Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume25 Bus-jack Time
Everyone in the world would occasionally come across this kind of situation...... she thought.
Come to think of it, she belonged to a place where she wouldn't be able to avoid troublesome matters no matter what she did.
"......I want to relax sometimes too."
Felli muttered quietly, but no one actually heard her words.
In contrast, a roar resounded through the area.
"We demand a guarantee of safety until the roaming bus arrives!"
The voice came from outside. It was honestly a pointlessly loud voice - Felli only thought this. The man wore the kind of clothing prioritizing durability that people who were used to traveling wore, but there was a Dite in his hand.
There were five people who held restored Dites like him, and they were surrounding Felli and the others.
Why had things turned out like this...... Felli sighed.
Come to think of it, the root cause of everything was the fact that her brother Karian, the Student Council president, had been dead tired.
"You said you're overworking yourself?"
Vance, who had come to their home to visit, let out a stunned voice, a voice that passed through the living room and directly reached the kitchen. Though the door to the room was open, his voice was undoubtedly quite loud.
At that time, Felli was cutting a gift cake that she had gotten. The Student Council girls were next to her making tea.
"But it's good that it's not a serious illness."
The female student said this after making tea, then smiled. That expression made Felli think. Felli remembered that this girl had come to her home during Van Allen's Day. Judging by her trained movements in the kitchen, she had used this place back then as well.
"Well, the doctor diagnosed him as being overworked, so it really is an illness."
"An illness of overworking, huh. But it's not that serious, right?"
"The doctor told him to rest for two or three days."
"In that case, it's no big deal."
The girl smiled again.
She put the cake and the tea on a tray and brought them over. Felli followed behind her, tilting her head and putting on a confused expression.
(Was she cheering me up just now?)
That made Felli feel like their positions had been reversed. What exactly was the case?
Didn't this girl have feelings for Karian?
Feeling like she couldn't really understand, Felli went from the kitchen to the living room, picked up the bag placed on the sofa there, and then went to her own room. She had no need to continue looking after the guests who had come for her brother.
Also, what exactly had happened to turn out this way?
The guests had already gone back when she heard the doorknock and Karian announced what had already been decided.
"From tomorrow until Sunday, we're going to go to a health resort to have fun."
That was how things were, Felli and Karian were going to a health resort.
"Why do I have to go too?"
Felli said this without hiding her true feelings of unwillingness. But Karian outright ignored Felli's words and started making preparations on his own.
Felli was generally a very systematic person. Though she was fine with ignoring people, once she learned that it was already a foregone conclusion, she was unable to oppose that decision.
For that reason, Felli appeared the following morning, complaining yet carrying the luggage she would need overnight.
"Well, it's a rare vacation, so you should properly take a break."
Karian leisurely carried a bag as he walked next to her. Though he was dead tired from overwork, Karian didn't look sickly anymore. But Karian's body clearly had a stiffness that didn't match his age from the desk work he always had to focus his mind on. The doctor said that if he didn't relieve that stiffness, it would become a true case of death from overwork.
"I'll get better if I relax for two days."
"Is that enough to cure it?"
"Oh my, are you worried about me?"
Felli turned her face away from her brother's happy expression.
"It's because your kind of work is very irregular, so I thought a mere two days couldn't cure anything."
His somewhat self-deprecating laugh made Felli feel very angry.
They arrived at one of Zuellni's health resorts that was very close to the city center.
Though it was a health resort, its 'resort' inclination was relatively stronger. There was a spa, heated pool, and arcade here.
"We didn't have to choose this place......"
The noisy electronic sounds of the arcade came from next to the front desk, which made Felli frown. There were health resorts in quieter areas too.
"It's alright, it's very quiet upstairs."
Indeed, that might be true. But wouldn't this be the worst place in terms of atmosphere? Her brother was already hopelessly clueless - Felli thought this as she got the key and moved to the room.
"Coming here is fine, but......"
After putting her luggage in the room, Felli suddenly thought this.
"What was the point of me coming along?"
Even if they went to the hot spring, it was separated by gender, and Karian's condition wasn't so serious that he needed an attendant. Felli felt like it was meaningless for her to be with him.
Why hadn't she noticed this earlier? Felli felt like she couldn't accept this, which made her feel like something was stuck in her throat.
"Well, I came here, so it's no use thinking about it."
As Felli was convincing herself, the sound of a doorknock rang out.
"Felli, come swim."
Felli sighed loudly and slumped her shoulders, then looked through her luggage.
