Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 7 – The Road That Must Be Taken.

Hall

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 7 – The Road That Must Be Taken


*Wheoo wheooo wheooo*

The sound of the fire engine’s siren came far from the ground below. He ascended the stairs, the sound right on his back.

Thump

His iron boots treaded the linoleum floor. He was on the seventh floor, reserved for employees and officials. The control area of the department store off limits to regular customers. Having finished treating the injured throughout the sixth floor, Archer had cloaked himself in his battle uniform, and had headed off to the seventh floor, the origin of the incident.

Archer became confident that it was not an accident. It was an explosion with a shockwave large enough to rock the building. Having experienced numerous fields of war, Archer understood minutely, with regards to myriad varieties of weapons and ordinance, the amount of power one could contain, and what kind of ordinance would create how much of an explosion. He knew, at the very least, even a freak explosion of office equipment could not create such a large blast. Furthermore, the idea of a department store that had a pinpoint explosive device on the executive floor was ridiculous.

The staff floor was deathly still. The fallen plants and the bundles of documents, fluttering and scattered about in the hall, communicated the extent of the chaos involved in the employee evacuation.
“Trace… On!”
The sorcery activated, Archer performed an analysis of the floor. From a map assembled in 3-D, he ran a simulation of the ideal sequence of destinations, and began to run through the hall.

Based on what he had seen of the lower floors, he could guess that the center of the explosion was the area around the building’s northern emergency exits. Based on his hypothesis, he moved towards the area, checking the rooms long the way.

Vital Reactions: None, none, none.

The workers appeared to have already left the floor. Archer recalled that the volunteers in the sixth floor rescue efforts had include people dressed in the uniforms of the department store. It was possible that the employees from this floor had been among them.
“Some ‘professional’ I am.”
Looking back at the extending scorch marks in the hall before him, Archer erased the smile from his face. The hypocenter was close, it appeared. He was a mix of moderate tension and quiet confidence. After adjusting his condition, Archer stepped out into the center of the explo——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

“…Ah.”

*Step*

Archer’s foot stepped on the floor. The floor of the corridor. It was a normal corridor, missing even the slightest burn mark.
“What… is this?”
Strange. The scene before his eyes gave him an uneasy feeling. The sensation sharpened. Doubt seeped into his consciousness.

Where was I going, and why?

“…I was going to the center of the blast, in order to investigate its cause.”
It was a clear goal… But his feet were standing in a different place than his goal.
“…My awareness went blank for a moment.”
Calming his emotions, he recalled the floor map he had created through the “Structural Analysis”. Currently, he was in a room he had passed on his way to the blast center. In other words, he had turned a hundred-and-eighty degrees, and had turned away from where the blast was. This was…

“A method of clearing out people… A type of bounded field that manipulates awareness?”
A repellent. A type of magical barrier constructed on the ground itself. It served to move people unconsciously and deter entry to a special location. Humans within range of its effect were incapable of recognizing the location.


…Sorcery?


He shivered. The word that had come to him so routinely made him tremble.

He cautiously turned his head. Clutching at his consciousness, he gazed down the hall that continued before him. But even with Archer’s superhuman eyesight, he could not “perceive” any further. No, something resisted his efforts to perceive it. It was unmistakably sprcery. A magical barrier that did not allow people to approach a special location.

In Fuyuki… In the land managed by the Tohsakas, there was sorcery other than their own in use in a public place. He could conceive that the fact this denoted was strongly connected to the incident that had occurred here. It was…


“…That’s right.”


Archer made a lonely smile for one moment, and then glared at the area that denied his perception. He made a strong autosuggestion to himself that “I must advance further”.

Yes, because he himself was here, that was something that had always meant to have occurred. It was inevitable.


“Let’s go-!”


Shaking off the interference to his awareness, Archer took one step forward. Even if that step mean he had parted with someone important.


Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 7.
The conflict that has long continued.
There were people who called for the sacrifice of that body, that blood. They concealed a strong purpose in their hearts and chose the sword in order to fulfill their wish.

The name of that battle was…

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