Somewhere in the Bonin archipelago and Izu islands, there is an island with an area of 70 square kilometers.
The island's name is Arubi Island.
30 years ago, the island got wrecked by a spacequake. A large hole was created from the center, making the island look rather desolate.
The large cove made for a very good tourist spot so the island had been repurposed into a tourist island with all the features belonging to one.
The island is similar to Tengu City in terms of history.
Tengu city was once wrecked by spacequakes but the refurbishment made the town grander than before.
Arubi Island's transformation also involved anti-spacequake and emergency shelters. Although the preparations here lacked in comparison to Tengu City, it's still pretty solid.
Moreover, the crescent moon-shaped island made for an interesting landmark and tourist hotspot. Every year, scores of foreign and domestic tourists hit the island to shop or tour around.
It might be disrespectful for the people related to victims of spacequake, the island's untimely encounter sparked a better chapter in the island's economy.
Cross Travel hosted the school trip here while providing free lodging, meals, and travel expenses.
As the plane with students and teachers slowly descended, everybody got ready to disembark. Soon, students in school uniforms arrived at the airport gates with teachers escorting them. They looked around with ecstatic smiles.
Wu Yan inhaled deeply, taking in the fresh smell of the salty air.
"Ah, nothing like the fresh air of an island. Coming here for a summer vacation sounds like a great idea."
Shiori also basked in the refreshing air. She's also a happy camper.
"I didn't think a trip close to home would yield such a result. Truth be told, I didn't expect much. Coming here was the right decision, the school did a good job."
"Why are you guys so happy?"
Tohka wrinkled her nose. She smelled the air but she couldn't identify the difference.
"I don't smell anything nice, rather there is a weird stench..."
"That's the smell of the sea..."
Wu Yan rubbed Tohka's head.
"Don't treat the air here like you would treat food, dummy..."
"I am not!"
"Astrea's the dummy!"
"Who is Astrea?"
Wu Yan stopped Tohka before she spoke more than she should. She pushed the two forward.
"It's time for our roll call, let's go!"
"I know, stop shoving me..."
"Let me finish my explanation!"
"Don't sweat the small stuff, let's go already..."
Ellen also got down from the plane. She looked at Wu Yan and Tohka who were flirting with each other before pressing her earpiece.
At the same time, the clouds high above Arubi island got cleaved in twain. It's like a giant sword split the sky. The soft clouds parted way for an invisible airship, judging by the outline, this airship's rather huge too.
Indeed, the parted clouds gave the location of the invisible airship away.
Behind the cloak is an airship completely red in color with a design mimicking a cobra's head. The airship slowly hovered while splitting the clouds in its path.
The airship's name is Arbatel, an airship of DEM's design. It's one of the few large ships under DEM's command.
To support Ellen in her investigation and capture of spirits, Westcott took this airship out while delegating it to Ellen's command. Once Ellen confirms the targets, Arbatel will start attacking Arubi Island.
Arbatel is waiting for orders from Ellen while maintaining constant contact with Ellen.
Inside Arbatel, a middle-aged man sat on the colonel's seat with the display showing Wu Yan and Tohka's footage. He rubbed his beard.
"They are the targets this time? Just a bunch of kids? Are they really spirits?"
"If we can tell a spirit's identity from their outward appearance then we wouldn't have to work so hard..."
Someone replied, her voice echoing in the room.
That's the sound of the second executive in charge of this operation, Ellen.
"Spirits have weird abilities. They can hide their own Reiryoku signatures. It's expected that they can manipulate their facial features as well. Using a Reiryoku machine to gauge would be a fool's move.
The Arbatel's captain snorted while shrugging.
"Really? Thanks for the reminder, boss..."
Ellen can hear from the captain's tone that he didn't take her lesson to heart.
"Anyway, raise your guards, don't lose track of the two targets."
The captain leered at the screen displaying Ellen's footage. He's incredibly displeased.
Ellen's ability as the strongest magician isn't something to scoff at.
However, he's still incredibly annoyed with Ellen.
First, he has never seen Ellen in action. To listen to someone the age of his daughter bossing him around just rubbed him the wrong way.
Hence, he treated Ellen's order with utmost rudeness.
But, to prevent punishment for a possible failure in this operation, the captain still played ball and did his job like right now.
"Okay, what do you want?"
Ellen thought about it.
"Intercept and block ingoing and outgoing signals, make sure nobody gets in our way."
The captain ordered his crew with a wave of his hand.
"Deploy the Interference Field, interrupt all transmissions."
The crew replied. Then, the operators in Arbatel started working on the order.
With the crisp sound of keyboard strokes, a faint, mist-like barrier started covering the island. The illusory Territory is almost impossible to detect with the naked eye.
The Territory covered the island.
Covering an entire island in Territory is something AST can never do.
Excluding Ellen's communication device, nobody can get outside help nor will outside signal enter the island.
In other words, nobody will know what is happening on the island. Even if a spacequake struck, nobody outside the island would be any wiser.
This is official DEM's turf now.
"Interference Field deployed, Territory has cut off all transmissions."
The captain listened to the verbal reports before giving a suggestion.
"Do we need to send out bandersnatch units?"
Ellen replied after a brief pause.
"Release all the Bandersnatch units we have in store!"
The captain couldn't believe his ears.
"All of them?"
"Don't doubt your ears..."
Ellen looked at Wu Yan's back before smiling bitterly.
"I can't relax if we don't do this..."