Unlimited Fafnir:Volume 7 Prologue
Two calamities awakened.
Heavy, forceful, regular beating.
The air shook accordingly in the dark and cramped laboratory.
In the fourth floor underground of Asgard's Far East Branch's First Laboratory—With the power supply cut, the interior was shrouded in darkness. Air conditioning and other cooling systems were all silent.
However, the lab where a dragon's corpse was kept was showing faint purple light.
The light source consisted of a Kraken's remains kept in a coffin. A silver tentacle with torn off ends, its midsection bulging unnaturally, glowing with purple light from within.
Staring into the coffin was John Hortensia, a crossdressing platinum blonde with golden eyes.
Dressed in military uniform, she was pointing her gun at the lab's director, Miyazawa Kenya, while gazing at the coffin's interior.
Throb... Throb... Throb...
Accompanying the deep pulsation sounds, the light inside the tentacle also brightened and dimmed.
Then she finally realized. This was the sound of a heartbeat.
The new life residing inside the remains. The Kraken's offspring.
Just as Miyazawa Kenya said earlier, this was the light of new life.
Throb... Throb... Throb...
The heartbeat gradually quickened and the purple light intensified progressively.
Ominous fetal movement.
It had arrived, no one could stop it anymore.
In front of John who had even forgotten to breathe, a tiny crack appeared on the bulging tentacle's surface.
A purple eye inside was revealed.
A powerful monster originally in eternal slumber—had now awakened.
Furthermore... Another calamity had awakened simultaneously.
The location was the forest of Fuji after the intense battle ended.
The top portion of the outrageously gigantic tree, reaching 5000 meters in height, had vanished. Near its base, there were two enormous cracks.
With its core functionality stolen by Tia Lightning, it was now a husk that had lost its computation power, merely waiting to rot.
However, this was a change precipitated by Yggdrasil.
From Yggdrasil's roots, which had eaten into the ground, something resembling black bubbles flowed out from its gaps.
They resembled black soap suds.
The black bubbles gradually accumulated and slowly rose into the sky.
However, no one noticed this calamitous change occurring the depths of the Sea of Trees.
In this manner, two calamities had been released.
Liberated from the restraints of the ground, taking to the free skies—
"Don't worry, Tia will return the memories—back to Yuu."
Tia hugged me as though comforting me, whispering in my ear. Feeling the same pain I suffered from losing my memories, Tia cried with large teardrops falling—
One was supposed to react to such news with joy.
Reacting with relief at the return of lost memories would be the natural reaction.
But I could not even muster a single word of "thanks."
During the ride back to the Asgard lab on the Tokyo shore, I looked over Tia's shoulder around the interior of the van.
After an overnight battle against Yggdrasil, the girls were looking at the crying Tia in worry.
Under the gazes of the girls from Brynhildr Class, Shinomiya-sensei the homeroom teacher and Kili who had tagged along on her own, I stroked Tia's head.
"Thanks Tia. But... Give me some time."
To prevent others from overhearing, I whispered quietly in Tia's ear.
Due to the sudden fear in my heart, I did not take up this rare opportunity.
"Yeah, I'd like to have some mental preparation."
"Really? Then Tia... will sleep a bit."
She must have pushed herself to the limit for my sake. Leaning againt me, she soon fell asleep.
Seeing everyone staring at me, I forced a smile.
"Don't worry. She slept again once she felt reassured."
I held Tia carefully in my arms and explained.
"—She's probably feeling a bit confused. Well, it can't be helped. After all, she's taken Yggdrasil's place."
Kili explained with an expression as though looking at her own child.
"Strain must be unavoidable after doing something of that sort. We should let her have a good rest."
Looking after Tia all the time, Lisa spoke while gazing gently at her.
After everyone watched Tia's sleeping face for a while, Ariella yawned.
"Hwah... To be honest, we're tired out too. Let's rest until we get to the lab."
Sitting beside me, Ren concurred with Ariella.
"Yeah... I'll take a nap too. No mood to read either..."
Rubbing her sleepy eyes, Firill commented. Seeing everyone in this state, the captain of the Dragon Subjugation Squad, Mitsuki, spoke up:
"Well then, let us all nap for a while. Shinomiya-sensei, is that alright?"
"No problem, get some good rest now. Good job, you all worked hard."
Shinomiya-sensei praised everyone and we rested in the van.
Iris smiled and said to me. Her silver hair was glittering under the rays of the morning sun.
Throb. Seeing her smile, my heart pounded intensely in response.
Between me and her—There were definitely special feelings.
But once I retrieve my lost memories... What would happen to these feelings?
This was also the reason why I could not accept Tia's suggestion immediately.
Scared that my current feelings and personality would simply vanish, I hesitated and faltered.
Iris fell asleep immediately. After looking at her sleeping face, I turned towards Mitsuki.
Mitsuki had not fallen asleep. Noticing my gaze, she opened her eyes slightly.
"Nii-san, you should catch some sleep sooner. Time on the way back to the lab for resting is limited."
"Yeah, I know."
I smiled at Mitsuki and closed my eyes.
My heart hurt intensely. It was the guilt from parading myself matter-of-factly as her brother. Furthermore, there was disappointment that I had forgotten all shared memories and the promise with her.
Having lost my memories, I might have been hurting Mitsuki unintentionally.
This strong impulse filled my heart. It was as though "the real me" was screaming in my heart.
My feelings for Iris and guilt towards Mitsuki were colliding chaotically in my heart.
Devoured by the turbulent vortex, I gradually sank into deep slumber.
Along the way, due to congestion on the roads, it was already noon by the time we reached the Asgard lab.
