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azwhoisverybored

Prologue

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Prologue:

This room was especially old for a room in Norwich (the Department of Modern Magecraft). There were many people seated in the fan-shaped room. Though there were only supposed to be about ten people in the El-Melloi classroom at a time, there was now about three times that amount of informal students gathered here.

Though most mages despised science, there was still a central heating system installed here, and the classroom was comfortably warm. Apart from the scented wax that had been applied to the walls, this place was no different from a regular college. (TN: Why does Gray know what a regular college feels like she hasn’t been in one-)

Just like someone once said, keeping up an appearance costs money.

“……”

But then again, I quite liked the sweet smell that the wax gave off. One of the lecturers would pick seasonal spices every morning, due to the supposed boost in concentration that they would give. I once went to thank that teacher for it, but he replied that I should “thank the bees, flowers, and herbs instead.”

…If it was now, then I would have probably told him that he deserved to be thanked regardless.

Back then, I had just come to London and hadn’t spoken to other people much.

Back then, I was comforted by the soft, easing scent. Though I knew that that wasn’t the original intent of the lecturer, I still wanted to thank him for the warm feeling that it sent through my heart, but…

As I was immersed in these thoughts, they passed through my line of sight.

Today was the day when reports were being graded, and from the second half of the lesson, each of the students walked up to hear the feedback they received.
“There is quite an improvement. I hope you can keep this up, and use this general idea to rewrite the entire report.”

“Hmph. You took quite a few winding paths. Though the system is widely referred to as Kabbalah, in actuality, it contains many different types of magecraft. The methods discovered by Avicebron are perhaps the best suited towards this topic. When you study Mana later, make sure to take these into account.”

“Not bad. I can give you course credit based on this essay alone. Starting next time, change a topic. Though it might be a challenge, you could look at it from a Mineralogy perspective. If you need me to, I can even introduce you to Kischur (the Faculty of Mineralogy). At your current level, I believe you can balance both studies.”

Though it might be surprising to some people, you could feel how considerate he was from the feedback he gave to the students. I’m not sure if it was that the students discovered this too, but even though some of them received harsh feedback, none of them seemed defeated. Everyone seemed to be full of enthusiasm. This was probably because the El-Melloi classroom gave them this sort of foundation to build upon.

Then again, not all of the interactions were as friendly.

“Flat! Before we even discuss what your essay was like! Why did you get the requirements for the essay wrong again!”

“Svin! Don’t make the same mistakes as him just for the sake of competition, okay! Can’t you consider the feelings of the person who has to take the time to give you supplementary test topics?!”

Similar shouts would resound in the classroom once in a while.

Every time, there would be a mixture of excuses, anger, and magecraft. Then Yvette, who had returned to the classroom as if nothing had happened, also got involved, and dragged Caules in too, who was just trying to study.

I felt… somewhat anxious. I sat huddled in a corner of the classroom and held a hand to my chest. I had also handed in a report this time, so I was very concerned about what kind of comments I would get from my mentor.

I knew that I did not fit in here.

I was not a mage, just a disciple of my mentor. I was only allowed to sit here because of a long trail of coincidences. Though I was aware of this, the fact that I was a member of this classroom was imprinted into my heart.

I had made a misconception.

The misconception that I could continue to stay there. Just as these feelings circled through my mind, a familiar word resounded through the classroom.

“Gray.”

“…Oh, p-present!”

I stood up nervously. Seeing me walk down the steps to his eyes, my mentor tapped the back of his hand on the cover of the report.

"First of all, the format of the report is wrong. The subject is also not unified, and the content is too disorganized. You did not adequately review the information on the premise of Kabbalah. I don't think you considered how the different sources you used would interact with each other. The theory you put forth at the start contradicts what you say at the end because different schools of thought were used. At the Clock Tower, a simple check with the librarian would have reduced this situation by eighty percent. Be careful in the future."

“…S-sorry."

I bowed my head in disappointment. I actually realized that something was a bit off, but I never even thought about asking the librarian. It was such a logical thing to do. Why couldn’t I figure out any of this without having someone tell me?

“However,” he added.

“Though scattered, the observations about Necromancy are quite refreshing. The section that explores death from the body, spirit, and soul is only basic, but the experiential introduction is very interesting. If you don't mind, I would like to use this paragraph in my thesis after a thorough review. Of course, your name will also be included."

