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Thread: Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files Translation, Starting From Book 6

  1. #181
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle All fictions's Avatar
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    There's a slight typo, it's Rousseau, no Rosseau.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafflesiac View Post
    Punching out some nerd doesn't make you a better magus.

  2. #182
    屍鬼 Ghoul fearboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by All fictions View Post
    I don't think New Agers are an ideological category, so I wasn't commenting on Waver's beliefs.
    I was thinking in terms of like, magecraft practice. I thought that's what you were referring to. Whoops lmao

  3. #183
    Chapter 3, Part 1
    Chapter 3, Part 1:



    The leader of the Aristocratic Faction, the Barthomelois.

    And the leader of the Democratic Faction, the Trambelios.

    If you asked which group of people held the most power in the Clock Tower, the answer would probably be one of the two. Of course, the Brishisans in charge of the Department of Lore, who had been prominent ever since the day of their creation, and the leader of the Neutral Faction, the Meluastea, were also powerful in their respective fields, but if you wanted to ask if they could compete with the other two, the answer would be no.

    The Trambelio were both at the very top of the Mages’ Association, and one of the three Great Noble Families. They also presided over the Department of General Fundamentals(Mystile), cementing their place as an immovable force in the Clock Tower. And the Lord of that family, McDonell Trambelio Elrod, sat right in front of us.

    “Thank you as well, Melvin-kun, for accepting my invite,”
    McDonell
    the burly man
    said, smiling a bright smile.

    It was the sort of smile that seemed suited for a politician. I got the feeling that if he appeared in a TV commercial, his white teeth would probably sparkle. His presence was so strong that I felt the atmosphere in the Valualetas’ reception room become weird.

    “Oh, there’s no need to thank me. Since I was asked to do it by both Mama and you, Mr. McDonell, how could I refuse? And it’s not a bad idea for my beloved friend here, either. Right, Waver?”

    “Of course. It’s an honor to meet you.” My brother bowed, as I lifted the sides of my dress and swept one foot behind the other in as polite of a curtsy as I could pull off. The etiquette that had been hammered into my brain by my governess was not affected by my mental state, and it ran perfectly on autopilot.

    “I am Reines El-Melloi Archisorte, and I am also honored to be able to accompany my brother to this meeting. Apologies for inconveniencing you. (TN: Alternatively, apologies for my unseemly presence. Or, interpreting it very literally, I hope you can forgive me for tainting your eyes with my presence. Please tell me if anyone has a better translation for お目汚しをお許しください.)”

    “Hahaha, you don’t have to be that polite. I heard you’ve even met with the director of the Atlas Institute. Is there any need to be so nervous in front of a Lord?”

    Hmph, he really had the nerve to say that.

    I tried to suppress the displeased expression that was creeping up on my face.

    It was true that from a certain perspective, the director of the Atlas Institute had more authority than someone at the top of the Clock Tower. This way, Lord Trambelio was equivalent to his subordinate.

    However, that wasn’t how it was in real life.

    Think about it.

    No matter how important it was, the Atlas Institute was only a separate organization with a weak link to the Clock Tower.

    On the other hand, the Trambelio were like our direct superiors. To be precise, we were actually from opposing factions. No matter how you told the story, they were a group of people that had the ability to snap the neck of the El-Melloi Faction at a whim. How was I expected to not be nervous when someone like that invited us here?

    …There was something else, too.

    Just then, he was showing off that he already knew about the incident with the Atlas Institute. This was so he could show us the extent of the amount of weaponry he had in the form of information.

    Then, McDonell looked my brother up and down before speaking cheerfully again.

    “Well, you’re [dressed lightly], as always.”

    These words carried a different meaning than what they meant literally. The jacket and scarf that my brother was wearing were enough to guard against the cold of a London winter, and they were reasonably fancy to fit the formal occasion.

    What he was referring to was the accessories of a mage.

    Lords and mages of their level often prepared all sorts of Mystic Codes to protect themselves, both against magecraft-based and physical attacks. After all, high-ranking mages were liable to become the target of an attack anytime. There were even some mages out there who would bring so many powerful Mystic Codes that they were rumored to be able to take on an entire fortress.

    Of course, my brother probably had one or two Mystic Codes on him that I didn’t know about, but compared to the more powerful people in the Clock Tower, he was unimaginably lightly dressed.

    “After all, in front of someone as skilled as you, none of my meager tricks would make a difference.”

    “Hahaha. Though that is true, you can’t just walk into a horde of lions with a toy gun, can you? I’m actually very curious where your confidence comes from. I might even have something to learn from you in that regard,” McDonell said, eyes shining.

    The trouble was that [half] of what he said was true.

    The Clock Tower was a pit of conspiracies. There were always people plotting all manner of complicated schemes, and everyone was licking their lips in anticipation for some fool to fall into a trap.

    The most terrifying thing was that things like kindness and respect didn’t exist there. The struggle for power had fused into the good intent and passion for magecraft of the people. And that was how the night of the Clock Tower continues.

    What was more, he was a Lord. Even worse, he was a Trambelio.

    In front of what could be considered a representative of the modern Clock Tower, I inhaled gently.

    …I am one of its members, after all.

    Even if I looked down on it, I couldn’t not think about these things.

    From the moment I was born, the name Reines El-Melloi Archisorte had been written down on the list of all the people who played a part in this web of schemes. Though I should have retired early or lived a life of house arrest as a member of an insignificant family, I had managed to get to this point. I had always thought that it was because of a combination of talent and luck… but this time, I was up against someone who was too difficult to deal with.

    Judging from what he knew about our encounter with the Atlas Institute, there was no way of knowing what kind of scandal he could uncover. To tell the truth, my brother was as kind-hearted as Lords get, but I am proud to say that I am the complete opposite. If you tapped me on the head, my intent would scatter out like coal dust.

    Of course, I have done a considerable amount of concealment work, but the information still all managed to reach the Trambelios. …If nobody leaked it, though, what hole had they crawled in from? Depending on how the conversation progressed, should this play a part in deciding whether we would join the Democratic Faction? No, if that happened, every piece I had put down until now would turn against us.

    “…Calm down, Lady.” My brother whispered.

    Though his eyes had just been unfocused and full of exhaustion, they were now shining with a light that no one could extinguish.

    …I really didn’t know what to say to him about that. Did he feel more at home the more unfavorable the situation was?

    What was I meant to do with him?

    He reminded me of a sewer rat. I guess he thought that whatever he did against a first-rate mage, he would still get killed. Since that was the case, I suppose it would be better to act brave.

    I shrugged lightly and responded in a similarly quiet voice.

    “…I am calm. I’m always at my best when I need to scheme, so leave it to me.”

    “…Of course I’m leaving it to you. If I was here on my own, I might as well go drown myself along with all of my students. I have to trust you with my life.” (TN: The other two Lords can probably hear this)

    Managing to say something so sweet without really intending to do so must be indicative of some sort of problem. Be prepared to get stabbed in the back by one of your students one day, dear older brother.

    Sitting down on the chair the servants helped pull out, my brother smiled a formal smile.

    “It almost feels like the Grand Roll is about to be held right here.”

    “No, of course not. It’s necessary to find out about everyone’s opinions before the meeting starts, isn’t it? If the meeting comes and we spend all our time running around in circles, that would be such a waste of time. Like they say, time is money. I simply must hear the opinion of someone who is so popular among the New Agers,” McDonell said, spreading his arms welcomingly. “But that means you already know about the upcoming Grand Roll. You’re quite well-informed, aren’t you? It should take a bit longer for the formal invited to be sent out. Hm, yes. Your intelligence network really is interesting.”

    “Lord Trambelio,” came a voice from the chair next to him. “Too long of an introduction can affect the conversation. Are you trying to get me to leave as soon as possible? Who was just saying that time was money?(TN: oh by the way, Inorai uses the first-person pronoun of オレ)”

    “Oh, I’m so sorry. I got slightly carried away. But didn’t we plan on having a nice long chat over a meal? So it’s alright if I talk a little more, isn’t it?”

    The man smiled again, reminding me of a lion.

    He gestured to the servant behind him. 

“As I was saying, I took the liberty of bringing my chef over. So let us discuss this over some food. Lord Valualeta, your tastes haven’t changed, have they?”

    “Good food is a treasure cultivated in the modern age. Should the day that I won’t be able to eat ever come, I’ll also have to retire as a mage.”

    “Hahaha, I wouldn’t stand to have my reliable partner leave me,” McDonell said in a steady and somewhat serious voice.

    The two Lords fixed their gazes to where my brother and I were seated.

    Besides that, Melvin plopped down on a chair at the end of the long table, as if to say that his job was done.

    …I still didn’t have enough cards in my hand.

    Though we had avoided the worst-case scenario of not even knowing that there would be a Grand Roll, what would happen next?

    We only knew three things right now.

    First, it was very likely that Heartless had something to do with this.

    Second, this was related to the serial disappearances of Heartless’ students.

