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Chapter 17: A Beginning Pressure
“I’ll visit you every day!”
That’s what I declared to Roll, but it appears that I won’t be able to keep my promise.
I felt a strong need to apologize to Roll, as I read an illustrated encyclopedia with the title of ‘The magical beasts inhabiting the Basara Woodland’.
There is a desert area in the far west of our city, called the Basara Desert. It would take about two days straight to get there by car.
Right in the middle of the Basara Desert, there’s a luxuriant woodland surrounded by the huge sea of sand.
It is an oasis where vegetation grew in abundance.
I am currently looking down at this scenery from 1000 meters in the sky.
The noise coming from the helicopter’s propeller is nothing but loud.
The incredibly hot sunrays blazed down on me.
It was so hot I thought I would melt.
One thought has uninterruptedly bothered me the whole day.
It’s about me not being able to visit Roll in the hospital.
I felt really, really sorry for Roll.
I repeat. It appears that I won’t be able to visit Roll at all.
That’s because, starting today, it was decided that I would have to survive for an entire month inside the woodlands spreading under my eyes.
Yes, together with Tameiki-san.
In order to tell you how it came to this, I’ll have to go back in time a little bit.
It all happened the day before yesterday, in the evening, after I received an email from Tameiki-san.
I didn’t conceal my confusion when I received that mysterious email from Tameiki-san.
The email only said ‘Come’, and I didn’t know what that meant.
All the important information was cut out.
Wait a second.
If I think about it, this might be a mistake. Maybe Tameiki-san sent it to me by mistake.
This kind of simple message can only be sent to someone who understands what that ‘Come’ means.
It has to be this.
I then pressed the reply button. I only wanted to write ‘You mistook the receiver’s address’, but I looked over my reply message again.
It kind of left unfriendly.
Tameiki-san saved us yesterday, so I’ll add a few words of thanks as well.
It’s not quite great to thank people via emails, but I’ll properly express my gratitude when I meet with Tameiki-san again.
But the thing is I never met Tameiki-san inside the organization before.
‘You mistook the receiver’s address.
And also, I feel a bit ashamed for saying this in an email, but I want to thank you for saving us yesterday.’
I looked over my reply message again.
This should be all right.
I pressed the send button, then entered the training room.
Immediately after, my phone’s ringtone resounded again.
The sender was Tameiki-san.
It was a surprisingly fast reply.
Astonished, I opened the email in order to check its text.
It, again, only contained the word ‘Come’.
It appears that I must to go Tameiki-san’s place.
Seeing this a second time, it meant that it wasn’t the wrong address.
The organization’s no. 2 is calling for me.
I was a little scared, but I had to go.
Because it only said to come, it also meant that all the necessary information can be deduced some way or another.
I don’t know the reason behind this, but if I was to ask about the place, it has to be Tameiki-san’s room.
But where is Tameiki-san’s room?
Unlike the members’ email addresses, our room numbers are not shared among us, so I don’t know where Tameiki-san’s room is.
I might have to go ask Roll about this.
I thought about it as I left the training room, but that’s when I came across the Boss.
I’m sorry about what happened yesterday.”
The first thing he said was an apology, so I kind of panicked.
He was talking about our mission.
“No, I must also apologize for failing the mission. It all happened because I stood in Roll’s way.”
“That’s, well, let’s not talk about past things.”
“So, Shion, you’re training even without Roll being around? That’s the spirit.”
I haven’t started yet though. Tameiki-san’s email hindered my training.
I know. The Boss might know where Tameiki-san is.
I’ll ask him.
“I was just about to start my training.
…….Can I ask you something?”
“Yeah, sure. Ask me anything.”
“Do you know where Tameiki-san is right now?”
Don’t tell me that person already summoned you!?”
“Eh? That’s what happened though.
What do you mean by already?”
Guessing by his way of speaking, it seems like the Boss understands something that I don’t.
Anyway, I told the Boss about Tameiki-san email, which only said ‘Come’.
Listening to my story, he stifled his smile and answered me.
“Tameiki is in the cafeteria. We just finished talking.
That person…Ain’t Tameiki hasty now for a change!?”
“Why am I being summoned?”
“You’ll know once you get there. Good luck, then.”
The Boss only said this, then he turned around and walked away.
What do you mean by good luck……!?
At any rate, I’ll just have to go meet with Tameiki-san.
I’m a bit nervous, to be honest.
