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Thread: Finishing the translation of Lord El-Melloi II Case Files volume five.

  1. #1

    Finishing the translation of Lord El-Melloi II Case Files volume five.


    This thread will be my effort to finish the translation of Case Files volume five, which seems to be the only volume that has no one working on finishing it. As I feel confident in my translation of chapter 2, part 4. I shall start compiling the finished parts here. This will take some time to finish, so all I ask is patience.

    Method: This is my own translation. My process is just me and a dictionary. I removed all traces of MTL, as discussed below. I tend to try and value the original and true meaning structure of what is being said in Japanese rather than simply trying to force it to make more sense in English. If you see an error or a hard-to-read sentence, then tell me, and I will fix it.
    Here it is.


    Table of Contents

    Chapter 2
    -Part 4 <100%> <Released>

    Chapter 3
    -Part 1 <100%> <Released>
    -Part 2 <100%> <Released>

    Chapter 4
    -Part 1 <100%> <Released>
    -Part 2 <100%> <Released>
    -Part 3 <100%> <Released>
    -Part 4 <100%> <Released>

    Chapter 5
    -Part 1 <100%> <Released>
    -Part 2 <100%> <Released>
    -Part 3 <100%> <Released>
    -Part 4
    -Part 5

    Epilogue

    Afterword

    82% Total Complete
    Last edited by Kneenaw; January 18th, 2023 at 09:30 AM. Reason: added chapter 5 links

  2. #2

    Chapter 2, part 4

    Chapter 2, part 4


    The magus of the Department of Law, Hishiri Adashino, twisted her lips in a false smile and declared. “We can't find out who did it unless you're all here.”

    Our arrival appeared to be the last.

    Yvette L. Lehmann──the girl with a single Mystic Eye.

    Karabo Frampton──a priest of the Holy Church.

    Olga Marie Asmleit Animusphere──Successor to the Celestial Family Animusphere.

    Melvin Weins──Tuner.

    Jean-Mario Supinerra──the former TV show magus.

    Hishiri Adashino──The magus of the Department of Law.

    Next, the main staff of the Rail Zeppelin.

    Conductor Rodin.

    Auctioneer Leandra.

    Including myself, there were a total of nine members. If Melvin was removed from the list and then the trio of Trisha, who had passed away, Master, and Caules were added to the group, it would be the same group of people who had initially boarded the Rail Zeppelin.

    (...)

    The carpet was so soft that it seemed to sink down to my ankles. There are elegant baked goods and tea on the table, and I realize now that it is still late afternoon. My senses have been completely deranged, having been knocked out, albeit for a short time. The events of only half a day since this morning were so compressed in time.

    At one of those tables, with a hum, a white hand waved. “Welcome back, Gray!” Yvette, her pink twin-tail hair swinging from side to side so much it hurt my eyes, was calling out to me. “I knew you would come back!”

    "...Oh? Were you not saying something about whether there would now be a slot available to become the instructor’s apprentice due to the vacancy?"

    "No, I didn't say… that- Father?!"

    Yvette became rigid as she turned around to see Karabo sitting next to her. I blinked to myself at the thought of this square-faced priest making a joke or two. I was surprised to see the unexpected side of this man I have lived and died beside for hardly an hour.

    After a laugh at the priest, who cleared his throat, Yvette spoke to us again. “Still, I don't know how you survived that avalanche.”

    "A little... luck came to help me..."

    As you can imagine, it's hard to say that you were saved by a Heroic Spirit. And if I were to say that it was someone with whom I had engaged in life or death battle only yesterday, then an entire night would not be enough to explain it with my poor communication skills.

    The priest moves his eyes and asks. "What happened to the other disciple of El-Melloi?"

    “If you speak of Caules, he is watching over my master. He said I should come over here."

    On the way here, I stopped by the carriage room once. As Caules had said, Master had not regained consciousness yet, but he was looking much better. That much gave me peace of mind. It was satisfying enough to know that the battle in the frozen forest had not been in vain.

    “Thank you for your help with the Child of Einnashe."

    “As I said in the beginning, I approached for my own sake. There is no need to thank me. …Still, I hope your master gets better soon."

    “Thank you." After thanking him, I turn around. There was another person I had to talk to in the lobby car. I take one deep breath and then walk over to her. "Olga Marie… Miss. ...?"

    "..."

    The silver-haired girl didn't look up.

    She remained slumped all the way down, a box the size of a travel bag at her feet. It was an oddly intriguing box, but right now, I was more concerned with her.

    "Olga Marie."

    “I don't know you. Don't talk to me." And so, the girl turned away. When I hesitated, unable to get to the heart of the matter, she added one more comment. "...Your master, how is he?"

    “Thanks to receiving so much help, he has stabilized. Caules is looking after him now." I said roughly the same thing as I did to Karabo earlier.

    I wonder if it is a characteristic unique to Master that she is so concerned about him, even though I don't think she had much contact with him. It is because my master is such a person that I am able to avoid falling down. It is difficult to keep standing up for myself, but if it could lead to even the slightest support for that grumpy person — if I could think such an arrogant thing, I felt that I could keep myself from cowering just a little longer.

    "I see." Olga Marie muttered.

    The conversation stopped after that, but I didn't feel bad about it. I was tempted to ask about the box under my feet, but something unusual happened first. Words arose from the previous table.

    “So, what is this business we're gathered here for, miss Department of Law?”

    When Karabo tried to fish for information, uh… Hishiri slapped his hand.

    “Didn't I tell you? Since a certain someone seems to be sleeping peacefully, I thought I would play detective. It would be beneficial for the Rail Zeppelin to have all of its cases settled before the auction."

    "...I see." Suddenly sounding more awake, the dark-skinned priest rose from his chair.

    “What's the matter?”

    “I'm retiring,” Karabo says concisely.

    “I'll do the same.” Yvette stood up too.

    "Oh, even you?"

    “Isn't it obvious? I don't care if your guess is right or wrong, whether one of us is really the murderer or not. It's better to stay in my room until the auction.”

    "...I'm right there with you. In addition, I belong to the Holy Church. I do not need to be restricted by the Department of Law."

    Their words were very much like a magus and very much like an agent.

    Truth and human life do not carry much weight. It is always possible to kill or be killed. That is why they say it is natural to avoid unnecessary risks. As magi, no one would have the words to deny them.

    However. "... I think it's a good idea! A mystery drama!" Melvin raised his hand. The young albino who had come to the lobby car with me stood proudly in the midst of the gazes of the magi and Rail Zeppelin staff. “I'll stand by your guess. Isn't it nice, a mystery play? I've always wanted to experience it, not once, but two or three times!"

    “Melvin Weins... The Tuner of Trambelio.” Once more, Olga Marie whispers.

    Trambelio was another name I'd heard glimpsed. As I recall, it was one of the three Great Families that Yvette had mentioned. Along with Valualeta and Bartholomeloi, they were the most prestigious of the prestigious in the Clock Tower.

    Perhaps it was the power of the name, but Yvette also mouthed an. ‘...Oh’

    (...Ah) Somehow, I can see why the master did not mention this friend.

    After all, Melvin is a friend of interesting things. If there is pleasure in it, he will not hesitate to open it, even if it is Pandora's box. He knows the meaning and effect of his family name, and he behaves thoughtlessly nonetheless.

    Then, the conductor stepped forward. “The Rail Zeppelin has also decided to support mistress Hishiri in this matter. I apologize for this, but I would like to ask everyone to please bear with it for a while." The conductor's face was as emotionless as when we first met him. It was not an expressionless face, but rather a face that had no such thing from the beginning - or perhaps a look that was far removed from that of a magus.

    I wonder if Hishiri was laying this groundwork while we were fighting in the frozen forest.

    "...I understand."

    "..."

    As if giving up, Yvette and Carabo returned to their seats. With the addition of one of the three Great Families to the Department of Law, and even the endorsement of the Rail Zeppelin, they thought it would be a waste of effort to resist any further.

    After making sure everyone was back in their chairs, “thank you very much.” Hishiri bowed like a flower. “Now, I would like to advise you on this case from the standpoint of the Department of Law-”

    "Hello, detective!" Artificial to the situation, Melvin loudly claps.

    If you think about it, this would be an extremely selfish act, since he is the only one who is a later participant, and he has no damage to suffer from this reasoning act.

    “First, I'd like to present some preliminary information.” With that, Hishiri smiled. The white nape of her neck swayed in the light from the window. Her shadow swayed with it. At the same time, everyone in the room may have felt an unpleasant sensation. It was as if this woman, who resembled a beautiful snake, was manipulating everything. “A familiar returned from the Clock Tower just now.”

    “A familiar?” Melvin asked back, and Hishiri gave a small nod.

    “Yes, I had the Department of Law provide me with information about an incident seven years ago.”

    "Hey, hey, you! You said the Department of Law isn't so lax to easily view cases outside your direct charge! What was that all about?” It was Jean-Mario Supinerra.

    Hishiri's response to the TV station magus, who protested with exaggerated gestures, was nonchalant. “It's not easy, but it's clear enough by how you spoke that this is relevant.”

    "...Tch, you just whatever you want."

    “Eh, seven years ago? What do you mean?" Melvin poked his head out with interest. Of all of them, only the strange tuner seems to be unafraid of the name of the Department of Law.

    “Yes. Shall I take a small moment to explain?” Hishiri asks, her head slowly turning around. Something is not right, I thought. But before I could utter a word, the woman from the Department of Law continued to speak. "Seven years ago, there was a string of murders where the M.O. was the same. A case where several bodies were found with their heads removed.”

    I felt my blood freeze for a moment at those words. A headless corpse, which was gruesome even among magi, must have seemed so abhorrent to the general public.

    In contrast, Melvin hmmed and tilted his head. “If there had been such an incident, I would have remembered it.”

    “There was information control. The Department of Law controlled the matter." Hishiri, on the other hand, lifted up the sleeves of her elegant folk dress and casually confessed it.

    Information control. For the Department of Law, it's their core business. The Enforcement Bureau of the First Principle carries out the Clock Tower’s foremost task of concealing Mystery.

    "...Hey, that’s supposed to be my line." Despite Jean-Mario's dissatisfied lips, the female magus continues.

    "However, The information I've received tells me other things as well.”

    "U-huh. What else?"

    “There was another organization that intervened in that matter. Namely, the Holy Church."

    "…!"

    A hint of unrest floats over the train for a moment.

    It was Karabo's, of course. Turning her wet obsidian-like eyes slowly, Hishiri spoke to the dark-skinned old man.

    "The agent at the time was Karabo Frampton. It was you, correct?"

    “...Correct."

    Karabo conceded it concisely. His lips were quivering and tight. An agitation that had not been seen even when he had run through the Child of Einnashe was now gripping the old man of the Church.

    “Why didn't you tell us before?”

    “It would be a breach of confidentiality to leak information about past cases needlessly. It's only natural." In a hard voice, the dark-skinned priest states so.

    But there is no way that everyone will agree with that explanation. Hishiri continued to ask the obvious question. “Is that all?"

    "..."

    She stared at the silent Karabo for a moment and then, “Let us proceed to the next stage of this discussion,” Hishiri declared.

    She passed between the tables in the lobby car and looked down at a single spot. It was only after a few seconds or so that I realized this was the carriage where Trisha had died.

    “In this case, despite Master Karabo's vision of the past, he could not see the scene of the crime. Despite Trisha's vision of the future, she was unable to protect herself. In short, neither the past nor the future could see the moment of the crime." Hishiri raised both her hands as if singing.

    The fingers of one of her hands bend down from above, and the other lifts up from below. Does it represent looking at the past and the future? She stopped at a point where the two sets of fingers overlapped, then continued her speech.

    “If so, the answer is straightforward. It's very simple — the crime scene wasn't 'here' at all."

    “Ah...!” Yvette clapped her hands at that opinion. “I see. That’s right. That must be it."

    "As expected of a Mystic Eyes specialist. You seem to understand quickly. Hindsight and Foresight only transcend the time axis. If that is so, then no matter how much you try to envision it, you can’t see it if you are not at the real ‘scene’ of the crime. It is a matter of course. It's different if it's a type of Clairvoyance that can also see into the distance, but it's not like that, is it?"

    In shock, I find myself staring wide-eyed.

    The surrounding magi seemed to be ruminating and verifying her reasoning. Even if one can see through time in a particular direction, space cannot be transcended. In that case, they wondered what kind of phenomena could have occurred.

    Only one person, Melvin, was nodding his head, idly rubbing his chin. "Hmm. Well then, who on earth killed Trisha?"

    “Yes, perhaps it has come to that.” Hishiri gently shifted her gaze to the natural question. “Now, let's bring forth another witness, shall we? …Miss Olga Marie.”

    The girl's shoulders shook with a startle. The heir to the Celestial Animusphere, who had been silent until then, stifled a low moan at the sound of the woman's voice.

    “That bag, please lift it for all to see.”

    At that command, the girl who had been depressed bit her trembling lip. It was as if she was ashamed of her fear. After taking a few deep breaths, she reached for the travel-bag-sized box at her feet.

    The first thing that peeked out from within was long blonde hair. Of course, it is not a huge box that a person could fit into exactly like a person. However, the blonde hair, followed by the forehead, eyebrows, closed eyes, and nose, revealed a familiar face.

    Only the face.

    "T-Trisha’s…" Groaning to myself, Hishiri nodded slowly.

    “Yes. The missing, freshly severed head of Trisha Fellows."

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

    With elegance, Hishiri lifted the severed head amidst everyone's gazes. Like Salome, the seductress who had craved John the Baptist’s head, the female magus of the Department of Law was terrifyingly captivating.

    "...What is this?"

    She replied calmly to Karabo's hoarse voice. “Her head was concealed by Imaginary Numbers Magecraft. In all likelihood, I believe that she sealed it herself."

    “Trisha, on her own… to her own head?”



    It just doesn’t make sense.

    How could such a circumstance occur?

    Trisha's head, which was supposed to have been stolen after her death, was concealed by Trisha herself. If that is the case, then who cut off her head? No, how could she hide her own head? Maybe it’s possible with an illusionary decapitation, but this is a real severed head, right?

    This was too incomprehensible, and as I was simply dazed, Hishiri resumed speaking slowly.

    “Most likely, Trisha Fellows realized she was going to die by decapitation. In advance of that, It seems that she created an imaginary pocket for her head to fall into."

    It was too much; Hishiri's statement was ridiculous. And yet it can not be denied. You can't interrupt her and say that she's crazy. I sense nothing except truth in the idea. I can’t help but feel anxiety wrap softly around my heart.

    Karabo's words when he saw the crime scene were the following.

     "I can see up until the point she sat down on this chair, but the time immediately before and after her head was removed is unclear."

    Alternatively, he was able to see the situation when Trisha entered this room.

    However, the head that was cut off disappeared just as it fell. Then, as it was vague, he misinterpreted that as not being able to see? No, if that is the case, shouldn’t he be seeing the shape of the killer?

    Not caring for his confused self, Jean-Mario wrung his own neck.

    "Hmm, what do you mean? Even if she sensed she was going to die…"

    “That would be Foresight.”

    Yvette interrupted.

    “I don't know the exact timing ─ perhaps just after she sat down in the chair ─ but she saw a future where her head would fall off, and she would die. So at the very least, there was something necessary she could still do. Possibly, the magic to create the imaginary pocket was a one bar, one count incantation or something like that?"

    "... Yes."

    Olga Marie nods.

    Her beautiful silver hair swayed sadly.

    “For Trisha, it was little more than a minor telepathic spell."

    “I envy her. Magic attributes are irreplaceable.”

    After stretching, Yvette pouted. I think my teacher once said something similar. Magic Attributes that depend on the individual are basically something that cannot be interfered with, even by the greatest of Mysteries. That is why those with dual attributes, such as the previous Lord El-Melloi, are so highly regarded.

    Thus, Hishiri opens her mouth once more.

    "Ah, yes, yes. Trisha's head was not yet dead when Olga Marie took it out of the pocket of the void. After all, time stands still within the Imaginary Numbers space. Yes, with not enough time to even write a single word, I can say that she opted for the perfect dying message. With her final breath left in her throat, what do you think was her final word?"

    She asked the question and laughed in the lobby car, where naturally, no one dared to answer.

    “'Karabo,' is what she whispered.” It was too decisive.

    A stiff tension swirled among the magi. The hostility of monsters who can kill with - or in some cases without - a single word of incantation.

    The enchanting magus of the Department of Law manipulates words as if she were waving a conductor's baton. "Karabo Frampton." And so, she called out his name again. "Your Retrocognition— no, strictly speaking, it can not be distinguished as such, granted that it’s more Calculation than Prediction, correct?"

    Karabo held one of his eyes.

    Prediction and Calculation. That's what Caules was talked about earlier. There are two types of Precognition and Retrocognition, known as Prediction and Calculation, the former is an extension of the normal human imaginative capacity, while the latter is a kind of strange power that anchors the time axis to one’s actions.

    “It is often said that, for the past, there is no such thing as Prediction or Calculation. Unlike the future, the past cannot be changed, so it doesn't matter how you look at it. But that's just under normal circumstances. ーYes, I heard someone talking about the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception yesterday. The "Rainbow" ranked Mystic Eyes that can impose death to those it sees equally.”

    Suddenly, the subject changed in mid-sentence.

    The Mystic Eyes of Death Perception. The one that Olga Marie had mentioned in her lecture before the auction. If the explanation at that time was correct, they are Rainbow Rank Mystic Eyes, which are the top of the line, surpassing even the Gold and Jewel ranks.

    “I have never seen such Mystic Eyes. However, with some attempts at imagination, I can infer what they might be like. Yes, they must be the highest form of Foresight. At the very least, it is one such ability that can glimpse the strings of fate.”

