Hidan no Aria:Volume11 Chapter2
2nd Ammo - Sports Festival -La Rissa-
Kaname had experienced two failures recently: Arcanum Duo, and the Lumberjack. It seemed that these experiences had 'cured' her, so to speak. She realised that she was worthless as a weapon, and losing in the duel broke her self-confidence. She seemed to living a normal middle-school life. The middle-school she's going to is far from normal, though. I started to see less and less of the scientific swords she was so proud of. Well, that's a good thing. Aria, who starts firing over who gets to use the remote, or Riko, who sets up landmines for fun, were the ones in the wrong. Kaname should live like a normal person. That was my conviction. She was at an age where she could still turn her life around.
I also felt like Kaname's attitude towards me had changed dramatically. It sort of seemed like she had started keeping a little bit of distance from me, appropriate to the brother-sister relationship she insisted we were in. She stopped clinging to me the way Riko did at least, which was a huge relief. But still, she was a total kid, and very attached to me. From time to time I would catch her doing some incomprehensible things, like staring at me from hiding. That was the kind of thing that I'd see in Jeanne's shoujo manga, plotlines like: "I've fallen in love, but my crush is my brother so I can't express it." There were a lot of things like this that made it hard for me to stay home, but it was better than when she used to threaten to stab me thirty times because I was hanging out with other girls. I supposed that I could bear it.
...I was careless.
When Kaname wasn't around, I decided to make reverse teru teru bouzu (normal ones, except heads pointing down,) to pray for rain. While I was busy with this, I received a strange call.
"I told you stop calling me that." That was how my conversation with Fuuma started.
"Your little sister has been getting a lot of attention from the other freshmen girls." She reported to me.
"That's a good thing. That's what normal girls are supposed to do." She always was popular, unlike me. Kaname, the wolf in sheep's clothing.
"And recently, there is a group of girls that she is very close to."
"And what's wrong with that? Who are they?" I had lost interest in the stupid topic, so I reached out to grab my magic marker so I could continue drawing faces onto my reverse teru teru bouzu.
"Mamiya Akari." I froze.
"Indeed." I had a bad feeling about this. I had investigated Mamiya, and found that she was a sort of rising star among the freshmen. The details were classified, which spoke of the level of operations she had taken part in. Mamiya had been E-rank before becoming Aria's amica, despite being rejected by another S-rank. 'There's no way that I'd be connected with any E-rank Butei, let alone you.' She had pressed on despite such shocking words. I asked Fuuma what Kaname was doing hanging around with Mamiya.
"The details are unclear. However, they seem to be colluding to prevent you from approaching Kanzaki-senpai."
Preventing me from approaching Aria? How considerate of them.
If we never saw each other, I wouldn't have to be chased around by her M1911s. Jeez, it's like I'm dragged into a bullfight when I'm with her. If you just imagine her hair clips as horns, then...yeah, seems pretty accurate to me.
"Keep an eye on them just in case. Report anything out of the ordinary to me."
"As you wish." I shook my head, sinking back into the sofa. Maybe I was leaving too much of this freshmen business in Fuuma's hands, but...ah, fuck it. I'm busy...well, not really, but it's about time I learned to delegate.
Not like I can split my attention to so many things.
I already had a massive task on my hands. Tomorrow, La Rissathe sports festival would be held at Butei High. It would be a day straight from hell.
Please...let it rain tomorrow.
Finishing up my reverse teru teru bouzus, I hung them on the curtain rail.
It was a beautiful sunday morning, not a cloud in the sky. The entire Butei High student body was assembled at the first school grounds. We were gathered for the annual sports festival. There were no practices for this events, seeing as the student population were mostly busy with investigations/operations. A rehearsal was held at 5AM in the morning, as we were herded together at gunpoint by the teachers. And well, this is it. The real thing. Damn, I'm sleepy. I'm going to fall asleep standing up.
"We, the participants, in accordance with the Butei Charter, swear to compete to the end!"
The preppy freshman, Takachiho Urara took the participant's oath. She probably didn't mean a word of it. The student body split themselves into the red team and white team, preparing for the competitions. None of us were carrying anything. Not knives, not grenades, not pistols, sniper rifles, or machine guns. We had all disarmed. This was absolutely an impossible sight to find in Butei High. The school rules did say: "It is your duty to carry arms, whether guns or blades."
