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Chapter 7 – Noisy Night
Chapter 7 – Noisy Night
“I see, the bottom of the ballast area, huh…… No wonder I wasn’t able to find it.”
Sylvia, while leaning on the wall in the shade of the corridor, laughed in a low voice.
『I’ll say this just in case, aside from going through that route not being a problem, it looks like you won’t be able to come back unless you’ve got a special ID, so be careful.』
Ayato’s voice was heard from Sylvia’s headphones.
She did not open a s.p.a.ce window, but rather sent the portable terminal’s sound communication directly to the headphones.
“Hahaha. But, is it all alright? Telling me all this.”
『What would Sylvie do if we were in the reverse position?』
Though Ayato’s voice had a teasing tone, something like half-conviction could be heard there.
“……Yes. Thank you, that’s a big help.”
Sylvia closed her eyes and tightly clenched her hand on her chest.
『Oh, and though late, I thank you for the box lunch. It was delicious.』
“Hmm, I’m glad to hear it. Actually, I said that I had confidence in my cooking, but the truth is that I was a little worried about whether or not it’d suit your taste.”
『……But, considering the situation I was in, it’s a shame I wasn’t able to taste it calmly.』
“Eh? Ah, it was just before your match after all. I guess you wouldn’t be able to.”
Then, for some reason, a vague voice as if troubled was heard.
“Ah, by the way, tomorrow is finally the fifth round, isn’t it? Do your best; I’ll be cheering for you.”
『Considering your position, won’t it be bad if you don’t cheer for Rusalka, Sylvie?』
“Of course, I’ll be cheering for both sides. Those girls are my cute juniors after all.”
Sylvia’s words were from her true feelings.
Precisely because Sylvia adequately guessed things ── though in her own way to the bitter end ── and could thus adopt a clear-cut att.i.tude, she was honestly able to cheer for both sides. That was Sylvia Lyyneheym’s basic stance in regards to everything.
But, even Sylvia was not like a saint who attained enlightenment. Naturally, there were things on which she could not adopt a clear-cut att.i.tude; therefore she also had times when she was troubled and suffered.
And Sylvia did not dislike this weak side of hers.
“──Oops, sorry Ayato-kun. Looks like it’s already time.”
『Got it. Then, later.』
As Sylvia cut the communication, she checked the time again and began to walk down the thoroughly cleaned corridor.
This place was Queen Veil Girl’s Academy, the top floor of the twin hall East Wing.
There was a huge double door at the end of the corridor. When Sylvia lightly knocked on it, she soundlessly opened it and went inside the room.
Except the side where the door was, the other three walls were fitted with gla.s.s. In that wide s.p.a.ce that would let one feel bleakness, there was nothing other than an office desk and a chair by the back window. Multiple s.p.a.ce windows floated around the office desk and a woman wearing visor-shaped gla.s.ses was sitting on the chair.
It was a familiar sight for Sylvia, but to her surprise, there were figures of preceding visitors today.
“Thank you for your hard work, everyone.”
“! Sylvia, san……!”
The group of five standing at attention in front of the desk was Rusalka, who had just won their ticket to the quarterfinals today.
“What’s the matter, Petra-san? Don’t tell me it’s another scolding?”
As Sylvia smiled asking so, the woman ── Queen Veil Girl’s Academy board chairman Petra Kivilehto ── loosened her mouth.
Petra herself was also a , who had partic.i.p.ated actively in the as a student of Queen Veil once; she was now an executive of the Integrated Enterprise Foundation W&W, which was Queen Veil’s mother organization, and she was also the producer of Sylvia and Rusalka. Anyway, she was an able woman in various ways.
“Half of it is that, but the other half is to praise them for today’s good battle. Well, I also ended with that just now.”
The black visor gla.s.ses covering her eyes behind them, it was hard to guess her real intention.
“I see. Then, is the scolding about the matter of the day before yesterday?”
To Sylvia’s words, Miluše and company conspicuously changed their expressions.
Sylvia has already heard about the circ.u.mstances, and she also heard about the details from Ayato just now.
“During the period of the , not only did they invent a pretext and pick a fight with a member of a different team, they also caused an uproar by fighting with another team. Moreover, one of them went missing afterwards. Well, it can’t be helped even if you’re scolded, right?”
Said Rusalka, who looked down with docile faces.
“──But apart from that, I guess I should also give you my thanks.”
Miluše looked back at Sylvia with a puzzled face.
“After all, the reason that you flared up at Ayato-kun was because you were worried about me, right? I’ve heard it.”
“N-No, that’s, um……”
To Miluše who wandered her eyes as she was embarra.s.sed, Sylvia slightly shrugged her shoulders and asked a question.
