Nine Schools Competition Chapter (I) is the 3rd volume in the Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Light Novel series.
The readers are briefly familiarized with the locations and challenges of the high school level Magician education in Japan such as the introduction of homework (math, science, language arts, etc.), and the reason behind establishing the Nine-Schools Competition is a nationwide event where the students compete with pride and experience frustration or glory. This is also stage for fellow students, magicians, Government Officials, Magic related Businesses, Overseas Companies, Researchers & Scouts to note and find budding talent and is a big entertainment for the rest of the country.
Ten Master Clans
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|Mid-July 2095. When Tatsuya gets out from the Faculty Room, he finds his classmates, Leo, Erika, and Mizuki, along with Miyuki's classmates Shizuku and Honoka, waiting for him outside. They ask why he was called by the Faculty and Tatsuya says they had asked whether he is tanking his scores in the technical skills portion of the exam. His friends are astounded. Tatsuya also mentions that the Faculty has advised him to transfer to Fourth High School, and Shizuku mentions that Fourth High School focuses more on Magic Research. They drift to the topic of the upcoming Nine Schools Competition where Miyuki will compete. Shizuku mentions that the scion of the Ichijou family from the Ten Master Clans is in the same year and will probably be a tough opponent.
In the Public Morals Committee room, Tatsuya and Mari discuss the upcoming Nine Schools Competition while Tatsuya takes care of some paperwork. Mari explains that the transition between Public Morals Committee chiefs until now has never been smooth, and so she wants to change that with Tatsuya’s help in organizing. Mari is surprised by Tatsuya's lack of knowledge about the competition given how knowledgeable his sister is about the subject. They eventually come to the topic of lack of Magic Engineers and how this might be a problem in the upcoming competition.
Even though great improvements in transportation safety has been made, it is still required for new drivers to get driver's licenses. After acquiring one, Tatsuya had purchased an electric bike.
After school, Tatsuya drives Miyuki to Yakumo's temple for her training on his new electric bike. A kunai is thrown at Tatsuya as they enter Yakumo's temple. He deflects the kunai and retaliates with a marble. When Yakumo attempts to attack Tatsuya with a sword, Tatsuya pins it to the ground. As Miyuki is training, Tatsuya notices a presence near them, which turns out to be Haruka, who is also Yakumo's disciple. She reveals her identity as an agent for Public Safety and as a Born Specialized Magician, and asks Tatsuya to not reveal her identity, even though Tatsuya felt a few people already knew. Tatsuya then makes a deal with Haruka to keep her identity a secret but in return asks that she share information whenever it concerns him (like the Blanche organization).
During the physical education class, a modern football match is being played between boys of classes E & F. Tatsuya is surprised by the agility of Yoshida Mikihiko, their classmate who has been alone since the start of the school. Tatsuya and Leo both approach Mikihiko and the three of them get friendly, Tatsuya because of his curiosity, Leo because of his friendliness and Mikihiko because he is mystified with Tatsuya and his abilities.
During their conversation, Erika’s name is mentioned by Mikihiko which confuses the others but is then clarified by Erika that she has known Mikihiko since they were 10 years old, but now she is being avoided by him. Erika approaches them with Mizuki wearing previous century bloomers, which exposes her legs from the thighs down, which causes embarrassment to the boys, except Tatsuya.
Mikihiko belongs to the prestigious Yoshida family, renowned for their “Spirit Magic”. And like all Ancient Magic users, the knowledge is kept as a secret, and is passed down by traditional methods of training requiring arduous labor. Mikihiko was known as the prodigy within the family before an accident caused him to lose most of his Magic, skills and abilities, and so is now reluctant to be known as Yoshida and insists people call him Mikihiko instead.
Within the Student Council, Mayumi, Mari, Suzune & Azusa discuss the preparations for the Nine School Competition, the participants and the dearth of engineers with their support personnel. Mayumi asks Suzune to serve as engineer, but she rejects it saying her skills would only hamper the others. Just when Tatsuya is thinking of escaping them, Azusa suggests Tatsuya to be selected as he calibrates Miyuki’s CAD, which is completely supported by Mayumi & Mari who are full of enthusiasm. While Tatsuya still tries to get out of it with logical arguments, Miyuki pitches in to cut his escape route by putting Honoka & Shizuku’s names for her support.
