Right around the time the date changed, the Kantou Agency’s steering committee assembly hall was filled with a bizarre silence.
The various bureaucrat including Diet members from the Ministry of finance around the oval table turned ghastly pale as they faced the man who identified himself as the Demon Belronde.
“If you didn’t hear me, I’ll say it again. Zephirum is staging a coup d’etat with your Kanto Agency.”
Finely chiseled features, blue eyes, blond hair. Wearing a pompous outfit that brought the word ‘gothic’ to mind, he was a man cut off from the transient world.
“T… there should be a limit to your insolence! Don’t you dare move!”
With a stiff expression, one pressed the call button on the table. But no response came back.
“Wha… is there no one there!? Respond! Hey!”
“Are these the ones you wanted to call.”
It must have sounded like some drab joke. With a sarcastic snigger, Belronde snapped his fingers. The thick double doors were kicked in to herald the entrance of the boys and girls in their late teens, their bodies in military-esque clack uniforms. Submachine guns in their hands. Sabers at their waists.
In only a few seconds from Belronde’s signal, the combatants of the Kanto agency had suppressed the unresisting assembly hall. As if to prove their intent.
“Y… you ungrateful wretches! This is a severe act of treachery! Do you think you can do this and get off lightly!?”
But the agents they condemned… the orphans picked up across the country only sharped their eyes at the bureaucrats’ voices.
The demon spoke in their stead.
“We of Zephirum seek a base of operations to stand on the surface world. And they hold resentment towards this country. It is simply in our mutual interest.”
“… So what are your plans?”
Where middle-aged to elderly men in suits were most conspicuous, she had to have wandered into the wrong place… there was a girl sitting among them in a sailor suit. Glasses. Short hair.
Where all the diet members and bureaucrats waited for the storm to pass, only the girl raised a hand with a composed face.
Demon Belronde raised his brow at the oddness of her appearance.
“Who are you?”
The girl lowered her outstretched hand.
“I’m the bureau director. This place’s.”
She pointed down.
“The name’s Hida Makoto, by the way. It’s a pleasure, demon of Zephirum.”
“I see… the daughter of the late director. I’d heard you were filling in, but I never thought you’d be so young.”
Belronde formed a loose arc with his thin lips.
“But what will hearing our plans do for you?”
“Well I have to do something.”
Makoto gave a strong nod in his direction.
The Kantou agency she headed… it was the sole anti-demon agency controlled by the Japanese government. While it was an organization that stood in the third world, a realm controlled by the power of mana, its numbers didn’t even make up two hundred; there was no doubt it was a puny force under a third-rate administration. They could probably win against the riot police. They might be able to put up a good fight with the JSDF. But…
“If we follow your instruction, then those of the same third world… the sacred assembly would never keep quiet. This Kantou Agency can’t even match up to a single one of their holy knight orders. There’s no way the coup d’etat will work. I don’t want to do anything that would lose us our members.”
Makoto brought up a grave but certain fact. Of course, the demon of Zephirum had taken such hindrances into consideration when she shot back at the girl.
“It is very much possible. If you’re the director here, you must know about it. About what they call the dragoon.”
While she didn’t show any surprise on the surface, below her glasses, her eyes widened ever-so-slightly. Her father had studied it all his life, and never managed to complete it.
“You heard me right. I am a dragoon. I killed your father and had Zephirum complete the blueprints I stole at the time.”
Not an iota of mercy in his cruel words… more so, he seemed to enjoy every second of saying it to the daughter.
“Then you’re designation number forty…?”
“Hm. It does seem they’ve started calling me that around here…”
Belronde scoffed at the comical wanted list number of the Kantou Agency. He could only laugh at the futile squabbling of these worms.
“But thanks to that, I became one of Zephirum’s executives. I’m thankful to your father.”
“… Then as thanks, put it on hold a bit. That coup of yours.”
“I mean, it’s unfair. It’s just playing dirty. When I just had a parent killed here! At least give me a fighting chance!!”
As Makoto suddenly slammed the desk and began wailing, Belronde was taken back at first; but soon, he looked to the ceiling and began laughing on high.
“Very well, I like you. The people here only know how to cling onto their authority and kick back in their high chairs… paralyzed in place by the mere sight of gunpoint, but you’re a little different.”
Belronde looked down over the bureaucrats with scorn, those who had nothing to say back even after he had slighted them so.
“Interesting. You’ll have your way, human. I’ll give you a chance. While I doubt a little girl such as yourself can accomplish much… I’ll wait one whole day. Don’t you dare run.”
Belronde tossed his mantle behind him, his laughing voice resounding as he left with the combatants. He didn’t even apprehend a single member of the assembly. He knew no one here could change the situation in the slightest. He had absolute confidence.
Greasy sweat, cold sweat. One of the management committee members who had forgotten how to wipe them gave a sigh’s worth of pause before raising his voice.
“… Hida Makoto! What do you intend to do!?”
“I’ll do something.”
“Something… and I’m asking what concrete course of action you intend to take! Don’t you dare say you’re going to rely on the Sacred Assembly or Angel Saber! Get this in your head, that’s absolutely unforgivable! If they found out an anti-demon organization was hijacked by demons, we’ll be a laughing stock.”
Next, the member serving as chairman shouted out angrily.
“And if that’s not it, then what can a powerless little girl like you accomplish!?”
Powerless little girl. How many times had she heard that?