“So, what do you think? The Amagiri Ayato that you girls met, was he the kind of person to deceive people?”
Unexpectedly, the one who answered first was the one with a personality of being quick to pick a fight, Tuulia.
The other members shook their heads as to follow her.
“Hmm, I see. That’s great.”
As Sylvia smiled sweetly, Miluše opened her mouth as to snarl at her.
“B-But, this and that are different! We won’t hold back in tomorrow’s match! I’ll also beat him into a pulp!”
“Of course. You girls are Queen Veil’s representatives, so you must do your best. But, Ayato-kun ……Team Enfield is strong, you know? Will you be all right?”
Though Sylvia said so jokingly, Miluše answered irritatedly.
“Of course! We may look like this, but we are aiming for the championship after all! And then, one day ── we’ll surpa.s.s you and become the world’s best artists!”
After Miluše thrust a finger at Sylvia, she squared her shoulders and left the board chairman room.
“Well said, Miluše!”
The other Rusalka members followed after her while nodding emphatically, but only Mahulena, looking at her teammates, Sylvia and then Petra in turns, left the room after apologizing “sorry, sorry” several times.
“Please, don’t tease them too much, Sylvie.”
After waiting for the door to be closed, Petra complained so with a sigh.
“They are already unstable due to ’s price after all.”
The ogre lux , that Rusalka used, had a strong Ulm mana dite as its core to the extent that its control had finally become possible by dividing it into five. Its price is “mind corrosion”. The initial model before being divided into five was an ogre lux with a story saying that most of its wielders suffered from a mind undermined by insanity.
Even after being settled to the current form, it was said that the wielder becomes more impulsive the higher his/her compatibility rate was and then he/she loses control of his/her emotions. Therefore, Mahulena, who had the lowest compatibility rate among the five girls, could maintain relatively normal thinking.
“But, those girls were already like that even before having been chosen as wielders though.”
To Sylvia’s words, Petra cleared her throat and changed the topic.
“By the way, it looks like they first tried to use your relationship with Amagiri Ayato to make you fall, you know?”
“Hahaha, should I say it’s as usual again……”
Sylvia could not help but smile wryly.
She found it very lovely for them as that led them to the thought that Sylvia might be being deceived and they ended up going for a completely opposite action.
“So, how is it actually? You aren’t possibly serious, are you?”
“And what if I am?”
When Sylvia returned a question, Petra sighed again and held her forehead.
“Sigh…… Really, be it you, those girls, or Chloe, why do all the girls, whom I set my eyes on, act like this……?”
“Oh, I thought that you’ll get angrier.”
“I’d have been, if I could do something about it by blaming you.”
As Petra said so and stood up, she curved her mouth into a light smile.
“Well whatever. About this matter, I’ll overlook it to some extent. I trust you after all.”
(Though it’s a lie)
Sylvia inwardly stuck out her tongue.
Petra Kivilehto was originally a coldhearted and calculating person. But at the same time, there was no mistaking that she loved the academy’s students as board chairman. She made up for that facet by not trusting others at all.
“But, please be a little prudent regarding the other matter.”
By other matter, she probably meant Sylvia looking for Ursula’s whereabouts.
“Have you already heard about the organization called Golden Bough Alliance?”
“Hmm, no, I haven’t.”
When Sylvia turned a blaming gaze, Petra put her hands on the desk and slightly bent herself forward.
“Don’t you get it? I, an executive of the Integrated Enterprise Foundation, am saying that I’ve never heard of it, you know?”
“Recently, though very rarely, that name has been caught in our intelligence network. This coincided with the time when your action deepened.”
It was the time when Sylvia expanded her search range to the ogre luxes.
“The details are completely unknown. And it isn’t like something happened directly. But…… this organization is probably extremely dangerous.”
“In other words, it’s just your intuition?”
“Are you dissatisfied?”
Petra was excellent. Her judgment this time was probably correct, too.
But even so, Sylvia was not mature enough to obediently agree with it.
In the first place, Sylvia’s and Petra’s positions were equal, so there was no reason why she must one-sidedly obey Petra’s orders. Sylvia used Petra, and Petra used Sylvia. That has not changed since the time when Sylvia was found by Petra and signed a contract to become a songstress.
“I understand. I’ll reduce the frequency. And I’ll do it more carefully than before.”
This was the best compromise she could offer.
“……Fine by me.”
After being silent for a little while, Petra shortly said so.
When Claudia returned to her room, a woman with a perfect smile without any rips was relaxing on the sofa in the dimly lit room.
“It’s been a while, Claudia.”
“……If it isn’t Mother. Long time no see.”
After being taken aback for a moment, Claudia immediately returned a perfect smile similar to her mother ── Isabella Enfield’s.
