Victor of the Moon -EXTRA-
Lapis Philosophorum Theory
Chapter One

Part 1

3rd of April—

The fragrance of cherry blossoms in Maruyama Park sweep across the entire location as they blossomed in the middle of the night. The moon, in its waxing crescent phase, glimmered above the night sky in the background.

Hakuno Kishinami sat on one of the park's benches as he enjoyed the view. Hanami or flower viewing became prominent within late March up to early May and it was something that he could not pass up. It is during this time of the year that the cherry blossoms bloomed fully and the locals would often visit and enjoy their transient beauty as a part of traditional custom that they have been observing since ancient times.

He watched as various group of people stride across the park. High school and college students getting foods and drinks from the stalls, young and elderly couples sitting under the sakura trees on a picnic mat with affection, parents being dragged by their children on the pathway, and youngsters rushing back and forth between stands that offers a variety of toys to that piqued their childish interest.

As he observed all of these, Hakuno saw their jolly faces being projected all throughout the vicinity. He then gulped a pop soda down his throat.

Hm. They all look so happy

He smiled as he thought. He then placed the now empty soda can inside the trash bin.

When he stood up and was about to head out from the area, his ears picked up a crashing sound as if someone stumbled against the cemented pathway. Turning his head to the side, he saw a silhouette of a blonde girl dressed in a cute shrine maiden outfit, her rear on the ground.

He assumed that maybe she was a shrine maiden in training. Or something along those lines.

"Aww..."

The girl let out a whimper as she glanced at the spilled candied fruit on the ground. Tears began to well up under her golden orbs.

"Here."

Hakuno said as he picked up the girl on her feet. Using his hand he then shook off the dust from her clothes. He then wiped the teardrops in her eyes with a blue handkerchief that he pulled out from his pocket.

The child, who happens to be an eight-year old, stared owlishly as the man, a stranger, tended to her. She closed her eyes in an instant when Hakuno placed his hand on her head, giving her blonde hair a slight and gentle ruffle.

"Be careful next time, okay?"

The girl just stood there, her golden-colored eyes staring at Hakuno's facial features as if committing them to her memory. Then at the very short space of time, then with her voice she let out a word:

"Papa."

"Papa...?"

Hakuno responded as his eyes were slightly opened and his brows arching. He was about to inquire further when—

"Kunou-chan!"

—A masculine voice echoed from behind him. This prompt Hakuno to turn his head behind. Not far away, he saw a man in his forties dressed in Shinto priest clothing running towards them.

Seeing such figure, he then somehow understood the word that came out from the girl's mouth.

Ah. So that Kannushi is her father...

Without waiting for the man to come near him, Hakuno stood up, gave the girl a gentle caring smile and went on his way.

The blonde girl dressed in a miko outfit just stared at his figure garbed in a checkered polo shirt began to vanish slowly amongst the crowd of people walking and striding along the same pathway where she stood. She then raised her head as a pair of hands rested upon her little shoulders.

"Kunou-chan! Phew, I'm glad that I caught up to you!"

"Oji-san..."

"You had me worried there, you know?"

Letting out a tired sigh, the man then grabbed the girl's hand and said:

"Come on, milady. Your mother would be worried sick about you, so let us return now okay?"

"B-But I saw Papa a while ago!"

To put emphasis on the sincerity of her words, the child pointed her hands on the direction where he saw her 'Papa' vanished. The priest traced the direction where the young lady's finger was pointing with his eyes. He only saw nothing but a bunch of Hanami enthusiasts going on with their lives.

He then glanced at the kid with a bitter smile.

"It's okay, Kunou-chan. How about this, I'll treat you again with sweets. Yes, that will do."

"But I did saw Papa..."

Kunou mumbled under her breath in a low-spirited manner as she was dragged by the priest. Her eyes were still fixating at the sea of people where her 'Papa' had vanished into.


Part 2

4th of April—

The breath of spring wind welcomed Hakuno Kishinami in the morning as he slightly tugged the collar of his brown-colored trench coat forward with his fingers. Locking the door with a key as he put on an ascot hat on his head, he began to leave his office and started walking on the busy streets of Kyoto. Pulling up a small notebook from his suit's breast pocket, Hakuno flipped it open. Several names can be seen written on its pages.

"Natsume Minagawa, Kouki Samejima, Shigune Nanadaru, Hyousuke Koga, and Tobio Ikuse..."

Trailing off like that, a small frown formed on Hakuno's mouth as his lips low-key verbalize each of the monikers that were listed on it. He then tucked the tiny daybook back in his suit's compartment.

It's been a day since Azazel visited his office. On that same day, the man handed over a very intriguing document to him. Saying that it got Hakuno's attention was an understatement. The names that were in the file were Ryoukou High School students who had gone missing for almost two weeks.

While reading the details on the file yesterday, he noticed a pattern that connects all five of them together. Those students were assumed to possess 'sacred treasures'; items that have powerful abilities bestowed upon humans by the God of the Bible, by the organization Grigori led by Azazel. Although in hindsight, Hakuno knew something like this would eventually happen.

