Rental Magica Volume 1: Chapter 5
 Chapter 5 - Shape of the Magician
 Part 1
After having evoked Eligol, Adilisia stood by without moving, talking for a while.
"... What does all this mean? Weren't you supposed to be looking for something?"
"It does not matter what we do. After using magic within the <Night>, it will come to us from the other side sooner or later," Adilisia responded, making the tiny Eligol sit in the palm of her hand.
"From the other side?"
"Yes. This place is like that thing's body. It will notice traces of magic."
"What is this thing you're talking about?"
"You would do best not to ask."
"I told you I'd keep it a secret..."
Itsuki pointed his lips, making a troubled sigh as he did.
"--We have come to retrieve a companion who has violated a taboo," the golden-haired girl said.
"Of course, you are unaware of this as well... In the world of magicians, there are several absolute taboos that exist. --One of them is becoming magic."
"That's... I've heard about that from Nekoyashiki-san. What does it mean?"
"It is not so difficult to understand. It is to throw off your meat shell, and become one with the magic that you practice. --It means to unite with the world. In certain religions of the seed, it is also the farthest bounds of enlightenment."
Soon after she was done talking, Itsuki knitted his brows confusedly.
"Wh, what? I didn't even understand half of that..."
"That is because you are an idiot."
Itsuki was sharply rejected.
Furthermore, all of a sudden, Adilisia stopped putting a suffix after his name. Rather than from feelings of endearment, it was quite clear that she was speaking to him as if he were her manservant.
"Uuh... Then, this <Night> is all the work of that magician that committed that taboo?"
"I would not call it his 'work.' Magicians who have become magic spread spell wave pollution simply by existing. That simply causes a phenomenon similar to a <Night> to occur. Thanks to that, we were in a panic when the <Organization> set this up as a 'job'."
That made sense.
Itsuki could finally understand some of what she was saying. Adilisia's "interference" was not just related to the "job."
As soon as he understood, Itsuki suddenly became downcast.
"Then... you're in a tough situation, aren't you Adilisia-san?"
"Well, since he was your friend. You have to chase after him and find him, that's tough isn't it?"
"That is how it is. --For the time being, I am the leader of <Goetia>. It is only natural that I take responsibility for one of our own who has violated a taboo."
Adilisia proudly puffed out her chest.
Because she's... their leader, Itsuki thought as he listened to her.
He was a president too. Whatever went on, he stood above Honami and the others. Even this "job," for just a moment--and it really only was just a moment--they let him decide whether or not to take it.
If possible, could he give them some kind of reward for that?
Always running away, being forced to come along... could he do something more president-like for a change?
--I can't say that I am right now...
"What is the matter?"
Seeming to worry about Itsuki's silence, Adilisia looked at him.
So, letting go of his inhibitions for a moment, he spoke just what he thought.
"It's just, I think... you're really cool..."
"N, no, pay no heed. I was simply a bit surprised, being told something like that so suddenly... Yes, this body is a crystal of magic cultivated through the ages. It is natural to take the responsibility that accompanies this power. And you, Itsuki, you can see ether bodies, so surely you are no normal human being either...?"
Adilisia made a slight, sulking sniffle with her nose, and then turned her face away as if she had sensed something.
Itsuki's heart suddenly made a leap.
The girl softly ran her hand across his black leather eye patch.
"Speaking of which, what is this eye patch? Were you injured before?"
"Uh, y, yeah, but it's nothing serious..."
"But you have it on all the time, even at school, correct? Is there some kind of scar there unfit to show to human eyes?" Adilisia asked him without restraint, looking up at him.
Her delicate chest peering up from her pitch-black dress caused blood to rush to his head, Itsuki turned away.
"No, er, a long time ago, I was chased by a monster in a <Ghost Mansion>. I was told that I shouldn't expose the injury to light. --Thanks to that, now I can't see anything with it except for monsters and the flow of spell power and stuff like that."
The only time he took his patch off was when he slept.
It didn't bother him to keep it on throughout most of the day, even when showering and washing his face. At first it was a bit of trouble to perceive distance with one eye, but over the course of ten years he had managed to get used to it. Even with the issue of monsters... he only encountered them two or three times per year.
"... I wonder if it gets rough."
When he saw things, he would often faint and lose consciousness and end up in bad situations...
Come to think of it, it seemed pretty natural that he was in the situation he was in now.
Suddenly, Adilisia's hands clamped down on Itsuki's cheeks.
"Fwa! F, f, nrgh, nyuh?"
