I was trying to make updates weekly but this chapter took longer than I thought. Anyway, here it is. Enjoy reading!
Chapter 13 - Enforcing Justice; Part 4
Recently, Bazett found herself in a strange assignment.
"...What is it, Emiya-kun?"
"After this, do you mind if we take a quick detour?"
Her job as an enforcer was an unpredictable one. She knew that she'll encounter many things during her job, but after being invited by some of her enforcer and freelancer acquaintances in eliminating an eastern sect, she thought that things were over.
"Well it's just that… we just passed by a store with an eighty percent off bargain sale over there…"
"Bargain sale!? Emiya-kun, is this really the time for you to be thinking that right now!?"
The slight hum of the car's engine reverberated as she drove her way to her superior's destination. The sun had set as they traveled downtown towards Miyama, with the night encroaching on the horizon along with the peeking full moon in the sky.
Taking a glance at the rear-view mirror, there she saw the two teenagers that were seated at the back of the car, conversing with one another.
—Yet here she was, finding herself in a strange situation of playing chaperone to a Second Owner.
After noticing the amount of monsters that had come from this city and reporting it, her superior had told her that the Association requested them to investigate more now that they're in the city themselves. They were instructed to get the Second Owner and to question her so that she may explain herself.
Discreetly, she observed the young girl seated behind her, who was currently chewing out her assistant.
Tohsaka Rin. From the data given to her, she was a talented magus that was still in high school. Great responsibility was put into her shoulders at such a young age… but then again, Bazett herself had tried to join the Clock tower at fifteen years old when her family had deemed her independent.
The girl would be subjected to what was undoubtedly Clock tower politics. The reason why the questioning was ordered was probably because they didn't like the idea of some eastern magus having an advantage over them in abundance of phantasmal creatures, and would be browbeating her into giving them the same methods.
Bazett would have pitied her if she wasn't a magus… though, she can say in her short stay in the compound did show that the girl seemed different than the usual lot she saw in the Clock tower.
Her eyes slid to the other teen, the magus' "assistant" who was trying to hold off her supposed boss with a nervous expression and his hands raised placatingly.
She watched the two interact familiarly with one another, quite unlike how a magus and their assistant would act towards each other at all.
Different, indeed. She thought.
The boy was a civilian, that much she knew. Normally magi wouldn't involve themselves with those they would think of as their lessers, but there are some cases when a magus would require the help of someone not familiar in the moonlit world. She usually saw it occur on desperate runaway magi with sealing designations without a proper workshop, but even then they generally do not want to involve mundane people around their craft too deeply.
The magus was certainly no runaway magi as she's the Second Owner. Despite having resources in her disposal, why did she involve a civilian in her line of work? In fact, why even involve him in something like this? There's not much anything a civilian could do when she's the one being questioned.
Is there something she was missing? Or is the girl involving them in the supernatural for her own amusement? Bazett had seen her fair share of nutcase magi that liked to inflict pain on others. Is she the same case?
Her personality didn't seem to suggest that, especially with how she's acting right now. Although prideful, the girl seemed to be genuine in how she acted… but then again, Bazett just interacted with her for a single day. The girl could easily be acting.
Nevertheless, the boy seemed to trust the magus, going as far to even say that she's a good person. His words suggested that it was also him that decided to join her. And his sister seemed to think she was decent too, based on the few comments she had let out while they were drinking.
…Again, such a strange assignment she found herself in, really. She never thought she'd been thinking of a magus like this.
Eventually though, they arrived at their destination. She drove the car into a stop and parked at a nondescript hotel they decided as the avenue for the questioning.
"—Listen, I'm telling you to behave, alright? You're gonna go there, keep your mouth shut, and let me do the talking. Because if you don't, I swear I'm gonna kick your ass that you won't get to your precious bargain sale anymore!"
"Yeah, yeah, I get it already… you already said that so many times…"
"And I'll keep repeating it until you get it, because someone acts like an idiot who recklessly—"
"We're here." she suddenly said, interrupting the two.
The girl blinked, before clearing her throat with a cough. "A-ah, is that so? Lead the way then."
With that they exited the car, and the two followed Bazett as she went inside the hotel.
A short walk later after they entered the building, they arrived at the room their superior designated as the location of where they'd meet. She opened the door to the room politely and let the two enter the room first, before closing the door as she followed them inside.
