3.3 A Plan and Counterplan
Arus is exhausted after finally getting Tesfia and Alice to somehow return to their dorm. Loki doesn’t realize, but she clenches her fist upon seeing them go.
The round moon is the only source of illumination in the dark sky. Arus looks up at it as he walks. That’s a fake. Nothing from the outside world can pass through the protective wall. Even though a moon was added afterwards, it isn’t a three dimensional object.
If Arus were to point out the minute differences between it and the original, he wouldn’t be able to name any. Still, it’s different… Times like those are when he finds himself longing for the outside world that exists on the battlefield. He continues to dream of it even now despite being the number 1 ranked magician.
His footsteps clap against the pavement and echo out a constant rhythm. Each one is followed by a softer echo. A faint sweet fragrance of flowers drifts through the air. Despite having walked down that road many times, he’s never noticed it before. He takes it in while wondering, Where is it from?
Arus and Loki walk without speaking a single word, but not because they have nothing to talk about. She walks just a bit behind him and stares at his back with charmed fascination. Open yearning laces her admiration.
–Another row of Noble Diamonds–
Just like always, Cisty waits for her guests with flawless perfection in the Director’s Office. Spread over her long desk is a detailed map. Next to it is a list of magicians from within the school sorted by their rank.
Her duty isn’t something she can entrust to others. As such, she has carried that burden solely with her own shoulders. Now, however, she’s allowing seven percent to fall upon Arus and he accepts it without a single twitch. He’s probably just grateful to be paying back his debt this quickly.
Arus says, “I’ll also be having Loki participate in the combat training.”
The Director consents to his request with a satisfied expression. Requesting that approval was the reason Arus brought Loki with him. Not only is she’s one of the most powerful magicians in the academy, she’s also able to provide support.
The plans Arus developed within his room will alter that which has currently been decided. As such, they would be difficult to implement without approval from above. Furthermore, while the minor details can be left until later, the majority of what he’s planning requires urgent attention.
He says, “First, let’s place headquarters here. This is where Loki will be carrying constant surveillance. She will be directing the dispatch of reinforcements, therefore, apart from an upper classman who will be there to oversee the operation, we will need magicians for potential emergencies.”
Loki stands beside Arus before the desk and listens to his instructions. Her detection ability makes her a godsend. The chairman gazes from the map to Arus and wonders what he’ll say next.
“I’ll work to reduce the overall number of mamono. My ability, unlike Loki’s, can’t distinguish mamono by rank. As such, I’ll eliminate the B and C ranked mamono she detects. The students should be able to manage D rank and lower. Can you approve this?”
The Director’s confirmation to his proposal is weak. She had been hesitating on how to proceed up until then and now has to make a decision. Imposing combat training on new students is in of itself an absurd proposal. Of the consequences that could result from that foolish proposal, there is one complaint she wants to voice. She wants to pass along the sharp criticism that will come from all the victims.
“What will you be doing, Director?”
Things like payback would be easier if she openly moved about.
She says, “I’ll be staying within the academy building for any emergencies. From there, I’ll be monitoring the entire situation.”
Her decision is entirely natural. The Director, as the person with the right to make all final decisions, cannot wander around the outside world. Emergency situations require immediate action and valuable time would be lost searching for her. Furthermore, depending on how events play out, even she might need to consult with a superior.
Arus picks up the roster listing the academy’s students by their strength. That list contains personal information. As the Director hesitates on whether she should allow him to continue, he says, “I’ll keep this to myself.”
His baseless words brush aside her doubts. I suppose this is a sort of give and take.
While the secret Arus is promising isn’t at the same level of the one she’s keeping about him, he pays the detail no mind and continues to look over the list.
First on the list is the second year, Ferinella Socallent. She is the only triple digits magician at the 2nd Magic Academy. Furthermore, she appear to have combat experience. Considering her father, Vizaista-kyo, is a general and can pull strings for her development, her rank is no surprise. If anything, being a triple digits magician is to be expected.
Arus says, “Is B the highest rank subjugated?”
“You want to deploy Ferinella-san?”
Conversely, she doesn’t seem like someone who’d be difficult to handle.
Arus says, “Her main duty will be in overseeing the operation. For reinforcements, I’d like to select those with a fixed level of strength. They will be divided into several groups in order to reduce the burden on Loki.”
Nothing other than what Arus said has been decided. Still, Loki understands exactly what is expected of her.
Arus says, “Loki, I’ll be placing a heavy burden on you.”
Loki shakes her head and instead says, “Is excluding me from the subjugation alright?”
“You’re participation isn’t necessary. Focus only on your duties. At the moment, there seem to be others who want to experience combat.”
A great number of mamono would be reduced if the two of them were to be dispatched. In fact, the prediction is that too many would be eliminated. Even Arus on his own will be regulating how much strength he uses.
Loki’s expression doesn’t budge at the reply. She receives her orders and acknowledges them. Regardless, the Director gives her an apologetic, “I also ask this of you.”