    Third, according to what Touko Aozaki said, all of these students were Survivors of the giant labyrinth beneath the Clock Tower, Spirit Tomb Albion.

    …I needed at least one more card.

    Something I could use as a bargaining chip or some bait to get information from someone else. Although it wasn’t impossible to get information though bluffing alone, it was too hard to do that with these two people.

    “Reines,” my brother muttered. “I’ll be gathering information over there while this meeting goes on.”

    At that, I felt my brother’s eyes unfocus.

    Even with the help of Trimmau, maintaining the bare minimum of conversation on this side while gathering precise information over there was almost enough to make my brother’s brain burn.

    “…You’re really not making my life easy,” I mumbled. But for some reason, my fighting spirit was ignited.

    Looking at the champagne served by the servants, I made up my mind to
    put up a last-ditch struggle
    buy as much time as possible
    .
    -End of Part 1 of Chapter 3, Book 7-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——

  4. #184
    Chapter 3, Part 2
    Chapter 3, Part 2:
    
We were still investigating the workshop of Heartless’ student. Flat seemed to understand what Touko said about now being perceived as hostile by the workshop, and he was now looking around with Svin, muttering things like “I see!” and “So that’s how it is!”

    Touko casually sipped at her coffee, answering my questions every once in a while. Though they were probably basic, boring questions for a mage, she answered me sincerely, which reminded me a bit of my mentor.

    “In other words, for a certain type of mage, Spirit Tomb Albion is their final chance,” Touko said. “Even a New Ager can rise to the top is they acquire a large amount of expensive artifacts. Even if their Magic Circuits are not as good, they can still achieve something substantial.

    “However, the Secret Autopsy Division doesn’t just let anyone enter and exit, because that would increase the possibility of smuggling. So apart from people with special permits and the members of the Division, it’s very difficult for people to leave once they enter. There’s even a special mining city inside Spirit Tomb Albion, where they can live. It’s a bit like a version of modern slavery in the world of magecraft.”

    It reminded me of gold miners during the gold rush.

    More than thirty thousand people rushed to California in the New World after hearing rumors of gold. However, it was said that the people who sold mining tools like pickaxes were the ones who benefitted the most out of that.

    “Survivors are people who excavated from Spirit Tomb Albion, and also managed to return to the surface. Even if we counted those who waited until they could leave as well as those who paid their way out, there are only very few of them.”

    “Is that the same for the mage who owns this workshop?”

    “Yes. He was the sort that paid his way out. After that, he probably kept his distance from the Clock Tower. Even though he was in London, that doesn’t mean he had to bump into the Clock Tower. I wouldn’t be able to stand that kind of life… Oh?”

    Touko looked toward the table. The mercury figurine of my mentor had come back to life. He took a deep breath and began to look around.
    
“Sir?”

    “Oh, hello. Is your meeting going well?”

    Hearing Touko’s question, the miniature version of my mentor frowned. The fact that Trimmau could even accurately represent his expressions was incredibly impressive.

    “Not at all. But I have to pay attention here as well. I’m sorry, but can I use some of your time?”

    “You seem quite busy. What’s happening?” Touko asked interestedly.

    “Can you first explain how Heartless’ students are all Survivors?”

    “Oh, about that. I only became sure of that when I saw the list you showed me. I’ve only heard rumors of the other two. If I didn’t remember incorrectly, they were members of the same group when they were excavating in the labyrinth.”

    “Group members…”

    Hearing my mentor’s impatient expression, I held back my own question.

    However, I could vaguely understand what that meant. It should be like what it meant literally: members of the same group of people who teamed up to excavate. It was difficult for me to believe that it was a coincidence that Heartless’ students were all part of the same team when they were excavating in Spirit Tomb Albion.

    But what was the significance of this?

    “There are many things that are hard to find aboveground in these bottles,” my mentor said, looking at the bottles on the shelves.

    Inside them, there were fossils shaped like fangs and glowing crystals that I had never seen before, among other mysterious things. Though I didn’t understand them very well, I could sense an unusual kind of Magical Energy emanating from them.

    Touko nodded lightly.

    “Indeed. These must have been brought out from the labyrinth(Albion)… Hm, that’s strange. Though it’s theoretically possible to buy back the artifacts you excavated yourself, that’ll take far more than a small sum of money. Wanting to do that after paying to shorten the amount of time you spend down there isn’t easy.”

    Hearing Touko’s words, my mentor hesitated for a moment before coming to a conclusion.

    “…So that means they could have smuggled it from Spirit Tomb Albion? And Heartless might already know the path down there?”

    “I see. That’s an interesting hypothesis. Though he isn’t a Lord, having the head of a department use his power for personal gain is quite the story. Speaking of which, is it really good for the Lord of the Department of Modern Magecraft to be sharing this with an outsider like me?”

    “I figured you’d come to a hypothesis like that on your own soon anyway.”

    “Haha, so that’s what you think. That makes sense. Make sure you’re still careful about being that direct. Are you an impatient person?”

    “…Normal people like me wouldn’t be able catch up(TN: Alternatively, reach it) at all if we aren’t direct.”

    What was he trying to catch up to? Though my mentor didn’t explain, I felt that this sentence revealed a deep part of himself.

    At that moment, I heard the sound of an explosion behind me.

    “Flat? Svin?” My mentor shouted, whirling around.

    I put my hand on the Hook at my right shoulder, ready to release Add at any moment.

    Thick smoke poured out of the door to another room.

    “—Professor! We’ve succeeded in invading this workshop!”

    Flat appeared in front of us with a fateful of soot, and saluted like a member of the navy.

    “You idiot! How many times have I told you not to do something like that without consulting someone else!”

    “But Le Chien-kun, you told me the general location of the core of the workshop already, so I couldn’t help it, could I?”

    “Didn’t I tell you not to touch that place at all costs? Don’t put the blame on me! Also, don’t call me Le Chien!” Svin protested, walking-it from behind Flat and coughing.

    “It’s impossible for a person to resist hewn an interesting puzzle’s right in front of them! Chasing the shadows of spells left on the walls was interesting, so I just gave it a little try. …Ah, but it looks like someone messed with it already, so it blew itself up as soon as I touched the central spell.”

    “…Someone messed with it already?”

    My mentor’s tone of voice became serious, and Touko narrowed her eyes.

    “What are the shadows of spells you were talking about?” She asked.

    “Let me think, I was just observing the place Le Chien-kun was talking about, and I found the traces of some spells on the walls, so I examined it a bit. Isn’t shadow art a thing? You know, that kind of art when you put a mess of wires in front of a light, and the shape of a dog or an apple appears behind it? Because Miss Touko said that it was evident what acts would disrupt the workshop, I thought about the shadows, and I managed to unravel it!”

    “…Ah, so you’re that kind of person, kid. I thought you were the sort who would be able to create a puppet even without a blueprint, but you’re actually capable of seeing a puppet and reverse-engineering it into a blueprint.”

    With a feeling that was half approval and half helplessness, Touko shrugged.

    Though Flat’s explanation was incredibly vague, she seemed to completely understand it. At the same time, a displeased expression appeared on my mentor’s face.

    “Oh, and also, the spells look like something I saw back at Gray’s hometown, but I’ve only seen it through Mr. Zepia’s crystal balls.”

    My mentor’s mercury eyebrows twitched slightly.

    “At Gray’s hometown? Do you mean the ones at that hut?”

    “Yes. It looks like Mr. Heartless’ spells.”

    “Heartless invaded his own student’s workshop?”

    Why would he do that?

    Did this have anything to do with the serial disappearances?
    
Before I could think about it more, my mentor pressed his hands to his temples.

    “Sorry. McDonell’s asking me a question. I need to focus over there for a moment.”
    *
    The food was served.

    First came the aperitif.

    Though I didn’t remember the precise brand given by the sommelier, the aroma and taste of the champagne wouldn’t change because of that.

    Just as I was enjoying the lingering aftertaste of the drink, colorful amuse bouches were placed onto the table. There were small, macaron-shaped things placed in a dish, drizzled with two types of colorful vegetable sauce. Each piece of dough had a piece of caviar or cream inside it, and the color of everything had been carefully coordinated to not exhaust the viewer.

    “Is this modern British cuisine?”

    “Yes. You can eat this with your hands, so there’s no need to be shy,” McDonell said, laughing welcomingly. I did as he said, grabbing a piece and putting it into my mouth. The crispy texture harmonized perfectly with the taste of the filling, and I couldn’t help but eat it eagerly.

    Though they were all considered types of British cuisine, they were actually quite varied.

    This country had been a naval empire spanning the globe before, after all. The countless different types of food from all sorts of different countries convulsed here, including the food of places like India and China. The chefs would also combine them as they wished, and even though the reputation of British cuisine may not have been high in the past, after absorbing elements of Spanish and French culinary skills, it began to become more and more popular.

    You could say that Lord Trambelio’s menu was made to show us his own thoughts, along with this history.

    How do I put it? It almost feels like an American power lunch.

    If the Aristocratic Lord Eulyphis saw this, his face would probably scrunch up immediately.