The pool almost took up an entire floor, but there weren't many people relative to its size. It would be bothersome if there were a lot of people. Felli hoped to spend this vacation quietly if possible. Maybe this location was appropriate, considering this.
After changing into the plaid swimsuit she had brought, Felli occupied a folding chair next to the pool and opened the book she had brought. Since this pool used water from a Yuusuiju, the water in the pool was warm, and it wasn't cold to wear a swimsuit inside. But it was very humid here, so it wasn't good for the pages of the book. That said, this kind of environment was even worse for electronics.
"Ahh, what a waste."
If she wanted to read, she could have just stayed in her room. But now that she thought about it, Felli wasn't in the mood to go back immediately. Since that would be too troublesome.
What was her brother doing? This floor was separated into several pools, and Karian was in a pool close by. He silently swam freestyle, something unbefitting a person who had come to relax.
In front of her was a very deep diving pool, but there was no one there right now. Felli had chosen this place because she thought that was a good thing, but suddenly, she spotted someone on the top of the diving board.
It was a familiar figure. A girl wearing a black, competitive-type swimsuit jumped off the diving board without hesitation, then dove towards the water. She spun once, twice in midair and then twisted her body, and finally beautifully extended her hands and feet to enter the water headfirst. The splash was surprisingly small. The rippling water flowed over the sides of the pool, and then was swallowed into the gutters.
Right across from Felli, two girls who seemed to be friends were cheering. The girl, who had gone down so far that it made one wonder whether she had touched the bottom, surfaced.
It was Nina.
Nina also noticed her as she got out of the pool.
"How curious, to think I'd be able to run into you outside the training facility."
"Same for you, Captain."
"I come here occasionally. Swimming is pretty good for the body's mobility, and it feels nice."
"Oh, I see."
"Well, although I haven't had the time recently. Well, today and tomorrow are both holidays anyway, and friends from my dorm came with me."
The two girls across from her were those friends, then. Come to think of it, Felli felt like she had seen one of them together with Nina before.
"So, how is it?"
"You mean my brother? If you want to ask him, he's swimming pretty spiritedly over there."
"No one would believe me if I said he had was dead tired from overwork."
Karian was still swimming in the pool on the other side.
"Ahh, really? I'm glad he's in good spirits."
"? Is something wrong?"
"No, nothing. Do you want to eat lunch together?"
After checking the time, Felli nodded.
"Then I'll wait for you in the cafeteria upstairs."
After watching Nina return to her friends, Felli went over to Karian to call for him.
When she walked over there, she suddenly recalled the situation just now and felt suspicious.
Though she had only vaguely felt it, Nina had seemed to have an unsettled expression.
Upstairs was a cafeteria that would be entered wearing swimsuits. Nina and the others were already waiting there when she went there with Karian.
"Ah, I'm really sorry for making you wait."
Karian greeted Nina and the others with a side smile, then Nina introduced her friends. The girl with a hip wrap around her waist was Selina, and the bespectacled girl wearing a bikini was called Leu.
Before the food they ordered arrived, Karian very deftly thought up topics to talk about, filling the table with a cheerful atmosphere. Felli couldn't find anywhere to speak up, so she just dully listened from the side.
After their meal, Selina said:
"Right, Felli-san. You don't look too well, are you alright?"
Felli looked up when Selina said this.
She herself hadn't realized at all.
"Yeah, I think so."
Selina observed Felli with narrowed eyes. From the conversation just now, she was in the Alchemy Department. Felli felt the gaze of a scholar who didn't miss the tiniest detail sweeping over her skin.
"In that case, maybe I was just over-thinking it."
Selina nodded, speaking with a drawn-out tone.
Suddenly, Felli noticed that Nina was looking over with a hesitant expression.
Now that she thought of it, Nina had been wearing that kind of expression before too. Felli had interpreted her words as worrying about Karian, but when she replied to that, Nina's response had missed a beat.
(What does this mean?)
Did it mean that her words from back then had been worrying about Felli?
But Karian was the one who was actually exhausted from overwork, and Felli's health wasn't strange at all. She checked her body's condition every day with Psychokinesis.
On that premise, Felli judged that she was fine.
Come to think of it, Felli hadn't even lost any appetite. She always ate very little, but even so, she didn't feel like her appetite had decreased. Even if others said that she didn't look good, she didn't feel anything strange.
"It might be because her skin's so white, but I feel like Felli wouldn't tan easily."
Karian nodded after Nina said this.
