wonder."

    "Hmph. You wouldn't tell me even if you were, anyways. No way you'd give up information right before an auction."

    "That's not necessarily true. If we're aiming after a different target, sharing that reduces the stress on both of us, doesn't it? You thought the same thing, didn't you?"

    My master's response was thoroughly composed.

    It felt a little strange. Normally, though my master didn't pick fights, his responses were always coloured with bitterness and cynicism. This time, however, his words seemed somehow softer.

    As I tilted my head to the side in confusion,

    "-Miss Olgamarie," another tall figure stepped toward us.

    This time it was a woman in her mid twenties, wrapped in a purple coat with her hair tied up. The leather teacher's cane at her hip gave the impression she was a personal tutor of some sort. The classic styled, tortoise shell glasses she wore looked good on her.

    (...are those also Mystic Eye Killers?)

    There was no way to tell just by looking at them.

    At that point, I also finally realized that Hishiri's glasses could also be the same. While I was sitting around dumbly, the magi had all been working hard in preparation. From their perspective, the battle began the moment they saw their opponent's face - or perhaps, the battle ended then.

    That's how they had survived for so long, no doubt.

    "Lord El-Melloi II. And Hishiri Adashino, I presume? I am Trisha Fellows, Miss Olgamarie's attendant. -now please, Miss."

    "What? What do you want, Trisha?"

    "My apologies. Please allow us to introduce ourselves again later."

    With that, the two of them hurriedly departed.

    Some kind of accessory slipping down from the hem of Trisha's coat had caught my attention.

    (Huh?)

    I blinked.

    Though it may have just been the odd angle I saw it from, it kind of looked like...

    (Something...kind of inappropriate...)

    Feeling my cheeks start to burn under my hood, I shook my head from side to side.

    It must have been my imagination. And at any rate, it was none of my business. As I choked on some saliva I had failed to swallow, I somehow managed to keep a straight face.

    Beside me, Caules' mouth was agape.

    "Aren't you angry, Professor?"

    "Angry about what?"

    "Even if she's the daughter of a Lord, that behaviour seems a bit much, don't you think?"

    "Ahh. If I got angry at that much, I'd be angry forever. No, someone who wears their hostility so plainly on their sleeve is actually preferable to deal with, in my opinion. It's much harder dealing with magi that approach you with a friendly face."

    "Oh? And who would that be referring to?"

    Ignoring Hishiri's smile, my master continued.

    "Besides, the fact I'm basically just a decoration is true. Soon enough, both she or Reines will transfer to the Faculty of Law, and that small correction will be entirely in Reines' hands."

    "...I...see."

    Surprised, I also was at a loss for words.

    "Yes, most Lords end up in the Faculty of Law for a while. That's where they learn how to rule the Clock Tower. In that way, I still want to get along with them."

    "Of course,"

    At Hishiri's nod, my master grudgingly acknowledged her.

    In a way, maybe you could say they worked together well.

    "But just like you said, it's rare for those Animusphere shut-ins to come all the way down here. I wonder if they've found some Mystic Eyes that have caught their interest?"

    "Who knows. If it's them, they could probably just throw money until they got what they wanted," he muttered softly.

    My master then glanced across the crowd of people gathered on the platform.

    It was impossible to see clearly. The thick fog dyed the air of the platform white, making it hard to see anything much beyond your own eyes.

    "It's getting thicker, isn't it?" Hishiri whispered.

    London was often called the City of Fog.

    While it was true that it was often quite foggy in the winter, the reason came from something else.

    Smog. Since the 19th Century, the enormous amount of fossil fuels consumed by the Industrial Revolution had given off smoke and soot that had mixed with the city's natural fog, enclosing the capital of the British Empire in a thick smog that bound one's vision to only a few meters in front of them.

    But what surrounded us now was different.

    The thick blanket blocking our vision had no traces of pollution. Nothing but a pure white mist. It gave me the fairy tale-like impression I could reach out and weave it into silk.

    And finally, we heard it.

    A loud noise that shook the fog hanging around us.

    "A steam whistle...?" I muttered.

    An old, nostalgic sound that matched well the scenery of this abandoned station. A sound that reached down into the depths of me, and made me forget what I knew about modern trains.

    Light pierced through the fog.

    Elegant wheels rolled in over the tracks.

    The main engine soon followed, billowing smoke into the air, and then the rest of it rolled into view. The dark grey, dignified hull made it look like a warship ready to sail through the sea of fog. It reminded me of the legend of the Flying Dutchman, a ship cursed to wander the seas forever.

    It seemed so out of place.

    It seemed so absurd.

    Yet, that's what made it such a fitting stage.

    The gathered magi no doubt looked at it with those same thoughts.



    "...the Mystic Eye Collecting Train, Rail Zeppelin....!"




    Chapter 2 Part 2

    Chapter 2



    Part 2


    The steam engine came to a gentle stop, and the ornately decorated door opened.

    Perhaps to match the aesthetic tastes of the owner, it gave the impression of a line of knights standing and saluting. Without the slightest hesitation, my master headed for that door. Caules, Hishiri, and I soon followed suit.

    The scent of fresh fruit wafted out.

    Within the train car, a large table was placed in the center of the room, stacked high with various colourful fruits. Seated nearby was a man with a white hat. Taking a glossy apple from the table, he took a bite out of it.

    After chewing for a while, he turned to look at us.

    "Ah, more guests have arrived!"

    "...you're not a staff member here, are you?" To my master's authoritative tone, the man gave a deep nod.

    "Of course not! Could you not tell just by looking at me?!"

    Patting a hand to his stylish white jacket, he spoke smoothly as he rose from his seat.

    Seeing the man strike a hand to his own chest, Caules tilted his head to the side.

    "I feel like I've seen that before...something about zombies..."

    "Yes!"

    At Caules' muttering, the man stuck his hand into his own jacket.

    Drawing a handgun, he spun it in the air. With a sidelong look at our dumbfounded expressions, he crossed the guns over, threw them in the air, and caught them behind his back. Finally, he snapped into a firing pose.

    "Jeeeeanmario! Spinerra's!! Zombie Cooking!!! Let's enjoy cooking some zombie's to a crisp together today!"

    Sharing the well-practiced line with cheer, he seemed like a well-seasoned performer.

    Unfortunately, neither I nor my master had any idea who he was.

    "Huh? You don't know me? You don't know Jeanmario's Zombie Cooking?"

    "...sorry, I'm not much of a fan of variety TV."

    My master's television was reserved exclusively for video games, after all.

    And within my room, the television was mostly just an ornament. The only times I turned it on was to check the weather, or when Flat had lent me another one of his strange movies.

    Caules, however, had quite the air of excitement.

    "It's a pretty popular program from the London Minor Broadcasting Office. He's always using his twin pistols to gun down zombies while cooking, and the special effects are great! His special technique is using a frying pan to split a zombie's head in two, then frying a three-pound steak with it! The Jeanmario Buster!"

    Though I couldn't figure out why on earth there needed to be zombies involved in a cooking show, I felt like it was in poor taste to bring that up now. Beyond that, my weakness was more for ghosts or spirits, so zombies weren't something that particularly bothered me.

    At any rate, as I tried my best to absorb this new information, I couldn't help but mutter.

    "A magus, on television...?"

    "It's not like it's impossible.
    Yumina
    The Faculty of Botany's
    Archelot has been playing with the TV Media for a while now, after all."

    As I stared blankly, my master added his own comments.

    Though that seemed to me to be something more fitting for the Faculty of Law, I suppose they didn't have a monopoly on it or anything. Within many different factions, there was a desire to control information with their own hands - and though other magi might consider it only a mundane affair, what resulted was a situation where magi struggled against each other right near the surface of society.

    That aside, for a magus to be in charge of such a popular program was certainly out of the ordinary.

    "...and, you are?"

    My master's gaze went to the other end of the table, where another silent individual sat.
     
    Easily into his seventies, he was an old man with extraordinarily dark skin. With an old scar between around his eyebrows, he gave a very mafia-esque impression.

    Taking a couple of grapes from the bunch in his hand and popping them into his mouth, he whispered.

    "Karabo Frampton. From the Holy Church." 

    Aside from Jeanmario, everyone immediately tensed up.

    As the name implied, the Holy Church was an organization of believers that spanned the entire world, using that religion which could be considered universal as its foundation. In many respects, it stood as an enemy to the Magic Association. While the Magic Association strove to control and manage Mystery as a whole, the Church aimed to annihilate all Mystery that existed outside of its own. Therein lay the conflict.

    As Caules put a hand within his own jacket, Hishiri stepped back with a smile.

    The old man clenched his fingers into a light fist.

    It felt like the history of countless killings between the two groups was swirling in the air between them. Even my master, who usually avoided fights involving magecraft, had a stiff expression.

    That nervous air was immediately shattered by a new voice.

    "-Whoa! How amazing! Even Professor El-Melloi II is here!"

    As if unaware of the tension in the room, the girl with her lolita attire clapped her hands.

    Of course, it wasn't the first time we had met her.

    "Tadah! It's me, your prospective lover from the El-Melloi Classroom!"

    "...Yvette..."

    This time, my master held a hand to his stomach with a pained expression, as if he just couldn't handle it anymore.

    "You were also invited...?"

    "Correct! Heheheh, as you know, the Lehrman family is renowned for their Mystic Eyes! Of course we'd be regulars on the Rail Zeppelin!" 

    Even going so far as to speak aloud her own sound effects, she struck a pose with a sideways peace sign.

    Though I wasn't sure where exactly to start complaining, the truth was the mounting pressure within the car had been cleanly dispersed.