After her father had passed, Makoto obtained the director seat under her grandfather’s patronage, and they had never let her do a thing. She was too young. A clear case of nepotism. What could a powerless girl do? She was thoroughly treated as a decoration.
But if that was all, she could manage.
“I won’t allow your arbitrary action! Can you take responsibility!? Huh!?”
“T-that’s right! In the first place, the agents of the Kantou Agency have raised a rebellion! It goes without saying that’s your responsibility as the director!”
“That’s right, that’s right!”
Ever since a powerless little girl became director, they had begun to act as if they owned this third-world institution, indulging in even more profits on the surface world than ever before. The agents’ revolt was likely a direct result of that, and yet… like the dam had burst, the condemning voices flew one after another. Only their will to push all the blame onto a seventeen-year-old girl coincided.
“Director, how about you say something already!”
Makoto killed her emotions. She may have been powerless, but she was at least capable of that. And she knew what to say.
“… That’s enough.”
“What? What did you just say!?
“I’ve grown sick and tired of dealing with you all. If you’re going to be a laughingstock, see if I care. How about you take a bit of responsibility?”
Their eyes opened in surprise.
Makoto kept her anger contained her eyes as she elegantly stood from her seat. Her mouth curved into a vulgar smile.
“This is a good opportunity: I’m taking full administrative authority of this agency.”
Following on from the Demon Belronde… the second declaration of war came from the girl called Hida Makoto.
Be that as it may.
After returning to the Hida House mansion from the Kantou Agency headquarters, Makoto lay on her own bed. As for what was bothering her now, she had just learned that those against the coup d’etat who were placing their hope in her had been confined to headquarters by those who were all for it.
“… What do we do about this?”
The young boy who leaked the information gave a tired face upon hearing of what Makoto had done in the assembly hall. His hair scattered with wax was dyed in a bright hue, making for a fashionable appearance, but he was one of the highest elites of the agency, the leader of the E Numbers. One of the results of her father’s research, and the agency’s number one agent.
Code E1 Karasu Kikuhito. Not the strongest for nothing, he alone managed to make it out.
“Yes, what shall we do…”
Makoto was at a loss for words.
Am I really just a powerless little girl? she wondered. This was no joke. After she had been so caustic, she had to do something. This wasn’t for Japan or for peace, it was for her own powerless self.
The say of those geezers on the committee aside, there was no debating the fact that it would be a lethal scandal for the organization if this were to leak outside. Not too long ago, in that insurrection of Cardinal Randale, the imperial house’s divine spirit division made out with all the credit for political reasons.
The monsters under their wings called ‘godslayers’ boasted power that surpassed common sense, and come so far, that had finally been proven. Rumor had it that the ground defense force had an exclusive anti-demon experimental squadron in the works.
The cabinet angered by the steering committee’s exorbitant acts was already bringing up arguments about their lack of purpose.
If a coup d’etat was launched within them, the Kantou Agency itself would be eliminated. Pathetic as it may be, she had to stop that from happening in the one day the enemy granted her. As the powerless director.
Kikuhito, like the leader he was, was usually level-headed with a composed look on his face… but only now, perhaps reading the light in her eyes, he smiled to give her courage.
“Try thinking optimistically, Director… looking at it the other way, ain’t this your big break? If you manage to resolve this disaster at seventeen years old, just like that, you’ll be famous throughout the third world.”
He did have a point, but.
“The problem is how I’m going to do that.”
“There’s one way I can think of.”
Once again a rare sight from him, Kikuhito stuck out his chest and stuck up a finger. Makoto lifted her torso off the bed to stare at that finger.
“The strongest ranking elites of the Kangou Agency, the Eliminate Numbers may be handpicked from E1 to E9, but there’s…”
“Apart from you and E2, everyone hopped on board the coup d’etat. And E2’s been captured.”
Kikuhito’s upstretched finger wagged left and right in repudiation.
“You sure you’re not forgetting E0?”
Right. That existed. From before Makoto assumed office as director. There was an agent with the codename E0. Makoto jumped off the bed, started up the terminal on her desk, swiftly punched in the password, and selected the data entry.
Strongest in the history of the Kantou Agency, even her father didn’t have a full grasp of their abilities. For a time, the Sacred Assembly even declared, ‘It is unnecessary to station any holy knights in their territory’. They served as an instructor to all E Numbers of the Kantou Agency, and not only monsters and demons, they even triumphed over a bishop of the Sacred Assembly, a man with a terrifying military record.
It was all listed in the data entry. Still, those insignificant tidbits weren’t enough to be called data. There was no picture. Birthdate, appointment date, gender, height, weight, eye color, blood type, it had all been omitted… and only the text at the very end was printed out clearly.
‘Whereabouts lost during mission to eliminate designation number one (Mission Number 0430).
His partner on this mission, E1, is also of whereabouts unknown. Current status unknown. As designation number one is also of unknown status, it is at present impossible to verify the success of the mission.’
Meaning. If she could drag in this man by her own hand and stop the coup before it happened, then the assembly, the imperial house, and the other forces in the third world wouldn’t be able to carelessly take advantage of the Kantou Agency (she’d be able to blame everything on Zephirum), she could guarantee its continued existence, and her own reputation would shoot to the moon! There was just one thing.
“Is he still alive?”
Peering into the screen from the side, Kikuhito muttered quite the unreliable word.
“Apparently… you got me all worked up for apparently?”
“Came down with amnesia, I hear.”