After all, those individuals who possessed these 'sacred treasures' or Sacred Gears, as Azazel called it in his report, are and will always be dragged into the world of supernatural whether they like it or not. With forces vying for influential dominance in the Human World, it won't be unnatural for certain groups to integrate or in this case, abduct Sacred Gear possessors in order to bolster their strengths.

Of course, he did not eliminate the possibility that their disappearance might not be supernatural-related.

Though his gut was telling him otherwise.

As Hakuno continued to traverse the sidewalk, his mind objectively zeroed in on the first destination for the day which was the house of Mr. and Mrs. Toujou. From what he could gather from Tobio Ikuse's personal information through research, the male teen happened to be living with his classmate Sae Tojou in the same roof after his grandmother passed away a few years ago.

He then momentarily stopped right in front of a newsstand as his brown eyes noticed something. He slowly approached one of the shelves, grasping a newspaper that was hanging on it by a hand.

His eyes immediately peered at the bold, black headline printed on it that read:

[Kyoto's Missing Children Now At 287!]

Those printed phrase literally made one of his brows slightly raised. A sudden slight discomfort swells up from the depths of his chest and thought:

Two-hundred eighty-seven missing...? Why is it this is the first time I heard about this? And these numbers...this is quite unsettling.

Indeed it was. A huge number of missing kids like this isn't something to be taken lightly. With his interest being piqued by the eye-catching headline, Hakuno then began scanning the news article for details.

[Saturday—After the reports of a lost child in 23rd of March, the numbers of missing children in Kyoto have skyrocketed from 35 to 287 within this week...]

As he continued reading the article, Hakuno couldn't help himself feeling anxious. The more he read about the article, the more his brows lowered and knitted together. Due to how immersed he was in his reading, he didn't notice an elderly man had approached him from the side.

"Quite horrifying right, young man?"

The store owner voiced out prompting Hakuno to blink and stare at him in surprise. His elderly finger were pointing towards a signboard that says "pay as you read" which Hakuno managed to traced with his eyes.

"I would aptly describe it as alarming."

Hakuno said that as he draw out a few coins from his pocket and handed it over to the elderly's hand. The store owner cupped the silvers with his hand with a small grin in his face.

"Alarming is a little bit underplayed. Just a few weeks ago this place is brimming with kids but look at it now, all you can see are adults stuck in their monotony as if nothing happened or changed."

The elderly man gestured his hand around him and Hakuno was able to discern the tone of disappointment in his voice. True to the store owner's words, the moment he gaze upon the background his eyes could only recognized the figure of adults flooding the avenue.

Not even a silhouette of a single child can be seen within the sea of people. Also, the number of teenagers striding on the thoroughfare were minimized. Only a few specks of them can be identified.

Hakuno couldn't agree more with the man's words. He had been in this boulevard more than once and he could vividly remember how it had a fresh atmosphere despite being overcrowded by individuals. It was the noisy and rambunctious energy of the youth that mitigates the grey feeling produced by the working adults, a sort of balance that usually permeates in this very avenue. Now, the only thing he could grasp in this environment was a mechanical sentiment akin to robots.

Perhaps the issue with the missing children have given the parents quite a scare...

Brown eyes then glimpsed at the headline he had recently read. His face painted a look of determination and enthusiasm. He then tucked the newly bought newspaper under his coat.

"I'll be going now. Thanks for this, Owner-san."

Hakuno nodded his head while giving a single, gentle tap on a part of his coat where he kept the newspaper with his hand.

"I should be the one thanking you, young lad."

The man earnestly replied. His eyes were portraying his genuine appreciation to him for buying his goods.

"Hm."

Giving the elderly a subtle smile as a form of response, Hakuno then continued to traverse the road with pocketed hands.


Part 3

[■■■■■■■■■_IS _NOW_CONNECTING_TO_THE_■■■■]

In a certain unreachable place—

[CONNECTION_ESTABLISHED]

Bloop, bloop, bloop...

Underwater bubble sounds echoed around him. Hakuno stayed calm even though his entire being is sinking in an unfathomable depths of this vast 'sea'. If he could summarize what he's feeling right now, it was akin to how water is being absorbed by a sponge.

As his consciousness is being immersed deeper in this 'sea', he could see everything that exists within it.

Every information, every observation, and every conclusion.

The sheer volume of information and ideas stored in this 'spiritronic sea' forms a convoluted collage that no beings can decipher. It gave him a familiar feeling. A nostalgic sensation that always keep Hakuno reminded of the life he had once upon a time.

Feeling that his descent into the bottomless thalassic body of spiritrons halted, Hakuno then focused the entirety of his awareness within this marine-like environment as it was gently being flooded with infinite streams of data.

Bloop, bloop, bloop...

The sounds of underwater bubbles resonated as Hakuno mentally browsed the limitless information that the vast 'sea' had given to him. From the boundless records that it had stored, Hakuno willed the 'sea' to solely focus on a specific recorded events that were compiled in a virtual application similar to an item folder that can be found in computers.

