Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume13 Ghost in Ghost
 Ghost in Ghost
She ran desperately. All that was left in her mind was her resolve. Nothing else mattered.
It was dark everywhere and monsters were closing in. The multi-eye held no emotions. Teeth like scythes sat in rows inside the opened jaw. Just imagining being bitten into pieces was enough to make her tremble.
She began to doubt her current location. She was in a place she didn't want to be in and had run into an unexpected monster. What joke was this?
Why do I have to fight?
Felli Loss was just a psychokinesist, why........
That day began with the usual morning. Having arrived at the school for some time, she passed the time as usual. Felli Loss didn't have any friends, yet she did not feel lonely amidst a crowd. Not that she didn't want to make friends, not that she felt painful interacting with others.
She just felt it was all right to be alone.
Her classmates knew she didn't deliberately create a barrier to wall them off. She would respond if they walked over to talk to her. They would also make jokes with her. Everyone knew she just didn't wish for others to make lots of effort to talk to her, so few came to speak with her.
Hence, her words were slightly odd when she was greeted with such a kind attitude.
It was after the first lesson after lunch break. She was called short when she prepared to leave the room. Felli lifted her head and saw Eri standing before her. She hadn't talked much with Eri. Not that they had a bad relationship. Eri also didn't talk much.
....... But she liked to talk to herself.
"Hohoho..... Shall we go together?"
They had the same destination. Felli cocked her head as she calculated the intention behind Eri's stiff smile.
Though she didn't know Eri's intention, she was sure she had some sort of purpose.
"Why!...... Hoho, how do you know? Hoho."
"Do you know your laughter is creepy?"
"Hohoho, that can't be helped. It's become a habit. My friends said I'm gloomy, so it's best to at least laugh. This started back then."
Her friends must have said something regretful.
"Uh, actually, I've joined a club. We have an activity tonight. If possible, Felli-san, can you join us?"
"........ What does the club do?"
"A club for horror lovers."
Ignoring the still gloomily smiling Eri, Felli quickly walked away.
"Ah! Please wait."
Eri ran to catch up with her.
"Please don't say such cold thing~"
"You must be holding that activity in the ruins?"
"Yes, because we're going for supernatural excursion."
She increased her speed and chased after Felli.
"Don't say that.... The president said to bring some friends. The president's order is absolute."
"I'm not interested in your situation."
"Please don't say that. I...... I only have you as a friend outside the club."
"Then please take my name off your friend list for today."
Eri cried. Though the students around them looked concerned, they all left due to Eri's icy and gloomy smile. Felli sympathized with her........ but as the party involved, she felt embarrassed about it and so she halted her steps.
But she immediately regretted her action.
A challenging smile adorned Eri's face.
"Hohohohoo......... Could you be afraid of ghosts, Felli-san?"
"Why would I? I just don't believe in things that can't be analyzed rationally."
Correctly speaking, she meant things that flakes of psychokinesis couldn't analyze.
"If I'm confused by information that can't be felt, I cannot accurately send out information."
"Hohoho........ Even though you're saying this, you're really scared."
"No, as I was saying..."
"No matter. Even though you're a Military Artist, it's understandable if there are a few things you're afraid of."
It seems she was provoking her dignity to make her join. This must be Eri's strategy? Or it could be the president's. Either way, none of it worked on Felli. Not even Eri's strategy worked.
"Just say whatever you like."
"Aaa, please wait."
Her pretense collapsed.
"Don't do what you cannot do," Felli said.
"Um, uh..... I'm sorry," Eri continued to explain, lying on the floor as if she was paralyzed. "But new members must invite friends to participate. If I can't do that, I'd have to play a punishment game. Do you find that too much?"
"Uh, please, I beg you. Save me."
She looked really pitiful. Felli sighed and nodded.
It was night. After training at the war field, Felli changed her clothes and headed out for the meeting.
"Ah, Felli-san," Eri waved at her. It seemed she was worried she might not show. Felli felt it must have been really horrible for her when she rejected her plea.
"Is it here?"
They were next to the building of the Student Council. Before Felli was an old building. She couldn't tell whether the paint protecting its surface was peeling off or just barely hanging on. Dirt filled the windows. Some windows were broken. No one was in the area. She felt uneasy by coming to an empty building, and that uneasiness was intensified since the building had been abandoned for a long time.