    At the same time, this was one of the sources of the Democratic Faction’s power. As long as it would be more logical or efficient, they would absorb anything and everything. They wished to guide the society towards prosperity, and one of their principles was to take whatever was necessary.

    Since that was the case, it made perfect sense why people thought that the Department of Modern magecraft was closer to the Democratic Faction than the Aristocratic Faction.

    ..However, my brother was a bit different.

    I couldn’t explain it well myself, but what he did was similar, but not the same, like the difference between fish and whales, or insects and spiders. I didn’t know which side corresponded to which creature, though.

    “Speaking of which, you enjoy dancing quite a lot, don’t you, Mr. McDonell?”

    “Hmm? Ah, I’ve learned a thing or two, mainly because it would be impolite if I couldn’t catch up to one of my wives or daughters if we danced.”

    “You have five wives now, right?”

    “No, I married a new one last month, and now there are six. I have thirteen daughters. I’m incredibly busy because of that, because I need to give each of them enough love the way the want to receive it.”

    This was the result of being able to ignore certain laws. I was actually curious as to what they planned on doing when they had to choose an heir, but the Trambelios probably had their own way of doing things.

    And so, conversation began.

    Since my brother needed to prioritize investigating the scene, I needed to exclude him from the conversation. On top of that, I needed to find a way to get more information about the Grand Roll. However, doing that made it easy for me to accidentally shoot myself in the foot.

    As we finished our champagne, the appetizer of bread and cheese arrived.

    A sauce made from the broth stewed from mollusks was poured onto the ceramic plate in the shape of a sea creature wreathed around it like flowering vines.

    Biting down, I felt a feeling of happiness burst in my mouth.

    The rich taste swept my attention away from the champagne and amuse bouches in a heartbeat. This taste, which was good enough to be detestable, was enough to showcase skill of the chef who had been especially brought here.

    McDonell spoke as he used his knife to cut up the dish in front of him.

    “Oh, right. I have something I want to ask you, Lord El-Melloi.”

    “…If you don’t mind, I’d prefer if you could add the ‘II’,” my brother added as usual. However, this time, he sounded exhausted.



    Having to control two bodies at the same time was probably enough to bring his brain to the brink of burning. It’d be like trying to do a wire puzzle with your right hand while painting an oil painting with your left. If he had his Magic Circuits do a bit more of the work, it might be easier, but without the necessary talent, he had to suffer.

    “Alright. Well then, Lord El-Melloi II. Did you adopt a new approach(TN: Alternatively, new guiding principles) when you took over the Department of Modern Magecraft?”

    Because he had been directly called, the conversation turned to him. There was no way I could intervene here. Though I felt that my brother reacted a bit slower than usual, he still gently put down his fork and responded.

    “Nothing has changed from before. I just hope to teach as much of what I know to my students as possible. Of course, I can’t compare to my teacher.”
    
“Oh. But your teacher Kayneth was a staunch member of the Aristocratic Faction back then. That means you don’t plan on changing it so that you only teach your magecraft to chosen students. Are you sure you’re not trying to make magecraft more widely accessible?”

    “…How do I say this. I can’t deny the possibility of that result.”

    “Hm. Personally, though, I still hope you’d take a more traditional approach to teaching.”

    What McDonell said just then was an example of the classic mindset of the Clock Tower.

    The Aristocratic Faction existed to filter out the few chosen ones, while the Democratic Faction constantly absorbed whatever it could to gain power. Though I say that, it didn’t mean the two were completely incompatible,

    When all is said and done, if you operate under the assumption that only talented people with excellent Magic Circuits can use magecraft properly, publicizing it doesn’t make sense. No matter how good of a teacher my brother might be, there is no way to overturn this fact.

    Also, even though the Trambelios were the head of the Democratic Faction, that didn’t mean that they hoped for a mindless publication of magecraft.

    For a brief while, we enjoyed our own dishes.

    “Flat Escardos and Svin Glascheit are unexpectedly lucky finds.”

    Suddenly, the topic of conversation turned to students.

    “While all the other students thought they were hopeless, you were the only one who managed to make their talents shine. You must really be something if you managed to make these two very different blossom together in the Department of Modern Magecraft.”

    “Please don’t talk about my student as if they are objects.”

    “Oh, I’m sorry,” McDonell said, wiping his mouth with his napkin after finishing his appetizer. “At the same time, though, what you do can cause people to be worried. Flat and Svin are very talented, and they will undoubtedly progress the history of magecraft. However, talent cannot be created without limitations. You should know as well that mystery becomes weaker the more it is shared. Being able to find a rare gem that would have been buried elsewhere in the world of magecraft is an achievement, but it can be harmful if you polish large amounts of rocks into imitation diamonds.”

    Oops, we’ve stepped into the minefield. It seemed that McDonell was more concerned than we had previously thought. I sent a signal underneath the table to “hang in there” to my brother, but I didn’t know if he saw it or not.

    “…Of course I understand what magecraft is meant to be like.”

    Wonderful, my brother made it. I’ll give him seventy points for not saying anything unnecessary.

    I also needed to thank McDonell for not naming which students were the rocks he was talking about. Otherwise, my brother might have lost his cool. Of course, I didn’t think that he would have bothered to remember a bunch of insignificant names.

    After the plates were taken away, McDonell leaned forward.

    “Well then, I’ll get to the point. Do you approve of that plan?”
    -End of Part 2 of Chapter 3, Book 7-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——
    Last edited by azwhoisverybored; April 3rd, 2022 at 04:19 AM. Reason: hearing rumors of golf -> hearing rumors of gold

  5. #185
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle All fictions's Avatar
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    Thanks for the translation, but "gold" became "golf" somehow.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafflesiac View Post
    Punching out some nerd doesn't make you a better magus.

  6. #186
    屍鬼 Ghoul
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    Thanks for the translation as always!

  7. #187
    Chapter 3, Part 3
    Chapter 3, Part 3:

    “—What plan?” The mercury version of my mentor said, pressing his hands to his temples.

    Though he was tiny, his distress was clearly conveyed to us. Or, perhaps looking down on him made his distress even clearer.

    “Oh my. Discussions between lords really are interesting. I see, the Trambelios are capable of saying something like that.”

    Though my mentor explain much, Touko seemed to understand. However, the situation was still too complicated.

    What hid behind the plan the Trambelios were asking my mentor about, and how Heartless invaded this workshop?

    “…Heartless’ students are all Survivors of the labyrinth,” my mentor muttered o himself. “There’s a high likelihood that they were part of the same team when they were down there. Excluding the people who went missing, the other two are members of the Secret Autopsy division with a certain amount of authority. They’re quite famous in their respective departments. If they disappeared as well, I would be informed immediately.”

    The miniature version of my mentor stood incredibly still with his hand over his face.

    Usually, he would have brought out a cigar by now, but no matter how detailed this mercury version was, there wouldn’t be that function.

    “If Heartless’ actions really are related to the Grand Roll, what kind of relationship would that be?”

    He was silent for a moment.

    “….No, if I look at it from McDonell’s perspective…”

    My mentor looked across the room.

    His mercury expression changed slightly, and he pointed toward the bottles.

    “Svin, can you look into how the prices of these artifacts(TN: talismans → artifacts) have changed recently, around ten, or five years ago?!”

    “…Huh? Um, I’ll need to contact the Clock Tower first, so it’ll take a while.”

    “There’s no time. Rocco and Shardan should know plenty about them, but…”

    “Hmm? You want to know about the artifacts?” Touko said, hearing their conversation and raising an eyebrow. “I know basically everything about those, you know? After all, if I come across one, I’ll buy it immediately with my little sister’s money.”
    *
    A plan, he said.

    That was to say, if we didn’t we didn’t understand enough about this, there was nothing we could do even if he ended the conversation immediately. This was the first stage of their evaluation of us.

    “……”

    My brother was silent for a few seconds.

    —Uh oh.

    After a second or two, I made the mental preparations to take a gamble and interject.

    “Are you talking about the one regarding Spirit Tomb Albion?”

    “Of course. So you already know, Miss Reines.”

    Seeing McDonell nod, I couldn’t help but breathe a long sigh of relief. We’ve passed, at least for the moment.

    Speaking of which, looking at the information we had, it was impossible that the Grand Roll had nothing to do with Spirit Tomb Albion. Even my brother should know this. The next question was how to keep the conversation going.

    McDonell continued speaking cheerily. “The plan has actually been in the works for a while now. It was only completed enough to be shown to you all recently.”

    It had began a while ago, but took form recently?

    I racked my brain, trying to look for any information I could gather from that. There was nothing. I was missing the most important piece. How should I bait him into talking about it? Or could we admit that we didn’t know anything about it and just ask? No, if we were on equal footing, it might be fine, but since the El-Melloi Faction was much weaker than them, we needed to be better than them in some way to level the playing field.

    My brother’s lips moved, but he didn’t say anything.

    He was probably still gathering information. Would he be able to catch up to what McDonell was saying?

    I tilted my glass of white wine.