A holographic item folder labeled 'AD_2003_EVENTS' was then presented in his subconscious.

Show me the events that happened between the 23rd of March of 2003 up to present. Limit search results to Kyoto City, Missing Children, thirty-five, and two-hundred eighty-seven.

From the virtual application, a certain 'EVENTS_JAPAN' folder flew out from said application. Hakuno watched as the hologram flipped through several files like how readers did with their books. In an instant several holographic screens popped up, all of them were from Kyoto dating from 23rd March up to the present day.

Each of the screens then came to life as Hakuno was presented with countless brief scenes and wall of texts flashing before him. Each of them slowly orbiting around him as more and more information was handed out to him.

He then focused on the display that dated back from 23rd of March. As if the thalassic body knew his intentions, the display then expanded:

A typical two-storey house in a suburb. It was late at night, roughly around twelve. Amidst the permeating silence and darkness, a boy can be seen slowly exiting from his house with nothing but only his pajamas. He sluggishly walked on the residential area's street barefooted, his arms drooping. After what's like to be a two-minute walk, the boy suddenly stopped as he was greeted by a monster who emerged from a summoning circle. From there the monster absorbed, no, assimilated the child in its body before disappearing through the magic circle.

Hakuno let out a hum as he put the feed on pause. He then moved on another holographic screen, watched and then put the video on halt before moving to the next one. He repeated this cycle for twenty consecutive times before deciding to cease what he was doing. At first glance, what he was doing might look a bit tiring but thanks to it, he had noticed a pattern within these footage that were recorded within a night intervals.

One, someone from the supernatural is indeed involved in the children's disappearance in Kyoto. The appearance of the monster and the magic circle was an immediate giveaway.

Two, the time of abduction happens exactly at the same time all throughout the phenomenon basing on the twenty videos he had watched. Using it as a basis, Hakuno deduced that the culprit preferred to collect children at midnight.

With all of that being laid out in the open, there was one thing that does not make sense to him though.

How could the culprit manage to get these kids to stepped out from their homes during the middle of the night?

If there was something that Hakuno learned from watching those several recorded clips, it was that the phenomenon where the children walked out from their houses were premeditated. He noticed the sluggish movements of those poor kids. As if it they were fish being drawn out from the water by a hook line. In this case though, that line wasn't visible in the naked eye.

There was only one answer to explain such occurrence...

Gimme a layout map of the city. Overlay plot coordinates of the monster's appearance from March 23rd up to present.

At his behest another holographic screen popped up, swiping the two-hundred eighty-seven at the bottom right corner into a size of cellular card. The city map of Kyoto was then in front of Hakuno for him to see, complete with labels. He watched as a total of two-hundred and eighty-seven red dots began to materialize across the map one by one in a successive manner.

Nodding his head, Hakuno then continued:

Do a MS (Magic Signature) scan across the map based on the monster's signature. Check and triangulate the mana pattern's point of origin.

Flickering red lights reflected on his brown eyes as a series of ruby lines became visible on the virtual chart like a spider web. All the dots that were once separated soon became interconnected with each other as the lines that connected them began to converged in one, single spot. A three-dimensional model of the building then emerged beside the holographic map, along with each of its internal structure being fleshed out for Hakuno's convenience.

Bingo!

Feeling a sense of accomplishment welling up inside his chest, he closed his eyes as he let all of the data download into his mind. A few seconds, he opened his eyes.

He had now the necessary information that he needed to solve the case in regards to the missing children. While the probe of the Ryoukou High School students was still his top priority, Hakuno couldn't turn his back on those missing, no, abducted children. Somehow he felt that he had to do something about it.

Bloop, bloop, bloop...

Once again, the sound of underwater bubbles echoed as Hakuno prepare himself to rise from this spiritronic sea.

[■■■■■■■■■_IS _NOW_DISCONNECTING_FROM_THE_■■■■]


Part 4

Noon—

Withdrawing his consciousness from the spiritronic sea, Hakuno found himself again in front of a certain milk tea shop with his hands holding the newspaper that he bought a while ago, being spread out that gives out the impression he was reading them. His brown eyes, which was now covered with a pair of shades, scanned around his surroundings.

He then let out a sigh of relief before glancing at his wristwatch.

"Well, at least no one notice I blacked out for a minute or two."

It was always like this every time his mind accessed the ■■■■ ■■■■. But he was already used to it hence why every time he find the need to dive into the spiritronic thalassa to retrieve necessary information, he would scout a place like a park or in this instance, a milk tea shop, where he could perform or do it safely.

He gently laid down the article on the table and sipped a small amount of milk tea from his cup from time to time in silence. But if one know Hakuno Kishinami on a personal level, then they can surely tell that he was currently making some preparations.

Devising a scheme while putting varying factors and running countless simulations in his head...a habit that he was already accustomed to and from time to time, became his asset during the previous years of his life.

"Now then..."

Placing the paper bills and coins under the table tissue rack, Hakuno then stood up from his seat and left the shop. His footsteps echoed softly as his feet were moving him northward of the city.

It was time to visit the culprit's den.