    Karabo relaxed his fist, and Caules slowly lowered his hands. With a small whistle, Jeanmario returned to his seat.

    "Oh! Caules is here too?!" Why? You've become one of his flunkies now, too?"

    "...er, no, though I did ask him to take me with him."

    "Aha, I see! There's no cheating allowed here, professor! Oh, wait, does it not count if it's gay? Sorry, I'm not sure I'll be so good in a three-way..."

    "...fuck."

    In a way I couldn't even pretend not to hear it, my master cursed as he put a hand to his face.

    "When did we become prospective lovers anyway?"

    "Of course, from this moment! From the depths of my own humbly adorable chest! Oh, did you want to touch? I don't mind at all, you lolicon you!"

    "Alright, shut up. And get off this train. Through the window, if at all possible."

    As the girl just puffed up her chest proudly at his remonstration, my master shifted his gaze.

    Not to avoid her, though.

    At some point, a bone-thin man had appeared.

    Wearing a black uniform that must have belonged to the staff of the Rail Zeppelin, he looked down at a silver pocket watch.

    "Yes. We shall proceed tonight according to schedule. We would be most grateful for everyone's cooperation."

    Seeing the noisy magi gathered in the room fall to silence, he nodded in satisfaction.

    Behind us, the door swung closed.

    Together with the whistle we heard earlier, the sound of the steam engine lumbering into motion filled the room.

    Though slowly, the train began to pick up speed, whisking away the tiny world we now occupied.

    As if rocked by the growing speed of the train, the staff member lowered his head.

    "My name is Rodin. I will be your conductor this evening. My apologies for interrupting your conversation."

    The man introduced himself, offering the same name as that famous sculptor.

    Not just us, but it seemed even those who had boarded the train at the other end like Olgamarie had also failed to notice his appearance. It was as if he had just appeared out of thin air.

    With a cough to clear his throat, he continued.

    "This locomotive intends a three night, four day journey around the Country of Fog, returning to London at the end. During that time, you will all be permitted to view our collection of Mystic Eyes, and on the third day an auction will be held for them. Should you offer the winning bid, you may either accept custody of the Eyes in question, or receive them transplanted immediately. Yes, please rest assured. All transplants will be completed quickly, so there is no need to worry. For those who wish to offer Mystic Eyes for sale, please approach me sometime before the day after tomorrow. If you need assistance, please feel free to ask for me directly."

    "-or ask me. My name is Leandra, and I will endeavour to be your auctioneer for this event."

    Appearing beside him, a woman in a fur coat spoke, giving a short bow.

    Her appearance stood out so much I had to wonder why I hadn't noticed her until now.

    With her hair cut short, she had the figure of a model. Though a strip of leather was wrapped tightly around her eyes, she seemed to function as if she could see just fine. Though, considering how well the Princess of Silver coped with her blindness at Iselma, that fact probably wasn't something especially surprising.

    But, even then.

    Within the moving train, I felt a sense of terror take hold of me.

    For a place called the Mystic Eye Collecting Train, being guided by someone who chose to seal their own vision seemed hard to stomach.

    "At this point, we would like do guide each of you to your private rooms. Please, follow me."

    With that, the conductor Rodin bowed once more to us.


    *************


    The room we were led to seemed unexpectedly pleasant.

    It appeared that for each passenger car, only two or three passenger rooms were created, giving each a sense of luxury. Though the width of each room was rather limited, the simplistic accommodations offered no sense of claustrophobia. Apparently the rooms were divided so that each invitation came with one room, as three beds were prepared, but I didn't mind that so much.

    The interior of the room was lit by a gas lamp.

    Sitting down on the all-too-luxurious sofa, I pressed my hands to the side of my head.

    Caules immediately spoke out.

    "Are you okay, Gray?" 

    "...ah, yes. Just...we met so many people, my head is spinning a bit."

    In truth, I felt more like I wanted to scream.

    Magus from the Faculty of Law - Hishiri Adashino.

    Daughter of a Lord - Olgamarie Asmleit Animusphere, and her attendant Trisha Fellows.

    The television star magus, and a bit of a joker - Jeanmario Spinerra.

    A man working for the Holy Church - Karabo Frampton.

    Added to the conductor and auctioneer of the Rail Zeppelin, and the El-Melloi Classroom's own Yvette, I was well past the capacity my head could handle. I suppose if just talking about the number of people, there were more at the party in Iselma, but so many of them here had direct connections to my master and I. Despite being totally unable to remember everything, there was no way I could ignore any of them either.

    Massaging my temples, I looked out the window.

    The scenery outside was blanketed in a thick fog. Occasionally, the lights of the distant city would peak through, before being washed away as quickly as they appeared. Despite the archaic appearance, there was little in the way of vibrations within the car, and the sound of powerful steam engine was somewhat comforting.

    Mixed in with those sounds,

    "...thinking about it now, I guess it should have been obvious that Yvette would be here."

    Hanging his suit jacket on the wall, my master muttered.

    "Is her eye patch related to Mystic Eyes too, then?"

    "Half correct. There isn't an actual eye under that patch, actually."

    At my master's words, I was suddenly struck speechless.

    Though I didn't know how to respond to that, Caules came to the rescue.

    "Yvette has a jewel there in place of a Mystic Eye."

    "A jewel?"

    I had the feeling I had heard about something like this from my master before.

    "The reproduction of Mystic Eyes only really works for lower level Eyes, but that doesn't apply to gems. Yvette's family is specialized in their creation. Though it still has its limits, they are able to even reproduce Noble Coloured Mystic Eyes to a degree. ...they probably are regular customers of the Rail Zeppelin to acquire more accurate models for their creation."

    "...ah, I see."

    Put that way, I could understand.

    It seemed like a much more direct approach for a magi than just a simple transplant.

    "Well, that's how it is. By doing things like offering up one of their own eyes in the process, or relying on jewels with mystical properties, they are able to overcome the limits of reproducing Mystic Eyes. Of course, implanting a foreign object into the human body will trigger all sorts of rejection responses, so there must have been generations of bodily modification in order to allow Yvette to handle it so well. Numerically speaking, she would be one of the rare examples of someone interested in the Rail Zeppelin with no desire for a transplant."

    My master added to Caules' explanation.

    Her random self introduction as the Mystic Eye Girl seemed to be fairly accurate. At any rate, it was all part of a world that was hard to wrap my head around.

    After thinking on it for a while,

    "But the Manager's Representative never made an appearance, did they?" my master muttered.

    That was the signature on the invitation.

    When thinking of plausible suspects for the theft of the relic, they were the most likely.

    "Then, that person is..."

    "Perhaps they intend on showing up later. After all, we don't even know the reason why we received the invitation in the first place. There's no benefit to getting worked up about it now."

    Despite his words, the wrinkle in my master's brow was deeper than ever.

    He had likely spent the day categorizing everyone he came across, trying to determine what relation they may have had to the culprit. As someone who was unable to wield magecraft of superior quality, his only option was to work his brain to a brutal degree.

    My master's ability wasn't as some sort of super detective, tuned in to the supernatural.

    Really, it was the exact opposite - combining plain, mundane methods with his tremendous base of knowledge, he used them as a foundation to exercise his extraordinary power of insight. So in an incident like this one, his brain wouldn't be given even a single moment's rest.

    Saying not to worry was almost just a bad joke.

    Though I wanted to say something, I couldn't think of a single thing I could offer him in consolation.

    "Anyways, let's rest now that we have the chance." Taking off the Mystic Eye Killing glasses, my master lay down on the bed just as he was.

    Surprisingly quickly, his breathing fell into the steady rhythm of sleep, which I found a little relieving. He must have been exhausted. Even if not, he must have still been feeling the stress of having his relic stolen.

    I, however, was not able to so easily fall asleep, so I just sat on my bed.

    Normally if I wasn't able to sleep I'd consider bringing out Add, but I was in no mood to listen to his rowdy self at the moment.

    At that point,

    "-you're really amazing, Gray." Caules suddenly spoke out.

    "What makes you say that?"

    "I've just been really anxious, ready to run at a moment's notice. Ever since coming to the Clock Tower from the back country of Germany, everything has just been coming at me non-stop. I mean, I even ended up on the legendary Rail Zeppelin, come down to London all the way from Scandinavia."

    Apparently, the Rail Zeppelin mainly travelled around the forests of Northern Europe. Being from Germany, Caules was probably much more familiar with the legends surrounding it.

    The fact he had asked to come along after hearing about it by chance was likely in part because of that.

    "You seem awfully well composed, though. ...back then, before Yvette had come out, you seemed ready to fight and everything."

    When Karabo had introduced himself as a member of the Holy Church, though Hishiri was of course prepared, I hadn't failed to notice Caules readying himself for combat as well. That wasn't something one picked up just by practicing magecraft. It was something that needed a much more complete level of preparedness.

    In response to that, Caules scratched his head awkwardly.

    "Haha. I wasn't composed at all. -but, what would you call it? When my sister decided to give up her life as a magus, things became rather violent. I guess I collected a bit of experience from that."

    "Is that what you were talking about before we got on the train?"

    "Yes," he nodded. "Despite being evaluated as the magus of utmost talent in the history of our family, despite all the expectations that she had been saddled with, she suddenly decided to abandon magecraft altogether, even going so far as to abandon her Magic Crest. The family was in an uproar from top to bottom."

    Recalling that memory, Caules' eyes narrowed faintly.

    "Even though I was extraordinarily average, I ended up becoming the successor, and even ended up taking the place in the Clock Tower that had been prepared for her. It was only natural that I was rejected and earned a lot of unjustified anger - no, I guess it was pretty justified. Regardless, there were even attempts on my life because of it. No doubt they thought that if I died, my sister would have no choice but to return."