"Yeah. I'm the same...... or rather, our whole family doesn't tan, we just get red, and it turns back to normal quickly."
"How enviable. I tan right away, so I have to use sunscreen as soon as summer arrives."
"Yeah, me too."
Leu and Selina looked over admiringly.
"......It's not that good. My skin ends up looking like it's been burnt, and when summer comes, I can't leave the shade."
"Ahh, I see."
Actually, when the moving city moved to a summer region...... when it moved to a region where the sun was out for longer and the average temperature and humidity was higher, he was unable to separate from either sunscreen or the shade.
"Right, Nina-san. Can you swim?"
Karian suddenly changed the topic.
"Felli can't swim. This is a good opportunity, so can you teach her?"
"......What are you saying all of a sudden?"
Felli looked at her brother coldly, but his expression didn't change.
"It's true that you can't swim, right?"
"That...... that is true."
"Even if you're a Psychokinesist, you're still a Military Artist, so I think it's best to cut down on the sports that you're bad at."
"True, that might be good."
"Then we'll start in a bit."
Nina's eyes flashed, showing her motivation, and Felli sighed quietly.
"So, why do you have to bring that kind of thing over here?"
Felli had trouble concealing her surprise upon hearing Nina's words.
"Why, you ask...... We're going in the pool, right?"
"Uh, that's right."
They were entering the pool to practice...... However, Nina wore a bitter expression for some reason.
"I need this if I'm entering the pool."
"Uh, do you know what we're doing next?"
"What do you mean? We're practicing swimming."
"In that case, you don't need that."
Nina's gaze pointed at the life ring that Felli held in one hand.
"But I won't be able to float without this, right?"
"Don't worry, you'll be able to float with practice."
Nina took away the life ring as she rubbed her temple, which made Felli feel very restless. Speaking of which, things like humans weren't originally made to float on water. Drowned corpses would sink and only float back up when they had rotted to a certain degree, right? As for people who looked to be floating on the water, they had just learned a style of swimming to make them look like they were floating, and would sink once they stopped that technique.
Felli tried putting those thoughts into concise words, but--
"It's not that deep."
Nina also returned a concise counter. Indeed, it looked like the bottom of this pool was much shallower than the one used for diving. Maybe the depth of the water would only go up to around Felli's shoulders.
"Also, I'll borrow this."
Nina picked up a kickboard that was by her feet.
"First are warm-up exercises, then we'll start by getting you used to the water."
Like that, Felli entered the pool under Nina's instruction.
Though the water was warm, the temperature was mild.
"Then let's first practice kicking."
"Before you use the kickboard, I'll pull on your hands first. Kick the water with your feet, and keep your body as flat on the water as possible. Let's go."
As Nina held her hands, Felli kicked the water as instructed. Her body floated up with the resistance imposed by the water coupled with the force produced from her kicking and Nina's pulling force.
"Okay, keep moving your legs like that."
Nina's voice reached her in between the sound of water. Since the water splashed on her face and she had closed her eyes, Felli couldn't really tell what the current situation was. In any case, Felli just moved her legs.
"Right, you're doing well."
Nina's encouraging voice sounded muffled. Felli didn't know anything other than the feeling of being pulled, the water resistance when her legs moved, and the sudden feeling of lightness when her feet left the water.
"Okay, it's about time to lift your head and breathe."
Indeed, she had been needing to breathe recently. Though she didn't know how long she would have to kick for, she had to breathe, right?
Her air-seeking lungs became more and more painful.
"Hey, bring your head up."
(Bring my head..........)
Felli was no longer able to hear Nina's voice clearly through the interfering sound of water. Her vision, which was dark because her eyes were shut, was slowly tinted with a different kind of black.
"As I thought, I need the life ring."
"So you're still insistent on it."
Felli, who had been pulled above water in the nick of time, tried saying this, but Nina just cut her off with a bitter expression.
It ended up that she hadn't touched the kickboard at all that day, and she had just been practicing breathing from start to finish.
"What a miserable day."
After having dinner, Felli went back to her room and collapsed on the bed very early. Moving underwater had sapped the strength from her body.
She should sleep. Felli didn't even have the mental strength to resist her heavy eyelids, and her physical strength also relaxed.
(As I thought, something's still weird.)
As she was lured into the world of sleep, Felli thought about the words that emerged in her mind.
Karian had come here to rest, but he had been swimming vigorously, and the girl who ought to have feelings for her brother hadn't seemed worried. Also, Nina's attitude was a bit strange.