The room was a simple, furnished hotel room, although it opted for a more aged western look instead of a modern design. In the middle of the room was a table that had two wide chairs facing on opposite sides, both furnitures seemingly crafted with oak wood. There, her superior sat in one of the chairs.
"It's nice to see that you've come, Second Owner." he greeted politely, then gestured at the chair opposite to him. "Please, sit."
The magus looked around the room, observing the enforcers and freelancers working with her that were around the room, guarding them. Only a few of them were present inside the room at the moment—out of seven, only four were present, including Bazett. That doesn't mean the others weren't around though, as they're currently outside, guarding the place as the questioning happened.
Bazett walked into position as the Second Owner moved to sit in the chair opposite her superior. Before she did so though, she whispered something to her assistant, making him nod as he moved to stand behind her chair. Her superior gave a look at the boy.
"So you brought your assistant." he commented in a curious tone, as if seeing something unexpected.
"Please, don't act like you didn't know he's going to be here. I'm sure you've already been told about it beforehand." the magus scoffed.
She did. She had called her superior and reported what she saw a few hours earlier just before they set out.
The man, after being called out, just smiled in response. "I was simply curious, Second Owner."
"And the answer is none of your business." she crossed her arms. "Now, let's get this over with, shall we?" the magus spoke out with a hint of impatience, though Bazett could see that she was just posturing.
Her superior reacted with amusement, noticing the same thing. "Of course." he chuckled, making the girl's brow twitch. Then, fishing for something in his clothes, the man pulled out an object and placed it on the table, "This is a device that the Clock Tower procured for us. It's a way to record our conversation and transcript what occurred in the questioning. I trust that you are okay with this?"
He was answered with a permissive nod.
"Then we shall start with a geass." her superior began, sliding a piece of document at the table. "At this moment until the questioning has ended: Tohsaka Rin, the Second Owner of Fuyuki City, will tell the truth in answering the questions given to her. Are these terms acceptable?"
The magus looked over the document, scrutinizing all the terms written in the geass. Then with a flourish, she used her magical energy to sign the document. "Accepted." she stated, giving the man opposite her an even stare. "Now, start with whatever you were tasked to do."
Her superior nodded at the girl. "Very well."
And so the questioning started and Bazett watched the whole thing play out in front of her.
"—So from my understanding, Second Owner, there seems to be a large amount of phantasmal creatures inside the city. Can you confirm that?"
"And since when has this been happening?"
"They started appearing a few years before."
"A few years? Why didn't you report this phenomenon to the Association?"
"The phantasmal creatures didn't appear much at the beginning. In fact, there's quite a large amount of time between each appearance. It's only the periodicity of a phantasmal creature appearing that I'd say is 'strange'." she said evenly. "I didn't report it to the Association because while one might look at it as odd, it could easily be a coincidence."
"Then the influx of phantasmal creature materials in the market these recent years, are you the cause of that?"
"It's a way to generate revenue from what someone might say as an unfortunate circumstance. I simply made use of it."
"The demands of clients were easily met, I wouldn't call these amount of supply as merely 'strange' if all of them came from here."
"Are you sure about that, enforcer? After all, some of those materials might have come from other places. You might have simply misattributed some of them to me."
"I suppose so. Then what about—"
…Bazett had to admit. She could admire the way she was confident at the face of enforcers despite being nothing more than a young teen still in high school.
The magus answered the questions and talked with a silver tongue befitting of the magi in the Clock tower. If there was any doubt to her ability, then it was silenced watching the girl work her talent navigating in this battlefield of lies, deceit, and politics.
And so, the questioning continued, with the magus answering questions coming from hungry and greedy magi that were meant to pressure the girl. All of them were expertly handled though, and none of them struck until they finally reached the last of the questions given.
"Now all those parts are done, I suppose we shall get to the meat of things." her superior hummed. "Can you tell us what is the cause of the phantasmal creatures appearing inside this city?"
"I am unsure. They appear around Fuyuki for arbitrary reasons." she answered.
"You do not know? How can the Second Owner not know the cause of the phenomenon inside her own city?" her superior asked evenly, jabbing on the girl's administrative skills,
The magus took it in a stride. "I said I am unsure, enforcer. I have my own theories, but as they are not proven as of yet I will refrain from forming any assumptions. But I suppose enforcers wouldn't grasp a magus' school of thought." she sniped back in a dismissive tone.
