|The Mystic Archives of Rasiel|
Extra Episode 02: Bibliotheca Razielis Archangeli
Rajieru no Shoka
January 1, 2009
"The Mystic Archives of Rasiel" is the 5th chapter of The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, volume 2. It's divided into six parts and contains one illustration. The chapter is labeled as Extra Episode 02.
During the Great War, the legendary ace Ilas Alcock, even using the power to read his enemies' hearts, sees in a familiar Allied pilot a worthy rival. He got more motivated to engage in a dogfight after meeting the mysterious Rasiel and learning about the Phantom Books.
Soldiers and mechanics are enjoying the peaceful moment by drinking from bottles and watching the acrobatic fight between two Allied airplanes who are cutting the sky with its metallic wings. Someone is piloting a Camel F.1, a high-performance aircraft very difficult to handle, hence it was called “pilot killer”. His opponent is using a S.E.5, a model more suitable for inexperienced aviators. A curious man questions a mechanic about the aerial fight and becomes surprised after learning that the rookie has the upper hand over Lieutenant Charing, showing amazing skills in the Camel’s cockpit. The newcomer makes a sharp maneuver to the right, appearing behind the S.E.5, which should have been shot down in a real battle. The difference between the pilots is overwhelming, so the result would never change. The opponent admits defeat by shaking the wings of his airplane.
The curious man approaches the rookie as soon as he landed the Camel in front of the hangar. The rookie with lonely eyes is rude and hostile towards the Second Lieutenant, asking how many enemies he had shot down. The rookie affirms he would surpass his score in three months. However, the veteran affirms he has no interest in number of kills, considering himself an aircraft pilot rather than a warmaker. The rookie watches stunned as the Second Lieutenant walks towards the dormitory with his poetry collection in hands.
Part 1 Edit
Ilas Alcock is reciting a poem at 12,000 feet, where the thin atmosphere reaches minus 40 degrees. Piloting the triplane Fokker Dr.I, he dives to pursue the Allied enemy, aiming with a machine gun. Although his words become lost in the turbulence, he can hear the voice of his frightened target, who notices the hostile presence and tries to escape death. Besides hearing the man calling him “ghost” and “monster”, Ilas can feel his heart beating faster in fear. The attacker strongly pulls the control stick to move behind the opponent, predicting his movements. The trigger is pressed, then silence returns to the battlefield.
The Fokker regains altitude, flying through the clouds. Ilas notices debris and burning fuselage far ahead. His wingmen are being shot down by a skillful pilot. The Allied aviator in the Camel F.1 quickly responds to his approach. They pass each other using their machine guns menacingly. The shock from the man with lonely eyes reaches Ilas’ mind. The familiar young man seems to know who Ilas is, asking why he was inside an airplane of the Central Powers. The latter predicts his target’s actions by listening to the voice of his heart. Ilas prepares to put an end to the opponent, when he witnesses an unexpected move. The Camel turns to the right, avoiding the bullets. This model of aircraft had the habit of going clockwise when the control stick was released. The characteristic makes the Camel difficult to handle, but it had saved his pilot’s life this time. The young man was out of range, indicating the end of the battle. The ground was covered with airplane wreckages.
Part 2 Edit
That night, Ilas stopped in a bar of a military base. The place was crowded and noisy, but he was quiet, sit at the counter. No one knew his identity as a flying ace feared by the Allied soldiers. The bartender fills his glass. He’s a handsome young man, incompatible to that dirty bar amidst the battlefield. Wearing a white coat, he looked more like a military doctor than a bar owner. Ilas asks about the ongoing war. The bartender always had detailed information obtained from the generals who came to drink. The country was lacking resources and the introduction of a new aircraft was delayed, but everything could change if the offensive of the Emperor manages to destroy the Allied army.
The end of the war worries Ilas. He wants to keep fighting, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to fly while listening to the enemies’ voice and feeling their broken hearts during a chase. The so-called Faceless Ghost was able to read his targets and how their emotions influence the way they pilot. Ilas explains his ability as if he’s reciting a poem. The barkeeper knows that he writes poetry as a hobby. It’s something common among aircraft pilots, mostly members of the aristocracy, heroes considered knights of the skies. Airplanes are expensive new weapons based on innovative technology, hence it couldn’t be used by anyone. Eventually, war erased this noble aura in air-to-air combat. Now, opponents have no dignity and only seek to kill each other. Ilas believes that his power comes from this madness. Writing poetry is a ritual that he performs to reach such state, when he can touch his enemy’s heart. The Captain feels someone outside watching him through a window. For a moment he sees the shadow of a young girl wearing an extravagant red dress.