They were in the middle of Zuellni. This abandoned building next to the building of the Student Council was creepy, the atmosphere magnified a thousand times. Though Felli had visited the building of the Student Council many times, this was her first time seeing this building. But that couldn't be helped as the building was surrounded by thick bushes. It gave off a feeling of rejection. Even the only road that led to the depth of the bush that Felli now walked on was overgrown with wild grasses, repelling outsiders.
Around ten people had already arrived.
As expected, the Horror lovers club didn't have many members. She understood the president's intention now, but according to Eri, the club had over a hundred members. Besides, Eri had only entered a branch of it. If all members gathered together, there should be over one thousand of them.
"Hohoho. Thought that's the case, only these people are seriously interested in attending the activities," Eri told the truth while Felli stood speechless.
It was useless to get numb over this now.
The club's irregularly published magazine was popular and the money had provided them with minimal financial support. Sometimes, they had enough to organize a big event.
Eri kept talking about past big events.......... She was probably lured by the same tactic.
The announcement sounded. It came from a girl with freckles around her nose. For some reason, she gave off a mysterious aura. She must be the president.
"Well then – let's begin," she said after looking at the twenty or so participants. She hadn't confirmed whether anyone was late. So unorganized.
"First, I'll explain since we've some newcomers. Then please come forward, our special guest."
"Hey, hey, you aren't even gonna introduce him?"
The special guest smiled sourly and walked out of the crowd. His gaze was on the building. Perhaps she was suppressing his presence so no one noticed him. Had he used Sakkei? That meant..........
A tall and muscular man stood out beside the president. The more Felli looked at him, the bigger her suspicion grew.
"I'm the special guest, Vance Harudei. "
Embarrassment showed on his face.
Felli was shocked, her eyes wide. This tall Head of Military Arts who always accompanied her brother the Student President gave off the image of someone angry and impatient. She never thought he'd show himself in such a shadowy club. No, from the way he spoke, it felt like he had joined one of the primary clubs. She couldn't imagine what the primary clubs were like these days. However, Vance was really before her. This was the truth. For someone who didn't show much emotion like Vance to suddenly reveal a side full of humanity, Felli found this fact both shocking and revolting.
Not at all concerned with the strange gazes pinning him, Vance began the explanation.
"This building used to be for experiment purposes for the Alchemy course. It was the original building for the Alchemy course and has a history of about 30 years."
30 years. This building had not been refurbished for other purposes since Felli entered the Academy City. She couldn't think of why the building had been abandoned for so long.
"This building is not in use because of one of the experiments. The record for that experiment doesn't exist anymore, so it must have been a big event. You'd understand once you enter. But since there're traces indicating the building is in risk of collapsing, please be cautious and don't get close to any dangerous areas," he gave the typical warning to the students and continued, "The event had not only damaged the building but it had also injured and killed several students. Because of that, the Student President of that time decided to abandon this building and built another building for the Alchemy course. The final decision was to demolish the old building but various things happened during the demolition process, ranging from the failing of a crane to workers getting injured. In the end, people who walked past the building had reported seeing students who weren't here anymore. Rumor had it that a ghost interference had occurred."
They all sounded like lies to Felli. Just what exactly was a ghost? It never had a clear definition. Legend had it that a soul existed in a human body. Supernatural lovers typically defined a soul as a ghost. But what happened to a soul that had died? In the time of religion, of a God that believers were devoted to before the existence of Regios, souls were believed to return to where the God resided. Would the God accept the souls of present humans who no longer believed in them? Had the thinking of believing in a God overcome the narrow-mindedness of humans? If a God would unconditionally accept the souls of non-believers, doesn't that mean there shouldn't be any more ghosts in the world? There was also another belief that the souls of stubborn people would remain after they died. This meant the countless people who lived in this world, or those who had a stubborn will were not all buried in this earth? Either way, all weird rumors said ghosts only appeared in special places that ghosts appeared in.
Felli listened to Vance with disappointment.
"Hohoho.... So interesting."
But Eri was enjoying it.
