Epilogue: From the Crimson's Deep Sleep
It really was a mysterious area.
There was machinery stuffed all over the room, and the cables extended out like roots.
Moving up the metal, shaped like cables, was a mechanical mouse, and sometimes, screws could be heard dropping like rubber fruits.
*Tatatatatatatata*, it sounded like how ordinary people would use the keyboard to key in data in the first.
This was the only place in the world that had a squirrel that identified extraneous parts, analyzed the design, took it in and formed another shape.
Yes, this was Shinonono Tabane's secret base.
Shinonono Tabane looked a lot more weirder than before.
She was wearing a western dress that was as blue as the sky, just like Alice in 'Alice in Wonderland'. The apron and the huge butterfly now behind her was also eye-catching.
As expected of Houki's own older sister, they were similar in appearance. However, what made them greatly different from each other was that Houki had bright, piercing eyes, while Tabane's eyes were lethargic looking due to lack of sleep. There were several years of black rings gathered below her eyes.
This may be what people meant by 'Geniuses can't be liberated from their thoughts'. Her dreamland got taken by the time spent in experiments, and thus she had never experienced sleeping soundly for once. Tabane didn't even know what a real sleep should be like.
Tabane was different from her sister. She didn't know any kind of sports, let alone kendo, and she had never done that before. But her body was very streamlined and curvy.
And what was most eye-catching were those huge breasts of hers.
The buttons on her chest were about to burst open, probably due to the misfit in size. Through the gap of the white shirt, one could see the tempting skin color of the woman.
Also, the hairband on her head could also be considered a problem. She had white bunny ears on them...basically, she had completely gotten into the role of 'Alice in Wonderland'.
It was already weird to dress up like Alice and a white bunny at the same time, but that was Tabane's interest, and the clothing she liked. Last month, she dressed up as all the characters in 'Hansel and Gretel'. Needless to say, that looked ridiculous.
And Tabane, who was dressed up like this, was waiting on the strange chair.
It may be weird to describe it as a chair, but it could only be described as that.
The silver chair was giving off a silver glow, and the body of the chair was large and curved, surrounding Tabane's body like a cage. It looked like a fossilized dinsosaur.
And Tabane just needed to move a finger, and the cables linked on the top would let the mechanisms move.
Once she moved the fingertips slightly, each part of the chair moved like they were alive as they gave the orders to the small mechanical hands. And right now, the mechanical hands were quickly moving their tweezers to assemble smaller parts.
The chair was assembling something, attaching smaller parts with even smaller mechanical hands.
After repeating the process numerous times, they finally stopped, and what was formed was a plastic IS model that was created from nano-units.
It was weird, and useless, and it was so stupid that anyone would want to give her a punch. This was probably what 'wasting time' meant to her.
It was complete! The painting and the surface streamlining were perfect. Tabane said so in a bored manner and walked out of the chair.
The chair was tightly packed together, and there was no sign of it crumbling, but it would immediately crumble once Tabane touched it, forming a hill of spare parts.
"H—n...I'm bored, bored."
The Godfather's theme rang[2E 1]. This is a famous theme hoodlums entering the new century would use, but the composer[2E 2] most probably did not expect someone in the Far East to love this song. To be honest, it would be interesting to see whether the composer would be extremely happy or sigh about this if he knew about it.
"This, this ringtone is...ha!"
A large jump, or rather, she jumped at her handphone in a diving like manner. Tabane didn't mind that her mug and toolbox got scattered all over the place as she immediately brought the handphone to her ear.
"Hello, Hi hi? Every day!"[2E 3]
*Du* *Du*—the line's cut in both ways.
Maybe it was Tabane's wish coming through or some divine prank as the handphone rangs again *Tulalatulalala~♪*.
"Hello!—This is everyone's favorite idol Shinonono Tabane—wait wait! Chi-chan!"
"Don't you call me that."
"Sigh, whatever. I have something to ask you anyway."
