The morning after the opening ceremony.
A corner of the residential district of the isolated city serving as the venue of the Sacred Demon Cup. Hideo opened his eyes to a six-tatami room with kitchen and built-in bath (barely any different from the normal apartment he had been living in the day before).
(Kuh… this is. Troublesome.)
Hideo thought as he remained under the blanket provided with the room. Wilco leapt out of the plugged-in PC as if she had been waiting for that moment.
“Good morning master! The excitement from our victory last night has yet to cool down! Let’s use this momentum to find our next prey!”
“This thing is, Wilco.”
“My body. Won’t move.”
A surprised Wilco impetuously patrolled the room, she threw open the windows to look down into the two-story building’s narrow back garden.
“Where’s the enemy!? You dare cast some dubious spell while Wilco’s master was asleep!?”
“… It’s muscle pain.”
Hideo had been terribly worried if it was alright to say, but surprisingly enough Wilco regained her composure. She formed a fist with her right hand.
A clean hit on the same spot he had smacked twice in his botched suicide attempts had Hideo furiously writhing.
“So you can move, Master.”
The way she put it made him sound like a TV that properly turned on after she gave it a good whack.
“But how. Do I fight. Like this?”
He was viciously trembling. Half the cover still covering him, the extreme fatigue was sending him into convulsions. The look in his eyes was worse than ever before.
“Master… I don’t want to believe it, but are you experiencing drug withdrawal?”
No matter how mean his glare, Hideo had to declare it. This was stay-at-home syndrome plain and simple. A secondary symptom when a shut-in tries going outside: muscle pains.
He timidly stood and tried walking.
“This is… harsh…”
“Aaah… when her master is supposed to have won, he has somehow downgraded from a shut-in to a sick patient…”
After declaration on high, Wilco returned to the computer screen having lost her motivation. Her voice came from the speaker.
‘Wilco understands. There is no need to push yourself, and it isn’t like we’ve decided how exactly we’re going to fight. There’s a long road ahead, how about you take a break today?’
The screen showed an about-four-and-a-half tatami tidy little room. It was there that Wilco lounged around on the sofa. Snacking on the geometrically shaped something from the plate on the table, she began flipping through some manga.
What was this?
‘Yes? It’s a snack. Nam, nam.’
‘There were a few wireless hotspots on the way from your house to the venue. So I yoinked this and that. They’d take up too much space as is, so I compressed them as you can see. Nam, nam.’
(Is that how it works?)
Truth be told, Hideo wasn’t too knowledgeable on computers. Wilco paid him little mind, taking a few more geometric shapes in hand.
‘If you decompress them, they’ll look something like this.’
Some company’s register, some meeting papers, some adult-only images.
‘This company’s gotta get its act together. Namnam.’
“Did I just see a customer register?”
“… That room. Is?”
‘It’s the grand opening! This is Wilco’s room. This is the limit with this laptop’s specs. She can make it wider but…’
The HDD raised a groan as the room was remodeled in a blink of an eye. Exceedingly vast but pitch black. The screen no longer displayed any furniture, nothing but angular green grid lines
‘As you can see, it’s the 3D tech of ancient times, it’s all wireframe. As you’d expect, Wilco just can’t put up without textures in this day and age.’
The specifics above it aside, if she just wanted empty land, she could get quite a bit dirt cheap. But for a luxurious room, the furnishings alone ran her wallet dry. The computer specs were in short, her habitat cost apparently.
As he was thinking, Wilco returned to her four and a half tatami room that she found to be the right balance. If this was the supercomputer of some laboratory or military facility, she could likely have the vastness and extravagance of a palace.
She was back in her relaxed state reading manga.
Sit or stand, his muscles ached. Maybe a hot shower would wash away some fatigue, he thought, making for the built-in bath.
Kinkon, the doorbell rang.
Even if this was a city, it was still the Sacred Demon Cup venue. Albeit because of the ‘A match can’t be held without the consent of both parties’ rule, a surprise attack was quite difficult.
Newspaper soliciting. Religious soliciting. Fire extinguisher salesman soliciting.
(… Something like that.)
No one apart from such individuals had ever rung the bell at his previous apartment, so even if other possibilities came to mind, he ended up rejecting them.
Kinkon. Another time. Hideo shifted his hand from the bathroom doorknob to the front door.
“… Well hello. Then.”
Nothing out of the ordinary, it was the landlady of the apartment. She was quite young for a landlady. Somewhere around her early twenties. Albeit there were two cat-like triangular ears growing from her head and a single soft-looking long tail from her behind… after he had seen the riff-raff of participants at the opening ceremony, this was in no way warranting of surprise. Naturally, he had already met her when he borrowed the room.