    I imagine he wasn't exaggerating when he said there were attempts on his life.

    I had learned time and again that magi were that kind of creature in the past few months. In the face of the hopes and dreams of numerous generations, the value of a single human life was less than dirt.

    Seeing my tensed up posture, Caules' expression suddenly broke.

    "...sorry. Maybe that was a bit heavy."

    "No," I answered, shaking my head vigorously. "No, no. ...I understand that kind of situation well."

    The pain of having everyone around you get whipped up into a frenzy with no regard to your own thoughts or feelings was something I understood quite well.

    As well as the frustration of being unable to meet those expectations. How much easier would it have been to just discard my own pathetic self, and completely become that hero of old? No matter how inexperienced or worthless I even considered myself, why was it so hard to throw that self away?

    Caules tilted his head to the side, confused.

    "You're the professor's closest disciple, aren't you?"

    "But, I'm not a magus."

    "I see."

    He didn't push any further.

    With the conversation coming to an end, the sounds of the train cars jostling were the only thing left in the room.

    Strangely, the silence wasn't so awkward. Rocked by the sounds of the car, I vaguely wondered why that was.

    (...ah, I see)

    Because Caules is a lot like my master. Despite his overwhelming mediocrity, despite always being compared to someone that was nothing less than a genius and all the pain that brought, he hadn't given up a single thing. That way of being struck me right to my core. More than seeing a genius who could take to the sky from the start, my heart cried out much stronger for those kind of people.

    That was probably why.

    "It's okay. You will become strong. Even more than your sister, I'm sure."

    As if it was more natural than anything, those words spilled out of my mouth.

    "After all, my master is the one who picked you out."

    Caules looked back at me with a surprised expression.

    "Is something wrong?"

    "...no. Just, you really trust the professor, don't you?"

    Speaking with a small smile, Caules' words made my breath catch.

    I had never really thought about that.

    "I guess so..."

    "So," he nodded, looking around the room. "...the Rail Zeppelin was real after all. I wonder what my sister would have done."

    Those last words drifted through the dim light of the room.

    It seemed he had no intention of continuing the conversation beyond that. Pulling up the blanket on his own bed, Caules turned off the lamp at his bedside.

    "Good night, Gray."

    "...good night."

    At that, I also pulled up my own blanket.

    The regular movements of the train seemed to shake loose something within me. The leftover scent of my master's cigar also seemed to calm me down. At last, my thoughts drifted off into the darkness of the room.

    Surprisingly, I was able to pass the night comfortably.


    Chapter 2 Part 3

    Chapter 2



    Part 3


    As morning come, a faint light shone through the windows of the train car.

    Though the train was enclosed in fog as usual, it seemed it wasn't so thick as to completely block out the sun. Using the sink in the room, I washed my face. As I then spent a little time getting my clothing in order, I heard a rustling come from the bed beside me.

    "Master..."

    "...five more minutes."

    With that, he turned right over.

    As I thought, he was exhausted after all. I'm sure he was going to have difficulty sleeping well here for a while too.

    For now, while he slept, I propped him up against Caules and got to work putting his hair in order. I probably wouldn't have minded if it was the other way around, but I wasn't particularly fond of other people doing my hair. ...maybe because it had been so long, but I felt strangely relaxed by having the chance to do his hair again.

    "Master, it's almost time for breakfast."

    "...oh. Sorry, Gray. Can you go ahead without me?"

    "Without you? Are you not having any breakfast?"

    "Right now, most people will be at the breakfast hall. I want to do some investigating while everyone is there, but it'll look bad if none of us show up."

    I see.

    Even as he was half asleep in bed, his brain was still working hard.

    "Okay. In that case, I'll go ahead. I'll leave the rest to you then, Caules."

    "Uh, right. Got it!"

    Leaving things here to Caules, I finished up with my master's hair before setting out.

    Stepping out of our private room, I headed in the direction of the main engine.

    As expected, with only a single straight line to travel, there was no way to get lost. It was a nice contrast to places like Adra and Iselma, estates with huge, sprawling complexes.

    Outside the windows, the view was dominated by a thick fog interspersed with conifer trees.

    (Fog, and a forest...)

    I thought idly.

    How long had this train run through these places?

    Maybe since before humans even settled this country? Entertaining such ridiculous thoughts, I passed through the lobby and into the dining hall on the other side.

    The carpet in the hallways was so thick and luxurious it felt like I might sink into them up to my ankles. Thanks to that, I couldn't even feel the movement of the train under it.

    At last, the aroma of fresh toast on the air snuck into my nose, awakening my appetite.

    As if pulled forward by that impulse, I opened the door to the dining car,

    "Oh, the disciple! Over here, over here!"

    And was immediately waved down by Yvette, signalling to the open seat beside her.

    Every once in a while, I couldn't help but feel like she was very similar to Flat. It seemed my master collected all sorts of people like that.

    "The Professor always sleeps in, doesn't he? I bet you woke him up and he was just like, 'five more minutes, please!'"

    "...you understand him well, don't you?"

    "It's my job as his prospective lover, after all. Oh, or because I'm a spy. That reason is fine too!"

    Unsure of how serious she was being, all I could do was give a vague smile.

    Regardless of that, something far more disturbing had been set up here. Within the center of the dining room, a transparent tube filled with some sort of liquid was set. Floating in that solution was a pair of eyes.

    "These are the Noble Coloured Mystic Eyes of Incineration," The auctioneer, Leandra, explained.

    Standing beside the tube was the woman, her eyes still wrapped in leather.

    "I imagine you know already, but anything that enters the vision of these Mystic Eyes undergoes Spontaneous Combustion. They are still in good condition, and the quality of Magic Circuits inside them is quite high as well. It seems there is a bit of a trick to keeping them under control, as usual. The details and price estimates are recorded in your catalogues."

    On the table along with the toast and jam that was set up for our breakfast, a number of hardcover books were also laid out, They must have been a preview of what was to come.

    I strangely started to feel like this was a real auction after all.

    Though being watched by a pair of disembodied eyes floating in a tank while we ate breakfast was a bit off-putting, I was pretty okay with such grotesque sights if I was just looking at them. It actually caused somewhat of a problem when I went to see a horror movie with Reines. I felt kind of bad, since I didn't know exactly how I was supposed to react.

    A bit uneasy about sitting directly beside Yvette, I elected to sit across from her instead. The moment I sat down, a member of the staff immediately brought me some food.

    They were so perfectly expressionless, it made me wonder if they weren't homunculi like we saw at the Twin Towers of Iselma.

    At a relaxed pace, the auctioneer continued her explanation.

    "Among our offerings for this event, we will present two sets of Mystic Eyes today, and two tomorrow, for a total of four being auctioned off. Please keep that in mind."

    "Same as always, then?" Yvette muttered.

    Seeing I didn't quite understand, she explained further, stroking her eye patch.

    "Originally, this auction was just an excuse for the previous Manager to show off their collection of Mystic Eyes. The real, heh, 'Eye Catchers' will be shown tomorrow."

    "They held an auction just to show off?" I echoed.

    "Yep. It was all just a pastime for some Dead Apostle. What was their name, Rosian?"

    A chill ran up my spine.

    Dead Apostle.

    A person living while dead. A person dead while living.

    A creature that had twisted the very core nature of what it meant to be a flesh and blood being. A blood-sucking species, commonly referred to as a "vampire." Dead Apostle was a name used to refer to those people. Different from spirits of the dead - but, though the method was different, they were still those who spat on the concept of death.

    As if avoiding poking fun at my obvious discomfort, Yvette continued.

    "I only started coming to this auction long after the Manager's representative took over, so I don't know all the details. Not poking too deep into someone's private life is the secret to a longterm relationship, right? Especially in the business world."

    Surprisingly, that might have been true.

    Unlike in the Clock Tower, where you would often come across people rather frequently whether you liked it or not, a customer of the Rail Zeppelin would likely only see it once a year - no, even for a regular customer like Yvette, it might have only been once every few years.

    "Well, after coming here a few times, you learn to get a read on the different customers. For example, he's probably here as a seller."

    Yvette dropped her voice to a whisper.

    As she spoke, her gaze shifted over to the silent old man in the room.

    "You mean Mr. Karabo?"

    The old man from the Holy Church.

    Even more than the numerous scars decorating his hands, I was more curious about the darkness behind his half-closed eyes.

    "There are those in the Church that use magecraft, but being the Church and all, they aren't exactly fond of using anything but the Baptismal Rites. And anyways, at that age, he won't have the time or energy to learn to use a new set of Mystic Eyes. It's far more likely he's here to get rid of a set of Eyes he can't use."

    "Does age make a difference?"

    "Oh boy," Yvette responded to my question with surprise. "I'd heard the disciple wasn't even a magus, but you really know nothing about magecraft, do you?"

    "S-sorry..."

    "No no, it's not like that's a bad thing. Actually, that might be more appropriate for someone who's the closest disciple. Hm, maybe my approach was all wrong..."

    Crossing her arms, Yvette nodded to herself.

    After a moment, she started speaking again.

    "Mystic Eyes are a bit different. While they are an organ attached to a magus, they have their own independent Magic Circuits. That's why you can even talk about extracting or transplanting them. Mmm, thinking about them as having their own unique abilities, you could think of it like a Magic Crest that can be passed down without regard to the bloodline of the bearer."

    Hearing that, it became clear why Mystic Eyes were so valuable.

