A few minutes later, Raishin was in the lobby, having a heated conversation over the phone.
“That’s why I’m telling you, put Shouko on the line! I have something I need to confirm with her urgently!”
“Raishin, please calm down. The master is currently with the Major and— oh, master.”
It sounded like someone had snatched away the receiver on the other end. Almost immediately after, someone other than Irori was on the line.
“You’re so noisy, boy. I could hear you all the way from the next room.”
“You’re pretty slow in calling. I was worried after I heard the clock tower had been destroyed, you know.”
“… I’m sorry. The thought of contacting you hadn’t crossed my mind.”
“Well, it looks like nothing happened to you, and that is what’s important. Although it seems like you made Yaya do something reckless.”
Raishin gulped. Now that she mentioned it, he did almost jump to his death.
Not wanting to pursue the subject any further, and also since this wasn’t the time for such a conversation, Raishin hurriedly changed the subject.
“Also, well… I have a favour to ask of you.”
“Do I look like a fairy godmother to you?”
“Well… no, but…”
“You too, boy. You need to know your place.”
What Shouko meant by saying that was ‘Don’t get yourself tangled up in any more needless situations.’
Clearly, Shouko had seen through Raishin’s thoughts.
“Have you forgotten our wager? You don’t have the freedom to die as and when you like, remember?”
“… It’s not like this is something that will definitely put my life at stake here. I’m just going to look into things.”
“I suggest you quit.”
Shouko’s voice cracked. Having never had a reaction like this before, Rashin was at a loss for words.
“Return to your bed this instant. I will not tolerate any further talking back.”
Without giving him time to respond, the click of the phone indicated she had hung up.
Shouko was probably mad. Her voiced had been laced with irritation.
For that Shouko to be irritated… it wasn’t something that anyone could easily do. Even at a time like this, Raishin still felt a little pride that he had managed to get under her skin.
Though having said that, it was also the worst feeling ever. Raishin ground his teeth, and replaced the receiver.
He wasn’t sure when she had snuck up on him, but standing behind Raishin was an anxious Yaya.
“Shouko said ‘no’, didn’t she?”
“Great. Well then, be a good boy and return to the ward. If you’re really interested in where Charlotte disappeared off to, then Yaya will go search for her.”
“Start packing, Yaya. We’re going to get discharged from the hospital right now.”
Raishin abruptly turned on his heels, and hurriedly strode back into the ward.
“Eh— Wait, Raishin!”
Once inside the ward, Rashin stripped off his hospital clothing.
Swathed in bandages, parts of his chest peeked out from the within the white fabric. His abs could be clearly seen. Frey jumped up, red as a beetroot, and fled the room with Rabi.
While Loki eyed him suspiciously, Raishin changed into his school uniform. His right arm wasn’t moving as well as he wanted it to, and pain shot up his arm every time he moved it, so he had problems putting his shirt on. Seeing him like that, Yaya tried to help him, but since she was touching him in weird places, he poked her in the forehead to keep her away.
Once he had finished dressing himself, he went into the doctor’s office next door.
The full time doctor on duty, Dr Cruel, was heating soup in a beaker. The smell of consommé caused Raishin’s stomach to grumble. Waving off the aroma, he approached Cruel.
“Oh, it’s you. What’s with that outfit?”
Behind his glasses, the pupils of Cruel’s eyes twinkled with a sharp light in them. A chill ran down Raishin’s spine. For some reason he sensed this man wasn’t just an ordinary doctor.
“I don’t think it’s likely, but don’t tell me you want to be discharged now?”
“It’s doesn’t sound the same when the element of surprise is gone.”
“… Do you really understand the implications of what you are saying?”
Pushing up his glasses with a finger, Cruel stared at Raishin, like he was evaluating him.
“Well, I do welcome the idea of destroying guys. If I were to discharge you now, in other words—“
“I would be fit to take part in the Night Party again, right?”
“That’s right. You would once again become the 100th seat. From this very moment onward.”
Simply put, he would have to appear on the stage of the Night Party from tonight onwards.
And all this when Raishin couldn’t even change his clothes satisfactorily.