“Hyow is the room?”
“I slept. Very. Well.”
Thanks to his exhaustion it was the first time in a long while he fell too deeply asleep to dream. His mind was clear but he couldn’t shake off his body’s exhaustion.
“Is that syo… are you cold?”
“… Just fatigue.”
He was trembling from muscle pains.
“I see. You’re pretty famous, I heard you had an amazing battle with the colonel. I’m honored to have such an amazing participant rooming with me.”
She was not a participant. A uniform like a casino dealer with a tight skirt.
And the armband of a judge.
Meaning while serving as a referee from the organizer’s side she managed an apartment. The apartments were all properties prepared by the organizers so it only made sense it was their staff managing them.
“If you have any inconveniences, just say it. I’ll take care of it.”
“Of course. Thank you.”
“Well then, I’ll get back to my rounds.”
The landlady made off for the next door down.
After achieving victory over the Colonel he sought out a place to sleep and arrived at this apartment at one in the morning. The landlady said he and Wilco were her first residents. Did someone move in while he was asleep?
Thinking back, that first match was far too flashy. What’s more, the one Hideo beat was a top contender. Then it was plenty possible someone marked him down and set up base camp in the room next door.
(Right… it’s pretty likely.)
But for now, the shower came first. Hideo’s hand went back towards the bathroom knob.
“Umm, I just moved in last night, and I’d like to give my greetings.”
A meek female voice.
All the participants in this Sacred Demon Cup that spanned the entire city were enemies.
But right now. Neither he nor Wilco had any special skill and there was no telling what would happen tomorrow. Was there any need to purposely be hostile to someone who went out of their way to greet him? Hideo considered.
(A joint front…)
If he managed to get along, perhaps he could form an alliance. The problem was just how sociable his stay-at-home stricken self could be.
She was too entranced in her manga to notice.
This was the true battle. Irrelevant to the competition, his personal battle. This was the opportunity, he would have himself reborn as a cheerful, more sociable human being… Hideo brooded to that point.
“Umm… are you home?”
“Opening the door. Now.”
Hideo changed his muscle spasms to tremors of excitement, boldly opening the door.
“Good morning, my name is Kitaooji Minako and I just moved…”
Of all people, the policewoman who pummeled him down at the front desk the day before. That talking truncheon hung at her hip, zaru soba she perhaps intended as a move in present in one hand.
“You’re under arrest for illegal drug posse—!”
Hideo immediately shut the door. His trembling wasn’t fear, it was still just extreme exhaustion, yet she straight up called it drugs. No matter how soft-hearted Hideo was, with what happened yesterday and now today, he knew he didn’t have to put up with this. He cautiously slid the chain in place and cracked the door open.
“What is. Your basis?”
“That glazed murder look in your eyes and those tremors of withdrawal syndrome are all the proof I need! Open the door!”
She tried forcing her way in. Turning to anger this time, Hideo spoke back.
“… With what jurisdiction?”
“In this city with no police force, I have to be the law! Rather, no matter where you are, narcotics are a no go! Absolutely not!! That’s just common sense! Now be good, open the door and get out here! We have you completely surrounded!!”
When he was at the end of his rope, the landlady who was still around sent him a helping hand.
“Mr. Hideo is just shaking from exhaustion.”
“Eh? Is he really?”
“I have a good nyose, if he was doing something syo bad it would get him shaking, I’d be able to tell. I would never let such a dangerous person stay here. And I’m sure he would be turned down at the front desk.”
A valid argument, Hideo thought. He didn’t know about the smell and such, but when the landlady from the management side said it, she had some persuasive force. Turning to the policewoman who was awkwardly, nervously pulling back, Hideo took the opportunity to say it.
“… You jumped the gun. Again?”
Yesterday she struck him, today she defamed his honor. There was no reason for him to keep silent.
“Again!? What do you mean again!? T-this is your fault for those misleading eyes and your shaking!!”
“Syo are you having a match?”
The landlady with the judge armband twitched her cat ears back and forth and said.
“Are you having a match?”
Both sides exchanged a glare through the slight gap in the chain-locked door.
He was more than happy to teach this absurdly irrational policewoman a thing or two. But Hideo was aware he was growing more hot-headed then usual. Normally, he would be spending his time subdued with no dreams or hope. He understood this well.
So he regained his composure. Rotten as she was, she was presumably still an officer of the law. Judo, kendo, submission holds, there was no doubt she had been trained in numerous fields. The form of her duking it out with Ryuuta’s Japanese sword revived in his mind.
