Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume10 A Day For You 02
A Day For You 02
Against the surface of the air filter, the sandstorm continued to swirl.
On the opposite end of the sand and grit, the moon with its round and solemn countenance was suspended high in the sky.
With almost all of the shops' posters taken down and the ground sparsely lit only by decorative lights, the area seemed to sink into darkness.
Within that, bathed in the moonlight, a voice appeared to resonate from the sky. Starting strong, but gradually weakening. With the ebbing of the howling, the sky over Zuellni stopped. There was nothing that could answer. In that place where shadows stood motionless, the natural echoing of a sound could be heard.
Only buildings whose rooftops were cast in the shadow of the Department of the Outer Edge were nearby. In the vicinity, there were no housing facilities. What was there was the manufacturing district, in which warehouses stored produce. Crops which received a surface security check here would then at some point be passed to the market above.
The remnants of the natural howling that could be heard suddenly began to move.
From somewhere that looked to be underneath, in the next moment the shadow disappeared from that spot.
"A thief in the produce warehouse?"
After being called first thing in the morning, at those words Layfon tilted his head. Though of course, he knew what a thief was.
"More importantly, a burglary attempt......?"
In response, Formed had a troubled smile on his face. The place was Zuellni's only established City Police Station. While sipping tea served in the break-room of the building, Layfon looked at Naruki who stood next to Formed.
"It isn't as if there wasn't a thief, but......"
With something along the lines of hesitation in his words, Formed's speech wasn't clear. That face had the fatigue of a sleepless night.
Zuellni was an academy city. Almost all of the people residing there were students. It wasn't as if there were any adults there, but they did not have much of an effect on the city's livelihood. While furthering their studies, upperclassmen also taught the underclassmen. Seniors conducted training and research. That was Zuellni's way.
Concurrently, there were also other cities. Foregoing changes in economics, a disparity of wealth would occur. There were also those who failed in business. Though they were not officially recognized, gambling houses also existed. If they were cheated, there would be those who would rush to the City Police.
Though only temporary, in the confusion caused by a robbery, it wasn't as if there was no one chasing after the thief.
But of course, as Zuellni was an academy city, the city's reason for existence was for the students. The city's economy was ultimately designed around the period after graduation. So that students didn't lose their senses for living in another city, simulations of their futures were established as a major premise.
Therefore, relief measures were enacted.
The loss of assets, those who declared bankruptcy received financial support from the student council.
Of course this aid had to be repaid, and if they weren't, graduation certifications would not be granted. While there were those who were held back due to not paying, they were few.
At any rate, those enrolled in Zuellni never faced starvation due to financial problems.
Hence......for the time being, it was reasonable that cases of theft with student culprits were rare.
Particularly, theft of comestibles was seldom heard of.
"Why break into the produce warehouse......"
Layfon went right to the problem.
Though Layfon hadn't even been at Zuellni for a year, he still had a sufficient understanding of it. Before enrolling, he investigated the scholarship system and came to understand them both.
"If it's about the robbery details, they're easy to understand."
While Formed muttered that piece of information, he drank from his own tea.
Up until now, Layfon's classmate, Naruki, continued to stand motionlessly nearby.
"So, what was stolen?"
"......Nothing was stolen in this case. To be more accurate, it was an attempt."
As a military artist, it was as if Layfon became a necessary companion, and that was probably why he was called. There were military artists in the city police. Maybe it was due to Zuellni's academic traditions, but in the Military Arts Department, those who were known as elites were also platoon members. Normally these individuals did not show interest in the typical activities of the city police.
However, there were times in Zuellni where research data would be targeted by people from other cities, and within those groups skilled military artists would be present. For those instances, there were platoons members who would temporarily assist the city police.
Be that as it may, it was a short-term job unique to the Military Arts department.
Layfon, at his classmate Naruki's behest, found himself in that situation.
"What is it?"
For that reason he was called; however, it was just a burglary attempt.
Furthermore, for produce. Even if something was stolen, it wasn't as if they could make off with it on a roaming bus.
"Well, hold on."
Formed stopped the bewildered Layfon.
"The problem lies with the contents of the assailed warehouse."
"You know, don't you? Tomorrow is Van Allen's Day."
"No, you might say that I do know, however........."
It was apparently a day where one receives sweets from those of the opposite sex whom are reciprocating goodwill. Though it was originally the custom of another city, companies in the Business Department involved in confectioneries had learned of it and had campaigned since last year.
With just a gathering of those at an age most interested in love, Zuellni's students received Van Allen's Day with fervor and an advertising struggle had grown considerably since last year.
"So, what about it?"
"With the Business Departments' influence, the Manufacturing District had obtained several new species of produce and grew them for this day. The warehouse that was broken into contained one of those."
Even in saying that the ingredients for making sweets were targeted, the exact point was still unclear.
"Every raw ingredient contained in the warehouse was examined beforehand. Due to the wide variety, it took quite a while, but thankfully a knowledgeable person was there. The target was probably the Heartseer Fruit."
Formed nodded in response.
"A confectionery known as Rinka placed the production order, and so the arrangement was for the fruit to be delivered this morning. Rinka wanted to use it as their featured product."
"So then why?"