"Aaa......... Those people died in the explosion without realizing they had died. What were their feelings as they appeared here?"
"Have you not thought of failing?" Felli said to Eri, who was convinced she would meet a ghost.
Felli and Eri were given a map and a torch. The members formed into teams of two and they entered the old building in order. Inside, the building smelled humid, stale and dusty. Though there wasn't a trace of burnt smell, they could see the black stains left by the fire.
"Wuhohoho........ I'm excited," Eri said to the dissatisfied Felli. She slowed down her steps, the light from the torch drifting.
Felli silently stared at the map. It wasn't complete. The danger zones were clearly marked but other areas had been neglected. This was probably done to make the participants search for their own paths. The so called investigation of the strange was just a courage testing game. The president looked like she was used to this. She must have participated many times. Felli couldn't understand how they could be so happy in this dark and dirty place, especially Eri.
Eri kept laughing. "Are you scared, Felli-san?"
"How can you be so happy?"
Eri's expression showed she didn't comprehend Felli's question. "Because it's a ghost."
".......... That isn't an answer."
"Why? They appear in a way unknown to us living beings. They chase after us and attempt to possess our bodies, thinking of cursing us to death and bring us over to that side of the world. Isn't that the delicate existence of a ghost?"
"Don't you think this is rude to the dead?"
Even though she said that, it was useless against Eri.
(Hurry up and finish this.)
The only way to finish as quickly as possible was to walk through the building as fast as possible. Felli increased her speed.
"Ah, wait for me."
Eri chased after her in a fluster.
Humid wind blew in past a broken window. Dried leaves and sand blown in by the wind filled the corridor. Every step generated soft crunching sounds. Many of the doors leading to what looked like research labs were opened. As all documents had been moved away, almost all bookshelves stood empty. Abandoned glass containers had stains of yellow in them. Some liquid could have been left in them for a long time. Looking from the color, some horrible thing might happen if one were to take out the cork.
"Hohoho, so interesting."
Felli ignored her and silently filled in the map. They needed to investigate all areas in the five story high building except the collapsed areas and an individual area that had been blocked.
"........ This is the last room."
Having investigated the last room, Felli confirmed the map had been filled. They had checked all areas they could enter.
"Ok, let's head back."
"Still haven't met one."
She ignored the disappointed Eri and returned to the corridor. Through the dust covering the window, she could see the sharp tower of the Student Council building. The tower had been turned into a clock tower. Only elite Military Artists with internal Kei could see the time on the clock from the outskirt of the city. As for the building itself, everyone could see it since it was so enormous.
The clock she saw from here was like a giant spying at them. Felli could see the trembling of the moving long hand of the clock. She had looked at the clock before entering the forest that surrounded the old building. They had been in here for two hours now.
"Hohoho, is it already that late?" Eri was shocked.
"I spent so much time on this meaningless task."
"Such a regret. Let's return. The president and the others have probably gone back."
Her words made Felli pause.
"What is it?"
"Speaking of which, we haven't seen anyone since entering the building."
Only three entrances were usable in this building. Ten teams were formed from twenty people. Two people for each team and they were to enter through the three entrances. Two teams should have entered before Felli's team.
Felli looked at the map. They had gone through all the possible areas from the entrance. They had also checked the collapsed areas and the blocked off area. They had walked through every corner of the building but why had they not met the first two teams?
"Because this building is huge."
She didn't agree with her.
"Saying it's huge cannot explain the problem."
"Really? Those people are also submerged in the game. They just haven't found each other."
"Am I also submerged in it?"
This was obviously unusual. Besides, this was exactly the situation that Eri had wanted to be in with such high anticipation. Why didn't she think in that direction? Felli sighed with suspicion.
(Well, it'd be troublesome if she starts dancing in joy.)
Not wanting to see an Eri shouting happily "the ghost has finally come!", Felli began to think of something else. Have they all been kidnapped? In this place? All of them? That's unrealistic. Is there a murderer with a psychological problem? So stupid. Or maybe we've been lied to. There're only the two of us here?
That's the most realistic but cheapest possibility. If the club would get Vance to help for such a boring prank, Felli would have to change the way she viewed him. For the man whose only good point was being punctilious, he was also the most foolish.