The Colonel was the top contender in combat strength. That colonel recognized Ryuuta as his direct disciple. And this officer met him head-on.
Kitaoojii Minako, was it?
“Master, take care not to say anything funny.”
When he looked back, Wilco was already there poised for a chop. He sent her a strong nod.
(My condition is. Worse than yesterday.)
It was painful just to stand, after all. If he was optimistic enough to let beating the top contender go to his head, he wouldn’t have holed himself up in his room for two years.
“… I won’t.”
“That should be my line. Who would want to challenge you!?”
“That’s myore like it. There are a lot of opponents in this tyournament, at the very least, you should get along with the people who live next to you.”
Not likely. Especially when it was this Minako lady.
“Syo how about we have a little apartment get together?”
Minako turned to the side with a farcical voice.
“I’ll hold it and invite all of you. You’ll get one day’s worth of food for free.”
“Uhah! That sounds like a tasty deal, master. Wilco aside, you should economize with your tickets!”
Wilco insisted. I see, thought Hideo. while residences were offered by the management side… other consumables be it weapons or food had to be purchased with the tournament’s special currency of tickets.
Hideo was a normal person. Unlike Wilco, he had to eat to live. And to better his shut-in habits… these modest get-togethers were his best bets. The opening ceremony was far too large of a stage.
He wasn’t here just to keep winning. He had come to change everything about himself. At this tournament.
“Then I’ll take you up. On that.”
Hideo nodded. In the first place, he was thankful she would even invite the likes of him, he happily accepted. The landlady candidly returned his nod.
“Nyo need to be reserved. How about you, Minako?”
“Umm… I’m reluctant to share a drink with a criminal but… I do have to keep watch over him.”
Seeing Minako put on a strange act, Wilco laughed.
“Nihihi. We have a humble policewoman who can’t turn down a free meal.”
“Wha!? You’re wrong, I just…!”
While the truncheon called Okamaru didn’t say anything, he looked just a little uncomfortable to Hideo.
That being the case, they all ended up going shopping for the party together. Despite the word ‘all’, Hideo and Minako were the only participants who moved in.
“It’s your first time using tickets, master.”
At the receptions desk, he had received five red paper notes with the numbers 10000 printed in green. Fifty thousand tickets. The city’s cost of living bothered him, but the vending machine by the side of the road listed one can of juice at one hundred and twenty tickets. He surmised one ticket was made to have the same buying power as one yen.
(… I should cut costs where I can.)
Going south down the main road from the residential district brought them to a large-scale shopping center. Like a major suburban supermarket with everything for cheap. While the time slot was nearing evening, participant and management alike were making the place considerably lively.
Leaving the ingredients to the landlady, Hideo’s team wandered the vast store interior in search of daily necessities.
“Now this is amazing… it really isn’t much different than an outside city.”
Minako said, impressed. Though the fantasy participants in suits of armor they passed were a stark reminder of just how off-beat this city, this competition was.
The landlady who just had an ear and tails was innocuous by comparison.
(Soft bristles toothbrush. Granulated salt. Laundry detergent…)
Lemon for the soap. Hideo chose out items with especially reasonable prices and dropped them into the card. Since he was still carrying the computer around, it was unnecessarily hard to shop.
“Humans sure cost a lot of money, Master.”
When you have to get everything from zero, dreadfully so. Free to bring in any item, indefinite duration until a victor is decided… at the point he saw the Sacred Demon Cup’s announcement, he should have brought an extent of household items.
But he came pretty sure he’d just lose in the first round anyways, and he never knew he’d be staying the night at the venue of all things. He ended up putting off the problem.
“Let’s hope we can get some weapons with what we have left.”
Wilco brought up a good point. On the way to the shopping center, there were a few signs he had only ever seen in video games before: ‘Weapon Shop’ ‘Armor Shop’. Naturally, they were bustling with business.
(The problem is…)
He himself had never wielded a weapon before. Hideo was aware of the term ‘pearls before swine’.
He brought his cart up to pay. A maid was at the register to transfer his purchase to a vinyl bag.
(I’m not. Going to say. Anything.)
Reconstructing his common sense for this city, Hideo handed over one ten thousand ticket note.
He got back a slip printed with 5000 and some coins as change.
Once he got past the register, the landlady was already waiting with ingredients and ale. Minako met up with them a little behind.
“Then let’s get back and hyold a banquet. I can’t wait.”
The sun was already setting outside. As the headlights of cars and bikes passed them by, the traced the lines of streetlights flickering on. The thought suddenly occurred to Minako.