Felli murmured blankly. Her sleepiness became stronger, and Felli couldn't even clearly tell whether she had actually murmured anything or not.
It seemed that the swimming practice she wasn't used to had really fatigued her body, even though platoon training had more overall exercise. Though Felli was very laid-back with her individual training, she also took part in the self-defense training.
(I don't know what's weird at all.)
After thinking this, Felli fell into a deep sleep.
The instant her sleep turned shallow, someone's words entered her ears. Felli calmly realized that she was currently in a room of the health resort, so there shouldn't be people around. There was no one other than her here, so she shouldn't have heard a voice.
Felli thought this as she listened to the voice that reached her.
"As I thought...... Something's weird."
"Careful, she might be hearing this."
"But this is really......"
"It's actually happened, so we can't let her stay............ Coming here was just a temporary measure, since we need to buy time."
"But is it really all that......"
"It's necessary...... Honestly, my wallet was hit pretty hard thanks to her. Well, there aren't many guests who stay here, which is a big help. I'm glad I............ beforehand."
"No, this is a necessary action............ So, if we're here for the whole day, the situation should take a turn for the better. I'll have to ask you to............ first. I only............ for that purpose."
The voices seemed to be coming from Karian and Nina.
(What are they saying?)
It was useless to inquire a dream for meaning. Though part of her calmly considered this, Felli still felt curious.
But just as Felli tried eavesdropping, she fell into deep sleep again and her consciousness cut off.
(What exactly was that?)
The first thing Felli did when she woke up was put on a confused expression. Though she felt like it had been a dream, she still remembered that conversation. If she only remembered the contents, it might still be a dream, but Felli felt like it was a bit different from a dream.
(But Captain and my brother couldn't have been in the same place that late......)
Also, since the voices had reached her ears, it meant the two of them had been in this room. That meant Nina and Karian had come to this room for a secret conversation while Felli was sleeping.
......No matter how she thought about it, such a thing didn't seem real.
(As I thought, it was a dream.)
The two of them definitely didn't get along poorly. That said, they couldn't have deliberately talked about some serious matter in private. Speaking of which, the two of them didn't get along well enough to want to be alone with the other.
Then it must have been an ordinary dream that she remembered unusually well.
(Right, that's definitely it.)
Accepting that way of thinking, Felli changed her clothes.
After finishing her round of morning hygiene, Felli noticed that she had forgotten to bring her Dite.
After changing her clothes, Felli would always restore her Dite and check her health, a routine that she always did every day.
Come to think of it, she hadn't done that yesterday either. Felli had been urged to make preparations for coming here, so she hadn't had time for it. Though she felt like she had brought her Dite with her, she must have forgotten it back then.
"Well, it's just one day anyways."
In any case, it wasn't anything huge - thinking this, Felli left her room to eat breakfast.
"Okay, today we're training too!"
"......Why are you here today too?"
Felli had been planning on spending her time until the afternoon relaxing, but Nina was standing in front of the cafeteria after she finished eating breakfast.
Incidentally, Karian had returned to his room to relax for the entire day today.
"You still haven't even used the kickboard, right? I can't just ignore that."
"That's true, but......"
The strength of Nina's feeling of mission made Felli quite speechless.
"It's better to know how to swim than to not know, right?"
"Even if I can swim, it won't be useful, right?"
"You'll lose out on things."
"For example...... Uh, if the enemy launches an aquatic attack."
What should she say...... Even her reply was very much like her.
"......I'll lose the moment I enter an aquatic battle. Speaking of which, I'll use a Psychokinesis lightning attack before things turn into that, so I won't go in the water myself."
"Ugh...... That's certainly true."
This place was in front of the pool from yesterday. Nina finally started prevaricating during their conversation as they changed cloths. Felli used clever words to whittle away at Nina's 'whatever, let's go!' momentum, managing to reach an outcome favorable to her through rational conversation.
"Right, so I don't think there's any need for me to force myself to learn to swim."
Felli tried to continue her argument along those lines. Come to think of it, swimming classes were optional even for in the Military Arts Department. The reason was because while the world before the autonomous moving cities (Regios) might have had aquatic or underwater battles, now they only fought battles inside the moving cities or in an outer region a short distance away, so aquatic battles were unrealistic. Because of that, swimming was an extremely optional technique, and even Military Artists didn't need to force themselves to learn. That was why the swimming classes in the school had become optional.
At this point, Nina couldn't say anything at all.
"Oh, Felli-chan? Are you perhaps scared of water?"