Loki says, “Please select a supervisor in addition to the Director.”
Cisty says, “The results of the examination of the academy’s first years are ranked from highest to lowest. You can reference that in your selection.”
The cruel irony that Arus would be negligent in his duty ends up being a needless fear for the Director. He, without disappointing her, begins to skim the list.
Arus says, “I will station myself here. Will that be acceptable?”
Cisty says, “That won’t be a problem.”
Loki says, “Certainly.”
Arus then says, “One more thing, Director. While Loki’s absence during the extracurricular activity could be over looked, my lack of participation may be regarded as suspicious.”
“That’s true. I’ll resolve this matter later.”
Despite how easily the Director approved everything Arus suggested, there is a lot she will have to attend to afterwards. The most pressing matter will be advocating for the approval of the revisions.
Arus says, “Well then, we will be excusing ourselves.”
Although many details still need to be decided, a great amount was covered in just that day. As such, Cisty says, “Thanks for your hard work.”
Loki gives a deep bow in return. Arus, however, just gives a crude wave of his hand.
The Director is shocked at his attitude, but sighs upon realizing that it is the outcome of everything that has happened up until that moment. It too is something she will have to overlook.
Loki steps forward and opens the door for Arus. He doesn’t think the action is necessary, but at the moment, all he can do is take awkward steps through it. The chuckle he hears slip out from the smirking face behind him is something he can only ignore.
He then stops while only halfway through the door and turns around while saying, “That’s right. Please prepare a simple combat uniform so that I won’t be exposed.”
A small bit of payback.
“Of course, naturally.”
The immediate reply stifles his sharp parting remark.
Loki gazes at Arus’s pitch black hair from behind on their walk home. The darkness of the night which his black hair melts into is just like that evening from long ago when the purpose of her life changed. Remembering that night makes her a bit happy.
Silence lies between them at the moment, but even that is something she loves. That silence, unlike on their trip to see the Director, doesn’t last the entire way.
Arus says, “Loki, where are you planning to stay tonight?”
“Ehh! Arus-sama, can’t I stay in your room?”
Loki, who walks behind Arus, is unaware to the type of expression he has. Likewise, Arus who walks ahead of Loki doesn’t know what sort of expression she is making. Only their voices link them together. Still, Arus isn’t so aloof as to be unable to perceive the frail hope within Loki’s despair.
Arus, by nature, doesn’t care about what people think of to him. However, if a fellow transfer student where to move in with him, they would gather a lot of attention. Not only would it increase the number of people who distrust him, but it would also draw unneeded disdain. He says, “In that case, how will you manage the commotion that’ll follow?”
Loki speaks as though her declaration will settle the matter. “By refusing to yield.” From Arus’ back, however, she feels a silent pressure informing her that her response is inadequate. She can only droop her shoulders as she walks. Persuading him will take time.
Loki’s values are justified when contrasted against a singles magician. Anyone familiar with Arus would feel the same way. Yet, anyone who gets too close to him will have the honor stripped away from their names. At the moment, there are many around Arus who are unreserved towards him.
Loki’s assertion was correct. Regardless of the location, anyone aware of the achievements accomplished by singles magician would give that magician the greatest respect possible. This social etiquette is even practice by fellow single magicians. Arus is the only exception.
–Noble Diamond, Noble Diamond, Nobl- writing this six time is too annoying–
On the day following the examination, Tesfia and Alice give Arus an early morning visit. Their arrival is projected to him on the LCD. Tesfia wears an expression full of displeasure while Alice’s is flustered. He proceeds to the door while ignoring the irritation he’s feeling. Why are they here?
Arus unlocks the door from the computer panel on the wall. The two girls, dressed in their school uniforms, barge straight into his house while searching around for Loki.
Arus says, “Early morning and the two of you are already being nuisances.”
Tesfia spots her in the kitchen preparing breakfast and raises her voice. “— —!! I knew it!”
Loki stretches herself a bit and stands on her toes as she works, but from the way she moves, she appears well accustomed to what she’s doing. From underneath her apron, the sleeve of a brand new uniform can be seen.
Alice say, “Loki-chan, I’ll help too.”
Loki says, “That being said, I have already finished.” She seems to have been in the kitchen for a long time. By the time Arus got out of bed, everything was almost complete.
Loki then proceeds to the small table, which has four chairs, and sets down Arus’ breakfast. She prepares her share afterwards. Then, almost like a cliché, she gives the two a greeting that isn’t really a greeting. With her unchanging expression, she says, “What about the two of you?”
Even if she said that much, she probably won’t say anything more.
Alice says, “We came after having breakfast.”
Tesfia says, “Yeah, don’t mind us.”
Arus, as though having anticipated their responses, sat down before they could speak them. Loki doesn’t know if the two are telling the truth, but there is nothing she can do since she wasn’t expecting them.