During the remaining time of lunch break, Tatsuya is examining his personal Silver Horn CAD while also wearing his new CAD holster to get used to it ASAP, when an excited Azusa jumps in, and starts talking with excitement about the Silver series. To contain the excited Azusa, Mayumi calls her out. Tatsuya asks Azusa why she is so much interested in Taurus Silver. As Azusa glorifies Taurus Silver’s work, Miyuki is filled with pride and Tatsuya is stunned as he was not aware of the extent to which the level of following for Taurus Silver has reached within the general public. Azusa before leaving the subject asks if he doesn’t know Taurus Silver in person, and asks about Tatsuya’s opinion about how Taurus Silver might in reality turn out to be.
Tatsuya causally says – “Well ….. I wonder how shocking would it be if he turned out to be a Japanese teenager like us.”
Mayumi reminds Azusa of her homework. Mari and Suzune are perplexed over what could puzzle Azusa, one of the annual top 5 honor students. The homework is a report on “The Great Puzzles of Weight Systematic Magic” and this year’s prompt is “How to solve the bottlenecks of ‘The Three Great Puzzles’”. Azusa has already completed her report about the two puzzles but she is unable to explain the reason why Generalized Flying-Type Magic is not yet successful, meaning she hasn’t accepted the currently proposed concepts as answer to her report for the 3rd puzzle. The third years and Azusa discuss the homework and when a particularly difficult topic is being answered by Mayumi, she throws the ball (conversation) onto Tatsuya to buy time to think, but Tatsuya easily answers her without even looking at their terminal which surprises them all but he continues and calmly points out the flaws in the experiment that they were discussing.
In the Club Management HQ, the preparation meeting for the Nine Schools Competition is being held. The discussion regarding Tatsuya’s appointment is negatively received by the attending students except a few which includes Honoka & Shizuku. To solve this issue, Katsuto suggests a live test for Tatsuya’s evaluation for technician’s position. He agrees to be the test subject, to which Mayumi says that as it was the Student Council’s suggestion, she would nominate herself instead. Kirihara from the attendants suddenly rises and offers himself. The test is being conducted and Azusa who knows very well about CAD calibrations are stunned by Tatsuya’s performance and his precise manual adjustments. Tatsuya calibrates the CAD completely manually at break neck speed (using only the keyboard). Most of the members are still not convinced but Azusa pitches her support. And just as she is unable to convince them of Tatsuya’s skills, Hattori unexpectedly puts his support behind Tatsuya. Katsuto finishes the topic with his support and the resistance dies out.
|At home, Tatsuya is contacted by his friend and superior, Major Kazama Harunobu, who is the CO of Army's 101 Independent Magic-Equipped Battalion (National Defense Force). Maj. Kazama refers to Tatsuya as "Special Officer". Kazama asks Tatsuya to test "Third Eye". Furthermore, Maj. Kazama informs Tatsuya that the arena for Nine Schools Competition is located in the Fuji Exercise Grounds. Kazama calls him Tatsuya and warns him to stay on guard. Kazama informs Tatsuya of suspicious circumstances & illegal aliens (foreigners) from the Great Asian Union which belong to an International Crime Syndicate known as "No Head Dragon" (based in Hong Kong). Kazama informs Tatsuya that Chief of Foreign Affairs (specially international crime syndicates), Mibu (father of First High's second year student Mibu Sayaka) is their source of information. As the conversation ends, Kazama hints to Tatsuya to make contact with Yakumo.
Tatsuya then has tea-time with Miyuki, who is very happy with Tatsuya's praise of her home-made tea and biscuits. Afterwards, Miyuki studies late into the night, and, after realizing she is too focused on success to sleep despite having to be involved with the huge work of preparations and participation of the Competition, decides to bring more tea to her brother while dressing up in her Fairy Dance (Mirage Bat) costume. Her brother's reaction to her dress is as she had expected.