“Ms. Landlady. Do those cars belong to the management side?”
“Yes? Oh nyo, those are participants’.”
“Eh… don’t tell me they climbed up that mountain path by car!?”
“They probably just bought them. As long as you have money, you can buy most anything here.”
Hideo recalled the colonel saying something similar. Minako peeked into her own wallet.
“This is all I got at the desk so…”
“Do your best defeating monsters.”
Wilco curiously asked the landlady.
“Around how much do you get or defeating one?”
“It’s all over the place. The other day, Colonel Redfield took down an iron gyolem and got some tens of thousands as a reward. Then he took the wreckage to the sawmill in the industrial district and got to sell it for some hundred thousand on top of that.”
“Master! We’re going iron golem hunting tomorrow!!”
(… Not happening.)
For now. If slimes existed, how strong were they? He had to start from there.
“Even normal gyolems are good materials for ceramics and myortar. How about you start around there as a test run?”
It was only to be expected that golems were hard and strong. If he had to fight, it would be slimes. Start with the soft and weak ones.
“But if you do lose to monsters in the labyrinth, a loss is still a loss. You’ll be disqualified, so please do take care.”
Hideo strongly nodded.
They passed by a bar styled like an English pub that was especially tumultuous. On the sign set up outside, ‘Will mediate job requests’. Wilco’s eyes locked on.
“Don’t tell me these are quests!?”
“That’s right. Participants and we from the management side will put in a request if necessary.”
It was there that Hideo got a glance at the bond between person and person. Frankly speaking… it looked fun. Entertaining. A sense of suspense. This was another sensation he hadn’t tasted for quite some time in his Tokyo apartment. When he was shopping for necessities, it brought back memories of the time he moved to the capital, when he was still full of hopes and dreams.
Where everything he saw, everything he heard was a novel and surprising discovery. This city concealed some extraordinary wonderful energy. As if that strike from the city’s vigor had made him forget his muscle pains, Hideos next step down the road back was a merry one.
And they were back in the residential district. A turn from the main road down the ally to the apartment complex…
“Hold it right there.”
From the shadow of the telephone pole affixed with a street lamp, a single man showed himself. Jeans, leather jacket, thick eyebrows, long sideburns, a strong-looking glossy face.
“I found you, evil eye kaijin! It’s on, you and me!!”
Murderer, habitual offender, and now kaijin.
Kaijin. Oh come on, Kaijin was overdoing it.
Not at his age.
“Why are you accepting it!?”
Wilco’s chop came down at a good angle.
For one thing, he couldn’t just keep silent when a complete stranger just suddenly started accusing him of things. Though he decided to keep that to himself.
“… You said it. This morning.”
“We’ll use our momentum.”
Hideo whispered to Wilco who looked pleasantly surprised. He wasn’t letting it get to his head, he was perfectly level-headed.
“We won. Against the colonel.”
The landlady said it too. It was quite the talking point. The point was that when they had no redeeming features, they were being seen as top contenders.
It may have been by pure chance, but they couldn’t let that momentum slip away. The reason being, that was what leaving it to luck had given them.
“Y… you’re right! Your eyes are looking kinda cool, Master!”
Of course, they couldn’t manage on momentum alone, but they couldn’t let themselves lose the only thing they had. If they declined the match here, would they keep declining matches until they found their angle?
(No… not over my dead body.)
Coward. Spineless. Wimp. There were all sorts of ways to put it, but in short, it was that. They would fall to the point where people would be whispering how their most dramatic victory against the colonel was pure chance. That was the worst-case scenario. It really was chance, but he had carried himself in a way that made it hard to seem so. That was the flow he was riding.
Then he had to keep up the act. To go at it with perpetual composure and dignity, by continuing to play the top contender, he had to ride the flow to an even larger wave.
For that reason, running was not an option.
“So in short, Master… you plan on accepting every single challenge you get!?”
He nodded. The muscle pains that had him shaking when he got up had gotten quite a bit better given half a day.
“If you lose, it’s over! We don’t need idealism, we need a concrete plan!”
“I don’t have one.”
He didn’t, but he wouldn’t lose his standing. It was precisely because he had nothing that he didn’t want a single thing to go to waste.
A mischievous smile crossed Wilco’s face.
“In the end, it’s hit or miss?”
“That’s how I. Met you.”
His blunt words brought her to laughter.
“Nihahahahah! Got it. Then I’ll leave myself to whatever that brings!”
“Oy, what are you two whispering about!? Do you accept the challenge or not, evil eye kaijin!? Are you too afraid to speak!?”