She did not ask the meaningless question of how her mother entered this room.
The other party was Isabella, so she had a free pa.s.s to go wherever she wanted in this academy. After all, she was a top executive of the Integrated Enterprise Foundation Galaxy, parent organization of Seidoukan Academy.
In the first place, if she ── or more precisely if they seriously intended to get rid of Claudia, they should be able to crush her even immediately.
It would be easy for them to make her drop out of school, imprison her or even take her life. The reason why they did not do so was because the interference from the other Integrated Enterprise Foundation that Claudia set up worked to some extent, and above all, because it was too easy to do it.
There were plenty of methods to get rid of Claudia, But giving the other Integrated Enterprise Foundations such an opening to take advantage of would be a large disadvantage to them (Galaxy). As for Galaxy, they wanted to avoid that as much as possible. As a result, their decision would be put off until the very last minute.
And that was precisely Claudia’s aim.
“So, what kind of business do you have with me today?”
“Is it so strange for a mother to come to meet her daughter?”
“Unfortunately, I have no memory of you doing anything mother-like for me.”
Claudia indifferently spitted out with her smile as is.
“Ah, please do not get me wrong. Despite that, I love you as such. Just like Father.”
“What a coincidence. Me, too.”
There was no lie in each other’s words. Although she was the Integrated Enterprise Foundation top executive that had undergone the mind adjustment program on several folds, she was not a machine.
Rather, one might have said that there was no meaning to it if they became like machines.
Therefore, Isabella actually loved Claudia, too. Just that it was dwarfish in comparison with the love that she dedicated to Galaxy.
“Don’t tell me that you possibly came here now to persuade me?”
“Of course. You and I are quite alike after all. I believe I understand at least that it would be meaningless to do it.”
Claudia frowned slightly.
Although those were words that she has been told so much until she got fed up with them from the time when she was a child, Claudia thought of the woman before her eyes to be an absolutely incompatible existence to herself. This was because Isabella was a human being who devoted her all to the Integrated Enterprise Foundation, and Claudia was a human being who lived only for herself.
“Would you soon tell me about your business then?”
When Claudia asked so again, Isabella softly narrowed her eyes.
“I want to talk a little with you, you see?”
“Yes, the motive which drove you to such a folly, its purpose…… we don’t have enough information about it. So, all that is left to do is asking you directly, right?”
“And do you think that I will obediently tell you?”
Though Claudia checked so, Isabella continued without caring about her intention.
“Of course, you will. After all, there is the need for you to do so, right?”
Though at this late hour, Claudia realized how troublesome of a person she was dealing with as she muttered so in her heart.
Isabella saw through people’s actions as if it was natural.
“I do not know your purpose. But, I understand that you instigate us to take action, restrain us, and are trying to lead us as you want. To that end, you will have to give us information, right? Then, hurry up and do it.”
Though it was earlier than expected, there was no problem.
Either way, it was necessary to perform some adjustment to the situation in order to prepare the stage of the final act. She might as well get it over with in this place.
“I cannot tell you both my motive and purpose, but I will reveal to you my cards to some extent. Let’s see, first…… how about the reason why you people, Galaxy, must absolutely obstruct my action?”
“……That is very interesting, indeed.”
Isabella twitchily moved her eyebrows.
“Professor Ladislav Bartsheik, whom I wish to meet with, is kept in custody by you people. The reason being that the professor is the spiritual leader of the and it would be a big scandal if it was known that an existence that instigated the ringleaders of that incident ── that such a person was registered at Seidoukan. Not to mention Seidoukan, but Galaxy’s image will be greatly spoilt, too. That’s why, until you people of Galaxy make no small concessions to the other Integrated Enterprise Foundations, you freeze his judgment…… is what is known of the other Integrated Enterprise Foundations, I guess.”
As Claudia talked up to there, she sat down on the sofa in front of Isabella.
“However, what you people really wanted to conceal was not the professor. But, the ogre lux that the professor created half coincidentally ── that , which possesses a clear self and ability that even cannot freely handle, was the existence that you people had to keep in the darkness by all means ── am I wrong?”
“……How do you know that?”
Agitation could not be inferred from Isabella’s expression.
But, Claudia did not miss the fact that her voice slightly trembled.
Right. Even Isabella was a human. Not a machine.
“The was an incident that students inoculated with eugenic ideology by ’s ability caused. Rather than the professor tagging along with it, far more importantly ── and that, if handled poorly even a little, it is a truth that will cause trouble even for Galaxy. Yes, of course. After all, , which you people have not yet grasped the whereabouts, can freely ma.s.s produce terrorists by brainwashing humans ── in other words, this incident and that incident, which are occurring even now all over the world; perhaps might have taken part in all of them. Moreover, if it was a human attached to Galaxy that created it, it is not as if you do not know how much responsibility will be pinned down on you people. At least, the other Integrated Enterprise Foundations will definitely not overlook such delicious material.”