"Originally, Van Allen's Day's roots came from Forest City Erupa's customs. Eating food prepared from the Heartseer fruit was only permitted for married couples and engaged couples. In short, presenting food made from the Heartseer Fruit in regards to the opposite sex has the same meaning as proposing. It seems that the Heartseer Fruit had died out in that city, and so when a person wanted to make something for that special someone, they defaulted to sweets......or so I've heard."
"That......is it. Why would it be that in Erupa, they would only allow married couples and those soon to be married to eat food prepared from the Heartseer Fruit, do you get it?"
"No, hearing that all of a sudden......"
"There appears to be a stimulant in the fruit. It's usage depends on the circumstances, but for that sort of thing, it's said to be really convenient."
He tried to conceal it in his voice, but he was grinning broadly. Next to him, Naruki's face had turned red.
While not quite getting what Formed had said, Layfon was also not crude. He let out a troubled sort of laughter.
"Of course, it needs to be prepared a certain way. It seems only alcohol and steeped honey are needed to remove the astringency out of the sweet fruit."
After Layfon became troubled at his reply, Formed returned to his former self.
"However, that's the effect it has on a normal person. On a Military Artist, it has a different use."
Formed grew tense.
"Arousing the fighting spirit, it causes an abnormal acceleration of Kei flow. Other than that, it induces oversensitivity of the nerves, sharpens the senses, etc...... Compared to that time with DG, it's by far a much more monstrous Kei accelerating drug."
"It can't be......"
Just recently, they were completely caught up in the case involving the illegal Kei accelerating drug DG. These kinds of things, one after another......Layfon looked at Formed with astonishment.
"Rinka's background up until now wasn't at all suspicious. Besides, it appears that to an extent that effect of the Heartseer Fruit was unknown. I don't know what the people interested in this product are thinking, but we can't leave such a dangerous item be. We prohibited its shipment, but the problem will soon be over its disposal. Layfon, until then, guard it."
So it seemed.
"So, I won't be here tomorrow."
After Formed's briefing ended, Layfon and Naruki rushed back to the first year building. Somehow, they managed to make it to the first class of the day, and now it was noon. While eating Meishen's hand-made lunch, Mifi had stopped listening. She spoke while Mifi had the straw for her milk still in her mouth.
"There are plans to transport something from the warehouse to the disposal facility tomorrow afternoon. The plan is starting tonight, and I will be stationed in the vicinity as a guard, so tomorrow I won't be able to come to school."
Naruki had replied.
"It's the long awaited Van Allen's Day too. Such a waste."
Mifi removed the straw from the empty milk carton and inserted it into a new one.
"You say it's a waste...... but I don't have anything so it has nothing to do with me."
After Layfon had said that, Mifi and Naruki simultaneously let out a sigh.
"No. Ah, is that so?"
Looking as though something came to mind, Mifi started laughing with a "Nyahaha" and looked at Naruki.
"It's not that way for you, Nakki? A chance to be alone together with the section chief? Perhaps?"
"I won't be doing anything of the sort."
Exhaling, Naruki averted her gaze.
"Is that so?"
Hearing this for the first time, Layfon looked to Meishen. With the impression of "What do you think?" she tilted her head.
"Nakki likes men who are devoted to work, you know. Someone like the chief who goes back and forth between the research lab of the Cultivation Department and the City Police is just to her likings. Furthermore, capability is also important."
"As I was saying, you're wrong."
Though Naruki could be called obstinate, that face became faintly red. Layfon imagined them standing side by side: the short, but stout figure of Formed with the tall and slender physique of Naruki. They were polar opposites, or so he thought.
"The chief is just my esteemed superior. There's nothing more than that."
Glaring at Naruki, Mifi stuck her tongue out at her.
"Well, I must admit, all of this talk of Van Allen's Day's custom of gifting sweets originally has nothing to do with us, right? If not sweets, there's also the route of making someone else lunch, you know~?"
"Th, that's true!" Meishen said suddenly in a bright voice, nodding in assent, to which Layfon was astonished.
"I, I'm sorry......"
Turning towards an already shrinking Meishen, Naruki and Mifi both sighed.
At the end of training at the Military Training Facility, Layfon went to explain the circumstances to Nina. Concerning his job with the City Police, and considering with that personality, he wasn't sure if anything was going to happen.
It was their after private training session. Nina nodded, wiping away her sweat with a towel with the straw of her sports drink still in her mouth.
"If it's like that, that means you won't be coming to clean the mechanisms tonight?"
Her lips parting from the straw, those words drawn from a harsh breath made Layfon realize what he had forgotten.
"I will convey the message. Don't worry."
"Think nothing of it, protecting the cities order is also the responsibility of a military artist."
In the Military Arts Department, while the crippled Zuellni had academic traditions, Nina was not awarded many benefits. Regardless of which city, Military Artists received favorable treatment, hence many were rich. Nina's home city was among those, but she faced down opposition from her parents and came to Zuellni. Without the assistance of her parents, she made a living at her part time job cleaning the mechanisms to pay for her tuition and expenses, and that lifestyle did not implant any pride into her.
"Even so, breaking into the produce warehouse makes them a strange bunch, huh?"
Nina appears to have become interested in the subject.
"Although the most useful thing seems to be a hazardous fruit."
That something in the produce warehouse was targeted, Formed had said not to disclose anything.
Moreover, Nina had been dragged into the incident with the illegal wine the other day.