"To leave the girls in such a dangerous place, how does he plan to go on if it became a problem of responsibility?" Felli said to herself and bent down to snatch out the Dite from the weapon harness tied to her thigh, hidden beneath her skirt. She wasn't permitted to carry her Dite with her. Almost all Military Artists obeyed the school rule. If she was found out, she wouldn't escape punishment even though she was the Student President's sister.
She snatched it out and restored it to spread the flakes around.
Numerous scale-like flakes spread out from the staff shaped Dite and flew away like drifting petals.
The power of psychokinesis shone a pale blue in the dark. Eri sighed.
Ignoring the Eri who still hadn't noticed she was the target of a prank, Felli began to search for other people.
The inside of the building was very spacious. The Alchemy building was built to withstand all kinds of experiments. Felli was suspicious of the cause that could damage the building to such a level. Though the paint on the wall was peeling off, the long abandoned walls showed no signs of rot. This was the same outside or inside the building. Materials strong enough to resist any kind of destructive power must have been used to be able to tolerate pressure, explosion, and heat that was created directly or indirectly. This meant even psychokinesis had trouble passing through this material. The difficult investigation made Felli frown as she checked the underground carefully. She had finished checking the outside and had found a few people, but the main suspects, the club president and Vance, were nowhere to be seen. This meant they must still be inside the building.
(Perhaps they're hiding somewhere and monitoring me.)
But she had yet to find them.
"Really, what a waste of time..........." she complained subconsciously.
At this time.
Her psychokinesis captured an unexpected wail.
Whose voice was that? She matched the voice to her memory. A female, and she wasn't the club president. It matched one of the voices in the crowd during the gathering. The real wailing did not come physically through to Felli's ears. She heard a strong echo. If there was glass in the corridor, the sound should spread to the outside of the building and not cause the glass to resonate. But Felli felt the voice echoing in a place similar to a corridor. The sound was located quite a distance from the flake that was in one of the floors.
The map hadn't indicated a passage leading to the underground. Still, it wasn't surprising if there was an underground area. Where did the voice leak from? Felli sent her flake over to search for the source of the voice.
Found it. A set of stairs leading to the underground hid in the staircase of the first floor. The floor was opened like a trapdoor. The voice must have come from there. Surrounding the stair was dust and leftovers of something. Who did it? Who pushed apart the things behind the stairs and opened the door?
Something might have happened. Felli couldn't believe the impulse she felt to head for the underground area. She never thought she had an ounce of righteousness or justice in her. This must be Nina's influence.
She complained, not at all preventing her body from moving.
"Eri-san, we're going down," she said. "..........Eh?"
Eri had disappeared. She was nowhere to be seen in the corridor.
"Eri-san?" Felli called loudly, but her voice only echoed in the empty corridor. "What bad timing!"
Did she run away? To where? Did she find something strange that interested her? Felli curled her tongue grudgingly and recalled several flakes to search for Eri. She ran for the stairs beneath the staircase of the first floor.
Felli herself did not possess the fighting strength to match a Military Artist so she had to make detailed preparations before entering a possible battle zone. Underestimation was taboo for anyone. It was especially poisonous for psychokinesists. Any error on psychokinesis might bring about the death of a Military Artist who relied on the psychokinesis in the fight.
The image of the first flake enlarged in Felli's brain as she ran. The air was heavier than the area she was in now, and in the dimness existed a thing that exuded light. It was the trace of Kei light. A Military Artist. Felli didn't have to think more. Vance must be fighting someone.
She sent the flake closer and it captured Vance's figure. Kei ran on the broken wall. It appeared Vance had not jumped out but was sent flying. One of his knees touched the floor and he pushed himself up with his rodlike weapon. Felli checked his surrounding with the flake....... No one was around.
"Vance, step down."
Her voice sounded from the flake. Her other flakes flew out of the hole that Vance's body had made. Psychokinetic mines. Intense light dominated the area as explosions reverberated.
Vance escaped from the explosions. While he ran out as if leading the smoke billowing out behind him, Felli reached the first floor.
"Don't forget to add senpai behind the name," Vance said, covered by white dust.
Felli was shocked at his first words right after his escape. "As a member of the Student Council, how do you explain playing a prank on girls in such a dangerous place?"