Isabella stared at Claudia in silence.
“And I will answer your question of earlier. How do I know that? How do I know highly confidential information that is known only to the top executives of Galaxy? It is simple. This is because you told me.”
Finally, Isabella opened her eyes wide.
It was an expression that Claudia saw for the first time in her life.
A meaningless and unnecessary joy appeared in her heart and then vanished immediately.
“More accurately, this child that you gave me when I was young.”
Claudia said so and took out the activation body of from the holder of her waist.
“……! No, but, that can’t be……”
It seemed like Isabella guess with that alone.
She was indeed excellent.
“Fufufu, ’s price is personally experiencing every possibility of one’s own death inside a dream. The dream’s contents melts and disappears at the same time as one wakes up ── but it is still information profitable enough, even if it’s in fragments. Of course, since it is to the bitter end knowledge of an uncertain future, I cannot draw a picture of the future no matter how I put those fragments together. However, guessing information of a definite past from there is possible.”
As Isabella blew out a deep, long breath, she stood up from the sofa.
“I understand. It looks like you are a far more dangerous existence that what we had previously imagined.”
“Fufufu, have you finally noticed it?”
For an instant, Isabella and Claudia’s gazes fiercely clashed with each other; then both of them immediately turned their faces away.
“I hope that Galaxy will arrive at a conclusion desirable for me.”
As Claudia said so to Isabella who headed to the door, the latter answered without turning around.
“In that case, I hope that you guys will be defeated even tomorrow if possible.”
And then she left the room as is.
And while suppressing her welling loud laughter, Claudia, who was left alone in the room, muttered to no one in particular.
“Fufufufufu……! It will not go like that, Mother. I finally came so far. I cannot afford to stumble here after coming this far……!”
In the dim workshop of the Meteoric Engineering Research Club, only the sound of Saya tapping a physical keyboard and the sound of machines running resounded.
“……Hey, Saya. Do you know that we have a match tomorrow as well?”
When Ayato, who sat in a chair a small distance away, asked while being amaze, Saya stared at the s.p.a.ce window and answered without turning around.
“That’s why I’m hurrying like this.”
“No, I don’t mean that……”
Though he understood that it was useless even if he said that, he could not help but say it.
It was already late at night. Because tomorrow’s fifth round would be from 14:00, as expected it was a time that if she did not rest her body soon, it might affect the match.
Even so, Saya showed no signs of stopping her lux’s customization. As she more or less seemed to get into the final adjustment stage, the lux, in its activation body as is, was put in a box-shaped pedestal where countless cables extended.
“……It’s my fault to not have made it in time for the main battle, too. I can’t cause troubles to the team any more than this. I must make it in time for the next match no matter what.”
“I think that everyone will be troubled if you were to get sick because of this though.”
Time was largely taken due to the incident with Team h.e.l.lion and her plan seemed to have been out of order; but there was no help for it then. There was no way that Claudia and company would blame her for that.
──But, Ayato understood well that that was not the problem.
“Ayato, you too should go back and rest.”
“I took a nap, so it’s fine…… Well, I’ll leave if you say I’m distracting you though.”
“……No, that’s not it, but”
Saya stopped her hands for a very short moment, and then resumed her work after answering so.
Silence reigned once again.
Only the sound of Saya tapping the keyboard and the sound of machines running continued resounding.
Ayato kept quiet as is, only looking at Saya’s back.
Before long, Saya suddenly opened her mouth while still moving her hands though.
“Ayato, have you thought about the future?”
Because it was too vague and he could not grasp the intention of the question, he asked so in return.
“a.s.suming that we win the and you are able to have Haru-nee wake up safely ── after that.”
“That…… I’ve never thought about it.”
When he honestly answered as it was really the truth, Saya shook her shoulders as she chuckled.
“Yes. I thought so.”
“And you too, Saya, is there anything that you want to do?”
About one of the reasons why Saya came to this academy, that is “making her father’s luxes known to the world”, she has already achieved it.
“……Saying that I want to do something may be slightly wrong.”
Saya shut her mouth as she pondered; and soon after, she continued shortly.
“But, I made a resolution.”
That was again a vague statement.
“But anyway, I’ll do what I have to do tomorrow, so ── all right, it’s completed.”
Then, Saya said so, stood up and bounced her voice joyfully. It looked like she was over with her work.
She took out the activation body as is from the pedestal and, after finishing a small check, deployed the lux.
“! This is……!”
To Ayato, who opened his eyes wide, Saya proudly stuck out her small chest.
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