Unlimited Fafnir:Volume 6 Epilogue
Turning time back slightly... The location was the Asgard research laboratory where Miyazawa Kenya served as director.
Swallowed into Yggdrasil's interference range, with all electrical systems down, the interior of the facilities was shrouded in darkness.
But in the fourth floor underground, an area where even starlight from outside the windows could not reach, there was an abundance of faint light for some reason.
The light source was inside the lab, on the other side of the opened partition.
Located in the center of the room, whose cooling system was down, there was an opened coffin.
Miyazawa Kenya was standing in front of the coffin, silently staring inside it.
However, footsteps were suddenly heard in the silent lab.
Then with a click, there was the sound of someone raising a gun.
A stern voice shook the stagnant air.
"...Ah, speaking of which, the alarm system is down too. No wonder there are uninvited guests. Who are you?"
Miyazawa Kenya asked in a lethargic voice without even looking back.
"Not asking unnecessary things is the key to staying alive. Answer my question if you don't want to die."
Jeanne Hortensia threatened in a sharp tone of voice. Originally a member of Sleipnir, this girl had quietly infiltrated the laboratory by seizing the opening when Yggdrasil had downed all electrical systems.
In order to seize the secrets in this lab where they had been forced to retreat from at one point, Jeanne chose to work separately from Kili.
"Yes yes. Please ask whatever you wish to ask. I will answer any question, because dying means I won't be able to continue my research."
Despite facing a life-threatening crisis, Miyazawa Kenya showed no fear at all.
Her golden eyes alternated their gaze between Miyazawa Kenya's back and the glowing coffin. Then she said:
"Do you know anything regarding Hreidmar?"
"...Hreidmar? I am hearing this name for the first time."
"Then what about 'Fafnir'?"
Jeane then asked this question. Miyazawa Kenya pondered briefly.
"Fafnir... Speaking of which, I've heard rumors before that NIFL was carrying something called the 'Fafnir Project.' I recall that the project was based on a hypothesis on the scrapped authority, Code Lost..."
"Just as dragons possess special powers, humans might have some kind of lost special power—An unverified hypothesis born from that kind of hope. Since I was not too interested in this hypothesis, I don't know any further details."
Hearing his answer, Jeanne brought her hand against her mouth and murmured to herself: "I knew it. It's necessary to search NIFL facilities to find out more details, not Asgard ones..."
"Have you asked everything you want?"
Hearing Miyazawa Kenya, Jeanne looked up.
"No, not yet. Cough up what research you are conducting here. Compared to other facilities, this lab has too many suspicious things about it."
"...This is a lab belonging to Asgard, the international organization on dragon policies. Obviously, dragon research is being carried out."
Miyazawa Kenya shrugged and answered.
"Then what's inside that glowing box?"
Jeanne looked at the faintly glowing coffin and asked.
"...Cadaver? What kind of cadaver exactly?"
"Since it's dragon research, of course this is a dragon cadaver, right?"
Jeanne gasped and slowly approached the coffin.
"...I will confirm. Don't move."
Jeanne warned Miyazawa Kenya while moving to a position to look into the coffin.
What was kept inside the coffin was a thick silver tentacle with a bulging midsection. Roughly the size of an adult, its two ends were cross sections from being ripped apart. Faint purple light was escaping from inside the tentacle.
"Remains of the purple dragon—'Purple' Kraken. Two years ago, two Krakens were taken out, resulting in a large number of tentacle remains drifting in the ocean. In addition to being a useful resource, the mithril tentacles are also precious samples, hence Asgard collected those remains as much as possible."
Miyazawa Kenya explained nonchalantly and pointed his finger downwards.
"The lowest level in the facility is a giant swimming pool where a large number of Kraken tentacles are preserved. However, among all these remains, this one is special."
His eyes blazed with the flashing light of curiosity while he pointed to the coffin and spoke.
Jeanne asked nervously.
"This is definitely a cadaver, the remains of Shinomiya Miyako, the D who had turned into a Kraken. It's just that despite the fact that this tentacle is a cadaver, it also has life."
"What are you talking about? If it has life, it's not a cadaver, right?"
Jeanne frowned. Smiling wryly, he answered:
"You don't get it? Maybe I didn't explain enough. What I am saying is that there is life residing inside this cadaver. The light inside the tentacle... That is precisely the light of new life."
