Ten minutes had barely passed after the inconclusive end to the battle.
At the entrance to the medical faculty, someone was restlessly pacing back and forth.
It was Raishin. Unable to keep calm, he was waiting for someone. Yaya watched him worriedly. She was still worried about her master’s wounds.
Finally, Raishin’s feet stopped moving. His sharp sense of hearing had picked up the sound of footsteps.
His eyes confirmed what his ears had heard. The outdoor light shining down slowly revealed the identities of the approaching shadows. There was no way he could mistake that beguiling kimono. It was Shouko and Irori.
Raishin burst out of the entrance to receive the both of them.
“Sorry. And thanks. I… other than Shouko, there isn’t anyone else I can rely on…”
“Save your story for later. Where is the broken puppet?”
Breaking out into a half run, Raishin led Shouko into the doctor’s office.
Opening the door, four figures came into sight.
There was a bespectacled doctor. Kimberly, who was leaning against a wall. And two girls from the medical team. On the far end of the room, Frey was receiving treatment, sleeping on a simple bed.
The first person to react was Dr. Cruel.
After blurting that out, he hurriedly tried to smooth his appearance, and put on a refreshing smile on his face. While continuing to work on Frey, he spoke.
“Pleased to make your acquaintance. What brings a fine lady like you to a squalid place like this? Unfortunately, as you can see I am a little busy at the moment, so perhaps if you could wait—“
“Yes, pleased to meet you too, ill-mannered boy.”
“If you really want to charm me, I suggest you first learn proper etiquette befitting of a human being, then try again.”
Walking past Cruel like he wasn’t there, Shouko strode towards the centre of the office.
Rabi had been laid out on a table.
Since Rabi was an automaton, normally he wouldn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the doctor’s office. However, since he was largely organic, he wasn’t brought to the technological or engineering departments, but here instead. Also, he was brought here so he could be next to his puppeteer, Frey.
Shouko shot a sideways glance at Kimberly, who was next to her.
“Is it alright for me to be here uninvited?”
“I don’t care. In fact I’m thrilled. I might get to see the famous Karyuusai in action.”
Having gained consent, Shouko fiddled with her eye patch, selecting a lens to examine Rabi with.
Somehow or another, she seemed to be looking through Rabi’s body with an x-ray filter. You could see and hear the magic energy flowing through her eye patch.
Without lifting her head, Shouko began yelling out instructions in a sharp voice.
“I’ll need insulation forceps, a conduction catheter, and ethanol in distilled water. Afterwards, I’ll need a lot of salt. Irori, get me a washbasin full of ice. Also, Professor Kimberly, can I trouble you to cut out a lock of hair from the child sleeping over there?”
While speaking, she reached into her sleeve and pulled out a parcel. Opening it, there were various tools of different sizes crammed inside. Additionally, several precious stones tumbled out onto the table with a clatter, at which Raishin could only stare at with envious eyes.
“You really know nothing. Those are magic stones. They are natural batteries for storing magic energy. Because of the composition of their crystalline structure, they are able to store high quality magic energy inside them.”
While cutting Frey’s hair, Kimberly whispered into Raishin’s ear.
Shouko’s hands were a flurry of movement. Removing the chain wrapped around her waist, she laid it down, enclosing Rabi within.
It was a barrier. It looked similar to a technique the Akabane clan had.
Next, Shouko held a cord in her mouth, using it to tie up the rolled-up sleeves of her kimono.
Her arms were slender and white. Her fingers were long and slender as well, and they were a little bony for a lady. Looking like they had been used regularly, they were the fingers of a master craftsman.
Finally, Shouko’s “operation” began.
The way she used her hands were polished and refined, with no wasted movements. If anything, she didn’t appear at a loss at all. It was as if she knew what to do and exactly when to do it.
It was like watching a pianist on her instrument. With no time for the gallery to catch their breath, in less than ten minutes she had finished Rabi’s treatment.
She used Frey’s hair for the stiches. After swiftly suturing his wound,
She gave instructions to the two girls from the medical team, then stepped away from Rabi.
Washing her hands in the basin Irori held out, she cleaned the blood off.
Only admiration was in Kimberly’s voice as she thanked Shouko for her work.
“So, will that automaton be able to live longer?”
“In the first place, it was always going to be impossible.”
“— that’s, how do I say it, quite an unexpected answer.”
“The internal organs are a total mess. If the Heart is anything like that, it’s pretty much a hopeless case.”
Raishin unconsciously looked over at Frey, and was a little relieved she was still unconscious and didn’t hear that.
“However, my rule is to do everything flawlessly, and do it till the end. I would like to repair the parts that were damaged, so that he would have a stronger connection to life. If only I had some quality oaken timber with me.”
“Oak? Are you planning on woodcarving as well?”
“I am a puppeteer. Rather than this pretence of being a doctor, you could say the image of an artisan of wood suits me better.”
“Fine, fine, I got it. Well, I’m in a hurry, so guess I better get going first.”
Kimberly walked out of the doctor’s office. After seeing her disappear from sight, Shouko turned to face Raishin.
“Well then, let’s hear your story.”