"What is it?"
"Is it related to you this time?"
"This time, this time—what are you talking about?"
Tabane tilts her head. She's not feigning ignorance; she really doesn't know.
"I'm talking about the [VT system]."
"Ah, that? Ohhoho, Chi-chan, do you think I created that crude amateurish thing? I'm the perfectly flawless Shinonono Tabane. Besides, it's meaningless to create such a thing that's not perfect."
"Speaking of which, as for that research lab, I erased it from the surface of the earth more than 2 hours ago...oh, though you may know, the death count is zero. It's as easy as breaking a child's hand—oh yeah, Chi-chan, is it hard to break one? Am I the only one thinking like this? Oh my, that's weird."
Ohohohoho, Tabane adds on a little laughter and smoothly brings this conversation to an end.
"Really? Sorry for disturbing you."
"No no, it's not a bother at all! As long as it's for Chi-chan, I'll service you a full 24 hours a day. I'm not a convenience store! But I'll gladly service you~"
"Alright, I'm hanging up then."
*BAM!* Chifuyu hung up the phone. It seemed like she wouldn't be calling back again. Tabane looked somewhat regretful as she again stared at the handphone, but 2 seconds later, she just threw it away without abandon.
"Oh my, Tabane's happy to hear a voice she hasn't heard in a long time! Chi-chan's still as amazing as ever, don't go running into the other side of the sunset."
Tabane folded her arms in front of her chest as she muttered, laughing away.
Orimura Chifuyu and Shinonono Tabane first met each other in elementary school, and after that, they were always in the same school and the same class. Of course, Tabane deliberately set that up, and Chifuyu knew that.
However, that wasn't all to their relationship.
The IS was released when Chifuyu was studying high school, and for the next few years, Chifuyu had been assisting in the IS development as a pilot.
In other words, what Chifuyu knew about IS already far surpassed the other pilots by a lot, and the comprehension level was on a completely different level. Because of all that training and unique skills, it wasn't a surprise that she became the 1st Mondo Grosso champion—at least that was what Tabane felt.
"But why did Chi-chan~ choose to retire?"
Even now, Tabane doesn't understand. In terms of age or ability, Chifuyu could still be a first-stringer if she returned to the squad, and she would immediately become a winning candidate in the next Mondo Grosso.
However, the human heart was complicated, weird and inexplicable. Even a genius' mind couldn't comprehend its depths.
—It was because of just that reason that she wanted to know. Tabane was only interested in 3 people in the world.
*Tralala~♪* *Tralala~♪* You people better get ready~ BAM BAM! AH, ONII-CHAN! IF YOU WANT I'LL GIVE IT TO YOU!
Suddenly, another ringtone could be heard—yes, this ringtone's really weird. It's likely that among the million fans of 'The Yakuza Wives'[2E 4], Tabane is the only one who would use the BGM of a conversation in the movie as a ringtone. On a side note, the number of fans is just pure speculation, so there may be a large difference in numbers, please take note. However, Tabane wasn't a fan of this movie. It was a reaction she just does.
The folded bunny ears of hers straightened up, and this response far surpassed all words. Why would that person call here? And for the first time! She already knew who the person was before she even picked up the phone.
"Oh my oh my oh my! Long time no see! I've always—always been waiting for you~!"
"Yes yes, I know why you called. You want it, right? The one and only machine that you want — Houki-chan's personal machine. I did prepare it for you! It's the strongest and far surpasses all other specs, and it's even a match for the white one. And the name of that machine is...
 Translation Notes and References
- The Theme of the 1972 film "The Godfather"
- The composer's name is Nino Rota.
- もすもす ひねもす (mosu mosu, hinemosu). The literal translation was written here. However as you can see by reading the original. The sentence is supposed to rhyme. In the anime, certain fansubbers chose to change the sentence slightly to "Hi Hi, are you high?" in order to keep the rhyming sense.
- 極道の妻たち, gokudou no onna-tachi