    “Given the time and effort you have put into this, I’m sure the results will be extraordinary.”

    “Oh, you think too highly of us. The Barthomelois and the Secret Autopsy Division aren’t easy to deal with. We also have to consult the Secret Judgement Division.”

    The Secret Judgement Division, Carillon Observatory.

    It was in charge of evaluating exceptional mages and choosing the ones who needed to be Sealing Designated. It was another organization that was both part of the Clock Tower and separate from it. The mages there were also the ones who gave and then recalled the decision of Touko Aozaki’s Sealing Designation… It all makes sense when you take into account that the organization was situated inside that maze.

    If that was the case, what would the plan be?

    …What did they plan on doing to Spirit Tomb Albion? Did they want to send new personnel? Did they want to disband the Secret Autopsy Division? Or did they want to reevaluate Sealing Designations?

    I thought up of multiple possible answers to that question, and I couldn’t eliminate any of them easily.

    Just as I was thinking about that, soup was served.

    A delectable aroma arose from the clear, amber-colored soup. There were no unnecessary decorations, and though it looked like a simple dish, one sip was enough to reveal the layers of flavors hidden within it, which spread throughout my tongue along with the subtle taste of sherry.

    This dish calmed the tongue of the person eating after it had been shaken by the rich flavors of the amuse bouche and the appetizer. I almost got the feeling that I could see the chef’s smug smile in it.

    “Mm, yes. The soup today is fabulous, as usual. Are you all satisfied with it as well?”

    Of course, this also mirrored McDonell’s intentions.

    The way the food was served represented what McDonell was going to say. He began completely without warning, made us uncomfortable by asking my brother about the future of the Department of Modern Magecraft, and then tossed the plan that was the subject of this conversation at us. He used these dishes to declare how legitimate he was, discouraging us from arguing. I suppose you could say this was a type of magecraft. (TN: Clock Tower politics is so convoluted it’s funny sometimes)

    However, since they intended on pushing us to our breaking point, the soup turned bitter in my mouth.

    “……”

    I felt cold sweat seep from my forehead.

    This was as much time I could buy as possible.

    Just as I thought that, my brother muttered something as he sipped some soup.

    “…[You mean, the redevelopment of Spirit Tomb Albion]?”

    “Oh.” McDonell’s eyebrows twitched slightly. “Yes, of course I meant that. I originally wanted to toy with you for a bit, but it’s nice to see you understand what I’m talking about. It hasn’t been made public yet, but the plan to redevelop Spirit Tomb Albion has been made the main subject of the meeting.”

    “……”

    To be honest, it took me so much effort to keep my expression neutral. That was how impactful that sentence was.

    At the same time, there was nothing I could complain about in that answer. Spirit Tomb Albion was one of the cornerstones of the Clock Tower, so a plan fo its redevelopment could be considered as a plan to rebuild the Clock Tower. For that reason, it wasn’t overly dramatic at all to have that be decided in the Grand Roll.

    “I’ve investigated the market conditions of the main types of artifacts excavated from the labyrinth. The price has risen quite a bit in the past ten years. Usually, this would be because of a reduction in the number of expeditions to the labyrinth. It’s only natural then to want to redevelop the place to make up for this.”

    “I see. That makes sense. Anything else?”

    “I’ve also heard of the possibility of smuggling going on there. Redeveloping the facilities there would be an effective way to combat that. Without a Grand Roll, though, not even the Trambelios would be able to interfere with Spirit Tomb Albion.”

    My brother vigorously revealed all the information he had gathered in his investigations. I’ll give him seventy points for that. It’s always good to make a move when the right time comes.

    McDonell nodded as he listened to that and sipped at his glass of wine.

    “The subject of smuggling has been coming up once in a while for a long time now. Considering the structure of Spirit Tomb Albion, it should be impossible… but we don’t have a perfect understanding of that labyrinth, either, so we can’t deny the possibility of there being a passageway somewhere.”

    After he said that, he took another sip of wine, closing his eyes for a moment as if he was intoxicated by the taste.

    “For that reason, we need to reassess the facilities. At the same time, redeveloping the labyrinth can increase the number of artifacts available, which can stimulate research. Don’t you think this plan kills two birds with one stone?”

    “In the past, many people have suggested redeveloping Spirit Tomb Albion. Generations of Lords before us have anticipated the value of the redevelopment.”

    My brother also agreed with the general idea of the plan. I didn’t know anything about the history he was talking about, but my brother probably remembered every tiny detail about the past of the Clock Tower.

    “However, the idea was discarded every time for fear that it would lead to the exhaustion of the labyrinth. The labyrinth is already incredibly dangerous, and redevelopment means going deeper into even more dangerous territory. Even if we wanted to focus all of our effort on it, I cannot be sure if this plan will succeed.”

    I had the feeling that this was the key.

    Why wasn’t it discarded again? Why did they make the decision to persist, even to the point of calling a Grand Roll?

    “Of course it’s because I think it would work right now. This is the best time for it. The mystery that we have held onto will gradually fade with the times. Do you understand? In this time and age, we still have enough to challenge the mystery of the mage, and the Clock Tower is able to support us from the surface. I doubt that the same conditions can be achieved by our next generation. Yes, the Democratic Faction believes that now is the best time to redevelop Spirit Tomb Albion!” McDonell announced.

    At that, Inorai, the old woman who was the head of the Valualetas, interjected.

    “Hey, don’t you think saying that’s a bit too over-the-top to represent the policy of the entire Democratic Faction?”
    -End of Part 3 of Chapter 3, Book 7-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——

  8. #188
    Chapter 3, Part 4
    Chapter 3, Part 4:

    Generally speaking, you could count this as a failure on the part of the Trambelios.

    Points should be deducted for not even coordinating with your team members beforehand. However, there wasn’t a trace of worry or frustration on McDonell’s face. Perhaps this was just how they communicated, but it could just as easily be that they disguised their emotions as well as we did.

    “What a headache. And here I was thinking that the beautiful Lord Valualeta would definitely approve of my opinion.”

    “I’m not arguing against it, son,” Inorai said admonishingly.

    After the food had begun to be served, she had put away her cigarettes. Now, she was tilting her glass of wine around like I was. As a drink that came paired with the food, it perfectly complemented the aroma of the soup. Of course the flavors matched, but they had even considered how compatible the scents were.

    “I just want to see some data as the head of the Valualetas. We can’t be lax in our judgement of what the correct goal of the Clock Tower is, or what the guiding principles of the Department of Modern Magecraft should be. Don’t you think so as well?”

    “I cannot take the shame of being accused of laziness,” McDonell said, shrugging. I didn’t know why, but seeing someone that muscular do that was strangely humorous. Of course, even this air of humor was carefully calculated.

    Tension silently settled into the air around us.

    “Oh, Mama told me I should listen to Lord Valualeta,” Melvin said livelily.

    Until now, this usually insufferably talkative man had been as silent as a corpse. And now, the first thing he said was that. It was as if someone was tossing a stone onto the slightly rippled surface of a lake. There was no way to tell whether the result would be good or bad.

    McDonell sighed, leaning back on his chair.

    “Is that what the head of the Weinz family says? Well, of course I understand what Inorai said. We are still collecting data. I assure you that we will have enough by the start of the Grand Roll.”

    “As I can only expect from Lord Trambelio.”

    I decided to take the chance.

    Instantly, I felt my brother gasp beside me, but now was not the time to care about that. Since they had offered us a step to take, we could not miss it no matter what. Maybe doing this would make us indebted to Inorai and Melvin, but I didn’t have the luxury of choosing something else now.

    “If that’s the case, just as Lord Valualeta said, let’s make a decision after we read the information. If it can get read at the Grand Roll, all the other Lords would surely benefit as well.”

    “…Well, I don’t know what I expected to come out of this,” McDonell said defeatedly, stroking his chin. “But, this is an opportunity. Spirit Tomb Albion is a cornerstone of the Clock Tower. If something changes about that place, [we] must change alongside it. If we want that change to be for the better, now is the best time. (TN: The emphasis was on the 私 part of the私たち, so it’s like ‘we, but actually just me’)”

    What he placed the emphasis on in that sentence made it difficult to determine whether or not he was doing this purely for his own gain.

    However, what he said was not exaggerated at all.

    Mystery was fading as we spoke. The possibility that mages would reach the Root decreased every second, to the point where it was practically impossible. If we wanted to continue chasing after the Root, we needed something bold to reverse this trend. Using the power of the Clock Tower to redevelop Spirit Tomb Albion was a very appealing option.

    Maybe it would become impossible by the next generation of Lords.

    We were a race that was gradually becoming extinct. Every mage probably knows this.

    If someone told us that there was some way to escape this fate, we would easily sell our souls for it.

    Perhaps because he guessed what I was thinking, McDonell smiled generously.

    “Either way, I just wanted you to understand the process a little in advance. If I only revealed this at the Grand Roll, it would be quite a surprise, wouldn’t it?” He said, wagging his hairy finger as if he was doing us a favor. “The date of the Grand Roll will be decided on soon. A couple of Lords probably already know about it. It’s going to be in less than a week.”