The tamaire competition was about to start. Once, when Ranbyou had just been rejected at a marriage interview, we played a slightly different version. Students would pair up, and shoot into the net. The first person in the pair to make it into the net was free to shoot their opponent. Thankfully, we weren't playing that versionWe were just playing the standard version, throwing balls into a net that was three metres high. Why would we play such a peaceful game? Well...
"Wow~, what healthy and strong looking students these are."
"Ah, the weather's amazing. This is a great opportunity to work up a healthy sweat." The Tokyo Education Committee's vice-chairman and head instructor were here to observe...or rather, monitor us. That was probably because of the last sports festival, where all the events were absolute torture, like a barefoot hoplitodromos. It was more like a fight festival than a sports festival. We had a record number of injuries. Our student body, being largely insane, had an amazing time, but the governor of Tokyo somehow heard rumours of what went down, and he went ballistic. La Rissa was now monitored closely. The Masters had said that Butei High was at risk of being shut down if the event went badly.
"You will be playing the part of happy and innocent high school students during the 'first phase' of the sports festival. Anybody who discharges a weapon will receive the highest punishment." That was their instruction. The 'highest punishment' was pretty much a torture session, so we set our minds on tamaire, fake smiles plastered to our faces.
"Hahaha! You'll never get them in!" At the very least, Hiraga-san, from the Amdo division, was smiling innocently, making us all feel better. I'm glad that she was on my team, she seemed to be having fun. She was the one to go to when requesting weapon modifications, but seeing how clumsy her tiny hands were now, it made me hesitate about going to her again. By the way, we were free to wear whatever sports attire we wanted. Hiraga-san was wearing shorts, and she looked like a kindergartner free to wander around at recess. This competition totally suited her.
"...Hah!" Jeanne threw the ball, her form as graceful and perfect as ever. Her silver hair shone in the sunlight. She was really pretty, so even her fake smile was on the level of a Hollywood actress' smile. That said, she was wearing a pair of anachronistic and scandalous bloomers. They looked almost like panties. All in all, she looked dumb...but very tempting.
The seniors were also playing tamaire with us. They were a little bit frightening. 3rd year Butei often take clients from the government. Often their missions are very long, and they are sent overseas on 'exchange programs' to conduct operations abroad. As such, I've hardly ever met with any of them, but...
They all have such overpowering presences...
All of them have one or two things about them, if not three, that stand out. Seems like they'd be pretty difficult to get along with. They were way better than the freshmen or sophmores at pretending to be normal, but there's just a different air about them. Maybe they can hide it from normal people, but another Butei would be able to tell immediately. In any case, seniors wouldn't show their unbridled strength to their juniors. They wouldn't just randomly show each other their powers as well. They were used to hiding their claws. As the number of requests that involve combat increase, Butei often butt heads as business competitors. They hide their techniques, killing moves, and abilities from even their closest friends. As a result, they were even more scary than the yakuza even if they looked like normal high school students. You could say it was because they were starting to exude the aura of a professional.
If you survive through Butei High, you're a slave as a freshman, a demon as a sophomore, and Satan himself as a senior, huh. It makes sense. Satan doesn't meddle in things like lesser demons do, after all.
Ah, didn't think I would sweat so much just from playing tamaire. Maybe it doesn't count. It's more of a cold sweat from the chills running down my spine.
After the tamaire competition, the sports festival program was thrown out the window. Several 'individual competitions' were being held, spread out across the school grounds. This was because there were a lack of teachers to oversee the students, as a large amount of them were busy entertaining the VIPs from the Education Committee. I couldn't be bothered to enter one of the individual competitions, so I decided to be one of the scorekeepers. When I went to the Masters' tent to get scoresheets, I saw Ranbyou and Tsuduri's...'other' side. Instead of their normal laughter 'Gyahaha,' they were like 'Hohoho,' serving tea and jelly to the committee members. It was absolutely terrifying. They were just normal, pretty teachers. The difference was like night and day. These were the two who had somehow managed to procure a barrel of alcohol, before getting drunk and going ballistic. They managed to wreck a section of the island's artifical quay from the inside on their path of meaningless destruction, causing the entire island to lean to the south 0.08 degrees. I should totally rat them out...