    "...Are you saying that these Mystic Eyes of Death Perception, or whatever, are truly the ultimate form of Foresight?"

    As Karabo groans, Hishiri nods. “I hear that is the case. Everyone will die someday. As everything is flawed, there is a hidden desire in all of us to destroy all that is fair, so we can start it anew. If you can see that ending and could bring it into the present, then what would it be called if not the highest form of Foresight?”

    "..."

    Hishiri's words started making a little more sense.

    As I am imperfect, I want to change. I want to destroy that imperfection. If one day, my personality and unknown future will come to an end, then I would rather have my neck strangled right now. Surely everyone thinks about it. A terribly simple and grim desire. As it was so simple, that one description at the end made uncanny sense.

    “If that is so, then the reverse is also true. Everyone was born at some point. As we are born imperfect, we may resent that beginning at all is a mistake. If you can see and bring that beginning into the present, then how can it not be known as the highest form of Hindsight? Ah, moreover, if that is so, then the world might even look like a bubble.”

    (...Bubble?)

    "By any chance, would that be a reference to space-time bubbles?" It was Melvin who interrupted.

    “Are you aware of it?"

    “What I do know is that it is a scientific concept. It is said that at an extremely small scale, an object may be like a collection of bubbles. I do not think he is looking at such a scientifically accurate image, but would you also say it's a similar concept?"

    “Roughly, you are correct,” Hishiri affirms it.

    I feel a pang of irritation rising in the back of my throat.

    Seeing the world as a bubble. I don't know why, but that idea made me feel terribly uneasy. People, animals, trees, fish, flowers, earth, stone, water, light: what would it feel like to see all of it as mere bubbles? What sort of life is it to spend every day confronted by the fact that everything and anything appears the same?

    Wouldn't that make you feel like you were squeezing your own eyeballs?

    “...Ah, unfortunately, unlike the rumored Mystic Eyes of Death Perception, these Mystic Eyes are unlikely to have reached the end of all things. It also falls short of glimpsing the beginning. At the most, these Mystic Eyes recognize and evoke events that have happened in the — past It seems that they are that sort of Mystic Eyes, don't you think?"

    The more polite Hishiri's words were, the more dreadful they became.

    It's like being traced on the back of your neck with the tip of a knife. The blade is coated with poison, and though it doesn't leave a scratch, it seems to rot even one’s core.

    "Foresight fixes the future as it will be." As if singing, she says so. “If that is so, then it is only natural that Hindsight should establish the past. Yes, if the end of things is 'to die', it is natural that the beginning of things is the ‘to live'. Those Mystic Eyes can resurrect past truths in the present."

    Like a detective in a mystery novel, Hishiri carefully arranges everything one by one. She moves to expose. She moves to eviscerate.

    This is the kind of person she was, I think.

    From the first time I met her at Castle Adra, she had been this sort of person. It was as if that were all a lie that I had forgotten until this moment, but now Hishiri had regained that initial impression.

    The Department of Law. A magus who presides over magi.

    “... So you're saying that these Mystic Eyes recreate events that happened in the past?”

    Yvette spoke.

    Hishiri nodded as if she had been waiting for someone to say so.

    “Yes. It is likely that the actions that can be reproduced from the past are limited. In this case, it may be used in advance to record and retrieve past slashes with specific timing — that would be one such use. Yes… like this, for example."

    Hishiri casually takes a knife and an apple from a table.

    First, she moved the knife vertically. "I'll record these slashes, then leave it for you."

    Thus, she moved to the same spot as the apple. Similar to something she did earlier, Hishiri swung the knife and scratched the surface of the apple. "After that, as long as the holder of these Mystic Eyes observes it, the target can be severed with the recorded slash at any time. That is the purpose of these Mystic Eyes I have been talking about. …Say, this is you, isn’t it?

    With that, she looked back at the old man once more. "This is you, isn’t it? Karabo Frampton."

    "...I am, that is..." The dark-skinned old man was trembling as if he were having a fit. Between the female magus and the older man, it seemed like there was a terrible curse sneering.

    “In this situation, the Rail Zeppelin was probably the easiest gimmick for you to use. After all, the train runs on rails.”

    She moves her index finger. The movement was as if tracing the railway. Along the way, the knife swung, cutting through the invisible line. “If you cut the void with a leading train car, Trisha's head would eventually come to those coordinates. It would have been easy enough to see where the chairs were located in the room. It wouldn't even matter if you cut a slightly larger range or not.”

    She took the apple from earlier and placed it at the point where the knife flew through the air.

    “The train had been stopped in the forest when Trisha’s body was found, and you, Karabo, were also found outside, weren’t you? It must have been good enough for you to take a short peek from the outside window. After that, the empty air was rented for a second time, pulled into the present by your Hindsight. The air was cut, together with the head of Trisha Fellows. And so, her head was sealed in a dimensional pocket by her own Imaginary Number Magecraft."

    "..."

    With the knife, she cuts the apple apart.

    With a ‘shin’, silence fell. Once more, it was like a confirmation of what she was saying. As long as it is at the hands of a magus, there is no such thing as an impossible crime in the first place. But even so, her argument was too outlandish for even the magi gathered here to swallow immediately.

    Roughly scratching his head, Jean-Mario opens his mouth. “Hey, hey. Wait a minute. Does that mean the serial murders seven years ago were also...?"

    Several gazes focused on the old man.

    The series of murders seven years ago. It was obvious to everyone that Hishiri had spoken of the case underlining the fact that a number of heads were lost and that Karabo had been the Church agent at the time.

    And yet she deliberately shakes her head. “I'm not saying you're the killer of seven years ago, and I'm not saying you're the killer of this time. We certainly don't have that kind of evidence. But with all these circumstances, don't we have reason to take certain measures?" The beautiful smile now held terrible meaning. "Can you not show us? I wonder if you ─ with your Mystic Eyes, long after the beheading, could use this location to bring forth a result."

    “Such a thing, my Hindsight is-” An upset Karabo was about to say something.

    “...I want you to wait for a moment." But, I heard a voice.

    The doors of the lobby car open.

    It started with wheels treading on the carpet, as if emerging from the depths of darkness. Next, a pair of fine leather shoes appeared, and a figure in a wheelchair looked gloomily around the room. The wheelchair was being pushed by a bespectacled, curly-haired boy named Caules Forvedge, and it should not be necessary to name who was in the wheelchair.

    “Master...!”

    “Waver…!"

    Even Melvin, who had been happily watching, stood up.

    “So, you are finally awake. Lord El-Melloi II."

    Hishiri narrows her eyes and moves her gaze from the Master's head to the wheelchair.

    In contrast, the master only touched his glasses.

    "I had somewhat of an accident. I still can not walk properly, so I asked my apprentice to get me a wheelchair from the staff of the Rail Zeppelin ...Though, I didn't expect Melvin to be here as well.”

    “Yup! It's only natural that you would run into your best friend when you are in trouble!"

    “This is none of your business. You're the only one who calls me best friend in the first place."

    “Friends aren't decided on some sort of mutual contract! It's a meeting of the minds! It's about unconscious approval! Maybe we should be more open and confident with this friendship! Oh, and by the way, you can give me a hug!"

    “Please shut up already,” Master says so as if spitting.

    From the faintly raspy breaths, it is likely that he has only just regained consciousness. In fact, even I had not dreamt that the master would appear at this time. It was also beyond the scope of my imagination that he would come in a wheelchair.

    Instinctively, I rushed over to him.

    For this one moment, the incident and everything else were so far away.

    “Master, your body…”

    “Is not a problem. …Not necessarily a problem. I wouldn’t have bothered to come out here if it was.."

    Master stroked my head from the top of my hood when I ran up to him. It was more painful for me to see my master, who was usually so prickly, show such kindness to me, and I felt helpless.

    “Caules told me what happened. He said you've been through a lot."

    "... Yes." I nod.

    It took so much effort just to keep the tears from falling. I know I’m not the one who is really in pain, but the words to convey that did not exist inside of me.

    “Truly... Truly so many things happened. But, you could have… much better… than the likes of clumsy me…”

    How powerless words can be. No, how incompetent I really am.

    I should have been more prepared. I knew Master was recovering; I should have been ready for this moment. My thoughts are spinning, and I can’t formulate any words. I had planned to speak with him when he woke up, but all that would come out of the back of my throat were sobs.

    "Hah, and as for that servant?" Master grimaced and said that in a whisper, so as not to be heard by any of the others arround us.

    The grimace betrayed his pain. It wasn't just physical pain. In meeting with the Heroic Spirit who called herself Hephaestion, Master’s spirit was imbued with extraordinary sorrow.

    “After all, in all that time, there was the Child of Einnashe, Imaginary Numbers Magecraft, and even the results of looking into this Hindsight. That's a lot to pack into just half a day or so."

    “...Oh my, how much have you heard?” Hishiri tilts her head.

    “I heard from words, 'the empty air was rented for a second time, pulled into the present by your Hindsight.’ But hearing that much, I can roughly guess your conjecture. ...Gray, we'll talk about that Servant later." Whispering the last part in my ear, Master slowly turned his wheelchair. He regarded Hishiri directly and lifted three fingers. ”Miss Adashino. On three points, I have issues with what you said."

    “It seems that sleep has given back your spirits, so please allow us to hear your renowned reasoning without any delay.”

    “First, we do not know whether or not Mr. Karabo's Mystic Eyes are capable of such a thing. Second, even if he did have such an ability, who is to say that a different magus could not have also been able to kill Trisha?” Unconcerned with Hishiri's words, the master spoke in quick succession. "Third, there is no motive in your current reasoning." With that, he pressed her for an answer.

    “Karabo Frampton killed Trisha Fellows; there is no need for a rational motive knowing that. Investigating any other person would be faulty then, correct?."

    “I see. Is that your specialty, the whodunit?"

    With a single nod, Hishiri’s smile deepens.

    “As you say, none of us know why. And possibly, there are magi who could do something similar. However, how do you explain Trisha's dying message? Besides, we do not follow the rules of modern society, and I do not represent a state-sanctioned police force. In dubio pro reo (to be innocent until proven guilty). There is not a shred of a need to adhere to such legal principles.”

    Was the Latin that Hishiri murmured a remnant of the time of Roman law? She says readily that no such thing like that was needed. Thus, within this train, that would make her words the only truth necessary.

    And so, with a pop, she slaps her hands together.

    "Ah, if there really needs to be a reason, then why not look back with your Mystic Eyes while identifying yourself as the killer? Perhaps by gazing too long at the murders of seven years ago, you started confusing yourself as the killer? If you started losing control of your Mystic Eyes, then it is not so unlikely, is it?"

    "...You can't be serious."

    “Does it matter if I am serious? It won't make much difference if we're serious or just playing around. We are magi, after all.” Shrugging, Hishiri shakes her head.

    I can't tell whether she is joking or serious. Though, I think that there are more examples of such in the history of the Clock Tower than one might think. As if to resemble the story of ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, is there such a case that could be etched into the very history of the Clock Tower?"

    “As magi of the Clock tower, is this not enough material to detain Karabo for the time being?” Once more, she stared at the priest. “Besides, if the subject is his ability, then all we need is his testimony.”

    "...I… that is something I can not talk about.”

    Karabo says, his voice strained as if it was being squeezed.

    “Oh, you say you can't speak with us? Even so, that is perfectly fine!" And so, Hishri laughed, becoming even more repulsive. “As for your Mystic Eyes, why not put them to auction? If that is the case, then the side of the Rail Zeppelin should be able to explain just how well these Mystic Eye perform.”

    "...Yes, these Mystic Eyes are Transient." Suddenly, I heard a voice. No, it wasn't a voice. Strictly speaking, it was not even a thought. It was as if the notion itself had suddenly seeped into all of our brains.

    Just like that notion, the Rose Woman appeared. I was told that she was the Deputy Manager of the Rail Zeppelin — I myself had seen her many times.

    For once, it seemed I wasn't the only one who could perceive her.

    The magi gathered in the lobby car all held their breath slightly and focused their attention on her. “As it has become the appointed time, the collection will proceed before the auction.”

    "Appointed… time...?"

    "The staff has already informed you. Half a day before the auction, Mystic Eyes are to be extracted and stored.” Mystic Eyes extraction for the purpose of auction.

    Of all the moments, for the timing to be this moment — no, that's not it either. It is precisely because of this timing that Hishiri had engaged in such an act as a public detective demonstration.

    (It had… all been a reversal…)

    I shuddered as I realized that fact.

    Hishiri naturally knew that the evidence was too incomplete to convince the magi around her. Aside from Trisha's dying message and the fact that Karabo was present at the incident seven years ago, there was no way she could convince all the magi on board with a method that assumed an arbitrary ability to interfere with the past.

    However, no matter how outlandish or ridiculous, she was confident that the Rail Zeppelin would confirm her theory. The normal procedure of tracking down the culprit with witnesses and evidence was impossible, but this was a turning of the tables that could only be achieved in this place and by a magus. A detective of inversion.

    No.

    From the very beginning, she never wanted to be a detective. This is not a mystery drama for her. It's a political drama. Hishiri is dealing with this incident as if it were one of the many power struggles swirling around the Clock Tower. It implicitly demonstrates to all the magi here that this is the method of the Department of Law.

    Recoiling, Karabo took several steps back. “B-but wait! Not now..."

    The old man tried to resist the invasion of his personal space, but as if drawn in, the rose woman broke through. He, who had shown such brilliant physical skills with the Child of Einnashe, was so easily approached either because of his constant shaking, or because of the superior Mystery of the Rose Woman.

    Her fingers sank into half of Karabo's face.

    It was unusually natural as if she was sinking into mud or something. Not a drop of blood was spilled, which could have been a technique similar to psychic surgery. The index, middle finger, and thumb pushed in all the way to the second joint, then slid out in just a few seconds. At the same time, perhaps unconscious, Karabo collapsed.

    Deputy Manager.

    With that, the auctioneer held up a glass cylinder filled with a solution. When the Deputy Manager waved her hand, two eyeballs fell with a clatter into the tube. During the extraction, no one could even flinch.

    “That concludes the removal of the Mystic Eyes.” The auctioneer told us, her voice trembling as if she had seen the work of God.

    Their voices were trembling. Ours were too. Maybe that's what happens to all of us when we see something so far removed from the rest of the world. From the viewpoint of magecraft, I had no clue how superior of a Mystery that extraction was, so even I couldn’t catch a single breath.

    Even the fact that the Deputy Manager had disappeared again was not immediately noticed.

    “We can handle the transplantation, but only the Deputy Manager can do the removal. This is the reason why she is always asleep. Once she's done it, she will probably fall asleep again for a while.” The auctioneer caressed the glass cylinder. Much gentler than patting a baby, much prouder than feeling fine art. "Ahh ... Ahh, how magnificent." She raised her voice once more towards the eyeballs in the glass cylinder.

    Genuine emotion. Genuine impulse. It was a tone of voice that seemed to come from the depths of the mind and even further down. Yvette and Karabo had said that the staff of the Rail Zeppelin were not necessarily obsessed with Mystic Eyes, but at least this auctioneer seemed to be an exception.

    What is it that she saw from behind her tightly wound eyepatch that covered both eyes?

    Surely, it was a distinct sense from sight, right? She continued by rubbing her face against the inside of the tube, as if she were smelling it, and as if she were listening to a voice inside of it. Then, she said. "It reaches the rank of "Jewel", although I don't think Karabo was aware of this. It is worthy of being the centerpiece of our auction, the eye-catcher. It makes the shadows of the past, which should have ended long ago, appear like bubbles in the present — shall we call them the Mystic Eyes of Transience?"

    The Mystic Eyes of Transience.

    As soon as that name was announced, Hishiri Adashino turned around at once. “Well, it looks like we have sorted everything out for now.” She looked down at Karabo, who was still lying on the ground, and gently pulled on the sleeves of her kimono. “I am very sorry to have taken up so much of your valuable time. Please, may you resume your comfortable journey on the Rail Zeppelin."


    Last edited by Kneenaw; November 1st, 2022 at 03:56 PM. Reason: Fixing of formatting/small errors.

  3. #3
    Thank you SO much for this! I was wondering if these would ever get translated.

  4. #4
    Lie Like Vortigern Reign's Avatar
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    Oh shoot, thanks a ton.

  5. #5
    Though it is commendable to take initiative, it would have been nice if you have informed in this thread that you are crowd-sourcing MTL like you have informed on r/typemoon.

    Feel free to continue, but let's have good ethic, yeah?

  6. #6
    You are correct, I should be more clear. No one took me up on the request, so I'll just do it myself at my own slow pace, and I used MTL more as formatting all the lines than actually to translate. I want to make it clear that I do not rely on what MTL gives me in order to find the true meaning of sentences and that it is me who is translating. That post was just me trying to find out if anyone would be willing to help me, but I see now it looks like my attempt at crowdsourcing it. That is not the case because the document was only commentable, and no one ever tried to off their help so you can judge the entire translation as my own.

  7. #7
    改竄者 Falsifier Petrikow's Avatar
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    Sorry, that makes no sense.

    If you don't need to rely on MTL, don't use it.

  8. #8
    What I did was split the English and Japanese between odd and even lines from the start for my own personal convenience so I wouldn't have to create new lines constantly. It was just for my convenience that I wanted to have both languages in the same document from the start. It wasn't required to use Mtl software to do this, but it was the tool that I had in mind at the time. I understand now that the use of it at all spreads bad impressions and that I should have just used notepad to format manually, but I did not really know better. I have done myself no favors here, and I would only ask that I be allowed to take this as a learning experience.

  9. #9
    改竄者 Falsifier Petrikow's Avatar
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    Look, I don't wanna come down too hard, but in a decentralized environment of abundant fan-translations, you have to establish a base of trust. MTL will always rouse suspicions, and can follow people for fairly long. You're better off being as up-front as you can from the beginning if you wanna build that trust. And deleting that reddit post while disclosing nothing about it here isn't doing you any favors.