"New life...? Don't tell me—"
Jeanne was speechless. She gazed at the unnaturally bulging tentacle.
Miyazawa Kenya nodded at the stunned Jeanne then spoke solemnly:
"Indeed, residing inside these remains is the child of the Kraken's mate."
Riding in a large van, we drove east towards the horizon where the rising sun was shining.
The driver was the middle-aged woman who was part of Asgard's staff. Shinomiya-sensei was sitting in the front passenger seat.
We, the students of Brynhildr Class, were sitting side by side in the spacious back seats.
"Tia-chan still hasn't woken up."
Looking at Tia who was sleeping while leaning against me, Iris said with worry.
Having taken control of Yggdrasil's core, Tia had lost consciousness after returning to our side.
After taking Tia to meet up with Shinomiya-sensei, we were now riding the van back to the lab.
"Don't worry, Tia had definitely retained her sense of self when she returned to us. She also successfully endured the strain during the hacking process, so she should be waking up soon."
Sitting next to Iris, Kili quietly explained.
"By the way, why are you getting a ride too?"
Lisa looked at the seating which had become slightly crowded due to Kili and asked.
Since Kili had boarded the van as though it were the most natural thing in the world, no one spoke up about it earlier.
"I have matters at the lab too. Jeanne-chan... No, John should be waiting there for me."
I asked Kili in surprise.
"Yes, so give me a ride there. I already helped you guys out, so it's not like you have a problem with letting me relax for a bit, right?"
Kili shrugged and asked everyone.
"...Indeed, it is true that Kili-san helped us immensely. We will take you to the research lab."
Mitsuki accepted Kili's request despite a reluctant expression.
"However, is it really okay for us to return just like that? The remains of Yggdrasil's main body and roots are still there..."
Firill looked out the back window—at the western sky—and said.
Ariella nodded and agreed with Firill.
"I'm worried too. Now that you brought it up, I'm still not clear on the situation. Although Tia has seized control rights to Yggdrasil's core, but what happens next...?"
Hearing this question, Kili shrugged.
"Tia has become the administrator of the gigantic system that is Yggdrasil. Although I still don't know how much of that power she is able to control... At least, there's no more need to worry about Yuu getting controlled."
Hearing her say that, Ren looked reassured.
Ren said quietly, staring at my face.
"Onii-chan, is it okay now?"
"Yeah, the feeling has returned to my left arm. It should be able to move freely once the cast is taken off."
I nodded at Ren and rotated my left arm to show her.
Perhaps because my movements were felt by Tia, she moaned slightly.
I called her name. Tia opened her eyes slightly.
Tia stared blankly at my face.
"Yeah, it's me."
I nodded in response. Showing an expression like she was still in a dream, she said:
"Yuu... Tia saw many things when inside Yggdrasil, but... almost can't recall anything."
"That's fine. Tia, you just need to remember that you're Tia. No need to force yourself to remember."
I stroked Tia's soft hair and tried my best to speak in a gentle tone.
It was impossible to imagine how massive the volume of information flowed into Tia's mind when carrying out a hacking attack against Yggdrasil's gigantic mind. Trying to get a full grasp of all that information would probably stop the brain from functioning normally.
"But... There seems to be something Tia must say... A message that must be passed along."
"Even if that's the case, there's no need to rush. Rest properly and wait until you regain your energy."
Tia nodded uneasily but at this moment, her face looked like she suddenly thought of something.
"—Oh, I just remembered one thing."
Tia said and tears flowed out of her eyes.
"Eh? W-What's wrong?"
I asked her frantically. Tia immediately wrapped her arms around my neck and hugged me tightly.
"What Yggdrasil did to Yuu... Tia saw it. So many, so many... precious memories taken out. Yuu must be suffering so much..."
Hearing Tia whisper quietly in my ear, I could not help but gasp.
Iris and the other girls were watching Tia who had suddenly started crying.
Then only loud enough for me to hear, Tia continued:
"Don't worry, Tia will return the memories—back to Yuu."
Badump, my heart pounded intensely.
What I felt at this moment was... not "Mononobe Yuu's" joy of possibly recovering the past, but my current self's—
Fear, not knowing how my feeling towards Iris might change.
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