After the incident, they filled up some ballast tanks to restore the island's original gradient, but they would definitely be on the chopping block if word got out. Although if I was the one to spill the beans, I would actually be decapitated. The two-metre zanbato that Ranbyou always carries around would be well-suited to the task.
Regardless of your strengths or weaknesses, you had to partake in the individual competitions as appointed by the Masters. As a result, you had no idea who would take part in which competition during the latter part of the first phase. I started biking towards the obstacle course competition.
"Ow! Owww!" Shirayuki was there, also in old-fashioned bloomers. I saw her trip over the high jump bar and hit her head on the vaulting horse. She hadn't even reached the halfway point even though the other competitors had already reached the end. That was probably because she kept getting stuck on every obstacle. Shirayuki was just about crying at this point.
"Go, Shirayuki-san!" "You're doing great! Yeah, that's the spot!" "Higher, jump higher!" The boys were cheering her on, though. I wonder why? It didn't feel like they were making fun of her, they seemed to be genuinely supporting her.
"A-Ahn, um...my leg's getting stuck...huh?..." Shirayuki was attempting the net crawl (literally crawling under a net,) and of course, she was just getting more and more tangled. I noticed that she was wearing the volleyball team's uniform. That made sense, since she was the captain.
Is our volleyball team really fit to compete...?
In my eyes, this was one of the seven mysteries of Butei High.
I continued on to the tennis courts.
"Senpai! Use my towel!" "No, use mine!" "Mine!" "You can use me, senpai!" I discovered a mosh pit there, centred around Jeanne.
"T-Tohyama! Help me!" Huh. That's a change from her normal line, 'Follow me!' Jeanne's hand stretched from within the press of bodies, reaching out to me, but...I'm sorry. I can't save you. What can I do to that circle of mini-miniskirt wearing girls? That's tennis-wear for you. I've hysteria savant syndromea heriditary disease. Solve your own problems.
"My my, popular aren't we? I guess it'd be better if the genders were reversed." Being the diligent worker that I am, I copied down the scores from the board on the fence. Ooh, Jeanne got first. Takachiho Urara from the Assault Division came in second, and Naruse from the Civetta Research division was in third. Hearing dull thuds behind me, I turned around to see a match of doubles badminton on the adjacent court. Reki was playing on the near side of the court, without her headphones. She was wearing a polo and skirt, with tights underneath. She had definitely borrowed them from someone.
"..." Whenever the shuttlecock flew by her, she would swing her racket like a broken pitching machine. Vertically. Reki's team was completely butchered. Her partner, a member of the badminton club, sank to the floor and started crying. There there, it's not your fault. Not even the world champion could fight a proper match if he was paired with Ms. Buddha.
"Hey Reki, I get that this was assigned to you by the Masters, but you should put some more effort in."
"..." I scolded Reki as I took down their scores, but she didn't reply. She was sitting with her knees tucked to her chest, despite wearing a skirt. Completely still, like a real statue of Buddha.
"...?" She seemed a little off. Her eyes were distant, like she was viewing this idiotic event as a sort of simulation. But well, Reki's always off. I'll just leave her to it.
I watched, dumbfounded, as the Mutou brother and sister combination pushed/drove their hearts out in the pushcar competition. All the girls were driving, and the boys were pushing. I didn't know who the hell came up with this competition, but the Mutous' attitude was: 'If it has wheels, Logi's pride is at stake.' I had met up with Kaname, who was like me, taking down scores. She was wearing tights. The competition was being held in the park, with various turns set up in a clearing.
"..Mmmph!" I looked up to the sky at the anime voice I had grown used to hearing. Aria had gotten some serious air on her inline skates. She was wearing normal gym attire with short shorts, and kid-sized protectors on her knees and elbows. Her helmet had perfect little holes for her twintails. Landing on a skate ramp, she jumped again. This time, she stretched out horizontally, spinning like a screw. That's a corkscrew. Applause and cheers flew from the spectators as her twintails span around her body like a tornado.
That was amazing...
She jumped again on the next slope, grabbing the tip of her skates and doing a somersault while spinning her body around. A flatspin 540! She was just pulling off insane trick after insane trick. She even had enough poise to wink at her female juniors as she was executing these maneuvers.
Yeah...she's the most athletic of all the Butei that I know.
