3.1 An Unexpected Cover Up
Loki opens her eyes to see a black haired boy resting his arm on her bed. His faint breathing tells her he’s asleep.
Orange sunlight shines through a crack between the curtains. The time is probably close to evening. The information she gleams from her surroundings isn’t enough for her to figure out her situation. Regardless, one thing that is clear to her is that she violated a taboo.
For some reason, maybe because she was sleeping, her body is warm. She begins to sit up when the sound of her quilt rustling against itself rings in her ears. While she doubts having caused the rustling, the black haired boy before her is stirring.
Alus yawns as he rubs the back of his neck. “You finally waking up?”
“I…” Loki’s gaze falls onto her pure white futon as she’s washed over with guilt.
“You won the bet.”
Loki’s head jerks up at Alus’s admittance of defeat. Unable to speak, all she can do is stare. “……!”
Alus raises his right hand and displays a tattered sleeve. “You got one strike on me.”
Only Alus can decide whether clothing counts as part of his body and Loki herself is very grateful for his verdict. Her hesitation, however isn’t from nitpicking Alus’s granting her victory, but of the taboo she violated.
Once the military catches wind of her actions, she will be punished. It could even happen within the next few hours. As a soldier, she’s intimately familiar with what happens when the law is broken.
Alus says, “However, I cannot overlook you wagering your life.”
Not even Alus, the magician ranked as number 1, can shelter her. I knew it. I’m now a criminal.
The life drains from Loki’s body as she waits for Alus to continue. His words leave her unable to do anything. Although being handed over to the military isn’t the ending she wants, she has no other option but to accept that fate. Yet, even though this development is because she violated a taboo, she doesn’t regret it in the slightest.
As Loki loses herself to her thoughts, her face twists in pain as a dull sound reverberates off the top of her head. “——!! Ow!” A hand chopped down against her. There wasn’t much strength behind the blow, but it still carried weight.
Loki is unable to understand why she was chopped. She can only hold her head with her slender hands as she gives Alus a doubtful gaze.
Alus says, “With this, you’ve been forgiven. From now on I’ll be working you like a horse, so focus on recovering your strength.” He then gives the recovering Loki a light smile as he gestures her along with his fingers. “Let’s go.”
Loki is over joyed by Alus’s reward, but fears that remaining be his side will damage his position. She hurries out of the bed and rushes after Alus. “I violated…” Just as she opens her mouth, Alus covers it with his hand.
Loki is completely taken back by Alus’s reaction. As she tilts her head in confusion, the door suddenly bursts open. Alus looks and says, “What are you doing?”
The inexcusable awkward expressions on Tesfia and Alice are enough to prove their wrong doing. Both of them had been crouched down outside the door and straining their ears to listen in on him. As they look up at Alus from their position, Tesfia says, “No, this…”
Alice says, “Hahaha…”
Although surprise is mixed into Alus’s expression, neither Tesfia nor Alice expect to escape any rebuke. Despite that, neither of them utter a single apology. Their mannerisms are a clear indication that they don’t plan on acknowledging any wrong-doing on their part.
Alus, possibly out of his graciousness, keeps his doubts to himself as Tesfia changes the subject into one that will help her figure out the situation. She stretches herself as far as she can, even going as far to stand on her toes, so that she can glimpse around Alus’s side at Loki who’s hidden behind him. “I can’t see her face, but who is that child?”
Alice is just as curious. She also stands on her toes in an attempt to catch a glimpse of Loki. She strains herself to get a peek from Alus’s other side. “A first year? I don’t recall seeing her around before though.”
Alus, despite his question about their eavesdropping remaining unsettled, lets the matter drop. While there are a lot of issues he could reproach them on, he doesn’t care that much about it to begin with. Instead, this is a good opportunity for him to say, “Allow me to introduce Loki. She is my partner as of now.”
“““— — — —!!”””
His words even shock Loki herself. She can’t help but be over joyed at getting what she wants most. Still, she says in a low voice that neither Tesfia nor Alice can hear, “But…”
Alus faces her and lowers his mouth to her ear. “Only the Director and myself where present back then. Concealing what transpired is a simple matter. Or do you actually want to be handed over to the military?”