However, she is surprised that Tatsuya found her timing to be perfect. She finds her brother floating. Amazed and happy that her brother has successfully completed Flying-Type Magic, Miyuki agrees to test out the newly made "Flight Calculation Device". Finding the device to be perfect, Miyuki dances in the air. Later, Miyuki accompanies Tatsuya to the 3rd Division Research Lab of Four Leaves Technology (FLT), the development team that created the world famous "Silver Series". Here, Tatsuya is the respected "young master", and "Mr. Silver" to the dozen engineers that make up the Third Division. He meets up with Director Ushiyama, who is the other half of "Taurus Silver", known as "Mr. Taurus". Ushiyama is the "Taurus" for the main reason that Tatsuya is underage & so cannot patent his inventions and theories. Tatsuya is here to show and test the completed Flying-Type Magic that he has created and the Activation Sequence put inside Ushiyama's hardware. Though the test is successful, the testers end up exhausted after deciding to play flying tag. Tatsuya is still unsatisfied with the result, and wishes to further decrease the Psion consumption.
It is noted that Tatsuya and Miyuki both have an astonishing amount of Psions, and that a few decades ago when Psion count was more important, Tatsuya might have been considered a top-tier magician.
After discussion, Tatsuya and Ushiyama decide that lowering the Psion consumption will be done by Ushiyama by optimizing the hardware, and that the details regarding Flying Magic will be published under Taurus Silver in a week. As Tatsuya and Miyuki are leaving, they chance upon a meeting with their father, and butler Aoki. Aoki greets Miyuki politely, noting that she was a favored candidate to become the Yotsuba heir, but is excessively rude to Tatsuya. During the verbal altercation afterwards, Tatsuya points that he was made into an artificial magician by an experiment conduced by his mother, Miya, and upon his aunt, Maya's orders, who is currently the head of Yotsuba, therefore mocking him as a Magician may be construed as disrespect towards the Clan Head. Upon the accusation of him hating his mother, Tatsuya says that he does not hate his mother; indeed, he does not possess the ability to hate. His mother erased his ability to feel strong emotions, with one exception. With a crying Miyuki in his arms, Tatsuya leaves the place.
|In school that day, his friends and classmates congratulate him for becoming a Technician. His friends further note that Course 1 students were aggrieved. The 5th period of that day is reserved for the Send-off Ceremony. Miyuki helps Tatsuya into the official technician's uniform, happy that her brother gets to wear a uniform with the eight-petal flower. During the ceremony, Miyuki is responsible for presenting an identification medal to each participant. He has a casual dialog with a charming senior Isori Kei, also from the Technician Team, and then spots Erika in the crowd waving at him with a smile. As Tatsuya receives his medal, he finds the entirety of his class cheering loudly, in the front half of the auditorium normally used by Course 1 students; all of them lead by Erika.
A week later, after school, Mizuki is waiting for her friends to finish up their respective activity, when her special eyes draw her to the Technical skill building. Though something seems to order her to turn back, she keeps moving forward and sees spirits summoned by Mikihiko. Out of surprise, Mikihiko unconsciously sends the spirits to attack, but they are stopped by Tatsuya. After calming down, Mikihiko explains he was using water spirits to practice summoning magic. When Mizuki indicates that she saw the spirits as having colours, Mikihiko grabs her in surprise. After apologizing, he notes that actually seeing the spirits as having colours is extremely rare, and that Mizuki may have the "Crystal Eyes". He further explains that the Crystal Eyes may be central to ancient magic concerning the "divine spirits", but notes that he currently does not have the ability to stand against "god". The conversation ends with the three of them agreeing to keep Mizuki's eyes a secret.
|On the day of the departure for the 9 Schools Competition, Mayumi has some family business and would be late. Mayumi, being of the Saegusa family, often has to run errands. The First High team refuses to leave without her. Tatsuya, who is responsible for roll call, waits outside with Mari until Mayumi finally shows up after an hour and a half delay. After apologizing, she asks Tatsuya's opinion on her dress teasingly. After complimenting her, and noting that she must be tired from the errand, Tatsuya leaves for the Technician's vehicle. In the bus, Mayumi is a bit peeved, and confides in Suzune that she wanted Tatsuya to sit beside her. Suzune teases her in response. When Hattori comes over with a blanket, worried over Mayumi, both Suzune and Mayumi switch targets to tease him instead. Mari watches this from behind him, and noting that Mayumi is likely stressed, decides to be lenient.