His expression was bitter and sour. "As I said, I......." he muttered.
"What's going on?"
She had set up new flakes at the explosion point as she investigated the surroundings and voiced her question.
"Just what were you fighting?"
Her flake did not catch anything after the explosions. Actually, she hadn't caught anything since she started using psychokinesis in this building. Vance fought in a place empty of people and he flew out, breaking a hole in the wall all by himself.
"What did you say?" he looked at her strangely. "Didn't your flake sense it? Is that really........" he said to himself, making a conclusion in his mind.
"What're you saying? Eri-san's gone. Where are the others? Do they know?"
Vance lifted his head with shock on his face. "Even she's gone? Impossible. Her personality should be ok."
"Damn, something really isn't right."
"Hey...... Isn't that enough," she quietly stared at him. He sighed.
"I know. I'll give you an explanation."
"Do you think I'd believe that?" she watched him coldly.
Vance was sitting on the stair. "If it were the usual, you'd believe it, but this time, it's different. Something bad is happening."
"If I knew, I wouldn't be working so hard," he shook his head tiredly.
What do believe in? The president of the Horror Lover club was a girl named Ira Roshirinia. Very few people knew she was also a member of the Student Council. Her duty was to look after this old Alchemy building.
This building wasn't simply abandoned.
Thirty years ago when the Academy City Alliance people were still in Zuellni, the students of the Alchemy course had undertaken an experiment under their guidance.
The Guardian Beast plan.
At that time, filth monsters that were far more powerful than Military Artists had invaded the inner parts of the city. Even though they were beaten back, they had caused heavy damages to the city. Besides, Military Artists had suffered death and injuries after the filth monster invasion. After that, Zuellni began planning for ways to defend against filth monsters, and that was the Guardian Beast Plan. The Alchemy biological department had created some monsters through gene technology. Made from the basis of dead parasites, these monsters would invade a filth monster and destroy its soft inside as a self-exploded weapon.
But there was as problem. How were they to make it so the parasite only unleashed its madness on filth monsters? In the end, this problem was never solved.
"The original suggestion was to allow psychokinesists to control them, but that never took place as it didn't work well."
Though one could control it by burying a flake in the parasite's brain and stimulating it through electricity, this was highly developed technology that psychokinesists could not control through short training. Besides, the technology itself had yet to be realized. The suggestion was abandoned.
"They used other ways in the end but the experiment was stopped because of the explosion. Not only that, the Guardian Beasts had gone on a rampage afterwards, so they halted the plan."
The top had decided to abandon the experiment facility under a sealed circumstance. The entire building had not been demolished but was abandoned. This had also transformed into the driving force behind Zuellni's student rule.
"What is her mission?"
Felli meant the president of the Horror Lover club – Ira.
"She's like a shadow Military Artist, suppressing the curious glances of the crowd and preventing them from getting close."
A tree had to hide within a forest. Ira's job was to use certain things to create an interest and satisfy that interest on a certain level. The Horror Lover club worked to filter the students. This was something difficult for one to accept over a short period of time.
"Then what's the purpose of this activity? Where are the others?"
Even now, Felli's flake was searching for Eri and everyone. No one had escaped the building, and no one had shown in the place of Vance's fight. Though Vance's words were hard to accept, it was true that Felli knew nothing of anything.
"Then.........." Vance opened his mouth and stood.
The flake did not capture anything before him.
But why was a monster here? A strange monster was walking in the corridor. It was strange, its body height about the same as Vance's. Its body bent, delicate and slim like Felli's wrist. A ball shaped eye protruded from its head. Its huge mouth was like a line. The body cover had neither scales nor shell. Its wet body reflected the light of psychokinesis revoltingly.
Though the multi-eye, special to a bug, could not feel people's gazes, the icy pressure assaulted Felli and Vance.
Filth monster. That term flashed across Felli's mind, but a filth monster could not have escaped her psychokinesis. Then this is...... If Vance's words are true......
"Guardian Beast? It's still alive?"
Vance tightened his grip on the weapon and quickly moved to stand before her.
"I'll buy some time. Hurry and call for reinforcements."
Felli carefully retreated as she sent a out a flake.