  10. #10
    I'm going to try to be as honest and transparent here and in the main thread post as I can for the sake of anyone who cares to read. Thank you for your criticisms since they are mostly fair. I have no been up to par with the expectations I want to set here, and in my attempt to move past my mistakes, I have made myself more open to skepticism.

    I can see that objectively I seem suspicious, and that sucks. My explanations seem like excuses as I am not clear about them from the beginning and then delete what I did write, even if what I wrote makes me come off so wrong. That makes me look even worse. When I posted on Reddit originally, I thought it was a great idea to look for help, but as soon as it was mentioned here and I was described as using crowd-sourced MTL as my method of translation, I saw that my post was really poorly said.

    The intention that I wrote in that post was to see if anyone would be willing to help manually translate. I may be confident enough with Japanese that I can translate it on my own, but two heads are better than one, and it does have some strange vocab. I basically welcomed anyone to come and comment (no one could edit but me) on my translation, less as a way of trying to outsource people to do it but rather as a way to see if there was anyone serious with interest. I was not clear about that because I didn't want to come off as arrogant, but I should have been clear that I would have only accepted someone who knows Japanese well enough to translate it. That was my intention, but of course, it only shows what I wanted to communicate.

    No one ever commented, and no one seemed to care enough to want to help, so the point of it being crowd-sourced is moot. The main point is that I gave up on that Reddit post before I even came here. Everything that is translated it from my own hands.

    Here is where the real issue comes in. I originally MTled the entire text, then meshed it in with the raw text in because I thought that it would work as placeholder text to make sure the lines were aligned. My actually translated text is clearly marked as being different then. I should have known that the existence of MTL at all in my translation document is enough to eliminate all legitimacy in calling it a manual translation. I know that just seeing it can lead to improper translations, even if I swear that I am making use of it. When I came here and say that I am doing these translations myself without MTL, it then appeared like an outright lie compared to what my Reddit post seemed to convey.

    I deleted the Reddit post at that point. I didn't like that it could possibly cause me to look like a liar who was pretending to translate while actually was just MTLing everything. I just wanted what I said to disappear so I could restart with a new start on explaining my method away from my bad vision for it before. It was wrong to delete it so impulsively, though, because it just makes it even more suspicious.

    I can only say that I don't have anything to gain from tricking people with a bad translation when my only goal here is a good translation for my own benefit. If I wanted a shoddy yet passable translation, then I could finish that without much effort. I will now try to move on and restart with a blank format without any MTL placeholder, and I'll try and be more transparent with translation notes in my future posts. I won't be talking further on this for now because I'd rather try and change my actual content rather than just talk about it.
    Last edited by Kneenaw; October 16th, 2022 at 02:12 PM.

  11. #11
    HSTP 500 Internal S ervant  Error aldeayeah's Avatar
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    Just release your stuff if you want to, it's not like anyone can stop you

    If it's bad, people will say mean stuff, but hey that's life
    Last edited by aldeayeah; October 18th, 2022 at 03:52 PM. Reason: ambiguity comma
    don't quote me on this

  12. #12
    Agreed. You seem well-meaning, and the fact of the matter is that no one else is actively working on these particular volumes at the moment. Your translation reads well and makes sense. I think your explanation thus far has been more than sufficient. I'll be more than happy to follow this and I suspect many others will be as well.

  13. #13

    Chapter 3

    Chapter 3, part 1


    Karabo was to be confined to a private room.

    With the collaboration with the Rail Zeppelin, there was no room for defiance as long as the Department of Law was in charge of the situation. No, excluding Karabo, for the magi of the Clock Tower, this was a splendid resolution to a small trifle.

    His eyes are wrapped in bandages provided by Rail Zeppelin, and his legs are bound with chains. The restraints were also reinforced by magic to prevent them from escaping.

    Master and I were now standing together in that room.

    We were able to have our proposal to speak a little more to Karabo when he wakes accepted. In the meantime, they seem to trust us enough not to release him without permission, but we don't know that for a fact. For the time being, the room was to be monitored by the Rail Zeppelin staff outside the room.

    Looking at Karabo, who was unconscious with his Mystic Eyes gone, Master took a short breath. “So, why are you following me?"

    “Of course I would follow you! I’m your best friend! If you say anything too distant, I'm gonna cry uncontrollably and flood this car with bloody vomit and bitter tears, but that's okay!”
    Master flatly ignores Melvin, who starts crying really annoying crocodile tears.

    By the way, Caules was watching Olga Marie at the request of Master. He decided that the boy who had escorted Olga Marie yesterday, when Trisha had just died, might be a bit better at making her acquaintance.

    “...Your body… are you really feeling okay?”

    “For now, as long as it is just talking like this.” With a faintly bitter chuckle, Master curved his lips.

    By no means did his complexion look fine. There was no way he could be expected to be fine. Even though it was not a direct hit, and he had prepared defensive magecraft, his flesh was on the receiving end of that servant's Noble Phantasm. The smell of lightning-burned flesh still wouldn't leave my nostrils.

    Nevertheless, even if it was not in Master's character to breathe out complaints, it was painful for him.

    "...For the time being, until Karabo wakes up, let's get this situation sorted, shall we," Master spoke as he put his glasses back on.

    To sort out a situation. Since boarding the Rail Zepplin, there have been many events in need of sorting. Sequenced in order.

    For instance, the stolen relic.

    For instance, the leftover invitations.

    For instance, Trisha’s death.

    For instance, the Servant’s attack.

    For instance, the emergence and hunt of the Child of Einnashe.

    For instance, the almost nefarious mystery drama by the magus from the Department of Law.

    But, right now, I divided each event with a short question, then I thought of what the first question should be.

    “Master, do you really think that Karabo killed Trisha? Like what Hishiri and the others said — with the Mystic Eyes of Transience?'

    “...Only the latter half is for sure,” Master shook his head. “It is probably true because the Rail Zeppelin staff has named them the Mystic Eyes of Transience and declared that the crime was possible. However, there is a big gap between saying something is possible and actually doing it. Miss Adashino was forcing a connection there, and I’m sure she understands that it came off as quite the show of force. Most likely, though, that's enough for her. There's no real need for the Department of Law to look for the true culprit.”

    “The Department of Law Department only wants to keep the Clock Tower running smoothly, eh?” Melvin chimes in as if to give his assent.

    I would imagine that for a magus who has been at the Clock Tower for a long time, the disposition of the Department of Law would be familiar. It is a different kind of corruption of power, an existence that is fully committed to its role. I swallow deeply, realizing the fact that both the people running management and the people being run regard one another as nothing more than cogs in a wheel.

    “In the first place, I only just saw the Deputy Manager for the first time. …Have you been seeing her before now, Gray?"

    “...Yes. But only… periodically.”

    “If you can see her, then it's a matter of spiritual sensitivity.” It was just a little, but Master's words sounded like they were imbued with something akin to envy.

    “M-maybe so. Even for the other magi, it seemed like she was invisible.” With those words, I bite my lips tightly.

    I wondered if I should then ask that one question. I was torn, but I couldn't just keep it locked away in my chest any longer, so I spoke frankly.

    “Master, what do you think about that Servant?” I glance at Melvin as I speak.

    Incidentally, the handkerchief on the young man's chest is stained red because he is vomiting blood for the umpteenth time today. To be honest, I think that the amount of blood lost is enough to require a transfusion, but I do not know what sort of body structure he has.

    “Servant? Hmm, what do you mean?”

    As expected, Melvin reacted.

    “Are you talking about a Ghost Liner — the duplication of a Heroic Spirit that appeared in the Holy Grail War that Waver participated in? I had been wondering who hurt Waver; could it be a Servant by any chance?! No, why would there be a Servant in England? And on the Rail Zeppelin of all places?"

    “I want to hear about it.”

    After answering a brief barrage of questions, Master leans against the back of his wheelchair wearily.

    “Master, you… really should still be sleeping…”

    “I’m fine. It’s for this that I have a wheelchair.”

    Even so, his breaths were terribly labored.

    Nevertheless, he lifts his gaze languidly and responds with a question at Melvin.

    “Just to be sure, you are not the culprit, are you?”

    “Ugh, Waver. I'm wounded. Since the olden days, you have constantly been unfairly accusing me of marriage fraud and selling illegal drugs!"

    “That is because you're a known offender who has done those things many times over. …Though, if it were you, you'd be here bragging and confessing. Gray, you can speak here without hesitation. Did you have contact with that Servant while I was in a coma?”

    “…Um, yes.” I nod.

    The trust between them was a bit of an enigma, but if Master still said it was fine, then there was no reason for me to argue with him.

    “When I was escaping the Child of Einnashe, I was saved by the Servant when I was hit by an avalanche. She said that… I was a warrior, so I should not die outside the battlefield.”

    “Indeed, that would be the reasoning of an ancient warrior.” Master laughed nostalgically. And a little after that, “...Ah, I am no such warrior,” he muttered.

    That alone was enough to feel that Master was more shocked than injured by the encounter with that Servant. It was only natural. The warrior woman had spoken to him in such a way as to deny his entire personality.

    — '...What an unpleasant face.'

    — 'I wondered what kind of magus you were, but all I see is a good-for-nothing.'

    — 'Man, what a complete waste of time. I never thought you could have been so disappointing.'

    I felt a tight chill in my chest.

     I hold my heart, which feels like stone under my clothes, and take one breath at a time. I can't help but wonder how Master feels. For the person who chases after someone like an ideal — how heartbreaking is it to be denied head-on by the one known as the closest companion to that ideal?

    Even still.

    Even still, I have to ask.

    “Um…” I call out to him.

    Shaking off the slight hesitation, I look up and ask. “What sort of Heroic Spirit… is that Servant?

    “...”

    In response to my question, Master was silent for a short time. Normally I would have been speechless, but this time I kept asking questions. “Olga Marie said that… Hephaestion was the most famous friend of Iskander…”

    “Hah. There is no mistaking that Hephaestion was Iskander’s most trusted retainer. Numerous legends testify to this. There may have been many heroes and great warriors under his command, but Hephaestion was the foremost among them.”

    Master also confirmed it.

    “That's why I'm bewildered.”

    “Eh?”

    As I blink to myself, he deliberated on his words as if to instruct. “I… did not witness her within the Ionioi Hetairoi.”

    “...Ionioi Hetairoi?”

    It was the first time I had heard the name, but I had an inkling as to what it meant.

    Master's eyes narrowed as if he had sensed that from my expression.

    “I see. Did you hear about it from Reines?”

    “...Um, yes. One of the Noble Phantasms used by Iskandar - the Heroic Spirit who served you in the Fourth Holy Grail War?”

    “I was the one who was serving.”

    With a strained smile, Master scratched his face.

    “The outline is correct, though. The 'Ionioi Hetairoi' is an extraordinary Noble Phantasm that summons the supreme army of Iskandar, the army that laid waste to the world, in the form of Reality Marble. When I saw it for the first time, I was stunned. Each one was unmistakably a Heroic Spirit, a great army that has traveled from Macedonia to faraway Asia. Great warriors, Maharajas, founders of dynasties, brave men with a single bond and landscape burned into the hearts of all.”

    Master's tone was more like he was reciting a book rather than speaking to anyone. A book that he had read dozens or hundreds of times, one he had no need to open as he kept it close to him at all times.

    I could almost see the scene for myself.

    A mighty ancient army roaring across a wasteland. Cavalry and spearmen mixed together, clad in their favored armor, raising their proud weapons, while their eyes hold unyielding longing and curiosity. And then - the one and only king who leads all the armies.

    It was probably because of this Noble Phantasm that Iskandar was singled out for special mention among the Heroic Spirits. Even if separated by death, even if more than two thousand years had passed, even if their souls had been called away by the world, they would come back again when their king called to them with magical energy, a mighty and unbreakable bond.

    “There were tens of thousands in that army, and I didn't speak to each and every one of the generals. But I am sure that there was no woman like her amongst them. As I said, there couldn't have been a Hephaistion, who was the greatest retainer."

    “...”

    A Heroic spirit that should be there is not.

    It seemed that precisely because it was an unbelievable horde of Heroic Spirits that the absence would be more apparent. In an army numbering tens of thousands, the generals who commanded each of those thousands would also have to hold a presence that could command their subordinates. It was hard to believe that Master would overlook the brilliance of such a great man that would stand above the rest, a man referred to as having a remarkable aura and charisma since ancient times.

    If that is the case, then what does that mean for the warrior woman?

    “Despite all that, it is difficult to say she is not Hephaestion. She was able to use Iskandar's Noble Phantasm, the 'Gordian Wheel'. That’s right, the only other Heroic Spirit who could use it, apart from Iskandar himself, would be Hephaistion, as they were described by Aristotle as having the bond of ‘one soul abiding in two bodies.” Naturally, Master was apparently aware of that anecdote. There had also been an episode in which Iskandar laughed when Darius III's mother mistook Hephaistion for the conquering king. He leaned back in his wheelchair and held his temple with one hand. “Still… I would be much more convinced that she would be Olympias.”

    “Oh yes, Olympias is Alexander’s…. Iskandar's mother. The princess of a powerful state allied with Macedonia."

    Melvin’s words accompanied Master’s.

    I was told in detail later that Olympias was renowned as more than just Iskandar's mother, but also as a fearsome figure.

    According to legend, at every festival, she was possessed by spirits and manipulated a number of serpents to crawl among the people.

    According to legend, on the eve of the wedding, she dreamt that lightning struck her in the womb, and thus Iskandar was the son of Zeus.

    It is said that Iskandar's father, Philippus II, was suspected of trying to assassinate her because he attempted to take another wife... or something like that. She was prophetic of the later heroic journey of Iskandar and held a tremendously stern disposition.

    “As I recall, Macedonia did not have a specialized priestly class, so Olympias was in charge of all the important rituals in the country. The religiosity of the people at that time - and the power of Mystery - made her extremely important to Iskandar and to Macedonia. You can't label her as a mere adherent to some new religion."

    Melvin's words suddenly reminded me of the words of the female warrior herself.

    "...Come to think of it, she mentioned she was the overseer for his mother."

    “Hmm. Originally, such a relationship would not be so strange." After a pause, Master closed his eyes.

    When I closed my mouth to avoid interrupting his thoughts, Melvin whispered in my ear. “I'm not sure what's going on; do you mean to say that Hephaistion showed up here?”

    "At least, if she is as she claims to be."

    “Hohoho…!” Unpleasantly, the young man's thin pale eyes light up.

    “...Be quiet.”

    Suddenly, Master's index finger came against his lips, and his gaze drifted to the side.

    With a small delay, the old man, lying near the bed, stirred. “Karabo.”

    Apparently, the priest was also now awake. Perhaps startled by the sudden blindness that had come upon him, he touched his face several times and then pulled at the chains that were wrapped around his legs.

    “My apologies. By the words of Miss Adashino, you are being detained."

    “...I see. That voice is… Lord El-Melloi, correct?”

    "There is also my apprentice, Gray, and my somewhat friend Melvin Weins, in case you're interested. Also, if possible, could you could put on a II after my name?"

    The priest's lips smiled just a little at the calm correction.

    “Ah, so the stories are true. I'd heard that a new Lord of the present generation is going around asking people to give them a II out of respect for their predecessor.”

    “...Well. As a magus, he certainly wasn't just footnote to me or anyone else." Master passed over the story, neither denying nor confirming it.

    Even though I had only heard a little about it, I could understand that the relationship between Master and his predecessor must have been extremely complicated. They fought and tried to kill each other in the Fourth Holy Grail War in the past, but both were unable to see it through to its conclusion. I don't know how Master feels about his predecessor now, but there was no doubt that he is obsessed with the title of II.

    “Is it fine if I validate something?” Master calmly cuts in. “Were you, Father Karabo, really involved in the incident seven years ago?”

    “...I do not know.” The old man held his head down. His wrinkled fingers were now intensely sorrowful. The fingers were creaking and shaking repeatedly. “I truly had forgotten that I had anything to do with that case until a short time ago.”

    “...You did not… remember?”

    The words were eye-opening. The content of the words seemed so out-of-character with the old man. Because of that, I was also convinced by the words that followed. "It wasn't just that incident. Lately, I've been finding holes here and there about my past, like worms eating my memory..." To my astonishment, I hear him say that.

    Master also remained stiff-faced and listened closely to the old man's revelations.

    “The past that I could see… It could seep into me even when it was horrible. Whether my eyes were open or closed, the past would come crashing down on me with an avalanche, mocking me as if it were all futile. But with even greater vigor, my own memories were breaking down. That is the sort of Mystic Eyes they are.”

    Was that the reason why he wanted to give away his Mystic Eyes?

    Surely, that would also be the same reason why he refused to stop the Mystic Eyes Auction even when confronted by the horrifying Child of Einnashe. He came on this train because he refused to be broken down any further.

    But it also reveals another fact. “...That means that you really were unable to control your Mystic Eyes.” Master gave truth to that fact. In a sense, these were the words that rather proved Hishiri’s reasoning.

    “...It seems that was… so.” Karabo's head hangs like a rotting branch.

    His fingers are wrapped in bandages. There is no blood. The eye surgery performed by the Deputy Manager apparently did not leave the subject in pain. It was probably just a precautionary measure against touching his eye sockets.

    “...Aah,” the old man groaned as if his despair was overflowing. “Even still… even still, I could at least have figured out what happened seven years ago, if only I had those Mystic Eyes now..." Karabo's voice crawled across the floor.

    He says that the Mystic Eyes, which he had so abhorred, were now needed.

    The result was so ironic that I can think of no words of comfort. As usual, all I can do is stand on the sidelines. I can only stand there choked up at such a cruel result and feeling helpless, as if I were being slowly tortured.