That's why Layfon was keeping silent concerning the impending danger of the Kei accelerating drug.
"Hmm......That thing seems to have slipped through manufacturing approval."
Uttering that, Nina simultaneously ended the conversation and training as well.
Upon washing away his sweat in the shower room of the Military Training Facility, Layfon headed towards the warehouse district that the produce warehouse was found in. The person who structured these insipid, rectangular warehouse left them with a cold atmosphere. Within the confines of the warehouse district, there were vehicles for personal use, which would then be used to transport cargo to the nearby trolley. Furthermore, there was also a freight service to transport packages to various places. Those personal-use vehicles were rarely left behind in their designated parking lot, meaning there was no one in sight. The warehouse district is said to be crowded with people in the early morning. At those times, the trams are running, transporting cargo. Standing next to a gate, Naruki held onto the number of the warehouse Formed had designated before hand.
Upon inquiring, Naruki shook her head.
"No sign of movement."
Upon saying that, the shutters making up the front door of the warehouse opened, revealing a lit area. From there, Naruki led the way up a small staircase from the front entrance to what seemed to be an area designated as a guard's rest area. Formed and a group of others were already there.
"I'm glad you're here."
Looking overwhelmed by a lack of time, Formed started and motioned for Layfon to approach the window.
"That is the aforementioned warehouse."
Upon looking at the place she was pointing at, not unlike the other warehouses, they were lined up. The tag "D17" was painted on the roof of the warehouse. The distinct difference was that the shutters in front were crushed flat.
"Provisions are the cities lifeline, and as such, that warehouse was built to be sturdy. That also includes the shutters. If an explosion occurred, it would still be in fine condition."
Whilst listening to Formed's explanation, Layfon surveyed the shutters. It seemed as though there was a deep, yet tiny depression in the shutters as though it were struck by a fist, and from there concentric circles radiated outward. No matter what way it was looked at, it looked to have been broken through blunt impact.
"It was a military artist, wasn't it, the one who did this?"
"Couldn't be anything else."
Formed nodded in assent.
Next to Formed who had a facial expression as if he had just acquired his resolve, Layfon continued to blankly observe. Strengthening his eyesight with Kei, Layfon could see the aftermath of the damage from his location in detail. He could clearly tell the damage was made from a blow with a fist.
(It's so small.)
The size of that hand bothered Layfon. Whether for an adult or a student, the hand was still on the small side. There was still the possibility that it was a male with a small build, but what clearly came to mind was the figure of a woman. Layfon shifted his focus to the ground in front of the shutters. If it were that blow, it wouldn't have been strange to leave a footprint behind. However, it seemed as though that wasn't the case. If that is the case, the strike was made by jumping from a distance.
(An agile blow from a short female Military Artist)
Upon arriving at that conclusion, Layfon looked elsewhere.
"However......" Formed let the problem slip. "It seems the culprit failed to break through the shutters. After that, the security alarm sounded causing the suspect to flee, but doesn't that seem quite foolish?"
Layfon also thought something along those lines.
"It feels like something came charging in at full speed, doesn't it?"
Naruki nodded in assent.
"It seems there wasn't anything remotely resembling a plan. To get impatient to that extent...... Something or the other feels strange."
Taking a sidelong glance at the quarreling pair as he leaned against the sofa, and closing his eyes so he wouldn't notice them. The night is long. He could take a short rest, or so he thought.
The change occured later that night. At that time, Layfon was on top of the warehouse's roof. He sat on the roof with his legs stretched out and his eyes shut. While using Sakkei to hide his presence, Layfon extended the sensation in his hands in all directions, reading disturbances in the atmosphere. In the sky, the newly waxing crescent of the moon seemed to be drawn, shining, on the thick clouds before it.
Upon sensing a disturbance, Layfon opened his eyes. Even now, Layfon maintained Sakkei. Meanwhile, his Dite remained in its weapon harness. If he were to restore it, the Kei would undo his Sakkei. In order to not come out of this empty-handed, he knew it would have to come to him. A presence...... From where he stood, Layfon looked in its direction. It came from the front of the warehouse.
Layfon stood, waiting to give the signal. Here and there, guards stood, hiding in wait with all equipment ready. While the night drew long, Layfon suppressed his presence and approached, jumping to the top of the nearest warehouse. For the time being, he suppressed his presence to the point where he couldn't even think of getting caught.
(If it's from here, then...)
Even if the opponent were to flee, he would pursue. Without any feeling of haste, Layfon drew his Dite from its holster. The City Police had yet to complete their preparations, after all. Until one reached the vicinity of the warehouse building, the ground sloped downward. From there, it was a straight path to the warehouse. There was no getting lost on the way to the warehouse.
At that time, if all of the hidden police officers in front of warehouse D17 in which Layfon was located were to stand up, there wouldn't be a single stretch of ground left uncovered. If the owner of the presence were to run through, they would spread out and cast it over the subject.