"Itsuki, even when you have your eye patch on... you can see ether bodies? Furthermore, you can see the flow of spell power itself?"
Her voice was horribly cold.
Just like the time in the park, and when they were facing off on the ocean surface only a few hours before, it was the callous voice of a magician.
"... Feh? H, Hm. But it's not really strange, is it? The eye that I can see ether bodies with isn't exactly normal..."
"That is not the issue here!" the witch roared. "Anyone relying on normal eyeballs can see how far removed the sight ability of a normal eye and the sight ability of a spiritual eye are. What should not be possible is the ability to see such things when the eye is covered. Even if you could temporarily use clairvoyance, to be able to manage both clairvoyance and spirit sight at the same time would be impossible to anyone aside from a very accomplished magician. Such a thing is comparable to looking through a telescope with one eye and looking through a microscope with the other."
"B, but, I can clearly see them both..."
"That is why I am saying it is strange. Itsuki, is seems as though you have not realized it, but that eye cannot be called the eye of a human. If your eye can normally, unconsciously grasp that kind of vision..."
Her fiery speech suddenly cut off.
Adilisia, who had been moving in closer and closer to Itsuki's face, almost yelling at him--suddenly let go of his hand and stood up.
Following her words, Itsuki looked at the tiny Eligol perched on Adilisia's shoulder, bravely holding up his flag.
The flag, and the eyes hidden behind his helmet, had become affixed to the other side of the window.
Felling a chill down his spine, Itsuki turned around.
It was then.
Suddenly--the goblin factory shook hard.
The earthquake-like rumbling, stopping as suddenly as it had begun, gave way to a swelling, thick presence.
It was a troubling presence that made Itsuki want to vomit.
His teeth began to chatter. Soon, the shivering spread to the rest of his body, sucking the strength from his legs, putting him on his knees while holding onto himself.
And then, the presence spoke.
"I fou ・ nd you"
At the same time, he heard a rebuke from Adilisia.
"It has arrived!"
Seemingly unable to withstand the shocks from earlier, the cracks in the ceiling grew wider.
From those cracks that looked like scars from being slashed by a demon, something viscous slowly fell.
... It was a pitch-black tar.
It was an acridly pungent liquid that could be called by no other words.
The mud flowing from the ceiling wriggled out, and began to accumulate.
"Wha, what is, that..." Itsuki blurted out in shock.
Plopping out of the cracks in the concrete, the mud began to pile up.
Little by little, it grew four appendages, raised its head, and took shape.
If that shape had been the one of the dragon appearing in the legend, it would have been wonderful. Itsuki and Adilisa would be saved.
However, it wasn't.
It was a form that was all too human.
[THAT IS MAGIC]
Itsuki's right eye spoke again.
However, paying no attention to it, Itsuki simply let out short breaths.
"You're saying... that's magic...?"
Then, this is... the magician that became magic?
--This kind of thing was?
As they looked on, the shape arranged itself. The mud was continually circulating, however it still managed to bear finger-like protrusions, ear-like protuberances, and an empty hole like a mouth.
As it threw of yellow sludge little by little, it drew nearer.
" ・ ・My dea ・r Addie"
The mouth moved.
"M ・y precio ・us Addieeee ・I've bee ・n loo ・king for y ・ou."
The sound of its voice hurt Itsuki's ears. He felt like his ears were burning up.
"Ret ・uuurn the ・dem ・on ・ ・ ・"
Half-collapsing and restoring at the same time, the mud extended a hand.
At loss for words from sheer disgust, Itsuki landed on his backside as he tried to move away.
On the other hand, the golden-haired girl simply looked down and sighed.
At her words, Itsuki forgot his fear.
"... Oswald... Father..." the girl said quietly.
"If you display any further disgrace, father, then I will destroy you."
Next to frozen ocean--at the corner of the open thicket, Honami was tying mistletoe needles together.
Placing down four twigs with special letters etched into them, she lit a small bonfire in their center. The bonfire lit up her incredibly focused expression as she threw in several stones.
"Honami onee-chan, what are you doing?" Mikan asked as she helped out by sticking mistletoe into the ground.
"Things are gonna get a little high-handed. I'm gonna connect this flame--and the inside of the frozen ocean."
"What do you mean by 'connect?'"
"Earlier, there was a spell power response from the president's badge."
Honami felt her own badge on her collar.
"I think Addie probably evoked something or something like that, and I could feel it in my badge. If that's the case, then it would be really thin, but I think I can get a Pass connected."
"I see. We've got a connection then, I suppose."
Nekoyashiki clapped his hands together in admiration.