She suddenly heard a familiar voice from behind her.
"......Why are you here too?"
She turned around. Sharnid had shown up there.
"That's my line."
Sharnid smiled as he looked at Felli and Nina.
"We're almost in summer, so I just wanted to get used to the water."
After they entered summer, most of the cultivation lakes would be opened for the general public to use, so students who wanted to have fun in the water or play water sports would all gather there.
Sharnid probably planned on doing so too.
"I wish you could show such a diligent attitude during training too."
"No no no, I show it. It’s just that, you know what they say, 'the talented hawk hides its claws'. ......Oh yeah, what's a hawk?"
"It's a bird, you idiot."
"It's rare for people to know what kind of birds there are nowadays."
Felli suddenly thought of something during this conversation, so she looked around.
Sharnid didn't fail to notice that action.
"Unfortunately, Layfon's not here. He's working at a pasture right now."
"No one mentioned him."
"No no no, your eyes were saying it."
......If she hadn't forgotten to bring her Dite - thinking this, Felli glared fiercely at the smiling Sharnid.
"Well, let's not talk about that...... Felli-chan, do you really not know how to swim?"
"No no no, it's nothing. It's just that, if you can't swim, that means you won't be going to swim when summer comes?"
"I can't expose my skin in that kind of sunlight anyways."
Felli's skin didn't tan, so she would end up very miserable if she did such a thing.
"That's truly unfortunate, there's sunblock that doesn't get washed of nowadays."
Just then, Sharnid's smile became even deeper and he said something to Felli in secret.
"It means that you won't be able to do anything for summer activities, and you might let that girl get several steps ahead."
Felli exerted her rationality to its limits and kept any emotions from her voice. But that shock still flashed through her mind.
That girl...... Sharnid deliberately kept from saying her name, but Felli realized who he was talking about.
She would wear a swimsuit.
Felli couldn't help but imagine. What would that girl wear? A bikini? A one-piece swimsuit? The figure of Nina's friend from yesterday - Selina - appeared in her mind. In terms of physique, that girl was similar to her. In that case, it meant a similar outfit would suit that girl.
Felli glared fiercely at Sharnid. Even if she knew that Sharnid would be no help, Felli still resented his mischievous character for purposefully whispering to her.
"......I don't know what you want to say. I'm just practicing to eliminate the things I'm bad at."
After asserting this, Felli turned to Nina again.
"Okay, let's start practice."
"Huh? Ah, yeah."
Nina's reaction was slow, as she had been excluded from the conversation.
Felli walked to the pool before Nina, completely ignoring this.
"Ah, wait. Warm up first."
Nina followed her, and thus the practice began.
That said, the practice wouldn't become successful all of a sudden.
Felli had practiced for an entire four hours. Her body felt shockingly heavy when she got out of the pool.
"It's pretty good that you're able to do this much on the second day."
Despite everything, Felli had succeeded in using a kickboard while breathing, and had swam half the pool length at a time, so it was great progress.
After he walked over to them, Sharnid gave Felli and Nina sports drinks.
"You...... You're still here."
Though talking was bothersome, she felt happy about the drink. Felli gratefully took the sports drink.
"No no no, I happened to be taking a break just now."
Sharnid's body was certainly still dripping wet. Was he swimming in another pool? Felli hadn't been paying attention to that at all while she practiced, so she didn't know what Sharnid had been doing.
But considering the cheers of female students and how Sharnid also replied to them, Felli felt like he wasn't just diligently swimming.
"Hey, do you want to eat something?"
"Uh, well...... I don't have time."
"How about you go to the spa and get a massage? If you keep practicing like this, your muscles will definitely hurt, you know."
"Oh, that's a good idea. The medicinal low-frequency bath here is good at relaxing your muscles."
"Oh, you're a frequent user, huh."
"I use it here when I have the time."
Nina put on a somewhat proud expression, and it was decided that Felli and the others were going to the spa.
The spa was underground.
After taking off her clothes in the changing room and wrapping herself with a towel, Felli walked into the bath. Unlike the humid, warm air of the swimming pool, the air here was hot and full of steam.
After washing herself, she was brought to an area secluded from the other areas by wooden walls.
This place was filled with a scent other than the aroma produced by steam touching the wood.
There was a narrow tub in the dimly-lit room, and the hot water filling it made Felli's eyes widen.
The rich and peculiar aroma itself was already surprising, and even the hot water was jet-black.
The explanation on the wall read that a mix of several herbs was dissolved in the hot water.
