It was a small scream, but the robots sharp sensors were able to pick it up. The robot in a cook’s outfit pointed at the air duct.
“There are intruders.”
“What!? Capture them immediately! There’s a possibility that they might have seen this, so don’t allow them to escape!”
The robot indifferently replied to Belmondo who had spoken in a contrastingly drawn voice.
––Have we been found!?
Koori’s knees and shoulders started to tremble and she blanked out in panic.
“Oh, ohh…what should we do…”
“Let’s escape now, Yuuka.”
“I can do something here!”
Shirley curled her fingers into a tight fist then struck the side of the ventilation duct.
The sound of breaking through metal. An ear-splitting roar.
She broke through the ventilation duct. She destroyed the metal sheet and together with part of the ceiling then jumped down by herself.
She landed in front of Belmondo and the robots. Hoping for the best, she made a fist.
She suddenly declared.
“I’m dumb, but I do understand that you’re doing something bad for some reason or another!”
––She’s saying “for some reason or another” after seeing the situation!?
Koori thought like a tsukkomi.
The trembling of her body had already stopped. If it was Shirley, she would definitely be fine! Because she was one of the academy’s strongest Globalizers.
“I, Shirley, won’t let the bad guys get away!”
“Heh…Breaker huh…well there’s no use…if she’s seen all of this, we have to take care of her.”
Belmondo wore a dark smile.
The robot informed him in an unfeeling flat tone.
“That girl is a Level 7 from Alrescha, Sakurazaka Shirley.”
“Ah, it’s her, I see. This is perfect…I wanted to test if injecting the drug would be effective.”
It was a very carefree facial expression. What kind of counter-measure did he have when dealing with a Level 7?
Shirley retaliated by pushing out her fist. Suddenly, in full throttle.
“I’ll beat up the bad guys!”
However, a dazzling light wasn’t emitted. Her fist struck Belmondo’s face. Usually, there would be an intense white light flying from her fist that would pierce anything. But this was an ordinary punch.
Belmondo stopped Shirley’s fist with his right hand.
“Hm? What? Is this the strength of a Level 7 attack? No, it can’t be.”
“You stopped it!?”
She was an experienced fighter even without her Dialect. Yet he was treating her just like a child.
A circular blue shield appeared on Belmondo’s right hand.
“My Dialect, Aegis Security, blocks all attacks. I think this should be a good chance to try it out…against a Level 7 with an emission type Dialect…”
It was a defense type Dialect. It seemed like it was able to stop Shirley’s fist.
Watching from the ventilation duct, Koori misunderstood that their affinity might have been bad. Shirley’s Star Blast might not have been able to penetrate Belmondo’s Aegis Security.
But maybe that wasn’t it––
Shirley couldn’t use her Dialect because of the Ban-Dialect. If she used it, the bomb attached to her head would explode.
And even if Koori was her partner in Breaker, they would have to tell their adviser first. And above all, her punishment hadn’t been lifted too. Or maybe Shirley should have made a report about her current situation before investigating if she was going to cooperate with her.
However, she didn’t care whether or not she had her Dialect. She wouldn’t change her actions whether or not she was a Level 7 or powerless. She stuck to her beliefs. She had a personality like that.
Fighting if you were likely to win, or running away if you were likely to lose ––she didn’t think like that. So Shirley wouldn’t be able to understand the necessity of saying that her Dialect was inhibited.
At any rate, flashes of light weren’t being released from her fist. She couldn’t use her Dialect. She had fallen into a pinch. Even so, she didn’t withdraw.
Several robots dressed in cooks’ outfits swarmed around her. They didn’t seem suitable for fighting, but they were likely several times stronger than a human.
She swung her fists and kicked to keep them away from her.
It was a stalemate.
Koori was sure that she would never be able to understand or empathize with the kind of person who wanted to be efficient or have the right answer.
If Sakurazaka Shirley came across people doing bad things, she would knock them to their senses––that was her simple motivation for fighting. The behavioral principle “only fight opponents that I can beat” didn’t seem to be conditioned into her.
One of the robots caught her arm.
“Geh! Let go!!”
She hit it. However, there wasn’t any damage done to the robot that she was trying to extract her arm from.
She became less and less able to move as the other robots also caught her.
She could only cry out. Shirley was captured.
Koori almost let out a scream again. She covered her mouth with her hands. She shouldn’t scream now.
Koori admired Shirley’s behavior that was driven by her righteous indignation…even so she had to make a calm decision herself!
So that she could save her. So that she could stop him from doing bad things.