More than anything, evocation is an art for the purpose of calling spirits from other worlds. It could be called a technique for connecting with others in far off, separated locations. If that kind of magic was used with a badge the same as Honami's and Nekoyashiki's, then it would be natural in magical theory for there to be a connection to their badges as well.
"That reminds me, there was an anecdote of a Celtic legend where the Druid of the Gods connected two closed spaces. Are you planning to imitate that?"
The black cat Genbu-kun made a "Meow?" along with Nekoyashiki's question.
"Yeah. I've only heard that the legend is from storytellers in Wales long ago. This is the first time I try it."
Honami looked at the flame, slightly uneasy.
Mistletoe and flame.
It was the same arrangement as the great stone monument, the Druid Circle--more commonly called Stonehenge. Similar to the magic circles that Adilisia used, these Celtic ritual areas composed of mistletoe and flame made manipulating spell power extremely easy.
She took a single breath.
She felt her badge.
This was a type of magical technique almost completely forgotten by Celtic magic itself. Not to mention, space connection was not used in any other art.
"--Well, here goes," Honami spoke clearly.
 Part 2
It was as if the air in the factory had all been replaced with concentrated sulfuric acid.
Itsuki's throat stung. He felt horribly dizzy. His world became distorted, as it was progressively polluted by an alternate world located in the heart of the mud.
It was as if he were in Hell.
--Magicians who have committed a taboo emit spell wave pollution.
Itsuki understood the meaning of that for the first time, in his skin.
This was unmistakably a taboo.
A lump of sin.
Something that, at any cost, should not exist in this world.
That simple word made Itsuki confused.
Adilisia didn't respond.
She simply stood facing the writhing mud--and slowly began to speak.
"Father, if I may speak, I will say it only once more. If you disgrace us any further, I will destroy you."
She made a declaration to the mud that took the shape of a person. It was difficult enough for her to stay staring straight ahead.
"Dis・grace・" the mud uttered.
It began to shake its body.
At that moment, a part of the mud took on a different shape.
It jumped out with a flapping sound--it was the flock of black pigeons they had seen only hours before!
Pecking at the concrete, stabbing through broken machines, the place where Adilisia had stood was now buried in black pigeons.
The girl had tumbled over just barely in time.
As she stood up, the black pigeons returned to the mud, leaving the floor where Adilisia stood in a state warped from its original form. There only remained a large, round hole like a crater.
Furthermore, that was not the end.
At the same time, the mud, taking on another shape, flew toward Itsuki.
The golden demon lion--though it was now covered in mud.
The strength in its legs was unmistakably that of a beast's.
Closing the distance between the two in an instant, the jaw that would devour Itsuki flew open.
The moment Itsuki realized it died, he was unable to move a muscle, and his face was wrapped in the demon's raw breath. Its white fangs were brushing toward his neck.
What arose was the scream of the beast.
Marbas's eyeball exploded.
The ether body's black blood splashed across Itsuki's head. Itsuki, staring dumbfounded straight ahead, had his neck pulled by someone.
"Itsuki! Hold on!"
Within Itsuki's sight as he was pulled by Adilisia, Marbas turned back into mud. Eligol, the one who had stabbed Marbas's eyeball, made a huge leap, landing on Adilisia's shoulder.
"Ah... haah... ha..."
Itsuki breath was rough and broken.
He felt like the oxygen in his body was being used up all at once. No matter how many times he sucked in air, his breathing didn't get any easier.
"Adilisia... san..." he finally managed to whisper. "Don't tell me... that each one... of those mud piles... is a demon..."
"That is how it would appear to be," Adilisia responded in an emotionless voice.
"It was father's loss... to have become magic. Secretly gathering disciples, attempting to merge with the seventy two demons, but failing to completely do so... now all that remains of him is mud reflecting his desire and instinct. Of the seventy two demons, he managed to combine with sixty five of them, his body now an impossible lump of ether.
Itsuki remembered the workshop he had seen in his right eye.
The sea of blood staining the floor. The scattered chunks of flesh. The severed head that had tumbled into the magic circle.
That time, Adilisia's father had died.
Even if he had attempted to violate a taboo, it was so--
His stupidity finally eluding him, he realized there for the first time.
"Adilisia-san, there's nothing you can..."
If Oswald was drawing from the same seventy two demons as Adilisia, then victory or defeat would depend on the number and quality of each combatant's demons. However, Adilisia's strongest demons had already been consumed in the process of reaching her current position. There was no way she could put up a fight with just her tiny Eligol...
"There is, something."