    “Someone has to…” He started muttering to himself. “If someone bids on those Mystic Eyes, then we'll know about the incident seven years ago, won't we? No, even this incident…!"

    “Maybe so. But it won’t be any amount that I can bid for." Master shakes his head.

    That is true. There is also the possibility of asking the magus who buys them, but the chance of that person cooperating is minuscule. It’s clear that Hishri and the Department of Law have no interest in investigating any alternative truths. So, no matter who obtains those Mystic Eyes, it will no longer be possible to look into Karabo's past or the events of seven years ago.

    “...Haha, do I need to buy them back for you then?” A relaxed voice responded.

    “Melvin-”

    “No, no, no, all these words have been worrying me for a while now. Talk of Servants and decapitated corpses. Granted, this is the most expensive thing for sale, so I'm not saying it's a sure thing, but it's interesting to try and see this challenge through to the end. I’ve come all this way for a Mystic Eyes auction, after all.” With a satisfied smile, his eyes were fixed on Master. "Naturally, there is some fun to be had with this. How about it, Waver?"

    “I will not sell my soul to the devil.” Master cuts through his gaze curtly.

    In contrast, Melvin just shrugged his shoulders and turned to me.

    “By the way, Gray. I'm afraid to say that I never met the victim — Trisha Fellows — is there anything at all you can recall?”

    “Trisha…?”

    When asked, I find myself pondering.

    Unfortunately, I didn't have much contact with her. Almost all of the situations we talked about were also with Master, so I don't think I would be the one to notice something.

    “Uh, well, I remember when we first met…” A sudden flashback to that memory made me get all embarrassed. I remembered what she was carrying when I first met her.

    “What is it?”

    “Ah, no… When I first met Trisha, I saw the inside of her clothes… there was, um… I saw… something…obscene.”

    "I beg your pardon?"

    In asking that, Master made me feel even redder in the face.

    Furthermore, Master, whose eyebrows were furrowed, did not pay any attention to my flushed face and once more asked the question.

    “Can you say it once more? What is that you saw?”

    “Um, uhhhh! That is…!”

    As if he didn't hear any protests, Master rides his wheelchair out towards me. “What is it, that you saw?”

    “Ah, um…that is…”

    Naturally, I did not want to say it twice. But there is no way I have a strong enough will to stubbornly defy him. I give up, turn my head down and mutter in a whisper. "L-like I said... there was an... obscene item... under Trisha's clothes."

    I felt like hanging myself. I even felt Add stifling a laugh on my right shoulder in amusement, and I hated it. God, if you're there, please destroy this cruel-abuse-type Mystic Code Seal at once.

    However, Master's response was not anything like that. He kept his hand over his mouth, and his eyes were wide open. Eventually, his fingers touched his temples, and out spilled a whisper, like a prophet struck by a revelation. “Bringing something like that with oneself is no mystery. Even I have some defenses in place. But that object was on the scene. Even if it was a defensive measure, it was by no means as reliable as Mystic Eye Killers. …If that is the case, then the answer is-" Everyone was quiet. “It means that there was, and is a different use for it.”

    “Master?” He did not respond to being called upon.

    He continued his words in a supremely calm manner, staring out into the void. “This is not reasoning. It can hardly be called a deduction. But I can affirm one truth if my guess here is true. I can say this for certain. The culprit is my adversary." He was startled.

    I have witnessed complex and bizarre cases at the side of Master on several occasions. However, for every one of those cases, Master was only in a position to react — and solve — the case at hand. That is how a detective in a mystery novel should be. Yet, what kind of change of heart is it to declare that the culprit is your adversary?

    “If that is the case, then we need to look into one more thing. If we are to complete this ritual, we need the necessary catalyst.”

    “Master?”

    After wheeling himself around and approaching the door, Master turned around. “Later, at some point, I'll come back to see you. Mister Karabo.”

    “I-I am sorry. Excuse me!” With those words, I hurriedly chased after his wheelchair as it moved away from the room.




    Chapter 3, Part 2


    A few minutes or so later, "...oh, instructor!" In the corridor, Caules looked back at us. His unruly hair was swaying over his glasses.

    Master told him to check on Olga Marie over here.... but from the way he was standing in the corridor of the train, it seemed that there was a problem.

    The only two people here were Master and me, as I was pushing Master's wheelchair. Melvin was on a separate mission at Master's request.

    “I'm truly sorry. I went in once, but I was kicked out.”

    “No, it's quite alright," Master raised his hand.

    Then, he said this to the boy. "Caules. Do me a favor and keep an eye on the corridor to make sure no one can come to this room for a while."

    "You want me to stand guard? Of course, I don't mind."

    “If it's a staff member or something like that, then it can't be helped, but if anyone approaches, I want you to let me know in advance. I'll put up a Bounded Field, but to be honest, I don't trust my own skills."

    Caules bowed his head straight down at Master's words, which were tinged with bitterness.

    “I understand. But please don't strain yourself, Instructor. You really shouldn't be moving around so much."

    “Thank you,” After thanking him, Master turned to the door.

    “The door's unlocked. Let's go in." With a jerk, he pulled back the door to reveal what was behind.

    As expected, Olga Marie was sitting in a chair in the middle of the private room.

    "...What, you again?" The silver-haired girl glared sideways.

    She had apparently been holed up in this room since she kicked Caules out after Hishiri's detective drama was over. Her expression was hard and cold as if she had no intention of moving a single step more.

    “Leave immediately! I already kicked your student out.” In the face of rejection, Master calmly touched the edge of the door.

    It was like he used some kind of magic; perhaps it was the Bounded Field he mentioned earlier.

    “Gray.”

    “...Um, yes.”

    With those quick words, he advanced his wheelchair right up to Olga Marie.

    He advanced right in front of her eyes, a distance where they could feel the other's breath, and then Master slowly began to talk.

    “There is a question I wish to ask of you.”

    Olga Marie opened her mouth with a look of disgust, but she also knew that she could not simply reject him in this situation.

    "What is it now? Hasn’t the Department of Law thrown the case to the side?" She does not say that it has been resolved. She seemed to be fully aware that the Department of Law was only using it as a performance in some political play. “They just stepped in and took Trisha's head off on their own. Not to say that I particularly care for you either."

    Her words may mean that she is no longer of any use to Hishiri. She only used evidence such as Olga Marie's and Trisha's head to deal with the incident at Rail Zeppelin. She held no interest in her beyond that.

    (...Truly?)

    Somehow, that thought felt strange. There was no reason or logic behind it, but it felt like there were a few noticeable artificial feathers mixed in a feather pillow that I buried my face into.

    Before I could verbalize that feeling, Master spoke up. “My lady, I believe I am vexed."

    “Vexed?”

    “Yes. This time the culprit is clearly my adversary.”

    “Again, Master used the word ‘adversary’. The culprit of this case, the details of which are still unclear, is someone incompatible with Lord El-Melloi II.”

    “So I would like to ask a question. Did Trisha Fellows leave anything else behind? Did anything fall out of the Imaginary Numbers pocket dimension other than her head?"

    The girl did not immediately give him an answer. Instead of one,"...no,” she whispered softly. “Why would I tell you such a thing?"

    “Olga Marie?” The girl did not even look at him when he called her name.

    “I detest you people.” She tightly holds her skirt and scowls up at him. Her thin lips tremble in a frown, and tears well up in the corners of her eyes, but she still says it. “I hate those who look like they've worked hard and been recognized! I hate those who look so self-contained that they don't need others' recognition! You both seem to have such looks, so I hate you as the worst of the worst!"

    “Master is not… such a thing…”

    “That's what I'm saying! Because you're trying to stand up for yourselves! You're still trying to do something after all that Department of Law detective theater, and you're not giving up! If I were the one who saw all that, then I would be miserable!” With a firm shake of her head, the girl shouted.

    The words were too emotional, too unreasonable, and therefore contained a pressure that was hard to deny. She clenched her little fists as hard as she could, her nose was twitching, and she was biting back her humiliation as she stared at us.

    “I hate above all else the fact that… I can’t reject you right now.” Her voice trembled, and she became entangled in the carpet.

    “...”

    Master was silent for a short time, then took some distance away. Instead, there was a clinking sound.

    It was the sound of a cigar being removed from the cigar case in his breast pocket. Striking a match, he lit the tip of the cigar, and Master tucked it into the corner of his lips. The aroma of the cigar seemed terribly nostalgic. Considering his condition, he probably should have been stopped, but I still wanted to stay with the aroma for a while.

    So as not to choke Olga Marie, he turned his head to the side and let the smoke puff out slowly.

    “I did not win, my lady,” Master spat those words out.

    “...What are you talking about?”

    “You should be aware. If you've done your research on the Fourth Holy Grail War, you know how I fared in that battle. Oh, sure, I survived. But that's all. I did not win. Not only that, no one won that war.”

    (...Ah,) I blinked at myself.

    It was the first time that I heard that no one had won the Fourth Holy Grail War. Although I only knew the result that Master had survived the challenge of a number of magi and Heroic Spirits, I had not heard of the overall outcome.

    (...If that is the case,) is it because there was no winner that the Fifth Holy Grail War will soon take place?

    If there is no winner at the end of the war between magi and the Heroic Spirits, in a ritual that is supposed to result in the fulfillment of a wish by the Holy Grail, is that not too cruel of a string of deaths?

    Thus, Master, who had survived that...

    “I didn’t stand up. …Simply said, it was too harsh not to cower. That does not means I gave up. …Simply said, I was never able to stop thinking. I do not regret that battle. But there is not a night that I don’t think back on it. I can't even remember how many times I simulated acting just a little bit differently and the completely different outcome that would result. Hah, it's easy to see why I wanted to go to the Fifth Holy Grail War. My lady, I am sure I just wanted to prove myself. I just wanted to prove that it was only the Master (me) who was inferior back then and that the Servant had the ability to attain certain victory."


    (Ah… hah.)

    At the sound of his voice, I bit down on my back teeth.

    Likely, I already knew that this was how it was, but when it came in the form of words, my heart still clamored. My throat ached. This was why he tried to participate in the Fifth Holy Grail War. On the Rail Zeppelin, which operated in the space between what is real and imaginary, Master finally confessed his innermost feelings. To the daughter of a Lord, who had lost just like him.

    “Olga Marie Asmleit Animusphere,” once more, he called out slowly. He holds his cigar between his fingers and addresses her. “This time I want to win. Now that I know that the perpetrator of this case is my adversary, there is no way I can let myself lose here.”

    His words were like a prayer.

    By no means was it beautiful. It was not the purity of a nun kneeling in a serene church, but the passion in him burned with the sort of zeal that causes one's teeth to grind endlessly as their knuckles bleed. Perhaps this was the true meaning of faith. Not a sacred bond that binds people together, but rather something that could imbue anyone with overwhelming ferocity.

    With a 'kii', the chair in which Olga Marie was sitting creaked. It was the sound of a girl faintly shifting her weight, pressured by Master.

    “Are you…” A groan spilled out of her. “Are you saying that the Holy Church is not the culprit in this case? Are you saying there's another real culprit, and you and your partner are the only ones who can learn who it is?”

    “We can't track them down with just the present evidence. But with a little more evidence, the chance may come.” There was a blazing light inside the following words. “Wouldn't you like to win, Olga Marie?”

    Addressing her by name, Lord El-Melloi II asks such a question.

    Like an innocent devil. Like a devious angel. Terribly contradictory concepts seemed to coexist inside him as he tried to bring the girl to our side.

    “Possibly, I will wound Trisha’s honor even more. Possibly, I will end up only reinforcing Miss Adashino’s constructed logic. Possibly, your image will be besmirched, and you will leave this train miserable. …Yet, even still…” Master shouted even more. "Don't you want proof? Proof to the world that you are not one to meekly accept the murder of your servant?" At that, the words came to an end.

    Master, who had been speaking so passionately, leaned back into his wheelchair. It seemed that he had finally become unable to bear the pain of his wounds due to the repercussions of his impassioned talking.

    I rush over and wipe his forehead, which is sweating profusely.

    After a short time, the girl opened her mouth with a long sigh. “You called me Olga Marie. Not Animusphere, nor of the daughter of a lord.”

    “...Yes. We need you. We cannot win without your answers.” Master could only weakly affirm her gaze.

    "Do not forget. This is a transaction. Lord-El Melloi II."

    “Naturally.”

    “If that is the case…” Master nodded as Olga Marie stood up. She spun around on her heel and took an item from the desk drawer behind her. “...This is what fell out with Trisha’s head.”

    “...As I thought,” Master muttered as he received it. He rolled it in his palms and muttered with conviction. “Even if I were to assume that the fox from the Department of Law would fail to notice this, it seems unlikely. And moreover, it's impossible that she wouldn't know the purpose of this Mystic Code. The puzzle would not fit, so she deliberately left it out of her reasoning. Hmm, It’s no wonder if the one who sees suddenly would become the one who is seen, right?”

    I don't understand it myself, but it seemed to be an indispensable item for Master's reasoning.

    (...But this item is… different from the one I saw before.)

    It is not the item that made me blush when I met Trisha. This item looked like a bizarre accessory. It was made of blue glass with an eyeball-like pattern in the center as if it were staring at you.

    Once he had placed the accessory back on the desk, Master had a query. "Now, may I ask you one more question? …You know too much about the Holy Grail War for the Aninusphere to have only done a little research. If possible, could you explain why that is?"

    “It's not a big deal.”

    “Any trivial detail is fine.”

    “This is not about the case, is it? This is merely your pathetic weakness when it comes to that Holy Grail War, is it not?” She waves her hands as if to signify that the question is not worth her time.

    It was clear that she was provoking him. Nevertheless, Master's expression did not change.

    “Perhaps. It would be hard to say I have accepted it even now. Still, I don't want to stop putting the pieces together one by one. It is only when I stop doing that do I feel stagnant. Maybe it is a trivial obsession, but there's only so little that I can do in the end.”

    “...”

    “You claimed earlier that it is a suspicious Holy Grail and that it is hard to believe that it was ever even the genuine article at all. You know enough to be aware of the summoning of a Heroic Spirit by the Sealing Designation Bureau, so tell me, why are you so critical of the Holy Grail?"

    Again, for a few moments, Olga Marie went silent. Her gaze became somewhat distant, but eventually, she slowly spoke. "...Back then, my father, Marisbury Animusphere, told me as such." Her shapely lips betrayed some kind of feeling. Olga Marie's father is none other than the current Lord of the Animusphere. He is the third Lord in order after Master and that spirited old woman, Lord Valualeta. One of the twelve Lords who presides over the Clock Tower. "...The Greater Holy Grail of Fuyuki is worthless."

    “The Greater Holy Grail is worthless?” He repeated back at her and raised an eyebrow.

    (...Greater Holy Grail?)I, too, ruminate over the words.

    The Holy Grail War was a magical ritual in which seven chosen Masters fought each other alongside seven Heroic Spirits, like Iskandar, and then the surviving pair would obtain the Holy Grail, which would grant any wish... or something like that, it was supposed to be that type of ritual. But how can the Greater Grail be useless?

    Having arrived at the same thought, Master asked the question. “What do you mean by that?"

    “I don't know. My father had been fervently researching the Holy Grail War that had killed the previous Lord El-Melloi, but he eventually stopped with that conclusion. ...Therefore, I think that this Holy Grail War is a fake. It seems to be some kind of fraud with a different purpose that still makes it possible to summon Heroic Spirits, but is not a high-level wish-fulfillment device. I think that must be what he meant." Olga Marie looked up and punctuated her words. “Do you know what that different purpose is? You who fought to the bitter end in Fourth Holy Grail War?”

    “...No, I also do not know,” slowly, Master shook his head. “I did not see the Greater Holy Grail in person. I have made a number of hypotheses since then, but I have never been able to confirm them. Or maybe I thought that if I took part in the Fifth Holy Grail War, I would find the answers to those mysteries."

    Those short words took me an inversely long time to fathom.

    Ten years have passed since the Fourth Holy Grail War. Considering the nature of Master, how much time has he spent brooding about the Holy Grail War? Perhaps it is comparable to the degree to which I agonize over my appearance.

    Maybe that is why. It's not as if there's much resemblance between my dim-witted self and Master, yet I sometimes feel a selfish affinity with him. It’s just that I think that he and I share in those moments where the despair is unbearable, and we just want to scream.

    The silver-haired girl wandered her swaying gaze, then suddenly muttered. “It's as if it is an afterimage.”

    “The Holy Grail War?”

    “Everything. Everything I've experienced on this train ride is as if it is an afterimage." Olga Marie replied.

    Her eyes narrowed, and her gaze shifted to the late afternoon scenery streaming past the window.

    The winter sunlight was weak, and the passing shadows held only a faint hue. After escaping from the Child of Einnashe, the train was running in mostly open wilderness, wading through seas of green.

    “Your Holy Grail War, the Child of Einnashe, and the Rail Zeppelin are like afterimages of things that have been left behind. The original owner has long since gone, leaving only an image behind in the present time. Why is everyone clinging on so hard when they know there is nothing left but an illusion? It's truly ridiculous and shameful."

    The girl's words made me feel as if I, too, were such an illusion.

    The main form of Einnashe.

    The first Manager of the Rail Zepplin.

    Both are spoken of but leave only reflections on the current case. No, even the Mystic Eyes of Transience are similar in that they bring forth images of the past. Everyone is bound by the past, kept away from the real thing as it dances in unseen shadow.

    “...Afterimage?” Once more, Master muttered in a pensive tone. His thin back trembled. My heart jumped, thinking that his body, which had been injured by the Servant's Noble Phantasm, had finally reached its limit.

    “Master…?”

    "...Ah, that's it. That is the second part, the decisive cog in this machine." With a grunt, Master looked up at the ceiling. Placing his hand on his own forehead. He slowly stroked down his face and chuckled lowly. “Just as I should expect… You are indeed the successor to Animusphere. Even if it is not with rationality, your perspective lets you look at the world objectively.”

