“It’s nearly night time.”
Hiiro and co, who were chasing after Winka, finally found a complex that looked like 【Buscador】around sunset. Hiiro quickly glanced around【Buscador】.
(… A carriage?)
He discovered a carriage a little further away. Since it wasn’t strange for a carriage to be at a place like this, he only glanced at it quickly before turning his gaze to the complex and found a broken window. Arnold also noticed the window and pointed at it.
“Okay! Let’s break in through there! Muir, wait here.”
Arnold didn’t want Muir to enter such a dangerous complex but Muir looked like she had something to say.
“What’s wrong, Muir?”
“… Can I go with you guys, or is that impossible?”
“You can’t come! I don’t know what dangers are inside!”
Hiiro looked at Muir who was shaking her head stubbornly. He felt like he could understand why she wanted to come along. It was simple to guess if you knew her personality. She was willing to sacrifice herself in order to protect someone. Hiiro understood this because of what had happened the other day with 《Beast Cage》.
She had no power, Arnold was always protecting her and defending her from enemy attacks. When they fought Beast Cage Muir had shielded a beastman girl, who she’d just met, from an enemy attack. More recently when they had met Winka, Hiiro noticed that Muir seemed jealous of her.
Winka wasn’t much different to Muir in age and body and yet she lived strongly so Muir was jealous of her. She was also jealous of Winka’s strength. That’s why she had clearly stated that she wanted to save Winka. She just couldn’t leave it alone. Hiiro also understood Arnold’s feelings since he prioritised Muir’s safety.
They had come to Buscador to save Winka because Muir had wished it. But they didn’t know what was happening inside of 【Buscador】so Arnold couldn’t let Muir do as she pleased.
However Hiiro couldn’t let them keep quarrelling since they would get nowhere.
“Hey, Old Man. Isn’t it fine if she tags along?”
“Hah? What’re you saying?”
Muir brightened up when Hiiro said that however Arnold snapped at Hiiro.
“Hey Hiiro, even you notice how ominous this place is, right?”
“This place is really suspicious! My instincts are telling me to get away from here as soon as possible! This place is clearly a very dangerous place!”
“I guess so.”
Hiiro knew that from the atmosphere surrounding the complex and what he’d heard from the Sky Wolf (with Winka interpreting). It was some kind of testing site. Moreover since it was being hidden in such a place as this, it wasn’t something publicly known.
“That being the case, Muir, it’s better if you wait here!”
Muir understood that what Arnold said was sound and was crestfallen. However Hiiro lightly sighed,
“Old Man, we came all the way here because of her, right?”
“Then how about we see her wishes all the way through to the end?”
“Or is it that you plan on raising her by pampering her and only letting her see the beautiful things in life, Old Man?”
“Well, that’s fine as well. But I think it’s better to have a large variety of experiences.”
“Even if the Chibi regrets it, it’s up to her. It’s up to you to help her along the way, no matter what she chooses, right?”
The two were attentively listening to Hiiro while in a daze.
“Let her decide her own path. Even if she chooses the wrong path, all she has to do is go back the way she came. If it’s a path where she can’t turn back then I suppose she’ll just have to give up.”
“At the very least I wouldn’t want someone else to decide my path for me. If I were to regret something at least it would be something I decided on. If I’m going to regret it anyways, I might as well choose what I’ll regret.”
Arnold stared into Muir’s eyes and she also stared back.
“That way she can grow, so hurry up and decide.”
After the two stared at each other for a while,
“… I understand.”
Arnold gave in and Muir smiled in relief.
“But Muir, don’t leave my side, okay?”
“Ok! I won’t!”
Hiiro sighed when it was finally settled.
“So let’s ―――.”
“Wait, Old Man.”
Hiiro stopped Arnold before he could walk and checked the area.
“Wh-what is it! If we don’t hurry up then Winka could be in some serious trouble, right?”
“You can’t complain since you’ve been quarrelling up till now.”
“Uoh… Dammit, as always you’ve got a bad personality…”
“Shut up and follow me.”