    Magic Circuits, I recalled, were an organ magi were born with that functioned to produce magical energy. The difference in quality and number differed wildly between magi, so the results they could produce did too. As such, families of magi went to great lengths to improve the quality of their bloodline, in hopes of getting even a single circuit more in their children.

    Even if it was only a temporary or fake Circuit, most magi would gladly pay any price.

    "Then, when you say they can't control them, then...

    "Right. Since they have their own Magic Circuits, Mystic Eyes are able to produce magical energy and cast spells all on their own. 'A Noble Colour is like the movement of the stars compared to normal Magic Circuits.' That saying comes from the same reasoning. So, whether it's a magus or a normal person, though extraordinarily rare, sometimes Mystic Eyes just spontaneously develop in them. But, there's no guarantee those Mystic Eyes come balanced in terms of magical energy output, or the spells they produce. In the worst case, they can activate all on their own, forcefully drawing the Od from the magus' Magic Circuits against their will. In that case, you're basically better off dead."

    Yvette shrugged with a bitter look.

    "If it's just an issue of not enough magical energy, younger people have more vitality and energy, so they might come out the other side with little more than feeling tired. But once you're older, that changes. The Rail Zeppelin also offers particularly low level Mystic Eyes, as well as completely normal eyeballs, so there's value in selling."

    "...then..."

    With a small nod, Yvette spun her index finger in the air.

    "It's hard to say what the buyers are prepared to deal with. If you have really strong control of magical energy, it's possible to do the opposite, where you take control of the Magic Circuits within the Eyes and basically add them to your own. I imagine most of the magi on this train think they represent that exception. Heh, even if it's only possible once, I'm sure the prospect of getting new Magic Circuits is rather tempting."

    This time, Yvette's eyes were drawn to a table on the far side of the room.

    To a girl with silver hair, no more than about eleven years old.

    Olgamarie.

    Flipping through the catalogue in front of her, she was talking with her attendant, Trisha Fellows. Being the daughter of a Lord, I imagined it was safe to assume she would have no difficulty controlling Mystic Eyes.

    But what about the person sitting at the opposite table, Hishiri Adashino?

    Or the television star Jeanmario Spinerra, enjoying spinning his own hat in his hand?

    (...ah, that's why)

    Each of these gathered magi had their own expectations for this auction, I realized with a sinking feeling.

    "...I think I understand now."

    "Good. Though, maybe this isn't even all of the customers. There are an awful lot of people who don't show up until the day of the auction, after all. But those who are really serious about buying something tend to show up at the start. Even the Eye Catchers I was talking about before are often invited directly by the Rail Zeppelin".

    "Huh?" You mean, an invitation to come sell their eyes?"

    "As if they'd be so polite," Yvette laughed. "Magi with strong Mystic Eyes are pretty famous. If they ignore the invitation, it's not uncommon to find their dead bodies with eyes ripped out soon after. Yeah, it's more like a message saying 'if you value your life, hand over the eyes.' They really act like all the Mystic Eyes in the world belong to them."

    For a moment, my mind wandered.

    Did they think they were some sort of king? What kind of thinking led to someone saying 'your body belongs to me, so give it here'?

    "Of course, to the people who can't control their own Mystic Eyes, the Rail Zeppelin is like a saviour. There's no place in the world that will fetch a better price for Mystic Eyes, after all."

    Taking a bite out of her toast, Yvette's gaze wandered back to the door of the dining car.

    In an instant, her expression lit up.

    "Welcome, Professor!" she immediately called out the moment my master entered the car.

    "...Yvette."

    "They are seats for four, so please have a set! Please, please, don't be shy! Your cute little disciple is here too, after all!"

    Oh.

    She had invited me to sit with her as bait to lure in my master, hadn't she?

    Though he had seen through her ploy, he sat down beside me with a sigh anyways. Though I felt sorry for him, sitting alone here would have been much worse for me, so I'd have to just ask for forgiveness later.

    "Did the Lehrman family not send anyone to keep an eye on you?"

    "Hahaha. Though there is someone for that at home. It's a bit too stifling for me, though. A spy needs to be more carefree, don't you think?

    Shaking her arms back and forth, Yvette made her appeal.

    In response, my master only pressed a hand to his forehead over top of his glasses.

    "How was it?"

    "To start, I asked the staff about who sent the invitation to me."

    Keeping his voice low, he showed me the envelope that had been in his safe.

    "Apparently, it's in the style of a kind given out to a number of people. Invitations like this are occasionally made to give out to people who are new invitees. As such, even the staff don't know who gave it out. ...anyways, I left Caules to take care of the room."

    He then gave me a look, as if to say we'd continue the conversation later.

    Then, there was some movement.

    "Allow me to show you one more," the auctioneer said.

    As she did, an expressionless staff member brought out another transparent tank.

    "Mystic Eyes of Plunder," the auctioneer named the eyes floating inside the tank.

    At the same time, a new page suddenly appeared in the catalogue in front of us. As a photo of the eyes and a detailed description appeared on the page, the auctioneer continued.

    "As the name implies, they are Mystic Eyes that steal the life force of those it sees. They're ranked Gold. Unfortunately, due to their age, we must apologize for their current condition. However, due to their nature, there is a possibility they will strike back against their owner. In previous auctions, the past two individuals who received these Eyes were brought to the point of death within three years, and our staff were forced to extract them. If you intend to bid on them, please review the limits of liability stated within the contract."

    In contrast to the almost bored tone with which the auctioneer spoke, a ripple of unease passed through the magi gathered in the dining car.

    Even my master was covering his mouth with a suspicious look in his eyes.

    "...perhaps that should be expected of the Rail Zeppelin."

    "Are they that impressive?"

    "Even the Mystic Eyes of Incineration they had up before were quite the find."

    Yvette's lone eye was sparkling. Seeing my face, which must have looked all sorts of confused, she moved a finger as she explained.

    "See, even Miss Olgamarie over there is starting to look a little pale, don't you think? Because among the Noble Colours, Gold is ranked pretty highly."

    "Higher than the normal Noble Colours?"

    "The kind of thing that will earn a Sealing Designation with one wrong step," my master added.

    Hearing that familiar word, I blurted out again.

    "Sealing Designation? Like Miss Touko's?"

    "Yes. With the Clock Tower's tools and techniques, you can't guarantee they'll stop at just removing the Mystic Eyes. It's far easier for them just to seal away the whole person. For a person with Mystic Eyes that will never be reproduced again, they don't belong to just them, but to the entire Magic Association. Or so the reasoning goes," my master explained, closing one eye. No doubt, the hardness in his voice was a sign of his distaste with that particular policy.

    And with a terribly serious expression, he added one more thing.

    "Above that is the 'Jewel' level of Mystic Eyes, but at that point you're getting into the territory of things whose existence can't even be verified. Though it's said one of the Lords at the top of their faction may be hiding some away. I guess the Rail Zeppelin is trying to drum up some notoriety for itself."

    "No no, Professor. Even I would never have expected a Gold-ranked set of Eyes to come out second. They must have something really impressive to follow this. At this rate, they may even have a Jewel rank set of Eyes to show off..."

    At that point, Yvette was cut off.

    "What about Rainbow rank?" a voice called out.

    Olgamarie Asmleit Animusphere stood up. Despite her young age, her dignified figure was filled with an ambition that made the other magi's seem pale in comparison.

    "What do you mean?"

    "Just what I said," she snapped.

    Despite the confident glare she levelled at the auctioneer, her words came out calm and composed.

    "If this is the Rail Zeppelin, you should have the highest rank of Rainbow Eyes here, right? For example...the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception that were found in the Far East."

    This time, calling it a ripple of unease wouldn't even begin to cover it.

    The sharp sound of a chair crashing to the floor filled the room as someone jumped from their seat.

    And of all people, it was the magus from the Faculty of Law - Hishiri Adashino.

    (Mystic Eyes of Death Perception?)

    It was an unfamiliar name. But I did understand that the interest of the gathered magi had been snared well before that - at the mention of Rainbow ranked Eyes. The highest rank. In short, not just the Noble Colours, not just the rank of Jewel whose existence itself was in doubt, but even higher.

    Gold.

    Jewel.

    And then, Rainbow.

    The highest rank of Mystic Eyes, whose name alone could inspire fear in ordinary magi.

    "Unfortunately, I cannot answer that question today," the auctioneer responded.

    She didn't say they didn't have them, though. Just that they wouldn't be displayed here, today.

    As one, as if gazed upon by the Medusa itself, the gathered magi stiffened. -surprisingly, even Hishiri Adashino was no exception, returning to her seat clumsily.

    In the strange atmosphere now filling the dining car,

    "I see, I see," Yvette muttered to herself.

    Her lone eye had an unusual shine to it.

    "This is the first time I've seen Animusphere here. I guess they are after something in particular? Things seem to be getting interesting."

    Finally, she whispered.

    "...but, is there really such things as the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception? And even if there were, would that even still be considered Mystic Eyes? I wonder."


    Chapter 2 Part 4

    Chapter 2



    Part 4


    That event marked the end of the breakfast preview.

    The gathered people in the dining car split off into their small groups and left, no discussion of what had just occurred forthcoming. After gathering a few pieces of food for Caules into a basket, my master and I also left the dining car.

    Between the dining car and the guest rooms was an entire car reserved for the lobby.

    Though the soft carpet and leather sofas had not changed in the slightest, a bizarre sense of dread made my skin crawl. It wasn't magical energy, nor was it a sense of hostility. But after seeing those Mystic Eyes floating in their tanks, the entire train had gained a sinister feel.

    Even breathing caused a pain in my chest.

    Following my master's footsteps, I raised my gaze.

    "Caules?"