Raishin glanced over at Yaya. She was fidgety but kept quiet; like she was holding back something she wanted to say, staring at Raishin with a sad look in her eyes.
Raishin remained silent, and Cruel had a dumfounded look on his face.
“Really, you must be insane. I haven’t even removed your stiches yet. Overdo things now, and you’ll only worsen the wounds. Worst case scenario, your body will never be the same again.
“No, they’ve healed already. I’ll come again after a few days to remove the stiches.”
“Healed already, he says… well, speaking of that, that explosion earlier— no, I guess we still don’t know whether it really was an explosion. The important point is, the only thing destroyed was the clock tower.”
He suddenly changed the subject. Eyeing the doctor dubiously, Raishin listened on.
“One of the girls on the medical team told me about it. The one who’s responsible is supposed to be the T-Rex, Charlotte Belew.”
“Hmph. You really can’t read an Oriental’s expression… is what I want to say, but that would be a lie. Your face betrays you. Who are you? Are you her boyfriend?”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
Yaya flinched, having been struck by an invisible hammer blow.
Unsteadily stumbling on her feet, an instant later, she started to release a violently fierce killing aura. Her hair stood on end, waving around like a snake. Raishin hurriedly continued on.
“There, I’ve said that much, so now will you discharge me? Of course, it should be obvious I’m not her boyfriend.”
There was a long sigh. Cruel adopted a pose of resignation,
“Do as you like. You idiot.”
“That what I intended to. Thanks for taking care of me all this while.”
Raishin immediately turned around and walked out of the office.
Without even turning back, he stormed down the hallway.
Just as he reached the entrance, Yaya grabbed on to Raishin’s left arm.
“Calm down Yaya. You know that thing about being her boyfriend was a lie, right?”
“…I’ll get the details from you later. More importantly, why were you in such a hurry?”
“… I know that sort of feeling.”
His chest was hot. His breathing was strained. What he felt was uneasiness.
He had a premonition filled with despair and ruin. Very soon, he would no longer be able undo what had been done. Of that, he was sure.
That was when he was pushing through the black smoke, wandering about in the sea of fire.
It was the exact same feeling as that time when he searched for his sister, and lost her.
“Why are you… so vehement on helping her? Charlotte is someone who will one day stand before Raishin as an enemy to be defeated… And she’s a strong foe. Also, Raishin likes Shouko, don’t you? Since Shouko already told you no, why are you still—“
“… I… That is…”
“Please don’t forget your goal. And also… don’t forget your position.”
She was right; Raishin was just the dog of the military. His role in the academy, at least officially, was just a small part in the larger scheme of intelligence gathering.
On top of that, he wasn’t at liberty to use Yaya to go and brave danger, just because of his own selfishness. His role was to sneak into the Night Party, and spy on the latest Machinart developed by the major powers— and that was only after Shouko had mediated on his behalf. Even if there was a tacit understanding between them that he could exact his revenge, he still couldn’t overdo things here.
At that moment, he heard the loud bark of a dog.
Several dogs were gathered in the hallway, loudly panting. There were five of them. A collie, a german shepherd, a great dane, a dachshund, and a wolf-like dog. Their shoulders and feet were covered with armour. It was the Garm type automata.
Standing in the middle of the pack was Frey, who had an unusually sharp look on her face.
“You’re looking for the T-Rex, right?”
“That’s what I was planning to do…”
“I’ll help too.”
Raishin thought about it for a brief moment.
Frey was a rival in the Night Party. Tonight they would clash, and maybe even one of them would be eliminated. Frey had a reason for participating in the battle, and it she wasn’t going to give up the competition so easily. In fact, for her, the Night Party should have been her first priority.
He wanted Frey to give the Night Party her undivided attention. He thought so not as her rival, but as her friend.
Raishin’s gaze fell onto the dogs.
Every single one of them was a Bandoll. Even if they were just normal dogs, their searching ability would be without question. Plus, there were thirteen of them in total. Rather than just Raishin and Yaya searching, many hands would make light work.
Raishin weighed up whether he should refuse her help out of being obligated to her, or accept her kindness, and decided he would choose kindness.
“I’m in your debt then.”
Accepting Frey’s offer, he bowed to her in gratitude.