The two tilted their heads at Hiiro’s action and reluctantly followed him. While walking Hiiro said to Arnold.
“This time, I’ll take action to return my debt Old Man, so listen up.”
“What is it you wish to do, Old Man?”
Arnold wanted to hand the request over to Muir. Muir nodded and said.
“Please save Wi-san!”
“Save… It’s vague but for the time being all I have to do is support the Antenna Girl, right?”
“It’s tiresome, but well whatever. Let’s go.”
“Where are we going? The window’s over there, you know?”
Yes, if Hiiro thought the window was an entrance point then he would have went through it. But right now they were taking a detour.
“This facility is probably some kind of testing site. By looking at the complex’s structure and the wire fence surrounding it, you can tell that it was made to keep out intruders.”
“Mhm… Is that so?”
“Facilities like this normally have a mechanism to sense intruders. Originally it would be infrared sensors that react when you touch it. But in this world there are things that are more convenient than that, magic. There’s a high possibility that there’s a barrier around this facility and if you get close enough the guys inside will be alerted to the presence of intruders.”
The two were listening blankly to Hiiro’s explanation. They didn’t think that Hiiro would think that far.
“Why do you know something like that…?”
“I learnt it in a book so my knowledge isn’t perfect. I just guessed that there would be a barrier so it’s better to not get too close to the facility.”
What Hiiro had said was correct but it wasn’t the truth. He’d confirmed that the facility was covered with a barrier by using a character. That character was『Inspect 視』. Infrared sensors and things similar to it are made visible with this character, 『Inspect 視』.
What he saw was a thin membrane covering the facility and electrical current running through the wire fence, its purpose was to immobilise intruders that touched it. The thin membrane covering the facility was obviously suspicious so he guessed that it was a barrier to sense intruders.
He thought that his guess was probably correct. There was no need to inform the people inside of their presence. So they walked around the facility.
(Okay so the barrier goes up till here.)
The reason they walked around was so he could figure out the size of the barrier. The facility was built so that the rocks covered it and the barrier ended where the rocks were, it did not pass through the rocks. So if they entered through the rocks then they could get in unnoticed.
“Hey Hiiro, why’re you stopping here?”
“Just shut up and watch.”
Hiiro approached the rock and wrote 『Hole穴』onto it before activating it.
Arnold and Muir were surprised when a hole big enough for a person to pass through opened up.
“… Hah, even if I asked him about this he won’t answer, right…?”
“Argh, it can’t be helped. Right now we have to focus on Wi, let’s go Muir.”
The two followed after Hiiro. The three people didn’t notice a person staring at them from the carriage…
The white-robed man who went back to the carriage to create the documents for Chief Nagnala, found people acting suspiciously outside of 【Buscador】. He would have normally gone out and talked to the suspicious people but stopped when he saw the appearance of the boy amongst the three.
“… It can’t be…?”
The man quickly pulled out a file from within the carriage, opened it, and confirmed what was inside. It was a list of people who were a nuisance to the organisation and their traits.
“If I’m not mistaken, there was a notification on the communication tool about that person…”
He unrolled several sheets of paper, read what was written on there, and compared it to the group outside of the carriage.
“Glasses, black hair and red robes… A man with a broadsword and a girl wearing a hat… It’s them!”
He was confident that it was them and watched them again. He reached for the communication tool inside of the carriage. At the back of the carriage was a black looking box containing blue and green gems that could fit into one’s hands.
The blue gem was a 《Magic Relay》, a person’s thoughts were sent to a similar magic tool in the form of words by concentrating magic power into the gem. The green gem was a 《Magic Receiver》and it received messages from the other person. In other words, you could send your thoughts by concentrating magic power into the blue gem and those thoughts would show up as words on the green gem.
However there was a problem with this tool. If you used《Magic Relay》then you would have to wait a while before using it again or it’d become unusable. The tool still had room for improvement.
The man put his hand on the《Magic Relay》and began concentrating magic power onto it.
