Returning into his room, the smell of jasmine greeted him.
“W-welcome back, Raishin <3”
Noticing Raishin’s presence, Yaya rose up. It wasn’t evening yet, but she had been sleeping on the bed. The fallen sheets revealed a swath of bandages covering her torso.
“What happened to you!?”
Raishin rushed over to the bed to check up on Yaya.
“Your body feels weirdly heavier. Were you hurt? Are you ok? Is there any pain?”
“Yaya is fine. The wound has already healed.”
Happy that Raishin was fussing over her, she was smiling happily.
—However, that all changed once she looked at Raishin’s state. Her smiling face froze up.
“Raishin, what happened to you!? You’re all beat up!”
“I tripped and fell.”
“Eh… But Komurasaki?”
“I dropped her off at an army safehouse. She’s fine.”
“That’s not what I meant! Komurasaki was with you, so why are you hurt like that!?”
“Don’t say that. Komurasaki’s not built for combat—“
“Wha—! Don’t tell me you did something weird with Komurasaki, and that’s why you ended up like that…!?”
“Don’t be stupid. Just what kind of depraved demon do you take me for?”
“No, it’s Komurasaki that’s the dangerous one. I have to check to be sure… Please take off your pants!”
“That again!? Like hell I’m going to take them off!”
Ignoring both their respective injuries, the two of them struggled with each other, before a woman’s voice cut in from behind them.
“Welcome back, boy. You’re late.”
It was Shouko. Behind her was Irori as well. Irori seemed to have been looking after Yaya, for she was carrying a wash basin in her arms.
Yaya had been clinging on tenaciously to Raishin’s waist. But at Irori’s appearance, she had released her hold and quickly behaved herself again.
Shouko gracefully sat down on a chair and stared at Raishin.
“Did you manage to find out what you wanted to know?”
“Do you know what they are doing then?”
“So then, you should also know why the army sent you there, and why they were doing background checks into Frey, right?”
“… It’s the army’s intelligence division at work.”
“That’s right. They wanted to know more about the research going on inside of D-Works.”
“So, after using me as a decoy, did the army learn anything?”
“Oho, pretty sharp. So you actually figured out that much.”
Laughing airily, she praised him, although Raishin didn’t feel happy about it at all.
“I won’t complain. Even though it was the military’s blunder that led to the perilous situation. …Someone even died. Even so, two years ago, the one who saved me was Shouko. Because of that, I’m not qualified to complain about anything…!”
His shoulders were trembling. Yaya gingerly stared at Raishin.
“Blaming yourself will get you nowhere, boy. And don’t be so conceited. Even if you were a little more skilled, even if Yaya was by your side, thinking that you could have saved a dying person is mere arrogance.”
“But at that time, I—”
Shouko knocked her pipe against the windowsill, scattering some ash.
At her signal for him to drop the topic, Raishin didn’t say a word further.
“Let’s continue. I think you already know this by now, but that thing accompanying Frey is a Bandoll.”
So, Rabi and Yomi were the same, just as he suspected.
“If you insert a human ‘part’ into a Machine, it is difficult to make it last for a long period of time. On the other hand, if your premise is based off using and disposing once you’re done, then there is an interesting solution to that problem.”
“… Inserting the parts into a living creature.”
“That’s right. A ‘part’ requires nutrients and water, both of which are readily available in an organic body. For the short period of time that the body is alive, it will be able to preserve the ‘part’ sufficiently.”
Rabi wasn’t built to resemble a dog.
He was born one, and then modified to become an automaton.
Raishin’s mind replayed the flashback during the time they were in the dark basement.
The icehouse. Those numerous equipment inside. And the bodies of the children floating inside the glass cases of anti-freeze.
Was the Garm type being produced from within them?
“The Sonic circuit is a remarkable magic circuit. It can be used for scouting, stealth, and even attacking. However, because it’s so remarkable, it places a heavy strain on a normal person. If you were able to reduce the amount of magic energy required to activate the circuit, it would become more user-friendly, as well as reduce the burden on existing users.”
“So, for that they created living Machines…”
“If such a thing is employed within the British military, don’t think the higher ups in Japan will remain quiet about this.”
“Why? Isn’t England an ally?”
The implication was obvious. Raishin felt cold sweat running down his back.
“… What is the military thinking? Do they plan on starting a war with one of the major powers of the world?”
“You are just a dog of the military. And a dog should just quietly follow its master.”
At that, Raishin fell silent.
“If you understand the situation, I’m giving you your next set of orders. Retrieve Rabi’s magic circuit.”
“It doesn’t have to be in one piece. But England or the academy mustn’t suspect anything. Under the cover of the Night Party, you should steal it when no one is looking. The military researchers will then perform an analysis-“
“Wait a minute! The magic circuit is tied to the Heart. If I forcibly extract it, there’s no way nothing will happen to the Heart as well.”
“Foolish child, who do you think you’re lecturing to?”
“You’re telling me to… kill… Rabi?”
“I’m not going to say it again.”
His breathing increased. Suppressing his anger, he grounded his teeth.
Yomi had become his shield, and he let her die like that-
On top of that, he was now going to steal Rabi away from Frey too?
Yomi had saved him from death, and now this was how he was going to use his rescued life?
“… It’s time. You should go. The Party is about to begin.”
Shouko was no longer smiling, but coldly ordering him to go. Her tone didn’t leave any room for refusal or defiance. Without answering her, Raishin wordlessly stripped off his clothes, putting on a fresh set of his school uniform.
Yaya was looking at Raishin with concern in her eyes, but she too didn’t say anything, silently lacing her boots on.
Having completed their preparations, Raishin was scowling at Shouko, but averted his eyes as he said,
“… Let’s go, Yaya.”
Throwing on his coat, he stepped out of the room.