    Besides that, I’d really prefer if he didn’t go around the place revealing how under-informed the El-Melloi Faction(we) were. Did he not know how goddamn embarrassing that was? If that Hishiri Adashino hadn’t leaked information to us, I didn’t know how terribly this meeting would have gone.

    “Just wait and see.”

    After she said that, Inorai finished her glass of wine with a single gulp.

    “Thank you for taking us into consideration.”

    My brother’s frown deepened, and he gently rubbed his stomach. He hadn’t touched his wine, either. It seemed like he’ll need to double the amount of magecraft medicine he takes tonight.

    “Well then, time for the main course! Though I can’t call it something to thank you for chatting with me for so long, I hope you will be able to enjoy it.”

    McDonell spread his arms, and gestured for the servants to bring in the next dish.
    -End of Part 4 of Chapter 3, Book 7-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——

  9. #189
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    Man if the meeting is in less than a week you should really tell people the date now, McDonnell.

  10. #190
    Chapter 3, Part 5
    Chapter 3, Part 5:

    Not long after that, we moved to another room in the mansion. (TN: I cannot put into words how glad I am that Makoto Sanda did not decide to describe the main course as well)

    Melvin had asked to have this room prepared for us. After checking that there we no traps or surveillance magecraft, I collapsed on one of the sofas beside me.

    “Oh god, I’m dead, I’m so dead! I died about three times during that meeting! I need to bulk purchase some graves with Reines El-Melloi Archisorte carved on them!”

    I wasn’t kidding. I really felt that all the strength had been drained from my body.

    If I relaxed, I might die immediately. Every cell in my body was begging to be liberated from this as soon as possible. Of course I knew how to use magecraft that could adjust my emotional state, but I didn’t even want to spare the energy to do that.

    I basically didn’t need to mention what happened after that.

    Either way, we managed to get by using the
    cards
    information
    we had. If you wanted me to give it a score, I’d put it around a sixty. It wasn’t great, but at least we passed.

    As for all that about lean cuts of meat fried at low temperature and desserts cooked with knowledge of molecular gastronomy, it had completely evaporated from my mind, leaving only the general idea of what I just ate.

    I wanted to lie here until the day I died, but Melvin began to talk to me with a cheerful smile as he gracefully put away his bloodstained handkerchief.

    “Ahaha, that must have been tiring(TN: Alternatively, good work). I didn’t know you had an expression like that too, Reines.”

    “Melvin…”

    He annoyed me so much I wanted to puke over him, but I couldn’t even muster the strength to get mad. I even felt better than this when I was forced to participate in a Greater Magecraft Formula(TN: I have no idea what this is).

    “Melvin, when you said you betrayed us, did you mean how you didn’t tell us that McDonell would be here?” my brother, who collapsed onto a chair just like I had, asked in a raspy voice.

    “Of course! I sold you out for a good price! It’s alright if you want to thank me. I won’t mind if you drown us all in tears of gratitude either!”

    “I still have plenty of things to complain about. But thank you, for now.”

    There was around twenty percent genuine gratitude mixed into my brother’s sigh. I felt the same.

    To be honest with you, there wasn’t a better chance than that to get accurate information. You could say that we had won a large number of cards in exchange for exhausting ourselves by walking a tightrope. At least we’ve avoided humiliating ourselves by being the only ones to know nothing at the Grand Roll.

    After a brief moment of silence, my brother spoke.

    “Can I ask you to leave for a moment?”

    “Oh, sure. Even the most wonderful of friends can have different standpoints. After all that, the two of you do have a lot to talk about.”

    In this situation, even Melvin— Or perhaps I should say, because of his background, Melvin knew the importance of standpoints better than anyone else.

    He spun around and walked out of the room.

    “Reines, you know what the situation is like now, right?” My brother said in an exhausted voice after Melvin left.

    “…Of course I do. I did expect that the Democratic Faction would call us over for something like this.”

    It was just that their reason for doing this was completely different from what I had anticipated.

    
The redevelopment of Spirit Tomb Albion.

    If it was for that, the Democratic Faction needed to get serious. It was no wonder why even McDonell would start taking action, attempting to rope us in, despite everyone but Lord Valualeta ignoring us in the past.

    “The most important thing is… if we consider Heartless as well…”

    At this, my brother bit his lip.

    Though I liked the way his eyebrows were twisted in worry, this time, the reason for that was also tormenting my stomach. I really hoped I didn’t catch my brother’s condition.

    “Gah, I know! Of course I know. I’ve already thought of the worst case scenario.”

    I shrugged with resignation(TN: Every time someone shrugs in this series it makes me wonder if I know what a shrug is supposed to convey or not because it hardly ever seems like a time when I would shrug).

    Analyzing magecraft was my brother's forte, but plotting was my place to shine. No matter how tired I was, my brain had adapted to always think of the traps other people could have set in those years of living under the constant fear of assassination.

    “Heartless’ students, who are also Survivors, disappearing one by one. The plan to redevelop Spirit Tomb Albion. There’s no way it’s a coincidence that these two events happened at the same time. It’s also hard to imagine that this plan only took a year or two. It might have taken five, or even more ideally, ten. And like Zepia said, even if Heartless is your enemy, that doesn’t mean he’s an enemy of the Clock Tower.”

    That was something that had happened at Gray’s hometown.

    I thought back to what Zepia had warned my brother as thanks for helping him. His advice was so direct it almost felt like a curse.

    “That’s what you wanted to say, right?”

    "The person in contact with Heartless, what you could even call his accomplice— Yes, [that person is one of the attendees of the Grand Roll].”

    I didn’t want to think about that.

    However, it was the most reasonable possibility.

    Heartless was the former head of the Department of Modern Magecraft. The earlier cases revealed that he once helped the Lord of the Department of Astromancy, Marisbury. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising if he struck a deal with another Lord. However, on a stage like the Grand Roll, it would be stupid to accuse anyone of a crime. …Ah, I wouldn’t even have cared if it wasn’t for my brother.

    I swallowed a sigh.

    What was I meant to do in the face of feeling that my invisible enemies were increasing? I felt like there were maggots writhing about inside my body, and I couldn’t calm down no matter how many deep breaths I took.

    So, to conceal my pain, I turned to my brother.

    “Oh right. Do you think Heartless’ accomplice will be for or against the redevelopment of Spirit Tomb Albion?”

    “We don’t have enough information to determine that yet. It’s possible that they’ve been obstructing work there. Maybe they plan on using this Grand Roll as an opportunity to end the plan for once and for all.”

    “I think so too.”

    It didn’t matter whether it was done internally or externally, or whether they used legal or illegal means. A plan of this scale wouldn’t be easily stopped. According to what McDonnel said then, he had even found it necessary to carefully keep the plan hidden until now.

    However, in that case—

    “—And there’s the other letter,” my brother said with a face full of contempt.

    It was an invitation from the Aristocratic Lord of the Department of Spiritual Evocation, Lord Eulyphis. First, we had thought that it was a warning to prevent us from betraying. Now, it was different. Of course, that was because of the possibility that Lord Eulyphis was Heartless’ accomplice.

    Regardless of whether the accomplice was a Lord or a representative, their status couldn’t be lower than ours.

    “Oh, could this be any worse?”

    The silence coiled inside the room reflected the despair that my brother and I felt.
    -End of Part 5 of Chapter 3, Book 7-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——

  11. #191
    屍鬼 Ghoul
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    I was just thinking, does Case Files ever actually write from the perspective of Waver or is it always someone else?

  12. #192
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle All fictions's Avatar
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    Always someone else. If it shifts to Waver, it goes third person. The gimmick was inspired by Sherlock Holmes' adventures being narrated by Watson, with Gray as the Watson to Waver's Holmes. Reines from what I understand was given narration duties so the author could flesh her out.

    Makoto Sanda: In that aspect, Reines was the most difficult to work with. At the point where she made her appearance in Fate/Apocrypha, it was already decided that Case Files would be a thing. (Yuichiro) Higashide consulted with me, "Is it okay for Reines to be something like this?" So quite a bit of the part at the beginning of the second volume of the original novels where Reines is the narrator had been written out during the initial planning phase. I had wanted to solidify how Reines shapes up as a character to myself.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafflesiac View Post
    Punching out some nerd doesn't make you a better magus.

  13. #193
    屍鬼 Ghoul
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    That's a pretty cool inspiration. I still wish we got a little bit of Waver's internal monologue, but I guess we still get a lot of characterization from the other perspectives.

  14. #194
    Chapter 4, Part 1
    Chapter 4, Part 1:



    “Whoa, have you completely died, Sir?!” Yvette L. Lehrman exclaimed, after walking into the hotel room and seeing my mentor lying on the sofa.

    It was the morning of the second day. After switching hotels like before, we met up with my mentor.

    Reines had taken over the job of researching Heartless and the Grand Roll with Flat and Svin. Besides that, they said something about going back to check on the students of the El-Melloi Classroom just in case they got in trouble because they were left unattended. Of course, if Flat and Svin didn’t get jobs like this, they would probably be the most troublesome ones.