“I have to tell that person.”
“Chief, it’s almost time.”
Pevin said to Nagnala who was picking his nose in boredom.
“Eh? Is it time already?”
“Yes, what would you like to do?”
“Mhm ~. Well, we’ve already got the data we need and a new specimen as well.”
Nagnala looked at Winka while laughing cheerfully. He wanted to treat Winka like a specimen.
“There’s just a couple of minutes left.”
“Kufufu ~, let’s watch her until the end.”
They had no doubt that Winka would lose in the end but Winka staggered and supported herself with 《Bone Maiden of Victory》. Her fighting spirit had increased more and more. She managed to land a blow on the Black Chimera but it still wasn’t enough to kill it. If she could not deal a fatal strike, both her and the Sky Wolf would lose their lives.
“Guh… My body is…!?”
Winka desperately tried to move her body but because the paralysis was too strong, her feet weren’t listening to her. The Sky Wolf rested for a while but it was still stumbling around. The Sky Wolf looked at Winger, who was trapped inside of the net and then at Winka.
Winka heard something.
『Thank you for coming to save us. Please survive.』
Winka understood the Sky Wolf’s words but she couldn’t understand why it was saying that now and frowned. Then in the next moment the Sky Wolf began running at full speed. It was headed towards Winger. The Sky Wolf rushed towards Winger who was outside of the wire mesh.
“Hahaha, what a stupid monster. This wire mesh is made out of steel and there’s an electric current running through it. It’s being suicidal.”
The white-robed men standing next to Winger laughed like they were making fun of the Sky Wolf.
They heard the sound of the iron breaking,
The wire mesh was torn apart and the Sky Wolf headed towards the white-robed men.
The men ran away from the spot and as they were running away something that looked like a device dropped. That device controlled the electrical current running through Winger’s net.
“Wh-what is the meaning of this, Pevin?!”
“… Perhaps her attack from before reached the wire mesh?”
Yes, it was just as Pevin guessed. Winka’s previous attack had hit the wire mesh and the Sky Wolf’s body had broken it. Earlier the Sky Wolf was looking at the wire mesh more than Winger. It rushed at the wire mesh after confirming that it could break it.
However electrical current was still running through the mesh and of course right now, it was coursing through the Sky Wolf’s body. The Sky Wolf collapsed onto the ground without a sound.
“Gufufu ~ look at that Pevin, look at it! It’s used up all its strength, it has! What a pitiful experiment!”
Winka grinded her teeth and glared at Nagnala.
“It still seems to be alive, Chief?”
Pevin said and Nagnala looked at the Sky Wolf who’d used up all of its strength. Winka also looked over to confirm it.
Blood was flowing from its body. It desperately stood up, trembled, and tried to make its way towards Winger. No electrical current was flowing through the net that was covering Winger thanks to the white-robed man dropping the device. All that needed to be done now was to remove the net.
The Sky Wolf looked for the binding of the net. It found a string fastened to the net and using the last of its energy, bit it with its damaged teeth. Winger moved its body and escaped through the expanding hole.
Winger rubbed its face against the Sky Wolf who’d collapsed and then looked into its eyes. The light in the Sky Wolf’s eyes gradually dimmed. After a while the Sky Wolf stopped moving. Winger rubbed its face against it again and,
In place of flowers, Winger roared as a tribute to the departed Sky Wolf.
(What a… Sad Voice…)
Winka could feel Winger’s painful feelings inside her heart, and tears naturally flowed out of her eyes. Winger stared at Winka’s blue eyes and moved its damaged body towards her.
“Winger… I’m sorry… I couldn’t save everyone…”
Winka cried. Winger gently brought its face close to Winka’s and licked her tears.
“Uh ~ what’s with this touching scene, huh?! It’s an unexpected tearjerker…!”
Nagnala started crying while watching the moving scene between Winka and Winger.
“Please use the handkerchief.”
Even though they had caused this situation, no one knew why Nagnala was moved to tears.
