The wall was excessively white, making it plain and devoid of feeling.
This was the ward used for patients admitted to the doctor’s office.
Loki was seated on his bed, a difficult expression on his face as he was poring through a research journal on biology.
By his side, there was a large sword leaning against the wall— His automaton, Cherubim, was resting. The two lights that indicated its eyes were fixed upon its master, who was studying intently.
Suddenly, there was the click of someone’s shoes in the hallway outside as he noticed a presence drawing nearer.
Abruptly, Kimberly poked her face into the room.
“You look pretty lonely without Second Last around, you know?”
Loki yelled, but then realised overreacting to her joke would be his loss, so he calmed his tone of voice down.
“Now that the noisy one is gone, this ward has become a refreshing place to be in, Professor Kimberly.”
“Then I guess you’d prefer the status quo remain the way it is.”
“What do you want with me? I don’t think you’d come all the way here just to banter with me… right?”
“That would actually be quite fun too. But I’m here because there’s something I need to discuss with you.”
“… I’m tired of your ‘discussions’. It’s just a nice way of saying you’re about to try and pull off some sort of deception.”
“That’s exactly right. Under the pretext of having a discussion, my ulterior motive here is to have you pay back that favour you owe me.”
“What do I have to do?”
“Well, it’s something simple, really. You just have to protect a certain individual.”
“Protect? I’m just an academy student…”
“Obviously, I know that already.”
Her words were laced with mystery. Loki shrugged his shoulders, causually sighing.
“Hmph… It looks like I don’t have the right to refuse.”
“Don’t sulk. I am a nice and gentle teacher after all. If you perform your task well enough, I’ll compensate you for your efforts.”
“I’m not in want for money.”
“It’s not money. It’s something you want so desperately that you’d beg me for it with your own will. To be more precise, it’s something the both of you would want.”
Kimberly took out a book, showing off the title to him.
It was esoteric writings about magic arts. Seeing the title, Loki’s eyes widened in surprise.
The contents of the book dealt with the internal organs. This was clearly a forbidden tome!
His excitement rising, Loki could feel his own heart beating faster. He took a few deep breaths to steady himself.
“That’s a joke in bad taste, Professor. That book was under the strict supervision of Nectar…”
Halfway through his sentence, he suddenly realised it.
The Organum wasn’t a lost tome.
Just because it was under strict supervision didn’t mean it was something that he couldn’t gain access to.
“Don’t jump to the wrong conclusion. There’s no way I could ever give something like this to you.”
Kimberly grinned, a man-eating smile forming on her face.
“In principle, forbidden grimoires are only allowed to be replicated by hand. Recently, there has been talk of copying this particular tome. So I’ve been looking for a part-time assistant who I can trust to do the job.”
“… Such a crafty, shrewd woman.”
“I’d prefer you call me a nice and kind teacher. And before I forget, I should warn you not to get any funny ideas. You might be able to glean many secrets from this, but in the end the only one allowed to practise them is the Wiseman.”
A wry smile crept its way onto the normally unsmiling Loki’s face.
Really— such a crafty, shrewd woman she was.