A net. It wasn't just an ordinary net. The weights at the end of the nets contained batteries that, once activated, would release an electrical current for ten minutes through the net that would render a body immobile for its duration. The ten-minute net spanned the entire roadway, and if even a hint of an intruder would show itself, they would have him covered immediately. Meanwhile,
In response to a piercing shriek coming from the police hidden on the roof, Layfon rescinded his Sakkei and restored his Dite. A sudden cross wind had caused the net to fall and delayed preparations by an hour. That incident gave the short individual the opportunity to escape. Layfon allowed his Kei to rise throughout his body in order to intimidate the approaching presence. In that instance, that small body stopped moving straight forward and fled perpendicular to the front of the warehouse. Layfon chased behind, running along the roof's edge. The small attacker's figure was in his sights.
Fast...... but not a speed he couldn't follow. If he enhanced his vision with Kei to make out the appearance of the target, he could ponder on how to apprehend the subject.
There was just one more thing. That sudden squall that rendered the net useless was not something natural.
(One more person, where is he hiding?)
Surely even now, he is probably hiding with his presence suppressed nearby. Scanning the area while running, he had a feeling that the target was in the immediate vicinity, but exactly where he could not pinpoint.
(Somehow, they aimed for that opportunity)
If they aimed for it, now what? Layfon ran while pondering, expanding his field of vision while following the target.
Running at full speed, the fleeing presence didn't appear as though it would change direction.
(If things proceed at this rate......)
The Warehouse district appeared to be constructed adjoined to the Manufacturing district. For a split second, his field of vision shifted forward.
(He chose a quiet area......?)
Just as he was thinking that, he approached closer to the target from behind. This left Layfon perturbed.
It seemed about ready to begin.
Hostile intent from behind, and the raider fled right out underfoot. As much as he would like to, he wouldn't be able to handle both parties.
(What should I do?)
In that moment of hesitation, a new presence had appeared from a different direction.
He didn't think it was an ally. Layfon swung his sword towards his front. A burst of Kei shot from the tip of the blade and upon meeting something, exploded. The new presence had shot their own external Kei burst. The explosion scattered through the air. Layfon, as if part of it, flew. Their aim was that rear presence.
The approaching enemy would be easier to capture. That's what he thought, but......
Dashing forward in the midst of repositioning himself in midair, Layfon sensed the rear presence retreating.
"Like I'd let you escape!"
While Layfon readjusted his balance, the presence threw something in his direction. Layfon fired a burst of Kei in its direction, intercepting the object.
Halting his charge, Layfon prepared himself for the impending attack under the effect of the lingering afterimage.
But it never came.
The unknown presence had used the situation to flee.
"They got me......"
All three of the unknown presences had left without a trace, leaving him crestfallen.
That night, after debriefing, Layfon parted with Formed's group, but didn't immediately head home. Tearing his glance away from the dejected appearance of Naruki and company, he turned in the direction of the dorms and started walking. With the moon, almost completely engulfed in clouds, the path was lit with only the street lamps. Layfon, walking silently, was able to make out a shadow in the orange light of a street lamp.
"I couldn't have imagined that he could spot me from there."
The surprised figure raised its voice
"I didn't think you'd be able to notice me from here. I'm not being conceited."
The large frame with light shining down on it, appearing to not move an inch, responded.
"What is going on? That was......"
"Don't say it."
Due to the large frame, Gorneo's physique was disproportional to his attractive face.
"You don't have anything to do with it. ......Is what I'd like to say, but I can't."
Gorneo's words were clearly filled with repugnance.
"Then, as I thought"
"That's right, that was Shante."
On top of warehouse D17, Layfon reliably confirmed the appearance of the raider with his enhanced sight. A figure with red hair fluttering as though from a bonfire, there was no mistaking it.
"I don't know either."
Gorneo regretfully shook his head.
"Beginning a few days ago, she hasn't been going back to her room. My search ended here, good grief......"
In this state of affairs, it appeared as though he wasn't able to capture Shante.
"So from the rear, that was?"
So that new presence on Shante's path was Gorneo. Layfon realized what that Kei technique that attacked him was.
So then, who was the presence that approached from behind......
"About that. That wasn't my opener."
With the involvement of the fifth platoons members, Gorneo would have just declared it. Trusting him, Layfon nodded.
"But I thought those movements looked familiar though."
There was another thing.
Above all else, even if Layfon were able to catch Shante, the presence behind was moving to interfere.
Understanding that the person before him was Gorneo, the figure that took him by surprise seemed only there to serve as a distraction, and Layfon noticed that the figure was not persistent about the action and fled just as easily.
Moreover, there was the issue of the flashbomb used. The item that used light and sound to disorient the enemy. He couldn't see a general studies student or even an ordinary Military Arts Students capable of causing this much damage.
In the case of platoon members, even if they could apply to set up a platoon match with the intention of using it as a trap, they would not be able deceive the management nor would they be able to carry out the plan outside of the fields.
"Covert military artists from other cities. If you think about it, it's somehow appropriate."
Gorneo came to that conclusion. Of Grendan's military families, the fame of the Luckens household which had turned out two Heaven's Blades couldn't possibly be hidden. With Grendan's history along with his origins in the Luckens family, an unspoken feud was brewing under the appearance of city camaraderie, one beyond Layfon's understanding.
"And about Shante's objective?"
"That I don't know. Her upbringing was unique, but she's still an orphan. If she does have an objective, I can't fathom what it could be."
"It's the Sea of Forests City Erupa."
After hearing that, Layfon went on to tell Gorneo of the thing at the warehouse.