“O-of course!”

“Thanks. I'll contact you when I'm reviewing and writing the paper. —Next, Yvette. L. Lehrman.”

As if nothing had happened, he called the name of the Mystic-Eyed girl.

The legendary lover-in-waiting was here, said the young lady with the blindfold as she stood up, to which several people in the classroom booed violently. I returned to my seat and watched all this halfheartedly.

Afterward, my mentor continued giving each student feedback.

He continued as usual, or more vigorously than before, as if he had recovered from the injury he had sustained at the end of the year. The physical wounds must have healed. After all, as a Lord, there was no shortage of healing magecraft available. For example, when he was discharged from the hospital a while ago, several of his students offered to diagnose him in case there were any after-effects. But he refused all of them, but as far as I remember, his face showed some relief though was still relying on crutches.

But what about his spirit(heart)?

The last incident penetrated deeply into his heart. Before that, he had only been involved in the events of other people.

But this time was different because it was an incident that was clearly aimed at him. Therefore, I had no way of imagining what the impact of the incident would be.
I could only spend that time in anxiety and uncertainty.

"Congratulations, Gray!" A blonde teenager suddenly peeked over from the back seat and waved at me.

“…Flat.”

The teenager who was smiling broadly was Flat Escardos, who had just had his report reviewed. Even in the El-Melloi classroom, it was not uncommon to see such a prominent figure like him.

"How impressive! It's a rare thing to have your report be used by Professor in his own thesis!”

"No, no, it's just that he happened to be interested in knowing about my hometown."

"That's great, too! You know, it's only been six months since you've been here. When I gave my first report to the professor, I tried to impress him in every way possible. Because I thought that he must have seen ordinary content many times, I decided to win by quantity. I looked all over the Clock Tower and managed to get a big box of bat eyeballs and feces to give to him. I don't know why, but all I got was a good scolding!"

I could imagine the scene as the teenager energetically took the box to the classroom. Maybe he was even smiling smugly as he did so.

“That time, my nose almost became crooked from the smell— Wait, you're cheating! I get to talk to Gray-tan too, get out of the way, go as far away as you can!”

"Ah, Le Chien(the dog)-kun!”

"Don't call me Le Chien!"

A teenage boy with curly blonde hair stormed up to us.

Svin Glascheit. He and Flat were known as the twin juggernauts of the current generation. The unrestrained energy that they gave off seemed to be popular amongst girls(TN: ????). Although I do not know much about this aspect, both of them can probably be considered handsome.

But then, it only applied if they weren’t in conflict with each other.

"Eh, but Le Chien-kun is Le Chien-kun! Didn't you want to smell Gray's sweat or something? But didn’t Professor forbid you from going near her? Well, if that's the case then you can come to smell me! Come on, no use being polite!"

"Okay, I get it. Flat, you really are my nemesis!” The power on the young man’s hand morphed into a sharp claw. There was a whooshing sound as the sharp claws passed by, but Flat escaped from their range with a surprising speed.

"Ahaha! Because of the pain I suffered at the hands of Ms. Tohko, I set up an automatic action system. I can ignore my will and use enhanced techniques to make my nerves work using only magecraft! The inspiration was the robot body-shells in the games I used to play that could move through pre-programming alone.

Just as Flat dodged and gabbed, the back of his head hit the chair behind him with a thump.

“Oww… It seems I haven’t set the environmental consciousness settings to be precise enough.” Flat grunted and raised his hand, and a magic bullet shot out from his fingertips.

A beautiful rainbow-colored circle shone in the lecture hall as the magic bullet bounced off near Svin’s shoulder.

"Wow, awesome! Le Chien-kun, your resistance has increased again, huh?”

“Shut up. I’ll send you on your way right now!”

Like a superhero from a comic, another set of claws appeared on Svin’s hands—
“Calling all people who can stop them."

A stern voice rang out from the lecturer's chair.

"...Those who can stop them will receive one course credit, and those who assist will be exempted from one report, or will be provided with one hour of personal counseling. Informal students may also attend this time."