I felt even more strongly about that after seeing Reki and Shirayuki's condition. And as always, I felt really weird about this, but...I didn't know any other way to describe it, so I'd just have to say it: she was cute. And she was cute in spades. There was just something about her that made me think that; ever since the day I met her it's been like this. She was born a noble, and she's great with languages too...why did God give Aria so much? I wasn't given anything useful. Just a dangerous condition.
But well...I guess she has a lot of shortcomings too, like being unable to swim, and being short. Both in temper and stature.
She had a terrible habit of forgetting stuff when she's having a lot of fun too. For example, she had forgotten all about Takoyaki in the autumn, despite having had it for the first time during a summer festival. I had to tell her about it all over again. Reminiscing about the past, I gazed at Aria.
"Ouch!" Kaname grabbed my cheek.
"What're you staring at?"
"I'm not staring at anything. Why're you angry? Your face looks like a chipmunk with its mouth full."
"Who says I'm angry?" Kaname looked away, scratching the scores from the BMX freestyle competition onto her scoresheet. She was using so much force that the lead broke.
"Oh, Kinji. Are you guys both skipping your sports?" Aria had finally noticed me. Still wearing her skates, she glided over.
"Who cares about the first phase...it makes more sense to skip these shenanigans."
"Even if it's an act, it's a good warmup for the second phase."
"Shhhh. Don't just talk about the second phase. The Masters will beat us silly if anyone from the Education Committee hears us." I looked around, making sure no demon teachers were nearby.
'Well, then...h-how was it?" Aria glanced at me, drinking an energy drink out of her plastic bottle with a straw.
"How was what?"
"...You were looking at me with a stupid expression on your face."
"Don't call my face stupid. You noticed that?"
"How could I not? You were just staring at me. Probably thinking dirty thoughts too."
"I-I wasn't staring...well, I was looking, but..." I was at a loss for words. I didn't know how she interpreted what I said, but Aria had started blushing. She didn't seem mad though. Her expression was pretty relaxed. She was more like...half embarrassed, half happy. It was likely something like that, though I wasn't completely sure. This was only based on my previous observation.
I get that she'd be embarrassed if I was staring at her, but...why's she happy?
I frowned, and Kaname did too. She was frowning because she knew understood what Aria's expression meant though. And she wasn't happy about it. I pointed to Aria's face, about to ask Kaname what exactly was going on.
"...What're you guys going to do now? You're done with scoretaking, right?" Aria asked.
"Mm? No, we're not done yet. There's still one more event here."
"Ah. Which one?" Eh? She seemed displeased.
"Buildering. It's like bouldering, except we're climbing buildings, not rocks. The Snipe building is the highest, so we're going to the roof to get the scores from those that made it to the rooftop."
Oh, fuuuuck! Aria had frozen, her camellia irises wide with shock. I clamped my mouth shut. Nowadays, you couldn't mention the 'roof' around Aria. But I said it twice.
"I-I'm sorry, Aria. Forget what I said. That was totally my fault."
"Roof. Roof. Ro...of. Roof...top..." ...Oh God...
At least she's freezing up! There's always a silver lining..."
Upon hearing the word, Aria could take on one of several behaviours. This was one of the safest ones. It was like hitting the jackpot, she would just completely lose all function. Back when I still didn't understand the weight behind the taboo, I said this: 'Why do you blow your top when you hear rooftop? What's wrong with rooftops? I mean, rooftop's are just so innocuous...they're just rooftops." She started crying, then screaming at me in English, and then drew her guns and started going crazy and running around the room shooting them everywhere before diving into Tokyo Bay from the balcony. She totally stole my move...That was the most dangerous behaviour of all, her 'berserk mode'. She was weird to begin with, but I thought she had finally gone off the deep end, She was floundering, about to drown, so I fished her out from the sea with a fishing rod. 'I don't know why I did that, so it doesn't count!' the violent mermaid said, punching me in the face even as I was trying to pull her out. I only found about about it then.
It seemed that when Aria remembered kissing me on the rooftop of the SSR building, she would go into hysterics. Despite that, even I didn't know why she kissed me. I had no idea how to heal the wound on her soul, if it even existed in the first place. It was a serious pain that Aria would go on a rampage despite it being something that she did, but for now I just avoided using the word altogether.
"Are you okay, Aria?" I shook her gently.
"I-I'm okray..." The shock to her nervous system had left her malfunctioning. Her face was totally red.
"..." What could the two of us do about this? We looked at each other with troubled expressions.