“Nope ~, they showed me something nice! I was deeply moved to tears, yup! Ah, thanks for the handkerchief.”
Nagnala returned the handkerchief to Pevin and,
“Chief your juices are so wonderfulI think he’s being sarcastic… I hope. Or I’m just translating this wrong LOL.”
“No way! That’s too much! You’ll lose weight from too much shock, you will!”
“That would be impossible, right?”
Nagnala stiffen as if he was petrified but Pevin calmly continued talking without showing any emotions on his face.
“More importantly Chief, it is about to happen soon. Let’s leave in a bit.”
“Wh-what… Eh? Is it already time?”
They both turned towards the Black Chimera in the same way and then the Black Chimera abruptly cried.
It began rampaging after shouting. Winger bit down on Winka’s clothes and put her on its back. The Black Chimera didn’t care about the electrical current running through the wire mesh and attacked wildly.
“As I thought, 20 minutes was the limit.”
“Kufufu ~, it’s rampaging, yup it is.”
“A candle burns brightest before it goes outJapanese idiom usually used when someone is about to pass away. That last flare of life.. This is exactly like that.”
“Well, that will also end soon. If possible, I would like the specimen to die in perfect condition.”
Of course the specimen was Winka.
“Well we can still examine it even if it is in pieces.”
“That’s right, it is. For the time being, let’s wait for the situation to settle and watch the outcome, yup.”
Winger quickly moved around and parried the Black Chimera’s attack but Winger suddenly started bleeding.
Winka couldn’t find any wounds that looked like it could be bleeding. There were burn marks from the electrified net on Winger’s body but Winka didn’t think the blood was coming from there. Then she looked at a spot and gasped in surprise. Blood was flowing out from behind Winger’s ears.
It looked like a needle stab wound. Then she remembered that the men were poking Winger with a syringe.
“Winger… Don’t tell me…”
That was it. The mysterious liquid inside of the syringe had already been injected into Winger. That liquid was a deadly poison and its purpose was to destroy cells.
“Winger, that’s enough! Wi will fight! Have a rest!”
Winka paled and screamed but Winger was still moving around the place. Its movements gradually dulled and it was blown away by a wave of the Black Chimera’s tail and Winger rolled on the ground.
Winka was also thrown off Winger’s back and met the Black Chimera’s eyes. Then the poisonous stinger on its tail headed towards Winka. She couldn’t move at all because she was still paralysed. She prepared herself and gritted her teeth.
The Black Chimera looked like it was frowning because it had pierced something other than its target.
It had pierced ――― Winger.
“… Win… Winger!”
Winka was stunned at the sight in front of her. Winger had protected her and its body was pierced by the poisonous stinger. While spitting blood out of its mouth, Winger ferociously stared at the Black Chimera.
The Black Chimera swung its tail and threw Winger. Winka thrusted her spear into the ground and desperately moved her body towards Winger.
A lot of blood was steadily flowing out of Winger’s wound. Moreover the skin around the wound was turning black as if its cells were dying. The Black Chimera had injected lethal poison from its stinger.
Everyone who saw that understood; Winger didn’t have much time left. Winka looked very woeful as she apologised over and over again.
“I couldn’t protect you… I’m sorry… I’m sorry… I’m sorry.”
Winger looked at Winka gently and said.
『I was happy. Thank you.』
Winka held onto Winger’s still warm body and cried. Winger could no longer speak.
“Oh, oh ~, what a sad farewell, it is! Where there is a meeting, there is also a farewell! It is something that is inevitable in this world! It’s quite a good lesson, isn’t it, my little spearwoman. Kufufu ~.”
“It seems like it. Oh, it looks like it is already night time. We should hurry…”
Nagnala looked at Pevin who had stopped speaking half way and tilted his head when he saw that Pevin’s face had stiffened.
“Pevin? What’s wrong?”
Pevin quietly pointed his finger and Nagnala turned towards that direction and was also at a loss for words. Because there was ――― Winka. She was covered in golden hair and had ears and a tail like a beastman.