Loki shakes her head as she gives Alus an apologetic smile. Although she’s positive that she’ll fall into despair if she discovers she’s unable to adapt herself into becoming Alus’s partner, she still desires to reach out her hand for the position.
He then adds, “Then don’t worry about it.”
Loki trusts in Alus’s high handed assertion. Thus, she takes a step to the side and places herself within view of Tesfia and Alice. Faint tears leak from her eyes as her entire face brims with happiness. Unable to keep glee from lacing her voice, her following words ring as she says, “I am Loki Rechbehell.”
Tesfia snaps at Alus the moment everyone is introduced to one another. “Mo- more importantly, your partner?”
Alice also loses her composure. A small change befalls her usual smile as her cheeks cramp and redden. “What do you mean by partner, ex- exactly?”
Alus, having previously arranged business to address, decides attending to that is more prudent than answering their stares. He himself isn’t thinking much about his decision. He says to Loki, “I need to be someplace else. Please go to the laboratory ahead of me.”
“Of course, Alus-sama.”
Loki then gives a respectful bow to Tesfia and Alice. Her expression upon raising her head is listless. With disinterest towards them in her eyes, she says, “Well then, shall we get going? Please inform me of the way as I am unfamiliar with it.”
Since the sun has yet to go down and the street lights are still off, they decide to walk towards the research building housing Alus’s laboratory. Furthermore, Tesfia and Alice have heaps of questions for Loki. That said, they wouldn’t have been able to use a transitional(Circle) gate(Port) even if they had wanted to since Loki doesn’t possess a school badge.
Loki says, “Partners are people responsible for detecting the location of mamono when two or more magicians venture to the outside world.”
Alice says, “Hee~ so there’s even a system like that. But, Al is an academy student. Isn’t having a partner unnecessary for him?”
Loki’s beautiful eyebrows pop upward at the remark, but neither Tesfia nor Alice notice. She says, “Alus-sama might be enrolled as a student, but he is also registered with the military. He will need to present himself if summoned.”
Tesfia says, “Fu~n, that guy… so he’s got it rough too.”
The two girls again fail to notice how the sharp tips of Loki’s eye brows are slanting towards each other.
Alice says, “Al… if that’s how it is, then it just can’t be helped.”
Tesfia jokingly ridicules him with a smile. “But, would that deadbeat actually follow any orders?”
Alice covers her mouth in order to hide her laughter.
Loki is unable to endure their exchange. Contempt crosses her listless expression as she says, “Looks like the two of you are clueless to just how much the 1st ranked magician Alus-sama has contributed to humanity.”
Both Tesfia and Alice stop walking.
Loki walks a few more steps, stops, and turns around to face them. Her eyes burn with irritation as she looks over the two ignorant girls. Scorn laces her following words. “I’ll have the two of you know that the great power Alpha has only been able to maintain this peaceful life thanks to Alus-sama. What’s with calling him ‘Al’ or ‘that guy’? You’re quite full of yourselves to look down him like this.”
Tesfia and Alice are silenced in a single breath. Once their shock passes, Tesfia says, “You’re right, we don’t know much, however, we do recognize that he is the 1st ranked magician. That’s exactly why the sort of painstaking effort he must have endured is beyond my imagination. I mean, I know nothing of what Al did on behalf of this country and I can’t fathom any of it either. That’s why there’s really is no helping that this is how I think about him.”
“She’s right. An existence like that is much too removed from our lives for us to be able to respect or make a goal… I get the feeling something like that would turn into a never ending circle.”
Tesfia and Alice interpret Loki’s indignation as something stemming from how Alus was compensated after everything he sacrificed for the country. That misunderstanding reveals the depths of their immaturity.
Alice adds, “Also, I kinda get the feeling Al doesn’t really care.”
Tesfia is unable to take Loki’s words as a dispute due to her appearance. While Loki’s face might be expressionless, her young age leads to Tesfia adopting the role of an older sister. “Yeah, ‘that guy’ is just how we call that guy. You don’t need to use that term if you don’t want to.”