Part 3 Edit
Ilas was returning to the barracks. He had a considerable amount of alcohol, but he wasn’t feeling drunk. The man reflects about the wartime while examining the dark sky. Three years have passed since the confrontations began. He has a strange thought, triggered out of nowhere, that makes him hopeless. Ilas was supposed to be an Allied fighter pilot who turned to the enemies and started flying a Fokker. For some reason, he feels like he would understand his own mind if he could talk to the young man in the Camel, the one Ilas fought that same day. However, Ilas isn’t sure if he wants to recall his past. The Captain reaches the castle used by the military.
Inside the quadruple room where he sleeps, Ilas notices the presence of a 13- or 14-year-old little girl of beautiful figure, green hair and pale skin. Her left eye is hidden by an old lock. She was probably watching him at the bar. It seems like they met before. The pilot tries to search his memory. It comes to his mind the image of people screaming next to bloody corpses, among destruction and fire. He can also see the little girl in red, but he’s not sure if the event really happened. When Ilas shows interest in her, she exposes her legs, laughing. Although she has a childish appearance, her dance tempted the opposite sex.
Rasiel wants to see his poetry collection complete. She knows that he can listen to the heart of the enemy during a fight. Ilas has such power because the book where he writes poems was becoming a Phantom Book. The Phantom Egg would be finished if he kept being inspired by madness, fear and other strong feelings. The girl enjoys the war because the battles provide the conditions for the birth of a Phantom Book. According to her, Rasiel is the name of the head of the angels who stood close by the throne of God, recording everything in the world, all the secrets in earth and heaven. With a murderous expression, she explains how the other angels were jealous of Rasiel. They stole his book and threw to the humans, who partially copied it into various volumes. Rasiel disappeared and his book was lost forever. However, if every secret is collected, the Book of Rasiel would be recovered.
The Mystic Archives of Rasiel is the secret library where the collected secrets are maintained and the Phantom Books sealed. The girl in red wishes that Ilas’ poetry collection turns into a Phantom Book suitable for this library. The pilot somehow knows that she’s not lying. He means to question her more, but she walks to the door. Before leaving, she asks if he has given part of his poems to someone. Ilas seems to remember the first poetry collection he wrote when he was still flying for the Allies, although he can’t tell its whereabouts. Rasiel shows to be a little worried about that.
Part 4 Edit
A few days later, before sunrise, an alarm wakes him up. Ilas changes into his uniform and notices the flames outside the barracks. Enemy air troops are attacking the base. A huge formation of bombers covers the sky. The pilots who tried to fight were shot down before leaving the ground. The hangars burn and the bullets shine in the air, falling like a rain. Ilas heads to the Fokker while reciting a poem. He could feel where the bomber pilots were aiming. Touching his poetry collection, he wonders if it’s being subject to phantomization. The mechanics of the Central Powers were waiting for the hero, the only capable of overcoming the desperate situation. Ilas starts the engine, but he doesn’t accelerate. A bomb is dropped next to them, blowing the men away. If the Fokker had moved, it would be damaged by the explosion.
The ace uses the smoke to hide the take off. The enemies proceed to intercept and prevent him from gaining altitude. When Ilas starts shooting, the Allied aircraft descend like fireballs. His presence changes the condition of the battle. The crew below manages to reach the sky and assume formation behind Ilas in order to fight back. However, their airplanes are destroyed in a brutal surprise attack from a familiar Camel F.1. They engage in an incredible dogfight, both showing amazing skills. The Captain has a ferocious smile in his face, until he hears the sad and nostalgic voice of the young man opposing him. The Allied airman explains that, during vacation in his hometown, Ilas was involved in an urban attack from a railway gun. The once Second Lieutenant should have been dead. Ilas doesn’t believe in what he’s saying. The Fokker moves behind the Camel, preparing to shoot. Unexpectedly, the British airplane maneuvers to the right, starting a counterattack. Ilas misses the target, reacting too late. It’s the first time that he’s being chased like that.
Ilas recalls the past, when he was a pilot in the Allied army. After Ilas’ death, the young man in the Camel inherited his first poetry collection. It seems like they can read each other’s mind. However, Ilas is way more experienced than his enemy. The Fokker’s design also had advantage over the Camel’s. The young man tries to shake Ilas off with a sudden drop, exploring the strong structure of his model. Ilas follows him, ready to use his machine gun. But at the last moment, when they were less than a thousand feet distant from the ground, the Fokker is hit by a shell, a friendly fire coming from an anti-aircraft gun. The Allied was an easy target at such altitude. He had prevailed with an illogical and reckless choice, a strategy a pilot must never employ. Ilas could read his adversaries’ minds, but he was unable to predict an attack mechanically shot from below. Now the Fokker was in a difficult situation, wrecked and in a lower position. Nevertheless, Ilas follows his instincts and resumes the combat. He hears the young man bidding farewell with a heavy heart. The bullets penetrate the Fokker’s fuselage. The triplane falls down, enveloped in flames.