Along with the cold voice of my mentor, the lecture hall erupted with loud cheers. The two people were quickly surrounded by a whirlwind of magecraft, including Caules’ Electricity Magic, Yvette's Mystic Eyes, a pair of knives that changed into fire and ice, along with Elemental Magecraft, Rune Magecraft, and Witchcraft. The vortex of magecraft clashed with the two people in a storm of chaos.

Although Flat and Svin were the twin juggernauts of the classroom, the rest of the students were not simply silent spectators. All the magi had their sights set on their positions and would grab them at the first opportunity. That was why the room was now boiling in enthusiasm like this.

The daily routine of the El-Melloi classroom was unchanging. It was so normal that I found it hard to breathe.

"What's wrong, Gray?"

While giving instructions to the students, my mentor came up to me.

I think his face was stern because he was trying to concentrate on preventing property damage. I heard that this classroom was built more sturdily than other classrooms because of this kind of incident. Even so, the Department of Modern Magecraft (Norwich) was probably not rich enough to replenish destroyed property as it wished… But I think the main thing was just my mentor’s personality.

"You've been looking dejected. Most people’s first reports are around this level. I can't give you credit yet, but I can say that you've passed."

"Oh, no…no, it's not about that." —No. I couldn't look him in the eye, even though I had held back from asking during the feedback earlier, I couldn’t now. At that moment, the bell rang.

“I-I’m sorry. Perhaps next time! I have to leave now!"

I lowered my head and left the classroom in a hurry.
*
A cool wind brushed against my face as I exited the school building.

It might come as a surprise to some, but London winters were actually not that cold. Though the days were short and the skies were cloudy, thanks to the westerly wind and the warm currents from the Gulf of Mexico, the temperature rarely drops below zero. Even so, the icy chill that blew into my cloak still scared me for a second. It was as cold as the hand of a winter fairy, and it made my just-relaxed spirit tense up once more.

I breathed into my palms and set off from Slur Street(the Department of Modern Magecraft).

Even if I walked slowly on purpose, it would take me no more than ten minutes to get there. Not too far down the block, there was an elegant mansion. It was not very large, though the carefully-cared for grounds were still impressive. Under the tiled roof, there were old brick walls covered in sprawling ivy, making it seem like a house out of a fairly tale. This description suited the house well, as the people who lived here were magi.

As usual, I was shown in by the mercury maid, Trimmau. As soon as I entered the room, I was hit by the rich aroma of black tea. I had indeed given advance notice of the visit, but surely this room had not been prepared especially for me.

At that moment—

“Ah, welcome. Could you wait a moment please?” said the young lady who owned the house from behind her desk.

Since there was no need to hide them at her own house, her eyes were now shining with a bright, flaming red. She seemed to be at work, and her hand was swishing up and down the papers laid upon the table.

In a few minutes, the thick stack of papers disappeared from sight. Sometimes, all she needed to do was cast a glance at Trimmau, and the maid would immediately explain what she needed in detail. Watching her work was like watching a perfectly coordinated acrobatic act.

“It is good to be back, but it means that I’ll have to do all this work. Though I’d love to hand as much as possible to my brother, that guy has no idea how to deal with politics and inter-factional relations. In the end, it’s this sort of day-to-day work that matters.”

Reines sighed and rubbed her temples.

“I heard that you went to Animusphere (the Department of Astromancy).“

“Indeed. It was not a pleasant experience.” Said the young woman with a shrug of her shoulders.

I heard that she had entered a partnership with Olgamarie Animusphere when she was following-up with the Rail Zeppelin case, and recently went to the Department of Astromancy (Animusphere) several times for further discussions.

Although Olgamarie’s father, the Lord of Astromancy was on the fence about the Central Powers, Olgamarie seemed to have developed an interest in it because of the last incident. She proposed a new plan to use the funds left over from the Mystic Eye auction and to sell a nuclear power plant(!?) that was particularly difficult to deal with.

The proud face of the young girl who was slender but strong came to mind, and for some reason, I felt a sense of happiness.

“Well then, let’s have some tea. I want to try a different store today.”

Reines stood up from behind her desk and winked at me. I also dutifully tasted the dessert that Trimmau served.

“…Ah, this chiffon cake (TN: A type of light cake made with vegetable oil instead of butter) is delicious. It’s not too greasy, and has just the right amount of sugar.”