Felli understood what the 'medicinal' Nina had mentioned meant.
"It also has low-frequency waves going through it, so don't be scared. Careful not to slip."
Nina touched the hot water with her foot first, then submerged herself to her shoulders. After seeing her sigh softly with an expression of comfort, Felli also entered the hot water.
A slippery feeling came to her feet, and Felli knew very clearly that there was some kind of rich substance mixed in here that was not ordinary hot water.
After she submerged her whole body, that slippery feeling made Felli inadvertently shiver. The slow low-frequency waves gently stimulated her whole body.
After coming close to the hot water, the intense scent of herbs rushed into her nostrils.
"It feels weird before you get used to it, so take your time. You can get rid of your fatigue if you soak long enough. It's surprisingly effective."
"Is that so?"
Nina closed her eyes with a relaxed expression from next to her. Felli indeed had the feeling that the medicine was slowly seeping into the gaps of her muscles as the low-frequency waves stimulated her, and it felt a bit comfortable. That said, the scent was still a bit off-putting.
"So this is the secret behind your unnecessary energy."
"What do you mean, unnecessary......"
Nina started to say something, but it quickly turned into a wry smile.
"It's because health is the most important thing. Don't look at me like that, pay attention to managing my health. Since I'm the captain, I can't be taking time off all the time."
"But if the people on top don't take breaks, the people under them can't take breaks either. Please keep it reasonable, Captain."
"You all still take time off however you like, right? Be more diligent."
Those words were true - Felli fell silent.
"......Well, it's finally a holiday, so we don't have to talk about that today."
"Yeah, I think that's fine."
But once they didn't talk about the platoon, their opportunities to talk also vanished. That said, it didn't feel particularly troublesome. Felli didn't hate quiet time, and Nina who came here often didn't have the kind of personality to fear silence.
As a result, no awkward atmosphere formed between the two of them, and they spent the time in silence.
She faced this commotion after changing her clothes in the changing room.
"Then, let's go eat something."
After changing clothes, Felli let Nina walk half a step before her as she thought about how to respond to that. Just then, a chaotic sound came from across the changing room.
It was the sound of glass shattering, and it was very loud.
The uproarious, dangerous sound transformed Nina's expression, and she rushed out of the changing room. Felli also followed behind her.
In front of the changing room was the narrow hallway that divided males from females, and the front desk of the baths were on the other side. Though it was partially automated, there were students and maintenance workers there.
When Felli and the others entered, those female workers had been grabbed by a brawny man.
There were also several other men.
"Hey! What are you doing!?"
None of them seemed like students of Zuellni. The biggest problem was the restored Dites held in their hands.
Felli immediately judged that roar to be too careless. Nina also quickly noticed that, so her expression twisted. Nina had brought her Dite. But before entering the bath, she had left the Dite at the front desk.
"No one move!"
The man who looked like the leader threatened the students who had heard the commotion.
"You're hostages from now on. We're not going to harm you if you don't act rashly.
His voice was very rational, and just that made Felli feel like this situation would be very troublesome. The opponents wouldn't give them any room to take action.
The intruders made the customers around them move in front of the front desk and surrounded them. Felli and Nina followed their instructions as well.
Felli slowly hid in Nina's shadow as she moved. She rapidly worked her brain. Nina was already being watched. No, Nina would have been watched even if she hadn't spoken up. It looked like these people were Military Artists who had come here via roaming bus, so it shouldn't be difficult for them to recognize Nina as a Military Artist.
In that case, what could Felli do while Nina was being watched? What exactly was going on?
Felli thought about this.
The glass in front of the front desk was shattered. The intruders had broken in from there. This wasn't the first floor, and considering that their Dites had been restored before they broke in, it was probably reasonable to believe that they had probably been in some fight and had then fled here.
Who were they fleeing from?
Felli wanted to relax sometimes too. She had come to this health resort in such an unexpected manner, but this kind of commotion had happened. It made Felli quietly sigh.
As if answering her speculation, an amplified voice reached the room through the broken window.
"You're already surrounded!"
She had heard this voice before, though not enough to get used to it. He was the boss of one of Layfon's workplaces, a higher-up of the city police.
She remembered that his name was Formed.
"We have hostages!"
The man who seemed to be the leader replied loudly.
"We demand a guarantee of safety until the roaming bus arrives! We'll guarantee the safety of the hostages once we get a clear promise. If not......"
The men looked towards Felli and the other hostages with dangerous lights in their eyes. Frightened voices rose up. There was a violent presence in the eyes of these people backed into a corner.