    Caules was standing in the middle of the hallway.

    "Professor. Gray. ...you look pale. Is something wrong?"

    "Uh, no, not at all. I'm just not feeling that great."

    Seeing his kind expression, I immediately felt relieved.

    But at the same time, it made me feel like he wasn't well suited to the environment of the Clock Tower. Perhaps he had the mind of a magus, but I couldn't help but feel like there was a better place out there for him.

    "No problem then, I guess," his expression softened after hearing my answer. "Professor. Someone slipped this in through the door," he said, holding out a white envelope.

    "A letter?"

    "Yes. I opened the door immediately, but there was already no one in sight. Sorry."

    "No, that's fine. If that's how they were making contact, they were probably using a temporary familiar or something similar to deliver it anyways. I doubt they cared if it got caught."

    So saying, he tore open the envelope.

    Reading the contents, his hands went stiff.


    'We are most honoured that you heeded our invitation,' it began.

    With an opening like that, it was hard to imagine that it came from just a single person.

    "...master."

    "Yes. It's probably from the thief," he nodded, a frigid expression on his face. It looked like he was trying to freeze solid the roiling, uncontrollable emotions inside.

    "First of all, let's analyze this thoroughly-"

    "-Lord El-Melloi II."

    A bright voice stopped us before we could leave.

    When we turned, the one who had gathered the attention of all the magi earlier was standing there.

    "Miss Olgamarie."

    The silver haired daughter of Lord Animusphere gazed back at us.

    She reminded me somewhat of a cat, for some reason. Though they were both children of the same high society, she had a much different air than Luviagelita Edelfelt. If Luvia was like a jewel found deep within the earth, extracted and polished with great effort to perfection, this girl was like an Abyssinian cat, sitting by and watching the history of the nobles unfold together with them.

    "I have something to discuss with you," she said, no mask to her pride.

    "Unfortunately, I'm not sure I'm capable of discussing things on your level. Besides, I believe you told me there would be no exchange of information?"

    "The situation has changed. Besides, you are the most capable person in the Clock Tower in this regard."

    "Oh?"

    Though he made an effort to relax his hands as he dropped them to his side, it wasn't long before they started trembling again.

    As if reciting some ancient spell, Olgamarie continued.

    "After all, it's about the Holy Grail War."


    *************


    Hishiri Adashino was a magus belonging to the Faculty of Law.

    The Clock Tower was made up of twelve primary faculties, but the Faculty of Law was separate from all of them. That was of course because of the Faculty of Law didn't pursue academic study at all. Rather, it was an institution made to manage and control the Clock Tower as a whole.

    To be precise, that management could be divided into three strains.

    In short, these were the preservation of the world of magecraft, control over the magi contained within it, and mediation between them and the mundane world.

    At any rate, the Faculty of Law was both in name and in practice, the 'magi who existed to control other magi.' Many Lords in the Clock Tower freely sent their children to study under the Faculty of Law, and the Faculty in turn freely taught the ways of leadership relevant to the Clock Tower. That was why, despite not necessarily connected to the Twelve Families or Three Great Noble Families of the Clock Tower, mentioning the Faculty of Law would elicit a nervous reaction.

    And now.

    "Rainbow rank Mystic Eyes...really?"

    Still contemplating the words of Animusphere's daughter, Hishiri was frowning.

    As one might expect, the kimono-clad woman was still half in disbelief - no, it would be better to say she was ninety percent sure it was impossible. Even for her within the Faculty of Law, Mystic Eyes of the Rainbow rank existed only in rumour.

    But that was just all the more reason she had to make sure.

    If they could be proven to exist, that could be shock enough to disrupt the balance of the entire Clock Tower.

    "...no," she shook her head.

    (The real problem is what kind of magecraft operates within them, right?)

    Noble Colours.

    In general, the extent of their abilities was characterized by their long list of titles: Restraint, Compulsion, Contract, Incineration, Illusion, Jinx. These specialties of Mystic Eyes all, in some way or other, intervened in the fates of others.

    However, Eyes ranked Gold or higher often held great magics that had long since been lost to the modern era. For Jewel and Rainbow ranks, it could be assumed that they didn't just possess powerful magecraft, but instead could actualize Mysteries that were otherwise entirely impossible to replicate in any era.

    They could be said to be an exercise of the Authority of the Divine.

    (If Mystic Eyes of Death Perception actually exist, maybe as the authority of Balor...)

    Though Hishiri herself had no idea if such Eyes actually existed.

    However, if the rumours she had overheard had any truth to them, then conjecture was possible.

    In short, the ability to invoke death with a single glance. All things had their individual flaws. Nothing in the world could be said to be a perfect creation. Each thing tended toward its own destruction, in hopes it could be remade with such perfection. Drawing those flaws to the surface was the symbol of that absurd power, possessed by the god Balor of Celtic Myth.

    The gathered Source Crests and powerful Mystic Codes owned by the Twelve Families of the Clock Tower couldn't compare.

    "To think you'd get caught up in something like this again," she gave a small sigh.

    "Is your plan to cut down all the remaining Mystery in the world, Lord El-Melloi II...?" 


    *************


    Closing the door of the room, my master led his two guests to the sofa.

    Of course, that meant there was no room left for Caules or myself, so we sat down on the bed nearby. Originally the room was only designed to accommodate three people, so even though half the train car was reserved for our room, with five people inside it began to feel a little cramped.

    After seating his guests, my master lowered himself into an armchair before speaking.

    "-what interest do you have in the Holy Grail War?"

    Though he tried to keep things smooth, there was a hardness to his voice.

    In response, Olgamarie's attendant, Trisha Fellows, reset her glasses.

    "When the previous Lord El-Melloi became a topic of discussion, the Animusphere family also collected its share of information."

    Ten years ago. The Fourth Holy Grail War.

    The previous Lord El-Melloi - Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald lost his life in that battle. Or in other words, the battle in which the current Lord El-Melloi II - the battle in which my master came out alive.

    Had the Animusphere family been watching my master since then? Or perhaps, since even earlier? It was to be expected as a fellow Lord that they would be watching Mr. Kayneth's activities, but even then I couldn't suppress the shiver running down my spine.

    I felt like, in a small way, I had come into contact with the true nature of the Clock Tower.

    "Hmm. And here I thought that the Animuspheres had no interest in anything besides the movements of the stars they watched from their mountain."

    "This is yet another one of those stars,"

    Olgamarie responded to my master's words.

    Her sharp amber eyes glared up at him. Rather than an appraising look, it was more like a challenging one.

    "And anyways, that kind of news was big enough reach us even on our mountain. That the successor of the El-Melloi name intends on participating in the fight that killed his predecessor. The Fifth Holy Grail War is only two months away. You must have requested to the Clock Tower to be sent, right?"

    "Though it seems my application has been rejected. Though the Clock Tower was given two places in this Holy Grail War, it seems they have been taken by Galiasta and the Sealing Designation Office."

    Of course, I knew Atram Galiasta.

    The Sealing Designation Office must have been the organization of magi responsible for capturing those who had earned a Sealing Designation. Since they were chosen not for their ability in magecraft, but for their ability in combat to hunt down renegade magi, something like the Holy Grail War must have been perfect for them.

    "Even so, you still applied. It seems you're obsessed with this suspicious looking wish granter."

    "...I wonder."

    "That's not right, is it? It seems they've found some way of making fake Heroic Spirits, but this is still the Far East we're talking about. There's no way a magical backwater like them made such a super-high-class ritual,"

    Olgamarie said, folding one of her arms as her finger bounced.

    Her eyes then narrowed as she folded her second arm.

    "In that case, it makes more sense if your objective is the ritual itself. After all, that ritual managed to turn a third rate New Ager like you into the head of the El-Melloi Classroom somehow. And on top of that, you managed to push yourself into the seat of Lord while the El-Melloi faction was still in a state of total chaos. Were you answering some favour for the previous Lord El-Melloi or something?"

    "Unfortunately, I wasn't present for Professor Kayneth's last moments. Right up until the end, he thought I was a hopeless fool, I'm afraid."

    It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut.

    To think they had kept such a detailed eye on my master.

    Thinking back to what Atram Galiasta said as well, it seemed the Clock Tower had determined he was more than an ordinary person in their investigation. It wasn't all that surprising, since Reines had said as much earlier, but despite his philosophical view of things, it seemed he didn't think of himself in that way at all.

    "Anyways, you want to participate in the Holy Grail War again. Are you that desperate to make up for your loss last time?"

    "...if that's the way you want to look at it, that's fine with me, but is that what you really wanted to talk about?"

    "No, just making sure I have the situation right. If you don't like it, you can pretend I'm just talking to myself."

    Waving a hand around, Olgamarie continued. "If my speculation is mostly correct, then the reason you came to the Rail Zeppelin was to gather resources for another Holy Grail War, right? If you can't get one of the Clock Tower spots you'll just have to go as a free agent. If that's the case, there's no way you can just barge in with some powerful Mystic Code like the previous Lord El-Melloi did. I'm kind of amazed at how he went in guns blazing, throwing the El-Melloi family's assets around like they were nothing.

    An appropriately huge number of jewels and minerals for a member of Kischur, a careless number of evil spirits even for a member of Eulyphis, and even three Mystic Furnaces made specifically for Lords. And he lost all of it when someone just destroyed the whole building. Just hearing about it made me shudder. Even as strong as the El-Melloi faction was at that time, it seemed they were on the way to their end already."

    All I could do was watch them dumbly.

    The cautious way she proceeded seemed somehow familiar to me.

    (...Reines is like that, too)

    Or perhaps, that was the way Reines used to live in the Clock Tower.