Tesfia and Alice also come up to the table. Tesfia then slams her hand down while saying, “More importantly.”
Arus continues eating. His hand doesn’t stop moving. Loki, however, glares at Tesfia from across the table. The stare is meant to rebuke her for her poor etiquette, but other emotions also slip in.
Tesfia continues, “Where did Loki stay last night?”
While the critique is directed at the sole man in the room, the silver haired girl seated next to him answers. “Of course, I stayed in Arus-sama’s room.”
What’s with that overbearing stare? She was just told yesterday it’s none of their business.
Tesfia and Alice returned home the previous night after finishing the dinner Loki cooked, in reality after being persuaded by Arus, and held a discussion concerning Loki’s living arrangements.
The arguments they had made where in vain. Nothing they said got through to Arus or Loki. Worse, evening had fallen and there was nothing else they could do. As such, Loki spent her first night in his room.
All they accomplished during their discussion was that as they laid in bed, they were one stroke away from writing the character for river. Although that which they feared did not happen, the situation is still no good.
Arus and Loki, due to the habits they picked up in the military, quickly finish their breakfast. They then get dressed and proceed to class.
As that is Loki’s first day, preparations need to be made. They are heading out early in order for her to receive her learning materials. Furthermore, she will be giving a brief introduction of herself during homeroom.
Tesfia, having had her argument cut short, reluctantly tags along. The topic of attending the academy, however, sparks a follow up. She walks beside Arus and glares at him. The contempt in her gaze marks him as a pervert. “Incredible, I guess you really didn’t do anything, huh.”
She displays that attitude despite knowing he is the number 1 magician. The respect she should be granting towards the pinnacle of magicians has been cheapened into the disgust given to a pervert. It is an unbelievable development that continues to grow more absurd as he doesn’t even bothering to deny it.
However, before anything else can be said, Loki says, “For me, that is something I could never hope for…”
Loki’s murmur freezes everyone in place. They all stare at her with their mouths agape in clear shock. Arus is like an enemy who has already been weakened. As such, he just shrugs and decides against inquiring any further.
Loki’s realizes her blunder and stumbles out a haphazard cover up. “As if!”
Tesfia glances down towards Loki’s abdomen with no intention of looking way. Her desire to give Loki a more in-depth examination is obvious. Considering the situation, it’s a legitimate response. “Of course, something that indecent…”
Alice says, “Loki-chan, in that case, would you like to join us in our room?” Even though she’s providing Loki an alternative option in housing, her expression reveals her motivation is driven by a degree of self-interested.
Dormitory rooms are shared between two people. Those in one should find the situation cramped. For there to be enough leeway for Loki to move into theirs suggests that the aristocracy moved an invisible hand at some point.
Alice’s suggestion isn’t just a courteous proposal, it’s a very reasonable one. As such, despite the overjoyed smile on her face, no one points out that she’s inflating her own expectations.
“Please don’t fuss over me.”
The life vanishes from Alice’s face at the curt reply.
Tesfia is also unable to agree to Loki’s response. As such, she turns to Arus and says, “Hey you, say something.”
“I’m fine with whatever.” Arus isn’t just being open minded. Loki, more than hinder his research, was mindful about it. Rather than also immerse herself alongside him, she would search for needed documents the instant they were required and also provide him with refreshments. While he won’t be bothered if she leaves, he won’t kick her out either.
Loki is also shocked at first, “……!! Since Arus-sama has given his approval, the two of you have no more reason to complain.”
Regardless, Tesfia and Alice aren’t able to accept Loki’s decision and continue to argue all the way to the academy. All their attempts are useless as they fail to persuade her. Not even Alice’s added appeals sway her. While Arus is fine with whichever outcome, Loki’s efforts the previous night allow her to prevail.
Within the academy, especially before the other students, Loki is not to refer to Arus with “sama.” To be frank, she should just abbreviate his name into Al. That a few hours are needed to convince Loki into doing so was a miscalculation. Furthermore, she only did so as a compromise. She’s told that if she wants to cohabitate with Arus, then refusing to yield there would ruin the opportunity.
While Arus doesn’t agree, his world views are rejected.
T/N: Argh, looks like we’ll need to wait for the next chapter in order for Loki to be introduced to her future classmates. I don’t know about all of you, but I was looking forward to her calling Arus as “Arus-sama” in front of everyone. Anyway, I took a glimpse at the upcoming chapters and the manga really wasn’t kind to them. On the plus side, you’ve got a lot to look forward to here~
Still, I’m a bit surprised by how much Loki is infatuated with Arus. It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, but the manga had led me to believe otherwise. Anyway, remember to thank M4LDD1CT10N for sponsoring this chapter.
川 is the character for river. Since they are only two people, they are one short for river.
 Literally, it says, “smells of stupidity.” アホくさ
 たかだかこれを獲得するのに数時間の労力を要したのは失態だった。 ロキの妥協によって得たものの対価として、同棲についての主張に優位性が損なわれたことだ。