The monster moved.
Vance roared and stepped up to meet its attack. The flow of his Kei made the dry leaves and dust around him float off the floor. The storm of Kei tore the dry leaves apart and pounded them into powder to dance in Vance's surrounding.
The huge staff danced fiercely in the corridor and swung at the monster's speedy long legs. However, the monster stopped suddenly. Vance didn't anticipate that move, and his staff hit the floor before the monster.
"Tsk," he quickly moved away.
The monster's front leg was gone the next moment.
Vance's body was bounced higher and he was then tossed with his back facing the floor. Next came the sound of a mountain collapsing. The monster's leg beat Vance's body like a whip. Unlike insects, this was a joint supported by muscles like a snake.
"Damn, you're just a bug but you got good eyesight."
Vance didn't look injured. He stood back up. The monster didn't move as if it knew Vance wasn't dead. It probably wouldn't deal the final blow as long as the opponent was still moving.
"This is difficult."
No matter what its real body was, the monster could match the speed of any Military Artist, and it also had a brain for strategies. Though it wasn't enough to defeat Vance, the top in the Military Arts course, it could make this fight difficult.
Vance leapt for the monster and used his staff to fend off the attack of the front leg. Taking advantage of technique that did not seem to match his body height, he slid to the front of the monster.
He stabbed. Wind accompanied the stab that only cut through air as the monster evaded just in time. Vance kept moving, not giving the opponent any time to rest. The monster continued to back off with its long legs in incredible speed. A distance drew between Vance and Felli.
"What!" Vance suddenly shouted in surprise and stopped.
She couldn't tell Vance's situation through psychokinesis, but the moonlight shining through the window showed Vance's figure.
That monster seemed to possess the ability of a spider. Moonlight showed threads weaving around Vance's body. The monster was releasing threads, laying a trap as it retreated.
It now closed in on Vance, planning to eat him. Noticing its intention, Felli used the mine of psychokinesis. She exploded them on any surface area of the monster that was exposed.
A mad storm swept through the corridor. White light conquered the area. As the dust and smoke parted, a large figure appeared before her.
"Couldn't you have saved me more gently?"
Reproachful gaze came from the rough countenance that was stuck with dust.
She had already detonated the mine to minimize Vance's injuries, and she had calculated so the explosion would not spread to her. Other than that, it'd be hard to satisfy more difficult demands.
"Did this monster kidnap everyone else?"
The threads had lost their function after absorbing the heat of the explosion. Vance stood up and waited for the dust to dissipate.
"Those threads have taken everyone. I escaped it as I just finished the work. Everyone else has been taken."
The dust parted, but the monster was gone.
Vance bit his tongue. "It's always like that, retreating after attacking. It must be waiting for our weakness to show."
"But how can a self-explosive weapon hold such a function?"
"I've read the manual. That function was made to save those who couldn't escape in time."
"What terrible taste," she burst out, thinking of the threads weaved around her.
"If that's the case, the other people should be safe for now."
"Aa, it didn't have the time to eat them."
Felli frowned, thinking. The way this monster fought drew out the battle. The sealed off space was advantageous for Felli and Vance, and they could leave the building to call for reinforcement. But if they let their guard down for those two factors, the situation for the captives would worsen.
"We must act."
Not only for the disappeared students, but she must also stay alert.
"Yeah," Vance nodded. "But how do we find them?"
For some reason, psychokinesis did not work on the monster. Since they couldn't search for its whereabouts, they could set a trap and lure it in. Though psychokinetic mines worked to a certain degree, that monster's body could probably resist it better than they had imagined.
"Worst comes to worst, we'll have to destroy the building."
Vance agreed. "Even if we can't save the captives."
"First, let's search for its nest."
If they acted separately, they might fall one after another, particularly Felli. Using the mines in a critical moment was not enough.
The two of them ran to the underground area.
Felli had searched the areas above ground, including the places she and Eri had gone to, leaving this area as the only place they had yet to investigate. The device to seal off the Guardian Beasts must be there too. Who knew whether the device had fallen into disrepair through time or through other reasons, the seal had been released and the Guardian Beasts started moving again.
Why did the people not completely destroy the place? That question was probably useless to ask.