“Mmm, the galette (TN: A type of French dessert that somewhat resembles an open-topped, flat pie) is not bad either. The person who came up with this combination of pistachios and slightly tart apricots is clearly talented. This was definitely worth sending someone to buy it early in the morning. Let’s add this store to our itinerary.”

Some of the desserts were like quartz, others were like paintings. Each one was beautiful in its own way.

It was only when I arrived in London that I realized the incredible power of desserts. I’m sure they contained a special sort of magic that made people forget about all the problems they were facing. The taste made me feel as if I was melting from the inside out. But this was the only time I could not let myself revel in this deliciousness.

Reines seemed to predict what was going to happen next, and frowned slightly. Just as we were making light conversation while sipping our tea, she suddenly spoke up.

“…So you’ve inevitably come to this point, haven’t you.”

There was a sigh mixed into her words.

This was her lament about my mentor’s recent actions. Although I had briefed her about the general situation at the end of the year, today was the first time I told her about the details. During the conversation, I recalled the incident once again, and it was like a hole tore through my heart.

I remembered the reason why I had been unable to look my mentor in the face in the lecture hall.

The end of the incident.

When Master had given up his participation in the Fifth Holy Grail War.

“That brother of mine really is a fool,” Reines said, clasping her hands together and leaning back on the couch.

She checked the pieces of information with me again one by one, stacking it together like a tower. Finally, it seemed to have taken shape in her mind, and the young woman spoke somberly.

“So that’s what it is. He must be happy to be able to take revenge on Faker, the [other king]. There’s nothing you can do to stop him from being too happy. After all, this is probably the first time in ten years that my brother’s achieved something worthwhile on his own. No wonder he’s in such high spirits.

“Then again, that still isn’t the direct reason why he gave up on the Fifth Holy Grail War. Alas, that brother of mine really does know how to persist at critical moments. I suppose my training did have an influence on him.”

She laughed a little.

It was easy to say what Reines was trying to say.

Yes, the main reason why my mentor had abandoned the Fifth Grail War.

“He couldn’t just leave [the other king] be, could he?”

The young woman stated her own opinion naturally. In this moment, she looked somewhat similar to Master. Perhaps it was because they were siblings. Even if not by blood, there were still similarities.

[The other king].

A Servant who we met aboard the Rail Zeppelin. One who was the enemy of Master and I, with the extra class of Faker. And the former head of the Department of Modern Magecraft, Dr. Heartless.

As the events played back in my mind, the young woman in front of me continued to speak.

“Even if he has to attend the Grail War again, he wants to meet his king again and to prove that the only person who was worthless was himself. That’s what my older brother wants to do. On the other hand, the other king (Faker) is currently working for someone else as a Servant. It’d also be the duty of a king’s subordinate to find out about it. Therefore, he must put aside all his own selfishness and find out the goal of the Master who the Servant works for. Not to mention that she was summoned by his own stolen relic… Or something. My older brother would probably think that way.

Besides, if the former head of the department was about to make some big news, as the current Lord of Modern Magecraft (Norwich), he is responsible for doing something about it as soon as possible. Although this is simply foolish for a magus, this is the reasoning used by his brother to justify his actions. He just has this sort of nature. No matter what happens, he will not confuse the direction he wants to go in with the direction he should go in.”

Reines sighed defeatedly.

Though it was just a few sentences, it made me feel immense pain. I felt as if my chest cavity had been filled with stones. I recalled the look on Master’s face when he had smiled and said “perhaps let’s just forget about it” as if it was an obvious conclusion, even though meeting his king was so important to him.

Even though he really didn’t want to give up.

Even though he said himself that he couldn’t let go.

After the case, Atrum Galliasta had visited Slur (the Department of Modern Magecraft) once. When he heard that my mentor had given up on the Fifth Holy Grail War, he angrily proclaimed: “I will not make the same mistakes as El-Melloi did. You just watch me return with my great victory“ and promptly left again.

I was surprised that the arrogant man would say something so full of disappointment and regret. I think he probably just wanted to fight with my mentor again, this time as a magus. Though the battle he had in mind was probably not quite the same as the Holy Grail War. And while this difference could be fatal, I had the feeling that when he yelled at Master, he had reprimanded me at the same time.

