The next day. Wednesday.
Waking up felt horrid.
Getting conscious along with a violent remorse, a resentment towards myself, then a feeling of helplessness rushing in, I can’t help but to wake up with a depressed feeling.
I prepared for the morning while harboring that unpleasant feeling and left my room.
The four of us attended school as usual, but other than Kunisaki who didn’t knew anything, our expressions were dark.
I also don’t have the energy to laugh at Kunisaki’s jokes either.
With that, I headed for the classroom and placed my bag on my seat.
After spending a moment of silence, the form teacher Hakogi-sensei entered and started homeroom.
“Errr, I have an announcement to make this morning.”
Hakogi-sensei no longer make cliché remarks and made a preamble.
I don’t have to listen to know what is he going to say.
There was another person that went missing.
After hearing numerous warnings, the students were paraylzed.
A person missing.
Such an abnormal situation is nearly becoming the norm.
However, the school still has secret that they intentionally left out.
The number of victims.
Until last week it was one person per day, at most two.
But going into this week, more than ten people have disappeared per day.
As of this morning, the total number of victims have exceeded forty.
All of them are already dead.
They died at the hands of Osiris.
Of course, we tried to stop Osiris’ assault with the help from Leon’s intuition.
She said it.
Playtime is over.
Leon’s ability can’t precisely pinpoint Osiris’ location.
If Osiris is far away, he will know her general direction , and when leon is closer he can only sense and say “Osiris is nearby.”
In short, it takes time for the skill to work and actually find Osiris.
Osiris is probably aware of that fact.
On top of that, the measures she took was simple.
—-Time shortens as each journey passed.* (各行程の時間の短縮)
First of all, all of her actions was sloppy on a fundamental level.
For instance, moving Maria who got kidnapped from the south district to the north is a waste of time.
Maria was probably moved because the order and arrangements of the sacrifice had been decided, but if that’s the case, she just have to find one in the north district in the beginning.
Other includes her recklessness of buying drinks from a vending machine before the ritual also stood out.
However, Osiris who said the fun is over had started getting rid of her idleness and carelessness.
A victim was kidnapped within the district where the ritual is held and was immediately sacrificed.
That was all she changed.
If I had to say, she has become just a bit more serious than before.
That alone has left us in the dust……….
『―Are you feeling down, Raika?』
It’s troublesome to talk to a devil who suddenly calls out.
However, Balor continues regardless.
『—-Don’t be so dejected. It’s not like all of you are not catching up to Osiris right?』
Balor laughed as he said.
It’s true that we are not completely falling behind.
At times, we were able to find her location at a early stage.
Sacrificial rituals are not just about killing people.
Every ritual has a procedure and it takes a lot of time to complete.
On the occasion if we caught her to her on the early stages of the ritual, Osiris would abandon the ritual and flee.
『The sacrificial rituals has been interrupted several times, it’s definitely been a hinderance to her. 』
(……Even if we are able to intervene in the ritual, it doesn’t means the abducted students is alive.)
Among them some had their neck silted at the timing of our interruptions, while some are on the verge of bleeding to death when we found them.
Those students died in front me.
『Haa. What, you care about all of that?』
I almost wanted to yell, but barely managed to suppress it.
There’s no point in preaching ethics to a cold-blooded devil.
When I remained silent, Balor laughed.
『Don’t be so infuriated, Raika. Some are still alive.』
It’s true that some are still alive.
But that’s all there is.
Meanwhile Osiris have killed more than twenty people.
“Ah without further ado, I’ll start the lesson now…..”
The class started to flip open their textbooks upon hearing Hakogi-sensei’s apathetic voice.
I also opened the textbook and notebook about assembly-line systems.
I held a pen and pretend to listen to the lesson.
The time of inactivity passes a little.
I can’t remain calm.
Too many people have died in just two days.
There were also students who died in front of me.
Their dead faces came into my mind.
Their faces distorted with anguish.
Their eyes harbored with fear.
All of it are burned into my retina.
They died because of my incompetence.
They died because of my inability.