The Anonymous headquarters even has a facility used as a cafeteria.
This place is just uselessly big. They remodeled it again, or so it seems.
I came here a few times before together with Roll, but it’s the first time I came here alone.
There are a lot of people around.
The Anonymous headquarters doesn’t only have fighters, but also spies, cooks, cleaners, researchers and so on. That’s why the cafeteria is always bustling with energy.
I surveyed the cafeteria with my eyes, looking for Tameiki-san.
Having done so, I immediately found what I was looking for.
Tameiki-san was sitting loosely on a sofa somewhere in the back of the cafeteria.
With an incredibly sluggish expression, she half opened her eyes and was looking at me now.
…….At any rate, I’ll just go there.
I had a feeling that I needed to hurry, so I walked towards Tameiki-san with a fast pace.
I stopped in front of her and decided to first greet her.
“Good-good evening. I’m Shion.”
I gulped down my saliva.
What’s with this sense of intimidation!
I was completely overwhelmed by this superior existence in front of me.
Tameiki-san sat there, wearing the same clothes she did yesterday.
Is it all right to call this sitting though?
Her posture is so shallow, she’s already close to lying down.
Her long black hair is spread around the back of the sofa.
When I look closer at her, she’s incredibly beautiful, this person……
It’s the first time we met like this, so I didn’t know it.
I have a feeling that her beauty is sometimes ruined by her personality, and in addition to that, her beauty is not at all seductive.
This is bad.
She paused the conversation and didn’t continue.
I’ll first thank her for saving us yesterday.
“Tameiki-san, thank you for coming to our rescue yesterday.”
No reaction. Tameiki-san’s pulse was slow and restful.
This silence lasted a while longer.
“……..So, what do you want to talk to me about?”
Since we couldn’t stay silent forever, I broke the ice and asked about my main concern.
Thereupon, Tameiki-san stood up slowly.
Without thinking, I put myself on guard.
She let out a long yawn, rubbed her eyes and combed her hair upwards with one hand.
Then, that hand she used for combing her hair became blurred.
Before I could notice, Tameiki-san’s fist hit me in my stomach.
That’s when I lost my senses.
My body was shaking.
When I opened my eyes, I realized that I was sitting in a car’s passenger’s seat.
With the lights on, the car was running on a highway.
I looked through the window, but everything was dark, so I couldn’t see anything.
I didn’t comprehend my situation so I was kind of confused, when I realized that Tameiki-san was sitting in the driver’s seat.
She was driving with her eyes barely opened; she seemed rather sleepy.
When I saw her, my memories from right before losing consciousness came back to me vividly.
“Did you wake up?”
“What! What are you doing??”
“Haa, you’re too loud.”
I unintentionally yelled, but Tameiki-san’s words made my spirit wither instantly.
“Forgive me. What is going on?”
“One month starting now. In short, while Roll is under medical care, I will be looking after you.”
It’s a joke, right?
Tameiki-san is going to look after me?
Who decided this……!?
The Boss…….! He did have a knowing look on his face, precisely because they talked about this……!
“If you have complaints, talk to Heid. He only told me to look after you, so I’ll do just that, in my own way.”
“…….Is this for real?”
“If you don’t like it, you can scurry home. Although, we are about 300 km away from the city.”
I am lost for words.
I was dragged into something unthinkable without any kind of warning.
Tameiki-san is going to look after me?
What is she gonna do to me?
Besides, where are we going?
“Where are we going then?”
“To Basara Woodland.”
“You’re too loud.”
That Basara Woodland is ridiculously far away, and it’s inhabited by swarms of dangerous magical beasts.
Why are we going there for?
Also, the restraint ring on my finger is gone……
“We’ll stop by a few branch offices on our way to Basara Woodland.
We’re going to use a helicopter midway.
Also, I threw away your restraint ring. Don’t rely on that thing.”
“You threw it away!?”
What is this woman doing!
“Until we get there, learn everything in this book.”
She said, then tossed me an illustrated encyclopedia with a title of ‘The magical beasts inhabiting the Basara Woodland’.
It was a pretty thick book.
I was lost for words once again.
“…….Why are we going as far as Basara Woodland for?
Is this a raw materials supply mission or something?”
I asked this, and Tameiki-san shook her head lazily before she answered.
“During this whole month, I’ll make you as strong as possible.
In other words, this is your training.”
And so, 38 hours from now I’ll be in a helicopter above the Basara Woodland.