Koori was the only one in the wide tatami-mat room. Suou-senpai had given her instructions during lunch, and she had been in this room since then.
She wasn’t used to zabuton so her butt hurt even though she sat cross-legged. (1)
Had Midorikawa-sensei, the advisor, put tatami mats in the headquarters so that it wouldn’t become a hang-out? She got that kind of suspicion since they were used to chairs and tables, and zabutons were uncomfortable.
Even so, information concerning the privacy of the students could only be accessed in the headquarters. Normally, records of things like their location and money transactions wouldn’t be available to the public. It was restricted to investigations, and that was why she was allowed to use it now.
If their advisor was present she would be able to look into conversations too, but Koori was the only one there right now.
The records of Ooi and her friends were displayed.
In addition, she was arranging the data that her friends in Breaker had gathered for this cause.
Recently, they had been suddenly going into a group trance and been absent-minded.
The group suddenly levelled up.
She brought up a list of common points in their behavior patterns that went back to the previous month.
What point she should pay attention to? She couldn’t leave that to the computer.
Their hairstyle or their bedtime or their friends…
Obviously, their school years and genders would vary…
What about their strongest subject?
Their hair color?
She entered various conditions and the computer validated it.
It was the main system of Alrescha that Breaker used, which was connected to the integrated management system “Apple Tree” that was in Canaan’s Administrator Tower.
Thanks to that, she was able to follow their actions outside of the school building.
She expanded the conditions.
“Ah, I don’t get it…”
Koori scratched her head without caring that her hair was already disheveled.
She stretched out her arms, arched her back and then collapsed onto the tatami mats.
She was spread-eagled.
Her skirt was bunched up so she had an unladylike appearance, but she didn’t mind as she was alone.
She looked up––
No, Koori was on the floor, she looked to the side.
The room door opened.
Sakurazaka-san raised one of her hands.
Why was Sakurazaka-san here!?
Koori jumped to her feet in a fluster.
She checked her uniform while she straightened her skirt and combed down her hair.
Sakurazaka-san kicked off her shoes and entered.
“Koori-chan, what are you doing?”
“Ah, uh…well…I’ve kind of come to the end of my tether with the investigation so…that’s why I look unsightly.”
Sakurazaka-san flopped onto the floor beside Koori who was kneeling.
“Nihaha, rolling on the tatami mats feels nice. Yeah, that’s right!”
She crawled towards the cupboard on all fours.
She was able to see under her short skirt. She was wearing light blue panties.
“Nihaha! I’ve found the snacks!”
She brought Ritz out of the cupboard.
Midorikawa-sensei was always eating it.
“…Is that fine?”
“*munch**munch*…what were you saying?”
She was eating it without hesitation.
“Ah, yes! Let’s divide it into two!”
She held out the Ritz.
Honestly, when she is silent, she looks like an adult woman––especially her breasts. She has an amazing figure, and she doesn’t look like she’s the same age as me––but her facial expressions and behavior are just like a child’s.
She immediately rolled over.
She didn’t even mind that her underwear was visible.
She wilfully ate things like sweets.
“What’s wrong Koori-chan?”
She had a curious expression her face.
Koori took the Ritz that she held out.
“Thank, thank you, Sakurazaka-san.”
“These crackers are so delicious! I like cakes and teas, but I also like eating snacks while lazing around. Alice doesn’t like that though.”
“That seems like Clockheart-san.”
“Ah, that’s right; I came here to find out where Alice is. Do you know?”
Sakurazaka-san opened a window.
She pulled up a list of students, but it seemed like she didn’t really know how to use it.
“Is Clockheart-san in trouble?”
“I think she went to town with Masaki half-way through afternoon classes. I didn’t notice since I was in a different group in another classroom.”
“Huh…Kusunoki-kun left during class?”
“Yeah. Minamishima-chan said so.”
That was surprising.
She had gotten the impression that he was a serious student.
Koori thought that, since he was with Clockheart-san, there must have been some kind of reason.
“It’s not a good idea for members of Breaker to skip classes. We’re excused from classes when we have investigations or urgent situations, not for going into town to play. Not to mention that a serious student is being taken out.”
“Nihaha! Masaki didn’t want to go.”
Koori thought that she might have threatened him to accompany her.
“Masaki is strong in fights.”
“Heh? Then did Kusunoki-kun argue with Clockheart-san? Did they use Dialect?”
“It doesn’t matter if it’s used or not, Masaki is strong when he’s serious. If it’s a fight.”
Since he was Sakurazaka-san’s childhood friend, she would look favorably at him. Or maybe it was because of feelings that were more than that. Anyway, she couldn’t imagine someone that was stronger than that Alice Clockheart.
She interacted with the window while eating the Ritz and talking to Sakurazaka-san.
“Huh? Huuh? Nyaa?”
Koori stopped what she was doing and stretched her hand towards Sakurazaka-san.
She search for Clockheart-san in the list of students, then looked for her whereabouts.
“You might know already… but this is supposed to only be used for investigative purposes. If you’re wondering where Clockheart-san is, why don’t you get in touch with her?”
“Alice gets in a bad mood when you call her while she’s drinking tea.”