That’s the hard truth.
I have ten years of training.
My heart is about to burst with regret.
At that time, I heard something ruptured.
When I looked at it, I was squeezing the pen in my hand.
The broken plastic tore my skin and blooding was dripping on to the notebook.
“Sorry, I’m going to the infirmary.”
I notified Hakogi-sensei and stood up without waiting for his reply.
Although the class was staring at my back, I left the room without turning back.
After that, I walked down the hallway.
At first I was headed to the infirmary, but I changed course midway and make my way to the roof.
『What about your wound?』
“It’s just a scratch anyway, It will close soon.”
I left the rooftop while having a worthless conversation with Balor.
The air outside was colder than expected.
The skies were cloudy when I looked up.
“It’s gonna rain……or not.”
I muttered to myself as I lean on the rooftop fence.
The silence permeated my body.
Because a dark shadow is covering the entire school.
The constant incident of students disappearing.
The school’s enigmatic handling.
Suspicion and fear are gradually permeated into the atmosphere.
『Tsk. What a depressing mood.』
Balor clicked his tongue.
Is it because he shares my senses, he could experience the same atmosphere on my skin?
“—Which reminds me, the skill that freaking brat said, the Judgment of the Death, what kind of skill is that?”
“There isn’t a proper noun in Egyptian Mythology. However, Osiris is serving as the presiding judge in the underworld. By that analogy, she intents to turn this entire island into a courthouse from the underworld.
I previously received information from Maria regarding the transformation of the situation of the entire island.
I understand what that means now.
Perhaps Osiris is proceeding forwards with preparations for the Judgement of Death, gradually making the entire island closer to the realm of the dead.
Maria is sensitive to underworld’s atmosphere.
Changing one entire island to the underworld.
Although the style is similar to summoning magic, but that is already identical to rewriting one section of the world.
Freyja’s Fólkvangr is also a [Regalia] that can temporarily overwrite the world, but Osiris is on an another level.
Naturally, the setup for that must be intricate no doubt.
She progressing at a steady rate.
『—Has she finish preparing her magic?』
“Not yet, probably.”
『—Why can you said that?』
Ruirui also said that, but the important thing about a magic of this scale is the “procedure”. If so, it also crucial to look at the number of sacrifice.
In Japan, the unlucky numbers are ‘4’ and ‘9’.
Whereas in the Bible, ‘3’ is a holy number that signify the Trinity*.
Numbers have a long history of harboring magic and have a deep meaning.
In mythology, It’s been said that there were forty-two Gods attended Osiris’ trial. They are like the juryman in a human trial.
『In other words, Osiris plans to offer forty two people as her sacrifice.』
“That’s how I see it.”
The number of victims have already exceeded forty.
However, the ritual has been interrupted several times because of our intervention.
In reality, the number of victims that were sacrificed was thirty five, about six people.
『—–Supposing that’s true, how long do we have left?』
“………Probably two more days.”
There are less than ten days left. Osiris made her declaration last Thursday.
If she follows up with that proclamation, she intends to settle the score before this week is over.
Then, when is that date?
There isn’t an anecdote that claims Osiris excelled in magic.
In order for magic of this scale such as the Judgement of Death to activate, it is necessary to arrange the conditions and place.
The condition is a large amount of blood from the sacrifice.
Probably a place that is filled with magic on a full moon at night.
And the next fullmoon is on Friday, two days later.
“So in other words if we prevent the sacrifices of forty-two people by Friday night, we can stopped the Judgment of Death for the time being.
I don’t know whether it’s on purpose or involuntarily, but I omitted the most important part.
『——So? Have you finally found a method to [Dominate] Osiris?』
Balor sharply pressed on.
I have an idea.
It’s important to stop the Judgement of Death.
I haven’t found the most crucial part of conquering the [Regalia] in that strategy.
Even if I successfully managed to stop the Judgment of Death,
Will that solve everything?
As long as Osiris is alive, she will just repeat the same thing over again.
A full moon comes every month.
I can’t afford afford to have a dozen of casualities each time.