    “Wh…at? Don’t just start complimenting me suddenly!”

    “But, this answer can only be verified with… ah, shit, at least a map from the Clock Tower.” He puts his hand on the armrest of his wheelchair and bites his lip briefly.

    After condemning him for his words, a blushing Olga Marie asks, “do you need a map?"

    “Well... I need a map that includes the situation of the Spiritual Lands. I can manage with the latest satellite photos, but if we think about the Rail Zeppelin, the relevant astral world data should be-"

    “I can prepare it,” the girl said curtly.

    “What?”

    “I said I can prepare it. I mean, all you need is the texture of this planet and the coordinate information of the inner world overlapping that texture, right?" Having said this, Olga Marie took from a nearby bag a device with a palm-sized mesh of lenses and gears.

    Apparently, it was a Mystic Code similar to a projector. “Shine bright,” With a whisper, light came from the lens.

    With a low hum, a globe-like image emerged in the middle of the room. A number of pale lights ran across the surface of the illusion, and when Olga Marie held up her hand to magnify one, it showed the area in the UK where we were apparently located.

    “...That… is…”

    “It is one of many experimental pseudo-environmental models created by the Animusphere. It's an image that can only be used to check Ley Lines and Spiritual Lands, but it should be useful to the extent that you mentioned. What? It's nothing surprising. Even the Department of Law has something similar. Otherwise, they wouldn't be able to check the frequency of use of patented magic."

    While Master groans slowly, Olga Marie holds back a smile and puffs out her chest in pride.

    Master keenly looks into the image, then nods. “...Ah, I can understand the theory behind it. However, I didn't think the Animusphere clan was interested in Earth as well."

    “Earth is one of the planets, isn't it? Our aim is not the celestial bodies themselves. If you want to be more deeply aware of this planet, the shortest way possible is to remove all the obstacles in the sky, and if that is so, then using reenactment as a process can..."

    “...Olga Marie?”

    “...It’s nothing! More importantly, if you don't have a problem with this, get it over with."

    “I understand.”

    Having said this, Master looked closely at the magnified surface again.

    Long fingers traced the white light flowing through the sphere and stopped at the point where they seemed to be. Taking notes in his notebook, Master nodded a few times and ticked off the numbers as if he had a checklist.

    “Ah, there's no doubt about it. At least the reason is clear. The killer's goal is impossibly clear. If this is the case..." Master’s voice echoes across the room.

    No matter how much I want to help, there is no way I would have answers to these sorts of questions. I bite my lip and look away, escaping to the scenery streaming by outside the window. The frozen forest is nowhere to be seen, and the tranquil countryside shifts from one scene to the next as Master's thoughts settle deeper and deeper.

    Eventually, a hollow laugh came out. “...Haha…”

    “Master?”

    “I see. It is a question of order, is it?”

    The nature of the smile on his face was completely different from usual. My heart skipped a beat for a moment as I saw his white teeth exposed like fangs as if they were about to bite my throat.

    “Ah, I've got you this time. ...Haha, how could I not have noticed? This is no mystery. It should have been so obvious from the start. When did my brain get filled with sawdust? The personal shock was so strong that I completely missed the point. Ah, yes. If Hephaestion is summoned as a woman, I would inevitably consider why. But the important thought is not why Hephaestion is a woman. Nor why Hephaestion was not in the Ionioi Hetairoi. It was more than two thousand years ago. Any circumstance or historical error can be the source of a legend. So there was more to think about than that." After a clap, he murmured as if considering how to respond to himself. “...Why would she introduce herself as Hephaestion?”

    Whydunnit. Why did she do it?

    It was the source of his thoughts, and everything looped back to it. But this time, what kind of whydunnit could he give as the cause of all this?

    “Oh, it is everything. This is not a case. This is only the afterimage of what once was a case. No, this is an even greater hopeless disaster than that.”

    “What are you talking about?” Olga Marie's eyebrows raised questioningly, but Master shook his head.

    “I'll save the explanation for later. Unfortunately, it's not a topic that can be believed without evidence. ...But I don't know whether or not that will come in time."

    Master, with a cigar in his mouth and his lips twisted bitterly, suddenly glanced towards the door.

    Suddenly, a presence stirred outside the room. It seemed that Master had done something to the room, but it was not the kind of thing that would shield the sound from the outside, and it was here that the voices of the two men reached us.

    “P-please wait for a moment, Melvin! The instructor said that no one is allowed to enter-”

    “Hmhm! I told you already; I’m here because I’ve finished the favor that Waver begged me to do for him!”

    Master's expression relaxed slightly at the exchange. “Ah, here he comes. Gray, could you open the door?”

    “Ah, yes.”

    When I opened the door, two figures entered as if entangled with each other.

    One was Caules, and the other was Melvin. The white-haired young man was more proud with his striking white suit, and he puffed his chest out as he entered. “Haha. I've had the auction postponed, as you insisted!”

    “How did it go?”

    “Haha, leave it to me to make a fuss about this sort of thing. After some time spent complaining about inadequate catalogs, train delays, clumsy directions for late customers, and anything else that I could think of, the auctioneer was forced to postpone the start of the auction as long as possible in order to gather the necessary funds to address my concerns. It was going to be an evening start, but now it will be starting later into the night.”

     The word 'whiner' crossed my mind, but I dared not to say it. For sure, this was one of the young man’s fields of expertise. It's easy to imagine him in a high-class London store airing his grievances in exactly the same tone. Even worse was the fact that, in the end, he seemed to be one of the better customers.

    “Excellent,” Master nodded. He takes out his silver-chained pocket watch and checks the time. “From ten to just after midnight…? It may only just be in time.”

    “What do you mean to do, instructor?" Caules asked, naturally anxious.

    In contrast to that anxiety, Master only laughed awkwardly. “There is no need to be in a hurry. I should restore my energy before anything else. …By the way, Caules, can I ask you for one favor?”

    **********

    After that, the situation did not change.

    Master quietly went back to bed to rest, and I did not leave his side.

    Caules also did not leave the room, as he had to rebandage Master's back and reapply the Panacea that we had received from Olga Marie. Dinner was announced, but Master said it was unneeded, so we decided to stay.

    Melvin was the only one having fun as he came and went, and at least as far as he could recognize, there was no trouble elsewhere. However, we all had a certain premonition.

    The short but terrifying journey of the Rail Zeppelin is about to enter its final stage.

    Thus, later into the night, a certain broadcast echoed through the train.

    “Ladies and gentlemen,” said the voice of Rodin, the conductor. The now familiar baritone voice harshly invaded my earlobes. “Ladies and gentlemen — we would now like to begin the Mystic Eye Auction. We invite you to come to the second carriage, also known as the Pandemonium Room."




    Translation notes:

    Translating the phrase of ‘as if I was being slowly tortured.’ The original text is 首を絞める綿のような, or literally ‘as if to be strangled with cotton/floss.’ This is a proverb or sort of idiom to mean to be tortured slowly. It comes from the hard part of the cotton that is more like strong silk, so don’t get confused trying to think of people choking people with fluffy cotton. Just an interesting thing to know.

    泡影の魔眼 is the Mystic eyes of Transience. 泡影 literally means bubbles and shadows or something being transient. Transience is what the wiki calls them, so I use that.

    It is also interesting that Melvin says Alexander then corrects himself to use Iskandar. I think that this means that it is more than just Fate deciding to use Iskandar instead of Alexander, but rather that Heroic Spirit Iskandar refers to himself as such. Which is sort of accurate since Alexander did really like Persian culture.


    万魔眼球庫 - (パンデモリウム)
    The kanji used as sort of ateji for pandemonium at the end literally means The 10000 Mystic Eyeballs storeroom. It is referred to as only Pandemonium in the original Japanese text, but I think calling it the Pandemonium Room makes more sense in English. I swear… there is not a single chuuni that can help itself in using words like pandemonium or Ragnarok.

    Oh, and remember that you should not post spoilers for or past this volume without a spoiler tag.

    Tell me if you see any errors.

  14. #14
    The Long-Forgotten Sight Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    You can't just call another lady's boobs obscene Gray smh
    Quote Originally Posted by Arashi_Leonhart View Post
    canon finish apo vol 3

  15. #15
    Thanks for the translation! Error-wise, I spotted "Weaver" and a number of switches to present tense.

  16. #16
    Alright, thank you. I've made the tenses make more sense in English; I'll keep that in mind for the future too.

  17. #17

    Chapter 4

    Part 1


    "Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. I am proud to receive you in the Rail Zeppelin's Pandemonium Room."

    The conductor's greeting echoed through the train like a grave musical instrument.

    It was a breathtakingly strange place.

    The inner walls of the Pandemonium Room (the vault of 10000 Mystic Eyeballs), as one would expect, are crammed with glass cylinders containing eyeballs. The eyeballs lined up in a row had a strangeness that intimidated even me, who had met many odd magi. If all of them are Mystic Eyes, each one must contain an unimaginable number of mysteries and stories.

    At the same time, another aberration had to be recognized.

    (...The size is… strange.) No matter how you look at it, these were not the proportions of a single train carriage.

    Setting aside height, it seemed to be twice as wide as it was long. It seemed that some kind of space-distorting magic or something was being used, although it was only the bare minimum required. At the back of the train was a raised level where the conductor and auctioneer were waiting. Are the other staff members driving this train now? Or is the train itself operating itself?

    “Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your great patience.” Again, the conductor spoke up.

    The figure and voice seemed to stand there for thousands of years, assimilated with the darkness. As long as the Rail Zepplin exists, its presence will not be extinguished, but should the Rail Zeppelin disappear, it seemed as if it would also fade away.

    Including myself and Master, roughly all the invited guests have assembled here.

    In addition, Melvin.

    Olga Marie.

    Yvette.

    Jean-Mario.

    Adashino Hishiri.

    The only ones who were not there were Caules, who was busy with something, and Karabo, who had been locked up.

    The ravens and other familiars who had boarded after escaping from the Child of Einnashe were also divided into two groups and distributed near the ceiling.

    "This auction is for the sale of a total of five Mystic Eyes. Please refer to the catalogue in your possession for information on the performance and terms and conditions of the individual Mystic Eyes, as well as the estimated bidding price and the rules of the auction."

    Five in total.

    Two were new to us, but were probably introduced at the dinner we did not attend. We have no reason to be angry because it was up to us not to attend.

    “Also, as we have already informed you, the currency used in this auction will be the US dollar. We understand that this trip is within the United Kingdom, so we realize that some of you may have questions, but please be patient and understand the circumstances of the Rail Zeppelin, which operates all over Europe. We can convert national currencies into US dollars, and we have secured external communications so that we can confirm loans and so on. Feel free to use our services."

    After the briefing, the conductor stepped back.

    A fur coat slid into the gap. “Now we will begin the magic eye auction,” auctioneer Leandra declared somberly.

    A small mallet swings out from inside her fur coat. Why does that very tiny piece of wood look so terrifying to my eyes?

    “...Master?”

    “...It’s vexing, but the evidence has yet to arrive,' replied to Master in a hushed voice.

    Has Melvin's efforts to delay been in vain?

    “Neither Olga Marie nor Yvette would look at us any longer. They may have their own relationship to the case, but at the same time, they were helplessly magi when it came down to it. So much so that when it came to the auction of these Mystic Eyes, they dismissed all other interests.”

    At the same time, the unusual intensity in the room is not solely due to the invited guests.

    I could feel the countless gazes of the familiars from earlier pouring down on the stage.

    "I shall now open the sale for the first Mystic Eyes." As the auctioneer bowed her head, another member of staff emerged next to her.

    They were holding an elegantly made glass cylinder, different from the ones lining the walls. The contents, of course, were a pair of eyeballs. When the cylinder was placed beside her, the auctioneer nodded her head in satisfaction and murmured in a husky voice: "The first selection is one of a Noble Color, the Mystic Eyes of 'Flame'. As it is a basic level Noble Color, the minimum price starts at 1 million dollars. The auction begins now."

    The wooden hammer strikes down. Before its echo even died, the bidding began.

    “One million dollars.”

    “One million two hundred thousand.”

    “One million three hundred thousand."

    The familiars continued to chirp out.

    At large auctions, the auctioneer is said to offer the bid price, but since Rail Zeppelin has no more than 20 bidders, including familiars, the participants are asked to declare their numbers directly.

    However, it was a terribly eerie sight, as most of the familiars were birds, such as owls and ravens. Even if a parrot imitates a voice, it is only an imitation. There is no will in their voices, and they can't possibly possess intelligence. However, the voices of these familiars were not only intelligent but were also clinging to a bizarre obsession with the evil eye and money.

    "One and a half million."

    "One million seven hundred thousand."

    "One million nine hundred thousand."

    And the voices continued. It was like an incantation that went on for many counts.

    Together with the intense obsession latent in the sound of the voices, the auction itself seemed to my eyes to be some kind of grand ritual. Every time a new value was shouted, my chair seemed to echo and moan, further distorting this twisted room. No, it might actually be magecraft. I remember Master telling me that money is a joint illusion created by people, a kind of magecraft. If so, an auction would be the best example of that. Especially when it comes to the auction of Mystic Eyes.”

    When the familiars had declared all their bids, the first bid paddle went up.

    “Five million dollars.” It was Yvette.

    All at once, it went up almost threefold. I remember her saying that she wouldn't leave it to the familiars if the guests were serious about attending. The performance up to this point was just a prelude. It was as if she had declared that the real show would begin from here, and the air in the train became even tenser.

    Another paddle went up.

    This time "five million three hundred thousand" was Jean-Mario. I can't help but be amazed at him. He said he made his money from his media career, but does that mean he can afford that much? Or was it money made in a different way?

    “Five million five hundred and fifty thousand.”

    “Six million,” again, Yvette and Jean-Mario went on.

    A sickening feeling runs down my spine. The amount of money that could have probably paid for a person's entire life is thrown arround this train like it is nothing. It evaporates so easily. It is almost like magecraft, invading our nerves.

    "Six million one hundred and twenty thousand."

    "Six million two hundred thousand."

    "Six million three hundred thousand."

    Yvette, Jean-Mario, and Yvette again.

    Carefully they were approaching the final moves. Their voices, which raised the bid in 100,000 increments, sounded as if they were accompanied by a particular rhythm. The heat of the carriage was stirred up even more by the occasional interruption of the auctioneer's count.

    Both anticipation and excitement combine to construct this auction.

    In this case, are the target Mystic Eyes being seen? Or are they seeing?

    “Six million three hundred and thirty thousand. Are there any others?"

    The auctioneer looked around the room for confirmation.

    Jean-Mario gnashed his teeth in frustration, and there was no further rise, yet when the auctioneer lifted the gavel, a new voice was heard.

    “Ten million," the young man with bright white hair raised his paddle.

    (Melvin…) My breath stops in my throat.

    Melvin, who had spoken an eight-digit number, was as calm and collected as ever.

    As expected, neither Yvette nor Jean-Mario could resist the figure, so this time, when all voices had ceased, the auctioneer brought down the gavel. The hammer price. A hard thud clearly indicated who was the winning bidder.

    With that sound, there was a palpable sense of motion among the swarming familiars.

    (Who gets which magic eye will be the next point of interest at the Clock Tower....)

    Yvette had told me something like that before. She said that high-ranking Mystic eyes were something that had such power. Melvin Waynes just acquired some sort of Noble Colour on Rail Zeppelin. ...That information alone is probably enough for some lives to be lost.

    The first Mystic Eyes were lowered, and a new one was distributed on the platform.

    “Next, we have the Mystic Eyes of the Looting. I would like to reiterate that you should check the catalogue for the Limitation of Liability. These Mystic Eyes are of the 'Gold' rank, so the minimum amount is five million dollars." I recall the Limitation of Liability with these eyes.

    Previously the auctioneer said that these Mystic Eyes had turned on their original owner. 'Gold' rank eyes said to steal away the life force of others just by looking at them.

    When the rank of 'Gold' was mentioned, a loud roar spilled out from among the familiars. Even though they had seen it in the catalogue, they were still deeply impressed when it actually appeared. It is because they are magi who live alongside Mystery that they can understand the value of this Mystery. I wonder how much of an impact these Gold rank Mystic Eyes have on them.

    This time, Jean-Mario did not take part. Perhaps he saw the amount of money contested earlier and thought this was no match for him. After a skirmish between the familiars, it was now a one-on-one battle between Yvette and Melvin, but this time Yvette won the bidding for 40 million.

    "As one would expect from the expert of Mystic Eyes, she does not retreat when it comes to these ones," Master says, stroking his chin.

    For Yvette, it was one act that she would definitely not miss.

    The next two magic eyes were not Noble Colors and, as a result, were auctioned off to the familiars. In such cases, the implantation operation was supposed to be carried out after the Rail Zeppelin ended with the winning bidder negotiating the date and place of the operation.

    **********

    And so the moment arrived. The fifth item, a cylinder containing two eyes, finally went up on the platform.

    “Now, to conclude — the main event of this evening. The Jewel-ranked Mystic Eyes of Transience.” The auctioneer bowed.

    It was as if she were paying tribute, not to the invited guests, but to the Mystic Eyes.

    Not a single person disapproved of that attitude; in fact, the already raging atmosphere in the train was simmering dozens more than that. A mixture of desire, obsession, and other passions, swept through the Pandemonium Room like an inexplicable whirlpool.

    "Even on this train, we have likely never handled Jewel Mystic Eyes. I have to say that everyone here, including myself, is supremely lucky to be here."

    Faintly, the auctioneer's voice sounded almost shrill and excited.

    The enthusiasm that filled the Pandemonium Room was not just on the part of the bidders. It appeared that most of the train staff were merely following in the footsteps of their form Manager, but when it came to these Jewel Mystic Eyes, a new side of them was revealed.