    As for Touko, she disappeared after listening to my mentor’s brief report. Though I didn’t know why she was busy, it did seem like something she would do.

    My mentor rubbed his temples.

    “I might have overexerted myself during that meeting,” he explained in a tired voice as he sat up. To this, Yvette smiled and looked at my mentor flirtatiously.

    “If that’s the case, do you want me to assist you with recovering? Did you know, it’s recently become popular among mages to add stimulating drugs and sexual experiences into supplying Od through magic circuits. Why don’t we try to introduce that to the Department of Modern Magecraft?”

    “That’s enough joking around. …How’s the favor I asked of you going?”

    “You really don’t understand how girls with Mystic Eyes feel nowadays at all, do you? But the dedicated knock-off spy Yvette-chan shall answer! The Neutral Faction, including the Meluasteas, will not be attending this Grand Roll.”

    “…I see.” My mentor breathed a sigh of relief. “Only the Aristocratic and Democratic Factions have the priority in purchasing artifacts from Spirit Tomb Albion. Though they aren’t poor, the Neutral Faction is only interested in research, so it’s difficult for them to compete for the right to profit. I guessed they wouldn’t be coming, but I suppose it’s good news to have it be confirmed.”

    “Then, I’ll pour you some tea now.”

    Seeing my mentor relieved made me happy too, so I walked toward the table.

    The water in the kettle had already boiled, so all I needed to do was put the teabags in. Though my task required no skill at all, I guess it was understandable in this situation.

    Just as I was carefully pouring hot water into some cups, Yvette spoke up again.

    “Oh, one more thing, Sir. I heard that Atrum Galliasta, who went to the Far East to attend the Holy Grail War, has already died.”

    It took all of my might to stop myself from dropping the kettle. I looked up, and though I couldn’t see my mentor’s face, I saw his shoulders tense.

    “…Is that so.” My mentor said with a heavy sigh after a few seconds of silence.

    The mage from the Middle East who came of his own accord every once in a while to show off during the time between the case at the Twin Towers of Ilsema and his trip to Japan.

    Hadn’t my mentor warned him not to underestimate the Holy Grail War?

    But, in the end…

    “All seven classes shouldn’t have been gathered yet. Did he die before the Holy Grail War even officially started? …Did the Servant he summoned also die?”

    “No one’s reported about that, but I think so. It is the Far East, though, so we don’t have many details.”

    I felt like the gloomy look on my mentor’s face became even more intense after hearing what Yvette had to say.

    “Sir?”

    “It’s alright, I was prepared for that possibility. It is the Holy Grail War, after all, so grieving over his death is like rejoicing over someone else’s. I can’t bring myself to do that.”

    My mentor picked up the cigar on the bedside table.

    It seemed like he just realized that the fire had gone out, so he took out some matches to relight it. Usually, he would have put it back in its case to stop it from getting moist, but I suppose he was too tired last night to remember.

    Soon, smoke that also looked tired began to drift about in the air of the hotel room, and the familiar scent entered my nose.

    “…Still, it makes me sad.”

    “It must be a relief for him to hear that from someone who isn’t a mage, like you.”

    When he said this, my mentor’s frown was deeper than usual. The shadows that fell over his face made me feel even sadder.

    Atrum Galliasta probably wouldn’t be considered a good person.

    When we first met at Ilsema, he had exploited the fact that he had more people on his side. Both his arrogant personality and his demeanor which made him feel like a self-proclaimed member of the aristocracy made him difficult to like. With how he only accepted those who he deemed high enough in status to qualify as human beings, I wouldn’t be surprised if he secretly did all sorts of violent things.

    Nevertheless, he was one of the people affiliated with my mentor.

    Maybe we hadn’t known each other for very long, but my mentor and I had shared some experiences with him. The thought of living in a way where I didn’t even feel sad about his death was too stifling. The silent smoke coming from the cigar made me feel talkative by contrast.

    Of course, these thoughts were just part of my arrogant imagination. Only the pain I felt in my heart was real.

    After a while, my mentor stood up. This time, he carefully put the cigar back in its case. He used one hand to gather up his disheveled hair, which would take some time to make neat again.

    “It’s about time for us to go. Thank you for the information, Yvette.”

    “Huh? Where are you going?”

    My mentor considered it for a moment before revealing the answer, probably because he thought that it was pointless to try and hide it from her.

    “The Secret Autopsy Division. They’ve agreed to meet us.”

    “The Secret Autopsy Division? The one in Albion?”

    Yvette whistled, and then put a finger to her pink lips.

    “Well then, Sir, in exchange for the information, do you think they’d mind if a spy from the Meluastea Faction attended that meeting as well?” The girl with the eyepatch asked, as if it was an obvious thing to request.
    -End of Part 1 of Chapter 4, Book 7-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——

  15. #195
    屍鬼 Ghoul
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    Who are the two people in the picture?

  16. #196
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    Asheara and Calugh.

  17. #197
    Quote Originally Posted by All fictions View Post
    I don't think New Agers are an ideological category, so I wasn't commenting on Waver's beliefs.
    What do you mean then

  18. #198
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle All fictions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by All fictions View Post
    I wasn't sure, but the recent translations confirmed for me that Waver is, indeed, a New Ager.
    :V
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafflesiac View Post
    Punching out some nerd doesn't make you a better magus.

  19. #199
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  20. #200
    Chapter 4, Part 2
    Chapter 4, Part 2:

    Like most major port cities, London had a Chinatown.

    The Chinatown in the Soho area had more than a hundred Chinese restaurants, making it one of the largest in the world. There were unique-looking red and white lanterns hanging between the many signs full of Chinese characters. The people passing by seemed even more diverse than usual, and I felt like I might lose track of what country I was in if I wandered around for a bit.

    Going northeast from Chinatown and into Charing Cross Road, the buildings that lined the streets transitioned from Chinese to Victorian-styled architecture before becoming modern again.

    London was distinctive because of this kind of intersection between countries and eras.

    My mentor continued walking north along Charing Cross Road until he came to a stop in front of a certain building.

    It was a giant glass-fronted building.

    The futuristic cylindrical shape of the structure was quite eye-catching. Thinking of how most of the other buildings in the Clock Tower had been disguised as unassuming universities or government buildings, I got to experience first-hand how the Secret Autopsy Division was both a part of the Clock Tower and separate from it.

    “All of the organizations here are affiliated with the Secret Autopsy Division. Though not every one of the people here are mages, all of them should at least know about magecraft and Mystery,” my mentor said after we signed in at the reception desk.

    The reason why he felt the need to explain was simple. All the people I had seen entering and exiting were all dressed like businessmen, in suits.

    My mentor seemed to be used to this kind of place and acted very naturally. However, I couldn’t help but get nervous. I pulled down my hood with my stiff fingers like I did when I first came to London and stared straight down at the floor, which I think was made of marble.

    “—Sorry to have kept you waiting.”

    Finally, the woman at the reception desk handed my mentor a card.

    “Is this a magnetic key card?”

    It looked very similar to the Oyster cards that had been recently introduced on buses. After we walked into the elevator, a swipe from the key card revealed a hidden control panel beneath the regular buttons. My mentor pressed one of them, and I instantly felt a jolt of inertia.

    “Aren’t we going up?”

    “We’re going to B45.”

    My mentor quoted a shocking number as if it was perfectly normal. Then, he crossed his arms and tapped at one of them with his index finger.

    “It’s several hundred meters underground, around the same as the deepest parts of the Clock Tower. One of the four total entrances to Spirit Tomb Albion is situated here.”

    “There are four in total?”

    “Yes. The Secret Autopsy Division is only capable of managing who enters Spirit Tomb Albion because there are so few.” After he said that, he glanced to the side. “Are you satisfied now?”

    “Yes! Thank you so much! I’ve never been to the Secret Autopsy Division before!” Yvette said, giggling happily.

    Just like she announced in the hotel room, she came along without an ounce of shame. Perhaps being able to do this was one of her strengths. Maybe I only thought this way because I was so shy, but she didn’t seem to care if she bothered others at all.

    “Since you said it was in exchange for the information, I can’t exactly refuse. I don’t know how the people we’re going to meet managed to get the permission of the Division though,” my mentor said, displeased.

    The feeling of weightlessness continued until the metal doors finally opened, revealing a spacious, circular room. It was around the size of the lobby of one of the better hotels.

    There were giant crystals hanging from the ceiling, glinting with a faint light. My intuition told me that they were not products of science. Though I said that, they didn’t seem completely made with magecraft, either. They were probably objects of Mystery, but the clear light emitting from them made me feel like they were from something even more mysterious.

    —Were they excavated from Spirit Tomb Albion?

    I thought of that place again.

    What kind of otherworldly realm would a labyrinth capable of producing things like these be? I silently pondered these thoughts as I stood under the flickering drops of light.

    “Hm, it’s rare to see chunks of pyroxene this large.”