There was a slight twitch in some of her colleagues as the girl touched a sore topic amongst their profession. Bazett particularly didn't care about it, even if she shared their circumstance of trying to join the Clock tower but failing then eventually offered to be an enforcer. Still, it was interesting to see that the girl acknowledged that.
"I see." her superior said, not reacting to the comment. "Then would you care to enlighten us with your theories?"
"It's a simple matter of phantasmal creatures being dependent on mana." she answered. "I'm sure you've noticed the mana here in the city, correct?"
"We do." her superior affirmed.
"Yes, well, one of my theories is that the phantasmal creatures are simply coming from other regions in Japan coming to this place due to the amount of mana." the magus continued, "You should realize that the Clock tower's influence does not extend much here in Japan, and while there are certain supernatural groups present, not many are as interested in gaining phantasmal creature materials as they do in the West."
"You are saying that because of it, there is an abundance of phantasmal creatures available here and a lot are simply coming here because of the mana in the city?"
"That is what I said. From an outside perspective, there is an abnormal amount of phantasmal creatures in the city, but it could very well just be because of a difference in population between two places." she explained. "What is happening right now could be just a case of over-hunting coloring your concept of 'a normal amount' of phantasmal creatures."
Bazett frowns in thought as she hears the theory.
The explanation certainly holds merit. That could very well be the case of what is happening. She's not familiar with the going-ons currently in Japan, but it is true that the country had the barest relations to the Clock tower. The lack of magi around implies also the lack of materials they use in their magecraft and rituals, so less monsters might be killed.
…But why does she feel that there's something missing?
"And you are sure of this? The amount of mana may be denser, but still, is it really enough to gain that much attention for the phantasmal creatures to gather in this place?"
"This city is built near a leyline. One that abnormally releases much more mana than the others." she paused. "It's not particularly known, but apparently, the Director had deemed this city as the place to hold a certain ritual because of it."
Bazett's eyes widened. The Director!?
"The Director, you say…?" her superior asked, similarly shocked.
"Yes. The Director created a ritual that used the sheer amount of mana generated in this place. You can confirm it yourself, but I'm sure that it's enough evidence of my claim." she said almost dismissively.
"Is that so…" her superior murmured. "I suppose that explanation is as good as any. I suppose that covers all the questions I'd like to ask you. Thank you for your participation, Second Owner."
"Save your thanks. I have no need for it." the magus waved off. "You can, however, thank me by getting out of my city. I don't ever want to see your trespassing faces ever again. Be grateful that I won't raise a fuss because of this."
The man simply chuckled as he stood up from his seat and walked slightly away from the table. "Yes." he said in amusement. "I suppose that sort of attitude makes this easier… especially with what I've confirmed now."
Bazett paused at that, feeling something ominous behind her superior's words.
And it seems that she wasn't the only one to notice as the magus' eyes narrowed at his statement.
She opened her mouth. "What are you—?"
Before she could finish what she was saying her superior suddenly snapped his finger, and the device placed on the table, the one that was said to be procured to them by the Clock tower, suddenly lit up.
Bazett's eyes widened, so did the magus and his assistant, who stayed silent up until now.
"Tohsaka!" the boy shouted.
—Then the device exploded.
Experience allowed her to reinforce her entire body and shield herself as the explosion shook the room they were in. It didn't seem to to be a strong explosive as she only felt heat sear her clothes, with the explosion not reaching her position, but she did hear the telltale sound of the oak furniture in the middle of the room blowing up. The room was entirely covered in smoke, and after few moments of letting it subside, she felt confident enough to peer through her arms to look—
There, Bazett saw that the magus was on the ground. She was a bit scuffed, but aside from that there was no real damage. The girl stared at the smoke with wide eyes as if shocked about something. Bazett followed where she was looking…
…Then her eyes widened, as standing right in front of the magus was his assistant, who managed to block the girl from the explosion with his body judging by the sear marks on the floor. The boy's clothes were in tatters, but surprisingly despite tanking the explosion for the girl, he didn't seem to be hurt.
How did he survive that?
"Hoh? So you taught your civilian assistant reinforcement. I'm impressed." her superior commented calmly, answering the question inside her mind. "A shame that the girl wasn't injured, but I suppose this still works." he continued.