This time it’s neccessary to put an end to this without fail.
However, Osiris can be resurrected as many times she wants as long as she has her [Regalia].
The only way to stop her for good is to capture, [Dominate] her ‘Regalia’.
Then what kind of [solution] do I need to apply in order to defeat the [reviving the user after death] ability.
The straightforward answer is frankly to accomplish the opposite and『kill the immortal』.
If I can do that, I would have did it in the beginning.
The second plan is to find Osiris’ [Regalia] as well as destroying it.
I felt like that was the most realistic idea.
But that is precisely why Osiris would have been wary as well.
She’s probably paying close attention about defending her [Regalia].
Besides I don’t even know where her [Regalia] is in the first place.
Laurasia Island is too spacious to be searching randomly.
What if you supposingly found her [Regalia]?
Osiris will probably come at us with her full strength and kill us when that time comes.
To this day, Osiris is the god of immortality who can’t see the limit of her abilities.
We are in a predicament as we are heading into a suicide attack against such an enemy without a strategy.
Then we can’t use the second plan as well.
It’s better to extend the time period by one month and putting all of your efforts into preventing the sacrifices instead of launching a suicide attack with zero chance of winning.
If only I have a way to prevent that self-activating suicidal ability.
Once we stopped her from killing herself, it would be possible to neutralized her with 「Petrification」.
However, I wasn’t able to identify the true nature of that ability.
It was as weird as burning a petrified body.
The first thing I can think of is that was some kind of magic…….
I asked Balor, who is a god that excels at magic for his opinion.
“Can you think of a way to use magic without chanting in a petrified state?”
『Let’s see. Take an amulet for an example. By storing a spell in the amulet, you can skip the annoying part of chanting.』
“But the highest magic you can use with an amulet is at C-rank.”
The best a C-rank magic can do is produce a small fireball.
Aside from burning just the human body, there is no enough firepower to completely burn a human sized rock.
But a amulet huh…….
“Balor , even if an amulet is impossible then how about a grimoire? There must be some powerful grimoire out there are able to do that right?
A magician is able to put a spell into the letters that he wrote.
However the magic that can be place into each and every characters is minuscule.
Hence, an amulet is unable to trigger a powerful spell.
But if the amount of letters are as thick as a book, it is possible to generate a potent magic by itself.
『―They are out there but the possibility of Osiris obtaining one is low.』
“Why is that? If Osiris was carrying one in her bag……….”
『―The Evil Eye’s ‘petrification’ is a ‘curse’ so to speak. Furthermore, this is my best one yet. In order to overcome that curse, a AA rank grimoire or higher is needed.』
『And if there is a grimoire of that level, it will give off a vigorous presence just by being there. There no way it will escape this eyes of mine.』
Balor’s explanation was sound.
This guy is probably right.
But if it’s not an amulet nor grimoire,
『Could it be an artifact or Osiris’s skills?』
“Guess it comes down to that huh.”
『What’s with you? You’re not being yourself, Raika. You usually have the habit of finding a solution.』
“Shut up. No matter how much I try to recall, I can’t find any legend regarding Osiris’ self-immolating nor an anecdote regarding her manipulating fire.
Osiris is a god of agriculture to begin with.
It’s strange story, having her to burn herself and die.
My thoughts have come to a standstill.
I unknowingly let a profanity escape my mouth.
Did I overlooked anything?
“Raika-kun! So this is where you are.”
My name was suddenly called at that timing.
When I raised my face, Charo-senpai rushed over here.
“What’s the matter, senpai? How’s your lesson?”
“It’s already long over. Maria-san said that you are not in the infirmary so everyone was looking for you.”
Seems like class was over before I knew it.
Looks like everyone is worried about me.
“Raika-kun, you’re hurt.”
Come to think of it, my hand was injured.
“Didn’t you go to the infirmary for treatment?”
“We should treat it quickly.”
“It’s fine. The blood has already dried up.”
“No, you should at least put a bandage.”
Charo-senpai said that as she took a bandage from her pocket.
