TLN: I will be releasing Loner Otaku today as I was resting over the weekend. My illness is pretty much gone and didn’t require hospitalization luckily, but I was still told to rest.
Chapter 5 – First Battle
The response of magical girls to demonic beasts is generally controlled by the government.
The government also handles selection–those who become magical girls after so-called auditions come under the control of the government. From there, they are directed and dispatched to subjugate demonic beasts of a suitable level for them.
—So, how does a magical girl like Tsugumi, who does not belong to the government, subjugate demonic beasts?
Bell provides the answer to Tsugumi’s question.
「Do you know that demonic beasts have grades? they are classified according to the amount of magical energy contained within them. They are brought into this world by creating a Yorishiro containing the exact same amount of energy. Because of this, the time of energy observation and the time of appearance are different. Well, this much is common sense」(Bell) (TLN: Yorishiro is an object representative of a divine spirit)
「Ah, I know that much. That’s why the estimated appearance time changes based on the grade」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
There are 5 grades that classify demonic beasts, from E at the bottom to A all the way at the top.
The government has a machine for predicting the appearance of demonic beasts called『Yata no Kagami』. The map projected onto a mirror is capable of predicting the time and location of demonic beasts with high accuracy. (TLN: Yata no Kagami is also known as the Eight-Span Mirror, read more here)
Class A demonic beasts take 5 hours to appear.
Class B take 3 hours.
Class C, 2 hours.
Class D, 1 hour.
As for class E, there is a time lag between prediction and appearance, but it is generally 30 minutes.
Magical girls are also ranked according to the class of demonic beast they are capable of defeating.
According to that, the current class of Tsugumi—no, the current class of Hagakure Sakura was class F.
「Taking class E for example, they take about 30 minutes to appear. During the first 5 minutes, the government will contact the person closest to the scene amongst the magical girls on standby and send them to the scene. The system is not so different to the fire department」(Bell)
「Etto, then isn’t there no chance for someone not involved with the government to subjugate demonic beasts? If I get in their way, they’d be annoyed」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
「There is a loophole. Since you have the ability of transfer, it’s easy to do. In your case, in those 5 minutes after a prediction where the government is deciding on which magical girl to send, you arrive on scene and declare to the government that you will handle it. That way you automatically get the right to subjugate the demonic beast」(Bell)
「Is that really okay?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
「There’s no problem. All the other strays and those with high aspirations within the government are doing the same thing–think about it, in this country there are over 100 demonic beasts appearing a day right? If there are people who move voluntarily, it would immensely helpful for them」(Bell)
「Well, that’s true」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
In addition, depending on where the magical girls are waiting on standby in comparison to the appearance location, the city could be damaged in the meantime. It would certainly be of benefit to the government to have magical girls who can move at any time and immediately subjugate demonic beasts.
The number of demonic beasts appearing every year numbers 30,000. In other words, an average of 160 demonic beasts appear in Japan every single day. It would be difficult to deal with on their own.
30 years ago, only a few appearances were confirmed every day. However over the next decade, the numbers gradually increased until it settled down with the current number. The number of appearances has been the same for the last 20 years, so it shouldn’t change anytime soon.
On the other hand, the total number of magical girls is just under 3000. The quota can be approximately reached if every magical girl fights an average of 10 times a year.
—However the issue is the retirement rate of magical girls, as well as the amount lost in the line of duty.
There are 500 retirees and 500 deaths in the line of duty every year for magical girls….more than 30% of the personnel have to be replaced every year. Despite the illustrious social status and fancy name, it can be said to be a tough profession. It was scary for Tsugumi to think that he’s joined them, but when he thinks to deeply about it, his head starts aching, so he decided not to care about it much.
「—Then, the enemy will appear in 3 more minutes….」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
Tsugumi was currently standing in the woods, on the outskirts of Kanto. According to Bell, a class E demonic beast was to appear in this place.
For the record, the government had been contacted in advance by Bell, so there was no problem on that end. Tsugumi felt it was okay if he told them himself, but Bell refused saying「they’ll throw you out」–but he didn’t believe it would go that far.
「…but is it okay? It’s a thread you know? Do I sneak up on the enemy and strangle it?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
Whilst waiting, he was trying to figure out how to use his skill【Thread】however roughly speaking, he had only gotten the hang of『putting out a thread』
A thin thread like Tegusu, a thick thread like rope. He was able to output most threads he could imagine. As for strength, he could make it hard enough that a knife couldn’t cut it. (TLN: Tegusu is a Japanese thread used for jewellery, similar to Nylon)
He hadn’t verified how far it could be stretched, but if it was a thin thread, he could stretch it to an extent that it covered the entire forest.
However, the color of the thread was fixed as red for some reason, so it may not be possible to do surprise attacks with it.
When Tsugumi complained, Bell looked at him as if he was looking at something annoying and replied as a matter of course.
「Fuun~ when it comes to battle, you will naturally know how to use it. That’s just how unique skills are」(Bell)
「I hope that’s right」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
As he continued to talk as if to deceive his anxiety, he suddenly felt a feeling as if numerous small needles were piercing his back. He instinctively looked up.