Adilisia gave the slightest, most faint smile.
"After all, I came here to destroy my father."
Oswald, the mud, quivered again.
What would he release next? Glasya・Bolas? Botis? Or perhaps, some new demon that Itsuki was unaware of ?
With speed like a bullet, three black pillars of shadow began to extend.
However, faster than that,
Adilisia held up her pendant of Solomon.
"--It's here!" one of the black clothes from <Goetia> shouted from the mountainside.
"Begin the ceremony!"
At the same time, spell power began to flow through all of the magic circles surrounding the frozen ocean.
In an instant, a giant, intertwining magic circle gained significance.
"Hoho, interesting, combining magic circles into one large one..." Kagezaki sighed expressionlessly, still standing halfway up the mountain. Taken at face value, his words might seem like a complement, however his voice was completely devoid of emotion.
"So this is the secret technique of <Goetia>?"
The three shadows dashed towards Adilisia.
One was a wolf that breathed fire.
Another was a giant leopard.
And the last, was a winged bull.
The three monsters suddenly engulfed the powerless girl, moving in to devour her.
--They ended in an instant.
With that single word, the three demons disappeared without a trace. They weren't even able to return to the mud this time.
Adilisia simply held up the pentagram of Solomon.
"If something can be evoked, it can recede as well. That is simple logical reasoning."
The girl gave another smile to the dumbfounded Itsuki.
"Of course, you need more spell power than what your opponent has. If you add me and the other twenty <Goetia> magicians together--naturally we are more than a match for my father."
This was the true form of the magic circles lined up outside.
They had stood by, creating several magic circles of recession, all for this moment.
Oswald was deranged with agony.
"The truth is, after we had disposed of <Astral>, we were planning to take care of this. This is one of the secret techniques of <Goetia>. --However, it could not be helped that our plans underwent a bit of revision."
Adilisia seemed more upset than beaming with the pride of victory.
"Recede!" she shouted, gripping the pentagram of Solomon.
A blast of spell power was launched at the mud.
"--Recede! Recede! Recede!"
She performed the opposite action of evocation.
The opposite of evocation--recession.
The demons composing Oswald's shape were one by one sent back to their parallel world. The mud began to shed and shrivel up, finally disappearing.
The mud appeared to be growing smaller.
It was as if it were being burned away by a flame.
The mud, which had been a size larger than Itsuki in the beginning, was now about the size of a child, proceeding on to be squished to the size of a cat or puppy--and then disappearing several seconds after that.
It was too short of a last moment.
"Haha," Itsuki laughed with a dry voice.
He felt like an idiot for worrying.
From the beginning, Adilisia was the one who held the upper hand. It was fitting for her to be the most valued item in the Magical Company know as <Goetia>.
"My my, what is the matter? Itsuki."
Turning around, Adilisia laughed mischievously.
"I told you. I told you to pull out of this offer, because we would have been enough to handle this. If <Astral> had not gotten in the way, this would have been much easier."
Grabbing the hem of her dress, the golden-haired girl curtsied.
"However, I will thank you, just a little bit, for grieving over a father like mine."
Unable to say anything, Itsuki touched his cheek.
It was then--
A voice resounded in the darkness.
"--I ・do invoc・ate and conjure thee"
They turned around.
Before their eyes, the voice continued.
"--I ・do invoc・ate and conjure thee"
"--I do strongly command thee, by Beralanensis, Baldachiensis, Paumachia, and Apologle Sedes: by the most Powerful Princes, Genii, Lichide, and Ministers of the Tartarean Abode: and by the Chief Prince of the Seat of Apologia in the Ninth Legion--"
Suddenly, the remains of the mud lurking in the concrete took shape--
"Adilisia, behind you!"
The girl twisted her back.
However, there was no way she could have made it in time.
This time, she had no space in which to make the recession spell, and a wolf with the wings of an eagle--a mud-covered Glasya・Bolas slammed into her back from behind.
"My d・ear Addie・that w・as disa・ppointin・g"
Expelling a broken voice, the mud that should have disappeared rose once again.
It took the shape of a person--of a half-collapsed old man.
"If you ・can evoke yo・u can send i・t bac・k. Th・e same・goes fo・r t・he opp・osite. If ev・en the sl・ightest amou・nt remains, ・ you can・evoke it a・gain."
Pain and surprise hovered on Adilisia's face.
--She had made a mistake.
Itsuki and Adilisia hadn't thought that the mud was intelligent. They had thought that it was like a rampaging beast that had shed any remnants of human sense and knowledge.