    I didn't meet her until after she had had a long relationship with my master...or maybe it was better to say after she had pushed herself on him.

    (...is that why Reines doesn't want to let him go?)

    I still held the card and cell phone Reines had given to me in secret. Though we had lost reception since the train departed, if things went as planned, I should have reception again once the auction actually started.

    I felt a little bit relieved.

    Because if she wasn't willing to let him go yet, that meant things were still alright.

    I felt like if that wasn't the case, then my master would end up disappearing somewhere.

    "...you seem to know an awful lot. I never would have thought Animusphere was so interested in the outside world."

    "Looking outside the planet and looking at the surface follows the same underlying principle. But, if my speculation is correct, I thought it might not be impossible for us to cooperate."

    "Cooperate. At the very least, it sounds nice."

    "Doesn't it? After all, we Animusphere are members of the Aristocratic Faction, just like you are."

    "Aristocratic..." my master's lips turned slightly.

    I'm sure he must have had his own feelings about the factional warfare within the Clock Tower. For starters, even if the El-Melloi family itself was aligned with the Aristocratic Faction, my master's own birth and methods felt much more in line with the principles of the Democratic Faction. That was likely why Valueleta felt it was possible to pull him to their side.

    Once again, Olgamarie glared at my master.

    "At the very least, if your goal is just to collect weapons, you probably aren't much interested in Rainbow eyes, are you? If that's the case, our goals here don't conflict."''

    "...what makes you say that? We're talking about Mystic Eyes of a legendary calibre. Something that even the other Lords of the Clock Tower probably don't possess. Even if we don't know their specific abilities, anyone would be interested in acquiring them, don't you think?"

    "As such, even without knowing what they do, being Rainbow rank puts them at a suitably legendary price. I can't imagine the El-Melloi family as it is now can hope to compete on that level financially."

    "How blunt," my master shrugged with a bitter smile.

    But there was no sense of displeasure to his demeanour. It seemed he really did prefer dealing with people like this. At the very least, it may have just been easier not having to worry about hidden meanings being each and every word.

    "In short, you actually believe that Rainbow eyes are going to be put on display here. Do you have some information that led to that conclusion? I can't imagine a leak from the Rail Zeppelin itself."

    For a while, Olgamarie was silent.

    After exchanging a look with her attendant, she spoke again.

    "Okay, Trisha. This whole thing will go smoother if we at least share this much."

    "Understood." Nodding to her master's words, Trisha Fellows raised her hand. "The truth is, I saw them myself."

    Removing her glasses, she bared her beautiful eyes.

    No, perhaps it was just the lively glimmer from deep within them that drew our attention. Seeing that bizarre shine, I couldn't help but feel like I'd seen something similar not long ago...but as I thought that, she began to speak extremely slowly.

    "Ah, perfect. Mr. El-Melloi II, would you raise your right hand for me?"

    "Like this?"

    Without any hesitation, my master raised his right hand from where he was seated.

    "Yes, for eight more seconds, if you would. Seven, six, five, four-"

    "-whoa!"

    Beside me, Caules suddenly collapsed.

    As if overwhelmed by what he was watching, he slipped and fell off the bed. As he fell, one of his flailing hands struck an empty kettle near his pillow, causing it to fly through the air. As if part of some choreographed experiment, the kettle drew a perfect arc in the empty space of the room, coming to rest perfectly against my master's raised hand.

    After staring at the kettle in silence for a while, my master finally spoke again.

    "Mystic Eyes, I see."

    "In a broad sense, yes. My eyes have the ability to predict the future."

    "...the future?"

    As I sat awestruck, my master whispered to me.

    "Just like it sounds. Eyes of Foresight. Just as Trisha explained, in a broad sense, they can be considered Mystic Eyes."

    Mystic Eyes.

    In a narrow sense, they projected a spell outwards, as was the case of eyes of Incineration or Charm. Receptive types of Mystic Eyes, like those of Foresight or Hindsight, were not always included in that definition...though he continued explaining, most of it was lost on me.

    The only thing I could think of, as I felt like I was swallowing a stone, was that there was one more.

    Someone who could see that which should not be seen.

    In a way, a person whose senses were connected to a different world.

    Something completely different than the abilities long bought and sold at the Rail Zeppelin.

    "About three months ago, I saw Mystic Eyes of the Rainbow rank being put on display at the Rail Zeppelin's current auction."

    "You saw," my master muttered.

    "Reaching a result before reason is taken into account. That sounds very much like Foresight. But, predictive Foresight is rather unstable. At most, it tells us no more than that such a thing is possible."

    "That's why I tried to confirm it earlier," Olgamarie said, puffing out her chest haughtily. "And even an absurd claim like that wasn't denied by the auctioneer. Everyone is probably thinking about that now."

    This time, my master went quiet.

    Remembering back when she asked us if we were aiming after any particular set of Mystic Eyes before we got on the train, it seemed this straightforward method of questioning was a habit of hers. Though it seemed careless to me, it may have been unexpectedly effective in a place like the Clock Tower, usually so wrapped up in its own intrigue. At the very least, it would make it easy to divide one's friends from their foes.

    "I see. And so, you came here to make contact once more. If you can be sure our goals don't conflict, both of our burdens will be eased. ...so, what kind of cooperation were you looking for?"

    "If the Rainbow eyes really come out for auction, and some other idiot puts a bid in for them, I want you to bid as well."

    "Oh? Even though you were so sure we had no such money?"

    "Even so, there aren't many idiots out there that would pit themselves against two families of Lords, are there? Once the others drop out, if you drop out right away, the damage will be minimum."

    In other words, she didn't care about his money, just his authority.

    I could understand that line of reasoning. Though in my master's case it wasn't so clear cut, the title of Lord in the Clock Tower was not just a showy crown. Though one would normally be enough, the thought of earning the ire of two such families at once is something anyone, fool or not, would want to avoid.

    "If possible, I'd also like you to bid aggressively on the other Mystic Eyes to try and exhaust the others' resources, but that's probably asking too much. From the El-Melloi's perspective, this is a good way to put us in your debt without spending a penny, don't you think?

    Though her words seemed to be the height of arrogance, my master responded without showing a hint of emotion.

    "I can't promise anything, but at the very least, I understand your request."

    No promises.

    But, even with just that, it seemed the Animuspheres were satisfied.

    As Olgamarie nodded and made to take her leave, she was stopped.

    "What is it, Trisha?"

    "I have something to discuss with Mr. El-Melloi II. Is that okay?"

    "Hmph. Fine, I guess. I'll wait for you in our room."

    With a flip of her silver hair, Olgamarie left the room.

    After waiting for the door to close completely, Trisha turned to my master.

    "I would like to ask you one thing, if possible."

    "And what would that be?"

    "My master believes you are intending to join the Fifth Holy Grail War just to redeem your honour, but I believe that's not quite right."

    "...oh? What makes you think that?"

    At my master's prodding, Trisha gave a faint smile as she whispered.

    "It is hardly uncommon for someone who overcomes a life or death battle to have a complete change of personality. But even for that, a chance is needed. If the previous Lord El-Melloi didn't provide that for you, it must have been someone else. I looked over the results of the survey on the Holy Grail War...and I know of the Heroic Spirit you fought alongside in the Fourth Holy Grail War, ten years ago."

    My master's fingers jerked as if surprised.

    Caules and I both held our breath. Because Trisha so perfectly described the real reason we had come to the Rail Zeppelin.

    The attendant continued to speak softly.

    "Yes...a Heroic Spirit that had carved their mark into human history would be more than enough to spark that sort of complete change in someone."

    It was like ice stabbing me in the back.

    Mystic Eyes of Foresight, she claimed. And she showed us that power.

    But I felt like there was an even greater power of discernment hidden behind those eyes.

    "An interesting piece of conjecture, Miss," my master responded. "But in the end, it's just conjecture.

    It doesn't seem like you have any evidence to back that up."

    "Of course not," she admitted. "So please accept this question for the conjecture that it is."

    With that preface, she continued.

    "Should you summon that Heroic Spirit - that Servant once more, what if that Servant had no memories of the time spent with you?"

    "Huh?"

    The dumb-sounding voice blurting out was mine.

    Though I had tried to keep it in the entire time, I couldn't help but let that one slip out.

    With a short glance toward me, Trisha continued.

    "Due to my study into Necromancy, I have a small amount of knowledge regarding Heroic Spirits. Of course, the true Heroic Spirit engraved on the Throne of Heroes certainly has knowledge of the time spent with you. Neither time nor space exists at the Throne, so the records of Heroic Spirits recorded there must be immense. ...however, for that reason, when Servants are summoned into this world, those records are not summoned with them. The knowledge Servants possess consists only of their memories of life, plus knowledge granted to them by the World required to operate in the present era. Beyond that are only a few small modifications. As the Throne of Heroes records all things regardless of time, if that knowledge wasn't stripped from them, any number of paradoxes could result."

    Of course, that's all just a theory, she stipulated with the smile of a shark.

    "Theory...?"

    My feet suddenly felt unstable.

    It felt like trying to build something, only to find out you were wrong from the very first step. I felt like the carpet might split open, dropping me straight into hell. If I didn't keep a tight rein on my feelings now, I was sure I'd collapse.

    "Yes. It's just a theory. But, what if there were exceptions to it?"

    Trisha continued.

    "For example, memories from within a Singularity completely split off from every and all timelines, or from within Reality Marbles completely isolated from the rest of the world. Unless such conditions could be met...wouldn't your dream be impossible?"

    My master said nothing.

    He just narrowed his eyes, as if staring into a strong wind.