Next to her seat is Chiyoda Kanon, from the Chiyoda Family of the "Hundred Families", who Mari is prepping to become the next Public Moral Committee Chief. Kanon was looking forward to a bus ride with her fiance, Isori Kei, and thus is frustrated as Kei has to sit in the Technician's vehicle. Miyuki shares a similar frustration at her brother having to sit in the relatively uncomfortable Technician's vehicle after having waited outside in the sun for one and a half hours, but Shizuku then talks about how great Tatsuya is, which makes Miyuki feel better. After a multitudes of male students attempted to approach Miyuki despite her displeasure, Mari reshuffles seating order to end this situation. On the road, a vehicle coming from the other direction suddenly flips, bursts in flames and comes sliding toward the bus. Kanon, Morisaki, and Shizune simultaneously attempts to stop the vehicle, causing interference and magic sequences to run amok. Mari calls upon Juumonji to stop the oncoming vehicle, but knows that due to the interference, he cannot stop the flames as well. Miyuki volunteers to stop the flames, and as she is about to cast her spells, the interfering magic sequences suddenly disappear. As such, the flames are easily extinguished, and the vehicle is stopped.
Mayumi praises Juumonji and Miyuki for fending off the incoming wreck, Miyuki in turn praises Suzune for decelerating the bus. After scolding Kanon for acting without communicating, Mari is left wondering about who stopped the rampaging Magic Sequences. After finally arriving at the hotel where they are staying, Hattori, whose confidence took a hit by the earlier incident, is comforted by Kirihara. The latter notes that Hattori's not taking senseless action was a smart decision, but Hattori notes that Miyuki was able to act. Kirihara says that the Shiba siblings are special, that Tatsuya probably has combat and killing experience and brings up the siblings' presence during the raid on Blanche. Kirihara finishes by saying that Course 2 students can progress rapidly, and are not to be scoffed at. Meanwhile, Tatsuya informs Miyuki that the earlier incident was not an accident. It was a suicide attack disguised as an accident, caused by a magician from inside the car. Inside the hotel, they are surprised to see Erika. Tatsuya departs first, and leaves Miyuki to question Erika. Even though she is not a participant, Erika is allowed to stay at the hotel because of family connections; she is of the Chiba family from the Hundred Families. Mizuki, Leo, and Mikihiko are also staying at the hotel.
At the opening ceremony, Tatsuya and Miyuki are teased by Mayumi when Miyuki is concerned over her brother's jacket not fitting correctly. After the introductory speech, Tatsuya sees Erika as a waitress and meets up with her. After finding Tatsuya, she joins in on the conversation. When Erika leaves to find Mikihiko, Shizuku and Honoka come over, noting that the other students don't want to approach Miyuki with Tatsuya nearby. Even though Kanon thinks it is obstinate for the students to see Tatsuya in a dis-cordial fashion, he still tells Miyuki to join up with the other students. After Tatsuya is left alone, Erika comes back with Mikihiko, dressed up as a waiter, in tow. She notes that Leo and Mizuki are working behind the scenes in the kitchen, and teases Mikihiko. After getting the latter to refill trays elsewhere, Erika ends up confiding that both she and Mikihiko were forced there by their family. Though Tatsuya responds noncommittally, Erika thanks him for being someone she can vent to, as he doesn't pity her. Miyuki, watching this, sighs at her brother's inability to see other people's goodwill and affection toward him.
She notes that both parents did not love him, and removed his ability to love. She is despaired at his inability to understand her feelings and return them, and decides to scold him, knowing that his inability will be a stumbling block for his developing social relations. As Miyuki is thinking this, she catches the attention of Third High students, including Ichijou Masaki. After being told by his friend, Kichijouji Shinkurou (who he calls George), that the girl is Shiba Miyuki and is the first year ace from First High, Masaki continues to glance over at Miyuki with warmth. The ceremony proceeds with VIP speeches. One of the speakers is supposed to be Kudou Retsu, the Patriarch from the Kudou Clan of the Ten Master Clans, and acknowledged to be one of the world's strongest magicians until 20 years ago. Kudou starts his speech with a wide-ranged illusion magic, and acknowledges Tatsuya when he sees that Tatsuya saw through the subterfuge. In his speech, Kudou tells that only 5 people saw through his magic, and that the use of magic is more important than the level of magic. Later that day, Miyuki, Honoka, and Shizuku were invited to go to a onsen by Eimi, another first year girl from First High. At the onsen, Eimi wants to take a look at Honoka's "huge" bust (she is just teasing her). Shizuku does not defend her as her breast are smaller.