Beep! Aria's amica, Mamiya, ran over on her little legs, blowing a whistle that she'd probably been using for the competitions. What was it? Her short twin-tails had bristled up, and she was swinging her fists around. She was clearly angry.
"Tohyama-senpai! Get away from Aria-senpai! Kaname-chan, give me a hand!"
"Yeah! You've crossed the line, Kinji!" Mamiya grabbed onto Aria, who was still wearing skates, and pulled here away like a wheelbarrow. On the other hand, Kaname had grabbed onto my belt and was dragging me to the Snipe building.
This is...the alliance to prevent me from approaching Aria that Fuuma warned me about...!
What's with these guys? I'd be glad if Aria stayed away from me, I'd be so much more safe, but why would they put so much effort into it? What would they gain? Why was mini-Aria, Mamiya Akari, so interested? I had seen Konayuki behave the same away with regards to Shirayuki, so I took Mamiya's behaviour towards Aria as the same sort of thing. It's a dangerous thing to do though, involving yourself with the security of Aria's mind and body. Well...that was a whole new world that I couldn't possibly comprehend, so I had no choice but to leave her to it.
It was clear now that Aria's amica was a piece of work. Aria also had it rough, though I didn't know it. I submitted my scoresheet to the Informa division's tent, where the freshmen had collected a huge pile. I saw that the two teams were locked in quite a close battle: red at 865 points and white at 856. The competition would be decided by the last event. Everyone had to participate; it was the 100-man relay.
It's just for show, though...
I sighed. All students had now returned to the first school grounds, and I stood at the edge, looking out over the 400m track. Fifty runners from the red and white team would be chosen by lottery. They would be running in the relay, but...I wasn't chosen, so looks like I'd just be watching. Looks like I didn't participate in anything except tamaire this time. Totally fine by me.
"Begin!" Almost none of the participants were startled upon hearing the starting pistol fire.
"Ah!" But there was one girl, on the inner side of the track, who stepped back and ended up tripping over. She was in the red team. I looked at her as she flailed her thighs around, and got back up...
You were chosen to be in the relay race, of all things? What terrible luck. Nakasorachi Misaki was a sophomore in the Connect division. Her eyes, covered by a long fringe, looked around. Seeing the participants around her, her eyes spun and she fell again. As she crouched there, on her hands and knees, he noticed that she was the next runner.
"Hyaaah!" I didn't know why she didn't stand up. It could be that her hips gave out, or she just didn't have time to stand, but she started crawling forward, her breasts bouncing lewdly inside her T-shirt. I-I could see her bra....God definitely had something against me. They were pretty plain and ugly. Somehow, it looked a bit slutty. Did she plan on running the whole course on her hands and knees? Nakasorachi somehow managed to stand up, contrary to the murmur of unease that ran through the crowd. Her legs trembling like a newborn fawn, she made it to the take-over zone and took the baton.
...What the hell? Are you kidding me? How can she run with her knees together like that.
"H-Hyaaa, hah, ah...ahhh...!" She was running at about 10km/hr, moaning all the while. Her long headband didn't flutter as it streamed out behind her.
What a stunning display of clumsiness, Nakasorachi. She fell. She fell. And she fell again. She fell eight times before she finished her 400m and handed the baton to Watson. This wasn't the first time I've thought it was a mystery that she could serve as a Butei.
As a result, the red team suffered a comeback loss. The cause was unquestionably Nakasorachi. This act had finally came to its end, marked by the applause of all the students.
We'd be a normal school if the sports festival ended with the first phase...
We all did a cool down exercise, though none of us were really that tired. The boys were supposed to pair with boys, and the girls with girls, but I was paired with Watson, who was girl pretending to be a guy...it was super awkward. Some exercises, Watson would get really flustered, and Shiranui was staring at us with a worried look. I just wanted to disappear.
"Wow, what a climactic ending!"
"Yes, I concur. It was a magnificent sports festival." Voices were coming from the Masters' tent.
The Education Committee's vice president were surrounded by the beautiful (if only in appearance) Ranbyou and Tsuduri, and the former actress and current professor in the Civetta Research division, Yuuki Ruri. They seemed in pretty high spirits. Ah, the green tea that they had served earlier had been magically replaced with bottles of beer. The two men, a little bit tipsy, were served some expensive looking pastries from the Ambulace division's lecturer, Yadokoro Irin. She had an angel's smile on her face. They'd be going home happy.