"Heartseer fruit......I've never heard of it, but there should be a reason why Shante's so persistent about it. I can't think of her being interested in the Kei Accelerating Drug's properties, though. There must be some sort of connection."
"It's a habit, so is that it?"
"Since she was raised by beasts for a short while or so I heard, the Heartseer fruit may have attracted a part of her instincts. However, with just that, it was able to seize her attention."
"It would probably be better to leave further investigation to the City Police."
"However if we do that, I'm sure that Shante would be pinned as the culprit. After keeping it under wraps, we couldn't bring it up now."
If word had gotten out that Shante was involved in the warehouse raid, forcing her to drop out wouldn't be the only consequence. Shante is the main force of the fifth platoon. One of Gorneo's principal duties was the development of his team, yet the fifth platoon may be dissolved as a result.
"No matter how you look at it, this will get out sooner or later. More importantly, I think it would be a good idea for us to look for any tools she used. Formed is a reasonable and hardworking person. Rather than keeping it a secret, it would be better to collaborate."
"......You bastard, why do you go through so much just to trouble me?"
Layfon and Gorneo had a history between them. When he was still in Grendan, Layfon was responsible for seriously injuring Gorneo's senior beyond recovery. That caused Layfon to leave Grendan, with Gorneo, who was already in Zuellni at the time, finding out soon after.
Having injured his senior beyond recovery, Gorneo held a grudge against Layfon.
Thus, simply having this conversation exemplified the gravity of Gorneo's predicament.
Gazing at him with what seemed to be a doubtful gaze, Layfon only replied with a bitter smile.
"I think our commanding officer wouldn't want the 5th platoon disbanded."
"......That's, the current you?"
After muttering that reply, Gorneo let out a sigh and proceeded to nod in assent.
Van Allen's Day. The appointed day had come.
That morning, while Layfon had just finished preparing and set out, along with Naruki, Meishen and company also showed up.
"Morning. What's wrong?"
The reason why he didn't come to class already became the subject of conversation. Speaking with the other two, Layfon merely kept his head bowed while keeping Naruki's circumstances in mind.
"Here, I brought refreshments."
With that said, she held out a basket.
"It's lunchtime, so go ahead and eat."
With Mifi grinning broadly from behind, Meishen's face was bright red, while Layfon gratefully received it.
After Meishen returned to Mifi's side hanging her head in shame, Layfon inquired about something he had just remembered.
"Do you know about a shop by the name of Rinka?"
Having been asked, Meishen, looking as though she were searching her memory, opened her eyes.
"I think it's probably a confectionary shop, but......"
It was a shop that ordered the production of the Heartseer fruit, but the full details were unknown. They ordered it for the coming of Van Allen's day, therefore there seems to be no mistake that it's the shop's purpose of making sweets from what Meishen told him. He guessed that Naruki had checked the address and so forth.
Suddenly, Mifi clapped her hands together.
"Ah, I remember now. When Nakki wasn't around, we went to that shop. It wasn't there around the time of the entrance ceremony."
Having just remembered, Meishen nodded in assent many times over.
"What kind of shop was it?"
"It looked like a cafe that only served cake and tea. But......"
"So-mehow, it seemed like they had no motivation."
"That's right. The cakes seemed like they were made because they had to, and in spite of that the tea wasn't even very good. It was an ordinary shop. There didn't seem to be any regulars, and it felt like they had a lot of free time."
"There weren't any other customers, and it felt really hard to stay."
In response to the nodding pair, Layfon and Naruki's eyes met.
Arriving at yesterday's meeting place in the warehouse district, They relayed Meishen's group's conversation to Formed.
"I haven't heard anything of Rinka's shopkeeper being strange. Even now that guy hasn't had any motivation, but now of all times with Van Allen's day coming, if he was making a new product, I was thinking that he was just using a low profile ingredient like the Heartseer fruit."
Even if Formed had an extremely short bout of laziness, the thought was possible.
"It's not just that," Naruki added.
"The manufacturing district were said to have put in the request for that quantity, to which only the agricultural department could fill. I can't imagine Rinka's proceeds alone being enough for it."
"Information on the Heartseer's genetic makeup, how and when someone in the city managed to obtain it troubles me. Hmm......Has the investigation into Rinka bee resolved?"
After Formed had dismissed his subordinate, he once again met with Layfon and the others.
"Good grief, this has gotten serious."
Formed's gaze shifted for a second slightly off from Layfon's position to where Gorneo stood. In addition to Gorneo, another Military Arts student wearing the badge of the 5th platoon also stood. Layfon recognized him from the time when they were searching the abandoned city. The 5th platoon's Psychokinesist.
Out of all of the platoon members, Shante far outstripped the competition in agility. To catch her, it would be better to have the cooperation of a Psychokinesist, and last night, agreeing to consult with Gorneo, he was called out to that spot.
"The 5th platoon is the source of Zuellni's problems this time. Work hard to minimize the impact."
To Formed's remark, Gorneo lowered his head.
"We are all working for this city. Keep that in mind."
Formed waved his hand, grinning broadly.
"So, I'm having you help out."
At this point, Formed forced Gorneo into a situation where he would owe him a favor. When it's important, borrowing the strength of platoon members is huge. Without a doubt, the rapture reached Formed's core.
Noticing this, Gorneo's stiff facial expression relaxed slightly and became that of a wry smile.
"But that's also......"