Perhaps Master’s friend— Melvin Weinz, the one who still called him by his first name, might even have a different answer.

As if she had read my mind, Reines continued.

“I heard that Atrum has already left for Japan. He seems to have sent his people over a while ago, and made a lot of preparations at Fuyuki.”

“Fuyuki…” I had heard of this city before. “The city where the Holy Grail War is held… Right?”

“That’s right. There have been no reports of all seven classes being summoned yet. Though, some have probably already been summoned and have already started fighting in the shadows. If that oil tycoon walks around the place saying that he ‘won’t make the same mistakes as El-Melloi’, he’s probably got a lot of tricks up his sleeve. Apparently, my brother also sent some tickets to the elderly couple that had taken care of him to get them to leave the city temporarily.”

“……”

A new Holy Grail War was about to begin.

Saber.
Lancer.
Archer.
Rider.
Caster.
Assassin.
Berserker.

The servants of the seven classes all fought in different ways , like legends manifested into the modern day. How would this great ritual, which Master had barely survived from ten years ago, unfold this time?

And, with what emotion would my mentor face the beginning of the ritual? (TN: Great this sentence sounds so weird and I don’t know how to make it sound more normal I hope the meaning isn’t lost)

“Also…”

“Hmm?”

Hearing my words, Reines frowned slightly.

“How do I put this… I don’t have a clear reason why, but I think my brother will get farther than we anticipated. What he says is pretty normal, but if we connect all the dots, the conclusion is simply not possible.”

“…I see.”

I could only reply with a vague answer.

Though, I did understand, somewhat. My mentor was indeed like this sometimes. When he found a clue to an incident or when he was analyzing magecraft, he would suddenly dive into his own world. Though detectives in mystery novels behaved in a similar way, it was particularly fervent (TN: could also be translated as urgent?) for him, like he was trying to drill a hole (TN:???? I have no idea??? Something about this sentence involves the character for “cow” and it’s really not helping with the translation. I don’t know what this is supposed to mean, I don’t know how to translate it)

As if he could not live if he did not do so.

This was not the way all detectives were. From time to time, my mentor(’s state of mind) reminded me of a violin(TN: from the text it just means any sort of stringed instrument) string that had been pulled taut, fragile but resilient at the same time.

If that was the case, then.

“Is there any progress on Heartless?”

“You mean, Dr. Heartless?”

Hearing the name, Reines scowled.

The villain behind the case, and the master of Faker. It was only because of the terrible miracle that he caused in Britain that Master had been forced to stay here.

Then, in the young woman’s opinion, how would Heartless act?

Reines picked up a macaron that was in front of her and sipped some tea. The sweet aroma swirled in the air as she opened her mouth once again.

“It’s rather obvious that Heartless was already involved with my brother before the last incident.”

“You mean, in the earlier cases?”

“Yes, during Ilsema. In order to buy the linden leaf to pay the Grand mage Touko Aozaki (TN: Which Deepl translates as Arakaki Orangeson for some reason), someone offered them a large sum of money, yes? It was quite a large sum, and the source of it has not been discovered. I’m afraid it was Heartless’ doing.”

“…”

Reines’ words penetrated my heart, and I felt as if the chocolate in my mouth suddenly became as hard to swallow as salt.

“It might even stretch beyond the Ilsema case. Do you remember that magus from the Department of Law, Hishiri Adashino?”

“…Ah, yes.”

“And didn’t she say that she was investigating him for personal reasons as his sister? According to her, Heartless has already caused many similar incidents. In fact, isn’t Heartless the person responsible for the serial killings seven years ago?”

Her deduction was both similar and different to that of her brother.

Whereas Master interpreted incidents from a magus’ perspective, Reines listed the facts and grasped the essence of the other person’s side through their actions. It would probably be considered the deduction of a politician. This was the sort of reasoning needed to determine whether someone was an ally or an enemy. It must be the sort of ability she had developed in order to survive.

“Heartless can’t be the final culprit,” stated Reines.