    "The minimum is 30 million dollars." It was off the scale from the start.

    At this level, it seems that the magi participating in the race with their familiars were not willing to participate unskillfully. None of them showed any sign of speaking out, and the race was only for invited guests who were participating in the flesh.

    “...Seventy million,” Melvin started it off.

    Even at this amount, the albino man did not change his expression at all. He simply gave a single nod of his head, nonchalantly doubling the minimum amount.

    “Eighty million," Olga Marie follows suit and raises her paddle.

    I stifle the voice I was about to raise for the first time since I came here.

    “...Olga Marie…”

    “It's only natural, I suppose. Even though she had the trouble of her servant's death, she was originally aiming for these Mystic Eyes. Even if they are not 'rainbow', the rank of 'jewel' is sufficient for her goal. She has no reason to hesitate.” Master whispers.

    Although we made a deal with her, this would mean that the auction is another matter entirely.

    That is true. Olga Marie's participation would not be an obstacle to Master's search for the culprit. However, the fact that someone with whom I had exchanged even the slightest of words was taking part in such a grueling competition was in itself enough to shake my timid heart.

    "85 million."

    "90 million."

    Sparks seem to fly between the two.

    The blades being exchanged were neither real nor magical, but I could clearly feel the blood spurting and the intensity of the pain being inflicted. The collective human illusion of money has that much meaning.

    “95 million.”

    “100 million.”

    A third person came into the grand stage. Yvette joined in with a lavish move. But, as if to shout, "So what?" the voices continue.

    “One hundred and ten million.”

    “One hundred and twenty million.”

    Melvin and Olga Marie's paddles do not go down.

    My heart is racing, painfully so. My mind, which is merely watching from the sidelines, is caught up in the whirlwind of numbers.

    "Yes, even a Picasso is worth this much. So when it comes to Jewel-ranked Mystic Eyes, there will be no stopping them just yet." Master whispered, and sure enough, within seconds, a new price was quoted.

    “One hundred and thirteen million,” a voice said, almost inaudible.

    Hishiri Adashino, who had been watching from the sidelines until now, raised her paddle. The fourth person to join. The staff and magi all gulped at the sight of her elegantly holding up the sleeves of her kimono.

    "...No, no, no, you have to be joking here, Miss Department of Law?"

    Even Yvette blinked, perhaps to cover up her shock, and she muttered lightly. At a normal auction, this might be considered bad manners, but on this train, no one seemed to be paying any attention.

    "Of course I'm serious. This is not something you jokingly can join," Hishiri's words were stubbornly calm.

    Both Melvin and Olga Marie were speechless at her smile.

    “Please go ahead and continue with the auction without further delay.” The auctioneer gently urged them on and brought down her gavel lightly.

    With that, the bidding resumed.

    "140 million."

    "150 million.”

    "160 million.”

    Melvin, Olga-Marie, then Hishiri continued.

    With four invited guests in the bid, the auction inexorably accelerates. It reminded me of a spinning spiral helix. Performed by the magi participating in the auction and using the 'energy' of money as the intermediary, this was a grand magic ritual invoking a spiral. The four paddles did not drop in spite of the whirlpool.

    “200 million,” Yvette said. It was a new milestone.

    As expected, a murmur broke out. A hint of unrest certainly spread among the familiars who were watching. From them, this information would flow further outwards. How strong will the world of magi shake from this ripple effect?

    “It's a tricky juncture,” whispered Master.

    "If this were an auction at the Clock Tower, where there would be no direct invitations, and if these were the rank of 'Rainbow' as Trisha said ─ The Mystic Eyes of Death Perception ─ the price would be several dozen times more. If there were Mystic Eyes that could inflict the result of death, transcending both logic and cause and effect, then everyone would jump at them. However, the Mystic Eyes of Transcience is not decisive to the same degree. Jewel-ranked Mystic Eyes are so rare that only a few of the Lords may possess them, but the ability to bring the past to life in the present is itself a power that is valued differently among magi. Thus, this auction is about how much of a price rarity on its own has.”

    (...Ahh,) somehow I understand now.

    Price is by no means absolute. This is especially true of Mysteries. Since so few magi know their value and significance, there will inevitably be extreme fluctuations.

    “The price tag at the Rail Zeppelin is, in a sense, cheap. After all, Mystic Eyes are not something you can put a price on. Nevertheless, as long as the number of invited guests is limited, the sky's the limit here."

    Indeed, there was movement.

    Olga Marie bit her lip in frustration and lowered her paddle.

    No, not only her, but Melvin had also put down his paddle. It would finally come to an end. The endpoint that comes to every festival. Into whose hands will these Mystic Eyes fall? Who will be allowed to see the world in a new light?

    Only Hishiri and Yvette remained.

    Hishiri raised her voice anew.

    “210 million.”

    “220 million,” Yvette immediately responds.

    However, even her best bid was met by Hishiri, who remained smiling.

    “230 million,” Hishiri's crystal clear voice echoed through the train.

    In the end, no response came from Yvette's mouth. Olga Marie and Melvin, who had followed her earlier, showed no sign of raising their paddles either.

    Once again, the auctioneer looked over the Pandemonium room.

    "Two hundred and thirty million, going once?" The noise in the room remained constant, so she had to make sure. "Going twice?"

    The hammer is lifted, confirming to everyone. The Hammer Price. The Mystic Eyes that had been taken from Karabo — and also possibly saw through the whole case — were now in the hands of the Department of Law-

    “...240 million,” a paddle was raised.

    Everyone's eyes went wide open at the one who did it. Not only Yvette and Olga Marie, but even Hishiri, who had been the highest bidder until now, went stiff.

    “Master!”

    It was Master… who brought up the paddle.

    Several of the familiars shrieked at the participation of the unexpected magus. Even the auctioneer, who was not surprised by Hishori's participation, was so taken aback this time that she had no idea what to do with the mallet she had lifted.

    “What's wrong? I said 240 million. Auctioneer, I would ask you to proceed.”

    In a remarkably calm voice, Master urged her to move on. However, as I sat next to him, I could see in my peripheral vision that his left fist, which was still down on his knee, was trembling ever so softly.

    “Well…” The auctioneer nodded and lowered the mallet.

    “Wait!” Melvin raised his hand. "It is a bit too hot in here. I am sorry, but can we take a short break?"

    The fact that there were no protests from the other magi at these seemingly selfish words was probably due to the fact that Master's participation was so unexpected.

    With slight confusion, the auctioneer spoke. "I accept your proposal. Let's take a break for fifteen minutes," she said with a long shudder as if she were being shaken.


    Part 2
    “...What are you trying to do, Waver…?” For once, Melvin spoke in a serious tone.

    It was a private room. As soon as the young man left the Pandemonium Room, he came over to the room where Master was and questioned him with an intensity that had not been seen before.

    “There's no way the El-Melloi could have come up with that kind of money at the moment! I mean, even your personal debts must be totally insolvent! Do you think the auctioneer of the Rail Zeppelin will allow you to dishonor your purchase?”

    "Certainly, I can not afford it." Nodding, Master squinted his eyes slightly. "But you were going to back out there."

    "Well... you know I'm living a rather extravagant lifestyle, and in the end, all my money is just leftovers from the main family. I don't have enough to bid any more than I did. I can't delay it any further."

    The young man exaggeratedly lifts his hands.

    As someone who has only touched money from a part-time job, this is beyond my comprehension, and I have no idea what is enough or not enough to live on. I can't even imagine how I would spend 10,000, let alone 100 million.

    “That being said, Yvette was very suspicious. Two hundred million dollars is too big a stretch, no matter how you put it. The main family of Archelot and Barthomeloi might pay that, but that is far from pocket money. Even though she is of a family that has specialized in Mystic Eyes for generations, I find it hard to believe that they have that kind of money."

    "...Does that mean that Yvette is concerned with the case?"

    “Well. I'm no detective. I'm simply telling you the limits of her assets."

    In other words, it is a basic skill for those embedded in the power structure of the Clock Tower to estimate the asset limits of powerful families. This is why the Clock Tower is not only a place for the study of magic but also a crucible for all kinds of intrigue.

    The auction just a short time ago is a microcosm of the war in the Clock Tower.

    As I felt myself breaking out in a profuse sweat, I had one more question.

    “Then perhaps she wanted to see how much Hishiri and the Department of Law would be willing to give?”

    “...That way, in a way, it wouldn’t matter how much she bid, right?”

    “Eh?”

    Master gives a small sigh as he looks back at me.

    "Think about where all the money from this auction is going to go."

    “Uh, Uhhum…”

    When I didn't immediately grasp the meaning, Melvin raised his index finger and continued the explanation.

    “You see, unique to the Mystic Eyes of Transience is the fact that they are Karabo's, right? The Rail Zeppelin might try to force people to give up the Mystic Eyes they want, but that is based on the belief that all Mystic Eyes should be handled on this train rather than a scheme to make money. They pay the seller everything except for a fair commission fee.”

    "Ah, then most of that 200 million-plus will go to Karabo."

    "Yes. However, if Karabo is imprisoned, his property will be confiscated at the Clock Tower, won't it? The price of these Mystic Eyes, which went up as high as it did, will eventually come back to the Clock Tower anyway."

    “Oh…” Involuntarily, I let my voice come out.

    I finally realized what Melvin meant, and now Master took over the rest of the story.

    “Inevitably, the Department of Law, which also has a grip over the policies and operations at the Clock Tower, will acquire those assets. According to Hishiri's judgment, there will be no problem no matter how much money she spends. The most important thing to understand is that the money she bids at the auction will be returned exactly as she paid for it, except for the commission.”

    While I was simply basking in the excitement of the auction, a conspiracy was hatched behind the scenes. Or at least a part of one. From her perspective, is this just a matter of transferring money back from one wallet to the other?

    "If so, how far is the range of her judgement?' I think it's close enough to the limit. I mean, even the commission, however small a percentage it may be, is nothing to scoff at. Not to mention the fact that Karabo belongs to the Holy Church; it's war if this goes badly."

    Melvin fiddles with his own white hair with a twirl.

    In contrast, Master asks, with a deeper-than-usual furrowing of his brow. "Melvin. How far can you push it? Can you stick with it?"

    "Hmm. I don't think you want these Mystic Eyes. What's your goal here?"

    "It is likely that that other party didn't anticipate this steep price jump either. They will have to concentrate during the auction. We'll use that gap to deliver our trump card."

    (...Other party?) Who on earth was he talking about?

    Could it have something to do with what he entrusted to Caules?

    “That's a very expensive gap.” Cheerfully, Melvin laughed. And then, “Say, Waver,” he said in a rather gentle tone. “Let me ask you one more thing. Can you promise me that this will be fun? Can you guarantee that for me? Can you guarantee that this one act is worth risking your friend's ruin for?"

    The young man's eyes were fixed squarely on Master. Perhaps he had looked at him the same way when Master asked him for money to travel to the Far East just before the Fourth Holy Grail War. The atmosphere between the two of them was so tense that it was like a convergence of time I could never possibly understand.

    Master responded with a small nod.

    "I promise you. You will surely love it."

    “Great, then what are we waiting for?”

    Immediately, Melvin pulled out his mobile phone. Before the auction began, he easily connected with whomever he was talking to as he told us that communication to the outside world had been secured, and then the young man immediately cut to the chase.

    “Oh, it's me. This is the tuner you asked for before. No, I can't get that for you right now. But if I put it up with some collateral, how much can I get upfront? Thirty million dollars? Now surely you can push that to seventy million. Well, I don't have much time, so let's compromise on fifty million. Great, that's it then.”

    "Hey, it's me. I'm thinking of mortgaging the house a little... No, I want to do it secretly without Mum hearing about it. How soon can you get it done?"

    “Yeah, it's Melvin. Aghaaaaaaah! No, sorry. That was just the usual vomiting blood. Incidentally, I'm thinking of mortgaging a bunch of Mystic Codes I've been using for a while, but I'm not sure how much I can finance right now..."

    After reaching three loan agreements in rapid succession, the young man turned to us with a nod of his head.

    "Yes. That’s an additional 130 million. Can we go fight now?"

    My mouth gaped because I understood the significance of what he had done. It was done as if he was offering to buy us a cup of coffee or something, but I understood, whether I wanted to or not, that he was handing over everything to us.

    After nodding to his words, Master turned around to face me.

    "By the way, Gray. I was wondering if Reines gave you her card?"

    "Uh? Ah... y-yes!"

    Master pointed out something that I had forgotten, and I rushed to search my pocket.

    "Um, this is the card Reines gave me!"

    I had received it from Reines before I boarded Rail Zeppelin. It was thrust into my hands with almost threatening force, as I was told that I would need a real cache of money for the auction, but here it really is coming in handy.

    Master glances down at the card and closes one eye in disgust.

    “Ah shit, this can pull maybe 30 million. She would want to build up my debt in this place, so I knew she'd let me have it."

    "Well, add it up, and you get 160 million extra. That'll get us to 360 million."

    Melvin, having done the calculations, suddenly turned his head to look behind him.

    “Instructor.”

    “Caules,” I called his name myself. Caules, who had been ordered by Master to do something, came back into the room with a large bag.

    My gaze bored into the item peeping out of the inside of the bag.

    “...Ah.”

    “Well done,” Master whispered, and Caules nodded with an expression that was still not quite relaxed.

    "Yes. It was left in Hishiri's room, so I took it. As you said, it wasn't locked or defended at all."

    “Trisha’s… head.” I can't help but gaze at it with a serious gaze.

    The bag that Caules was carrying contained Trisha's head, which had been discovered by Olga Marie - who said that it had been hidden by Imaginary Numbers Magecraft. Apparently, Caules had taken the head while Hishiri was taking part in the auction and went into hiding. The reason there was a pause between the auction and his arrival in this room was probably that he was anxious that Hishiri might come back to her room and make a fuss.

    As it turned out, Hishiri remained on standby in the Pandemonium Room, and the scheme was never discovered.

    "For her, she probably doesn't see the point in locking her door, since even the staff of the Rail Zeppelin can't be trusted. Even if someone did break in, it would be difficult to get anything out of the Rail Zeppelin. Moreover, Trisha's head has no evidentiary value at this point. There is also the matter of the Mystic Eyes, and it seems that magic has been applied to prevent them from corroding, but that’s it. ...However, they have significant meaning."

    Master laughed with a satisfied smile.

    "By the way, um, what happened to the auction? 'I looked into the Pandemonium Room and saw that you weren't there, so I rushed back over here."

    "Ah, we got a break at 240 million. Incidentally, I'm the highest bidder right now."

    “Eeeeeh?!”

    Master gently took the bag from Caules, who jumped up and down in astonishment.

    He places the bag on his lap and dexterously turns his wheelchair.

    “Let’s get ready now, Caules.”

    “Uh, yes!”

    The boy rushes after Master as he leaves the room.

    Melvin and I were left behind.

    I shake my head loosely and sigh heavily, overwhelmed by the sheer intensity of time. Months seemed to be condensed into mere minutes. Even during this break, the other camps might also be looking left and right for loans and whatnot.

    So, what will it be?

    Although there wasn't a proper reason, I turn around and asked a question to Melvin.

    “Why… are you doing so much?”

    I was about to ask him why he was so loyal to Master, but the words failed to come out.

    Nevertheless, the young man was able to guess the unspoken question.

    “That’s easy,” He laughed and nodded. “You see. I am a rather depraved person who takes pleasure in the degradation and downfall of other people. Just ask anyone who knows me in the Clock Tower, and they would nod their heads instantly. I live my life in such a way that I have no choice but to keep on beating the drum that that reputation is extremely true." After saying this, Melvin wiped his mouth with a handkerchief.

    It was also stained with blood.

    "I was like this long before they realized that my body was incapable of being a normal magus. So it's not like I was distorted by my family environment. I was probably inhuman from the start, and the cold treatment at home after they found out about my constitution didn't have any effect on me. Yeah, it was just a couple of times or dozens of times that I almost died, but that's the kind of thing that any magus has experienced."

    A situation that can be found in every corner world. I can only attempt to imagine what it is like, as I am not a magus. Still, I could tell that this young man was speaking with great sincerity.

    I could tell that Melvin, who had always seemed to be joking around since we first met, was at least serious about this.

    "However, there is a pride in being inhuman. If you think something looks fun, even if it is your parents or yourself, you ought to put a bet on it right up to the bitter end. Anyone who stays in the safe zone without putting a bet down, is no longer a bastard, but just a coward." After speaking quietly, the albino man turned and followed after Master.

    The Pandemonium Room — the field of battle — was waiting for him.


    Part 3

    “...Well then, we will resume at 240 million.” The auctioneer’s voice was now calm.

    Although unexpected about the last participant, it seems that she will not be confused any further if only due to the amount of money involved. Confirming that everyone from earlier, including myself and Caules, has returned, she announces the resumption of the auction with the clanging of the mallet.

    “250 million.”

    “260 million.”

    Immediately, outlandish numbers began to echo around the train.

    First was Hishiri, then Melvin. Once she put down her paddle, Hishiri narrowed her eyes at Melvin's return to the stage. For the time being, Master can at least be relieved that he has been spared from being saddled with yet more astronomical debts.

    Not only that, but another has returned to the front of the auction.

    “280 million,” It was Yvette.

    During the break, had she received additional loans like Melvin? Perhaps seeing that a raise of 10 million each would not be enough, the twin-tailed girl put 20 million on the table in one go. A smile of satisfaction appeared on her dainty lips as she raised the paddle.

    However, “300 million.”

    “320 million.”

    Both Hishiri and Melvin followed after her.

    An additional 20 million each. With the price tag past 300 million, the magi in the room could no longer even groan. The auction had entered a world that even regular customers had never seen before.

    “330 million.”