That would be a conversation for when the case closed.
"Now then, I'll have you do this just like we decided yesterday."
Cutting Gorneo off, Formed announced the start of the operation.
The Heartseer fruit would be carried away in the afternoon. A large quantity of the fruit was being returned to the manufacturing district where it would converted into fertilizer at a processing plant.
If there was any movement, it would have to be before the transporting of the fruits to the manufacturing district or possibly during the transporting. As a unique fruit, a specimen had already been sent to one of the agricultural department's lab. This was of course to find out how to process it into fertilizer. In preparation for that result, they had to find out the optimal location for its destination. In that time frame, there was the possibility of a raid.
Even though Shante had selected the same time of day for the two failed raids on the warehouse, Gorneo could have confidently stated that Shante would not even consider that. However, he couldn't believe that she had.
Meanwhile, at the library, the city police researched how The Sea of Forests City Erupa treated the Heartseer fruit along with Shante's circumstances of being raised by wild beasts. However, with regards to the impending raid, that added information would probably have little bearing.
That being said, after all is said and done, Gorneo awaited Shante's judgement......
With what they were aiming for, their departure would be fixed.
"Oh, this looks delicious."
Naruki, stepping away from the area where Formed had relaxed his face after looking at the contents of the basket, nervously sat down.
"Hey! ......What're you doing?"
"Um...... I said I hadn't prepared lunch since I thought you were inviting me for lunch."
In the basket, there appeared to be too much food for two people to eat, and remembering back to the other day, there was also that conversation. As expected, there was no limit to his thickheadedness.
"Really now......Rather than looking to someone else for something, look to yourself."
"Hey, are we eating?"
With Formed rubbing his hands together while staring intently at the contents, the pair ceased their whispering.
Normally, sandwiches were perfect while working. However, the bread of these were thin, grilled and were in the shape of a pocket, and in addition had been filled with a variety of ingredients that none could pick out.
Chewing released a rich flavor that spread throughout the mouth.
Formed continued eating while iterating "delicious, delicious."
Layfon felt Meishen's cooking skill vastly improve before him.
"Chief, try a bit of this as well."
After Formed had finished his first sandwich, Naruki had the next item ready for him. Meishen being involved in the preparation meant that not many could deny that the appearance was fair. The bread on this one was burnt at the center.
"Hmm? Oh, thanks."
After receiving it, Formed took a bite into it.
Formed wore a difficult expression. Layfon realized Naruki had a strained expression on her face as if the situation was eating into her.
"A bit sour, but it gets the job done."
After saying that, he consumed it with the same tempo.
Naruki kept a relaxed expression.
At the arranged time, the freight car pulled up in front, along the exterior of the warehouse.
Many officers carried a heavy bag to be stowed in the cargo hold, meanwhile Layfon was hidden in a separate area overlooking the situation. Aside from those loading up the cargo, the others were scattered about in wait with bated breath.
Making contact at this point was the fifth platoon's Psychokinesist.
(Will they come?)
While concealing his body, Layfon considered the problem. During the second raid, Shante was probably aware of the trap setup.
Using normal judgement, they should be doing that. However, Gorneo relayed that Shante's condition was abnormal. In addition, there were the unidentified Military Artists.
(It's not good to drop your guard.)
On that note, suddenly, a voice belonging to a senpai who shouldn't be there reached Layfon's ears.
Suppressing his voice and surveying the vicinity, he inquired in a low voice.
(What are you doing right now?)
"Part time work for the City Police........"
In Felli's case, while thinking that she already verified the situation, he responded.
(For the City Police?.........What is it this time?)
Remarkably, Felli showed an interest. While thinking 'I don't really have much time,' Layfon began briefing. Though he thought telling Felli to what extent the fifth platoon was involved was unnecessary, if she showed any interest, she would soon find out anyway. It was better just to tell her.
He summarized the situation until now. Thinking about it, Felli and Shante weren't really on good terms.
'Did I make a mistake?'
Though he thought that, Felli showed no interest in Shante.
(I see...... Shall I help?)
However, she responded without hesitation.
The unexpected proposal caught Layfon off guard. Hating being a Psychokinesist of the Military Arts Department, to offer a helping hand in a City Police mission was just......
(Would my assistance not be necessary?)
"That, that's not it. Well, how do I say this, this time the circumstances are special, so it wouldn't be up to my discretion......"
(So tiresome...... What is it? Would it be alright if you just talked to that underclassman from before?)
"It's not that simple......"
(Then what would you do?)
Becoming confused in that petulant atmosphere, the fifth platoon's Psychokinesist connection interrupted.
"Ah, wait one moment, sorry."
Having Felli wait, he listened to the Psychokinesist's communication.
(Target apprehension team: quickly converging on Warehouse District Area E)
"Woah, is that true?"
To come now...... while surprised that Gorneo's information was true, Layfon summoned his Internal Kei.
"Sorry, I'm in a hurry, got to go...... Ah, please pass on that it looks like I won't be able to make it to training today."
No sooner than he started to speak, giving the message to pass over to Nina, he had already vacated the area. If Layfon faced Shante at warehouse D17 where she was supposedly headed and stood on the wrong rooftop, the rush tactic could be used. To begin with, the warehouse where he hid himself was quite far from the warehouse in question. He wasn't hidden to catch Shante.
