The following day. Just because his memories were back, that was no reason for him to give up on Suzuran. Takase properly went to school. After classes were over, he was on his cellphone in the art room. The topic of the debate was that transmission gun.
“You sure you’re not going senile, Hazuki?”
‘Iori, did you make sure to turn it on before shooting?’
“Even if it’s an airsoft, it shouldn’t be able to shoot with the safety on.”
‘It’s not a safety… it’s a switch to make it transmit.’
“Say what? Then you should’ve said that from the start.”
“Heeeeh! You, you know! You’re the one who started interrogating me without hearing me out.”
Ah, come to think of it, he’s right… Takase thought as he hung up. I’ll have another look at it when I get back.
Takase looked at the liquid crystal display on his phone and confirmed the time had come. And once again, he took the light pink stationary out of the pink envelope.
‘I’m in super lovy dovey with Mr. Takase.
Waiting for you on the roof at six~.’
Was written in bubbly letters that weren’t even that pretty to look at. The envelope it was sealed in even plainly spelled out, ‘This is a love leter’.
But Takase was Takase.
This was his first time with respectable students, but in a place that wasn’t a school, he had experience raising far more meanspirited pupils. The point being, from his experience, a retarded letter like this had to be an invitation from another male, and he knew what to expect.
(Kukuh… this is a good chance to teach them what happens when you look down on me…)
How many foes? What weapons? More fun the more people, more amusing the more dangerous. Perhaps one who would point a gun at their new teacher two days after he took his position, were there any youths with such bright futures ahead of them in this school? Takase’s chest swelled with anticipation as he made for the roof.
(That Kikuhito brat tried it on me with an M60 he pilfered from the US armed forces…)
Incidentally, the day before that… on his first day in service as an instructor to the sixth generation, he didn’t remember what exactly he did to warrant it.
Reminiscing over his memories with his favorite pupil, Takase narrowed his eyes. From the side, it probably just looked like his silver-framed glasses were dazzling
And going out onto the refreshing clear rooftop meandering to sunset, to put it shortly… he’d been had.
“You… damn stupid demon!”
Takase’s enraged scream was directed at a single female student.
Demon VZ. One of Zephirum’s top executives of all people, her hair done in twintails, wearing a pair of pink fake glasses, leaned again the fence with a smile on her face.
“Did I surprise you?”
“… What is your goal, VZ. Is it Suzuran?”
“That’s a strange way to put it. I’m Suzuran’s best friend, Takagi Yoshiko. I’m a proper student of this school, I am. Ever since the entrance ceremony a year ago.”
“Cut the cram. You think I’d accept that coincidence?”
VZ shook up the two tails bundled on her head to deny it.
“I’m not lying, I mean, I mean, I’m the one who recommended this school to Suzuran. This school with the director of the Kantou Agency and the hero.”
“Though I say that… of course, when I first met her in her third year of middle school, I wasn’t Takagi Yoshiko.”
“… I see. You’ve got one up on us. So you had an eye on the demon lord candidate even before the sacred assembly. Zephirum.”
Meaning they weren’t up against the Sacred Assembly for show… Zephirum was more of an organization than he had anticipated.
“Don’t call me that.”
“Then Iorin it is.”
Takase lightly keeled over at the birth of a new curse word.
“This school’s director. Makoto’s grandpa, you know? He was a technical officer in the Kantou Army, I hear. He’s one of the people who set up the Kantou Agency after the war. And he built this school to atone for it, they say.”
Takase knew that. This school’s emphasis on sports were one thing, but the scholarships given to fatherless and motherless households was something else entirely. In exchange, perhaps because the director himself knew the back of the back of society, he took a large cut of money from the rich to establish this school. It was because unfortunate cases like Suzuran were few and far inbetween that the place appeared like a rich kid school.
Turning her defenseless back, VZ looked over the grounds, where the sports clubs were out practicing late.
“From medical school professors to bigshots at medical institutions. Now that he’s set up a school, everyone’s full of respect. But if you trace it back, he just got his authority to keep him hush-hush about all the war crimes.”
Towards VZ who stayed cheerful to the end, Takase pushed up the bridge of his glasses.
“Their research on bacterium, and how much it takes for a human to die, in the end, it was just camouflage for the induit chasseurs. Those who didn’t know the true purpose are going down similar paths in life. So what are you trying to say, bringing up Makoto’s grandfather?”
“Right, well it’s not just the director… humans are nothing but terrible people, you know? Bottom of the barrel trash. Despite what they say, the sacred assembly just wants to be able to do whatever they want with the world, and everyone in the Kantou Agency passed the aptitude test due to a violent temperament suited for combat. Don’t want to fight? They’re just putting up appearances.”
She was exactly right. Takase had nothing to add on the matter.
“So why are you allying yourself with those humans?”
“I’m not allying with anyone. I just want to prevent whatever could rub Meeko the wrong way.”
Hmmm, disinterestedly ringing her nose, VZ turned back to him.
“Then why Suzuran?”
“That kid isn’t just one of those demon lord candidates that come out every ten or a hundred years… I get the feeling she’s real. No, there’s no greater evidence than the fact that not only the Sacred Assembly, even Zephirum have their eye on her.”
“And that’s gonna wake Ms. Meeko up?”
“If she wakes up, we’ll need a demon lord’s power to keep her quiet. And while she’s still sleeping, we’re in deep trouble if Suzuran stays weak.”
“Then you’re hanging by a thread.”
“Indeed. No matter how you tilt it, the pole that’ll crush the earth is just barely being balanced.”
Saying it grew suffocating and Takase took a single sigh.
“Then just maybe, see? If Ms. Meeko goes completely quiet, will you come over to Zephirum?”