When Miyuki joins after showering, the girls are all captivated by her. In the onsen, the talk turns to boys, and the girls say that Ichijou Masaki was looking at Miyuki, which she informs that she did not notice. After being asked whether the type of boys she like is like her brother, Miyuki replies that Tatsuya is a blood sibling, and that she never saw him as a romantic partner. Shizuku and Honoka are distrustful.
Meanwhile, Tatsuya is working on adjusting activation sequences along with Isori. As he is leaving, he notices 3 armed malefactors. He also notices that Mikihiko is about to engage them with ancient magic. Mikihiko had noticed the 3 criminals as he was training; his spirits caught a sense of malice. Feeling humiliated by his father over his not being a participant, and angered at being forced to attend the 9 Schools Competition anyways, Mikihiko decides to demonstrate that "he isn't powerless". Tatsuya notices that Mikihiko isn't going to be fast enough to cast his magic before getting shot, and uses partial decomposition on the criminals' guns. Mikihiko's lightning then knocks out the 3 malefactors. When Mikihiko is dejected over his lack of speed, Tatsuya reprimands him for his low self-esteem, and tells him that the problem lies in his technique being overly verbose. After Mikihiko leaves to call the security, Major Kazama shows up, noting that Tatsuya had similar problems before, and agrees to take care of the criminals.
|The competition begins without any further incidents. The first 3 days of the competition are for the official division; followed by 5 days for newcomers' division; and the competition will end with 2 more days for the official division. The first day competitions are Speed Shooting and Battle Board. Mayumi, known as the "Elven Sniper", is participating in the former, and is cheered on by a large crowd. Using bullets formed from ice particles, and her "Multi-scope", which allows her to view objects remotely from multiple angles, she hits all 100 targets in the preliminary round (a perfect score). Mari is competing in the official division for Battle Board, where the participants race over a 3 km waterway. Before the match starts, Honoka expresses her desire for Tatsuya to be the engineer for her during the newcomers' division for Battle Board. Tatsuya does not understand her real wish/intention, and is described as a blockhead by the other girls. Mari, like Mayumi, is cheered by a crowd of fans, while Mayumi's crowd has more male followers, Mari's contain female followers; Erika, however, shows distaste for her. When the race starts, the participant from Fourth High attempts to disrupt the other players with with a large wave but instead has her balance disrupted as well.
However, Mari, using fortification magic to stabilize her relative location with the board, and using multiple other magic simultaneously, is able to easily win. At lunch time, Tatsuya meets up with Kazama and other officers of 101 Independent Magic-Equipped Battalion. The other officers are Captain Sanada, Captain Yanagi, Second Lieutenant Fujibayashi, and Dr. Yamanaka. During the conversation, Sanada suggests that "Taurus Silver" participating as a CAD engineer is unfair, and Fujibayashi suggests that Tatsuya can win easily as a participant with Flash Cast, Elemental Sight, Material Burst, and Mist Dispersal. Sanada and Tatsuya note that Material Burst is a Strategic-Class Magic, and both Material Burst and Mist Dispersal are classified. Kazama instructs that should Tatsuya somehow become a participant, he is not to reveal such techniques. After lunch, Tatsuya joins the audience for the elimination round of Speed Shooting. Mayumi, using the same magic as before, secures first place. Due to issues, Tatsuya is asked to help with the CADs on the next day of the competition. When Miyuki goes to Tatsuya's room to inform him of this, she notices that he is working with an activation sequence for a new close combat weapon. Stating that she was more important than something he was doing for fun (playing around), Tatsuya escorts his sister back to her room.
|On the second day of the competition, Tatsuya is the Assistant Technician for women's Crowd Ball. He is teased by Mayumi, who he feels can read him too easily. He is to help Mayumi with the calibration of her CAD for her matches. As he is working with her CAD, Mayumi does some pre-match warm up & stretching. She tells Tatsuya that she planning to use "Multiple Bounce", which reverses the direction of an object, during the match. After Tatsuya helps her to her feet, Mayumi says that (teasingly) Tatsuya treats her almost as a younger brother would. During Mayumi's first match, she does not yield a single point. After the match, Mayumi is a bit scared to rejoin Tatsuya, and she fells that she is being analyzed as if under a microscope by Tatsuya. When she finally joins him, he notes, correctly so, that the opposing player will forfeit due to exhaustion. During Mayumi's second match, Tatsuya states that he will not touch the activation sequence as there is little time. After being complimented by Tatsuya, Mayumi goes off for the second round. During the round, Mayumi is surprised that she is performing noticeably better than before.