Formed's voice stripped the men of these looks.
Felli had grasped the general situation from the negotiations between Formed and the criminals.
It looked like they were a group of information thieves mainly targeting Zuellni's Aquaculture Department. The person who was chiefly responsible for the theft had already been arrested, and they seemed to be his guards. But it seemed like these men had fled when their crimes had been revealed, and hence they must not have been so unified.
The city police had chased after the fugitives and the situation had turned into this.
They would become sacrifices.
"Zuellni is an Academy City. As long as nothing outrageous happens, we won't forcefully evict you from the city. Your lives are already guaranteed. Doing something like this is equivalent to signing your own death warrant!"
Formed's proclamation seemed to shake the men up quite a bit.
In this enclosed city, criminals had nowhere to go when there were no roaming buses, regardless of how they resisted. Ignoring cities like Joeldem that were hubs of transportation, criminal groups that didn't have personal roaming buses would generally wait for opportunities when roaming buses were coming before taking action. But that had failed, and they could only put up pointless resistance until they were arrested.
Waiting in front of them was the danger of a battle occurring or death by forced eviction.
The criminals only wore such cornered looks because they realized that.
However, thought it was only by a small amount, Formed's statement succeeded in relieving the pressure from them.
(Right now is the time to act, but--)
But if things successfully developed in this direction, they might surrender without her having to act.
Maybe they wouldn't surrender.
She would have to prepare for those circumstances. This wasn't a feeling of responsibility as a Military Artist, nor was it for her own safety...... No, it was for her own safety.
Nina was standing in a place she could protect Felli and her back gave off the feeling that she was desperately trying to conceal her desire to act. Nina would definitely stand up to protect the students here if they gave up on everything. That wasn't because Nina was a Military Artist, it was because of her personality.
(At the least, I should first clearly find out where Captain's Dite is.)
But she would have to use Psychokinesis to do that. Even if she didn't have a Dite to use as an amplification device, Felli could use easily her basic Psychokinesis to locate its position from this kind of distance. But if she were noticed, everything would be over. Felli's Psychokinetic ability had always been extremely outstanding, and if she focused without using a Dite and released her Psychokinesis without properly controlling the output, her hair would react to her Psychokinesis and glow.
(I have to use my Psychokinesis cautiously.)
Felli carefully prepared to release her Psychokinesis......
"Hey, what are you doing!?"
A man looked over and shouted.
Coming to her senses, Felli was surprised by her own condition, and Nina also showed a surprised expression as she turned around. Some of her hair that drooped over her shoulder and down her chest also entered her vision.
Her hair was glowing.
She had just planned on using a small amount of Psychokinesis, but her hair was letting off a dazzling light as if she were using her full Psychokinetic power. Felli was rarely like this even in normal battles.
But Felli immediately closed her mouth.
In that short moment, Felli understood everything about this floor's entire situation, the positions of people, and even the reasons that had made her feel suspicious a few days before.
"Forty degrees to the left!"
She looked at Nina's eyes and shouted.
Nina understood from just that. Felli's eyes couldn't catch the rapid movement of Military Artists, so she used Psychokinesis to track their movements.
Nina moved. The shockwave she released broke apart the desk, and the belongings placed underneath flew out.
Among the things was a Dite. Nina's Dite.
The Dite that flew out along with pieces of the desk was stored in a weapon belt. It hit the wall and bounced back. Nina reached out as it to take it, and the criminals around them swung their weapons to try to stop her.
Something that hampered the criminal's movements happened almost simultaneously with Nina's movement.
There were two screams from the collision. A similar number of bodies falling to the ground also resounded at the same time as the voices.
In the other direction from the changing room - in front of the elevator, Sharnid released his Sakkei, put aside his sniper-type Dite, and closed in while restoring his pistol Dites.
The remaining three were unable to communicate their intents, so they weren't even able to cooperate. They froze there, unable to decide who would deal with what.
Nina had grabbed her Dite in this period of time. She kicked off the wall across from the front desk to change direction, then shouted the restoration keyword and charged at the criminals.
Nina charged at the man resembling the leader, while Sharnid charged at the other two.
The man resembling the leader shouted this and swung an axe-type Dite at Nina.
Nina blocked the axe with her left iron whip and pushed it away after landing. She used that force to spin her body, circling behind her opponent's back. As expected of a trained Military Artist, Nina's opponent didn't let her do this. He moved forward with a slightly broken stance, stopping Nina's attack. Nina wasn't able to continue her attack, so she took up a stance again.
