Chapter 1: Part 6
Sera and I were brought to a dilapidated building. It was so broken down, it almost looked like it was haunted.
Entering the building, we were guided to a conspicuously large room. And inside that room, which was big enough to open a convenience store, there were neither construction workers nor security guards; rather, it was filled with men and women with red eyes and black cloaks. Giving a rough count… there were around thirteen.
Being surrounded by vampire ninjas, I felt a bit nervous. I felt the room temperature drop a little.
Sera went around and greeted the others in the room, and I very meekly followed suit. I could feel rather hostile glares on us, and that was probably because all these vampire ninjas were part of the reform faction, the faction that stood in opposition to Sera’s faction. If Mael weren’t there, I would want to run away immediately.
“Isn’t our secret base really cool?!”
Mael said something that was really like something Haruna would say.
“What’s that big thing over there?”
I had noticed the bulky water tank that was set in the corner of the room. Even as a piece of interior decorating, it would have been really strange.
“This machine can manipulate the weather.”
Sera muttered with a quiet expression. She glared at the water-tank-looking thing as if it was an enemy. Manipulate the weather… they had things that could do something as amazing as that?
“This is our counter strategy. Amazing, isn’t it?”
Mael turned her head up proudly. Right then, a brawny-looking guy drew close.
“Mael! Why did you bring Seraphim here?! She’s part of the conservative faction!”
Yeah, that’s right. Why did she bring someone from the opposing faction to their secret base? Mael’s face suddenly paled.
“Ahhhhh!!! I forgot she was in that faction!”
It seems that the vampire ninja known as Mael Strom was probably an idiot. Now that I think about it, she certainly had taken quite an overly-familiar attitude towards Sera, even though Sera had pinned her down.
“No, you’ve done well.”
A giant man, sitting by the side of the machine with one eye closed, spoke in a low bass tone. However I looked at him, he was a strong-looking, muscular man. He could probably star in an American movie. Allowing myself to be a bit biased here, I would say that he seemed like a man who would list proteins under his list of favorite foods.
“Seraphim, there’s something I want to ask of you.”
He clasped his hands together in front of his face and made that assertion. Sera didn’t answer, and her facial expression didn’t change. She seemed to be saying that she would listen to what he had to say, for now. Seeming fully satisfied with that answer, the thin-eyed woman with wavy hair gave her a smile.
“Seraphim. Do you already know about how there have been a large number of monsters appearing?”
Sera responded simply. She’s being really cold even though they’re finally explaining the situation for us.
“Then, do you also already know that those monsters are weak against tonkotsu ramen?”
“Ah, I also heard that a little while ago. So, what’s that machine?”
Sera didn’t seem to be in the mood to listen, so trying to inject some energy in the atmosphere, I raised my hand.
“This device makes it rain tonkotsu.”
Wait, that would be a horrible bother! Just try and see what would happen if you had such greasy rain falling! Just thinking about it made my stomach churn.
“Do you really believe that their weak point is tonkotsu soup?”
“We might be able to deal with them all at once like this. It’s worth a try.”
The huge man with one eye closed responded to Sera’s question. Sera thinned her eyes and crossed her arms.
“Are you also aware that there are risks to using that device?”
The one who responded this time to Sera’s words faster than anyone was none other than me.
“Risks? Would something bad happen if you used it?”
“This device tries to change naturally occurring phenomena by force. Naturally, there can be negative effects. For example, there’s a high possibility that we could not get rain in this area for an entire year, or in contrast, we could have never-ending torrential rain fall.
If that happened, it wouldn’t just be a matter of being a bother. That would actually have effects on the ecosystem.
“There might not be any negative effects. And even if there were, it might only last for a short while. What we’re proposing is to only have the rain fall for a single day.”
At the counterargument of the man with one eye closed, Sera shook her head in astonishment.
“You’re an idiot.” With that one utterance, Sera was trying to end this discussion. Even if they had a dispute here, nothing would be solved. Even I understood that, but this wasn’t a problem you could just ignore.