"Let's go," Vance took the lead, carefully walking deeper into the gloom.
Felli held his torch. The light shone a circle in the dark. They walked as the flake flew before them.
"Have you contacted the outside?" Vance asked to ease the heavy atmosphere. Felli shook her head.
If she had to concentrate on controlling the flakes, they could move faster, but the monster had prevented her from doing so. The speed of the flakes had slowed down.
"There isn't anyone in the Student Council building. Anyway, we've sent a flake to the police, then........."
She had sent the other one to the Mechanical Department. If she remembered it right, Layfon and Nina were working there. If she could contact Layfon, she could obtain a much reliable support.
Vance snorted in disapproval. "It really irks to have to rely on him all the time."
"That's the reality."
"If this keeps on, we'll become a rubbish organization that can't do anything without him."
Vance's words were not entirely irrational. Besides, it hurt Felli to have to contact Layfon when he desired to leave the path of a Military Artist.
"Aa, really. Why did it become like this?" she burst out. The tension of the incapacitated psychokinesis had put pressure on her. She probably wanted to rest psychologically.
Vance changed the topic having heard her sigh. "Your brother has his own considerations."
He immediately knew she was sighing about being transferred to Military Arts.
"That guy's always been thinking for you through his own way."
This was what she wanted to ask but couldn't.
"You've talent. You can be called a genius, but you rely on your talent and have not put any effort into it. You don't know what hard work is."
His intense words made her speechless.
"You didn't even spend effort on searching for a path besides psychokinesist. As you lived in a rich family when you were young, you don't know what hard work is in life. You don't know the pain of failure. To him, it's not possible to let you live in the outside world."
"You wouldn't know if you don't try, isn't it?"
"What have you done so far?"
Similarly as before, she had no defense. She had been in Zuellni for two years and she had only done some part time work once.
"If you were serious, he probably wouldn't say much. Either way, he'll be leaving next year. The person and things that bound you will disappear. He's been preparing for that."
"......... Doing something unnecessary," she complained lightly.
"Well, it really is....... Difficult to transfer you out of Military Arts at this time."
Vance's breath changed, and Felli's mood also changed.
The breathing of the monster came from the deeper part of the corridor. It was a sound they had not heard of before. It must be excited.
They were close to the destination.
Felli's flake moved in high speed as it investigated.
There was more space beneath them. The large hole was punched through the ground after the explosion. This space had appeared after the building was abandoned. All the people that were taken were bounded in this space. There were no signs of struggle. They had all lost their energy. Felli was released as she confirmed they were still alive.
"Very good. All that's left is to defeat this guy."
Luck persisted........... No, the situation had turned for better. The two of them had discovered Felli's flake at the Mechanical Department.
"What's happened?" Nina asked in shock. Felli relayed the event.
"Psychokinesis doesn't work on that monster? Isn't it a filth monster?"
She briefly explained the origin of the monster.
"There was such a plan......." Layfon said.
"All right, we'll head over immediately."
Nina's voice drowned out Layfon's. This was the first time Felli thought the Captain's voice was so reliable, probably because Layfon was around.
"Wait a moment," he stopped her.
Layfon ignored her and spoke to the flake. "I'm afraid it'll be too late even if we head over now."
His voice echoed emotionlessly around them. Felli was silent as her body trembled.
"What're you saying?"
"The battle's begun, right? Looking at the location, it wouldn't allow anyone to retreat. All that's left is whether Vance can win or not."
His faint voice made Nina breathe in deeply.
"If you want to turn the situation around, then Felli........ senpai has to join in the fight."
She didn't know what to do.
"Me? But I'm only responsible for processing information........"
"It's not that you can't fight. You can only attack. Either way, you can't just observe from the side."
Layfon and Nina had left the Mechanical Department and were heading over with all their strength. He urged Felli to take action. But, what should she do........
"........... This is like food storage for it, isn't it?" Nina suddenly began to confirm the situation.
"Then there're ways. This isn't as difficult as it seems."
Felli quietly listened to her words.
Vance had entered a fight with the monster. Felli communicated with Layfon, Nina and the Police at a distance. The strategy Nina had set down was for Felli to act on, not Vance. If she were to tell Vance, the opponent might notice their strategy, so Felli could only wait for the chance to reveal itself.
