The ground where the ruins of the clock tower once stood was completely clean.
The rubble, which had been piled up, had disappeared completely.
In its place there was a bowled shaped cavity. It looked exactly like one of the craters on the moon.
She’d heard a large hole had opened up, but from her angle it was hard to tell. Frey stood on tiptoe and leant backwards as far as she possibly could, before losing her balance and tumbling over.
The surrounding area had been sealed off with a rope, restricting access to the common student.
Security personnel stood in a line holding their guns, their automata also brought out. As if that wasn’t enough, the disciplinary committee members had been ordered onto the scene. The security was awfully heavy, and everyone was flurried.
“Hey, did you manage to confirm the number of victims? How many people were caught in this?”
“No idea. How’s the headmaster? Is he dead or alive?”
“Is it true that there were students who were caught in the blast?”
“I saw that. It was an oriental boy, and I think I saw a girl fall in as well.”
Frey turned pale, hurriedly rushing towards the rope.
However, the people there obviously didn’t let her pass. A female student stood in her way. The armband around her arm had the words Censor on it. She was a disciplinary committee member.
“You can’t go any further. There’s a risk the ground might experience a second collapse.”
“Erm… Just for a little bit…”
“No means no.”
“I’m not letting you pass, even if you cry. This is something the board of directors decided on. There’s no two ways about it.”
Lightly shooing her away, Frey had no choice but to trudge back.
In front of her though, there was someone in sandals who was blocking the way.
Looking up, she saw the person had the same pearl coloured hair as her, as well as her red eyes.
“This smells fishy.”
Her younger brother, Loki, was standing there with the aid of a crutch. Considering he was still an inpatient and his tendon still gave him trouble, it must have taken him quite the effort to make it all the way out here.
An unhappy look crossed his face, before he scornfully spoke.
“No sooner does he get discharged then he runs into trouble. He must have been born under a cursed star. Don’t get involved with him, or his misfortune will spread and devour you.”
Having callously passed down his opinion, he turned his back on the ruins of the clock tower. Watching walk away with unsteady steps, Frey wondered why he had even bothered to come all the way down here, and thought it very strange.
Obviously, there was no one to reply her.
At the same time, there were a bunch of people gathered amongst the trees which were a little ways off from the clock tower.
Hiding themselves behind the trees, they were covertly observing the remains of the clock tower.
All of them were clad in black mantles. The hood and hem were inlaid with gold thread, making the garment look gorgeous. As far as the eye could see, there were four shadows. All four of them were giving off no presence whatsoever, making them impossible to detect. There was no figure of any automata nearby, but there was no doubt that they were all superb mages.
Looking at them, Yaya recoiled slightly. If automata had such a thing as instinct, then Yaya was feeling an instinctive fear right now.
Next to her, Kimberly was leaning against a tree. Although she was wearing her usual white coat, there was no mistaking that Kimberly was definitely one of them.
“Man oh man, that little punk tomboy went and did something enjoyable. To think she’d actually destroy a cultural monument with a hundred years of history engraved into it. Plus she even wiped out the remains.”
There was a sarcastic laugh. Above her head, a man who was perched on a branch had silently opened his mouth.
“Now then, what are you going to do, comrade Nightingale— or should I say, professor Kimberly?”
“I’m in the middle of thinking about it right now, comrade Turtledove.”
Behind the two of them, the three other shadows spoke up.
“The enemy’s objective is clear. We should move to protect the headmaster at once.”
“I agree with Crow. Right now, we cannot afford to have the headmaster die on us. Also, it will be a good chance for us to ascertain the Cathedral of Fools with our own eyes.”
“… I have no objections to Crow’s suggestion either.”
“Please wait. If we make any rash moves, we risk the causing the Cathedral to vanish, and that will be a problem.”
Kimberly sharply interjected, blocking off the three who were inclined to take action.
“Our goal is simply observation and surveillance— We prevent the leak of information over that, but we cannot stop progress itself. If we were to act now, there’s a chance we’ll end up altering fate itself.”
The three fell into silence. Kimberly objections were quite well founded.
The man called Turtledove spoke up again, as if he was representing them.
“Nightingale. You mentioned Second Last has also disappeared?”
“Yes, he must have been born under a heck of an unlucky star. He’s an illiterate student of mine, but can be quick witted and oddly discerning at times. Without fail he’ll always be in the middle of any commotion going on.”
“The sole survivor of the Akabane clan… Could it be he’s the one that Father was talking about…”
“The possibility exists. Although he seems a little lacking, if he’s really the one.”
“I understand. Although I cannot deny this course of action is lax, but we should respect Father’s instructions. In all likelihood we will receive the order to continue our silent observation.”
He looked around. The other members nodded in assent.
“Nightingale. What will you do?”
“Someone needs to stick around to observe, right? If anything happens inside the academy, I’ll report it as soon it occurs.”
With that, their plan was settled. The shadows disappeared one after another. Silently they vanished, as if they were ghosts.
In the end Yaya didn’t manage to get a word in, she could only watch as their discussion progressed.
Once only Kimberly was left, she relaxed and let out a sigh of relief.
“I’m worried about them, but let’s get out of here first. Are you ok, Yaya?”
“Y-yes. Excuse me, but what are you going to do about Raishin?”
“Let’s leave him for now. However, I don’t want you to think I’m being cold-hearted here. Once he returns back to the surface, we’ll move to ensure his safety. We’re not going to let him die so easily.”
While walking, Kimberly turned around only once.
“If he really is the boy that Father foresaw, then surely he won’t kick the bucket in a place like this… Now then.”
Kimberly grinned like a cat. Yaya didn’t understand what she was talking about, her head tilted slightly in puzzlement.