“I’m fine really.”
After slight hesitation, Charo-senpai kneeled beside me.
Took my hand,
And licked my wounds.
“Just bare it for now okay?”
*Lick*, *Lick*, Charo-senpai continues to thrust her tongue.
Though disinfecting by licking an open wound is just a folklore………..
『―Uhehehe, what a thrilling feeling!』
Even at a timing like this, Balor was high-spirited.
As for me, I was completely stiff and contented with Charo-senpai’s kindness.
She eventually paste a plaster on the wound after finished licking it.
Then after a while.
“Err……are you okay?”
Charo-senpai asked anxiously.
“……Yeah, I’m okay.”
I waved with the hand that had the bandage and laughed, I think.
Nevertheless, Charo-senpai’s expression was vague.
She once again,
“…….Can you win?”
Stared into my eyes as if she is holding back.
I instinctively clenched my fist.
“Sorry…….because of my worthlessness, I have worried you.”
“Eh?! Y-Yeah! That was not my intention you know?”
Charo-senpai shook her head in a panic.
Then because of the pressure applied, she gently squeezed my hand which has bleed again under the bandage.
“You are fighting for everyone sake right? There’s no one blaming you for that.”
I was stuck for words.
Her kindness is permeating my body.
“……Ah! I-I’m sorry! I held your hand without permission.”
Charo-senpai’s face suddenly turned red, panicked and let go of my hand.
“It’s fine, I don’t mind.”
Charo-senpai’s cheeks were still flushed, unable to make eye contact.
“I mean it’s unfair that god is immortal right? It’s too crooked!”
As if to change the subject, she forcefully changed the conversion.
“Yeah, it’s shady isn’t it?”
I didn’t press on particularly and followed up on her conversation.
Besides, Charo-senpai looked relieved and continued talking.
“I know right? To think she can resurrected after self immolation, it’s like the phoenix that appears in a fantasy novel……”
I held my breathe in an instant.
“Eh? You know, the fire bird that often appears in fantasy……”
Charo-senpai tilted her head as if she was perplexed.
It seems like she was wondering why my tone was suspiciously low.
I grabbed Charo-senpai’s shoulders without responding to Balor’s voice.
“That’s it! Charo-senpai!”
“Eh? Eh? W-What?”
Charo-senpai raised her in bewilderment while she turned bright red right up to her ears.
Regardless, I got somewhat excited,
“I know how to defeat Osiris.”
And answered her.
『Oh come on now, are you serious?』
Both Charo-senpai and Balor raised their voice in astonishment towards sudden declaration of victory.
“I’ve always thought that self-immolation ability was Osiris’ own.”
I heard the cry of a bird immediately when she became petrified and and burned out.
I didn’t have the time to access the situation at that time because I was overwhelmed by the sense of defeat.
That was an important hint.
Looking back now, it could be possible that Osiris communicated with us through telepathy so as to distract us.
“If we can kill Osiris one more time, she can be 「dominated」.”
I can see a method to defeat Osiris.
“Now how do we find her…..”
Yeah, that’s the problem.
Even if I find a way to defeat her, it won’t matter if we can’t find the place to confront her directly.
For the past two days, we have disrupted the sacrificial ritual several times, but Osiris was nowhere to be found.
She must have erase her presence with the help of her follower the god of invisibility, Medjed’s ability.
Can we really find an invisible enemy by the night with a full moon?
No, let’s think think the other way around.
The situation has changed.
Up till now, Osiris always had the advantage and had to be passive.
But now it’s different.
There is way to defeat Osiris.
That’s the case, now is the time to take the advantage.
But for to happen….
Charo-senpai called out to me while I still had my eyes shut.
I didn’t reply her and remained silent.
So as to strengthen my resolution.
I eventually opened my eyes.
“Charo-senpai, please get Leon. I will call Maria over. Let’s meet at….can you open the stack room in the library?”
“Eh, yes. I know where the key is.”
“Then please go and get it.”
Charo-senpai and I stood up and headed for the root top exit in order to gather our friends.