TL: T Minus Two Hours to ToS. This may be the last update for a while.
TEORA 7: What Exactly is That Guy Doing?
From the day after Neito’s practice battle with Eda, slight as it was, his work environment began to change for the better.
It wasn’t a matter of wages, but mainly training. Following the results of that battle, Eda began to hold some animosity towards him, and therefore, Neito training partner was swapped out to Manaka.
It was all Neito could wish for.
“Wrong, wrong. You watching? A stun rod will disperse the same electricity no matter where you hit, so you don’t need to swing it around like that. Do it with the intentions of pricking your opponent a bit.”
“You’ll first need some stamina if you want to fire a gun. For now, it’s best you jump rope, and do some muscle training.”
“Work to the best of your ability to prevent having to fight empty handed. When you’ve got nothing on you, it’s best you grab whatever’s close by. Even pebbles.”
And various other bits of advice. Neito was able to learn quite a few techniques that couldn’t be considered respectable. Of course, he wasn’t able to gain those abilities instantly or anything. It’s not like his athleticism was good to start out with, and he retained his lack of stamina. He tried with all his might to gain the basics at the level of an amateur imitating them. Strangely enough, Manaka, who was so assertive in teaching him all the technical skills, didn’t’ say a single thing about the thought process he should use to take action, or the right heart or anything like that.
Curious about that, Neito tried asking once.
“You don’t need it. For something like that, just move how you see fit. Ah~ but if there’s something I have to say, it’s got to be that. We’re the bottom of the pecking order, but… you should probably start thinking of what Metallica should do with the world, and what you want to do yourself.”
Or so he answered, but I didn’t really get it. For some reason, Manaka’s expression was serious, so I gave an honest nod, and since then, I’ve begun to think over what an Evil Organization could accomplish, and what I wanted to do.
World domination? That’s a process, and a means. Not a goal… apparently.
“Maybe you won’t know it for a while. But you should go find it. If you can, then I’m sure you’ll…”
He stopped speaking there, but his words had been heavy.
Whatever the case, he was reliable, and a senior at my workplace I got along well with. With such a relation, and a training to keep him occupied, Neito felt a sense of fulfillment.
On top of carrying out odd jobs around the place, he shed sweat as he trained. That was a first for him, and while tiring things were tiresome, he got paid for it, and the feeling of learning something new every day was quite refreshing.
The workplace couldn’t be called wholesome, but even so. He felt something like the value of manual labor.
In the mornings, he even began training by himself at the riverbed.
The contents of said training: ‘practicing to fly off in a dramatic fashion, when hit, and pretending to stay down,’ ‘practicing to creep up without making sound, and take them out from behind,’ ‘practicing to dodge through rolling,’ ‘practicing to throw your jacket to take away their vision’ etcetera, truly underhanded, and all acts that, if looked upon from the side, would make one wonder what the hell the man was doing. But there was no helping it.
He even experienced some practical business dealings.
He made sure not to ask the specifics, but Neito was part of the team that transported a mysterious load to the harbor, he helped offer security for a large-scale gambling facility, and various other things.
Just once, he experienced battle. The information on one of Metallica’s research organizations was leaked to the Guardians, and they were about to barge in to investigate. That facility was small in scale, and none too special, but even so, they couldn’t just let the data within it seep to the outside, so Neito’s team was dispatched to a point nearby.
Basically, while a different squadron was busy disposing of all the data, they had to buy time form the Guardians. There were five enemies. That was the first time Neito had ever equipped Metallica’s Miscellaneous Branch’s uniform, their combat clothes.
The combat uniform was a black fiber-textured track-suit like thing with partial red protectors attached around, and on top of that, a black visor-equipped mask came with it as a set.
To be honest, when he first put on the suit, meaning right before battle, Neito’s tensions rose quite a bit.
“Whoooh. No matter how you look at me, I look just like a grunt for an evil organization. But it’s a little cool, ain’t it?”
Those were his impressions. By the way, that suit wasn’t something like the reinforced suits a portion of the Rocks wore. It didn’t really have anything that strengthened the body’s physical ability, and it didn’t heighten one’s senses. It was just a little sturdy, relatively light for its durability, and that was all. IT did have knuckle guards for argument’s sake, but those likely weren’t going to be of much use.
But the feeling of playing the part had quite some appeal to it.