Loki swallows her assertions. While she isn’t conceding to Tesfia and Alice, she does acknowledge a fragment of validity to their words. More than that, however, is that they don’t comprehend what magicians represent. Even if she were to explain Alus’s mind blowing strength to them, they wouldn’t comprehend even a sliver of it. Therefore, despite her clear reservations, all she can do is resign herself into accepting that gap in awareness.
She says, “I understand. If Alus-sama consents, then I really have no place in saying anything about it.” Yet, despite her words, she doesn’t believe herself wrong for criticizing them earlier. As such, she doesn’t apologize.
The few minutes they’ve walked towards the research building feel very long to Loki, but she’s the only one who feels that way. Tesfia and Alice are too entertained in barraging her with questions.
Loki eventually says, “Are the two of you receiving guidance from Alus-sama?” It was mentioned earlier, but she can’t help but want to reconfirm it.
Alice says, “Yeah, it’s just like I said.”
“I see. I was under the impression Alus-sama came to the academy for the sake of delving into his research.”
Alice scratches her cheek as an apologetic expression crosses her face for half a minute. “Ye~ah… I’m pretty sure Al himself said he’s here for research purposes, but then various things happened and it just turned like this.”
The red haired girl responsible for that outcome, instead of shying away, adopts a cheeky tone. “Like she said, it’s like this because it just turned out this way”
Loki is unable to make a proper expression towards Tesfia’s claim that they are receiving instruction from Alus due to negligence. Expressing her true feelings has never been one of her strong points. Such an arrogant woman isn’t worthy of Alus-sama’s teachings.
The three sometimes stop walking in order to delve into their conversation. As such, the walk to the research building takes them quite a while despite it only being a short distance away.
Everything Tesfia and Alice say, from when they first meet Alus to the present, comprises of more than what could at most have only been a month’s time. Their elated tales do more than just make Loki angry. She feels a twinge of envy as she strains her ears to learn about an Alus she isn’t familiar with.
–Nobel Diamond x5–
“What a relief. I felt like I was going to suffocate back there.”
While Alus does agree that being able to drink a cup of black tea is relieving, he feels as though a blade is being thrust before him. Right now, however, he endures retorting and instead takes another sip of his tea.
He went there expecting the Director to demand hush money from him, but that appears to have been a needless worry. Underneath her arm is a set of documents. With a smile on her face, she slides them across the table towards him.
“Loki-chan’s admission’s form. Naturally, all the needed signatures have been acquired.”
“What a remarkably convenient explanation.”
In other words, it was prepared in advanced. We were all dancing on the palm of her hand.
Although Alus isn’t fully satisfied with the answer, her foresight has saved a lot of time. Redundant impasses that might have arisen during Loki’s application have been prevented. He thanks her for the effort with a nod.
He says, “Then, are you planning to take Loki in?”
The Director forces a smile. Nothing about the situation works to her advantage. “That isn’t really the case here. Well, if I’m giving my overall impression… my self-interests aren’t getting anything out it. Also, while the military is attaching someone to monitor you, that isn’t the Governor-General’s intentions. On the surface, things are clear and straight forward so I suppose we could say that nothing is wrong. Overall, the Governor-General and I are simple intermediaries here.”
Moreover, since Alus has recognized Loki as his partner, her being taken back isn’t possible. He says, “As you said, Loki is much more capable than she appears.” He then recalls a doubt he felt during his match. “What was the nonsense about her being four digits? With her fighting strength, she should be a double digits magician.”
Disgust mixes into the Director’s sigh as she says, “Loki’s highest rank was 100th.” A bitter smile then crosses her face as she uncrosses her legs. “She herself chose to become a supporter without any hesitation. Apparently, she had the aptitude for it from the start, but up until today, hasn’t partnered with anyone. As such, her position dropped.”
Loki’s actions don’t make any sense to Alus. Detecting magicians are guaranteed exceptional treatment, but it isn’t better than what double digit, or even triple digit, magicians receive. Therefore, she wasn’t driven to become a supported for monetary reasons.
The Director has no interest in answering Alus’s question. “I suppose that’s something else you’ll have to hear from Loki. But, isn’t it getting late?”
Her words imply that they aren’t finished. That sole phrase denies his objective for visiting her.