"Did you find it?"
(No sign of that presence.)
It was the reply of a frank Psychokinesist, however seeing that Shante was on the move, he felt that the presence would soon be nearby.
(If the tactic is a stealth rush, it would be a contest of timing.)
Layfon focused his senses. An intense sound reached Layfon's ears. The freight car the Heartseer fruit was carried on flipped end-over-end. The earsplitting roar of the metal body sundering the earth could be heard even from that distance. The on-board City Police officers, being also Military Artists, wouldn't be harmed by such an incident.
(The plan was a success.)
With the Psychokinesist's words, another type of ruckus arose from the suppressed atmosphere.
Canceling Sakkei, Internal-type Kei was once again routed.
In response to that strained voice, Layfon leapt after adopting a crouching stance.
His movement was instantaneous.
With a force powerful enough to crack the warehouse roof, he landed before the shadow.
"Today, there's no escape."
While pressuring the Military Artist shrouded in black, Layfon felt the presence of another suspicious object.
However, Layfon moved in position to bar their route, halting all movement, at which point he was being surrounded.
Abandoning all notions of capturing Shante, Layfon elected to run interference. Shante's objective remained unclear, however in order to escape a roaming bus was necessary. In that moment, Layfon judged interference would net results.
The Military Artist standing before him wore a similar combat uniform to theirs, with the addition of a black cloth used to cover the face with a strange mask resembling a beast worn over it. The eyes of the mask had a glint that probably signified installed glass panels. Near the lumbar, aside from the sword belt, hung some type of ammunition.
He restored the Sapphire Dite. Blue sunlight radiated off of the blade.
The Military Artist also unsheathed his Dite and restored it. They were both swords, however this blade was more like a saw. If that blade connected, it seemed as if it would gouge out flesh.
The voice, as if run through a voice converter, responded.
"Show us the true strength of Grendan's Heaven's Blade Successors."
While surprised by the knowledge of his circumstances, Layfon cautiously raised his sword. The Military Artist known as the Wolf Face leveled his sword, adopting a thrusting stance. The saw blade was probably capable of snapping its opponent's weapons.
A much stronger presence enveloped him, quickly applying pressure to Layfon.
The opponent took the initiative.
Though killing intent surged from bladepoint, Layfon put his strength behind a right slant of his sword.
In that instant, the empty left hand flashed.
Before Layfon's eyes, several glinting orbs were flung at him.
Layfon and the Wolf Face became engulfed in light and a thunderous roar.
His surroundings bleached, Layfon, relying only on the approaching sense of bloodthirst, swung his sword vertically down.
A thud resounded behind him.
He noticed an odd change in the surrounding environment. The overpowering killing intent that surrounded Layfon diminished.
Upon opening his eyes, Layfon found himself surrounded by colleagues of the fallen military artist, all of whom had a similar appearance.
At the time the flash grenade was thrown, Layfon immediately shut his eyes. If not directly seared, internal Kei could immediately restore eyesight. Nevertheless, it wouldn't make it in time to meet that thrust.
Wolf Faces...... Probably a name to associate them all.
After already restoring his eyes, Layfon noticed them trembling.
"Stay or run, choose whichever you'd like."
After a brief silence, the Wolf Faces picked up their fallen comrade and seemingly erased themselves from existence.
In response to that receding presence, Layfon stowed his Dite.
Would it be better to give it sooner?
In the middle of last night's discussion, Layfon had carelessly disclosed the core strategy in fatigue.
How did Shante know that the Heartseer fruit was stored in that warehouse? It would be easy to think that the so called Wolf Face squad had briefed her, and in that case and time, it would be good to just capture her. Normally, only one student would be left on guard. There were boundless opportunities for both contact and capture.
Wouldn't considering Shante's own sense of smell also be fine? Regularly at one o'clock after sunset, Shante would go out on her own, both Gorneo and her housemates knew. Others knowing wouldn't be strange in the least.
Her upbringing under the care of beasts still had a strong influence for her, Shante's five senses were enhanced through Kei beyond the capacity of a normal person.
Even the blackest night wouldn't obstruct that vision.
What if there was a being that could detect the faint smell of the Heartseer fruit leaking from the warehouse district?
What if that being were charmed by that scent leading to this impromptu raid?
If that's the case, Shante's bid for the Heartseer fruit were for self-centered reasons or alternatively acting completely on instinct, both of which would result from a low priority to risk from an abused risk assessment process.
Standing before the results of that plan, Layfon could only murmur that statement.
From around the sundered freight car, skins of the Heartseer fruit were scattered all over the road.
"Nyan nyan nyan♪"
On top of the heartseer fruit, Shante, having seriously feasted on what amounted to an emperor's meal, lay rolling around with a delighted expression on her face.
Dumbfounded, Formed and Gorneo's groups could only stand there looking on in shock.
"Nyan nyan nyan nyan♪"
"On another note, this seems like it's something along the lines of a delighted pet."
"......You said it." Naruki could only mutter, looking drained, to which Formed nodded in assent.
Upon arrival, Formed whispered into the ear of what looked to be the City Police investigative student.
"Is that so...... So, what's the situation on Rinka?"
"Even though it's still early, Rinka was not open. However, we brought a shopkeeper we saw in for questioning."
"What is it?"