The two slickly turned. Hideo silent with the eyes he was born with. Wilco with the complete ill-spirited smile of a heinous virus.
“Urgh…!? What intensity…!”
If that’s how it looked, so be it.
“Nihihi, sorry to keep you waiting! We were just discussing the best means for your crushing defeat.”
A huge lie, but as long as it put down the pressure.
“I see! That means this challenge…!”
“We accept it!!”
The landlady held up her hand and proclaimed.
“The match has been accepted by byoth parties! I will act as the judge!!”
Round two, commence.
The man thrust his thumb towards himself and began introducing himself when no one asked.
“My name is Shibasaki Koushirou… but that is but a temporary form. My true identity!!”
Behind the telephone pole where he was hiding, beyond the fence behind him, the click of a switch. An appropriate tune with a synthesizer as the lead instrument began to play.
“Is Earth Sheriff Javan!!”
The man took an appropriate pose.
The theme song aside, the radiant light his entire body emitted was pretty amazing, Hideo thought. When the light stopped, the form of a cybernetic helmet and full body protector… with his body clad in a blue and silver glimmering metallic suit, the form of Earth Sheriff Javan.
“T… this is amazing!”
Wilco went up and casually pat against the metal armor, then she muttered.
“But isn’t it deposition?”
“No… that’s, you know. The space sheriff’s, right?”
They began whispering.
All things aside.
“You were a sheriff!?”
Seeing the policewoman Minako stand at attention with a salute, Hideo grew anxious.
“But he said. Something about the Earth.”
Not about what prefecture or district or whatever.
“Silence, you Earth-class criminal, evil eye kaijin! I’m taking you in!!”
“… This is why I hate. Police.”
As a deep, dark aura surrounded Hideo, Wilco started feeling a sense of reliability.
“Whooah!? The dark side of the force is giving master power!”
“… Right. For example.”
Hideo carefully reflected on the past.
“Repeatedly writing off, traffic violations.”
Minako raised a groan.
“Repeatedly forming connections with violent gangs.”
Minako held her head.
“And repeatedly… betting book certificates over Mahjong.”
“Stop it! And wait, that one only happened once… no, um, yes, it was a regrettable incident.”
Hideo shut Minako up with only his eyes. But Javan,
“Ha ha hah. And what of it!? You speak of only a small portion of the country of Japan. I stand here as the Earth Sheriff! The super justice that transcends such petty justice!”
He struck a pose with every exclamation point, clenching his fist each time.
“In this city with no law, I am the law! In order to spread my super justice across the entire world! Therefore, all who get in the way of my victory road to the championship are evil! Meaning all participants apart from myself are kaijin!”
Tsk, tsk, tsk, Javan wagged his finger.
“No need to worry. If you fight alongside me, and pick a good time to concede victory to me at the end… in the new world of super justice, I’ll appoint you deputy director!”
Of what? Hideo didn’t have the time to retort. This man was quite something.
“This is getting to my head, Master.”
Wilco struck her own forehead a few times with a bitter smile.
(We were caught by a troublesome one, it seems…)
That’s why. It was best to have him lose early and take his leave. Looking at it that way, it was the right decision to accept his challenge. They’d have to have a match sooner or later, regardless.
(The problem is.)
How they would hold the match. It was no exaggeration to say that was the real game. Hideo decided to wait and see what his opponent led with.
“… So. What will we compete in?”
“What? Fufufu. Hahahah! I see, I knew it! Here I come! Javan Blaster!!”
The pistol drawn from his hip pointed straight at Hideo. As he was never trained on how to dodge with a gun trained on him, Hideo didn’t even duck.
He stood up straight. He was no hero or superhuman, there was no way he could evade at a moment’s notice. The prismatic beam of light emitted by the muzzle hit him straight on. Hideo’s body was left to a tingling, numb sensation. To make sure at the very least Wilco’s home, the computer didn’t fall to the ground, he collapsed with it in his arms.
If he had to say, it was like his entire body was forced to sit seiza. Whenever he tried to move, it was itchy, ticklish, his muscles wouldn’t listen to what he had to say.
“Normally, kaijin should be shot dead on sight, but in accordance with the rule that bans killing… the paralyze mode will stop you in your tracks for a while! You’re in luck, evil eye kaijin.”
It would be much appreciated if he stopped posing for everything.
“This is against the rules! Landlady, I call foul play!”
“I dyon’t see anything against the rules…?”
Wilco’s eyes opened wide.
“Why’s that!? Doesn’t the match begin once the criteria is decided and presented to the referee?”