They were wrong.
It could remember all of its secret techniques and magic from when it was a magician.
And then, it had waited for the moment when the girl would show an oversight.
It could be called, cunning, perhaps.
"Now then・allow me to・eat you・r dem・ons"
The mud--the mud in the shape of Oswald, inched slowly toward Adilisia.
It didn't even enter Itsuki's eyesight.
There was nothing a boy like him, who could only see it, and was not a magician himself, could do.
Right now, that was correct.
Magic wasn't a mystery that could transcend rational boundaries. It was simply a system based on a hierarchy of survival of the fittest that was affiliated with the spirit world.
Sludge dripped from the finger of the old man.
Just before that sludge could drip into the lips of the girl who had been knocked over by the wolf--
--It was pulled back.
Oswald's voice bore a question for the first time.
Itsuki's hand was holding onto the old man's wrist.
"... W... wa, wai... wa... wait..."
He couldn't form words.
It was as if the roots of his teeth couldn't arrange properly.
He felt as though he would throw up simply from the bizarre sensation he felt from holding onto the wrist.
Even so, he didn't let go.
With a creak, the old man's head twisted at an impossible angle. His eyeball-like protrusions sluggishly turned toward Itsuki.
As he was gazed at, Itsuki's muscles began to cramp. He felt as though he were being bound.
As though the old man had an evil eye.
Throwing off Itsuki's stiff hand, the old man extended his finger toward Itsuki's face.
"Tha・t eye" the mud's throat squirmed.
"Tha・t eye is・inte・resting"
Sludge dripped onto his eye patch, causing a white smoke to billow up.
He couldn't move.
Behind his eye patch, he could feel the sensation of the collapsing finger stroking the surface of his eyeball. A disgusting sensation erupted from his eye.
Suddenly, the finger of the mud, coming into contact with his badge, melted away.
The badge on Itsuki's collar was hot like a frying pan.
The old man flew backward.
His body quivered again.
Another small arrow sliced into his twisted back.
And then, in the magic circle that Adilisia had carved, a new figure appeared.
"President--sorry for making you wait."
A girl with chestnut-colored hair was smiling.
In the process of connecting space with the flames and magic circle, her cape and part of her pointed hat had burned off, but perhaps that added to her charm.
All of a sudden, the wolf that had knocked Adilisia over--Glasya・Bolas--also turned to mud and disappeared. Itsuki and Adilisia stood up with one another.
"... I was seen in a disagreeable position."
Adilisia gave a small sigh. Her dress had been torn in several places as she had fallen, but thankfully she had no serious injuries.
"I got what you were generally trying to do. With those combined magic circles earlier, you were going to stop him, right? Whatever the case, shouldn't you rest?"
"--Hmph, it was not enough."
Adilisia was definitely gritting her teeth.
The two glared at the old man made of mud.
"We wi・ll meet again・in the n・ext <Night>"
The mud suddenly melted.
From its face and its shoulders and its arms and its legs, it lost its order and spread out on the floor in puddle of viscous liquid.
Flowing just like that into the cracks in the concrete, the slushing, gushing liquid disappeared.
Itsuki rubbed his eye, disbelieving.
And after all the trouble he had gone through in preparing himself for an inescapable battle.
"President... are you alright?"
Honami ran up to his side.
"... Ah... yeah," he replied, suddenly bending down.
"Ah... no, my back's just fallen out."
He let out a tired laugh. He felt as though this night had lasted many months. The last minute especially had a weight that felt like many years.
"... Man... even though I thought things were going just a bit well..."
Honami let out a sigh.
Itsuki wanted to tell her that there's no way he could get used to this, but he felt a though he couldn't move his lips properly.
Ah, this is no good.
"Honami--I think I'm gonna faint, so I'll say this now--"
"H, huh? What?"
"Yeah. That muddy old guy just now--keep it a secret," he said to Honami, who was in a rare state of worry.
"Yeah... I promised Adilisia-san. Tell Mikan-chan and Nekoyashiki-san... too."
Adilisia held her chest.
"... Then I'll leave... the rest to you. Right now... I'm tired."
"W, wait, president!"
He slumped over toward Honami. It was indiscrete, but it felt kind of nice.
Finally, the scene outside of the window with the rusty sash was visible.
--Ah, that's right.
He finally understood the reason why the monster disappeared.
From the broken window, gentle rays of sunlight extended into the room.
The frozen ocean had completely disappeared, and only the usual scene of the mountain--and of the goblin factory, remained on the grounds.
He felt as though he could hear Mikan's energetic voice...
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