Damn you civil servants. How could you fall for the Butei's standard tricks to instill a false sense of security - women, alcohol, and gifts. Could you at least pay a little attention? Look at the despairing eyes of all the peaceful people like me, Think about what the brawlLa Rissal means. Notice that we didn't even hold a cavalry battle, for God's sake.
Even thinking about the phrase made my stomach ache. It was one of the 'abnormal' competitions that would be held in the second phase of La Rissa...!
"Tohyama." I was gulping down some stomach medicine at the water stand when Watson appeared, clutching red cones under her arm.
"Is this about your rehabilitation? I'm not going to help you now. Choose a better time and place. If we were seen by Shiranui again..."
"I haven't even said anything yet. We'll save that for later. But anyway...you didn't use the cooldown as an excuse to touch me anywhere weird right? Like...h-here, or here."
"What're you getting angry for? Who would want to touch that anyway?"
"You're such a pain..." As we were speaking, Watson blinked at me thrice. Pretending to help put away the sports equipment, the two of us entered the sports shed, making sure that no one was watching...
"What is it? Did you figure out where G-Third is?" I sat on the pile of foam mats used for the pole vault.
"No. Not even MI5 knows. He disappears, after all. Traces of his movements or communications simply cannot be seen."
"Ah...I did see him do that twice. Sounds about right." Guess there was no way to find someone like him.
"He can't make his past disappear, though. Have a look at this." Watson took out a few pieces of A4 paper from her back, and passed them to me. Were those papers there throughout the sports festival? No wonder I thought I heard those paper noises when we put our backs together to stretch.
"...I can't read this. It's in English." I shoved the cinnamon smelling papers back at Watson.
"Come on. Study a little, Tohyama." Watson sighed, the sound a little feminine. She sat down, and I noticed that her curvy butt was definitely not masculine at all.
Damn it. My sense of smell is way too good. Maybe it was 'cause she was sweaty from the sports festival, but...Watson smelled good. It sort of felt like she had something like pheromones in her scent. And she's dressed like a guy. I'm just surprised that it hasn't gotten out that she's a girl yet if she has such a girly scent. The image of her short-shorts above her mostly naked thighs was very healthy, or suggestive, or...I just didn't know anymore.
'Tohyama, why are you looking at my legs? You're a perv." Watson licked her ring finger with her raspberry coloured tongue before flipping through the pages. I guess it was a habit.
"I-I wasn't looking. Who would want to?"
"You're rude." We had this conversation just a minute ago. Watson was looking at me seriously with her - if you looked closely - big, feminine eyes.
"Liberty Mason passed this data to us. They want to know, as part of Deen, how they should approach G-Third in the future. And they want the Baskervilles' leader's opinion. Namely, you."
"My opinion's not even worth two cents. What do they have written there?"
"Hmm...first of all, 'The Third is not evil.' Not for the English government, at least."
"Not evil...? The same guy who used Kaname to attack Aria and the others?"
"He's clearly evil from your viewpoint. However, from a wider perspective...you could even see him as good."
"?" I had no clue what Watson was talking about. She pointed at the paper, showing it to me.
"Like this, for example. After escaping from Los Alamos, G-Third has been annihilating the military forces of terrorist groups, pirates, and human traffickers across the globe, saving innocent civilians. He's been doing this uncompensated. Thinking that he had some ulterior motive, intelligence had been focusing their efforts in digging it out - but they couldn't find one. His M.O. is simply 'charity'."
"...Yeah, his charity's pretty dangerous." I folded my arms. G-Third...he was so evil...but if you just twist the words a little, he's an ally of justice? Why would he act against us then? Are Aria, Shirayuki, Riko, Reki and I an evil military force? Well, it was sad that taking into acccount the violent personalities of the Baskerville girls, I couldn't 100% deny it.
"These superhumans have existed since olden times. With the power they wield, they self-righteously save the powerless. In doing so, they mostly ignore the law." Hearing this, I imagined samurai from a period drama, or heroes from Marvel or DC. And I also thought about a certain person. I shook my head to clear the thoughts away.