Before the dust had time to settle, they charged again.
That was how it appeared.
The man moved, and Nina moved forward as well.
Nina jumped, taking a stance for a reckless strike from above. The man grinned at this completely-unguarded attack as he prepared to counter.
But he was suddenly hit in the back.
A paralyzing sensation shot through his body at the same time as he felt the impact. It was a paralyzing bullet.
Sharnid was the one who shot the bullet. He had dealt with the two other Military Artists and used a free moment to shoot a bullet into their boss's unguarded back.
But that action also showed a clear opening in Sharnid, who was pressed hard dealing with two people.
But the two of them also fell to the floor because of an impact from behind.
This time Nina was the one to attack. Her move to try a big attack from above had been a feint, and she had used that movement to throw her left and right iron whips.
"Well, that's a victory through trust."
Sharnid grinned after shooting paralyzing bullets into the two fallen on the floor just in case.
"It's something that guys who sell out their companions and run away could never learn."
"Don't make it sound that simple."
Nina regulated her heavy breathing as she picked up her iron whips.
"I was worrying the whole time about whether you'd do what I was thinking. Since you always slack off as soon as we begin training."
"Didn't I say, the talented hawk hides its claws."
"You hide them too much, honestly......"
The men from the city police came to the scene as a peaceful atmosphere formed.
"So, you knew?"
Formed had left after briefly praising Felli's resourcefulness. Afterwards, Felli had asked this of the two of them.
"What do you mean?"
After sighing at the Nina's feigned ignorance, Felli looked behind them.
"Was this planned?"
Karian was there.
"There was no choice. I thought something like this would only when you were a child, but it did all of a sudden."
And why had Karian claimed that he was fatigued in order to conceal Felli's condition and get her to a health resort?
As Felli felt suspicious, Karian explained:
"Also, if I let you stay that way, you'd continuously infringe on the privacy of others. Do you get it? Over there is apartment-style housing, it's not as large as the house back in our hometown."
Felli could only remain silent when he said this.
"Hey hey hey, wasn't that kind of boastful?"
Nina and Sharnid's quiet words reached her.
She didn't hear them with her ears, but instead sensed them with her Psychokinesis.
She was currently suppressing her Psychokinesis, and her hair wasn't glowing either.
Felli's Psychokinetic ability was far greater than normal Psychokinesists. Though this was the main reason Felli had been called a Psychokinesis prodigy, it was more accurate to say that was due to the fact that she could control such tremendous Psychokinesis.
But that Psychokinesis hadn't been under complete control when she had been born. Information would always randomly present itself in her mind. Felli had just ignored that information when she was still a toddler who didn't understand things, but that information confused her when she learned more about the world. It surpassed her mental capacity and made her thinking ability decline and become shockingly slow.
The current Felli was only here because she had conquered that.
"It's pretty bad to talk about other people's secrets."
"I couldn't just say nothing."
But it was natural for Felli to constantly release Psychokinesis. It was pretty difficult for Felli to control her Psychokinesis and continuously suppress it from being released.
So before she had come here, her controlling ability would sometimes weaken and her Psychokinesis would constantly flow out. At the time, Felli would hear voices from places she couldn't hear, and see things from places she couldn't see. Sometimes she would even spend the entire day spacing out, unable to muster any energy.
Those situations slowly became infrequent after ten years, and she had already been completely cured before coming to Zuellni. Or at least Felli thought so.
But she didn't think that she would have that condition again now......
"Coming here was an emergency measure. There are living quarters here and not many people who use them. Well. Although it was just as a precaution, I arranged for no guests to be around your room."
Even so, Felli had still heard Karian and Nina's conversation. Karian had probably explaining the details to Nina at that time.
"Hmm...... Well, it was honestly just a coincidence that I came here. I only tried the swimming practice because the President said that it would be good to tire you out...... Uh, sorry."
Nina lowered her head.
But Felli didn't particularly want Nina to apologize. She knew that she was actually blushing in embarrassment.
She just glared at Karian.
"Don't be that mad."
Felli slowly breathed out. Perhaps wrongfully believing that Felli had rid herself of her anger, Karian approached her.
"......You definitely wouldn't understand."
He definitely wouldn't be able to understand that, to Felli, this kind of embarrassment was like what other people would feel if they were still wetting the bed at this age.
She just silently kicked Karian's shin as hard as she could.
Translator's Notes and References
- This is actually a thing in Japan, where people die from working 100+ hour weeks.