    "Or perhaps, you intend to entirely change the summoning formula? If so, you would need to create an entirely new Greater Grail, on which the whole process is based. Certainly an undertaking fitting for the title of Lord. No, it would be easier just to steal Fuyuki's. Doesn't that sound just like what a magus would do?"

    "...it surprises me that Animusphere is interested in this at all."

    My master's voice was quiet.

    That made it all the more painful to listen to.

    I wanted him to be surprised. I wanted him to be hurt. I wanted him to scream and shout that something like that was impossible. But my master just sat calmly, as if he had known everything Trisha had just said since long ago, whether he liked it or not.

    "Allow me to ask one more question. The words 'Rainbow Mystic Eyes' can include any number of possibilities. What kind of Rainbow Mystic Eyes did you see, exactly?"

    For a moment, Trisha narrowed her eyes behind her glasses.

    Then, she shook her head.

    "I don't think there is any need for me to explain that much. Even if it's the Rail Zeppelin, I can't imagine them selling two sets of Rainbow ranked Mystic Eyes at once, after all."

    "I see. That sounds reasonable."

    With a bitter smile, my master let off.

    His usual smile, as if he was still troubled by something. Though it seems she may have seen something in that expression.

    "-Mr. El-Melloi II," she spoke.

    "Humans are creatures that depend on information to live, yet are bound by that information until they die. Vision is the sense that acquires the greatest amount of information. As such, possessing Mystic Eyes means accepting being bound by them. Should you seek to acquire Mystic Eyes besides the ones we are after, I would implore you to think deeply on that."

    "I appreciate your warning," my master nodded politely.

    With that, the attendant left us.

    Once the door shut, I immediately spoke.

    "...master."

    In response to my shaking voice, my master paused before turning to me.

    Though I did my best to hide it, he may have still seen the tears in my eyes. The words she had left behind had left such scars.

    Facing that, my master spoke with an incredibly complicated expression.

    "Did Reines tell you something about me and the Holy Grail War?"

    "No," I answered, shaking my head vigorously. "No, no. But, that..."

    "That Servants don't remember their previous summonings?" he said, as if reciting a poem. "I am a Lord, you know. I've been researching the Holy Grail War for quite some time. All of that was something I learned long ago. There's no need for you to be worried about it.

    "But..."

    For the first time, I protested more than once. No, perhaps it wasn't the first time. But it couldn't have been so desperate before.

    I just wanted to say, at the very least, you can't just accept that.

    "Geez," my master took our a cigar.

    With a small, bitter smile, he took out his knife, cut the tip, and struck a match to light it, just like always. Though it was the normal ritual, this time alone it didn't help me calm down at all. Even with the characteristic scent of cigar smoke filling the room, I still felt like I was on the edge of tears.

    "-um, Professor..."

    "Yes?"

    He stepped over to Caules, who had been silent up until now.

    "I don't know much about this Holy Grail War. And I don't understand the situation that well, so maybe I'm completely wrong in this," he prefaced his own words. 

    "If there's someone who is important to you, isn't it obvious that you would want them to remember you? At the very least, I would think that's how everyone else feels."

    Caules struck straight to the heart of it.

    In response, my master faintly smiled.

    "That's right. It's not like I'm happy that I've been forgotten or anything." The smoke from his cigar wavered, drawing his eyes up to the ceiling. "But even then, there is someone I want to meet even if he's forgotten. There's something I want to confirm. Something I need to see finished, so I can move on from these past ten years. ...yes, at the very least, the Holy Grail War is just a small thing to me. To share those memories and bond over them is just too happy an ending to be realistic, no matter how much of a price I've paid. There's no way I can afford such an ending with just my life."

    Holding the cigar in his mouth, the lingering scent of smoke hanging in the room seemed like nothing.

    I just wanted to shake my head.

    To deny what he said.

    But with the way he made that troubled smile, I just couldn't put it into words.

    "What do you think?" Caules asked again.

    "Do you think that invitation was left by Miss Olgamarie?"

    "Who knows. Normally, it seems like a tactic that's outside her style though. There would be no point to dragging up a whole conversation about the relic only to pretend like she didn't know it was stolen."

    When it came to magi though, a method being too roundabout or meaningless was something you couldn't really count on. Even if the possibility was low, that alone could serve as a part of some sort of magecraft.

    "First of all, we have this letter," he said, lifting up the letter Caules had found earlier.

    Eyeing it over once more, he stated his conclusion.

    "Come to the caboose at night, it says.

    "...then..."

    "Yes," my master nodded.

    "We've come this far. Why not answer it?"


    Chapter 2 Part 5

    Chapter 2



    Part 5


    -However.

    Before evening could come around, another bizarre occurrence took place.

    As the three of us spoke and prepared for the evening, suddenly, the Rail Zeppelin came to a stop.

    "The train...?"

    As we looked around in confusion, an announcement came on over the rooms speakers.

    "This is your conductor, Rodin. The train will remain at this location for the next two hours. Afterwards, it will depart once more. All guests are welcome to remain in their rooms or leave the train as you wish."

    "...it seems like it's a scheduled stop," my master said.

    Perhaps that was all part of the auction's schedule.

    "Shall we go take a look outside then?"

    "Ah, okay!"

    "I guess I'll come, too."

    At my masters words, we all left the room, leaving the train behind us.

    There was no way we could call this place a station.

    We were deep in the forest, at a place that made it strange to think tracks were running here at all. The only place missing densely packed trees were the areas directly in front of and behind the train. The red, rusted over tracks were covered in bushes that made them seem like they had been assimilated by the forest around them.

    A refreshing breeze caressed my face.

    Though we couldn't see beyond the forest at all, a cool wind still reached us, giving me a refreshed feeling.

    "Aha!" Nice, fresh air!"

    The man that had left the train shortly before us stood in the forest, arms wide as he breathed in the atmosphere.

    "Jeanmario, you said your name was?"

    "Yes. I'm honoured a Lord of the Clock Tower would remember me!"

    Spinning his white hat in his hand, he took a bow.

    Perhaps because he was used to performing on TV, everything he did seemed unnaturally exaggerated. Though his smug expression was much brighter and more cheerful than my master's ever was, it was something distinctly unfamiliar to me.

    "Man, this is my first time on the Rail Zeppelin, but the service is great, isn't it? I was just getting bored of seeing nothing but fog outside my window. Having a chance to step off the train isn't bad at all. Though, perhaps I would have preferred somewhere a bit more flowery."

    His loud voice seemed half serious, and half like he was trying to insinuate something.

    Though I was more than comfortable in such undeveloped areas, I could understand someone feeling the opposite.

    "Well, anyways, the sandwiches here are just what you would expect."

    Sitting down in a chair that had been set up, Jeanmario took a bite of his fruit sandwich.

    A number of other magi had disembarked from the train as well. Nearby, a number of tables had been set up, covered with sandwiches and other light foods.

    "It seems the fox from the Faculty of Law isn't interested. And Animusphere's daughter only poked her head outside before returning."

    As if trying to pique my master's interest, Jeanmario kept speaking. Perhaps because of his experience as a television performer, his ability to read the atmosphere was excellent.

    One more person came out.

    The old man from the Holy Church - Karabo Frampton stood apart from everyone else, drinking tea.

    If it hadn't been for the incident earlier, I would have thought his manner of ignoring everyone else and going by his own pace was very magus-like.

    Suddenly, I turned.

    "...Master?"

    My master had started walking into the forest on the other side of the tables.

    Using his hands to push aside the thickly growing branches, the thick scent of the forest filled the air. In a small open space beyond the trees, a circle of mushrooms was growing in a neat circle.

    "A Fairy Circle?"

    "-ah, just like always!"

    Yvette said, suddenly popping her head in. It seemed she had also decided to leave the train for a bit.

    The pink-haired, eye-patched classmate drew Caules' attention.

    "You know about these, Yvette?" 

    "The rails for this train are apparently built following Leylines. Probably something to do with maintaining their supply of magical energy. So when they stop, it tends to be at some kind of power spot. Heheheh, a fairy journal sounds pretty cool, doesn't it? How about doing that for our honeymoon, Professor?"

    "...ah, I see. If you follow the Leylines of England, you'll end up on a path tied up with fairies. That's only natural, I guess. So rather than sightseeing, this is more like restocking."

    Almost too naturally, my master gave his opinion, completely ignoring Yvette's closing comment.

    He then glanced back at the stopped train.

    "I guess it's obvious, but this train follows its own rules, after all."

    For some reason, my master's words gave me a sinking feeling.

    Though the Castle Adra and Towers of Iselma were the same, being built by a Dead Apostle, the Rail Zeppelin was in a different class. Even so, it still had its own set of rules.

    Maybe, everything in this world had its own set of rules that it had to follow.

    People followed the rules of people. Magi followed the rules of magi.

    The dead followed the rules of the dead.

    As I shook my head, trying to cut off that line of thought, my eye caught something.

    "Gray?"

    "...it's nothing. I just thought I saw something," I said, narrowing my eyes.

    It was beyond the trees.

    Standing within the fog was the figure of a woman clad in white, someone I hadn't seen at all on the train earlier. Around her was a cloud of vibrant flower petals, as if she was being decorated in another world.

    Rose petals.

    Around where the woman stood, dozens of bright red roses bloomed proudly. Not just around her, but the brilliantly coloured flowers also wove through her hair like a crown, making her look like a personification of the flowers themselves.

    The woman raised her face.

    Her sharp, scarlet eyes met mine...

    (...huh?)

    And in the next moment, she was gone.

    At that point,

    "Uhh, little disciple?"

    "Is something wrong?"