"Your sister is sort of like that." Watson spoke the words I had been thinking. My sister...or more accurately my brother, Kana. Kana was one of them. When he was active as a Butei, he wouldn't accept money from the poor. In truth, this was not allowed, for some very adult reasons, such as upsetting the industry's market rate. Kana was indicted by the Butei Office after he had done this too many times, but he didn't really care. 'I'll take an onigiri as compensation, then." and he really did take one as compensation for saving a poor family from a building which had been occupied by heavily armed criminals.
"Though G-Third and Kana are very different in temperament, they, being the monsters they are, are somewhat similar. You probably won't admit it, seeing as you respect Kana." Watson said. Though I couldn't put it into words, I understood on a more primal level. I had sort of felt it from the beginning. Though his personality was screwed up, G-Third shared some traits with Kana, Kaname, and...I.
"If G-Third's objectives are aligned with America and England's, they will hire him. They intend to provide and maintain weapons as compensation. 'You may not be able to chain the beast, but you can feed it for helping you.' Currently, you could say that the simplicity of G-Third's actions is lost on the major countries. Which is why they're asking you. Is G-Third good or evil?" Watson asked me. I thought for a moment before answering.
"From my perspective, it's simple." I chose to give my simple opinion.
"Good and evil are entirely dependent on time and place. Even in a fight between two people, your idea of which one is right is entirely dependent on which side you see things from. Even middle school students know that."
"So he's neither good nor evil?"
"Yeah. But he's a criminal." I said clearly as Watson's eyes bored into mine.
"If he comes to Japan with the intent to commit crime, I will arrest him. Because that's what Butei do." Watson nodded.
"And regarding Far East Warfare?" Oh, right. Forgot about that. I had already come to a conclusion long ago.
"...Tamamo told me to recruit G-Third into Deen, and I do understand her strategy. If he's willing to negotiate, I'm willing to try."
"So it all depends on him..."
"There's no substitute for violence. Cao-Cao and Aria always say that I'm a pacifistic idiot, but even the Japanese brain isn't so filled with butterflies as to keep trying to talk to someone who doesn't bother responding." I spit out.
"You can't win, Kinji." Watson and I spun around.
"K-Kaname." She sprung out from inside the bulletproof vaulting horse that had saved Aria and my lives in April. Was she in there the whole time? This was a bad conversation for her to be listening in on. Watson had hidden behind me, almost reduced to whimpers...Kaname, still in spats, ignored her, sitting on the vaulting horse.
"The Third is strong. He's the perfect outcome of Geniosothe artificial savant project. I wouldn't even call him a human." Not like we could do anything about the fact that she had heard. And Kaname's eyes were serious, so I turned to her.
"G-Third's brain was a complete failure. We've done our own investigating. And if he isn't a human, what is he?"
"A superhuman." Kaname spoke.
"He's not someone you can hope to win. Not even with HSS or Stealthabilities. And fighting against something strong than you is the most idiotic thing you can do, Kinji." I had heard these words hundreds of times, but I couldn't laugh it off. Not with the memories of Geo Shinagawa fresh in my mind. He's strong. Very strong. I could sense that much. Butei don't live long if they don't learn how to judge the enemy and their own strength.
"Kinji, please don't fight with the Third. He's strong, and he's in the right. He only has two wishes...and I support him in both of them."
Kaname's eyes, a deep sea blue colour, swam with sadness. Seeing that, I couldn't help but ask.
"The first is what Dr. Sara, the scientists in charge of his education, taught him - fight to save the weak tyrannised by evil. He's trying to suppress violence with an overwhelming show of force. That's what he believe's is the raison d'etre for a human weapon.
"But...he nearly killed you!"
"To be at his side, you need to understand him. And at times, you'll only be a burden. If that happened, I was okay with being a martyr for the Third and Dr. Sara's convictions. That's what I swore before I followed him." I could feel the utter loyalty in Kaname's voice. This...isn't a good situation. A loyalty so deep that she would die for the Third...that wouldn't be easily broken. Not unless that life is brought to an exchange - a fight to the death. In some ways, loyalty is like faith.
"The Third has saved my life countless times since the escape from Los Alamos. All of his subordinates are prepared to die for him." Kaname put her hands on her chest.
"Do you...love him?" Watson, who had been silent all the while, asked her a very...feminine question. Kaname shook her head.
"It's not like that. And there's only room for one person in his heart."
"Who?" You could use your enemy's lovers to your advantage. Watson asked reflexively, stuck to her Butei habits.