The Ring Gear transmission that ran through Canaan’s system was strictly different from a telephone call, but anyway––
“Isn’t it nice to get in touch with your friends?”
“You think? I don’t really get it, but since I don’t want to leave Alice alone I won’t do anything that Alice doesn’t like.”
“You’re paying attention to her needs?”
“It’s normal not to do something that your friend hates, right?”
“I guess that’s right.”
In Breaker, Koori had comrades who shared the same will as her.
But she didn’t realize that “friendship” was the kind of relationship where you had to take into consideration the other’s likes and dislikes.
She wasn’t lonely.
Her values were different from Sakurazaka-san.
Koori went back to what she was doing without thinking too deeply about it.
At last she started to eat the Ritz that she had received.
Sakurazaka-san peered at her face.
“Have you got a painful cavity?”
“That’s not it! It’s nothing to……”
“What are you doing?”
“I’m investigating the group trances that have been happening recently. If I can find a common point, I might be able to identify the cause.”
Sakurazaka-san had a face that said that she didn’t quite understand while she nodded nervously.
She’s a good person but she a little dumb…no, am I saying too much? Koori corrected herself even though she hadn’t said it out loud.
––Sakurazaka-san isn’t good at thinking.
If she evaluated herself from another angle, Koori Yuuka wasn’t good at anything.
Someone like her couldn’t help but steadily do things over and over again, even if it might be useless. She had no choice but to stupidly put in a lot effort even though she had no talent and was inefficient.
But she would still step forward.
“Food…that’s right, could it be related to food!?”
“What? Food? I’m hungry!”
“Please be quiet for a moment.”
Sakurazaka-san covered her mouth with both hands. Since she had already finished what she came to do, she thought that she should go to Clockheart-san but… there was a precious pause.
Koori’s thoughts were concentrated on operating the window.
––A common food that they ate!
Things like bread and rice weren’t unusual.
“Could this be…”
The data wouldn’t overlook something like the same cake that they all ate.
All of the students that were in a trance had eaten the same cake more than ten times in a month.
“This is a shop outside Alrescha so…”
Koori made an enquiry to Canaan‘s integrated management system, Apple Tree. Maybe there were similar cases occurring in other school buildings?
Wouldn’t the victims also use the same shop?
The reply to Request XQRG7582––access isn’t authorized.
“Damn…that’s right. It’s the personal information of students from other school buildings…but if I have a teacher.”
“Anyway, it looks like I have to go.”
It looked like Sakurazaka-san really wanted to talk.
She was going mufuu, mufuu.
This person was Clockheart-san’s original partner, so she was a Level 7, and she was considered one of the world’s strongest when it came to combat.
You would almost forget about that when you watched her childish behavior.
“Erm, can I talk?”
“Koori-chan, are you going to a fight!?”
“Eh!? Ah…no, well I don’t understand… but there’s a shop that all the victims go to. Since it’s really popular it might just be chance, but I can’t ignore the fact that the number is 100%.”
“Are you going to destroy them!?”
“I’m not going to destroy them! I’m only going to do a careful investigation!”
“But you look like you’re going to fight?”
She seemed to be sensitive to things like that.
“…Of course…if I’m right, there might be some danger.”
Maybe it would be better if she reported back to Suou-senpai.
However, what if it was a false positive?
She didn’t want to lose the long-awaited trust that she had finally acquired. She didn’t want to make a mistake with the work that she was finally entrusted with.
Sakurazaka-san stood up.
She curled her hands into fists.
“Then, I’ll go with you!”
“It might be dangerous, right?”
“But aren’t you going to destroy something?”
“I’ve got it.”
“But isn’t that the only thing you can do, Sakurazaka-san?”
Koori was thinking.
Although she was worried about her recklessly damaging something, if things ended up in a fight there wouldn’t be a more reassuring comrade than her.
“…I understand. Although you don’t have a partner, would you keep me company during the investigation?”
She nodded vigorously.
Koori stood up holding her bag.
“Thank you, Sakurazaka-san. Let’s go!”
“Hey, hey, since we’re investigating together, Shirley is fine. Sakurazaka-san is embarrassing.”
Koori couldn’t reply immediately.
Until now, she hadn’t had the kind of relationship with someone where you said their name without honorifics.
Most of Class ZE barely had a Dialect. Or they couldn’t get used to Canaan. Koori was a heretic amongst them as she devoted herself to Breaker which kept the public order of the academy; she was someone who couldn’t be understood.
Within Breaker, she was practically incompetent so she was out of place.
There hadn’t been anyone who had called her by her name.
“…Well, su-sure. When it comes to it, it’s much simpler and efficient to call each other by our first names.”
“I don’t really get whether or not it’s efficient, but if we’re friends we should call each other by our first names, right?”
“Nihaha, Alice made a similar face too. We had tea together and ate together so we’re friends. Masaki said that.”
“Lunch the other day? But that was originally for sharing information about the investigation…”
“Now, we’re going to eat sweets together.”
“Well, I’m Shirley. What should I call you Koori-chan?”
“Okay! Then Yuuka, let’s go!”
“Hm? Where are we going?”
(1) The proper way to sit on a zabuton is seiza style, kneeling and then sitting on your heels. Sitting cross-legged would be less formal and likely more comfortable for those unused to sitting seiza.