The malfunctioning in electronic devices caused by Yggdrasil was the reason for the gridlock. Due to Yggdrasil's core transferring into Tia, cars were able to move again. However, the power outage had caused many accidents, hence there were many congested roads.
However, there was something unexpected when our detouring brought us to the back of the research lab.
"What happened here...?"
Carrying the soundly sleeping Tia on my back as I got off the van, I looked at the barricade tape surrounding the lab premises and exclaimed in surprise.
"I can see smoke... Don't tell me there's a fire?"
Iris looked at the smoke billowing above the lab and tilted her head uneasily.
"Did an accident happen during the power outage...?"
Lisa frowned and watched across the barricade tape.
Stationed on guard around the facility were not police but armed soldiers.
"They are NIFL troops. In any case, let us first ask what happened."
After seeing the emblem worn by the soldiers, Mitsuki and Shinomiya-sensei went together to approach the soldiers standing near the barricade tape.
"...It feels like something very troublesome happened. Now it'll be difficult to meet up with Jeanne-chan—no, John."
Looking out through the van window, Kili whispered softly.
As a deemed disaster, Kili was currently hunted on NIFL's wanted list. It would be bad if she were discovered here.
"You should leave before a crowd gathers. Right now—I'll pretend I didn't see anything."
I quietly answered Kili.
"Oh my, I can?"
"This time, well... It's all thanks to your help."
Although Kili performing modifications on Tia for the purpose of defeating Yggdrasil was definitely inhumane, it was true that we could not have returned safe and sound had she not been there.
"Is that so? Thanks. Goodbye, Yuu. See you next time. I leave Tia in your care."
Thanking in light tone of voice, Kili swiftly disembarked.
Nearby, Ariella noticed Kili's movements but did not take any action to stop her.
"Although we might be enemies next time we meet... No helping it."
Ariella smiled wryly and watched Kili leave.
"Oh—Mitsuki and Sensei are back."
Hearing Firill, I looked in the lab's direction.
Next, I saw Mitsuki and Shinomiya-sensei coming, accompanied by Miyazawa Kenya, the lab's director.
Ren leaned towards me and grabbed my sleeve all at once. Miyazawa Kenya was Ren's father. It looked like Ren still had trouble facing him after the direct confrontation. Sure enough, she must have complicated feelings.
Taking a closer look, I noticed Miyazawa Kenya had a cast on his arm. He was injured but it was unknown whether it had anything to do with the lab's situation.
"Hi, I am relieved to see that all of you are fine. Looks like the operation succeeded and Yggdrasil has been vanquished."
Smiling warmly, he looked like he was happy for our safe return, but for someone like me, who had caught a deeper glimpse into this lab's research, would know it was merely social pleasantries.
"Yeah, well... I guess it's a success."
We looked at one another and I answered ambiguously.
Yggdrasil was not destroyed. Instead, its core was now under Tia's control—We had no intention of reporting this situation to him. Otherwise, Tia would most likely end up as his newest research subject.
At least before returning to Midgard, we must keep this a secret and not let anyone others know.
We had already obtained Shinomiya-sensei's consent during our trip back on the van. Prioritizing the safety and human right of Ds was Midgard's policy.
"It's such a shame that all observation equipment could not be used, preventing me from watching your battle. Please be as detailed as possible in the report submission. Thanks."
Miyazawa Kenya spoke to me like a researcher. Ren stepped forward.
"—Putting that aside, that."
Pointing at the lab that was now barred from entry, Ren asked.
"Oh, right... I should explain the lab's current situation first. It must have surprised you guys on your return, right?"
"Yeah, so what exactly happened?"
I looked at the strictly barricaded lab and inquired.
"When the electrical system went down, the facilities went haywire. There were many underground explosions and I got caught up in it."
He looked at his arm in the cast and replied.
"Explosion accidents huh..."
"Yes, because of that, entry to the lab is now forbidden. Your belongings have already been moved out by staff, so just find another place to stay."
Hearing what he said, Lisa showed a troubled expression on her face.
"Even if you ask us to find a place to stay, given the current traffic chaos, accommodations must be full everywhere. Shinomiya-sensei, could we not return to Midgard directly?"
"We can't return immediately because of various aftermath handling. Furthermore, aircraft are absolutely forbidden until it is confirmed that the abnormal electromagnetic interference has vanished completely. We will probably need to stay two or three more days in Japan before we can leave."
Shinomiya-sensei crossed her arms and answered. Then Mitsuki raised her hand.
"Excuse me... In that case, how about coming to Nii-san and my home?"
"Eh? Mononobe and Mitsuki-chan's home?"
Iris exclaimed in surprise. Firill clapped her hands together before her chest.
"I... would like to go. I'm curious about Mononobe-kun's home."
"I-I am interested too—However, is it really okay to impose so suddenly?"
Lisa asked Mitsuki in a fluster.
"The original plan was to pay a visit if time permitted, so that is not an issue. Shinomiya-sensei, is that fine?"
Mitsuki answered Lisa then inquired of Shinomiya-sensei.
"Yes... I must stay in Tokyo to handle the aftermath. All of you can have free time for now until preparations are ready to return to Midgard. Take a vacation."
Mitsuki happily bowed her head to express thanks. However, I froze at the thought of suddenly returning home.
This meant that I had to reunite with my parents whom I did not get a chance to see because I fainted during the school festival.
To be honest, I was not prepared at all.
"Nii-san, this is wonderful!"
However, Mitsuki sought my opinion happily. I forced myself to nod.
"Yeah, that's great."
The chance Tia gave me to recover my memories and suddenly returning home—
Fate seemed to be whispering to me, telling me that it was now time for me to turn back into myself.
Iris noticed my gaze and cocked her head.
—I can't turn back yet.
Turning back into my old self without informing her, I absolutely could not do that.
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