Part 5 Edit
Evening marked the end of the battle. The military site was badly destroyed and the aircraft troops were devastated. It was a considerable loss for the Central Powers, although Ilas had no interest in it. He drags himself out of the destroyed Fokker. The Captain isn’t wounded, since only the engine was hit. His poetry book is safe, so he could fight once again. However, Rasiel shows up with an evil smile. The eerie void in place of her left eye seems to lead to a different world. During their last meeting, the girl asked if Ilas had shared his poems with someone because she knew something like that could happen. Behind her, the barkeeper stands, wearing his white coat. Ilas realizes that he is Rasiel’s acquaintance, a man who was watching him from the beginning, overseeing the birth of the Phantom Book.
The ace plans to win the next fight, but Rasiel affirms that his legend is finished. He was shot down, failing to complete the Phantom Book. Frightened, without thinking, Ilas tries to reach her. Power leaves his body and, instantaneously, he takes the appearance of a corpse, with cracked skin and dry muscles. Down on his knees, he remembers the countless fatalities caused by the bombardment of the Central Powers, including himself. Ilas was supposed to be dead, but he had been resurrected by the duo in front of him with the magic of a Phantom Book, everything to create a new one. He had been brought back to life as an enemy of the Allies so he could complete the legend of the Faceless Ghost. Now that the Fokker was defeated by the Camel, Ilas had no reason to stay in that world.
The man in white coat closes a Phantom Book after removing a bookmark from between its pages. Ilas collapses and his ashes ascend to the sky. His poetry collection, a Phantom Egg, turns to dust and disappears. Rasiel screams in agony as his partner inserts the Phantom Book of resurrection into the portal on her left eye, which appears hidden by an old lock soon after. Rasiel and the Professor express their interest in the pilot of the Camel, the young man who was able to read an incomplete Phantom Book without owing it. The Professor has an old, golden key in his hand.
Part 6 Edit
The young man is destroying a thick book of poems inside a hangar, where one could smell burning oil. A mechanic offers to incinerate the Second Lieutenant’s items the next time, since fire is strictly prohibited around there. While cleaning the place, the mechanic happily congratulates the airman for surpassing the score of the former Second Lieutenant and beating the Faceless Ghost. The victory improves the situation of the Allies in the war. However, the young man bluntly affirms it was just a rumor.
He walks away after giving a small package to the mechanic so he can have it incinerated. The latter is surprised because Second Lieutenant Disward wants to dispose of his medal of merit. The young man is an aircraft pilot, not a warmaker. His eyes show sorrow and loneliness. As he looks to the sky, a key hangs in front of his chest. The war ended in the autumn with tens of thousands of casualties. Official records about the Faceless Ghost and his triplane have not survived.
- Dogfighting first emerged in World War I. Aircraft were initially used as observation vehicles. Pilots provoked the enemy or threw objects at them, since weapons couldn't be carried due to weight restrictions. They quickly began firing hand-held guns, and soon planes were fitted with machine-guns.
- The Sopwith Camel is one of the most iconic fighter aircraft of the First World War. The name comes from the hump-shaped metal cover that protects the two synchronized guns from freezing at high altitude. Its first prototype flew in December 1916. Camel pilots were credited with the highest number of shootdowns, more than any other Allied fighter in the Great War. The F.1 was the main production version.
- As explained in the chapter, the British airplane was difficult to handle, but provided a high level of manoeuvrability to an experienced pilot. It could kill the novices learning how to fly it. The Camel turned more quickly to the right due to the torque of the rotary engine. The pilot had to apply constant pressure on the control stick to maintain altitude.
- The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 (Scout Experimental 5) was another British biplane that, together with the rival model Camel, was instrumental in maintaining Allied air superiority in the First World War. However, fewer squadrons were equipped with this model well into 1918 due to problems with its engine. It was one of the fastest aircraft of the war, while being both stable and relatively manoeuvrable. The first of three prototypes flew in November 1916.
- The Faceless Ghost is first described chasing a SPAD (Société Pour L'Aviation et ses Dérivés). The French aircraft manufacturer is responsible for one of the most capable and produced models in the First World War. SPADs were renowned for its sturdy structure, hence why Ilas aimed at the pilot.
- The Professor, disguised as a barkeeper, explains how the situation of the country is serious due to the lack of goods. The Blockade of Europe was conducted by the Allied Powers during and after the Great War. Considered one of the key elements in the eventual Allied victory, it was a naval operation to restrict the maritime supply to the Central Powers. The German Board of Public Health claimed that the blockade caused the deaths of 763,000 German civilians from starvation and disease up until December 1918.
- The heavy siege guns produced by the Krupp company and used by Germany are the best known railway guns, defined as large artillery pieces mounted on a railway wagon. During the First World War, Big Bertha was employed to destroy Belgian and French forts. The Paris Guns sent from 320 to 367 shells to Paris from a distance of 120 km, not to destroy the city, but to weaken the enemies' morale.
- Lieutenant Charing (チャーリング中尉 Chāringu Chūi) is named Welling in the anime adaptation.