That was all she could do, to fight as a psychokinesist whose usual responsibility was to process information and support from behind.
This was her first time. A psychokinesist's physical attack was only the use of the psychokinetic mine. Though the destructive power wasn't high, it was enough to buy some time. But even that power was so little, she could only use it.
She repeated the word.
And the chance came.
The monster began to take evasive measures under Vance's fierce attack. A straight line appeared between Felli and the nest.
She ran. Her speed wasn't as high as an average Military Artist, but it matched that of an elite. The monster noticed her after a little while. It howled and channeled all its hostility to her. No longer avoiding Vance's attack, it rushed for her. Vance's staff had only broken a number of the monster's feet, but the monster showed no signs of stopping.
Felli looked over her shoulder and saw the monster right after her.
Her foot slipped and she fell on the sand-filled floor. Though she had scratched her knees, she had no time to moan.
The monster was right behind. Its agile movement beyond reality did not match its huge body. It jumped as if it had lost its balance.
She repeated. What joke was this? She had come to a boring place where ghosts existed, and in the end, she met the dead. This was beyond a joke.
The monster was close and it knew she didn't have resisting strength like Vance. Its movements showed its boldness as it opened its large mouth. She could clearly see the dense teeth in that mouth. Saliva drooped from it. Just thinking of herself being torn apart made her tremble.
The being of death was before her.
Is this it.......... she thought.
This was Layfon's experience in battle. As a psychokinesis who always stood at the back, she never understood the tension that dominated her entire body, the burgeoning of the brain, the tearing of the heart, the numbness that spread out from her back.
Even so, her body moved. She had finished the preparation before she moved.
Her mission was to lure it here.
An intense light suffused the ceiling. The mine of psychokinesis. The sound of explosion hammer her eardrums as fierce wind blew her light body into the air. The pressure of the explosion assaulted the monster and pressed it down onto the floor.......... And then the ceiling collapsed. The debris of the first floor buried the monster.
It was easy for Vance to deal the immobile Guardian Beast a final blow.
The red light of the ambulance painted the forest. The students rescued from the old Alchemy building were carried to the ambulance. Felli watched them tiredly from a side. The Police had searched the place thoroughly afterwards but did not find any more Guardian Beasts. What was left was a huge formation of glass containers. One of them was broken and the liquid left in its inside was dyed a suspicious color. They couldn't believe they were still alive. As this was the result of being abandoned for thirty years, who knew whether the one alive was lucky?
The loneliness of words she couldn't say, "how should we catch it?" filled Felli. Perhaps, she was exhausted from being released from the tension in her. In there....
"Huh, what happened to everyone?"
Felli's eyes widened.
Eri walked over with suspicion, not knowing what had happened. Unbelievable.
"Why did you.......?"
She turned around in a fluster and saw the students bounded by threads were being carried on stretchers. She thought Eri was one of them, but she then remembered Vance's words.
"Though that girl really likes strange creatures, her reactions tend to diminish when she really meets one. With her around, the probability of meeting one is strangely high. That's why Ira used her to find the entrance to the sealed off area that has disappeared off the record. She did it by applying as a Student Council member. So I joined her."
Felli watched her as she recalled Vance's words.
"Where did you go?"
"Eh? Did I not tell you that I found a little girl who got lost? So I led her out."
She had no recollection of it. Speaking of which, all of her attention was on the flake when Eri disappeared. Was that why she didn't hear her?
"Where's that girl?"
"Well........ She was gone once I left the building, then I went to search for her. But I couldn't do much alone, so I came back for help."
Ahah....... Felli watched the sky.
A girl in the building? In this night, in this ruin, in this Academy City? Though there were kids in Zuellni who hadn't reached the age to enroll in the Academy City, but the probability of such a young child coming to this sort of place was very low...... Yes, wasn't that lower than the probability of meeting a ghost?
"Did you really not see it?"
"What do you mean?" Eri said, but she recovered quickly.
"Well, it's good that nothing's happened."
Felli's friend was safe.
Nothing else mattered when she saw Layfon running over with all his might despite the cold words he uttered through the flake. Anyway, things had safely ended. That was what Felli thought.