Meanwhile, Bazett's mind tried to comprehend the scene in front of her. What… what is going on!?
The magus was similarly unaware of what was happening, although she showed it much more venomously.
"You!" the magus shouted as she shot up from the floor immediately, hand going inside her pocket. "What the hell do you think you're doing, enforcer!?"
"What do I think I'm doing? Why, I believe it's obvious, isn't it?" her superior asked sarcastically.
"Is this what those magi from the Clock Tower ordered?" she asked, anger coloring her voice. "Why? I agreed to answer their questions! What could I have done to offend them!?"
She paused at that. "...What?"
"I said nothing, girl." the enforcer answered with a smile, mirroring their earlier talk. "Because there was no order for the questioning in the first place."
Both Bazett and the magus froze at that.
Then all of a sudden, the magus threw jewels out of her pocket.
"Anfang!" she shouted. "Fixierung, Eile Salve!"
The jewels glowed midair, before turning into a violent black-red projectile. Bazett's eyes widened as she recognized the spell the girl just casted—Gandr, a runic spell that she was familiar with due to its European origins.
The curses shot off like a bullet towards all of them. Bazett reflexively activated the rune stitched on her gloves and punched the gandr out of the way with the help of her reinforcement. The curse hit the furniture right beside her and destroyed it with an audible crash.
Her superior and colleagues easily dealt with the attack as well, using their reinforcement and avoiding the attack with ease.
Then, in one smooth movement, they also took out their mystic codes and pointed it to the magus' assistant that had blocked the explosion for her, who was also looking like he was squaring up for a fight. The boy stiffened at their sudden appearance.
The magus' eyes widened. "Emiya-kun—!"
"Tsk tsk tsk, that was quite a rude thing to do, Second Owner." her superior tutted, walking with a calm gait around his men. "Who do you think holds all the cards here?"
The magus stiffened. Her hands twitched towards her pockets—
"Don't move, or else the boy gets killed."
—Before stopping as her superior's cold statement cut through the room.
The magus glared at the enforcer and her colleagues with a murderous gaze. Nevertheless, she didn't move a single inch.
The man looked at her curiously.
"Such a strange thing to see, for a magus to care about a mundane civilian… Why, I might even go so far to say that you might be a decent human being who cares for others." he commented. " Not like any magus can become one though. Someone of value, then?"
"Do you think you can get away with this!?" the magus suddenly shouted in anger. "An enforcer attacking an official Second Owner for this city… are you trying to become a rogue!? You'll be hunted down by the Association!"
"I am perfectly aware of the implications of my actions, girl." the enforcer replied with a hint of sharpness. "And might I remind you again of your situation. Speak like that again and I might hurt your assistant."
That made the girl clam up and grit her teeth.
"...What do you people want?" the magus eventually growled out.
"What do we want, you ask? Right now, I want you to stay like the proper little girl that you are, Second Owner." he answered. "We're going to take this boy with us, and you'll go back to your manor and not report a single thing that happened today to the Association. In fact, you'll say that we've done quite a good job."
"Now don't get any funny ideas. Try to make any suspicious moves, and the boy is dead. We're going to monitor you twenty-four seven, so we'll know what will happen." he continued. "But make no mistake, if you do report us to the Association… then we'll make sure you'll be going down with us by burning your manor to the ground along with your mother."
A flash of anger appeared in the girl's eyes, and her superior smirked.
"You two are the only living members of the Tohsaka family, correct? Can you really risk it, ending your family line? I hope you understand." he said with a patronizing tone.
There was silence as the magus didn't answer.
With that, he walked towards the windows. "Beware our warnings, lest you regret it."
Her superior activated a mystic code, breaking the window open as the piercing noise of glass shattering echoed around the room, shards falling to the floor. The open window revealed the night sky outside, a windy breeze flowing the curtains beside the opening.
"Bazett, take the boy. We're leaving." he instructed, before jumping outside.
At her superior's order, her colleagues eventually put down their mystic codes trained on the boy, but took good care to stare at the Second Owner in case she tried to do anything. Bazett, on her part, hesitated for a moment before moving to do what she was ordered to.
She subdued the magus' assistant just as she had done a thousand times with her targets, tying him up with his hands behind his back. As she did so, she kept an eye on the magus in case she tried to attack, but thankfully she didn't attempt to do so.