Confronting Tatsuya about it, she is told that he simply deleted some left over system files. After apologizing for the accusation of wrong doing, Mayumi continues on, and wins every round throughout the second day. After Crowd ball, Tatsuya joins his sister, Shizuku and Isori to watch Kanon's match in Pillars Break. Kanon won her previous match recklessly with her family's special magic, "Mine Genesis", which creates vibrations that eventually break the pillars. Tatsuya thinks that Isori and Kanon, being engaged, have a lot of synergy; the latter eventually wins first place in her competition. In the pavilion afterwards, Suzune says that Men's Crowd Ball did not go as well as expected for First High. Tatsuya manages to comfort Kirihara, one of the participants, noting that he was unlucky enough to be matched against Third High's player, who is favoured to win, and furthermore exhausted the opponent so much that he was eliminated shortly after. Just before dinner, Tatsuya receives a package from Ushiyama (Director of FLT's 3rd Division Research Labs) containing the completed close combat weapon he was designing a day ago.
His friends show up, and he decides that Leo is best suited to test his new invention. Mikihiko is amazed that it was made in one day, but Tatsuya brushes it aside, claiming that he had a familiar factory construct it with automatic assembly devices. After dinner, Tatsuya takes Leo to a nearby training ground to test the weapon. The weapon is called the "Mini-Communicator", and it is a two part mace (but looks like a sword). Upon activation, the top part lifts from the bottom part, and is held there by Fortification Magic, which stabilizes the relative location of the two disjoint objects. As such, the Mini-Communicator is effectively an extended sword. As Leo cuts up the dummies during testing, Tatsuya thinks that it could be a useful tool in Monolith Code.
|The finals for the Battle Board are on the third day of the competition, in which Mari is participating. After the match starts, as they are about to round the first turn, Mari is first, followed closely by the participant from Seventh High. Suddenly, the latter loses her control and begins to accelerate instead of slowing. While Mari is attempting to catch her, the water's surface suddenly dips. Her balance is broken and her magic gets cancelled, Mari is slammed into the railings with the other participant. Tatsuya quickly goes towards Mari. Mari wakes up in the hospital with Mayumi watching over her. She is told that she cannot do strenuous activities for 10 days, and as such, has to withdraw from both Battle Board and Mirage Bat. Mayumi says that Mari made the right decision, and prevented the other participant from permanent loss of magic abilities.
Mayumi then tells Mari that Tatsuya was the first person at the scene, escorted Mari to the hospital, and was able to understand the extent of her injuries at a glance. Both are shocked at his ability to deal with such matters. Mayumi continues by saying that there might have been outside influence, and Tatsuya and Isori will look into it.
While analyzing the footage of the race, Tatsuya and Miyuki are joined by Isori and Kanon. Both Isori and Tatsuya agree that there is outside influence, but Isori says there are magicians and cameras present to prevent such interference. He concludes that the only possibility is that the magic has been cast from within the water, but says that that is also almost impossible. Mizuki and Mikihiko also join the four of them. They are called by Tatsuya to investigate the possibilities of spirit magic. Mikihiko confirms that it is possible to create a spirit to cast such a magic under water, but says that had the participant from Seventh High not accelerated accidentally, the magic would have been harmless.
Tatsuya answers by claiming that Seventh High's acceleration may not have been a coincidence, and suggests that their CAD was sabotaged. He further suggests that there is mole on the Competition Committee, and tells that all CADs are turned over to the Committee once before the match for inspection. He ends the conversation by warning them to keep on guard.
Due to the accident, Third High is much closer to catching up to First High in aggregate score. Tatsuya and Miyuki are called into the conference room for First High by Mayumi. Since the Official Division's competition is worth twice the amount of points as the newcomer's division's, Miyuki is asked to replace Mari.