Intermission

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It was a small, dimly lit room. The only light came from glowing ceiling tiles. There were no windows. There were no desks or chairs, but a bed stood in the middle of the room.

On it was a man held down by a belt. His limbs and his torso were thin and wiry. He had been put to sleep. Thick metal cuffs enclosed his wrists like handcuffs.

A column of light streamed into the room.

A man in a white doctor’s coat stepped through the open door.

“Hey…”

“Haa… haa… haa…”

“Are you okay? No, you don’t look it… you’re lucky that you’re still alive. No – perhaps you’re unlucky.”

The wiry man raised his head to focus his bloodshot eyes on the man.

The visitor spoke under his breath as if he was talking to himself.

“Ah, you can rest easy. I’ve taken care of the surveillance cameras and the recording devices.”

The visitor’s mouth was slanted.

The wiry man opened his mouth to say something, but only rough breaths came out. His voice seemed incapable of forming words.

“Haa… ua… aaa…”

“You can’t talk?”

“Ua…”

When the visitor started to approach him, the wiry man’s expression turned to one of alarm. The confidence he had while chasing and shouting at Masaki had all but disappeared.

“The adjustment seems to have been a success.”

“Uuhn…”

“Have you forgotten about me? Well, it’s a common side effect, so it’s within expectations.”

He stood beside the restrained wiry man.

“A… ugh…”

The visitor moved in so his mouth was beside the wiry man’s ear.

“But still!! You’re no match for a Level 7!!” He shouted.

The wiry man’s face twisted in pain in response.

“Ugh!”

“Another failure, huh? Reality is harsh. I’m drowning in despair and it seems like my heart is about to break.”

“Uuhn…”

“However, your effort wasn’t for naught. My goal is greater than any of us. I promise to not give up until your noble sacrifice has saved the future of this academy. My research is entering its final stages.”

The visitor retrieved a thick syringe from the pocket of his white jacket. He forced the wiry man to take it, making a slight sound.

The needle found a blood vessel automatically and inserted itself painlessly. It then began pushing the contents of the cylinder into the man, following its program smoothly.

A little while later, the visitor removed the syringe and left the bed.

“Good night, little lamb. Sleep well.”

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