“Let me explain.”
According to Javan, who spoke with his blaster at the ready,
Right after the opening ceremony last night, when the bingo tournament and various other events were cleaning up. More participants were issuing challenges here and there but… naturally, they would always argue for conditions that would give their side the advantage and it became increasingly difficult to decide on the game. One loss and you were out of the tournament. But if neither side would step down on the conditions, a situation arose where matches couldn’t be held in the first place.
Even if the tournament had no time limit, there would be no end with no progress. Close to sunrise, the management side presented what they called ‘The Basic Rule’.
In short, the reffing landlady brought it all together.
“If participants byoth agree to a match without any particular conditions, the match will default to battle.”
(So to summarize)
God, this is a pain, just get to it already… was the final conclusion. If the match isn’t decided before it begins, it will be combat.
Of all things,
(My weakest suit.)
But going by the competitors’ equipment and reactions at the opening ceremony, it was easy to imagine how that would make the competition go most smoothly.
“In this case, a match is decided if the judge recognizes one side is clearly incapable of combat, a participant declares their defeat, or one side manages to apprehend their opponent and hand them over to Centralle Building.”
“If only master didn’t try to act all cool and leave early…”
He had to avoid the interview. That was a given. There was little he could do about it.
When expressionlessness was his trademark, even Hideo was feeling a cold sweat. A fact he would have naturally come to learn had he remained at the meeting grounds to the end. Oblivious to that, he had gone on about idealism and accepted the match.
“All information about the tournament is broadcast on TV and radio, and even the Sacred Demon Cup official website ‘EveryonePlaza’ at all times. It’s pretty easy to stay updated.”
He didn’t have a TV or radio. His computer was.
“Well that makes us even, Master!”
Even if she energetically stuck up her thumb and winked.
“And so, policewoman! Start by apprehending this kaijin!”
Thanks to the long explanation from Javan and the landlady, the numbness was starting to soften. But if Minako cuffed him, he wouldn’t be able to move even if the paralysis faded.
(… I’ll lose.)
With handcuffs in hand, Minako stood next to a collapsed Hideo.
A voice to confirm it came from her truncheon. Okamaru.
‘Minako, don’t you have a debt to pay to Mr Hideo?’
Did he mean the morning’s misunderstanding? Or the fact she struck him yesterday?
“… Oh shut it, when you’re just a blunt weapon. I don’t have any debts!”
Hmph, Minako rung her nose and peered at Hideo’s face.
“But I wouldn’t want any unjust resentment, so this makes us even.”
Unjust or not.
(… I just quite plainly resent you.)
“What’s wrong, officer!? Hurry and restrain him…”
Minako finally turned to Javan.
“Your super justice is wrong!”
“You saw he didn’t know the revision to the rules and used that for an underhanded low blow! You call everyone else kaijin, and of all else, your arrogance to proclaim yourself the law of this town!”
Hideo got the feeling a certain someone else said something about there being no police here, but he decided to just let this play out.
“Thus as a representative of the true justice of the Japanese Police, I’ll arrest you for misrepresentation!!”
“Kuh, what an officer… do you think normal justice can triumph over super justice!”
Minako drew her truncheon.
“I have to win! To wipe away such improper suspicious, we policemen must constantly and righteously win under the name of justice!! We can never fold to evil like you!”
In just an instant, her cursed weapon Okamaru was the length of a long sword.
“You called me… evil!? Unforgivable! Javan sword!!”
“Let’s go Okamaru!!”
Was it the power of the Javan Suit (presumed name) or the abilities of the earth sheriff? The techno-designed blade and an incredibly old truncheon heated up in an unprecedented mishmash of sword strokes.
Left to the wayside, a collapsed Hideo and Wilco who didn’t do anything nor did she have anything done to her.
“Landlady, what happens in this instance?”
“Well whoever wins, wins.”
“Then if the policewoman wins, what happens to us?”
Following the spark-spraying offensive and defensive with her eyes, the landlady spoke up.
“Javan will be eliminated from the tournament, and Mr. Hideo will have an inconclusive match on his record.”
That was harsh. But it was far better than losing… Hideo’s thought lasted only an instant.
“Ha ha hah! What happened to your spirit, policewoman!? Look, this is the power of an earth sheriff.”
The Javan Suit (presumed name) was clearly stronger than the person inside it. Minako gradually grew tired, while Javan wasn’t even short of breath, even reaching a power relationship where he was pretty much helping out with her training.
“There is no way a mere prefectural public servant can match up to a global-scale sheriff!”
“Kuh… how unreasonable!”