Alus drains the rest of his black tea and rises. “My business with you, Director, is about the spell Loki used. Keeping silent about it will prevent all of your hard work from going to waste.” Even just confirming that the Director has a favorable stance on the matter would be an enormous harvest for him.
Director throws a bomb at Alus as he turns around and reaches for the door. “Ara, but I haven’t received my hush money yet.”
Alus’s hand freezes just before reaching the doorknob. “……!!”
The Director’s attitude is one claiming that the present situation has nothing to do with her. It isn’t something Alus can overlook since it unfolded while she was entrusted with Loki. As such, the Director also bears responsibility for what transpired. He says, “Payment?”
The Director taps a finger against her chin while saying, “While I too bear responsibility for this, keeping silent about a taboo being violated comes with quite the heavy risk.”
Alus is convinced by her actions. His cheeks twitch as he realizes, this must be why she’s called The Witch. She acknowledges her mismanagement while also brazenly charging a bill for dealing with the risky cleanup that follows… No, calling her shameless would be more appropriate.
Alus’s position within the academy’s hierarchy was decided upon his enrollment. As long as he isn’t given an absurd order, he has no choice but to comply with the Director’s whims. He says, “Understood. In that case, how much?”
The Director’s following words are laced with sarcasm. She says, “It’s unfortunate, but we actually have a surplus of money,” while considering what she should request. She then adds, “Well then, I wonder if I can ask for your assistance for the upcoming combat training? Regardless of what I do, your strength is indispensable.”
Just like I thought. The Director is referring to the extracurricular mamono subjugation training scheduled to take place next month. The two of them have long been struggling to come up with a solution on how to best approach the required training.
The current plan is to utilize five man teams + a supervisor, but the upperclassmen have yet to be assigned into their teams. Furthermore, none of them possess actual combat experience. Should an unknown factor appear, either by circumstance or coincidence, the entire operation could easily derail into a terrible situation.
Her price isn’t cheap at all.
Alus states the reality. “I can’t protect the entire student body.” Even if he is at the peak of magic, he cannot support every magician scattered about on a wide area.
The Director isn’t overestimating Alus’s abilities. Furthermore, she’s able to predict how things may develop just by knowing that none of her students possess any combat experience. She says, “That isn’t a problem. Just having you moving around should alleviate some of the anticipated injuries.”
“In that case, I suppose it wouldn’t be impossible for me to rescue students who are in danger.”
The Director’s gaze shifts off towards the future as she says, “Well~ more or less~”
“Me doing this probably is for the best. You don’t seem like you’d be very useful.”
Cisty shakes her hand back and forth as though she were apologizing while saying, “That’s not true!! I’ll be coming up with detailed instructions.”
Alus’s black hair swings to the sides as he shakes his head. Her speech, attitude, and mannerisms are not in line with her age. He doesn’t voice his criticisms, but does let his annoyance seep into his gaze. He doubts she even notices.
He says, “I understand.”
“Well, like I said earlier, it’s gotten pretty late.”
Although Alus still has more he wants to say, the Director presents him with a seductive smile that would mislead anyone unaware of the current situation. His only option is to lower his head. Thus, with a heavy sigh, he leaves the Director’s office.
Once Cisty confirms that the door is shut, she relaxes her expression with a sigh. Loki…
“Does that child not remember Loki?”
She already heard from Loki herself why she chose to become a supporter. Loki has resolved herself to live for Alus’s sake. That dedication made Cisty unable to turn her away. While what resulted was the best possible outcome for Loki, whether Alus remembers her is still unknown.
Cisty can’t voice her concerns about the matter either. Saying anything would be too meddlesome on her part. It is an issue for Alus and Loki to resolve on their own. Third parties have no place getting involved. However, only God knows whether that decision is for better or worse.
T/N: Another chapter down and my first post on my new site!! American Faux has made a lot of progress in the almost two years that it has existed as a translation site. I hope you all continue to support me as you have been by stopping by to read WN and leaving comments below as you have been. Speaking of support, please remember to thank M4LDD1CT10N for sponsoring this release~
 The ending sentence had me lost: おそらくひどくどうでもいいことを考えているに違いないのだから。
 It says upperclassmen, but I’m getting the feeling it means upperclassmen in consideration to elementary, middle, and high school.