「The sky is distorting」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
「Ah, it’s coming. Get ready」(Bell)
He had wanted to take a deep breath, but in the next second it was blown away. He honestly hadn’t prepared his heart much.
—But well it can’t be helped, he could think about the details later. Tsugumi had always been like that, so it should work out this time as well.
In front of him, a black mist began to gather in a circle, before slowly turning into a sphere. Without warning–it suddenly split into two.
「Uwaa, it’s big–」(Tsugami [Sakura])
What stood there was a 3 meters tall wild boar. It looked exactly like a normal wild boar, except it was 3 meters tall and it’s fangs were shining silver.
「Don’t be afraid idiot!–activate the barrier!」(Bell)
Bell kicked the back of Tsugumi who had retreated slightly due to the appearance of the demonic beast. He shouted at him as he erected the barrier.
Originally it was the magical girl’s job to activate the barrier, but since Tsugumi is a special existence, some techniques are done by Bell instead so that no problems will occur.
With that declaration, the barrier spread out like an umbrella covering the entire forest. Tsugumi could feel the sound of gears clicking in his head, he was sure that this was the feeling of the barrier being completed.
Now then, what should I do?–the moment he thought that, the wild boar suddenly charged at him with frightening speed. Too fast!
「—U, uwaaaa!」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
Tsugumi reflexively jumped onto a tree whilst involuntarily screaming.
Using the branches as a foothold, he climbed up the thick trunk in order to take a breather somewhere safe. The wild boar approached the base of the tree and grunted at Tsugumi in anger.
「….there’s a lot I want to say, but within the barrier, magical girls can move so well, like a ninja」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
Moreover, his body moved before he even thought about it. Even he was surprised by the potential of the existences known as Magical Girls. As expected, the people who protect Japan on the front lines are different.
「Oi, don’t run away! If my contractor is seen doing this, my reputation will go down!」(Bell)
Bell flapped his bat wings and flew to the side of Tsugumi, shouting at him angrily. He knew how he was feeling, but he was hoping that he would be allowed some mistakes since it was his first time.
「No no, this is a strategic retreat…just in case, I thought I should check my other skills first. Is that okay?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
He forcibly tried to deceive Bell. However checking his skills was important, he wanted to confirm them in advance since they had been unlocked recently.
「I see, hurry then」(Bell)
Saying that, Bell quickly handed over the status board to Tsugumi. He felt like if they didn’t hurry, the boar at the base of the tree would do something bad.
「Thanks, Bell-sama…huh? Is only the name of the skill written here?」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
In the passive skill column,【Optimization】and【Physical Enhancement】were written. A step down from that, there was the skill【Thread Manipulation】printed there. No further information was given. Perhaps the above 2 skills are ones that all magical girls have in advance, the thread manipulation skill is probably related to Tsugumi’s unique skill【Thread】
On the active skill column, the skills【Invisibility/15 minutes】and【Gluttony/After the battle is over】were written with a brief explanation. He understood invisibility, but what did gluttony mean?
As he was thinking whilst tilting his head, Bell called out to him.
「You’re watching it carefully, but is it okay?–it’s coming」(Bell)
Bell said and dexterously stroked his chin. With those words, Tsugumi looked towards the base of the tree.
The first thing he saw was a twinkling light–that silver-white colored light was surrounding the boar completely.
That wild boar then put a large amount of strength into it’s hind legs and seemed to want to ram into the tree Tsugumi was standing on.
….This is bad. The moment Tsugumi thought so, the boar disappeared.
Bekibaki-!!! A terrible noise was produced as a large portion of the tree was gouged out. As a matter of course, the aftermath of the strike caused the trees in the surroundings to collapse and break one after another, changing the landscape of the forest in an instant.
「….I’m really glad I have the【Transfer】skill」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
Whilst watching the destruction of nature from the top of a tree on the other side, he muttered so. He had decided to use transfer as soon as the boar disappeared, that decision turned out to be correct.
Even so, were class E demonic beasts always this strong? On the special feature programs on TV, he had always thought they were just big versions of existing creatures, he didn’t know they could use this type of technique.
The wild board was currently destroying the surrounding trees whilst screaming「Bumooooooo!!!!」from it’s ferocious scream, it seemed to be looking for Tsugumi.
Whilst paying attention to the movements of the wild boar, Tsugumi decided to try another unique skill. If he couldn’t come up with any countermeasures, he would just keep escaping using transfer until it was no longer possible to do so. At that point, he could only wait for death.
Impatience bloomed in his heart. He tried to deny it, but the pressure from Bell next to him was too great.
Fuu, he exhaled slightly–it was time for his decision.
He created threads between the palms of his hands as if praying. At that moment, information flowed into his head.
「【Thread】and【Thread Manipulation】–I see, that’s what is is」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
This is probably why Bell said「you’ll understand when you use it」
What to do was imprinted into his mind.
「Have you finished preparing? I’m getting bored」(Bell)
Bell was rushing him, but he put down the irritation in his heart.
「Ah, mou. It’s fine –I’m beginning my counterattack now」(Tsugumi [Sakura])
With that said, Tsugumi laughed fearlessly.