Teora 10: I’ll Walk
When Neito regained consciousness, he was in one of Metallica’s affiliate medical facilities. After the battle had ended, his Miscellaneous comrades had carried him there, apparently. His injuries included nothing but the gunshot to his arm. He had passed out from blood loss, and other than that, he hadn’t received any major damage.
He could be discharged in a relatively short time, apparently, and he had done quite well this time around. Exceptional results for Misc… Sorry about Manaka. Don’t let it get you down. The Misc Supervisor who came to see him explained as such, and had just left the hospital room not too long ago.
So those events really weren’t a dream. The battle at the unpopular quay, the power of a hero you could even call overwhelming, the shot in the dark from my desperate mind. And Manaka’s death.
Employment exam, deployment, miscellaneous, company. The organization’s structure was just like that of a normal company, but there was no mistake the place Nieto worked was not normal. Perhaps its members had purposely organized it that way to inhibit the enterprise’s abnormality. Neito absentmindedly thought over it. If he turned his thoughts towards something else, perhaps he could drive out the sentiment in his heart, or so he wondered.
After a while of that, an abrupt knock came at the door to the room.
“Good day. May I… enter?”
The one who peeper her head through the doorway was fellow recruit Maki.
“Maki-san…? Why are you here?”
Perhaps today was a day off, as she was wearing a fluttery one piece.
“Yes. I learned about your condition from the workers’ compensation insurance form, so…”
Make was holding some flowers. Does that mean she just came to pay a visit? Why would she do that? Because we were fellow interviewees? Working adults sure have it rough. Or so Neito thought.
Maki was stationed in General Affairs. I’m sure they get information like that going through them as well. She probably knows of how Manaka died in battle as well.
“Ah, here. Some flowers… Is it alright if I arrange them?”
As she said that, she produced a sack containing a vase from her bag, ans started laying the flowers in it.
“… Sorry. For having you go out of your way when you finally got a day off.”
The beauty who had joined the company alongside him paid a sick visit. Normally, it would be a happening to make him grin from ear to ear, but he didn’t feel such an urge at the moment.
“No. I was free after all! You don’t have to worry about it!”
Maki finished up the flowers before shaking her hands in an exaggerated gesture.
“… Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Even so, that was amazing! Neito-kun. It’s being talked about even at the main branch!”
Perhaps she was trying to cheer him up, as she was speaking in quite an energetic tone.
“A newcomer repelled a Rocks, what’s more, that Dylan of all people! They’re saying! It’s amazing! What’s the matter?”
“… I’m… sorry.”
In a complete change, Maki made a sullen expression.
No, that’s fine. It’s not like I’m mad at her or anything. I’m quite happy for her consideration. Really happy. So I guess I can at least give off some empty spirit myself.
“R-right! I wonder if they’ll raise my salary or something~?”
“… Ah haha. That’s right. There’s a chance you’ll get a nice bonus!”
And for a while following, he received a report on the present state of things, and chatted about some completely irrelevant television programs.
Just a little, his mood had become lightened. Maki surely came to make sure he didn’t become depression, or so he understood it. To a coworker whom she didn’t hold particular affection for or anything, for her to be so considerate… On top of being a cutie, she’s a nice person to boot? That’s amazing.
Or so his thoughts turned.
“Ah… I’ve kept you a while. I apologize. It’s not good if it has an impact on your recovery, so it’s about time I went.”
“Alright. Thank you for today.”
Exchanging those words, Maki stood to leave.
“Hey, you know.”
He wanted someone to hear it. So the words came from his mouth.
“Hmm? What is it?”
“… I had this really good superior at the office, you see? A really, really good one.”
Maki looked straight at him, and nodded. Her wide eyes looked as if they clouded over a little.
“That superior told me. ‘Aim for Metallica’s Summit. It’s a promise, alright?’ he said.”
The summit of Metallica. Big talk for an underling combatant. Would she laugh at it, he wondered, but Maki answered with a serious face.
“Right now, I still don’t know what that would mean, but I… it may sound stupid…”
To Metallica’s summit. The crown of evil.
The sentiment to change the world. Those weren’t a lie. And at the end of this path may be a power to make such a change possible.
What sort of thing was the world I wanted to make? It was still faint. But I’m sure I’ll catch sight of it if I keep going down the path.
If I continue following evil, there will surely be some things I’ll end up breaking. I’ll surely have to go against ‘justice’. I’ll surely have to shoulder much work. Does a man who just kinda joined at a whim really have the resolve for anything like that?
The answer was a given. It was surely something that Manaka’s end was a catalyst for.
So. As sad and regretful I am to Manaka’s death, there’s no way I could just stop in my tracks.
“I’m thinking of walking up to Metallica’s summit.”
Neito declared that in a quiet voice.
And to such a man, Maki did not laugh.