Besides returning, she would call for help––Koori thought that was the best thing she could do.
The sound of her crawling through the ventilation duct should be difficult to hear since the fight was still continuing. She couldn’t ignore the robot’s sharp sensors, but she was sure that Shirley’s shouts would erase the sound.
Koori ran away.
The unprocessed metal sections were beginning to peel away and the tips of the bolts were sticking out. Her clothes and skin got caught on them.
She went back through the ventilation duct without worrying about herself. Her skin was split and she was bleeding.
She descended the shaft. From the ninth floor.
As expected, she couldn’t just fall like that. She would simply be falling to her own death in that case. On the other hand, if she went down at a slow pace she might be found by the robots that would come to investigate.
Using her hands and feet as supports, she had no choice but to fall at a speed that wouldn’t kill her.
The ventilation duct was full of sharp metal cross-sections and sharp bolts. Falling at a high speed… She would practically be plunging through a field of knives.
For a moment she hesitated. Her heart seemed to rupture at the thought of cutting up her hands and feet. Her fingers and knees were already bleeding. Would she suffer even worse pain than this?
She could suffer a serious crippling injury.
That’s far better than losing a friend!
Using her hands and feet to shift her body weight onto the wall, Koori dropped down the shaft.
It was about 30 meters.
She was falling at a speed faster than a bicycle through sharp objects. Silently, her skin was torn and her body gouged. Blood flew onto her cheeks.
Her hands were wet with blood and her makeshift brakes were becoming less effective. The speed increased beyond her expectations to the point that she was ready to accept her death.
She was sure that she was making a lot of noise. It must be resounding in the shop. It was possible her screams could be heard through the metal sheets.
Were her legs broken?
Even if she couldn’t move, it wouldn’t be a problem.
The pain was intense enough that she could end up unconscious. The Ring Gear detected serious injuries so it was issuing countless warnings.
However, she couldn’t request aid here. Her whereabouts would be conveyed to Belmondo.
Koori kept on crawling through the ventilation duct, her hands slippery with blood. She would leave through the place that she first entered. Though it was quite a height to drop from.
She was just protecting her head but she heard a strange noise from her elbows, she thought it was probably pain travelling down it but she could no longer make any sense of where she was hurt.
She had gotten out. Her consciousness was almost swept away by her slight sense of accomplishment.
“!! No…not yet!”
If she was found they would get rid of her and Shirley wouldn’t be saved.
She crawled through the back alley and went some way away from Café de Mancio. She leaned her back against the wall of some building, sat down on the ground and operated her Ring Gear.
Her consciousness was hazy. The serious injuries that she suffered should have been reported to Breaker from the Ring Gear. But apart from that she had something else to do now…
Koori called “Kusunoki Masaki”.
It took some time for the call to connect.
“Huh!? Koori-san, what happened!?”
“Uuu…Shirley was caught…I-I hurried and left her behind!”
“Wait a minute, what did Shirley do!? What on earth happened? Where are you now?”
She was brimming with emotions and couldn’t say it well.
Ooi who vomited red liquid. The feeling of fear. Leaving behind Shirley. The feelings of guilt. Doing the investigation with only a few people. The regret.
The figure of Kusunoki-kun asking about the situation with a serious face and the figure of one of the strongest people in the school, Clockheart-san.
The feeling of relief.
Rather than talk, she cried.
Alice ordered in a sharp tone.
“Send me the mobilization records of the Ring Gear right now. At once. I don’t need your words. I don’t need your judgment. Now, hurry up!”
Koori operated the window while wiping the tears from her eyes. Transmission complete.
“Haa, haa…it’s from two hours ago.”
It seemed like they were having a little disagreement on the other side but she didn’t understand well.
“Do you know where we’re supposed to go!? We haven’t checked the data yet.”
“Calm down. Shirley and Koori-san left school together. Their destination…”
“Our destination was Café de Mancio…that’s right I…there…Shirley is also here…”
Koori squeezed out those words.
Alice took a deep breath and checked the data again. She should be able to view all of it in three minutes if she played it back at 3x speed.
If it was those two, Shirley would definitely be saved.
With her back pressing against the wall, Koori collapsed on to her side. Thick traces of blood were left on the wall of the building.
The Ring Gear opened a red window warning of excessive bleeding. It forcibly called for aid.
Her temperature was dropping. Her heart rate was dropping. Her brainwaves were abnormal.
Koori slowly closed her eyes while being wrapped up in those warnings.
Someone’s footsteps were approaching.