Hideo’s paralysis had finally recovered to the point he could move around just a little.
“This is the end, officer!”
Minako faltered. Javan suddenly leapt back, taking considerable distance. Right, the other side had projectiles. His aim was to tire her out and dull her movements so he could take aim. But rather than Minako who was growing heated over the match, it was far simpler for Hideo to deduce it. The numbness was considerably thin.
Matching pace with his catchphrase, Hideo jumped in front of Minako. His timing was perfect; the prismatic light show struck him head-on once again.
“Master!? Why waste the effort!?”
Though he never anticipated being rejected by his own ally.
“Tsk… you’re still alive, evil eye kaijin.”
If I died, you’d be disqualified, he wanted to reply, but it wasn’t as if the other side would listen no matter what he said. So he didn’t.
Within all that, Minako alone was frozen on the spot as if she had received an outrageous shock, she stared at Hideo collapsed at her feet.
“… Because your…… ble”
Right, more than that man’s justice, her justice was more respectable. He thought. Though the numbness prevented him from forming words.
‘Minako. We mustn’t waste his spirit.’
At Okamaru’s voice, Minako renewed her grip on the handle.
“Yes, of course!”
“Sorry for stepping in when you’re getting so heated, but Wilco doesn’t like these developments.”
They all said at once.
Wilco corrected her posture and showed off her finest business smile.
“Warning! Javan OS Version 1.09b has been infected with Will.CO21!!”
Javan froze in place.
“I… can’t move…!?”
“Don’t tell me there really is a virus in my Javan Suit!? That can’t be! When!!”
“Right after you transformed, Wilco infected you when she was patting you all over. Your system is infected, do you want to delete it?”
With a receptionist’s smile, a Wilco opened a large popup window over the palm of her hand. ‘YES’ ‘NO’: two options.
Half in a panic from this abnormal state of not being able to move, Javan cried out.
“Very well, deleting Javan OS. Please wait.”
‘Very well, Will.CO21 will not be deleted.’
“Wrong! Keep the OS, delete the virus!”
Well, it was comical to turn to a virus and ask her to delete a virus in the first place. He likely didn’t know what exactly she was. And here was where the super pleasant type heinous infectious virus could pleasantly exhibit her true speciality.
“Will.CO21 is working. Please wait.”
“Will.CO21 is eating. Please wait.”
“Will.CO21 is feasting on Javan_power_assist_system. Will.CO21 is feasting on Javan_power_adjust_system. Will.CO21 is feasting on camera_control_driver. Will.CO21 is feasting on Javan_balance_control_driver. Will.CO21 is feasting on Javan_life_support_system. ”
Eventually, Javan was standing upright with his head slumped down. The visor’s glimmer was lost from the helmet. With a large and heavy thud, the metal suit crumbled to the ground…
“I can’t see!? I can’t move!! It’s dark! It’s cramped! I can’t breathe! It’s painful!”
While his voice came out, he didn’t move an inch. It was practically a human-shaped prison.
At the reception desk, Wilco tried to touch and infiltrate the terminal. Was she trying to do what she did to the Javan Suit (name confirmed)?
“Nihahahahah! Compared to the space sheriff, you’ve got a mere one planet under your belt! A fake’s just a fake! No enemy of Wilco!”
“I was at fault! I just looked up to them! I do think I dragged on the super justice joke too far! So save me!! At least get me some oxygen! I don’t want to die!!”
Those cried of agony echoed through the suit.
“Ni hi hi. You admit your loss? You recognize you lost not to the policewoman, but to Wilco and her master?”
“I get it… I get it so! I’ll die at this rate! I’m going to die! Return the system to normal…!!”
“No can do. Wilco ate every last bit of it.”
“Ah, but she did forget one thing. Javan_audio_system. Let’s dig in♪.”
The voice was gone too. A single gust of wind blew melancholically over the silent Javan Suit lit up by the street light.
“Wilco. If you kill him,”
She was so engrossed in the delicacy of the Javan OS she had just plainly forgotten it seemed. Suddenly realizing her place, Minako quickly smashed his helmet with Okamaru.
“Are you alright!?”
His breath was feeble. The group let out a sigh of relief. And it was then.
“Good work correcting this man’s presumptions… you have my thanks.”
From behind the fence, a man in a lab coat appeared, carrying a cassette deck in this day and age. It was clearly this individual who played the theme song during his transformation.
“O… old man…!”
And he was evidently Javan’s partner.
“Old man… aren’t you mixing in another show here?”
Wilco said, but Hideo had no idea what she was talking about. Old Man placed a hand on Javan’s shoulder.