"The scientist I mentioned earlier, Dr. Sara. The Third was taken to Los Alamos from Harvard Medical School when he was fourteen years old...she was the only one in the laboratory that treated him nicely. She believed in Geniosothe artificial savant project's power to stop conflict." Kaname produced a Butei handbook, as good as new, and took a photo from inside. It was a Caucasian woman in a lab coat, a gentle smile on her face. She was beautiful - no artist would be able to see her without wanting to preserve her on canvas. Looking like she was in her twenties, she looked extremely intelligent, but simultaneously her eyes sparkled with the innocence of a little girl. It seemed that Kaname had met her before. She was staring at the photo, seemingly lost in reminiscence.
"Where is she now? Still at Los Alamos?" Watson probed further.
"She's dead." Kaname answered.
"She died at the laboratory in an accident while training the Third. The Third has always believed that that was his fault...he became a different person ever since then. The escape from Los Alamos took place the following month." Hearing this, Watson looked extremely ashamed.
"I'm sorry. I apologise. I was too nosy regarding the private affair of people not with us." Well, Watson might have asked, but Kaname seemed to be urging us to sympathise with G-Third through these stories. She didn't want us to go against him.
"You said that he had two wishes...what's the other one?" Kaname was in the mood to tell us more about G-Third, though maybe not everything. I took advantage of this to probe further.
"He wants the Irokane's power." Her reply wasn't as concrete as I had hoped - it was even moreso. Irokane! That was the metal Sherlock was researching in IU. A material that could give humans power to make all the Stealthabilities in the world look like a four year old's toy...and G-Third is looking for it?
"When the Third hears about Irokane...well, if you did your homework, then you'd know. He acts like a different person. I used to be terrified of it, but ever since I met you...I feel like I've begun to understand him."
"Ever since you met...me?"
"Love is definitely...right. That's why I want to support the Third. For his love's sake, I want to give him Irokane." I couldn't understand what Kaname was saying.
"So please Kinji. Don't fight with the Third. He's strong. And he's right. Fighting with him is just illogical. You understand, don't you?" Kaname's voice trembled near the end. She didn't only pledge her loyalty to G-Third, she also sympathises with him for some other reason. And because of this, she doesn't want to let her beloved brother, me, and G-third fight. That was her wholehearted wish.
What is he trying to use Irokane for? That's also why he attacked us, isn't it? It's buried inside Aria's body, after all. Buried close to her heart, irremovable even through surgery. I feel bad for Kaname, but...if it comes to that, I don't think we'll be able to see eye to eye.
"Humans are illogical, Kaname. It's not like I want to fight with a superhuman, but depending where and how he makes his move, I have to act. Even if the odds are stacked against me." I replied, making it clear that we might still have a confrontation. Tension ran through the air of the sports warehouse.
"I see." Kaname hung her head and muttered before looking sharply at Watson.
"What are you planning, Kaname?"
"There's going to be a little accident, Kinji. First, Watson will be injured, rendering you unable to use HSS. Then your limbs will all be broken, rendering you unable to fight. Don't worry, I'll take care of you all the way." Kaname's sneakered feet hit the warehouse floor. Her hands were twisted into claws.
"..." Kaname wants to rip apart Watson's face with her bare hands. Hearing a soft thud, I glanced back. Watson was crouching on the matt, a two and a half centimetre folding knife clasped between her fingers.
"H-hey, cut it out." I tried to stop Watson, whose eyes were shooting knives. She was hiding a knife? Where did she hide it? It was against the rules today...the grip was wet. Her mouth? She might even have swallowed it. I wouldn't put it pastVeinthis western ninja, Plentyher whole body a weapon.
"I don't want to do this. Tohyama Kaname - G-Force - is strategically important to Deen. I don't want to hurt her. However, I have my priorities. Your and my safety takes precedence." Watson had come to a logical decision immediately. She was telling me to fight as well. Kaname and Watson glared at each other. Stuck between them, I reached into my pocket, preparing my secret anti-Kaname weapon. At that moment, serendipity itself reared its head. The school broadcast system boomed out.
"All students, please prepare for Marnithe second phase."
Translator's Notes and References
- Little dolls believed to prevent rainy days.
- Japanese game where two teams compete to see how many balls of their colour can be thrown into a net.
- Tamaire is lit. 'putting the ball in'. Ball and bullet can have the same pronunciation.
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