“It’s a conceivable possibility. But… I’m sure you know, but I’m trash all the same.”
“A bad apple~♪”
“Kukuh, you got that right. You can try to remove me from the bunch, but I’m so rotten and sludgy I’ll melt right through your fingers…”
While Takase derided himself, VZ happily brushed aside one of her tails that had rested on her shoulder.
“Got it. Then if I leave Suzuran be for the time being, will it raise my affection points?”
“If you could. I’ll keep quiet about you to Suzuran.”
“Then it’s a deal~.”
VZ nodded, satisfied.
“But, but, you shouldn’t bully Suzuran too much. She’s my best friend, you know.”
As VZ spread her two arms and kicked down, her body flipped backlight as a feather; she landed on top of the fence like a fairy. But not a single soul on the ground noticed the precariously perched young girl.
“… Looks like we’re done here.”
VZ blinked and tilted her head.
“… Did you want to hold me?”
“Shut up! First Suzuran and now you, you’re just brats, don’t get in over your head! If you’re leaving get out of here already, you damn stupid crazy demon!!”
“Hmph. Fine. I’ll get Iorin trendy in school… ufufufu.”
“Wha!? Wait, you…!”
Leaving a mischievous cat-like smile, VZ took another flip towards the ground. By the time a panicked Takase was clinging to the fence, the cheerful girl was already gone.
To make matters short, the Kantou Agency continued its existence, and the steering committee also remained. Makoto chose to let them live to scapegoat whenever a problem of responsibility developed in the agency, and as a source of revenue that connected them to the Ministry of Finance.
And for the agents that came forward saying they wanted to return to normal society, Makoto let them do what they wanted. More than a hundred members left the organization just like that… and including E1 Karasu Kikuhito and E2 Toujou Chikage, this was a fresh start with only sixty remaining members.
Despite all they’d been through, the ones that remained couldn’t go as far as to deny the work itself, of protecting society’s peace from the threat of monsters.
They needed recompense. Their tragedy could never be repeated…
“… So, umm. Why am I here, I wonder?”
As Makoto’s new headquarters, her new office greeted the twilight, she heard an innocent voice from Suzuran.
“Eh? Because you’re a member starting today.”
“… And, you know, I’m asking how it came to that?”
“I mean, you don’t want to fail, do you?”
“How is that relevant!!?”
“How wonderful. You can look through the vast third world, and we might be the only organization housing a demon lord candidate. Want to try taking the world for real? How about we pick a fight with the sacred assembly ☆.”
As Makoto started getting worked up without even listening to a word of what she had to say, Suzuran held her head. Failing, expulsion, scholarship. Makoto had plenty of cards to play.
But, serious talk… the third world had definitely been boisterous as of late. Perhaps it would be difficult for Suzuran to live a normal life forever. In which case, they were the anti-demon organization… the Kantou agency that existed to make sure that didn’t happen, so she placed her in it. That would make her harder to touch by those who wanted to use her for ill.
Save for the Kantou Agency’s Director, Hida Makoto… of course.
Well, she decided to keep quiet on that one.
“Aah… but it’s wonderful, the new headquarters of the Kantou Agency. It really is a miracle we found somewhere so soon. Right, Suzuran?”
“Yes… well, isn’t this…”
Owing to the giant hole that Belronde (Ripple-Rapple?) opened up in the underground headquarters, the stability of the bedrock had fallen considerably, and unless an enormous amount of time and money was invested, it was clear the place wouldn’t be usable.
The headquarters Makoto and Suzuran were in now consisted of a quite old-fashioned western mansion, but the electricity and water were running, and the furniture was high class.
And more than anything, it was vast. The entire plot was around half the size of Disney land, and to top it all off, there were squishable slimes and giant rockhopper penguins living in the basement…
“Oh, teacher. Welcome home.”
The one who kicked in the door and plunged in was the original owner of the place, E0… Iori Takase.
“Don’t ‘welcome home’ me! When did this mansion become the headquarters of the Kantou Agency!?”
“Ah, right, right. This is for you.”
Makoto held out a sheet of paper to a shaking Takase.
“And this is?”
“A notice of personnel change. Teacher, from today onward, you’re charged with general management of the induit chasseurs.”
“… Why is a document from the ministry of finance stamped with imperial household approval?”
“If you let the head of the Iori House run free, negotiating with the police and apologizing to the prime minister and cleaning up after his messes gets to be a pain, so when he doesn’t have any orders, please look after him. Nata said.”
Takase took that scrap of paper and promptly tore it up.
“… So Nata Souichirou said that? That slicked middle-aged delinquent?”
“He’s got gravitas, that Nata. But if I had to say, when I brought it forward, Shouka was all for it, and Nata just pushed the stamp.”
“… I see. Splendid. It looks like each and every one of you wants to make an enemy of me.”
(No… in short, aren’t you just making enemies left and right…)
Of course, Suzuran was too scared to retort aloud.
“You said general management, did you? Then all female employees will have to wear cat ears and apron dresses. Any complaints!?”
“Why not. I’m not an induit chasseur, so I’m outside your supervision, and you’re the one who has to lead them into battle dressed like that.”
At Makoto’s words, an amazing scene crossed Suzuran’s brain.
(What’s going to happen to me…)
While Takase and Makoto were squabbling, Suzuran slipped out of the room. At some point, the issue at hand had changed from uniforms to how to deal with her.
Makoto said she would welcome Suzuran as a Kantou Agency agent, while Takase said she would be welcomed as nothing more than an Obliterating Industries employee, neither side willing to step down.
(What about my opinion…? Where is my freedom to choose my own work…?)
Of Suzuran. The snowball of misfortune she thought had finally come to a halt… looked like it had a long way to go.