“Do you get it now, Koushirou? This is the breadth of the world. And you… foolishly skipped over that very world to proclaim yourself the Earth Sheriff. You must understand…”
“Yeah… my eyes are open, old man. So that’s why you had me step up from settlement sheriff to neighborhood sheriff to island sheriff… there’s no way the justice that protected an island would apply to the entire world…”
He put in quite a lot of earnest effort, it seems.
Old man took out a special tool and began dismantling the Javan Suit now stuck fast to his body. Javan, Koushirou finally regained his freedom.
“But old man, I’m not going to give up. One day, I’ll definitely be like those space sheriffs that shined on the screen… I’ll take another hard look at my own justice and take a step up!”
“Yes, that’s the spirit!”
The two firmly gripped each other’s hand.
(It’s a good. Story.)
If this was the cape by the sunset, it would be quite the picturesque scene.
“Wilco really doesn’t like these sorts of developments. In the end, do you accept your loss?”
It was ruined. It was pushing it to expect compassion from a computer virus.
Old man heartily nodded.
“Hm. With the Javan Suit in this state, and all. I’m a technician with no fighting abilities. But I got to find out some weaknesses with the Javan Suit on a software side, so I’ll gladly concede victory to you.”
“Victory gyoes to Hideo and Wilco!”
On Old Man’s proclamation, the landlady raised her hand at once. Justice vs Super Justice. Yet the victor was the heinous one, it ended on quite the unbearable result.
The Javan Team left for Center to fill out the withdrawal forms. By that time, the numbness had come off of Hideo for a second time.
Their reason for victory this time was solely affinity. Javan had terrible luck wearing something Wilco could infect.
And… it was highly unlikely anyone wearing one of those things would appear for a second time.
This match could be called yet another fluke. They did not gain anything in particular. It may have been a different story if Javan gave him their ray gun or something, but the world wasn’t so sweet.
He had no choice but to thank the fact they won at all. They were, after all, an opponent they would have no chance against under normal circumstance. Was the fact they won even so because the rode the momentum…
Thinking it wasn’t one way or the other, Hideo walked with the others towards the apartment.
“Incidentally, between the two of them, which one wasn’t human?”
When Minako absentmindedly muttered, the landlady produced her cellphone from her breast pocket and looked it up.
“We had him registered as Earth Sheriff.”
Taking a peek, Wilco nodded in satisfaction.
“It says here Shibasaki Koushirou is his temporary form, and Earth Sheriff is his real identity.”
Did they seriously manage to fool Ratty at the front desk with that one?
Everyone thought so, no one dared to say it.
“Our little get together’s become a congratulations party for Hideo. I’ll be waiting for you.”
Upon returning to the apartment, the landlady made for the manager room nearest the entrance on the first floor. Hideo and Minako headed for their own rooms to drop off their shopping bags.
“Ni hi hi. But that was a shame, Master. If you didn’t cover for the policewoman, you’d be down another rival. Two birds with one stone.”
Wilco knew she could beat Javan at any time. That’s why she called it meaningless when he protected Minako.
“Is that why you kept quiet until the very last second!? Come to think of it, you! A little more, and someone would have died there! Wilco, was it!? I’m arresting you for attempted murder!!”
“Ni hi hi! You’ll need Ikkyu-san for that.”
Wilco retreated into the computer. You can’t rope a tiger on a paper screen.
Minako gave up and head for her room next door. When Hideo was still in front of his own room, taking out his key, he remembered what it was he had to say.
“Thank you. For saving me.”
Minako looked taken aback.
“Ah, no um, I’m the one…”
She must have never expected that to come from him. She seemed rather restless.
“That’s my line, when you covered for me… it looks like I’ve misunderstood you. Hideo.”
“… No. Not particularly.”
A silence descended.
‘What the hell is with this atmosphere! Wilco can’t stand it!!’
Came Wilco’s voice from the computer’s speakers. Minako took a sharp turn.
“Well then, see you later.”
She promptly entered her room. Hideo entered his own. He placed down the laptop, threw around the items he had bought and took a seat.
(… I’m tired.)
Exhaustion and hunger. Strangely enough, his muscle pains were pretty much gone after he was hit by that ray gun.
‘Come to think of it, master, you haven’t eaten anything for around two days now, have you?’
“I’d say I get good. Mileage.”
‘I’m not asking for a beef, but at least intake the minimum necessary amount of meat.’
He wholeheartedly agreed. He had to let the landlady treat him with no reservations. Hideo raised his heavy hips towards the landlady’s management room.
To gain the calories to fight another day.