“Think of another way!”
When I spoke forcefully, the girl with her wavy hair swishing behind her gave me an expression that reminded me of a mother flustered at the selfishness of her child.
“But, you know? There are too many. We can’t deal with them properly anymore.”
As long as we can deal with the present, the future doesn’t concern us. For me, that kind of thinking was just absurd.
“But just because…” I started to talk, but I suddenly stopped.
… I was just like that. For me, it’s always been that if I could deal with the present, I’d be fully satisfied.
It wasn’t my place to reject their way of thinking. They were just trying to deal with the troubles that had befallen them by any means necessary.
But even so, I couldn’t just leave this be. What if I just destroyed this machine right now? I took a step forwards, but perhaps guessing what I was trying to do, Sera restrained me.
Her beautiful lips neared my ears, and she mumbled quietly.
“Everyone here is either just as strong as I am or above. Let’s retreat for now.”
Gritting my teeth, I whispered back “Got it.”
“I understand your aims. I wish you success.”
Sera shut her eyes, and making that final declaration that obviously rang insincere, tried to leave the room.
Right then, the giant man with one eye closed stopped Sera. Without even turning around, Sera just sent back a single word. “What?”
“To be honest, we’ve received reports that there is someone who is trying to destroy this machine.”
He seemed to be implying that Sera had something to do with it. However, Sera did not seem the least bit perturbed.
“Who is the assassin?”
“I do not know.”
“I see. I’m glad it isn’t you.”
“Is that all?” I was expecting the man to continue the interrogation deeper, but at that point he stopped.
“Yeah. Seraphim is idiotically honest, after all.”
A few people chuckled. Sera seemed annoyed, and opened her mouth, when…
“But, that’s one of Seraphim’s good points.”
Mael said that with a smile. Yes, I thought so too. Without saying anything, Sera shut her mouth.
“One last thing, Seraphim. Are you sure you don’t want to join our faction?”
“I do not. Goodbye.”
I thought Sera’s way of answering that without any hint of hesitation was pretty cool.
Like that, we took our leave from the vampire ninja group. Sera seemed to be in a worse mood than usual, and rushed home quickly. I desperately tried to keep pace with her.
“But really, if they made tonkotsu soup rain down, the city’s going to get really oily, isn’t it?”
I jokingly brought up that subject.
“You shouldn’t worry about that.”
“My superiors are thinking of some other way to deal with this situation. I still do not know the particulars, but at this point I can say this with certainty.”
Sera showed me an angelic smile. She puffed out her chest almost as if her superiors’ plans were her own. At that moment, she reminded me of Haruna.
“And when it comes to that device, the necessary arrangements have already been made. There is no need for Ayumu to do something rash here.”
So, she was talking about the assassin that had been mentioned before? Just like Sera had been, it seemed that the vampire ninjas on Sera’s side had no desire to see that device in action.
“By the way, Ayumu. You’re really not taking this seriously enough.”
“Hm?” Before I could ask her what she meant, Sera responded with a bit of anger.
“To vampire ninjas, a kiss marks the start of a wedding ceremony. That will not change no matter where you go. At that moment, you had finished the wedding ceremony. Do you love Mael Strom?”
“No, that’s not it…”
“If that’s the case, you should avoid her at all costs.”
It was an accident, so what could I do? But I didn’t even think of making that excuse.
Because at that moment, Sera showed me a lonely expression that reminded me of Yuu.
… Don’t make that face, dammit.
“I understand. I’ll do just that.”
“It’s good that you understand. Well, I don’t think Mael thought that what had happened counted as a marriage ceremony either. However, vampire ninjas put the law over their personal feelings.”
“So… if I kissed Sera right here, Sera would marry me?”
I was just joking, but somewhat expectedly, Sera gave me a response without hesitation.
“Yes. I would vow to love you… If at all possible, that is.”
END CHAPTER 1