    “Have you seen something like this before, Miss Yvette?” I asked.

    “Yes, but only the size of pebbles and rocks. Even ones that small are useful for all kinds of things because of the Magical Energy inside them. They’re pretty expensive too, because you can only find them in places rich in Mystery. All I can say is that you only get to see something like this in the Secret Autopsy Division.”

    Yvette nodded, and then looked around again.

    She was probably this excited because of what she called the intuition of a spy. Since she went as far as to ask something this unreasonable of my mentor, the Secret Autopsy Division must be an intriguing place, even for a mage.

    “…Strange,” my mentor muttered after we had waited for a while.

    “Hm? What’s wrong?”

    “No one’s here. They just told me that the person we wanted to meet would come immediately.”

    My attention was drawn to one of the doors along the walls of the circular room.

    With a hiss, the door opened, and an overweight worker rushed in. He tripped on his own feet and fell over backwards.

    “—!”

    A strange odor wafted in. Then, a loud noise sounded, like something was crashing into something else.

    The sound repeated five times. During this time, the door was bashed out of shape, and a two-meter tall beast emerged from the doorway.

    However, such a creature could not exist. A lion’s head stared at me, but the heads of a bat and a chicken also sprouted out from the sides of its body. Its two claws were like scythes, or the forelegs of a mantis. Just as I stared in wonder at this amalgam of a creature(chimera), one of its heads turned to us.

    “Sir!”

    I rushed forward immediately, releasing Add from the hook. It immediately turned into a scythe.

    “Ihihihi! What a grand welcome!”

    Just as I did that, the three-headed beast came charging toward me.

    I figured that I would be knocked flying by it, so I dodged to the side.

    —However, even though I didn’t bear the direct blow, my strengthened arms were still numb from the impact.

    What was this—?

    Until now, I had fought many mages and their creations. However, this time, it felt different.

    Spirit Tomb Albion. This name appeared once again in my mind. It gave me a sense of bewilderment, like I was Alice stepping into Wonderland. I tried to swallow the fear that surged inside me and gritted my teeth.

    “Gray-chan!” Yvette shouted.

    I looked back to find her running toward me as she lifted her eyepatch.

    Without hesitating, she plunged her fingers into the exposed eye socket, and inserted a shining ruby into her left eye. (TN: That’s… not how she did it in the anime and I’m kind of glad for that tbh)

    “Come on, get burnt into smithereens!”

    A Mystic Eye of Flame. An artificial Mystic Eye made by Yvette herself, capable of setting fire to anything.

    On the Rail Zeppelin, I heard that every one of the gems that could be swapped into Yvette’s eye socket was comparable to a high-ranking Noble Color. The three-headed beast was immediately enveloped in flame, and it cried out in pain.

    “Stay back, Sir!”

    After warning him not to get close, I began to run. I made as much noise as possible while I ran in order to attract the attention of the beast that didn’t lose its will to fight even though it was enveloped by fire. I stopped in the corner of the room.

    I guess you could say that we were not from the same world.

    Though we were all extraordinary beings, this beast was completely different.

    I jumped to the side, using the wall to leap toward the beast and slashing down with my scythe.



    However, the beast did not turn around. Instead, from its flame-covered body, a [tiger’s head] emerged.

    “—!”

    My scythe was caught by the tiger’s jaws.

    With a creak, a piercing sound rang out.

    “Add!”

    “Owowowowow!”

    I struggled to extricate the wailing Add. Though the scythe was only the exterior of a Mystic Code meant to seal the Noble Phantasm, and not Rhongomyniad itself, it was surprising that the teeth of the beast managed to harm it.

    The beast jerked its head to the side.

    Add and I were thrown into the air together. Just as I thought I was going to hit the wall—

    Something soft caught me.

    “…Are you alright, Gray?” A pained voice said.

    My mentor had caught me. Though he had probably strengthened his body, my mentor’s magecraft capabilities weren’t enough to completely dispel the impact.

    “I-I’m sorry!”

    “…Don’t worry about me. Can you make that thing shut up?”

    “I’ll try!”

    I raised add.

    First stage restraints, rescinded.

    Add’s exterior shifted into the shape of a lance in a swirling vortex of light. It wasn’t Rhongomyniad, just a hooked polearm that looked something like it. Since I wasn’t sure what my opponent was like, I needed to keep myself at a distance from it.

    I ran over and stabbed at it. However, the beast anticipated my attack and dodged in the nick of time. So it was intelligent. Or perhaps, it had a fighting instinct that was equal to intelligence.

    Two of my three attacks were dodged by it, while the third was blocked by its mantis claws.

    Then, as the lance was about to strike it, the beast leapt away.

    —It wanted to get away?

    With a woosh, the chicken head on the right side of the beast exhaled a little before taking a deep breath.

    Because of what it contained, the decorative plants not far away drooped visibly.

    —The breath of a chimera?

    After realizing that it was preparing to take another breath, I froze.

    I knew how powerful that was. Only a short breath was enough to make the plants look like that. A concentrated breath would surely be enough to dissolve my bones.

    However, my mentor was right behind me.

    If I dodged, the breath would definitely reach him. What should I do? Should I have Add turn into a shield? Would the shield be able to block all of it? Would Yvette have a Mystic Eye that could solve this problem?

    As I pondered this dilemma, I cycled Magical Energy through Add.

    At that moment, the ground around the beast suddenly rose to become walls, blocking its jaws.

    Naturally, the breath was interrupted, and the walls immediately transformed into a sturdy metal cage, enveloping the beast. After recovering from the surprise, the beast angrily slashed at the cage with its many claws and teeth, but the cage deflected each strike. However, it did drastically change the shape of the cage, creating a piercing noise.

    The person who had cast this spell kept the seal in place as he stared at the beast. It was the member of the Secret Autopsy Division who had fallen down a moment ago.

    “Damn it! I’m too old to keep this up for much longer, Asheara!”

    “Hold on a second, Calugh!”

    The reply came from the door that the beast had entered through.

    “—Flow backward.”

    That was probably a one count long spell. As that happened, the beast quivered.

    Green liquid erupted from its body like a balloon bursting. Even so, it still banged at its cage until it fell to the ground, defeated.

    After that, the person who cast the spell carefully approached the cage.

    “…It isn’t dead. Wonderful,” she muttered.

    It was a dark-skinned woman. She looked to us with piercing eyes of the same color. From her efficient, crisp movements, it was clear that she lived her life this way as well.

    “Gray, Yvette? Are you two hurt?”

    After confirming that we were safe, my mentor turned to the woman who had just walked in.

    “Did you use flow magecraft just then?”

    “Yes. I fought Chimeras like these often back when I was still in the Labyrinth. I’ve worked with him for many years now.” After she said that, she bowed her head politely. “I am Asheara Mystras, from the Materials Branch. That was an oversight on our part. Apologies for frightening you, Lord El-Melloi II.”

    After that, the other staff member dusted off his clothes and bowed his head too.

    “I’m sorry for not introducing myself earlier. I am Calugh Ithred, from the Management Branch. Nice to meet you.”

    They really were a peculiar pair.

    Both of them were around thirty years old. They wore the same uniform.

    However, I felt that these two people didn’t seem like they belonged in the Clock Tower. I didn’t know why, but they felt more like regular workers or scientists than mages.

    Asheara Mystras.

    I silently repeated her name to myself as I looked at her calm face.

    Calugh Ithred.

    The male staff member used a handkerchief to wipe at his sweat as he peered at us.

    However, neither of them looked scared at all in the face of my mentor, who was still a Lord. Of course, maybe it was because my mentor’s title wasn’t really authentic and because the Department of Modern Magecraft wasn’t important enough. Either way, for members of the Clock Tower, they reacted rather calmly.

    Perhaps this was the nature of the Secret Autopsy Division.

    “…They’re the students of Heartless who I made a prior appointment with.”

    Hearing what my mentor whispered to meet, I swallowed.

    Then, my mentor looked toward the beast in the cage.

    “Are you trying to capture Phantasmal Species?”

    “Yes. We’re conducting a controlled observation of the ecology of the creatures of Spirit Tomb Albion. They’re quite different from the Phantasmal Species you see on the surface, aren’t they?”

    She smiled as if she had completely forgotten about how the creature had just attacked us. I suppose you could say that this was very typical of a mage. Her only thought about the fight was probably that it was a source of useful data.

    My mentor didn’t look like he wanted to pursue the matter further. Usually, he would have, but my mentor’s tendencies were affected by the state of the world of magecraft, at least when he was also talking to a mage. Perhaps for a similar reason, Yvette decided to hand the conversation to my mentor, so she didn’t say anything.

    For that reason. I swallowed my complaint.

    I looked down and used my hood to conceal my expression. Then, the person who claimed to be Asheara from the Materials Branch shifted the subject to us.

    “And these two are…?”

    “…I-I’m Gray, my mentor’s disciple.”

    “Yvette L. Lehrman! I’m here as an assistant, at my teacher’s permission.”