“Just like that time in Ilsema, he’s not related to the case at all. For the case seven years ago, the origin of it was the fact that Marisbury Animusphere wanted to find out more about the Holy Grail War. That is to say, Heartless is not more than a piece of background. He could be easily replaced by an alternative. Regardless of his involvement, a similar case would have still happened. Even so, he is so closely related to all of the cases, making him difficult to remove from the equation. …Hmph, no wonder he calls himself my brother’s enemy.”

“Why?”

“Because they’re very similar. Or, perhaps because they’re polar opposites of each other.”

Her words were like a sharpened knife.

Reines raised her index finger and continued.

“They both do not regard magecraft as a mere secret, they both do not integrate it with their own lives, and they both have goals that differ from it. But for my brother, this is probably a great source of his displeasure. After all, it is not that he doesn’t want to do so, but that simply lacks the talent to. My brother loves magecraft, unfortunately, it doesn’t love him back.”

This was probably not a rare sight to see.

Someone who had a goal that they wanted to achieve even if they had to risk their own life, yet lacked the ability to do so. But the difference between Master and other people was that he had not given up and had kept struggling, and would perhaps reach a slightly different end. Whether or not he was satisfied was a different matter.

The person who has a goal that he wants to achieve even if he has to risk his own life, but does not have the talent to achieve it. The difference between the master and the others is that he did not give up and did not keep on fighting, and finally reached a slightly different end. Whether he was satisfied or not is another matter.

“Heartless, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. It isn’t that he can’t do it, but that he chooses not to. Magecraft has enough love for him to make him the former head of the Department of Modern Magecraft(Norwich), yet he doesn’t love for magecraft. Otherwise, he would not have let so many talented mages die. By the way, the Department of Law probably thinks the same way.”

Reines’ calm words seemed to pile up.

It made me think of a cup that was constantly being filled with water. Because the container was filled to the brim, the excess would only overflow. Was this water medicine, or poison? (TN: I was also confused by that sentence, I’ll just chalk it up to Gray liking to describe everything in an excessively macabre way)

“If my brother was the dissector of magecraft, what would that man be?”

Master and Heartless.

Was the fact that they were both the heads of the Department of Modern Magecraft simply a coincidence?

An ill feeling started to wrap around my throat like rose thorns. It was probably just my own delusion, but I could not ignore it. I recalled that Master had once said that magi must never ignore their intuitions.

A silence settled over the room until a sweet aroma hit me. It was the smell of the newly-brewed tea that Trimmau had brought over.

“Well, that’s it for now.” The young woman drank some more of the tea and leaned back on the sofa.

I wasn’t sure whether it was out of consideration for my physical state or if it was Reines’ instructions from the start, but it was vanilla tea this time. Even though I didn’t know what brand it was, the refreshing flavor eased my anxious mind.

“That was tiring,” Reines sighed, rubbing her shoulders. Then, she made an expression as if she was about to pull a prank on someone.

“After all, what we were going to do has already been decided, yes?” She said, raising one of her eyebrows.

“Even though he is hopelessly foolish, he is still my brother. If he doesn’t last a little while longer, I would have to find someone else to bully(alternatively, make fun of or torment). The best course of action would be to support him now, and to sell him a boatload of favors while I’m at it. Isn’t that the reason why you came to find me?”

“Yes. …Ah, but I don’t plan on bullying him.”

Reines laughed as I frantically waved my hands.

Her laughter made me feel slightly relieved. This was the first time I realized that a smile from a friend could put you at ease.

I breathed in and nodded.

“Master said that he hoped I could help him. If so, putting forth all my effort is my duty as a disciple. Therefore, I must face this. Since I am here, I hope that Miss Reines can tell me.”

Indeed. I had to face this.

It was something I had attempted to escape from all this time using the comfort of London.

To me, it was like this.

“Before I return to my hometown, please tell me how I encountered Master.”

“Very well,” Reines said, nodding.

Then, she sighed.

“I thought that you would come ask me one day. But rather than saying that it was my prediction, it’s more like my wish.” She seemed to be a bit vexed, but at the same time, if I was not mistaken, her tone felt as if she was spoiling me (TN: Really unsure about this).

“Then, let me, Reines El-Melloi Archisorte, tell you the story that happened before you and my brother met.”

(TN: Oh, that was just the prologue? This is going to be longer than I thought it would be)
-End of Prologue of Book 6-
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(How do you post add images? I have no idea)

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