Hearing Naruki, Layfon's group noticed wrinkles collecting on Formed's brow.
"That girl......is in heat."
At Formed's scandalous words, everyone could only stare blankly. Formed let out a sigh and prompted a report from the student whom had just arrived.
"Yes. Right...... Though Shante was merely brought up by beasts, her unique circumstances cause her sexual excitement under certain situations. That is the Heartseer fruit. Originally for use in reproductive problems, if the Heartseer fruit's excitatory effects are used, it's said it wouldn't necessarily be......"
While observing Shante, still laying on a bed of Heartseer fruit, the student had something incredibly difficult to say left in his conversation.
Formed took over.
"Having said she was raised by beasts, I don't think she inherited their constitution...... technically speaking."
However according to her size, Shante was still young in age. As additional proof, Military Artists also had senses that far and away surpassed normal people.
With the appearance of a person, the abilities of a Military Artist and inheriting the instincts of the beasts she was raised by, truly a life taking human form.
Though somewhat of a demi-human, it should still be possible to call her back, but would it appropriate for Shante.
"In the end, it's that."
"It's that, isn't it."
With Naruki and Formed nodding side by side, Gorneo let out a long sigh.
"This is where you've been after causing all this trouble...... Shante!"
Gorneo raised his already resounding voice to a yell.
On doing so, Shante who had been rolling on top of the pile of Heartseer fruits stopped moving. Her sharp gaze fell on Gorneo.
In the next moment......
In that instant, Shante howled, and from that spot vaulted over the entire company that had her surrounded and tumbled onto the ground. Layfon somehow managed to recover from the shock, meanwhile something happened causing sand to swirl in the air, causing him to squint his eyes. Gorneo who had been closest, had fallen on his backside and remained there.
In front of them, Shante was no longer there.
In her place, another woman stood. With long, red hair extending to her back, she was a tall, sensual woman. They thought she was sensual, but how they knew, the answer to that was simple.
That woman wasn't wearing clothes.
There were ruins of clothing, but they were scattered atop the Heartseer fruit.
On all fours, the woman began to stretch. That beautiful face with her eyes opened wide threw her red hair with a toss of her head. All conduct lacking any sense of shame, the woman raised up her chest at which her ripe, dangling fruit swayed. Completely red-faced after ten seconds of that destructive power, Layfon turned his head away.
"Shante......?" The still fallen Gorneo murmured.
He couldn't believe it for even an instant. However unless through sleight of hand, there was no way Shante who had been there until now had disappeared and in her place swapped with this naked woman.
Nevertheless, Shante would be able to ride on Gorneo's large frame, but the transformation into a beautiful woman who stood equal in stature was an unbelievable physical phenomenon.
Simply considering the significance of childbearing, well beyond the capabilities of that small body, this current figure could be up to the challenge.
Also, Layfon noted that the Heartseer fruit had side effects similar to the Kei Accelerating Drug.
If certain manufacturing techniques were not implemented, the result would not be the same as the Kei Accelerating drug, however it was certain that the fruit was a critical ingredient in the drug. Under normal circumstances the ordinary person certainly could not reach the same level of effectiveness, Shante's keen intuition told her that if she took it and sped up her Kei vein's rate......
"Shante's Kei vein......is normally restricted?"
"......What do you mean?"
"Shante right now doesn't have the feeling of the unreasonable Kei flow rate of a Kei acceleration drug user. That is to say in Shante's case, her current condition shows no abnormalities."
If the Kei vein is restricted, it is consequently possible that the body's growth is also stunted.
"In short, you're saying Shante's previous state was a disorder......? Certainly, at that age that physique was abnormal......"
Gorneo groaned while looking in Shante's direction, at which point he averted his eyes. Because of Shante in her beautiful nude figure and lacking any semblance of shame, he trembled.
While Layfon also averted his eyes, he pondered.
(It cant be, those guys also knew?)
That's why they targeted Shante?
This strange phenomenon's reason was Shante's genes -- with no other possibilities to consider -- this wouldn't be strange to those who knew.
Thinking along those lines......
Once Shante realized Gorneo was nearby, her eyes shone brilliantly.
Shante sprung at Gorneo, grabbed the lapel of his shirt in her mouth and leaped. That beautiful woman leaving a mark like a beast, unlike when she did it in her smaller form, had a deadly impact to which even Layfon could not move.
Frankly, it was a little scary.
Strangled by his lapel, Gorneo let out one last groan before the pair entered the interior of the warehouse district, disappearing into the orchard. Staring vacantly off, not even thinking about the current events, the silence of the surrounding environment continued.
"Have to finalize everything......" Formed muttered just as he used up his last bit of energy. "After consuming the Heartseer fruit, Shante had gone into heat and out of goodwill awaited capture on the spot, where to begin......"
"Was that......how it went?"
Lacking confidence, Layfon tilted his neck.
"......If so, won't we have to pursue them?"
Formed responded to Naruki's question with a tired voice.
Later, whether leaving to drop in on Gorneo, to check in on the subject of her growth, or whether or not Layfon's predictions were correct, with his physical abilities showing marked improvement, with the fifth platoon's Psychokinesist having only capture abilities, he required Felli's collaboration.
The next day, Shante reverted back to her original size. Facing reality, they turned to both the medical department and the alchemy department to investigate, though at the moment they failed to catch her once.