    I heard Yvette respond from beside me. It was very typical of her to have taken the position of assistant.

    Asheara nodded, and reached out to one of the doors that were still intact.

    “This way, please.”
    *
    After taking us to the reception room, they brought us some black tea that was identical to the tea on the surface.

    It was a very simple room.

    There were only two long couches and a glass coffee table. Though I was still confused as to where the air came from, it was probably the result of some kind of magecraft.

    Besides that, there were several wall lamps that served an unclear purpose. Considering the key card from just then, the Secret Autopsy Division didn’t seem to avoid the use of modern science.

    “I have something I want to ask you,” my mentor said.

    “You want to know about our teacher, right?” Asheara, who sat opposite us, said slowly.

    “Unfortunately, neither of us has met Mr. Heartless for ten years,” Calugh said beside her, still wiping his sweat. It seemed like he wax the kind of person who sweated a lot.

    They were two of Heartless’ students.

    Thinking of this alone made my heart rate speed up.

    “Ten years. So you haven’t met Dr. Heartless after he left the Clock Tower?”

    “Yes. For a while after that, the Department of Modern Magecraft operated without a department head. Of course, that was before you became a Lord,” Calugh said while carefully observing my mentor.

    The Department of Modern Magecraft before my mentor was there.

    Though it was incredibly obvious, hearing someone talk about it still surprised me. My entire impression of the Department of Modern Magecraft was built upon my mentor and the El-Melloi Classroom. However, back then, they weren’t part of the Department of Modern Magecraft.

    First, the El-Melloi Faction had been assigned to the Department of Modern Magecraft at a Grand Roll, and my mentor had been chosen by Reines to become a Lord. Those two things had combined to form the Department of Modern Magecraft I was familiar with.

    What was it like before then?

    “Speaking of which, you two are our upperclassmen(TN: senpai) at the Department of Modern Magecraft.”

    Yvette’s words knocked me out of my thoughts.

    …Oh. That was true.

    They were our upperclassmen, students of the Department of Modern Magecraft before my mentor was there.

    “To be honest, though, Survivors of the labyrinth like us aren’t really suited for the Clock Tower. …Oh right, has Slur changed much?” Calugh smiled wryly.

    “I don’t think it has.”

    “Is the pumpkin rice casserole(TN: Alternatively, pumpkin doria) still the most popular dish at the cafeteria?”

    “I think it ranks about third. The most popular dish now is the shrimp chowder.”

    “Hmph. You’re all too picky. Back in our day, everyone was fighting to order the pumpkin rice casserole because it was the cheapest.” Calugh rubbed his belly with a nostalgic look in his eyes.

    “What sort of person was Dr. Heartless?” My mentor took the chance to ask.
    
“Well, we didn’t get to know him very well. …But, thinking back, he was very caring. He treated our group of Survivors and his other students equally.”

    “I’ve heard that he was biased towards your group of five Survivors.”

    “Haha, that’s a bit of an overstatement. We weren’t like everyone else, after all. He treated us equally, but maybe that’s already a bias in the eyes of other people. …Ah, as the head of a department of the Clock Tower, he was an incredibly kind man.”

    Hearing Calugh’s reminiscences, I silently bit my lip.

    That was another side of Heartless.

    
I found it somewhat difficult to believe. Though I accepted this as new information, hearing that the mage had stayed at Slur Street like my mentor and I and had even taught there made me feel uneasy.

    On top of that, hearing someone say that he was a kind person made me at a loss for how to react.

    After all, my mentor and I had nearly died by his hands.

    “…I was completely used by him, wasn’t I?” Yvette muttered quietly.

    She was referencing something that had happened on the Rail Zeppelin. In exchange for Heartless’ financing, she was used to help him disguise his identity. Though she had accepted the deal herself and therefore deserved none of my empathy, Heartless hadn’t revealed his true identity or intent to her either.

    It was miles away from how the students described their teacher.

    Which was the true Heartless, I wonder?

    “Mr. Heartless was very passionate about education, even compared to the other departments. …At least, I think so. It’s just that I always felt that he had his sights set on something different from the other lecturers.”

    Hearing what Asheara said in a low voice, Calugh turned to her.

    “Dedicate your life to the most radiant thing.(TN: ‘thing’… doesn’t fit well but it’s also vague enough to work)”

    “That was always his mantra.”

    An amused smile blossomed on Asheara’s face, which had been devoid of emotion up until now.

    “We are creatures that are always connected to one another. Since we must advance as mages, that means we must constantly face and be aware of those who are connected to you. However, at the same time, you are still uniquely yourself. In that case, you at least have to dedicate yourself to what you think is the most radiant thing.”

    …Her words immobilized me.

    My mentor also froze beside me. Ah, yes. That was because this way of life was almost identical to someone else’s. It was too similar to the person who had been fascinated by the king he had met during the Holy Grail War and decided to live by a new set of rules for the rest of his life.

    I recalled what Heartless had said on the Rail Zeppelin.

    —“The more I looked into it, the more I was drawn in by the Holy Grail War.”

    —“It was like a sunset I saw once in my childhood. At that moment, I prayed from the bottom of my heart that I hoped to chase after that view(TN: Alternatively, landscape or scenery) forever.”

    Was the radiant thing that Heartless chased after the Holy Grail War? Or, had he found something radiant in the Holy Grail War?

    “What we should be after has always been the Root, right?” My mentor asked.

    It was a word that I had heard countless times before.

    The Root. Also called the Swirl of the Root, and sometimes represented as the difficult-to-describe “ ”. (TN: Also the Vortex of Radix, the Akashic Records, or Heaven. …Wait. Heaven? What?)

    Classes at the Clock Tower described it as the reason why mages were mages. It was a dream that must be realized, a manifestation of truth. It was the hope that someone would reach the Root in the future that caused mages to devote their entire lives to refining their magecraft and do everything in their power to increase their descendants’ Magic Circuits.

    “Yes. Even if most mages, myself included, have lost sight of it because of the struggles within the Clock Tower, that fact cannot be changed,” Calugh said with a wry smile.

    Even as a Survivor of the labyrinth that rose to become a member of the Secret Autopsy Division, he could not escape the power struggles of the Clock Tower.

    “However, I always got the feeling that he aimed for something else.”

    “…I see.” My mentor said, nodding.

    Did he gain some kind of insight?

    I couldn’t tell what he was thinking about. My mentor adjusted his position and leaned forward slightly before finally bringing up that topic.

    “Are you aware that, among Dr. Heartless' former students, some of your fellow Survivors have gone missing?”

    In an instant, the room was silent.

    Then, the man lay back in his chair and spoke in a mumbling voice.

    “…Of course I’m aware. Jorek Kurdice, who went missing recently, wasn’t just one of our team members. He’s my little brother.”

    “Oh, my apologies—”

    “No, it’s alright. I don’t blame you. We don’t have the same last name, after all. My brother was adopted by the childless Kurdice family before we left the labyrinth.”

    “I see. It is quite common for talented Survivors to be adopted by families without heirs.”

    “Yes. My brother was extremely talented. I was saved countless times by him back in Albion.”

    “Another pair as coordinated as you and Jorek is impossible to find.”

    “Really? Thank you.”

    The lips that were now smiling looked somewhat lonely.

    At the same time, I took down notes in my head. Calugh Ithred— member of the Management Branch of the Secret Autopsy Division. The brother of Jorek. Asheara Mystras— member of the Materials Branch of the Secret Autopsy Division. Jorek Kurdics— the brother of Calugh. [Missing]. Gesell Tolman— a freelance mage that specializes in potions. [Missing]. I took note of their names and where they were now. Of Heartless’ five students, there was one person left. According to Touko, that person was also [missing].

    After that, the conversation went on for around ten minutes. Just as I thought it was coming to an end, Calugh called out my mentor’s name.

    “Lord El-Melloi II, can I ask you something?”

    “Of course.”

    Hearing my mentor agree readily, the man clasped and unclasped his hands in front of his abdomen repeatedly before he asked his question.

    “You made a name for yourself after you survived that ritual in the Far East, right? The Holy Grail War, or whatever?”

    The Holy Grail War!

    My mentor blinked, surprised to hear that phrase come up.

    “Yes…? And?”

    “Oh, nothing. I just thought it was a bit similar to us Survivors. You’re probably the most successful New Ager in the Clock Tower. So how does it feel? Do you have any thoughts about your current stance? Do you think you’ve made the world more radiant by becoming a Lord?”

    “……”

    My mentor sank into silence briefly as he pondered it seriously.

    Then,

    “I just think it’s a burden,” he said, shrugging.

    “…Huh. So that’s what you think.”

    Though it was a short answer, Calugh seemed to have sensed something from it. He didn’t ask any further questions. He just patted his plump stomach and sighed.

    “My answer might not be very helpful.”

    “No, it’s enough. Thank you, Lord El-Melloi II.”

    Calugh Ithred of the Materials Branch of the Secret Autopsy Division bowed his head deeply again.
    -End of Part 2 of Chapter 4, Book 7-
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————— ——

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