    Both Yvette and my master were standing beside me, frowning.

    I immediately became flustered, thinking of how hard to miss that person must have been.

    "What? But, now, there was a a white woman, with red roses..."

    "That would be the Manager's representative of the Rail Zeppelin," an unexpected voice came to the rescue as I pointed helplessly at where I saw her.

    It was the conductor that had introduced himself when we first boarded the train. His name was Rodin, if I remembered correctly.

    "The Manager's representative?"

    With a sudden intensity, my master turned around.

    That's right. On that first invitation we had received, that was the name that had been written. That's who my master had been looking for the moment he had got on the train.

    "Yes. Since the owner of the Rail Zeppelin retired, she has been looking after it," the conductor calmly explained.

    "Even we meet her only rarely, but it seems you have a sensitivity beyond that of any ordinary magus."

    Sensitivity. I understood that, in some way.

    For example, the ability to perceive the faint, lingering thoughts that stained the depths of the earth was something magi couldn't do. That was the reason I left my home.

    "...the owner retired?" my master said, cutting off my question.

    "Originally, this auction was an idea proposed by the owner, but there was some trouble in the past. Since then, the owner has stayed apart from the train, leaving a representative to act in their place."

    "Trouble?"

    (Was that the story about Touko I heard about...?)

    As my master's expression became heated, that thought idly crossed my mind.

    But before I could follow it any further, in the gentle atmosphere of the forest, a girl's scream tore the calm.


    *************


    My master responded instantly to the sound.

    "Gray."

    "...understood!"

    With a firm response, I took off at full speed.

    Jumping off the ground, I sailed three seconds through the air before reaching the door, turning the bar halfway. Doing what I could to slow myself down in the air, I immediately started running through the train.

    I immediately understood the source of the scream.

    With my ears, I could easily tell that from where we were standing.

    But even then, the moment I opened the door, I went stiff.

    "Oh dear."

    "...hey, come on..."

    Behind me, I could hear Yvette and Jeanmario groaning.

    As other magi arrived one by one, they all caught their breath. The scene before us was so gruesome, even those with the sensibilities of a magus would be taken aback at the first glance.

    Drip, drip.

    Drip, drip.

    The sound of water dripping filled the otherwise quiet air.

    A red stain was spreading on the luxurious carpet of the Rail Zeppelin.

    In the middle of that stain was a single tipped over chair, and a single human body.

    Trisha Fellows.

    Just looking at the amount of blood, it was hard to imagine her being alive. But more than that, something was missing.

    Her head was nowhere to be seen.

    Even so, we could recognize her from the purple coat she was wearing. The coat that matched her so well was now being quickly dyed red.

    "Trisha...!"

    Immediately beside her, Olgamarie was on her knees.

    The scream earlier had been hers. After all, with the way Trisha was now, there was no way she could scream herself.

    "I...I left the train...to clear my head...in the forest..." her hollow voice filled the room.

    "T-then I went to the lobby, to get some tea...and when I came back...Trisha...Trisha was..."

    No one could answer her mutterings.

    All the while, the sound of blood dripping from her body continued.
    Last edited by TwilightsCall; January 31st, 2020 at 05:06 PM. Reason: Corrections
    The Fourth Order - Long form, Church-centric story. Follows the life of a young knight within the Church, and her personal battle against the heretical.
    My other fanfiction - Almost entirely short stories and oneshots, except for the above

  5. #1165
    The Greatest Cool Reign's Avatar
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    Oh my goodness. Your hard work is noted and appreciated holy cow.

  6. #1166
    死者 The Dead Razios's Avatar
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    You really spoil us xD

  7. #1167
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six
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    Damn~.

    It's great to see 2 chapters translated so fast. I didn't really expect to see all this so quickly.

    It's great to get back into LN Case Files.

  8. #1168
    屍食鬼 Ghoul Bonfire's Avatar
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    I was wondering where chapter 1 is and I completely missed it a week ago!

    As always thanks for the TLs

  9. #1169
    I wanted to try my hand at making an epub file for Volume 2 and posibly 1 and 3 and I wanted to check the RAWs so I could take a look at the original book formatting.
    Does anyone knows where can I find it? I could only find V1 on Nyaa.

  10. #1170
    死者 The Dead _cassidy_'s Avatar
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    Both volume 2 and 3 are available are been posted here (mediafire links in two different posts)

  11. #1171
    Quote Originally Posted by _cassidy_ View Post
    Both volume 2 and 3 are available are been posted here (mediafire links in two different posts)
    Thanks for those!

    EDIT: making an epub was harder than i initially though, just finished chapter 3 of v1.
    Last edited by Dotelias; January 25th, 2020 at 08:06 PM.

  12. #1172
    The Greatest Cool Reign's Avatar
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    Oh, one thing. In section 3, was the original Japanese using masculine pronouns when talking about the Dead Apostle, or was it gender neutral which you translated as masculine? Because Rita Rozay-en is a woman, but I'm not sure if they were just assuming she was a man or not

  13. #1173
    Presia messe noce yor tes mea TwilightsCall's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure they don't use any gendered pronouns at all when referring to the dead apostle. That's just my generic fill in for when I don't realize that the gender is actually ambiguous (normally I use 'they,' when I notice).

    I'll fix that soon, though I won't have a chance tonight.
    The Fourth Order - Long form, Church-centric story. Follows the life of a young knight within the Church, and her personal battle against the heretical.
    My other fanfiction - Almost entirely short stories and oneshots, except for the above

  14. #1174
    Hey TwilightsCall, while I'm in the process of making an epub file for Vol2 I noticed there was an image that wasn't added or translated on vol2, chapter 2, part 3.
    I was wondering if you could translate it so I could edit it and add it to the epub. I'm sorry if it is too much to ask.
    I'll attach the image for reference.
    Spoiler:
    Last edited by Dotelias; January 27th, 2020 at 10:50 AM.

  15. #1175
    Presia messe noce yor tes mea TwilightsCall's Avatar
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    Title in the middle: Clock Tower Influence Map

    Top box:
    Title Box: Aristocratic faction
    Bolded name: Barthomeloi Faction
    Unbolded names: El-Melloi Faction, Gaiuslink Faction, etc...

    Left box:
    Title Box: Democratic Faction
    Bolded Name: Trambelio Faction
    Unbolded Names: Valueleta Faction (Including the Iselma Family), Edelfelt Faction, etc...

    Right box:
    Title Box: Neutralist Faction
    Bolded Name: Meluastea Faction
    Unbolded Names: Brishisan Faction, Jigmarie Faction, etc...
    The Fourth Order - Long form, Church-centric story. Follows the life of a young knight within the Church, and her personal battle against the heretical.
    My other fanfiction - Almost entirely short stories and oneshots, except for the above

  16. #1176
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six asterism42's Avatar
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    It's definitely not new information, but I didn't know the Edelferts were part of the democratic faction
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandstorm77 View Post
    He's just putting the bone of his sword into other people until it explodes and lets out parts of him inside them.
    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerEmiya View Post
    Genderswaps are terrible, but I think I and other people would hate them less if Fate didn't keep ignoring actual heroines throughout history and folklore. Like, why bother turning Francis Drake into a woman when Ching Shih and Grace O'Malley exist?
    Quote Originally Posted by Five_X View Post
    Fate Zero is just Fate Stay Night for people who think Shirou is too girly

  17. #1177
    Quote Originally Posted by TwilightsCall View Post
    Title in the middle: Clock Tower Influence Map

    Top box:
    Title Box: Aristocratic faction
    Bolded name: Barthomeloi Faction
    Unbolded names: El-Melloi Faction, Gaiuslink Faction, etc...

    Left box:
    Title Box: Democratic Faction
    Bolded Name: Trambelio Faction
    Unbolded Names: Valueleta Faction (Including the Iselma Family), Edelfelt Faction, etc...

    Right box:
    Title Box: Neutralist Faction
    Bolded Name: Meluastea Faction
    Unbolded Names: Brishisan Faction, Jigmarie Faction, etc...
    Thank you! I lack any image editing skills, but here is the image if anyone wants it.
    Spoiler:


    Also I made epub files for Volume 1 and 2, I made them for personal use but I'll leave them here just in case they are usefull for someone.



    I'll make an epub for Volume 3 in the coming days.
    Edit: Added Volume 3
    Last edited by Dotelias; January 29th, 2020 at 11:31 AM.

  18. #1178
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six asterism42's Avatar
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    Who are the Gaiuslinks?
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandstorm77 View Post
    He's just putting the bone of his sword into other people until it explodes and lets out parts of him inside them.
    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerEmiya View Post
    Genderswaps are terrible, but I think I and other people would hate them less if Fate didn't keep ignoring actual heroines throughout history and folklore. Like, why bother turning Francis Drake into a woman when Ching Shih and Grace O'Malley exist?
    Quote Originally Posted by Five_X View Post
    Fate Zero is just Fate Stay Night for people who think Shirou is too girly

  19. #1179
    吸血鬼 Vampire All fictions's Avatar
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    The family in charge of Zoology.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafflesiac View Post
    Punching out some nerd doesn't make you a better magus.

  20. #1180
    鬼 Ogre-like You's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asterism42 View Post
    Who are the Gaiuslinks?
    dw they haven't shown up in like anything
    Though abandoned, forgotten, and scorned as out-of-date dolls, they continue to carry out their mission, unchanged from the time they were designed.
    Machines do not lose their worth when a newer model appears.
    Their worth (life) ends when humans can no longer bear that purity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ticeexcenny
    In my opinion you are not right. I am assured. Let's discuss it. Write to me in PM, we will talk.

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