In fact, the girl was looking down on the ground with a frustrated and enraged expression on her face. Bazett found herself looking away from her to focus more on her task.
Finally, when she finished tying up the magus's assistant, she opened her mouth—
The magus stiffened as her assistant suddenly called out to her, and Bazett stopped herself from speaking.
She could see that the usually blank-faced boy was now staring at Tohsaka Rin with a morose and determined expression that Bazett never thought would've been in his face, and she found herself slightly mesmerized.
"Don't worry. I'll be back before dinner. I have a bargain sale to go to after all."
Then, it was broken immediately as the boy spoke nonsense in his mouth.
Bazett looked at him uncomprehendingly, unable to understand what the boy was saying. She found herself glancing to the side to look at the girl, and there, the Fraga found herself blinking in surprise.
What she saw strangely enough, was that instead of Tohsaka Rin turning confused or even angry at his statement, she seemed to have broken out from her self-imposed fugue instead. The girl's stunned look slowly turned in favor of something resembling… fond resignation?
"Haah…" the girl sighed out. "Really, Emiya-kun. Thinking of such a thing in a place like this, you're really one piece of work, huh?" she huffed. "Just stay in whatever place they put you in. I'll get you out of there in no time."
The boy raised an eyebrow, then shrugged at that. "Eh, sure."
There was nothing to say between them for a few moments, and Bazett took that moment to speak.
"Are you done?" she asked. "If so, then don't struggle."
She was answered with a nod by the magus' assistant, and with that, Bazett lifted the boy to her shoulders and left the room by jumping outside with reinforced legs, leaving the magus in the room alone.
"W-Woah." he muttered in surprise.
Her jump landed her on the top of the building next to them and there she found her superior and her other colleagues gathered around waiting for her.
Her superior glanced at her curiously. "What took you so long, Bazett?" he asked curiously.
She shook her head. "Nothing, sir." she glanced at the boy on her shoulder. "Just giving them an opportunity to say farewell."
"Is that so." her superior hummed. "That's a new one to you, Bazett. You're usually not that lenient with your targets."
Bazett frowned at that. "I suppose so, sir." she reluctantly agreed. She doesn't recall any similar situations she had done so… but then again, it's not like her enemies had opportunities to talk before they got eliminated. "...I only did so because I was thinking that they were harmless compared to us, so I figured that there's no harm in doing so."
The enforcer grunted. "Don't let your guard down. That magus may just be a little girl, but there's no such thing as being too cautious. Those gemstones of hers are dangerous if used right." he turned around. "Now, let's get back to our base. We have a lot of things to discuss about what we'll do from now on."
Bazett started to nod along with the others, but stopped when he suddenly turned to her.
"And Bazett. I apologize for not telling you about the plan. I'm sure you're confused and have plenty of questions, but I'll answer it once we arrive."
Bazett hesitated, before nodding at that. "Yes, sir."
"Good." her superior turned around. "Now make sure to not repeat that mistake again. Treat what is happening today as a mission—I'm sure things will turn rough from here on out."
And so as they had left with the boy in tow, the female enforcer chastised herself for her reckless behavior, vowing to herself to hold her own actions up to a standard.
She was a Fraga; a trained warrior and an efficient soldier.
She'll get rid of any mistakes that will stop her from being that.
Bazett closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. She centered herself, trying to focus on her task…
…And to force down the slight guilt gnawing at her on the inside.
And now things are starting! The start of 'what' exactly though, it's not clear. Even Bazett doesn't know what's going on. What could those enforcers be planning by faking orders from the Mage's Association? Well no matter what they're plan is, Saitama's stuck in a situation where he's taken hostage. Out of all the people in the room he's easily the worst one to choose as one.
To those wondering why Tohsaka reacted was worried for him, it's because mystic codes are bullshit. Saitama is tough, but he's still in the level where the right mystic code could still kill him (Fragarach probably could) and Tohsaka didn't want to risk that happening. Still, she's got faith in his strength which is why she stopped worrying after Saitama acted like usual before Bazett took him away.
Also, Bazett POV will continue until this little arc finishes. She's clearly hesitating on what's happening right now. Let's see how far things will go before it reaches her breaking point.
Anyway, that's all. Please leave a review if you have any criticisms. This chapter was forced out of the writer's block as much as it possibly could so I might've missed some things.
I hope you enjoyed reading!