Samantha Warrick continued walking hunched down the well-polished hallway of linoleum.
I’m not a holder of a posture good enough to say anything to others, but Samantha’s stoop was even greater than an elderly old woman’s.
Despite that, she stuck out her chin with her dangerous face, slowly walking bowleggedly, so from a glance, I could only see a small-time city thug.
… If she wasn’t wearing a lab coat, she’d just be a pain.
Or so I thought, as I walked up beside her. “Um,” I called over.
“There’s something I want to ask…!”
“Sshh, please wait.”
Holding up a pale finger, she urged me to keep quiet.
“The research lab is separate from police headquarters, so we’re about to head outside.”
“There’s loads of CO2 outside. I’m no good with it.”
“I have a constitution susceptible to CO2 poisoning. I stop my breathing whenever I go outside, so could you not talk to me?”
“… That’s, um, what am I to say…”
Taking a backward glance at my confusion, Chief Researcher Samantha took out a portable oxygen tank from her lab coat, putting the mask to her mouth as she mumbled some things that had yet to become words, urging us on with gestures to follow.
… She didn’t stop breathing.
No, I don’t think that’s the problem…
There are various things I’d like to point out, but to each his own, and I kept to myself. I listened to the unfamiliar wheezing sound of oxygen flowing as I walked beside the chief researcher, bathed in the inquisitive glances of others.
By the way, Jessica was twenty meters behind, taking an attitude as if she was completely irrelevant to us.
Police headquarters had been established quite a while ago, and while both its interior and exterior held a dilapidated feel, the magic theory lab erected beside it had a popping façade, really exhibiting the cutting-edge-research-institute aspect of it.
There was a round dome in the very center, with multi-story rectangular buildings sandwiching it on both sides. The dome’s exterior was one to make me suspicious of just what sort of research was being carried out within.
Besides the asphalt road around the institute, there was a well-trimmed green lawn, with researchers in similar white coats to Samantha sprawled out over it, or sitting on benches, eating their meal and doing whatever else they pleased.
Having come this far, the inquisitive glance from before had disappeared, and at times, some researchers would call out amicably to Samantha.
… Was she famous around here?
Every time her name was called out, she’d shift her eyes, and give a small nod as she leaked a strange voice from her mask. But from what I could see, it seems that was how she normally behaved around here.
Entering the magic theory research lab, I witnessed a complete design change from the polished outside. Without any unnecessary flair, with bare concrete and machinery scattered, it was a lobby with a bloodthirsty air.
Samantha fixatedly confirmed the door was closed, before finally removing her mask, and moving her light purple lips.
“My lab is on the second floor. Follow.”