    “340 million.”

    “350 million.”

    The raises then returned to ten million increments. It was Yvette, Hishiri, and Melvin, in that order.

    It seems as if every word is cutting into my lifespan. It is said that equivalent exchange is a principle of all magic, but how can one tell how to value magic with a monetary number? How many people have to devote their entire lives to reach 10 million, which is now being thrown away every second in this room?

    “360 million.” Finally - after only a few minutes - they arrived at that amount.

    The maximum amount of new funding Melvin was been able to secure.

    For a moment, all was still.

    However, after a few seconds, there was more, “370 million.” Hishiri declared this while raising her paddle.

    I felt Master next to me clenching his fist. Although Master is careful with his facial expressions so as not to let his agitation leak out, I now know that this is a poor poker face. Master's nature is irrepressibly passionate, impulsive, and impatient. No matter how much training he puts himself through, it doesn't change his core character.

    Master is now desperately trying to hold back his trembling.

    Glancing over, I feel Melvin's gaze move toward me. As if to ask if this is enough, but Master does not react. He doesn't because if he acknowledges it, then he will be forced to admit that this is the end of the line.

    Is that why? Is that why Melvin looks up and bids?

    “400 million.”

    “410 million.”

    I nearly unconsciously gasp out.

    Hishiri lowered her paddle in response to Yvette's 410 million, who continued to bid. The auction, which had been driven up between the three of them, finally broke one corner, leaving it to a two-person race between Yvette and Melvin.

    (Yvette…?)

    Frankly, it was an unexpected situation. I had somehow thought that no matter who was going to get off, the one who would surely stay would be Hishiri of the Department of Law.

    I did not think that the two of them would now be fighting over the Jewel-ranked Mystic Eyes.

    For only a moment, all movement stopped.

    “410 million, going once?”

    Once again, the auctioneer asked for confirmation.

    Without her having to say it twice, Melvin raises his paddle to declare his new bid. He has long since passed his limit, but he does not stop bidding even when he is supposed to.

    “420 million.”

    “430 million.”

    Instantly, Yvette responded.

    It was nearly double the amount she had lowered her paddle for earlier.

    (Does the Lehrman family really have that money…?)

    Considering that she was a regular at Rail Zeppelin, it was hard to believe that this was a reckless window-shopper. That said, I never heard that she was wealthy enough to compete with the Department of Law and one of the three Great Families. Of course, I am not as familiar with the inner workings of the Clock Tower as I would like to be, so it wouldn't be surprising if that was actually the case, but it doesn't quite match the reactions of the people around me towards her. If that is so... then what in the world is going on?

    (...Is there someone financing her?)

    — “Likely, that financer would not have expected this extreme price either.”

    Master’s words came to mind.

    Was Yvette the other party he had spoken about?

    Or is it those who are financing her...

    “440 million.”

    “450 million.”

    “460 million.”

    Melvin, Yvette, then Melvin again.

    “500 million.”

    This was it. Is this milestone the deciding factor? With Yvette’s major bid… Melvin’s paddle… goes down. This is the end.

    (...Eh?)

    Was it my imagination? For a moment, it was as if the train was shaking.

    A moment later, right next to me, Master's expression regained its color. With sudden pride, his hand rose.

    “I would ask you all to wait for a moment,” Master said to the entire auction.

    **********

    “Two breaks are not permitted,” The auctioneer shook her head.

    Her stern attitude conveyed that the first time was also an irregularity.

    However, “This is not a break. This is a motion that concerns the Rail Zeppelin itself."

    Master's words cause the auctioneer to waver.

    And before she could give any kind of response, one woman stood up from the participants' seats.

    “Oh, how can I help you, Lord El-Melloi II? Are you dissatisfied with my reasoning?”

    Why would she stand?

    Tilting her head, the fox from the Department of Law looks just a bit happy. As if her much-delayed dance partner had finally turned up.

    “Hah, I wish I was,” Master shakes his head. "Even if your logic is full of holes, there is no fault in your reasoning itself. As far as the facts of what happened on the Rail Zeppelin are concerned, you are generally correct. For this reason, I would like to start with the previously given evidence."

    Master started to talk.

     Some familiars were whispering to each other about something. To begin with, the incident itself was new to them. The auction was abruptly interrupted, and Master was suddenly talking about deductions and reasoning with the Department of Law, which was incomprehensible to them.

    “Caules, can you bring it out?”

    “...Ah, Yes!”

    Caules, with a large gulp, stepped out into the middle of the vehicle with the bag in question.

    It was, of course, Trisha's severed head that was now unashamedly exposed in the Pandemonium Room. The familiars, who had now been made to understand what had happened on the train whether they wanted to or not, began to make a commotion in unison, and Olga Marie stood up, stunned.

    Hishiri’s eyes, which were at the bottom of her glasses, went cold.

    “You…”

    “I needed it to help resolve the situation. I took the liberty of bringing it out. It's not your property, so it's not a problem, is it? Oh, and please give me a break on the trespassing part.”

    Saying this, Master raised his gaze to the familiars above.

    “I ask that those of you who are not familiar with this incident also allow me some time. I ask you as the current Lord of the Department of Modern Magecraft." When he said it, it was like the familiars' existence rippled for a moment.

    However, no one protested. It was probably thought that any situation between a Lord and the Department of Law deserved a listen, even if he was an upstart. The staff of the Rail Zeppelin also seemed to have lost the will to firmly refute the situation.

    “Thank you. Thank you, Ladies and gentlemen, for your valuable time.” Master nodded.

    "Now, let me start with an incident from seven years ago. It was very similar to the murder of Trisha Fellows on the Rail Zeppelin - a series of murders that the Department of Law has admitted to covering up."

    The brief review was seemingly also intended to explain the situation to the outside magi who were seeing and hearing this through their familiars.

    "There are several aspects of those cases that are shrouded in mystery... but the one thing that they all have in common is that the victims were all beheaded, and their heads were missing. Now, what could explain such a circumstance?"

    “Uh…”

    With all eyes in the vehicle focused on him, Master slowly came to his conclusion.

    “To show that they were dead.”

    A gust of air flowed through the train.

    A brief silence, one that could only be described as awkward.

    “Oi, oi, mister Lord, why are you stating the obvious? What the hell are you on about? Or are you some kind of mother goose with an old wive’s tale?” From the sidelines, Jean-Mario raised his shoulders with his usual exaggerated gesture.

    However, Hishiri's reaction was different. She covered her mouth with her sleeve and responded only briefly. “The problem was with modern society then.”

    "Indeed. In the modern world, when a human is missing, society inevitably reacts. We are not so indifferent that we leave a missing person alone. In the past, the disappearance of one person could be explained away as a prank by fairies. However, in the modern world, there is no such thing. Regardless of whether that person will be found, there will be an extensive search. After all, information technology is thorough and will only continue to improve by leaps and bounds. Everyone is able to transmit information. There may be times when there is no one around the person who disappears who cares enough to report it, but that is just a small chance. However, once the victim’s body has been found so conclusively, would anyone even think of searching for anyone but the killer?"

    “Ah…”

    Finally, I understood what Master was saying.

    But, again, what is the point of this?

    When I tilt my head back, Master continues to speak further.

    "Before she was killed, I spoke to Trisha Fellows, and I suspected that she was too familiar with a certain Far Eastern ritual."

    He deliberately withheld naming the Holy Grail War.

    Some of the familiars showed signs of doubt, as they were not too intrigued by the Far East. As Master once said, the Holy Grail War is an awfully minor ritual.

    "Now that I think about it, this was probably a hint to her death. If nothing came of it, it would be mere small talk. But if an incident happened, it would be a clue, if not the motive itself. Her foresight was focused on prediction. Unlike with calculation, a tragic future is avoidable, but she would have also known the likelihood of avoiding it." Looking at the reaction of the audience, he continued, "At the same time she was beheaded, she concealed her head for two reasons." Master holds up two fingers.

    First, he bends his middle finger. “One is the dying message that her death is connected to the case from seven years ago. In the Imaginary Numbers dimension, time is meaningless. She had enough presence of mind left to say a few words.”

    This was a straightforward reason. After all, it was the fact that Karabo was named in her dying message that made him the likely culprit.

    Master swallowed, then bent his index finger.

    "The second reason was to prevent any others from using her Mystic Eyes."

    “To prevent the use of her… Mystic Eyes?” Olga Marie reiterated as if she had suddenly realized something. “...So you mean to say that… with the incidents of seven years ago….”

    "Yes, the victims of the incident seven years ago — I don't know if it was all of them or not, but they must have been bearers of Mystic Eyes."

    At Master's conclusion, the train once again stirred with the same kind of heat as the auction. The interest of all the magi was stirred strongly when the horrifying history of the serial murder of Mystic Eye bearers was unveiled.

    In contrast, Olga Marie came in from a different viewpoint.

    "But the Rail Zeppelin is probably the only one who can remove Mystic Eyes and implant them in another person. It is not impossible elsewhere, but the chances of success are far too low. If you say they took the Mystic Eyes, are you implying that this train has been complicit for seven years?"

    “By no means,” Master shook his head. "Accordingly, that is why the killer took not just the Mystic Eyes, but the head itself."

    The meaning of this was not immediately understood.

    Bewilderment and suspicion swirled around the carriage, finally turning into a low grunt from Olga Marie a few moments later.

    “No way…you are saying…the head is…”

    “That’s correct. The head was taken from the victim’s alive.”

    Alive…?

    Master uttered these unbelievable words.

    "It's not that difficult. As long as the pathway between the brain and the eyeball is secured, the Mystic Eyes can be activated. After all, Mystic Eyes have an independent magic circuit. It would not need limbs, organs or nerves. Of course, you would need some Mystic Codes and magic to secure blood, etcetera; but even science a few decades ago could detach the head of a dog or monkey and keep it alive with an artificial heart-lung machine. A good magus could do it even more easily."

    Everyone accepted the explanation, which continued nonchalantly, with a look of disbelief on their faces.

    I felt as if the countless Mystic Eyes on the walls of the Pandemonium Room - all of them - suddenly started laughing at me. That's how much fierceness was contained in the current line of reasoning. I wanted to sit down and throw up right now.

    “In other words, with just the victim's head kept alive, the Mystic Eyes can be used. This way, they can't escape, and they are unlikely to rebel. There is no need to use the Rail Zeppelin, and you can use multiple Mystic Eyes as you wish. It's an inhumane trick, even for a magus. Yes, with all these Mystic Eyes, it would have been a piece of cake to investigate that ritual of the Far East."

    “...”

    Everyone was silent.

    Who could have come up with such an idea, no matter how much of a magus he is? Who could have come up with such an idea that the beheading was to make people think they were dead so that the culprit could use the head alone?

    And what's more, how did he know it had all been with the purpose of investigating the

    “Wait,” Olga Marie stopped him. “You are saying that Trisha was…”

    "Yes. Trisha Fellows was involved in a case seven years ago. And on the side of the perpetrator." Horrified, Olga Marie was left speechless.

    Even I, who was listening next to him, could not escape the shock. Because, yes, this was a shock. How could I believe that the person I thought was simply a victim of a crime had been involved on the side of the perpetrator in the gruesome case from the past?

    Weakly, Olga Marie sits down in her chair. “Then, why is…Trisha…”

    The girl did not deny it. The knowledge of the Holy Grail War that her father had told her about prevented her from doing so. Otherwise, she wondered how her father had gathered information such as the Great Grail being useless.

    But then, “there seems to be a misconception.” Master said gently.

    "She was involved on the killer's side, but I never said that Trisha or your father was the killer themselves. Rather, she probably knew who the killer was seven years ago."

    “What… do you mean?”

    Master speaks as if admonishing Olga Marie, who looks up at him.

    "The Animusphere probably commissioned an external collaborator to investigate the ritual. But I don't think they were informed of the means. Your father, the Lord, may have been aware of it, but if he had been informed of the details, I don't think Trisha would have thought of contacting Karabo at this late stage."

    “Karabo…?” Hishiri repeated the name. "Earlier, you said that my theory was approximately correct. So are you saying that Karabo Frampton was responsible for the incident seven years ago? If you're saying that an agent from the Holy Church was the culprit, then it leaves much unanswered."

    “In a sense, it was him. I fear that it was a similar type of Mystic Code to these,” Master touched his glasses.

    “Mystic Eye Killers…?”

    "Traditionally, Mystic Eyes are extremely primitive when thought of as a form of magecraft. After all, they are the oldest form of magic known to mankind. Hence, although they are a powerful Mystery, a number of counter-measures have been developed around the world. For example, this is also one of them." He said that and produced a small item from his pocket.

    It was the eye-catching accessory thing found at Olga Marie's place. It was the same item with an eyeball-like pattern in the center of the blue glass.

    "It's a type of Turkish amulet called a Nazar Boncuğu. Trisha hid it, along with her own head, with her Imaginary Numbers magecraft." Master looked back at Hishiri.

    It was something she did not make public during her own deduction.

    "An Evil Eye that looks back at a Mystic Eye. This is probably the most obvious measure. In a similar vein, the study of this type of magic has arisen in India and the Far East. …According to these theories, all things hold the power to be seen."

    “The power to be seen…?” I didn't get it, so I just had to interject.

    "Yes, the thought is that people can see things because those things have the power to be seen. Scientifically speaking, we could say that this is the ability to reflect light. This concept is the reason why angels and Buddha statues have a halo. Because they hold the power of being seen far stronger than anyone else, they can be guiding beings for mankind. It could also be more simply known as aura or charisma. The ability to attract the gaze of others, even if forcefully."

    To see and to be seen.

    The power of seeing and the power of being seen.

    What was taken for granted is inverted in the name of magecraft. Twisted.

    "In this case, the power to be seen is inferior in terms of the simple defensive effect compared to a Mystic Code that can directly block Mystic Eyes, such as Mystic Eye Killer Lens. However, the power to be seen is still the natural enemy of Mystic Eyes. After all, information that is not intended to be seen can be fired back without the user even being aware of it. This information has many applications."

    With the Nazar Boncuğu from earlier in his hand, Master started rotating it with a steady rhythm.

    I start… feeling dizzy.

    Nodding to himself and holding his forehead, Master adds a few words.

    "...For example, hypnosis. Subliminal effects are only one such effect. It is a subject that is often dismissed in modern science, but in the field of magecraft, even basic mesmerism is effective. The use of pendulums in front of the eyes is another application of the power of being seen."

    Mesmerism was, I believe, a technique that has its roots in the modern hypnosis movement.

    I had heard about it in lectures at the Department of Modern Magecraft. The occultists were giving dubious explanations, saying that ‘fluids’ emitted from celestial bodies were the source of all illnesses and so animal magnetism could be used to treat any patient, but in reality, they were using hypnosis to control the mind of the person being treated.

    "The stronger the power of one's sight, the more it will be unconsciously induced by the power of being seen. Suggestion is often seen as elementary magecraft, but in combining its effects, it cannot be dismissed as such. For an owner of strong Mystic Eyes, it is difficult to resist the power of being seen. Moreover, if that person is not fully aware of his or her own power of sight, it is surprisingly easy to trap them with the technique."

    “Are you suggesting that Karabo was hypnotized and manipulated?” Hishiri asked, skeptical.

    "I think that also fits in with your reasoning, doesn't it? When I told you that there was no motive, you told me that his Mystic Eyes might have gone out of control. You were rather positive about the possibility that Karabo had been rendered unaware by some factor."

    Hishiri's words at that time were not quite as positive for us, but now it was a strange coincidence that he was making the same point as her.

    Master looks arround.

    He must carefully spin the rest of the story, checking how his words are landing.

    "Perhaps Trisha Fellows knew that she would meet Karabo on the Rail Zeppelin. It was not difficult to predict that she would meet him through her Foresight."

    However, she could not see a future in which she would meet directly with the person who set up the incident seven years ago. That is why she was thinking of using Karabo to investigate. Taking into account the possibility that he was manipulated by suggestion, she had prepared certain Mystic Codes, such as the Nazar Bonjou mentioned earlier, and was preparing to infiltrate his subconscious."

    Terribly slowly, Master explained.

    A sad sigh escaped from his wheelchair, “that is precisely her failure," he concludes.

    "Perhaps, the real culprit believed, Trisha would be able to do so. But they also knew that it would be difficult to deal with her directly. After all, the other party has Foresight. Most attacks are predictable. ...Except for a blade coming from the past, which is the only blind spot for Foresight." The time axis was distorted, causing her beheading.

    He affirms that attacks coming from the past are unavoidable, even with Foresight. Somehow I understand the logic behind this. Foresight sees forwards from the present. The shadow of death rising like a bubble from the past is definitely out of its scope.

    "So they manipulated Karabo before Trisha could interrogate him. Ah, in fact, it seems that Trisha Fellows had brought in more Mystic Codes to counter Mystic Eyes, but the only one we could find was this Nazar Boncuğu, which was concealed in her Imaginary Numbers world, probably because it would have been disposed of by the culprit with great care. Though somewhat unusual in its use, it is not difficult for a magus with her kind of knowledge to connect it to the idea of the power of being seen."

    (Ah…)

    Was the obscene item that I saw when I first met Trisha that kind of Mystic Code?

    For example, I think I have heard that one way to deal with Mystic Eyes is to show it something ugly. Perhaps this is also a way of preventing curses, using unpleasant information to counter the power of sight.

    "Yet, Trisha was able to realize her death a second before it happened. Even though she couldn't see the blade from the past, she likely knew the fact that she would die. Even if she only had enough time to invoke a one bar one count Imaginary Numbers spell. Even if she could not avoid losing her life, she gave a hint to those who would be left behind. That's because, surely, she didn't want to leave the incident of seven years ago unsolved. ...Olga Marie, if she had adjusted the dimensional pocket to allow you to unlock it, then surely she wanted you to be the one to know the truth. A truth that might put you in danger just by knowing it, but I'm sure she trusted you to do something about it."

