Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume4 Sub.02
“This is just a collection of horrible monsters,” spat out Shar Berylan.
He was a large white man in his mid-twenties. However, he was not actually a participant in Natural Selector. He would hate to be mistaken for one. He was a security guard sent to Baggage City by the 27 cooperative institutions that had broken away from Academy City and were now known as the Anti-Academy City Science Guardians.
For this part-time job, he wore a bulletproof jacket and was armed with a carbine and grenades.
“Did you hear? There’s some UFO nut, some deep sea idiot who’s in love with Atlantis, and some loner who claims to talk with a mass of bacteria collected from Mars. Why are they trying to get advice from people that trample other’s fields and shout up in to the night sky? It wouldn’t surprise me if these people ended up committing mass suicide.”
Other security guards like him had been gathered there. He was in an indoor space at gate 17 on the outside of the dome-shaped tournament facility. The guards were supposed to remain outside the dome, but it was a white hell at -20 degrees out there. With all the unmanned weapons deployed, no flesh-and-blood human would want to be out there. Shar assumed the higher ups who had given the order had warmed their heads too much with the heaters and forgotten that human bodily fluids froze at 0 degrees.
One of his fellow guards looked around hesitantly as he too neglected to perform his patrolling duties.
“Academy City espers are freaks, too. It’s just a choice between the freaks you know and the freaks you don’t.”
“They’re all a bunch of damn skunks. I don’t want to fight with them or even have anything to do with them. I don’t want to be their enemy or their ally. If you poke at them the wrong way, they’ll spray that stink all over you. Even if you win, you aren’t gonna be happy in the end.”
He then heard the sound of something rolling. It was coming from the small wheels of a suitcase. A girl with an excellent body approached in the passageway that was dim due to having too few fluorescent lights for its size.
“Which way to the waiting room?”
“Keep following this passageway, and you should find another guard, Miss Opendays.”
“Understood. I will ask him.”
Just as the girl passed him, she muttered in his ear.
“In this tunnel-like passageway, your voice carries a good ways. Be careful.”
Shar Berylan felt sweat appear on his back.
He timidly turned around just in time to see the girl called Opendays disappearing down the dim passageway.
“She probably heard that too. Also, I’m surprised you learned the names of the contestants.”
“She’s one of more normal ones,” spat out Shar. “C’mon, let’s go elsewhere. All the freaks are gonna pass through here. At this rate, we’re gonna have to deal with someone wearing only pajamas and obsessed with oneiromancy or someone wearing tons of bandages and obsessed with blood type fortune telling.”
“Let’s try to find a coffee vending machine. And is the heater even working here?”
Just as they started moving, they heard a slight squishing noise come from the dim passageway.
Only after the noise continued at an irregular pace, did they realize the noise was a footstep. It had simply not seemed like a noise a fellow human being could make.
But something else was strange.
While the noise itself continued repeatedly, it did not come from just one place. It had originally sounded as if it had come from down the passageway, but it could be heard coming from the walls, the ceiling, and finally even right next to their ears and pressing up against their backs. Shar turned around again and again, but he could see no one there.
Finally, a figure appeared down the passageway.
He could not tell if the figure was male or female. The figure was completely covered in worn-out cloth to the top of his or her head, so not even the shape of the face or the overall silhouette could be seen. Shar was not even sure if the figure had two eyes and a mouth.
A strange noise came from where one would assume a face would be.
Shar could tell it was something like a voice, but he could not tell what was being said. As the figure’s footsteps resounded from the walls and roof, it slowly passed by Shar.
Shar was quite proud of himself for not immediately holding up his carbine.
Finally, the figure disappeared down the other side of the passageway. He disappeared in the same direction the girl called Opendays had gone. He(?) was one of the participants in the Natural Selector tournament. He was one of the freaks gathered to oppose Academy City.
His fellow guard started breathing heavily as if he had suddenly remembered he had to breathe and asked Shar a question with his eyes open wide.
“…What the hell was that?”
“One of the favorites for victory,” spat out Shar in response. “Goes by the name Grecky Reletsman and supposedly uses magic. So what, is this person going to pull a dove out of a silk hat?”
The Natural Selector tournament began without delay.
Many types of “freaks” were gathered.
It was possible something not even Academy City could control was mixed in among them.