Oh, about the battle that followed, but it wasn’t really anything special. Neito was tasked with moving around in the back, and launching nets to bind the enemies trying to damage his comrades.
During break and after work hours, he would eat and go out to drink. He was generally with Manaka.
“Ah~ I’m tired. The beer sure is nice.”
“I’d say so.”
“I really wonder what was in today’s cargo~.”
“Well of course, it’s gots to be weapons or gold or illegally produced stuff, right?”
“Wow. That’s clearly unlawful, isn’t it?”
“Need you even ask? Oh, how about a shochu next?”
“Today’s Gars sure were weak.”
“Not that I did anything.”
“No, no, for now, you’re faring fine.”
“No~. Ah, is it alright I order the negima?”
“Oh, go ahead, go ahead.”
(TL: Negima is a dish of tuna and onions, usually a skewer, or stew)
“Hey, you have a girlfriend?”
“There are good things and bad things to ask a person, Manaka-san. Let’s turn this around. Do you think I have a girlfriend?”
“… N-no, that’s…”
“I was a NEET until recently, I’m poor, none too handsome, and an otaku, and at present, I’m a low time goon for an evil organization.”
“No, don’t mind it…”
“T-then how about that? A girl you’re interested in, or one you’re getting along well with…?”
“… There’s this girl Mayuzumi-san who’s in the same business, but…”
“O-oh!! What sort of girl!?”
“I really wonder what she’s doing right around now.”
It’s not like anything happened in particular. Even so, he was tired out by work and training, and continued his hardships in a work environment you couldn’t really call favored. But…
Neito didn’t find it harsh.
Such days continued to fly by.
But change is something that drops by without warning. Two months into that, the Miscellaneous Members of the team Neito, Manaka, and Eda were in, were called out by the supervisor for some business orders.
“Tomorrow, at 17:00, we’re to stay on standby in Area B-37. Based on how things go down, combat is a possibility.”
For a standby mission, the supervisor’s face was overly tense.
“The classification given by the main branch is 『R』.”
Following his words.
The members of Misc. were sent into shock all at once. The air suddenly turned colder.
From the Miscellaneous Handbook, Neito knew what it meant.
Classification R. It meant a mission where you could expect confrontation with the Rocks.
Rocks. They started with 『Dylan』, who appeared twenty years prior. Allies of justice of unknown origin.
Some of them possessed special constitutions, others wore armor of super technology, and some even displayed superhuman abilities from the magical mysteries of some ancient ruin or another. Heroes.
Their strength was as steadfast as stone, and from their larger-than-life dispositions, they were generally termed the Rocks.
While they were usually a target of admiration, for the evil organizations that started with Metallica, they were something to fear over anything else.
“Let me explain the details.”
With twice the concentration as usual, they listened to the supervisor’s voice.
Neito felt the pores on everyone’s skin contract.
What exactly is that guy doing?
It was Mia’s habit to walk her beloved dog before going off to school. Within the pure morning air, she leisurely strolled down the banks of the river.
Pulling on the leash as he wagged his tail, the happy miniature schnauzer was an important part of the day for Mia, who did some activities unusual (?) for a high school student.
On a certain day, Mia was walking her dog as she always did, when she spotted a peculiar person.
a little separated from her walking path, below the embankment closer to the river, was a man repeating quite a strange task.
And from the day she first spotted him, he was there every day without fail.
By himself, he dropped to the ground, and started rolling around. He took of his jersey, and swung it about.
A bit of a strange person? She thought, but that didn’t seem to be the case. At times, the man would stop as if to confirm something, and scribble some memos in a notebook.
Oh, I see. He must be practicing for something. Or so she decided to take it. I mean, despite all the strange things he’s doing, he expression is quite serious. Could he be pantomiming or something?
Watching him flop around the floor with a serious expression, the first thing she did was burst out laughing.
Pfff…! Just a bit of laughter.
But somehow, seeing him there every day had become a bit fun.
Hey, it looks like he’s become quite good at that pantomiming(?) of his.
Mia had quite a bit of popularity among male students.
She was confessed to quite a lot.
But from her point of view, the man pantomiming by the riverbank was a type of person she didn’t see around her.
He wasn’t cool at all, so she didn’t feel any romantic attraction, but she became somewhat intrigued.
Will he be there today~? Or so she always thought when she reached the usual spot on her walk.
Just a little, her morning walks had become a little more fun than before.