    Master whispered to her earnestly.

    For another brief moment, a heavy silence hung over the Pandemonium Room. With her fists clenched on her chest, Olga Marie's shoulders were shaking. The thoughts and choices of the servant were now being delivered to the oblivious girl that was her master.

    “...Stupid Marie. Get yourself together…” The girl whispered to herself.

    Why such words come out now, I do not know. However, it seemed to me that these must have been important words between Trisha and Olga Marie.

    And then, “Can you get this over with, please? The auction was about to end.” Yvette pursed her lips.

    The reason for her discontent was probably because she was confident that she was the one who would gain the Jewel-ranked Mystic Eyes. In fact, judging from the auction earlier, it was certain that she was on the verge of winning the bid.

    (Could it be…)

    For a moment, a doubt flashed through my mind.

    (Is it that… could it be that Yvette is…)

    The thought makes my heart race.

    A horrible sweat breaks out and does not stop. Even when I sit down, my inner ears seem to be getting stirred in a circular motion, giving me extreme vertigo. I even feel the illusion that this train is twisting and turning.

    Regardless of such circumstances, Yvette still insists.

    “What's your point, good sir? You brought and have shown Trisha's head, but what does it have to do with your theory?”

    “...Ah, if it’s time for that, then here is its purpose.”

    “Huh?” Yvette's eyebrows rise.

    A white light shot through the train.

    A whirlwind of light suddenly shot out from the fresh head Caules was holding, binding the boy's limbs like chains and severing the outer world of light from the inner one.

    “In…structor…?!”

    "Your skill in Binding Magic is great, Miss Adashino. I could never have pulled this off."

    The words made me peel my eyes open.

    Not only that, "thank you very much," Hishiri also thanked him for the compliment.

    The two, who should have been at odds with each other due to their opposite reasoning, were looking at each other in a strikingly similar way.

    "Did you also seal the senses of the familiars? I didn't ask for that."

    “I do not enjoy their gossiping so much,” Hishiri replied.

    The familiars who were watching near the ceiling were now stiffened under the white light. The familiars, unlike magi, do not have developed magic circuits. So they seemed to have been sufficiently sealed even with this level of magic.

    Caules, bound in chains of light, gasps. “Instructor, what is the meaning of this?”

    "As you can see. I conspired with Miss Adashino to bind you." With great ease, Master confessed. To his own apprentice - Caules Forvedge - he puts down his verdict, “you are the real culprit behind the murder of Trisha Fellows through the manipulation of Karabo Frampton.”




    Part 4

    Master's accusation clearly resonated in the Pandemonium Room.

    The magi participating in the auction were flustered by the sudden accusation by a Lord against his apprentice, while the staff on the train side had no idea what was going on and could only watch what was going on. Deprived of their senses, the familiars remained as rigid as stone statues.

    “That… is… Master…?” I couldn't accept it and tried to stand up.

    It was then that someone else, walking stealthily, tugged on my arm from behind.

    “You must not interfere, Gray.”

    (Huh?)

    I was stunned. I did not notice them when I entered the Pandemonium Room. The only time I lost my awareness was when the spell was triggered earlier, so their entry was probably timed right around when... my attention was engrossed in something else.

    Because the person who grabbed my hand was…

    **********

    “Instructor, what are you…” Caules, bound in chains of light, laughed freely.

    Caules was trying to make this all out to be a joke, but Master's words and the bounded field remained firm to confirm that this was serious, and so Caules shook his head as if hopeless and in denial.

    “U-um… Are you serious about this?”

    “Of course.”

    "You really want to make it out that I'm the culprit, but that won’t just be accepted here. You know that too, don't you?"

    "Exactly. If this were a place for magi only, the iron authority of the Department of Law would be enough to force acceptance, but the Rail Zeppelin is the domain of a Dead Apostle. Hence, it was necessary to have enough physical evidence to convince the train side with more than just speculation. For example, just as Miss Adashino had to wait for a dying message from a living head or a statement from the Deputy Manager to see what Karabo's Mystic Eyes were capable of."

    In recognition, Master turns around behind him.

    "So I was waiting for him too," he said to the one behind me. The person who pulled on my arm and stopped me. “You are just in time.”

    “It was indeed a struggle, Instructor.” The boy chuckled as he shook his habitual hair and fixed his misaligned glasses.

    Even the shape of his smile was a living replica of the one who was restrained. My brain could not quite grasp why this was happening.

    "Now that I'm here, at least it's the end to your deception." He says to the detained evil twin.

    That's right. After sitting around for a long time, Olga Marie finally called him by his name. “...Caules Forvedge.” Yes, the new boy was Caules himself.

    From somewhere, applause erupted. Somehow someone was still high-spirited and joyful in these circumstances. “Bravo, Waver!” Melvin shouted, still clapping.

    Laughing cheerfully, the albino man turned his hearty compliments to Master. The tuner, who had been fighting at the auction until the very last minute, was freed from that stressful curse, and gave a joyous sigh of joy for his freedom.

    "Well, this is delightful! And exhilarating! It's like I don't even know what is happening! It was well worth almost losing my entire fortune, but really, what the hell is going on?! What kind of magic did you use to do this?!"

    "Even if you are a magus, don't call everything magic so casually." Master's lips twisted bitterly in the face of the strange scene, which just added to the mystery. "It was actually a close call. I knew that if we were in the middle of the auction, then no one would be aware of Reines' approach, but also, at the same time, we were forced to race against time. The auction of the Rail Zeppelin is absolute. Once the winning bid is decided, the deal is sealed, no matter what violations may later be exposed. I would be shaming Karabo and Trisha if that were to happen. Above all, my pride would not allow it."

    He pulls out a cigar and puts it to his lips.

    Normally, he would have used a match to slowly sear the fire, but this time he was striking his fingers to light the fire. Master said before that this was more like using flint than simple ignition, but perhaps this was because he had lost the presence of mind to use a match as usual.

    Sitting deep in his wheelchair, exhaling smoke, Master pointed out, "You're the one who was financing Yvette."

    “Shall I admit it?” The other Caules- no, the person who was in the form of Caules says freely. "No, Instead, I would like to ask you that question as well. How did you get the real Caules here? Honestly, I thought that even if I was exposed at the last second, then I could still deceive everyone with fake phone calls or communication magic..."

    "It’s because I didn’t stop trying," and with a jerk, the doors of the Pandemonium Room were open once again.

    What appeared was a familiar girl. Between her blonde hair, her eyes were burning brightly. She probably doesn't even feel the need to use eye drops to disguise the color of her Mystic Eyes at the moment.

    "I would love for my big brother to tell everyone about the beautiful fact that he begged his adopted little sister to fly all the way over here with flying magic. Hello, my brother." Reines raises her shoulder with an old broom in her hand.

    However, dark circles were under her eyes. With fatigue that couldn't be hidden, she rubbed her cheeks and tried to strengthen her voice with an aristocratic tone. "I'm a magus too, you know. If I have a broom and a witch's salve ready, I can fly out without any fuss."

    "Flight magic? But isn't that... extremely difficult?" I remember my teacher saying as much.

    He said that, no matter one's ability in magic, it is next to impossible to fly without certain conditions being met. It is relatively easy if the magus does meet these conditions such as putting themselves in a trance, but conversely, it must be almost impossible to find the Rail Zeppelin if you are stuck in a trance.

    When the Caules impostor heard this, he replied with certain words.

    “You took the Touko Travel method, then?”

    “Touko… travel?”

    When I was puzzled by these words, which I had heard from somewhere before, Master closed one eye.

    "It's a pretty dubious way of doing it. You set the destination in advance, and then you prepare the magical formula as if you are pulling on a rubber band over a great distance. In any case, you're being pulled continuously to the destination, so whether you're in a trance or not, as long as you stabilize the magic, you're sure to succeed. However, flying is far from the longing and freedom that comes to mind from human fantasies. Ah, it's the kind of trick that the Crown-ranked magus, Aozaki Touko, would come up with."

    “...” I never thought I would hear the name of that female magus again, in a situation like this.

    So perhaps the faint tremor felt towards the end of the auction was the impact of her and Caules crashing into the Rail Zeppelin?

    "Um. I was in charge of the directional configuration!” Melvin raised his hand in a jovial, light-hearted voice. "Well, I did wonder if little Reines would come running after me, you know? The invitation says I'm allowed up to two companions, so I really don't mind; it’s fine right?"

    The mischievous young man looked around at the staff, but for the moment, no one seemed to complain even about the fact that she had collided with the Rail Zeppelin.

    After confirming this, Master spoke.

    "The Rail Zeppelin has said it is going through this land of mist for four days and three nights, and then back to London. Despite the incidents, it stands to reason that by the third day of the auction, we'd be a half a day’s distance from London. Especially if the auction was stalled until the last minute."

    “Well, it was a surprise when I heard it.” Reines huffed in her usual tone. "Suddenly, I received a call on my mobile phone, telling me that the real Caules needed to come over here and that I should look for him. I sent Svin to go and look for him. He's got a good nose, as you can imagine, so it didn't take him more than an hour to find Caules sleeping in some abandoned building."

    "From my point of view, I thought I was sleeping at home, but without even knowing it, I was really lying down in some kind of abandoned building; it must have been some kind of illusion. Besides, how was it possible that I missed multiple days while I thought I was sleeping?"

    Caules grinds his teeth and glares at the imposter.

    After listening to the story, I finally began to vaguely understand the situation. The fact that Caules and the impostor had switched places even before the train journey. Master had realized this and had hastily summoned the real Caules through Reines.

    Yet it was all too dizzying.

    All I could do was try to make sense of the information being crammed in one after the other.

    “...I see, so Svin found you,” from inside his restraining wards, the imposter scratched his cheek.

    "He was the only one I was wary of. I had assumed that the master-disciple relationship between Caules Forvedge and Lord El-Melloi II was only a few weeks or so old, so I could probably fool him, but Svin's nose was the one thing too difficult to deceive. He said he was taking time off for a while for a special lecture at the Department of General Fundamentals, so I thought this was my chance."

    Quite calmly, the impostor confessed.

    “So, you joined forces with Miss Adashino when you found out I was an imposter, correct?

    "Yes. When I got in touch with Reines and found out you were an impostor, I did not yet have the ability to safely eliminate you. If I had told Gray or Melvin, you would have known by their attitudes. No one could have fooled you smoothly except Miss Adashino. Trisha's head was the best place to conceal a Binding formula. Although, since she also told me that she had no intention of cooperating in the auction, I was quite nervous about how it was going to go."

    I'm sure it was when we had that discussion with Karabo that he realized what was going on.

    When he had muttered that there was another use for the head and left the room, Master said told me to wait for him and went off by himself. He returned a few minutes later and went to Olga Marie's room, but I had no idea that he had put together such an alliance in that short time.

    'Ahhhh,' the impostor exhales to the ceiling before asking one more question.

    "By the way, when did you notice it? I thought I had traced a roughly perfect imitation of the real Caules Forvedge."

    "It was a brilliant imitation. Likely an application of Spiritual Evocation. I was struck by your skill and experience with possession. As far as I am aware, almost word for word, the real Caules Forvedge would have uttered the same words and taken the same actions. ...Except for one thing."

    Raising his index finger, Master sat in his wheelchair and lightly pressed his chest.

    “My medical treatment.”

    "Hmm. I was confident I could match Caules Forvedge's skills by now."

    The fake boy's lips twitched in dissatisfaction, but Master nodded in his usual lecture-like manner.

    "It was perfect with regard to the Primeval Batteries. The treatment even identified with some of my teaching habits. But Caules is still inexperienced in the herbal arts. Even though it's a secret medicine, the Panacea is still a plant. If it is electrified, it will be transformed. But from his skill level, both the Panacea and Primeval Batteries were utilized to a degree that was a tad too skillful."

    “...Oops.” In an exaggerated manner, the boy slumped over. "Ah well, I was in a hurry indeed. I didn't plan for you to die here. I didn't think that Servant would go that far. No matter how much it costs, if the Lord of a faction disappears, it would be too much of a hindrance in the future. Well. Caules's technique was about 80% of what I did, but I see now that 20% is too big of a probability to ignore, isn't it?"

    At the mention of the word 'Servant', I saw a faint tremor in Master's breath. Swallowing this agitation, Master continued in an unwavering tone.

    "Was it you who asked to join me on this trip?"

    “Well, since the person in question is here, you can confirm it over there, but it's true that Caules wanted to come to the Rail Zeppelin. If I hadn't interfered, he probably would have said the same thing. Otherwise, even you wouldn't have been fooled, would you? Well, It was too convenient to replace Caules since if I tried to act as one of your long-time disciples, then I would have been easily exposed. Well, I had a plan in place in the event of that."

    The imposter smiles wryly.

    It looked like a different smile, even though it was as if it was the same as before his true identity was revealed. I couldn't tolerate that smile, and I couldn't help but interject myself.

    "What did you mean when... you were talking about your- his sister?"

    "Oh, that was all true. When you take on someone else's character, you piece together bits and pieces of information from facial expressions, past experiences, interactions, and so on, and you imagine, 'Oh, so that's why he's the way he is.' With all that information, it's hard for people to suspect that I'm not Caules."

    He's right. I didn't doubt his story about his sister, and he had a genuine motive to want to board the Rail Zeppelin.

    The real Caules Forvedge is now trembling at the admission of the impostor.

    He seemed to have reacted to the idea that it was a story about his sister. I was terribly ashamed. I had violated the privacy that was so important to him, the reason why he had come to the Clock Tower without even hearing it from him. If possible, I would have apologized immediately and then shut my ears and eyes and withdrawn.

    Master's gaze then shifts to his other student.

    “You have been leaking information about us, Yvette.”

    “Leaking?” The girl's eyes rose because she knew she was in trouble. "I... have a job as a spy for the Meluastea clan, and they are very good to me. This time they said that they would survey the Mystic Eyes I won before implanting them..."

    I don't know if this counts as being a double agent.

    Though come to think of it, Yvette's Mystic Eyes should be able to see emotions. If she had not been an accomplice, she would have easily revealed that Caules was a fake.

    Whatever the case, we have identified the person who had given Yvette the loan.

    Surely she was the other person whom Master said was the enemy. But I was still in a state of dread. I was scared of this person who was still smiling thinly when they were exposed as an imposter.

    Once more, Caules asks something of the fake Caules.

    “Who… are you?”

    “I think you already have an inkling, don’t you?” The impostor, who inclined his head, neither affirmed nor denied.

    "It's not a deduction or anything. It's just a hunch. It's nothing worth mentioning."

    "But, you do have a hunch. That's plenty for us, right? It's not like you're a detective. Don't be afraid to say it. If you want, I can promise that I'll reveal myself to you if you're wrong." The impostor said the most outrageous thing.

    He was too brazen to use his identity as a bargaining chip. What good would such a proposal do, when he was already caught in Binding Bounded Field?

    “...”

    For a moment, Master kept his mouth shut.

    His eyelids closed, and only the smoke from his cigar flickered and when his lips eventually opened, "I have enough hints," he whispered softly.

    "Seven years ago, you had a relationship with the Lord of the Animusphere to the extent that you were asked to investigate something for him, and even when he was made aware that you were involved in a serial murder case, he would not interfere. You are also someone who can win Yvette over to your side, and can get her to invest an enormous amount of money to bid for Mystic Eyes. You are a person who has enough info on the Department of Modern Magecraft that you can impersonate Caules, who is just one of my students... and you are one who has the magical ability to open the Mystic Lock on the safe that held the relic."

    The impostor nods to the factors listed one by one.

    Master lifted his cigar to his mouth. It was like a key. A single key that can solve a complex and intertwined mystery.

    With a flickering fire at the tip, Master gave his answer.

    "It is quite natural that you are able to open the safe, because you created it in the first place. You are the previous dean of the Department of Modern Magecraft."

    I felt like I had been punched in the back of the head with the entirety of someone’s strength.

    Yes. I should have realized. It's not just about the safe. This time the opponent knew too much about the Department of Modern Magecraft. And even though suggestive magic is elementary, mesmerism is a modern variant - in other words, it's in the category of Modern Magecraft.

    "You are correct. I was never a Lord." The imposter replied. "Since before you came, there has been a Department of Modern Magecraft. However, although it was counted as one of the 12 main departments of the Clock Tower, there was no Lord in charge of it. Norwich was only created as a decoration in response to the demands of the times. None of the Twelve Families were serious about it. It was only a matter of thinking that the small number of New-Age magi who would come could be an easily controlled workforce. Ah, yes, so when I heard that it was the El-Melloi that was going to take over the Department of Modern Magecraft, my heart just fluttered. I wondered if something might change."

    The boy laughed beautifully like a cold flower. It was a laugh that he never had when acting as Caules.

    "So I just wanted to get up close and personal. To see how the new dean does things."




    Translation notes:

    Not really that many things that need to be noted.

    ~視られる力
    This is a concept that has yet to be added to the lexicon of any English fate wikis, but I did find it on the Japanese wiki. Basically the opposite of Mystic Eye killers, more like Mystic Eye catchers. It is literally translated simply as the power to be seen or the power of being seen. Depends on the tense. I could have also said it is the ability to be seen, but I think chikara translates much better as power.

    This was submitting a lot at once, so there are bound to be mistakes that I missed when looking it over. If you see them, then tell me, and I will fix them.

  18. #18
    Hi! I had plans to translate this book, but if you're doing it instead, I guess I won't have to. I haven't read your translations yet, but thank you!

  19. #19
    Yes, thanks for doing all that you have done. Perhaps when all the volumes are finished, someone should compile it all together.

  20. #20
    Thanks again for the translations! It's nice to get more insight than was in the anime. Some stray tense changes again here and there, but not as many as before.

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